Unusual Travel: Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, U.S.

Located in one of the flattest places on the face of this planet are the strange and unexplained Sailing Stones of Racetrack Playa – Death Valley – California – USA. Once a year the “Playa” or flat desert pan experiences short winter rains and becomes slippery as the hexagonal desert floor turns back to mud. During this time the boulders and rocks move leaving clearly visible tracks behind them. Although scientists believe that high winds are responsible, some of the rocks will suddenly change directions and move at almost perfect right angles to their previous direction. All the evidence suggests that this is not a hoax although it is also said that the movement of these rocks has never been captured on film or video. In this technological age we wonder why time lapse photography hasn’t been used?

The Sailing Stones add mystique to Death Valley but the real strangeness of this place is its desperate isolation, heat and incredible flatness.

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Unusual Travel: The Integratron in California, USA

Integratron

 

It took George Van Tassel — a former aeronautical engineer and test pilot who worked with people like Howard Hughes, and a leader in the UFO movement — 18 years to build the Integratron. Later, Tassel would claim he made actual contact with extra-terrestrials at the site and considered it a kind of time machine, even. Today, the massive dome building offers sonic healing sessions to vacationers who believe the structure is a mecca for physical and spiritual healing.

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Four Seasons Austin becomes a Zero-Waste hotel!

austin four seasons hotel

 

Just one year after setting out to become a Zero Waste hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Austin is proud to be the only hotel in Texas – and one of only a handful of businesses in the country – to reach this prestigious environmental goal.

The push to become Zero Waste, defined as diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill, started in late November 2013 and was initially a two-year project, but thanks to a concerted effort by Hotel employees and the expert assistance of partner Texas Disposal Systems, the initiative was accomplished in nearly half the time.

“This truly is a testament to Four Seasons employees being able to accomplish anything they put their hearts and minds into,” says Rob Hagelberg, general manager at Four Seasons Hotel Austin. “Watching behaviors change and seeing the pride employees took in contributing to the effort was inspiring.”

The official Zero Waste designation was bestowed in January 2014 after Texas Disposal Systems completed an audit finding that the Hotel successfully diverted 263 tons (240,00 kilograms) of waste through recycling and 262 tons (200,000 kilograms) through compost. Only 58 tons (53,000 kilograms) of waste went to the landfill in all of 2013, an impressive feat considering the Hotel plays host to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. To put this in perspective, the Hotel has decreased its environmental waste footprint by more than 900 percent since 2012. Continue reading

Travel Video: Social Sharks in Hawaii’s Coconut Island!

Some shark species have long been known to school (or form groups with their own kind), but now, for the first time, researchers near Hawaii have documented schooling of several different shark species. The researchers affixed small cameras to shark fins to see this behavior without any human presence.