Currently viewing the tag: "risk"

Imagine it’s 1942, and you’re a member of Britain’s Royal Air Force. In a skirmish above Germany, your plane was shot out of the sky, and since then you’ve been hunkered down in a Prisoner of War camp. Your officers have told you it’s your duty to escape as soon as you can, but you can’t quite figure out how—you’ve got no tools and no spare rations, and you don’t even know where you are.

One day, though, you’re playing Monopoly with your fellow prisoners when you notice a strange seam in the board. You pry it open—and find a secret compartment with a file inside. In other compartments, other surprises: a compass, a wire saw, and a map, printed on luxurious, easily foldable silk and showing you exactly where you are, and where safety is. You’ve received a package from Christopher Clayton Hutton—which means you’re set to go. –How Millions Of Secret Silk Maps Helped POWs Escape Their Captors in WWII by Cara Giaimo

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story about a POW who escapes.

Journaling Prompt: When you were going through a tough time, what do you wish someone would have given you?

Art Prompt: Silk maps

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about silk maps and POWs during WWII.

Photo Credit: Joe Saunders on Flickr

A man can go along obeying all the rules and then it don’t matter a damn anymore. –What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

Fiction Writing Prompt: Put your protagonist into a situation where the rules don’t apply anymore.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel when the rules are suddenly changed?

Art Prompt: The rules

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a time that you broke a rule.

Photo Credit: Dr. Zhivago on Flickr

censorship

The truth is being suppressed across the world using a variety of methods, according to a special report in the 250th issue of Index on Censorship magazine.

Physical violence is not the only method being used to stop news being published, says editor Rachael Jolley in the Danger in Truth: Truth in Danger report. As well as kidnapping and murders, financial pressure and defamation legislation is being used, the report reveals.

“In many countries around the world, journalists have lost their status as observers and now come under direct attack.”

There’s an increasing trend to label journalists as “extremists” or “terrorists” so governments can crackdown on reporting they don’t like. According to Index’s Mapping Media Freedom project, which tracks attacks on journalists in more than 40 countries, 35 incidents were reported where journalists were being linked to “extremism” to restrict reporting, 11 in Russia and others in Belgium, Hungary, France and Spain. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in a society oppressed by censorship.

Journaling Prompt: What kind of news do you feel is being suppressed where you live? Why do you feel this?

Art Prompt: Censorship

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the current state of censorship.

Photo Credit: Tim Watson on Flickr

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On October 24, 1901, 63-year-old Michigan school teacher Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over the falls in a barrel as a publicity stunt; she survived, bleeding, but otherwise unharmed. Soon after exiting the barrel, she said, “No one ought ever do that again.” Before Taylor’s attempt, on October 19 a domestic cat named Iagara was sent over the Horseshoe Falls in her barrel to test its strength. Contrary to rumours at the time, the cat survived the plunge unharmed and later posed with Taylor in photographs. Since Taylor’s historic ride, 14 people have intentionally gone over the falls in or on a device, despite her advice. Some have survived unharmed, but others have drowned or been severely injured. Survivors face charges and stiff fines, as it is illegal, on both sides of the border, to attempt to go over the falls.

In 1918, there was a near disaster when a barge, known locally as the Niagara Scow, working upriver broke its tow, and
almost plunged over the falls. Fortunately, the two workers on board saved themselves by grounding the vessel on rocks just short of the falls.

Englishman Captain Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel, drowned in 1883 trying to swim the rapids downriver from the falls.

In the “Miracle at Niagara”, Roger Woodward, a seven-year-old American boy, was swept over the Horseshoe Falls protected only by a life vest on July 9, 1960, as two tourists pulled his 17-year-old sister Deanne from the river only 20 feet (6.1 m) from the lip of the Horseshoe Falls at Goat Island. Minutes later, Woodward was plucked from the roiling plunge pool beneath the Horseshoe Falls after grabbing a life ring thrown to him by the crew of the Maid of the Mist boat. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who tempts fate at Niagara Falls.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the most dangerous stunt you’ve ever tried.

Art Prompt: Niagara Falls

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of daredevils at Niagara Falls.

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Lynne Cox made history by being the first person to swim across the Bering Strait. But her 2.3-mile (3.7-kilometer) swim was also notable because she crossed the border between the former U.S.S.R. and the United States. This was in 1987, during the Cold War.

Thankfully, she received a warm welcome when she finished the swim. A Soviet delegation greeted her, and both Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan later toasted when they met to sign a nuclear weapons treaty.

“Lynne Cox is known not just for distance swimming, but for swimming in unbelievably cold and open water,” Bier says. When Cox swam the Bering Strait, the water temperatures hovered around freezing (39°F, 4°C). Years later, she used her cold-water training to swim in Antarctica. –Six Epic Swims, From the English Channel to the Gowanus Canal by Becky Little

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who undertakes a risky challenge.

Journaling Prompt: What is the most brave thing you’ve ever tried.

Art Prompt: Ocean swimmer

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of Lynne Cox’ history-making swim.

