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Uttar Pradesh

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Sixty years ago today New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay made the first confirmed ascent of the world's tallest peak which reaches 29,029 feet. Since then thousands of people have made the attempt, with many perishing. Just last week 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura became the oldest person to reach the summit for the third time, although he said that he nearly died on the descent and that this would be his last time. The 1953 expedition that took Hillary and Norgay to the top ended with a stay of just 15 minutes, with Norgay leaving chocolates in the snow and Hillary leaving a cross that was given to him by Army Colonel John Hunt, the leader of the British expedition. -- Lloyd Young ( 37 photos total)
Tenzing Norgay, left, and Sir Edmund Hillary on their historic ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. (Associated Press)     

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Ten years ago, the International Labor Organization (ILO) established June 12 as World Day Against Child Labor. The ILO, an agency of the United Nations, says on its website: "Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights." The World Day Against Child Labor was launched as a way to highlight the plight of these children and support governments and social organizations in their campaigns against child labor. [37 photos]

The rough hands of an Afghan child, at the Sadat Ltd. Brick factory, where some children work from 8am to 5 pm daily, seen on May 14, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Child labor is common at the brick factories where the parents work as laborers, desperate to make more money enlisting their children to help doing the easy jobs. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

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Long ago I read iWoz, about the life of Steve Wozniak, but I had never had the chance to read any book about Steve Jobs. Last December I bought the official biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and I loved how it is written, it is addictive!

I was especially interested in what happened during the famous Steve Jobs trip to India. It turns out that during his two years in college, he spent most of his time reading about eastern philosophy and religions and talking about them with his friend Daniel Kottke. When he became 19 years old he grew tired of college and started a technical job at ATARI where he barely spent some months. Then he decided to travel to India with Daniel Kottke in search of their “spiritual leaders”.

They were unable to find any “spiritual leader” that could captivate or enlighten them; the truth is they spent months travelling around in India without any destination in mind. The most interesting event was when an Hindu monk approached Steve Jobs with a razor and without any warning shaved his head.

What did you and Steve take back from India that stayed with you?
It seems in retrospect that we spent a lot of time on endless long hot crowded bus rides from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh … From a Daniel Kottke interview

steve jobs

When he returned, he came back to work at ATARI until he was able to sell the first Apple I computers with Wozniak. Five years later Apple would IPO making the 300 employees of Apple multimillionaires. During those years, apart from working, Steve Jobs started to practice Zen meditation at the San Francisco Zen Center; there he got to know the monk Kobun Chino Otogawa, who would become his mentor and friend during the rest of his life. Steve Jobs was said to be one the disciples that spent most hours meditating and in occasions he took several free days to go to Tassajara (the first Zen temple in United States) to sit down in front of a wall and meditate during weeks. Steve enjoyed the idea of using his mind to inspect his mind. He used introspection to change the way his mind worked, something known in psychology as metacognition.

Kobun Chino Otogawa, born in Kyoto, spent the first 30 years of his life in Japan, three of them in the main temple of the Sōtō Zen sect. At the end of the 60s he moved to United States with the mission to have a better understanding of Zen in the Western world. Besides Zen meditation, the specialties of Kobun were writing haiku poems and shodo caligraphy. We all know that Steve Jobs was a fan of caligraphy, for him it was reallly important that the fonts on computer screens were beautiful.

Buddhist monk Kobun Chino Otogawa was the spiritual mentor of Steve Jobs as well as his close friend during more than 20 years.

Kobun Chino Otogawa met Steve Jobs for the first time when he had just come back from his trip to India. Kobun Chino Otogawa found in Steve Jobs an outstanding disciple and Steve found in him a mentor to admire. Their relationship lasted for more than 20 years until Kobun Chino Otogawa died in 2002. Before founding Apple with Markkula and Wozniak, Steve Jobs had been considering what to do with the rest of his life, one of the options that he liked the most was to dedicate himself to the Zen exclusively. In a key moment in his life, Kobun Chino Otogawa advised Steve to do the opposite, he told him to follow his hearth, he told him that “He would find the ZEN in his life dedicating himself with passion to what he liked the most”, he told him that “He could still follow an spiritual life at the same time that he managed a business”. Steve was convinced and started the adventure that would take him to revolutionize several industries (computing, telephony, music…).

Steve Jobs meditating
Steve Jobs meditating.

Kobun Chino Otogawa was also present in another key moment of Steve Jobs life; he was in charge of celebrating the wedding ceremony of Steve Jobs and Laurene Powell according to the Sōtō Zen ritual. Kobun was like a father to Steve; during the NeXT year Steve offered him a job but Kobun just accepted to occupy an “Advisor” role. Kobun Chino Otogawa was the “Spiritual Advisor” of the company until it was acquired by Apple.

Kobun Chino Otogawa happily clapping after marrying Steve and Laurene.

The Zen was an essential tool for Steve Jobs for designing Apple products. A basic rule for Steve Jobs was to always simplify as much as possible, eliminating any element that was not strictly necessary. The iPod, whose simple, beautiful and intuitive design supposed an authentic revolution when it was released, was the first Apple product that I bought. At the moment I am the owner of around 15 Apple products. What I like the most about Apple products is that, as a whole, their simplicity and ease of use allows me to be able to be more creative and productive when using them.

The iPod shows us, through its simplicity, how much Steve Jobs appreciated the Zen.

