Lifestyle

Marriott is looking for three travelers to serve as TikTok correspondents

January 24, 2022

For TikTok enthusiasts and influencers—or anyone seeking a significant change amid the “Great Resignation”—Marriott has a unique new job opportunity.

The global hotelier is launching a contest to recruit three individuals who will essentially serve as TikTok correspondents—chronicling their experiences at Marriott properties around the world over the course of nearly a year on the popular video social media app, reports Fortune.

Dubbed 30 Stays in 300 Days, the program is an extension of Marriott Bonvoy’s Power of Travel campaign, launched last year to promote the healing nature of travel after pandemic lockdowns in 2020.

“As the world inches back to a place of normalcy, travel is one of those primal needs that we feel needs to be met,” Brian Povinelli, SVP of Brand, Loyalty, and Portfolio marketing at Marriott International, tells Fortune. “This initiative will amplify wanderlust and spark the motivation to travel by facilitating a true trip around the world that allows viewers and potential adventurers to experience each destination to the fullest.”

Marriott has a strong social media presence already—across Instagram especially, with frequently updated and numerous accounts for the parent company and subsidiaries, as well as individual locations. Marriott Bonvoy joined TikTok last year. But why TikTok (over say, Instagram or Snapchat) for this particular program?

Povinelli answers simply: TikTok is where people are at. “It’s what they’re paying attention to, and it reaches the audience that we are keen on engaging. TikTok, by necessity—due to the parameters of the platform—encourages would-be travelers to be creative, succinct, and brief in their appeal to be a Marriott Bonvoy TikTok Correspondent,” Povinelli continues. “It forces people to use a finite amount of time to make a big impact. And because TikTok is so pervasive, we feel it creates an inviting environment for anyone who feels moved by this initiative to be able to participate.”

Winners will get to stay at properties across the entire Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, including The Ritz-Carlton and Westin Hotels and Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott, and Autograph Collection Hotels. It also includes at least one stay in one of the over 50,000 luxury home rentals listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott International.

The stays are only the beginning of what the correspondents will be receiving. Other perks include airfare between destinations; Uber vouchers; a $10,000 Marriott Bonvoy Gift Card to cover items such as on-property meals, spa services, and activities; a “Take Me Away” kit featuring items from branded online retail stores on Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques; progression toward Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status, giving participants the opportunity to unlock exclusive benefits like late check-out, room upgrades, and more, even once their 300-day travel experiences are over; and a $15,000 check to use as desired.

Prospective applicants must be at least 21 years of age and be permanent residents of the United States. And for anyone who wants to (and can) continue their existing day jobs while working remotely, Marriott says the trips are flexible, and will allow for both work and travel for those with a position that allows.

“This opportunity is not for the faint of heart, but it is also open to all travelers, whether seasoned or just starting out on their journey,” Povinelli says. “We recommend that applicants think realistically about their ability and desire to travel around the world for up to 300 days (divided amongst several trips) ….While arguably an experience of a lifetime, the right person should be well equipped for the adventure.”

While Povinelli notes that Marriott doesn’t want to see the correspondents glued to their phones for the entire experience, the goal is to see each person post at least once per day while on a trip—whether that be about the current hotel stay, the food, locals, cultural experiences, or whatever else may be important or interesting to that correspondent that day. There is no prescribed length for the videos—some may be a minute or longer if a winner has an interesting story to tell our members, while others may be a few seconds of a funny or inspiring moment from the road, or just chiming in on a TikTok trend, Povinelli explains.

“We want to see energy, paired with genuine excitement and an attitude that embraces change and new experiences with optimism and wonder,” Povinelli says.

‘They should also have a vigor for life and a desire to challenge the status quo,’ Povinelli says. ‘They should be curious, empathetic, inquisitive and able to adjust and be nimble when things don’t go as planned. People that are interested in growth and pursue it with tenacity and enthusiasm.’

