3 Airports That Give Free Tours During Your Layover

One of the worst parts of any airline trip is a lengthy layover during your flight. Your time may be spent browsing the internet, trying to catch a nap on uncomfortable seats or window shopping the same stores over and over again. Although airports try to provide diversions like movies, arcades and sports bars, six hours can be hard to take. Happily, there are some airports that offer free tours lasting from a few hours to as much as six hours that you can take at no cost while you wait for your flight.

There are many options to take guided tours or tour on your own to see the sights. Because you are considered an “in transit passenger” you will not need a visa to take these tours. Here are three cities that allow for a quick getaway before your flight.

Salt Lake City International Airport

If you have a few hours, you can take a shuttle from the airport to Temple Square, Utah’s most popular tourist destination. It is located right in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City and the tour is free. The site is replete with historic structures for those history buffs. At Christmas, the lights are stunning and said to be the best on the West Coast. From one of the many rooftop restaurants you can get spectacular views of the city while you dine on local fare.

Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan

Choose a self-guided tour or hire a local tour guide to point out the sights of the city. There is the famed Narita-san Shin shoji Temple or the wonderful cherry blossom gardens for a stroll. Sample the local cuisine or visit an iconic Japanese shrine. One of the scheduled tours takes visitors to the Museum of Aeronautical Science. For a self-guided shopping tour a shuttle bus can take you to Shusui Premium Outlets or AEON Mall Narita.

Ataturk Airport Istanbul,Turkey

If you have a 6 hour layover and are a passenger on Turkish Airlines, you can see Istanbul on one of five tours offered daily. A shorter tour of 2-1/2 hours is also available. Stops include The Grand Bazaar, the world’s biggest and oldest covered market, Hagia Sophia for a view of Byzantine architecture, the Walls of Constantine and of course shopping. Depending on the time of your tour, you may also be treated to free lunch or dinner.

Artificial Intelligence in Civil Engineering

AI in CE

Civil engineering is a field that has been around for years, and will continue to be a central part of society for years to come. The construction industry as a whole is vital to the function of cities around the world, and must be constantly adapting in order to maintain its structure, both literally and figuratively.

Advancements in engineering technology throughout time have allowed those working in the field to stay on top of the ever changing world. For example, the development of tools dating back to the Stone Age has stood the test of time, including hammers, axes, sickles for harvesting, and drills. Techniques, designs, and the materials used have changed time and time again, and are continuing to do so. This brings forth the idea of incorporating one of the most groundbreaking forms of technology today in civil engineering, which is artificial intelligence.

Many people seem to agree that the next industrial revolution is nearing with how rapidly technology is advancing, and how much leaders in the field of engineering have been striving to create new ways of completing tasks much more simply. The introduction of artificial intelligence in civil engineering could allow the most commonly used, and most effective machines to think on their own.

The requirement of big data can be made much simpler with artificial intelligence. Civil engineering has become an industry full of smoothly run computers, but AI would be able to self-diagnose, learn, and multitask with the help of manmade framework through these computers. Experienced practitioners would not have to tap into their mathematical skills nearly as much with machines in place capable of doing their jobs for them. Cutting the time required in half, AI would be able to solve the world’s most complex problems with the intelligence of the field’s most skilled professionals.

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Charities That Promote Clean Water

Gathering water puts a burden on many poor families in developing countries. Often people have to travel for hours just to get water. Sometimes this task falls to the children. In recognition of the global water crisis, the United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day. Here are some charitable organizations whose mission is to bring clean water to underserved communities throughout the world.

Charity: Water is a ten year old New York based charity that has helped to fund 20,000 water projects in over 20 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. 100% of public donations go directly to clean water projects including wells and water filtration systems. The charity uses social media platforms to bring attention to the global issue of water.

MIYA focuses on reducing non-revenue water (NRW) or fresh water that is lost from the distribution system before it reaches the consumer. These municipalities suffer a loss of millions of cubic meters of clean water every day. MIYA also promotes community awareness about water preservation. In addition to delivering more clean water, cities save energy and get lower costs for water. The program currently operates in the Philippines, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and the Bahamas.

