Sep 17, 2011

Charity - Philanthropy or stupidity?

Adopting the Acts of Philanthropy
It is true that charity needs heart not money alone. When asking about charity to an Indian Steel baron Billionaire, citing the example of Bill Gates, he refused to think a minute about lesser privileged people of the society. He is one of top 5 billionaires of the world still he thought he doesn't have enough money for donate a little. Although Indian philosophy and values are just opposite of the present day Indians who are more deceptive and can't think of Philanthropy. They say that it’s better to give than to receive, but setting aside a little extra for charitable donations can be tough, particularly in the midst of a historically unprecedented economic crisis. Still, there’s something to be said for those who make philanthropy a way of life, whether they’re blessed with a bank account stuffed with billions or whether they’re average Joes and Janes who eschew the latest gadgets and consumer goods in order to help those in need. 

 Charles “Chuck” Feeney

American businessman and billionaire Charles “Chuck” Feeney became mind-bogglingly wealthy as one of the founding partners of the chain of duty-free shops whose discounted goods entice last-minute shoppers in airports and hotels around the world. Feeney is the antithesis of flashy movers and shakers like Ted Turner and Richard Branson — he lives simply, keeps a very low profile, and avoids most public appearances and media coverage. Still, by most estimates, Feeney ranks among the most generous of major philanthropists. Over the last several decades, he has given away nearly $5 billion to foundations, universities, hospitals, and non-profit groups around the globe. What’s even more impressive – and most unusual – is that Feeney typically goes out of his way to ensure that his gifts remain anonymous. For example, to avoid U.S. government disclosure rules, he incorporated his private foundation in Bermuda and claims no tax deductions for his charitable donations. Some observers say that in terms of charitable donations as a percentage of one’s overall net worth, Feeney may someday be recognized as the most altruistic philanthropist in American history.

 Thomas Cannon

Virginia resident Thomas Cannon didn’t consider himself to be a religious man, but at the age of 47, he took on a charitable mission that he described to friends as a “one-man ministry.” The postal worker began distributing small grants, most totaling $1000, to foundations, nonprofit organizations, charity groups, and individuals whose work he admired or whose circumstances he wanted to help improve. Over the course of his lifetime, Cannon has distributed nearly $200,000 in his own funds, most of which he and his wife Princetta amassed by living frugally on his salary, which was never more than $30,0000. Later, when Princetta was struck with terminal cancer, well-wishers from across the United States returned the favor and pitched in to buy the Cannons a more comfortable home. Though Princetta succumbed to the disease soon afterward, Thomas continued to focus on his charitable work until his death in 2005.

Ted Turner

Few people have moderate opinions on bold and outspoken Georgia-based billionaire Ted Turner – he tends to inspire either intense admiration or loathing. The media magnate has ownership stakes in CNN, WTBS, and the Atlanta Braves, and has amassed more American real estate than any other private individual. But before you dismiss Turner as nothing more than a brazen capitalist, it’s also important to note that his charitable donations and work on behalf of environmental conservation causes have catapulted him into the rarefied ranks of the world’s top philanthropists. In 1998, Turner sparked a firestorm of media interest when he pledged $1 billon of his then $3 billion fortune to the United Nations, a then-unprecedented act of philanthropic largesse. Since then, Turner has also made sizable donations to an array of environmental causes and organizations designed to assist the development of third-world countries.

Larry Stewart

In the late 1970s, Kansas City resident Larry Stewart suffered a devastating string of bad career luck when he was fired twice in two years. What’s more, both the terminations occurred right before Christmas, adding insult to injury. After the second incident, a sympathetic waitress tried to cheer up the down-on-his-luck Stewart with a gift of a free meal. Surprised by how much the kind gesture cheered him up, Stewart began to show the same kindness demonstrated to him to others he encountered. In his first such act, he gave a carhop a large tip. Soon afterwards, Stewart upped the ante and began handing out money to people he saw on the street, a tradition he would carry on under the anonymous moniker “Secret Santa” for nearly three decades. Just before Stewart succumbed to esophageal cancer in 2007, he revealed his story to local media outlets. Since then, Secret Santa clubs have sprung up around the nation that are dedicated to carrying on Stewart’s tradition of generosity.