To apply, submit a TikTok video using the hashtags #30stays300days and #contest from January 18 through March 18, answering the question, “How has travel shaped you?”

After the deadline passes, three individuals will be selected and begin their journeys in spring 2022; dates subject to change in accordance with CDC and international travel guidelines. While the winners are not guaranteed any full-time or permanent positions once the 300 days are up, Povinelli says the possibility is there for a continued partnership.

“Ultimately, we’re looking for that intangible star quality,” Povinelli says. “Travel has the unique ability to change perspectives, open people’s eyes to new ways of doing things while bringing people together. The ideal person would recognize the power of travel and embrace it throughout the trip by truly embodying what it means to be a travel correspondent with an attitude that is both curious and eager to welcome every experience.”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

South Korea green-lights plans for flood-resistant ‘floating city’

January 21, 2022

The South Korean city of Busan has approved plans for an ambitious new ocean settlement, with work on the first neighborhood set to begin next year, reports CNN.

.Comprising a series of interconnected platforms, the proposed “floating city” eventually could accommodate 10,000 people, according to its designers, offering coastal areas a drastic solution to the threat posed by rising sea levels.

The Oceanix project—a collaboration among designers, architects, and engineers—unveiled plans for a “flood-proof” city in 2019 and organizers have since been looking for somewhere to build prototypes.

Last month, the group signed an agreement with Busan and UN-Habitat, the United Nations’ urban development agency, to host the first of its floating neighborhoods off South Korea’s coast.

Prefabricated in factories and then towed into position, the proposed platforms will rise and fall with the sea. Each of the five-acre neighborhoods has been designed to house 300 people in buildings up to seven stories high.

Ultimately, these communities could be arranged into larger networks, connected via walkways and bicycle paths. According to Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the Danish architecture firm leading the design, the neighborhoods could be clustered around a central harbor to form larger 1,650-person villages.

These villages could then, in theory, join to form a wider 10,000-person metropolis—dubbed Oceanix City—complete with everything from restaurants and co-working spaces to urban farms and leisure facilities.

Uninhabited platforms could meanwhile host floating wind turbines and solar panels, or be used to grow bamboo for the construction of new buildings.

BIG’s proposed urban plan accounts for the production of fresh water, too, with on-site treatment plants and systems for collecting and storing rainwater. The architects have also envisaged fleets of electric vehicles—from hydrofoil water taxis to solar-powered ferries— connecting the neighborhoods with other parts of the city and the mainland.

South Korea’s southern coastline, where Busan is located, is considered especially vulnerable to the impact of rising sea levels. Greenpeace Korea last year warned that the city’s famous Haeundae Beach could disappear by 2030, according to local media reports.

And the impact is already being felt: A study in the journal Sustainability found that the city experienced worse flood damage than anywhere else in South Korea in thet en years leading up to 2020.

Oceanix co-founder Itai Madamombe told CNN recently via email that the first prototype neighborhood in Busan will be  complete, with people living in it, by 2025. She added that the project currently is holding discussions with ten other governments about deploying the technology developed in Busan.

Research contact: @CNN

‘Furmidable’: Giant cat looks set to break world record at 27.5 pounds

January 20, 2022

No ‘kitten’ around—Yulia Minina of Stary Oskol, Russia, is a big cat fan. Her Maine Coon cat, Kefir, is only 22 months old and, already, he’s just a whisker away from a world record at 27.5 pounds of purry love, reports The Sun. .

Indeed, at his age, Kefir still is considered a kitten—and, unbelievably enough, has lots of growing to do.  Yulia explains: “I could not even think that an ordinary baby can become so big,” noting, “The look is generally like that of a person, and Kefir has a formidable appearance, but he is a very affectionate and modest child.”

What’s more, he’s not only large in size, she says: “He not only grew up big in appearance; he is also very smart and always behaves calmly.”

