August 23, 2006. Denver, Colorado.
... time to sleep, eat (a lot) less, exercise, visit the cats... and keep working hard.
The Great Wall of China. Mutianyu, Beijing.
Panda Research Base, Wuhou Temple, and spicy Sichuan hotpot. Chengdu, Sichuan.
Renovated ancient streets and strange menu items. Kuanzhai Xiangzi, Chengdu, Sichuan.
June 2, 2006. Badaling, Beijing.
The National. This song would often play in my shuffled playlist during the weeks I was reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (a book which I wholeheartedly recommend - you know you've read a great book when you feel depressed upon finishing the last sentence and know there is not a next page to turn to). Often I would find this song to be the perfect background music emotionally for the events I was reading about. Subconsciously I will always connect this song with the man himself and the emotions I felt while reading the book.
The broadcasts starts in less than an hour on YouTube and the Redbull Stratos website. Felix Baumgartner will be attempting a supersonic skydive from more than 120,000 feet. It will be both the highest and the fastest skydive ever attempted (it will also set a record for the highest ballon ride). The mission/broadcast is set to begin at 11:45 am Eastern time. Watch below in the embedded YouTube window or click HERE to watch it on the official Redbull Stratos website that also contains detailed telemetry.
This is history. A man is basically skydiving back to Earth from space at supersonic speed. Why are you not watching this? Start watching now.
Update: It's started! 11:26 pm Eastern right now. It will take about 2 1/2 hours for the capsule to reach its ultimate height. So you have plenty of time to start watching. Seriously, watch.
Update 2: Felix has now climbed to 100,000 feet. In about 20 minutes he will reach at least 120,000 feet and hopefully jump out of the capsule and free fall back to Earth safely.
Update 3: Success. He's landed safely. Wow:
My friend had to work, so my other friend and I took the Seoul City Tour Bus. Buy one ticket and you can hop on and off as many times as you want during the day, with a new bus coming every thirty minutes. We took the downtown tour bus route and stopped at the new City Hall, Seoul Tower, and a large shopping area. We finished up the day by eating some kimchi fried rice and tofu soup and catching up on some work at Tom and Tom's Coffee. Even at 9 pm on a Friday night, there were many university students at the coffee cafe studying. Apparently midterms in only two weeks away.
We walked to Nagoya Castle. We walked through the Osu Kannon shopping district. We walked Sakae and eventually walked back to our hotel. Tired feet all around. Initial thoughts on Japan: Very clean (although there are virtually no trash cans on the streets), extremely polite people, very expensive (especially coming from China), and amazingly perfect bathrooms.
Summer Palace, Beijing.
By way of The Amateur Archaeologist - A new survey has revealed the Great Wall of China to be 21,196 kilometers long. How amazing is that? Consider how long it was previously thought to be:
This was the first time such a figure had been released, as a preliminary survey in 2008 only showed that the Great Wall structures built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) extended more than 8,850 km.
The circumference of the Earth is just over 41,000 km, meaning the Great Wall, if straightened, would extended more than halfway around the world.
Unfortunately, the Wall is not in good shape.
Damage from human activities, such as mining, infrastructure development and profit-driven tourism, have been detected in recent years. Some local residents have taken soil or bricks from the wall, and have planted crops over ruins of it, according to the survey report.
So far, only 8.2 percent of the wall built during the Ming Dynasty remains intact, 74.1 percent is in poor condition, and in some sections, only its foundation remains, according to the report.
A large amount of the wall has collapsed. "The saving and preserving of the Great Wall's relics should not be delayed," the report stresses.
This is why you are not actually able to see the Great Wall from space; most of it has either been destroyed or is too overgrown with vegetation.