Can roads heal themselves?

For those who own an automobile, we are sure you’d be most familiar with the cost of paying road taxes that supposedly is used to maintain a fair condition of the very medium that one drives on. But what if these roads suffer a lot of wear and tear like they should and are not well maintained? Of course you might find a pothole or two.

And invariably you might get stuck on a traffic jam when road works take place when the relevant authorities decide to make road surface repairs.

Which is what made this article interesting to us anyway. If you clicked on the link, the title might appear to be incredulous. Imagine using cooking oil to help repair roads! But if one dive deeper into the article, the science appears to make a lot of sense. We hope this nugget piqued your interest to read it for yourself.

But today our post is not just about roads or how it is repaired. It is about the fact that we enjoy road tripping a lot, and that we very often encounter poorly maintained roads in our drives around some parts of the world. And it is only experiencing that did we come to appreciate how well maintained our own road network is on our little red dot. You sometimes need to go see if the grass is really greener on the other side.

So the answer is no. Roads will not heal themselves. But it’s just another ingenious way that has been discovered to potentially make work easier to do so. Good ideas make light work. Don’t you agree?

A childhood dream

One of the things as children we were obsessed with was building stuff. And with what? Lego bricks and Play Mobil! We recall how costly it was to buy a set each time from the departmental store. And we saved our pennies in order to buy the coolest one. Do you remember constructing a jet out of these little bricks? Yeah, those were the days… today you might 3D print one. Heheh…

Over time Lego bricks had been “constructed” into various sculptures, some so elaborate that can only be said as works of art. When you trough the web you will discover it is a industry world in itself.

Today it appears Lego isn’t doing that well in terms of the sales of this traditional toy (they’ve been shedding jobs last year). And while they’ve been diversifying into other areas (parks, movies and cartoons for example), it seems like today’s children might not be as enamoured to this mode of play as we were. Yeah, sounds like we are dinosaurs huh? Did you enjoy playing with Lego bricks?

So we will watch closely and observe how this latest attraction (read here) will perform. Ok, so the house itself is not made of Lego bricks though it looks like it. There is actually a Legoland park in Johore Bahru across the causeway from our little red dot. We’ve not visited it yet before.

Did you collect lego play sets when you were growing up? Will you visit this new Lego house in Denmark?

Taking an Air Cruise?

Once again it’s time to recap what’s going on with trends in travel. From this article, what caught our eye was Uber private jetting (wonder how recent developments with them will be though). Yep, you read that right. This sharing economy is really taking off (no pun intended).

But the icing on the cake really was the section of the post that suggests there are folks who would gun for taking round the world (well not all the way round) air cruises. Huh? You might recall that we wrote (here) about the nostalgic days of air travel in the 1950s and 1960s. Back in the day a journey from say Australia to the UK could take several days, even by flight. And what journey did the passengers have? Why they had stopovers where they’d be checked into hotels before making the onward journey flight.

Seems like this form of travel is making a come back!

So who says one cannot do a cruise with planes? It will not be the plane being in the air for the entire duration of a week, but surely as cruise ships dock at ports the planes can do the same (not the seaport lah)? And it has always been our prediction that some day, airships will come back in vogue not as transportation but as pleasure crafts. It’s a matter of time.

We predict that within the next 10 years, air cruising will become affordable to the masses as sea cruises are. When that becomes a reality, will you be one of the first to jump in the air?

King of the Hill, for a day or two

We all know a (wo)man’s home is her (his) castle. Talk about trying to be gender neutral here… anyway you know what we mean right? But how would one like to really own a real castle? Not the ones that Kings of ode can dream up and build in reality, but buy one. Not the one in the featured image, unfortunately.

Some months back, we read this article that suggests that for a princely (heheh) sum of £46, one can become a joint-holder of an abandoned French Fortress in the Dordogne region. Yep, you can become one of 10,000 folks that will be able lay claim on a stake in this relic of noble past. A minor ‘Princelet’ perhaps? Maybe we need to update our exciting business opportunity!

But the point today is this : do these folks really understand what they are getting into?

In our little red dot we have properties from a bygone era, from before the 1960s. Pre-war houses they call them and they are conserved. Well some of them anyway. To buy them meant to ensure that they are preserved externally with no cosmetic amendments. Sure you can turn the inside into what you wish, but it remains a responsibility of the owner to manage the conservation. Overall, that costs a fair chunk of change… actually those who bought in early have reaped the rewards (darn why did we not join our friends?). Will the new greater fools rushing in be able to count on the same?

There are many outstanding structures in the world today. Especially in Europe and Asia. Should the State own them all and conserve them at public cost, or would private citizens coming together to fund conservation be the answer?

Preserving heritage with VR

If you had read us for some time, you might know that we are VR enthusiasts. We’ve written about the potential for the use of VR in a couple of posts here, here and here. Today we want to share yet another vindication of our belief, one where we foresee huge benefit.

Some might recall our post and essay on the Silk road (here). We shared about our adventure in the deserts that span between trading posts. And we also shared about the Buddhist grottos in Mogao (莫高窟). You might recall that we did not have photos of the interior of the grottos. And that was due to the ban on flash photography, or indeed photography of any kind. And mobile phones back then did not have cameras… sigh. Plus our film photography skills weren’t exactly stellar…

What if you were to know (here) that there are folks mapping out 3-dimensional maps of the grottos, murals and all?

We have shared our view that the sheer volume of tourists cannot keep growing without causing some form of overload of not only the transportation links, but also the infrastructure at the destinations. Some experts have deemed it a potential catastrophe because of too much love to death from visitors. We support creating a digital repository to preserve heritage before they are lost. No question about that.

So these questions keep coming up: should VR be encouraged so as to reduce the number of actual on ground visits? Can VR truly replace the on ground experience one gets? How about if the VR was near the actual location, but rather than stepping into the actual place, one takes a virtual tour?

What do you think?

SSSS – not on our boarding pass please!

Have you ever wondered about those cryptic letters on your airline boarding passes? Now we are sure you are more than familiar with the flight class indicated on the pass. And you’d also be aware of the airport codes in case you fly to the wrong city with the same name (remember this post?).

Now if this article is accurate, then having the letters ‘SSSS’ printed on your boarding pass would be a big no no. Now just in case you did not read the article, let us summarize it for you. This code essentially identifies you for additional security checks before you board the aircraft. It means you will be Sadly Suffering Security Screening… though that’s not what it’s suppose to mean… heheh. Hey, this was the best we could come up with. Applause please.

Of course this was making reference the folks traveling to and from the US. But before you snicker at the thought that this does not affect you because you are not stateside, think again. You never know if this will be implemented in a different form elsewhere. Wonder why the security check folks ask for your boarding passes all the time even after you’ve been id checked? Perhaps in other airports there are similar codes which have been surreptiously incorporated onto your boarding pass without you ever noticing? Have we gotten you paranoid now?

Look out for strange and indecipherable codes on your boarding pass the next time. What did you find peculiar?