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A newborn giraffe, on the very first day, looking at the world without fear, but innocent curiosity

new giraffe calf born January 26, 2009

(quote)

SAN FRANCISCO -- A reticulated giraffe calf was born at the San Francisco Zoo on Jan. 26, and both mother and calf appear to be doing well, zoo officials announced. The calf was born sometime between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. and was standing on all fours and appeared to be healthy today, zookeepers said. "The calf appears to be really strong and was getting up and down on its own," said Ingrid Russell-White, curator of mammals at the zoo.

It was nursing about every 30 minutes today and appeared well-hydrated, Russell-White said. Its mother, Bititi, was showing a strong nurturing instinct and gently nudging the youngster to show it how to nurse, according to zoo officials.

Momma Bititi gives baby giraffe a kiss

They have also been keeping another female giraffe nearby to help keep Bititi calm, Russell-White said. Zookeepers are hoping the second female, Kristin, will pick up a few tips from Bititi, Russell-White said, because keepers suspect she may be pregnant as well. The calf is Bititi's second. Her first, a male named Bulldozer, was born July 11, 2007. The newborn is its father Floyd's fifth offspring.

Giraffes have a 14-to 15-month gestation period and calves can be up to 6 feet tall at birth. Female giraffes give birth standing up, their calves facing a daunting, 6-foot drop into the world. The newcomer is the fifth giraffe to be born at the zoo since 2004.

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Photos courtesy of SF Zoo / Flicker  read more »

Around the world in 1460 days: Mike Horn navigates sustainable sailboat Pangaea on 4-year 7-continent eco-voyage

Sustainable Sea Craft: the 115-foot Pangaea is designed to leave the smallest environmental footprint possible. The hull is made of recyclable aluminum and the top of the cockpit is covered with solar panels

(quote)

For South African-born explorer Mike Horn, 42, navigating in sub-zero temperatures requires basic tools: chocolate for energy and mucus for wind-block. Horn has circumnavigated the Arctic Circle solo, circled the globe along the equator without motorized transport and completed the first-ever night expedition to the North Pole, without dogs and frequently swimming along the way.

Project Route: as the four-year expedition makes stops on all seven continents, Horn will periodically leave the boat to trek on land and meet the boat again at another location. Over the course of the journey, he will walk, kayak, cycle, paraglide, ski and sail

Back in 2002, Horn's expedition around the Arctic Circle involved skiing, sailing, kayaking and trekking in temperatures as low as -76 F (-60 C). This year, Horn embarks on his most ambitious expedition to date - Pangaea.  read more »

World's tallest buildings (part ii): Washington Monument, Eiffel Tower, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building..

Washington Monument – United States, finished in 1884 (555 ft - 169.29 m)

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The Washington Monument, U.S.A., completed in 1884 (555 ft - 169.29 m)

The Washington Monument took the title as the world's tallest building in 1884 and is among the world's tallest masonry structures, standing 555 feet - 169.29 m in height, and is made of marble, granite, and sandstone. The Monument held the title for just 3 years.

Eiffel Tower, France, completed in 1887 (1,063 ft - 324 m)

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, completed in 1887 (1,063 ft - 324 m)

The Eiffel Tower, completed in 1887 took the title of the world's highest building not with just a few extra feet in height - it is twice the height of it's predecessor, The Washington Monument. The Eiffel Tower was to retain the world's tallest building title for another 43 years.

Chrysler Building, United States, ompleted in 1930 (1046 ft - 319 m)

The Chrysler Building, New York, USA, finished in 1930 (1046 ft - 319 m)

Completed in 1930, the Chrysler Building had just 1 year of glory as the world's tallest building. You will note from it's height that it appears to be shorter than the Eiffel Tower, however this is because a new antenna was located on the Eiffel Tower in the year 2000 - before this the Eiffel Tower was some 79 ft - 24 m shorter than The Chrysler Building.  read more »

Lewis Gordon Pugh, real and very 1st person to swim at North Pole? Astonishing! Earth has fever?

Lewis Gordon Pugh, nicknamed The Polar Bear, is the only person to have completed a long distance swim in each of the five oceans of the world

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Who is Lewis Gordon Pugh?

I am passionate about swimming and I enjoy pushing boundaries. But there's a lot more to it than that. Through my swims I have had a unique perspective on climate change. I have witnessed retreating glaciers, decreasing sea ice, coral bleaching, severe droughts, and the migration of animals to colder climates. It's as a result of these experiences that I am determined to do my bit to raise awareness about the fragility of our environment and to encourage everyone to take action.

But I've not always been in swimming trunks. I studied law at the University of Cape Town and the University of Cambridge, and then went on to work as a maritime lawyer in London. I now spend much of my time public speaking and lobbying world leaders to protect the environment.

Lewis Gordon Pugh

Letter from Lewis Gordon Pugh

Dear Friends

Forget about future generations. This is about us.

For many years, I've been known as a swimmer and an environmentalist. I've used my skills in the water to draw attention to disturbing changes in our oceans. Last year I undertook the first swim at the North Pole to raise awareness about the melting of the Arctic sea ice. It is happening quicker than anyone predicted.  read more »

"Thank you for dancing with me!" Matt invited people in 39 countries on all 7 continents to come out and dance...

dancing in Istanbul, Turkey

(quote)

Matt Harding is a 32-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on.

dancing in Poria, Papua New Guinea

In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he'd saved to wander around Asia until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is. A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said "Hey, why don't you stand over there and do that dance. I'll record it." He was referring to a particular dance Matt does.

dancing in Paris, France  read more »

World's tallest buildings (part i): Cheops Pyramid, Lincoln Cathedral, St. Olav, Strasbourg Cathedral, St. Nikolai

Cheops Pyramid – Egypt, finished in 2,600 BC (481 ft - 146 m)

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Cheops Pyramid – Egypt, finished in 2,600 BC (481 ft - 146 m)

The Cheops Pyramid at Giza, Egypt, was finished in the year (approx) 2,600 BC and reigned as the world's tallest building / structure for another 4,000 years. How the Great Pyramid was built is a question that may never be answered. This pyramid is thought to have been built between 2589 - 2566 BC. It would have taken over 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tons each. These stones were brought from Aswan and Tura and the water would have brought the stones right to the pyramid. The total weight would have been 6,000,000 tons and a height of 482 feet (140m). The Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu) is the largest and the oldest of the Pyramids of Giza. It wasn't until the 13th Century that Egypt lost the title to a cathedral that was constructed in the U.K. at Lincoln.

Lincoln Cathedral, U.K. (525 ft - 160 m)

Lincoln Cathedral, U.K., completed in 1311 AD (525 ft - 160 m)

Construction of the Cathedral finished in the year 1311 AD, and the Cathedral maintained the title of the world's tallest building for 238 years until 1549 AD, when the central spire was destroyed in a storm. The central spire was never re-built.

St. Olav, Tallinn, Estonia (522 ft - 159 m)  read more »

Once upon a time: Christmas celebration outlawed in Boston; anyone exhibiting Christmas spirit fined 5 shillings

December. Christmas stars. Sisimiut

(quote)

Christmas is the most popular holiday of the year in the whole world. About 400 millions people celebrates Christmas holiday each year in winter. In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday. The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America.

Christmas at North Pole: what’s the thought of the dear deer in front of the chubby and jolly Frosty?

From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident. After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution.  read more »

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