The Way They Lived

The year 2011 saw the deaths of world-changing figures -- inventors and movie stars, peacemakers and dictators. Below, a look back at some of their lives. 

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Tom McNichol, a frequent contributor to TheAtlantic.com, is a San Francisco writer whose work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and on NPR's "All Things Considered."

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

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Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

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Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

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An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

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The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

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The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

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