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Daily Transporter: Chilean Mummy

cowgirl in the atacama desert

Last week, a group of Chilean school kids on a field trip uncovered a Chinchorro mummy that may predate Egyptian mummies by 4,000 years. The students were digging near the border with Peru, in an area that had experienced a landslide in April.

See Chile in World’s Coolest Hot Springs

Editor’s Picks: Chile
World’s Prettiest Mountain Towns
Most Romantic Hotel Fireplaces
World’s Strangest Statues

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnycGet the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: hajarali

Daily Transporter: Game-Changing Ferris Wheels

aerial shot of ferris wheel

Attractions like the London Eye and this Ferris wheel on Chicago’s Navy Pier have been luring tourists downtown; now, cities like NYC, Orlando, and Dubai are climbing on board. Las Vegas adds its own spin to the phenomenon: you can get married on the new 500-foot High Roller.

See the High Roller in 25 Selfies You Have to Take This Year

Editor’s Picks: Great City Trips
World’s Coolest Ferris Wheels
World’s Coolest New Tourist Attractions
World’s Coolest Tram Rides

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: French Trains Too Fat?

paris museum

Sleek regional trains ordered by the French government are not quite sleek enough: 1,300 train platforms will have to be slimmed down to allow the wider trains. (The Gare d'Orsay, now the Musée d’Orsay, closed in 1939 when its short platforms didn’t match the length of the newer electric trains.)

See the Musée d’Orsay in World’s Most Beautiful Museums

Editor’s Picks: Paris
World’s Most Amazing Views
World’s Coolest Hotel Bathrooms
Best Instagram Photos of 2013

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Video: Watch Lightning Strike London's The Shard



London's the Shard—Europe's tallest buiding and home to the newest Shangri-La hotel—made headlines last week when it was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm on Thursday. The video above has since gone viral, with nearly 1 million views.

For those of you concerned about safety, a hotel employee assures me that no guests or staff members reported feeling or hearing the strike.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

 

A Weekend Trip Around the World

Around the world in a weekend—why not? UK-based Austravel is offering package tours that leave London on Friday, take you to Australia, and have you back for work in London by Tuesday morning.

Mesmerizing Map Makes it Easy To Follow Whales

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It may be the tail end of whale watching-season in Hawaii, but with the new interactive map that tracks their migration, you can follow your favorites all year long.

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For more than 20 years, Cascadia Research has been compiling whale data that has, unfortunately, remained inaccessible to the public. Thanks to Scot McQueen at the startup Earth Science-software development team, Smartmine, this rich mine of information can now be tapped. 

“What you see right now,” McQueen says of the interactive map—a hypnotic swirl of ocean and wind currents undulating across the Pacific and speckled with pods of migrating whales—“is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Soon, McQueen and his team of developers hope to incorporate all of Cascadia’s data, giving the map a global spread and providing users new ways to identify with the data.

Instead of an abstract pin, the Smartmine Whale Tracking Map will provide visitors with the actual photographs of each individual whale. “It’s the idea that this is a unique animal—not just data—and you can have a deeper connection with it.”

In addition to Hawaii’s hallmark humpback whales, you can track the migrations of pigmy killer whales around Oahu, sperm whales, beaked whales, and false killer whales as they converge at the tip of Kapaau.

When asked about the potential threat this data could cause to the whales’ safety (noting the recent reports of poachers tracking endangered rhinos with geotagged safari photos in South Africa) McQueen assured us that the Whale Tracker has the animals’ best interests at heart.

“There’s absolutely no live data,” McQueen said. While whale enthusiasts can’t rely on the map for an accurate sighting, the delay in transmission keeps the whales from being harassed.

Ultimately, McQueen and his team are driven by the desire to bridge the enormous gap between the scientific and general communities, and to cultivate the shared desire to explore our planet. 

Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites. 

Photo courtesy of GeoEngineers

 

Airbnb's Agreement with New York Attorney General

201405-hd-airbnbjpgAirbnb announced this week that it reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General, after the state office issued a second subpoena demanding data on thousands of Airbnb hosts.

In this latest update to the long saga of New York State vs. Airbnb, the short-term apartment rental website will hand over anonymized data of its hosts, giving the Attorney General's Office one year to review the information.

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Steve Nash Heads to the World Cup with Bespoke Travel Company Beck & Score

steve_nashjpgThe new bespoke travel company Beck & Score—which counts NBA all-star Steve Nash as a partner—is making it possible to travel to this summer’s World Cup in class. Created with the well-heeled sports lover in mind, it offers VIP packages to Brazil that start at $8,000 per person, including tickets to games, stays at stylish properties such as Hotel Fasano, transportation, dinner reservations, and even face time with Nash and pro surfer Garrett McNamara.

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Berkshire Hathaway Launches Affordable, Fixed-Rate Travel Insurance

201405-hd-berkshire-hathaway-aircare-logojpgBerkshire Hathaway is shaking up the travel insurance industry with the launch of AirCare, which offers an inexpensive, fixed-rate plan covering delays, tarmac waits, missed connections, and lost or delayed luggage. But more than its $25 price, the latest from Warren Buffett’s corporation stands out because it streamlines the biggest insurance headache of all: filing claims.

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The World’s Tallest Water Slide Opens May 23

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If you’re afraid of heights, you might want to skip your next visit to the Schlitterbarn Water Park in Kansas City, where the world’s tallest waterslide is set to open Memorial Day weekend.

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