Home Archive by category Travel

Travel

Travel

[ad_1]

Air travel is a common occurrence in our modern society. When most people imagine commercial airliners, they imagine the standard tube-and-wing configuration. However, aerospace engineers across the world are developing concepts for future airliners that would revolutionize air travel.

10 Aether Airship

Airships were a big part of commercial aviation before they slowly died off in the mid-20th century. However, some intrepid aerospace designers are now developing designs to bring airships back into use.

One of the more interesting ideas is the Aether airship. Designer Mac Byers realized that his airship needed to look different than old airships so that people did not associate it with disasters like the Hindenburg explosion. Thus, the Aether airship has a long, sharklike appearance that communicates both safety and futurism.

This airship is more like a cruise ship than a normal airliner. Conceptually, the Aether airship would travel to different locations while offering enough amenities so that passengers wouldn’t need to leave the airship if they didn’t want to.

Passengers would have access to a large variety of dining options and comfortable rooms to stay in. Byers’s design takes advantage of the scenic sky with large windows for the passengers.

Although the design is only a concept, it offers a glimpse into the future. Other companies are also investigating airship concepts. They are more economical, have a large payload capacity, and offer an entirely new travel experience for modern tourists. Within a few years, airships could make a return.

9 Boeing Blended-Wing Airliners

Although Boeing recently started production of its 787 airliner, its engineers are already working on their next airliner. This time, Boeing is planning to do something radically different from its standard designs.

Instead of the same fuselage-and-wing design, Boeing engineers are looking at creating a blended-wing airliner. In blended-wing designs, the wings and fuselage flow into each other, removing the distinction between the two parts.

Both NASA and Boeing are currently experimenting with blended wings for both commercial and military purposes. To explore the aerodynamic possibilities, the two groups worked together to build the X-48, an unmanned jet airplane built with a blended-wing design.

The X-48 tests were successful, showing that the airplane had a high payload, was quieter than expected, and had extremely good fuel efficiency. Based on this, it is obvious that blended-wing bodies are the future of aerospace.

NASA is considering civilian applications of the concept, hoping to develop prototypes for airliners within 20 years. On the other hand, Boeing is looking at military applications for the design, mostly for airlift and aerial refueling purposes.

Lockheed Martin is also looking into a future airlift design using blended-wing technology. The company hopes to design an airplane with a huge payload.

Since these companies are investing in blended-wing bodies, it is extremely likely that the next generation of airliners will use the concepts pioneered by the X-48.

8 Reaction Engines A2

Another big push in aerospace is hypersonic airliners. While the Concorde and the TU-144 made history as the first commercially operated supersonic airliners, modern engineers are now looking to design airliners that are capable of speeds in excess of Mach 5.

On the cutting edge is UK company Reaction Engines Limited, which designed a concept for an airliner called the A2. This futuristic-looking airplane would travel at hypersonic speeds and be environmentally friendly.

The A2 uses the Scimitar engine, another design from Reaction Engines. The Scimitar uses technology that is derived from the SABRE engine. Both engines are hybrid engines. But while the SABRE uses rocket engines, the Scimitar uses a hybrid ramjet and normal air-breathing jet engine design.

When the Scimitar is flying at high speed, it uses the ramjet. But during takeoff and landing, it engages a high bypass mode that operates like a normal jet engine. The Scimitar uses liquid hydrogen for fuel, which also cools the engine right before ignition. This type of engine is known as a pre-cooled engine and is used for long-range endurance at hypersonic speeds.

Due to concerns over sonic boom noise, the A2 would only fly hypersonically over the ocean or unpopulated areas. When flying over populated regions, it would fly just under the speed of sound.

At top speed, the A2 can fly from Australia to northern Europe in just five hours. One big concern with the A2 is passenger comfort. Due to concerns over stress on the airframe, the A2 does not have windows. Claustrophobic customers might find the flight uncomfortable.

7 Bombardier Antipode

Not content to let the UK take the lead with hypersonic aerospace designs, Canadian company Bombardier recently got in the game with the Antipode, their concept business jet. They designed a small airplane that only carries a few people but can fly at Mach 24. At that speed, the Antipode can travel from New York to London in 11 minutes.

The Antipode concept makes use of a scramjet engine, a rather straightforward improvement on the normal ramjet engine. Scramjets have no moving parts such as fans or compressors. Instead, they rely on the speed of the airplane to force air through the engine.

As the scramjet travels at high Mach numbers, hypersonic air enters the engine and slows down to supersonic speeds. Then more hypersonic air enters the engine after the slowed air, forcing it through the engine and producing thrust with combustion.

To get to the speeds required for the scramjet to work, the Antipode would use rocket boosters to launch off the ground. Once the airplane gets to cruising altitude and speed, the scramjet would kick in, accelerating the vehicle to Mach 24.

However, a big concern is that the body of the airplane would get too hot at those speeds from air friction. Bombardier proposes a solution called long penetration mode. The system uses vents in the nose of the airplane to blow chilled supersonic air over the fuselage, cooling it while also reducing the sonic boom noise.

Whether the Antipode will ever be put into service is up for debate, but the concepts designed for it may be used in the next generation of airliners.

6 Boeing Pelican

In the early 2000s, Boeing investigated the construction of a new transoceanic airplane called the Pelican. Although designed primarily to carry cargo, the ideas behind the Pelican are applicable for commercial airliners. In concept, the Pelican was a huge airplane which used the ground effect to fly.

The ground effect is an aerodynamic phenomenon in which low-flying objects with specially shaped wings can trap air beneath them and use the cushion to glide quickly and efficiently across water. The Pelican would take advantage of the ground effect over the ocean, flying only 6 meters (20 ft) above the water.

During overland flight, the Pelican would fly at normal altitudes. By using the ground effect, Boeing hoped that the Pelican would be extremely fuel efficient, which was important for the gigantic airplane. With a wingspan of 150 kilometers (500 ft), the Pelican would be the largest airplane in the world.

Although the design was promising, Boeing has not revisited the concept since the early 2000s for unknown reasons. However, the concept of a ground-effect transport will likely reappear in civilian aviation because it can carry loads comparable to ships at higher speeds with minimal fuel cost.

5 SAX-40

iStock_000079938595_Small

Even when airplanes are traveling as subsonic speeds, their engine noise is annoying to people living around airports and can cause adverse health effects for people working around airplanes. To combat the problem, a group from MIT and Cambridge University developed the SAX-40, a super-quiet airplane concept.

Airplanes are noisy mainly because of irregularities in their bodies, so the SAX-40 is highly streamlined. Due to its body shape, the SAX-40 has far more lift than a normal airplane. As a result, it would not need to use flaps to get enough lift during takeoff and landing, reducing the noisiness of the engines.

The engine intakes are on top of the airplane, letting the fuselage shield people on the ground from engine noise. To cut the noise of the engine exhaust, the SAX-40 uses variable exhausts that would change shape during flight for minimal noise.

These are the major design features of the SAX-40. With its lifting body design and special wings, the airplane would only generate 63 decibels of noise on takeoff and landing outside the airport perimeter. For comparison, normal jets take off at 100 decibels. The SAX-40 would generate as much noise as an air-conditioning unit.

