AAA Says Labor Day Weekend Travel Will Be Highest In Five Years

A report by the American Automobile Association shows a bright spot in the nation’s economic news.

The AAA predicts that 34.1 million people are planning to take a trip of more than 50 miles from home this Labor Day weekend, up from 32.7 million last year and the highest in five years.

The rise is due to increased consumer confidence, with one poll saying it’s at a six-year high. A slight dip in fuel prices may also be a contributing factor.

The AAA says the average trip will cover 594 miles and travelers will spend $804.

Are you planning on going anywhere this Labor Day weekend? Are you feeling more or less confident about the economy and is this affecting your travel plans? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Mediocre Accommodations Even Make Snakes Feel Uncomfortable

There’s nothing worse than a night in a bad motel. A creaky bed, the stale scent of cigarettes and scratchy sheets will make anyone cringe. The only thing worse? Being stuck in a motel room in a plastic storage container, like the 40 pythons that were found by Canadian authorities last week in a motel in Brantford, a city about 60 miles outsides of Toronto.

The snakes, ranging from 1 foot to 4 1/2 feet in length, after having been improperly stored in plastic bins were in distress when found. Who wouldn’t be?

Of course it’s not the first time that animals and travel have intersected in weird ways. Customs agents are known for coming across situations like snakes and geckos strapped to a passenger, and it’s not unheard of that people smuggle animals on planes, sometimes even odd animal combinations like parrots and squirrels.

According to the motel, the snakes belonged to a couple that had checked into a room for the night but had left when the police arrived. You aren’t allowed to own pythons in the city of Brantford, much less take them to a motel for the evening. They probably would have preferred five stars.

Architectural firm called “Al Qaeda lovers” over new project’s resemblance to New York City’s Twin Towers under attack

MVRDV, an architectural firm located in Rotterdam, Netherlands, has recently become the target of an outraged public. The company’s new luxury highrise project in Seoul, South Korea, called “The Cloud”, is being said to resemble New York City’s Twin Towers during the tragic 9/11 attacks. Not only have many of the media outlets and public turned against the company, but they are receiving threatening letters and are being called “Al Qaeda lovers”, among other names.

On the MVRDV Facebook page, the company has issued an explanation and apology to the public:

“MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention. The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.”

On a their Facebook page under the photo shown here, the debate has gotten heated, with over 600 comments and over 100 shares. While some feel strongly that the design is beautiful and a common design framework there are others who are arguing that it is ugly, disgraceful, and that the architects weren’t thinking (along with an overwhelming amount of obcenities and name-calling). What are your thoughts?

Airport advertising reaches new heights, literally

Literally everywhere you look, from the media to public transportation to city sidewalks, you will find companies heavily advertising. Apparently, no place is safe from billboards, not even air traffic control towers.

Yes, you read that right. In Medford, Oregon, Jaunted reports that the city council has just approved 25×25 foot signs that will be added to every side of the air traffic control tower. The tower itself is about 100 feet tall, so the enormous ads should be quite a sight to see. But, I guess that’s the point.

The reasoning behind this new advertising plan is to raise enough money to counteract some airport costs, for example, landing fees, that could help make the airport more desirable to new airlines and flight routes. Right now, officials are projecting that the ads will bring in an extra $3,000 per month.

While the Medford, Oregon, airport is the only one that we’ve heard of implementing this new advertising plan, we’re wondering if this will become the norm at airports. Of course, making extra money is nice. However, it would be nice if some structures retained their actual purpose, like keeping passengers safe, instead of becoming gigantic advertisements.

What are your thoughts on this new form of advertising?

UK strike slows down ports and airports

UK airports and ports are experiencing delays as many customs and immigration officials are on a one-day strike.

The UK Border Agency is one of several UK public sector unions on strike over plans to change pensions, a move they say will have employees working longer, paying more into the system, and getting less out of it when they retire.

Some Border Agency workers started early, at 6pm yesterday, and most airports and ports are reporting some delays. These delays aren’t as bad as were expected, however, because qualified managers have stepped in to fulfill the absent workers’ duties and not all workers are on strike. Still, if you’re flying into the UK today, don’t expect to be relaxing in your hotel an hour after you land.

Passengers leaving the UK will not be affected because they don’t go through customs. Airport security workers are not on strike.

Other government facilities such as schools, courts, and offices are also closed or giving limited service.

[Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]