Travel Tips

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10 tips for safe road trips

<p><strong>Check the brakes</strong></p> <p>To prevent accidents on the road, checking your brakes prior to departure should be at the top of your road trip checklist.</p> <p>Make sure they’re free of damage or rust, which will ensure they’re in optimal working order, and check the brake fluid as well.</p> <p>The latter ensures the pressure you put in when pressing down on the brake pedal actually makes it to the brakes. It’s basically the secret ingredient to ensure they do their job successfully.</p> <p><strong>Check the lights</strong></p> <p>When driving, you want to make sure that other drivers know when you’re switching lanes, pressing on the brakes or turning your hazard lights on.</p> <p>Doing a quick check at home is easy: simply test out all the lights with a friend to see which ones are and are not functional.</p> <p>Take note of any lights that may need to have their bulb replaced, and get them fixed before you go.</p> <p><strong>Check your battery</strong></p> <p>The battery is the power that keeps your car running.</p> <p>Before a lengthy drive, you need to make sure your battery is juiced-up.</p> <p>Particularly during the summer, the heat can increase the rate in which the battery corrodes.</p> <p>Batteries tend to have a lifespan of three to five years, so if your road trip falls somewhere within that timeframe, it’s best to get it changed before you and your family hit the road.</p> <p><strong>Check your tyre pressure</strong></p> <p>Warm weather can really do a number on your tyres.</p> <p>As the temperature rises, pressure increases, so you would have to let some air out of your tyres.</p> <p>It’s best to get your tyre pressure checked before you hit the road, as the more you drive, the more the pressure mounts.</p> <p>Always keep a tyre-pressure gauge with you in the car – they’re inexpensive to purchase.</p> <p>Also, make sure the pressure on your spare tyre is sufficient, too.</p> <p><strong>Check oil and other fluids</strong></p> <p>If your car is due to be serviced for an oil check, be sure to do so prior to leaving on your road trip, rather than waiting until you return.</p> <p>The oil, after all, ensures your engine runs smoothly, so the oil has to be checked whether it is both sufficient as well as clean.</p> <p>It’s pretty easy to do on your own – you can find various ‘how-to’ guides online – but for extra precaution, bring it in to your dealer or a trusted mechanic.</p> <p>While you’re there, have them check the transmission, radiator and brake fluids.</p> <p><strong>Fill up on engine coolant</strong></p> <p>As its name suggests, engine coolant keeps the engine from overheating.</p> <p>So if you’re looking to spend hours on the road under the sun, this is an indispensable tip.</p> <p>Some think that plain water could be a good (and less expensive) alternative to coolant but while water does transfer heat better than coolant, coolant actually boasts ingredients that will keep your engine, radiator and heater from corroding.</p> <p><strong>Check your air filter</strong></p> <p>A car’s air filter tends to need a cleaning every time you get your oil checked – or as often as is suggested in your owner’s manual.</p> <p>It’s imperative that the filter isn’t clogged or dirty.</p> <p>By keeping it clean, your car will continue to run smoothly, as it’s an integral part of your engine’s system, keeping gunk from infiltrating the fuel system.</p> <p><strong>Check windshield wipers and top up washer fluid</strong></p> <p>On average, windshield wiper blades need to be replaced once per year – this is particularly the case in cold climates where the blades tend to wear out fast.</p> <p>How do you know when they need to be replaced?</p> <p>f they leave streaks behind and actually hinder visibility more than they help with it, it is time for a replacement.</p> <p>Be sure to also fill up on windshield washer fluid before you hit the road – you don’t want to be caught with an empty tank after a particularly muddy detour!</p> <p><strong>Get a car wash</strong></p> <p>A newly-washed car boosts a driver’s morale, and gets him or her excited for the road ahead.</p> <p>On the safety front, a washed car just makes your journey all the more secure.</p> <p>After all, a clean window ensures visibility, and spotless tail lights make it easy for drivers behind you to know when you’re hitting the brakes.</p> <p><strong>Stock and emergency kit</strong></p> <p>When you’re on the road – whether for a short or a long trip – you never know what to expect. Being well prepared for the unknown is imperative; that’s why a roadside emergency kit is wise to have in your car at all times.</p> <p>You can put one together on your own, or you can buy a kit at the store; they tend to include the likes of jumper cables, a flashlight, batteries, duct tape, bungee cords, a camper’s knife, etc.</p> <p>Be sure to also have a first-aid kit handy, as well as a couple of blankets, bottles of water, and non-perishable, protein-rich snacks like granola bars in your trunk, in case of an extended emergency.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/road-trips/10-tips-safe-road-trips" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

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Six ways to transform your travel

<p>After a cooped-up year, Americans are hungry to travel. Passport offices <a rel="noopener" href="https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/processing-times.html" target="_blank">are overwhelmed</a> with applications. In July, airlines scheduled and operated <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bts.gov/newsroom/air-travel-consumer-report-july-2021-numbers" target="_blank">the highest number of flights</a> since the pandemic began, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/22/national-parks-are-booming-that-may-ruin-your-next-trip.html" target="_blank">Record numbers</a> of travelers visited the U.S. national parks this summer, after <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/annual-visitation-highlights.htm" target="_blank">a nearly 28% drop</a> due to the pandemic.</p> <p>But why do we travel in the first place? What is the allure of the open road?</p> <p>As a professor of <a rel="noopener" href="https://divinity.vanderbilt.edu/people/bio/jaco-hamman" target="_blank">religion, psychology and culture</a>, I study experiences that lie at the intersection of all three. And in my <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">research on travel</a>, I’m struck by its unsolvable paradoxes: Many of us seek to get away, in order to be present; we speed to destinations, in order to slow down; we may care about the environment, but still leave carbon footprints.</p> <p>Ultimately, many people hope to return transformed. Travel <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02508281.2017.1292177" target="_blank">is often viewed</a> as what anthropologists call a “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Arnold-van-Gennep" target="_blank">rite of passage</a>”: structured rituals in which individuals separate themselves from their familiar surroundings, undergo change and return rejuvenated or “reborn.”</p> <p>But travelers are not just concerned with themselves. The desire to explore may be a defining human trait, as I argue <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">in my latest book</a>, but the ability to do it is a privilege that can <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2017.11.002" target="_blank">come at a cost</a> to host communities. Increasingly, the tourism industry and scholars alike are interested in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/tri/2012/00000016/F0020003/art00003" target="_blank">ethical travel</a>, which minimizes visitors’ harm on the places and people they encounter.</p> <p>The media inundate tourists with advice and enticements about where to travel and what to do there. But in order to meet the deeper goals of transformative, ethical travel, the “why” and “how” demand deeper discernment.</p> <p>In writing “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">Just Traveling</a>: God, Leaving Home, and a Spirituality for the Road,” I studied travel stories in sacred scriptures and researched findings from psychologists, sociologists, ethicists, economists and tourism scholars. I argue that meaningful travel is best understood not as a three-stage rite but as a six-phase practice, based on core human experiences. These phases can repeat and overlap within the same journey, just as adventures twist and turn.</p> <p><strong>1. Anticipating</strong></p> <p>Traveling begins long before departure, as we research and plan. But anticipation is more than logistics. The Dutch aptly call it “voorpret”: literally, <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wordsense.eu/" target="_blank">the pleasure before</a>.</p> <p>How and what people anticipate in any given situation has the power to shape their experience, for better or worse – even when it comes to prejudice. Psychology experiments, for example, have shown that <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000899" target="_blank">when children anticipate greater cooperation between groups</a>, it can reduce their bias in favor of their own group.</p> <p>But <a rel="noopener" href="https://iep.utm.edu/phenom/" target="_blank">phenomenology</a>, a branch of philosophy that studies human experience and consciousness, emphasizes that <a rel="noopener" href="http://ummoss.org/gall17varela.pdf" target="_blank">anticipation is also “empty”</a>: our conscious intentions and expectations of what’s to come could be fulfilled or dashed by a future moment.</p> <p>With that in mind, travelers should try to remain open to uncertainty and even disappointment.</p> <p><strong>2. Leaving</strong></p> <p>Leaving can awaken deep emotions that are tied to our earliest experiences of separation. The attachment styles psychologists study in infants, which shape how secure people feel in their relationships, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-attachment-and-how-does-it-affect-our-relationships-120503" target="_blank">continue to shape us as adults</a>. These experiences can also affect how comfortable people feel <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.proquest.com/openview/cdd5594c53a7864881fb71e54a7422f1/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&amp;cbl=1819046" target="_blank">exploring new experiences</a> and leaving home, which can affect how they travel.</p> <p>Some travelers leave with excitement, while others experience <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287520966392" target="_blank">hesitation or guilt</a> before the relief and excitement of departure. Mindfulness about the stages of travel can help people <a rel="noopener" href="https://web.a.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&amp;profile=ehost&amp;scope=site&amp;authtype=crawler&amp;jrnl=1931311X&amp;asa=Y&amp;AN=31381043&amp;h=nduDC2UXNGxscORELrBj%2fjZ6b4Xdbo4r5mkTwNhY2n2D7Oi0KAOPOw%2fsqhqshijmc4%2bMd%2fLjR2%2b3rONsdCopzg%3d%3d&amp;crl=c&amp;resultNs=AdminWebAuth&amp;resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&amp;crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d1931311X%26asa%3dY%26AN%3d31381043" target="_blank">manage anxiety</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/423194/original/file-20210924-46597-1r365j1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Mask-clad passengers pass through an airport arrival hall in Lisbon, Portugal in September 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic." /></p> <p><em><span class="caption">Travel has picked up since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many people, taking a trip prompts anxiety as well as excitement.</span> <span class="attribution"><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/mask-clad-travelers-and-people-waiting-for-arriving-news-photo/1338516440?adppopup=true" target="_blank" class="source">Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News via Getty Images</a></span></em></p> <p><strong>3. Surrendering</strong></p> <p>Travelers cannot control their journey: A flight is canceled, or a vehicle breaks down; the weather report predicts sunshine, but it rains for days on end. To some extent, they have to surrender to the unknown.</p> <p>Modern Western cultures tend to see “surrendering” as something negative – as hoisting a white flag. But as a <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1080/00107530.1990.10746643" target="_blank">therapeutic concept</a>, surrendering helps people let go of inhibiting habits, discover a sense of wholeness and <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-2005-006" target="_blank">experience togetherness</a> with others. The perfectionist learns that a changed itinerary doesn’t mean a diminished travel experience and lets go of their fear of failure. The person with a strong sense of independence grows in vulnerability as they receive care from strangers.</p> <p>In fact, some psychological theories hold that the self longs for surrender, in the sense of liberation: letting down its defensive barriers and <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167820975636" target="_blank">finding freedom</a> from attempts to control one’s surroundings. Embracing that view can help travelers cope with the reality that things may not go according to plan.</p> <p><strong>4. Meeting</strong></p> <p>Meeting, traveling’s fourth phase, is the invitation to discover oneself and others anew.</p> <p>All cultures have unconscious “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.routledge.com/The-Location-of-Culture/Bhabha/p/book/9780415336390" target="_blank">rules of recognition</a>,” their own ingrained customs and ways of thinking, making it more difficult to forge cross-cultural connections. Carrying <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Serene-Tse-2/publication/347739970_Assessing_explicit_and_implicit_stereotypes_in_tourism_self-reports_and_implicit_association_test/links/60ad92f1299bf13438e82cbe/Assessing-explicit-and-implicit-stereotypes-in-tourism-self-reports-and-implicit-association-test.pdf" target="_blank">conscious and unconscious stereotypes</a>, travelers may see some people and places as uneducated, dangerous, poor or <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229405" target="_blank">sexual</a>, while hosts may see travelers as rich, ignorant and exploitable.</p> <p>Going beyond such stereotypes requires that travelers be mindful of behaviors that can add tension to their interactions – knowing conversational topics to avoid, for example, or following local dress codes.</p> <p>In many parts of the world, those challenges are intensified <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797603049658" target="_blank">by the legacy of colonization</a>, which makes it harder for people to meet in authentic ways. Colonial views still influence Western perceptions of nonwhite groups as <a rel="noopener" href="https://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&amp;id_clanak_jezik=80794" target="_blank">exotic</a>, <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2012.762688" target="_blank">dangerous</a> and inferior.</p> <p>Starting to overcome these barriers demands an attitude known as <a rel="noopener" href="https://melanietervalon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/CulturalHumility_Tervalon-and-Murray-Garcia-Article.pdf" target="_blank">cultural humility</a>, which is deeper than “cultural competence” – simply knowing about a different culture. Cultural humility helps travelers ask questions like, “I don’t know,” “Please help me understand” or “How should I…”</p> <p><strong>5. Caring</strong></p> <p>Caring involves overcoming “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781003070672/moral-boundaries-joan-tronto" target="_blank">privileged irresponsibility</a>”: when a traveler does not recognize their own privilege and take responsibility for it, or does not recognize other people’s lack of privilege.</p> <p>Travel becomes irresponsible when tourists ignore injustices and inequities they witness or the way their travels contribute to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1108/TR-03-2017-0066" target="_blank">unfolding climate crisis</a>. Ethically, “empathy” is not enough; travelers must pursue solidarity, as an act of “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506472065/Just-Traveling" target="_blank">caring with</a>.” That might mean hiring local guides, eating in family-owned restaurants and being mindful of the resources like food and water that they use.</p> <p><strong>6. Returning</strong></p> <p>Travels do end, and returning home can be <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786438577.00025" target="_blank">a disorienting experience</a>.</p> <p>Coming back can cause <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/90015633" target="_blank">reverse culture shock</a> if travelers struggle to readjust. But that shock can diminish as travelers share their experiences with others, stay connected to the places they visited, <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2016.05.004" target="_blank">deepen their knowledge</a> about the place and culture, anticipate a possible return trip or get involved in causes that they discovered on their trip.</p> <p>I believe that reflecting on these six phases can invite the kind of mindfulness needed for transformative, ethical travel. And <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.scielo.br/j/aabc/a/76CfqdL5pPBZLcQy9FdWwxn/?lang=en&amp;format=html" target="_blank">amid a pandemic</a>, the need for thoughtful travel that prioritizes host communities’ well-being is clear.</p> <div> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ats.edu/" target="_blank">Vanderbilt University Divinity School is a member of the Association of Theological Schools.</a></em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/167687/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <em>The ATS is a funding partner of The Conversation U.S.</em></div> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jaco-j-hamman-408106" target="_blank">Jaco J. Hamman</a>, Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/vanderbilt-university-1293" target="_blank">Vanderbilt University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/looking-for-transformative-travel-keep-these-six-stages-in-mind-167687" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/338598/original/file-20200529-78871-1g5gse5.jpg?w=128&amp;h=128" alt="" /></p> <div> <p> </p> </div>