Photo Credit: US NOAA nautical chart of Bering Strait on Wikimedia

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Babette’s or Babette’s Supper Club was a supper club and bar at 2211 Pacific Avenue on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey. It operated from the early 1920s onwards and was sold in 1950. The bar was designed like a ship’s bow. In the backroom was a gambling den, which was investigated by the federal authorities and raided in 1943…

Though considered one of the city’s most upmarket clubs, Babette’s gained a reputation for hosting illegal gambling, prompting a federal investigation in the 1930s. There was a backroom at Babette’s containing card tables and horse-race betting, which was illegal at the time. The gambling den attracted the high rollers of the period; Astors, Vanderbilts and others from New York’s social register could be found in the rooms at Babette’s. Stebbins was able to protect his casino business by his connections with politicians and those in the legal profession. His niece Gloria Vallee recalled in 1980 that the venue was continually being raided by police, but they would tip her uncle off that there would be a raid, so he could protect his clients. The mode of escaping the police was to exit through a trap door in the horse betting room. This led to a staircase to the roof. The gamblers crossed the roof and came down another flight of stairs on the side of the building which led into the Stebbins’ home. In 1943, Babette’s was raided by the authorities and booking equipment was confiscated. Stebbins was fined several thousand dollars for facilitating illegal gambling. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in a back room gambling parlor.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about gambling for money?

Art Prompt: Gambling

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of Babette’s Supper Club.

Photo Credit: Viri G on Flickr

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A ship full of feverish passengers couldn’t land in the United States, which didn’t want to take care of ailing paupers. Many ships traveled up the St. Lawrence River to the quarantine island of Grosse Île, near Quebec City. In the summer of 1847, thousands of Irish immigrants crowded into the small hospital there; many of them died quickly, which freed up beds for the next round of sick people. Bodies were stacked high in the hot summer sun. Towns on the river would try to send boats to the next place upstream; no one wanted to keep these crowds of sick Irish. –Ryan Hackney and Amy Hackney Blackwell, 101 Things You Didn’t Know about Irish History: The People, Places, Culture, and Tradition of the Emerald Isle

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who is dying to immigrate.

Journaling Prompt: What would you be willing to sacrifice for a better life?

Art Prompt: Immigrant

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the risks that modern day immigrants are making to escape danger in their homelands.

Photo Credit: Mortuary Crosses on Wikimedia

sat creation

This will be the beginning of a new age. Or I will fail. Again. –Interstellar Transit by David Williams

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a big risk you took that changed your life.

Art Prompt: Beginning

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Share a new beginning you made that involved a risk. Tell your audience what lessons you learned from the experience.

Photo Credit: Jeff Simms on Flickr

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The garrison of the Vellore Fort in July 1806 comprised four companies of British infantry from H.M. 69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot and three battalions of Madras infantry: the 1st/1st Madras Native Infantry, the 2nd/1st MNI and the 2nd/23rd MNI.

Two hours after midnight on 10 July, the sepoys in the fort shot down the European sentries and killed fourteen of their own officers and 115 men of the 69th Regiment, most of the latter as they slept in their barracks. Among those killed was Colonel St. John Fancourt, the commander of the fort. The rebels seized control by dawn, and raised the flag of the Mysore Sultanate over the fort. Tipu’s second son Fateh Hyder was declared king.

However, a British officer escaped and alerted the garrison in Arcot. Nine hours after the outbreak of the mutiny, a relief force comprising the British 19th Light Dragoons, galloper guns and a squadron of Madras cavalry, rode from Arcot to Vellore, covering sixteen miles in about two hours. It was led by Sir Rollo Gillespie – one of the most capable and energetic officers in India at that time – who reportedly left Arcot within a quarter of an hour of the alarm being raised. Gillespie dashed ahead of the main force with a single troop of about twenty men.

Arriving at Vellore, Gillespie found the surviving Europeans, about sixty men of the 69th, commanded by NCOs and two assistant surgeons, still holding part of the ramparts but out of ammunition. Unable to gain entry through the defended gate, Gillespie climbed the wall with the aid of a rope and a sergeant’s sash which was lowered to him; and, to gain time, led the 69th in a bayonet-charge along the ramparts. When the rest of the 19th arrived, Gillespie had them blow open the gates with their galloper guns, and made a second charge with the 69th to clear a space inside the entrance to permit the cavalry to deploy. The 19th and the Madras Cavalry then charged and sabred any sepoy who stood in their way. About 100 sepoys who had sought refuge inside the palace were brought out, and by Gillespie’s order, placed against a wall and shot dead. John Blakiston, the engineer who had blown in the gates, recalled: “Even this appalling sight I could look upon, I may almost say, with composure. It was an act of summary justice, and in every respect a most proper one; yet, at this distance of time, I find it a difficult matter to approve the deed, or to account for the feeling under which I then viewed it.”.

The harsh retribution meted out to the sepoys snuffed out the unrest at a stroke and provided the history of the British in India with one of its true epics; for, as Gillespie admitted, with a delay of even five minutes, all would have been lost for the British. In all, nearly 350 of the rebels were killed, and another 350 wounded before the fighting had finished. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where servants rebel.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about the “justice” meted out in this incident? Would you have done anything differently?

Art Prompt: Mutiny

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about Vellore Fort mutiny and the lessons it can teach us today.

Photo Credit: Vellore Fort moat, Tamil Nadu on Wikimedia

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The Jeannette Expedition of 1879–81, officially the U.S. Arctic Expedition, was an attempt led by George W. De Long to reach the North Pole by pioneering a route from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait. The premise was that a temperate current, the Kuro Siwo, flowed northwards into the strait, providing a gateway to an Open Polar Sea and thus to the pole. This theory proved illusory; the expedition’s ship, USS Jeannette, was trapped by ice and drifted for nearly two years before she was crushed and sunk, north of the Siberian coast. De Long then led his men on a perilous journey by boat and sled to the Lena Delta. During this journey, and in the subsequent weeks of wandering in the Arctic wastes before rescue, more than half the ship’s complement died, including De Long. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about an arctic expedition gone wrong.

Journaling Prompt: If you had unlimited resources and time, where would you like to explore?

Art Prompt: Arctic exploration

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience of the Jeannette Expedition.