NatGeo’s 9 Best Fall Escape Trips in the U.S.


 Take to the Skies at the Albuquerque, New Mexico International Balloon Fiesta 

WHY GO: Take in the gorgeous New Mexico landscape and delicious New Mexican cuisine while enjoying the spectacle of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes places every year in October.

WHAT TO EAT: Get the red chile pork ribs at El Pinto. For a classic chile relleno, visit Mary and Tito’s Café.

PRACTICAL TIP: Most New Mexican restaurants will ask whether you want red or green, for which kind of chili you want. To get both, just say Christmas.

FUN FACT: The Albuquerque balloon festival is the largest hot-air balloon festival on Earth.


read about more places to go, see all 9  fall vacations to experience in 2016 –>

The Secret Trash Collection in a New York Sanitation Garage

Garbage Museum1, NYC, AtlasObscura_comOn the second floor of a nondescript warehouse owned by New York City’s Sanitation Department in East Harlem is a treasure trove—filled with other people’s trash.

Most of the building is used as a depot for garbage trucks, but there’s a secret collection that takes over an entire floor. The space is populated by a mind-bogglingly wide array of items: a bestiary of Tamagotchis, Furbies; dozens of Pez dispensers; female weight lifting trophies; 8-track tapes; plates, paintings, sporting equipment and much more.

This is the Treasures in the Trash collection, created entirely out of objects found by Nelson Molina, a now-retired sanitation worker, who began by decorating his locker. Collected over 30 years, it is a visual explosion, organized by type, color, and size. Recently, Atlas Obscura had the chance to visit the collection with the New York Adventure Club, take some photos, and revel in the vast creative possibilities of trash.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a collection that keeps regular hours; drop-ins are not allowed. For more information on the occasional organized tours, email
Garbage Museum2, NYC, AtlasObscura_com

Guitars, including an original Fender, surround the Michael Jackson shrine … see more pics, read more —>

Not-So-Dark Ages Revealed at King Arthur Site

King Arthur, Tintagel Excavation, Smithsonian

A view of the ruins of Tintagel castle, built in the 13th century by English royals eager to strengthen their ties to legendary King Arthur, who was said to be conceived at the site. Luxury goods unearthed at royal stronghold show that Celtic rulers thrived at the legendary site of Tintagel.

A recent discovery in southwest England is making headlines for its association with King Arthur, but archaeologists are hailing it as an incredibly important find regardless of any connection with Britain’s greatest legendary ruler.

Excavations at Tintagel, a rocky promontory on the coast of Cornwall, have revealed evidence of massive stone fortifications and luxury goods imported from as far away as modern-day Turkey, all dating to a poorly understood period in British history that began with the collapse of Roman rule on the island around 400 A.D.

The earliest mentions of a leader named Arthur in the historical record are tied to events that occurred between roughly 400 and 600 A.D., the period in which archaeologists believe the fortifications at Tintagel were built. According to an account written centuries later, the legendary king was conceived at Tintagel.

Luxury Trade During the So-called “Dark Ages”

Over the summer, archaeologists at Tintagel have found evidence for more than a hundred buildings that most likely date from the fifth to seventh centuries A.D., a period when the site is believed to have been an important royal stronghold of the Celtic kingdom of Dumnonia.

Initial evidence for the Celtic stronghold was first revealed during excavations in the 1930s. Unfortunately, the home of C.A. Raleigh Radford, lead archaeologist on the project, was bombed during World War II and the scientific results were never properly published. In the 1990s, archaeologists reopened Radford’s trenches at Tintagel and discovered fine ceramics and glassware from all over the Mediterranean world.

More than two decades later, researchers have returned to Tintagel for the beginning of a five-year project funded by the charity English Heritage to better understand what was happening at the site during a time erroneously referred to by some historians as the “Dark Ages,” and by others as “Sub-Roman” or “Post-Roman.”

Why were coastal trading posts like Tintagel mysteriously abandoned in the seventh century?  read more –>…

CA Freeways Will Soon Generate Electricity

Cars, Piezoelect, SoCal, EcoWatch_com

Energy conservation is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about freeways jammed with idling vehicles.

But in California, which has some of the most congested freeways in the country, that’s about to change. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved a pilot program in which piezoelectric crystals will be installed on several freeways.

No, these aren’t some kind of new-agey crystals with mystical powers. Piezoelectric crystals, about the size of watch batteries, give off an electrical discharge when they’re mechanically stressed, such as when a vehicle drives over them. Multiply that by thousands of vehicles and it creates an electric current that can be harvested to feed the grid.

In fact, scientists estimate the energy generated from piezoelectric crystals on a 10-mile stretch of freeway could provide power for the entire city of Burbank (population: more than 105,000).

“I still get stopped on the street by people who ask what happened to the idea of using our roads to generate electricity,” said Mike Gatto, a Los Angeles assemblyman, in a press release announcing the program. “California is the car capital of the world and we recycle just about everything. So why not capture the energy from road vibrations and put it to good use?”