WaterisLife cites its mission as bringing clean water to needy populations through short and long term solutions. The organization developed a water filtration system call The Straw. When this device is immersed in a water source, water borne bacteria is removed with each sip. The device lasts up to one year. In terms of long range goals, the program promotes sanitation, hygiene and education about how diseases are spread. Countries served by WaterisLife are Haiti, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of South America.

PureMadi is non-profit organization composed of faculty and students from the University of Virginia. Working with the University of Venda in South Africa, the team produces ceramic water filters using local materials to efficiently purify water. They also created MadiDrop—a simple water purification tablet that can disinfect water for up to six months.

Water.org is an organization co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White. The organization provides information about good hygiene and basic sanitation to local communities in developing countries. They also work to secure safe water by building wells. Donors to the charity can track progress by using  GPS coordinates. The co-founders also created WaterCredit, a nonprofit which connects micro-financiers with individuals and communities who use small loans to build wells and toilets.

Toronto Travel Guide

In Canada’s province of Ontario lies the country’s biggest city, and Ontario’s capital; Toronto. If you’re planning on traveling in the near future and don’t mind colder temperatures, this city is perfect for groups and families of all sizes. Though Canada may not be the first country to come to mind when thinking of vacation spots, Toronto hosts a buzzing entertainment district, and attractions everyone can enjoy. Below are just a few of the city’s best offerings.

The CN Tower

Perhaps Toronto’s most famous landmark, it would be hard to miss this building, standing at an impressive height of 553 meters. After its completion in 1976, it briefly held the title of tallest freestanding structure in the world, though that record was broken long ago. For a truly breathtaking view, the CN tower allows you to ride the Sky Pod, which reaches 447 meters off the ground. From here, so long as the weather permits, views allow you to see as far as Niagara Falls and parts of New York.

For thrillseekers, the CN Tower offers what is called the “Edge Walk,” a hands-free trek around the structure’s main pod 116 stories above the ground. It is also worth noting that the ledge you walk across is only 5 feet in diameter, so if an adrenaline rush is what you’re looking for, this is the attraction for you.

Toronto Islands

Just a short ferry ride outside the city lies these beautiful islands that permits kayaking, sailing, swimming, and hiking around the perimeter. Marinas lining the coasts bring a touch of class as well, attracting everything from yachts to fishing boats, while the Centreville Amusement Park provides entertainment for the kids. During the summer, the islands host numerous open-air events like aerial acrobatics and airshows.

Distillery District

Once a historic area of brick victorian buildings serving as a whiskey distillery turned a scenic downtown shopping area, the Toronto Distillery District has boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants of all kinds. Restored nearly 10 years ago, developers managed to combine the beautiful aesthetics of the industrial revolution with modern architecture and eco-friendly technology. Additionally, the district hosts a variety of performing arts schools and venues for those interested.

Niagara Falls

Of course Niagara Falls was going to make the list of best tourist attractions in Toronto, though it isn’t technically in the city. However, a little over an hour ride in a cab or Uber will bring you to one of the world’s most famous waterfalls. Once you’ve reached your destination, it is highly recommended that you hop aboard the Maid of the Mist. This boat ride allows you to get up close and personal with the falls, without putting yourself in danger.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

In the heart of the Toronto Entertainment District sits this newly established aquarium that features a moving walkway through an underwater tunnel, surrounded by a huge variety of sharks and other fish. As if it weren’t already extremely kid-friendly, the aquarium hosts sleepovers for children of all ages along with any parents interested in joining.

How You Can Help Local Wildlife

eirik-olsen-67776There are a large number of species currently considered endangered at the moment, and a fair amount on the brink of extinction. From elephants, to gorillas, to the black rhinoceros, all of these animals need our help if they are to survive, and hopefully, reproduce enough to become self-sustaining once again.

While journeying to the country of origin of the animal that you wish to help can be a truly rewarding experience, it can be difficult, and expensive. Rather, there are a number of simple strategies you can implement to do your part right at home.

Educate yourself

Learn about any endangered species in your area, and promote that education throughout your community. The more friends and family members know about the dire situation these species face, the more likely they are to do their parts. Understand how this wildlife plays a part in your community rather than just the anesthetic reasons. Plants and animals alike often play great roles in their local areas including the control of other population sizes, clean air and water, and commercial benefits.

