World Trip on the footsteps of Darwin


The voyage of the HMS Beagle has been described as the most important journey ever made. During his travels, Charles Darwin gathered information and knowledge that would drastically change the way we look at the world. With his book “On the Origin of Species” (1859) Darwin would be the first to explain that life on earth is not created by God, but rather developed by evolution. To celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th birth year, and the 150th anniversary of his publication of “On the Origin of Species”, VPRO is preparing a 40-part series called Beagle: On the future of species. The project will reconstruct Darwin’s 5-year long voyage on the HMS Beagle in the course of one year, and make an attempt to assess where the world stands today in light of Darwin’s evolution theory. Life on earth is under continual change. Is there reason to worry about the future? Can science offer us sufficient answers to some of our most compelling questions? Are we leaving behind an inhabitable world for future generations?

Beagle will take viewers on a journey across magnificent landscapes, vulnerable regions, endangered areas and adventurous locations, stretching from Patagonia to the South Pacific, and from Australia to St. Helena. En route one recurrent question will be asked: “Will the earth survive mankind?” Our VPRO-Beagle ship is an experiment in itself. This three mast sailing ship will be rigged with advanced scientific measurement equipment. Scientists from various disciplines and from all over the world will execute experiments on board this sailing science lab. The ship also has a built-in TV studio from which parts of the series will be produced and broadcast.

Beagle has strong interactive components. All scientific findings made during the journey can be closely watched on VPRO’s Beagle website, and will be broadcast by both radio and television; personal journals and video logs about life on board will be made by the producers, the sailing crew, and by guests on board. These will be updated on a daily basis. The route of the entire voyage can be closely followed by viewers on the internet. Beagle is a documentary series (2 parts covering a whole year), shedding light on topics ranging from bird migration to slavery, from marine biology to astronomy, and from newly discovered species to extinct tribes. The series will be as much a personalized story featuring some of Darwin’s descendents, as an adventurous encounter with today’s avid environmentalists. Darwin’s journey and research in the nineteenth century will lead this modern-day, year-long endeavor in its effort to monitor the world in light of the evolution theory in 2009. More informations here.


12 July: Engadin Cycling Marathon


Welcome to the largest road bike event in the Canton of Graubünden. On 12 July 2009, there are once again two courses to choose from: the short course takes riders via Livigno and the Bernina Pass back to Zernez (97 km and 1,325 m altitude difference). The long course takes riders via Zernez, like the “short one”, via the Flüela Pass to Davos and then back via the Albula Pass to the finish (211 km and 3,827 m altitude difference) in Zernez. This way, all participants ride the “little” course and everyone gets to decide when crossing Zernez if they still want to tack on the “big” course. The starting gun for both distances goes of on Sunday morning at 7 am and the finish closes at 6 pm. Participants will be refreshed along the route at several points and food and beverage booths with entertainment await them at the finish line. Further information and registration at:

Stone Angels – A video by Sugoi on vimeo

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This video was taken by Australian Videographer Sugoi. He writes on his work: “This wonderful song ‘Stone Angels’ is written and performed by Tracy Lundgren. Her awesome voice together with her talented writing skills are quite impressive. The song moved me and I created this video. I thank Tracy for allowing me to use her song.

Impossibilty Challenger 209: 16 World Records Set in Munich-Dachau


For sure we all have put on a pair of socks in a personal best time when we were in a hurry. Abhinabha Tangerman (31) of the Netherlands was in a hurry for 30 minutes and put on and off the record amount of 239 pairs of socks plus one singular sock. His record was part of the 15th “Impossibility Challenger” – World Record Games organised by the Sri Chinmoy Centre. This weekend in Dachau near Munich 17 participants from 9 countries tried to surmount the barrier of impossibility with 26 record attempts. 16 world records and 8 personal records have been set.