Warren Buffett

The so-called “Oracle of Omaha” is widely recognized as one of the world’s savviest and most successful businessmen. Warren Buffett has advised presidents and various other heads of state on all things business-related, and he’s widely regarded as one of the world’s most skillful investors. Still, even with a personal fortune that is estimated to be more than $60 billion, ranking second only to Microsoft founder Bill Gates on the list of the wealthiest Americans, Buffett remains humble and chooses to stick to a relatively modest lifestyle. His philanthropic efforts are fueled in part by his belief that families should not pass significant wealth to their heirs, as the offspring of these wealthy dynasties tend to be unproductive and complacent, rather than contributing fully to society. In 2006, Buffett made a public pledge to give away his personal fortune, with the bulk of the money going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffet promptly followed up on his pledge by signing over ownership of stock worth more than $30 billion, which experts consider to be single largest donation ever recorded.

 George Soros

Though often a lightning rod for controversy, Hungarian-born business man and currency speculator George Soros has emerged as one of the most significant figures in the global philanthropic landscape in recent years. Through years of savvy investments and currency swaps, Soros amassed a personal fortune estimated to be worth more than $13 billon – including a one-day take of more than $1 billion in the controversial “Black Wednesday” currency crisis that nearly brought some of England’s most prominent financial institutions to their knees. From the get-go, George Soros’ charitable donations have been somewhat political in tone, as with the millions of dollars he funneled to groups involved in the transition of Hungary to capitalism, in fomenting Georgia’s “Rose Revolution,” and, more recently, to the defeat of George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign. In recent years, Soros’ charitable donations have focused on issues such as developing technological infrastructure in poor nations and helping to eradicate poverty in Africa and elsewhere. As of 2007, Time magazine estimated that Soros’ foundation had donated more than $6 billion.

 Bill Gates

The company he helped to create — software giant Microsoft — has often come under fire for allegedly engaging in non-competitive business practices, and as far as spokespeople go, he’s kind of awkward, to put it mildly. But no matter what else you can say about Bill Gates, one thing is incontestable – the richest man in America has emerged as perhaps the single most important figure in global philanthropy in recent years. Founded in 1994, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation now has an endowment of more than $33 billion, and analysts say that its record-breaking donations in fields such as the treatment and eradication of malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS have made a significant difference in the lives of many of the world’s poorest populations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a mandate to donate at least 5% of its assets each year, which amounts to more than $1.5 billion a year based on current funding levels.

Paul Newman

Actor Paul Newman amassed a significant personal fortune over the course of his career in the movies, turning his boyish good lucks and photogenic charm into plum roles in classic films such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, and Cool Hand Luke. Although he had always dabbled in philanthropy, it wasn’t until 1982 that Newman took a more serious approach to charity, forming the brand “Newman’s Own” with the intention of donating all of the profits garnered by the company to good causes. With an initial focus on salad dressing, the company soon had products for sale on virtually every aisle in the typical American grocery store, with offerings ranging from pasta sauce to dog food. In 1993, the company created a subsidiary called Newman’s Own Organics which applied the same model to the then virtually unheard of realm of organic foods. Over the course of the existence of the Newman’s Own brand, nearly $300 million has been generated for charity.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey began her career as a local newscaster and has created a multibillion-dollar media powerhouse the likes of which have never been seen. Along the way, she accumulated a personal fortune estimated to be in the $2 billion range, making her the richest African American in history. Since the beginning, Oprah has been generous with her earnings, making sizable charitable donations since her syndicated daytime talk show was first brought to the national market. She has given millions of dollars to charitable causes around the globe, including donations of more than $50 million to create a girls’ school in South Africa. In addition to her own charitable work, the media magnate founded Oprah’s Angel Network in 1998 with the aim of encouraging people everywhere to engage in philanthropic and charitable acts to the best of their financial ability.

Slacktavists, Armchair Philanthropists, and….You

Although the massive one-time donations made by wealthy philanthropists often get the most media coverage, experts say that real social change can only be effected when everybody gets in on the act. That’s why nonprofit organizations and other groups are trying to make it as simple as possible for average people to get involved in philanthropy. Case in point: after a series of devastating earthquakes hit Haiti in January 2010, millions of cell phone users donated to relief efforts by sending a text message to a special number set up by the Red Cross. Most of the donations were only $10 each, but in the end, more than $22 million was collected, proving once and for all exactly how true the old adage about strength in numbers really is.

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Sep 16, 2011

Trekking in Himalaya - Makalu Base Camp

Cho Oyu , Everest and Makalu 
Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,481 metres (27,825 ft) and is located 19 km (12 mi) southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and China. One of the eight-thousanders, Makalu is an isolated peak whose shape is a four-sided pyramid.
Makalu has two notable subsidiary peaks. Kangchungtse, or Makalu II (7,678 m) lies about 3 km (2 mi) north-northwest of the main summit. Rising about 5 km (3.1 mi) north-northeast of the main summit across a broad plateau, and connected to Kangchungtse by a narrow, 7,200 m saddle, is Chomo Lonzo (7,804 m).