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Why jetlag is worse flying east

<p>Frequent travellers often insist that flying east causes worse jetlag than flying west. And, despite those who may dismiss the notion, a new study suggests that they are right.</p> <p>A group of scientists from the University of Maryland produced mathematical models to show why this might be.</p> <p>Jetlag is believed to be caused by the disruption of our body clocks – the circadian rhythm.</p> <p>According to the study, this cycle, on average, runs over a little more than a day – about 24.5 hours. As flying west, in the same direction as the rotation of the Earth, lengthens the day slightly, it is more in tune with our body’s cycle than flying east, which shortens the day.</p> <p>That may also explain why some people are affected more or less severely by jetlag than others, <a rel="noopener" href="http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/chaos/26/9/10.1063/1.4954275" target="_blank">the study, published in the journal </a><a rel="noopener" href="http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/chaos/26/9/10.1063/1.4954275" target="_blank">Chaos</a>, says, as individual circadian rhythms can be longer or shorter than the typical 24.5 hours.</p> <p>The circadian rhythm itself is regulated by a clump of brain cells known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, controlled by exposure to light.</p> <p>When travelling by air, changes to the available light are thrown out of kilter, resulting in jetlag. So the researchers developed a mathematical model to simulate what happens to these brain cells when this happens.</p> <p>This showed the microscopic dynamics of individual pacemaker cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and found that not all cells adjust to a new time zone at the same rate, but as a group arrive at the same result about the same time.</p> <p>“Our model explores what would happen to an individual if he/she were suddenly taken from one time zone and dropped in another,” lead author Michelle Girvan was quoted by Gizmodoas saying.</p> <p>“The important 30-minute difference that comes into play is that the natural frequency of [the brain cells] is about 30 minutes longer than 24 hours.”</p> <p>The study calculated that, with the average circadian cycle of 24.5 hours, it would take a person just under four days to recover from a trip in which they passed westward through three time zones. But it would take just over four days after travelling east.</p> <p><em><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=11427&amp;title=Why+jetlag+is+worse+flying+east" alt="" width="1" height="1" />Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/why-jetlag-is-worse-flying-east/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a>.</em></p>

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British Airways introduces gender neutral greetings

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">British Airways are adopting new tactics to make their journeys more inclusive to all travellers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The UK airline giant is joining a growing list of travel companies that are implementing more gender-neutral language, by ditching the traditional "ladies and gentlemen" greeting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the move falls in line with an industry-wide global trend, the decision is also due to a change in the airline’s clientele, with the carrier reporting more children onboard since COVID-19 restrictions have been lessened. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the </span><a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/10/09/hello-passengers-inclusive-welcome-announcement/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Telegraph</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the new policies would adhere to changing social norms, as well as make younger customers feel more included. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The airline is just one of many to make the important change. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Japan Airlines was one of the first major carriers to ditch the traditional “ladies and gentlemen” titles for inflight announcements back in 2020. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">German carrier Lufthansa also changed their language to a more inclusive tone in July, as they pledged their commitment to diversity. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Qantas has also made strides towards inclusivity in 2018, as they changed the use of “mother and father” to “parents” on all flights to include parents of different sexualities. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the time, the airline introduced a new staff booklet highlighting language geared towards the</span> <a href="https://www.qantasnewsroom.com.au/media-releases/qantas-releases-video-to-celebrate-the-spirit-of-australia/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Spirit of Inclusion"</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">which advised against using language that could be deemed offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

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Time travel: five ways that we could do it

