joi, 28 iunie 2012

Success 2012: Alexey Leonov, soviet/russian cosmonaut who, on 18 March 1965, became the first human to conduct a space walk

Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov (born 30 May 1934 in Listvyanka, Kemerovo Oblast, Soviet Union) is a retired Soviet/Russian cosmonaut and Air Force Major General who, on 18 March 1965, became the first human to conduct an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) also known as a space walk.
Leonov was one of the twenty Soviet Air Force pilots selected to be part of the first cosmonaut group in 1960. Like all the Soviet cosmonauts Leonov was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His walk in space was originally to have taken place on the Vostok 11 mission, but this was cancelled, and the historic event happened on the Voskhod 2 flight instead. He was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes and nine seconds on 18 March 1965, connected to the craft by a 5.35 meter tether. At the end of the spacewalk, Leonov's spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit's pressure to bleed off, and was barely able to get back inside the capsule. Leonov had spent some eighteen months undergoing intensive weightlessness training for the mission.
 As of November 2011, Leonov is the last survivor of the five cosmonauts in the Voskhod program.
In 1968, Leonov was selected to be commander of a circumlunar Soyuz flight. However as all unmanned test flights of this project failed, and the Apollo 8 mission already given that step in the Space Race to the USA, the flight was canceled. He was also selected to be the first Soviet person to land on the Moon, aboard the LOK/N1 spacecraft. This project was also canceled. (Incidentally, the design required a risky spacewalk between lunar vehicles, something that contributed to his selection.) Leonov was to have been commander of the ill-fated 1971 Soyuz 11 mission to Salyut 1, the first manned space station, but his crew was replaced with the backup after the cosmonaut Valery Kubasov was suspected to have contracted tuberculosis.
Leonov was to have commanded the next mission to Salyut 1, but this was scrapped after the deaths of the Soyuz 11 crew members, and the space station was lost. The next two Salyuts (actually the military Almaz station) were lost at launch or failed soon after, and Leonov's crew stood by. By the time Salyut 4 reached orbit Leonov had been switched to a more prestigious project.
Leonov's second trip into space was similarly significant: he commanded the Soviet half of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission -- Soyuz 19 -- the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States.
From 1976 to 1982, Leonov was the commander of the cosmonaut team ("Chief Cosmonaut"), and deputy director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where he oversaw crew training. He also edited the cosmonaut newsletter Neptune. He retired in 1991.
Leonov is an accomplished artist whose published books include albums of his artistic works and works he did in collaboration with his friend Andrei Sokolov. Leonov has taken colored pencils and paper into space, where he has sketched the Earth and drawn portraits of the Apollo astronauts who flew with him during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.[1] Arthur C. Clarke wrote in his notes to 2010: Odyssey Two that, after a 1968 screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Leonov pointed out to him that the alignment of the Moon, Earth, and Sun shown in the opening is essentially the same as that in Leonov's 1967 painting Near the Moon, although the painting's diagonal framing of the scene was not replicated in the film. Clarke kept an autographed sketch of this painting—which Leonov made after the screening, hanging on his office wall.
In 2001, he was a vice president of Moscow-based Alfa Bank and an advisor to the first deputy of the Board.
In 2004, Leonov and former American astronaut David Scott began work on a dual biography / history of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Titled Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race, it was published in 2006. Neil Armstrong and Tom Hanks both wrote introductions to the book.
Leonov was also a contributor to the 2007 book Into That Silent Sea by Colin Burgess and Francis French, which describes his life and career in space exploration.

luni, 25 iunie 2012

Success 2012: José Carreras, spanish catalan tenor particularly known for his performances in the operas of Verdi and Puccini. He gained fame with a wider audience as one of The Three Tenors along with Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti

