Friday, July 4, 2014

Australia’s Highway 1

Highway 1 is Australia’s coastal road, you will be able to start from anywhere and end up back where you started. This road is over 24,000kms which makes it the longest national highway in the world and as a road trip definitely not for the faint of heart.


Throughout the 24,000 kms the quality of the road varies to a great degree. In most sections it consists of a Dual Carriageway, but in the cities it can be upgraded to a motorway and in some more rural areas it is little more than a dirt track.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko

Two hundred and fifty one years have passed since in February 1746, in the Eastern territories of the Kingdom of Poland, the man to whom these words are addressed was born. The man who was to become the symbol of alliance between countries so distant in space yet so close in their love of freedom.


A cadet of the Military Academy in Warsaw, an outstanding, educated in France engineer - strategist, a hero of the U.S. War of Independence, the commander-in-chief of the only Polish uprising to be named after its leader - Kosciuszko Rising.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko. This - how difficult for them a name - the American people have imprinted in gold onto the pages recording the dramatic history of the struggle for independence. History spanning the time from the moment when on October 18th 1776 the Leader of the Congress signed - with the words "... with great faith and trust in tour patriotism, virtues and loyalty ..." - Kosciuszko's nomination for the colonel of the American Army, till the day of November 25th, 1783 when General Kosciuszko accompanied the Commander-in-Chief George Washington on his triumphant return to New York.


On the great map of the United States of America there still shine with the glare of victory and faithful memory the battlefields where Kosciuszko fought. Saratoga - regarded as the "turning point" in the history of the War of Independence, fortified by "the young Polish engineer" that won the words of highest esteem from Horatio Gates, his commander.

West Point - the stronghold called by Washington "the most important post in America" where Tadeusz Kosciuszko, in the words of that supreme commander, had "chief direction and superintendence". The Yadkin and Dan rivers in North Carolina and Virginia where the crossing directed by Kosciuszko twice rescued the army from the enemy, compelling its commander, General Nathaneal Greene to call his chief engineer "one of the most helpful and congenial companions", stressing his "perseverance, determination, indefatigable efforts" as well as his "incomparable modesty".

"From one man we can have but one life" - wrote about Kosciuszko President Thomas Jefferson ' "and you gave us the most valuable and active part of yours, and we are now enjoying and improving its effects. Every sound American, sincere votary of freedom loves and honors you...".

The New York bridge that bears the name of Tadeusz Kosciuszko is crowned at the top with the emblems of both our states. They differ in shape but the symbol is the same. An eagle. American and Polish.


Tadeusz Kosciuszko came from a family of small landed gentry. He attended the Cadet School and in 1770 left for Paris to continue his studies. There, he became acquainted with the progressive ideology of the French Enlightenment. Poland was undergoing the first partition of 1772 when Kosciuszko was in France. In 1776 Kosciuszko left for America and took part in the fight for the freedom of the North American colonies.

Back in Poland in 1784, Kosciuszko helped organize the Polish Army which was enlarged by provisions contained in the statutes of the Four-Year Seym and participated in the 1792 war against Russia.

An armed insurrection broke out in Poland in 1794. Kosciuszko returned to the country and was appointed commander-in-chief of the armed forces with powers of a dictator.


On March 24th Kosciuszko took his oath in Cracow: "I swear to the whole Polish nation that I shall not use the power vested in me for private oppression but that I shall exercise this power only in the defense of the whole of the frontiers and to regain the independence of the Nation and to establish universal freedom". Wishing to draw the peasant masses into the fight for liberty, Kosciuszko proclaimed what is called the Po³aniec Universal in which he abolished serfdom, reduced the corvee - or unpaid labour for the lord - and freed peasants who served in the army from this duty.

After several victorious battles in October, 1794, the Polish forces suffered a defeat at Maciejowice. The commander, heavily wounded in the field, was taken prisoner. Kosciuszko remained in Russia as a prisoner until 1796. After his release Kosciuszko lived in the West.

Kosciuszko died in Switzerland in 1817. his body was brought to Poland and laid to rest in the royal crypt at Wawel Castle.

"The effusion of friendship and my warmest toward you which not time will alter. Your principles and dispositions were made to be honored, revered and loved. True to a single object, the freedom and happiness of man..." - so wrote the President of the United States Thomas Jefferson to his friend, American and Polish army general Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

Pope Pius IX -Longest-reigning elected pope

Pope Pius IX (13 May 1792 – 7 February 1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, reigned from 16 June 1846 to his death in 1878. He was the longest-reigning elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church — over 31 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council (1869-1870), which decreed papal infallibility, but the council was cut short due to the loss of the Papal States. Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, meaning that Mary was conceived without original sin. Pius IX also granted the Marian title of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a famous Byzantine icon from Crete entrusted to the Redemptorist priests


He was also the last pope to rule as the Sovereign of the Papal States, which fell completely to Italian nationalist armies in 1870 and were incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. After this, he was referred to - chiefly by himself - as the "Prisoner of the Vatican". After his death in 1878, his canonization process was opened on 11 February 1907 by Pope Pius X and it drew considerable controversy over the years. It was closed on several occasions during the pontificates of Pope Benedict XV and Pope Pius XI. On 7 December 1954, Pope Pius XII re-opened the cause and Pope John Paul II proclaimed him Venerable on 6 July 1985. He was beatified after the recognition of a miracle on 3 September 2000 together with Pope John XXIII, and was assigned the liturgical feast day of February 7 which is the date of his death.

