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Even in DNA age we still believe in Sherlock Holmes, world's most celebrated detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle

John Barrymore as Sherlock Holmes and Roland Young as Dr. Watson in 1922 version

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Last weekend saw the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the world's most celebrated fictional detective. So what's kept him at the top for 122 years?

In 1887, appearing in print for the first time, Sherlock Holmes set out his purpose in life. The declaration in "A Study in Scarlet" would also come to dictate much of the subsequent career of Holmes' creator, Arthur Conan Doyle - not always to his pleasure. "There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it." He went on to define the archetype of the brilliant but troubled detective. Even today the character of Holmes defines what we expect of great fictional detectives. We want them to accept that "duty" to do good - but also to be personally flawed.

John Barrymore as Sherlock Holmes and Roland Young as Dr. Watson in 1922 version

The 28 year-old author wasn't the first to spot the narrative potential of an incisive but troubled detective. Conan Doyle himself acknowledged the influence of Edgar Allan Poe's Auguste Dupin and of Lecoq, created by the now largely forgotten Emile Gaboriau. But almost every fictional detective stands in Holmes' shadow - from Kurt Wallander back to Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. Chandler once wrote: "Sherlock Holmes is mostly an attitude and a few dozen lines of unforgettable dialogue." This may or may not have been a compliment.  read more »

Humor & Fun: Office Chair Racing, 70 participants race downhill & over ramps. Helmets required. Many chairs didn't make it to en

Office Chair Racing Championship in Germany

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The German Office Chair Racing Championship was held in Bad Koenig-Zell, Germany, on Saturday, April 25, 2009. Seventy participants took a chance and brought their office chair out into the sunshine and put it through its paces. The race down Odenwaelder street was mainly downhill and involved starting on a steep ramp and racing over another ramp.

the first German Championships in Office Chair Racing

The only uniform rule was a crash helmet, which many participants needed. Dozens of racers fell off their chairs, and many chairs didn't make it to the end of the 170-meter race.

German Championships in Office Chair Racing

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Photos courtesy of demonicious.com

Original Source: Cave News and Reuters (with video)

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.- Sholom Aleichem

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.

— Sholom Aleichem

72 years ago today, iconic Golden Gate Bridge finished construction ahead of schedule & $1.3 million under budget

pillar of Golden Gate Bridge

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The iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, turned 72 years old on Wednesday. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful, and most photographed, bridges in the world. Its 4,200 foot long main suspension span was a world record that stood for 27 years. It is still the second longest in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which links Staten Island to Brooklyn in New York. The bridge's two towers rise 746 feet making them 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument.

Before the bridge was built, people used ferries to travel between San Francisco and Marin. Many wanted to build a bridge to connect San Francisco to Marin County. San Francisco was the largest American city still served primarily by ferry boats. Because it did not have a permanent link with communities around the bay, the city’s growth rate was below the national average. Many experts said that a bridge couldn’t be built across the 6,700 ft (2,042 m) strait. It had strong, swirling tides and currents, with water 500 ft (150 m) in depth at the center of the channel, and almost constant winds of 60 mph (97 km/h). Experts said that ferocious winds and blinding fogs would prevent construction and operation.

the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA at sunset taken from the Marin Headlands  read more »

Surf Lifesaving: voluntary lifeguard services & competitive surf sport originated in Australia, expanding globally

competitors run to the water during the start of the Open Women's Board Race final, 2009 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships

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Surf lifesaving originated in Australia in 1906 in response to drownings at local beaches in Sydney. It comprises key aspects of voluntary lifeguard services and competitive surf sport and has expanded globally to other countries including New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and the United States. Such groups became necessary following the relaxing of laws prohibiting daylight bathing on Australian beaches. Volunteer groups of men were trained in lifesaving methods and patrolled the beaches as lifesavers looking after public safety.

a competitor from Northcliffe competes in the Open Men's Board Race semifinal, 2009 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships  read more »

Nearly carless suburb of Vauban, Germany an example of "smart planning" - separating suburban life from auto use

many residents of Vauban, Germany have carts that attach to bicycles for hauling toddlers and groceries

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VAUBAN, Germany - Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” - except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home. As a result, 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here. Vauban, completed in 2006, is an example of a growing trend in Europe, the United States and elsewhere to separate suburban life from auto use, as a component of a movement called “smart planning.”

To make sure that residents can live in Vauban without a car, it is a ‘mixed use’ community: stores, banks and restaurants are sprinkled along the main street of Vauban, and that street is within walking distance of all homes  read more »

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. - Author Unknown

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.

— Author Unknown

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