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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Space Adventures' Client, Private Astronaut Richard Garriott

Different adventure from the outerspace.

VIENNA, Va., Oct 24, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, announced today that its orbital client Richard Garriott and his crew successfully landed in the Kazakhstan steppes after a visit to the International Space Station (ISS). Garriott returned to Earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft with Expedition 17 crewmembers Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, who both spent six months aboard the ISS.
Garriott, son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, made history during his mission by becoming the 1st second-generation astronaut. The flight back to Earth marked another historical milestone as Garriott traveled with the 1st second-generation cosmonaut, Sergei Volkov.
"This mission to the ISS fulfilled a lifelong dream to experience spaceflight as my father first did 35 years ago; it's an honor to be the first American to follow a parent into space," said Richard Garriott. "This experience made possible by Space Adventures -- from my training in Star City, to lift-off, orbit and finally docking with and staying on the ISS -- has been more gratifying than anything I could have ever imagined." Garriott continued, "While in space, I had the opportunity to conduct scientific experiments and environmental research, but what was most rewarding was speaking to students. Growing up in an astronaut family, I firmly believed that every person could go to space, and now I have. I took this opportunity to inspire them with my adventure and let them know they can achieve their wildest dreams as well with hard work and perseverance."
Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, said, "We're proud to have assisted Richard in achieving his lifelong goal of spaceflight. This history-making mission not only made Richard the 1st second-generation astronaut, but also opened the space frontier to commercial opportunities, which truly demonstrates the reality of private space exploration."
On October 12, Garriott launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He joined Expedition 18 crewmembers Mike Fincke and Yuri Lonchakov, for the flight. They arrived at the space station on October 14 and were greeted by the Expedition 17 crew.
In preparation for his spaceflight, Garriott completed a cosmonaut-training program at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center located in Star City, Russia. During his stay aboard the ISS, Garriott focused on scientific and environmental research, as well as educational outreach:


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Father, son’s adventure triumph

Its a very nice bonding for a father and son.

THERE are certain moments of achievement which remain in the memory and that bring to those experiencing them a sense of great satisfaction.

For the East London adventure racing father and son team of Donovan Sims and Dylan Sumner, this year’s edition of the Eden Wildman Duo is an example of such an experience, that will remain in their memory for years to come. Participating in his first race, the 16-year-old Sumner and his father were the underdogs going into the 140km race, but they pulled off what seemed an impossible task, by grabbing a second-place finish in the seven-stage extreme racing event held in George at the weekend.

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch on their return, seasoned veteran Sims said coming second had made their achievement all the more sweeter.

“When we started off the intention was to just finish,” said Sims who recalled standing at the start at the Nelson Mandela Metro University’s Saasveld Campus at 6am.

“We were underestimated because I was with my son … but we were there at the end. Not only that, we totally blew them!”

Sims had actually only believed that he and his son could compete, when they reached the halfway mark.

“When we got halfway through, at the end of the second paddle, we were in fourth position and I thought we were in it, but I didn’t want to tell Dylan just yet.”

That feeling intensified when he stood at the top of the Outeniqua Mountain range, as they approached the last stage.

“When I was on the top of the mountain I actually saw that we were about 25 minutes behind the second placed team, then I believed we could do it.”

A better choice of route meant that not only did the East London pair – the D Squared team – pass their opponents, they also finished six minutes ahead of the chasing pack, in a time of 15hrs, 52min.

Two other city teams made the trip to George – Team Topie en die Laaitie comprising veteran Coen de Bruin and Roland Pearce, who came in 20th in 20:46, and Team Kubusi, featuring brothers John and James Williamson who withdrew.

The non-stop event started at the campus gate and took participants through a 60km trail run, a 60km cycle and a 20km paddle, to the finish at Glenwood House on the campus – all within 24 hours.

It also featured 10 kilometres of the trail run, which included ‘kloofing’ down the Kaaimans River after the start. It was a tough challenge, but Sims said he had no doubt his son, a Port Rex first team rugby and water polo player, would be up for the test.

“He’s a fit boy and an athlete,” said Simms.

