Quote of the Day: “No one is easier to fool than the man who is convinced that he is right.” -Haruki Murakami 1Q84
Nov16

Quote of the Day: “No one is easier to fool than the man who is convinced that he is right.” -Haruki Murakami 1Q84

Photo cred: http://artsfuse.org/45826/fuse-book-review-haruki-murakami-marathon-storyteller/ Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹 Murakami Haruki?, born January 12, 1949) is a contemporary Japanese writer. Murakami has been translated into 50 languages and his best-selling books have sold millions of copies. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his oeuvre received among others the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). Murakami’s most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-1995), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–2010). He has also translated a number of English works into Japanese, from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger. Murakami’s fiction, still[3] criticized by Japan’s literary establishment as un-Japanese, was influenced by Western writers from Chandler to Vonnegut by way of Brautigan. It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the “recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness”[4] he weaves into his narratives. He is also considered an important figure in postmodern literature. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as “among the world’s greatest living novelists” for his works and achievements. Biography Murakami was born in Japan during the post–World War II baby boom. Although born in Kyoto, he spent his youth in Shukugawa (Nishinomiya), Ashiya and Kobe. His father was the son of a Buddhist priest, and his mother the daughter of an Osaka merchant.Both taught Japanese literature. Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a wide range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brautigan and Jack Kerouac. These Western influences distinguish Murakami from other Japanese writers. Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was at a record store, much like Toru Watanabe, the narrator of Norwegian Wood. Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened a coffeehouse and jazz bar, the Peter Cat, in Kokubunji, Tokyo, which he ran with his wife from 1974 to 1981—again, not unlike the protagonist in his later novel South of the Border, West of the Sun. Murakami is a serious marathon runner and triathlon enthusiast, though he did not start running until he was 33 years old. On June 23, 1996, he completed his first ultramarathon, a 100-kilometer race around Lake Saroma in Hokkaido, Japan. He discusses his relationship with running in his 2008 memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Writing career Murakami began writing fiction when he...

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This Amazing Algae Farm Absorbs Highway Air Pollution
Nov16

This Amazing Algae Farm Absorbs Highway Air Pollution

Algae are amazing and very diverse plant-like microorganisms. Some of the species may contaminate the marine environment, when the colonies of algae grow out of control and release toxins into the ocean. Other species can be used to produce highly efficient biofuel and alimentary products. Some can even be harmful to the human brain, infecting it with a virus that can slow down the cognitive functions. This interesting microorganism inspired a group of Dutch and French designers, who proposed to set up an algae farm on top of a highway in Switzerland. At first sight this idea may seem odd, but, in fact, it is a brilliant way to filter the pollution in the urban areas, simply because the algae produce huge amounts of oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process of growth. The international design team called Cloud Collective presented their concept at a recent garden festival in Geneva, which was aimed to adorn the urban landscape with a touch of nature. The idea was to build an algae farm that would use sunlight together with the emissions of carbon dioxide from cars to produce oxygen and thus purify the air in the polluted urban areas. “We focus on the character of the site and try to prove that even these locations of highways and car dealers – despite their anonymous and generic character – can play an important role in the production of food and biomass,” write the Cloud Collective designers in their website. “The functioning and the placement of this bioreactor signals practices of the future: food production in an urban environment, the conservation of green space and the reinterpretation of existing infrastructures.” The system works in quite a simple way: the algae are cultivated inside long transparent tubes equipped with pumps, filters and solar panels, which help the process of maturation. Once the algae are fully matured, they can be used as raw material for a number of different products, such as medications, nutrients, cosmetics and biofuel. We can only hope that designers all over the world will get inspired by this amazing concept and will come up with new ideas on how to transform their cities into better, healthier and greener environments. You can learn more about how the system works from this video: Source:...

