May 31, 2011 - National Reconciliation Week

– Australia


Reconciliation means coming together. And, in the case of Australia's Reconciliation Week, it means working to overcome divisions and inequality between Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, on the one hand, and non-Indigenous (largely European-ancestry) Australians, on the other.

According to the official website, National Reconciliation Week 2011 (May 27 to June 3) is “all about proper recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” 



During the week Australians can view exhibitions such as “Yiloga! Tiwi Footy,” about Tiwi football players, and “Marnti Warajanga” (We're Traveling), about the ongoing work for social and political change. Workshops for kids and film festivals are held, celebratory dinners and BBQ feasts are eaten, and cultural walks are taken.



Cooee!
Many Aboriginal words are familiar to non-Australians because they have entered English. Some of the names for animals are among my favorite words in the world: dingos, kangaroos, potoroos, wombats, wallabies, koalas, and kookaburras. Boomerangs are weapons (and toys), billabongs are small lakes or waterholes, and yabber means (as it sounds) “to talk.”


Strangely, the word didgeridoo is not an Aboriginal word, even though it names an Aboriginal musical instrument. There are a variety of Aboriginal words for the instrument, including yadaki. The word didgeridoo is of Western origin and could be onomatopoetic—in other words, copying the sound that the didgeridoo makes.


I also thought that bandicoots and emus, Australian animals, got their names from Aboriginal languages, but in actual fact bandicoot comes from Teluga (a language of India), and emu from Arabic. Of course, there are lots of Australian slang words that are not Aboriginal in origin!



Here are the lyrics to the kookaburra song, and here are the words to Waltzing Matilda. 




You can enthusiastically sing these songs even if you've never seen a kookaburra bird or coolabah tree! 


Learn about Aboriginal art and culture!
Check out last year's post.

May 30, 2011 - Krypton Discovered

– 1898


And by krypton, I don't mean Superman's planet!

I am of course referring to the chemical element krypton, atomic number 36. One of the “inert” or noble gases, krypton doesn't react with other elements (and only rarely can scientists force it to make compounds). Can you name the other noble gases?

Scottish researcher William Ramsey had several years earlier, with Lord Rayleigh, discovered the noble gases helium and argon. Ramsey worked with his English student Morris Travers to search for more gases in the helium family. On this day in 1898, they boiled liquefied air until they got rid of the water, oxygen, nitrogen, helium, and argon. The residue produced a unique spectrum with bright yellow and green lines. Ramsey and Travers named this element krypton because it had been hidden—like the other noble gases, colorless, odorless, and tasteless—and kryptos is Greek for hidden.

In the next few weeks Ramsey and Travers discovered two more noble gases, neon and xenon. That means that Ramsey was responsible for discovering almost the entire column of noble gases (lacking only radon)!


So...what about Krypton the planet?

In the DC Comics universe, Krypton is a planet, the birthplace of Superman, that was tragically destroyed by a nuclear chain reaction in its core. The explosion created kryptonite, a material that is the one weakness of the otherwise invulnerable Superman.

Kryptonite is sometimes used as a metaphor for one's great weakness, just like Achilles' heel. For example, a dieter could (exaggeratedly) say, “Chocolate chip cookies are my kryptonite.”


For more on krypton and other noble gases, check out Chem 4 Kids and Periodic Fun.


May 29, 2011 - First humans climb Mount Everest!

 – 1953

The tallest mountain on Earth? More than 29,000 feet high? People have died trying to climb it?

There is a certain class of human who sees those things as challenges to be eagerly faced and mastered.

I am not that sort of human.

But New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Nepali-Indian Sherpa Tenzing Norgay are, and on this day they became the first known humans to climb to the summit of Mount Everest.

Anyone climbing Mount Everest has to deal with wild weather and strong winds, altitude sickness, and lack of oxygen.