.He usually gets not just a first, but also a second look: “When friends and acquaintances come to the house,” Yulia says, “all the attention is on him and he willingly allows himself to be stroked. But when strangers come to the house, everyone first confuses him with a dog.”

And at night, he has become a “heavy” sleeper: “He has one more habit: At night he likes to climb on me and sleep,” she says, adding, “When he was a kitten, it didn’t cause me any inconvenience, but now he has become big and [hefty].”

Research contact: @TheSun

Five chilling revelations from ITV’s ‘Ghislaine, Prince Andrew & the Paedophile’ documentary

January 19, 2022

The real relationship between the disgraced Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein’s madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been revealed in yet another explosive documentary–this one, released by Britain’s ITV (also seen on YouTube in the USA), reports Bustle.

ITV’s latest must-watch documentary, Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Paedophiledelves deeper into the story of how the privileged daughter of billionaire Robert Maxwell became embroiled in the twisted world of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Ghislaine Maxwell is due to be sentenced in late June after being found guilty in the United States of child sex trafficking charges in December 2021. She is awaiting sentencing in a New York prison.

Through a series of interviews with members of their inner circle, the documentary, fronted by ITV’s Ranvir Singh, explores Prince Andrew’s intimate relationship with both Epstein and Maxwell—as well as impending the civil court case he faces brought by Virginia Giuffre, who is accusing the senior royal of sexual assault.

The Duke of York, who m the Queen has been stripped of his honorary military titles, his HRH style, and his patronages, has denied all the allegations made against him.

Here are five key takeaways to note from the documentary:

1.     Prince Andrew gave Ghislaine Maxwell access to Buckingham Palace—Paul Page, the former Buckingham Palace Royal Protection Officer, reveals that he first met Maxwell way back in 2001. According to Page, Maxwell and Prince Andrew enjoyed a close relationship. “From the way she was allowed to enter and exit the palace, at will, we realized … suspected, that she may have had an intimate relationship with Prince Andrew,” says Page in the documentary. “A colleague of mine remembered her coming in four times in one day from the morning till the evening—she kept coming in and out, in and out.”

2.     Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell may have dated—Investment banker Euan Rellie backs up Page’s claims of the pair’s seemingly “intimate relationship”. Rellie, who first met Maxwell while studying at Oxford University, explains how she “described Andrew as being her friend, not Jeffrey’s.” Rellie then goes on to discuss how he “got the sense” that Prince Andrew and Ghislaine had probably dated in the past. “They had an easy warmth around each other,” he adds.

3.     Jeffrey Epstein threw parties in honor of Prince Andrew—Providing further insight into Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell, Rellie goes on to reveal that he attended several parties hosted by the couple and recalls how, during one event held at Epstein’s New York home, the disgraced billionaire claimed the party was “for my friend, Prince Andrew”.

4.    Prince Andrew had a stuffed toy collection that he was veryparticular about—Page also alleges that the Duke of York had a stuffed toy collection that he was very particular about. “[There were] about 50 or 60 stuffed toys position on the bed,” Page says of Prince Andrew’s private apartment; adding that a laminated picture of the Duke’s toy collection was kept in a drawer to ensure that household staff would place them correctly on his bed. “The reason for the laminated picture was that, if those bears weren’t put back in the right order by the maids, he would shout and scream and become verbally abusive,” Page reveals.

5.     Prince Andrew’s mobile number in Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous black book still works—ITV’s analysis of Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous black book,. which is filled with several high-profile contacts, revealed that the mobile number for the Duke of York is still in service. “I’m afraid I have not been quick enough to get to the phone before it went off to take your message. If you do have a message, please leave it and I will get back to as soon as I can,” a pre-recorded voicemail message from Prince Andrew requests.

 The documentary is started airing on Tuesday, January 18, on ITV.

