Category Archives: Travel

“They’re in cover-up mode, I’ve been cut off from any kind of information.”

AZ Central: Grand Canyon tourists exposed for years to radiation in museum building, safety manager says.

“For nearly two decades at the Grand Canyon, tourists, employees, and children on tours passed by three paint buckets stored in the National Park’s museum collection building, unaware that they were being exposed to radiation.

Although federal officials learned last year that the 5-gallon containers were brimming with uranium ore, then removed the radioactive specimens, the park’s safety director alleges nothing was done to warn park workers or the public that they might have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation.

In a rogue email sent to all Park Service employees on Feb. 4, Elston “Swede” Stephenson — the safety, health and wellness manager — described the alleged cover-up as “a top management failure” and warned of possible health consequences.
[…]
In his letter to colleagues, Stephenson apologized for the untimely notice. He stressed that exposure may not be severe depending on how close individuals got to the source, how long they were exposed, what they were wearing, and other factors. He also emphasized that employees will not necessarily suffer health consequences, but should consider receiving a medical screening.

“Of particular concern are 1000s of children attending ‘shows’ in very close proximity to the uranium,” he wrote. Those presentations lasted a half hour or more, he said, yet radiation dosages could have exceeded federal safety standards within seconds.

Link via MetaFilter.

The Heroes of the Thai Cave Rescue

Maclean’s: Into the dark – The inside story of an improbable team of divers, a near-impossible plan and the rescue of 12 boys from a Thai cave.

“We were foreigners and we weren’t going somewhere foreigners often go, so when I saw the blond man across the Bangkok airport shuttle bus on our way to the remote mountains of Chiang Rai, a one-hour flight away, I asked whether he was about to do the one thing or the other: “Are you rescuing the boys or covering the rescue?”

“Well, we’re hoping we can help rescue them,” he said. He didn’t seem hopeful. He seemed grim. We stepped off the bus onto the hot tarmac and walked toward the plane.

“You never know,” I said. “It could happen.” Save 12 children and their soccer coach who got stranded three kilometres inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand at the start of the rainy season with no known food, water or swimming skills: It could never happen.

He nodded. “You never know.””

Link via MetaFilter.

“Just because it’s bonkers doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.”

Have you ever heard of The Biggest Little Railway in the World? It was

“a temporary 71 mile (114 km) 1.25 inches (32 mm) O-gauge model railway from Fort William to the City of Inverness, the two largest settlements in the Scottish Highlands. It has been described as a crackpot project to run a model train the length of the Great Glen Way by an army of madcap enthusiasts, geeks, and engineers in the best spirit of eccentric Britishness.”

56 volunteers built it over the course of 12 days and also drove the engine called Silver Lady along it. The track included a temporary bridge across the Caledonian Canal, a huge trestle bridge and a spiral loop near the end that enabled the train to climb five metres over a very short distance.

The model train achieved what the real railway didn’t: It ran from Fort Williams to Inverness.

There is a five-part Channel 4 TV series about this incredible project that you can watch in its entirety here:

Futility Closet: Thinking Big. (5 x 45min)

I watched it over the past few days and enjoyed it thoroughly even though I’m neither a train nor model train enthusiast.

Ed Pratt Unicycles The World

World Unicycle Tour is just exactly what it says: Ed Pratt from Somerset, England, cycled around the world on his 36″ unicycle starting on 14th March 2015 and returning home on 27th July 2018, racking up some 22,000 miles. Read more about him and his tour or take a look at his route. For a while, he also kept a blog, the first entry of which is here.

The best bit though is his YouTube channel Ed Pratt Unicycles the World where he posts videos from his trip weekly. I’ve spent the past few days catching up by watching all of his videos, and they are exceptional. A few highlights: Germany, Ed cycled trough the Upper Middle Rhine Valley (I used to live there), How to film camels on a cycle tour, Ed unicycles China (trailer), Ed unicycles Australia (trailer), Taped a GoPro inside my wheel (also check out the second perspective – so weird, but fun!), Ed Unicycles New Zealand (first episode), and the most recent series (ongoing): Ed cycles South East Asia.

I don’t know why this guy only has 32,000 subscribers on YouTube, but I hope he gets a wider audience because his project is laudable – he collects donations for “School in a bag”, and his videos are interesting and well-edited with a fantastic soundtrack.

Link via MetaFilter: Have wheel, will travel. (What a great title, btw!)

“In Straßburg dürfte damit wieder etwas Normalität einkehren.”

Deutsche Welle:
Strasbourg terror suspect shot dead by police.
“The Strasbourg Christmas market shooting suspect Cherif Chekatt has been shot dead by French police. The jihadi “Islamic State” group says he was one of its militants.”

Mutmaßlicher Attentäter von Straßburg ist tot. “Zwei Tage nach dem Anschlag auf den Straßburger Weihnachtsmarkt ist der mutmaßliche Attentäter getötet worden. Nach Angaben der Polizei starb der Mann am Donnerstagabend bei einem Feuergefecht im Stadtteil Neudorf.”

Polizei in Straßburg sucht mögliche Komplizen. “Der mutmaßliche Attentäter ist tot, doch für die Ermittler ist der Fall längst nicht abgeschlossen. Die Polizei sucht nun Personen aus dem Umfeld Chérif Chekatts. Sieben Menschen sind in Gewahrsam genommen worden.”