Top Reasons Why So Many Tourists Visit Jamaica

The year 2017 saw a record number of tourist arrivals in Jamaica, with 4.3 million vacationers. That’s a huge 21.1% increase from the previous year. Visitors are not just staying in hotel rooms but also opt to stay in luxury villa rentals.

So why is there an increased interest in Jamaica as a travel destination? Part of the reason is that the movies tend to portray Jamaicans as fun-loving people. But the real truth is that it’s always been a popular country, and also because the trend for “authentic experiences” in tourism has enticed more travelers to visit the country without going to a hotel.

Frankfort Ocho Rios Jamaica

If you’re still thinking about visiting the country, take note of the following reasons why you really should drop by for a visit:

  1. Gorgeous beaches. Many of the most impressive beaches in the whole Caribbean are in Jamaica. The sands along the beach are spectacularly white and pristine, the waters are crystal blue, and the sunrises and sunsets are utterly dramatic. You can relax in the famed Seven Miles Beach, or perhaps indulge your need to explore by visiting the rocky coast of Cosmos Beach. Just about every city along the coast will provide you with a fantastic beach to relax in.

  2. Water sports. When there are beaches, water sports are also part of the fun. It’s virtually axiomatic. Here in Jamaica, that kind of fun includes scuba diving and snorkeling, along with surfing as well. You can rent jet skis too.

  3. Exotic wildlife. You really need to bring a good digital camera, as your smartphone may not be enough to capture the real beauty of the local plants and bird species. But you really must see them for yourself. You ought to try scuba diving as well, so that you can be mesmerized by the creatures and plants under the sea.

  4. Tropical climate. Just how cold is it where you are right now? If it’s still winter, then it’s time to head on out to warm Jamaica where you can swim in a flimsy bathing suit even while it’s snowy back where you live.

    In some places, it’s also not too warm at all, so you can feel pleasantly cool.

  5. Golf. Are you a links fanatic? If so, you will definitely love the luxury golf courses on the island. You can drive and put amidst the fantastic landscapes and enjoy the beautiful gardens. It’s in Jamaica where you will find Half Moon, which is widely considered as the best golf course in the whole Caribbean region.

  6. Friendly people. Haven’t you noticed how in the movies Jamaicans are stereotypically portrayed as fun-loving friendly folks? That’s because the people here are just that way. They tend to regard tourists as personal friends, so it’s like every day there’s a party here to celebrate meeting new people.

  7. Local cuisine. The food items here are mostly locally grown, so you tend to enjoy fresh meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. You really need to try the jerk-seasoned dishes, this jerk and curry seasoning can expand your horizons when it comes to chicken and pork dishes. But that’s not the national dish. It’s ackee and saltfish, with just caught seafood along with the ackee fruit that’s been sautéed and served with salt cod, tomatoes, peppers, and onions.

Visit here even once, and you’ll certainly want to come back time and again. In fact, it’s always hard to leave. It’s always a fun time here, and that’s what makes for a great vacation.

Groundhog Day

Maybe Groundhog Day can become a National or Provincial Stat Holiday because February 2nd isn’t officially known as Groundhog Day. Technically it isn’t a National Holiday. It isn’t a Provincial Holiday. [Is Quebec the only province with a Provincial Holiday? CP] But maybe it should be. Groundhog Day isn’t an exclusive celebration that targets a specific demographic such as Family Day. It isn’t religiously or  politically motivated. It doesn’t specify Muslim, Buddhist, Marxist, agnostic or atheist beliefs. It is inclusive, quirky, wacky and fun. There is no need to worry about political incorrectness.

Caddy vs Gopher…i’m betting on the gopher

Maybe Groundhog Day can become a rallying point for Ontarians. Groundhogs are robust creatures. They handle our long winter with style. Groundhogs might be cute but they are also tough!

Maybe the Groundhog can become Canada’s national animal. Does anyone remember  the politician who wanted to make the polar bear our national animal? Most of us aren’t likely to run into polar bears. It’s that old adage: “Out of sight, out of mind” and since we’re more likely to see a groundhog and associate with a groundhog it is an ideal choice. Incidentally Canada’s national animal is the beaver. Another obscure animal that most of us have never seen.

Maybe Groundhog Day is spiritual after all. If a Holiday need to be justified on a basis of spirituality or community consider the following short list:

  • Mysticism  (Shadow casting or lack their off = Long range weather forecast)
  • Fatalism     (Let everyone believe that an animal can come out of the ground on a specific day and tell us how the next six weeks will turn out)
  • Anthropomorphism (Groundhogs can really see? Can they talk? How do we know if they have seen their shadow?)
  • Human/Animal Communication or Telepathy  (Groundhog interpreters/ Groundhog whisperers? Are they specific to Wiarton, Punxsutawney?)

