No mountain system in the world has a greater influence on weather than the plateau of Tibet and its fringe, the Himalayas. Even the tallest chains in the U.S., the Rocky Mountains, Brooks Range, Cascades and Sierra Nevada, can't rival the control that the Tibetan plateau exercises over climatic conditions in Pakistan, India, China and the many smaller countries of southeastern Asia.
Megacities are the trend of the 21st century. This means metropolitan areas that are home to more than a million inhabitants. Atlanta qualifies for the label. But to see cities of truly enormous proportions, one needs to go to Asia.
The double-hit earthquake that struck the city of Kumamoto in Japan last week was some 1,000 miles away from the infamous 2011 Miyagi earthquake. But all of the Japanese islands straddle the huge boundary that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Pacific one.
Somalia is in the news again, this time in connection with a U.S. strike on rebel forces. Largely unnoticed, though, is the plight of the civilian population. Hunger and starvation have been a constant occurrence there for decades.
The 2000 movie "Cast Away" has a spectacular scene where the freight aircraft gets into massive turbulence over the Pacific Ocean. Scary bouncing is followed by a crash into the ocean, which leaves the main character (Tom Hanks) stranded on an uninhabited island.