Josep Maria Carreras i Coll (born 5 December 1946), better known as José Carreras, is a Spanish Catalan tenor particularly known for his performances in the operas of Verdi and Puccini.Born in Barcelona, he made his debut on the opera stage at the age of 11 as Trujamán in Manuel de Falla's El retablo de Maese Pedro and went on to a career that encompassed over 60 roles on the stages of the world's leading opera houses and in the recording studio.
He gained fame with a wider audience as one of The Three Tenors along with Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti in a series of mass concerts that began in 1990 and continued until 2003.  Carreras is also known for his humanitarian work as the president of the José Carreras International Leukaemia Foundation (La Fundació Internacional Josep Carreras per a la Lluita contra la Leucèmia), which he established following his own recovery from the disease in 1988
 The 1990s continued to see Carreras performing on the operatic stage in Carmen and Fedora and making role debuts in Samson et Dalila (Peralada, 1990), Verdi's Stiffelio (London, 1993), and Wolf-Ferrari's Sly (Zurich, 1998). However, his opera performances became less frequent as he increasingly devoted himself to concerts and recitals. His final performance in a fully staged opera was on 12 July 2002 in Tokyo, where he reprised the title role in Sly, while his final operatic performances at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the opera house where his career began, were in Samson et Dalila (March 2001).
In 1990 the first Three Tenors concert, took place in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome on the eve of the 1990 FIFA World Cup finals. It was originally conceived to raise money for Carreras's leukemia foundation and as a way for his colleagues, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, to welcome their "little brother" back to the world of opera. However, it and the subsequent Three Tenors concerts brought Carreras a fame that went far beyond the opera house.  It is estimated that over a billion people around the world watched the television broadcast of the 1994 Three Tenors concert in Los Angeles.  By 1999, the CD from the first Three Tenors concert in Rome had sold an estimated 13 million copies, making it the best-selling classical recording of all time. The early 1990s also saw Carreras serving as the Musical Director for the opening and closing ceremonies of 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and performing in a worldwide concert tour in tribute to his first singing hero, Mario Lanza.
Carreras's recording and concert repertoire has now moved almost entirely into Neapolitan songs, the light classical genre, and 'easy-listening'. He has also increasingly performed and recorded with artists from outside the classical music world, such as Diana Ross, Edyta Górniak, Lluis Llach, Peter Maffay, Udo Jürgens, Klaus Meine, Charles Aznavour, Kim Styles, Sarah Brightman, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Debbie Harry, Majida El Roumi, and Giorgia Fumanti.
Following his own recovery from leukemia, Carreras sought both to repay the debt he owed to medical science and to improve the lives and care of other leukemia sufferers. On 14 July 1988, he established the José Carreras International Leukemia Foundation (Fundació Internacional Josep Carreras per a la Lluita contra la Leucèmia) in Barcelona.
The José Carreras International Leukaemia Foundation also has affiliates in the U.S., Switzerland, and Germany, with the German affiliate the most active of the three. Since 1995, Carreras has presented an annual live television benefit gala in Leipzig to raise funds for the foundation's work in Germany. Since its inception, the gala alone has raised well over 71 million. Carreras also performs at least 20 charity concerts a year in aid of his foundation and other medical related charities. He is an Honorary Member of the European Society for Medicine and the European Haematology Association, an Honorary Patron of the European Society for Medical Oncology, and a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO.

Carreras has received numerous awards and distinctions for both his artistic and humanitarian work. These include: Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur (France); Gran Croce di Cavaliere and Grande Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana; Grand Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria; the Cruz de Oro del Orden Civil de la Solidaridad Social from Queen Sofia of Spain, The Prince of Asturias Prize, and the Bundesverdienstkreuz from the Federal Republic of Germany. On 23 February 2004, the Austrian Post Office issued a 1 stamp to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his debut at the Vienna Staatsoper.
He has Honorary Doctorates from the University of Barcelona and Miguel Hernández University (Spain); Napier, Loughborough and Sheffield universities (United Kingdom); the Mendeleev Russian University of Chemistry and Technology (Russia); the University of Camerino (Italy); Rutgers University (United States); the University of Coimbra (Portugal); the National University of Music Bucharest (Romania); Philipps-Universität Marburg (Germany); the University of Pécs (Hungary) and most recently, Kyunghee University (Korea) and the University of Porto (Portugal).
In Spain the central plaza in Sant Joan d'Alacant bears his name, as do two theatres – the Auditori Josep Carreras in Vila-seca (near Tarragona) and The Teatro Josep Carreras in Fuenlabrada.

