News: Air New Zealand to boost services to Honolulu for summer 2018

News: Air New Zealand to boost services to Honolulu for summer 2018

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Air New Zealand will fly almost 60,000 additional seats between Auckland and Honolulu from April to October next year, an increase of 75 per cent compared with this year. The airline will operate an additional 94 return services during the period, moving to daily flights and up to nine services per week during the busy July school holiday period.

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August 8, 2017 at 10:27AM

News: Sweden offers guests a chance to stay like locals

News: Sweden offers guests a chance to stay like locals

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This summer, a brand new initiative has launched in West Sweden, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the Swedish lifestyle from a local perspective. Meet the Locals enables curious travellers to engage and spend time with locals in Gothenburg and West Sweden who are eager to offer a taste of the Swedish way of life, whether hiking through stunning landscapes, cooking delicious traditional foods or simply enjoying ‘fika’ together.

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August 8, 2017 at 10:18AM

News: Royal Brunei Airlines signs Club 1 Hotels partnership

News: Royal Brunei Airlines signs Club 1 Hotels partnership

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Royal Brunei Airlines has announced a commercial partnership with Club 1 Hotels, a members-only luxury hotel club. The partnership will enable RB’s passengers to earn Royal Skies frequent flyer miles on every booking of hotel accommodation and car rental made with the hotel club.

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August 8, 2017 at 10:18AM

News: Oman Air launches third daily flight from Muscat to Mumbai

News: Oman Air launches third daily flight from Muscat to Mumbai

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Oman Air has announced the launch of a third daily flight on its popular Muscat to Mumbai route. The two hour 50 minutes flight departs Muscat at 22.40 and arrives in Mumbai at 03:00. The return flight leaves Mumbai at 04:05 and reaches Muscat at 05:15.

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August 8, 2017 at 09:47AM

5 ground up app insights from Google Play

5 ground up app insights from Google Play

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Jeena James has, all things considered, a pretty important job to do at Google. As global head of travel and local at Google Play, the official app store for Android smartphones and tablets and which brings all the search giant’s digital media under one umbrella, she has her work cut out.

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August 8, 2017 at 09:32AM

Biblical Tels – Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba

Biblical Tels – Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba

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Biblical Tels – Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba UNESCO World Heritage SIte
Biblical Tels – Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba: My 322nd UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription:

Historic settlement mounds, known as tels, are characteristic of the flatter lands of the eastern Mediterranean, particularly in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and eastern Turkey. Of more than 200 such mounds in Israel, the three sites of Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba are representative of those that contain substantial remains of cities with biblical connections and are strongly associated with events portrayed in the bible.

The three tels extend across the State of Israel; Tel Hazor in the north, near the Sea of Galilee; Tel Megiddo 50 kilometers to the south west; and Tel Beer Sheba near the Negev Desert in the south.

The three sites reflect the wealth and power of Bronze and Iron Age cities in the fertile biblical lands. This was based on, and achieved through, a centralized authority that had control of trade routes to the north east and south; connecting Egypt to Syria and Anatolia to Mesopotamia, and the creation and management of sophisticated and technologically advanced water collection systems. Together, these tels reflect the key stages of urban development in the region.

They are also representative of the large, multi-layered occupation of single sites that persisted for several millennia until the 6th century BCE, and particularly reflect in their final flowering the formative stages of biblical history from the 12th to 6th century BCE. With their impressive remains of palaces, fortifications and urban planning, they offer key material manifestations of the biblical epoch.

Overview of the Biblical Tels of Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba

Tels are hills or mounds created over centuries by communities building over the ruins and refuse of the previous structures. Archaeologists often liken tels to a layer cake with each layer being a different period of time. As the mounds grow, they usually become narrower, which eventually leads to a shrinking of the population, and eventual abandonment of the tel. This process, however, can take centuries.

This world heritage site consists of three different tels in different parts of Israel. While there are many archaeological tels in Israel, these three were chosen for World Heritage status because, 1) they all have at least a brief mention in the Old Testament, and 2) they all have extensive human built water systems. The water systems for all three tels are quite impressive and not obvious when you first arrive at the site as they are underground.

Overview of Tel Megiddo

Tel Megiddo is by far the most visited of the tels for two reasons. First, it is located on the road between the Sea of Galilee and Tel Aviv/Jerusalem. This makes it a convenient stop for tour buses traveling between the two. Second, Megiddo in English is Armageddon, which is where some people believe the last battle in history will take place.

The first humans settled this site approximately 9,000 years ago and the last use of the site was by the Roman army approximately 2,000 years ago. There was a large Roman army outpost just outside the tel, which was the largest in Roman province of Palestine, outside of Jerusalem. The tel was used by the Romans as a cemetery.