Piezoelectric-based energy‐harvesting technology is already being used in other countries. Since 2009, all the displays in the East Japan Railway Company’s Tokyo station have been powered by people walking on the piezoelectric flooring. Italy has signed a contract that will install this technology in a portion of the Venice-to-Trieste Autostrada. Israel is already using this technology on some highways, which is how Gatto got the idea for the pilot program in California. A friend returning from a trip to Israel raved about a road that produced energy …

Piezoelectric technology has been used for years in electric guitars and sonar. The crystals are “in effect the reverse of sonar: a vibration comes in and an electric pulse comes out,” according to the press release …

“Thirty years ago, no one would have believed that black silicon panels in the desert could generate ‘solar‘ power,” Gatto stated. “Piezoelectric technology is real and I am glad the state has finally acknowledged its potential in becoming an energy source.”  read more, see video –>…

Best Detergents for Smelly Workout Clothes

Olympic Hurdler, ConsumerReports_org

Before arriving at the Olympics, the athletes underwent years of training and produced piles of sweaty workout clothes. But you don’t have to be a world-class athlete, or the parent of one, to appreciate the benefits of a top-performing laundry detergent. Across the country kids are coming home from camp with duffel bags full of smelly clothing and, at the same time, pre-season sport camps are ramping up for the beginning of school. Time to break out one of the detergents that medaled in Consumer Reports tests.

Top of the podium is Persil ProClean Power-Liquid 2in1, 25 cents per load, which beat out our long-time champ, Tide. But Tide held steady with two varieties tied for second, liquid Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release, 25 cents, and Tide HE Plus Bleach Alternative, 23 cents, a powder. All three are intended for front-loaders or high-efficiency top-loader washing machines and are superb at removing grass and blood stains and ring-around-the-collar. The trio also aced our cold-water washing test.

Bargain Buys
Paying top dollar for Persil and Tide can add up in a hurry if your washer is running nonstop to keep up with a small team’s worth of workout clothes. Sam’s Club members should consider Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean, which can be used in high-efficiency or conventional washers. It costs just 12 cents a load, and was tough on grass and ring-around-the-collar. Costco shoppers can consider Kirkland Signature Free & Clear liquid detergent, a good choice at 11 cents per load. And if you don’t shop at Costco or Sam’s Club, opt for Wisk Deep Clean at 14 cents per load.

Convenient If You’re Careful
While we stopped recommending single-dose detergents because of the poisoning danger they pose to small children, they are still a good option for grownups on the go because you can throw a few in your gym bag. Tide Pods Plus Febreze tops our tests of pods and packs but at 33 cents per load costs almost twice as much as the runner-up, All Mighty Pacs Oxi, which is only 17 cents per load. Just make sure to keep any pods away from children who might mistake them for candy.

Laundry Tips
Whichever laundry detergent you choose, it’s important to follow best practices, especially when you’re dealing with large, smelly loads. Sort by colors as well as fabric types—jeans and heavier items in one load, and T-shirts and lighter fabrics in another. Don’t overload the machine with workout clothes, or you’ll probably have to wash them a second time. And follow the manufacturer’s measuring directions for large or very dirty loads. You might be tempted to add even more detergent, but this can leave residue in your machine and on your clothing.

courtesy of:…

Stubby Purple Squid Just Chillin’ Off SoCal Coast

Scientists try to maintain their composure when conducting research. But researchers aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus couldn’t help but get excited when they happened upon a goofy-looking, googly eyed purple squid while mapping the seafloor off southern California last week.

The creature was a stubby squid, Rossia pacifica, a species that lives in the Pacific ocean from Japan to southern California. The creature was just sitting out in the open on the sea floor when the crew spotted it. “It looks so fake,” one of the researchers says in a video of the encounter. “It looks like some little kid dropped their toy.”

The creature does look strange, like its eyes were painted on its bright purple body by a child. But Samantha Wishnak, a science communication fellow aboard the E/V Nautilus, tells Kacey Deamer at Live Science that things only get weirder from there. “They actually have this pretty awesome superpower, they can turn on a little sticky mucus jacket over their body and sort of collect bits of sand or pebbles or whatever they’re burrowing into and make a really nice camouflage jacket,” she says. “When they go to ambush something and prey on something, they’re able to sort of turn off that mucus jacket.”

The researchers were lucky, says Wishnak, to see the little squid out in the open since the nocturnal predator typically hides in the sediment in its jacket waiting for prey. She also says most of the scientists watching the feed from the ROV were geologists and ecologists unfamiliar with deep sea species, so they were much more excited to see the crazy-looking creature than seasoned marine biologists. Biologists watching the video feed on shore identified the little squid … just gotta’ see what this stubby purple squid looks like?  Click here to read more, watch video —>…

What Happens When a Chameleon Looks in a Mirror?

Chameleon, NatGeo-crop

Female in the Mirror 

Females change color to communicate their sexual status to males, Hughes says. Female Mediterranean chameleons, for example, display yellow spots to signal sexual receptivity, according to a 1998 study.

Female social signals may be fewer “because they choose and males are competing to be chosen.”

And if she sees herself in a mirror? It would likely be more subtle than the male reaction, Hughes says—although there isn’t enough knowledge of female chameleons to know for sure.

“Female-female communication in chameleons is generally not well understood,” he says, and may be less obvious than interactions between males.

Color us humans envious of an animal who looks in a mirror and sees little that needs changing.

Male in the Mirror 

Chameleon colors aren’t just camouflage, says Eli Greenbaum, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Texas at El Paso—they also change due to temperature shifts or emotions.

And males get emotional when they see other males that could be rivals for females or habitat.

“Male chameleons will, in most cases, immediately change colors in response to seeing another male, and in this instance, to itself in a mirror,” says Daniel F. Hughes, a doctoral candidate in Greenbaum’s lab. (Related: “What Do Animals See in the Mirror?“).

To illustrate his point, he referred us to a YouTube video of a male panther chameleon, a species native to Madagascar, doing that very thing.

