29 September 2011

The Weirdest Island in the World - Socotra

The most popular tourist destination in Yemen is also one of the most isolated islands in archipelagos in the world. The Socotra Archipelago is a group of islands that are part of Yemen although it’s a lot closer to Somalia in the Indian Ocean. Even though Socotra is an archipelago, the largest island represents more than 90% of the archipelago’s landmass.
The popularity of Socotra is not based on the fact that it’s a very isolated island in the Indian Ocean. Because the islands are far from the mainland, the flora, fauna and animals that live in Socotra are often endemic. It is estimated that one-third of the island is endemic which means more than 30% of the plants and animals that live on the island are only found there.

The Dragon’s Blood and Other Plants
The most popular and unique tree found in Socotra Island is the “Dragon’s Blood”. It looks like a giant mushroom or an umbrella-like tree. The tree is named after its red sap and was believed to be dragon’s blood. It’s currently used as paint or even varnish because of its color. Another unique tree is the Giant Succulent Tree, Cucumber Tree and Socotra Pomegranate.
Endemic Animals
The only mammal that calls Socotra Island its home is a bat. The island is full of unique looking birds and many of them are already endangered because their population is really small in relation to the island. The sparrows and warblers in the island are unique species endemic only to Socotra.

21 September 2011

UK Airport to Test Lie Detector

Lie detectors are used to determine if theperson’s statement is true. It’s an intricate device that monitors heart rateand other reactions to the questions and the statements they make. Althoughit’s not a strong proof that a person actually tells the truth, it is used inseveral events.

UKairports will now implement the same technology to beef up security. The uniquefeature of the lie detector in the airport is its ability to tell if a personis lying without extra gadgets or wires attached to the airline passenger. Thistype of lie detector was developed at the University at Bradford.The device was designed by Hasan Ugail, a professor of visual computing fromthe same university.

The method of determining if the personactually lies through the device is through thermal imaging. The lie detectorcan detect subtle changes in the facial expression and heat coming from theperson’s body. The information coming from the thermal scanner is then fed tothe database which will determine if the person is actually lying.

Testing the device in UK airports can be quite tricky especially when the public knows where the device is installed.For this reason, the authorities did not disclose the actual location where thedevice is currently in use. Some say that it may cause some privacy concernssince it can reveal more than it should especially with the use of thermaldetectors. No one knows where the detector is installed and a passenger couldbe scanned right now without being aware of the process.

02 September 2011

Russia builds a Space Hotel

In the future, vacation ideas will include a weekend in space. A company based in Russia named “Commercial Space Station” is currently developing a hotel in space which will allow tourists to go on a hotel-like experience outside the earth’s atmosphere. The company is aiming for its first launch in 2016.

The hotel in space will be orbiting the earth just like the ISS (International Space Station). It will fly 217 miles up which should be more than enough for guests to take a good glimpse of the earth and beyond. The company estimates that the route of the Commercial Space Station will practically follow the current ISS plan.

While enjoying space flight and travel, guests of the Commercial Space Station should be able to enjoy regular amenities just like any hotel on land. The only difference is that no alcoholic drinks will be allowed. The unique feature of the hotel is there is a choice of horizontal or vertical positioning of beds. The hotel will have four cabins and up to seven passengers can be on board.

To get to the hotel in space, tourists will have to board the Soyuz Rocket. This part of travel alone could mean an adventure of a lifetime as it tries to fly regular passengers into space.

Travel cost per passenger will be $410,000 and the hotel will cost a reported $165,000 per night. Although this sounds very expensive, it’s actually one of the most affordable space-based vacation options currently under development. Many have doubts about the cost especially with inflation but the Russian company is confident with its plans and pricing.