Rainer Schroeder from Altenburg near Leipzig in Germany has a tough mouth and strong teeth. The East German set a world record by bending a horse shoe for 7.2 cm with his teeth. The 48-year-old also kept a flaming torch in his mouth for 10.72 sec. without getting burnt – a second world record for Schroeder. By juggling with 2 motor saws and a 1 kg ball 62 times the Slovakian Milan Roskopf (50) improved his old world record of 35 throws. The passion of Peter Koppen (61) from Munich is the construction of paper so-called “microships“. Over 200,000 microships he built over the years. In the world record time of 22 min and 5 sec. he created 12 microships out of a piece of paper, the size of a stamp. The 37-year-old  sports student Stefan Cojocneandid the the fastest 100 m on stilts while jumping with a skipping rope at the same time in 21.38 sec. The former Romanian Kickbox Champion covered also the fastest 2 miles on stilts in 14 min 4 sec. Albert Walter (35) from Zurich loves telephone books. The Swiss Champion in bench press in 2004 set a world record by tearing apart ten 786 page thick Swiss telephone books in 3 min 43 sec, ” to symbolically destroy the world’s wars and hostilities”, as he said.

Journalist Dirk Rensmann, who filmed for RTL Explosive during the event, covered the fastest mile fully dressed with leathern, black motorcycle clothing and motorcycle helmet while carrying an egg on a spoon, in a time of 13 :15 min. Another specially dressed runner: Stefan Ehrenfellner from Salzburg, long-time Austrian ski teacher, ran his fastest mile in 7 min. 32 sec. with ski boots on and skis on his shoulders. In his second discipline the 31-year-old covered 3000 m only with ski boots on in 13 min. 49.13 sec. With 4 min. 2.9 sec. Ramon Abella Villa (25) from Barcelona improved the old world record time by 23 seconds for the fastest time to solve 10 tasks for adding ten 10-digit numbers without any error. Ramón Campayo (43) – also from Spain – improved 4 world records with his photographic memory. In 0.5 sec he memorized a 34-digit binary number, in 3 sec. a 64-digit binary number as well as 23 numbers in 2 sec. and 25 numbers in 3 seconds. Eckhard Schroeder from Bielefeld in Germany succeeded in reciting 1900 poems of Sri Chinmoy by heart in 24 hours, an amazing achievement that nobody has done until now. The 45-year-old banker improved his own world record by 900 poems. Some personal records: Adesh Widmer (54) from Zurich played on the sitar for 12 hours and 34-year-old Valishtha Upmane of Latvia recited 721 poems in 7 hours, after her helper has read them out, one by one. Austrian Birgit Alic (35) from Linz created 784 paintings with markers in 12 hours.

Indian born philosopher and athlete Sri Chinmoy (1931 -2007) initiated the Impossibility Challenger in 1982 to inspire people to experience the joy which comes into existence, when one competes only with oneself to increase one’s own capacities and inspires therewith others. Sri Chinmoy himself set many weightlifting world records and transcended them with increasing age.

No more accidents thanks to scrapping all traffic signs


If you find yourself crossing the road in the German town of Bohmte, look both ways – and then perhaps check again. It has scrapped all its traffic lights and road signs in a radical experiment designed to make the streets safer. Yesterday, the local council said the scheme was a complete success. In the four weeks since the signs were ripped up, there has not been a single accident. Officials wanted to test the theory that the 13,000 drivers who use the town every day would take extra care and show each other greater consideration if they were not told what to do. They secured a £1.8million grant from the European Union to set up the scheme in the town near Hanover. Four weeks ago, Bohmte banned traffic lights and warning signs, including those instructing drivers to give way or stop. Only two rules remain – drivers cannot go above 30 mph, the German speed limit for city driving, and everyone has to yield to the right, regardless of whether it is a car, a bike or a mother with a pushchair. Officials revealed there have been no shunts, bumps or pedestrian injuries in the month since the scheme started. Previously, there was at least one serious crash every week and scores of lesser ‘fender-benders’. The scheme, based on the idea of ‘shared space’ from Dutch traffic expert Hans Monderman, will now continue indefinitely. The mayor, Klaus Goedejohann, said: ‘Politeness pays – we have proved that.’ Peter Hilbricht, a police officer in charge of traffic planning, added that the main intersection generated about 50 accidents a year before the changes. “The number plummeted,’ he said. ‘It has been a sea-change in German attitudes as much as anything else. The EU has subsidised similar programmes in seven cities across Europe. Exhibition Road in London has been due to become a ‘shared space’ for the last three years. However, funding is an issue and the scheme is not expected to start until next year. One unexpected bonus of the trial in Bohmte is that the town is saving £5,000 a month replacing and repairing signs damaged through normal wear and tear or by vandals. (Source:

