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<   No. 1515   2007-03-21   >

Comic #1515

1 Terry: {admiring the view as they walk across the Himalayas} Nice countryside you have around here.
2 Yeti: Yes, we like it.
3 Yeti: Sir Edmund enjoyed the local terrain when he visited, of course.
4 Terry: Hillary?
4 Yeti: More mountainy, he called it, actually.

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Sir Edmund Hillary is of course the mountaineer who was, in 1953, the first person to climb Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, accompanied by the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Since then, Sir Edmund has devoted much of his time to working to improve the living conditions and educational standards of the Sherpa people of the Himalayas, and to protect the ecology and unique geography of the region.

Climbing a mountain does not in itself make one a great person. But Sir Edmund is much more than a mountaineer. He is a philanthropist of the first degree, dedicating his life to helping others. It would be nice if more people remembered him for that, than for "knocking the bastard off."*

* Hillary's first words on returning to base camp after his successful climb: "Well George, we finally knocked the bastard off."

The other unfortunate thing about Sir Edmund's fame is that many people do not know his nationality. He is very likely the most widely famous New Zealander in history - but relatively few people know that fact about him. (Though I expect all diligent readers to know it, after poll 219. And this annotation.)

2017-01-21 Rerun commentary: The other great New Zealander is Ernest Rutherford, possibly the greatest experimental nuclear physicist ever. When you have an entire chemical element named after you, you know you've done good. What did Rutherford do? I'm glad you asked.

In fact he did most of this stuff, including his most important work, after he won his Nobel Prize in Chemistry. It's something of an injustice that he wasn't also awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics.

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