Tag Archives: international

Airbnb has biggest night ever – while guests stay on private islands, in castles, & on boats

Last Saturday Airbnb had a pretty amazing night:

 

Not long ago, we told you about the 10 million guest nights booked on our site. Little did we know that our community was just getting warmed up…After a few massive weeks of travel, plus a bit of excitement in London, we saw our biggest night in history take place last Saturday, August 4.

How big? Well, 60,000 people were staying on Airbnb that night. That’s five times the number of guests from August 4, 2011.

 

More than two-thirds of those travelers were from outside the U.S., coming from 174 countries. That’s pretty incredible.

The company put together a few graphics celebrating this feat:

 

 

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Tug of War, once a part of Ancient Olympics, was also once a part of the modern Olympics

Tug of war was contested as a team event in the Summer Olympics at every Olympiad from 1900 to 1920. Originally the competition was entered by clubs, which meant that one country could win several medals. This happened in 1904, when the United States won all three medals, and in 1908 when the podium was occupied by three British teams. Sweden was also among the top countries with two medals, one as a member of the mixed team.

During its time as an Olympic sport, it was considered to be part of the Olympic athletics programme, although the sports of tug of war and athletics are now considered distinct. – Wikipedia

 

Tug of war was also a part of the ancient Olympic games…

 

Just how serious do people take Tug of War? Here are a few things we learned from checking out the website for the Tug Of War International Federation:

• There’s a manual to build your own tug of war boots.

• The rule book for the 2009-2010 seasonis 84 pages long.

• They follow WADA’s drug guidelines, making this sport far stricter than any of the major sports played in the United States.

• Finally, you can get caught up on all of this by watching a nice video:

 

 

Source: ESPN – Bring back the tug of war

 

 

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Snoop Dogg goes to the beach, gives up rap – becomes Snoop Lion reggae-master

In 1993, the debut single “What’s My Name?” catapaulted rapper Snoop Dogg to fame. But if you ask him that question now, he’ll have a different answer. Snoop Dogg changed his name to “Snoop Lion” after a spiritual awakening in Jamaica this February, which he described to reporters at a press conference on Monday.

So, no more D-O-double-G. No more Doggfather or Dogghouse or“Woof!” — which, presumably, will be replaced with a roar. Snoop Lion has been working on a reggae album, ”Reincarnated,” the recording of which is being chronicled in a documentary film that premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Snoop told reporters that he was rechristened Snoop Lion by a Rastafarian priest.

“I want to bury Snoop Dogg, and become Snoop Lion,” he told reporters, according to news.com.au. “I didn’t know that until I went to the temple, where the High Priest asked me what my name was, and I said, ‘Snoop Dogg.’ And he looked me in my eyes and said, ‘No more. You are the light; you are the lion.’ From that moment on, it’s like I had started to understand why I was there.”

 

The first single, La La La, from the album Reincarnation:

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How zero waste, local food, and sustainable transport are a part of the London 2012 Olympics

Pulled from the London 2012 Olympics Sustainability report (pdf):

 

If everyone lived as we do in the UK we would need three planets.

Our unsustainable lifestyles have meant that for the last 30 years we have been ‘eating into the Earth’s capital’ rather than ‘living off its interest’.

The promotion of sustainable development has become one of the fundamental objectives of the Olympic Movement…through its Agenda 21– Sport for Sustainable Development.

London 2012, WWF and BioRegional have developed the concept of a One Planet Olympics.

Staging a One Planet Olympics in London would help achieve the first sustainable Games. Sustainability has been at the heart of the London 2012 Bid and Masterplan.

 

The principles, goals, and legacy of the One Planet Olympics:

 

Zero Waste

Developing closed resource loops. Reducing the amounts of waste produced, then reclaiming, recycling and recovering

Goals

  • No Games waste direct to landfill – all treated as a resource
  • Zero waste target a pivotal procurement driver
  • Closed-loop waste management at all venues
  • Public information campaign to promote high quality front-of-house waste separation

Legacy

  • Zero waste policies extend across East London based on high recycling rates and residual waste converted to compost and renewable energy
  • Increased market for recycled products
  • Closed-loop waste management to be standard practice for major sports events

 

Local and Sustainable Food

Supporting consumption of local, seasonal and organic produce, with reduced amount of animal protein and packaging

Goals

  • Promotion of local, seasonal, healthy and organic produce
  • Promotion of links between healthy eating, sport and wellbeing
  • Partnerships established with key caterers, suppliers and sponsors
  • Composting of food waste as part of Zero Waste plan

Legacy

  • Increased markets for farmers in the region
  • Markets, catering and retail outlets supplying local and seasonal food
  • Composting facilities integrated into closed-loop food strategy

 

Sustainable Transport

Reducing the need to travel and providing sustainable alternatives to private car use

Goals

  • All spectators travelling by public transport, walking or cycling to venues
  • Low/no emission Olympic vehicle fleet
  • Olympic Park Low Emission Zone
  • Carbon offset programme for international travel
  • Individualised travel plans as part of integrated ticketing process

Legacy

  • Increased connectivity across and between legacy developments and neighbouring communities
  • Reduced car dependency
  • Car free events policy adopted for other major events
  • Greater market for zero carbon transport

 

 

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Mitt Romney begins foreign tour of UK, Israel and Poland

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Britain on the first leg of a week-long foreign tour that includes stops in Israel and Poland.

