Wednesday, May 16, 2018
MAY 16 LIST OF CELEBS EXPECTED AT HARRY & MEGHAN'S WEDDING
OMG! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding is just three days away! As your trusted news source for all things royal (remember our three-part series on William & Kate's wedding?), we here at the DUNER BLOG got you covered. One of the unique aspects of the upcoming spectacle involves Meghan's celeb status. So we thought we'd list the confirmed stars for Saturday's nuptials.
THE CAST OF SUITS. They've spent eight long seasons together filming the popular TV drama together. This means the actors themselves (Gina Torres, Rich Hoffman, Patrick J. Adams, Sarah Rafferty and Gabriel Macht) have all become friends too. It's that sweet? In today's cut-throat world, it's reassuring to know that real-world friendships do exist. Another example: Captain Stubing, Doc and Isaac from The Love Boat still golf together. Awww..
PRIYANKA CHOPRA. Okay, this friendship makes a little more sense. Priyanka and Meghan have a lot more in common. Both are gorgeous TV stars on popular shows. These two met at the ELLE Women In Television event in 2016. It seems Meghan really likes attending feel-good, corporate sponsored events.
GEORGE & AMAL CLOONEY. Prior to meeting the Hollywood heartthrob, Amal Alamuddin was known as a famed international barrister for international rights cases. She even represented Julian Assange in a deportation case. Naturally, this put her in the same circles as Prince Harry...internationally known do-gooders tend to hang out together.
Friday, May 11, 2018
For many travelers, a trip to the tropics isn't complete until you snorkel in a coral reef. For example: You can't possibly go to Honolulu without diving into spectacular Hanauma Bay. Likewise, Cancun's top attraction is swimming next to the world's second largest coral reef. Sadly, if want to snorkel around these fantastic living creatures, you'd better hurry. Many reefs are struggling to live in polluted oceans. In fact, last year scientists declared The Great Barrier Reef officially dead.
How does the biggest living creature on earth suddenly die? You can see The Great Barrier Reef from space! Well, although coral is sharp (and cuts through your foot like a knife through butter) in actuality, it is a sensitive creature. A slight change in ocean temperature or acidity is toxic for coral health. "We didn't expect to see this level of destruction of the Great Barrier Reef for another 30 years," exclaimed Terry Hughes, a director at Cook University in Queensland.
Uh-oh! We can hear our ocean-loving but pale-skinned readers starting to panic. "How can I possibly swim in the tropics without sunscreen!?" Fortunately, not all sunscreens contain BP-3. There are plenty of other brands that are coral-safe. They employ other chemicals to protect your skin. The problem is that zinc and titanium oxides leave a white layer on your skin. You know, like a lifeguard's nose! While these brands aren't popular anymore, a Life Science biologist reminds us: "It's worth looking a little goofy to save the reefs."
We here at the DUNER BLOG salute Hawaii for the preemptive legislation. Fortunately, Coppertone Sunscreen lobbyists do not exist so the bill was passed without interference. Unfortunately, the law won't take effect until January First, 2021...so there still are politics involved. Also unclear is how to enforce such an ordinance. Bikini inspections? Despite these issues, the Aloha State is sending a loud message to the rest of the tropical world: Action is needed to save one of earth's most majestic natural treasures.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Once found in every strip mall in the nation, the travel agency is now on the endangered business list. Hit hard by the advent of online airline ticketing, these days a travel agent is about as common as a DVD player. Yet this doesn't mean they aren't still needed. See, everyday, Geography-challenged consumers purchase airline tickets to the wrong destination. Here are four such stories:
San Jose, California / San Jose, Costa Rica. Four thousand miles separate the Latin American capital from the American tech capital. When Spanish colonists named two cities after Saint John, they thought this was far enough apart. Not anymore! Let's see: Both cities have large populations, big airports and similar codes: SJO & SJC. Callie Zucker thought she had clicked on the correct one when she bought tickets online. When the flight home from Italy landed in the tropics, she realized her mistake.
Granada, Spain / Grenada, West Indies. Although not commonly confused, Travel & Leisure covered a humorous tale about this item recently. It involves Lameda Kingdon from the UK. She proudly booked herself a getaway to sunny Granada. She boarded a flight that she thought was going to Spain. After a gin & tonic, she naturally chatted up the passenger seated next to her. "She corrected my pronunciation," explains Kingdon. "No, dear. They call it Gren-a-da." Lameda had never even heard of the place she was flying to.
So...remember readers...always triple-check those online airfares. Happy travels!