A male chameleon that sees a “rival” would get excited and change from its camo green to noticeable hues of yellow, orange, or even red, says Michel C. Milinkovitch, a biophysicist at the University of Geneva … read more –>…

Dr. Seuss’s Original Lorax Tree in San Diego

Dr Seuss, Lorax Tree, La Jolla, Smithsonian

The lone Lorax tree in Scripps Park, La Jolla. (Courtesy of San Diego Tourism)

In 1937, a long line of publishers rejected a children’s book that would later become a classic. Penned by Theodore Geisel, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street immortalized a street in the author’s hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts. The book was eventually picked up by a publisher, the first in a long line of classics penned by Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.

His first book may have Massachusetts roots, but after World War II Geisel made his way to San Diego, California and moved into an observation tower in ritzy La Jolla. His newly adopted hometown became part of literary history, too. In this home and his studio on Mt. Soledad, Seuss wrote more than 40 children’s books—including the immortal The Cat in the Hat. And though he died in 1991, his legacy still looms large in both San Diego and the history of literature for kids.

“Seuss is the best selling and most influential children’s author in the United States,” Dr. Philip Nel, director of the children’s literature program at Kansas State University, tells “He teaches children not only how to read but why and how to think. He wants children to take an interest in their world and make a better world.” … read more –>…

First Athlete to Wear Hijab, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Wins Fencing Bronze Medal

Olympic, Bronze, Fencing, Hijab, Ibtihaj Muhammad, USMag_comIbtihaj Muhammad of the United States celebrates her bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday, August 13

A moment she’ll never forget. Ibtihaj Muhammad won her first Olympic medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday, August 13 — but that wasn’t her only first!

The 30-year-old athlete became the first U.S. athlete to compete at the Olympic Games wearing a hijab, a veil commonly worn by Muslim women.

Muhammad took home the bronze medal with Team USA during the women’s team saber fencing event on Saturday. She competed with fellow fencers Dagmara Wozniak, Mariel Zagunis and Monica Aksamit to defeat the Italian team 45-30. (The last time the U.S. women’s fencing team won a medal was at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.)

Prior to joining the national fencing team in 2010, Muhammad was a three-time All-American and 2005 Junior Olympic Champion at Duke University. She graduated from the school in 2007 with a double major in international relations and African American studies.

Earlier this week, the New Jersey native spoke to USA Today about becoming the first American to compete at the Olympics in a hijab.

“A lot of people don’t believe that Muslim women have voices or that we participate in sport,” she said on Monday, August 8. “And it’s not just to challenge misconceptions outside the Muslim community, but within the Muslim community. I want to break cultural norms.”

Muhammad added, “It’s a blessing to represent so many people who don’t have voices, who don’t speak up, and it’s been a really remarkable experience for me.”

courtesy of:… 

Meteor Shower of the Decade Tonight! Thur, 8/11 + Fri, 8/12/16

Meteor Shower, Perseid, PopularMechanics

Astronomers predict next week’s meteor shower will have twice as many meteors as normal.  If you find yourself outside during the night next Thursday, don’t forget to look up.

On August 11 and 12, the biggest meteor shower of the year, the Perseids, will be lighting up the night sky, and this year the Perseids promise to be the best shower of the decade.

The Perseids typically peak in mid-August every year, when the Earth intersects with the trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Debris from the comet impacts the Earth’s atmosphere and streaks across the sky, creating shooting stars.

Typically, the Perseids’ peak features about 100 meteors per hour. But this year, we may see twice that many thanks to an “outburst,” which occurs when the Earth runs into leftover debris from past orbits of the comet as well as debris from the current year. The extra material combines to create a truly spectacular meteor shower.

This year, the Perseids are expected to contain meteors from comet trails laid down in 1862, 1479, and 1079. This means that some of the meteors that will impact Earth’s atmosphere next week broke off from the Comet Swift-Tuttle nearly a thousand years ago.

If you’re planning to watch the Perseids, it’s best to be prepared. The optimal time to see the meteor shower is from late at night on Thursday August 11 to early Friday morning on the 12th, before sunrise. Be sure to get plenty of rest if you’re going to stay up late to watch the show.

Pick a spot that’s far away from city lights that brighten the sky. The darker the sky, the better the viewing, so you may have to drive into the countryside. This tool can help you find a dark sky location nearby. Remember to give your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the dark.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself and have fun! Meteor showers are always better with people, so bring some friends or loved ones along, and keep your eyes on the sky.

courtesy of:

Why Are Jim Thorpe’s Olympic Records Still Not Recognized?

Jim Thorpe, SmithsonianJim Thorpe’s epic performance in the 15 events that made up the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Summer Games remains the most solid reflection we have of him. (Bettmann / Corbis)

100 years ago, Jim Thorpe became the greatest American Olympian of all time, but not if you ask the IOC

It’s been 100 years since Jim Thorpe dashed through the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, and we’re still chasing him.  Greatest-evers are always hard to quantify, but Thorpe is especially so, a laconic, evasive passerby who defies Olympic idealizing. A breakfast of champions for Thorpe was no bowl of cereal. It was fried squirrel with creamed gravy after running all night in the woods at the heels of his dogs. Try catching up with that.

He was a reticent Sac and Fox Indian from the Oklahoma frontier, orphaned as a teenager and raised as a ward of government schools, uncomfortable in the public eye.

When King Gustaf V of Sweden placed two gold medals around Thorpe’s neck for winning the Olympic pentathlon and decathlon and pronounced him the greatest athlete in the world, he famously muttered, “Thanks,” and ducked more illustrious social invitations to celebrate at a succession of hotel bars. “I didn’t wish to be gazed upon as a curiosity,” he said.