<div class="copy"> <p>n 2009 the British physicist Stephen Hawking held a party for time travellers – the twist was he sent out the invites a year later (No guests showed up).</p> <p>Time travel is probably impossible. Even if it were possible, Hawking and others have argued that you could never travel back before the moment your time machine was built.</p> <p>But travel to the future? That’s a different story.</p> <p>Of course, we are all time travellers as we are swept along in the current of time, from past to future, at a rate of one hour per hour.</p> <p>But, as with a river, the current flows at different speeds in different places.</p> <p>Science as we know it allows for several methods to take the fast-track into the future. Here’s a rundown.</p> <h2>1. Time travel via speed</h2> <p>This is the easiest and most practical way to time travel into the far future – go really fast.</p> <p>According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, when you travel at speeds approaching the speed of light, time slows down for you relative to the outside world.</p> <p>This is not a just a conjecture or thought experiment – it’s been measured. Using twin atomic clocks (one flown in a jet aircraft, the other stationary on Earth) physicists have shown that a flying clock ticks slower, because of its speed.</p> <p>In the case of the aircraft, the effect is minuscule. But If you were in a spaceship travelling at 90% of the speed of light, you’d experience time passing about 2.6 times slower than it was back on Earth.</p> <p>And the closer you get to the speed of light, the more extreme the time-travel.</p> <p>The highest speeds achieved through any human technology are probably the protons whizzing around the Large Hadron Collider at 99.9999991% of the speed of light.</p> <p>Using special relativity we can calculate one second for the proton is equivalent to 27,777,778 seconds, or about 11 <em>months</em>, for us.</p> <p>Amazingly, particle physicists have to take this time dilation into account when they are dealing with particles that decay.</p> <p>In the lab, muon particles typically decay in 2.2 microseconds. But fast moving muons, such as those created when cosmic rays strike the upper atmosphere, take 10 times longer to disintegrate.</p> <h2>2. Time travel via gravity</h2> <p>The next method of time travel is also inspired by Einstein. According to his theory of general relativity, the stronger the gravity you feel, the slower time moves.</p> <p>As you get closer to the centre of the Earth, for example, the strength of gravity increases. Time runs slower for your feet than your head.</p> <p>Again, this effect has been measured. In 2010, physicists at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) placed two atomic clocks on shelves, one 33 centimetres above the other, and measured the difference in their rate of ticking.</p> <p>The lower one ticked slower because it feels a slightly stronger gravity.</p> <p>To travel to the far future, all we need is a region of extremely strong gravity, such as a black hole.</p> <p>The closer you get to the event horizon, the slower time moves – but it’s risky business, cross the boundary and you can never escape.</p> <p>And anyway, the effect is not that strong so it’s probably not worth the trip.</p> <p>Assuming you had the technology to travel the vast distances to reach a black hole (the nearest is about 3,000 light years away), the time dilation through travelling would be far greater than any time dilation through orbiting the black hole itself.</p> <p>(The situation described in the movie <em>Interstellar</em>, where one hour on a planet near a black hole is the equivalent of seven years back on Earth, is so extreme as to be impossible in our Universe, according to Kip Thorne, the movie’s scientific advisor.)</p> <p>The most mindblowing thing, perhaps, is that GPS systems have to account for time dilation effects (due to both the speed of the satellites and gravity they feel) in order to work.</p> <p>Without these corrections, your phones GPS capability wouldn’t be able to pinpoint your location on Earth to within even a few kilometres.</p> <h2>3. Time travel via suspended animation</h2> <p>Another way to time travel to the future may be to slow your <em>perception </em>of time by slowing down, or stopping, your bodily processes and then restarting them later.</p> <p>Bacterial spores can live for millions of years in a state of suspended animation, until the right conditions of temperature, moisture, food kick start their metabolisms again.</p> <p>Some mammals, such as bears and squirrels, can slow down their metabolism during hibernation, dramatically reducing their cells’ requirement for food and oxygen.</p> <p>Could humans ever do the same?</p> <p>Though completely stopping your metabolism is probably far beyond our current technology, some scientists are working towards achieving inducing a short-term hibernation state lasting at least a few hours.</p> <p>This might be just enough time to get a person through a medical emergency, such as a cardiac arrest, before they can reach the hospital.</p> <p>In 2005, American scientists demonstrated a way to slow the metabolism of mice (which do not hibernate) by exposing them to minute doses of hydrogen sulphide, which binds to the same cell receptors as oxygen.</p> <p>The core body temperature of the mice dropped to 13 °C and metabolism decreased 10-fold. After six hours the mice could be reanimated without ill effects.</p> <p>Unfortunately, similar experiments on sheep and pigs were not successful, suggesting the method might not work for larger animals.</p> <p>Another method, which induces a hypothermic hibernation by replacing the blood with a cold saline solution, has worked on pigs and is currently undergoing human clinical trials in Pittsburgh.</p> <h2>4. Time travel via wormholes</h2> <p>General relativity also allows for the possibility for shortcuts through spacetime, known as wormholes, which might be able to bridge distances of a billion light years or more, or different points in time.</p> <p>Many physicists, including Stephen Hawking, believe wormholes are constantly popping in and out of existence at the quantum scale, far smaller than atoms.</p> <p>The trick would be to capture one, and inflate it to human scales – a feat that would require a huge amount of energy, but which might just be possible, in theory.</p> <p>Attempts to prove this either way have failed, ultimately because of the incompatibility between general relativity and quantum mechanics.</p> <h2>5. Time travel using light</h2> <p>Another time travel idea, put forward by the American physicist Ron Mallet, is to use a rotating cylinder of light to twist spacetime.</p> <p>Anything dropped inside the swirling cylinder could theoretically be dragged around in space and in time, in a similar way to how a bubble runs around on top your coffee after you swirl it with a spoon.</p> <p>According to Mallet, the right geometry could lead to time travel into either the past and the future.</p> <p>Since publishing his theory in 2000, Mallet has been trying to raise the funds to pay for a proof of concept experiment, which involves dropping neutrons through a circular arrangement of spinning lasers.</p> <p>His ideas have not grabbed the rest of the physics community however, with others arguing that one of the assumptions of his basic model is plagued by a singularity, which is physics-speak for “it’s impossible”.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/physics/five-ways-to-travel-through-time/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Cathal O'Connell.</em></p> </div>

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10 carry-on items that could save your life

<p>1. Hair Ties </p> <p><span>For anyone with hair long enough to be pulled back into a ponytail, a hair tie can be a lifesaver, figuratively speaking. However, American medico Dr Patricia Quinlan used her hair tie to literally save someone’s life in 2015. When a passenger lost consciousness, according to NBC 10, Dr Quinlan determined that his blood pressure was “dangerously low” and he had an irregular heartbeat. The cabin crew supplied 16 ounces of saline solution (commonly found in airplane medical kits), and the good doctor used her hair tie as a tourniquet and whiskey to disinfect the needle so she could administer the solution to stabilise him.</span></p> <p><span>2. Multi-purpose tool </span></p> <p><span>Planning for the unexpected feels impossible because, well, it’s the unexpected. And a compact, all-in-one tool may make you feel as crafty, but will it make it through airport security? Maybe, maybe not. The Geekey Multi-Tool, however, is TSA-compliant, encompasses more than 16 tools, and is only a little bigger in size than the average house key, making it ideal for travel. What can it do? Geekey can act as a can opener, wire stripper, bottle opener, file, imperial and metric ruler, screwdriver tip, and more.</span></p> <p><span>3. Rechargeable flashlight</span></p> <p><span>In many an uncomfortable situation, light is your friend. Not having access to light can make any event more frightening. Saurabh Jindal, who runs the start-up Talk Travel, is always on the go. Because of that, a rechargeable flashlight has become a mainstay in his carry-on. “It’s simple and easy to carry,” says Jindal. “It helps a lot when you are in an unknown place and it is dark, and also when hiking through trails.”</span></p> <p><span>4. Rescue Blanket </span></p> <p><span>You might feel like you’re preparing for doomsday whenever you pack one of these, but a mylar rescue blanket could be key to survival in the event of an emergency. They certainly don’t look cozy and comfy, but they do help reduce bodily heat loss in a pinch. Plus, they’re affordable, compact, and lightweight—meaning there’s virtually no reason why you can’t stash one in your carry-on for those “just in case” moments.</span></p> <p><span>5. Personal alarm</span></p> <p><span>When you’re traveling alone, particularly to an unfamiliar place, it’s important to give yourself peace of mind in terms of safety. “A wearable personal safety alarm is a great idea,” says Namita Kulkarni, who runs the yoga and travel blog Radically Ever After. “It added to my sense of control on many a dark street and crowded public space. I slept with it under my pillow no matter what country I was in.”\</span></p> <p><span>6. Portable charger</span></p> <p><span>With our phones acting as our lifelines, traveling with one at low battery can be stress-inducing and, if an emergency occurs, even dangerous. Keeping a portable charger on hand to give your phone the juice it needs to be useful is important, and it won’t take up much space in your bag at all. The peace of mind is worth it. If you’re in a pinch, here’s how to charge your phone as quickly as possible.</span></p> <p><span>7. Hand Sanitiser </span></p> <p><span>You don’t have to be a germophobe to be put off by the concept of just how many germs reside on airplanes and in airports. Plus, they can get you really sick if you’re not careful, ruining your trip or even landing you in the hospital. For this reason, seasoned traveller David Wills, author of <em>World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller</em>, always carries hand sanitiser. “It’s small enough that you barely notice it in a pocket of your bag, and it’s totally fine to take through any airport,” he says. “When it comes to hygiene-related emergencies, you really can’t beat it.” Believe it or not, alcohol-based hand sanitiser can even help you get a fire started, which could, of course, be essential in a survival situation.</span></p> <p><span>8. Water purification tablets</span></p> <p>If you’re headed somewhere without easy access to drinkable water and a filtered water bottle is too cumbersome for your carry-on, Thrifty Points founder and CEO Ben Packard suggests carrying water purification tablets. “These are small and never questioned,” he says. “Having the ability to purify water in a survival situation can mean the difference between life and death. They can be kept in your pocket, which is handy since you’re not supposed to take anything with you in an emergency situation on a plane.”</p> <p>9. Reusable bottle with filter</p> <p><span>As anyone who’s travelled in the past two decades knows, most airport security points around the world will confiscate liquids above the 100ml limit at the security checkpoint. This is problematic considering the way in which flying dehydrates the body. What’s a traveller to do? Carry a reusable water bottle that includes a filter. “Easy access to water in case you are short of it, especially in emergency or when in secluded areas, is a lifesaver,” says Jindal.</span></p> <p><span>10. First aid kit</span></p> <p><span>A no-brainer item that most of us likely overlook is a travel-size first-aid kit. It’s equipped with useful items for any number of situations. “You can buy kits that are quite small and just leave them in your carry-on bag at all times,” says Michael Anderson, founder of the adventure travel blog Passport Explored. “There’s no need to take them out for security checks or do anything special before bringing one onto the flight. These first aid kits should include items such as band-aids, gauze, disinfectant cream, bug-bite cream, aspirin, and tweezers.”</span></p> <p><span><em>This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/flightstravel-hints-tips/10-carry-on-items-that-could-save-your-life?pages=2">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p>

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Did you know these 5 places could disappear in your lifetime?

<p>When places are well-known and popular – historical and modern alike – we might take it for granted that they’ll be around forever. But sadly, many of the world’s best known and culturally significant landmarks are in jeopardy. Human activity has had a devastating effect on many valued places, including massive milestones of human achievement. And many of these are so much more than just tourist attractions – they’re unique, valuable remnants of ancient times and civilizations.</p> <p><strong>The Great Barrier Reef </strong></p> <p>This massive, once-thriving coral reef has suffered enormously over recent years, with coral bleaching – caused by climate change – stripping the coral of its nutrients. This, in turn, harms the rich marine life that calls the reef home. And, of course, this also depletes it of the dazzling colours that once were a hallmark of the Great Barrier Reef’s underwater wonder. The reef remains the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, but projections have warned that the damage to it could become irreversible in the next 10 years.</p> <p><strong>Old City of Jerusalem </strong></p> <p>One of the world’s most spiritually significant places, the Old City of Jerusalem, is in danger of disappearing, UNESCO has found. The walls of the Old City are one of its trademark features. Most famously, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is a valuable pilgrimage site for people of the Jewish faith, one that dates back to around 20 BCE. The Wall is the only remnant of the city’s Second Temple. The city was actually listed on UNESCO’s list of endangered cultural sites in the 1980s. Widespread urbanisation has been found to pose a significant threat to the city.</p> <p><strong>Everglades National Park </strong></p> <p>This stunning Floridian wildlife sanctuary has sadly found itself fighting for its life in recent years. As ‘the largest designated subtropical wilderness reserve’ in North America, according to UNESCO, it’s been a beloved travel destination for American citizens for decades, but the ravages of time and human activity have not been kind to it. Its survival first came into question after it was battered by Hurricane Andrew in 1993. But it’s human influence that has posed the primary threat, as water flow to the site has decreased and the impacts of pollution have increased, resulting in harmful algal blooms. Its vast, diverse wildlife is more threatened than ever before.</p> <p><strong>The Taj Mahal </strong></p> <p>It’s hard to imagine this monolithic structure, located in Agra, India, being in danger. The structure itself is in some jeopardy from the elements, but the primary reason for concern is that the Indian Supreme Court could potentially close the attraction. The court has butted heads with the government, claiming that unless the government does a better job of preserving it, they’ll have to shut it down. Pollution is visibly altering the Taj’s pristine surface. It’s also experienced insect infestations. Flies of the genus Geoldichironomus, which breed in the heavily polluted Yamuna River, neighbouring the Taj, have encroached upon the structure in recent years.</p> <p><strong>Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak </strong></p> <p>This revered mountain, one of the Seven Summits, proves that even giants can fall to climate change. While the mountain itself, located in Tanzania, isn’t in imminent danger, its iconic snow cap might vanish – and shockingly soon. Research found that the snow cap had lost 85 per cent of the total area of its ice fields between 1912 and 2007, and the remaining ice could be history as early as 2030.</p> <p><em>Written by Meghan Jones. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-top-tourist-attractions-that-could-disappear-in-your-lifetime">Reader’s Digest</a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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5 Top tourist attractions that could disappear in your lifetime