“We started training for the adventure race as early as three months back, so I knew he was ready and what he could do.”

Preparation for the epic, which included the Sole Destroyer duathlon and the Lilyfontein Adventure race, was not without its setbacks. Sumner had sustained a rugby injury towards the end of the school season.

Sims also had to accommodate the youngster’s social programme during the school holidays.

What is important to Sims are the lessons his young protégè, and other pupils, could glean from the character-building sport.

“There’s more to it than the physical aspect, it’s also a mind game where you have to strategise and plan.

“If there’s anything you learn from a race of that nature it’s that nothing is impossible,” the father, said referring to the challenges they had to endure throughout the race.

“For any father you can’t help but be proud of him, during the race he fought on and at the end he was knackered.

“He has tenacity,” Sims concluded. - By SABELO SKITI


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Travel Junkie

Its nice to know that celebrities are doing nature adventure. They give inspirations to young generations, who look up to them.

The VJ-turned-actor Purab Kohli talks about his penchant for travel and exploring new places

Purab Kohli, better known as Killer Drummer- KD for his rocking performance in the smash hit of the year, Rock On!! started his career as a model and earned recognition through video jockeying on Channel [V]. After a brief stint in acting in serials like Hip Hip Hurray, came his rendezvous with Channel [V]. The boy-next-door look and the shy smile is what got him his debut film, Bas Yun Hi with Nandita Das. But Rock On!! has sure lent him celeb status. “It is such a welcome change! These days wherever I go, people recognise me and I get half- confused smiles. The female adulation is something that is completely new!” says the excited actor, who incidentally is happily married!

Channel [V], he says is the best thing that had happened to him. While he was VJing, he also did a couple of adventure travel shows like [V] On the Run that he enjoyed thoroughly. In real-life too he has travelled extensively all over the world. Apart from acting, he enjoys going for hiking trips, swimming and photography. And recently, playing the drums.

Talking about his passion for photography he says, “Well, my interest for photography grew while I did the travel show for channel [V]. I love taking pictures, so on one of my trips I bought myself a really good camera. But recently I haven’t had the time to really keep it up,” he admits sheepishly. Speaking about his adventure trips he says, “I love to travel and see new places. It is such an exhilarating experience to travel to new places.”

He says that his passion for travelling dates back to his childhood. “It all started when I was at a boarding school in Pune. My father, owned a hotel in Lonavla. When I went there for my vacations, I would spend all the time trying to discover new places. There was no other means of entertainment at that time and I got bit by the travel bug then.” And since then there has been no looking back. “I make it a point to take time out every year and travel to an exotic location. Initially due to the nature of my job, I had the liberty to travel more than once a year but I haven’t had the time to do that lately,” he elaborates.

His most memorable trip till date has been his road trip to Spain. He travelled all throughout the south coast of Spain. Another trip that he remembers fondly is when he took-off to the North East region of India, a few years ago. Though he maintains that his favourite trekking spots are mostly in and around Mumbai - Karjat, Lohagad, Visapur and Rajmachi are the places he has been to a lot of times. “It gets a little boring , if you have to trek alone so it is always nice to have company. My dad is my favourite travel companion. I love spending time with my dad” he informs.

Though he isn’t a professionally trained mountaineer, he has always wanted to apply to institutes that cater to adventure activities. “Someday I want to enroll myself at the Nehru Mountaineering Institute in Himachal Pradesh. It is a one-month course and I will do it as soon as I get time” he concludes.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Shamini Flint: Writing for a better world

booksI salute those people who reach their hands to help others, especially Asians. Asians are really nice race and they really need improvements. The mind-setting should be changed. Hope one day all the Nations on Asia can be prosperous like those of

Eclectic writer-cum-entrepreneur Shamini Flint likes to discuss environmental issues and the need for Asian children to read more about Asia.

In 2004, Shamini set up the Singapore-based Sunbear Publishing Co. "to fill a niche in the Southeast Asian book market". Since then, 70,000 of her books have been sold to date.

Her prolific writings can be grouped under three genres: picture books for children aged five years and up, which includes the Sasha series of 13 books set in Singapore and other cities of Asia; tales of endangered animals and adventure novels for children aged nine and up; and crime fiction for adults.