Thorpe’s epic performance in the 15 events that made up the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Summer Games remains the most solid reflection we have of him. Yet even that has a somewhat shadowy aspect. The International Olympic Committee stripped his medals and struck his marks from the official record after learning that he had violated the rules of amateurism by playing minor-league baseball in 1909-10.

“Those Olympic records are the best proof that he was superb, and they aren’t official,” says Kate Buford, author of a new biography of Thorpe, Native American Son. “He’s like the phantom contender.”

Phantomness has left him open to stigma and errors. For instance, it was popularly believed that Thorpe was careless of his feats, a “lazy Indian” whose gifts were entirely bestowed by nature. But he was nonchalant only about celebrity, which he distrusted. “He was offhand, modest, casual about everything in the way of fame or eminence achieved,” recalled one of his teachers, the poet Marianne Moore.

In fact, Thorpe was a dedicated and highly trained athlete. “I may have had an aversion for work,” he said, “but I also had an aversion for getting beat.” He went to Stockholm with a motive: He wanted to marry his sweetheart, Iva Miller. Her family disapproved of the match, and Thorpe was out to prove that a man could make a good enough living at games to support a wife. Point proved: They would be married in 1913. Photographs of him at the time verify his seriousness of purpose, showing a physique he could only have earned with intense training. He was a ripped 185 pounds with a 42-inch chest, 32-inch waist and 24-inch thighs.

“Nobody was in his class,” says Olympic historian Bill Mallon. “If you look at old pictures of him he looks almost modern. He’s cut. He doesn’t look soft like the other guys did back then. He looks great.”

The physique was partly the product of hard labor in the wilderness of the Oklahoma Territory. By age 6, Thorpe could already shoot, ride, trap and accompany his father, Hiram, a horse breeder and bootlegger who would die of blood poisoning, on 30-mile treks stalking prey. Jim Thorpe was an expert wrangler and breaker of wild horses, which he studied for their beautiful economy of motion and tried to emulate. Clearly the outdoors taught him the famous looseness of movement so often mistaken for lassitude. “He moved like a breeze,” sportswriter Grantland Rice observed …

… On this 100-year anniversary of the Stockholm Games, there are several good reasons for the IOC to relent and fully recognize Thorpe as the sole champion that he was. Countless white athletes abused the amateurism rules and played minor-league ball with impunity. What’s more, the IOC did not follow its own rules for disqualification: Any objection to Thorpe’s status should have been raised within 30 days of the Games, and it was not. It was nice of the IOC to award replica medals to Thorpe’s family, but those are just souvenirs.  After 100 years … Thorpe should enter the recordread more –>…

Meet the World’s Refugee Olympic Team

10 athletes were chosen to represent refugees from war-torn nations at the Olympics for the first time. These are their stories.

The Summer Olympics will feature 206 teams of athletes from specific countries. And for the first time ever, this month’s Games in Rio will feature another team of athletes that comes from no nation in particular and with no historical precedent.

For the first time, a Refugee Olympic Team will participate in the Olympics. The R.O.T., as the International Olympic Committee abbreviates it, includes 10 athletes, across four sports, from four countries in the Middle East and Africa.

The R.O.T. arrives at the Olympics at a particularly troubling time. The civil war in Syria has been driving an outright refugee crisis in Europe. The United Nations Refugee Agency says there are 4.8 million Syrian refugees, plus an estimated 8.7 million people displaced inside Syria this year. Its count of refugees and asylum-seekers from South Sudan is 850,000. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is more than 384,000 refugees and more than a million internally displaced persons. There are more than 700,000 Ethiopian refugees. This is just a sampling.

If there is light at the end of that darkness, the 10 athletes competing for the R.O.T. this month are a beacon. Each has escaped one of the war-torn countries mentioned above, and each now gets a turn on sport’s biggest stage …

From South Sudan

Rose Nathike Lokonyen, a runner supported by Kenya
James Nyang Chiengjiek, a runner supported by Kenya
Angelina Nada Lohalith, a runner supported by Kenya
Paulo Amotun Lokoro, a runner supported by Kenya
Yiech Pur Biel, a runner supported by Kenya

From Syria

Rami Anis, a swimmer supported by Belgium
Yusra Mardini, a swimmer supported by Germany

From the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Popole Misenga, a judoka supported by Brazil
Yolande Bukasa Mabika, a judoka supported by Brazil

From Ethiopia

Yonas Kinde, a marathoner supported by Luxembourg

see videos, read more about each athlete –>

True Hero, Syrian Refugee Saved 18 lives Pushing Boat 3 Hours Now Wins Olympic Swimming Heat

Refugee, Syrian, Swim, Hero, sbnation_com


There are dozens of amazing teenage athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, but nobody has a story like swimmer Yusra Mardini, who is competing under the International Olympic Committee flag as part of the refugee team.

Many people have their lives thanks to the efforts of Mardini and her sister just over a year ago. The sisters were fleeing Syria along with 18 other people when the refugees’ dinghy began sinking in the Aegean sea during a trip to Greece. The motor had failed, nobody on the boat could swim except the sisters. It’s a story that often ends in tragedy, but they ensured that didn’t happen. The two women leaped out of the boat, into cold waters and pushed the boat three hours in open water to prevent it from capsizing — eventually making it to land. It was a move that not only saved the lives of the 18 people in the boat, but ensured the sisters lived.

It sounds like a horror story, but instead Mardini used the moment in her life for motivation.

“I remember that without swimming I would never be alive maybe because of the story of this boat. It’s a positive memory for me.”

