Parachuting on Mount Everest

The majority of Everest’s visitors reach Everest Base Camp by trekking along the classic trails through Nepal. This month however, there was an unconventional approach to the mountain from the sky, as part of a bid for the high-altitude parachute landing world record.

The world’s highest mountain was the setting for a dramatic record-breaking attempt in September 2009 as three men jumped from a helicopter at an altitude of 6,154m, which is twice the exit altitude of an average recreational jump. Their aim was to land on a plateau called Gorak Shep (5,164m), a narrow, sandy area of open ground close to Everest Base Camp. To do this they were in free-fall for only four seconds, during which they fell more than a thousand metres; they had this brief time to steady themselves before opening their chutes, after which they had to steer to safety. The whole event was over in three minutes.

It was not a feat to be attempted by the inexperienced, but the trio have accumulated more than 13,000 jumps between them. Two of the sky divers are British; veteran sky diver and cameraman Leo Dickinson and skydiving instructor Ralph Mitchell, and they were joined by Air Commodore Ramesh Tripathi from the Indian Air Force.

Ramesh commented on how the jump was challenging because of the high winds and freezing temperatures. At one point he was taken away on the wind. Their landing was also a risky prospect, having to avoid the glaciers, crevasses and ridges around Everest Base Camp. Leo Dickinson confirmed that it was a dangerous landing, suggesting that overshooting the plateau could mean death or ending up ‘with something important broken.’

They were rewarded for their nerve with a perspective of the Everest Base Camp trekking landscape that few people have seen before now. “It was not just Everest” said Dickinson, “I could see the whole panorama of fantastic mountains and it was just amazing.” He added: “The view of the mountain range was beyond my wildest dreams.”

An outdoor adventure cameraman, Leo Dickinson is no stranger to Mount Everest (8,848 m), having filmed Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler’s trek to the summit without supplementary oxygen. He has made a film about a team of canoeists who started 800 metres below Everest Base Camp and rode a freezing river down the mountain. Leo has also had airborne adventures around Everest prior to this record bid. In October 1991 he filmed the first successful balloon ride over the summit of Mount Everest, propelled over the peak by the powerful and volatile jet stream.

The three skydivers are waiting for confirmation from Guinness that they have beaten the existing the high-altitude landing world record. Last year, sky divers successfully landed on a drop zone near Everest at 3,765 metres, way below the altitude of this month’s jump.

The Nepal government permitted the daredevil record attempt and are considering proposals to run regular parachute jumps in the air space around Mount Everest. It is part of a scheme to expand tourism to Nepal for Visit Nepal 2011, building upon the visitors brought by the popular Everest Base Camp Trek experience.

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3 Unconventional Things To Do In Hong Kong

One of the most acclaimed places when it comes to vacations, Hong Kong is any vacationer’s paradise. From its glistening skyscrapers to the rustic villages; It has a plethora to offer. The quick transition from a bohemian style life to the cosmopolitan bit is rather astounding. Here are five unconventional things that you can consider doing when enjoying your Hong Kong holiday packages.

Three unexpected things to do in Hong Kong:

1. Hong Kong Heritage Museum

The city’s hero Bruce Lee has been given a grand stature with a new multimedia exhibition that was launched in September 2013. The collection is worth a watch when you’ll be on your Hong Kong tour package. This legendary collection features documentary videos, photography, holograms as well as more than 600 pieces of this star’s martial arts costumes and the well-famed nun chucks.

2. Peak Tram

Take a thrilling ride that speeds up to Victoria Peak that is located at an immensely steep location. While booking your tour and travel packages to Hong Kong make sure to take this experience without fail. The tram cars feature a rather sporty look while carrying you up to Its most spectacular view. So, keep your fear of heights at bay and enjoy a tram ride that you could hold close to yourself forever!

3. A symphony of lights

While holidaying in it be sure to witness one of the most unconventional yet magical light shows of all time. Prepare yourself to get a first-hand experience of a symphony of lights displayed by the skyscrapers to some stirring music. This incredible dance of lights has also been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records and hence it is a must when you’re enjoying your Hong Kong travel package.

