The Gateway Foundation is a private company that claims they could build the first orbital space hotel by 2025. According to their site, the Von Braun Rotating Space Station is designed "to accommodate both national space agencies conducting low gravity research and space tourists who want to experience life on a large space station with the comfort of low gravity and the feel of a nice hotel" large enough for 450 visitors. From Space.com:
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Gateway Foundation officials acknowledge that the station might not be entirely finished by 2025, but the group aims to develop the station's main structure and basic functions by then. "We expect the operation to begin in 2025, the full station will be built out and completed by 2027. … Once the station's fully operational, our hope, our goal and our objective is to have the station available for the average person," (lead architect Timothy) Alatorre said. "So, a family or an individual could save up reasonably … and be able to have enough money to visit space and have that experience. … It would be something that would be within reach...
Alatorre said that the Gateway Foundation feels that such a project is now possible because the growing success of commercial aerospace companies like SpaceX has made launch options more affordable.
He added that the company admits that it's possible its timeline is pushing it somewhat. "We completely understand that delays are almost inevitable with aerospace, but based on our internal projections and the fact that we're already dealing with existing technology, we're not inventing anything new.
This is the former Newark, Ohio headquarters of The Longaberger Company, a basket manufacturer that went under last year. This week, the developers who bought the property announced that it will become a luxury hotel. According to WCPO, "project officials say the exterior look of a basket will remain intact." Well duh.
The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building was designed by The Longaberger Company, and executed by NBBJ and Korda Nemeth Engineering. The building opened in 1997. The basket handles weigh almost 150 tons and can be heated during cold weather to prevent ice damage. Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death.
(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)
image: Derek Jensen (public domain)
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A developer plans to transform the massive Nazi-era St. Pauli anti-aircraft and air raid bunker in Hamburg, Germany into a "design and lifestyle hotel," as described by a spokesperson for the Spanish hotel chain NS Hotel Group designing the property. The structure is currently used as a concert venue and art/music studio space. According to the spokesperson, there are plans for the rebuilt facility, seen in the rendering above, to also hold a World War II memorial. The bunker hotel project comes on the heels of other Nazi-era structures that have been redeveloped. From the New York Times:
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In 2018, the former Gestapo headquarters in Hamburg, where Jews, gay people, Roma and other people targeted by the Nazis were tortured and murdered, a cluster of high-end apartments, luxury boutiques and offices opened for business. Protests ensued.
A never-completed holiday resort that Hitler had intended to be used for workers through his “Strength Through Joy” project has been converted to luxury apartments.
The challenge when integrating these sites into modern-day landscapes is “how to reconcile commemoration and consumption or consumerism,” said Thomas L. Doughton, a senior lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who takes students on tours of Holocaust sites across Europe to explore the politics of memory.
Dr. Doughton said there were parallels to places in the United States, including plantations where African-Americans were once enslaved and the sites of atrocities against Native Americans, that have been commercialized at the expense of a blunt reckoning with historical oppression.
In a now-viral Facebook post, Terry Robinson of Spring Texas (jokingly?) explains why when he and his wife get "old and too feeble," they will check into a Holiday Inn instead of spending their remaining years in a nursing home.
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Brandon Presser managed the high-roller suites in Las Vegas's Cosmopolitan. They're reserved for players who front more than a million in the hotel's private casino.
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Yosuke Kurosawa takes a tour of Nara Juvenile Prison, which was in use until 2017 and will soon be turned into hotels for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It's like a really clean Shawshank Prison. Read the rest
The Truck Surf Hotel is a modded Mercedes Actros outfitted with a hydraulically-expanding two-story inn. Inside is a living room, kitchen, four double rooms with bunk bed, one double room with a single larger bed, bathroom, and shower. Over the course of a week vacation package, the hotel travels to surf destinations in Portugal and Morocco. The trip is around $700-$900 depending on the destination and season; airfare not included.