Now living in Germany, life is much better. Initially she began training, and was being considered as an Olympic hopeful for the 2020 games in Tokyo, but the refugee team allowed for Mardini’s dream to be realized much sooner. She is working tirelessly not only in swimming, but in changing the perception of refugees around the world.

“I want everyone to think refugees are normal people who had their homelands and lost them not because they wanted to run away and be refugees, but because they have dreams in their lives and they had to go,”

Just making it to the Olympics would have been an achievement enough, but the 19-year-old just won the first heat in the women’s 100 meter butterfly.

courtesy of:

Never Say Never! 13 Year Old Mongolian Eagle Hunter

Girl, Mongolia, Eagle Huntress, NatGeo-crop

Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter … 

A 13-year-old girl stands proud in the mountains of western Mongolia, cradling the eagle she has trained to hunt. She’s carrying on a legacy that has defined this region for centuries.

But the girl, Aisholpan Nurgaiv, is also challenging a tradition. Though she is not the first female eagle hunter—there’s evidence of female eagle hunters from as early as tenth-century Persia, and National Geographic photographed Princess Nirgidma of Mongolia with her hunting eagle in 1932—Nurgaiv is the first Mongolian woman to compete in the country’s Golden Eagle Festival … read more, see documentary trailer video –>…

The Colors of Feng Shui

Feng Shui Colors

Feng Shui Colors affect people physically, emotionally and psychologically. By using just one of the Feng Shui Colors, or by combining two or more, you can strengthen the elements of Feng Shui. Feng Shui Colors are divided into the cool (Yin) and warm (Yang) areas because all things possess these two components and their balance creates wholeness.

The guiding principle in using Feng Shui Colors should be to achieve balance rather than excess. When you are planning the color scheme of your home, office or garden environment, the following characteristics of the Feng Shui Colors will give you insight into how they can be used in decorating your space.

Blue (Yin) – This color is calm and soothing, this color reflects love as it heals and relaxes. Blue creates a feeling of peace and trust. It is the color of the sea and sky, so it tends to represent adventure and exploration. It is also relaxing and calming. Navy blue is the Feng Shui color of intellect and wisdom.

Black (Yin) – Symbolizing money and income, black is great for careers, especially when combined with metal. The Feng Shui color of emotional protection and power.

Purple (Yin) – Purple, like blue, is the spiritual end of the color spectrum. It boosts spiritual awareness and is excellent for physical and mental healing. The Feng Shui color of royalty.

White (Yang) – Poised and confident, white works better when it is combined with gold or silver to generate an atmosphere of influence and control. The Feng Shui color of purity, goodness and trustworthiness.

Yellow (Yang) – Considered as auspicious as red, yellow represents sunbeams, warmth and motion. This color can make you feel cheerful. However, according to a noted color consultant, prolonged exposure to large amounts of intense yellow can cause anxiety.Yellow is the Feng Shui color of communication and health, cheerfulness and friendliness.

Orange (Yang) – Strengthening concentration, you might need this when your creative well runs dry. It gives you a sense of purpose. Orange is the Feng Shui color of organization.

Tan/Beige (Yang) – The Feng Shui color of the earth, portrays neatness, helps conceal emotions

Brown (Yang) – The Feng Shui color of Industry, being grounded and hard working.

Red (Yang) – This is the Feng Shui color of good fortune as it attracts recognition and respect for the person who uses it, especially in the winter. A color of confidence, if you ever need one! The color of luck, money, joy, protection and physicalness.

Mauve (Yang) – The color of world consciousness.

Green (Yin) – Green is refreshing, nurturing, balancing and normalizing as in being surrounded by the lush green of nature. It is the Feng Shui color of harmony, balance, healing and health; physical, emotional and spiritual. The color is good for growth and expansion, and it is peaceful and calming.

Pink (Yin) – The Feng Shui color of love.

Maroon (Yang) – The Feng Shui color of maroon is neither red nor blue it represents indecisiveness.

Lavender (Yang) – Is the Feng Shui color of sexual indecision. Suggests an ability to be manipulated.

Gold (Yang) – The Feng Shui color of God consciousness.

Silver (Yin) – The Feng Shui color of the trustworthy and the romantic.

Gray (Yin) – Gray is neither black nor white, it is the Feng Shui color of dead and dull; indefinite.

All images & information 2001 Shop Feng Shui, Inc
see more –>

10 Awesome Music Festivals Around The World This Summer

Music, Bestival, UK, NatGeo

It’s getting hot up here in the Northern Hemisphere. With summer fully upon us, people are soaking up the sunshine, showing some skin, and planning adventures near and far, including trips to the sweatiest of summer traditions: music festivals.

Before you bust out your flower headdress and head to Lollapalooza, check out what else the world has to offer. Here are 10 music festivals across the globe that can offer a unique—and potentially more meaningful—travel experience.

Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica
July 17-23, 2016

Billed under the slogan “Our Music, Our Festival,” Jamaica’s biggest festival is held every year in Montego Bay, kicking off with an annual beach party and an all-white dress code party followed by days of music from some of the biggest acts in the homeland of reggae.

Lineup highlights: Stone Love, Beenie Man, Super Cat

Alfa Future People in Russia
July 22-24, 2016

Held in the Russian countryside, six hours east of Moscow by car, Alfa Future People is more than a massive EDM (electronic dance music) festival, with exhibitions on the latest in technology and athletic opportunities like a volleyball tournament and aerial gymnastics classes.