LIFE Voices Interview 26: Listen to the Inner Voice

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In this month’s podcast I interviewed Pranam Horlbeck from Zurich. He is a major pillar in the manifestation activities of the Swiss Sri Chinmoy Centre and is a member of Kailsh’s singing group which learned 7,000 songs by heart. He also organized the “Harmony Run” in Switzerland for many years and helps organize workshops, concerts and lectures to bring spirituality to a wider audience. In this interview Pranam explains what his spiritual name means, how he started to meditate and what are is main fields of occupation. Two smaller versions for your iPod can be found on

Learn the ancient art of meditation with Sri Chinmoy

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In this series we are presenting quotes by Sri Chinmoy in combination with a video showing him in silent meditation, to help seekers find their way into the spiritual world. Today’s episode is called Prayer & Meditation and incorporates the following quote:

“The difference between prayer and meditation is this: when we pray, we feel that our existence is a one-pointed flame soaring upward. The very nature of prayer is to reach God by going up. When we meditate, we throw ourselves into a vast expanse, into an infinite sea of peace and bliss, or we welcome the infinite Vast into us.”

The video was taken in Bali during a concert in the University of Bali in 2001. There are also two smaller versions of the video available on if you want to upload it on your iPod.

Dorcas Cheserek – A rising marathon star from Kenya

DorcasIn her new edition the online magazine PACE features among many other items and marathon announcements an article on Dorcas Cheserek, a rising marathon star from Kenya:

Dorcas Cheserek is a young up and coming potential world champion. She comes from a village called Maraket in Kenya but now lives in Training Camp, also in Kenya. It seems she developed her talent for running from her father who was a gifted runner at school but stopped once he was married. Like her father, Dorcas developed a passion for running at an early age. She entered a competition at Primary School, came second and promptly fell in love with running. Once at High School, she proceeded to win lots of 10k races and has continued ever since. Dorcas is coached by Pieter Langerhorst, who is married to Lornah Kiplagat, the current holder of the world record for distances of 5000 meters on the road, 10 Miles, 20,000 meters on the road, and half marathons. Her top tips on training are to train regularly and listen to what your body is telling you. She is a believer in building up strength and stamina and hopes to move on to half marathons after next year and in 2014 to become a marathon runner. Before this, her aim is to become world champion in 10k races next year. Dorcas trains six days a week in fairly short bursts about three or four times a day. She always rests the day before a race. Diet is always important for a runner and Dorcas has a very specific diet when she’s training. Her breakfasts consist mainly of bread with banana on some days and an egg on other days. Lunches are made up of rice, beef and beans on differing days and dinners are always Ugali (a mace flour which is boiled and stirred until thick) and vegetables. Dorcas came 22nd place in the Sunfeast World 10k in Bangalore on 31 May, with a time of 36.21, which is fantastic for her first professional race.

World Record: Rowing Solo Across the Pacific – without any aid

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Last December Geoff A Charters met adventurist Ralph Tuijn in Castricum, Holland and asked him if he had any footage of his last adventure:  The Zeeman Ocean Challenge. Ralph has spent 369 nights at sea in the last two years. In that time he has crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in his rowing boat. He has covered a total distance of over 20,000 kilometers, more than half the globe. This trip across the pacific was to raise funds for a children’s orphanage in India. Ralph has already begun testing a new boat for a new adventure to be announced here soon, more detils here: This is a teaser of the 4-hour footage Ralph brought back.