In its prime, Carreras's voice was considered one of the most beautiful tenor voices of the day. The Spanish critic, Fernando Fraga has described it as a lyric tenor with the generosity of a spinto, having "a noble timbre, richly coloured and sumptuously resonant". This is particularly true of the middle range of his voice. Fraga also noted, as has Carreras himself, that even in his youth the high notes of the tenor range were always somewhat problematic for him, and became more so as his career progressed. Like his idol, Giuseppe di Stefano, Carreras was also known for the beauty and expressiveness of his phrasing and for his passionate delivery. These qualities are perhaps best exemplified in his 1976 recording of Tosca with Montserrat Caballé in the title role and conducted by Sir Colin Davis. According to several critics  his assumption of the heavier spinto roles such as Andrea Chénier, Don José in Carmen, Don Carlo, and Alvaro in La forza del destino put a strain on his naturally lyric instrument which may have caused the voice to prematurely darken and lose some of its bloom. Nevertheless he produced some of his finest performances in those roles. The Daily Telegraph wrote of his 1984 Andrea Chénier at London's Royal Opera House: "Switching effortlessly from the lyric poet Rodolfo in La Bohème a few weeks ago to the heroic poet Chenier, the Spanish tenor's vocal artistry held us spellbound throughout." Of his 1985 performance in Andrea Chénier at La Scala (preserved on DVD), Carl Battaglia wrote in Opera News that Carreras dominated the opera "with formidable concentration and a cleverly refined vocal accent that imparts to this spinto role an overlay of intensity lacking in his essentially lyric tenor." However, Carl H. Hiller's review of the La Scala performance in Opera also noted that while in the quiet phrases of the score "he could display all the tonal mellowness of which this perhaps most beautiful tenor voice of our time is capable", he had difficulty with the high loud notes, which sounded strained and uneasily produced.Critic Peter G. Davis wrote of Carreras' choice to continue his career.

marți, 19 iunie 2012

Success 2012: TOMMY RAMONE, the last surviving member of the influential punk rock band THE RAMONES. In 1970, Tommy was an assistant engineer for the production of the Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsys

Tommy Ramone, also known as Thomas Erdelyi (born Erdélyi Tamás; January 29, 1952), is a Hungarian American record producer and musician. He was the drummer of the influential punk rock band the Ramones, the last surviving member of the original quartet.
Erdélyi was born in Budapest, Hungary, to Jewish parents who had survived the Holocaust by being hidden by neighbors, though many of his relatives were victims of the Nazis. He grew up in Forest Hills, a neighborhood of New York City's Queens borough. Tommy and guitarist John Cummings (later to be dubbed "Johnny Ramone") performed together in a mid-60's four-piece garage band called the Tangerine Puppets while in high school. In 1970, Erdelyi was an assistant engineer for the production of the Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsys.
When the Ramones first came together, with Johnny Ramone on guitar, Dee Dee Ramone on bass and Joey Ramone on drums, Erdelyi was supposed to be the manager, but was drafted as the band's drummer when Joey became the lead singer and found that he couldn't keep up with the Ramones' increasingly fast tempos. "Tommy Ramone, who was managing us, finally had to sit down behind the drums, because nobody else wanted to," Dee Dee later recalled.
He remained as drummer from 1974 to 1978, playing on and co-producing their first three albums, Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket to Russia, as well as the live album It's Alive.
He was replaced on drums in 1978 by Marky Ramone, but handled band management and co-production for their fourth album, Road to Ruin; he later returned as producer for the eighth album, 1984's Too Tough to Die.
Even though Tommy was an original member and co-producer for the Ramones, both Dee Dee and Johnny denied that he influenced the Ramones' sound.During interviews for the End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, Dee Dee stated that Tommy was simply "at the right place at the right time". This seemingly contradicts an earlier interview in the same film in which Johnny Ramone states that Tommy was very important to the band.
Dee Dee, in his books, expressed resentment towards Tommy for having it "together" more than anyone else in the band, being able to cook himself dinner and organize his life in a much more functional manner, without the psychosis or addiction problems that Dee Dee himself suffered from. In comparison to everyone else in the band, Tommy was seemingly "normal", though there are accounts of him partying with the band and driving them around in his car in the early days. Tommy Ramone wrote "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and the majority of "Blitzkrieg Bop" while bassist Dee Dee suggested the title. He and Ed Stasium played all the guitar solos on the albums he produced, as Johnny Ramone largely preferred playing rhythm guitar.
In the 1980s he produced the highly regarded Replacements album Tim, as well as Redd Kross's Neurotica.
On October 8, 2004, he played as a Ramone once again, when he joined C.J. Ramone, Daniel Rey, and Clem Burke (also known as Elvis Ramone) in the "Ramones Beat Down On Cancer" concert. In October 2007 in an interview to promote It's Alive 1974-1996 a double DVD of the band's greatest televised live performances he paid tribute to his deceased bandmates:
"They gave everything they could in every show. They weren't the type to phone it in, if you see what I mean."
Currently, Tommy and Claudia Tienan (formerly of underground band The Simplistics) are performing as a bluegrass-based folk duo called Uncle Monk. Says Tommy: "There are a lot of similarities between punk and old-time music. Both are home-brewed music as opposed to schooled, and both have an earthy energy. And anybody can pick up an instrument and start playing." He joined songwriter Chris Castle, Garth Hudson, Larry Campbell (musician) and the Womack Family Band in July 2011 at Levon Helm Studios for Castle's album Last Bird Home.