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Touching Reunion Between Mama Elephant and Her Baby
Nov16

Touching Reunion Between Mama Elephant and Her Baby

In a Kenyan national park near Mount Kilimanjaro, an elephant calf of about 8 months old fell into a man-made well with about a foot of water in it. Unfortunately, the elephant was too small to crawl out of it, leaving her and her mother in a frantic state. Luckily, a team from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, a non-profit organization that works to conserve Africa’s Elephants, stepped in to help. They managed to catch the encounter on video, so you’re now able to witness the touching series of events yourself. The encounter began with a clearly very upset mother elephant who was devastated over her baby being trapped in a well. The Amboseli team ushered the elephant away from her child, using their vehicles to deter her a few yards away until she finally turned her back and retreated. With the mother safely out of the way, it would be easier to save the elephant. Two men surrounded the hole where the calf was, armed with a long rope that was attached to the car. The woman in the vehicle, Vicki Fishlock, explained that their plan was to pull the elephant out of the hole using the rope. Apparently, all they had to do was get the rope underneath the elephant and then use the SUV to pull her out. However, this was much easier said than done. They attempted to bring the calf to the shallower side of the well, presuming that it’d be easier to save her that way, but they didn’t have much success. Fishlock clarified that the elephant wanted to be on the side closest to her mother, explaining, “the trouble is that her mother is calling from that side, and that was the way her mum went, so she knows that she’s over there”. The two men persisted in trying to maneuver the rope underneath the elephant, all while the calf continued to be in distress, letting out a heartbreaking cry. Fishlock waited in the car and watched their efforts until they finally signaled that she could reverse. She reversed the SUV, trying to pull the elephant baby out, but failed on the first attempt. She approached the calf again in the car, watching as the two men attempted to get the rope in the right position again, which was not an easy feat. Fishlock explained, “what they’re trying to do is get the rope under the tail as best. The trouble is the water’s so deep in the bottom that it floats on the surface and we can’t get the rope low enough.” But they finally found the right position, and Fishlock...

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NFL Star Quits Football to Build Free Farm and Feed Hungry People
Nov16

NFL Star Quits Football to Build Free Farm and Feed Hungry People

NFL star Jason Brown has quit playing football professionally, and now spends his days as a farmer, who harvests free food for the hungry. Jason Brown was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, and played college football at North Carolina. On February 28, 2009, Brown signed a five-year deal with the St. Louis Rams that was worth $37.5 million, and included a $20 million guarantee. At the time, the deal made Brown the highest paid center in the NFL. On March 12, 2012, he was released by the Rams and decided to take a new direction in his life. After he left football, Brown purchased a 1,030 acre farm near Louisburg, N.C, where he harvests food for the hungry. Last weekend, Brown gave away 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, in addition to the 10,000 pounds of cucumbers that he has already given away. “You look over a sweet potato field and you don’t see a crop, the vines are kind of wilting. There is nothing there to pick. You’ve got to have faith. I went out to plow up the potatoes last week and looked behind the tractor. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything quite as beautiful as those big brown potatoes lying everywhere,” Brown told a local journalist. Source:http://www.trueactivist.com/nfl-star-quits-football-to-build-free-farm-and-feed-hungry-people/ Photo Source:...

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18 Rules of Living by the Dalai Lama
Nov10

18 Rules of Living by the Dalai Lama

At the turn of this century, the Dalai Lama issued the following eighteen rules for living. Of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected. One such type arises from the conflict of ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family. We must remember that the different religions, ideologies, and political systems of the world are meant for human beings to achieve happiness. We must not lose sight of this fundamental goal and at no time should we place means above ends; the supremacy of humanity over matter and ideology must always be maintained. By far the greatest single danger facing humankind – in fact, all living beings on our planet – is the threat of nuclear destruction. I need not elaborate on this danger, but I would like to appeal to all the leaders of the nuclear powers who literally hold the future of the world in their hands, to the scientists and technicians who continue to create these awesome weapons of destruction, and to all the people at large who are in a position to influence their leaders: I appeal to them to exercise their sanity and begin to work at dismantling and destroying all nuclear weapons. We know that in the event of a nuclear war there will be no victors because there will be no survivors! Is it not frightening just to contemplate such inhuman and heartless destruction? And, is it not logical that we should remove the cause for our own destruction when we know the cause and have both the time and the means to do so? Often we cannot overcome our problems because we either do not know the cause or, if we understand it, do not have the means to remove it. This is not the case with the nuclear threat. ~ Dalai Lama At the turn of this century, the Dalai Lama issued the following eighteen rules for living. Rule 1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk. Rule 2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson Rule 3. Follow the three Rs: 1. Respect for self 2. Respect for others 3. Responsibility for all your actions. Rule 4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. Rule 5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. Rule 6. Don’t let a...

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