Rick Steves’ Audio Europe – as an iPhone app

This app organizes the vast and varied library of Rick Steves’ audio content into geographic-specific playlists so that travelers can enjoy ready access to the information that relates specifically to their travel plans. Many tracks provide general cultural and sightseeing information gleaned from his public radio program, Travel with Rick Steves. Other tracks are self-guided tours to great sights and historic walks. While we travel there’s lots of down time, and this application can both entertain and teach. Rick Steves Audio Europe will hopefully make your European travels more meaningful and more fun.

Features:

• The app downloads and stores audio files on your device.
• Handy maps (PDF) that complement the self-guided audio tours.
• The audio content originates from Rick Steves guidebooks and the Travel with Rick Steves public radio program.
• Rick Steves Audio Europe is a work in progress. New audio tracks will be added and existing tracks updated as necessary. Be sure to enable Notifications for this app to get the latest updates.

Rick Steves Audio Europe in the iTunes store

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Inside the forbidden land – environmental photos of Russia from National Geographic

For an American, these photos are truly breathtaking. For most of our lives Russia has been an impenetrable vast region, indeed the largest country in the world, with millions of acres of natural wonders.

My own heritage brings me back to Belarus (the first photo below). Enjoy these photos from National Geographic Russia and their Google+ page.

I apologize for the captions since they are Google Translations from Russian (I’m also amazed that I can auto-translate a language in a browser with one click).

"Snow-white spring in the Belarusian forest." Photo by: Christine Lebedinskaya.

 

Fog in the mountains near Chemal, Altai. Photo by: Michael Evstratov

 

Moon. River Teriberka, Murmansk region. Photo by: Aleksandr Bergan

Continue reading Inside the forbidden land – environmental photos of Russia from National Geographic

Interesting facts and the full story on James Cameron’s deep sea adventure

“The Challenger Deep is something like 50x the size of the Grand Canyon”

“The sub actually shrinks 3 inches at the bottom of the ocean.”

“My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity. I felt like I went to another planet and came back.”

  • The pilot is descending about 36,000 feet (10,973 meters), but his ears won’t pop during the journey; the pressure inside the pilot’s sphere stays constant.
  • Crammed with equipment and just 43 inches (109 centimeters) wide, the interior of the pilot sphere is so small that the pilot will have to keep his knees bent and can barely move.
  • Water vapor from the pilot’s breath and sweat condenses on the cold metal sphere and drains to a space where it’s sucked into a plastic bag. In an emergency, the pilot can drink it.
  • The pilot chamber is a sphere because it’s the strongest shape for resisting pressure—if the pilot sat in a cylinder, the walls would need to be three times thicker.
  • If the sub’s 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) of ballast weights don’t drop when commanded, a back-up galvanic release will corrode in the seawater within a fixed period of time, freeing the sub to rise to the surface.

National Geographic’s Daily News has the full story on James Cameron’s record-breaking trip.

Also, more facts on the Sub called the DeepSea Challenger, and a descriptive video below.