Saturday, March 26, 2016

See Dinosaur Tracks in Australia

Preserved in a climate-controlled building are 3,300 fossil footprints of three types of dinosaurs. Paleontologists estimate that the footprints were created during one hunting event. The building is located southwest of Winton, in Queensland.

Called the Dinosaur Stampede, the building reopened on July 3, 2015 after renovations that included  new audio exhibits and an extended viewing walkway. Access to the building is by guided tour only which lasts about 55 minutes. Suggested arrival time is 15 to 30 minutes before tour time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Expansion of Suez Canal

On August 6, 2015, a new expansion to the Suez Canal was opened. This expansion will allow easier and faster movement of 2-way traffic. At a cost of $6 billion, one year and 43,000 workers, the result is a 21 mile bypass along the center of the canal. Estimations are for reduced wait times of up to 8 hours.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pollution Concerns in Non-U.S. Cities

Beijing Hotel Smog
Beijing, China
The World Health Organization (WHO) is one resource that monitors air pollution around the world. Two gauges are PM10 levels and PM2.5 levels. Levels of PM10 considered 'unsafe' are higher than 20 micrograms per cubic meter and levels over 50 are considered dangerous. The respective levels for PM2.5 are 10 micrograms per cubic meter and more than 20.

PM10 measures particle matter that has a diameter of less than 10 microns. PM2.5 measures particle matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns. PM2.5 matter is considered more dangerous because it is easier for the smaller particles to get deeper into the lungs and, therefore, harder for the body to get rid of.

In China, there was a smog alert for a five day period at the end of November for the 30 cities surrounding Beijing. On the worst days, the PM10 rating reached 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Ten European cities that do not meet the standard are: Oslo, London, Barcelona, Florence, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Berlin and Moscow. Elsewhere, the following cities have high readings: Bangkok, Mexico City Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Ankara, Hanoi, Johannesburg, Ulaanbaatar, Cairo, Karachi (with PM2.5 of 117 and PM10 of 273) and Delhi with (150 and 286, respectively).

According to WHO, the high pollution in Delhi leads to over 600K premature deaths. The city with the highest PM10 is Peshawar, Pakistan, measuring 540 micrograms per cubic meter.

Dust masks anyone?

Monday, March 14, 2016

TSA Makes Changes to Airport Security Screening Policy

As of December 18, 2015, a pat down option will no longer be available to some passengers at US airports that have full-body scanners. The TSA hasn't defined which passengers will not be eligible for a pat down -- at the discretion of the TSA agents -- but for some passengers using the scanner will be "mandatory."

Full body scanners have been in use since 2007. Many people have not been happy with these scanners which display an image of the passenger's body under his clothing, despite TSA assurance that the images are not visible to the public and that the viewer cannot see the image and the person being scanned. Up until December 18, a passenger had the option of asking for a full body pat down in a private area.

Full-body scanners being used today no longer display graphic images of a passenger's body. Instead, the display shows a generic body, with the general location of hidden items highlighted. While a passenger can still request the pat-down, there is the possibility now that the request will be denied.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stay Up to Date With Australia Events

Sydney Opera House- 2006
The Australian Events Calendar lists upcoming events in Australia and is constantly updated. You can customize the search by date, type and location, including "Food & Wine," "Arts & Culture," "Sports," and "Nature & Wildlife."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

New Height Requirements for Bagan Hot-Air Balloon Flights

On October 15, 2015, new regulations were put into effect for the hot-air balloons that fly over the site of Bagan. Bagan has pagodas that were built in the 9th through 13th centuries.

Now the balloons must stay at least 300 feet above Bagan and they are not permitted to land within the grounds of the pagodas. Although no incidents had been previously reported, the new rules aim to reduce any possible damage to the structures.

Bagan has more than 3,000 pagodas with the tallest, Thatbyinnyu the tallest at 200 feet.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dengue Fever In New Delhi and Guatemala

New Delhi had the worst outbreak of dengue fever in 2015 than it has had in five years. More than 3,800 cases had been confirmed along with 17 deaths. Blamed for the large outbreak is poor drainage of standing water.

Guatemala also issued a countrywide warning after there was an outbreak in September

Dengue fever is mosquito-borne and typical symptoms are joint pain, fever and rash.