Travel

Architecture

Concrete thinking’s in fashion at Brussels’ brutalist Jam Hotel

Budget hotels always offer basic, boxy rooms, but not many are as creative as this alternative gem in the Belgian capital

Brussels is a city of grand townhouses and art nouveau. Yet plonked in the middle of the Belgian capital, on a nondescript street corner, has appeared a hotel that looks like downtown LA had it been swallowed by lava. An old 1970s art college has been redesigned and rebuilt, by people who usually make film sets, to become the oddest, most fashionable, most affordable stopover in Europe.

The reception desk is held up by a pair of motorcycles dipped in concrete – above it rest maquettes, Paolozzi-like little bricks of angles and texture. Three guests under 10 years old leap joyfully between leather sofas and concrete benches while they wait for their parents to check into one of the Supra rooms which sleep five, one up by the ceiling, in what they call a “cabine bed”.

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Architecture

Man returns home to overjoyed mom after biking around the world for 7 years

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Englishman Leigh Timmis set off on a wild adventure seven years ago.

And by wild we mean he was determined to ride his bike for two years around the world. That ambitious timeline quickly fell to the wayside as he realized how daunting the challenge would be to actually traverse the globe.

Timmis’ journey came to an emotional end Saturday when he arrived home in Derby, England, hopped off his bike, and jumped into a sweet embrace with his mom, who he hadn’t seen since 2014. 

Leigh Timmis and his mom embrace after Timmis' adventure finally ends.

Leigh Timmis and his mom embrace after Timmis’ adventure finally ends.

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Travel

10 of Canada’s best lesser-known national parks

To mark its 150th anniversary, Canada is offering free entry to its stunning national parks. But which to pick? We select 10 lesser-known wildernesses

Canada has vast swathes of unspoiled nature, from coasts to mountains to tundra and frozen Arctic deserts. While some of these spectacular landscapes are in legendary national parks, such as the Rocky Mountains’ Banff and Jasper, the Pacific coast’s Gwaii Haanas and the remote whitewater paddling heaven of the Northwest Territories’ Nahanni, a host of less famous gems await the adventurous.

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Architecture

Anne Hathaway reveals she’s a big pothead, dude

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The list of celebrities coming out as cannabis users is growing like a weed.

Anne Hathaway appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Thursday, which just so happened to be the unofficial stoner holiday 420. While on the show, Hathaway played a game called “Plead The Fifth.” The game is simple, Cohen asks her three questions, she has to answer two of them, and one she can plead the fifth. 

In the very first question, Cohen brings up a rumor about Hathaway being a stoner, and asks her on a scale of one to ten, how big of a stoner is she? Anne smiles, and responds, “I’m not a little one.” Read more…

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Lifestyle

Samsung Galaxy S8 is now available in the U.S.

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The day has come: after a pre-order period that ended yesterday, Samsung’s new flagship phones — the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ — are now available for purchase in four markets: the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and South Korea. 

Samsung said the device would be rolling out to additional markets “in the weeks ahead.”

Samsung’s new phones are available on Samsung’s website with pricing starting at $720 for the S8 and $820 for the S8+. You can also get the phone from all major U.S. carriers: Here are the links for the S8 at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. For the S8+, go here: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and VerizonRead more…

More about Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung, Tech, and Mobile

Travel

Normandy conquest: all-action family fun in the French countryside

On a group family holiday at a Normandy chateau, a sceptical dad is pleasantly surprised by how much fun the entertainment and activities are – and that doing nothing is an option, too

Call it an exercise in contrasts. At the summit of Mont Saint-Michel, the bronze statue of the archangel is glinting in the midday sun, sword raised and wings outspread. At the foot of Mont Saint-Michel, a small jam-smeared boy is wriggling through a tiny window in the fortress wall and idly breaking into the courtyard of a gendarmerie. The archangel is the protector of the mount. The boy is my son.

Four of us – me, my wife, our four-year-old daughter Bethan and seven-year-old apprentice cat burglar, Joe – have come to western Normandy to join 15 other British families on an all-ages adventure break. This group day trip is a mere bit-player in the week’s itinerary. The holiday is primarily based 45 minutes inland, at an old countryside chateau near Les Chambres on the Manche coast, near Brittany. It’s a wholesome setting in which rabbits hop, peacocks preen and mobs of croissant-fuelled children tear around, brandishing makeshift lightsabers.

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Architecture

Intense video shows oblivious truck driver drag a car with someone in it

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An intense video captured on a California freeway shows a large tractor trailer truck dragging a car, seemingly unaware the two vehicles had gotten into an accident.