Makalu Trek From Mumbuk To Makalu Base Camp South, Makalu Sandy Camp, East Col, and West Col

Makalu-Barun Valley is a himalayan glacier valley situated at the base of Mt. Makalu in the Sankhuwasabha district Nepal. This valley lies entirely inside the Makalu Barun National Park.
Barun Valley provides stunning contrasts, where high waterfalls cascade into deep gorges, craggy rocks rise from lush green forests, and colorful flowers bloom beneath white snow peaks. This unique landscape shelters some of the last pristine mountain ecosystems on earth. Rare species of animals and plants flourish in diverse climates and habitats, relatively undisturbed by human kind.
The first attempt of the Ski in the Himalayas expedition traveled along this valley to reach to the Makalu Base Camp.

Nord du Makalu 2

Makalu Trekking Route - Nepal

The trek to Makalu Base Camp in Nepal starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar (355m) and then driving or trekking to Mane Bhanjyang (1100m) and up to Chichilla (1830m) and down to Num (1500m). 
The trail then descends 870m to cross the Arun River (630m), ascends 830m to Sedua (1460m), and turns west to Tashigaon (2160m), the last settlement in the valley. 
From Tashigaon, you climb in a lush cloud forest to the gateway into the Makalu-Barun National Park area at the top of the ridge (3190m), continue climbing to the few buildings and campsite of Kongma (3560m), the Kongma La (3850m) and three passes, including the Shipton La (4216m), before descending down to Mumbuk (3500m).
From Mumbuk the trail descends to the Barun Khola (3200m), and climbs up the Barun Valley to Yangle Kharka (3600m), Riphuk Kharka (3930m), and Jark Kharka (4210m), with mountains views ahead including Chamlang East (7235m) and Peak 6 / Mount Tutse (6758m). Beyond Langmale Kharka (4405m, also called Yak Kharka) the trail ascends alongside a moraine to Merek (4570m), and then turns west and then slightly north to Sherson (4660m) with the first views of Makalu. It takes just an hour to trek from Sherson to Makalu Base Camp South (4850m), with excellent views of the Makalu Southwest and South faces at sunset and sunrise.
The trail from Makalu Base Camp South (4850m) passes the Barun Pokhari before turning northwest and climbing an ablation valley on the west side of the Barun Glacier to Makalu Sandy Camp (5300m), with views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, Peak 38, Cho Polu, and Everest Kangshung East Face at the head of the valley, and once again sensational views of the Makalu West Face, West Pillar, and Southwest Face. The trail turns to the west from the Barun Valley and ascends steeply on enormous rocky boulders to a camp at around 5800m at the snout of the glacier leading to the East Col pass, once again with excellent views of the Makalu West Face, West Pillar, and Southwest Face.
The trail climbs up the glacier and then up the steep and rocky trail to the East Col (6135m) with views of Chamlang East, Hongu Chuli, P6770, and P6730 (Little Baruntse). We descended the other side of the East Col using a fixed rope and then trekked across the vast glacier to the West Col (6143m), with its views of Peak 41 / Kyashar, Hongu Peak, Malanphulan, Kangtega, Ombigaichen and Ama Dablam, Gauri Shankar, Menlungtse. and Taweche. After the 200m descent down the 50-55 degree snow and rock face from the West Col, it was all downhill, first on the glacier, then on muddy rocks towards Baruntse Base Camp (5450m) next to a lake, with views to Baruntse.

 Kangchungtse, Cho Polu, Makalu La, Makalu, Island Peak
This is a demanding, and an outstanding trek in eastern Nepal. The trek up to Makalu base camp visits one of the most remote and unfrequented areas of Nepal. The long trek and unspoiled terrain makes this trek a classic in its own. This trek goes high up to 5,100m. This is a region where you hardly find any modern facilities and amenities but blessed with an incredible diversity of natural beauty.

This region is  Due to its isolation and lack of tea houses this area still receives few trekkers. Sherpa, Rai and Limbus are main habitants in this area. Walking north up the Arun river to Sedua and Num, you get to the upper Barun Khola valley for a close look at Makalu (8,463m). You can put together even wilder trek by crossing Sherpani Col and west Col into the upper Hongu valley.

Langma La zum Makalu  Chomolonzo
While you trek in Nepal, in most of the places you see the strips of coloured cloth printed with Buddhist sutras are strung up at the top of passes and streams and houses. The colours are highly symbolic - red, green, yellow, blue and white represent the elements of fire, wood, earth water and iron. These are believed to purify the air and pacify the gods. Beautiful, multi-hued prayer flags line every hilltop, rock wall and trailside singing prayers to the gods with every breeze and every passing traveler.

