7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

There are landmarks all around the world that excite, delight, and pique your curiosity. It doesn’t matter if the landmarks are human-made, naturally occurring, or even on dry land—they are sure to be impressive, and when they’re underwater, you’ll be wrapped in a quiet enveloping silence that is sure to leave you in awe.

Chuuk Lagoon – Micronesia

Credit: Chris Holman / Shutterstock.com

A shipwreck that will excite even the most casual wreck enthusiast, Chuuk (also called Truk Lagoon) was a stronghold of Japan during WWII. It was bombed in 1944 and now boasts a ghost fleet of 60 ships and almost 300 airplanes. Inside the ships, a guided snorkeling tour can highlight some of the forgotten gas masks, ammunition, and guns, all settled on the sea floor. This underwater site is also home to reef sharks and a colorful array of ships.

Green Lake – Styria, Austria

Credit: Janik Rybicka / Shutterstock.com

Up until mid-June, you would not know that Greek Lake is actually one of the most sought-after underwater sites for snorkeling tours. In June, snow from the Hochschwab Mountains melts, and this Austrian park transforms into an underwater gem for a few weeks. The lake, which is generally just a meter deep, becomes 12 meters deep. Trees, benches, and picnic tables all become submerged for a short time every year. This meltwater lake doubles in size every year when the snow from the Karst Mountains also melts. A snorkeling tour will make you feel like you are in a forgotten world since the entire park is submerged.

Yonaguni Monument – Okinawa, Japan

Credot: Yong Hoon Choi / Shutterstock.com

No one can quite decide the origin of this underwater site, but one thing is for sure – it is exciting and captivating. When first discovered, Japanese divers thought it might be a temple. Standing almost 90 feet tall in the East China Sea, snorkeling explorers discovered solid rock slabs shaped like a pyramid. Years after its discovery, no one is quite sure what the underwater site actually is, but it is delightful all the same.

Jacob’s Well – Wimberly, Texas

Credit: RobertDowner / iStock

Even though it’s known as one of the most dangerous places in the world to dive, Jacob’s Well is a popular summer attraction. Inside the well, there are four chambers. The first is a straight-down, 30-foot dive; the second is deeper at 80 feet; and the final two chambers are generally reserved for only experienced divers.

Underwater Post Office – Vanuatu

Credit: Turbo989 / iStock

The world’s first underwater post office is nine feet underwater and almost two hundred feet from shore. When you are ready to mail an underwater letter, schools of shimmering fish and other exotic marine life are your post office companions. Though the post office sustained some damage in 2014, it is still operational. Just look for the yellow mailbox and you can mail a waterproof postcard to just about anywhere in the world.

Neptune Memorial Reef – Key Biscayne, Florida

Credit: Linda Bucklin / Shutterstock.com

With plans to become the world’s largest human-made reef, this underwater site takes being buried at sea to a completely new level. It has been modeled after the famed underwater city Atlantis and has stone lions guarding the entrance. Since its inception, there have been almost 1,000 placements of cremated remains mixed with concrete and placed into the reef. At full capacity, this reef will be able to hold 125,000 sets of remains. This snorkeling tour is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to be memorable.

Vaersenbaai Car Piles – Curacao

Credit: Sascha Caballero / Shutterstock.com

No snorkeling vacation would be complete without a visit to the candy-colored island of Curacao. Along the island’s southern coast, there are plenty of easy dives and snorkeling options. What sets this island apart from all others are the innumerable classic cars sunk off the coast. Classics from the 40s and 50s were junked and sunk with large heavy-duty cranes in an attempt to create a barrier reef. Though the reef did not flourish, the cars remained, making this an excellent photo opp for an underwater site tour.

5 Fastest Growing U.S. Cities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Fastest Growing U.S. Cities

For jobs, lifestyle choices, weather, cost of living, retirement — you name it — we’re moving a lot. Using census data, trends surveys rely on myriad criteria and methodology to determine the fastest growing areas, often breaking down information based on small, medium and large cities. Not to mention use of precise definitions for metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions and so on. Confused yet? Not to worry. The overall trends are driven by a few easy to understand factors.