Hillary and Norgay were experienced climbers, and for most of their climb they were following routes set by others who hadn't quite made it to the top. They were part of a British expedition led by John Hunt, and they succeeded in making the summit only on their second attempt, following an unsuccessful attempt by two other team members who came close to summiting—just 300 feet away!—and who no doubt contributed to Hillary's and Norgay's success because they blazed the trail and left caches of extra oxygen.

They were the first, but definitely not the last...

By 2008, about 2,700 people had climbed Mount Everest—some achieving the summit multiple times. However, more than two hundred people have died in the attempt. Most corpses have been left where they fell, and some can be seen from the most-used climbing routes!

Some of the Mount Everest climbing records include:

1978 – first ascent without oxygen tanks (Messner, from Italy, and Habeler, from Austria)
1980 – first solo ascent (Messner)
1980 – first winter ascent (Zawada, Cichy, and Wielicki, from Poland)
2005 – first helicopter landing (Delsalle, from France)
2008 – oldest person (Sherchan, from Nepal, age 76 and 11 months)
2010 – youngest person (Romero, from U.S.A., age 13)

Nepali Apa Sherpa has climbed the mountain more times than anyone else, 21 times!

Find out more...

Scholastic has a bio, photo essay, and other info about Hillary and Norgay's successful climb.

Read one modern mountaineer's story of an unsuccessful attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest—there are lots of cool photos, colorful insights into the people who live near this most famous mountain, and a sensible outlook about following one's dreams and knowing when to quit. 

Do a Mount Everest jigsaw puzzle and quiz

May 28, 2011 - Battle of the Eclipse

– 585 B.C.


The Medes and the Lydians were at war. The two kings were fighting over land and revenge for an act that had been carried out in revenge for another act that had been carried out... Well, you get the idea. Everybody was acting badly, and soldiers had been battling it out on behalf of their kings for FIVE YEARS!

Then the gods stepped in.

The gods made day into night to show their displeasure, and the battle stopped.

Somehow the two sides managed to arrange a truce. A boundary line was agreed on. One king's daughter married the other king's son to make sure the truce lasted.

Umm....

Of course, what stopped the battle on this day almost 2,500 years ago wasn't a miracle created by the many Lydian gods or the one Median god. It was a total solar eclipse. Total solar eclipses are very rare but also completely normal and (nowadays) well understood.

Basically, the battle site just happened to be in the moon's shadow.

Because we can very accurately calculate the dates of solar eclipses, this battle is one of the earliest events that modern historians can pinpoint with a precise date.


You know about eclipses, right? If not, see this and that earlier posts.


May 27, 2011 - Happy Birthday, Rachel Carson


Some say she started an entire movement—

...A movement that is worldwide in import, with life-and-death stakes.

Rachel Carson, born in Pennsylvania on this day 1907, is credited with starting the modern environmental movement. She was a marine biologist who was a gifted writer; she wrote three books about ocean life that earned her financial security and a certain amount of fame—two of them were even best sellers.

She turned her attention to the problems caused by synthetic (“man”-made) pesticides. She was able to use her writing skills, her fame, and her connections with both the scientific community and with publications such as The New Yorker to shine a spotlight on the effects of pesticides such as DDT on creatures such as birds, and her book Silent Spring eventually caused the nationwide ban on DDT.

Thanks to Rachel Carson, more people began to think globally rather than locally, long-term rather than short-term, and holistically—taking into consideration the entire ecosystem rather than just one insect farmers want to get rid of.

At least one school, several

buildings, many conservation
areas, and this bridge have all
been named after Rachel Carson.
Carson had to deal with breast cancer, a respiratory virus she may have caught because she was weakened by radiation treatments, severe anemia caused by radiation treatments, and cancer spreading to her liver—but after all that her cause of death almost two years after the publication of Silent Spring was a heart attack. She was just 57 years old.

Still, Carson made a huge impact for the better by showing that human activities sometimes have a huge impact for the worse on the environment.

Find out more about Rachel Carson...

