Berlin Twins

Death Of A Berlin Power Broker

Peter Richter | Granta | 23rd November 2023

A century ago Potsdamer Platz and Friedrichstra├če were the busiest and most glamorous streets in Berlin. War and partition reduced them to wasteland. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 it seemed only a matter of time before they regained their historic position and prestige. A tidal wave of international capital financed a decade-long construction boom. The outcome has been a planning disaster. Potsdamer Platz and Friedrichstra├če are now bleak, ugly, and lifeless. What went wrong? And why was the city's planning officer murdered? (6,200 words)

Twins And Individuality

Helena de Bres | Aeon | 21st November 2023

Natural human chimeras are formed when the zygotes of non-identical twins fuse or exchange cells during gestation; one person is born with two sets of genes. A chimeric mother may also be her own child's aunt. Only 100 cases of natural chimerism are documented, but some 36 per cent of twin pregnancies involve a "vanishing twin", so many more cases may exist. Physically, chimerism is an unremarkable condition, but metaphysically it is bewildering. If one body can contain two people, could one person range across two bodies? (2,600 words)

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