Lineup highlights: Armin Van Buuren, Axwell and Ingrosso, Martin Garrix

Fuji Rock in Japan
July 22-24, 2016

This event held every year at Japan’s Naeba Ski Resort might be the music festival surrounded by the most stunning natural beauty of any in the world. Hikes between stages will lead you through green cathedral forests and cool mountain streams. Or you can hitch a ride on the Dragondola—the longest gondola on Earth.

Lineup highlights: Beck, Wilco, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals

Splendour in the Grass in Australia
July 22-24, 2016

It may be winter in Byron Bay, Australia, but it is still summertime in the Northern Hemisphere! Besides, winter in Byron Bay is like winter in Hawaii, so you don’t need to leave behind your flip-flops and board shorts. Splendour in the Grass includes great live music plus additional draws like the Global Village, talks from thought leaders on science, politics, and more, and the Splendour Comedy Club.

Lineup highlights: The Strokes, the Cure, Band of Horses, Sigur Rós

Baleapop in France
August 8-11, 2016

This four-day festival with a focus on art, music, and openheartedness takes place on the stunning beaches of French Basque country in the city of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Baleapop organizers seek to foster connections between people through musical performances and contemporary art installations, while keeping the event affordable, environmentally friendly, and open to all.

Lineup highlights: Suuns, Shackleton

In the Mix in the Philippines
August 18, 2016

A brand-new festival this year, In the Mix offers the chance to experience one of the most underappreciated cities in Southeast Asia: Manila. The Philippines’ capital is widely, and rightly, known for being crowded, polluted, and hectic but there’s a rich history and culture hiding in plain sight if you know what to look for, plus some one of the warmest, most fun-loving people you’re likely to ever meet.

Lineup highlights: The 1975, Panic! at the Disco, James Bay

Dusk til Dawn Blues Festival in Oklahoma
September 2-4, 2016

If you really want to get off the beaten path, check out this all-night blues festival in tiny Rentiesville, one of Oklahoma’s few surviving historically all-black towns. Night owls dig the blues from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. for three days straight.

Lineup highlights: Joanna Connor, Johnny Rawls

Bestival in England
September 8-11, 2016

Held annually on the beautiful and bucolic Isle of Wight in the south of England, this midsize gathering of around 50,000 is widely considered among the best festivals in Britain. Bestival is known for its eccentric, alternative feel (jump in the world’s biggest bouncy castle!) and commitment to environmental issues.

Lineup highlights: Major Lazer, Wiz Khalifa, Diplo, Animal Collective

K-Pop World Festival in South Korea
September 30, 2016

K-Pop is hardly outside the mainstream but this festival is still unlike any other. After surviving preliminary rounds in countries around the world, finalists and fans gather in Changwon, South Korea, for high-energy, upbeat performances and to select the next K-Pop stars.

Lineup highlights: TBD

Lake of Stars in Malawi
September 30-October 2, 2016

This arts and music festival held annually on the shores of Lake Malawi in southern Africa promises a truly unique experience. Lake of Stars brings together Malawian artists with creatives from around the world for a weekend of music, dancing, and positive vibes that infuses $1.5 million into the local economy.

Lineup highlights: Freshlyground, Faith Mussa, Flo Dee

courtesy of:…

Discovering New Berardius In 2016

Whale, Beaked, New, Unknown, NatGeo

This whale washed up dead on Alaska’s St. George Island in June 2014.  Scientists say it is a newly discovered species of beaked whale.
Photograph by Karin Holser

Like many good mysteries, this one started with a corpse, but the body in question was 24 feet (7.3 meters) long.

The remains floated ashore in June of 2014, in the Pribilof Islands community of St. George, a tiny oasis of rock and grass in the middle of Alaska’s Bering Sea. A young biology teacher spotted the carcass half-buried in sand on a desolate windswept beach. He alerted a former fur seal researcher who presumed, at first, that she knew what they’d found: a Baird’s beaked whale, a large, gray, deep-diving creature that occasionally washes in dead with the tide.

But a closer examination later showed that the flesh was too dark, the dorsal fin too big and floppy. The animal was too short to be an adult, but its teeth were worn and yellowed with age.


It’s just so exciting to think that in 2016 we’re still discovering things in our world—even mammals that are more than 20 feet long.

Phil Morin | NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center

It turns out, according to new research published Tuesday, that this was not a Baird’s beaked whale at all, but an entirely new species—a smaller, odd-shaped black cetacean that Japanese fishermen have long called karasu, or raven.

“We don’t know how many there are, where they’re typically found, anything,” says Phillip Morin, a molecular geneticist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. “But we’re going to start looking.”

It’s rare to uncover a new species of whale. Advances in DNA research have helped scientists identify five new cetaceans in the past 15 years but two were dolphins and most were simple category splits between fairly similar species. This animal, in the genus Berardius, looks far different than its nearest relative and inhabits an area of the North Pacific where marine mammal research has been conducted for decades … read more –>…


Mysterious Purple Orb?

Purple Orb1, New Unknown, NatGeo

Researchers Find Mysterious Purple Orb in the Channel Islands

Channel Islands National Park is a popular day trip from Los Angeles; hundreds of thousands of people make the venture every year. But the eight-island chain, dubbed the Galapagos of the North, still holds plenty of mysteries. In fact, during a recent trip to map the surrounding waters, the team aborad the Nautilus exploration vessel found a strange bright purple ball that looks like an unhatched Pokémon.