Witness Brian Steimke was driving up the Cajon Pass when he pulled up on the truck dragging a maroon Nissan Maxima. 

“They’re dragging the car,” Steimke can be heard saying in the clip, amazed by what he’s seeing. “They don’t know what’s going on here.”

When Steimke pulls alongside the vehicles, the driver in the car being dragged unrolls the window and is waving at the truck driver to stop.  Read more…

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Lifestyle

HTC will launch its squeezable phone on May 16

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HTC was once the maker of some of the best Android phones on the planet. It still makes solid phones, but after a few uninspiring models and several years of financial troubles, the brand lost a lot of its luster. 

Soon, all that could be forgotten, as the company just announced the launch of its new flagship, the HTC U. 

The announcement, posted on HTC’s Twitter feed, contains a video that actually shows the new device. True, we don’t see much else besides its seemingly very thin profile and a hint that the phone will have stereo speakers (HTC has long focused on building phones that have great sound), but it’s just enough to tickle the imagination.  Read more…

More about Edge Sense, Smartphone, Htc U, Htc, and Tech

Lifestyle

Samsung Galaxy S8 shows amazing resilience to abuse in new video

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How much abuse can Samsung’s Galaxy S8 take? In most cases, the question is mostly an academic one, as the vast majority of users won’t expose their phone to potential damage beyond a few drops and perhaps a brush with the car keys. 

But after the disastrous launch of the Galaxy Note7 — a phone Samsung had to pull from the market after numerous reports of it overheating and bursting into flames — all eyes are on Samsung’s new flagship. 

A recent test took things to the extreme, damaging the S8’s battery with a Dremel tool, and the phone passed with flying colors — nothing blew up.  Read more…

More about Torture Test, Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8, Samsung, and Tech

Travel

Canada’s great outdoors: readers’ travel tips

Wildlife, mountains, islands and forests … Canada’s natural wonders – from Nova Scotia to Vancouver – have left an indelible mark on our intrepid readers

Send a tip for next week’s competition to win a £200 hotel voucher

If you want to experience authentic, raw, outdoor Canada then a few days in Willmore wilderness park will take you out of your comfort zone. Motor vehicles of any kind are banned, but you can hire a horse or a trapper (both about £20 an hour) – otherwise risk it on your own. Trails wind their way through dense forests and along wild river valleys. Take a sturdy tent or knock on the doors of hunters’ wooden huts when you see them. You may be greeted with a shotgun and a suspicious snarl as we were – then a plate of yummy moose meat, cooked on a blazing fire.
albertaparks.ca
gonca

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Architecture

You’re gonna need some help recognizing this phishing scam

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How do you spot a phishing scam when the URL looks perfectly legit? 

An old phishing technique has recently popped back up in the news, and it has the potential to fool some folks no matter how many times they inspect a URL for typos.

Phishing works like this: Some fool sends people an email that asks readers to please click on this link or download this thing. The person sends the link from a URL with a (theoretically) clever typo (think yhaoo.com instead of yahoo.com). But this other kind of phishing scheme — called a homograph attack — sends an email from a URL that looks nearly identical to the real thing, replacing some the letters with similar ones from other alphabets.  Read more…

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Lifestyle

Early Samsung Galaxy S8 owners are seeing red … screens, that is

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Looks like Samsung’s not out of the woods quite yet.

After the explosive Note7 debacle of 2016, the newest Samsung phones have a lot to make up for. Unfortunately, early Galaxy S8 users have already found a flaw in the device: the screens appear to have a red tint to them.

According to ZDNet, since Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 devices at a March event, the company has sent several phones to customers in South Korea, who were able to pre-order about a week ago.

The early owners noticed something a little off—some of their screens had a red/pinkish hue to them. Users posted photos to social media sites and held discussions on the Korean forum, PPOMPPU, to figure out what was up with the altered phone display. According to ZDNet, on Tuesday, “Galaxy S8 Red Screen” was a trending search topic on South Korea’s largest search engine, Naver.  Read more…

More about Tech, Conversations, Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S8, and Complaints

Travel

The alt city guide to Brighton

Brighton’s festival scene in May could be the reason for a spring visit but this creative and collaborative seaside town has inspirational art, music, food and drink on tap year-round

You might imagine that Brighton, the seaside resort and party town, and Brighton, the lefty, bohemian city (the only one in the UK with a Green MP), co-exist independently. Talk to local creatives, however, and that distinction blurs.

Brighton is about collaboration generated by the enthusiasm of the people running spaces here

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Architecture

Chili gives Alex Jones amnesia and other odd things we learned at his custody trial

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You ever eat something so goddamn delicious you momentarily lose your mind?

