Climbing the Himalaya With Soldiers, Spies, Lamas and Mountaineers Why does India have so many people? .......... “The answer,” he told me, “is the Himalaya.” ........ had created such an immense river network that it left behind staggeringly rich soil across a vast swath of Asia. It’s no accident, he said, that on either side of these mountains lie the world’s two most populous nations, India and China. If you include Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, all of which also greatly depend on rivers sourced in the Himalaya, we’re talking about nearly half of humankind tied to these mountains. ............. The pros never put an “s” at the end of the word; it’s just Himalaya, which in Sanskrit means “abode of snow.” ............. The air is thin at 15,000 feet; everything feels closer, yet the vast scale of the landscape reduces you. It’s easy to see why a philosophy stressing the illusory nature of an individual consciousness, as Buddhism does, might prosper here. ” ................ Even though our image of Tibet is of a closed-off, sealed-up place, that’s erroneous: It had been a cosmopolitan trading hub and cultural powerhouse for hundreds of years. ............ It’s virtually impossible to draw a line through these peaks, and the nations have competing versions of where the boundary lies. Both are determined not to give up an inch. .................. Maybe it’s a self-selecting group: Only if you have such wisdom and presence of mind can you scale walls of ice, reach the roof of the world where the oxygen level is about one-third that at sea level, lose fingers and toes to frostbite and come back alive. .................. The climbers clearly revere the mountains, and you can sense how alive they felt in that landscape where they were nothing but a string of dark, slow-moving specks crossing the brilliant white snow. ............... nothing can alter the fact if for one moment in eternity we have really lived
You Think This Is Chaos? The Election of 1876 Was Worse. As President Trump pushes Congress to block certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, his Republican allies look to the showdown on Capitol Hill a century and a half ago as a model.
An Insurgency From Inside the Oval Office President Trump’s effort to overturn the election he lost has gone beyond mere venting of grievances at the risk of damaging the very American democracy he is charged with defending. ......... What else Mr. Trump could try to do to stop it remains unclear because he seems out of options. But he is not yet willing to acknowledge the reality of his situation, much less follow John Adams’s example.
Echoes of Another Pandemic: How The Times Covered the 1918 Flu The influenza outbreak killed more than 20,000 New Yorkers and 675,000 Americans. It might have dominated the news, if not for World War I. ........ “There were no secrets about it in real time. But you also have to remember, there was far less to report because the science of virology did not even exist, so nobody knew what caused influenza.” ....... Many of his recommendations, like hand washing and avoiding crowds, stand up today, but he also instructed people to not wear tight clothes, tight shoes or tight gloves in order “to make nature your ally and not your prisoner.” ............. President Woodrow Wilson never made a statement on influenza ........ “One of the things that remained in the domain of the states and localities is public health. And there was no national public health effort at that time. There was no C.D.C.” .............. an effective vaccine was not developed during the pandemic.
A Democratic Twist in Georgia The story of Georgia’s runoffs turned largely on the participation of Black voters ......... Vice President Mike Pence broke the news to Trump last night that he would not be able to deliver him a second term as president when Congress convenes today
The Lull Before the Surge on Top of the Surge Tuesday: Slammed by the coronavirus and behind on its vaccine rollout, California is about to be hit by a tidal wave of post-holiday virus infections, the governor warns.