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January 20, 2008 : Dispatch # 43: The Rats Are Back. Every 48 eight years a certain species of bamboo flowers in a remote tribal state in India, triggering an explosion in the rat population. What happens to the rats could be a ghastly parable for us. Originally published in the December, 2007 issue of Vanity Fair with the title, “The Coming Plague.” “The Rats Are Back” was suggested my good buddy John Nichols, the Taos Novelist. With a postscript on a huge new species of palm discovered in Madagascar that flowers every 100 years and then self-destructs.

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