Research contact: @bustle

Why Wordle is the new sourdough starter

January 18, 2022

Five letters, six attempts, one word— can you guess it correctly? By now, you probably already know that we are talking about Wordle—the latest pandemic craze that has got all the Scrabble and Sudoku fans locked onto their screens on a daily basis, reports the UK’s Press and Journal.

Created in October 2021 by a Brooklyn-based software engineer, Wordle is a “simple, but challenging” vocabulary game that’s become the sourdough bread of 2022.Since it first popped up on our social media feeds, the game has gone viral worldwide—going from dozens of players to hundreds of thousands in just a few months.

Even if you still haven’t given in to the obsession, yourself, you have almost certainly come across the mysterious grid of green, gray, and yellow squares.

But in case you are still wondering what the craze is all about, or you’re pondering how to crack the code and become the new Wordle, the Press and Journal has got you covered.

First, the basics: Wordle is a daily vocabulary game  that gives players six tries to deduce a five-letter word of the day. After each attempt, the tiles change color.

Everyone gets the same word each day, and the game can only be played once per day—so if you get it wrong, you must wait 24 hours to have another shot with a new puzzle.

After each session, players can share their results on social media using emoji that correspond to the game board. Indeed, social media has played a crucial part in the game’s popularity—with thousands of people sharing their results every day.

However, the app doesn’t reveal the correct word to avoid spoiling the fun for other players.

Above, the mission is to guess a five letter word in six attempts. (Visual source: Pre

 

If any of the letters from the word you have typed in shows up as green, they’re in the word of the day and in that exact same position. If any of them turns yellow, it means the letter is in the word of the day; however, the position of the letter in the final word is different.If any of the letters goes grey, it does not appear in the word of the day.ss and Journal)

The game is fairly simple and quick, however it has proven to be increasingly compelling.

Aberdeen NHS psychologist Emma Hepburn thinks that “community element” is probably the most important aspect of Wordle at a time when many might feel isolated. The light-hearted nature of the game and its accessibility also potentially add to its appeal, as Wordle presents a “nice and simple diversion” from the pandemic.

And while she says we can’t really be scientific about why it has become an obsession, Dr. Hepburn thinks it’s possible that it has come at “the right time” to connect with peoples’ particular feelings and mental state.

She said: “Craze with games come and go quite regularly if you think about all the kids’ or brain games that have come up in previous years. And it’s probably one of those things that have come at the right time.

“I guess we are in the middle of winter, it’s a bit grim, and Wordle is a kind of light-hearted, fun and achievable game, that also has a lovely story behind it.

It’s something to anticipate and look forward to as well. That’s a really positive thing for wellbeing —to try something that is totally new and gives you a bit of a challenge.”

Five tips to become a Wordle master

While Wordle was created to entice crossword enthusiasts looking for a quick and fun timeout, there is of course an element of friendly competition as well.

Senior Lecturer in Language and Linguistics at Aberdeen University Elspeth Edelstein thinks the best way to crack the code is to delve a bit deeper into how words are formed. As someone who has also been consumed by the game for the past few weeks, Edelstein shared the top five tips to become a Wordle champion:

  1. Start with a word that has a lot of vowels:Try to include “e,” “a,” or “o” in the first word you type in to get a clearer picture of what the word of the day might be from the get-go.
  2. Use more common letters such as “s,” “t,” and “r”:You will have a greater chance of guessing the word from the second or third attempt if you start with words like “raise,” “heart,” or “tears.”
  3. Think about the common placement of specific letters in words:There are certain letters that are more likely to be at the end of the word–or are unlikely to be at the beginning. For example, many words finish on a “y” or a silent “e.”
  4. Think about common letter combinations:Some letters just don’t really go with each other, while others do, on a fairly frequent basis. For example, it’s more likely to have a “d” or a “b” before an “r.”
  5. Avoid using the letters in grey:You can only use valid words to guess the letter; however, try to use only letters that you haven’t previously typed in. It gives you limited options, but it’s the best way to crack the final word as quickly as possible.

