On July 31, 2003, Austrian daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner created history by becoming the first flying human to cross the English Channel. A triumph of science, technology, and human will, this skydive was one of Baumgartner's many such feats.

The English Channel is a narrow arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates the southern coast of England from the northern coast of France. Also called the Channel, it is among the busiest shipping areas on the planet. The English Channel is also the scene of one of Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartners historic skydives.

Born in 1969 in Salzburg, Austria, Baumgartner found his destiny at the age of 16. Following his first skydive at that age, he was totally drawn to it and also took to extreme parachuting. He spent a few years with the Austrian military's demonstration and competition team, improving his aero-acrobatic skills, perfecting his parachute jumping and learning the art of landing on small target zones.

In the 1990s, Baumgartner also started doing base jumping, another dangerous sport that involves leaping off fixed objects and breaking the fall using a parachute. Base, in fact, is an acronym for the categories of objects from which the jump can be made: buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and Earth (mountains, cliffs, etc.).

Scientific endeavours

Having built a reputation as a daredevil, Baumgartner sought to understand the limits of the human body and what we can achieve with it by training it. Apart from his desire to experience what nobody else had, he also saw his daredevil stunts as scientific endeavours, as they pushed the boundaries of our knowledge and know-how of various facets of his acts.

Before his flight across the English Channel, Baumgartner had already pulled off a number of firsts. In 1999, he completed the world's lowest ever base jump from the 30m-high arm of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In that same year, he set the world record for the highest parachute jump from a building by jumping off the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, then the tallest building in the world.

Rigorous training

Baumgartner's next big feat was his flight over the English Channel, but he didn't just wing it. On the contrary, the intense preparations actually took three years and included rigorous training-such as strapping himself onto the top of a speeding Porsche to prepare himself for what his planned journey might entail.

Fitted with a specially designed six-foot carbon-fibre wing, an oxygen tank, and a parachute strapped to his back, Baumgartner wore a jumpsuit that was capable of withstanding a temperature of minus 40 degree Celsius. On July 31, 2003, just a little after five in the morning local time to avoid commercial flights, Baumgartner jumped off a plane above Dover flying at a height of 30,000 feet (9,000m). In the next 14 minutes, Baumgartner completed the first freefall flight across the 35km wide English Channel, before safely landing in Cap Blanc-Nez near Calais.

The flight wasn't without incident, right from the start. Lack of oxygen at the height at which they were flying before he jumped off meant that a cameraman who was following him passed out. When he jumped, his legs and glider got entangled forcing him to cut his glider into pieces.

Extreme cold

Reaching speeds up to 360 km/hour initially, Baumgartner admitted that it was stressful to cope with the initial extreme cold that he experienced. His jumpsuit came in handy, as the temperatures did reach minus 40 degree Celsius. For most of the freefall, he travelled at 220 km/hour.

Additionally, cloud cover meant that he could not see where he was going. As a result, he had to follow his two planes to get across the Channel without getting lost, holding the wing to direct himself.

At the end of his flight Baumgartner said that "it was total freedom" and that he loved every bit of his 35-km ride. While he admitted that this was his "biggest project so far. he also hinted at a "top secret" challenge that was in the works.

That turned out to be his Red Bull Stratos project nine years later. By jumping to the Earth from the edge of space in October 2012, Baumgartner broke a number of records and became the first person to break the sound barrier in free fall. Apart from being an impressive stunt watched live by millions on YouTube plenty of data was also collected from the sky dive. This led to important advances in research pertaining to space and the stratosphere, and helped surmount scientific challenges pertaining to safety equipment and spacesuits.

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What did Joseph Priestley Discover 1774?

On 1 August 1774 chemist Joseph Priestley isolated a new "air" in its gaseous state. He named the gas "dephlogisticated air", later renamed 'oxygen' by Antoine Lavoisier. Priestley also discovered hydrochloric acid, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide.

An English theologian and educator, too, he was appalled at the quality the available English grammar books, so he wrote his own The Rudiments of English Grammar (1761). His innovations in the description of Englishy gran led 20th-century scholar describe him as "one of heat grammarians of his time.

In 1762, he was ordained and married Mary Wilkinson, the daughter of a prominent iron-works owner. She was, he noted, "of an excellent understanding, much improved by reading, of great fortitude and strength of mind, and of a temper in the highest degree affectionate and generous; feeling strongly for others and little for herself."

Priestley traveled regularly to London, and became acquainted with numerous men of science and independent thought, including an ingenious American named Benjamin Franklin, who became a lifelong friend. Franklin encouraged Priestley in his research, one result of which was The History and Present State of Electricity. For that work, and his growing reputation as an experimenter, Priestley was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1766.

The History book was too tough for a popular audience, and Priestley determined to write a more accessible one. But he could find no one to create the necessary illustrations. So, in typical fashion, he taught himself perspective drawing. Along the way, he made many mistakes, and discovered that India rubber would erase lead pencil lines — a fact he mentioned in the preface.

