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A new island is being planned off the Dutch coast which will be in the shape of a tulip. I guess they could have plumped for a giant windmill or a huge bottle of Heineken, but a tulip is still undeniably Dutch.
What's next? A giant kangaroo off the coast of Aussie's Great Barrier Reef, or a yellow taxi with room for tens of thousands of passengers flagged down in the Hudson River?
Thanks to Marshall Astor on Flickr for the pic.
Truth be told I'm actually happier at the movies or my favourite microbrew emporium, but with attractions like Auckland's newly opened Skywalk it's easy to understand any misconceptions.
In New Zealand's biggest city you can already climb the harbour bridge (and bungy off it if you're so inclined) and leap in a controlled fall from the 192 metre tall Sky Tower.
Now the Sky Tower is offering the chance to walk around its summit on a 1.2 metre wide walkway. Of course it's safe as houses with more harnesses than a bondage convention, but the idea of wandering around in the open being battered by Auckland's maritime breezes gives me the willies.
Mind you, I also write a regular column on Auckland urban adventures for a local magazine, so I'm just waitiing on a call from my editor to make the highrise journey myself.
Thanks to Skywalk for the pic.
Probably more than one if we're talking about the the new energy efficient bulbs being installed on the Brooklyn Bridge. It's estimated that the new bulbs will save a whopping 24 tons of greenhouse gases per year.
Not to be outdone, the Rockerfeller Center Christmas tree this year will be illuminated with30,000 sparkling LEDs (that's Light Emitting Diodes if you were away from school that day...).
This is all worhy stuff, but I hope it doesn't lead to a general decline of glamourous lights in Gotham. Forget the great works of art and literarure. I seriously reckon that a zenith of our species' time so far on this terrestrial rock is the Manhattan skyline after dark.
It's been quite the week for animal stories on Gadling. I posted about Japan's pet rental agencies and the opportunity to adopt a Tasmanian Devil, and Iva joined in with her story on adopting animals through the World Wildlife Fund.
Here's the latest (and hopefully the last I hear some of you sigh...) cutesy animal story - for this week at least.
In Japan, (of course...), Tokyo's Cafe Cat Calico has a whole team of friendly moggies in residence just waiting to be petted and cuddled by worn out workers on their way home. For 800 yen (around $7) an hour, customers can spend quality time with their favourite feline. Weekends are busiet with up to 150 pet-friendly punters streaming in per day to have a cuddle with a cat.
After that many strangers wandering through, I reckon more than a few of the cats must look forward to closing time.
If anyone was to give out gongs for the world's coolest animal, I reckon the Tasmanian Devil would be near the top of the list. Not only does it have a Looney Tunes character named after it, if you see one in real life they're like little, furry rocket ships, charging about with an anarchic gleam in their eyes.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that a facial cancer is rapidly accelerating the Tassie Devil towards extinction in the wild, and some estimates give the species only another 5 years. Since Devil Facial Tumour Disease was discovered in 1996, the population has dropped from 140,000 to around 80,000 and it's estimated the existing population decreases by 50% each year.
Up to now funding research and running captive breeding programmes has been the domain of private organisations, and through the Devils in Danger Foundation you can Adopt a Devil for $50.
Now the new Australian government has pledged $10 Million to fund research into the disease that's threatening to wipe out one of the world's most iconic animals.
Yep, that's a pretty bold headline, but that's what a recent list published by www.askmen.com is promising. Here's the top five from the list and I've added a few more I reckon are pretty special.
Askmen's Top Five
Here's AskBrett's Alternative Top Five (OK, it's a few of my favourite spots)
Let us know what, where and when I've overlooked...
Celebrity TV chefs are all the rage, but I reckon I've found the next big foodie star way down in Tasmania. Forget Mr Angry Gordon Ramsay or uber-Cockney Jamie Oliver. The next big star shoud be Craig Williams, a former butcher who now runs Pepperbush Adventures in Tasmania. Craig's preferred culinary gig is Aussie bush tucker and a few hours bouncing around by 4WD in the north Tasmanian bush with him is more fun (and tastier) than anything I've done in a while.
Craig's a big fan of using natural ingredients from the Tasmanian bush, but too modest by half. His describes his steamed Tasmanian trout with sassafrass, lemon myrtle leaves and pepper berries as "Dead Fish With Leaves", but it's way more subtle and delicate than that.
Mind you, dining outside around an open fire as you wait for wallabies to start bouncing around at dusk would make any meal pretty special I guess.
If you sign up for a morning's mountain biking on a South Seas island, the last thing you expect is a rogue snowfall, right? Well if you're on Australia's southernmost (and only island) state you'd better be ready to literally experience four seasons in one day. Especially if you journey to the summit of Mt Wellington, huddled above the Tasmanian capital of Hobart in spring.
A few weeks back we left downtown Hobart - well worth a look with its collection of raffish harbourside pubs and a great weekend market - in complete sunshine . By the time we'd reached the 1270m summit of Mt Wellington there was a full on snowstorm - probably the first and last time I'll experience snow in the Land of Oz.
Fifteen minutes later the clouds had parted and Hobart was before us in sunshine. And half an hour later - after a few semi-technical offroad stages - the rain and wind had come rolling back in.
But when a bike ride finishes up at one of the world's most picturesque old breweries, changeable weather is the last thing you really care about.
Thanks to to Island Cycle Tours for the pic.
European low-cost airline Ryanair has a pretty good reputation for being friendly and laidback, but the inflight latitude doesn't stretch to allowing a metre-long fluffy (and inanimate) crocodile to sit beside the emergency exit door. A passenger on a recent flight from Rome to Milan was asked to leave the flight when her plush reptilian pal became the subject of a heated debate between her and the flight crew.
In other crocodile-related world news, a crocodile which escaped from a circus in the Ukraine was finally captured after six months on the run.
There's no truth to the rumour he was on his way to the Ryanair counter at Kiev airport.
Thanks to KnifeJuggler on Flickr for the pic.
* Actual crocodile may differ from one shown.
Being a pet lover and a frequent traveller can sometimes be pretty challenging. Personal experience has shown that a well-adjusted Siamese cat can sometimes turn into a ratbag when left with a newbie house-sitter (that'll teach me for naming the cat Havoc in the first place....).
If you're living in Japan, help is at hand in the form of pet rental companies. Yep, if you (or your landlord...) doesn't approve of you having a regular four-legged and furry companion, companies like Zoo Japan and Janet Village will let you share in the joys of pet ownership for periods as short as an hour. It's not just cats and dogs either. Six hours with a hamster will set you pack 1000 yen (around US$9 ) while a sojourn with a spider monkey goes for 100,000 yen (around $US900).
There's no word if you really form a bond with your new non-human buddy if the companies also offer a rent to buy scheme.
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