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Now Car Renters Will Scan Your Face: Hertz Goes Biometric

By Zachary Laks

Posted on 12/11/2018, 2:00 PM

Calculating your forehead-to-eye ratio to expedite a car rental? Sure! Anything to help trim a few minutes off the arduous process of approving paperwork.  Hertz announced today its new partnership with CLEAR, the first in the car rental-industry to introduce biometric screening as part of the check-in process. Just how will it work? Similar to other systems seen recently in travel, such as ...

Historic Delta Queen to Resume Cruising U.S. Rivers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/07/2018, 4:00 PM

The Delta Queen riverboat will once again cruise American waterways.  A floating National Historic Landmark, the 1920s-era vessel has been docked in Chattanooga, Tennessee, since 2008 due to a law banning overnight cruises on wooden ships.  But a bipartisan measure exempting the Delta Queen from that prohibition was approved by Congress, clearing the way for multiday excursions aboard the histor...

Meet UNESCO's New Cultural Heritage Inductees: Reggae, French Perfume, and More

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/05/2018, 12:00 AM

Reggae music from Jamaica, the Irish sport of hurling, Polish Nativity scenes, Korean wrestling, and about three dozen more arts, crafts, folk dances, foods, and festivals are the latest global traditions added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (Pity the arts and tourism officials currently trying to squeeze that mouthful into quick after-dinner speec...

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Is Leaning Less

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/29/2018, 12:00 AM

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is standing a little straighter these days.  Engineers say that the tilt of the Italian icon has reduced by about 4cm (1.6 in.), according to news reports. More significantly, the international group that monitors the tower has deemed it stable, safe, and unlikely to topple over.  For these developments we can thank a restoration process begun in the 1990s, when safety...

Underground Luxury Hotel Opens in a Quarry

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/28/2018, 3:00 PM

Bringing new meaning to the term "money pit," the recently opened, mostly subterranean InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a ritzy, multimillion-dollar resort with 16 of its 18 floors built into the side of a quarry southwest of Shanghai. The hotel has 336 rooms, the majority of which are located below ground level, stretching to a depth of 88 meters (289 ft.) in China's Sheshan Mountain Range...

Smoke on a Carnival Cruise and You Could Get Kicked Off the Ship

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/27/2018, 12:00 AM

Carnival Cruise Line is getting stricter with passengers who light up at sea.  The company has updated its tobacco and marijuana smoking policy to include the possibility of removal from the ship for guests caught smoking in staterooms, suites, or on cabin balconies.  Any other passengers staying in the offender's room will have to leave, too, and nobody will get refunds for unused cruise fare. ...

New Rules in Rome Target Rowdy, Boozy Tourists

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/19/2018, 5:30 PM

Italy has just about had it with your nonsense. Straining under the burden of accommodating endless hordes of tourists and their accompanying noise, litter, rowdiness, and traffic gridlock, the country's most popular cities are rolling out strict behavioral regulations—with hefty fines—aimed at keeping visitors under control. Florence recently banned eating in the streets. Venice has outlawed ev...

In Japan You Can Build Your Own Kit Kat Now

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/13/2018, 12:00 AM

Like compact cars and the band Cheap Trick, Kit Kat candy bars weren't born in Japan, but they sure went big there.  The chocolate-covered wafers (a U.K. creation currently owned worldwide by Nestlé) are among Japan's best-selling sweets and they have appeared in hundreds of flavors, including strawberry cheesecake, green tea, purple sweet potato, wasabi, and sake.  The country's latest innovati...

American Airlines Will Allow Early Boarding for Flyers with Nut Allergies

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/08/2018, 12:00 AM

As if determined to undo their decades of peanut pushing, U.S. airlines continue to make concessions to passengers with nut allergies.  Hardly any carriers serve those snacks on flights anymore—not even Southwest Airlines, which had once made its peanuts a core part of the company's brand identity. Now, American Airlines is going a step further for allergy sufferers.  Starting December 12, they'...

World's Tallest Statue Unveiled in India

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/06/2018, 10:00 PM

The average height of adult males in India is 5 feet, 5 inches (165cm). Throw in men made of bronze, and that figure might jump up a few notches, at least as of last week.  That's when Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped dedicate the country's new Statue of Unity, a monumental likeness of Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that stands at the incredible height of 597 feet (182m)—...

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