<p>When places are well-known and popular – historical and modern alike – we might take it for granted that they’ll be around forever. But sadly, many of the world’s best known and culturally significant landmarks are in jeopardy. Human activity has had a devastating effect on many valued places, including massive milestones of human achievement. And many of these are so much more than just tourist attractions – they’re unique, valuable remnants of ancient times and civilizations.</p> <p><strong>1. The Great Barrier Reef</strong></p> <p>This massive, once-thriving coral reef has suffered enormously over recent years, with coral bleaching – caused by climate change – stripping the coral of its nutrients. This, in turn, harms the rich marine life that calls the reef home. And, of course, this also depletes it of the dazzling colours that once were a hallmark of the Great Barrier Reef’s underwater wonder. The reef remains the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, but projections have warned that the damage to it could become irreversible in the next 10 years.</p> <p><strong>2. The old city of Jerusalem </strong></p> <p>One of the world’s most spiritually significant places, the Old City of Jerusalem, is in danger of disappearing, UNESCO has found. The walls of the Old City are one of its trademark features. Most famously, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is a valuable pilgrimage site for people of the Jewish faith, one that dates back to around 20 BCE. The Wall is the only remnant of the city’s Second Temple. The city was actually listed on UNESCO’s list of endangered cultural sites in the 1980s. Widespread urbanisation has been found to pose a significant threat to the city.</p> <p><strong>3. Everglades national park </strong></p> <p>This stunning Floridian wildlife sanctuary has sadly found itself fighting for its life in recent years. As ‘the largest designated subtropical wilderness reserve’ in North America, according to UNESCO, it’s been a beloved travel destination for American citizens for decades, but the ravages of time and human activity have not been kind to it. Its survival first came into question after it was battered by Hurricane Andrew in 1993. But it’s human influence that has posed the primary threat, as water flow to the site has decreased and the impacts of pollution have increased, resulting in harmful algal blooms. Its vast, diverse wildlife is more threatened than ever before.</p> <p><strong>4. The Taj Mahal </strong></p> <p>It’s hard to imagine this monolithic structure, located in Agra, India, being in danger. The structure itself is in some jeopardy from the elements, but the primary reason for concern is that the Indian Supreme Court could potentially close the attraction. The court has butted heads with the government, claiming that unless the government does a better job of preserving it, they’ll have to shut it down. Pollution is visibly altering the Taj’s pristine surface. It’s also experienced insect infestations. Flies of the genus <em>Geoldichironomus</em>, which breed in the heavily polluted Yamuna River, neighbouring the Taj, have encroached upon the structure in recent years.</p> <p><strong>5. Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak</strong></p> <p>This revered mountain, one of the Seven Summits, proves that even giants can fall to climate change. While the mountain itself, located in Tanzania, isn’t in imminent danger, its iconic snow cap might vanish – and shockingly soon. Research found that the snow cap had lost 85 per cent of the total area of its ice fields between 1912 and 2007, and the remaining ice could be history as early as 2030.</p> <p><em>Written by Meghan Jones. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-top-tourist-attractions-that-could-disappear-in-your-lifetime"><em>Reader’s Digest</em>.</a><em> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><em><strong> </strong></em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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6 things you can’t take from your hotel room

<p><strong>Sheets and towels</strong></p> <p>Sheets, towels and other linens are definitely something you shouldn’t take from hotel rooms. As McCreary explains, the hotels’ goal is to prepare the perfect room for the next guest. Taking pricy essentials, like sheets, make it harder for hotel staff to do their job. According to the Telegraph, however, 68 percent of people in a survey admitted they steal linens and towels from hotel rooms. Beware that some hotels can track stolen towels thanks to electronic tags, HuffPost reports.</p> <p><strong>Electronics</strong></p> <p>Conteh notes that in most cases, there are disclaimers on all items that shouldn’t leave the room – especially in the case of pricy electronics. “They note that there will be a cost levied on the room charge if a tablet or other item of value goes missing or removed from the premises.</p> <p><strong>Robes</strong></p> <p>These plush robes are one of the most common items people think they can take from hotel rooms, but can’t, according to Conteh and McCreary. You will be charged! Slippers, on the other hand, won’t be used again and are typically OK to take.</p> <p><strong>Wooden hangers, glass bottles and mugs</strong></p> <p>There is a chance that taking these items from your hotel room could lead to consequences beyond an extra charge to your room – including being “blacklisted,” NBC reports. Hotels keep a record of guests who trash hotel rooms or steal items and might ban these people from booking rooms again. In rare scenarios, some people could get arrested. The Telegraph reports a couple in Japan was arrested for stealing robes and an ashtray. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so only take the complimentary items that you really need. Remember, just because you can take something doesn’t mean you should.</p> <p><em>Written by<span> Emily DiNuzzo</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/travel-hints-tips/4-things-you-can-take-from-your-hotel-room-and-6-you-cant"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Hotel inspector reveals biggest secrets

<p>I worked as a hotel inspector and photographer for seven years at Forbes Travel Guide and Oyster.com (a TripAdvisor company). Though it sounds like a made-up job for a protagonist in a rom-com, I can assure you that inspecting and photographing hotels was very much my real life. I really did get paid to order room service, sit by infinity pools, and ensure the cocktails were made with high-quality booze. I also had to count closet hangers, photograph bathtub grime, and memorise hotel staff names and uniforms.</p> <p>For Forbes Travel Guide, I anonymously booked two to three nights in luxury hotels. I ran each hotel through a series of identical service and facility tests to give it a star rating (yep, that’s how Forbes assigns five-star hotels). The hotels were almost always ultra-expensive and emphasised personalised service and stunning locations. At Oyster, the hotel staff usually knew I was coming and gave me a tour and access to take photographs. I’d often spend the night, but not always. After visiting, I’d write a hotel summary and guide explaining the hotel’s pros, cons, location, rooms and features, accompanied by the photographs.</p> <p>The two jobs were vastly different, but over the span of my career, I’ve slept in several hundred hotels for review purposes on five continents. The hotels ranged from tiny bed-and-breakfasts in Italy to enormous all-inclusive resorts in Cozumel to trendy boutique hotel openings in Los Angeles. Here are some of the hotel secrets I learned over the years. And no, I never experienced bed bugs!</p> <p><strong>Do your hotel research on TripAdvisor</strong></p> <p>If you’re taking a holiday based on a destination, and not to specifically visit one famous hotel, start with a TripAdvisor search of the area. I used to work for TripAdvisor, but it really is the best travel site for reading reviews from past guests, looking at photos, and getting an idea of the different room types and rates without the hotel’s marketing department getting in the way. You can also filter results to look at large hotels or zero in on properties with specific features like all-inclusive rates, swimming pools, adult-only, beachfront, or within a few kilometres of tourist attractions like national parks, beaches and ski lifts.</p> <p><strong>Book with the hotel directly</strong></p> <p>Hotel booking websites, like TripAdvisor and Hotels.com, are an easy online way to figure out which hotels in your price range have open rooms. But once you’ve decided where to stay, book directly with the hotel. For one thing, most hotel inspectors book directly. You might be flagged as a hotel critic or writer and be given special treatment. Note that hotel inspectors are actually trained to look for special treatment, and we might abandon an inspection if we think we’ve been flagged by staff. After all, we’re trying to figure out how hotels actually treat real guests. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cash in on a suite upgrade or complimentary bottle of Champagne.</p> <p>More importantly, third-party booking sites usually get the worst and tiniest rooms – the rooms that haven’t yet been renovated or are located near the noisy ice machine. Hotels usually keep the best rooms for themselves to sell directly to guests. If you find a great deal on a third-party booking site, the hotel will often price match it to keep your business with them directly.</p> <p>Accountability is also important. If something goes wrong, like the need to cancel or change the dates of stay, the hotel is way more likely to work with you to find a solution or reschedule for the same price if you’ve booked with them. There are lots of third-party hotel booking reservation horror stories out there.</p> <p><strong>Don’t trust the decorative bedding</strong></p> <p>One of the things I miss most about my hotel inspecting days is how comfortable and cosy a hotel bed can be. Freshly ironed Italian sheets, perfectly plumped down pillows and multi-thousand dollar California king-size mattresses are a real bedtime treat. But! Stay away from the decorative elements of the bed. Those decorative pillows and runners likely aren’t getting washed between guests. And if the housekeeping staff stores bedding elements on the floor during turndown service? Just tuck them in the closet for the rest of your stay. Ew.</p> <p><strong>Be direct about your needs</strong></p> <p>I know it’s old-fashioned, but part of my process as a hotel inspector at Forbes Travel Guide was to call the hotel’s reservation hotline and make a booking with their reservation team. Yes, it took longer. But, it’s an ideal time to have a chat with a staff member about your hotel needs. This is the best time to tell the hotel if you’ll be arriving early (there are no guarantees prior to check-in time, but staff can flag your room to be cleaned first). You can also request a room on a higher floor, away from the elevator, or with non-adjoining rooms. Want reservations at their restaurant? Let them know. Need a spa appointment? Now’s the time. The reservationist’s job is to convey all of this data to the front desk and housekeeping teams so they can take care of the details before you arrive.</p> <p>If you don’t want to book on the phone, there should be a comment section where you can type in special requests. At higher-end hotels, a staff member will likely reach out to you prior to arrival to make sure everything’s arranged to your liking. And make sure to mention if you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary. You just might get a bottle of wine or dessert to mark the occasion, like I did when I celebrated a birthday in Hawaii. The hotel staff sent a bottle of pineapple wine and a birthday cake.</p> <p><strong>Check out the fitness centre for freebies</strong></p> <p>Sure, you can work out in the fitness centre if you want. But even if you’re taking a break from working out while on holiday, stop by the hotel gym. It’s often stocked with bottled water, fresh fruit and energy bars that you can grab. Large hotels and resorts also offer fun classes like outdoor yoga, beach walks and meditation that you might want to check out. For more freebies, ask the concierge desk if they have any coupons or discount codes for tourist activities, restaurants, shops or water parks. And if you need little extras like shampoo, a toothbrush, or another robe – call housekeeping and ask politely.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Megan Wood</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-hotel-secrets-from-a-former-hotel-inspector"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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4 things you can take from your hotel room