When the team stumbled on the blob, which is only a few inches across, they weren’t sure what to make of it. In a video recording of the find, one researcher speculates that it is a new type of tunicate, also known as a sea squirt. Other options include some type of sea slug or cnidarian, the group which includes jellyfish and coral …

… The team used a vacuum system to slurp up the creature. Once aboard the ship, it began to unfold into two distinct lobes and looked like it could be a new species of nudibranch, according to the team’s website. Known for their brilliant hues, nudibranchs are a type of sea slug that inhabit a range of environments.

The orb wasn’t the only awesome find from the trip. While surveying deep reefs in the Sanctuary to identify “essential fish habitats,” the Nautilus crew also found whelks building their unusual egg towers, groups of Pacific octopuses protecting their eggs, as well as interesting corals, sea stars and sea fans.

There are likely many more creatures to discover in this region. Less than half of the sea floor has been mapped within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, which encompass 1,470 square miles of water around the islands. The Nautilus Exploration Program plans to peer into more of these nooks and crannies, mapping the area and collecting biological samples along their route. The goal is to pay particular attention to the deep sea habitat and deep coral beds in the area. The purple blob was found on their latest venture, which took place July 3 to July 21.

It may be a while before scientists figure out what the odd spiky orb truly is. But in the meantime, there’s so much more to find lurking in the ocean depths.

see video –>


Oldest Non-Human Stone Tools Outside Africa

Monkey, Capuchin, Tool, NatGeo

A capuchin monkey in Brazil’s Serra da Capivara National Park cracks open nuts with a stone tool. Only a handful of non-human primates use stone tools.

An archaeological site in the Brazilian savanna has revealed the oldest record of non-human stone tool use found outside of Africa: centuries-old stone hammers and anvils wielded by hungry capuchin monkeys.

The rocks show that for at least 700 years, bearded capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus
) in Brazil’s Serra da Capivara National Park have smashed fresh cashews to peel off their caustic, unappetizing husks. The find confirms the behavior’s longtime importance to the area’s capuchins—which seem to have used the technique for a hundred generations—and adds vital nuance to the history of tool use in non-human primates …

What Does It Take to Become a Stone Tool User?

The trove of tools, described on Monday in Current Biology, also stands to help scientists understand the bafflingly scattershot distribution of tool use among primates. Only a handful of non-human primate genera use hand tools—including chimpanzees, bearded capuchins, and long-tailed macaques—and scientists have yet to identify exactly why those species, and not others, took up tools … read more –>


A Fish Recognizes Human Faces?

Fish, Archer, Recognize Faces, Smithsonian

Though many may mock a fish’s short memory, the creatures can still learn some astounding things. Researchers at the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland recently discovered that the small tropical archerfish can be taught to accurately recognize human faces, Arielle Duhaime-Ross reports for The Verge.

In the study, published this week in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers describe training the archerfish. While it would be hard for most fish to communicate what they see, the archerfish has a nifty trick up it’s gills: the ability to spit little jets of water from its mouth.

The researchers displayed images of two faces side-by-side on a screen dangled above the fish’s tank—one familiar, one unknown. The fish was then supposed to spit water at the correct image for a treat.

81 percent of the time, the archerfish could recognize the same faces in color but were even more accurate with black and white images.

“I think it’s really fascinating that they have these supposedly simple brains,” study author Cait Newport tells Victoria Turk for Motherboard. “But they’re still able to use them for really complicated tasks, and we probably just don’t give them enough credit.”

The researchers hope that these little fish can help uncover how humans pull off this complex neurological trick.

There are currently two major ideas for how human brains recognize faces, writes Turk. Some believe the credit goes to complex, specialized circuitry that the brain evolved over time, but others think that humans simply learned the skill.

“We wanted to disentangle these two ideas and see if we could use another species to figure out if we do in fact need really specialized cells, or if maybe something else that doesn’t have these specialized cells can learn this task,” Newport tells Turk. “That’s why we turned to fish, because they have no evolutionary need to recognize human faces, and they lack this entire section of the brain—the neocortex.”

This isn’t the first time that Newport and her team have taught fish to recognize faces. Last October, she and her team published a similar study that demonstrated a coral reef fish called the Ambon damselfish can distinguish between individuals of its own species. In that case, the fish were aided by their ability to see ultraviolet light. While damselfish appear yellow to the human eye, their faces are actually speckled with unique facial patterns that appear under UV light, Mary Bates reports for National Geographic.

“Categorical perception is thought to allow animals to make quick decisions about an image or stimulus,” study author Ulrike Siebeck told Bates. “In nature, this could be the vital decision about whether an approaching animal is classed as a predator or a harmless animal.”

These studies suggest that the ability to recognize faces does not rely on complex neurological pathways. Facial recognition is either a less difficult task than believed or can be accomplished using more basic parts of the brain. These findings could also be applied to refine facial recognition computer programs, Turk reports.

“It [raises] the question as to why the human system is so complicated if a really simple system can do it,” Newport tells Turk.

courtesy of:…

Bog Butter Anyone?

Bog Butter, Smithsonian

Recently, Jack Conway was “cutting turf,” the term for digging up blocks of moss in Emlagh peat bog in County Meath, Ireland, when he discovered a 22-pound lump of butter. The find, believed to be 2,000 years old, according to the Irish Times, isn’t an unusual occurrence in Ireland, where every year, people digging up peat moss to heat their homes encounter chunks of the dairy.

The discoveries, which are called Bog Butter, can be thousands of years old. In 2009, a 77-pound, 3,000-year-old oak barrel of the stuff was found in County Kildare. In 2013, a turf cutter in County Offaly found a 100-pound, 5,000-year-old chunk. Many examples of the butter are found in Irish museums, including the place dedicated to the golden spread, Cork’s Butter Museum.