It is a city that offers its vacationers the right amalgamation of things to do. From the sensational shopping, to its glamorous nightlife, animated architecture, beautiful islands, the sight of pink dolphins and the incredible natural wonders. All of which makes your holiday package to Hong Kong a memorable one. In addition, you keep aside your inhibitions and make sure to experiment with the mouth-watering delicacies this food paradise has to offer. Attention all foodies, you should know that It has some of the world-renowned chefs that serve up a platter, making your taste buds experience a treat, like never before. Also, make it a point to attend one of the authentic spas to complete your trip on a relaxed, rejuvenating note.

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Curious and Unconventional Applications of GPS Tracking Systems

Companies like ours sell GPS vehicle tracker systems to, well, track personal cars and fleet vehicles. However, people are inventive, and it’s not surprising to discover them using GPS tracking systems in creative and unusual ways.

GPS riding art
Michael “Wally” Wallace is a middle school science teacher. His hobby is using GPS vehicle tracking to transform maps of the city into art. The city streets of Baltimore is his canvas, his mountain bike and GPS technology are his brushes, and Google Maps is his template.

Think of his art as a giant Etch-A-Sketch as Wally bicycles up and down streets “drawing” objects such as a boot, a gun and a hammer. Lately he’s evolved into more complex “drawings” such as the Jellyfish Invasion and Tee It golfer.

His art can only be seen from a bird’s-eye view, of course, but fortunately that’s no problem with a GPS system. Wally’s vehicle tracker continuously sends location data to a satellite, which relays it to a GPS server that stores and records the data. The route data is then superimposed on Google Maps to reveal his “drawing.”

Wally’s art has been featured in various media around the world. You can see a showcase of his work by visiting his online gallery at WallGPX.com.

Who knows? It may lead you to digitally sketching your own masterpieces.

Like finding a GPS in a haystack
Each month the county Sheriff’s Department in Tillman County, Oklahoma was receiving calls from farmers complaining their hay bales were stolen.

Stealing hay is no minor problem in the county. Extreme drought has forced farmers to use more hay than normal, driving up prices and making hay very attractive to thieves. Another plus for thieves: hay is impossible to trace. Well, almost impossible.

When one farmer complained that more than 30 bales of his hay were stolen, Sheriff Whittington swung into action. He planted a portable GPS vehicle tracker in one of the farmer’s bales and waited for the thieves to strike again. They did.

Using a satellite tracking system, the sheriff was able to follow a dot representing the thieves’ truck on his smartphone. When he pulled the thieves over, they naturally claimed the hay was theirs; they were on their way to feed their cattle. When the sheriff showed them the GPS hidden in a bale, they asked if they could simply return the hay and forget the whole incident.

They went to jail.

Since then hay thefts have dropped dramatically in Tillman County, Oklahoma.

Solving a mystery of the seas
Manta rays are facing extinction. These graceful 25-foot fish are one of the ocean’s largest and least-known species. Almost nothing is known about their movements, their habits or their ecological needs. Answers to these questions are urgently needed because manta rays are now listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Manta rays have the highest brain-to-body ratio of all rays and sharks. And because they don’t have dangerous stingers like stingrays, they’re harmless to humans.
Unfortunately, humans aren’t harmless to manta rays. They chop the rays for shark chum, use them for traditional Chinese medicine and run over them with ships. If marine biologists hoped to improve the long-term survival of manta rays, they desperately needed more data.

Initial data came via GPS trackers, which scientists placed on six manta rays and monitored them for 64 days before the units fell off. Results of the tracking program were published in a study by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Mexican government and the University of Exeter. Among their findings they discovered manta rays:

– Traveled almost 700 miles during the two months they were tracked.

– Preferred warm water less than 50 meters deep.

– Swam most of their time in coastal waters with plentiful zooplankton and fish eggs.