Research contact: @PressandJournal

Police officers fired for ignoring LA robbery in progress to play Pokémon Go

Janaury 17, 2022

Two officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have been fired for ignoring a robbery in progress in order to play Pokémon Go, according to recently released court documents.

According to a report by Sky News, the court documents show the men lost their appeal against “multiple counts of misconduct”—which had, in part, been based on a recording of them in their patrol car.

 Indeed, LAPD records show, the digital in-car video system (DICVS) recording “captured [them] wilfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response to a robbery in progress and playing a Pokémon mobile phone game while on duty”.

The incident occurred on a “busy” Saturday when a call came in about a robbery with multiple suspects in progress at a Macy’s department store.

Instead of responding to the call Lozano and Mitchell—whom a commanding officer spotted in a police car “tucked back in an alley just feet away” from the Macy’s— started “to back up down the alley” away from the robbery.

In an initial investigation the officers claimed they could not hear the radio, but the commanding officer then reviewed the DICVS to “find out what they do on their average day”.

In reviewing the recording it was discovered that they had heard the radio call and agreed to ignore the officer responding to it rather than assist them.

Just minutes later, Lozano and Mitchell began talking about Pokemon Go and “for approximately the next 20 minutes, the DICVS captured [the officers] discussing Pokemon as they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones”.

During this period the men caught two rare Pokemon—a Snorlax and a Togetic—although it is not clear whether the suspects in the robbery were apprehended by their colleagues.

Research contact: @SkyNews

Wearable air sampler assesses personal exposure to COVID-19

January 13, 2022

Masks, social distancing, proper hygiene, and ventilation can help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in public places—but even with these measures, scientists have detected airborne SARS-CoV-2 in indoor settings, EurekAlert reports.

Now, researchers from Yale University School of Engineering and Applied Science and Yale University School of Public Health—working on behalf of the American Chemical Society—say they have developed a passive air sampler clip that can help assess personal exposure to SARS-CoV-2 that could be especially helpful for workers in high-risk settings, such as restaurants or healthcare facilities.

Reporting in the January 12 edition of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology Letters, the researchers note that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through the inhalation of virus-laden aerosols and respiratory droplets that infected individuals expel by coughing, sneezing, speaking, or breathing.

To date, active air sampling devices to detect airborne SARS-CoV-2 have been used in indoor settings; however, these monitors are typically large, expensive, non-portable and require electricity. To better understand personal exposures to the virus, lead author Krystal Pollitt and colleagues wanted to develop a small, lightweight, inexpensive and wearable device that doesn’t require a power source.

The researchers developed a wearable passive air sampler, known as the Fresh Air Clip, that continually adsorbs virus-laden aerosols on a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surface. The team tested the air sampler in a rotating drum in which they generated aerosols containing a surrogate virus, a bacteriophage with similar properties to SARS-CoV-2. They detected virus on the PDMS sampler using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), showing that the device could be used to reliably estimate airborne virus concentrations.

Then, the researchers distributed Fresh Air Clips to 62 volunteers, who wore the monitors for five days. PCR analysis of the clips detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in five of the clips: Four were worn by restaurant servers and one by a homeless shelter staff person. The highest viral loads (more than 100 RNA copies per clip) were detected in two badges from restaurant servers.

Although the Fresh Air Clip has not yet been commercialized, these results indicate that it could serve as a semiquantitative screening tool for assessing personal exposure to SARS-CoV-2, as well as help identify high-risk areas for indoor exposure, the researchers say.

Research contact: @EurekAlert

Why Zoomer green is the new Millennial pink

January 12, 2022

It doesn’t take a genius to see why green feels aspirational at the precise moment in history when we humans finally seem to be twigging that a green future is the only future that is going to exist. Green is good. Green is the zeitgeist. So, what to wear? Green—but make it fashion, reports The Guardian.