Check out this article on Scholastic's website. 

Here is an interesting six-part You Tube video about Carson and her book. 

May 26, 2011 - Happy Birthday, Sally Ride


Yeah! The first American woman in space and the youngest American ever sent into orbit—and she has a cool name like “Sally Ride.” NASA couldn't have planned it better!

Born on this day in 1951 in Los Angeles, California, Ride became a nationally ranked tennis player in high school, earned double Bachelor's degrees from Stanford in physics and English, and went on to earn her Master's and PhD from the same prestigious university. Her research was in astrophysics and free electron laser physics.

A bit of an over-achiever, I think!

NASA was looking for more astronaut trainees, and Ride was one of around 8,000 people to answer a newspaper ad for the position. (A newspaper ad? Really?) Of course, NASA snatched her up. Her first Space Shuttle flight was in 1984, and both flights that she participated on were on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Ride was training for her third mission in space in 1986, when the Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing its seven crew members. (Remember, two of the crew members were women, and one of them, Christa McAuliffe, was the first member of the Teacher in Space Project.) Sally Ride participated in the commission that investigated the Challenger disaster.

After her time with NASA, Ride became a physics professor, served on a variety of commissions and boards, and began her own company to promote science to kids, especially girls.  One thing the company does is to put on festivals for girls from fifth to eighth grades—festivals with booths, activities, food, and music. The next two festivals will be held in September, in Louisiana and Virginia.

Watch this short video about Sally Ride.  (Note that there are two segments about Ride, in which she talks about how she ended up choosing science over tennis, and much more, including some shots of her in space. Then the YouTube video goes into two guys talking about investments and shareholders. I turned the video off at that point...)

Want more? Here is a short bio. 

May 25, 2011 - Towel Day


According to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: 

"A towel... is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. 

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

Today is a celebration of the life and works of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy,” five books published between 1979 and 1992. (A sixth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy was written by Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl after Adams's untimely 2001 death.)

Some people will walk around all day with towels, and others will display signs with the comforting message “DON'T PANIC,” a phrase written on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide. (Author Arthur C. Clarke once said that Adams's catchphrase is perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity.)

Enjoy some more Adams quotes:

  • "You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
[Ford Prefect:] "Why, what did she tell you?" 
[Arthur:] "I don't know, I didn't listen."

  • Marvin: "I am at a rough estimate thirty billion times more intelligent than you. Let me give you an example. Think of a number, any number."
Zem: "Er, five."
Marvin: "Wrong. You see?"

  • "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

  • "I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer."

  • The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.


The number 42 is

the answer to life, the
universe, and everything.

Plus, of course, the question
What is 6 times 7?
Before they were books...

The Hitchhiker's Guide was a radio show. Check out the BBC Radio website.  Also, you may want to check the official Towel Day website






Enjoy Adams's books! 
And always, always remember:
  • the books are MUCH better than the movie.
  • always carry your towel.
  • DON'T PANIC.

May 24, 2011 - Happy Birthday, Ynes Mexia

She was a social worker until age 51, when she decided to change her life.

And, boy, did she change it! 

Ynes Mexia became a botanist (a scientist who studies plants) and an explorer who discovered more than 500 species of plants!

It's estimated that she collected more than 137,000 plants in six expeditions over a period of just 13 years!

Ynes Mexia was born in Washington, D.C., on this day in 1870; her parents were Mexican, and her father probably worked for the Mexican embassy in the U.S. capital. She apparently didn't have a lot of formal education until she was 51 and started attending botany classes at the University of California at Berkeley. And the reason for the career change? Mexia discovered her love for plants while hiking with the Sierra Club.

Soon Mexia began to take botanical collecting trips in Mexico, Alaska, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and the American Southwest.

Sadly, she experienced chest pains on a collecting trip in Mexico, and at age 67 she died of lung cancer. Still, she managed to find a passion, make a contribution, and see new sights at a time when some would have said she was “over the hill.”

