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Hong Kong Trend Report: Down on the Urban Farm

HK Farm

Out of all the places to have a farming renaissance, who would guess uber-urban Hong Kong? But it’s true: concerns about food safety in China coupled with a rising interest in the provenance and quality of ingredients has sparked action. HK Farm is a 4,000-square-foot rooftop farm in industrial Ngau Tau Kok started by a group of artists and designers, with plans to expand. Zen Organic is a former pig farm that a pair of siblings inherited and turned into one of the city’s most sought-after sources of produce. Down with pollution and in with the greens! 

Photo by Glenn Eugen Ellingsen / HK Farm

Hotel Trend: Chic Custom Bicycles

custom bicycle rentals

Hotels are giving loaner bikes a stylish spin. At Shutters on the Beach, in Santa Monica, California, custom bike rentals include bright-green wheels designed by Kate Spade. In New York, the Mark lends chic black-and-white cycles adorned with bells and (for a fee) a Jean-Georges Vongerichten–catered picnic basket.

Photo by David Alexander Arnold

Tech Thursday: Gadgets to Keep You Running...Literally

Last night, thousands of people, myself included, gathered in NYC’s Central Park for the annual midyear Corporate Challenge, a 5k race through the park that welcomes runners, joggers, and walkers—with corporate sponsors—to participate. It was fun to join a bunch of my coworkers in a fun activity outside the office; it also reminded me that I wanted to share a handful of my favorite runner-friendly gadgets that can help you both monitor and improve your abilities.

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ZocDoc: Cyrus Massoumi's Doctor-Locating App

Cyrus Massoumi

ZocDoc lets you enter a zip code to instantly find local medical professionals who take your insurance—plus you can view their immediate availability in the event of an emergency. You can also read user reviews and book appointments online, 24/7. So far, 15 U.S. cities are on board, with plans to roll out across the nation over the next 12–18 months.

Photo courtesy of ZocDoc

Sea Sick: T+L Takes on the Norovirus

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When passengers aboard the Crown Princess were struck with norovirus for two sailings in a row, Princess Cruises brought the ship back to port two days early for extensive sanitation.
 
Two ships from other companies also have been hit with norovirus in recent weeks in well publicized incidents, leading to the impression that norovirus is a "cruise ship'' disease. It's not, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which says that 1 in every 15 Americans will contract norovirus this  year.
 
My own too-close encounter with the gastrointestinal virus is a case in point. It arrived courtesy of a conference in a hotel in a major U.S. city.

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The Runner's Tour: Sightseeing Stride-by-Stride

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One side effect of having a partner who is training for the New York City Marathon (Go, Bob, go!) is that it has upped my own mileage as well. I tell myself, if he is out on an 18-miler, I can certainly pound out eight. This increase in my own distance has had another unexpected and pleasant side effect: On my last trip to London, wanting to keep up my running schedule, I found myself out running around in new areas of the city I’d never seen—I was sightseeing by accident.

Stride-by-stride is such an enjoyable way to take in a new city. I suddenly wanted to run everywhere! Wouldn’t it be great to run over the Golden Gate Bridge, or through tulip fields, or by the Pyramids? During sunset on the Côte d’Azur, in cherry-blossom season in Japan, along the coast in Perth?

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TODAY Show: The Results Are In - America's Favorite Cities Survey

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Which U.S. city is the cleanest? The most affordable? Best for hotels? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares the results from our popular annual survey—America's Favorite Cities. For complete results—in 50 categories, go here.

Q&A: Celebrity Fitness Instructor Kristin McGee

Kristin McGee

The first time I took globetrotting fitness guru Kristin McGee’s Pilates class at the SoHo Equinox, I was instantly a fan. Then I found out she was the instructor in Bethenny Frankel’s first yoga DVD, Body by Bethenny. She is highly sought after in New York City, with clients like Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, and his wife Christine Taylor. Kristin has made numerous TV and magazine appearances, blogs daily on her own site, and has led fitness retreats in Sicily, Cartagena, Marrakesh and St. Petersburg. No wonder she wakes up at 5 a.m. to fit it all in!

We met for a glass of wine, talked great hotels and healthy food choices on the road, and planned a double date with our significant others.

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Radiation-Free Full-Body Scanners

BBC Travel's Passport Blog |  As controversy simmers surrounding the levels of radiation used in full body scanners, a small company based in the United Kingdom has developed a machine that emits no radiation at all.

Last year, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began installing two types of full body scanners at airport security checkpoints across the country. L3’s Provision millimetre wave scanners beam radio waves through clothing to detect potentially dangerous objects hidden by terrorists. Rapiscan backscatter scanners use low-dose x-rays to do the same.

While both companies and the TSA say the radiation emitted by these machines is at safe levels, the scientific community has not reached a strong consensus either way....

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Heat Wave Fosters Toxic Algae in Touristy Lakes

Associated Press |  A prolonged heat wave in the central U.S. has fostered the growth of a dangerous form of algae in lakes and ponds, threatening swimmers and livestock and scaring away tourists during the busy summer season.

Blue-green algae are actually bacteria that produce toxins harmful to humans and livestock. It flourishes in warm, stagnant, sunlit water, and this year's heat wave combined with Oklahoma's worst drought since the Dust Bowl have created what one water official called a "perfect storm" for its growth.

Officials have issued a series of warnings, telling boaters and swimmers at lakes in northeast Oklahoma, southern Kansas and Nebraska to avoid contact with the toxic gunk. The issue attracted national attention earlier this month when Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe blamed a respiratory illness on a swim in Grand Lake in Ketchum Hollow.

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