Truck Surf Hotel (via Uncrate)
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Finnish security researchers Tomi Tuominen and Timo Hirvonen can clone many master hotel keys very quickly using their clever cryptography, an expired keycard from the hotel trash, and a $300 Proxmark RFID card reading and writing device. It takes them about one minute to create a master hotel key. Video demo below. From Wired
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The two researchers say that their attack works only on Vingcard's previous-generation Vision locks, not the company's newer Visionline product. But they estimate that it nonetheless affects 140,000 hotels in more than 160 countries around the world; the researchers say that Vingcard's Swedish parent company, Assa Abloy, admitted to them that the problem affects millions of locks in total. When WIRED reached out to Assa Abloy, however, the company put the total number of vulnerable locks somewhat lower, between 500,000 and a million. They note, though, that the total number is tough to measure, since they can't closely track how many of the older locks have been replaced. Tuominen and Hirvonen say that they've collected more than a thousand hotel keycards from their friends over the last 10 years, and found that roughly 30 percent were Vingcard Vision locks that would have been vulnerable to their attack.
Tuominen and Hirvonen quietly alerted Assa Abloy to their findings a year ago, and the company responded in February with a software security update that has since been available on its website. But since Vingcard's locks don't have internet connections, that software has to be installed manually by a technician, lock by lock.
In an effort to save its members from being exploited, sexually assaulted or be otherwise forced to spend time with human turds in a private setting, the Screen Actors Guild has put the kibosh on holding meetings in "high-risk" locations.
According to The Guardian, the Screen Actor's Guild, which functions as a labor union for actors who appear on TV and in movies, has laid down the law, declaring that it's no longer cool for movie executives to set up meetings with actors in private locales such as hotel rooms or at someone's home address. Moving forward, if you want to yap with a member of SAG, it's gotta be in a workplace setting. The new measure comes as a result of handsy pricks like Harvey Weinstein and other high-powered executives in the entertainment business taking advantage of their position and the protection that Hollywood's elite formerly afforded them when it came to their sexual transgressions.
According to The Guardian, since accusations were first leveled against Weinstein this past October, SAG representatives have been hearing an average of five reports of sexual misconduct from its members, per day.
As a tech journalist, I'm sometimes brought to a hotel room by PR types from small to mid-sized firms to see a new product that they're representing. It usually happens during a trade show as the larger meeting rooms at convention centers and hotels are typically spoken for by large companies. I can't recall a single time that I've ever entered a hotel room, for work, where there weren't at least three or four people in the room with me. Read the rest
"Using only the paper pizza menus that were pushed under our door during the day, I can shim open our hotel room door defeating both the striker and the top swing arm latch in under 30 seconds," writes MM Developer. "Faster times can be achieved if you aren't trying to video."
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Nissan, to show off its autonomous parking tech, outfitted an inn in Hakone, Japan with "self-parking slippers," autonomous floor cushions that tidy themselves, and a TV remote control that straightens itself on the coffee table. While obviously a marketing gimmick, self-knolling anything is quite appealing to me. ProPILOT Park Ryokan (Nissan)
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Russia's Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities is considering plans to add a space tourism module to the International Space Station. From Popular Mechanics:
The amenities will include a luxury orbital suite parked at the International Space Station (ISS) offering private cabins with big windows, personal hygiene facilities, exercise equipment and even Wi-Fi. In addition gazing at our tiny blue orb from a dizzying altitude of 250 miles, space tourists will have an opportunity for space walks accompanied by a professional cosmonaut.
The entire trip, lasting from one to two weeks will cost $40 million per person and going with the spacewalk option and an extended month-long stay will set the traveler back an additional $20 million....
To minimize the initial cost, (space station contractor) RKK Energia wants to book at least 12 passengers who would agree to make payments of around $4 million up front so that the company could begin the development of the orbital hotel module. It's a similar method that Virgin Galactic used at the beginning of its space tourism ambitions. The same clients will then pay two 12.6 million bills in the two years leading up to the flight, then paying the final $10.8 million payment at the time of the flight.
They better get to work though because the ISS is scheduled for retirement in 2028. Then again, maybe the whole thing can be converted into a boutique hotel.