<p>Read along to see what you can pinch from a hotel room without getting in trouble! </p> <p><strong>1. Shampoo or conditioner</strong></p> <p>Much like the mini soaps stocked in the bathroom, the travel-size shampoo and conditioner are also fine to take from your hotel room. Hotels sometimes brand these items too, Conteh says. So taking their shampoos and sporting the hotel brand name can help the word out about a hotel.</p> <p><strong>2. Anything “complimentary”</strong></p> <p>Complimentary items could include things like dry-cleaning bags, coffee, creamers, sugar packets and certain marketing collateral pieces, Asmussen says. It’s fair game to take them with you. Joanna McCreary, hotel general manage, adds that some hotels even give exclusive complimentary gifts which you are, of course, free to take. “We love giving people champagne on check-in on peak arrival days,” she says. “We don’t advertise it, but do get a good deal on it, and complimentary surprise champagne you will find is a very easy sell.”</p> <p><strong>3. Paper and pens</strong></p> <p>These paper items also usually have the hotel brand name on them and serve as a marketing tool. Feel free to take them with you!</p> <p><strong>4. Soap </strong></p> <p>If there’s one thing most hotels reliably have in their rooms, it’s soap. And according to Ousman Conteh, hotel general manager, these mini bottles are OK to take from your hotel room. “Often hotels receive negotiated pricing for items from another brand,” he says. However, Curt Asmussen, managing director of ObieHospitality, notes that it’s not encouraged to take these items – but guests aren’t penalised in any way if they do.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Juliana LaBianca</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/healthsmart/9-things-your-sweat-says-about-your-health" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/9-things-your-sweat-says-about-your-health" target="_blank">.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a rel="noopener" href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V" target="_blank"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Adorable koalas rehomed after over-eating trees

<p><span>Over 90 koalas have settled nicely into their new home after they ate all of their food sources in parts of Victoria. </span></p> <p><span>The marsupials were bundled into washing baskets and crates by wildlife rescuers, to be released into their new home in the Great Otway National Park, off the Great Ocean Road.</span></p> <p><span>54 female koalas also received fertility control in order to slow population growth, during the relocation.</span></p> <p><span><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7842328/koalas.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/086991c842e4458582969b2792c50ce1" /></span></p> <p><em>Images: Yahoo Australia</em></p> <p><span>Victoria's environment department (DELWP) only allowed 32 koalas to remain on site, however a total of 46 male and 46 female koalas were trucked to the nearby land north of Lorne. </span></p> <p><span> </span><span>They have been distributed throughout the land in lower numbers.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>DELWP has moved koalas in the region to avoid over-browsing of their favourite food, manna gums for six years.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>“It’s encouraging to see the manna gum trees at Cape Otway starting to recover – they’re in their best condition in ten years, with foliage returning and new saplings starting to grow,” a DELWP spokesperson said.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>“The health of the koala population is tracking well, much better than in previous years when the koalas had significantly depleted their food source, by stripping many manna gum trees of their leaves.”</span></p>

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Disney’s deadly fight against bizarre attraction

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Five years on since the death of two-year-old boy Lane Thomas Graves, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa are still fighting to keep his killer at bay. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lane died after playing with other children at the resort’s man-made Seven Seas Lagoon on the night of June 15, 2016.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7842031/disney-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b6fe3535458345299bf845d3d6e02234" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The boy was tragically grabbed by an alligator who dragged him into the water, while he attempted to fill his bucket to make sandcastles. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lane’s father Matt Graves fought the alligator by attempting to pry its jaws open, but was left with major injuries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Police divers sadly discovered Lane’s body submerged in the murky lagoon just a day later.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Disney is taking major strides to try and keep its Florida properties safe from alligators, but the exploding population of the deadly critters are making it as difficult as ever. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reports say 250 alligators have been at Disney World since June 2016c however the massive reptile population is proving a hard challenge to control. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As an attempt to encourage Florida’s famous gator trappers, each one has been offered $US30 ($A40) for each alligator they trap.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7842032/disney-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7d353879170a4e2f96544b9ed540ba8e" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trappers are also allowed to keep any profits from the leather or meat sold.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, activists are fighting against Disney who say the alligators are rarely, if not ever, rehomed. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tammy Sapp, a spokeswoman for the wildlife commission, said the majority of the 250 alligators caught had been euthanised.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the reptiles are sent to farms, exhibits or zoos while those under 1.2m are relocated to other parts of the state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The FWC takes public safety seriously and uses Targeted Harvest Area (THA) permits as part of a comprehensive effort to achieve alligator management goals,” Ms Sapp told the Orlando Sentinel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“THA permits allow a managing authority to work directly with a designated FWC contracted nuisance alligator trapper, making the process for removing nuisance alligators more proactive and streamlined.”</span></p> <p> </p>

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Ways to de-stress while travelling

<p>1. Plan out your time<br />If you’re always missing transport connections, look at how you are allotting your time. Your travel guide may say it takes 40 minutes to get to the airport. Allow at least an extra 20 minutes so you arrive feeling fresh and calm.</p> <p>2. Escape briefly<br />Slip away from the hustle and bustle once in a while. Most cities have botanic gardens, and there are always nature trails where you can enjoy the local scenery.</p> <p>3. Avoid unnecessary tech accessories<br />Smartphones, tablets or computers remind us of home. Leave as much technology behind as you can and allow yourself to feel a sense of freedom from everyday life.</p> <p>4. Do just one thing a day<br />For example, if you’re sightseeing, choose one place to visit (instead of four) and make a day of it with lunch or coffee in a nearby cafe.</p> <p>5. Bring snacks<br />Have a bag of non-perishable snacks on hand (try protein bars, dried fruit and nuts, juice boxes, or pretzels). Unexpected delays on a long journey will be more stressful if you’re hungry.</p> <p>6. Once in a while, do nothing<br />Lie down and just unwind.</p> <p>7. Stretch<br />Long bouts of sitting on planes and trains take a toll on your circulation. Lift your knees and stretch your calves for 30 seconds. This reduces the risk of blood clots that can result from sitting too long in one position.</p> <p>8. Keep perspective<br />Your troubles are often smaller than they seem. To remind yourself of that, keep a picture of the Earth taken from space, a starry night, or the ocean, and look at it whenever you feel overwhelmed. Amid countless stars and the crashing of waves against the shore, how important is getting to that third museum, really?</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/tips/destress-while-travelling"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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10 hilarious stories about travelling with kids

<p>1. Drive-by egging<br />Driving home with the shopping in the backseat and looking on the floor thinking, “Why is there water down there?”</p> <p>It took a few moments to realise it wasn’t water. It was egg.</p> <p>Then I looked at my daughter and saw what was in her hand… just as she threw it at the back of my husband’s head. She had opened the eggs and thrown them all over the place!</p> <p>That will teach us to turn around more often I guess. – Julie Riley</p> <p>2. Rubbing salt in the wounds<br />We went to Adelaide with a three-year-old and a six-month-old and decided a day trip to Lake Bumbunga was a good idea. It’s one of the pink lakes, sometimes blue, where you can take cool photographs. Except it was dry and muddy and not pink. So Miss Three tried to do a runner away from the boring lake. But she lost a shoe. And when my husband went to rescue her, he found the only sinkhole in the entire land. He was up to his knees in mud – black, not pink – and to add insult to injury, the salt from the lake got in his wounds.</p> <p>Now he likes to tell people that he’s travelled with kids and has the scars to prove it. I, meanwhile, just got a good laugh. – Amelia Masters</p> <p>3. Stayin’ alive<br />Our trip to New Zealand in a campervan with our four children was full of laughter. As soon as the tape got stuck in the cassette player at the beginning of our two-week journey, they knew every word of the Bee Gees. Amazing what you remember about a trip! – KL Day</p> <p>4. Not so plain sailing<br />We recently took our kids sailing on our yacht. We spent 18 months on the water, exploring the Coast of Australia. We planned to sail to New Caledonia, but 50 miles out of Surfers Paradise our autopilot broke and we were forced to return.</p> <p>We arranged a new autopilot and waited for the next suitable weather window, to make the six-day journey to New Caledonia. This time, 200 nautical miles off the coast of Australia, on what was our second attempt, the new autopilot failed. Again we sailed back into harbour shaking our heads.</p> <p>We were soon to discover that the mechanic who installed the autopilot had taken a shortcut and failed to drill in one grub screw, which would have prevented the autopilot from failing.</p> <p>Exhausted and feeling defeated, we sailed the Whitsundays up to Cairns … what a fabulous second prize. The experience was amazing for the kids. Their confidence grew. They learnt new skills that you don’t learn at school and they met some amazing other kids. They also managed to do schooling online and via Skype with their fabulous distance education teacher.</p> <p>Maybe next year will be our year to sail to New Caledonia. Let’s wait and see. – Yvette Fishburn</p> <p>5. Sweetly poetic<br />Travelling with kids is beloved and funny, especially amidst differences in currency and money.<br />A whole world out there to explore, something as simple as finding a coin on the seashore.<br />Inspires a little heart that now has a vision to collect many treasures as his every day is filled with wonder &amp; pleasure. – Kylie Turner</p> <p>6. Pardon?<br />While on holidays in Fiji my daughter, after reading the dessert menu, requested a Bar Fart from the waiter.</p> <p>After lots of laughing and a couple of questions we realised she actually wanted a Parfait. ­– Sarah Harvey</p> <p>7. One way to jump the queues<br />We had dragged our four-year-old out all day around Paris and as art lovers we really wanted to see the Louvre and the Mona Lisa. We waited in line, finally got in and walked the thousands of steps to find her.</p> <p>We were at the back of the line waiting to get to the front to see the painting when our four-year-old absolutely chucked a tantrum, started screaming the place down and cried so much she made herself vomit all over me and the floor of the Louvre.</p> <p>Needless to say the crowds disappeared pretty quickly, and although we were mortified, at least we then got to have a front-row seat to see the painting, albeit apologising the whole time to the cleaning staff. – J’aime Newland</p> <p>8. Chaos on the high seas<br />The time we went to New Zealand on a cruise for 14 nights with two adults and four kids under five. The first night we all got food poisoning and spent the next three days in bed. Then when we got off the boat one kid got bitten by a bee and we discovered he was allergic, so we spent two days in the hospital. Then on the second-to-last day we lost one kid for four hours. He had found a ‘friend’ and was on the top deck getting a tan! – Skye Danaher</p> <p>9. Where the wild things are<br />Sleeping in tents on Kenya’s Maasai Mara was exciting, thrilling to go to sleep listening to the sounds of lions in the distance. But I was shocked to hear, three years later, the kids (then aged seven, 10 and 12) confess that one night they woke up and went roaming on foot, seeing elephants and wildebeest in the distance! – Sarah Gover</p> <p>10. Forget something?<br />Memorable in a scary ‘bad Mum’ way: I rounded them up, I made sure the boot was packed and closed, I shrieked at the spilled Coke, eyed the traffic and took off… minus a child.</p> <p>Not far down the road a timid voice from the back asked if we were going to go back for T.</p> <p>I broke traffic laws and the sound barrier getting back just in time to see T wandering out of the loo. Sigh. – Sue Bouquet</p> <p>This one isn’t quite as bad: she only drove off and forgot her cake… on the roof of the car.</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/10-most-memorable-moments-while-travelling-kids"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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11 things you do in your car – but shouldn’t

