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Friday, August 31, 2012

What a beautiful world we have... but look quickly, because we sure seem to be better at destroying it than preserving it.

These were some of the 2012 winners in the National Geographic Photo Contest

More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagodas fill the plains of Bagan. Once the capital of the Pagan Empire, farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex. The best way to see Bagan, apart from a ride on a hot air balloon, is by bicycle. It's easy to get off the beaten path and live out your wildest Indiana Jones fantasy. (Photo and caption by Peter DeMarco/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

A lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finmmark, Norway. (Photo and caption by Michelle Schantz/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree. (Photo and caption by Fred An/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

And, a blue moon. In fact, "blue moon" refers not to color, but to rarity. Blue moons are defined as either the fourth full moon in a season, or, more recently, as the second full moon in a month. It's the second definition that covers August's blue moon; the month's first full moon was on Aug. 1.

Makes you wonder why our news always has to feature something much less than the splendor and beauty existing around many of us. I suppose that is because there is so much of the other.

I remember how beautiful Bosnia looked in the early 1990's... then came the Bosnian War of Independence... and newsreels showed the first shelling of a magnificent countryside. It was enough to break your heart.

We have to admit one thing though... as a civilization we may not have a handle on peace but we sure know how to make war. I went to because I was curious about how many wars we 'civilized' human beings have had.

No easy answer, it said. "However, estimates suggest that for 362 days of the year, there is a conflict going on somewhere in the world. This excludes internal (or civil) wars. Estimates also suggest that there have only been 250 years of peace in over 3400 years of documented history. (Some people suggest there have only been 26 days of peace).

"There are currently over 40 wars ongoing, in which over 1000 people die per year (those which result in fewer deaths are excluded from UN statistics), occurring world wide. There have been hundreds since the end of the Second World War."

If we are going to be good at something, why does it have to be this?

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