He is to meet political leaders and attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in the next three days.

The former governor of Massachusetts is not expected to make any policy announcements in London, but correspondents say the visit will give him the chance to show himself to the US electorate in the international arena.

…Critics have accused him of having a weak background in foreign policy, the same claim made about Mr Obama, who was a first-term senator during his 2008 White House campaign when he made a high-profile trip to the Middle East and Europe.

That tour culminated with a speech to hundreds of thousands of people outside the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany.

 

Source: BBC - Mitt Romney begins foreign tour of UK, Israel and Poland

 

 

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New sci-fi movie from M. Night Shyamalan starring Will Smith and son – After Earth

It wasn’t enough for M. Night Shyamalan and Will Smith to create a sci-fi film. For After Earth, they patterned an entirely new world history (or at least paid some really geeky people to do it for them).

The film is set 1,000 years in the future, and most of mankind has moved on to another planet light-years away. “Nova Prime has been colonized by humans for about 200 years,” said After Earth screenwriter Gary Whitta during a Comic-Con panel for the film, which is scheduled for release next year. “Earth is just kind of a memory that is taught in history classes.”

Nova Prime looks a lot like Utah (because it’s filmed in Utah), and that’s where the story starts. Smith plays Cypher Rage, a general in a military unit called the Rangers, while his real-life son Jaden plays his fictional son Kitai. The younger Rage aspires to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Rangers. When an errant asteroid damages their ship, it causes them to crash-land on the most inhospitable planet in the universe — Earth.

Separated during the crash, Kitai must battle his way across an aggressive and deadly planet to reach his injured father, who is in bad shape. The journey will take Kitai through jungle, desert, forest and probably a few Shyamalanesque plot twists.

 

Learn more details: Wired – Universe-Building With Your After Earth Hosts, Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan

 

 

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The new Mark VIII armor for Iron Man 3 is revealed

What kind of armor will Tony Stark wear in Iron Man 3? That question has been answered at Comic-Con International, where the new costume is on display at the Marvel booth.

Here’s Wired senior editor Peter Rubin with an exclusive look at the new armor, as well as a chronological spin through the various power suits donned by Robert Downey Jr. in the hit superhero movies.

The Mark VIII armor:

 

Source: Wired – Exclusive Video: First Look at New Armor From Iron Man 3

San Diego’s Comic-Con is becoming the Sundance/Cannes for television

Think of it as TV’s Comic-Cannes.

Since its inception 42 years ago, Comic-Con International has been a celebration of fanboy culture. When geek became the new cool, it also worked as a marketing platform for Hollywood and video game makers. Now, it’s the place where the television industry comes to build buzz for new shows and reward the audiences of established ones.

More than 80 television series courted the crowds at Comic-Con last year with premieres, panels and promotional events. This year in San Diego, the numbers are just as high – and the visibility even greater.

“It’s become a tentpole for us,” says Richard Licata, executive vice president, communications, for NBC Entertainment and Universal Television, echoing the sentiments of many network and studio marketing and publicity heads. “It’s the Super Bowl of response.”

Timing has something to do with it; the dates of Comic-Con make it a perfect place to preview fall shows. Corralling the talent is also a breeze - television has no Sundance or Cannes, making Comic-Con one of the few places on the planet where a television writer is treated like a rock star by screaming thousands.

 

Source: Hero Complex - Comic-Con: Television is a conquering hero

 

 

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The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth

By Bill Gates

People sometimes say that the United Nations doesn’t do enough to solve the big problems of the world. I’ve never really agreed with that point of view, but if anyone is looking for evidence of the UN’s impact, a good place to start is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

They were agreed to in 2000 by all 193 UN member countries and 23 international organizations. Creating that kind of consensus is—by itself—a significant achievement.

The great thing about the MDGs is that they provide clear targets and indicators of progress in key areas, including:

  • Ending poverty and hunger
  • Universal education
  • Gender equality
  • Child and maternal health
  • Combatting HIV/AIDS
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Global development

Although a number of countries won’t be able to achieve all of the goals by the target date of 2015, the MDGs have been helpful in getting everyone to really think about their part, the progress they’re making, and what they can learn from others. The goals have focused political attention in developing countries, encouraged UN groups to work together, and inspired wealthy and fast-growing donor countries to coordinate their efforts.

In February, the World Bank announced that the MDG goal of cutting extreme poverty by half had been achieved five years early. A week later, UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced that the goal of halving the number of people without access to safer drinking water was also reached five years early.
Source: The Gates Notes - A Report Card on Helping the World’s Poor

 

 

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The most visited countries in the world

  1. France – 77 million
  2. United States – 61 million
  3. China – 56 million
  4. Spain – 53 million
  5. Italy – 43 million
  6. United Kingdom – 28 million
  7. Turkey – 27 million
  8. Germany – 27 million
  9. Malaysia – 25 million
  10. Mexico – 22 million

 

Interesting to note that both France and Spain receive more visitors than their entire population:

  • France – population 65 million – with 77 million annual visitors
  • Spain – population 46 million – with 53 million visitors.

That’s quite a tourism business for them.

Not to worry as the world seems ready to travel more than ever. Sometime this year we will set a record with 1 billion international tourists, and the graph below shows that at least half of them are heading to Europe!

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