4 SpaceLiner

The German Aerospace Center (GAC) is currently developing its own design for high-speed travel. However, instead of just relying on standard airplane ideas, the GAC is developing a spaceplane called the SpaceLiner.

In concept, the SpaceLiner combines the best characteristics of a rocket and an airplane. Like the US space shuttle, the SpaceLiner uses a two-stage concept. The spaceplane rides up to high orbit on a cryogenic rocket booster, which then drops away.

To make the concept reusable, the Germans are developing special planes to capture the falling booster in midair. At extremely high altitudes, the SpaceLiner accelerates to Mach 25, which would enable it to fly from Australia to Europe in under 90 minutes.

At the end of the trip, the spaceplane lands like any normal airplane. The project has many advantages, including speed and reusability. But the SpaceLiner is also environmentally friendly. Since it uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as rocket propellant, the only by-product of its engines is water vapor. The GAC hopes to see the SpaceLiner in operation by 2050.

3 AWWA-QG Progress Eagle

The AWWA-QG Progress Eagle is one of the most complex concept airplanes floating around. At first glance, it seems like somebody just combined every cool future technology into one airplane, but the Progress Eagle is a valid proposal for a large, environmentally friendly passenger airplane.

The Progress Eagle is huge, dwarfing every other airliner with its triple-deck design and 800-passenger payload. Due to its huge size, the Progress Eagle has folding wings so that current airports would not have to go through big renovations.

For power, the Progress Eagle uses six hydrogen-powered engines, which also provide electricity during the flight. However, most of the electricity would come from the solar panels in the wings. These panels use quantum dot material to boost efficiency.

The Progress Eagle would also sport a CO2 cleaner to actively clean the air through which it travels. Designer Oscar Vinals is optimistic that his airplane will enter service in 2030.

2 Concorde 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlUGjA7btx8

Although the Concorde, the first supersonic airliner, was eventually retired, its legacy lives on with the next generation of proposed airliners. Last year, Airbus won patent rights for their design of a new airplane called the Concorde 2. Following in the original plane’s footsteps, this second version would push the boundaries of flight to become the first hypersonic airliner.

The key selling point of the new plane would be its Mach 4.5 cruising speed. But the plane has a variety of other strange features, most notably its propulsion system. The Concorde 2 would use three types of engines.

For takeoff, the plane would use lift jets for a vertical takeoff, similar to a Harrier jump jet. Once the Concorde 2 is in the air, a rocket engine would shoot the passenger jet to its altitude and supersonic speeds. Finally, ramjets on the wings would accelerate the plane to its Mach 4.5 cruising speed.

To cut down on sonic booms, the Concorde 2 has an odd-looking wing that also provides high lift. Although the Concorde 2 would be faster than the original plane, it also has a smaller passenger complement—only 20 people compared to original Concorde’s 120.

1 Mobula

feature-1a-mobula

The Mobula, designed by Chris Cooke from Coventry University, is one of the strangest new concepts for an airliner. This breathtaking design bridges the gap between airplanes and ocean liners. Capable of carrying over 1,000 passengers on five decks, the Mobula is about more than getting to the destination. It is also about the experience.

Like the Pelican, the Mobula is an ekranoplan. Flying just a few meters above the ocean, the Mobula can use the ground effect for lift and rapid travel. For water operations, the Mobula also has floating capabilities and can easily rest on the surface on the water.

After studying the shape of animals, Cooke designed the Mobula with its organic look. But the design is not meant for pure aesthetics. In wind tunnel tests, the Mobula proved ideal for low-altitude flying with minimal drag.

Although the Mobula will probably remain a concept vehicle, it gives a glimpse into the future of air travel. Large, fast-moving ekranoplans would change the way that people travel across the ocean. Even if the Mobula is never built, it could become an important precursor to a revolution in air travel.

Zachery Brasier writes.


[ad_2]

Source link

Travel

[ad_1]

The sinking of the Titanic, the collision of the SS Mont-Blanc, and the Hindenburg explosion are all well-known transport disasters that are always remembered and talked about. They’ve become icons, have been made into movies, and have ensured their place in history, never to be forgotten. But there are many more disasters out there that each one mattered just as much for the people involved. Each one made our world a safer place.

10 The Iolaire

HMS Iolaire

On January 1, 1919, two months after the end of World War I, British sailors who’d survived the perils of both the ocean and the war were returning to their families on the Isle of Lewis and Harris, only to tragically perish within miles of reaching home.

The Iolaire (which means “eagle” in Gaelic) was built as a luxury yacht in 1881. During the war, it was equipped with guns and performed anti-submarine and patrol work. The Isle of Lewis and Harris saw a fifth of its population of 30,000 killed in World War I; the crew of the Iolaire were the lucky ones, eager to celebrate the New Year with their families.

Before anyone could celebrate, the ship struck the rocks known as the Beasts of Holm. It was only meant to carry 100 people, but there were almost 300 aboard, with only 80 life jackets and two lifeboats. It was expected to dock in Stornoway Harbour, but due to low visibility, it struck the rocks at the entrance of the harbor and quickly sank, less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) from shore. While 205 perished, 40 were saved by a brave man who improvised a rescuing implement from a rope, and 39 more were able to make it to shore on their own.

A naval inquiry was held in private on January 8, its results not being released to the public until 1970. It reached the conclusion that due to the fact that no officers survived, “No opinion can be given as to whether blame is attributable to anyone in the matter.” Numerous other inquiries, both official and unofficial, were held, none of which settled the matter. The weather wasn’t very bad, but those in charge should have taken safety precautions, like slowing down while approaching the harbor and having more lifeboats.

The site of the wreck is marked today by a pillar that reminds everyone who enters Stornoway Harbour of the cruel irony that befell those who survived the war and were so close to enjoying peace.

9 USS Akron

USS Akron

Following the example of the Hindenburg, the US built two helium-filled airships, each 239 meters (784 ft) long and carrying enough fuel to travel 16,900 kilometers (10,500 mi). One of them was named the USS Akron and was commissioned by the US Navy in 1931. Its mission was to provide long-distance scouting in support of fleet operations, and after a number of trials, the airship was equipped with reconnaissance aircraft and a system designed for in-flight launch and recovery of Sparrowhawk biplanes.

On a routine mission, disaster struck. During the early hours of April 4, 1933, off the coast of New Jersey, a storm began, which caused the airship to strike the water with its tail. The Akron quickly broke apart. What’s intriguing is that it carried no life jackets and only one rubber raft, which dramatically diminished the crew’s chances of survival. Of the 76 onboard, 73 drowned or died of hypothermia.

Although the weather was certainly a factor, Captain Frank McCord is also considered responsible, for flying too low and not taking into account the length of his ship when he tried to climb higher. It is also believed that the barometric altimeter failed due to low pressure caused by the storm.

Akron’s sister ship, the USS Macon, was also lost off the California coast in 1935. Fortunately, that time, only two people perished. These events prompted the US to end its rigid airship program.

8 Junyo Maru Tragedy

iStock_000075026905_Small
The Japanese are remembered for being extremely cruel to their captives during World War II, especially to prisoners of war, who were moved around the Pacific in rusted ships and used for forced labor. The problem with these ships was that they were not marked with a red cross in order to be identified as prison ships per the Geneva Convention, which made them vulnerable to being sunk by Allied aircraft or submarines. The largest maritime disaster in World War II occurred because of this.