Batu Caves

Batu Caves is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in the Gombak district, 13 kilometres (8 mi) north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows past the hill. Batu Caves is also the name of the nearby village. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.

Map picture



The limestone forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old. Some of the cave entrances were used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people (a tribe of Orang Asli).

As early as 1860, Chinese settlers began excavating guano for fertilising their vegetable patches. However, they became famous only after the limestone hills were recorded by colonial authorities including Daly and Syers as well as American Naturalist, William Hornaday in 1878.

Batu Caves was promoted as a place of worship by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader. He was inspired by the 'vel'-shaped entrance of the main cave and was inspired to dedicate a temple to Lord Murugan within the caves. In 1890, Pillai, who also founded the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur, installed the murti (consecrated statue) of Sri Murugan Swami in what is today known as the Temple Cave. Since 1892, the Thaipusam festival in the Tamil month of Thai (which falls in late January/early February) has been celebrated there.

Wooden steps up to the Temple Cave were built in 1920 and have since been replaced by 272 concrete steps. Of the various cave temples that comprise the site, the largest and best known is the Temple or Cathedral Cave, so named because it houses several Hindu shrines beneath its high vaulted ceiling




Batu-Caves-Malaysia Batu-interior

Indians in Mars One Project

Mars One is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands that has put forward conceptual plans to establish a permanent human colony on Mars by 2025. The private spaceflight project is led by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, who announced plans for the Mars One mission in May 2012.


Mars One's current concept includes launching four carefully selected applicants in a Mars-bound spaceflight in 2024, to become the first residents of Mars, and that every step of the crew’s journey will be documented for a reality television program.

What is the Ratio of Applicants



What’s the latest update

Forty-four Indians, including 17 women, are among 705 aspirants shortlisted for an ambitious private mission to send four people on a planned one-way trip to Mars in 2024 to colonies the red planet. The Netherlands-based non-profit organization Mars One announced that 353 hopefuls from around the world have been eliminated from the selection programme to become the first human Mars colonists. The number of people remaining in this “once in many lifetimes opportunity” is now just 705, including 44 Indians of whom 27 are men and 17 are women.

The Indian aspirants come from cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram.

The applicants came from over 140 countries and more than 20,000 Indians had applied for the first round. The remaining candidates will be interviewed by the Mars One selection committee.

“We’re incredibly excited to start the next phase of Round 2, where we begin to better understand our candidates who aspire to take such a daring trip. They will have to show their knowledge, intelligence, adaptability and personality,” Mars One Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft, said.

The 418 men and 287 women who successfully completed both tasks will be invited for a personal interview. 313 candidates originally come from the Americas, 187 from Europe, 136 from Asia, 41 from Africa, and 28 from Oceania. The group of candidates that will not continue to the interview round dropped out due to personal reasons and medical reasons.

“The withdrawals due to personal reasons were mostly in the age group 40-50. Candidates who had to withdraw from their dream due to medical reasons were mostly in the age group of 20-35,” Mars One said.

“What really left an impression with us is the fact that the medical tests turned out to have a major impact on the candidate’s lives, as some of them found out that they needed to undergo an operation, were sick and needed medical attention, or even had a malignant form of cancer that otherwise would not have been detected in such an early stage,” Kraft said.

After the interview round, the group of candidates will be narrowed down to several international teams consisting of two women and two men. These teams of prospective Mars settlers will be prepared for the mission by participating full time in an extensive training programme. Training to go to Mars will be their full time job. Whole teams and individuals might be selected out during training when they prove not to be suitable for the mission. Mars One will repeat the selection process regularly to train additional teams to replace eliminated teams and crews of settlers that have successfully left Earth to live on Mars. Ultimately, six teams of four people will be selected to train from 2015 to 2024, leading up to the final four who will make the historic one-way trip to Mars.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bruce Castle

Bruce Castle (formerly the Lordship House) is a Grade I listed 16th-century[1] manor house in Lordship Lane, Tottenham, London. It is named after the House of Bruce who formerly owned the land on which it is built. Believed to stand on the site of an earlier building, about which little is known, the current house is one of the oldest surviving English brick houses. It was re-modelled in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Map picture

The house has been home to Sir William Compton, the Barons Coleraine and Sir Rowland Hill, among others. After serving as a school during the 19th century, when a large extension was built to the west, it was converted into a museum exploring the history of the areas which constitute the present London Borough of Haringey and, on the strength of its connection with Sir Rowland Hill, the history of the Royal Mail. The building also houses the archives of the London Borough of Haringey. Since 1892 the grounds have been a public park, Tottenham's oldest.


Bruce Castle - tower

Bruce Castle carnival map