7 great anecdotes from a photographer of vanishing cultures

Jimmy Portait

Jimmy Nelson is a legendary photographer of humanity. He shares seven insights gleaned from his 48-year career, each one backed up with an interesting anecdote about how he got better at his craft. Read the rest

Jeepneys: souped-up rides from the Philippines

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Jeepneys are the unofficial national vehicle of the Philippines. Originally made from modified surplus US jeeps after World War II by companies like Sarao, they developed into a colorful and stylized form of public transportation. Read the rest

How legroom on major airlines compare to one another

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This would be a good time to share your stories about flying Spirit.

How legroom on major airlines compare to one another
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Squirrel-cam footage

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Watch this video to get exactly what the headline promises: a squirrel's-eye view of what it's like to squirrel around the treetops. It was reportedly shot in Westmount Park, Montreal with a GoPro Session (low quality, but light enough to be grabbed by/attached to a squirrel.) Read the rest

Earth-like planet "might" be orbiting Proxima Centauri, "only" 4 light years away

NASA/Penn State University

In interstellar terms, it couldn't be closer: an Earth-like world orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest sun to our own. Moreover, it's in the system's habitable zone, raising the possibility of liquid water and the conditions to sustain life. But don't get too excited...

Although media reports say the rumored planet orbits in a region that’s potentially favorable for life, these smaller stars are less stable, and Proxima Centauri is known to have violent flares at times. Its occasional tantrums have made astronomers skeptical of finding life around red dwarf stars in the past.

However, skepticism has softened some in recent years, and SETI recently launched a major initiative to search for life around 20,000 red dwarfs, as these stars are the most common in the Milky Way galaxy.

One of the most popular locations in science fiction, a habitable world at Proxima Centauri (or, rather, a generation ship headed for it) was most recently tackled in Ascension.

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DEA bribes rail/airline employees for tipoffs that lead to warrantless cash seizures

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A USA Today investigation has discovered a network of paid informants working for Amtrak and nearly every US airline who illegally delve into passengers' travel records to find people who might be traveling with a lot of cash: these tip-offs are used by the DEA to effect civil forfeiture -- seizing money without laying any charges against its owner, under the rubric that the cash may be proceeds from drug sales. One Amtrak secretary was secretly paid $854,460 to raid her employer's databases for the DEA. Read the rest

Flesh sucking phone charger is one of a kind

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I’ve traveled to Japan many times over the decades and seen some really strange shit. Read the rest

Airport lounges will let anyone in, provided you can fake a QR code

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When computer security expert and hardcore traveller Przemek Jaroszewski found that he couldn't enter an airline lounge in Warsaw because the automated reader mistakenly rejected his boarding card, he wrote a 600-line Javascript program that generated a QR code for "Batholemew Simpson," a business-class traveller on a flight departing that day. Read the rest

Man flew to China to meet online girlfriend, but didn't

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A Dutch man who flew to China to meet his mysterious online girlfriend ended up stuck in the airport for 10 days, eventually being taken to hospital for exhaustion. He'd surprised his companion of two months with plane tickets, reports the BBC, but she never showed up.

On Chinese social media, the majority of users were keen to point out the apparent absurdity of the man's actions.

The hashtag "Foreign man went to Changsha to meet his online girlfriend" has been trending on micro-blogging site Weibo.

"He must be stupid, why would anyone do this?" asked one user.

"Doesn't he know that everything in China is fake?" said another.

Look at the man's photo and tell me that Steve Buscemi shouldn't play him in the movie. Read the rest

TSA approves having a mummified head as your carry-on luggage, with reservations

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As long as it is "properly packaged, labeled and declared," one may take Victorian philosopher Jeremy Bentham's mummified head onto your flight. The TSA added that travelers may simply snap a picture and tweet it to @AskTSA if they are in any doubt about the flight-legality of any desiccated human remains with which they wish to fly. Read the rest

How to Pack for Any Trip is like a Marie Kondo book for travelers

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

How to Pack for Any Trip Lonely Planet 2016, 160 pages, 7 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches (softcover) $12 Buy a copy on Amazon

I’ve bought many a travel guidebooks from Lonely Planet before jumping on a plane, but this is the first I’ve seen from the adventure publisher that guides you before you leave the house. Reminding me of Marie Kondo and her magical ways of tidying up, How to Pack for Any Trip helps the traveler learn to pack efficiently and clutter-free. (The packing section even says, Kondo-style, that “the liberation of decluttering is magical.”)

With modern clean graphics, this pocket-size book (about the size of my wallet) teaches us how to choose our luggage, decide what to bring, pack lightly, fold – or roll up – our clothes, organize a backpack, and how to pack with kids. It also has a section on how to pack for different landscapes, such as large cities, the snow, campsites, beaches, the mountains, jungles, and deserts. Fun, useful, and just released last week, this book is a no-brainer for anyone planning to pack for a weekend trip or a month-long adventure.

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SURVEY: Your views on US Customs' plan to search your social media at the border

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Deji from Access Now writes, "You remember that spooky story about the U.S. screening everyone’s social media 'presence' at the border? Well, now there’s a way to tell the government exactly what you think about it." Read the rest

American Airlines backs stewardess who announced she was "watching" Muslim passenger in Seat 25-A, then kicked him off flight

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A Muslim man was booted from a flight after an attendant publicly announced his name and seat number and warned him she was “watching” him. Welcome to American (real ones) Airlines.

Mohamed Ahmed Radwan had boarded a plane in Charlotte, North Carolina and the flight attendant went to the tannoy and said: “Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I will be watching you.” The employee made no other announcements about any other passenger. Mr Radwan asked the employee why she had made the announcements. She reportedly responded that he was being “too sensitive” [and] was told he must leave the plane as he had made the first air stewardess “uncomfortable”.

The company's response: "We thoroughly reviewed these allegations and concluded that no discrimination occurred."

The same way bad police use "felt threatened" as an excuse for beatings and killings, bad airlines have settled on "felt uncomfortable" as their lawyer-approved all-bases-covered method of booting Muslims from flights. Read the rest

Rollaboard luggage trailer-hitch for your butt

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A pilot invented this $18 plastic hook for your belt/waistband that can tow a 25lb rollaboard around the airport behind you, leaving you hands-free as you maneuver the concourse. Read the rest

To see the future, visit the most remote areas of the GBAO

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Jan Chipchase travelled 7,100km through the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) ("a remote, sparsely populated, mostly Pamiri, Kyrgyz-speaking region of Tajikistan") with only a small piece of hand luggage, and in those rugged, beautiful mountains, discovered 61 glimpses of the future. Read the rest

Traveler sues TSA for missed flight

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Although Minneapolis man Hooman Nikizad arrived at the airport two hours early, as recommended, his hour-and-a-half wait in the security line made him miss his flight. He then had to buy a second ticket on another airline in order to get to his destination on time. Now he's suing the TSA for $506.85 to cover the cost.

"I had to buy a ticket with another airline to be able to make my destination and meet my obligations," Nikizad said in his claim, which noted the TSA had limited staff on duty at the time and "only one body scanner for the regular security line [in operation]"...The money being sought, he said, is to reimburse him for a replacement ticket, additional ground transportation expenses and the $75 court fee to file his claim.

No comment from the TSA. For more, read the full story at the Star Tribune. Read the rest

A couple's 6-month trip around the world, 1 second per day

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Here is one couple's trip around the world, one second per day. What took them six months to experience takes us armchair travelers only three minutes! Read the rest

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