<p>Driving in your car can feel like a portable home. It’s often so comfortable that sometimes you pick up a few bad habits along the way, such as eating in the car to having sex. Read on to find out what you should not do in your car.</p> <p>Putting your feet on the dashboard<br />Whether you’re in the passenger seat or driving your car, your feet should stay off the dashboard. In a 2017 NerdWallet report, 3% of drivers admit to putting their feet on the dashboard or out the window while driving with cruise control. Although this is a relatively small percentage, there is no reason for keeping your feet up – even if you’re sitting shotgun. In 2015, a US couple was in a car accident where the passenger had her feet on the dashboard. She broke both of her legs in several places and urges people not to make the same mistake.</p> <p>Eating<br />Almost everyone is guilty of eating or drinking behind the wheel at one point or another. Richard Reina, product training director of an aftermarket auto retailer says sipping on a cup of coffee or water is generally fine; just make sure you’re able to grip the wheel and keep your eyes on the road. “However, the more involved a snack or meal gets, the more distracted you might become,” he says. It might be tempting to reach for a fallen French fry, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.</p> <p>Storing unnecessary items<br />Some people treat their cars like their home away from home, but it shouldn’t act as a storage unit. Reina says large items in your car could block your visibility, creating dangerous blind spots and limiting your view when reversing. If there’s an emergency or an accident, anything not bolted down could easily move around your car and injure someone if you brake rapidly. Plus, storing items in plain sight can make you a target for theft.</p> <p>Using headphones<br />Listening to music during road trips and long commutes isn’t a problem, but using headphones or earbuds isn’t the best way to listen to it while driving. “Headphones decrease your awareness by filtering out other noises more than your car’s speakers,” he says.</p> <p>Blasting music with the windows down<br />In addition to annoying other drivers, playing loud music with your windows down in your car serves as another distraction. Much like earphones, driving with loud music distracts drivers from hearing important noises around you, Reina says.</p> <p>Having sex<br />Having sex in public – including a parked car – could result in your arrest. Some people have even had sex in their car while driving. According to a study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, 33% of men and 9% of women in its study participated in some sort of sexual activity while driving, Women’s Health reports.</p> <p>Smoking<br />Smoking health risks are generally well-known. If you do decide to smoke, however, there’s research showing you should avoid doing so in your car. After just half a cigarette burns in a car, the quality of the air can reach levels 10 times over what the US Environmental Protection Agency considers hazardous. Plus, smoking in a closed environment like your car increases third-hand smoke exposure. When people sit in a car that someone has smoked in, the nicotine and other pollutants covering the car release into the air and get on your skin and mouth, according to Psychology Today.</p> <p>Changing clothes<br />It’s not always illegal to change in your car. However, you could get in trouble for public nudity or indecent exposure depending on where you live, if anyone sees you, and the local laws. It’s better to be safe than sorry and change in an appropriate, private place instead, if possible.</p> <p>Doing your makeup<br />Focusing on anything other than driving means you’re distracted and more prone to accidents. “Putting on makeup while driving doubles the reaction time a driver needs to put their foot on the brake,” says Traffic School owner Stephanie Schwartz. Most people also adjust their mirrors to see themselves while they’re putting on their makeup, which means you’re not using your mirror to look at the cars around you. Even if you’re parked, keeping your makeup in your car could actually damage some of your products and make them vulnerable to melting and mould growth.</p> <p>Driving without shoes on<br />Many drivers might be guilty of this, according to Reina. It’s not necessarily the least safe thing you can do behind the wheel, but it still isn’t a good idea. “For instance, you might need to brake very hard suddenly and find yourself unable to apply the proper force with a bare or socked foot as you would with a shoe on,” Reina says. “Additionally, if you need to step out of the car in an emergency, you run the risk of injuring your feet or wasting precious time putting shoes back on.”</p> <p>Arguing<br />Road rage, angry outbursts, and arguing in your car can make you vulnerable in more ways than one. According to a 2014 research review from the Harvard School of Public Health, it’s possible angry outbursts both on and off the road can trigger a heart attack or stroke hours later. The psychological stress can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which other research found can have adverse effects up to six years later. Even if you’re having a more mellow conversation with someone in your car, you still put yourself at risk. More than half of distracted driving accidents are because of talking with another passenger, per federal data, the Washington Post reports.</p> <p>Driving with your seat too far back<br />Drivers should be in the best possible position to control their car – and people don’t have that same control if they’re too far from the wheel. “Aside from your ability to reach the pedals and react quickly to road events, you may need to control your lights, wipers or other systems at a moment’s notice and have a hard time doing so if you’re seated too far back,” Reina says.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by<span> Emily DiNuzzo</span>. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/11-things-you-do-in-your-car-but-shouldnt"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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Insights from Morocco into how smartphones support migration

<p>For undocumented migrants and refugees travelling to new countries, accurate information is vital. Because of this, smartphones – mobile phones that perform many of the functions of a computer, like accessing the internet – have become an important tool. They give migrants access to applications such as Google maps, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter. These can provide them with information from social media and close contacts.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.13169/workorgalaboglob.13.1.0062?seq=1">recent study</a>, my colleague Filippo Bignami and I investigated the role of smartphones in irregular migration. We wanted to know how they helped migrants reach their destination and what kind of information migrants accessed using them. Our focus was on sub-Saharan migrants arriving in Morocco, specifically in the city of Fès, on their way to Europe.</p> <p>We found that smartphones supported migration flows by providing migrants with access to online information before and during travel and when they arrived at their destination country. They affected their migration routes and choice of final destination. They also helped migrants to share information with each other.</p> <p>The smartphones were equally used by traffickers. They allowed them to contact prospective irregular migrants and provide them with information.</p> <p>From what we’ve seen, smartphones are being increasingly used to minimise risks and address migration challenges. Policymakers can use this information to better support their journey, and ensure their safety, by engaging them through smartphone applications.</p> <p><strong>Meeting migrants</strong></p> <p>We first investigated how the use of smartphones and social media influenced migration journeys. Then we explored how they influenced decisions regarding their final destinations. Finally we looked at how they affected the financing of migration.</p> <p>To do this, we conducted interviews with 27 migrants from January 2017 until March 2018 and followed them for a period between 4 and 8 months.</p> <p>We met the migrants in the neighbourhoods where they lived, in streets, and cafes. They gave us information about their use of technology, migratory routes, demographic and socio-economic profiles, daily lives, relations with society and their migratory project.</p> <p>It made sense for us to focus our study on Morocco which, since the mid-2000s, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/26/hundreds-storm-border-fence-spanish-enclave-north-africa-ceuta-spain-migration">has been</a> a transit country for many refugees and African migrants wishing to reach Europe. They do this either through the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, or through the Canary Islands.</p> <p>It’s <a href="https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/125569/Naama_Mbarek_Helsinki.pdf?sequence=1">estimated</a> that migrants come from over 10 countries in Africa, in particular; Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Congo and Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Guinea, Benin, Ghana, Niger, and Cameroon. According to <a href="https://www.hcp.ma/file/217998/">Morocco’s Statistics Office</a>, between 15,000 and 25,000 African migrants enter Morocco each year. Many aren’t able to complete the trip, and stay in Morocco, but each year it’s believed that <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40504374">over</a> 8,000 irregular sub-Saharan migrants cross to Spain.</p> <p><strong>Influence of smartphones</strong></p> <p>We found that the intention to migrate was significantly influenced by mobile technologies in addition to the traditional push-factors, such as conflict, civil war, economic hardship, and family impact.</p> <p>Smartphones made the process relatively faster and smoother. They guided migrants in their quest to reach their destinations. For instance, they used Google to access news or maps which provided them with information on the directions to take to reach their destination country. These applications could also show when the best time, or place, was for border crossings.</p> <p>If migrants were in difficulty or lost they could use the phones to ask for help. They used specific applications like WhatsApp or Messenger for communication.</p> <p>These apps were also key for the migrants to stay in touch with family, friends and traffickers. Aside from emotional support, this was an important way in which migrants could continue to finance their travels. As one interviewee stated: <em>“When I need money I make a call to my parents through WhatsApp, and they send it via Western Union really fast.”</em></p> <p>The phones also provided for cooperation and communication between migrants. They helped each other choose the safest routes and share other information.</p> <p>The accessibility of smartphones made some migrants more confident and independent. Because of their access to information, some were making their journeys without smugglers.</p> <p>When they reached their destination, the sharing of news and photos about their journey – and how they managed to cross borders – motivated more young people to migrate.</p> <p>And it’s not just migrants that use them. Smartphones allowed traffickers to recruit prospective immigrants and quickly disseminate information.</p> <p><strong>New opportunities</strong></p> <p>We have seen evidence of how mobile technologies are transforming societies, migration processes, migrants’ lives, their social aspirations, and migration movements.</p> <p>This information could be used to develop policies to protect migrants’ rights and to support migrants’ participation and integration. Such knowledge is a good starting point for policy-making to revise the current regulations, so as to integrate the migrants in education, health care and housing facilities, the job market, and other sectors.</p> <p>Thus, smartphones and social media are reshaping not only migration movements but also migration policies with the daily use of mobile technologies.</p> <p><em>Moha Ennaji‘s most recent books are “Managing Cultural Diversity in the Mediterranean Region” and “Muslim Moroccan Migrants in Europe”.</em></p> <p><em>Written by <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/moha-ennaji-333834">Moha Ennaji</a>, Université Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/insights-from-morocco-into-how-smartphones-support-migration-147513">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Paid parental leave needs an overhaul if governments want us to have “one for the country”