People are still moving to take jobs in coastal tech hubs. Then there are inland cities growing due to “tech dislocation,” places with rapid tech sector growth due to the exodus of workforces from more expensive cities. Another huge factor is retirement (think Florida and Arizona). Note that the cities on this list are all large, and made the top five based on pure volume of growth. Meanwhile, many small and medium cities had a higher percentage of growth. Based solely on overall growth numbers released in May by the United States Census Bureau, the five fastest growing cities in the country are highlighted below.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Credit: Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

Perhaps the poster child for urban sprawl, Los Angeles grew by 18,643 people since the last annual count, for a total 2017 population of 3,999,759. That’s just over 50 people per day. With a mild year-round climate of near-perpetual sun, weather has to be one of the biggest enticements for new residents. The Southern California mega-city has long been a draw for free spirits, artists and aspiring actors, along with being a domestic melting pot with large Hispanic and Asian populations. Hollywood, the center of the television and film industry in the U.S., accounts for much of the city’s industry, along with the music biz.

Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Credit: Arpad Benedek/iStock

With its recent growth, Fort Worth has overtaken Indianapolis, Indiana, to become the 15th largest city in the country. For a city that started as a trading post for cowboys at the end of the Chisholm Trail, Fort Worth has come a long way. The city in North Central Texas grew by 18,644 for a total population of 874,168. Cowboy heritage is retained here, where the Fort Worth Stockyards are still home to some of the nation’s largest rodeo events, and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors early pioneers. It’s not all about country culture, however, as this metropolitan city is home to international art institutes like the Kimbell Art  Museum. Considering a move or visit to Fort Worth? A great resource is the city’s website, fortworthtexas.gov.

Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Credit: f11photo/Shutterstock

Long the commercial and cultural hub of north Texas, Dallas is a modern metropolis sprouted from western roots. After all, the city’s NFL franchise is called the Cowboys. The culture and charm of Dallas — which grew by 18,935 to an overall population of 1,341,075 — are highlighted by the Lake and Garden district in East Dallas (parks, lakes, an arboretum and gardens), Deep Ellum (a former warehouse district turned nightlife hotspot), the Arts District (largest urban arts district in the nation, in the core of downtown) and Highland Park (high-end shopping and dining in North Dallas). Potential Dallas transplants and visitors will find great information at the visitdallas.com.

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Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

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The capital of Arizona, Phoenix grew by 24,036 residents to reach a population of 1,626,078. Retirement and the resort lifestyle are keys to the area’s growth, with aging baby boomers flocking for year-round sun and warmth. Ritzy resort spas and world-class golf courses, among them a Jack Nicklaus design, are attractive to a crowd with plenty of expendable income and leisure time. Beyond the country club gates, Phoenix offers everyone cultural pursuits, with a vibrant nightlife fueled by glitzy nightclubs and dive bars alike, along with a cosmopolitan culinary scene. Spring training baseball and abundant outdoor recreation are additional draws, while the city’s Desert Botanical Garden showcases the abundance of life that flourishes amidst harsh growing conditions, with displays of hearty cacti and native plant species.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

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Whether or not they “remember the Alamo,” folks are flocking to San Antonio, which grew by 24,208 to reach a population of 1,511,946. The major city in south-central Texas is steeped in colonial history, including the Alamo, the 18th-century Spanish mission preserved as a museum to commemorate the infamous 1836 battle for Texan independence from Mexico. Tracing the contours of the San Antonio River for miles through the heart of the city, San Antonio’s River Walk is its most prominent modern landmark, an alluring pedestrian promenade of shops, restaurants and bars. Future residents and vacationers can grab a great perspective on the city atop the 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas, which overlooks the entire city from its location in HemisFair Park.

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

When people think of high-end wine producers, regions such as Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont are the powerhouses that usually make the list. However, if you want to try something new, without significantly sacrificing on quality, consider sourcing wines from one of these seven up-and-coming wine regions.

Anderson Valley, California, U.S.A.

Credit: Balaraman Arun/Shutterstock

Given its remote location several hours north of San Francisco, the Anderson Valley doesn’t see as many vineyard hoppers as Napa and Sonoma. That doesn’t mean the wines aren’t worth it, though. The cool climate has shown tremendous success with both pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, perfect as well for producing French-style sparkling wines. Today, Anderson Valley produces some of the best sparkling wines in the country.

