What to Stream This Weekend: Five Films for Summertime

What to Stream This Weekend: Five Films for Summertime

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Richard Brody offers five summer-themed films available to stream online, including “Stranger by the Lake” and “An Unmarried Woman.”

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June 24, 2017 at 10:00AM

News: FCO offers tailored travel advice for FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia

News: FCO offers tailored travel advice for FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia

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With less than a year to go until the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Foreign Office has launched a campaign to help fans travelling to support their team. The ‘Be on the Ball’ campaign gives supporters simple advice and tips to help reduce preventable problems and boost their World Cup experience.

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June 24, 2017 at 04:46AM

News: Etihad signs codeshare partnership with China Southern Airlines

News: Etihad signs codeshare partnership with China Southern Airlines

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Etihad Airways and China Southern Airlines, Asia’s largest airline, have announced a new codeshare partnership. This increases the number of codeshare agreements operated by the Abu Dhabi-based airline to 53.

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June 24, 2017 at 04:35AM

“What’s The Best Way to Have A Cheap Hawaiian Vacation?”: Reader Question

“What’s The Best Way to Have A Cheap Hawaiian Vacation?”: Reader Question

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Reader Jasanna asks: “What are the best frugal places to go on the big island in Hawaii? How to do food cheap but healthy, too?”

It’s certainly possible to spend a small fortune on a Hawaiian adventure, it’s definitely possible to visit the Big Island on a reasonable budget. Here are some frugal ways to explore the 50th state!

Accommodations

If you are a backpacker traveling on a budget and are looking to take advantage of hosteling, check out My Hawaii Hostel! With everything from dorm rooms to private queen rooms, this hostel is sure to accommodate your needs. Note that dorms are either coed or mixed and all rooms have shared bathrooms, but power outlets, lockers, and Wifi are provided. Located on the west coast in Kailua-Kona, this is a perfect location!

If you are a solo female traveler and are looking to commune with other female travelers, check out Big Island Hostel! This chic women’s eco hostel is the perfect space to relax in the heart of Hilo, providing access to loads of restaurants and activities nearby. Coed groups are also welcome, provided you rent out the entire space. Check out group rates here, and note that Big Island Hostel is currently running a summer sale!

If there are a few of you traveling together and you’re looking for a well-established property in the village of Volcano, check out Oma’s Hapu’u Hideaway! This cozy, spacious property can accommodate six guests and provides parking, basic amenities and Wifi. Your friendly hosts will be available to assist you as you enjoy your escape into the forest!

If your number one bucket list item is to visit Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, stay at David’s place! Also in Volcano and also able to accommodate six guests, David has decked out his spacious place with information on the National Park Service and things to do in the surrounding area. For the perfect mix of adventure and comfort, book there!

There are also a number of hotels that can be booked with points, but those points bookings don’t really come in cheap either.

Things to Do

Speaking of the National Park Service, the NPS has several units on the Big Island. There are a couple of National Historic Sites (check those out here) but the most notable NPS unit is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. On the park website, you can check out current volcanic conditions as well as explore hiking and camping options. Make sure to explore the ranger programs and special events happening in the park during your stay!

If you have a little bit of spare cash and want to go on an epic adventure, book a kayaking tour with Flumin’ Kohala! With them, you will have the chance to kayak the Kohala Ditch tunnel system which was used to irrigate sugar plantations over 100 years ago. Explore this spectacular feat of engineering via kayak, and remember: you will get wet!

If you are a bona fide water baby, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Two Step Snorkeling in Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park! The name Two Step comes from the fact that snorkelers can step from a natural lava formation into ten feet of water, and then another step leads to 25 feet of water. Have fun exploring the beautiful coral systems and watching green turtles, but please treat wildlife with respect and admire them from a distance!

Eating

Many travelers would argue that food is one of the most important parts of any journey, and I’m not here to argue! If you don’t have the budget to eat out every night, there are definitely some other options to look into.

If you’re looking for fresh and local foods, the Big Island has a lot of Farmers Markets! The markets stretch over nearly the entire perimeter of the island, so it doesn’t matter where you’re staying; you can probably find one! Note that Farmer’s Markets are usually only open during certain times, so consult the opening times before you go!

If you have access to a kitchen with your accommodations, you can find some local tastes at KTA Super Stores or Sack N Save grocery stores. Save money by cooking meals while you’re in so that you have some extra to spend on nights out!

With the money you save from dining in, take yourself out to the Hilo Bay Cafe for some fresh local seafood and sushi! The relaxed atmosphere mingles with the island’s favorite flavors and creates the perfect carefree dining experience for you. Make a reservation here!

Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, it’s always good to be aware of the ways by which you can save a few bucks here and there. Use some of these tips to build your ideal Hawaiian getaway!

Do you have a question for us at FTG? Let us know in the comments!