<p>As Australia and New Zealand face the realities of slow growth, or even a decline in population, it’s time to ask if their governments are doing enough. Especially if they want to encourage people to have more babies.</p> <p>New Zealand’s fertility rate has hit an all-time <a href="https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2008/S00108/nz-fertility-rate-is-at-all-time-low.htm">low</a> of 1.71 children per woman. The opposition National Party <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/122653707/election-2020-national-launches-first-1000-days-policy-promises-3000-for-new-parents">wants</a> to entice parents with a NZ$3,000 “baby bonus” to be spent on family services.</p> <p>Australia’s population growth rate is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-24/treasurer-josh-frydenberg-baby-boom-economy-recovery-coronavirus/12489678">forecast</a> to be 0.6% in 2021, its lowest since 1916.</p> <p>Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenburg urged Australians to have more children, reminding many of then treasurer Peter Costello’s <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/budget-bonus-for-mothers-and-families-20060508-ge29qi.html">encouragement to those who can</a> to have “one for mum, one for dad and one for the country”.</p> <p>But if governments want people to procreate for their nation, they must be prepared to help them, and that includes increases in paid parental leave.</p> <p><strong>The current system</strong></p> <p>New Zealand <a href="https://doi.org/10.26686/pq.v2i1.4189">introduced</a> <a href="https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/parental-leave/types-of-parental-leave/">paid parental leave</a> in 1999, first as a tax credit then as a cash payment. Over time, the length was increased from 12 to 26 weeks, currently paid to <a href="https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/parental-leave/parental-leave-payment/payment-amount/">a maximum of NZ$606.46 a week</a>.</p> <p>There is no paid parental leave offered to dads or partners (although they are legally entitled to two weeks’ unpaid leave). But mums may transfer a portion of the 26 weeks to the dad or partner.</p> <p>Ten years ago, Australia was one of the last countries in the developed world to adopt government-funded maternity leave.</p> <p>It offers the primary carer (<a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/cheaper-childcare/">99.5% of the time, the mum</a>) <a href="https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/maternity-and-parental-leave/paid-parental-leave">18 weeks of paid leave at the minimum wage</a> (<a href="https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/fact-sheets/minimum-workplace-entitlements/minimum-wages">currently A$753.80</a>). Only two weeks at the minimum wage is provided for the secondary carer.</p> <p>When you compare the payment rates of parental leave to average salaries in each country (table below), Australia’s 18 weeks drops to an equivalent of 7.9 weeks annual average salary and New Zealand from 26 weeks to 15.5 weeks.</p> <p>These low leave payments appear even less generous when compared to the <a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/Parental-leave-and-gender-equality.pdf">OECD average</a> of 54.1 weeks of paid parental leave for mums and <a href="https://www.oecd.org/els/soc/PF2_1_Parental_leave_systems.pdf">eight weeks </a> for dads or partners.</p> <p>While employers often top up state-paid parental leave entitlements, this is not always the case. For example, Australia’s <a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/Parental-leave-and-gender-equality.pdf">Workplace Gender Equality Agency</a> found more than 70% of financial services companies offered paid parental leave, but more than 80% of retail businesses did not.</p> <p><strong>Earning or caring</strong></p> <p>Given that dads or partners on both sides of the ditch face either no income for two weeks or less then half of the average income, it’s no wonder they choose to keep working to support their families financially.</p> <p>We know from an Australian Human Rights Commission <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/SWP_Report_2014.pdf">study in 2014</a> that 85% of dads and partners surveyed took up to four weeks’ leave, and more than half said they would have liked to take more to spend time with mum and newborn. There are <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jftr.12363">substantial benefits</a> including an increase in the mental health and well‐being of fathers and their children as well as greater harmony for the couple.</p> <p>Motherhood <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-parenthood-continues-to-cost-women-more-than-men-97243">penalises</a> women, contributing to significantly <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-30/superannation-young-women-fear-retirement-canberra-ywca-report/11365120">lower lifetime earnings</a>. Not to mention the “second shift” of domestic duties they do if they are balancing work and family.</p> <p>If dads and partners spend more time with their families earlier on in their children’s lives, this increases the likelihood that household chores and caring responsibilities will be more <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.5172/jfs.2014.20.1.19">evenly distributed</a>.</p> <p>Womens’ employment has also <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-10/women-have-lost-jobs-faster-than-men-during-coronavirus-but-are/12338598">been</a> hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes receiving <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-09/childcare-changes-to-disproportionately-affect-women/12333398">less government assistance</a>.</p> <p>The move to roll back free child care in Australia was <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/08/australian-government-to-end-free-childcare-on-12-july-in-move-labor-says-will-snap-families">called</a> a “betrayal of Australian families” and “an anti-women move” by Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi.</p> <p>In addition to the “second shift”, women bear the brunt of a “third shift” – known as <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/26/gender-wars-household-chores-comic">the mental load</a>. The business of running the family is characteristically undervalued and unpaid emotional labour, which is <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15487733.2020.1776561?needAccess=true">mostly</a> taken care of by women.</p> <p>For many dual-income families, lockdown has changed the allocation of household chores and caring responsibilities. <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-20/coronavirus-covid19-domestic-work-housework-gender-gap-women-men/12369708">Research</a> shows the gap between men and women has narrowed.</p> <p><strong>More women in the workplace</strong></p> <p>In the upcoming New Zealand election, it will be interesting to see how the different parties deal with supporting families, the gender pay gap and female workforce participation.</p> <p>If ever an example was needed to show how satisfying a non-traditional care arrangement can be for both parents, consider <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/stayathome-dad-to-help-jacinda-ardern-be-pm--a-mum-20180119-h0kz9h">stay-at-home dad Clarke Gayford</a>, who supports Jacinda Ardern to be New Zealand’s prime minister.</p> <p>Our previous <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1441358220300070">research</a> found government policy alone does not increase the uptake of dads or partners taking parental leave. Changing workplace norms to support them is a key factor in creating flexible work arrangements and increasing parental leave uptake.</p> <p>Working from home has made <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/there-s-a-silver-lining-for-fathers-in-the-covid-crisis-20200424-p54n1z.html">fatherhood</a> more visible and increased the time some Australian dads <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-20/coronavirus-covid19-domestic-work-housework-gender-gap-women-men/12369708">spend</a> caring for their children.</p> <p>In a post-pandemic world, care responsibilities can no longer be labelled a private matter. New Zealand and Australia both have parental leave policies that fail to offer families real choices about care arrangements.</p> <p>Dads and partners need their own leave entitlements and greater acceptance of their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jftr.12363">caring responsibilities</a> in the workplace. These changes will challenge caring as women’s work, ease the burden on women and may even boost the fertility rate.</p> <p><em>Written by Sarah Duffy, Western Sydney University; Michelle O'Shea, Western Sydney University, and Patrick van Esch, Auckland University of Technology. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/paid-parental-leave-needs-an-overhaul-if-governments-want-us-to-have-one-for-the-country-145627">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Backyard pilgrimages become the way to a spiritual journey thanks to COVID

