A Lovely Short On The Meaning Of Success

Watch and listen to this charming animated short film as author Alain de Botton explores what it means to be “successful.” Even if you disagree with de Botton’s take, we guarantee that Lara Lee and Hannah Jacobs‘ animation will brighten your day.

This Year’s Aquatics World Championships Are A Visual Feast

The FINA Aquatics World Championships have attracted the world’s best aquatics athletes since 1973. Hosted by FINA (translated from French as the International Federation for Swimming), competitions include a number of aquatics sports such as swimming, diving, high diving, water polo, open water swimming, and synchronized swimming. In other words, the FINA Championships are the place for aquatics competitors to show off their skills.

While the FINA Aquatics World Championships have been held all over the world–we’re talking everywhere from Australia to South Korea–this year’s competition is being hosted in Kazan, Russia. A staggering 6,500 athletes from 190 different countries are in attendance, competing for 75 medals–the most ever in this type of competition.

The championships formally began on July 24th with an opening ceremony spectacular enough for Russian president Vladimir Putin, who attended the event. Although the competition runs through August 9th, many events have already taken place. Check out these 23 incredible photos documenting the competition thus far.

The Synchronized Swimming Team Technicals are one of the most visually appealing competitions at the FINA Aquatics World Championships. Russia won this event for the fifth year in a row, and after watching their routine, it’s not hard to see why…

The United States, Russia and China have consistently topped the medal table for the past three championships (since 2009), and are likely to do so again this year. China took first place in the Men’s Synchronized 3M Springboard Diving event with this perfectly in-sync routine:

For more incredible action shots of athletes, check out our post on the 20 most famous sports photos of all time.

What We Love This Week, Volume CXXXIII

Burundi Woman Crying

A relative of Patrick Ndikumana, who was killed by police last week, mourns his death at the family’s home in Bujumbura, Burundi, on June 28. Source: TIME

Three Months Of Crisis In Burundi

Burundi Violence Rubble Smoke

A protestor throws fuel onto a shop kiosk dragged into the road to form a barricade in the Cibitoke neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, on May 7. Source: TIME

In the three months since Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term–thus exceeding the constitutional limit of two–the country’s political climate has devolved from tension to protest to violence, with a failed coup along the way. Even before Nkurunziza “won” re-election last week (in an environment the U.N. understatedly called “not conducive for free, credible and inclusive elections”), his government had been violently squashing any opposition. With Uganda’s recent, ongoing mediation between the government and the opposition providing a glimmer of hope for this dire situation, TIME has taken a harrowing look back at the nation’s catastrophic unrest.

Burundi Children Sad Window

Orphaned youths are pictured through a mesh window at the OPDE care home in Bujumbura, Burundi, on July 27. Source: TIME

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When Cleveland, Ohio Decided To Launch 1.5 Million Balloons

Balloon Fest 1986 Launch

Surely someone could have seen this one coming.

In one helluva poorly conceived–if not momentarily pretty–publicity stunt, Los Angeles-based company Treb decided to promote its services by releasing nearly 1.5 million balloons into the skies of Cleveland, Ohio. In spite of wasting vast amounts of helium for a single, fleeting event, the launch was built on good intentions: children sold sponsorships to benefit charity United Way, at the price of $1 for every two balloons.

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