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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Top 5 Places You Can’t Go

5. Area 51

I have put this so high on the list because it is the one place most readers are likely to expect to see. Area 51 is a nickname for a military base that is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield. The base’s primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore. The sign above states that deadly force can be used if people enter the Area 51 zone.

4. Room 39

Room 39 or Bureau 39 is arguably one of the most secretive organizations in North Korea that seeks ways to obtain foreign currency for Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s Chairman of the National Defense Commission. Room 39 was established in the late 1970s. It has been described as the lynchpin of the North’s so-called “court economy” centered on the dynastic Kim family. It is unknown how the name originated. Very little is known about Room 39 due to the secretive nature surrounding the organization, but it is widely speculated that the organization uses 10 to 20 bank accounts in China and Switzerland for the purposes of counterfeiting, money laundering, and other illicit transactions. It is also alleged that Room 39 is involved in drug smuggling and illicit weapon sales. It is known, however, that the organization has 120 foreign trade companies under its jurisdiction and is under the direct control of Kim Jong-il. North Korea has denied taking part in any illegal activities. Room 39 is believed to be located inside a ruling Workers’ Party building in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea.

3. Ise Grand Shrine

The Ise Grand Shrine in Japan (which is actually a series of over 100 shrines) is the most sacred shrine in Japan. It is dedicated to Amaterasu (the Sun goddess) and has been in existence since 4BC. The main shrine is alleged to hold the most important item in Japan’s imperial history: the NaikÅ« (the mirror from Japanese mythology which eventually ended up in the hands of the first emperors). The shrine is demolished and rebuilt every 20 years in keeping with the Shinto idea of death and rebirth (the next rebuilding will be in 2013). This ranks very high on the list of places you will never go because the only person who can enter is the priest or priestess and he must be a member of the Japanese imperial family. So unless we have a Japanese prince or princess reading the site, no one here will ever see anything more than the thatched roof of the Ise Grand Shrine.

2. Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center

This is a place that is not only closed to the public, but it is a place that the public hope to never have to enter! In most “end of the world” films we see these days, there is always a highly classified area where US government officials and a chosen few get to go in the hopes that they can escape the impending doom. The Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center is the real thing. It was set up in the 1950s due to the cold war but continues to operate today. It is a “last hope” area. For obvious reasons its operations are highly classified. It is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The center is already functioning and even in small local disasters in the US, much of the telecommunications traffic is routed through it.

1. RAF Menwith Hill

RAF Menwith Hill is a British military base with connections to the global ECHELON spy network. The site contains an extensive satellite ground station and is a communications intercept and missile warning site and has been described as the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. The site acts as a ground station for a number of satellites operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office, on behalf of the US National Security Agency, with antennae contained in a large number of highly distinctive white radomes, and is alleged to be an element of the ECHELON system. ECHELON was reportedly created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s, but since the end of the Cold War it is believed to search also for hints of terrorist plots, drug dealers’ plans, and political and diplomatic intelligence. It has also been involved in reports of commercial espionage and is believed to filter all telephone and radio communications in the nations which host it – an extreme violation of privacy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

2012 Monthly List of Incredible Events in Southern Australia

2012 Monthly List of Events and Concerts in Southern Australia | If you are going to be in Southern Australia in 2012, congratulations! You’re going to have a great time and there is going to be plenty to do, regardless of what your interests are.

 f you’re not already planning to go, you might want to do a search for cheap hotel reservations now – there are plenty of cheap hotels in Australia and it’s really worth a visit. Here are some of the highlights of the events and festivals taking place in Southern Australia in 2012.


January is a great month for fishermen in Southern Australia, with the inaugural Great Southern Ocean Boat and Fishing Show in Robe and then the Kingston Lions Club Surf Fishing Competition in Kingston (an amateur fishing competition with a variety of great prizes). For those who like German music and cuisine, there’s Adelaide’s annual German festival, Schutzenfest. This festival features a strong man competition, children’s activities and yes, beer. It’s always fun to see Australia hotels fill up with people in lederhosen. For more modern fare, there’s the Crush 11 Adelaide Hills Wine & Food Festival or Barossa Under the Stars, featuring Sting.


It may be tough to find hotels (or at least cheap hotels) in North Adelaide in February because that’s when the Commonwealth Bank Tri-Series Cricket Tournament returns after a four year hiatus, this time featuring Australia vs. India. If food and music are more what you’re looking for, try The Aurora Ozone Hotel Street Party in Kingscote. If you’re more into art, Australia’s largest art festival The Adelaide Fringe takes place in Adelaide.


The Clare Valley Film Festival in Blyth is a great place to see the best in Australian and International independent filmmaking. 2012 also features the return of the biennial Adelaide Festival, a multi-art event celebrating music, dance, opera, theatre, and writing. South Australia hotels fill up quickly during this festival, so start your hotel search early.


South Australia hotels will be loaded with people looking for great food and music in April. This month brings the Laura Folk Fair, Tastes of the Outback in Port Augusta and the Rock ‘n Roll Rendezvous in Birdwood. For those who like horse racing, there’s the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival. The Yorke Peninsula Saltwater Classic is a great place to see boats, wooden and classic. The month closes with a feast of a festival, the Tasting Australia festival in Adelaide.


Speed is the attraction in May, with the Millicent Cup Horse Race in Penola, the rally racing of the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally and the Australian Rogaining Championships in the Outback. Rogaining is a cross-country navigation race where small teams race to checkpoints on foot, using a compass to guide them.


When doing your hotel search for June, see if you can get a room near the top floor in Renmark because that’s where they’re having the Riverland Balloon Fiesta, featuring hot air balloon flights. For those who want their fun to stay on the ground, there’s the Adelaide Antique Fair in Tusmore or the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in Adelaide.


July is a great time for fishermen, with the annual Beachport Lions Club Salmon Fishing Competition taking place at the beautiful Beachport Salmon Hole. July also marks the beginning of the Willunga Almond Blossom Festival on the Fleurieu Peninsula.


Religious activities are the focus in August, with the Penola Presbyterian Church annual Church Fete and the Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop Feast Day. There is also the SALA festival, the largest visual arts festival in Australia, featuring over 3,000 artists in venues spread throughout the country.


People will be trying to find hotels in Adelaide in September for the Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival, featuring the Moon Lantern Festival. Earlier in the month, there is The Royal Adelaide Show, South Australia’s biggest annual event, managed by the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia. For those interested in sports, there are the Australian Inline Hockey Championships and the Australian University Games, both in Adelaide.


October features the Australian Machine Quilting Festival (AMQF) and the 2012 FINA World Junior diving Championships.


For seniors, November brings the chance to play in the National Championships Over 60s Cricket in Adelaide. There is also the Credit Union Christmas Pageant, featuring over 1,000 characters in a street parade.


The Kangaroo Island Farmers’ Market in Penneshaw takes place on the first Sunday of each month. For those over 40, there’s the Air New Zealand Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival in Adelaide.
As you can see, there’s plenty to do in Southern Australia in 2012, so pack your bags, find hotels and plan your trip today!
This guest post article was written by Erica Gustafson who is a freelance writer, avid traveler to Australia and digital media consultant for Expedia.

The World's Largest Slingshot

The world’s largest slingshot is made by Bros from DudePerfect cutting down a tree and making a giant slingshot out of it and is used to slam dunk a baseball successfully.

That would be just the perfect thing to play a real-life game of Angry Birds!

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