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Syria is an enthusiastic state sponsor of terrorism and a fiendish fan of torture and oppression. But have you tried the stuffed grape leaves? Patrick Symmes invades before the coalition of the willing can.

Ingenious tips from essential wellness books

Into The Bus: An intimate tour of the Fairbanks City Transit System Bus 142, where the late Chris McCandless was discovered

Each summer 20,000 shining paragons of American boyhood march into the wilderness of Philmont Scout Ranch to confront an age-old question: Can the anarchy of adolescence be tamed?

Following up on Donald Katz's "The King of the Ferret Leggers"

The Quidditch World Cup sounds dorky, and make no mistake: it is. But these sorcery-loving Harry Potter fans play pretty rough, as Eric Hansen found out when he captained a bad-news team of ex-athletes, ultimate Frisbee studs, slobs, drunks, and some people he knows from Iceland. Brooms up, and may the best Muggles win.

Norway's forbidding Hardangervidda Plateau nearly killed Roald Amundsen when he attempted a ski traverse in the winter of 1896. But the failure set him on a path of training, study, and exploration that led to his historic conquest of the South Pole. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of that feat, Mark Jenkins and his brother Steve skied the route, an epic challenge that even now can prove deadly.

The plan was to check out Yemen, a little-visited Arab nation that offers glowing deserts, forbidding mountains, and lonely Socotra Island—a naturalist's paradise as imagined by Dr. Suess. But instead all hell broke loose, and a tourist romp became a front-row seat to the bloody upheavals sweeping the Middle East.

In the aftermath of the Big Leak, the author wrangles a skipper, a conservationist, and the real Forrest Gump to hoist canvas and sail into the mess that is the Gulf of Mexico. But here's the crazy part: While stewing in America's worst environmental disaster, he has a hulluva lot of fun.

Before the event, the doc gave me a six-day course of steroids for my back and threw in a bottle of Vicodin. “At your age,” he said, “after this race, you’re going to need it.”

Beer is the Dom Perignon of the Amazon. The surest way to get everyone’s attention is to show up with an obscene amount. We had everyone’s attention.

All told, the Marolts have six ski descents from about 7,000 meters. “People who haven’t done this have no concept,” Mike says. “It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.”

He glanced through the glass and saw Tilikum staring back, with what appeared to be two human feet hanging down his side. There was a nude body draped across Tilikum’s back.

The list of seven summits climbers used to read like an alpinist all-star team. Now there are kids who can include it on their college applications.

In the Northwest's San Juan Islands, best known for killer whales and Microsoft retirees, a teen fugitive has made a mockery of local authorities, allegedly stealing cars, taking planes for joy­rides, and breaking into vacation homes. His ability to elude the police and survive in the woods has earned him folk-hero status. But some wonder if the 18-year-old will make it out of the hunt alive.

In the rugged eastern provinces of Afghanistan, where peaks rise thousands of feet on all sides and the next valley is a world away, American troops are engaged in a kind of alpine warfare not seen for decades. Months can go by without combat, but when you're patrolling terrain as dangerous and unpredictable as the enemy, the calm is often shattered when you least expect it.

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