For the Silo, Rick Fess. 

Supplemental- “Pothole Pete” is a growing legend in New York City. Canada’s groundhog is an albino.

Get Fit With The Toughest Obstacle Courses In The United Kingdom

Thinking of getting fit but need a challenge to really motivate you? Or perhaps you just want to test your fitness against some of the toughest challenges the UK has to offer. Then perhaps you’d like to look through this guide to find out what event will suit you best- brought to the Silo by our friends at The Craig Manor Hotel in Bowness, Windemere, England.

The guide below includes some of the UK’s biggest and best endurance races that are open for all to enjoy. There are assault courses that will get you muddy, extreme swims, brutal cycles and runs that make marathons look like a walk in the park.

We’ve added a ‘Brownlee meter’ to try and put just how tough these races are into context, but beware; this is all relative and even the lowest rated events will require lots of training and superior fitness levels.


Are you tough enough
by Craig Manor.

Toughest UK Obstacle Course Resized For SmartPhones

Ancient Arrowheads Made From Ancient Haldimand Stone

I am sure some of  you may have heard this story before, a friend goes out for a walk in the forest and returns back later holding what appears to be an arrowhead.  Conversations about the artifact are followed with curiosity to learn more.  Questions are asked such as, who made the artifact? How old is it? What type of rock was used to make it?  How was it used?

For most people, arrowhead is a popular name used to describe the artifact they have found.  In archaeology, arrowheads are generally called projectile points, but we will call them points for now.  However, names are given to different types of points based on how archaeologists think they were used.  Depending on their weight, size, and shape points can be called a spear, dart, or arrow point.  Spear points are normally heavy, large, measure between 8cm to 17cm in length, and most likely tipped the end of a long wooden shaft.  Dart points tend to be thick in the middle, light in weight, usually measure from 4cm to 8cm in length, and tipped the end of a long narrow wooden shaft thrown with the help of a dart-thrower.  Arrow points are almost always triangular in shape, very thin in the middle, very light in weight, measure 2cm to 4cm in length, and hafted to a short narrow wooden shaft fired from a bow.

So who made these artifacts?

In most cases, they are referred to as Indians.  In fact the name Indian was given to the first people met by Europeans arriving in the New World because at first they thought they had landed in India.  The name has stayed ever since.  Aboriginal is a name used by anthropologists and archaeologists alike when discussing the first people to the New World.  We now know Aboriginals lived a hunting-gathering life style whether they lived nomadic or sedentary life styles.  We don’t know the original names of Aboriginal groups, but names have been given to their points to distinguish one type from another.  Some example names like Hilo, Nettling, and Genesee have been created for specific types of points.

Just how old projectile points are is determined using a technique called radiocarbon dating when uncontaminated organic material is recovered next to a point.

Archaeologists have been able to determine when a point was made in a specific time period based on the results of radiocarbon dating methods, but these are approximate dates.  In Canada, the oldest known points are called Clovis points dating up to 11,200 years ago.  Similar points have been found in the Great Lakes region dating around 10, 600 years ago.

Most projectile points found in the Lake Erie region of  Norfolk and Haldimand County are made from a sedimentary rock high in silica called chert giving the stone a glassy ring to it when two pieces are hit together.  What is unique to this region is that almost all points found in Norfolk County were made from chert originating from Haldimand County.  Aboriginals either made their points in Haldimand County or picked up chert as rectangular nodules and carried it in tumpline baskets into Norfolk County where stone tools were made, including points.

Chert was only one of several materials used to make these points.  Other materials such as wood, bone, and antler were also used, but because they are organic materials most of these points have decomposed over time.  There were some attempts to make points from metal such as natural copper, but after contact with Europeans arrow points began to be made from metal products traded with Aboriginals.

Most often projectile points were used to hunt animals because they could create a serious wound to an animal to slow it down, but they were also useful as other types of tools.

While points are sharply tapered, many are wide with rounded or curved cutting edges suggesting as use other than hunting animals.  Many points were used every day as knives, scrapers, and even drills because the chert they were made from produced a very sharp edge.  However, the one problem with all points is that they break frequently during use and need repairing on a regular basis.  This would explain why many broken projectile points been found.

Why are so many projectile points different from one another? 

Archaeologists suggest points were used to distinguish one group of people from another.  The abundance of points also suggests many were made for the purpose of exchanging and bartering for other resources, especially if they were made from a chert that was considered exotic in colour or resistant to breakage.  In fact, chert found along the Onondaga escarpment in Haldimand County and ends in southern New York State was widely transported and exchanged because it was resistant to breakage compared to other types of chert.  Lastly, point styles may reflect a response by Aboriginals to adjust the shape or style of the point to changing environments and food resources.

