Sometimes throughout life people may want to be adventurous and look for activities to get their heart beating fast. You could probably label them as “Thrill Seekers”.
For one particular thrill seeker he wanted to do something that no human being has ever successfully done by skydiving from space. 43 year old Austrian skydiver and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner set the world record for skydiving on Sunday October, 14, 2012.
The jump was originally cancelled by Red Bull for the safety of Baumgartner; it was said to be cancelled due to high winds. The high winds were a concern because the fragile helium balloon device, the skydiver traveled up to space in, could not take too much wind, but with the capsule attached it made it work successfully.
With a giant leap from space Baumgartner skydived 24 miles above the earth at an unbelievable speed of Mach 1.24 for just under 5 minutes. It was reported that at one point during his decent he was clocked at going 833 mph. That is crazy fast for a human that is not attached to a jet pack or any other booster gadgets.
According to his team, the only thing they really feared was their skydiver spinning out of control too fast and losing consciousness. They mentioned that they expected Baumgartner to initially spin out of control due to the height and speed he would be going, but knew that their skydiver would get it under control and ultimately break the speed of sound; sound barrier.
“Of course it was terrifying … I was frightened all the way down to regain control after spinning out of control, but I wanted to break the speed of sound and I hit it. I don’t know after how many seconds, but I could feel air was pulling up, and I hit it,” Baumgartner said.
He touched down in the deserts of New Mexico successfully and with a huge smile on his face, once on the ground he finally got to embrace what he just accomplish, and at the same time tell people what he was thinking before he jumped.
“It was harder than I expected, trust me when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble and realize it’s not about breaking records any more. It’s not even about getting scientific data. It’s all about getting home,” Baumgartner said.
Along with being the only man to achieve a supersonic skydive; he also broke two other world records that had not been reached for half a century. He now has the record for the highest exit from a platform at 128,000 feet, and the highest free-fall without a drogue parachute, measured at 119,846 feet.
Interesting enough 84 year old Joe Kittinger who was the previous record holder was actually on headset with Baumgartner before he jumped. Kittinger simply told Baumgartner to stay calm and relax and that their guardian angels will take care of him. Kittinger also expressed the success of the new world breaking jump, and what it means to science now.
“He demonstrated that a man could survive in an extremely high altitude escape situation, I know future astronauts will wear the spacesuit that Felix test-jumped in,” Kittinger said.
The jump was indeed extraordinary, record breaking, and has provided NASA with a huge boost in designing new suites for astronauts. Baumgartner has still stayed humble and modest as he expressed his personally views.
“Honestly I want to inspire the next generation, I would love if there was a young guy sitting next to me asking what my advice is, wanting to break my record.” Baumgartner said.
Watch Red Bull Stratos Space Jump
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Felix Baumgartner Stratosphere Space Jump
Live Felix Baumgartner Stratosphere Jump
Nissan-Renault’s Ghosn: From Hero To Zero
In a time when Nissan was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, Carlos Ghosn stepped in not only to save the company but help it to rise back as one of the world’s top car manufacturers. Today, Nissan is facing a similar financial crisis, but this time around, the Japanese carmaker had Ghosn removed from the company.
Through Ghosn’s efforts of restructuring and eventually, reintroducing innovations to Nissan, the company rose significantly within the last two decades under Ghosn’s lead. He also made the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi agreement possible that made them one of the leading car companies in the world.
The company had a good track record. But, CNN reported last Tuesday, May 14, that Nissan posted a significant drop in profits where operating profits plunged to 45% at 318 billion yen ($2.9 billion) in the fiscal year that ended in March and revenue fell 3% to about 11.6 trillion yen ($105 billion), while vehicle sales were down 4.4% to 5.5 million.
This is “rock bottom,” Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said during the earnings presentation.
Moreover, analysts also expect Nissan to plunge at decade-low numbers in the coming year. Nissan forecasts operating profit for the fiscal year to March 2020 would fall to 230 billion ($2.1 billion). Also, Nissan shares closed down at 3% in Tokyo.
On Friday, May 17, the Japanese carmaker proposed plans to make changes within its executive board as a reaction to Ghosn’s fallout from the company.
The firm told shareholders that they would start implementing a new board structure composed of 11 members, which 6 of whom would be external.
“With the lessons from the recent executive misconduct still fresh, Nissan resolves to rigorously pursue the separation of supervisory and executive functions,” said the firm.
Thierry Bollore, Renault’s chief executive and chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will both be included in the proposed board.
Nissan conceded to allowing Senard into the board though Bollore’s urges. The Japanese firm isn’t too happy about Senard siding with Ghosn during his arrest.
On the other hand, Nissan’s current CEO Hiroto Saikawa has also been reported to be pressured from vacating his position in the company for doubts that he is capable of turning things around for the company and his close relations with Ghosn.
Saikawa responded that he wishes to stay on the company until he sees it return to profitability and will consider the idea of stepping down “at the appropriate time.”
