View from the top

On this date 56 years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

In 1953, Everest was so remote that it took five days for this news to reach the world. Today you can see the view from Everest on a webcam.

How times have changed.

But are we really better off? Does the webcam on Everest really teach us anything? (Is anyone even watching?)

In the past 20 or so years, I think our species has experienced a profound shift. We’ve become inured to the wonder of nature—and to our own technological advances. Storms are dissected on Doppler. Space travel has become routine.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, we’ve forgotten how amazing it is just to be alive.

So, raise a toast to Sir Hillary and Mr. Tenzing. In spite of YouTube and freeways and cheese in a can, the world remains a wondrous place for those who still want to explore it.

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