Video: Watch San Francisco Be Engulfed By An Ocean Of Fog

Photographer Simon Christen spent two years compiling footage of San Francisco‘s famous fog for this 4.5-minute, piece of Zen, time-lapse video. His “love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area” was written during pre-dawn, 45-minute hikes into the Marin headlands to capture the fog gliding over the hills and under the Golden Gate Bridge. The result is quite beautiful. The fog tumbles over the hills like a waterfall, rolling like ocean waves as it streams toward the city. The video is scored with dreamlike music by composer Jimmy LaValle, making it a therapeutic tribute to the soft forces of planet earth. Indeed, the San Francisco Fog itself was impressed with the video, tweeting that it was the “most stunning video of me you’ll ever see.”

Transformers Invade Orlando, Take No Prisoners

Transformers
Universal Orlando

Ever think being part of an intergalactic battle to save the Earth might be an interesting day’s work? Yes? Well head on over to Universal Studios Florida and help the Autobots fight off invading Decepticons at Transformers: The Ride, now open and ready to recruit your help.

“Transformers is one of the movie industry’s most successful franchises and Universal’s ride offers a four-minute, condensed version of all the action that people loved from those movies,” Robert Niles, editor of Theme Park Insider told NBC News. “It’s just the robots, fighting, with the audience along for the ride – literally.”

Heralded by an elaborate pyrotechnics ceremony, a Transformers song by the band Cheap Trick and a flyover of private jets, Transformers: The Ride opened last week to kick off the central Florida attractions summer season. Basically, the 4 1/2 minute ride is an interactive battle between the Autobots and Decepticons.The queue for the ride begins at the headquarters of NEST (Nonbiological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty). As the story goes, the evil Decepticons want Allspark, a source of energy nestled in NEST. Using flight simulator technology, movie screens, wind, smoke, heat and other effects, the ride takes guests after Decepticons, including Megatron, Grindor, Devastator, Sideswipe and Bonecrusher. Guests survive explosions, crashes, free falls, missiles and more as good wins out over evil, all in 3D.

6 Easy Ways To Travel Greener


When it comes to being environmentally responsible, travelers often find themselves in confusing situations. Air travel, hotel stays and eating out are intrinsically bad for the Earth, yet these things are hard to avoid when on the road. So in honor of Earth Day, here are a few quick and easy ways to reduce your footprint while traveling. These tips will not only help you go green, but many of them will save you some green, too.

Ditch The Plastic Bottles

On the road, it’s easy to quench our thirst by reaching for drinks in plastic bottles. But the environmental impact of using these “disposable” containers comes with a far bigger price. Consider taking a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go, or at the very least ensure your plastic bottles get put into a recycling bin.
Plan to Go Green
Seek out hotels and tours that carry environmental friendly certifications or memberships. Although the level of “greening” can vary, these companies may participate in water conservation programs, may reduce energy consumption through fluorescent lighting, and may only use local foods and more. Besides selecting accommodations at these types of hotels, travelers can reduce their impact by booking hotels close to public transportation.

Pack Light

There’s some simple math involved here: the lighter the plane, the less gas is used. Take any nonessential items out of your suitcase, which might include guidebooks (especially if you can download a travel guide), and remember to pack layerable clothing instead of separate outfits for each day. Sure, it might not seem like just a few articles of clothing can make a difference, but every little bit counts.

Walk More

Walking isn’t only good for your body, it’s also good for the environment. This mode of exploration is also the best way to discover things you might not have noticed, especially in new cities where you might want to take in your surroundings at a slower pace. If walking isn’t an option, public transportation produces less carbon emissions.

Purchase Eco-Friendlier Souvenirs

The things we bring home have an impact, too. Put money into the local economy by seeking out souvenirs from local artists and craftspeople instead of purchasing magnets and postcards that are likely imported from another country. Never purchase anything made out of a scarce natural resource, and if you think a flower or seashell is beautiful, take a picture of it. For example, in the picture above I was tempted to take home some black sand from a beach in Ecuador, but instead I’ll always have this picture. By focusing on memories instead of physical objects, you’ll leave feeling much better.

Do Your Homework

Before you go, do a little research about the environmental concerns of the location you’re visiting. In many places, water is a scarce environmental resource, and should be used sparingly (and we don’t just mean not always requesting clean towels in your hotel room). In other locations, recycling programs and even trash disposal are unavailable. If you do your homework before setting off, you’ll land with a greater understanding of the place you’re visiting, and hopefully that outlook will rub off on other travelers and locals.

[Photo by blogger Libby Zay]

Antarctica’s Tallest Peak Captured, North Pole Not So Much

Antarctica

Antarctica is our planet’s southernmost continent and home to the South Pole, permanent manned research stations, penguins and an occasional adventure cruise ship expedition. This time of year, a lot of attention traditionally goes to Earth’s North Pole, home of Santa and the gang. But NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory recently passed over Antarctica’s tallest peak, Mount Vinson, as we see in this photo.

On October 22, 2012, during a flight over the continent to measure changes in the massive ice sheet and sea ice, NASA captured this image as part of its ongoing program.NASA’s Airborne Science Program at the University of North Dakota manages operations of NASA’s DC-8 Airborne Science Laboratory aircraft, which collects data for the world’s scientific community. The DC-8 flies three primary missions: sensor development, satellite sensor verification and basic research studies of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere.

Operation IceBridge is a multi-year airborne campaign to watch changes in the Earth’s polar ice caps in both the Antarctic and Arctic. Mount Vinson is located in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica.

The North and South poles are the two points where the Earth’s axis of rotation intersects with its surface. While the South pole actually exists in a physical place on Antarctica, the North Pole is really in the middle of the Arctic Ocean in waters covered with sea ice almost year-round … except for around Christmas time when Santa, Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and elves are busy with the holidays.

NASA has tried repeatedly to photograph Santa’s home but cannot come up with more than an image of ice and snow.

“NASA’s Terra satellite was able to piece together a number of images it took to give us a complete look at the North Pole, which is usually very difficult to see by satellites, so Santa can keep his exact location secret,” says NASA captioning this Flickr photo.

[Photo Credit: NASA]

Orlando Braces For Decepticon Takeover, Wookiee May Intervene

Decepticons Orlando

Universal Studios Orlando announced Thursday a new ride based on the Transformers movies to open next summer. That’s big news for theme park fans around the world.

The new four-minute Transformers ride in Orlando will be entirely in the dark and use 3-D flight simulator technology, said to be the next generation of Spider man, much like Transformer rides already in motion at Universal Studios Hollywood and Singapore.

Continuing a move by theme parks to make rides more experiential, riders are recruited in waiting queue by the Transformers. Their job is to help keep the AllSpark energy source away from the Decepticons who will surely use it to take over Earth. Not everything goes well there though and a high-speed chase/battle to the death (of the Decepticons, not those on the ride) follow.

Perhaps bigger news comes from the magical world of Disney who agreed to buy Lucasfilm, heralding in a new era of Star Wars.

Three more Star Wars movies, the first to open in 2015, are in the works on top of the original films, which have earned $4.4 billion so far.

“I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime,” Lucasfilm founder George Lucas said in a statement reported by Travel Weekly.

It looks as if Star Wars will live on the silver screen and in theme parks too. Already a hit during Star Wars Weekends, Disney looks for more from the Star Wars franchise rolled into Disney products, including theme parks.


[Photo Credit: Flickr user Stephen Gardiner]