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CityCenter Las Vegas time lapse video

After more than three years of construction, and an estimated $8.5-billion budget, CityCenter -- Las Vegas's newest money pit -- opened for business yesterday. Three years isn't that long, really, when you consider the size of the Strip's largest project to date. At nearly 17-million square feet spread across 76 acres, this city-within-a-city boasts thousands upon thousands of rooms spread across nearly a half-dozen hotels, multiple casinos, countless restaurants, entertainment and retail districts, residential condos, and the Strip's first grocery store.

And now you can watch it all come together in the Las Vegas Sun's timlepase video above. They make it seem so easy!

Gadling Gear Review: Eagle Creek Thrive 65L

I'm a long-time fan of Eagle Creek. I've raved in the past about their superior customer service skills, but my love for the company doesn't end there. Most importantly, they create impressive, well-thought-out backpacks for the independent traveler. I can't imagine traveling with anything else.

The Eagle Creek Voyage 65L was my first pack from the company. It's a rugged, durable, innovative bag that has lasted me many years and proven itself invaluable for nearly every one of my trips to various parts of the world.

So when Eagle Creek announced an update to their Voyage series with the new Thrive model earlier this year, I knew I had to give it a go.

The Thrive 65L -- the updated model in the 65-liter size -- looks very similar to my older Voyage. It still offers many of the features that made me fall in love with its predecessor: a modular, removable day pack, front-loading panels, multiple grab handles, and numerous external and internal pockets. But many new features and upgrades lurk inside of this nifty pack.

Talking Travel with Tim Ferriss (again) about his new TV show: Trial By Fire

Tim Ferriss has come a long way since we first interviewed him a year and a half ago. His book, The Four Hour Work Week, was released in the wild where it quickly rocketed to the top of all the Best Seller lists. So we weren't too surprised when we learned of his new TV show, Trial by Fire, debuting tonight on the History Channel. I sat down with Tim for a quick chat about the show:

JUSTIN: Give me the quick run down on your new show: Trial by Fire.

TIM: The concept is simple: each week I attempt to master a complex skill -- something that would usually take 10+ years -- in one week. It debuts today, Thursday, December 4, at 11pm PT/ET on History Channel (check to double-check local times).

I have access to the world's best teachers to "hack" the learning curve with both traditional and experimental approaches. I then have a final "trial by fire", when I risk life and limb to see the results of all the training in a real-world test. It's a fun 60-minute show filmed in HD with some of the best TV folks out there; lots of humor and also hardcore training and accelerated learning techniques. People will be able to apply a lot of each show to mastering any skill in their own lives.

Bagball: a smelly traveler's best friend?

While flipping through the latest issue of Time Out: Chicago, I noticed a small blurb on the Bagball: a little sphere you place in your gym bag that releases flavored fumes to combat sweaty-smelling clothing.

The product targets three demographics: 1) the aforementioned gym monkeys, 2) hunters (to help mask your human smell from the animals -- yikes) and 3) your house. Oddly enough, they're missing out on a huge core group, one where smelly clothes in overstuffed bags are the norm: travelers.

How great would it be to have one of thee little balls floating around your backpack? If I had a dime for every time I pulled a wrinkly shirt out of my pack only to sniff it and dry heave (while still putting it on, of course), I could afford at least three or four loads of overpriced loads of hostel laundry.

While daydreaming of the wonders of having fresh smelling travel clothes, I realized that I could probably come up with something cheaper, and more portable, to keep me smelling fresh on the road. For instance, a few dryer sheets floating around my bag would probably do the trick, and take up a lot less space to boot.

But if you're interested in giving the Bagball a go on your next trip, they can be had from their website for $7.99 a pop.

German tour bus catches fire, 20 feared dead

Up to 20 people are feared dead after a tourist bus caught fire near Hannover, Germany today. It was headed for Berlin. Reuters reports,
"The bus caught fire near the northern city of Hanover as it headed toward Berlin, forcing the driver to pull over. Some passengers were not able to get off in time but about 10 people escaped, a police spokesman said."
Some reports are claiming "it was not a traffic accident but a technical fault that had started the fire," according to The Australian.

Meanwhile, Twitter is abuzz with reaction amidst the U.S. election coverage.

We'll bring you more news as we hear it.