Neither have we. But apparently Infowars conspiracy-theorist-in-chief Alex Jones has. In a deposition during day two of his custody trial, an attorney working for his ex-wife Kelly insisted that Jones forgot what grade his kids were in after he consumed a bowl of chili.

Jones’s custody battle with Kelly over their three children started off strangely and went weirder from there.

On Monday, his lawyer argued that Alex Jones plays a character on Infowars called Alex Jones. That went down well. By Tuesday, however, we were learning some truly memorable things about him. Here are a few highlights from the second day of the trial gleaned from reporters watching along. Read more…

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Lifestyle

Don’t try to repair the Samsung Galaxy S8 on your own

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The folks over at iFixit make it their business to take the shiniest new phones and gadgets and do exactly what you hope you won’t have to do with them: take them apart and poke around to see just how hard it is to put them back together. 

Next up: the Galaxy S8. The latest flagship from Samsung has no small amount of expectations riding on it, especially given its status as the first major release following the explosive Galaxy Note 7, made with the company’s super-strict new eight-point battery safety check in place.  

So how does the S8 measure up to the teardown? It all depends on what goes bad.  Read more…

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Travel

10 of Bilbao’s best pintxos bars

The city’s many bars are piled high with pintxos, the Basque country’s take on tapas, which are a great way of sampling regional specialities for a few euros. Or string a few together to create a brilliant bar crawl

Bilbainos consider good pintxos a fundamental joy of daily life, and bars dedicated to providing them abound; jocular crowds rather than fancy decor or high prices are the clue to the best. Many also offer a good-value menú del día. The best place to get a flavour of what’s on offer or start a pintxo crawl is Calle Ledesma, in the centre of Bilbao. It’s an eating party street lined with bars, with outdoor tables all the way down the middle. Explore pintxo styles through the ages by starting with old favourites such as Cafetería el Molinillo and Artajo and then move on to stylish additions like Bilbao Berría (now with a central London branch).

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Architecture

First woman to run Boston Marathon returns, and this time she has another powerful message

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Fifty years ago, a clever, determined woman named Kathrine Switzer crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon — but not before an official tried to drag her from the course. 

See, at the time, only men competed in the race. Switzer signed her registration as “K.V. Switzer,” was accepted and, despite efforts to remove her from the 26.2 mile competition, became the first woman to finish it as an official entrant. Her bib number, 261, remains famous. 

On Monday, Switzer, 70, revisited that rebellious, trail-blazing moment by crossing the finish line again. This time she didn’t have to dodge an angry course director, but was instead accompanied by 261 supporters who ran alongside her. Read more…

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Lifestyle

A new study uncovered this terrifying fact about the way we drive

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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It doesn’t come a moment too soon: A troubling new study has found that a terrifyingly high amount of drivers still use their phones behind the wheel.

Despite the proliferation of apps and devices aimed at preventing phone usage while driving, the study—by driver analytics company, Zendrive—revealed that drivers in America use their mobile devices during 88 out of 100 car trips.

That’s A LOT.

In what Zendrive calls the largest behavior study on distracted driving, the company analyzed three million anonymous drivers for three months, reviewing 570 million car trips taken between Dec. 2016 and Feb. 2017, covering 5.6 billion miles. Read more…

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Travel

10 top tips from our Bangkok correspondent

Thailand’s capital is a labyrinth of great bars and restaurants to refuel in after, perhaps, Thai boxing, a river island cycle, or wakeboarding. From fresh mangoes with coconut sauce to acoustic karaoke … it’s all on the menu

Ko Kret is on the edge of the capital but it’s the sleepy, friendly Thailand that you’ve been looking for. This tiny river island north of the Old City can be reached by boat. Once you get to the pier, head off on one of the dozens of rickety rental bicycles – after checking the tyres. There is a clearly marked route that circles the island, passing through a busy food market and banana plantations. Once you finish cycling, grab a table overlooking the river at Chit Beer, the best and cheapest home brewery I’ve found. Take a green Chao Phraya express boat to Pak Kret pier.

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Architecture

Chance The Rapper is having a very Stevie Wonder birthday

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Rap superstar, joyful youngster, and national treasure Chance the Rapper turned 24 years old this weekend and, to no one’s surprise, had the kind of fun-filled birthday we all want.

He’s throwing a party, appropriately called “Chance The Birthday,” on Sunday night in his hometown of Chicago benefiting Social Works, his non-profit supporting Chicago Public Schools.

#chancethebirthday pic.twitter.com/iECQFj6hzF

— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) April 12, 2017

He also received toasts on Twitter from a wide-range of folks, from Ellen to Tumblr to the Chicago Public Library.  Read more…

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