Volume 21

Adjust your goggles, brush up on workplace health and safety, and zip up your HAZMAT suit: things get a little dangerous in Smith Journal volume 21, which is on sale today in Australia and online.

We take a trip to England’s green and pleasant land and discover a garden full of plants that can kill – including one you probably had on your last lamb roast. We revisit the 19th-century craze for deadly arsenic-laced wallpaper (just don’t inhale), and the brief medical mania for “lobotomy mobiles”, which is every bit as terrifying as it sounds. There are zombie parasites, terrorist queens, venomous snakes and soldiers’ musings, too. Please do not try any of this at home.

Happily, we have some non-lethal stories as well. A Colombian tailor whose bulletproof clothes will keep you safe and looking sharp. A ‘garbage anthropologist’ who knows NYC like the back of her bin lid. And a bunch of modern-day Vikings sailing to North America to prove an old Nordic legend.

There’s Soviet rock’n’roll, knock-off Star Wars toys and the controversial science of tea-making. Plus an academic documenting the world’s scariest ghost trains in 3D, a one-time Moog pioneer who spends his time recording the sounds of nature, a guy who plays with lasers for a living, and another one building his own satellites in a smallish shed in Perth.

But wait, there’s more: Radiolab host Jad Abumrad, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Papua pilots, Welsh coracles, the cultural necessity of swears, the prisoners’ iPod, A.V. nerds, weird dinosaurs and some rather interesting bridges.

Interest sufficiently whetted? Go grab a copy now.





Across the ditch: Volume 21 should hit stores in New Zealand on December 19. Ask your local if it's not on shelves then.

Overseas readers: We'll be with you in shortly (click here to find out when), but if that's too far away you can order a copy online and we'll send it straight out.