Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leadership in the 21st Century

Former president of South African and Nobel Laureate F.W.DeKlerk spoke tonight at Bucknell University as part of this year's "Leadership in the 21st Century" lecture series. He spoke openly and candidly about the challenges facing the United States as it finds new ways to lead in the next century. Quoting Teddy Roosevelt's line about "talk softly but carry a big stick," DeKlerk acknowledged that the United States' use of our military force has been warranted in the fight against terrorism, but that we need to also be "working softly" through diplomatic negotiations too. The world watched with excitement, he said, as American elected Barrack Obama as their new leader. There are many challenges facing us, including global warming, world poverty, stabilizing the economy, and finding ways to live peaceably in a pluristic, culturally diverse world.

DeKlerk mentioned the issue of the poor and impoverished populations and the growing disparity between the rich and poor, how America's subsidized agriculture robs the poor developing countries of a chance to enter the world's global markets and begin to climb out of the depths of poverty. America also needs to take a balanced approach to the Israel and Palestine problem. He identified two stumbling blocks to the peace process: (1) Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel's right to an independent state and (2) Israel creating developments in Palestinian territory in places they know they will lose in any peace accord. There are other stumbling blocks no doubt, but he tossed these two out as a discussion point.

DeKlerk gave a terrific speech, befitting the greatness of the man he is. It was a special time for me too, for my wife and I lived in South Africa in the last year of his presidency and came to respect him so much. He looked twenty years younger and spoke with the wisdom and authority that enabled him to bring remarkable change to his country.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Playing for Change

Join me in supporting Playing for Peace, an international movement to help build schools, connect students, and inspire communities in need through music. The song "Don't Worry" was written by Pierre Minetti and performed by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe. You can enjoy it on YouTube video below:

A DVD of all the songs in the project is scheduled to be released April 21, 2009.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

I spent several hours outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures last night, to witness a spectacular lunar eclipse.   It looked like the weather wasn't going to hold out; clouds rolled in at dusk. But by Divine choreography, the skies opened up at around 8:45 pm, just as the eclipse began. It lasted until midnight; here is a sequence of snapshots of the first two hours:

The blood moon at full eclipse was spectacular!

From Lunar Eclipse...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Susquehanna River near White Deer, Pennsylvania (USA)

The Susquehanna River (originally "Sasquesahanough" on the 1612 map by explorer John Smith who traveled up the river from the Chesapeake Bay) is located primarily in Pennsylvania. At approximately 444 mi (715 km) long, it is the longest river on the American east coast and the 16th longest in the United States. This is a view of the west branch of the river near the village of White Deer (map). In the distance upstream is the route 44 bridge to the village of Dewart. That's about one hour north of Harrisburg, the state capitol (which is also located along the Susquehanna).

Geologically speaking, the Susquehanna is one of the oldest rivers in the world, cutting through mountain ridges which which were formed in uplift events of the early Cenozoic era. There is evidence that the flow of the ancient Susquehanna was established early enough that it predated the Appalachian orogeny over 300 million years ago, meaning that the river was in existence well before Pangea broke up and formed the Atlantic Ocean.

Best viewed full size.

Dawn along the Warrior's Path

This photo was taken standing on the ancient Sheshequin Path which ran through the narrow Lycoming Creek valley in north-central Pennsylvania. The Sheshequin was a branch of the ancient Warriors Path used by the Seneca and Iroquois as a short cut from Tioga to the Great Island. Early accounts mention that they used the Sheshequin Path to traverse "the dismal wilderness" of the Lycoming Creek valley bottom. Dense forest, swamp, windfall, and storms made the Iroquois believe a demon had its power in this area.

We pitched our tent near the warrior's path, although its precise location is no longer discernable (map). I took this photo the next morning around 8 am - it was a typical cold, clear September morning and the sun was just starting to illuminate the western hillslopes and burn off the fog that hugged the valley bottom. I can see why the Iroquois felt the way they did about this valley.