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"Human beings have a huge propensity for good, and yet a capacity for evil", Queen Elizabeth's 2018 speech


"Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding."

"Some cultures believe a long life brings wisdom. I'd like to think so. Perhaps, part of that wisdom is to recognize some of life's baffling paradoxes such as the way human beings have a huge propensity for good, and yet a capacity for evil."

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Queen Elizabeth Reflects on the Royal Family's 'Busy: as well as the births of her two great-grandchildren, Prince Louis and Lena Tindall, and Prince Charles's 70th birthday. She also called out the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, remembering her father's time in the military and honoring all of those who serve. But perhaps most impactful was the Queen's plea for kindness and respect in our modern society.
"Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding," she said.
"Even the power of faith which frequently inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice can fall victim to tribalism. But through the many changes I have seen over the years: faith, family, and friendship have been not only a constant for me, but a source of personal comfort and reassurance."
Queen Elizabeth's 2018 Christmas speech in full:

For many, the service of 'Nine Lessons and Carols' from King's College Cambridge is when Christmas begins. Listened to by millions of people around the world it starts with a chorister singing the first verse of "Once in Royal David’s City."  read more »

"We come from the earth. We return to the earth. And in between we garden."

"We come from the earth.
We return to the earth.
And in between we garden."
- Author Unknown

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
- Cicero

35 years ago today: first cell phone call made in 1973. Now: world has more mobile devices than people


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Martin Cooper, who made the first cell phone call in 1973, holds a Motorola DynaTAC, the first prototype of a cell phone. The first commercial call wasn’t made until 10 years later.

Our reliance on cellphones began 35 years ago today
With 95% of Americans owning a cellphone, it can feel like we’ve been calling, texting, and tweeting on the go forever. But the infrastructure supporting our cellphones has actually not been around that long. While we’re now on 4G networks, it was only 35 years ago today that Ameritech (now part of AT&T) launched 1G, or the first commercial cell phone network.

That network, called the Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), went online on October 13, 1983, allowing people in the Chicago area to make and receive mobile calls for the first time. Ameritech president Bob Barnett, who made the first call, decided to make the historic moment count by ringing Alexander Graham Bell’s grandson. A little more than a year later, UK’s Vodafone hosted its first commercial call on New Year’s Day. Israel’s Pelephone followed suit in 1986, followed by Australia in 1987.

7 October 2014: There are officially more mobile devices than people in the world
The world is home to 7.2 billion gadgets, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are.
The number of active mobile devices and human beings crossed over somewhere around the 7.19 billion mark.

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Photo courtesy AP Photo / Eric Risberg

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." - Cicero

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
- Cicero

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it."
- Oscar Wilde

"A house without books is like a room without windows."
- Horace Mann

Incredible photos: majestic swan family of nine at sunrise; "Born To Explore" producer and host participates in a swan rescue


(quote)

As the sun rises through the mist, a pair of swans and their seven cygnets glide majestically along in a scene that evokes the end of the hottest summer on record.
The stunning photograph was taken by James MacDonald on his smartphone when he spotted the birds’ stately, single file procession during a morning run in Bushy Park, south-west London.

Mr MacDonald, 40, a mapmaker for DK Travel guides who lives near the park, said: ‘They were on the move along an inlet from a small pond to a larger lake. I’d seen swans with their young in the park earlier in the year, when the parents are still very protective and won’t let you get near, so it was nice to be able to get close enough to take a picture of these now they are bigger.’

Richard Martin-Barton, of forecasters MeteoGroup, said: ‘It will feel a little bit Mediterranean, thanks to slightly warmer air moving in from Northern Spain. But it’s going to be a case of enjoy it while you can if you live in south-east England because – by the middle of next week – they will see the cooler, wetter conditions the rest of the country will be having.’

Emmy-winning 'Born To Explore' shares passion for adventure
Richard Wiese travels to Windsor, England to participate in a swan rescue for an episode of the Westport-produced travel program, "Born To Explore." The program, which airs Saturdays on ABC, recently took home an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography.  read more »

Bloemencorso - Dutch annual flower parade celebrates end of long winter, brightens cities with colorful flower sculptures


(quote)

Bloemencorso is a Dutch word meaning "flower parade." In the springtime, usually from about mid to late-April, you will find 2018 Netherlands flower parades towns, villages, and regions throughout the country. Neighboring Belgium celebrates the end of the long winter in a similar way. "Bloemen" means flower, and "corso" means parade, and these celebrations feature the flowers for which the Low Countries, particularly Holland, are so famous. While spring is the prime flower viewing time, the Low Countries grow and import many other flower varieties, and the parades occur periodically through about mid-September.

The first Bloemencorso in Holland coincides with the glorious flowering of a number of different bulb flowers - hyacinth and daffodils, lilies, narcissus, dahlias, and caladiums. But it is the tulip that is most prominently featured. All of these flowers can be viewed at in magnificent cultivated landscapes at beautiful Keukenhof Gardens, located about halfway between Amsterdam and The Hague. The bulb growing area (Bollenstreek) provides the oldest and most famous 2018 Netherlands flower parade mid-April. It winds its way from Noordwijk to Haarlem, a distance of about 25 miles, and passes Keukenhof Gardens in the late afternoon. Visitors to the gardens are allowed to leave the grounds as the parade passes and re-enter afterwards without paying an additional admission.

(unquote)  read more »

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"We come from the earth.
We return to the earth.
And in between we garden."
- Author Unknown

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
- Cicero

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