Rias Baixas, Spain

Credit: Pabkov/Shutterstock

Rias Baixas is located along the Galician coast in Spain. There are a number of small inlets, called rias, where you’ll find nutrient-rich waters. The water plays a big role in making Rias Baixas wine so delicious. One wine variety that has shown significant success is albariño, a white wine with a nice blend of minerality and acidity.

Finger Lakes, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: Albert Pego/Shutterstock

New York is one of the largest wine producers in the country, thanks in part to the Finger Lakes region that is producing some phenomenal cool-climate wines, especially rieslings. There are more than 200 brands of rieslings produced in the Finger Lakes region alone. Impressive for a wine region that only really established itself in the early 1980s.

Kakheti, Georgia

Credit: Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock

The country of Georgia has been producing wines since at least 6,000 B.C., based on archaeological excavations that uncovered qvevri, a traditional winemaking vessel that allowed ancient winemakers to ferment wine underground. Today, wines produced in this mountainous region of Georgia utilize both traditional and modern techniques. UNESCO has since recognized the importance of the qvevri winemaking tradition, adding it to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Credit: Areej Khaddaj/Shutterstock

Lebanon is another place where winemaking traditions date back quite a ways. Even in modern times, Lebanese wineries have faced their share of challenges, including Château Musar, which still managed to produce wine throughout the horrific civil war that tore Lebanon apart between 1975 and 1990. When the war ended, there were only around five wineries left in Lebanon. By 2014, that number had jumped to almost 50. While French grapes primarily dominate here, there are some local Lebanese wine grapes like merwah and obaideh present.

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Credit: Sherry V Smith/Shutterstock

When most people think about Mexico and drinks, they probably picture tequila, mezcal and beer, not wine. Mexico is bucking the stereotypes and demonstrating that it has areas that are capable of producing award-winning wines as well. The mountainous terrain helps cool the hot summer days, allowing the grapes to flourish.

Texas Hill Country, Texas, U.S.A.

Credit: MaxBaumann/iStock

The hot and dry climate of Texas is not the ideal condition you’d think of for an up-and-coming wine region, but Texas Hill Country is producing some pretty incredible wines, especially big reds. The climate is working well for varietals like tempranillo, syrah and tannat.

10 dead in plane crash in Texas

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

10 dead in plane crash in Texas

All 10 on the small aircraft were killed, officials said.

Anti-Zionist imam delivers opening prayers in US House

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

(OPED: A Demon leading a prayer in a House full of Demons, what is it that surprises folks about this?)(oldpoet56)

 

Anti-Zionist imam delivers opening prayers in US House

Republican Lee Zeldin, who is Jewish, says decision to invite Omar Suleiman, who has likened Israeli troops to Nazis and called Zionists ‘enemies of God,’ was a ‘terribly bad call’

Omar Suleiman gives an opening prayer for a session of the US House of Representatives, May 9, 2019. (Screen capture: YouTube via JTA)

Omar Suleiman gives an opening prayer for a session of the US House of Representatives, May 9, 2019. (Screen capture: YouTube via JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An imam who has wished for the end of Zionism, called for a third Intifada and likened Israel to Nazi-era Germany delivered the opening prayer for a session of the US House of Representatives on Thursday.

Omar Suleiman, the founder and president of the Dallas-based Yaqeen Institute, an organization that describes itself as a resource about Islam, referred to recent attacks on houses of worship — which has included synagogues in the United States — in his opening remarks.

“Let us not be deterred by the hatred that has claimed the lives of innocent worshipers across the world, but emboldened by the love that gathered them together to remember you and gathered us together to remember them,” Suleiman said in a short prayer after being introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

Suleiman has a long record of incendiary social media statements about Israel, as compiled two years ago by Petra Marquardt-Bigman, a researcher, and posted on the Algeimeiner Jewish news site. He has on multiple occasions wished for a third Palestinian Intifada, or violent uprising, likened Israeli troops to Nazis, and has wished for the end of Zionism, calling Zionists “the enemies of God.” He is a backer of the boycott Israel movement.

Pelosi’s office did not reply to multiple requests for comment by publishing time.