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June 23, 2017 at 11:35PM

Birds’ Egg Shapes Might Be Determined By How Well They Fly

Birds’ Egg Shapes Might Be Determined By How Well They Fly

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Common Murre eggs collected in the 18th century.Common Murre eggs collected in the 18th century. Didier Descouens/CC BY-SA 4.0

When it comes to bird eggs, the softly rounded chicken eggs in your refrigerator are pretty boring. Common Murres, for example, have pointy, teardrop-shaped eggs, while Great Horned Owls lay spherical eggs. There have been plenty of theories about what determines egg shape over the years—Aristotle thought male birds hatched from pointier eggs, and today’s ornithology textbooks say nest type or incubation styles drive egg shape evolution. But now an international team of scientists have a new explanation: Egg shape is related to how well a species flies.

The team relied on physics, math, and data characterizing close to 50,000 eggs from about 1,400 species of birds from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at University of California, Berkeley. They looked at variables that have all been proposed as influences of shape in the past — including nest form, the number of eggs laid at a time, diet — and another variable known as the hand-wing index, which measures how efficient birds fly. While modern textbook explanations for egg shapes make logical sense, only the hand-wing index correlated with egg shape.

Emu eggs are elliptical, but not asymmetric.Emu eggs are elliptical, but not asymmetric. Vaikoovery/CC BY 3.0

Egg shape varies in two ways — how elliptical they are, and how asymmetric they are. The pointy, oblong eggs of the Common Murre are both very elliptic and asymmetric. Round owl eggs are neither. Birds, including the Common Murre, that are efficient flyers have more elliptical, asymmetric eggs. The researchers write that this might be related to their streamlined body shape, and in turn, their narrow pelvic openings. This also explains variation in egg shapes among flightless birds. Kiwis and ostriches lay eggs that are fairly symmetrical, while penguins, which have streamlined bodies for swimming, lay pointier eggs. Among birds that fly, the species that spend more time in the air or rely on powerful bursts of flight to catch food tend to have the more elliptical, asymmetric eggs.

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June 23, 2017 at 10:16PM

Qatar Airways wants a 10% stake in American Airlines

Qatar Airways wants a 10% stake in American Airlines

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IT SEEMED, at first blush, to be a masterclass in how to bait a rival. For years, American Airlines, along with other big American carriers, has complained of “unfair” competition from Middle Eastern operators, which stand accused of taking state subsidies. On June 22nd one of those accused, Qatar Airways, said it planned to take an unsolicited 10% stake in the firm.

In a regulatory filing, it was revealed that Qatar, which reported a profit of $540m in 2016, wants to buy at least $808m of American’s shares. The move has not gone down well with some. Doug Parker, American’s boss, described it as “puzzling”. One airline union accused Qatar of “using enormous government subsidies to gain a greater foothold in US markets”. Adding “They’re coming after our routes, which means the jobs of our members are at stake.”

Politicking from America, in turn, has been making life tough for Qatar’s national carrier. This month Donald Trump backed the decision of several Gulf states to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, which they accuse of supporting terrorism. The sanctions include closing much of the airspace around the country. That has meant flights from Qatar must be rerouted, causing the national carrier’s costs to rise. The Trump administration’s ban on taking laptops into the cabins of several Middle Eastern carriers, including Qatar, is also likely to be hurting demand. Is the move for a stake America’s biggest airline some kind of counter-punch? 

But there is another way to look at this. Through a mixture of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and mergers, the United States has contrived to produce an aviation sector with minimal competition, in which the four biggest carriers control 80% of the market, up from 48% a decade ago. North American carriers made a combined profit of $16.5bn in 2016. Margins for some are approaching 20%. It is hardly a surprise that foreign investors would like to share some of those spoils.

Just in case a foreign owner fancied shaking up this cosy club, overseas operators are not allowed to operate domestic routes. Nor are foreign investors permitted to own more than 25% of an American carrier. And though executives and unions in the country may wring their hands at the imagined spectre from abroad, ultimately passengers suffer. As this blog has explored before, the dominant position of the big American carriers leaves them with little incentive to treat customers well. Hence, they do not bother.

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar’s combative boss, is not one to shy away from a fight. Last year, when the big American airlines demanded that Barack Obama take action over state aid, he said he wanted to “rub salt” into their wounds by increasing the number of flights to the United States. That is probably not what is happening here. The move to buy a stake in a profit machine like American Airlines seems more like simple financial sense.

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June 23, 2017 at 09:15PM

Rooftop Terrace at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland

Rooftop Terrace at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Close-up views of Old Town buildings

The National Museum of Scotland has been enchanting children and adults alike ever since it opened in the late 1800s, and these days it’s one of the most visited attractions in the country. But not all visitors know about its hidden gem.

The grand, airy Victorian building is home to thousands of artifacts from around the globe and natural world collections. And following the opening of the adjoining modern building in 1998, visitors can also learn about Scotland’s long and colourful history, inventions through the ages, plus science, technology and design. The museum is home to both a T-Rex skeleton cast and Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell.

When you visit, don’t forget to take the lift all the way to the 7th floor. You’ll exit onto the rooftop terrace, well worth checking out for its panoramic view.