– Spent 90% of their time swimming in major shipping routes, leaving them vulnerable to being hit by ships.

This is only a beginning. There’s still a lot to learn about these gentle giants. It’s hoped satellite tracking technology will be one of the key components for understanding manta ray movements and the dangers that threaten their existence.

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The World’s Five Worst Olympic Countries

1. Cuba- Drugs & Scandals

Unfortunately, Cuba is already a nightmare in the Olympic Movement. Why? Since 1964, Cuba has produced athletes with a huge superiority complex and strong anti-American feeling. They have showed this anti-Olympic feeling many times. Angel Volodia Matos Fuentes, a Cuban taekwondo athlete, is the only athlete in the Olympic history that has hit a referee. This sportsman kicked a referee in the face after he lost a match at the 2008 Olympics. “We didn’t expect anything like what you have witnessed to occur. I’m at a loss for words. This is an insult to the Olympic vision, an insult to the spirit of taekwondo and, in my opinion, an insult to mankind”, said Yang Jin-suk (World Taekwondo Federation secretary). Angel won a gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games in 2000.

In Atlanta in 1996, the Cuban’s women’s volleyball team quarreled with the Brazilian team during the semi-finals. This is why Regla Radameris Torres Herrera, who has received several offers to become a top fashion model in Italy, was suspended and could not play for several months. Cuban players of women’s volleyball are famous for their aggressiveness against rivals.

Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor Sanabria will be remembered as one of the worst examples in the world sports community. In 1988, Prensa Latina -Cuban news agency- announced that in its annual poll of sportswriters Javier Sotomayor was named “Cuban Athlete of the Year”. He beat out Felix Savon (boxing), Jorge Fis (Judo), and Ana Fidelia Quirot (track & field). Javier, known as “Soto”, was one of the most successful athletes in the history of the Cuban Revolution.

On September 8, 1988, Javier -whose country had boycotted the Summer Olympics in 1988- set a world record in the high jump. A year later he set another world record (2.45 m / 8′ 1/2″). Under the direction of Jose Godoy, a Soviet-educated professor, he won almost all his competitions in the 1990s.

In 2001, Javier Sotomayor, in one of a series of exhibitions tournaments, tested positive for a muscle-building steroid. “The decision to let him compete again is like a hit in my face”, said Arne Ljungqvist (vice president of the IAAF).Two years ago, Javier also had tested positive for drugs at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg (Canada). However, he had been exonerated by the Cuban Olympic Committee. Furthermore, Fidel Castro Ruz -Cuba’s dictator- denied that Javier had taken cocaine. In an article in Granma (Communist party daily), Javier said ” I’m innocent. I have only seen that substance in the movies. I´m the victim of maneuver, a dirty trick”.

Unlike Ben Johnson and Linford Christie, Javier received a special treatment by the IAAF. He was banned by the IAAF for only 11 months. Thanks to this, Javier Sotomayor could compete at the 2000 Olympics, where he won a silver medal. Three European countries, Norway, Finland and Denmark, criticized this controversial decision. “If you test positive and get suspended, you shouldn’t get a reduced sentence just because you’re a famous track athlete”, said Patrick Sjoberg, a former world record holder in men’s high jump.

2. Myanmar- Sports & Dictatorships

Olympic sport can unify a country like Myanmar -an Asian country which has many ethnic conflicts. However, it -pop. 52 million- has one of the world’s worst Olympic teams. In the last fifty years, three dictatorships have destroyed the Olympic spirit in this land of friendly people. For unknown reasons, Myanmar did not compete at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Canada. In 1980, Sue Khin finished in 47th place in the marathon at the Moscow Summer Games. Four years later, Myanmar -it officially changed its name from Burma in 1989- sent 1 athlete (boxer) to Los Angeles (USA). In 1996, Myanmar was represented by only 3 athletes (athletics and shooting).