The tel is located along a highway which was once the location of an ancient trade route. Excavation began here in the early 20th century and effects of this excavation are still seen today. The techniques used back then were very crude and destructive. Their original intent was to completely remove everything. The only reason that didn’t happen is that they ran out of money.

As such, the appearance of Tel Megiddo is very different from the other two world heritage tels.

Overview of Tel Hazor

Tel Hazor is located in the north of Israel, close to the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee. It is the largest of the 3 sites by area, but it appears smaller than Tel Megiddo simply because less of it has been excavated. It gets the fewest visits of any of the 3 world heritage tels due to its location.

Hazor was a Canaanite settlement which was later resettled by Israelites approximately 1,300-900BC after this city of destroyed. Like Tel Megiddo, there is a rich farm land in the area surrounding the tel and it isn’t difficult to envision how a large community could have thrived there.

Overview of Tel Beer Sheba

Tel Beer Sheba is the ancient city from which the modern day city of Beersheba gets its name. The tel is located right outside the town and you can clearly see the skyline of the city from there. Beer Sheba is mentioned 33 times in the Bible, which is the most of any of the biblical tels which are world heritage listed.

How To Get There

All of the tels are best reached by car, or on guided tour. Their locations make them difficult to reach by public transportation, especially Tel Hazor. Directions to each of the site can easily be found on Google Maps.

Tel Megiddo – On highway 66 between Megiddo junction and Yokne’am junction. 30km/20mi from Haifa and 10 miles, 18km from Nazareth.

Tel Hazor – Off highway 90, approximately 25 miles/43 kilometers from Nazareth.

Tel Beer Sheba – Off the Beersheba/Shoket Junction road approximately 2 miles outside of Beersheba.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Aug 7, 2017 @ 10:35 pm

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August 8, 2017 at 05:35AM

R-Day at West Point, When Teen-Agers Start Becoming Cadets

R-Day at West Point, When Teen-Agers Start Becoming Cadets

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Last month, the photographer Drew Vickers was in West Point, New York,
when more than a thousand members of the class of 2021 arrived for
Reception Day at the United States Military Academy. R-Day, as it is
known there, is the orientation for West Point’s summer-long Cadet Basic
Training, step one in the process that transforms teen-age civilians
into military officers. After entering through the academy’s gates with
their parents and siblings, the young people in Vickers’s photographs
begin a whirlwind initiation into the regimented world of West Point.

At the beginning of the day, the trainees are given sixty seconds for
final goodbyes with their families. In one image in Vickers’s series, we
see two uniformed men awaiting the incoming class beyond doors that warn
against reëntry. Now bodies are measured, mop tops shorn, eyeglasses
exchanged for standard-issue frames, and each cadet candidate does as
many pull-ups as he or she can. The young man in a white T-shirt and gym
shorts having his seat measured looks like someone you might see at the
mall, if not for his black leather dress shoes, the only part of a
uniform he has received so far.

Visually, even Americans without military experience know what happens
here—the hair buzzing and fitness tests, the stern voices booming
instructions at their young charges. But Vickers is interested in
exposing the subtle emotional transformations that cadet candidates
undergo. Waiting in a line before the day’s events begin, a new arrival
in a West Point T-shirt exchanges a look with an upperclassman in
uniform, a mix of apprehension and respect showing in his eyes. Later in
the day, lined up on a patch of asphalt in summer heat to learn how to
march and salute, the young people studiously affect the blank mug of
the military.

In the evening of R-Day, parents pack onto bleachers along what is known
as the Plain for the day’s final event, the Oath of Allegiance Ceremony.
Vickers learned that, each year, as the cadet candidates affirm their
commitment to enter West Point, many of the parents have trouble picking
out their sons or daughters from the sea of uniformed servicemen.

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August 8, 2017 at 01:04AM

Two Chinese tourists are arrested for making a Hitler salute in Germany

Two Chinese tourists are arrested for making a Hitler salute in Germany

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IGNORANCE of the law is no excuse for breaking it. Over the weekend two Chinese tourists were arrested in Germany for photographing themselves making Hitler salutes outside the Reichstag building in Berlin. The country has strict anti-hate laws, which prohibits pro-Nazi symbols and speech. The Chinese pair were released on €500 ($590) bail; police said they could face as much as three years in prison. However, the men were told they were free to leave the country, and that if a fine was handed down at trial, the bail money could be used to cover it.

