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Archive for April, 2009

The Mystery of the Tibetan Mummy

High in the Himalayan Mountains a mysterious part of Tibet’s lost history is about to be unearthed. Revealing ancient secrets about the human mind that could have an impact on the way we live today.

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(Video hosted on Youtube.)
The Mystery of the Tibetan Mummy

t 12,000 feet, the body of a Tibetan man has been found seated as if in a state of meditation. He’s perfectly preserved, even a right eye remains, locked in an eternal stare. Authorities know nothing of him, but locals worship him like a God. So who was he and how has his corpse survived today? His existence is a mystery that Victor Mair, one of the world’s top mummy experts and his team of scientists, are determined to solve.

Is it possible that this man could have actually mummified his own body? The Scientific team journey to the site of the mummy armed with the latest medical equipment and perform further tests at the world’s top laboratories. The investigation reveals secret meditation rituals that can slow the body’s metabolism by forty percent. The wisdom hidden within this ancient culture could forever change our health by initiating a radical new approach to 21st century medicine.

In a lost corner of Tibet, a team of international scientists have uncovered a 500-year-old body… perfectly intact.
It wasn’t embalmed like the Egyptian pharaohs. Nor was it preserved in a glacier like the ice mummies of the Alps and Andes. So, why has this body never decayed?
Its existence is a mystery that Victor Mair, one of the world’s top anthropologists and his team of forensic experts, are determined to solve.
Their astonishing revelation – this man actually mummified himself.

The Long Way Down

Adventurer Charley Boorman sets off for the Long Way Down, a television series, book and DVD documenting a motorcycle journey undertaken by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, on which they rode south through 18 countries from John o’ Groats in Scotland to Cape Agulhas in South Africa via Europe and Africa in 2007. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round trip of 2004, when the pair rode east from London to New York via Eurasia and North America.

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(Video hosted on Youtube.)
“The Long Way Down”
Charley Boorman & Ewan McGregor

ong Way Down is the most recent motorbike adventure with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Leaving on 12 May 2007, they travelled through Europe, and then Africa – from Tunisia to South Africa, via countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia – a total of 15,000 miles. The team arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on 4 August 2007. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round trip in 2004, where the pair rode their motorbikes from London to New York, travelling east across Europe, Russia and the United States. As on Long Way Round, they were accompanied by Executive Producers/Directors Russ Malkin and David Alexanian.

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are best mates, and passionate motorcyclists. As well as undertaking Long Way Round and Long Way Down, they ran a motorcross team together for years, and Charley took on the Dakar Rally in 2006. Ewan and Charley supported UNICEF on Long Way Round and continued to do so on Long Way Down. They visited various UNICEF projects along the way, and are raising money for the charity on the Long Way Down production website.

The team travelled from their base in Olympia, London to John o’ Groats at the northern tip of Scotland to begin their journey. The start was almost delayed after Boorman, frustrated by an official at London Gatwick Airport, made an off-the-cuff comment related to terrorism, and was detained for questioning by local police. After being released without charge, Boorman took a later flight to Inverness and the journey was able to begin as scheduled. The team took four days to ride from John o’ Groats back to London, via the McGregor family home in Crieff and the Silverstone racetrack, where they camped in the middle of the circuit. They took the Eurotunnel to France, and rode south to Italy. The European leg of the journey ended in Sicily, where they caught a ferry to Tunisia.

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In Tunisia, McGregor and Boorman visited the set of Star Wars (McGregor was not recognised despite the fact there were pictures of him) and from there they rode into Libya. However, American producer David Alexanian and cameraman Jimmy Simak were unable to obtain the necessary entry visas and were forced to fly from Tunisia to Egypt where they rejoined the team. After visiting the pyramids they boarded a ferry and travelled to Sudan, continued into Ethiopia and then into Kenya, where they crossed the equator. (Cheeky Kenyans didn’t miss the opportunity to trick another stranger with their Coriolis Effect misconception show.) From Kenya they rode to Uganda and then Rwanda, where they had an audience with President Paul Kagame. They went from there to Tanzania, and then into Malawi, where they were joined by Ewan McGregor’s wife Eve. The final leg of the trip took them through Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and finally into South Africa. The journey ended at Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point on the continent, to where they were accompanied from Cape Town by a phalanx of bikers, similar to their arrival in New York on the Long Way Round journey.

The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is one of the world’s most revered statesmen, who led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy. Despite many years in jail, he emerged to become the country’s first black president and to play a leading role in the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. “The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela” tells the story of the man behind the myth, probing Mandela’s character, leadership and life’s method through intimate recollections with friends, political allies, adversaries, and his fellow prisoners and jailers on Robben Island where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 prison years.