On September 18, 1944, the Junyo Maru was torpedoed in the Indian Ocean by the British submarine HMS Tradewind, which couldn’t have known what cargo the ship was carrying. Of the 6,500 Dutch, British, American, Australian, and Japanese slave laborers and POWs onboard, 5,620 died as a result. The Junyo Maru was sailing up the west coast of Java from Batavia (now called Jakarta) to Padang, where its prisoners were to be taken to work on the Sumatra Railway.

Conditions onboard were indescribably bad. Many people were literally packed into bamboo cages like sardines. Those in charge put their life jackets on as soon as they left, whereas the POWs could only count on two lifeboats and a few rafts.

Even more tragically, the approximately 700 POWs who were pulled from the water were still taken to work in the Sumatra Railway construction camps. Only about 100 survived.

7 MV Wilhelm Gustloff Disaster


Nazi Germany designed a state-controlled leisure organization in order to show its citizens the benefits of living in a national socialist regime. Working-class Germans were taken on tours for holidays aboard the MV Wilhelm Gustloff and the program, nicknamed Strength Through Joy, became the largest tour operator in the world in the 1930s.

This all ended when World War II began. In 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff became part of Operation Hannibal, the German evacuation of over one million civilians and military personnel due to the advancing Red Army in Prussia. Over 10,000 people, 4,000 of whom were children, were crammed onto the ship, all of them desperate to reach safety in the West. The ship was only meant to carry 1,800 people.

The Wilhelm Gustloff set off on January 30, 1945, against the advice of military commander Wilhelm Zahn, who said it was best to sail close to shore and with no lights. Instead, Captain Friedrich Petersen decided to go for deep water. He later learned of a German minesweeper convoy which was heading their way and decided to turn on the navigation lights in order to avoid a collision in the dark. This would soon prove to be a fatal decision. The Gustloff was carrying anti-aircraft guns and military personnel but wasn’t marked as a hospital ship, which would have protected her. Soviet submarine S-13 needed no second invitation to torpedo the shiny target three times.

Ample rescue efforts were made, which saved approximately 1,230 people. Over 9,000 perished in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea, the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking.

6 Gillingham Bus Disaster


On the evening of December 4, 1951, 52 Royal Marine cadets, boys between 10 and 13 years old, were marching from a barrack in Gillingham, Kent, to one in Chatham to watch a box tournament. Their military uniforms were dark clothes and had nothing on them to make the cadets visible. The entrance to the Chatham Royal Naval Dockyard had a malfunctioning light, which made it impossible for the driver of an approaching double-decker bus to see the boys. He plunged right through them before stopping.

The driver, John Samson, had 40 years of experience behind the wheel, but inexplicably for the foggy weather, he didn’t have his headlights on. He claimed to have been traveling at no more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 mph). According to the only adult who was with the boys, Lieutenant Clarence Carter, Samson was going at least twice as fast.

Regardless of the bus’s speed, 17 boys died on the spot, with seven more sent to the hospital. Never before had there been such a tragic loss of life on British streets, and the victims were given a grand military funeral at Rochester Cathedral. Thousands of locals attended. The incident was ruled an accident despite the driver not turning on the headlights or braking until he was a few meters away. Samson was later fined £20 and had his right to drive revoked for three years.

Every such disaster is followed by improvements in order to prevent further loss of life. This time, it was decided that British military marchers will wear rear-facing red lights at night.

5 Harrow & Wealdstone Rail Crash


October 8, 1952, is remembered by Londoners as the day of the worst peacetime rail crash in the UK. It was only exceeded by the Gretna Green disaster during World War I in 1915, when 227 Scottish soldiers headed for the front perished. The Harrow & Wealdstone rail crash involved three trains—a local passenger train from Tring, a Perth night express, which was running late because of foggy conditions, and an express train from Euston.

The driver of the Perth train passed a distant yellow signal, which means “caution,” without slowing, possibly because he couldn’t see it due to the weather. He also passed a later semaphore, which indicated “stop.” He only hit the brakes when it was already too late. Meanwhile, the train from Tring was waiting at the Harrow & Wealdstone Station for its passengers to embark. The Perth train impacted at approximately 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph). The disaster wouldn’t stop there. The fast-moving express from Euston approaching on a different line hit the debris from the initial impact and derailed.

In total, 16 carriages were destroyed, 13 of which were compressed into a pile only 41 meters (134 ft) long, 16 meters (52 ft) wide, and 9 meters (30 ft) tall. The human casualties would total 112 (102 immediately after the accident and 10 more later at the hospital), and 340 were injured.

Although the exact causes and persons responsible were hard to determine, it is believed that a combination of fog, misread signals, and out-of-date equipment caused the horrific crash. All the equipment was working, and the drivers were experienced men; all they needed was an updated system to back them up. The accident sped up the process of introducing the Automated Warning System of the British Railways. The system works by giving a driver who passes a caution or danger signal automated feedback, whether he saw the signal or not, and automatically applying the brakes.

4 USS Thresher Sinking

USS Thresher

The USS Thresher was the first in a new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarine. It was commissioned in 1961 and went through numerous sea trials to test its new technological systems. As if foreshadowing the disaster that was to strike later on, these trials were interrupted by the failure of the generator while the reactor was shut down, which caused the temperature in the hull to spike, prompting an evacuation. Another setback occurred when the Thresher was hit by a tug and needed extensive repairs.

On April 10, 1963, the sub was conducting drills in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Cod, when it suddenly plunged to the seafloor and broke apart. All 129 passengers were killed—96 sailors, 16 officers, and 17 civilians. During the investigation into the accident, a leak in one of the joints in the engine room was discovered, which caused a short circuit in the electrical system and made it impossible to resurface the Thresher. The sub had no other choice but to sink and implode due to increasing water pressure.

The disaster mobilized the US Navy to put more effort into SUBSAFE, a program designed to rigorously control the quality of nuclear submarine construction.

3 MV Derbyshire Sinking


The MV Derbyshire is the largest British bulk carrier lost at sea. Built in 1976, it was a majestic ship built in 1976 at 281 meters (922 ft) in length, 44 meters (144 ft) in width, and 24 meters (79 ft) in depth. It had been in service for only four years when it set sail toward its doom on July 11, 1980, carrying 150,000 tons of ore.

On September 9 or 10, Typhoon Orchid struck the Derbyshire in the East China Sea, just as the ship was approaching its destination. At the time, it was carrying 44 people, all of whom perished during the journey from Canada to Japan, where the ship was meant to transport its cargo.

What sets this disaster apart from others is that the ship seemed to be lost forever, with initial searches for the wreckage turning up nothing. The absence of any mayday call or distress signal beforehand was also intriguing to the families of those lost. A formal investigation was conducted seven years later in 1987. It concluded that no structural or other failures were to blame; the weather conditions were responsible.