Gulliver does not intend to get into the rights and wrongs of Germany’s anti-hate laws. (For what it’s worth, he would think the Hitler salute crass, insensitive and insulting while not considering that a high enough bar to curb freedom of expression.) But the incident provides an opportunity to think about the extent to which foreigners should make themselves aware of local laws and sensitivities.

We do not know for certain the Chinese travellers’ motivation for their homage to Hitler. For all we know they are fascists, fully aware of German regulations and were hoping to make a political point. But, more plausibly, they were goofing around taking a selfie, having considered neither the legality nor the cultural implication nor the bad taste of what they were doing.

Germany’s prohibition on such things is not the norm in Europe. It seems unreasonable to expect the tourists, who by all accounts were on a country-hopping tour of the continent, to understand such legal nuances in every country they visit. In that sense they are a little like globetrotting business travellers: it is not unknown for British road warriors, for example, to get nabbed for jaywalking in America and profess to being nonplussed that pedestrians cannot just cross a road wherever they please.

More seriously, consider Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws, under which even mocking the king’s dog can land you a lengthy stay at the Bangkok Hilton. Even if the business traveller were unaware of the severity of the crime, he might think it plain insensitive to sound off about the Thai monarch. That might not be enough, however: an Australian author unwittingly fell foul of lèse-majesté for writing a novel about a flawed, fictional prince that reportedly sold only seven copies. He was sentenced to three years in a Thai jail in 2009, although he was eventually pardoned. 

The truth is that sometimes we are simply unthinking. Entering Argentina several years ago, Gulliver’s eye was caught by a sign reading “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” (the Falkland Islands are Argentine), with an accompanying sign forbidding tourists from photographing the slogan. No prizes for guessing the first thing your correspondent whipped out. At the time it felt as if it might make for an amusing picture. In retrospect it occurred to him that the subject is not one Argentinians treat with levity. 

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August 8, 2017 at 12:57AM

Cementiscope in Norfolk, Virginia

Cementiscope in Norfolk, Virginia

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Kaleidoscopes use angled mirrors to create changing, symmetrical patterns based on whatever the viewer has it aimed at. They’re usually toys, and they’re definitely not often housed in cement mixers. Unless you happen to be in Norfolk, Virginia. 

The Cementiscope, situated at the corner of Granby Street and Olney Road, is a black-and-white striped concrete drum that may look rather unremarkable to those driving by, but holds a marvelous secret for anyone who stops to look inside. As the name would suggest, it is a large kaleidoscope made from a fabricated cement mixer. 

The kaleidoscope weighs 3,000 pounds and features a hand-turned crank that rotates the cylinder using rubber wheels inside the cask. LED lights inside enhance spinning views of geometric shapes to people on either side of the drum. Visitors can aim the scope at a billboard built for the project, clouds, the cityscape, friends. The possibilities are as almost as limitless as the alternating views. 

Cementiscope is the inaugural public art piece for the NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) Arts District. It was created by Glassitorium, a group of artists who worked together at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Their goal was to design a piece that would honor all the construction in the up-and-coming area. In 2008, Norfolk passed a law to set aside one percent of all capital improvement projects for public art projects, and every year the city sends out about eight open calls for artists to come work on pieces for its burgeoning arts district.

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August 7, 2017 at 11:09PM

Cementiscope in Norfolk, Virginia

Cementiscope in Norfolk, Virginia

http://ift.tt/2hE5sLe

Kaleidoscopes use angled mirrors to create changing, symmetrical patterns based on whatever the viewer has it aimed at. They’re usually toys, and they’re definitely not often housed in cement mixers. Unless you happen to be in Norfolk, Virginia. 

The Cementiscope, situated at the corner of Granby Street and Olney Road, is a black-and-white striped concrete drum that may look rather unremarkable to those driving by, but holds a marvelous secret for anyone who stops to look inside. As the name would suggest, it is a large kaleidoscope made from a fabricated cement mixer. 

The kaleidoscope weighs 3,000 pounds and features a hand-turned crank that rotates the cylinder using rubber wheels inside the cask. LED lights inside enhance spinning views of geometric shapes to people on either side of the drum. Visitors can aim the scope at a billboard built for the project, clouds, the cityscape, friends. The possibilities are as almost as limitless as the alternating views. 

Cementiscope is the inaugural public art piece for the NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) Arts District. It was created by Glassitorium, a group of artists who worked together at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Their goal was to design a piece that would honor all the construction in the up-and-coming area. In 2008, Norfolk passed a law to set aside one percent of all capital improvement projects for public art projects, and every year the city sends out about eight open calls for artists to come work on pieces for its burgeoning arts district.

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August 7, 2017 at 11:06PM