People are Amazing : Dean Potter : Moonwalk

The ultimate full moon shot, Dean Potter walks a highline at Cathedral Peak as the sun sets and the moon rises. Shot from over 1 mile away with a Canon 800mm and 2X by Mikey Schaefer.

Click on the image to view this amazing film.

Dean Potter on a Highline

or watch at

via Joe Brown Shops

People are Amazing : Funfair Games

Peter Drakos is undoubtedly the best player of fairground games in the world. A number of fairgrounds across the US have put a limit on the number of prizes you can win thanks to Peter. His skill is impressive but what he does with his winnings is what makes him amazing.

via Reddit

People are Amazing : Slacklining between two trucks

When Volvo wanted to demonstrate the precision their new trucks can be driven to, they turned to high line walker Faith Dickey and stunt director Peter Pedrero to help. The result is breath-taking.

The Kranz Dictum : Tough and Competent

Gene Kranz was the Flight Director for NASA during the end of the Gemini programme and into the Apollo programme. He is perhaps most famous for being the Flight Director on shift when the explosion happened on Apollo 13 and is widely credited with leading the team that saved the astronaut’s lives.

However, he was also in charge when the Apollo 1 launchpad fire that killed Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee happened. The following Monday morning Kranz called a meeting of his branch and flight control team and made the following address, which has become know as The Kranz Dictum.

Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it.
We were too gung-ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, “Dammit, stop!”
I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did.
From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: “Tough and Competent.” Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for.
Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect.
When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write “Tough and Competent” on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.

Tough, forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do, and Competent, never take anything for granted, words to lead any project, expedition, team or organisation by.

Edmund Hillary: An ordinary chap

We’ve just ordered this poster from Zen Pencils, we thought it would look great on the wall at Totem HQ. Help remind us of what we are trying to achieve; motivation, goal setting and with a mountaineering theme. It could have been drawn especially for us!

You can get your own at Zen Pencils.

How do you cope under pressure?

Watch the video below (2:49), it is the Air Traffic Control recording from the Boeing 777 that crashed short of the runway at Heathrow in 2009.

Having suffered ice crystals in the fuel system, the plane lost power as it came into land at Heathrow, giving the pilots less than a minute to react and eventually crashed short of the runway. All the passengers and crew walked away from the crash with only minor injuries.

What is impressive here is the reaction of the Air Traffic Controller.
Read More »

What is Courage?

Over on Twitter, Lewis Pugh, extraordinary swimmer and climate change activist is asking a simple question.

What is courage?

I’ve been mulling the idea over in my head for a while and I still haven’t come up with a clear answer, espically not one that will fit in 140 characters. There are some great answers coming in and I thought about submitting the old chestnut about the exam answer and then I saw this image and I knew I had an answer.

An Iranian women show her defiance to President Ahmadinejad of Iran

It may not define exactly what all forms of courage are but it’s a pretty powerful example, especially the day after International Women’s Day 2012.

Photo via The Guardian

People Are Amazing: Rubik’s Cube Blindfolded World Record

Marcell Endrey sets a new WCA world record for solving the Rubik’s Cube blindfolded at the Zonhoven Open 2012 with a magnificent time of 28.80 seconds.

People are Amazing: Radwanderung…Mountain Biking on the Edge

It takes faith in your ability to tackle these trails in the beautiful gorge in Germany.

Best wishes for the Solstice, Christmas and the New Year

With a run of festivals coming up, first the Winter Solstice, then Christmas, then the arrival of the New Year, we at Totem are going into hibernation for a couple of weeks before emerging in January to set you more challenges, help you have more adventures and most importantly, to help you learn from them.

Every year we look for a piece of advice or prose that sums up the festive period for us and every year we come back to the same one. This piece could probably be read every day with becoming old so once a year won’t hurt. It’s from master storyteller Neil Gaiman and if it needs a title, “Benediction” would probably suffice.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

Have fun in the snow and we’ll see you all in the New Year.