The grieving families were not convinced, and they decided to from the Derbyshire Families Association (DFA) to work together toward the truth. They managed to raise enough funds to finally find what remained of the Derbyshire in 1994, lying on the seabed more than 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) down in the abyss. DFA members continued to push for a number of investigations, which resulted in increased ship safety over the years. While the 1970s were plagued by bulk carrier sinkings, with 17 lost each year. The numbers are much lower today.

2 Bihar Train Accident

iStock_000060299812_Small
Were it not for the British rule over India, which aimed to improve the transport system among other things, the Bihar train accident would have never happened. On June 6, 1981, a train with around 1,000 passengers crowed into nine coaches was traveling through the Indian state of Bihar, 400 kilometers (250 mi) away from Calcutta. It was the monsoon season in India, which meant that heavy rains made the tracks slippery, and the river below was swollen.

It is believed the tragedy that followed was caused by the driver, who saw a cow along the tracks and braked hard. Cows are sacred animals in the Hindu religion, and he was a devout follower. Due to the rain, the tracks were too slippery, and the wheels failed to grip, causing the carriages to plunge into the Baghmati River below, sinking fast. Rescue efforts were hours away, and by the time they arrived, almost 600 people had died, and another 300 remain missing.

1 Ufa Train Explosion

iStock_000018377864_Small
The 1980s were difficult times for Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who was trying to hold together the Soviet Union and maintain the Communist Party’s commanding role. At the same time, a series of disasters couldn’t hide the fact that the country’s infrastructure was old and dangerous. One of these disasters happened on June 4, 1989.

Two Russian passenger trains with hundreds of people onboard were passing one another near the city of Ufa, close to the Ural Mountains, when they met an extremely flammable cloud of gas leaking from a nearby pipeline. Sparks released by their passing blew both trains to pieces. Seven carriages were reduced to dust, while 37 more were destroyed, along with the engines. More than 500 people perished, many of whom were children returning from a holiday on the Black Sea. The force of the explosion was estimated to be similar to 10 kilotons of TNT, which nearly equaled that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The fireball formed was 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) long and destroyed all trees in a 4-kilometer (2.4 mi) radius.

The pipeline going along the rail lines was full of propane, butane, and hydrocarbons, and the pressure within was high enough to keep it in a liquid state. On the morning of June 4, a drop in pressure was observed, but instead of checking it out, the people in charge increased the pressure. Consequently, clouds of heavier-than-air propane formed and left the pipe, traveling along the rails. All they needed was a spark.

As with many disasters, the Ufa train explosion happened because finishing something quickly at minimal cost was more important than long-term consequences. The pipeline had more than 50 leaks in three years, and the Soviet Ministry of Petroleum didn’t want to admit their negligence. Worse, railway traffic controllers didn’t have the authority to halt trains on the Trans-Siberian railway, even if they smelled gas.

Teo loves animals, chocolate, and constantly finding out more about this magnificent and diverse world.


[ad_2]

Source link

Travel

[ad_1]

Some monuments and statues instill a sense of pride, beauty, and country—those unforgettable works of art that you saw on field trips and in the pages of history books. But there are also less-explored monuments—odes to the weird, the wonderful, and the just plain wacky. There are thousands of commemorative monuments out there and plenty of roadside guides and travel books to point you in the right direction to see them. These quirky monuments draw in tons of visitors per year; sometimes, it’s just too hard to resist the bizarre.

10 Boll Weevil Monument


There is nothing out of the ordinary about erecting a statue to commemorate a noble person or a period in history. However, a memorial for an insect is far less common. In Enterprise, Alabama, visitors have the unique opportunity to visit the Boll Weevil Monument, a statue of a woman proudly displaying a large boll weevil above her head. The monument was constructed in 1919 as a symbol of the perseverance of local farmers.

It seems that this particular agricultural pest wreaked havoc on the cotton crop and forced farmers to take up planting peanuts instead, a move that turned out to be extremely profitable for the town. The statue sits in the middle of Main Street and receives several visitors each year. The plaque on the monument reads, “In profound appreciation of the Boll Weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity, this monument is erected by the citizens of Enterprise.”

9 Carhenge


Nearly all of us have heard of Stonehenge, but you’d be hard pressed to find many who have heard of Carhenge. This bizarre monument sits in the grassy planes of Alliance, Nebraska, a memorial to the classic American cars of yesteryear. The cars, mostly from the 1950s and 1960s, are situated in a circle with their noses in the ground and yet more cars balancing on top of them. The roadside attraction was built in the 1980s and mimics the exact arrangement of Stonehenge.

The maker of this odd monument created it to commemorate his father. The property upon which it resides contains other automotive tributes, including a cemetery dedicated to fallen foreign vehicles. In 2011, Carhenge was put up for sale with an asking price of $300,000. That may seem like a steep price, but it is estimated that this quirky site attracts around 80,000 visitors per year from all over the globe.

8 Enema Monument


Why anyone would want to build an ode to an enema is beyond most, but such a monument does exist in the southern Russian city of Zheleznovodsk. The bronze memorial weighs 360 kilograms (800 lb), is 1.5 meters (5 ft) tall, and is balanced on the backs of three naked cherubs. The enema is considered a work of art by the director of the Mashuk-Akva Term Spa and is proudly displayed in the front courtyard of the building. The mountainous region where the spa is located is known for its digestive treatments, which involve enemas filled with natural spring water to help patients deal with intestinal discomfort. In this way, the enema actually serves as a symbol of local health services.

The statue cost a whopping $42,000 and was unveiled in 2008 to an excited crowd. A banner stuck on one of the spa walls read, “Let’s beat constipation and sloppiness with enemas.” The sculptor who created the enema said that she did so with irony and humor in mind. Her goal was to model the three angels after those seen in works from the Italian Renaissance. No doubt Botticelli would be proud.

7 Steve Jobs Monument


After the death of Steve Jobs, an interactive iPhone was erected in front of St. Petersburg’s National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics, and Optics. The memorial had a lit display with a slideshow displaying photographs and videos from the life and career of Jobs, focusing on his many achievements as CEO of Apple. The phone also had a large QR code on the back, which visitors were able to scan and be redirected to a website commemorating Jobs.

Despite being quite popular, the giant iPhone was taken down by Russian officials only a year after it was unveiled. The firm that originally put the memorial up decided to dismantle it the day after Tim Cooke, Apple’s newest CEO, announced his sexual orientation. A Russian news station reported that the monument was removed because of the country’s homosexuality laws involving minors and because it was revealed that there may be a tie between Apple’s products and national security. The college where the iPhone was displayed denies these claims and states that the phone was malfunctioning and needed to be repaired. The monument has not been put back up.

6 Shit Fountain


Artist Jerzy Kenar got tired of stepping out of his Chicago home and constantly stepping in dog poop. So, he decided to put his talents to good use and created a visual monument that would serve as a reminder to the dog owners of the neighborhood to scoop up what their pups leave behind. Enter Shit Fountain, a fecal-shaped bronze coil on top of a cement pillar with the monument’s title carved into the side.

The statue also has water trickling over the top of it in order to give it that freshly excreted look. The fountain is beloved by passersby, and people often have their photos taken squatting above the statue or mimicking quenching their thirst. The artist believes that it has helped local dog owners to be more conscientious and finds the work to be an important part of the neighborhood scenery.