Postcard of the Week: Shepherd Boys in Ethiopia

Instead of spotlighting an image from the Gadling Flickr pool on Fridays, we're going to highlight one from the pool of contributors' submissions (including you!) from Everywhere's Photos. Today's image is from contributor Anne Beach. She writes,

"We met them about four hours North of Addis. They had made their hats and were selling them. I felt terrible to only buy one, and I bought one with a brim and then was informed that only men wore the ones with a brim, but I didn't care. They look grumpy here, but were really very charming. My theory is that people who are not used to having their pictures taken just do not have our picture reflex to smile."

If you'd like to submit an image to be considered for Gadling+Everywhere's Postcard of the Week, please sign up for a free membership on Everywhere and start uploading! Every Friday, we'll choose one to spotlight.

Visit the world's most advanced supermarket

One of my favorite things to do when traveling abroad is stop at the local grocery store for a quick browse. Usually it's a quaint reproduction of the mega markets I'm used to back home, with funky products and even funkier labels that seem quite strange to the passing foreigner.

But the METRO group in Germany are going for a different feel with their Future Store market, where shoppers are greeted by a rolling robot and mobile phones are used to make purchases. The BBC's Steve Rosenberg recently stopped in the Future Store and brought back this video of his experience.

The Future Store, with its "intelligent" meat freezer and automatic wine-tasting machine (which limits you to 6 small samples, naturally) all seems a bit convoluted and dated, like someone designed it based on what they thought the year 2000 would be like back in 1984.

For example, customers must have software installed on their cell phone in order to scan a product they wish to purchase. The phone stores all the scans, then displays a final barcode when the shopping is done. That barcode is then fed into an ATM-like machine that's used to pay. Wouldn't it make more sense to have an "intelligent" shopping cart that either scans the items automatically, or has a manual scanner built in? The use of a cell phone here seems redundant, and adds an extra layer of special technology that limits who can shop at the store.

The most advanced grocery store on the planet (according to the Germans, at least) is located in Rheinberg, Germany if you're up for a visit.

Steve Carell to backpack through Europe in his next movie?

I was lost deep in a clicktrance this morning when I stumbled on IMDb's listing for an "Untitled Steve Carell Project" due out in 2010. The synopsis reads,

"A group of middle-aged friends embark on the European backpacking trip they never took after college."

Unfortunately, this is all the information I could find. One IMDb commentor thinks this will be a film adaptation of the popular kids book Where's Waldo?, but I'm not so sure.

What do you think?

Amazon's Kindle: Where are all the guidebooks?

This weekend, I broke down and bought a Kindle -- Amazon's eBook reader. The benefits are obvious: the ability to store over 200 books in the on-board memory (with an expandable SD slot), E Ink for paper-like, easy-on-the-eyes reading, and instant access to thousands of titles from

While the concept of an eBook reader is not new, the Kindle's brothership with the world's largest book store makes it revolutionary.

In short: this thing is a book-loving traveler's dream. No longer will you have to carry around multiple books on your next trip. If you're traveling within the U.S., simply use the Kindle's built in Sprint EVDO Internet access to order new books instantaneously; if you're traveling abroad, the Sprint connection doesn't work, but you can still order the book from any computer connected to the Internet, and transfer it to your Kindle via the included USB.

But there's one market that is bizarrely void of any Kindle coverage: guidebooks. Imagine the possibilities -- no longer lug around a thick, heavy Lonely Planet: Wherever. With the Kindle, you can buy your destination's guidebook from all the top publishers -- Lonely Planet, Fodor's, Moon, whatever -- for a fraction of the cost, and store them in one small, light, easy to use gadget. Plus, the Kindle gives you the ability to search for phrases in your entire library, so pulling up all the information from every guidebook on Ulaanbaatar, for instance, is only a few button clicks away.

How come guidebook publishers aren't taking advantage of this?

Postcard of the Week: Colosseum Eyes and Kiss

Instead of spotlighting an image from the Gadling Flickr pool on Fridays, we're going to highlight one from the pool of contributors' photos (including you!) from Everywhere's Photos. Today's image is from contributor Agon Syla. He writes,

"Chilling in the grass fields in front of the great Colosseum in Rome, Italy; where this friend of mine bought these wonderful glasses and wanted to kiss Rome and Colosseum at the same time, of course with her new glasses on."

If you'd like to submit an image to be considered for Gadling+Everywhere's Postcard of the Week, please sign up for a free membership on Everywhere and start uploading! Every Friday, we'll choose one to spotlight.

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