May 23, 2011 - Accordion invented

– 1829

Oom, pah, pah!

On this date in 1829 Armenian-born Cyrill Demian received a patent for a musical instrument he dubbed an accordion. It had two to four keys that could play chords while the “squeeze box” (or bellows) was compressed. Many versions of accordions exist today; most have a keyboard on one side, to play a melody, and buttons on the other side, to play chords. The keyboard and buttons don't have any way to give expression to a musical piece—there is no volume control, for example—so the pleated layers of cloth and cardboard known as the bellows are the mechanism through which musicians play loudly or softly, smoothly or energetically.

Celebrate the accordion's birthday by listening to folk music with an accordion, or accordion music by Weird Al Yankovic or folk metal groups.

Here's Weird Al's Yoda... 

Here is a nice Sicilian tarantella... 

And you gotta love this folk metal accordion battle... (Note: I presume the band is speaking Finnish, which I do not speak, so I don't have any idea whether or not there is cursing on this video.) 

May 22, 2011 - National Maritime Day

 – U.S.

This holiday was declared by U.S. Congress in 1933 and honors the maritime industry and particularly the American merchant marines, who are civilians who are often called upon to act in a military context, with less recognition and fewer benefits.

Since my father-in-law was in the American merchant marine during World War II, I was interested to read that it was responsible for the largest sealift in the world during that war. (A sealift is the large-scale transportation of troops, supplies, and equipment by sea.)

Did you know...?

  • It took 7 to 15 tons of supplies to support one soldier for one year.



  • The prewar number of experienced mariners in the U.S. was 55,000—and that number was increased to over 215,000 through U.S. Maritime Service training programs. Wow!

  • The Merchant Marines suffered the largest percentage of war-related deaths than all other U.S. services. One in 26 mariners were killed in the line of duty over the course of the war, with an average of 33 Allied ships sunk each week during 1942!!! Horrifying!


May 21, 2011 - Independence Day – Montenegro


Montenegro rebelled against the Ottoman Empire in the 17th Century.

It suffered annexation by Mussolini's Italy in 1941.

It survived Socialist Yugoslavia for half a century.

It voted to be independent from the republic of Serbia and Montenegro on this day in 2006.

With a name meaning “black mountain,” this European nation has many mountains and a picturesque coast on the Adriatic Sea. Slightly smaller than the small U.S. state of Connecticut, Montenegro has a lot of diversity: Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniaks, Muslims, Albanians, and Croats. A large proportion of the population voted NOT to split from Serbia, and apparently there is confusion among many who consider themselves to be Serbians (ethnically) AND Montenegrins (nationally). Of course, many people in the U.S. and other “melting pot” nations share that confusion. For example, I have students who identify themselves as Korean some of the time, as American some of the time, and as Korean-American once in a while. (And they're all true.)
Is there a diversity of languages, as well? Yep. Montenegrin is the official language, and Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, and Albanian are also commonly used. But...not SO much diversity—according to Wikipedia, all of these languages except Albanians are “virtually identical in common usage.” 



Montenegro—a hot spot for tourism.

This tourism video features a woman in a really long red gown swimming past snow-clad mountains. Dramatic, eh? 

You might also enjoy the short slide show offered at this tourism site.  Click on the Montenegro Virtual Map at the top of the website page to see more videos and photos along with satellite maps.

May 20, 2011 - Independence Day – East Timor


East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, is one of the youngest nations on earth. Having been colonized by Portugal rather than by the Netherlands, as surrounding islands of Indonesia were, East Timor did not welcome rule by Indonesia after the colonizers left. Unfortunately, there was violence between the people of East Timor and Indonesia for decades before East Timor finally became independent on May 20, 2002.