At the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar, Myanmar finished 27th in the unofficial team standings (behind China, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Jordan, Lebanon, etc). In an interview, Khin Maung Lwin, secretary of the Myanmese Olympic Committee, said “Our NOC has worked in close collaboration with the respective national sports federations to make all the necessary preparations for participation in Doha 2006. We have selected the athletes who showed their best form and achieved top results from that 23rd SEA Games for the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006. As a founding member of the Asian Games Federation in 1949 and the Olympic Council of Asia, we believe the Asian Games is a very important tool for the development of the youth of Asia and for the promotion of international respect, friendly and goodwill…”

3. Albania – Enver Hoxha’s Legacy

What is the reason why Albania does not produce world-class athletes? Albania is well-known for its indifference to sports. It is one of the few European countries that have not Olympic champions. Albania was one of the most unsuccessful countries at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the People’s Republic of China.

Like Mao Tse-tung (Chinese dictator, 1949-1976) and Pol Pot (Cambodian tyrant, 1975-1979), Enver Hoxha did not support friendly relations with the International Olympic Committee. From 1950 to 1985, Enver Hoxha -one of the bloodiest dictators of the 20th century- gained a reputation as an anti-Olympic leader in the world. During his Maoist dictatorship, Albania boycotted seven Olympic Games (Rome ’60, Tokyo ’64, Mexico City ’68, Montreal ’76, Moscow ’80, Los Angeles ’84, Seoul ’88), seven Mediterranean Games (Beirut ’59, Naples ’63, Tunis ’67, Izmir ’71, Algiers ’75, Split ’79, Casablanca ’83) and other international events (Winter Games, World University Games, World championships, European tournaments). In 1985, two weightlifters had defected to Yugoslavia (currently Serbia).

Since 1991, the new government does not have interest in sports and recreation. This European nation is losing its best athletes, who are choosing to live abroad, and not returning to Albania. Many Greeks athletes have Albanian descent: Leonidas Sampani (weightlifting), Sawa Lika (track and field), Pyrro Dimas (weightlifting / Olympic champion, 1992, 1996, 2000), Mirela Manjani (athletics). At the World Championships in 2003, Mirela won a gold medal. Albania has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1959.

4.Taiwan is not Ethiopia

Who was the last world-class athlete of Taiwan? Her name: Chi Cheng (1959-1972). This Olympic ambassador has been called “the Eastern Flying antelope”. At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, in October, she, who studied and trained in California, won a bronze medal in the 80 meter low hurdles. Two years later, she broken the world records in the 100m (11,00 seconds) and 200m (22,44 seconds) in July 1970, but she failed in the Olympic Games in 1972. Unexpectedly, she had an injury. Chi Cheng was the favorite to win the gold medal in the 200m. To prepare for the Munich Games, she competed in Asia, Europe and the United States. In 1972, she announced that she was retiring from athletics. In 1971, she was elected “World Athlete of the Year” by the Associated Press. In this election, she beat Edson Arantes do Nascimento, one of the greatest athletes of all time. Since 1972, Taiwan continues to celebrate Chi Cheng’s world records.

Unfortunately, Taiwan can not produce world-class athletes.

This Asian country -also known as ROC, Chinese Taipei, Republic of China on Taiwan or Free China- has 10,000 stadiums, 1,850 swimming pools, 1,420 tennis courts, 14,252 sports parks, more than 762 gymnasiums, nearly 9,100 basketball and handball courts, and 87 cycling tracks. With more than double the budget of Jamaica, Ethiopia and North Korea, Taiwan only has won two gold medals (1960-2008). At the 1996 Games, Chinese-Taipei sent 71 athletes and won one silver medal (tennis table).

They have not learnt the experience of South Korea, whose athletes have won 85 gold medals-its best unconventional diplomacy in the world. A good example for a country which does not have full diplomatic relations with 180 nations. Chinese Taipei -one of the developing world’s most successful democracies- is only recognized by 23 countries: Belize, Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gambia, Guatemala, Holy See, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Sao Tome & Principe, Swaziland, Tuvalu.

