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Spring in the Sierras

Jet Eliot

Sierras overlook, California

Every season  in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is full of wonder and beauty, and right now the glories of spring are everywhere.

This mountain range reaches north-south, spanning 400 miles (640 km) on the eastern side of California. See map below. The Giant Sequoias, the largest trees in the world; Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.; and Yosemite National Park, are a few remarkable features of the Sierra Nevadas.

Two weekends ago we visited the northern section of the Sierras, near Lake Tahoe and Gold Country.

Bear River Falls, Discovery Trail, CA (Bernese Mountain Dog, named Storm, soaking in one of his favorite places, friends’ dog)

In the upper alpine elevations there was reportedly still snow on the ground. Lower, in the montane forests where these photos were taken, the last snow fell two months ago and is gone now…and the woodlands are waking…

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La Paz Group

Long-tailed Broadbill by Dr. Eash Hoskote - La Paz Group

Nainital, Uttarakhand

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Bharata Bharati

Ayodhya Graphic

Prof Michel DaninoTeesta Setalvad’s petition in the Supreme Court, which tries to dispute the massive archaeological, epigraphic and literary evidence supporting the existence of a Hindu temple beneath the Babri Masjid, makes no mention of repeated pleas by smaller Muslim groups to hand over the site to Hindus, since it has no particular religious value for Islam. – Prof Michel Danino

The long dispute between claimants to the site of Ram Janmabhumi and the erstwhile Babri Masjid in Ayodhya seems to be inching towards a conclusion in India’s Supreme Court. How far the litigants will be satisfied by a final judgment on the ownership of the crucial plot of land remains unclear. Meantime, did the Chief Justice of India on February 8 miss a golden opportunity to resolve the conflict innovatively, when he refused to hear a petition filed on behalf of the NGO “Citizens of Peace and Justice” by 32 “public-spirited…

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Wild Voices


 By Sharon St Joan

To read part one first, click here.


Are wild horses native?

While it is generally assumed that wild horses are descended from the horses that the Spanish conquistadors left behind in the Sixteenth Century, there is considerable evidence that the native wild horses of the west may never have died out at all and may always have been present on this land.

Craig Downer in his remarkable book The Wild Horse Conspiracy details twenty separate examples of fossilized remains of wild horses scientifically dated to between 700 years before the present to 7,000 years before the present. All these fossils appear on this continent during the thousands of years during which wild horses were believed to have been absent from the Americas.

Craig Downer also gives a fascinating account of the ways in which the presence of wild horses benefits the land. Contrary…

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Wild Voices


By Sharon St Joan

Utah’s wild horses 

The word “gather” sounds like such a gentle word, like gathering wildflowers on a spring day. But for wild horses, as in the “Muddy Creek Wild Horse Gather Plan EA,” it’s meaning is anything but gentle. It hides a brutal reality – being herded by helicopter, then being sent off to holding pens where they are likely to spend the rest of their lives in captivity. In the blink of an eye, lost to each of these horses is their freedom, their family, and their wild way of life. This is like taking a bird from the sky and keeping it in a cage.

The Muddy Creek Herd Management Area in Emery County, Utah – 283,000 acres of public and state land – lies in the San Rafael Swell –- a juniper/pinion area of spectacular rock formations.  The “Gather” Plan, proposed by…

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Dream Temples

14th May, 2018

This summer, after a spell of scorching heat and dry weather we had our first summer rains in mid- April. A few more showers later, we even had a hailstorm; now with intermittent rains the days are actually cloudy and pleasant with cool nights!

I love the rains that come in summer for two reasons : Summer rains are mostly late afternoon rains.They are very dramatic (read loud and noisy!) with lots of lightning and loud claps of thunder overhead.

I love listening to the combined sounds of pouring rain and thunder and to feel the hot air change slowly to cool.

In Salem, in summer when it rains we know that it has rained in the hills as well.

Karadiyur View Point -Yercaud

Yercaud has many view-points and views are spectacular at all times of the year. Some of them like Lady’s Seat, Pagoda…

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The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to the contested city of Jerusalem was motivated by geopolitical and religious aggression;  and, today, its deadly consequences came to fruition.  This, unfortunately, is only the beginning.

From:  United States opens its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, May 14 (Reuters) – The United States officially opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem on Monday, fulfilling a pledge by President Donald Trump who has recognized the holy city as the Israeli capital.


Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed, as its “eternal and indivisible capital” in a move that has not won international recognition.

From:  Israelis kill more than 50 Palestinians in Gaza protests, health officials say

ZEITOUN, Gaza Strip — Israeli soldiers on Monday killed 52 Palestinians demonstrating along the border fence…

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Pacific Ocean - A view of the Pacific Ocean from the Santa Monica Pier in California.


From the water that covers most of it to the moon that orbits it, here are some bizarre things about our home planet that science still doesn’t completely understand.


Where did all the water come from?

Water, water everywhere. It covers 70 percent of Earth’s surface and earns it the nickname “the blue planet.” And yet… where did it come from? How is it so abundant on our planet when it’s almost nonexistent throughout the rest of our solar system? Most scientists believe that when planet Earth formed, about four and a half billion years ago, it was a dry, rocky planet. The most popular scientific theorystates that the H2O arrived in the form of several enormous asteroids filled with ice. Another suggests that the water actually has been around since Earth’s formation, and that the forming Earth retained it from the cloud…

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Who knew? The orbits of planets hundreds of millions of miles away can change weather patterns here on Earth.

Every 405,000 years, gravitational tugs from the planets Jupiter and Venus gradually affect Earth’s climate and life forms, according to a new study published Monday.

In fact, this pattern has been going on for at least 215 million years and allows scientists to more precisely date geological events like the spread of dinosaurs.

“Scientists can now link changes in the climate, environment, dinosaurs, mammals, and fossils around the world to this 405,000-year cycle in a very precise way,” said study lead author Dennis Kent, an expert in paleomagnetism at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University.

The cycle has been happening for hundreds of millions of years, from before the rise of dinosaurs, and is still active today, scientists say.

“The climate cycles are directly related to how the Earth orbits…

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