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(Video hosted on Google.)
The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela.

is charisma, self-depreciating sense of humour and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment, as well as his amazing life story, partly explain his extraordinary global appeal. Since stepping down as president in 1999, Mr Mandela has become South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and securing his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup. Mr Mandela – diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001 – was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other African countries. He has also encouraged peace efforts in other areas of the world. In 2004, at the age of 85, Mr Mandela retired from public life to spend more time with his family and friends and engage in “quiet reflection”. “Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” he warned anyone thinking of inviting him to future engagements. He was born in 1918 into the Madiba tribal clan – part of the Thembu people – in a small village in the eastern Cape of South Africa. In South Africa, he is often called by his clan name – “Madiba”. Born Rolihlahla Dalibhunga, he was given his English name, Nelson, by a teacher at his school. His father, a counsellor to the Thembu royal family, died when Nelson Mandela was nine, and he was placed in the care of the acting regent of the Thembu people, chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. He joined the African National Congress in 1943, first as an activist, then as the founder and president of the ANC Youth League. Eventually, after years in prison, he also served as its president. He married his first wife, Evelyn Mase, in 1944. They were divorced in 1957 after having three children. Mr Mandela qualified as a lawyer and in 1952 opened a law practice in Johannesburg with his partner, Oliver Tambo. Together, Mr Mandela and Mr Tambo campaigned against apartheid, the system devised by the all-white National Party which oppressed the black majority. In 1956, Mr Mandela was charged with high treason, along with 155 other activists, but the charges against him were dropped after a four-year trial. Resistance to apartheid grew, mainly against the new Pass laws, which dictated where blacks were allowed to live and work. In 1958, Mr Mandela married Winnie Madikizela, who was later to take a very active role in the campaign to free her husband from prison. The ANC was outlawed in 1960 and Mr Mandela went underground.

Tension with the apartheid regime grew, and soared to new heights in 1960 when 69 black people were shot dead by police in the Sharpeville massacre. It was the end of peaceful resistance and Mr Mandela, already national vice-president of the ANC, launched a campaign of sabotage against the country’s economy. He was eventually arrested and charged with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the government. Conducting his own defence in the Rivonia court room, Mr Mandela used the stand to convey his beliefs about democracy, freedom and equality. “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities,” he said. “It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” In the winter of 1964 he was sentenced to life in prison. In the space of 12 months between 1968 and 1969, Mr Mandela’s mother died and his eldest son was killed in a car crash but he was not allowed to attend the funerals. He remained in prison on Robben Island for 18 years before being transferred to Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland in 1982. As Mr Mandela and other ANC leaders languished in prison or lived in exile, the youths of South Africa’s black townships helped sustain the resistance. Hundreds were killed and thousands were injured before the schoolchildren’s uprising was crushed. In 1980, Mr Tambo, who was in exile, launched an international campaign to release Mr Mandela. The world community tightened the sanctions first imposed on South Africa in 1967 against the apartheid regime. The pressure produced results, and in 1990, President FW de Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, and Mr Mandela was released from prison and talks on forming a new multi-racial democracy for South Africa began. In 1992, Mr Mandela divorced his wife, Winnie, after she was convicted on charges of kidnapping and accessory to assault. In December 1993, Mr Mandela and Mr de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Five months later, for the first time in South Africa’s history, all races voted in democratic elections and Mr Mandela was elected president. Mr Mandela’s greatest problem as president was the housing shortage for the poor, and slum townships continued to blight major cities. He entrusted his deputy, Thabo Mbeki, with the day-to-day business of the government, while he concentrated on the ceremonial duties of a leader, building a new international image of South Africa. In that context, he succeeded in persuading the country’s multinational corporations to remain and invest in South Africa. But he lost out in his battle to have anti-apartheid activist Cyril Ramaphosa take over as his successor. Mr Mbeki became ANC leader in 1997 and went on to win a landslide victory in June 1999. On his 80th birthday, Nelson Mandela married Graca Machel, the widow of the former president of Mozambique and continued travelling the world, meeting leaders, attending conferences and collecting awards after stepping down as president. After his official retirement, his public appearances have been mostly connected with the work of the Mandela Foundation, a charitable fund that he founded. On his 89th birthday, he formed The Elders, a group of leading world figures to offer their expertise and guidance “to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems”. Possibly his most noteworthy intervention of recent years came early in 2005, following the death of his only son, Makgatho. In a country where taboos still surround talking about the Aids epidemic, Mr Mandela announced that his son had died of Aids, and urged South Africans talk about Aids “so to make it appear like a normal illness”.

From: Website BBC.

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  • "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It's the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead."
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