Modify your home

Many wild animals are attracted to houses in their communities due to easily controllable factors. To prevent them from developing a dependency on human resources and becoming comfortable around humans in general, properly secure any garbage cans you have, feed pets indoors, and avoid feeding any yourself. The reason being, wild animals that regularly visit residential neighborhoods looking for food can pose as dangerous, increase their chance of being hit by cars, and may also begin to starve without the help of human-produced food.

Another great way to help out your local wildlife (birds specifically) is to place decals on your windows. An astonishing 988 million birds die every year due to window collisions, simply by misjudging the distance or not seeing the glass at all. By placing decals or stickers on a window that clearly indicate its distance, you can prevent this number from rising.

Be eco-friendly

Regular maintenance on your home garden and yard can help it maintain its visual appeal, but using herbicides and pesticides are hazardous on many levels. Beginning at one of the smallest levels of the food chain, insects and rodents that may eat these poisoned plants can lead to poisoning their predators i.e. foxes, hawks, owls, etc. The effects are damaging and long lasting. Instead, try attracting native bees and butterflies to pollinate your plants and flowers. By doing so, local plants will flourish, and invasive species are not introduced, which cause increased levels of competition for resources, promoting the extinction of native wildlife.

Drive slowly
A simple but effective strategy; slowing down when driving in wooded areas or communities in general allows you prepare for any sudden animal running across the street. Many species live in developed areas that introduced roads and neighborhoods right in the middle of their homes. This forces them to navigate a hazardous terrain on a daily basis. By driving slowly, you allow both yourself and the local animals to go about their ways safely.

Barcelona’s Best Market Restaurants

Barcelona is a city unlike any other. There’s beautiful architecture across the city and the food you find there is delicious. The city possesses a rich history and a wonderful local culture, which you’ll certainly want to experience if you travel there. A large part of the culture of Barcelona is their markets, which feature local food and enchanting places to eat. Visitors have the opportunity to purchase goods and food local to the area and can also sample some unique and incredible dishes.

Mercat de Santa Caterina, La Ribera, Ciutat Vella

This market is a favorite of the locals, so you’ll be able to get a real feel for what Barcelona is like if you visit Santa Caterina. Since it was originally opened, Santa Caterina has gone through some remodeling. In 2005, the market got a new multi-colored roof that fits in with Barcelona’s attempt to modernize its markets for the 21st century. There are many stalls you can stop at, but the main attractions are the produce, fish, and meat stands. There are also various restaurant stalls you can stop and get food at, such as Cuines Santa Caterina and Bar Joan.

Mercat de Sants, Sants

This stunning brick building opened a little over a hundred years ago after it was designed by Pere Falqués. You’ll want to take the time to truly appreciate the architecture of this market before you make your way inside. Inside the market is Montero, where visitors can take menjars casolans (homemade meals) home or stay and eat the meals at one of the tables located in the market.

Mercat de Sant Antoni, Sant Antoni

This market underwent an extensive renovation, but will be open once again come 2018. While you may not be able to walk around the classic marketplace of Sant Antoni, the market has been set up nearby so merchants can keep their stalls open while the original building is being remodeled. You can browse the food and clothes or wait until Sunday to look through the many books the marketplace features. Whenever you go, take time to stop at Rekons, which has a terrace where you can enjoy your empanadas.

Mercat de la Llibertat, Gràcia

Located in a nice section of town and out of the way of the usual tourists, la Llibertat is a wonderful market for you to explore. In this section of the city, you’ll find great restaurants and shops, outside of the market itself. While this market has been renovated over the years, the outside retains its original style and lacks the modern touches that many of the more popular markets have been given. The restaurant to check out at this market is El Tast de Joan Noi. It’s unassuming, but its chef used to work at one of Barcelona’s best seafood restaurants.

How to Safely Travel with Your Pets

For avid travelers who happen to also be pet owners, a common problem faced is what to do with your furry family members while you are on the road. Many tend to seek kennels for their pets to stay in during their time away, but for others, bringing them along for the journey is crucial. If bringing your dog, cat, rabbit, or any pet with you for your traveling excursions is a must, take the following considerations into account to guarantee they are properly taken care of during such times.