Makalu Base Camp Trek - Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu . 
Day 02: Sightseeing around of the Kathmandu valley.
Day 03: Flight: Kathmandu - Tumlingtar (860 m).
               Trek to Khadbari (1,040m) (4 hrs). Camp

Day 04: Trek Khadbari to Chichila (1,830 m) (5/6 hrs). Camp
Day 05: Trek Chichila to Num (1,490 m) (5 hrs). Camp
Day 06: Trek Num to Sedua (1,460 m) (5/6 hrs). Camp
Day 07: Trek Sedua to Tashi Gaon (2,070 m) (5 hrs). Camp
Day 08: Trek Tashi Gaon to Kauma (3,470 m) (6 hrs). Camp
Day 09: Rest / Exploration day at Kauma. Camp
Day 10: Trek Kauma to Mumbuk  (3,570 m) (5 hrs). Camp
Day 11: Trek Mumbuk to Nhe Kharka  (3,000 m) (6 hrs). Camp
Day 12: Trek Nhe Kharka to Sherson (4,615 m) (7 hrs). Camp
Day 13
: Trek Sherson to Makalu Base Camp (5,000 m) (4/5 hrs). Camp
Day 14: Explore Makalu Base Camp.

Day 15: Trek Makalu Base Camp to Nhe Kharka (3,000 m) (7 hrs). Camp
Day 16: Trek Nhe kharka to Mumbuk (3,570 m) (6 hrs). Camp
Day 17: Trek Mumbuk to Kauma (3,470m) (5 hrs). Camp
Day 18: Trek Kauma to Tashi Gaon (2,070 m) (5 hrs). Camp
Day 19: Trek Tashi Gaun to Pukuwa (1,520 m) (6 hrs). Camp
Day 20: Trek Pukuwa to Bumling (1,160 m) (5 hrs). Camp
Day 21: Trek Bumling to Tumlingtar (860 m) (4 hrs). Camp.
Day 22: Flight: Tumlingtar - Kathmandu. 
Day 23: Free day to explore, and enjoy Kathmandu.
Day 24: Final Departure.

Nice to Note

1. Makalu From Mountain Flight - perfect view of the west face and west pillar.

2. Makalu North Face - lurking above Chomlonzo is the final stretch of the normal route to the summit.

3. Chomolonzo North Face - the three peaks of Chomolonzo look striking from the north.

4. Makalu From Gokyo - Gokyo has probably the second best mountain panorama in the world, including Makalu.

5. Kangchentse West face - Kangshung Base Camp has probably the best mountain panorama in the world, including Kangchentse.

Makalu valley
Makalu Climbing
Makalu and river
Makalu North Face From Shao La In Tibet
Makalu West Face
Makalu West Face, West Pillar, Southwest Face In Last Rays Of Sunset From East Col Camp
Makalu Summit Chomo Lonzo
Mount Makalu and Mount Chomolonzo, Tibet

Want to add something? Find anything Missing? Please comment below.

Related post: Gokyo Ri and Gokyo Lake Trekking

Sep 12, 2011

The bravest Soul Surfer in the World !

 Bethany Meilani Hamilton (born February 8, 1990), daughter of Thomas and Cherilyn Hamilton, is an American professional surfer. She is known for surviving a shark attack in which she lost her left arm, and for overcoming the serious and debilitating injury to ultimately return to professional surfing. She wrote about her experience in the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board. In April 2011, the feature film Soul Surfer was released, based on the book and additional interviews.
 On October 31, 2003, at the age of 13, Hamilton went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach,Kauai with one of her friends, Alana Blanchard, and Blanchard's father and brother. Around 7:30 a.m., with numerous turtles in the area, she was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14 ft (4.3 m) tiger shark attacked her, ripping her left arm off just below the shoulder. The Blanchards helped paddle her back to shore, then Alana's father fashioned a tourniquet out of a surfboard leash, and wrapped it around the short piece left of her arm, before rushing her to Wilcox Memorial Hospital. Her father was supposed to have knee surgery that morning, but she took his place in the operating room. She then spent seven more days in recovery at the hospital.

Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Less than one month after the incident, she returned to her board and went surfing again.

In July 2004, Hamilton won the Best Comeback Athlete ESPY Award. She was also presented with a special "courage award" at the 2004 Teen Choice Awards.
In 2005, Hamilton took 1st place in the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) National Championships, a goal she had been trying to achieve since before the shark attack. In 2008, she began competing full-time on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS). In her first competition against many of the world's best women surfers, she finished 2nd.

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