<p>Many major religious pilgrimages have been canceled or curtailed in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. These have included the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/world/middleeast/hajj-pilgrimage-canceled.html">Hajj</a>, a religious milestone for Muslims the world over; the Hindu pilgrimage, known as the <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-india/india-cancels-historic-hindu-pilgrimage-as-coronavirus-cases-mount-idUSKCN24N14P">Amarnath Yatra</a> high in the mountains of Kashmir; and <a href="https://www.orderofmalta.int/2020/03/12/coronavirus-cancelled-the-62nd-pilgrimage-to-lourdes-and-all-international-conferences/">pilgrimages to Lourdes</a> in France.</p> <p>Pilgrims have faced travel delays and cancellations for centuries. Reasons ranged from financial hardship and agricultural responsibilities to what is now all too familiar to modern-day pilgrims – plague or ill health.</p> <p>Then, as now, one strategy has been to bring the pilgrimage home or into the religious community.</p> <p><strong>Journey of a thousand miles</strong></p> <p>Pilgrimage can be an interior or outward journey and while <a href="https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003043429">individual motivations may vary</a>, it can be an act of religious devotion or a way to seek closeness with the divine.</p> <p>Through the centuries and across cultures, those who longed to go on a sacred journey would find <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/1594960?seq=1">alternative ways to do so</a>.</p> <p>Reading travel narratives, tracing a map with the finger or eye, or <a href="https://www.britishmuseumshoponline.org/matter-of-faith-an-interdisciplinary-study-of-relics-and-relic-veneration-in-the-medieval-period.html">holding a souvenir</a> brought back from a sacred site helped facilitate a real sense of travel for the homebound pilgrim. Through these visual or material aids, people felt as though they, too, were having a pilgrimage experience, and even connecting with others.</p> <p>One such example is the story of the Dominican friar Felix Fabri, who was known for recording his own pilgrimages in various formats, some geared toward the laity and some for his brothers.</p> <p>Fabri was approached in the 1490s by a group of cloistered nuns, meaning that they had professed vows to lead a contemplative life in the quietude of their community. They desired a <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/261870/pdf">devotional exercise</a> so they could receive the spiritual benefits of pilgrimage without having to break their promise of a life that was sheltered from the outside world.</p> <p>He produced “Die Sionpilger,” a virtual pilgrimage in the form of a day-to-day guidebook to Santiago de Compostela, Jerusalem and Rome. In these cities, pilgrims would encounter sites and scenes associated with many facets of their religion: shrines to honor Jesus and the saints, relics, great cathedrals and sacred landscapes associated with miraculous events and stories.</p> <p>Fabri’s guidebook sent the pilgrim on an imaginative journey of a thousand miles, without having to take a single step.</p> <p><strong>DIY pilgrimages</strong></p> <p>My current <a href="https://carepackagegtu.wordpress.com/2020/07/01/spotlight-barush/">book project</a> shows that from Lourdes to South Africa, from Jerusalem to England, from Ecuador to California, DIY pilgrimages are not just a medieval phenomenon. One such example is Phil Volker’s backyard Camino.</p> <p>Volker is a 72-year-old father and now grandfather, woodworker and veteran who mapped the Camino de Santiago onto his backyard in Vashon Island in the Pacific Northwest. Volker prays the rosary as he walks: for those who have been impacted by the pandemic, his family, his neighbors, the world.</p> <p>After a cancer diagnosis in 2013, a few things came together to inspire Volker to build a backyard Camino, including the film “<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/movies/the-way-directed-by-emilio-estevez-review.html">The Way</a>,” a pocket-sized book of meditations, “<a href="https://annieoneil.com/">Everyday Camino With Annie</a>” by Annie O'Neil and <a href="https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo5974687.html">the story of Eratosthenes</a>, the Greek polymath from the second century B.C. who figured out a way to measure the circumference of the Earth using the Sun, a stick and a well.</p> <p>“For me, this guy was the grand godfather of do-it-yourselfers. How can someone pull off this kind of a caper with things at hand in his own backyard? It got me thinking, what else can come out of one’s backyard?,” he told me.</p> <p>Volker began walking a circuitous route around his 10-acre property on Vashon Island in the Pacific Northwest. It was a chance to exercise, which his doctors had encouraged, but also created a space to think and pray.</p> <p>Each lap around the property is just over a half-mile. Realizing that he was covering quite a distance, he found a map of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route to track his progress, calculating that 909 laps would get him from St. Jean Pied-de-Port to the Cathedral of St. James.</p> <p>To date, Volker has completed three 500-mile Caminos without leaving his backyard.</p> <p>Thanks to a <a href="http://philscamino.com/">documentary film</a>, Volker’s <a href="http://caminoheads.com/">daily blog</a> and an <a href="https://www.nwcatholic.org/features/nw-stories/vashon-camino-pilgrimage">article</a> in the magazine “Northwest Catholic,” the backyard Camino has attracted many visitors, some simply curious but many who are seeking healing and solace.</p> <p><strong>Pilgrimage and remembrance</strong></p> <p>The story of Volker’s backyard Camino inspired Sara Postlethwaite, a sister of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity, to map <a href="https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/travel/ireland/go-walk-st-kevin-s-way-co-wicklow-1.553577">St. Kevin’s Way</a>, a 19-mile pilgrimage route in County Wicklow, Ireland onto a series of daily 1.5-mile circuits in Daly City, California.</p> <p>The route rambles along roads and countryside from Hollywood to the ruins of the monastery that St. Kevin, a sixth-century abbot, had founded in Glendalough. Postlethwaite had intended to travel back to her native Ireland in the spring of 2020 to walk the route in person, but due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, she brought the pilgrimage to her home in Daly City.</p> <p>Every so often, Postlethwaite would check in on Google Maps to see where she was along the Irish route, pivoting the camera to see surrounding trees or, at one point, finding herself in the center of an old stone circle.</p> <p>Several joined Postlethwaite’s walk in solidarity, both in the U.S. and overseas.</p> <p>After each day’s walk, she paused at the shed at her community house, where she had drawn a to-scale version of the Market Cross at Glendalough.</p> <p>As Postlethwaite traced the intersecting knots, circles and image of the crucified Christ with her chalk, she reflected not just on the suffering caused by the pandemic but also about issues of racism, justice and privilege. In particular, she remembered <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/article/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-georgia.html">Ahmaud Arbery</a>, a Black jogger shot by two white men in a fatal confrontation in February 2020. She inscribed his name on the chalk cross.</p> <p>For Berkeley-based artist <a href="https://www.maggiepreston.com/">Maggie Preston</a>, a DIY chalk labyrinth on the street outside her house became a way to connect with her neighbors and her three-year-old son. There is a link here with the medieval strategies for bringing longer pilgrimages into the church or community. <a href="https://www.luc.edu/medieval/labyrinths/imaginary_pilgrimage.shtml">Scholars have suggested</a> that labyrinths may have been based on maps of Jerusalem, providing a scaled-down version of a much longer pilgrimage route.</p> <p>They started out by chalking in the places they could no longer go – the aquarium, the zoo, a train journey – and then created a simple labyrinth formed by a continuous path in seven half-circles.</p> <p>“A labyrinth gave us a greater destination, not just somewhere to imagine going, but a circuitous path to literally travel with our feet,” she told me.</p> <p>As neighbors discovered the labyrinth, it began to create a genuine sense of community akin to that which many seek to find when they embark on a much longer pilgrimage.</p> <p><strong>‘Relearn to pretend’</strong></p> <p>Volker’s cancer has progressed to stage IV and he celebrated his 100th chemo treatment back in 2017, but he is still walking and praying on a regular basis. He offers the following advice:</p> <p>“For folks starting their own backyard Camino I think that creating the myth is the most important consideration. Study maps, learn to pronounce the names of the towns, walk in the dust and the mud, be out there in the rain, drink their wine and eat their food, relearn to pretend.”</p> <p><em>Written by Kathryn Barush. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-coronavirus-curtails-travel-backyard-pilgrimages-become-the-way-to-a-spiritual-journey-143518">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Air pollution could be making honey bees sick

<p>Whether it’s exhaust fumes from cars or smoke from power plants, air pollution is an often invisible threat that is <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1">a leading cause</a> of death worldwide. Breathing air laced with heavy metals, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter has been linked to a range of chronic health conditions, <a href="https://theconversation.com/understanding-the-pollution-thats-hurting-our-health-25242">including</a> lung problems, heart disease, stroke and cancer.</p> <p>If air pollution can harm human health in so many different ways, it makes sense that other animals suffer from it too. Airborne pollutants affect all kinds of life, <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.en.27.010182.002101">even insects</a>. In highly polluted areas of Serbia, for instance, <a href="https://peerj.com/articles/5197/">researchers found</a> pollutants lingering on the bodies of European honeybees. Car exhaust fumes are known to interrupt the scent cues that attract and guide bees towards flowers, while also <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-41876-w">interfering with</a> their ability to remember scents.</p> <p>Now, <a href="https://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2009074117">a new study from India</a> has revealed how air pollution may be depleting the health of honey bees in the wild. These effects may not kill bees outright. But like humans repeatedly going to work under heavy stress or while feeling unwell, the researchers found that air pollution made bees sluggish in their daily activities and could be shortening their lives.</p> <p><strong>Unhealthy bees in Bangalore</strong></p> <p>India is one of the world’s <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/264662/top-producers-of-fresh-vegetables-worldwide/">largest producers</a> of fruit and vegetables. Essential to that success are pollinator species like the giant Asian honey bee. Unlike the managed European honey bee, these bees are predominantly wild and regularly resist humans and other animals eager to harvest their honey. Colonies can migrate over hundreds of kilometres within a year, pollinating a vast range of wild plants and crops across India.</p> <p>Researchers studied how this species was faring in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, where air pollution records have been <a href="https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/you-think-delhi-is-polluted-bengalurus-pollution-levels-will-leave-you-breathless/articleshow/69065577.cms">reported as</a> some of the highest in the country. The giant Asian honey bees were observed and collected across four sites in the city over three years. Each had different standards of air pollution.</p> <p>The number of bees visiting flowers was significantly lower in the most polluted sites, possibly reducing how much plants in these places were pollinated. Bees from these sites died faster after capture, and, like houses in a dirty city, were partly covered in traces of arsenic and lead. They had arrhythmic heartbeats, fewer immune cells, and were more likely to show signs of stress.</p> <p>There are some caveats to consider, though. For one thing, areas with high pollution might have had fewer flowering plants, meaning bees were less likely to seek them out. Also, the researchers looked at the health of honey bees in parts of the city purely based on different levels of measured pollution. They couldn’t isolate the effect of the pollution with absolute certainty – there may have been hidden factors behind the unhealthy bees they uncovered.</p> <p>But, crucially, it wasn’t just bees that showed this trend. In a follow-up experiment, the study’s authors placed cages of fruit flies at the same sites. Just like the bees, the flies became coated in pollutants, died quicker where there was more air pollution, and showed higher levels of stress.</p> <p>The threat posed by pesticides is well known. But if air pollution is also affecting the health of a range of pollinating insects, what does that mean for ecosystems and food production?</p> <p><strong>Fewer cars, more flowers</strong></p> <p>Our diets would be severely limited if insects like honey bees were impaired in their pollinating duties, but the threat to entire ecosystems of losing these species is even more grave. Crop plants account for less than 0.1% of all flowering species, yet 85% of flowering plants are <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.464.6928&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf">pollinated by</a> bees and other species.</p> <p>Giant Asian honey bees like the ones in Bangalore form large, aggressive colonies that can move between urban, farmed and forest habitats. These journeys expose them to very different levels of pollution, but the colonies of most other types of wild bee species are stationary. They nest in soil, undergrowth or masonry, and individuals travel relatively short distances. The levels of pollution they’re regularly exposed to are unlikely to change very much from one day to the next, and it’s these species that are likely to suffer most if they live in towns or cities where local pollution is high.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are ways to fix this problem. Replacing cars with clean alternatives like electrified public transport would go a long way to reducing pollution. Creating more urban green spaces with lots of trees and other plants would help filter the air too, while providing new food sources and habitat for bees.</p> <p>In many parts of the UK, roadside verges have been <a href="https://theconversation.com/roadside-wildflower-meadows-are-springing-up-across-the-uk-and-theyre-helping-wildlife-in-a-big-way-120014">converted to wildflower meadows</a> in recent years. In doing so, are local authorities inadvertently attracting bees to areas we know may be harmful? We don’t know, but it’s worth pondering. From September 2020, Coventry University is launching a citizen science project with the nation’s beekeepers to map the presence of fine particulate matter in the air around colonies, to begin to unravel what’s happening to honey bees in the UK.</p> <p>Air pollution is likely to be one part of a complex problem. Bees are sensitive to lots of toxins, but how these interact in the wild is fiendishly difficult to disentangle. We know <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13592-014-0308-z">cocktails of pesticides</a> can cause real damage too. But what happens when bees are exposed to these at the same time as air pollution? We don’t yet know, but answers are urgently needed.</p> <p><em>Written by Barbara Smith and Mark Brown. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/air-pollution-could-be-making-honey-bees-sick-new-study-144155">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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