Frustrated with the modern toy market's focus on female characters with uncomfortable costumes, uninspiring back stories, and unrealistic body proportions -- "most are created for the adult male collector, decidedly more Hooters than heroine" -- Wellesley alumnae Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau joined forces with the legendary creative team at EleventyPlex to crowdfund a new line of fierce, Joan of Arc-inspired action figures, designed to encourage girls to embrace their inner strengths and imagine themselves as self-made superheroes: I Am Elemental. [more inside]
The stirring story of Ryland Whittington's family. (SLYT)
I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
The SCAR Project is a series of large-scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay. (NSFW)
"One jar contained chilli powder, the other turmeric. But in the dark, the girl from Odisha couldn't see which jar had the chilli powder. So she mixed both the powders, carried it to the bedroom and threw it into the eyes of five thieves brutally beating up his [sic] parents." The (Indian) Daily Mail write about the 24 child winners of the National Bravery Awards.
An Era in Ideas. "To mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, The Chronicle Review asked a group of influential thinkers to reflect on some of the themes that were raised by those events and to meditate on their meaning, then and now. The result is a portrait of the culture and ideas of a decade born in trauma, but also the beginning of a new century, with all its possibilities and problems." [Via]
"I never was one to like to be intimidated. So I just take it off the table. If it's not on the table they can't use it." Charlie, not a man for small gestures, took his secret off the table and put it on the front page of the Houston Post, whose October 7, 1988, edition carried the headline "Transvestite Now Claims Probe Linked to Lifestyle" and a color photograph of McGuire in full drag. [more inside]
Social work researcher Brené Brown gives an inspiring TEDxHouston talk on vulnerability, courage, and love. (SLYT)
A great athlete has passed away Jim McLaren passed away on August 30, 2010. Jim was an athlete and graduate of Yale University. He lost part of one leg, but came back to kickass times in marathons and triathlons – including Ironman. He did Kona in less than 11 hours. Then, during the 1993 Orange Country Triathlon a volunteer misjudged his speed and waved a waiting van forward. The van collided with Jim and sent him into a signpost, making him a quadriplegic. He went on to be a motivational speaker, was the genesis behind the CAF and won an Arthur Ashe Courage Award (2005).
Andrée Peel, Rescuer of Allied Airmen, Dies at 105. Andree Peel, (born Andrée Marthe Virot) who was known as Agent Rose, helped 102 British and American pilots escape from her native France. 'She was the most highly decorated woman to survive the conflict and was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by her brother, General Maurice Virot. Mrs Peel was awarded the War Cross with palm, the War Cross with purple star, the medal of the Resistance and the Liberation cross. She also received the American Medal of Freedom from US President Dwight Eisenhower, as well as the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct, presented to her by King George VI.' 'She fed information to the Allies on German shipping and troop movements and on the results of Allied bombing in the region. She also guided British planes carrying intelligence agents to nighttime landings at secret airstrips marked by torchlight.' [more inside]
The Global Oneness Project is exploring how the radically simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in our increasingly complex world. They travel the globe gathering stories from creative and courageous people who base their lives and work on the understanding that we bear great responsibility for each other and our shared world. [more inside]
Most Spaniards over 35 remember exactly where they were in the evening of February 23, 1981, best remembered as "23-F". It was the day of the last big stress test of Spain's then young democracy, when a group of conspirators tried to seize power by force. When armed policemen assaulted Parliament, and started shooting their machineguns to intimidate the lawmakers, on the benches, only three very different men refused to take cover. [more inside]
The Academy of Achievement brings students face-to-face with the extraordinary leaders, thinkers and pioneers who have shaped our world. Through profiles, biographies, and interviews Achievers in The Arts, Business, Public Service, Science, and Sports teach us how the Academy's core values of passion, vision, preparation, courage, perseverance, and integrity can, and will, lead to success. [more inside]
In March 1944, Nazi Germany occupied its ally Hungary and immediately began preparing the extermination of Hungary's Jews. A small band of diplomats from neutral countries and the Red Cross put their lives at risk to try to smuggle as many Jews as possible out of Hungary from under Adolf Eichmann's nose. While Raoul Wallenberg remains the best known of these "Righteous among the Nations", there's no doubt that the most intriguing character was Giorgio "Jorge" Perlasca. [more inside]
Nicole Carroll is a CrossFit trainer who works out of Santa Cruz. Here is a video of her aiming for 15 reps of her bodyweight in the Overhead Squat, which is a very impressive lift. (In .wmv format) [more inside]
Coming Home - in honor of Veteran's Day, it might be fitting to check in on the recovery of J.R. Salzman, known here on mefi as Logboy.
