A festering rot of racial animosity exists in our society that we willfully ignore socially and politically. It is a rot that eats away at the flesh of our civil society and spoils the greatness of our multicultural nation.
Progressives continually tell us we have blinders on when it comes to racism in American society. They’ve shoved their ideological solution of anti-racism to force us to “deconstruct” what they believe is an inherently deep-seated racist nation.
I, as a black American, am supposed to rejoice in the presence of our self-appointed saviors, but I peeked behind the veil and saw who they really are.
The post-Soviet transformation took Russia from a fledgling democracy to a corrupt autocracy.
But, since the start of the war against Ukraine, the Kremlin has taken a new turn, which amounts to a resolute top-down effort at reversing what progress has been achieved in modernizing the state system, economy and society.
The paradox of resorting to the old Soviet way of war based on the massive application of force, while having neither the human resources nor the industrial base necessary to carry it out, undercuts whatever small gains Russian forces are able to make in Donbas (Svoboda.org, June 24).
With every delivery of Western weapon systems, the Armed Forces of Ukraine take a step forward in modernization, while the Russian military falls back to unsustainable World War II patterns (Republic.ru, June 24).
This is Temple IV at the ancient Mayan capital of Tikal, now in northern Guatemala. It was from the top of Temple IV that the shot in the original 1977 Star Wars movie was filmed of the Millennium Falcon landing (at 44 seconds) near jungle temples (Temples II and III) at the Rebel Base on the moon of Yavin 4.
Built in 740 AD, at 230 feet it is the tallest pre-Columbian structure in all the Americas. While Tikal’s earliest buildings date to the 4th century BC, it was from 300 to 800 AD that Tikal flourished as one of the Mayan Empires most powerful kingdoms.
Then decline set in, with drought, deforestation, overpopulation, and constant warfare with rival kingdoms. With Tikal abandoned by the end of the 900s, it remained covered by rainforest jungle for over a thousand years. American archaeologists began excavations in the 1950s. Today with its major temples restored, Tikal is the most impressive example you can visit of Mayan civilization. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #118 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)
We are that generation. And we have an accounting with nature’s limitations, given there is always a corrective, not a nice one, but remediation nonetheless for every excess.
There is an antidote. But it seems well beyond this generation’s capacity.
Instead, its ruling on West Virginia v. the Environmental Protection Agency could prove far more consequential. It could literally upend how our government works.
For the better.
WV v EPA asks whether important policies that impact the lives of all Americans should be made by unelected D.C. bureaucrats or by Congress. This SCOTUS could well decide that ruling by executive agency fiat is no longer acceptable.
The Antarctic island of South Georgia is home to a million King penguins, plus countless fur seals, gigantic elephant seals, staggering numbers of seabirds such as albatrosses, amidst a backdrop of towering mountains with massive glaciers spilling off them.
Nothing can prepare you for the incomprehensible size of the penguin rookeries here, densely packed as far as the eye can see (all those white dots on the hills behind are penguins). Nor for the size of bull elephant seals weighing up to 8,000 pounds, especially when they rise up and crash their chests against each other in mating challenges emitting deafening bellows. Nor being surrounded by a thousand fur seals unafraid of you. The density of wildlife combined with the magnificent beauty of the island is completely overwhelming.
Here also is the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken where the heroic explorer Ernest Shackleton is buried. You can only get here by expedition cruise ship. South Georgia is one of the great experiences on our planet. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #96 photo ©Jack Wheeler)
We’re all familiar of course with the five senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch; but we have another whole world of sensation that is often overlooked… and it’s central to our power to change our habits – and our lives - for the better.
You’re already familiar with this “sixth sense,” and though it may still hold plenty of mystery for you, what I’m talking about is not something mystical or hypothetical. It is our felt sense.
You know it when you say things like:
You’re looking at something historically and scientifically astonishing. It is what remains of an astronomical observatory built 600 years ago – in 1420 – by a Sultan in Central Asia who loved science and mathematics more than war and conquest.
It was in Samarkand, the most fabled oasis of the Silk Road, that Sultan Ulugh Beg built his circular observatory, three stories high of white marble. All that’s left today is part of the underground sextant that you see in the photo.
For the full story of what he achieved, with many more photos, click on The Sultan Astronomer in TTP I wrote in 2020.
This Glimpse is to whet your appetite to learn about this amazing Sultan and his scientific achievements.
It’s also to whet your appetite for joining your fellow TTPers on our Heart of Central Asia expedition this September. The story of The Sultan Astronomer is but one example of what awaits you in exploring Central Asia, an enrichment of your life beyond description. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #212 photo ©Jack Wheeler)
April 1990. When our oldest son Brandon was six years old, I took him with me to the North Pole. It was my 14th expedition there, and as always, we stopped to visit friends at Canada’s northernmost community, the Inuit hunting village of Grise Fiord on Ellesmere Island. Brandon thought it would be cool to sleep in an igloo, which the Inuit do only when they’re hunting seals or walrus far out on the ice.
So the villagers happily complied, showing him how they built one, carving out blocks of wind-blown snow, shaping and placing them in an inward-sloped spiral with one block on top, and packing snow as mortar between the blocks. When it was bedtime – still daylight with 24-hour sunshine by April – they lined the inside with caribou skins, which shed like crazy with hairs everywhere but sure are warm. Snuggled into our arctic down sleeping bags, we slept like stones.
It was an experience both of us will never forget. Never pass up an opportunity to have an adventure with your kids they’ll always remember. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #50 Photo ©Jack Wheeler)