Steve met Kobun Chino Otogawa for the first time at the end of the 70s but he didn’t travel to Japan until the beginning of the 80s. He had to go to Japan to look for the most appropriate floppy disk drive for the first Macintosh. In that trip he met for the first time Aiko Morita, the founder of Sony and could try exclusively the first prototypes of the Walkman, a device that impressed Steve Jobs. Another thing that captivated Steve Jobs were Sony factories (which afterwards he emulated when building Apple factories). Steve Jobs admired Aiko Morita but in many ocasions he criticized the unrefined designs of Sony products. The first Macintosh was one of the first computers to include a 3.5” floppy disk drive.

Besides doing business, Steve Jobs had the chance to travel around Japan visiting Kyoto and Soto Zen Eiheiji, the temple where Kobun Chino Otogawa had been living before moving to United States. Steve Jobs came back to Japan several times during the rest of his life, most of the visits were business trip but he almost always had time to escape to Kyoto, his favourite Japanese city:

Steve Jobs visiting The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Steve Jobs always stayed in the Hotel Okura and loved the sushi of the restaurant on the lower floor. The Hotel Okura appears in the novel 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, it is the hotel where Aomame goes to visit the leader to offer him massage services.

summer random shots
Entrance to the Hotel Okura, where Steve Jobs liked to stay when he was visiting the land of the Zen.

Kobun Chino Otogawa, Sony’s Aiko Morita, the Zen and Japan were a big influence in Steve Jobs life. Another Japanese person that Steve Jobs admired was Issey Miyake, a Japanese designer who seeks elegance through simplicity, and who became quite close to Steve Jobs and eventually would become the designer of the famous black turtleneck sweater that Steve wore almost daily during the last years of his life.

Spiritual life, products with a simple but revolutionary design, Zen, Japan, simplicity, Buddhism, intuition, vision, attention to detail… but at the same time it turns out that Steve Jobs had really bad manners even with friends, as he was vindictive, treacherous, narcissistic, etc. It looks like Steve Jobs just chose the Buddhist values he liked better and forgot that Buddhism is based on empathy and compassion. I would really like to know what was the sincere opinion that Kobun Chino Otogawa had about him, most likely he liked him just as he was, with his defects and strengths that brought him to create what is today the largest company in the world by market capitalization.

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs


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CASTING SHADOWS AND BALLOTS: A man cast a shadow against a pillar as he entered a polling station in Wickenburg, Ariz., Tuesday. Voters cast ballots for Republican candidates in primaries in Arizona and Michigan. (Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

OUT OF TUNE: Workers hauled away an old piano from an Occupy London site in front of St Paul’s Cathedral Tuesday. Police said 20 people were arrested as officers removed tents and equipment from outside the 300-year-old church, where demonstrators had camped since mid-October. (Matt Cetti-Roberts/London News Pictures/Zuma Press)

DIY PLANE: Farmer Li Jingchun, top, watched as his relatives checked out his self-made aircraft in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, Tuesday. The plane, made mostly made of recycled iron, cost the aircraft enthusiast about $6,000 to make, according to local media. (Sheng Li/Reuters)

MOTHER VOTES: A woman held her baby as she showed her voter identification card in Noida, India, Tuesday. Voting is taking place over seven days in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. (Parivartan Sharma/Reuters)

SON MOURNS: Police officer Vinicius Figueiredo cried as he walked past the coffin of Roberto Lopes dos Santos in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday. Mr. Figueiredo’s father, Carlos Alberto Vieira Figueiredo, and Mr. Lopes dos Santos died in a fire at a Brazilian research station in the Antarctic. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

SYRIA’S DEAD: Bodies of two people who were killed in heavy shelling by government forces were covered by a mat near Idlib, Syria, Tuesday. Oppositions members and the activist group Avaaz said they helped smuggle a wounded British photographer out of the country into Lebanon. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

GOING THE DISTANCE: Louisiana State University cornerback Morris Claiborne ran a drill at an NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis Tuesday. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)

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Civilian volunteers carry relief goods as they cross a damaged road destroyed at the height of the powerful earthquake in Guihulngan town, Negros Oriental province, central Philippines on February 9, 2012. Survivors of a deadly quake in the Philippines begged rescuers February 8 to keep searching for dozens of people buried in landslides, but officials [...]

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PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Dancers rehearsed at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow Monday. Around 100 foreigners from all over the world are enrolled at the academy, which will see its first American graduate this year. (Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)

PRAWNS AT A PORT: A boy sorted prawns with his mother at a sea port on the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday. (Athar Hussain/Reuters)

SAINT REMEMBERED: Muslims gathered at the shrine of St. Mian Mir to celebrate his life in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday. (Arif Ali/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SAND FOR SALE: A man carried a bucket of sand from a river in Franceville, Gabon, Tuesday. The sand will be sold for use as building materials, according to the men. (Louafi Larbi/Reuters)

CHAOTIC SCENE: A police officer wielded a baton at Samajwadi Party activists during an election rally that was attended by party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav in Allahabad, India, Tuesday. Uttar Pradesh state, where Allahabad is located, will choose Assembly members next week. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)

BRIGHT SPOTS: Thousands of fish floated near the surface of the water at the Divor Dam in Arraiolos, Portugal, Tuesday. The water level is low due to a lack of rain. (Nuno Veiga/European Pressphoto Agency)

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diversity is everywhere in India, from its religions and languages to its economy, and climates. The second-most populous nation in the world, India is home to more than 1.2 billion people. Most are Hindu, but seven other religions -- including Islam, Christianity and Sikhism -- make up nearly 20 percent of the population. January 26 will be India's 62nd Republic Day, marking the date in 1950 when the country's constitution came into force. Collected here are recent photos from across the vast nation, offering only a small glimpse of the people and diversity of India. [41 photos]

Indian soldiers from the Border Security Forces atop camels stand at attention in front of the Presidential Palace during a ceremony in preparation for the annual Beating Retreat in New Delhi, India, on January 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

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