Depending on whom you ask, Felix von Luckner was a noble, a gentleman, a pirate, and a hero. Born into a German military family, he dreamed of becoming a naval officer since he was a child, even though his father pushed him to follow in his footsteps and become a cavalry officer.
The people of Vietnam suffered through war from 1955 to 1975, but for one man, the war took much longer to end. Ho Van Thanh was a soldier for more than 15 years. One terrible day, a mine exploded and killed his wife and two of his sons and completely destroyed his home. In a panic, Thanh grabbed his two-year-old son, Ho Van Lang, and fled deep into the jungle where he planned to live until the war ended. Just two years later, the war did end, but Ho and his son had no way of hearing the news. The two of them ended up living in the jungle for more than forty years, believing that the war was still raging on.
Have you ever thought about what happens to zoo animals during times of war? Most of us don’t think about innocent animal casualties. But thankfully, one South African man – Lawrence Anthony – did. When the US military invaded Baghdad in 2003, Anthony did what most people would never be brave enough to do. He ran into a war zone instead of out of it, all because of his love for animals.
During WWI, many of the British, French, and German soldiers lived, fought, and died in trenches that snaked thousands of miles through the countryside. These trenches were grim, dark places averaging 7 feet deep and 6 feet wide. On the Allied side, they were often full of mud, rats, and disease. The men lived in these trenches, struggling to keep dry, stay alive, and not lose their minds. The trenches of the enemy were sometimes just 30 meters away, and sticking your head above the trench could easily get you killed.
Private Wojtek is hailed as a war hero in Poland, but the renowned soldier was neither Polish nor human. Wojtek was a brown bear who was dealt a poor hand as a cub. After hunters killed his mother, Wojtek wandered the world alone until he was found and adopted by a young boy.
During the Second World War, US soldier KT Robbins was sent overseas. He was ready to fight, but fell head over heels in love instead. Stationed in France the 24-year-old laid eyes on Jeannine Ganaye. It was love at first sight. Two months passed happily, but soon Robbins received his orders to ship out to the Eastern Front. The two lovebirds were inconsolable. Robbins hoped for a reunion after the war. Circumstances dictated otherwise. Robbins had to return to America. He ended up meeting and marrying a woman named Lillian.
The war on drugs costs the United States 47 billion dollars a year. In 2016, the U.S. jailed two million people for drug offenses. And in 2017, 72,000 people died from accidental drug overdoses. It’s safe to say the conflict has been a costly failure. In 2014, journalist Johann Hari began studying the root causes of addiction. He asked why are we at war with drug addicts? Is it the illegality of drugs that destroys addicts, or the drugs themselves? When societies ban a drug and then they criminalize its users aren’t they barking up the wrong tree?
How close are we to doomsday – the destruction of the planet and the end of life as we know it? The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic way to answer this question. In 1947, a group of scientists who had worked on the world’s first atomic bomb started tracking how close the world is to doomsday. They marked the end of the world at midnight on their metaphorical Doomsday Clock. The clock is adjusted yearly according to political instability and environmental dangers that threaten the safety of the world.