5 The Headington Shark


The 8-meter-tall (25 ft) fiberglass Headington Shark is hard to miss not just because of its length, but more so because it appears to be crashing headfirst into the roof of a cozy British house. The shark was placed on the house’s roof on August 9, 1986, the 41st anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing, by the homeowner as a statement about the devastation brought on by the use of nuclear weapons. The local neighborhood council wasn’t particularly thrilled about the bizarre leviathan and attempted to have it removed. However, the homeowner successfully appealed to the British Secretary of the Environment on behalf of the shark and was able to save it from being taken down.

Visitors from around the world flock to New High Street to see the shark each year. Many come to celebrate the shark’s birthday. Drinks and cake are served, and the owner of the home signs copies of his book, The Hunting of the Shark. The home (shark attached) went up for rent in 2014 for just over £2,000 a month. The owner prefers to rent to individuals who don’t mind visitors taking photographs of the shark and who don’t mind answering the occasional question about its meaning. Ironically, however, he has asked that only tenants without pets inquire.

4 Die Badende

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gVjRBCsvNg
“Die Badende” translates to “The Bather,” and one look at the statue in the Inner Alster Lake in Hamburg, Germany, will tell you why. The huge sculpture of a woman’s head and bare knees was on display for only 10 days and gave the body of water the appearance of a giant bathtub. The Bather was 20 meters (67 ft) long and weighed more than 2 tons. Tourists came in droves to view the woman before she was removed weeks later by a large crane. Swimming through her parted legs was particularly popular among boats crammed with visitors.

Artist Oliver Voss created the sculpture as an advertisement for British beauty company Glory. The company wanted to make a “big splash” in thanking the German people for embracing their latest line of products. The advertisement proved very successful; customers and a large crowd gathered to watch the woman hoisted from the water. The movers had a large towel ready to conceal her lady bits from peeping eyes.

3 Jimmy Carter Peanut

Jimmy Carter Peanut

The Jimmy Carter Peanut might give you nightmares, standing at 4 meters (13 ft) tall with a wide, toothy smile and no eyes. The peanut can be found on the side of the road in Plains, Georgia. The structure started out far from Georgia, however. It was actually constructed in Indiana in 1976 to honor Jimmy Carter’s visit to the state during his presidential campaign tour. Why was a giant, smiling peanut, of all things, used as a tribute? Well, before he was president, Carter was actually a peanut farmer.

The statue also possesses the same grin that was known so fondly as one of Carter’s most handsome traits during his years in office. In 2000, a car struck the poor peanut, causing it to topple over. But don’t worry: The peanut was restored to its former glory and can still be visited today. Not surprisingly, it’s the most (if not the only) photographed thing in Plains.

2 Jeju Loveland


The salacious monuments found on Jeju Island in South Korea were made to honor sexual acts. The park itself is called Jeju Loveland and arouses more than just curiosity from its many visitors. The theme park opened in 2004 and has a collection of more than 140 erotic statues depicting sexual encounters between both humans and animals. The goals of the theme park are to break down barriers and taboo feelings surrounding sex and promote the “natural beauty of sexuality.”

The park is roughly the size of two soccer fields, and it takes visitors about an hour to see all that it has to offer. The statues were created by graduate students from Seoul’s Hongik University and have an educational function as well. Many marriages in South Korea are arranged, and as such, couples can find themselves in the situation of being new to the delights of marriage. Jeju Loveland has become a popular spot for honeymooners to visit and receive a type of crash course in sex education. The theme park wants to be open to all types of visitors and even has a playground for anyone visiting with children.

1 Brownnosers


Brownnosers, created by Czech artist David Cerny, takes the term “brownnoser” to an entirely new (and literal) level. The two statues stand, or rather bend over, outside the Futura Gallery in Prague. The two figures are positioned side-by-side with the lower portions of their torsos protruding from a cement wall. Viewers are invited to climb ladders attached to the open anuses of the figures and stick their heads inside the openings.

Inside the statue is a video depicting the Czech President Vaclav Klaus and the head of the National Gallery spoon-feeding one another. The video shows the two men (really actors) in masks, feeding each other to the tune of Queen’s famous song “We Are The Champions.” The piece is meant as a criticism not only of the political situation in the Czech Republic, but as a physical manifestation of the artist’s disdain for the National Gallery. In fact, Cerny’s hate for the gallery runs so deep that he actually refused to accept the award they gave him. He stated that upon meeting the curator of the museum, “It was hate at first sight.”

Lee DeGraw is a freelance writer with an inquiring mind.


[ad_2]

Source link

Travel

[ad_1]

When we think of buildings that have survived to the modern day, we think of structures such as the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Piza, and the pyramids. But what about structures that are still in use—their original use—to this day?

While most ancient structures have gained a second life as tourist attractions, the humble bridge has often maintained its original use throughout the ages. Due to being built to last, there are many bridges out there that were built hundreds of years before our time and still see daily use. While old bridges often get destroyed in disasters, blown up in wars, or burned down in tragic accidents, the bridges in this list have survived the ages relatively unchanged.

10Pons Fabricius

1fabricio

The Romans built many things that stood the test of time. With their rigid and effective building techniques, a few important constructions built during the Roman era still stand to this day. If you’re in the mood to inspect their handiwork for yourself, simply take a trip to Rome and visit the Pons Fabricius bridge.

The bridge was built by Lucius Fabricius in 62 BC, possibly to replace a wooden bridge that had burned down. You can tell Lucius commanded its construction because he had it written on the bridge in four different spots.

After a flood in 23 BC, two consuls known as Marcus Lollius and Quintus Aemilius Lepidus added adjustments in 21 BC in order to help preserve the bridge, although it’s not stated what the improvements were exactly. It might have been the addition of the small arch on the bridge which serves the purpose of relieving pressure during high waters. That alone probably helped the bridge survive as long as it has.

9Ponte Vecchio

2Vecchio

Built in 1345, the Ponte Vecchio can be found in Florence, Italy. It was built to replace a wooden bridge that didn’t stand up too well against floods, and it still remains in its original glory.

The interesting part of Ponte Vecchio (which translates into “Old Bridge”) is that it was built to contain an arcade of shops which is being used even today. The bridge used to be haunted by fishmongers and butchers in the 1400s, whose crafts caused the bridge to contain a foul odor. Given that Florence was becoming the hub of the Renaissance at the time, Grand Duke Ferdinand I had the merchants removed and the sale of fish and meat products on the bridge banned. He ordained that the only people who could sell on the bridge were goldsmiths and silversmiths, which helped develop Florence’s imagery to wealthy foreign visitors.

This bridge wouldn’t have made it to the modern day if it wasn’t for an act of respect performed during wartime. In World War II, as the German soldiers fled Florence, they blew up every bridge they crossed to stall enemy forces. Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge spared—they chose instead to destroy the access to the bridge, rather than the bridge itself.

8Ponte Di Rialto

3Rialto

An Italian bridge was constructed in 1591 to replace a wooden one that had collapsed. It was designed by one Antonio da Ponte, who had some stiff competition to design the bridge, with rivals being Michelangelo and Palladio. Unfortunately, once it was built, it didn’t go down so well with the locals. It received both praise and scorn from critics, who slammed its design for being “top-heavy and ungraceful,” the same attention the Eiffel Tower drew after it was built.