Additionally, Saikawa told reporters that Renault chairman Senard “has one idea in mind, which is integration or merger.” He also added that “what we’ve told Mr. Senard is this is not the right timing to discuss this matter.”
Regarding the topic of a possible merger between Renault and Nissan, the Japanese company seems to be against the idea since Nissan brings in a lot more profitable compared to the two. But, ironically, Renault holds more stake in the company.
Obviously, the Japanese brand has been struggling to manage internal structures with Ghosn leaving its ranks for multiple cases alleging financial misconduct.
Allegedly, Ghosn is accused of abusing and taking advantage of his power and position in the company to meet personal gains. Specifically, Ghosn allegedly used a Nissan subsidiary to send millions of dollars of payments to a business partner of the company abroad, which then sent money to a third company that he controlled. The actions were taken for the purpose of obtaining a “personal profit,” The New York Times reports.
Prosecutors accused Ghosn of using the method on three occasions from December 2015 to July 2018, resulting in a total of $5 million in losses to Nissan.
As of date, Ghosn has been arrested on four separate occasions including the first arrest in November on charges of underreporting his compensation. The second when he was rearrested on related charges and then a third time on suspicion that he had shifted his personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books.
However, Ghosn and his team of lawyers have consistently denied all allegations about him. In a video Ghosn posted before his fourth arrest, he told that the allegations made against him “is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing.”
Meanwhile, the French carmaker, Renault also made new allegations against Ghosn, claiming that there were “questionable and concealed practices” regarding the expenses made under Ghosn. Moreover, Renault also announced Ghosn’s resignation from its board.
The ‘2019 NAACP Image Awards’ Issues And Winners
The 2019 NAACP Image Awards has made Hollywood celebrities jam-packed in a star-studded night held at the Dolby Theater for the first time in history as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary.
This year’s event focuses on celebrating ‘the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film, as well as, honoring groups or individuals who promote social justice through creative endeavors.’
The NAACP Image Award is an annual awards’ ceremony presented by the US-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding performances in film, television, music, and literature.
Similar to other awards like the Oscars and the Grammys, more than 40 categories of the Image Awards are voted on and agreed upon by the organization’s members while Honorary Awards are added which include President’s Award, Chairman’s Award, Entertainment of the Year and the Hall of Fame Award.
Below are the lists of awards and nominations that were given to outstanding Hollywood actors and actresses who show significant roles in the field of entertainment.
Anthony Anderson hosted the said event who won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in black-ish. Netflix and HBO had the highest number of nominations garnering 22 and 20 nominees respectively. While ABC followed closely behind with 18, and Black Panther tailed on as it gathered 14 nominations including Best Motion Picture.
Donald Glover’s hit show Atlanta is nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series alongside black-ish, Dear White People, Grown-ish and Insecure.
The most coveted and prominent award is given to ‘Jay-Z’ known as ‘President’s Award’ which centers on dedication to public service. The rapper, during his speech, acknowledged the roles of strong black women who dedicated their full acting prowess in the entertainment world and helped shape future generations through its influential parts in TV shows.
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series goes to Tracee Ellis Ross in her role in black-ish (ABC.
Empire Star ‘Jussie Smollett’ who has been at the center of investigation which shocked the world by faking an attack on January 29 is nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category. However, he refused to attend the awards night and therefore lost his chance to receive the said reward. On Tuesday, Chicago prosecutors announced that all charges against him were dropped.
Marcus Scribner won an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series from black-ish (ABC) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, went to Marsai Martin also from black-ish.
The hit series ‘Power’ (Starz) won the Outstanding Drama Series with Omari Hardwick as the Best Actor for Drama Series, also the lead star of Power. The Best Actress for Drama Series revealed to be Taraji P. Henson for her role in Empire from Fox.
Jesse Williams bagged the Supporting Actor in a Drama Series from the all-time hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy from ABC. Its counterpart is claimed by Lynn Whitfield from Greenleaf which faced several criticisms from its competitor Thandie Newton in Westworld who believed that the award should be given to someone who has a critical role in TV series.
The long list of the award also gave importance to television movie, and the Outstanding Television Movies, Limited Series or Dramatic Special is awarded to The Bobby Brown Story, and the Outstanding Actor for the same category went to Michael B.Jordan for his award-winning role in Fahrenheit 451, while Regina King from Seven Seconds (Netflix) received the award in the female category.
The Real, won the award for Outstanding Talk Series, and Black Girls Rock for the Outstanding Variety Show. The long-running Doc Mcstuffins from Disney Junior took the Outstanding Children’s Program, while the Outstanding Performance by A Youth Series went to Marsai Martin of black-ish.
Several hosts are also given honor for their outstanding performances for Talk/Variety and Game show. Steve Harvey won Outstanding Host in the Game show from Family Feud, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris and Willow Smith for Red Table Talk under the Outstanding Host in News/Information Category.
In the music category, major awards were bagged by Bruno Mars for Outstanding Male Artist and H.E.R under RCA Records for the female group.