Risking all: the Burmese jokers who laugh in the face of danger. In Burma (Myanmar), comedians are targets in the junta's war on words. [Via BB.] [more inside]
Through a Lens Darkly - on September 4, 1957, when 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High, she was blocked by the National Guard and surrounded by a screaming mob of 250: "Lynch her! Lynch her!" "No nigger bitch is going to get in our school! Get out of here!" "Go back to where you came from!" Looking for a friendly face, she turned to an old woman, who spat on her. Photos. Dramatic news footage. Ernest Green, another of the Little Rock 9 recalls the first day of school. [more inside]
Automotive journalist, cartoonist and architect Earl Ma passed away this week after a three year battle with cancer. But you would never have known it from how he lived his life. Last month, he refused to let his partial paralysis keep him away from the Indianapolis 500 (though fellow Hawaiian Jim Nabors was too ill to attend), and with the help of friends covered the race from his wheelchair. His boundless energy, generosity and wide range of talents earned him many friends and admirers, and he is already greatly missed.
The Pororoca is an Amazonian tidal bore that generates waves up to 12 feet high which can last for over half an hour. Surfers from all around the world have visited Brazil in order to ride this mega-wave. Here are some videos:
The Pororoca Phenomenon (4:28)
Pororoca 1 of 2 (3:11)
Pororoca 2 of 2 (3:21)
Pororoca (26 minutes long)
Tanya Streeter is a champion in the sport of competitive freediving. Anyone who can dive to 400 feet and return using muscle power and fins, or to 525 feet below the surface of the water using a special sled, on just one breath of air, has won my undying respect.
Kira Salak is a writer who embodies an old-fashioned spirit of adventure. She has kayaked the Niger River solo; during her time in Africa, she freed a slave. On another trip, she sampled Ayahuasca in the Peruvian jungle. At the age of 24, she trekked alone through the tribal violence of Papua New Guinea. Her work is a wonderful alternative to the blandness and narrowness of contemporary consumer society, in which there is nothing new to be discovered and everything can be reduced to lucre.
This heart-wrenching 4 part story of the lives of some of the severely wounded US soldiers brought tears to my eyes - the descriptions of what these kids are enduring, the difficulties faced by their families, the courage they display under circumstances that would reduce most of us to useless blobs. These are the true costs of an illegal, immoral war. Truly tragic in scope.
Democratic Party leaders become relavent, take couragous position on war, civil liberties, and other issues vitally important to country's future.
...his boyfriend Josh. --beautiful story, made all the more poignant at a time of more and more state constitutional amendments ensuring second-class citizenship, and a Democratic party urging us to just shut up already, but still give.
Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was a German thinker who came to America in 1933 after losing his job for opposing the national socialism movement. Tillich was at once a protestant theologian and an existentialist philosopher and humanist who attempted to intellectualize religion and bring it to contemporary audiences in the age of science. His brilliant writings and speeches would typically weave together biblical passages with discussions of philosophy and science. In this most famous work, The Courage to Be, Tillich laid out his case of how man can resolve the existential crisis of facing non-being. In echoes of Soren Kierkegaard and Freud, Tillich attempted to explain how man could resolve the fear of nothingness with the Courage to Be in the face of Non-being. Throughout his life, Tillich's ultimate concern was to try to help man understand the real value of faith and meaning by divorcing the concepts from the myths and the religious and social dogmas which cramp the mind of modern man.
39 Pounds of Love "is the inspirational and humorous non-fiction account of Ami Ankilewitz, who was diagnosed with an extremely rare and often fatal form of SMA/2 that severely limits his physical growth and movement yet at 34 years of age, he continues to outlive a doctor's prediction of life expectancy by 28 years and counting. Ami, who weighs only 39 pounds, works in Israel as a 3D animator and creates his art despite the fact that his bodily motion is limited to a single finger on his left hand."
MyGastricBypass.com "This doctor feels that I have 25 to 30 lbs of excess flesh to come off. All the dieting the world won't remove that, so now I have some major decisions to make....Never did I think that this would be happening to me....Granted, it's better than weighing 500 lbs, but it's pretty nasty looking....The frightening thing is what happens to this skin when I get in the pool. OMG! It floats!!" - A long and actually heroic saga of self-disclosure, somehow Zen too, of one woman's successful attempt to remake her body and so her life - this rises at times to sublime heights : "I believe in a force called the Cosmic Shoe....Moorings are loosened and our boat feels adrift. When that doesn't get us moving, the Cosmic Shoe finally KICKS our ass into the direction he was trying to nudge us in the first place."
"In every existing government we find clamor, abuses of power, newspapers with triumphant, lying headlines, lies of every kind in public life. This being the case, someone like me, who understands nothing of politics, is compelled to think about politics and despair of ever understanding it, is compelled to envision something entirely different." Natalia Ginzburg, Member of the Italian Parliament, writer, and critic.
Tyler Hamilton on his win today in State 16 of the Tour de France. [via the brilliant notd tour blog]
"I'm not a brave guy," says Tom Nagy. And Bill Quigley is "scared of flying." But like the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, they're doing something braver than almost anybody else would: They and other pacifists are going to Baghdad to put themselves in harm's way in the event bombs start dropping. I think this is brave, but I still don't think it's a good idea. Do you? And is this something that happens all the time, that I've missed, or is it, well, remarkable?