The common backdrop in all of these different genres is, of course, different landscapes of contemporary Southeast Asia.

"I'm fascinated by modern Asia," said Flint on the sidelines of the recent Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Ubud, Bali.

While writing both child fiction and adult crime fiction, Flint interweaves her plots with Asian travel scenes, educating readers on cultural sites and environmental issues.

She definitely eludes being stereotyped as a "child fiction" writer or as a "crime fiction" writer.

As a writer, she has a noble aim -- "to make the world a better place".

Her "agenda driven" children books are written "to open children's eyes to environmental issues".

In line with her writer's agenda, she launched her novel for pre-teens and teens at the Ubud Festival. The novel, titled Seeds of Time, presents a combination of a fantasy expedition into the jungles of Borneo coupled with two children's quest to save the world and endangered animals.

Flint has scored a publishing deal with UK based publisher Little Brown. According to this deal, her crime novels previously published in Singapore would be available worldwide in 2009 under the new crime series title, Inspector Singh Investigates. The books are set in Bali, Malaysia and Singapore.

This publishing deal will push her higher up, internationally, in her book sales chart in the coming years.

The history of how Flint started her writing and publishing career begins, surprisingly, with her motherhood.

Cambridge-educated Flint, a Malaysian national-Singapore resident, worked as a corporate lawyer until her daughter was born.

As her daughter grew up, she started looking for English books relating to her preschoolers' interests and trips to local cultural sites.

She did not find any in local bookstores, so she started writing them herself. She "filled the niche".

Flint and her readers are part of the growing modern day generation who read more books about local context, scenarios and problems in the English language.

Steering clearly away from fairy-tale conventions of Cinderella, and the magic symbolism of The Little Mermaid, which preschoolers' and primary school kids find hard to understand, Flint's Sasha series centers around the realism of a mother-daughter trip to Asian nature spots, cities and cultural centers.

Sasha visits The Botanical Gardens, her first book in 2003, is a picture book with colorful illustrations, large font and simple sentences, narrating how a little girl marvels at what she sees, touches and feels, while the mother "persona" plays the educative role of explaining the wonders of the gardens and nature.

As the Sasha series grew in popularity, with books about Sasha's visit to the Zoo and Sentosa Island, the CEO of the Singapore National Museum approached Flint about writing the book Sasha visits the National Museum.

The Sasha series now includes stories of Sasha's visits to other Asian cities, including Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore's Ministry of Education has recently expressed an interest to include Turtle Takes A Trip, one of her Endangered Animals series, as part of the national elementary school syllabus.

All her books in the Endangered Animals series are written in rhyming couplets, using simple words; and her verses could well become part of modern day children's rhymes and recitals.

The prose of her crime fiction is evocative of dramatic suspense and thrills of murder investigations.

Where other stay-at-home mothers have struggled to develop a profession or become self-employed in areas of educational interest to children, Flint has succeeded in writing for her daughter, and other children.

Mothers to her are demographically the most significant group. Her one-off treatise-style book titled, How to Win a Nobel Prize: A Stay-at-Home Mum's Guide, presents a step-by-step guide on how mothers can actively address global issues on environment and education, and indeed win a Nobel Prize.

A new generation writer and entrepreneur with a self-proclaimed passion "to make the world a better place", Flint is certainly doing Southeast Asia proud.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Professor Profile: adventure seeker

Few people can really enjoy life. And I salute those who can live life.