"Russia's Plan To Build a Luxury Hotel on the ISS" (Popular Mechanics)
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TheKrane on Copenhagen's Nordhavn harbor is a coal crane converted into a two-person hotel suite. It's €2,500 per night. For that price, they should at least allow you to operate the crane. From the hotel site:
TheKrane (via Uncrate)
Your stay will include:
- A concierge who picks you up at the airport and who is constantly ready to meet your needs
- Daily breakfast that can be enjoyed in the room while looking out the horizon
- TheKrane BMW that can take you around Copenhagen
- TheKrane bikes
- A personally picked selection of wines and bubbles that tops off the perfect night
- Staying in the meeting point of the historical industrial harbour of Copenhagen and the vibrant new parts of Nordhavn in constant change.
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This converted Sea King helicopter on a camp site in Stirling, Scotland is available for overnight stays at the rate of ~$200/night. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the helicopter doesn't fly. From Helicopter Glamping:
We snapped up the decommissioned Sea King in an online MOD auction for £7,000 in March 2016. The giant helicopter was then transported 320 miles by road before being craned into position on our picturesque Thornhill campsite a month later.
Over the summer months, we have lovingly restored her exterior to its former glory.
We sourced some original rotor blades and replaced her tail rotors with some we discovered on Ebay, as we wanted her to still look like a helicopter from the outside.
Her once peeling paintwork is a thing of the past after several days spent sanding her down and completely repainting her, whilst making sure we kept all her original signage.
We thought we might have trouble finding the right shade of grey, but it turns out farm oxide paint – normally used for farm buildings or fencing – is a perfect match for her military colour.
We’ve kept and restored all of her original lighting, so when you see her lit up a night she looks as if she is ready to take off. Meanwhile, we’ve transformed her spacious interior into a remarkable holiday home that sleeps a family of five (2 adults and 3 children) with a double and a triple bed as well as single bed in the tail.
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Starting in 1938, San Francisco's Westin St. Francis Hotel began washing all of the change that flowed through the business. Hotelier Dan London initiated the process to prevent grimy coins from dirtying the fancy white gloves worn by women visiting the establishment. These days, the responsibility belongs to one Rob Holsen. From a 2010 SFGATE article:
The process begins when the general cashier sends racks of rolled coins to Holsen, who empties the change into a repurposed silver burnisher.
Along with the coins, the burnisher is filled with water, bird shot to knock the dirt off, and a healthy pour of 20 Mule Team Borax soap. After three hours of swishing the coins around, Holsen uses a metal ice scoop to pour the loot into a perforated roast pan that sifts out the bird shot.
The wet coins are then spread out on a table beneath heat lamps.
This is where once-rusted copper pennies turn into shimmering bronze coins. Quarters look like sparkling silver bits. It's also where Holsen gives the money a quick quality inspection...
Once he's satisfied, he feeds the polished money into a counter, which shoots the change into paper rolls to be distributed to the hotel's cash registers.
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Online hotel reviews are oftentimes fake. How do you tell? Review Skeptic claims to detect bullshit hotel reviews based upon research from Cornell University into the language of fakery.
It's been around for years, as this 2011 article in the New York Times attests.
Determining the number of fake reviews on the Web is difficult. But it is enough of a problem to attract a team of Cornell researchers, who recently published a paper about creating a computer algorithm for detecting fake reviewers. They were instantly approached by a dozen companies, including Amazon, Hilton, TripAdvisor and several specialist travel sites, all of which have a strong interest in limiting the spread of bogus reviews.
“The whole system falls apart if made-up reviews are given the same weight as honest ones,” said one of the researchers, Myle Ott. Among those seeking out Mr. Ott, a 22-year-old Ph.D. candidate in computer science, after the study was published was Google, which asked for his résumé, he said.
I wonder if it's still good, with 5 years of bullshit evolution to account for. One thing in its favor: it seems to "know" that top reviewers tend to affect a style imitative of travel writing in an effort to sound credible, and doesn't trigger on their innocuous but very ad-like use of language. Read the rest
Not a hotel, not a dorm, not quite a hostel, open by design and communitarian in spirit — Los Angeles-based PodShare is something else. And, potentially, something bigger: An affordable way to foster community in a city that’s increasingly stratified by class. This week, to start Season 3 of HOME: Stories From L.A., it’s the story of one young entrepreneur and her unstoppable enthusiasm for her big idea.
HOME is a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network.
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