FAA Says Some Electronics Can Now Be Used Throughout Your Flight

Flickr/Jetstar

If you’re tired of shutting off your gadgets during take off and landing (or you’re one of those passengers who surreptitiously leaves them on) then get ready for some good news. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it is loosening restrictions on the use of electronics in-flight, meaning some devices can now be used the entire time you’re on the plane.

Under the changes, travelers will be able to use e-readers, play games, and watch videos on their portable devices throughout their journey. Bluetooth devices like wireless keyboards can also be used on flights. Cell phones will still face some restrictions, with passengers required to keep them in airplane mode. And as is currently the case, no phone calls will be allowed at any time onboard. The FAA says passengers may be asked to stow some heavier devices during takeoff and landing for safety reasons, but in general, the new rules reflect much more freedom for fliers.The FAA says it came to the decision after receiving input from pilots, electronics manufacturers, and passengers, and that the new rules balance safety with travelers’ increasing appetite to use electronics during flights.

The new rules won’t necessarily apply immediately, and exactly how they’ll be implemented will probably differ from one airline to the next. But the FAA believes most carriers will have the changes in place by the end of the year.

Geoguessr: The Internet’s Newest Educational Time Waster

Geoguessr
Where does this look like to you? I guessed central Mexico based on the Spanish signs and the mixture of dry soil and lush plants. Actually it’s Brazil. The next view I looked at showed the characteristic onion domes of a Russian Orthodox Church. I guessed Russia and was correct.

This is an addictive new online game called Geoguessr. It gives you random Google Street View images and you have to click on a world map to guess where they are. You’re awarded points based on how close you are.

It’s surprisingly addictive. My young son, already a fan of Google Maps and MarineTraffic.com, is becoming obsessed with it. So am I. The best way to wrack up points is to explore a little. Start heading down a foreign street, studying traffic signs, plants, and passersby. They’ll all give you clues as to where you are.

It’s also really difficult. I’ve mistaken Korean writing for Chinese, the Australian Outback for Nevada and New Zealand for Hawaii. No matter how well traveled you are, this game will trip you up and make you want to play again. So if your boss has stepped out of the office for a drink, click on Geoguessr and spend some time learning a bit about how the world looks.

Argentina’s National Pastime: Pato




While most people believe soccer to be Argentina‘s national pastime, I was surprised to learn from a local that it’s actually something with very unsavory beginnings. Pato, or duck, is a game that combines polo and basketball, and is the national sport of Argentina. To play, two teams of four on horseback fight for possession of a ball that is equipped with six leather handles. The object of the game is to fling the ball into a tall net, as the team with the most goals is the winner. So why is the game called duck? Because in the early days, gauchos used a live duck instead of a ball. Back then, the game was so intense that many players lost their lives not only by being trampled by the horses, but also by being stabbed in moments of passion.

For a better idea on how the game is played, check out the video above.

Ancient statue of decapitated ballplayer discovered in Mexico

Mexico archaeology archeology decapitatedOne of the most enduring puzzles vexing archaeologists is the Mesoamerican ballgame. Played for 3,000 years by several cultures until the Spanish conquest, it had deep religious significance, although archaeologists are unsure just what that means.

Two teams faced off in a rectangular stone ball court, trying to knock a solid rubber ball using everything except their hands. At the end one team (presumably the losers) were sacrificed to the gods. Why? Nobody is really sure.

Now a new piece has been added to the puzzle. Archaeologists working at the site of the ancient settlement of El Teúl in the Zacatecas region of central Mexico have uncovered the statue of a headless ballplayer. El Teúl was inhabited for 1,800 years, longer than any other major site in the area.

The statue was found in the remains of an ancient ball court. Archaeologists theorize the statue acted as a pedestal on which to put real heads. Give me that old-time religion!

No good photo is available at this time, although you can see a shot of it lying where it was found in this article. The new find looks very different from the famous stele of a decapitated ballplayer shown here from the Anthropology Museum of Xalapa, Mexico.

If you want to try to figure out just what all the ballplaying and beheading was about, you’ll have your chance in 2012 when El Teúl opens to the public. Mexico is filled with ancient sites, and history buffs will soon have another important one to visit.

[Photo courtesy Maurice Marcellin via Wikimedia Commons]

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Austin Mann @ the World Cup (part 2)

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 26 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Are you ready for some (ahem) football? In part two of travel photographer Austin Mann’s trip to the 2010 World Cup, we bring you a look at the intensity and passion of the world’s biggest sporting event.

Watch as Austin navigates his way through the games and experiences how far people will go to show their passion for soccer; including sleeping in tents, dressing in outlandish costumes, & of course mastering the vuvuzela.

If you missed part one of Austin’s World Cup series, check it out here, otherwise click on below for part two!

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

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Links
What are some of Austin’s essentials as a travel photographer?
Surefire G2 LED flashlight
Garmin 60CSX GPS
Pac-Safe lock
Canon 5D MKII & Canon 16-35 f/2.8 II
Gitzo 15141T Mountaineering Series Tripod


Host: Austin Mann
Edited by: Jordan Bellamy