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Family over Politics – the Hunt for a Christmas Tree

by: Brent Smith at the Common Constitutionalist

No Audio Version

Sorry folks, but no Podcast today. For those unfamiliar, I do a video podcast every weekend that airs today. But not this time. No – this time it has nothing at all to do with production problems. It has nothing to do with technical issues, more often than not caused by my own ineptitude.

This time it was pure pleasure. I had a choice to make and I chose family over politics.

Every year my sons and I revel in a trek into the woods in search of a Christmas tree. Sure, we could do it the easy way and pick one out one from the many lots around town. And to be sure, we would likely get a beautiful one.

We could also choose the blasphemous path and buy a synthetic “Fake” tree – maybe hang some pine tree air-fresheners on it to replicate that outdoorsy scent. Yummy!

But we Smith’s enjoy the thrill of the hunt. So off we went, two weekends ago, into the wilderness, to scout for and tag a tree. This year we were exceptionally lucky and found a beautiful 7 ft white pine. And best yet, it was only about a mile in. In years past we’ve been known to trek twice that in seeking out the perfect wild tree. As we strode through the woods, invariably one or the other of my sons, or both, would recount a story from a previous year – “Remember that year when…?” read more

SmithFly’s Floating Tent

The Shoal Tent – for campers who like to get away from it all
The Shoal Tent – for campers who like to get away from it all(Credit: SmithFly)

It seems to be human nature that if you’re camping near a lake or pond, you pitch your tent right at the water’s edge. Well, SmithFly’s new Shoal Tent lets you take things a step further. Described as a floating raft with a tent topper, it allows you to actually sleep out on the water. read more

Chef Jamie Oliver’s New Land Rover

Jamie Oliver and his family enjoy a one-of-a-kind creation
Jamie Oliver and his family enjoy a one-of-a-kind creation(Credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

When we think of Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations, we think extra-cushy leather interiors, upmarket trim and personalized paint jobs. We definitely don’t think of a rolling kitchen fit to prepare gourmet meals on the road. But that’s the mission celebrity chef Jamie Oliver laid out for the SVO team. Land Rover responded by building Oliver an extraordinary Discovery that slow-cooks under the hood, churns butter and makes ice cream in special wheel drums, slow-turns a rotisserie out front, makes toast in the center console and has numerous other culinary tricks up its sleeve. Forget the drive-through restaurant – this is the driving restaurant kitchen. read more

Project Maximus Superyacht

The Project Maximus superyacht concept that was unveiled at the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show
The Project Maximus superyacht concept that was unveiled at the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show(Credit: Heeson Yachts)

Clifford Denn already has a portfolio that puts him in the elite category of maritime designers having previously designed passenger cruise liners for Cunard (such as the Queen Mary 2) and P&O. His latest concept, Project Maximus, shown at the Monaco Yacht Show last week, could begin a trend for superyachts by putting the wheelhouse one deck down and devoting the upper deck to the passengers, just as he has done with his work for Viking Ocean Cruise vessels. read more

2500 Year Old Shipwrecks Found Intact

Dozens of perfectly preserved ancient shipwrecks have been found at the bottom of the Black Sea.

A total of 60 wrecks were discovered dating back as far as 2,500 years, including galleys from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires.

Scientists stumbled upon the graveyard while using underwater robots to survey the effects of climate change along the Bulgarian coast.

Because the Black Sea contains almost no light or oxygen, little life can survive, meaning the wrecks are in excellent condition.

Researchers say their discovery is ‘truly unrivalled’. Many of the ships have features that are only known from drawings or written description but never seen until now.

Carvings in the wood of some ships have remained intact for centuries, while well-preserved rope was found aboard one 2,000-year-old Roman vessel.

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Dozens of perfectly preserved ancient shipwrecks have been found at the bottom of the Black Sea. This image shows a 3D model of a Roman ship lying in over 2000m (650 ft) of water. Its mast still stands, both quarter rudders with their tillers are still attached. Rope is still draped over the frames due to the preservation of materials in the Black Sea¿s anoxic conditionsDozens of perfectly preserved ancient shipwrecks have been found at the bottom of the Black Sea. This image shows a 3D model of a Roman ship lying in over 2000m (650 ft) of water. Its mast still stands, both quarter rudders with their tillers are still attached. Rope is still draped over the frames due to the preservation of materials in the Black Sea’s anoxic conditions

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Self-Sufficient Rotating Motorhome

The sCarabane concept offers a look at an innovative, self-sufficient caravan
The sCarabane concept offers a look at an innovative, self-sufficient caravan

While shows like the Australian 4×4 Expo and Overland Expo highlight  tough, no-nonsense trailers and motorhomes ready to get dirty right now, the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon dedicates some space to futuristic campers and technologies. And this year, the Volkswagen California XXL isn’t the only such concept camper wowing the crowds. France’s Green Cat Technologies has possibly the most head-turning concept at the show with a caravan that folds out into a roomy living space complete with solar and wind power generation. The sCarabane even rotates 360 degrees at camp, tracking the sun to generate electricity and hot water.

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Italy’s Tiny Volcano

It is known as ‘The Volcano of Monte Busca’, and the smallest in Italy – barely more than a small pile of rocks on a hill.

It has been attracting tourists for decades, with thousands making the climb up the slope near Tredozio village, Province of Forli, every year.

However, while it falls under the definition of ‘volcano’, the four-foot-high burning mound has no crater and expels none of the lava commonly associated with the term.

The littlest volcano: The volcano of Monte Busca, located in the Province of Forli near Tredozio village, is the smallest in Italy

Hardly Vesuvio:  The flame burns day and night, come rain or shine,  as a result of natural gases from under the surface

Burning bright: The volcano of Monte Busca's bright flame is most visible at night against a dark sky

The volcano of Monte Busca is a natural gas vent.

Hydrogen gases from underneath the surface burn when they come in contact with oxygen, causing the flame on the mountain to burn day and night.

The natural phenomenon is also known as ‘flaming fountain’.

Flaming mountain: The fire is caused by hydrogen gas, which burns when it comes into contact with oxygen 

Foldable Kayak

The HYPAR has a look that's all its own
The HYPAR has a look that’s all its own(Credit: HYPAR)

If an upcoming Indiegogo campaign goes as planned, there will soon be yet another folding boat on the market. Already we’ve got the Oru folding kayak, along with the Onak and MyCanoe folding canoes. The makers of the HYPAR kayak are hoping for similar success, with a boat that sports a unique design. read more

Introducing Uber Plane

Britain’s first Uber-style flight service which will allow people to order planes from their phones is expected to launch this year.

The service will see customers order flights for as little as £55 via an online app and leave within 30 minutes of booking.

Waves airline, expected to start commercial flights in July, will be launched on the Channel Islands – but its creator hopes that it will eventually be used throughout the UK.

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Waves airline, expected to start commercial flights in July, will be launched on the Channel Islands - but its creator hopes that it will eventually be used throughout the UK
Waves airline, expected to start commercial flights in July, will be launched on the Channel Islands – but its creator hopes that it will eventually be used throughout the UK

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