Sure, there are wonderful vantage points from plenty of places in Edinburgh, not least the city’s seven hills, but not many are slap bang in the middle of the Old Town. Unless you’re lucky enough to be staying in accommodation nearby, this is one of the best places to enjoy a view right in amongst Auld Reekie’s rooftops and to the busy streets below, and to admire the wide vistas across to the Edinburgh Castle, the New Town, the Braid Hills and the Firth of Forth. You even get an elevated peek into Greyfriars Kirkyard.

The terrace was designed by sculptor Andy Goldsworthy in honour of Edinburgh-born James Hutton, known as the founder of modern geology. Sandstone blocks sit on the decked platform and plant life along the edge of the terrace represents different aspects of Scotland’s landscape, from coastal plants to grassland vegetation.

The minimalist design helps put the focus on the dazzling views from all four sides of the terrace. It’s a great place to escape the crowds below during the tourist months and to get a different perspective on the city. And, since in any season in Edinburgh there is often a stiff breeze coming in from the coast, it will almost certainly blow away any cobwebs.

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June 23, 2017 at 09:05PM

Rooftop Terrace at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland

Rooftop Terrace at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland

http://ift.tt/2szQoS6

Close-up views of Old Town buildings

The National Museum of Scotland has been enchanting children and adults alike ever since it opened in the late 1800s, and these days it’s one of the most visited attractions in the country. But not all visitors know about its hidden gem.

The grand, airy Victorian building is home to thousands of artifacts from around the globe and natural world collections. And following the opening of the adjoining modern building in 1998, visitors can also learn about Scotland’s long and colourful history, inventions through the ages, plus science, technology and design. The museum is home to both a T-Rex skeleton cast and Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell.

When you visit, don’t forget to take the lift all the way to the 7th floor. You’ll exit onto the rooftop terrace, well worth checking out for its panoramic view.

Sure, there are wonderful vantage points from plenty of places in Edinburgh, not least the city’s seven hills, but not many are slap bang in the middle of the Old Town. Unless you’re lucky enough to be staying in accommodation nearby, this is one of the best places to enjoy a view right in amongst Auld Reekie’s rooftops and to the busy streets below, and to admire the wide vistas across to the Edinburgh Castle, the New Town, the Braid Hills and the Firth of Forth. You even get an elevated peek into Greyfriars Kirkyard.

The terrace was designed by sculptor Andy Goldsworthy in honour of Edinburgh-born James Hutton, known as the founder of modern geology. Sandstone blocks sit on the decked platform and plant life along the edge of the terrace represents different aspects of Scotland’s landscape, from coastal plants to grassland vegetation.

The minimalist design helps put the focus on the dazzling views from all four sides of the terrace. It’s a great place to escape the crowds below during the tourist months and to get a different perspective on the city. And, since in any season in Edinburgh there is often a stiff breeze coming in from the coast, it will almost certainly blow away any cobwebs.

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June 23, 2017 at 09:05PM

Episode 88: Ai Weiwei, and Doing Business with China

Episode 88: Ai Weiwei, and Doing Business with China

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Donald Trump’s policy of “America First” gives a rising China more room to flex its muscles. This week, we consider from many sides the complex relationship between the U.S. and China. David Remnick talks with Ai Weiwei, the dissident and global art star; a congressman asks us to reconsider trade with China; and Chinese students explain why Ivanka Trump is considered a role model in the country, and what that says about gender roles there. (Evan Osnos hosts this special episode.)


The Chinese View of Trump

The journalist Zhang Yuanan explains how the Chinese public sees the Trump Administration.


Trade with China Is a Two-Way Street

Congressman Rick Larsen has been working for years on trade issues involving China. After the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he laments the lost business opportunities.


Ai Weiwei, a Free Man

Once celebrated by the government, Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous artist. Now, though he is persona non grata in his country, he won’t stop speaking out.


The Cultural Revolution and the Alien Invasion

A Chinese science-fiction fable about alien contact resonates across cultures.


Ivanka Trump Plays Well in China

Women in China are torn between modern success and Confucian ideals. Many there wonder How does Ivanka Trump pull it off so well?


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June 23, 2017 at 09:05PM

Russian Car Enthusiasts Create Very Large Fidget Spinner

Russian Car Enthusiasts Create Very Large Fidget Spinner

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Fidget spinners are all over the place these days, serving as a symbol of school yard cool, and threatening pogs as the most inane fad of all time. But the coolest kid at middle school had better watch his back, because a group of Russian YouTubers have created the world’s largest spinner out of a trio of old cars.

Well, sort of. Here’s the tape:

According to the BBC, the members of Garage 54, an automotive-focused YouTube channel out of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, welded the front half of three Lada Samara cars together. They left the engines and front wheels intact, though, and then joined them in the three-pronged shape of a spinner toy.

It took some doing, but with a driver in each of the three driver’s seats, they managed to get their creation moving in a distinctly circular pattern, although nothing like the crazed spinning speed of a real fidget spinner.

In the end, the giant junkyard spinner was gleefully torn apart by an SUV with a chain. Which maybe should be the fate of all fidget spinners.

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June 23, 2017 at 08:58PM