The said event is an avenue for black people to be recognized for portraying significant roles in different TV programs, but NAACP is being criticized for its flawed standards of choosing the nominees. Critics are pointing out factors such as criminal charges inconsequential in this regard, just like the case of Jussie Smollet who was nominated for a significant award despite his criminal offense.
The nomination of Smollet is similar to the case of Tupac Shakur in 1994. The artist was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture in a film ‘Poetic Justice’ despite the filing of sexual assault charges against him. R Kelly is no exception to the controversy, where his album Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album while he was under indictment for costs related to child pornography.
Although significant issues currently surround NAACP, the organization is still determined to continue its effort on acknowledging the contribution of black people to the entertainment world and field of art as a whole. Other individual and minor awards can be viewed through the organization’s website at www.naacpimageawards.net
Netflix’s Queer Eye: Starting Conversations About Differences And Changing Lives
We are living in a world where differences are highlighted more than similarities. It has made conversations about things that matter very polarized, and understanding seems to be a pipe dream for everyone. That is why it is essential for people to be reminded that there are more things that we all share rather than things that keep us apart.
It is with this premise that Netflix’s Queer Eye is born.
The new Queer Eye is hosted by five gay guys known as the Fab 5, each of them having specific expertise. Antoni Porowski is the show’s resident food and wine expert. He helps the “heroes” to prepare food for themselves and their families. Jonathan Van Ness, the grooming expert, helps the chosen heroes to establish a day-to-day grooming routine to take care of their bodies. The heroes are dressed and improved in the fashion aspect by Tan France, and their homes/spaces were renovated and redesigned by Bobby Berk to suit their needs. Karamo Brown is the life coach that helps the heroes overcome their fear and build more confidence in them.
In hindsight, the premise of the show is very stereotypical. The roles of the Fab 5, the fashion expert, interior designer, and hair stylist, in particular, are the stereotypical roles given to gays and members of the LGBTQ community.
When you think of fashion, style, and design, the first thing that comes to your mind is that either women or gay guys do it. That’s why the show, to an extent, is perpetuating a narrative that fashion experts and groomers and interior designers are gay people.
True enough. However, the little stereotyping that happens in the show is compensated by the conversations that happen every episode. In a way, through the help of these “gay fashionista” or “gay hairstylist” or “gay interior designer,” people will start to realize that these aspects of human lives are necessary for everyone – even for straight guys.
In most of the episodes, the show has seen heroes who are adamant of wearing certain types of clothing because they think they think that dressing up a certain way is a way for them to either be comfortable or otherwise they might be seen as less masculine. But their minds change in the end, always. After Tan France makes them understand that dressing up doesn’t need to be loud or obnoxious for it to be appropriate or hip or in trend, the heroes, in most cases, embrace the change.
It is with this kind of narrative that Queer Eye aims to affect the same change to their audience. While not everyone will become “heroes,” everyone will still be getting the same fashion, grooming, food, interior design, and culture advice from the Fab 5. By this, the conversation is extended from that of between the Fab 5 and the heroes to the show and its audience.
The conversation does not end at that, however. Real issues are being tackled in the show, and as the hosts in recent interviews claim, most of those conversations are not produced nor directed. Meaning, the message that gay people can contribute something in the society is a narrative that organically happens in the show.
In one episode in the first season of Queer Eye, the Fab 5 were stopped by a police officer as they drive to the new hero. Tan France and Karamo Brown, both POCs, had echoed how they feared for their lives when that happened. While the entire thing was just orchestrated by production, the hosts were not briefed about it, and thus their reactions were genuinely organic.
Karamo later said to the hero, which was a police officer, that he was honestly hesitant to have a conversation with him because he was a cop. This conversation led to a discussion on the reality that black people are facing right now in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. As the police officer apologized on behalf of all the cops in America for their atrocities against POCs, Karamo felt like it was a form of “healing” for him.
In another episode, the Fab 5 was tasked to make over a devout Christian black woman and the community center of her church. During the episode, Bobby Berk refused to get inside the church because “he might break down” and because he “promised myself that I would never get inside another church again.”
Berk’s life story is eerily similar to most gay men. At the age of 15, Bobby, who was raised in a very religious family, ran away from his home because he was gay. He said that the church consistently taught him that gays are an abomination and being one is a sin.
In the end, Bobby had an emotional conversation with Mama Tammy, who also had a gay son, and made them learn the lesson of acceptance and love – an experience that the show has successfully translated for its audience to learn from.
Five gay guys helping straight people make their lives better is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the conversations that organically happen that make shows like Queer Eye necessary. We need more Fab 5 in the entertainment industry, and we need more Queer Eyes to open the world’s minds to the reality other people are living.
It is in the hope that through these shows, people will learn a thing or two about tolerance and acceptance – that more things keep us together than pull us apart.
The third season of Queer Eye was released by Netflix on March 15, 2019. /apr
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