Robert Myers is a professor as well as the English Department Director here on campus.
He is also quite the character.
Tall and animated, Myers manages to stand out in a crowd.
He likes to tell his students, "I was born on campus."
Myers was born in Lock Haven, and ended up back in the area for most of his life.
He has been a professor at LHU since 1999, and he also taught on the Clearfield campus from 1992 to 1994 as well as a university in Texas for five years.
Myers specializes in 19th century American literature and has written a book about Harold Fred. He is also a critical arts writer.
"Between being outdoors and in the classroom, I am kept busy," he said.
Myers is truly an outdoors man. He loves hiking, backpacking and kayaking.
Myers takes advantage of the nature all around as well as the beautiful fall weather.
The local wilderness provides a perfect place for outdoor adventures.
Myers' partner in crime when it comes to the outdoors is his high strung dog, Max, who is just as much an adventurer as his owner.
Myers has one son, Michael, 14, who also joins him on an excursion from time-to-time.
Myers has only good things to say about the local area, as well as the campus.
"I feel like a product of the area, because I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, and I never understood everything that was here," he said. "When I went to Texas there were no mountains. That is when you see the whole picture. The fact that everything you know isn't everywhere else. When I came back, I realized there was no where else like here."
Myers is content to be back in the area enjoying the beauty of Pennsylvania.
Other than nature, another one of Myers' passions is teaching.
Myers said, "The ever-changing atmosphere and energy that the students put off make this worth it all in the end."
His position as department chair gives him power in administration to get things done, but teaching is his main focal point.
He is passionate about his work and about his students' progress in the classroom. He hopes to see all of his students succeed.
He also tries to liven up his students' days with his personality.
"I try to make everyone's day a little more surreal," he said.
Myerers enjoys joking around with students. Every year to prove a point about a certain literary topic to one of his English classes, he attempts to walk through the blackboard. He has yet to complete this task, but in time he just might be successful.



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jeep: purpose-built for adventure

Jeep is the main mean of transportation in the Philippines. Even in far flung areas like the Mountain province. Riding a jeep in the province is an adventure. One can see passengers even on top-load. Those who visited already the Mountain Province, they can say that the trip there is really a total adventure.

With 68 years of legendary 4x4 capability, the Jeep brand continues to fulfill promises of adventure, liberation, and independence for those who truly embrace life, whether traveling on-or off-road.

"The Jeep brand's legendary heritage has made it one of the most recognized brands in the world," said John Plecha, Director -Jeep Marketing and Global Communications, Chrysler LLC. "No other automotive brand today can say that it has consistently provided owners with a sense of freedom and adventure with the right mix of vehicles to safely take them where they want to go, whether it's closer to nature and the outdoors, or maneuvering through neighborhood streets."

Jeep 4x4 vehicles are tested on the toughest trails in the world to prove that they can handle any situation. The proof is in the Trail Rated badge, indicating that Jeep 4x4s have been designed to perform in five categories of off-road conditions: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water fording.

For 2009, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot feature all-new redesigned instrument panels, center console and door trim panels. To reduce noise and provide a quieter ride, engine compartment and interior floor insulation were added and improved, and tuning improvements were made to the engine exhaust.

Grand Cherokee and Commander feature an all-new 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine with Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and Chrysler's Multi-displacement System (MDS), providing improved fuel economy, idle quality and overall refinement. The vehicles also feature new customer amenities, delivering passenger and cargo versatility combined with unmatched off-road capability. Grand Cherokee engine options include a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel featuring advanced next-generation diesel technology and an integrated particulate filter to help reduce exhaust emissions and engine noise. Also available is a 4.7-liter V8 Flex-Fuel engine, capable of using an 85 percent concentration of ethanol (E85).

All-new in 2008, the mid-size Liberty offers the legendary Trail Rated Jeep 4x4 capability combined with a new level of on-road refinement and innovative features, including the industry-exclusive Sky Slider full-length, open canvas roof. Chassis improvements for 2009 provide a more precise, linear feel and improved steering and handling.

The brand icon, the two-door Jeep Wrangler, remains true to its heritage as the original, extreme fun and freedom machine and it is the only 4x4 convertible with multiple open-air options including the three-piece Freedom Top system and Sunrider Soft Top. The four-door Wrangler Unlimited adds refinement to its class-leading off-road capability and everyday practicality, remaining extremely popular with customers who always wanted a Wrangler, but needed more space and versatility.