Republican Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, who is Jewish, said in a statement that inviting Suleiman to deliver the opening prayer was a “terribly bad call.” Suleiman’s congresswoman, Democratic Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, reportedly invited him to deliver the prayer.

Suleiman in 2016 was at the scene of an anti-police shooting, in which five policemen were slain. He delivered a prayer at a memorial service a week later appearing on a stage with Texas’ two Republican senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, then-president Barack Obama and former president George W. Bush.

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Texas Lawmakers Will Vote On Marijuana Decriminalization This Week

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘MARIJUANA MOMENT’)

 

Texas Lawmakers Will Vote On Marijuana Decriminalization This Week

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The Texas House is scheduled to vote on a bill on Thursday that would make low-level marijuana possession punishable by a fine with no jail time.

The development comes one month after the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved the decriminalization legislation in a 5-2 vote.

Under the bill, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana would be punishable by a $250 fine for the first two offenses, and it would be considered a class C misdemeanor for subsequent offenses, which is a lower penalty than is the case under current law.

Currently, possession of two ounces or less is a class B misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. That’s in addition to a permanent criminal record, which carries steep, long-term consequences.

“Regardless of political affiliation, Texans are in support of reducing penalties for low-level marijuana possession,” Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, told Marijuana Moment. “We want to see our valuable public safety resources used in a better way and we don’t want a simple marijuana charge to keep people from going to school or participating in the workforce.”

Despite the state’s reputation as a conservative stronghold, cannabis reform is advancing in several forms through the Texas legislature. That includes legislation to legalize and regulate industrial hemp and its derivatives, which was approved by the House on Tuesday.

It also includes a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program, which unanimously cleared by a House committee last week.

The Texas Republican Party endorsed all three modest reform measures last year, though it stopped short of backing broader adult-use legalization.

Advocates are optimistic that the decriminalization bill will make it all the way to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who has expressed openness to signing legislation to reduce penalties for simple possession.

This story has been updated to note the House’s passage of a hemp bill.

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Houston Chronicle endorses Beto O’Rourke (Not Ted Cruz) in Texas Senate race

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWS)

 

Houston Chronicle endorses Beto O’Rourke in Texas Senate race

The Houston Chronicle on Friday endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke in his bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the closely watched Texas Senate race.
“With eyes clear but certainly not starry, we enthusiastically endorse Beto O’Rourke for U.S. Senate,” the Chronicle’s editorial board wrote in its endorsement. “The West Texas congressman’s command of issues that matter to this state, his unaffected eloquence and his eagerness to reach out to all Texans make him one of the most impressive candidates this editorial board has encountered in many years.”
The board notes that O’Rourke, a congressman in an El Paso-based district, faces “long odds” to become the first Democrat Texas could vote into the Senate in three decades. The board writes that a victory for O’Rourke would be beneficial for the state “not only because of his skills, both personal and political, but also because of the manifest inadequacies of the man he would replace.”
The board, which notes that it endorsed Cruz’s candidacy in the 2012 Senate race, criticized Cruz in its endorsement of O’Rourke, saying the incumbent has exhibited “little interest in addressing the needs of his fellow Texans during his six years in office.”
“For Cruz, public office is a private quest; the needs of his constituents are secondary,” the board wrote, also citing his pivotal role in a federal government shutdown in 2013, as well as his “nay” vote for the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act — a law that authorized $60 billion for relief agencies that were aiding Hurricane Sandy victims.
The board also pointed to the negative public comments Cruz has received from his Republican colleagues.
Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) once said, “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the board notes, once said: “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”
“What sets O’Rourke apart, aside from the remarkable campaign he’s running, are policy positions in keeping with a candidate duly aware of the traditionally conservative Texas voter he would be representing in the U.S. Senate,” the board continues.
The board then goes on to conclude that O’Rourke would serve as a check to President Trump, whom it describes as a “danger to the republic.”
“Cruz is unwilling to take on that responsibility.”
O’Rourke has gained a national following in his quest to unseat Cruz for his Senate seat. Still, polls have shown Cruz maintaining a solid lead. A poll released by CNN this week showed Cruz with a 7-point advantage. The nonpartisan Cook Political report has rated the race a “toss-up.”

