Category Archives: Travel

Mt. Graham Telescopes Observe Frye Fire Up Close

Firefighters monitor Frye fire from atop Mount Graham’s Large Binocular telescope (photo courtesy LBTO).

The Frye Fire has burned tens of thousands of acres southwest of Safford, some of them uncomfortably close to Mount Graham International Observatory.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Frye Fire Has Close Encounter With Mt. Graham Telescopes

Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns Steeped in Science, Secrecy

Image of Kartchner Caverns
Photo courtesy Kartchner Caverns State Park.

When co-discovers Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts found the blowhole entrance to the caverns in 1974, they did something extraordinary: They kept it a secret.  And when they could no longer shield the caves through secrecy, they sought out science to help protect Kartchner Caverns post-development.

Research has supported Kartchner ever since, but the reverse is true as well. Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk to find out how:

At Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns, Science Supports Stewardship — And Vice Versa

You Shall Not Pass: Making the Most of Your Passport

A British biometric passport.
A British biometric passport.

The idea of a document that extends protections over subjects as they travel is old — as in, Old Testament old. But the standardized booklet that we now use for establishing identity and citizenship when crossing international borders has only been with us for about a century. More to the point, in the post-9/11 world, it’s become a lot more important.

In this article, I cover the ins and outs of how to get one, when you’ll need one, and what to do if you lose one.  Along the way, I’ll pass along some travel tips, discuss passport alternatives and help you protect your children from  abduction across national borders.

How Passports Work 

Not-so-Final Destination: Landing at the Wrong Airport

Airplane landing at sunset.“Uh, ladies and gentlemen, this is the flight deck. Thank you for choosing Airborne Airways, where your destination is always up in the air. If you’ll look out your window, you’ll see…well, we’re hoping you can tell us. Anything look familiar?”

Yes, it’s preposterous, embarrassing and more than a little dangerous, but flight crews touch down at the wrong airfield or runway more often than you might think. Which raises the question: If GPS navigation can direct any idiot with a car to his or her destination, how can a trained flight crew with state-of-the-art navigation screw up so badly? In other words…

How Can a Plane Land at the Wrong Airport?

Like a Bridge Under Troubled Waters

A partially disassembled tunnel boring machine (TBM)
A partially disassembled tunnel boring machine (TBM). Photo by Mike.

Between the years of 1825 and 1843 , through floods and financial failures, Marc Isambard Brunel and his son dug a tunnel under London’s Thames River. Our ambitions have grown since then, but the technology we use still bears a striking resemblance to Brunel’s shipworm-inspired device.

In this article, I look at some of the worlds most breathtaking underwater tunnels and delve into how they were constructed.

How do you build an underwater tunnel?