It's interesting to see how language and religious differences are dealt with during times of conflict. You may know that more Muslims live in Indonesia than anywhere else in the world; East Timor, on the other hand, is one of only two Asian nations that is predominantly Roman Catholic. (Can you guess the other?) The Portuguese language, alone with Tetum, is widely spoken in East Timor, but when Indonesia ruled over East Timor, Portuguese was banned! The language was still used by the resistance forces, however, and it became a symbol of freedom. Isn't it ironic that the language of a conquering / colonizing force (Portugal) -- which squelched freedom for centuries -- became a symbol of freedom against another invasive force?

East Timor is part of the so-called Coral Triangle, an area of coral reefs with the highest coral diversity in the world.

Click the map to see an enlarged view.
Note that East Timor is called OsttimorOst means “east.”


Check out coral!

You probably already know that coral reefs are built by tiny animals that are cousins of jellyfish. Coral polyps secrete calcium carbonate to built a hard skeleton, and there are many different colors and shapes of living corals. Coral reefs provide great homes to many other creatures such as mollusks and fish.

The Art Predator has gathered together some links to help kids learn about coral reefs. 

The Reef Education Network has a website with info and activities and opportunities to make a difference in the worldwide efforts to protect coral reefs. 



May 19, 2011 - Malcolm X Day


This is the birthday of a controversial figure (1925-1965) who is despised by some, but who is celebrated by many as one of the most influential black Americans in history. From Washington, D.C., to Berkeley, California, this day has been recognized as a holiday, and many streets and schools have been named after Malcolm X.

Do you wonder at that last name, “X”? Well, he was born Malcolm Little, but Malcolm decided to shed the surname “Little,” which was a white slavemaster's name. The letter “X” stood for the true African family name that Malcolm could never know, because slavery had so broken the chain of knowledge of ancestry and heritage.

Although Malcolm X went through a period of time when his beliefs were not only radical, but also violent and hateful, he changed his beliefs as he experienced more, read more, and met more and more people from all over the U.S. and the world. He regretted some of his former actions and disavowed some of his former beliefs.

In other words, he was open-minded enough, and honest enough, to publicly change his mind when faced with evidence contrary to his beliefs.

Malcolm X is credited with much of the energy and philosophy behind the Black Power movement, and the slogan “Black is beautiful,” which became ubiquitous in the 1960s, can trace its roots to Malcolm X. Some black Americans in the 50s and 60s found that Malcolm X spoke more to their situation and opinions than did the rest of the civil rights movement leaders, and many credit him with vastly improving feelings of self-worth and self-confidence in black kids and young people.

By the way, Malcolm X was tragically assassinated, just like Martin Luther King, Jr.

May 18, 2011 - Happy Birthday, Bertrand Russell


This guy was really, really smart!

Bertrand Russell, who was born in Wales (Great Britain) on this day in 1872, became a philosopher, mathematician, logician, and historian, and he used logic and reason to discuss social problems, war, religion, and nuclear disarmament. 

He was a clear thinker and a clear writer, two of my favorite qualities in an intellectual.

He was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950.

Being open...

One thing I like about Bertrand Russell is that he was capable of changing his mind. Although many times his first opinion on a topic remained intact all his life (for example, his support of women's rights and suffrage), in other cases he supported ideas or causes that he later modified or even reversed. For example, his first response to the Russian Revolution was hope that Communism would be a wonderful system for equality and liberty. However, he took the time to check out the results, rather than just speculate from afar; he went to the Soviet Union and met with Vladimir Lenin in 1920. He was unimpressed with what he saw, and he wrote critically of Lenin's Communism. Later, he was even more strongly critical of Stalin's regime.

In other words, he sought evidence about something he had supported, and when the evidence warranted a change in opinion, he quickly and publicly changed.

Russell didn't change his mind whimsically; he didn't just follow fads. He warned people who made extraordinary claims, especially those who made claims that couldn't be disproved, that the onus was on them to offer positive evidence for their idea. After all, he pointed out, nobody could prove that a teapot wasn't in outer space, somewhere, flying in a faraway orbit around the sun—but despite the fact that people can't disprove the idea, it's certainly reasonable for them to NOT believe such a claim!