miercuri, 6 iunie 2012

Success 2012: Steve Forbes, the editor-in-chief of business magazine Forbes. He was a Republican candidate in the U.S. Presidential primaries in 1996 and 2000

Malcolm Stevenson "Steve" Forbes, Jr. (born July 18, 1947) is an American publishing executive who was twice a candidate for the nomination of the Republican Party for president. He is the editor-in-chief of business magazine Forbes as well as president and chief executive officer of its publisher, Forbes Inc. He was a Republican candidate in the U.S. Presidential primaries in 1996 and 2000. He is the son of longtime Forbes magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes and the grandson of that publication's founder, B.C. Forbes. Forbes was born in Morristown, New Jersey, the son of Roberta Remsen (née Laidlaw) and Malcolm Forbes. He is married to Sabina Beekman, and they have five daughters; Sabina, Roberta, Catherine, Moira, and Elizabeth. Forbes attended Far Hills Country Day School. He graduated cum laude in 1966 from Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, and was in the Princeton class of 1970. While at Princeton, Forbes founded his first magazine, Business Today, with two other students. Business Today is currently the largest student-run magazine in the world. In 1996, years after the death of his father, he changed the name credited to him on the Forbes magazine masthead from Malcolm S. Forbes Jr. to the name he had been known as throughout childhood, Steve Forbes. Forbes served as an occasional guest host on the show History's Business on the television channel History. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in economics from Stevenson University on April 30, 2009. Forbes is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and Tau Kappa Epsilon. Forbes entered the Republican primaries for President of the United States in 1996 and 2000, primarily running on a campaign to establish a flat income tax. He also supported the ideas of re-introducing 4 1/2% mortgages and term limits in 1996, but dropped both in 2000 (as they were minor planks in his overall platform). When Forbes ran for president in 1996 and 2000, he sold some of his Forbes Inc. voting shares to other family members to help finance his run. He did not come close to securing the Republican nomination, despite winning the Arizona and Delaware Primaries in 1996 and getting some significant shares of the vote in other primaries. His awkward campaigning style was considered to be a major factor in his defeat. Time Magazine called his stumping a "comedy-club impression of what would happen if some mad scientist decided to construct a dork robot." and also described his campaign as "wacky, saturated with money and ultimately embarrassing to all concerned." After dropping out early in the 2000 primary season, he returned to heading the magazine and company. During the 1996 campaign, insiders at Fortune alleged that stories about Forbes' advertisers became favorably biased toward them. Major issues Forbes has supported include free trade, health savings accounts, and allowing people to opt out 75% of Social Security payroll taxes into Personal Retirement Accounts (PRAs). He supports traditional Republican Party policies such as downsizing government agencies to balance the budget, tough crime laws and support for the death penalty, and school vouchers, opposition to gun control and most government regulation of the environment, as well as drug legalization and same-sex marriage. This last was despite his father's increasingly flamboyant gay lifestyle before his death. In terms of foreign policy, he called for a "US not UN foreign policy" (which is composed of anti-International Monetary Fund sentiments, pro-Israeli sentiment, opposition to Most Favored Nation status for the People's Republic of China, and anti-UN sentiment.) His flat tax plan has changed slightly. In 1996 he supported a flat tax of 17% on all personal and corporate earned income (unearned income such as capital gains, pensions, inheritance, and savings would be exempt.) However, he supported keeping the first $33,000 of income exempt. In 2000 he maintained the same plan, but instead of each person receiving an exemption of $33,000, it more closely resembled the Armey Plan (Forbes's version called for a $13,000 per adult and $5,000 per dependent deduction). Forbes himself is very wealthy, with a net worth in 1996 of $430 million Although Forbes publishes the list of the 400 wealthiest men and women in the U.S., Forbes conspicuously exempts himself from such disclosure. In response to this criticism, Forbes promised in his 2000 campaign to exempt himself from the benefits of the flat tax, although he did support the repeal of the 16th Amendment in a debate with Alan Keyes the previous year. In his 2000 campaign, Forbes professed his support for social conservatism along with his supply-side economics. Despite holding opposite positions in 1996, for the 2000 campaign, Forbes announced he was adamantly opposed to abortion and supported prayer in public schools. The previous year Forbes had issued a statement saying he would no longer donate money to Princeton University due to its hiring of philosopher Peter Singer, who views personhood as being limited to 'sentient' beings and therefore considers some disabled people and all infants to lack this status. Steve Forbes was one of the signers of the Statement of Principles of Project for the New American Century (PNAC) on June 3,

