Centre Pompidou-Metz Recreates Artistic Life Of World War I

In the first of a series of events to commemorate the upcoming centennial of World War I, the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France is hosting “1917,” an exhibition of artistic life during that bloody conflict.

While millions were dying on the battlefield, the arts were flourishing in Europe. Much of it was centered on, or a reaction to, the most terrible war the world had yet seen. A large portion of the exhibit is devoted to trench art made by soldiers at the front line. Some drew sketches of their lives; others did creative things with the detritus of war, like the goblets made from artillery shells shown here.

Works from artists on the home front are exhibited too. The star attraction is Pablo Picasso’s largest work, the giant painted theater curtain he made for Parade, a ballet directed by Serge Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes. This impressive work is more than 30 feet long and is rarely displayed due to its size.

In all, “1917” gives us a snapshot into a crucial year in the development of modern art. The show runs until September 24.

[Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Robots To Take On World Of Hotels (VIDEO)

The world of hotels may never be the same if iRobots has its way. Pilot programs in the target industries of health care, retail and building security are slated to start soon. Will a machine make our hotel bed in the future? What if I was asleep and it was time to change the bed? How might this affect me?

“So much of robotics has to do with physical motion –navigation around our environment and doing increasingly high-level tasks – it makes these two initial markets (of military and home cleaning) seem pedestrian versus the dream of what’s possible,” said CEO Colin Angle.

A Cnet reports introduces us to “Ava” which is iRobot’s three-wheeled pedestal-shaped robot that sports a tablet computer as “her” head. The plan is for Ava to help her parent company, which makes remote-controlled cyber-sneaky military drones, to move beyond that into something more helpful.

In tests, Ava was able to navigate the offices based on a map that it had generated in its “head.” Cnet asks, “Will we someday walk into our favorite hotel and find Ava the iRobot ready to escort us to our room – instead of a $30,000-a-year human?”


The report suggests that Ava the robot may be able to handle repetitive tasks that require specific knowledge to complete. Leading a Wal-Mart customer to the isle that has widgets could be done. Walking the kids home from school would be something to think about.

Controversy over Wal-mart on Civil War battlefield

A proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter on the site of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles is being challenged by local preservationists.

The case has gone into a new phase as a local court ruled that opponents to the Wal-Mart have the right to bring the company to trial, reports Civil War News.

When the Orange County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors approved the construction of a 138,000 square-foot Wal-mart Supercenter at the edge of the Wilderness Battlefield, part of a National Battlefield Park, two preservation groups and six local residents sued. They say that the location is too close to the battlefield and will ruin its atmosphere.

The Battle of the Wilderness on May 5-7, 1864 was a brutal slugfest between the armies of Grant and Lee that left tens of thousands of Americans dead or wounded. Many historians see the battle as the start of a long war of attrition that bled the Confederacy to death.

The Board of Supervisors challenged the opponents’ right to sue, but a court said that they do, indeed, have a vested interest in the area and may bring Wal-Mart to court. This will delay Wal-Mart’s final purchase of the land and application for building permits.

This case is similar to one concerning the Gettysburg casino, pitting historians and preservation groups against the interests of big business.

Wilderness battlefield photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Airport checkpoint nabs gang with 518 stolen Wal-Mart gift cards

To balance out some of the negative TSA checkpoint stories, I’m always happy when we stumble across some positive stories from the airport. In this story, TSA agents at Nashville airport noticed something strange in the luggage of a passenger, and got the local airport police involved.

Inside the suitcase was a stash of 518 Wal-mart gift cards. When police arrived at the checkpoint, six people were apprehended, but one of the gang members managed to escape and leave the airport. According to Nashville police, the gang used the Wal-Mart gift cards to act as “carriers” for stolen credit card information, and used the cards to purchase other gift cards. The total value of the stolen gift cards purchased could be well over $10,000.

The suspects have been charged with “conspiracy to commit fraudulent use of a credit card and conspiracy to commit identity theft”. Because of the extent of their crime, Nashville police are working with the United States Secret Service on the investigation.

It just goes to show how stupid some criminals are – despite managing to find stolen credit cards, and being “smart” enough to fly all over the country to commit their crime, they didn’t realize that the airport checkpoint agents may find their collection of gift cards a tad suspicious.

Check out these other great stories from AOL Travel

Sarah Palin and Hawaii don’t mix? About comfort zones vs going rogue

Here’s a tidbit about Sarah Palin that caught my attention. According to her dad, Palin left college in Hawaii because being around too many Asians made her feel uncomfortable. Interesting. Sarah Palin attributes her leaving the Aloha State after just one semester to too much sunshine for an 18 year-old—as in beaches and academics are not a great mix for an Alaskan gal. Read Palin’s book Going Rogue:An American Life and you’ll get Palin’s version.

Whether Palin found hitting the books in Hawaii too difficult– or the number of Asians there too disconcerting, either option brings up the topic of comfort zones travel and going rogue.

People like Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods and Bizarre World thrive on traveling outside of their comfort zones. To them, outside of the comfort zone is a comfort zone. A place where most people feel comfortable might cause them an unsettled feeling. Put a person like Zimmern in the middle of a Wal-mart in the U.S. and he or she might feel creeped out.

Places like a Disney theme park, McDonald’s, Las Vegas and some cruise ships have popular appeal because they have found the magic formula that fits the needs of the masses. They are comfort food with a dash of something that feels like excitement. At these places you know what to expect and can feel safe in the crowd.

How many people don’t travel outside of what they know because of the feeling of the unknown and the discomfort of sticking out in a crowd?

If Sarah Palin’s father is accurate in his assessment that her discomfort with being in the midst of too many Asians sent her to college in Idaho, I’d say Palin’s attitude takes her out of the rogue category and plops her into the main stream. It’s not a matter of being prejudiced either. It has to do with a tolerance for what is different. For some people it’s hard to feel comfortable in ones skin in an environment that is unfamiliar. Feeling comfortable takes time, practice and travel.

As anyone who has traveled extensively in other countries has discovered, travel helps stretch the skin. The more one travels past ones comfort zone, the more ones skin expands. What once felt disquieting feels as comfortable as a well worn shoe. The process of going from discomfort to comfort is one of the joys of travel. It’s one of the elements that pushes world travelers towards new horizons– to a state of going rogue.