Friday, October 24, 2008

TV show offers terminal patients dying wishes

I’m a follower of Survivor, a reality show. There is a Filipinos version of it, Survivor Philippines, hosted by Paolo Bediones. I love Survivor because of the challenges plus the exotic places where it is usually taken. I am fascinated by the places. One of our nature trips, we happened to encounter the taping of the French Survivor in Caramoan National Park, Camarines Sur. Philippines. I hope this new reality show of Jeff Probst “Live like you’re dying” will give us more excitement and inspiration in life.

Survivor host Jeff Probst is set to launch his own reality television show in which terminally ill patients are offered the chance to fulfill their dying wishes.

Probst told Entertainment Weekly the show, called Live Like You're Dying, will film people as they embark on the last adventure of their lives.

"That adventure will include reunions with lost friends or formerly feuding family members, a 'legacy moment' that will ensure their name carries on forever, and living out a personal dream.

"It could be playing guitar with Eric Clapton or jumping out of a plane into a volcano," Probst said.

"Whatever it is that you’re still desiring to do in your life - we want to make it happen."

Despite the nature of the show, Probst told EW the aim was to "inspire".

“The focus of the show is not death. The story we're going tell is about living. This is a show that is intended to inspire everybody to get the most out of their lives every day."

Filming of a pilot episode of Live Like You're Dying will begin in January, once the 18th season of Survivor has finished filming.

The 17th season, Survivor: Gabon, currently screens on TV3 on Thursday nights.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Costa Rica Nature Adventures

I love this article it seems that everyone in the family is encourage to do nature adventure. You know I let all our family member to do it as much as possible. Its a nice bonding aside from that u get to know the earth well.

COSTA RICA —Costa Rica Nature Adventures’ Pacuare Lodge offers an ideal vacation for adventurous families. While the lodge itself offers a sunny and beautiful base, there are several optional activities that highlight the area and its culture. There are guided nature hikes through the surrounding emerald rainforest. The Cabecar Indian tour offers the chance to spend some time with a local indigenous family as well as learn about the deep knowledge of nature and customs from the shaman. The Pacuare canopy adventure tour offers rappelling down towering trees and sliding along cables from tree to tree while descending the mountain toward the lodge for a final thrilling rappel. Another option is to hike to the gondola over the Pacuare River, where horses and a local guide are waiting. The trip follows the river through the forest and fields before arriving at the small village of Bajo del Tigre. On weekdays the group can visit the local school and enjoy a coffee break made by the children’s mothers before returning on a different route, past a refreshing waterfall for swimming or taking photographs, returning via the gondola to the lodge. All of the tours are guided by a resident naturalist who explains in detail the complex relationship and interactions between the rainforest’s many plant and animal species, as well as providing insight into the traditions and culture of the local indigenous population.

Most guests arrive via the whitewater river, which requires a minimum of 12 years of age, so lodge activities and facilities are geared toward older children and adults. However, there is ground transportation to the lodge, so smaller children are certainly welcome, although the lodge recommends a minimum of 7 years due to the remoteness.

Pacuare Lodge is the world’s quintessential eco-resort, from its sustainable building methods to its solar heating panels, use of spring water and water-driven turbine electric generator. While all waste is currently either composted or recycled, the lodge is building a biodigester which will turn organic waste and sewage into methane to heat water and provide more electricity.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nature’s rush

The ebb and flow of the Bay of Fundy is a natural wonder you can experience from hiking trails and scenic roadways
Nestled along New Brunswick’s south coast, well away from the major highways, is one of Atlan­tic Canada’s true tourism gems — the Fundy Trail. It’s a treasure that’s growing in popularity and in size as the majestic system of roadways, hiking and biking trails, and scenic outlooks enters its second phase of development.

“When it’s completed, New Brunswickers will be very proud of the spectacular view and closeness of the Bay of Fundy that we’re going to provide,” says Stuart Jamieson, New Brunswick’s minister of tourism.

“It’s the largest project of tourism in the province’s history, and it’s something that will last for generations to come.”

The Fundy Trail — open from mid-May to mid-October — was started in 1990 and began with the purchase of 28,000 hectares of land from the Hearst Corp.

In fact, the Hearst lodge still remains on the property. With four bedrooms plus two adjacent cabins, it was built as a fishing lodge by U.S. newspaper magnate J. Randolph Hearst.