The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834, by Joseph Mallord William Turner, c. 1835. © The Philadelphia Museum of Art/Art Resource.

Disaster

Volume IX, Number 2 | spring 2016

Miscellany

Hatches of Rocky Mountain locusts (Melanoplus spretus) in 1874 and 1875 brought swarms up to 1,800 miles long and 110 miles wide across the Great Plains. Numbers were estimated in the trillions. Farmers risked starvation. The swarm is believed to have been the largest mass of living insects ever witnessed by modern man—but within thirty years the species disappeared. “I can’t believe M. spretus is extinct,” said ecologist Dan Otte in 2014. “But where to look for it?”

It’s the end of the world every day, for someone.

- Margaret Atwood, 2000

Lapham’sDaily

LQ Podcast

#07 Kory Stamper

Lewis Lapham talks with Kory Stamper, lexicographer at Merriam-Webster and the author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries.     More