By the age of 34, Priestley was a well-established and respected member of Britain's scientific community. He was still paying a price for his religious nonconformity, however. When the explorer Captain James Cook was preparing for his second voyage, Priestley was offered the position of science adviser. But the offer was rescinded under pressure from Anglican authorities who protested his theology, which was evolving into a strongly Unitarian position that denied the doctrine of the trinity.

In retrospect, the Cook affair may have been all for the best. In 1773, the Earl of Shelburne asked Priestley to serve as a sort of intellectual companion, tutor for the earl's offspring, and librarian for his estate, Bowood House. The position provided access to social and political circles Priestley could never have gained on his own, while leaving ample free time for the research that would earn him a permanent place in scientific history.

He systematically analyzed the properties of different "airs" using the favored apparatus of the day: an inverted container on a raised platform that could capture the gases produced by various experiments below it. The container could also be placed in a pool of water or mercury, effectively sealing it, and a gas tested to see if it would sustain a flame or support life.

In the course of these experiments, Priestley made an enormously important observation. A flame went out when placed in a jar in which a mouse would die due to lack of air. Putting a green plant in the jar and exposing it to sunlight would "refresh" the air, permitting a flame to burn and a mouse to breathe. Perhaps, Priestley wrote, "the injury which is continually done by such a large number of animals is, in part at least, repaired by the vegetable creation." Thus he observed that plants release oxygen into the air — the process known to us as photosynthesis.

Credit : American Chemistry Society

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How did Mark Zuckerberg contribute to society?

Since amassing his sizeable fortune, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has used his millions to fund several philanthropic causes. In 2010, he donated $100 million to save the failing Newark Public School system in New Jersey and signed the Giving Pledge, promising to donate at least 50 per cent of his wealth to charity over the course of his lifetime. He called on other young, wealthy entrepreneurs to follow suit.

"With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts," he said. He was the second biggest charitable donor in the U.S. in 2012 having donated roughly ($498.8 million) to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Mark Zuckerberg (b.14 May 1984), is an American entrepreneur, computer programmer and philanthropist. He is best-known as one of the co-founders of social networking site Facebook. He is the chairman and CEO of Facebook, Inc. His personal wealth is estimated to be US$13.3 billion, making him one of the world's youngest billionaires.

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Who had the opportunity to purchase Google in 1998 but turned it down?

In 1998, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, PhD students at Stanford University at the time, approached Yahoo! and suggested a partnership. Yahoo! declined supposedly because they didn't want to concentrate on search. Brin and Page went on to incorporate Google as a privately-held company on 4 September 1998. Yahoo! once again had the opportunity to purchase Google for $5bn in 2002. Although the price was high for Yahoo! in relation to its own value at the time, it would prove to be the last chance it had to acquire Google. It didn't. In January 2013, Google announced it had earned $50 billion in annual revenue for the year 2012.

Following the launch of Google X, the debut of Google Glass, and the unveiling of the company’s self-driving car project, the search giant turned its sights on the sciences. In particular, Page was interested in life extension. So the company, through its Google Ventures investment arm, created Calico, a company effectively aimed at curing death. It’s headed up by Bill Maris, the founding partner of Google Ventures, who recruited former Genentech CEO Art Levinson to be its chief executive.

It was yet another signal that Page’s Google was willing to put down huge sums of money toward problems far outside the realm of online search and mobile operating systems. Calico, however, has so far seemingly failed to yield any meaningful advancements in the life sciences, medicine, or biotechnology industries. It is unclear what, if anything, the company is focused on right now.

By the summer of 2015, Google was a remarkably different company than when Page had reassumed his CEO role four years prior. The company was involved in self-driving cars, wearable technology, the Nexus smartphone line, and numerous other product and experimental research efforts spanning artificial intelligence, cloud and quantum computing, and even fiber internet.

While Page and Brin receded from public view starting around 2015, they were reportedly quite active in Google’s famous weekly TGIY all-hands sessions, in which executives would answer questions from employees and address big-picture topics at the company and in the news. One such session, occurring just after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, was two years later leaked to conservative news outlet Breitbart.

Credit :  The Verge

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Who said that, "When we think we know we cease to learn."?

Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was one of India's most influential scholars of comparative religion and philosophy. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1954. The first Vice President (1952-1962) and second President of India (1962 1967), his birth anniversary is celebrated as Teachers' Day.

Radhakrishnan emphasizes that education must be based on the twin principles of Truth & Love. Education will be said to be complete, only if it includes not only training of the intellect but refinement of the heart and discipline of the spirit. The aim of education must be character building, man-making, development of spiritual values & secular attitudes, vocational development and national integration. Dr Radhakrishnan was a true nationalist personality of Indian soil and lifelong defence of Hinduism and Indian culture & civilization against uninformed western critics. Due to his dedication towards Hindu religion, culture & philosophy, the so-called secular forces and western-minded thoughts have been critical to him. But ignoring all critics, he continued his nationalist writings throughout his life and kept burning the light of Indian Philosophy on the world map. He took his last breath on 17th April 1975, but his lamp of understanding of intuition and interpretation of experiences will light our path from age to age.

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