Texas Mom Shoots Man Trying To Steal Her Car With Her Two Kids In The Back Seat

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

 

Texas mom shoots man trying to take car with her kids inside at gas station: ‘I hope that woke him up’

A Texas mother said she didn’t think twice about shooting a would-be carjacker when the man jumped into her vehicle at a Dallas gas station while her two sons were in the backseat.

Michelle Booker-Hicks was at the Shell station along Interstate 35 around 10 p.m. Wednesday when Ricky Wright, 36, attempted to steal her vehicle while she was paying her gas bill, police said. Booker-Hicks told FOX4 Dallas her two sons, ages 2 and 4, were sitting in the backseat at the time.

“I proceeded to jump in my backseat and told the gentleman to stop, to get out the car. He would not get out of the car. He turned around and looked at me. I reached over the armrest to get my glove compartment and that’s when I fired at him once I got the gun from my glove compartment,” Booker-Hicks recalled to the news station.

Michelle Booker-Hicks

Michelle Booker-Hicks said she reached for her gun and fired it once at the would-be carjacker.  (KDFW)

Booker-Hicks shot Wright in the face while he was allegedly trying to drive away. He crashed the vehicle into the fence.

“I’m not a killer but I do believe in defending what’s mine,” the mother of two said. “I hope that woke him up.”

Wright was arrested and taken to the hospital for treatment. He is expected to face charges including kidnapping and the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle or carjacking.

Booker-Hicks and her children were not injured in the incident.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Severed rattlesnake head bites Texas man, nearly kills him

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

 

Severed rattlesnake head bites Texas man, nearly kills him

A Texas man is recovering after he claims the head of a rattlesnake bit him — moments after he had just cut it off.

Jennifer Sutcliffe’s husband was reportedly bitten by the beheaded snake on May 27 at his home near Lake Corpus Christi.

Sutcliffe told KIII-TV the two were doing yard work when she came across the four-foot rattlesnake. She said her husband used a shovel to behead the snake, but when he went to dispose of it, it bit him.

The snake, Sutcliffe said, “released all its venom into him at that point” because it no longer had a body, and her husband reportedly began immediately experiencing seizures and internal bleeding, and lost his vision.

The man was transported via helicopter to a hospital, where doctors said there was a chance he wouldn’t make it.

RARE TWO-HEADED SNAKE DISCOVERED IN BACKYARD

“A normal person who is going to get bit is going to get two to four doses of antivenom,” Sutcliffe told the news station. “He had to have 26 doses.”

Her husband is now in stable condition but is suffering from weak kidney functions, Sutcliffe said.

While it’s rare to die after being bitten by a snake, roughly one to two people die each yearin Texas as a result of the venom, according to the state’s Parks & Wildlife Department.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Russia, Saudi Arabia Increased Output to Clamp Down Shale Oil Profitability

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Russia, Saudi Arabia Increased Output to Clamp Down Shale Oil Profitability

Friday, 1 June, 2018 – 08:00
A flag with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) logo is seen during a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries in Vienna, Austria September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo
Kuwait – Wael Mehdi
At the time when Russia and other OPEC producers are in quest to study the increase of product during the second half of this year, this may lead to an imminent drop in oil prices and may clamp down the profitability of shale oil production regions in the US.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyzed in a report, published on May 30, the cost of shale oil output and the par value required for the barrel in one of the biggest basins in the US.

The report found out that the cost and par value vary from one region to another, but Permian Basin in Texas remains the lowest-cost basin on the level of the US, followed by Eagle Ford Basin in Texas.

According to the report, more than half of the counties where shale oil is produced are profitable with the current oil prices of $75 – but this doesn’t mean that they are not facing financial pressures with an expected drop in oil prices in the coming period.

This report shows the financial condition of the shale oil, in which companies that produce it have accomplished savings in costs and a high operating efficiency, since the drop in oil prices in 2014.

Al Rajhi Capital Head of Research Mazen al-Sudairi said that it is remarkable that the barrel par value in regions such as Permian is rising – and this is because of the limited infrastructure and the rise of operational expenditures.

Sudairi added that Permian that remained the most competitive region in regards of cost doesn’t contain sufficient pipes in the current time. For this, dependence on trucks to transport oil or materials used in Hydraulic breakdown of producing wells has risen the cost hugely.

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