Despite the criticism, the bridge has remained very much intact since it was built. Given it had to have a 7-meter (24 ft) arch to allow galleys below as well as enough strength to hold up the row of shops that spans its center, it had to be structurally sound. It’s so sound, in fact, that cannons were fired from it during riots in 1797.

7Khaju Bridge

4Iran

Built in 1667 on the foundations of an older bridge, this bridge’s construction was ordered by the late Shah Abbas II. Being a bridge, its main purpose was to allow people to cross the Zayandeh River, but it also has other uses. It acts as a dam and has sluice gates, yet its most interesting use is the social aspect.

While we’re unfamiliar with a bridge being the place to be used for social hangouts, that didn’t stop Shah Abbas II from trying. Along the bridge—and still visible to this day— is an impressive array of paintings and tile work. A pavilion was constructed in the middle so that Shah Abbas II and his courtiers could look over the scenery. These days, the pavilion is a teahouse and art gallery. If that’s not enough, within the pavilion was a stone seat which the Shah Abbas used to look over the river. The seat is still around but very much a remnant of its former glory.

6Shaharah Bridge

5Shehara

Also known as the “Bridge of Sighs” (not the one in Venice), Shaharah Bridge can be found in Yemen. Built in the 17th century, Shaharah Bridge is a path that spans a 200-meter-deep (650 ft) canyon in order to connect two mountains, Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish. It was a lot of trouble for the inhabitants of both mountains to visit one another, as it meant climbing down one mountain and scaling another. The bridge was made to better connect the villages on both mountains to save time and effort.

It wasn’t just a hot spot for transportation. Given that it was the only entrance to the town of Shaharah, it had to be fortified to help fend off Turkish invaders. It is said that the locals know how to destroy the bridge at a moment’s notice, isolating the villagers from danger.

These days, Shaharah Bridge is a major tourist attraction, and it still receives its intended use by the locals as a functioning bridge.

5Cendere Bridge

6Cendere

Also known as Severan Bridge, this was built in Turkey during the second century by four Kommagenean cities. Its intent was to honor the Roman emperor Septimius Severus, his wife Julia, and their two sons, Caracalla and Geta. While very old, it also holds the title for the second longest arched bridge built by The Romans.

On each side, there are two columns that were built to represent the members of the emperor’s family—Severus and Julia on one side and Caracalla and Geta on the other. If you go to look at them for yourself, you’ll notice the column that represents Geta is currently missing. This is because Caracalla assassinated Geta due to an ongoing rivalry, with reports saying that Geta was in his mother’s arms at the time. Caracalla went so far as to have Geta’s friends and allies put to death. For a final blow to Geta’s legacy, Caracalla ordained that any mention of Geta’s name should be erased from history, and the column representing Geta was destroyed.

4Anji Bridge

7Zhaozhou_Bridge

Also known as Zhaozhou Bridge, Anji Bridge is the oldest bridge in China, built in AD 605. You can tell it was designed to last, as its name translates to “Safe Crossing Bridge.” It was engineered to be one of the best in the world. At the time, it was the most technically advanced bridge due to having the largest arc. Long after its construction, the bridge was winning awards; it was praised as the 12th milestone of international civil engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers and awarded a bronze monument.

Given that it’s still solid enough to cross, it’s obvious that the Anji Bridge, while very ambitious, didn’t cut any corners in its design. In fact, the bridge has stood up to even more than the test of time. It has managed to survive 10 floods, eight wars, and countless earthquakes, while only requiring repair work nine times in its documented lifespan.

3Ponte Sant’Angelo

8Angelo

Ordered to be constructed by Emperor Hadrian in AD 136, Ponte Sant’Angelo (Bridge of the Holy Angel) is one of the most famous bridges in Rome . . . and one of the most beautiful. It was a slightly self-indulgent act of Hadrian, as the goal of the bridge was to connect the whole of Rome to his own mausoleum, the Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel). They’re both labeled under the suffix “of the Holy Angel” due to the statue of the archangel Michael on the top of the mausoleum itself. The angel was said to have appeared in 590 BC on top of the same building and miraculously ended the plague in Rome.

One of the more beautiful additions to the bridge happened long after Hadrian was around to see it for himself. In 1668, sculptor Lorenzo Bernini enhanced the bridge by designing 10 angels to adorn its length, two of which he made himself. Each angel holds a symbol that represents the crucifixion of Jesus, such as a crown of thorns or a whip. Even after all these years, both the bridge and the angels still stand, making it a great sightseeing spot.

2Tarr Steps

9Tarr_Step

Found in Exmoor, the Tarr Steps is what’s known as a clapper bridge—a bridge made entirely out of rocks resting atop one another. Given its construction, it’s hard to tell when it was built, although guesses range from 3000 BC to medieval times. The earliest documented description of Tarr Steps was in Tudor times, which means it dates at least to the 1500s.

Tarr Steps has a local legend that states that it was built by the Devil himself, who swore to kill anyone that dared to cross it. When the villagers sent across a cat to test the theory, the cat was vaporized. Then they sent across a vicar (who was probably worried about receiving the same fate as the cat) to meet with the Devil at the halfway point of the bridge. After he and the Devil had an argument, the Devil struck a deal: Anyone could use the bridge, but if the Devil wanted to use the area for sunbathing, the ban would resume. If you want to walk the Tarr Steps yourself, make sure there aren’t any sunbathing demons before you try.

Unfortunately, the Tarr Steps is a slight exception to the trend of bridges that have stayed mostly intact throughout the ages. Given that a pile of rocks doesn’t have the best of foundations, segments have been bowled over by floods through the course of history. For this reason, all the stones have been numbered so they can be recovered and placed back where they belong to keep the authenticity intact. Even though it’s been put back together several times, it’s still technically the same bridge.

1Arkadiko Bridge

10Arkadiko

The Arkadiko Bridge in Greece is the oldest surviving arch bridge still in use. It’s believed to have been built during the Greek Bronze Age, around 1300–1200 BC, meaning it has gone through a lot to make it to today.

It acted as part of a military road system between the cities Tiryns and Epidauros back in Mycenaean times. It has a wider berth than a normal footbridge, with a road width of around 2.5 meters (8 ft). Historians believe that this additional width was designed so that the bridge could handle chariots. What makes it even more impressive is that it’s made purely from limestone boulders, using no binding agent between the stones to keep the bridge intact. That means the bridge has lasted over three millennia from Mycenaean masonry skills alone and has survived it all.

S.E. Batt is a freelance writer and author. He enjoys a good keyboard, cats, and tea, even though the three of them never blend well together. You can follow his antics over at @Simon_Batt or his fiction website at www.sebatt.com.


[ad_2]

Source link

Travel

[ad_1]

Nearly all hotels offer package options designed to enhance a guest’s stay and overall experience. But some resorts are offering truly extravagant amenities. From the quirky to the just plain bizarre, some hotels have determined that these odd extras are exactly what they need to set them apart from the rest of the pack.

Even stranger, guests are willing to pay excessive amounts for these services. However weird and wild the offering may be, guests can be certain that they’ll receive a genuinely memorable experience and some seriously unique stories to pass along.

