Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This Day in History - August 9! - Owens wins his 4th gold medal

August 9, 1936 - Berlin's Olympic Stadium hosts one of the most dramatic and politically significant events in Olympic history. No expense was spared by Adolf Hitler to promote the games in Nazi terms of Aryan racial superiority. But Ohio State's Jesse Owens confounded the Fuhrer's dogma. Hitler had referred to Blacks as an inferior race. Owens looked far from inferior when he won the 100 and 200 meters, the long jump and a relay. He and several other Black teammates forced a humiliated Hitler to excuse himself from the stadium to avoid having to congratulate them. In their strong showing in track-and-field events at the XIth Olympiad, Jesse Owens and other African American athletes struck a propaganda blow against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who planned to use the Berlin Games as a showcase of supposed Aryan superiority.

Born the son of Alabama sharecroppers in 1913, Owens emerged as a major track talent while attending high school in Cleveland, Ohio. Later, at Ohio State University, he demonstrated himself to be one of the greatest athletes in the world. In a single day of competition--May 25, 1935--Owens broke the world records for the 220-yard dash, the 220-yard low hurdles, and the running broad jump, and equaled the world record for the 100-yard dash. The next summer, Owens and 311 other American athletes, including 17 African Americans, traveled to Nazi Germany to represent the United States at the XIth Olympiad.

In 1931, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1936 Summer Olympics to Berlin. The choice was meant to signal Germany's return to the world community after defeat in World War I. Two years later, however, Adolf Hitler came to power. Seen as an opportunity to advance Nazi ideology, Hitler provided extensive funding for the Berlin Games, which promised to be the largest modern Olympics to date. On August 1, 1936, Adolf Hitler opened the XIth Olympiad. The Olympic ritual of a runner arriving bearing a torch carried by relay from Olympia, Greece, occurred for the first time. The Nazis advertised this ceremony as a symbol of the myth that German civilization was the inheritor of the glorified culture of ancient Greece.

With 348 athletes, Germany had the largest national team and captured the most medals overall, greatly pleasing Hitler. The Americans, however, dominated the popular track-and-field events. On the first day of competition, Hitler, who had been congratulating German and select other winners, left the stadium shortly after three African Americans swept the high-jump event. Whether Hitler left to avoid shaking hands with non-Aryans is unclear. In the aftermath of the incident, Olympic organizers asked Hitler to either receive all the medal winners or none, and he chose the latter.

Although only 23, Jesse Owens retired from amateur competition shortly after the Berlin Olympics in order to capitalize on his fame. This effectively brought his athletic career to an end. He later engaged in boys'-guidance activities, made goodwill visits to Asia for the U.S. Department of State, and served as secretary of the Illinois State Athletic Commission. He died in 1980.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Arkansas River White Water Rafting - Weekend Trip

Arkansas Valley Adventurers – is a Colorado based outdoor adventure company, offering a wide range of activities, from rafting to fishing to camping and many more.

This past weekend, Saturday early morning we started driving through the US 285 South towards this adventure, expecting a great rafting experience ahead on a day with excellent weather. The rest was fun.

We opted for class 3 rafting that was moderately difficult with irregular waves, often narrow channels, maneuvering to avoid obstacles required. In a solid mindset of reaching there on time my friend was driving his Mitsubishi at around 140 Kmph, which means, we actually started our adventure on the road right from the moment we left for the valley. I must say he is a super driver and I kind of got a feeling what they feel while on the F1 tracks.

While the river was not really new to me as I used to go for swimming in the river near by my place back in India, this experience was definitely new as it was pretty cold white water with shallow streams and a number of rapids to paddle on. We were 5 on the boat and plus our guide, who taught us the basics of rafting, shared a lot of her experience with us. All credit goes to her for what we learnt on that day.

So, started paddling at around 11 in the morning, we stopped after an hour for lunch in a nearby camping place. After a break of 45 minutes, we resumed and were really looking for the rapids. When we finished in the evening at around 4.30 PM in the evening, we had covered about 14 miles of rafting on the Arkansas River.

Arkansas River is going to be closed for rafting because of the predicted heavy rains in the mountains and we were just lucky enough to have made this trip just before getting disappointed to know that it is going to be closed in another 10 days.

We had a lot of fun moments, and one of them is jumping from a rock that is ten feet off the water level, and I, looking for a place to jump and swim, just grabbed the opportunity and had fun. We had life jackets on and it was supposed to be and actually a safe jump and all of us had our share of fun jumping into the cold water.