5. Iceland- A country without Olympic Champions

Iceland – a nation in the North Atlantic near the Arctic Circle- has never won an Olympic medal in the Winter Games. It is one of the oldest Olympic countries in the world (IOC member since 1921). Ranked by the United Nations as one of the richest countries in the world, Iceland has several sports facilities- indoor stadiums, winter Olympic arenas, sports parks and swimming pools. Many people can not believe that one of the richest nations in Europe can not win a winter Olympic medal. Unlike Iceland, Liechtenstein -an area the size of District of Columbia- has won two Olympic titles and 58 World championships. Iceland -it is slightly larger than South Korea- took part in 15 editions of the Winter Games between 1948 and 2006. Glíma, a traditional wrestling, is the national sport of Iceland.

References

-Agacino, Ricardo. “30 años”, Cuba Internacional, Habana, diciembre de 1988
-Almanaque Deportivo Mundial 1976, editorial America, Panama,
1976 – “Castro defends fighter facing ban”, The Miami Herald, August 26 2008
-Encyclopaedia Britannica Book of the Year: 1977, 1981, 1984, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago
-The World Almanac and Book of Facts: 1975-2007, The World Almanac Books, New York
-Guevara Onofre, Alejandro. Enciclopedia Mundototal, editorial San Marcos, Lima, 1999
——–”La silenciosa caída del deporte cubano” (The silent fall of the Cuban sport ). Lima, 5 de septiembre del 2005
-Human Development Reports: 1996-2007
-Martinez Perez , Pedro. “Desarrollo deportivo en Cuba”, Granma, Habana, 28 de mayo de 1978
-The Republic of China Yearbook. Taiwan 2002
-Urbano, Fernando.”Del Batos a Montreal”, Cuba Internacional, Habana, junio de 1978
——”Derecho al deporte”, Cuba Internacional, Habana, julio de 1976
-2004 Athens Official Report Volume 1, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, 2005
-2000 Sydney Official Report Volume 2, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, 2001
-1984 Los Angeles Official Report Volume 2, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, 1985
-1980 Moscow Official Report Volume 2, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, 1981
-1976 Montreal Official Report Volume 1, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, 1977

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World Record Bench Press – How Much Did They Press?

If you came in here for some world record bench press weights, you are just going to be blown away as the numbers are just mind boggling. Bench press weights are a standard of measure when it comes to bodybuilder strength.

One is considered to be a superior bodybuilder is they are able to bench more than another. There are many different ways in which a world record bench press is evaluated. Some will not do drug testing while some will do drug testing.

Without much further fuss, here are the amazing numbers. You should not assume them to be typos as they are not. I will make sure that I type them out right.

World record bench press – Without testing for drugs

The world records goes to Ryan Kennelly who bench pressed an astonishing 1,050lbs. Yes, let that sink in for a minute. Over 1,000 pounds bench pressed in fully equipped bench press equipment.

World record bench press – With testing for drugs

The world record in this category goes to Scot Mendelson who achieved the feat way back in 2005 in an APF competition. His number came in at 715 lbs and it was a raw press in the sense that no special equipment was used.

Other notable records

World bench press records are not always about lifting the heaviest weights. Ratios come into play as well. The record in this category went to Andrzej Stanaszek who weighed just 110 lbs on the day of the competition. By the way, for those who are curious about the really low body weight, you should know that Andrzej was a small person with dwarfed growth from birth. That didn’t however stop him from lifting a mammoth 391 lbs. That is almost 4 times his body weight. If you look at Kennelly who lifted more than 1,000lbs, he is well in excess of 200lbs in terms of body weight. Thus, it can be said that Andrzej lifted almost the same weight as Kennelly.

Records aside, you will probably not want to get anywhere close to the numbers just mentioned here. The reason is because you will have to look like a real meat head to be able to lift these kinds of weights. Most guys would rather lift a lot less if they look angular and toned in terms of their body definition. Getting strong muscles that will also look angular will require unconventional workouts that you will not find being done at most gyms. You will only find it at niche muscle building sites such as the ones mentioned in the link below.

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