To attract customers, Toronto hotel removes the TRUMP name

As I wrote about last month, the hotelier who operates the Toronto property bearing Trump's name was desperate enough to get shut of it that they had bid millions for the right to change the name of the hotel. Read the rest

Man checks single can of beer on flight

A fellow traveling from Melbourne to Perth, Australia checked a single can of Emu Export lager. He was surprised when it popped out on the the conveyor belt at baggage claim.

“My mate works at the airport and we hatched the plan as a laugh — I half didn’t expect it to come out the other end,” he said.

“But when it did it was sent out well in front of all the other luggage, so the baggage handlers obviously appreciated it.”

(News.com.au)

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Desperate Toronto hotelier pays millions to take Trump name off its business

The owners of Toronto's "Trump Hotel" just spent a reported $6M to get out of its deal with Trump and cleanse their property of his hated name; they will probably rebrand it as a "St Regis" hotel instead. Read the rest

Vintage isochrone maps show 19th-century travel times

In the late 19th century, travel times became a thing of fascination as modes of transportation improved by leaps and bounds (e.g., Around the World in 80 Days, published in 1873). Great thinkers of the day like Francis Galton even devised isochrone maps, which showed how long it would take to get from a central point to other points of interest. Read the rest

TSA to require some electronics out of bags at 10 U.S. airports starting Memorial Day weekend

The TSA will be testing out expanded screening for carry-on electronics larger than a phone and certain food items at selected airports around the country. The new rules come just two days after a major terrorist attack in Manchester, UK, and stepped-up security in response.

The TSA says they're “testing security screening procedures for carry-on bags at 10 U.S. airports” only, and “There are no changes to nationwide procedures.”

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The story of the TSA's oddly entertaining Instagram account

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)'s Instagram account is a real hoot, featuring weird, ridiculous, and sometimes helpful images of items that are prohibited and permitted to bring on flights. Apparently Jeremy Bentham's mummified head, above, "is allowed in carry-on as long as it's properly packaged, labeleled, and declared..." Also, who knew that Batarangs and Krull Glaives were so popular. From National Geographic:

“It almost looks like we’re in the entertainment business at times,” says Bob Burns, lead social media specialist with the TSA Office of Public Affairs and the man behind the account’s cheeky posts. After leaving his rock band in 2002, Burns originally joined TSA as a screener and later started the Instagram account in 2013—his idea to educate the public in a more engaging way.

“Everyone’s had that teacher where you’re afraid to ask questions because you’ll get criticized or yelled at. The human tone of our Instagram account makes us more approachable,” Burns says. “The majority of our photos are prohibited items and strange things … we try to use that as a teaching moment: A chainsaw is not allowed in your carry-on bag.”

Talk about deadheading... This crusty ol' chap is actually a prop from the #TexasChainsawMassacre movie. He was brought through a checkpoint at the Atlanta (#ATL) International Airport, where as you can see, he was screened and sent on his jolly way. #TSAOnTheJob

A post shared by TSA (@tsa) on May 15, 2016 at 3:41pm PDT

Some might find this nanner knife appealing. I’m guessing you have a bunch of them?

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An inflatable pillow to make flying in coach tolerable

This simple, inflatable pillow provides the lower back support I wish a coach airplane seat would. Read the rest

Racist border policies mean Toronto school board will no longer allow trips to Trump's USA

Toronto high-school students have been visiting the USA since their inception; I remember my own high-school trips to Buffalo's Albright Knox gallery warmly. But they are a relic of the past, because the Toronto District School Board will not risk harassment and worse of its students at the US border, where people born to Arab or Muslim families, or in majority-Muslim families, report widespread discrimination. Read the rest

Japan's "Weird Hotel," staffed by robots, in a Japanese theme-park

The Henn Na Hotel ("weird hotel") is staffed by robots: the Japanese-speaking check-in clerk is a vicious robot dinosaur, while the English-speaking one is humanoid; a robot arm stores and retrieves personal items from the guest lockers, and a chatbot serves as concierge. Read the rest

Living in a car: top 10 places to sleep

Ahle is committed to living in vehicles by choice, and her channel is a wealth of practical information for cardwellers, vandwellers, RVers, hobos, and vagabonds. Her tips for sleeping places are great. Read the rest

Gorgeous shots from circumnavigating Australia, aka "The Big Lap"

Tom Rex Jessett and his fiancee Vanessa tricked out a panel van and drove all the way around Australia, a journey known as The Big Lap.

We spent hours upon hours driving, walked on hundreds of beaches, Watched nearly every sunrise and sunset as well as ate a whole lot of tinned food! 35,000km later we were back where we started, the big lap complete! Here is just a small selection of the photographs I took along the way as memories.

Bonus video: Catherine Lawson and David Bristow take newborn Maya all the way around Highway 1.

I Spent 9 Months Road Tripping The Big Lap Of Australia And Took These Amazing Photos To Remember It! (Tom Rex Jessett) Read the rest

Human rights coalition to DHS: don't demand social media passwords from people entering the USA

A huge coalition of human rights groups, trade groups, civil liberties groups, and individual legal, technical and security experts have signed an open letter to the Department of Homeland Security in reaction to Secretary John Kelly's remarks to House Homeland Security Committee earlier this month, where he said the DHS might force visitors to America to divulge their social media logins as a condition of entry. Read the rest

The Airport Jacket is a suitcase you can wear

Many airlines are charging for checked and carry-on baggage. The Airport Jacket was designed to get around those fees. It has lots of huge pockets for stashing clothes, shoes, toiletries, your laptop, and more. It folds up into a suitcase, and unfolds into a jacket. Read the rest

China's "citizen scores" used to blacklist 6.7m people from using high-speed rail or flying

China's nightmarish "citizen scores" system uses your online activity, purchases, messages, and social graph to rate your creditworthiness and entitlement to services. One way your score can be plunged into negative territory is for a judge to declare you to be a bad person (mostly this happens to people said to have refused to pay their debts, but it's also used to punish people who lie to courts, hide their assets, and commit other offenses). Read the rest

Flying into the USA? Here's two ways you can help EFF and ACLU fight the #muslimban

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking first-hand reports of travellers being asked to divulge their social media habits by US border guards (beyond the optional field on the ESTA form) (email info@eff.org); meanwhile, ACLU urges travellers to stay on the customs/immigration side and let them know if people are being detained (Tweet @nobanjfk). Read the rest

Houseguests, technological literacy, and the goddamned wifi: a single chart

Randal Munroe nails it again in an XKCD installment that expresses the likelihood that your houseguests will be able to connect to your wifi (I confess to having been the "firmware" guide -- but also, having been reminded to do something about my own firmware when other difficult houseguests came to stay). Read the rest

Indicted Dieselgate VW execs advised not to leave Germany, lest they be extradited to the USA

The five Volkswagen executives who were criminally charged in the USA for their role in the Dieselgate scandal have been advised not to travel to the USA because they are liable to arrest there: they've also been told that leaving Germany is risky because they might be arrested and extradited to the USA. Read the rest

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