I, along with my friends, am now looking for a class 4 rafting with some extra bit of adventure and hoping to make it in the near future. If they are going to close the river, then we would have to wait till next summer.

There is a world of adventure and we discovered it a little bit, rafting the Colorado Mountain's best white water rivers.

Please visit this link for a few photos.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Software War..

A graphic map depicting the epic struggle of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) against the Empire of Microsoft.

Please See the copyright information on the upper right corner of the image before you use it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The History Channel Screensaver

Those who love history and have passion and curiosity to know the past, would not like to miss this screensaver provided by the History Channel INDIA.

It has pictures of many historical symbols ranging from the great German scientist Albert Einstein to the infamous criminal Al Capone, travels from the Egyptian pyramids to the present day The Louvre, Showing the ancient Greek Olympic Sprint event to the today’s Football and Adam & Eve, etc.

The History Channel truly dedicates itself to the history, facilitated by its exclusive access to the vast library of the world’s best historical and factual programming offering a high standard of quality in both production value and research.

Anyone who has the passion about history will not disagree with me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The world's libraries ...

The world's libraries store more than a 100 million original volumes, 24 million of those in the US Library of Congress. alone stores 2,5 million books. Yet, sadly, 2 billion people around the world still cannot read

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Mercedes cars are named after an Austrian girl...

Came across this interesting piece of information while surfing the net..

Did you know that the Mercedes cars are named after an Austrian girl...?

In 1897, Austrian businessman Emil Jellinek, travelled from his home in Nice, France to purchase a car from the Daimler factory in Cannstatt, Germany. On his return to the French Riviera, his sporting Daimler Phoenix caused such a sensation that he decided to enter it into a local touring competition, under the name of "Mercedes" after his favourite 9 year old daughter. Realising the business potential for the new car, he not only placed an order for 36 more, but also secured the franchise for selling them in several countries. Gottlieb Daimler also agreed to having them sold under the name of "Mercedes."

The Mercedes trade name was registered after Daimler's death in 1900 and the 3-pointed star became the trade mark. Daimler had once drawn the emblem on a postcard to his wife, the star symbolising the growth of the business into transport on land, sea and air.

For Karl Benz, a name for his automobile was simple: he enclosed his name in a cogwheel to exemplify the solidness of his engineering works at Mannheim. The cogwheel later became a laurel wreath.

After the First World War the Daimler and Benz companies worked closer together, generally advertising on the same posters. They amalgamated in 1926, combining the laurel wreath and 3-pointed star as their trade mark.

Interestingly, although Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz were two of the major pioneers in the automotive industry, they probably never met, even though they lived only 100km (60 miles) from each other in Germany. Daimler passed away in 1900. Daimler-Benz amalgamated in 1926.

Mercedes Jellinek, after whom Mercedes cars are named.

Gottlieb Daimler (1834 - 1900) founded the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in 1890, and also introduced the world's first motorcycle, pickup truck and taxi.

Karl Benz (1844 - 1929) founded Benz & Co in 1883 with Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Esslinger.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Zidane speaks out ...

This is a transcript from AM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 08:00 on ABC Local Radio

TONY EASTLEY: It became one of the defining moments of the World Cup final - French captain Zinedine Zidane head-butting an Italian opponent, knocking him to the ground. Now the French football star has finally spoken out about what prompted his sending off in the final. The former captain says he doesn't regret his actions, claiming that his mother and sister were repeatedly insulted by the Italian player.

Europe Correspondent Rafael Epstein.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Once the world's most expensive footballer, he was voted the best in the world, and in 1998's World Cup victory the working class Muslim with Algerian parents exemplified the multicultural success that France wants to be.

But he knows his actions in the weekend final not only overshadowed Italy's victory, they threaten to blemish his reputation as one of the world's best ever soccer players.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE (translated): "I would like to say loud and clear, because it was seen by two or three billion people on television and by millions of children who saw this, I apologise. And I say this very clearly.

But I cannot regret what I did, because that would suggest that he was right."

More on...

You can also listen to the story in


P.S: I'm yet to recover from the shock that the world's best soccer player was sent off in the world cup final with a red card. I would like to belive Zidane was really frustrated with Materazzi's comments and hence he just did what he did on that fateful day.

We may not see Zidane again on the field but his golden goals are always a witness to this amazing player.