Posts filed under ‘Travel’

Kids in Point Roberts USA go through Canada Twice a Day for School in the USA

Point Roberts, Washington is considered part of the mainland United States, but it’s only connected by land to Canada. Although it’s connection to Canada is similar to Alaska, it’s not as far from the rest of the mainland United States as Alaska — it’s only about 8 miles (13 km) across the water. The nearest large city is Vancouver, British Columbia at roughly 22 miles (35 km) away.

Point Roberts, WA

The Point Roberts school serves children from kindergarden through third grade. Older kids are shuttled on a 40 minute school bus ride that takes them out of the US, into British Columbia (Canada), and then back into the US again at Blaine, Washington. Then on the way home, they do it all over again.

The population of Point Bob is roughly 1,314 according to the 2010 census. So, it might not be feasible to school all of the children on The Point. Many high schools have more students than Point Roberts has people.

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Sources: wikipedia (Point Roberts)

July 29, 2014 at 11:36 pm 1 comment

Passenger Boarding Passes with SSSS Require Additional Security Screening

By Chad Upton | Editor

For a while, I travelled every single week of the year (except for Christmas). Of all the new airports, airplanes, taxis, rental cars, hotels, motels, customs, passports, visas, bad restaurants and other necessities, airport security was the most stressful.

TSA Lines

I  have nothing to fear. I’m not on any watchlists, I don’t have a redress number, I literally don’t even take the free airline snacks with me (you have to declare them at all of the international border crossings I usually encounter). (more…)

February 17, 2014 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Nigerian Visa Doesn’t List Blonde Hair Color Option

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you have blonde hair and you’re planning a trip to Nigeria, you may want to visit your colorist first. The online visa application doesn’t have “blonde” as an option for hair color.

nigerian_visa_no_blonde

No research turned up any answers, although I have sent an inquiry and will report back with any findings. (more…)

March 12, 2013 at 2:00 am 2 comments

You Can Print Your Own Passport Photo (in the US)

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you’ve ever had a really embarrassing driver’s license photo, you have to live with it. But, Americans have the luxury of shooting and printing their own passport photo.

Drugstores charge about $10 for passport photos while professionals charge as much as $50. There is some skill involved since there are strict rules around the shadows, head size, facial expression, dimensions, etc. But, if you get all that right then you can have a great photo that costs as little as 19 cents to print. (more…)

June 26, 2012 at 2:00 am 5 comments

Do Hotel Key Cards Contain Personal Info?

By Chad Upton | Editor

I’ve been saving hotel key cards for years because I want to see exactly what is on them.

Years ago, somebody told me that hotel room access cards contained personal info and credit card data. The rumor was that this info was necessary for you to charge items to your room during your stay.

I recently got my hands on a magnetic card reader and started swiping all my old cards. The results fit into three categories.

1. 77% of all the cards could not be read at all. This should not be a surprise to anyone who has ever stayed in a hotel with magnetic card keys; some are notoriously poor at holding their magnetic charge. Another reason they may appear blank is that some systems use non-standard data encoding which make it difficult for an ISO card reader to extract information. Whether the charge is weak, distorted or proprietary, specialized card readers may be able to extract data from these cards. Still, that data would likely fall into one of the two following categories. (more…)

February 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm 13 comments

Disney Castle Based on Real Castle in Germany

By Chad Upton | Editor

Often inspired by the Disney fairytales of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, many young girls dress as princesses for Halloween.

While they are popular fairytales, these theme-park castles are largely based on a real castle in Germany — Neuschwanstein Castle. Look at the resemblance:

Disney has also noted the inspiration from structures in France too: Notre Dame de Paris and Hospices de Beaune.

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Sources: wikipedia (Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Cinderella CastleNeuschwanstein Castle)

Photos: Katie Rommel-Esham (cc) Jack Versloot (cc)

October 31, 2011 at 4:00 am 7 comments

Niagara Falls Water Volume is Lower at Night

By Chad Upton | Editor

The magnificent waterfalls known as Niagara falls are split on the US/Canada border. People come to see massive amounts of water flowing over the falls and that’s exactly what they get, during the day.

While the falls are a popular tourist attraction, many people don’t know the water is an important source of power. There is one power company on each side of the border that draws water from above the falls to turn their generators.

Unfortunately, drawing water from the river above the falls can impact what the falls look like.

During the tourist season (April to October), the power companies must maintain the water flow over the falls at 100,000 cubic feet per second. That’s not very difficult since the river has a natural flow of about 212,000 cubic feet per second on a typical summer day. That means they normally draw about 100,000 cubic feet per second for power generation and allow that same amount over the falls.

But at night, they can draw even more water and lower the flow at the falls to about 50,000 cubic feet per second. This extra flow allows them to turn their turbines and fill up their reservoirs so they have more water after the tourism flow is restored in the morning. Since the falls erode about two feet per year, drawing extra water at night also slows erosion so the falls will be around for many generations to come.

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Image: Alberto Mari (cc)

Source: NiagaraFrontier.com

August 26, 2011 at 3:00 am 4 comments

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