The expression “but make it fashion” means to add a splash of showbiz, but also a hit of sharpness. A dash of syrup, plus a squeeze of lime. If the taste is too vanilla, that’s not fashion. Which is how we have ended up with a color-of-the-moment that symbolizes nature, but actually looks a bit synthetic. The green that is everywhere right now is a flat, saturated, straightforward green. It is not the color of moss, or of olives, or of sea foam.

It is not a color that sparkles from a cocktail ring or from a slice in a highball glass. It speaks of crayons and grass lawns and lunchbox apples. It is green at its most blunt.

And in fashion, this green already has a name:. This is Bottega greensome call it Zoomer green to reference the generation who wear it. It’s the green that is everywhere, that lurid shade somewhere between a shamrock and a matcha latte, has for the past year been effectively owned by the Italian fashion label Bottega Veneta. When Bottega staged a show at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, the stage was bathed in this green. Bottega has made the color a signature, just as Hermès has with orange, and Tiffany with duck-egg blue.

How did this green replace blush pink, which was the chic color a year or two ago? Green snuck in as an accessory first. Because you know what works great with blush pink? Green.

According to The Guardian, at a moment when sustainability is front and center of every fashion conversation, it is only logical that the hottest dresses would be green.

And there is another way of reading this color—one that decodes it not via a Pantone chart, but from the highway code. This is traffic light green, you see. A universal symbol, understood across ages and languages. It means that it is safe to proceed. After living life on pause for so long, the allure of a color that gives us permission to pick up where we left off is strong.

We want to wear green not because it makes us feel pretty or chic or elegant, but because it makes us feel safe.

A green light for a safe future? A handbag doesn’t get much more aspirational than that.

Research contact: @guardian

For Pete’s sake: UPS driver delivers family’s lost dog

January 11, 2022

A UPS driver in Tennessee made a special delivery this holiday season when he dropped off a missing dog to its worried owners, reports Sunny Skyz.

Darrell Slack said he was in the midst of his Christmas package deliveries last month when Paula Odom, a resident of Turtletown, Tennessee, alerted him about her missing Jack Russell Terrier named Pete.

“I just told her, ‘We’ll find him’,” Slack said.

“I was absolutely in tears and just thought that I’d never see him again,” Odom said.

Slack says he was in a remote area when he spotted Pete in his peripheral vision. Using the dog biscuits he keeps in his UPS truck to befriend neighborhood dogs, Slack was able to convince Pete to come to him from out of the woods.

With his new companion, Slack finished his deliveries for the day and then swung back by the Odom home. “As he held Pete in his arms I just about collapsed,” Odom said. “I was overjoyed.”

Research contact: @SunnySkyz

Honor Betty White with your passion for pets

January 10, 2022

Fans of the late Betty White have found a great way to honor the beloved actress and animal activist, reports Good Morning America.

The Betty White Challenge—an online event set for January 17, on what would’ve been the TV icon’s 100th birthday—has been gaining steam among fans online. The social media challenge encourages people to donate $5 to animal rescues or shelters in her name.

Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, told Good Morning America on Thursday, January 6, that the organization already has “seen … an uptick in donations” following White’s death.

White, best known for her television roles as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Rose Nylund on “The Golden Girls,” was known for her love of animals.

In 2011, she published a book, “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) in which she spoke about her work with animal nonprofits.

White died on December 31 at the age of 99. Jeff Witjas, her close friend and agent, told ABC News that the Emmy winner died of natural causes in her sleep in her own bed.

“Betty didn’t have illnesses. She didn’t have anything. People are putting it out there that she had the booster on Dec. 28 and that she had [side] effects. She never had a booster,” Witjas added. “They’re politicizing her death, and they shouldn’t do that, because she wasn’t that type of person in life.”

Witjas told ABC News that he visited White in her home about a month before she died and found her to be “all there,” albeit physically frail. “We were laughing, her sense of humor was there,” he said.

Research contact: @GMA