Video: How To Make Crop Circles

Spring has sprung, crops are growing, and it’s time once again for everyone’s favorite landscape art – crop circles!

The year is already starting off well with some lovely examples in England, Italy and other countries. Numbers will increase in the summer as crops grow and provide a better palette. Crop Circle Connector keeps a running tally so you can see what’s up in the world of cereology, the study of, well, you know.

Now before anyone starts filling the comments section with wild-eyed tales of UFOs and Earth energies, let me rain on your parade by saying that crop circles were debunked a long time ago. The Circlemakers group has taken credit for many of them and they have even posted a beginner’s guide to making crop circles. There are also plenty of how-to videos, like this one commissioned by a British tabloid. It will show you, step-by-step, how to annoy farmers and entrance crystal-clutching New Agers.

This video was made way back in 2001, yet still there are superstitious dupes paranormal investigators who insist that while many are faked, some crop circles “cannot be explained.” As I noted in an earlier post, that’s like saying that while we have documentation for the construction of most medieval cathedrals, there are no blueprints or payrolls for other cathedrals and therefore they must have been made by aliens.

But who cares? Crop circles are beautiful and fun. It raises awareness of the natural landscape. Even better, the crops can still be harvested. No wheat was harmed in the making of this video. Now get out there and start circling!

Bonus daily gear deal: Dell Streak 5 Android tablet – unlocked and contract free for $199.99

As part of our never ending search for the best gear deals, we’ve come across a fantastic bargain on the Dell Streak 5″ Android tablet with unlocked 3G. This 16GB tablet PC runs Android Froyo and comes with 3G support for AT&T and most global 3G operators (but not T-Mobile USA).

Yesterday, the tablet retailed for $579.99, but just dropped to an insane $199.99 with free express shipping. This price will get you the Streak with no contract requirements, so you can use it with your current SIM card or on any WiFi network.

The product page is here – which is where you’ll find more information on this marvelous little tablet and its available accessories.

Update: Looks like Dell pulled the deal. If you got in on time, congrats!

[Via: Fatwallet]

The Gadling gift guide for the lightweight traveler

Traveling light is a challenge – I’ll admit that it is the kind of challenge I usually avoid, but with rising luggage costs and more exotic destinations, people are starting to pack as lightly as possible.

In this list, you’ll find a couple of gifts that can reduce your luggage load, and help make your trip more enjoyable.

Of course, every lightweight and “one bag” traveler has different needs, so if you have a great tip for a lightweight travel item, let us know and leave a comment below!

Don’t forget to check out our other gift guides:

Gift guide for the iPod and iPhone

Gift guide for famlily travel and kids
The top ten travel products of 2009

Joey Totes

Earlier this year, I took a look at the Joey Totes – and was really impressed at how convenient they are. Joey Totes are bags made from parachute style nylon, that can fold into themselves, AND each other. End result is a 4 ounce pouch of three super strong waterproof bags. They are perfect for carrying up to 40 lbs in excess stuff, or as a backup if your main luggage abandons you.

Price: $20 for three bags
Product page: Joey Totes

Eagle Creek HC2 Hovercraft Upright 22″

Before you bombard me with complaints about lightweight travelers and rolling luggage – I know that hardcore one-bag lightweight travelers hate rolling bags – but there are still plenty of us that are always on the lookout for the newest piece of luggage that won’t add to your overall weight.

The Eagle Creek HC2 Hovercraft is such a bag. At just three kilos (just over 6 lbs), it is the first ultra-light bag I’ve seen that does not make all kinds of compromises. It has a massive front pocket large enough for a laptop, it expands, it features a side-mounted water bottle pocket, inner compression straps and handles on the top and side. In every possible way, this is a normal rugged rolling suitcase, just a very light one.

To make a great bag even better, the HC 2 Hovercraft comes with a “no matter what” lifetime warranty.

Price: $250
Product page: Eagle Creek HC2 Hovercraft upright

SCOTTEVEST Pack Windbreaker

SCOTTEVEST has long been a personal favorite, and not just because the owner shares my first name. SCOTTEVEST products are the ultimate travel garment, something fellow Gadling Blogger Annie recently discovered.

Imagine a windbreaker with 17 pockets and an interlinked cable routing system. Now imagine that same windbreaker turning into a travel pillow, all by folding it into itself and closing a zipper on the back. With all those pockets, you can indeed turn your jacket into your third carry-on bag, without the airline even noticing.

Price: $75
Product page: SCOTTEVEST Pack Windbreaker

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 with GPS

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell any lightweight travelers about the advantages of a netbook. But I’ll explain it anyway – lightweight, decent power and great battery life all make the netbook a travelers best friend. And the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 with GPS adds one more great feature for travelers – GPS. The GPS receiver is an optional extra on the Mini 10, and the option comes complete with a full navigation package. Of course, with a machine equipped with GPS, you can also do other neat tricks, like photo geotagging and Twitter location updates.

The GPS chip inside the Mini 10 is actually a tad smarter than many other receivers, because it takes advantage of WiFi signals in addition to regular GPS satellites. Of course, the

Price: From $299 + $70 option for GPS
Product page: Dell Inspiron Mini 10

Humangear GoToob travel bottles

Back in July we took a closer look at the GoToob lineup of silicone bottles. These things are ideal for the few remaining toiletries you still want to carry, plus they are the right size for the TSA. The larger of the bottles comes with an integrated suction cup, making them ideal for holding shampoo, and sticking to the shower wall.

Price: from $6 each
Product page: Humangear GoToob

Patagonia Men’s Capilene® 2 Crew

I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to travel – for example, I’ll never go anywhere that requires large amounts of thermal underwear. That said, several of my fellow Gadling team members swear by the Patagonia Capilene Baselayer. This is an extremely lightweight garment, but provides excellent insulation and built in odor control.

Price: $40
Product page: Patagonia

Dell introduces “Dell Wireless 700” location aware option for the Mini 10

Standing out in the busy netbook world is a tough call. Some companies focus only on design, others have started offering their machines with integrated 3G. Dell has done all of the above, and today they are the first to add location based services to their Mini 10.

The $69 add-on is a hybrid WiFi/GPS Mini PCI-E card/software package, and combines location based information using the Skyhook positioning system and A-GPS (when a signal can be acquired).

The package includes CoPilot for Windows, which means the Mini 10 can be turned into a full turn-by-turn navigation system, offering 2D and 3D maps.

In addition to navigation assistance, the Dell package also provides location aware information through Internet Explorer and Firefox using the Loki browser plugin. This finally brings location based information to the desktop, and allows you to access store finders and share location information on social networks.

We’ll try and dig up some more information about this new product later today, as it is obviously a fantastic add-on for travelers. The best part of this add-on? It only costs $69 – which is about the same price as a stand alone GPS receiver for your laptop.

Daily deal – Dell Inspiron Mini 9 for $249

Hear that noise? It’s Dell telling every other Netbook maker that “this means war.

The Inspiron Mini 9 launched several months ago for a little under $350, and just dropped to the silly low price of $249.

Of course, with a price this low there are bound to be a couple of trade-offs.

For starters, you don’t get Windows XP. You’ll have to get used to Ubuntu Linux, which is fine if you just need a basic machine for web and email work.

Also, the machine only comes with 512MB of memory and a weak 4GB of storage space – once again, fine for basic stuff, but close to useless if you want to load movies and music for your next trip.

Still, you get WiFi and a fairly decent 4 cell battery and at just 2.8lbs, it could be your next best travel companion.

You’ll find the Inspiron Mini 9 at the Dell web site, where you’ll also find the other models in the lineup, including machines with Windows XP and of course their 3G enabled version.