So what is Bog Butter? It’s exactly what it sounds like—butter made from cow’s milk, buried in a bog. What makes it special is its age. After spending so much time in the cool, damp peat, it starts to take on the appearance and consistency of paraffin wax. According to a study on bog butter by researchers from the University of Bristol, some of the chunks are non-dairy. When analyzing carbon isotopes in nine samples of the butter, they found that six of them were indeed dairy products, while the other three were from animals, perhaps tallow (rendered fat) stored for later use.

In a paper published in the Journal of Irish Archaeology, Caroline Earwood explains that bog butter is usually found in earthenware pots, wooden containers, animal skins, or wrapped in bark and takes on a pungent, cheesy odor. Looking at over 274 instances of bog butter from the Iron Age to medieval times, Earwood concluded that early Celtic people probably sunk the butter in the bog simply to preserve it or protect from thieves. The cool, low-oxygen, high acid environment of the bog made a perfect natural refrigerator. Seeing as butter was a valuable commodity and was used to pay taxes, saving it for times of drought, famine, or war would have been a good idea … read more –>…

Milan Creates World’s First Vertical Forest

Vertical Forest, Milan, OffGridQuest_com

In an age where harmonious innovation is becoming more celebrated, sustainable designs to preserve the Earth and contribute to wellbeing are being implemented at a rapid rate. One such innovation to recently be accepted for development is a vertical forest designed by Stefan Boeri Architects.

The first ever vertical forest will soon be the greenest building in Milan. Because the average household in a city produces approximately 25-30 tons of CO2 per year, implementing greener architecture in highly populated areas cannot come soon enough.

“This stunning development is part of a vision presented by BioMilano which promises to incorporate 60 abandoned farms into a greenbelt surrounding the city. Part of the mission is to create a vertical forest building which boasts a stunning green façade planted with dense forest systems to provide microclimate and to filter out polluting dust particles. According to Inhabit, there are two buildings currently under construction.”

The greener architecture will help absorb CO2, oxygenate the air, moderate extreme temperatures, and lower noise pollution. The bio-canopy is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it helps lower living costs.

In the vertical forest building, each apartment balcony will feature trees that will provide shade during the summer months and drop their leaves in winter and allow more sunlight. An estimated 900 trees are planned for planting between the two new buildings being constructed.

“A grey-water filtration system (which is used water which has gone down the sink or shower) will ensure the trees are adequately watered. Additionally, photovoltaic power generation will help provide sustainable energy to the building.”

Merging the hottest sustainable technologies with revolutionary design will not only help the environment, but help bring human beings and nature back into harmony.

courtesy of:

San Diego’s Best Restaurants 2016

Best of Restaurants 2016, SanDiegoMag
Specific Cuisines:


Best Middle Eastern

Readers’ Pick: Meze
Runner-up: The Kebab Shop
Critic’s Pick: Khyber Pass


Best Italian

Readers’ Pick: Solare Ristorante
Runner-up: Cucina Urbana and Cucina Enoteca
Critic’s Pick: Solare Ristorante


Best Greek

Readers’ Pick: Meze
Runner-up: Cafe Athena
Critic’s Pick: Cafe Athena


Best Mexican

Readers’ Pick: Talavera Azul
Runner-up: Puesto
Critic’s Pick: Bracero Cocina


Best French

Readers’ Pick: Bleu Bohème
Runner-up: Cafe Chloe
Critic’s Pick: The Marine Room


Best Indian

Readers’ Pick: Bombay
Runner-up: Royal India
Critic’s Pick: Taste of the Himalayas


Best Chinese

Readers’ Pick: Szechuan Mandarin
Runner-up: Dumpling Inn
Critic’s Pick: Dumpling Inn


Best Japanese

Readers’ Pick: Sushi Ota
Runner-up: Blue Smoke
Critic’s Pick: Wa Dining Okan


Best Thai

Readers’ Pick: Supannee
Runner-up: Amarin
Critic’s Pick: Supannee


Best Vietnamese

Readers’ Pick: Le Bambou
Runner-up: Saigon on Fifth
Critic’s Pick: Saigon on Fifth


Best Korean

Readers’ Pick: Manna Korean BBQ
Runner-up: Tofu House
Critic’s Pick: Do Re Mi


Best Filipino

Readers’ Pick: Tita’s Kitchenette
Runner-up: Manila Sunset
Critic’s Pick: Tita’s Kitchenette


Best Russian

Readers’ Pick: Pomegranate
Runner-up: Pushkin
Critic’s Pick: Pomegranate


Best Ethiopian

Readers’ Pick: Muzita
Runner-up: Red Sea
Critic’s Pick: Muzita


Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Readers’ Pick: Café Gratitude
Runner-up: Civico 1845
Critic’s Pick: Café Gratitude


Best Barbecue

Readers’ Pick: Phil’s BBQ
Runner-up: Coops West Texas BBQ
Critic’s Pick: Coops West Texas BBQ


Best Steakhouse

Readers’ Pick: Cowboy Star
Runner-up: Donovan’s
Critic’s Pick: Cowboy Star


Best Seafood

Readers’ Pick: Ironside FIsh & Oyster
Runner-up: Truluck’s
Critic’s Pick: Mitch’s


Best Breakfast/Brunch

Readers’ Pick: Talavera Azul
Runner-up: Snooze
Critic’s Pick: Café 21


for other additional individual categories of:   (1) Overall, (2) Atmosphere, (3) Specific Dishes, (4) Drinks, go to –>…