Tag Archives | Travel

The TSA Precheck Program for the 1 Percent

TSA PrecheckBecause rich people sure do hate being inconvenienced. Via the WSJ:

Hate the full-body scans, pat-downs and slow going at TSA airport security screening checkpoints? For $100, you can now bypass the hassle.

The Transportation Security Administration is rolling out expedited screening at big airports called “Precheck.” It has special lanes for background-checked travelers, who can keep their shoes, belt and jacket on, leave laptops and liquids in carry-on bags and walk through a metal detector rather than a full-body scan. The process, now at two airlines and nine airports, is much like how screenings worked before the Sept. 11 attacks.

To qualify, frequent fliers must meet undisclosed TSA criteria and get invited in by the airlines. There is also a backdoor in. Approved travelers who are in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “Global Entry” program can transfer into Precheck using their Global Entry number.

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Theme Park From Hell: Singapore’s Haw Par Villa

Singapore Paranormal Investigators has everything you need to know about the Haw Par Villa amusement park. Built in 1937, it is dotted with lush gardens and life-size depictions of scenes including the ten levels of hell described in ancient Chinese mythology, torture and dismemberment, humans with the heads of animals, and a women breastfeeding her father-in-law. It has been described as “if Heironymus Bosch built a putt-putt course”. Book your tickets and take your kids for a vacation that will change their lives.

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Space Adventures Offers Moon Tourism At $150 Million Per Seat

DeMonchaux31What are you doing this summer? Via io9:

If you’ve got a lust for space travel, a desire to go where only a couple of dozen people have gone before, and $150 million to spare, Space Adventures needs you.

The space tourism company—it’s the one that organizes the ISS trips via the Russian Soyuz—has mapped a potential tour around the moon that could lift off within five years.

The company has already secured a nine-digit commitment from one customer for a potential lunar sightseeing tour. And the logistics are already in place as well: aboard a three-seat Russian Soyuz spacecraft (the third seat is for a Russian mission commander), the tourists would launch into orbit where they would rendezvous with a separately-launched unmanned rocket, which would jet them the rest of the way to the moon.

Round trip: eight or nine days.

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Washable RFID Tags Help Catch Hotel Towel Thieves

TowlieDamn you, Big Travel! Discovery News reports:

Plush terrycloth bathrobes, 800-thread-count sheets and fluffy, freshly laundered towels can tempt even the most law-abiding hotel guest to take up a life of suitcase-stuffing crime.

Irresistible as they may be, petty theft of these luxurious (and free!) linens are gouging the hotel industry to the rude wake-up call of approximately $100 million a year.

Sticky-fingers everywhere, consider this a warning! Some hotels are reinforcing their defences against pilfering patrons like yourself and they’re using radio frequency identification (RFID) to catch you in the act.

Three hotels in Honolulu, Miami and New York City have begun using towels, sheets and bathrobes equipped with washable RFID tags to keep guests from snagging the coveted items. Just to keep you guessing, the hotels have chosen to remain anonymous.

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Rent Your Own Country: Liechtenstein Available At $70,000 Per Night

At least when people say that our government is for sale, it’s meant metaphorically. Wired UK writes:

For a cool $70,000 a night (for a minimum of two nights), you can hire the tiny country of Liechtenstein, which measures around 61.7 square miles and has just 35,000 inhabitants. According to the profile on Airbnb, Liechtenstein can accommodate between 450 and 900 people, has 500+ bedrooms and 500+ bathrooms. The cancellation policy is classified as “Super Strict”.

[This] follows last year’s attempt by Snoop Dogg to rent Liechtenstein to shoot a music video. He was rebuffed because his management did not give enough prior warning.

Leichtenstein

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Turkey’s Museum Of Hair

Avanos-hair-museum21Oddity Central examines one of the planet’s most disturbing “museums,” The Hair Museum in Avanos, Turkey. Every inch of every surface is covered in human hair, culled from tens of thousands of women and tagged and labeled. Great fun for the whole family!

The Hair Museum of Avanos, in Cappadocia, is definitely a must-see if you’re into bizarre tourist spots.

Ever since 3000 BC, Avanos has been known for its high quality earthenware, made from the mineral-rich mud of the Red River, but in recent years, the town has mostly been mentioned in relation to a unique hair museum created by skilled Turkish potter Chez Galip. The unusual establishment, located under Galip’s pottery shop, is filled with hair samples from over 16,000 women. The walls, ceiling, and all other surfaces, except the floor, are covered with locks of hair from the different women who have visited this place, and pieces of paper with addresses on them.

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Thousands Of Tourists’ Photographs, Combined Into One

Framing sites of mass tourism in our viewfinders, we create photographic souvenirs that are integral to the touristic experience. These products, coined “photograph-trophies” by Susan Sontag, separate our leisurely pleasures from the real everyday experiences of work and life.

Artist Corinne Vionnet begins with the most recognizable of images and creates something unearthly and unsettling — from Flickr and personal blogs, she culls thousands of tourists’ snapshots of a well-known landmark (such as the Taj Majal, below) and overlaps them into single composite, revealing the collective “tourists’ gaze” produced by the absurd behavior of millions of people endlessly taking the same photograph over and over. Via My Modern Met:

corinnevionnet0Read the rest

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Exposing Naked Scanners In The EU And Beyond – Again

Image from FlyWithDignity.org

Image from FlyWithDignity.org

One year on from the fast tracking of digital strip searches and the hysteria over the “pants incident” [1], the push for the use of naked scanners continues. Whilst naked scanners have not been front page news for some time, the issue, like many others the mainstream media choose to ignore, forges ahead unexposed.

The delayed EU Commission green paper

In June 2010, the European Commission finally published a green paper on the use of naked scanners at EU airports [2] — a paper that was originally promised back in 2008! The Commission’s green paper refers to naked scanners as “Security Scanners” in an attempt to play down the intrusive nature of the technology and highlight the supposed security benefits.

The Commission presents the all too common argument at the EU level — that it is inevitable that scanners will be introduced, so what we need is European Regulation to create a uniform system for obedient citizens to have their private parts scanned.… Read the rest

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Growing Your Own Security: Professor Breeding Bomb-Detecting Plants (Video)

Bomb Detecting PlantSpencer Ackerman writes on WIRED’s Danger Room:

The next hydrangea you grow could literally save your life. With the help of the Department of Defense, a biologist at Colorado State University has taught plant proteins how to detect explosives. Never let it be said that horticulture can’t fight terrorism.

Picture this at an airport, perhaps in as soon as four years: A terrorist rolls through the sliding doors of a terminal with a bomb packed into his luggage (or his underwear). All of a sudden, the leafy, verdant gardenscape ringing the gates goes white as a sheet. That’s the proteins inside the plants telling authorities that they’ve picked up the chemical trace of the guy’s arsenal.

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