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.
Tag Archives | Travel
Looking for a place to stay in Madrid? Make an ec0-friendly reservation at the Beach Garbage Hotel! The Leader Post reports:
A new hotel has opened in the heart of Madrid proudly declaring that it’s complete rubbish.
More of a wooden shack than a five-star establishment, the walls of the Beach Garbage Hotel are strewn with detritus dragged up by the tide, recovered from landfills or snapped up at flea markets.
Among the wall decorations: Plastic drums, wooden frames, musical instruments, striped socks, tyres, and children’s books.
In the five rooms there are street lights, wobbly sideboards, and torn Persian rugs, ready to welcome the lucky winners of a Facebook competition whose prize was a free stay.
Out front, there is a small patch of sand and palm trees.
[Continues at Leader Post]
Dante’s Inferno provides us with what is perhaps the most apt picture of tourism to date. More specifically, it is in the first layer of Hell, Limbo, that Dante depicts the circumstances that contextualize tourism and the individual who undertakes it, i.e. the tourist.
Like the unbaptized and virtuous Pagans whose torture is the inability to imagine something greater than their rational minds can conceive, the tourist never ventures beyond the predetermined image of the places they visit. The tourist deals only in images, whether it is the image of the Grand Canyon that was promised to him by the travel agent, or the image he must make of it (by snapping a picture) in order for it to become real. The tourist cannot know the mystery or grandeur of the Grand Canyon as it stretches across the horizon, she can only seen it in comparison to the image she was promised.… Read the rest
All above-ground metropolises harbor shadow cities beneath. A New York Times reporter spent five days on a subterranean urban hiking expedition, spelunking through NYC’s labyrinthine sewer system. His colorful travel journal details encounters with wildlife and “mole people.” Here’s how to go on an invigorating adventure into the unknown, without leaving city limits:
… Read the rest
Tuesday, 12:36 a.m.
Exterior Street, the Bronx
We inspect our exit point — a manhole in the middle of the road. Will Hunt, a bespectacled 26-year-old who is writing a book about the underground (“The last frontier,” he says, “in an over-mapped, Google-Earthed world.”) will serve as our spotter. Will’s job is to watch for traffic: ascending from the hole, we do not wish to be hit by a car. We are to communicate by walkie-talkie. Will ties a long pink ribbon to the inside of the manhole cover. Dangling downward, this will be our signal we have reached the end.
December, 2007. The distant Alps are covered in snow. Small flakes swirl in the wind, dancing around red clay statues of muscular giants and voluptuous goddesses, reminiscent of Egypt. Most prominent is the falcon-headed god, Horus, facing the Fire Altar where the looming statues converge.
I start to walk into the grove of the Earth Altar, but my guide Shama tells me I should go no further.
“It is dangerous for anyone who is not spiritually prepared,” she warns me. “Very dangerous.”
I would be willing to chance it, but I suppose rules are rules.
In the distance is Monti Pelati, the sacred mountain of the Damanhurians. It is said that more Synchronic Lines converge there than any place in the world. These lines are like the Earth’s magnetic field — only magic. They were discovered psychically by the founder and leader of the Damanhurians, Falco.
This is a place of power, of mystery.… Read the rest
Want to travel through the country with your firearms, but can’t get through airport security? No worries, take the train! Amtrak will soon allow passengers to transport their firearms, unloaded and stored away. The Sacramento Bee reports:
Reversing a near decadelong ban, Amtrak will allow passengers to bring guns on most trains starting next month, including several that stop in Sacramento.
The change, pushed by gun rights advocates and ordered by Congress, aligns Amtrak’s firearms policy with air travel rules that allow unloaded guns to be stored in locked baggage holds.
Federal Homeland Security officials on Monday said they are OK with guns being on trains as long as security protocols are enforced.
“It’s deemed safe and appropriate,” federal Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez said. “If people follow the rules, it’s pretty simple.”
[Continues at The Sacramento Bee]
CHERNOBYL, Ukraine — Yellow Geiger counter in hand, the guide announces that radiation levels are 35 times higher than normal. Welcome to Chernobyl, the site in 1986 of the worst nuclear disaster in history and now an attraction visited by thousands of tourists every year. Nearly 25 years after a reactor at the Soviet-era plant exploded, the irradiated zone around Chernobyl is attracting curious visitors from around the world, from nuclear specialists to ordinary tourists, willing to pay 160 dollars (122 euros) a day to visit the zone...
… Read the rest
You can’t find New Island on most maps of the Indian Ocean because its location was a secret for most of the twentieth century. But now one man has chronicled the long, strange history of its ancient inhabitants.
The ruins you see here come from a group known locally as the “Old People,” who probably started living on the island 43,500 years ago. In the modern age, the island was discovered in the late eighteenth century by two convict ships that crashed there on the way to Australia. One of those ships was filled with hundreds of female convicts, who eventually founded their own civilization on the island, based on sexual equality and paganism. Today the island is a bustling place, full of trains and welcoming visitors.
Unfortunately, you can only visit via a website created from the imagination of Lee (Rusty) Mothes, a worldbuilder who loves to draw maps and island landscapes.
Peter Warden, a former Apple engineer, likes to analyze data — so much so that he started scraping public profiles and photos from hundreds of millions of Facebook accounts about a year ago, and now has data collected from more than 200 million around the world. He wrote a fascinating post recently on his personal blog about what that data shows about how interconnected (or disconnected) users in the various American states are.