10 Happy Guest Lodge

10-goldfish-in-hotel-room_000028058468_Small

The name really says it all. At the Happy Guest Hotel in Warrington, UK, the staff just wants to please their guests. They are willing to go the extra mile to make that happen, even if it means accommodating the lonely customer.

The management provides clients with a unique service—a sleeping partner in the form of a goldfish. Guests who opt for this scaly company are charged £5 and a goldfish named “Happy” is placed in their rooms.

The hotel’s website boasts that the world-famous goldfish provides guests with company for the evening and instills a sense of joy in the client, one that creates a truly interesting environment. Guests making a reservation online can book Happy ahead of time to ensure that their little buddy will be waiting in their room upon arrival.

So why a goldfish?

Well, the hotel’s owner believes that this little fish provides a sense of comfort, a sounding board, and unconditional love to the guest after a hard day. The owner states that clients may even find themselves missing Happy between stays. Never fear, though. Happy or his stand-in will be available for your next stay.

9 Family Pillow Fight Package

9-pillow-fight-hotel_000043718108_Small

Combining the nostalgia of a slumber party with the comforts of a five-star resort sounds like the perfect combo. The Ritz-Carlton has long been known as a top hotel, offering several services to enhance a guest’s experience.

However, the Ritz in Palm Beach, Florida, offers some extra-special attention to guests traveling as a family—the family pillow fight package. This package costs a whopping $60 and includes a bag of satin pillows, a CD, and a book of family games to play together.

Although the cost of this family package may seem rather steep, the management at the Ritz believes that it provides an opportunity for families to bond over fun and feathers. Songs on the included CD are meant to rile up the pillow participants, featuring classics like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

8 Swimsuit Vending Machines

8-bathing-suits_000065227491_Small

We are all familiar with packing in a hurry and forgetting some of the most essential items for a marvelous vacation, like a bathing suit. To avoid taking a dip in your birthday suit or heading over to the hotel gift shop which so often stocks less than stylish options, the Standard Hotel chain has come up with a rather innovative solution—a bathing suit dispenser.

The vending machine offers big name brands like Quiksilver and style options for both men and women. Available in an array of different sizes and colors, the designs are inspired by the look and feel of the hotel chain.

The machine even prints local hot spots on the waistband so that guests can hit the town after their dip in the pool. The trunks and two-piece suits are not cheap, however. Expect to spend at least $75 if you forget your suit.

7 Dog Surfing Lessons

7-surfer-dog_000049245308_Small

The Su’ruff Camp at Loews Coronado Bay Resort & Spa offers a unique opportunity to give our furry friends a chance to ride the waves. The surfing camp at this San Diego–based hotel caters specifically to Fido, giving him a chance to shred some waves instead of shredding his toys. The owner of the surf academy believes that all dogs have the ability to surf; it simply takes a little training.

The hotel holds an annual dog surfing contest where all breeds can come together and compete for the honor of best surfing pooch. Other pet perks at the hotel include pet walkers, pet sitters, and even a special pet room service menu with all types of canine delicacies. The pets are treated as true VIPets when they come to Loews.

6 Fragrance Butler

6a-perfume-tray_000013646477_Small-bkgr

Providing the perfect scent for guests is important to the staff at Rosewood Hotel properties. It’s a rather brilliant move given that TSA restrictions severely limit the amount of liquid that a passenger can bring on a plane.

Rosewood Hotels has designed their olfactory experience in a truly luxurious manner, with a fragrance butler serving up a variety of bottled perfumes and colognes.

Available for sniffing 24 hours a day, the butler features top brands such as Hermes, Chanel, Givenchy, and Dior. Each hotel has a curated list of scents that reflect the setting of the resort. If someone wishes to mist themselves in a specific scent, they simply ring up the butler and he will arrive, silver tray in hand.

5 Bird Delivers Engagement Ring

5-engagement-ring_000025154644_Small

At the Ashford Castle in Ireland, a guest who is planning to pop the question to his significant other has the option to deliver the engagement ring in a truly memorable fashion—by owl. Dingle is a European eagle owl that has been living at the castle since 1999 and has talons large enough to clutch a sizeable rock.

There are many birds living on the grounds as the castle has a falconry school. Guests can take classes with the animals to learn about the ancient form of falconry. Of all the birds on the grounds, none is more popular than Dingle, perhaps because of his romantic job.

The three-night proposal package offered by the hotel includes a couple’s massage, champagne, a boat ride, a cozy dinner by candlelight, and the grand finish—Dingle swooping in to deliver the ring. With a cost of around $2,000, this service fills up quickly because it is probably one of the coolest ways to pop the question.

4 V-Day Haters Package

4-alone-on-valentines-day_000037038800_Small

One hotel chain has become creative with their unromantic “I Hate Valentine’s Day Package,” especially for guests who are opting to enjoy this Hallmark holiday their own way.

For those who wish to celebrate the holiday solo, Night and the Time Hotels in New York has quite the evening planned. It begins with a table for one at the upscale restaurant Serafina where the diner will be given a free double shot of liquor upon arrival. If the guest decides that he or she would rather stay in, the hotel sets up the “adult entertainment” channel in the room for 24 hours of viewing pleasure.

The housekeeping staff also offers a special turndown service for the haters, which is known as the “Love Hurts” turndown. It includes black candles, a box of tissues, two mini bottles of tequila, all-you-can-eat ice cream, and a wide array of breakup movies. For the morning after, the hotel staff provides guests with the final hurrah—breakfast in bed and a few self-help books.

3 Best Man For Hire

3-best-man_000003479049_Small

The Best Man for Hire service at South Carolina’s Wild Dunes Resort ensures that the groom will not be without a companion on the big day. The hotel insists that the groom be fawned over and receive the attention that the bride traditionally gets on her special day.

Thus, the Best Man for Hire package aims at providing the ultimate wingman. This pseudo best man will not disappoint his groomzilla, handling everything from delivering the perfect best man speech to administering CPR on a wedding attendee in trouble.

Obviously, a couple who employs this best man is doing so with a sense of humor and deep pockets because his services are certainly not cheap. The groom can expect to pay $150 per hour, $650 for a half day, $1000 for a full day, and $2000 for a weekend.

2 Personal Oxygen Devices

2-oxygen-device_000024456374_Small

Although the air in Boston is certainly not as polluted as many other big cities around the world, that is not stopping Boston’s Revere Hotel from selling personal oxygen devices (PODs) to its guests.

For those who want them, the PODs are available at $40 a pop in all of the hotel’s suites. That may seem inexpensive at first, but the PODs contain only 2.5 ounces of oxygen. That’s a full 40 breaths, which comes out to a whopping $1 per inhale.

According to the Revere, the 18-centimeter (7 in) oxygen bottle is sleek and perfect for traveling around town. It fits easily inside a handbag. Apparently, the POD offers a rich, refreshing dose of clean pure air that will revive the busy tourist. The hotel also states that the bottle can be used with one hand and requires minimal effort.

1 Robot Staff

Technology surprises us at every turn. For example, the Henn-na Hotel in Japan uses a robot staff to help guests with their every need. The robots check in guests, carry luggage to rooms, and make cups of coffee. The robots are known as “actroids,” a type of humanoid robot.