Friday, April 27, 2018
Last Friday, discos and clubs worldwide mourned the sudden passing of their beloved DJ Avicii. The accomplished Swede (real name: Tim Bergling) was found dead from apparent suicide in a hotel room in Muscat, Oman. At first, the DUNER BLOG planned to write about his many contributions to EDM (Electronic Dance Music). Next, we thought about covering the curse of being a Ralph Lauren model. However, the overwhelming question from staff members was: What was Avicii doing in Oman?
Sadly, a decade of the fast-life spent in fluorescent strobe lights began to take its toll on Avicii. Friends, like Sultan Al Nahyan of the U.A.E., suggested he relax in nearby Oman. He did and the DJ fell in love with Muscat...and for good reason. See, a hundred years ago, Dubai was a sleepy fishing village. But Muscat has 4,000 years of history. Ancient Greek geographer Pliny the Elder was the first to describe the city's stunning harbor, surrounded by majestic cliffs. The seaport's strategic location meant it was part of Persian, Abbasid and Portuguese empires. The latter built two towering forts in the 1500's, which are Muscat's top tourist attractions today.
While Dubai has encouraged growth...it boasts the tallest building in the world...Muscat has taken the opposite approach. Sultan Qaboos has banned any structure over seven stories to keep the Old Town's architecture intact. The result is a hidden gem for savvy travelers, like Avicii, who come to relax, unwind and meditate. He will be missed. For those of who don't follow EDM, have Pandora play 'Levels.' He mixes in Etta James and the results are truly mesmerizing.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
The NBA post-season is underway! Sixteen teams are all aggressively striving for the championship. For those of you who are just tuning in, you might have noticed something different about the NBA this season: For the first time ever, there are advertisements sewn into the players' jerseys. Called 'sponsor patches,' they are small...just 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches...and only visible on TV. Each team selects their own sponsor. Some teams choose wisely...other teams, not so much. Here's a quick rundown of some notable ones.
Friday, April 13, 2018
The most disturbing news story of the week is not what you think! No, it's not an inflammatory Trump Tweet. Nor is it another NBA player found cheating on his pregnant wife. It has nothing to do with Facebook. Nope, this week's truly terrifying item comes from a beach in Spain. A dead Sperm whale washed ashore. While this happens all the time, this time things were different. See, the enormous mammal did not die from natural causes. It died from the 40 pounds of plastic found in his stomach.
Sadly, dead sea creatures washing ashore with bellies full of colorful plastic is becoming commonplace worldwide. The largest problem is the Pacific Plastic Patch. While it sounds pretty, it is truly the opposite. Simply put, it is an enormous section of the North Pacific where waste collects. Why does this happen? Well, ocean currents are circular. So this means the center (gyre) of a current's massive circle receives little movement. Over the last fifty years, floating debris has accumulated. Hence, the name Garbage Patch.
There's lots of fishing nets and waste from the 2011 tsunami in Japan, but most of the trash in the garbage patch is plastic. The difference between plastic and this other waste is simple. Other debris will eventually deteriorate, but indestructible plastic is stuck in the ocean forever. Well...actually, scientists speculate that plastic will eventually disintegrate in 500 years. So we'll just have to wait until the year 2518 to know for sure! It's clear: The real problem with the GPGP is delicious, brightly colored micro-plastics which whales just love to eat.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
APR 5 TIGER & ELEPHANT ATTACKS ON THE RISE IN INDIA
Surprise! The toughest guy in the world isn't a GUY! Nope, it's 23 year-old Rapali Meshram. She lives on the edge of jungle in the Indian state of Maharashtra. One night, she heard her favorite goat scream in pain. She rushed outside to discover a massive tiger, crouched and ready to pounce. Did she run back inside and lock the door? Not the world's toughest guy! Instead, she grabbed a stick and tried to protect her goat. Details of the fight are sketchy, but we know that her mom dragged her back inside. Before heading to hospital, she took a selfie.
While this story of misplaced bravery makes for fun copy, the truth is Rapali is one of the lucky ones. Since 2014, one person a day in India dies from a tiger or elephant attack. Do the math: That's 1,144 people getting mauled or trampled to death in the last three years. Most deaths happen in a similar manner: A rancher or farmer attempting to protect their property. While it may seem extreme, remember: The goat, cattle or fruit tree is the person's lifeline, so it truly is a "life or death" matter.
The current problem began forty years ago, when the Indian government implemented the conservation act. Large swaths of sought-after lands were parceled off for nature reserves. At the time, there was enough land for every man and beast. Nowadays, new human settlements are seen as economic development, even if they are on the edge of a nature reserve. Belinda Wright of a Wildlife Protection Society agrees. "The shrinking of good quality habitats is an absolutely critical concern for the future of India's iconic animals."