vineri, 1 iunie 2012

Success 2012: Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama (religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dondrub, 6 July 1935) is the 14th and current Dalai Lama, as well as the longest lived incumbent. Dalai Lamas are the most influential figures in the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, although the 14th has consolidated control over the other lineages in recent years. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, and is also well known for his lifelong advocacy for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. Tibetans traditionally believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors and a manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
The Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Qinghai (also known to Tibetans as Amdo), and was selected as the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama two years later, although he was only formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15. He inherited control over a government controlling an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent People's Republic of China wished to assert central control over it. There is a dispute over whether the respective governments reached an agreement for a joint Chinese-Tibetan administration. During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, which China regards as an uprising of feudal landlords, the Dalai Lama, who regards the uprising as an expression of widespread discontent, fled to India, where he denounced the People's Republic and established a Tibetan government in exile. A charismatic speaker, he has since traveled the world, advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism and talking about the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life. Around the world, institutions face pressure from China not to accept him. He has spoken about such topics as abortion, economics, firearms, and sexuality, and has been the subject of controversy for his alleged treatment of Dorje Shugden followers and his office's receipt of support from the CIA in the 1960s and early 1970s The Dalai Lama's appeal is variously ascribed to his charismatic personality, international fascination with Buddhism, his universalist values, international sympathy for the Tibetans, and western sinophobia.
In the 1990s, many films were released by the American film industry about Tibet, including biopics of the Dalai Lama. This is attributed to both the Dalai Lama's 1989 Nobel Peace Prize as well as to the euphoria following the Fall of Communism. The most notable films, Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet (both released in 1997), portrayed "an idyllic pre-1950 Tibet, with a smiling, soft-spoken Dalai Lama at the helm – a Dalai Lama sworn to non-violence": portrayals the Chinese government decried as ahistorical. One South African official publicly criticised the Dalai Lama's politics and lamented a taboo on criticism of him, saying "To say anything against the Dalai Lama is, in some quarters, equivalent to trying to shoot Bambi". Critics of the news and entertainment media coverage of the controversy charge that feudal Tibet was not as benevolent as popularly portrayed. The penal code before 1913 included forms of judicial mutilation and capital punishment to enforce a social system controversially described as both slavery and serfdom. In response, the Dalai Lama agreed many of old Tibet's practices needed reform. His predecessor had banned extreme punishments and the death penalty. And he had started some reforms like removal of debt inheritance during the early years of his government under the People's Republic of China in 1951. The Dalai Lama has his own page on Facebook