Know Before You Go

The most obvious consideration beforehand is making sure your pet is allowed into the country you’ve chosen to travel to. Many countries require strict screenings for pets visiting from foreign countries, including vaccinations, behavioral tests, and sometimes microchips; a surgically implanted device to monitor your pet’s location at all times, which should be done well before planning to travel. The consulates of each country all have the information needed to ensure you meet their requirements, and more information can be found at the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Be Mindful When Flying

If your travel plans involve flying, your pet’s well being is crucial, ensuring his or her safety and comfort. After choosing an airline, check their pet policies beforehand. Some may allow smaller cats and dogs in the cabin of the plane, while others require that you have them stored below the cabin. If your pet must be below cabin, it is vital that you consider the temperatures during your time of travel. The summer and winter months will yield extremely hazardous temperatures to pets in an uncontrolled environment.

Some airlines have pet health requirements that should be considered as well. Visiting a veterinarian before your trip will not only give you a certificate to ensure your pet’s health upon arriving, but let you know whether or not your pet is healthy enough to travel in the first place. If you have sick, ill tempered, or physical impaired pet in any way, it may be wise to either leave them with a friend, or postpone the trip entirely.

Another thing worth noting is the fact that certain breeds of dogs should never be brought on planes. Pugs, Pekingese, Chows, and other short-snouted breeds already have limited breathing passages, and are therefore more prone to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke at higher altitudes.

Choose the Right Rental

Assuming most hotels do not allow pets, when searching for a home or apartment to rent, make sure the environment of such places is suitable for your pet’s size, habits, and overall personality. For example, if you have dogs that tend to be skittish around other people, it would be best to avoid staying in a city or heavily populated area. If they enjoy swimming or hiking, search for cabins near mountains or lakes to give them the times of their lives.

An important thing to keep in mind when choosing where to stay in your vacation destination is the area’s rules for pet waste. Picking up after your pet has done his or her business is not only considerate, but respectful of the country in which you are visiting. Always bring the necessary items in order to properly clean up after your pets.

The Best Non-Profits for Poverty

Poverty alleviation is among the most popular causes in charity today. As of 2015, 43.1 million people were in poverty, 24.4 million of which were between the ages of 18 and 64. Even worse, an astounding 14.5 million members of that grim statistic were children under the age of 18. Now in the year 2017, poverty is still a serious issue. However, there are an enormous number of organizations doing their part to end it altogether. Below are just a few non-profits that have made an impact not in just in the United States, but around the world as well.

Mercy Corps

This organization strives to alleviate poverty, suffering, and oppression in countries around the world by helping people build communities rather than simply handing them food or clothing. Mercy Corps does their part amid natural disasters, extreme poverty, and communities that may suffer from instability in order to motivate those who have the capability of overcoming these hardships. Working in more than 35 countries, Mercy Corps has raised $1.5 billion for 106 nations since 1979.

Feeding America

As the United States’ largest hunger-relief charity, Feeding America is responsible for providing food for more than 25 million Americans every year. They have over 200 food banks serving all 50 states, in addition to providing both the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Kiva

Taking a different approach to charity, Kiva attempts to connect people through lending in order to end poverty in areas affected. This is the first person-to-person microlending site, and as such, have paved the way for innovation in philanthropy by empowering people to donate directly to individual entrepreneurs in developing countries.

The Hunger Project

Committed to ending world hunger, The Hunger Project is based in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where programs are taught (primarily to women) on how to empower yourself as well as others. The ultimate goal is to establish self-reliance. People who are able to meet their own basic needs, teach their children how to do the same, and improve upon this foundation are much more likely to end poverty in their country of origin than large sums of food being sent over from other nations.

Meals on Wheels Association of America

One of the more popular food-based non-profits in the United States, the Meals on Wheels Association of America is dedicated to serving senior citizens and people with disabilities who may be unable to obtain food themselves, while also building relationships between their clients and volunteers. With each meal costing roughly $6, the organization relies heavily on donations.