In other words, Russell kept an open mind, but he didn't leave his mind so far open that his brains fell out!

May 17, 2011 - Galician Literature Day

– Spain


Did you know that some people living in Spain speak the language of Galician?

This language is closely related to Portuguese...so does that give you a clue to the whereabouts of the Spanish region of Galicia?

If you guessed it was in the northwestern part of Spain, you are right.

The Galician Academy wanted to honor its native language and the literature written in it, so in 1963 it set up this holiday, on the hundredth anniversary of the publishing of the first work written in Galician, Rosalio de Castro's Canteres gallegos.

Every year a different Galician author is honored. Isn't that a nice idea for a holiday?

  • If you had to honor a writer from your little corner of the world, who would you choose? 
  • Do you even know where the authors whose books you enjoy live? 
  • Can you use Google to find an author who lives in your state or province? (I found two super famous authors in just a few seconds, but I live in the large and populous state of California!) 
  • Which author from your state or nation would you want to honor with a holiday?


Celebrate!

Read, read, read. What a nice way to spend a day!

May 16, 2011 - A Wagon Train Heads for Oregon – 1843


A thousand people with horses, mules, oxen, dogs, possessions piled high in wagons—and they're off!

On this day in 1843, the first large wagon train left Elm Grove, Missouri, bound for Oregon City, Oregon. About 1,000 pioneers made up the wagon train, which traveled about 2,000 miles to their new homes.

Pioneers were told to take enough food for each person for three or four months—25 pounds of bacon per person, 150 pounds of flour per person, 25 pounds of sugar per person, and a lot of other foodstuffs. Of course, bringing along a cow for milk and emergency meat was also recommended!

Check out the packing lists—including food, clothing, medicines, and camping equipment—here

Apparently the Oregon Trail constantly improved in road quality, ferries, and bridges, so that pioneers traveling just three years after might have a significantly easier passage. Also, it got to be that Oregon Trail travelers could purchase repairs, new supplies, and new teams of animals to pull the wagons (mostly mules and oxen) at various forts and trading posts.


Find out more...

  • If you can find it, the book Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw depicts a family living during the exciting transition when fur trappers traipsing the Western lands to pioneers settling them. The book is a bit rah!-rah! about the pioneers settling Native American lands, but given the fact that the main character is a white boy whose life was saved by Crow Indians, with whom he lived for years and identified with, it is an interesting book to read and discuss.
  • Here is an interactive map of the Oregon Trail. 
  • Here is the famous game about the Oregon Trail created by thinkquest. 
  • Be sure to check out the Think Quest pages about pioneer life—pages about things like toys and cooking, first aid on the trail, and how the wagon trains crossed rivers. 


May 15, 2011 - Paraguay's Independence Day



This landlocked nation lies in the center of South America. 

The Guarani people fought against the Spanish and won their independence from Spain in 1811, but they continued to fight against their stronger neighbors. The War of the Triple Alliance, fought between Paraguay and the joined forces of Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina, was the worst war in South American history and decimated the Guarani population—about half the population died during the war—and especially the adult males. Paraguay later fought against Bolivia for a hunk of land.

According to Wikipedia,  the history of Paraguay is even more contested than that of most nations. The “authentic” version of historical events depends on whether it was written in Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Europe, or North America. Even the two main political parties of Paraguay have different official versions of history!

There are actually truths to be known about history. Specific events did happen, on specific dates and times, and particular people did and said certain things. In theory, we could wade through various different versions of history, find evidence and eye-witness reports, and discovery what really happened. However, as a practical matter, it is hard to know what actually happened! It's best to find histories written by disinterested people—not the winners or the losers of a war, but outsiders who don't have an axe to grind as they write down accounts of events.


Check out Paraguay.

This tourism video is cheesy and oriented on attracting tourists from the U.S. and Europe—but it shows some interesting and beautiful sites.