The actroids closely resemble young Japanese girls, even down to hand gestures, facial expressions, and speech. The robots are known to giggle at guests’ remarks and have the ability to switch languages between Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.

The humanlike robots were created at Osaka University and manufactured by Kokoro, the same company that licenses Hello Kitty. The university has been working on the actroids for well over a decade and continuously strives to make them more advanced. The robots even have software to sense moods.

Lee DeGraw is a freelance writer with an inquiring mind. She can usually be found huddled beside a campfire with her nose in a book.


[ad_2]

Source link

Travel

[ad_1]

Life can be restrictive sometimes. Sure, we have the freedom to pursue life and happiness but only within reason. If your happiness requires you to drive a tank naked while high on LSD, all that liberty starts to dry up.

Fortunately, there are some 196 countries in this world, all with their own values and sets of laws. No matter what you want to do, there’s somewhere in the world filled with people who think it’s perfectly fine.

10Walk Around Naked
Spain

1

Spain has a reputation for nude beaches. Citizens and tourists from around the world scurry off to one of Spain’s many clothing-optional beaches, eager to enter the one place where they can cast off those constricting clothes without any pesky police telling them to cover up.

Most people don’t realize, though, that you don’t actually have to go to a nude beach. In Spain, you can legally be naked in any public place you want.

Since 1978, the constitution of Spain has not only guaranteed its people permission to walk around naked—it’s made it an inalienable human right. There have been attempts to change the law in the past, but none have gone through.

9Take Every Drug On Earth
Portugal

2

Portugal has decriminalized every single drug in existence. This isn’t exactly the same as making it legal—if you’re caught with drugs, you could still be sent to a counsellor. You can’t go to prison, though, for having a personal stash of anything, whether you’re puffing marijuana or freebasing cocaine.

Portugal’s policy seems to work. Before decriminalization, they had a major problem with hard drugs—one in every 100 people were addicted to heroin. Within four years of decriminalizing drugs, drug-induced deaths went down nearly 90 percent, and HIV rates plummeted.

8Attach A Flamethrower To Your Car
South Africa


In South Africa, you can buy a product called the “Blaster”—a flamethrower that shoots out 20 meters (65 ft) of fire, custom designed to be fitted onto your car. The blast sends out a burst of flames on both sides of your vehicle and, according to ads, doesn’t damage your paint. It’s also completely legal.

At its worst, South Africa was getting about 13,000 carjackings each year, and so the country legally permits you to kill anyone trying to break into your car. The inventor, though, insists that it probably won’t actually kill anyone—it would just blind them.

The Blaster came out in 1998 and has since been taken off the market, but that’s not because it’s illegal. There just wasn’t enough demand. Anyone determined enough could probably still pick one up secondhand—or even start an automotive flamethrower company of their own.

7Marry A Dog
India

4

In India, you can legally marry any animal you want. You aren’t limited to dogs—they just seem to be the most popular choice.

One man in New Delhi explained the process: As a child, he stoned and hanged two dogs, and he was convinced the illnesses he had later in life were punishments for his cruelty. He visited a local astrologer about it, who told him he had only had one way to remove his curse—he had to marry a dog.

The man’s family approved. They even helped him pick out the best dog to be his bride. Then they threw a lavish wedding ceremony, complete with a feast, to celebrate the eternal union of man and dog.

6Steal Art
The Netherlands

5

If you steal a priceless piece of artwork in The Netherlands, you needn’t resort to the black market to resell it. As long you can muster up a little patience, your stolen artwork will become legally yours. After 20 years, the statute of limitations for property theft is up, and they deal with that by just making the stolen property legally belong to whoever happens to have it.

It’s a little bit trickier if you steal from a public collection or a painting classified as part of their cultural heritage. For those major pieces, you have to wait 30 years before you’re off the hook. Still, it’s pretty doable. The police give art theft a low priority, so if you can hide a Rembrandt in your attic for a few decades, it’ll be yours.

5Get A Government Employee To Help You Inject Heroin
Canada

6

If you look for it in downtown Vancouver, you’ll find InSite, a government building where addicts can legally inject heroin with the help of a medical professional.

You have to bring your own drugs to enter, but there’s no risk of arrest for visiting, and you can give the people there a fake name. Inside, you’ll find 12 injection booths, each equipped with a clean needle and sterile equipment. The medical staff will even help you find the right vein. Mostly, though, they stand there and watch you in case you overdose, to make sure you’re doing heroin safely.

The program started because, 20 years ago, Vancouver had the highest HIV rate in the developed world. It’s been a huge success. Some people even come back two or three times a day.

4Sell Your Kidney
Iran

7

In Iran, people will put up posters around town advertising that they have a kidney for sale. They usually write their blood type and phone number, but some people get a bit more competitive. Some posters are splashed with bright, attention-grabbing colors. Others show off test results that prove their kidney is in good health. Some people even pull down the ads of competitors to make sure that, next time you need a kidney, you notice their poster first.

The practice is definitely controversial, but some claim it’s working wonders for Iran’s health care system. Since Iran opened up a kidney market, donor waiting lists have been completely eliminated.

3Self-Identify As A Dragon
Russia

8

If you believe hard enough, you can call yourself a dragon anywhere. No one can force you to stop introducing yourself as Smoltar, the Golden-Scaled Dragon of the Dwarven Pass. In most places, though, you can’t force them to accept you as a dragon—except for in Russia.

On a Russian census, you can legally identify yourself as any ethnicity you want, even if it doesn’t exist. Young people often put themselves down as elves and hobbits, and older ones tend to register as Martians. Whatever they write, as far as the Census Bureau is concerned, is accepted as a fact.

In some ways, this has done some good. In southern provinces, several people have used the open space to classify themselves as Coassacks—registering themselves as a real ethnicity that just doesn’t show up as an option.

2Own A Minigun
The United States

9

Most people already know that Americans have fought for and won the right to carry assault rifles, but you might not realize just how far those rights go. Because, in America, you can even buy a minigun.

Miniguns, which were only ever intended to mow down thousands enemy troops, can fire up to 6,000 rounds per minutes—and you could have one in your own home. A loophole in the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act made it technically legal for American citizens to buy one for home protection.

You need a Class 2 license to get one, and they’re expensive and hard to track down, but anyone who’s determined enough can start protecting their home with a weapon that was built to take on the Viet Cong.

1Drive A Tank
England

10

Technically, England isn’t the only place you can drive a tank. There are plenty of places in the United States that let customers go on a joy ride in an armored vehicle—some even letting you crush cars or drive through a mobile home.

England, though, takes it one step further—in England, tanks are road legal. You can drive a tank anywhere you want to go, whether you’re on your way to the grocery store or to pick up your kids after school.

You have to deactivate the weapons and have rubber tracks fitted on the wheels, but as long as you do that, you can take your tank anywhere you like. People do it, too. One man has even set up a “Tank Limo” that picks up customers and takes them wherever they want, so teenagers in England can really make an impression at prom.


Mark Oliver

Mark Oliver is a regular contributor to Listverse. His writing also appears on a number of other sites, including The Onion’s StarWipe and Cracked.com. His website is regularly updated with everything he writes.

Read More: WordPress


[ad_2]

Source link