Brian Banmiller's blog

Forbidden Places

snake-island-1.jpg

No one likes being told they can't do something. But in some cases it just might save your life.

While most places on earth encourage the business from tourists there are a few locations where a select few will ever be welcome; and for good reason; maybe the climate is to extreme, the locals aren't very friendly or maybe the wildlife will kill you.  read more »

A New Art Critic

maxresdefault.jpg

There's a new art critic in New York and he has four legs and a tail.

Former Washington Post art critic Jessica Dawson says she was at an exhibit with her rescue dog Rocky when she noticed how intently he was checking everything out. Unlike the people who were reading their phones, New York Times review or artist resume. But unfortunately for Rocky everything was a bit high on the wall for him to really see so Jessica decided to do something about it.

So she contacted the organizers of the exhibit Documenta to curate ten pieces of outdoor art for a three day experiment. All of the pieces were set up in a park and were strategically placed on a dog's eye level. Some were even interactive with dog bones or pools of water for the animals to play in.  read more »

The Worth of the Dollar

images.jpg

The American dollar is dropping and tourists are reaping the benefits.

Since the start of the year major currencies including the euro, British pound and Chinese yuan are gaining ground against the dollar which has seen a drop between 9 and 13%. And while the drop came too late for people to book a cheaper vacation, those who were already heading our way are cashing in.  read more »

Street for Sale

Presidio terrace.jpg

San Francisco might have some of the highest real estate prices in the country, but you can still buy an entire street for less than a hundred grand.

Presidio Terrace is a well-kept street sealed off by a gate in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights neighborhood. With palm trees and multi-million dollar mansions, homeowners over the years have included Senator Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi. Unfortunately for the high end residents their homeowners association has been failing to pay the $14 a year tax for the private street because the check had been going to the wrong address.  read more »

Driverless Cars and Graffiti

1502125309251.jpg

As the quest for driverless cars continues, there could be a new obstacle in the road.

While carmakers have been working on what to do if a driverless car is hacked, it seems there they're also facing a less high tech threat, graffiti. Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that vandalism of a street sign can confuse driverless cars and cause a potentially dangerous situation.

In one example graffiti stickers were added to a stop sign so it read love, stop, hate. But the car misread this as a 45 mile per hour speed limit sign. In another example researchers printed a right turn sign with minor color changes and the car read it as a stop sign.  read more »

Knowing When to Quit

download (1).jpg

Want to know the secret to success? Become a quitter.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine there are two types of people those who know when to quit and those who have a hard time moving on. But experts say knowing when to quit something is an important skill, and not being able to recognize when to do it could be holding you back. So to help get you started on clearing out the clutter, Entrepreneur Magazine has identified six things you need to quit in order to become more successful.

First on the list is to quit doubting yourself. Confidence plays a huge role in success. If you want to reach the next level in your company you have to believe that you deserve it.  read more »

The Swastika

swastika.jpg

A t-shirt company tried to rewrite history to make a little money but customers weren’t buying.

Recently the online clothing retailer Teespring pulled shirts made by KA Design that feature swastikas. For centuries the swastika was a positive icon in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. Then during WWII it became the symbol of the Nazi party. Today the swastika is banned in Germany and considered a symbol of hate in America.

KA Design said it wanted to detach the hatred associated with it with designs showing a swastika on a rainbow background with the word peace below it. Another spells out the word love with a rainbow background and the “o” has been replaced with a swastika.  read more »

Artificial Intelligence

download.jpg

Right now humans are a step ahead because we can think for ourselves, but machines might not be far behind.

“Artificial intelligence is exactly what the name implies. Developing computer systems that exhibit behaviors that we would call cognition if exhibited by human beings. In other words building machines that think.”

Paul Saffo is a technology forecaster and adjunct professor at Stanford University. He says there are two types of artificial intelligence; artificial general intelligence which might not even be possible and narrow intelligence.  read more »

Saudi Arabia

saudi-farasan-islands-2-large.jpg

Saudi Arabia is working to bring in tourists and their vacation money by relaxing some rules.

The country of Saudi Arabia is planning to open a visa free travel destination along its northwestern red sea coast. Officials say to help people unfamiliar with the country's customs feel more comfortable it will waive conservative ideas such as the women's dress code and gender segregation.

Plans for the red sea project will include diving attractions, a nature reserve, luxury hotels, islands and lagoons. The country's public investment fund is providing the majority of the funds to develop the area with officials hoping to attract some big names in the hotel industry.  read more »

Evading Capture

travelccbackup1.jpg

Trying to avoid paying back your debt? Become a different person.

Last month representatives from more than 300 Chinese cities promised to make more credit available to consumers. This is part of the country's effort to find more sources of economic growth and reduce dependence on industry and infrastructure heavy investments. Unfortunately the idea comes with a few setbacks.  read more »