William Pitt the Younger riding on the back of George III while surveying the French squadron, 1803. © Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee Carnavalet, Paris / Bridgeman Images.


Volume IX, Number 1 | winter 2016


Charles d’Éon de Beaumont went to Russia in 1755 as a secret correspondent of French king Louis XV. Disguised as a woman, he obtained an appointment as reader to a Romanov empress; he returned for a mission the next year dressed as a man. By the 1770s speculation about his gender reached such fervor that odds were quoted by London brokers. An 1810 postmortem finally confirmed that he was anatomically male; Marie Cole, his companion of fourteen years, reportedly “did not recover from the shock for many hours.”

The first duty of a good inquisitor is to suspect especially those who seem sincere to him.

- Umberto Eco, 1980


U.S. secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue meets with German minister of food and agriculture Christian Schmidt, 2017.


Equal Climates


U.S. Department of Agriculture bans words related to climate change.


Aristotle denies that the climate is changing.