The water bear (or tardigrade, or moss piglet (!)) is a water-dwelling micro-animal (0.020 inches in length) found often in mosses and lichens. It can go without food or water for more than 10 years, and can survive temperatures from around absolute zero to above 100 degrees Celsius, pressures 6 times greater than those found in deep ocean trenches, radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than will kill a human, and the vacuum of space.
The Dalai Lama visited Gandan Monastery in Mongolia November 18-22. It was twenty degrees below zero Celsius when this picture was taken; he looks pretty cold. Tibetan buddhism was the most common religion in Mongolia until communist repressions began in the 1930s, but it has been making a comeback since the fall of communism in the 1990s. The Dalai Lama has made several visits to temples and monasteries in Mongolia.
Unfortuantely, the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Mongolia caused some tension between Mongolia and China. China considers the Dalai Lama an anti-Chinese separatist leader. China canceled a joint mining project with Mongolia and imposed a tariff on Mongolian coal, which was pretty harmful to the Mongolian economy. The Mongolian government agreed that the Dalai Lama would be barred form visiting monasteries in Mongolia in the future.