Archive | October 2009

Daily Inspiration #75: Profound Halloween Traditions in Poland

Every Halloween, Poles celebrate those who have passed away by visiting the cemetary.

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On All Saints’ Day, the hum of ordinary life stops. Trams and buses run, but mostly to ferry families to cemeteries. Most walk to family plots carrying lighted candles inside tinted glass jars to place on ancestors’ graves. The candle glow in the night sky is magical enough to give pause to even the staunchest unbeliever.

These rituals never seem rushed. In the early twilight the Poles linger, reflect and pray, renewing the ties that bind one generation to the next. All this can been seen and felt in fleeting images: a widow kneeling at the foot of her husband’s grave; parents whispering to a wide-eyed child; young couples holding each other close, staring into the paling light.

Amazingly, instead of great sadness, a mood of subdued celebration prevails.

Read more about Poland’s All Saints Day at The News Observer

Daily Inspiration #74: Chimps Mourn, Just Like Us

chimp_636567a

Monica Szczupider/Solent

A group of chimpanzees hold one another and share a moment of silence as Dorothy, a chimp in her 30’s, was buried at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Centre in Cameroon, Africa.

Read more about the chimps at The Times Online

(Via AbsoluteyTrue)

Daily Inspiration #73: Conan O’Brien’s Speech to Stuyvesant High School Class of 2006

I LOVE this speech Conan O’Brien gave to Stuyvesant High in May 2006 for their graduation. I also graduated from high school at the same time, which made this speech particularly poignant for me.

My favorite line: ” … When I graduated from [Harvard] in 1985 I told my parents ‘Thanks for the amazing Ivy League education, now I want to be a comedian.’ Later, in the emergency room after they woke up, they said they were fine with my decision, and I was on my way. I’ve had a lot of highs, I’ve had my share of lows, but if I hadn’t allowed myself to experiment and risk doing something without a clear career payoff, I might have missed out on so much.”

Conan has clearly led an unconventional life, and things have turned out pretty well for him.

Enjoy the speech below:

Daily Inspiration #72: One Dance Unites the World

Matt traveled around the world – 42 countries in total  – and filmed himself doing his signature dance moves in every country.

Matt isn’t the world’s best dancer, but it doesn’t matter. The video made from his travels communicates an incredibly moving message:  with just one silly dance, he shows that we are all connected, no matter how far across the world we are.

Daily Inspiration #71: Extreme Free Fall from 1,000 ft In the Air

Free Fall

Talk about a Free Fall

WOW … I wish I had the guts to do something like this.

Unidentified BASE jumpers leap from the height of 300 meters off Malaysia’s landmark KL Tower, the 421-meter (1,381-foot) broadcasting tower, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Saturday, October 24, 2009.

This shot was taken from this week’s MSNBC Sports Pictures

Daily Inspiration #70: Mother of the Year

Lilly, a rescued mutt, was a good mother to her litter of puppies. When all her pups were adopted, she took on a new challenge at the shelter: caring for a litter of abandoned kittens.

Daily Inspiration #69: A World Filled With Flowers, Not War

“A Poppy”, the video poem by Peter Howard, imagines a world where flowers replace the accoutrements of war. Using primarily words and dabs of color, Howard brings to life a vivid world where poppies serve as medals and snipers exchange samphire.

A poppy

Watch it at the BBC Online

Daily Inspiration #68: Thousands of US Soldiers Create Astounding Patriotic Photos

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

American Eagle

American Eagle

Nothing will make you want to sing “God Bless America” more than these incredible photographs snapped by Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas showing tens of thousands of U.S. Soldiers posing in various patriotic shapes during World War I. If standing at ground level, the soldiers would have appeared as just a jumbled crowd of guys hanging around, but, from above, they looked like Uncle Sam, the Liberty Bell and other symbols of American history.

Check out these photos in higher resolution at AllTop

Daily Inspiration #67: Scientists Photograph the Human Genome in 3D

“By breaking the human genome into millions of pieces and reverse-engineering their arrangement, researchers have produced the highest-resolution picture ever of the genome’s three-dimensional structure.

The picture is one of mind-blowing fractal glory, and the technique could help scientists investigate how the very shape of the genome, and not just its DNA content, affects human development and disease.”

genome_folding

“There’s no knots. It’s totally unentangled. It’s like an incredibly dense noodle ball, but you can pull out some of the noodles and put them back in, without disturbing the structure at all,” said Harvard University computational biologist Erez Lieberman-Aiden, also a study co-author.”

Read the rest of the article at Wired

Daily Inspiration #66: Legally Blind Teen Scores Touchdown

For most teenage boys, playing high school football is a rite of passage. But for Tyler Brown, the chance to play has been life-changing. CNBCs Erin Burnett speaks with Tyler, along with his coach and teammates.