Jeremy Kressmann is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. His recent trips include a visit to South Africa and a five month journey through Southeast Asia in 2010. He once tried Haggis and thought it was delicious.
If you've ever visited one of the more technologically advanced Asian metropolises like Tokyo or Hong Kong, you're probably already familiar with the easy-to-use technology called RFID. It works like this - instead of paying cash for a bus or subway fare, you hold up a simple plastic card (or a chip embedded in your cellphone) to the ticket gate, and voila! You've paid and gotten on your way without pulling a dime out of your wallet.
Wouldn't it be great if that same technology worked back in the USA, dear reader? Well, now you too can embed an RFID reader inside your fancy iPhone, thanks to a little creative hacking and a DIY company called Adafruit Industries. Using a relatively inexpensive tool kit sold by the company, they've put together the nifty video above showing how to install your very own RFID card for use with your iPhone. Not all cities have RFID payment systems, but an increasing number of American cities accept it on their mass transit systems. Care to give it a try? Check out the video above for a tutorial.
Humans aren't the only ones that need to clean up. As we see in today's shot by Flickr user ladyexpat, even elephants like to have a scrub now and then. It's a great candid shot of not just the elephants in action, but also the handlers, as they casually chat while standing on the animals' backs.
Taken any great elephant photos during your own travels? Or any other animal for that matter? Why not add it to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
Phew! There are few views more rewarding than the ones that have been earned after a long run, hike or bike ride. It's exactly what this group of mountain bikers, captured in today's photo by Flickr user Kumukulanui, must be thinking right now. Taken right at sunset, the silhouetted poses of the exhausted riders create a striking visual against the fading orange and yellow glow of the sky.
Taken any great photos during your travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
There are few visuals more familiar to the Southeast Asian traveler than a line of brightly robed monks passing down a local street. This particular monk image comes to us from the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya at the Wat Niwet Thammaprawat courtesy of Flickr user Mark Fischer. I love the bright saffron/orange color of the robes and the repeated pattern of the line of men as they stroll purposefully by.
Taken any great travel photos of your own? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
Just last month, Gadling took you on a journey inside the world of urban exploration, bringing you on a behind-the-scenes look at the urban explorers who are inventing new ways of visiting the areas under, above and inside the cities we traverse every day. Today, we've got another intriguing look at the urban exploring phenomenon to share with you, courtesy of the short film series above called "Undercity: Las Vegas."
Part of an interesting collaboration with shoe company Palladium, the film series follows the exploits of urban historian Steve Duncan, profiled in Gadling's recent feature, along with director Andrew Wonder, as they investigate the subterranean water tunnels and unfinished construction sites that comprise the lesser-known side of this urban neon mecca of gambling and nightlife. In this particular clip, Duncan manages to sneak inside the as yet unfinished Fontainebleu Resort Las Vegas, climbing nearly 60 floors to take in an eye-popping view of the early Vegas dawn.
Though the trespassing on the construction site is clearly illegal, it's an intriguing look inside the urban underbelly that few Las Vegas visitors ever see. Those interested in seeing the full film can head over to Palladium's video hub to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this ongoing series.
There's something so mundane yet fascinating about neon road signage. The services advertised are simple: a clean bed, a comforting meal or a quirky roadside attraction. Yet visually, these neon wonders never fail to grab drivers' (or photographers') attention. Today's photo by Flickr user JasonBechtel is case in point. The brilliant pinks, blues and greens combined with the unique typeface are both eye-catching a familiar: like an old friend from the road welcoming you back into town.
Taken any great photos of neon signs during your travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
Flickr user BaboMike was on top of Singapore'sMarina Gardens complex recently when he looked down and spotted this recent graduate, complete with ceremonial gown, pointing his camera back up at him. It's the perfect "Rear Window" moment – who's really photographing who here???
New Yorker Steve Duncan was so desperate to pass his college math class, he crawled through a tunnel to finish it. A computer assignment was due the next day and the software to finish was inside a building closed for the night. In a moment of desperation, Steve came up with a crazy plan: he could sneak inside. Having heard from a classmate about a collection of well-known tunnels connecting the university's buildings, he resolved to convince the friend to guide him. After escorting Steve to the tunnel entrance, the friend offered vague directions, wished him luck and promptly left. As Steve recalls:
"He took off in the other direction and ... here I was absolutely alone – it was terrifying and eye-opening, because every building on campus was connected by these tunnels. I passed the math class, but what always stuck with me was that first moment of being alone in the dark and being absolutely terrified but realizing that if I could face that, I had access to every part of the campus."
Duncan had educational goals in mind when he entered the underground tunnels that night, but his experience kick-started an interest in an activity he continues to practice to this day: urban exploration.
Urban explorers seek to investigate the centuries of infrastructure created (and sometimes abandoned) by modern civilization: disused factories, historic bridges and unknown tunnels entered using legal, and sometimes illegal, means. The reason they do it is not as easily defined. Urban explorers come from a range of backgrounds, ranging from urban planners to historians to preservationists to architecture lovers, photographers and just plain old thrill-seekers all of whom are often lumped together under the banner of this general term. Just in New York alone, there's the founders of the website Atlas Obscura, Nick Carr from Scouting New York and Kevin Walsh from Forgotten New York, along with countless others living around the world. These individuals, taken together, are less a community than a loose network of individuals united by a common love: re-discovering and investigating the forgotten and sometimes misunderstood detritus of modern day urban civilization
Yet the popularity of urban exploration confronts an interesting dilemma facing many 21st Century travelers: now that so much of what we seek to "discover" has been Google mapped, investigated and written about ad nauseum, how is our relationship with the concept of exploration evolving? And what does it tell us about the future of travel?
Today's photo, by Flickr user Rob_Sanderson, is of one of the more (in)famous tourist landmarks in Paris: the Moulin Rouge. I love the long shutter exposure of Rob's shot, which brings out the warm neon's fiery reds, twinkling street lamplights and a whirling blur from of the club's iconic windmill. The image gives off a feeling of wonderful nighttime energy and hijinks to come.
It's rare to get up close and personal with an elusive animal like the white tiger, so I was intrigued when I saw today's photo choice by Flickr user toffiloff. Taken at Bali's Safari and Marine Park, the shot captures this magnificent cat as it appears to stare at its own reflection in a mirror. I love the fearsome growl, the piercing blue eyes and the interesting perspective from behind. Hopefully our photographer was not inside the animal enclosure to take this neat shot!
Have any great wildlife shots from your travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.