With that said, to do your part in any of these great non-profits fighting poverty, visit the links below, and give what you can.

Mercy Corps

Feeding America

Kiva

The Hunger Project

Meals on Wheels

How to Support Local Businesses

Small Business Week was first introduced by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Since then, every single president has given their signature recognizing the decree. Communities depend on their local businesses to thrive and build their reputations, and in turn, grow their economies. Because of this, choosing family-owned restaurants, small clothing stores, and independent workers of all kinds is key in not only helping your community, but supporting those driven enough to do what they love and give back.

Buy from local grocers

Having to buy groceries every week can be tedious and time consuming for many people, so why not support the local farmers and grocers who provide these goods directly? By putting your money towards these hardworking business owners, you are effectively putting that money back into the community. As an added bonus, the foods you purchase at local grocers may be surprisingly more delicious than you’d expect.

Dine locally

If you’re looking to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner out on the town, consider your community’s family-owned restaurants rather than large chains. The quality of the food tends to be much better, the atmosphere is more accommodating, and the service is greatly improved due to a higher level of appreciation for patronage. Local restaurants depend almost solely on members of their community to stay afloat. Though tourists may come and go, the business of those who do not actually live within a reasonable distance cannot be relied upon for smaller restaurants. Do your part within your community and grab a bite at local restaurants.

Spread the word

There is perhaps no better way to support your local businesses than by telling anyone and everyone about them. Now with the powers of social media, this strategy has been made easier than ever. Visit the Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, and much more of any business that has such, and share it with your friends. The internet allows the possibility for these businesses’ names to reach far and wide, leading to a potential increase in traffic, or even sales.

Another, more important way of spreading the word is passing on the values of supporting local businesses to younger generations. This can continue to the success of your community’s small businesses, as well as spark a potential entrepreneur to start a small business of their own.
Local businesses should be greatly appreciated by those within their communities as means of keeping them thriving, relevant, and unique. For people who wish to contribute, this year’s Small Business Week begins April 30th, and lasts until May 6th.

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5 of the World’s Greatest Structural Feats

Innovations in structural engineering have led to unbelievable buildings, highways, canals, and even islands throughout time. With the constant need for bettering means of transportation, housing, and construction, it’s no wonder this field has developed countless breakthroughs. Below are just a few of many of the world’s greatest accomplishments in structure, varying in use.

Palm Islands, Dubai

Just off the coast of the United Arab Emirates lies three incredible man-made islands which form a palm tree surrounded by a crescent. Built with 5.5 million cubic meters of rock and 94 million cubic meters of sand, this tourist destination ordered by the Prince of Dubai is home to residential properties, beaches, and many other forms of entertainment. Construction began in June of 2001, and the Palm Islands have since become one of the many marvels the world has to offer.

Hoover Dam

Rising 221 meters above the Colorado River, this dam has created the largest man-made lake in the Western Hemisphere, known as Lake Mead. At its strongest points, the Hoover Dam is 210 meters thick with concrete. Since it is a “gravity dam,” its foundations rely entirely on gravity to keep it from collapsing.

International Space Station

With a final bill of $100 million in its construction, The International Space Station required the work of 100,000 people from 15 different countries, and demands maintenance year round. After its first component was launched in 1998, additions to the ISS have now made it visible from Earth with the naked eye. Being located 220 miles above the earth’s surface however, makes this structure particularly difficult to build and repair.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, Canada

Providing one of the most scenic routes available through Canada’s coastal mountains, this railroad was built during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890’s, and was completed in just over two years. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this structural feat is the continued use of vintage cars, with the oldest dating back to 1881.

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Japan

Built over the course of 10 years, this 1,991-meter-long structure is the longest suspension bridge in the world, connecting the city of Kobe with Awaji Island. It took the efforts of 2 million workers to complete the bridge beginning in 1988, and cost 500 billion Yen. Before its construction, the only means of transportation between Kobe and Awaji Island was by ferry through the Akashi Strait, which was prone to severe weather. After the sinking of two ferries in 1955 from such weather, killing 168 people, public outrage was met with the blueprints for this monstrous bridge. Finally completed in 1998, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is now used by approximately 23,000 cars per day.