So the next time you get a chance to visit a museum with Aboriginal artifacts with a friend who found a projectile point, or maybe you found a point yourself, think about the amount of history held within this one artifact.  Remember, it was made by a person who once lived, breathed, and walked across the very same landscape you live on today.  If you look closely at a projectile point imagine what stories it could tell you about the past. For the Silo, Lorenz Bruechert.



Roadside Memorials Of Loss Are On The Rise

One of Toronto based photographer Erin Riley’s series of photographs depicting roadside memorials in and around the GTA

Indeed, the prevalence of roadside memorials has increased significantly over the past several decades and there is little doubt that each of us has encountered them at some point. Roadside memorials are essentially visual manifestations of profound suffering and loss. They mark the site where a motor vehicle accident has occurred and the death that resulted from it (however , many memorials, especially in major cities, have little to do with motor vehicle accidents and more to do with cycling accidents, innocent bystanders or anything else that faithfully marks the site of passing).

In areas where large gravestones or plaques cannot be placed, for a variety of reasons, makeshift memorials take their place. These sites grow with each flower, ribbon or object and deplete with the wind, rain or snow; they are in a continuous state of flux. The organic quality of roadside memorials may directly reference the very epehemerality of life itself. Moreover, in their various forms and inclinations, they challenge Western society’s visual seperation of the living from the dead; therefore, as they subsist, roadside memorials carry the spectre of mortality into the public sphere, a space where even speaking of death remains taboo.

Post-mortem/momento mori photography during the Victorian age is a fascinating though dark and unsettling movement.

Roadside markers are a rural and urban feature- this marker is located on Front Road, near St. Williams, Ontario, Canada image:

Encountering the idea of death may be one of the reasons why people take issue with the appearance of roadside memorials. For them, they represent a veritable “distraction” while driving, are considered “unsightly” or a “vandalism of public property”. For the families of the deceased, roadside memorials allow the opportunity to mourn their loved one(s) at the very place of their passing. The level of emotion generated by being near the actual site where a loved one has died is different from standing beside their final resting place in segregated communities of loss that are the modern cemetery.

Not only are roadside memorials, as markers of loss, important to the families and groups that maintained a relationship to the deceased, but they powerfully address the living by acting as memento mori (reminders of death). It is through them that one may better appreciate the present.

Toronto-based photographer Erin Riley’s series of photographs depicting roadside memorials in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) specifically engages the publicization of loss and its visual manifestation. Riley’s images are strikingly beautiful and skillfully composed, yet they raise ethical questions precisely because they aestheticize markers of death sites by transforming them into visual objects to behold.  This theme was explored  in Jarrod Barker’s April 2010’s  Umwelt at the Norfolk Arts Center with a central piece depicting a virtual gallery memorial in conjunction with projected audio/video loop of a recently deceased Deer- struck down by a motorist, the piece becoming essentially a rural memento mori.

Happening upon a recently struck deer- Artist Jarrod Barker aestheticized the site by placing a white linen ‘shroud’ over the victim. This would later become a central piece in the installation of Umwelt April 2010 photo: J. Barker

Another question concerns the identification of deceased individuals and whether or not their names should be made public through the vehicle of art. That being said, Riley’s photographs do provide an eloquent record of roadside memorials within the GTA and speak to their social and cultural value. Ask yourself: where do you stand on this issue?

It would seem that, for the families of the deceased, roadside memorials serve the purpose of exactly that: the memorializatin of a life. [ “even” an animal life CP ] They also serve a function for the living, reminding us that life is fleeting and that the dangers of the road are real. Ultimately, rather than causing drivers to collide, roadside memorials may force drivers to more aware of the consequences of speed, negligence and drunk driving. May roadside memorials continue to stand where lives have fallen. For the Silo, Matthew Ryan Smith. 




Travel Into Zhengzhou

Zhengzhou- "Once into the downtown, the pace slows somewhat."
Zhengzhou- “Once into the downtown, the pace slows somewhat.”

How I met my wife halfway…Elegant Confusion………Being delivered by car (my wife’s friend and a co-worker) to the Hotel in the downtown area of Zhengzhou, bursting along the byways and expressways from the Airport, cars around us dancing across the indistinct markings of the lanes in what could be described as a level of a video game in progress, I had no idea ( a horn honks and a bus switches lanes in front of us ‘sans’ signal..) that the “Art” of driving could manifest itself in such a reckless song trying so very hard to be a “ballet”.

My first impressions were to be made, however innocent, a misplaced fantasy.. As we made our way across the edge of this city of 8 1/2 million souls.., it was plain that this was far different than the large, ‘controlled’ infrastructures of North America.. A place where those, who in the faltering of the majority of their lives, seeking to maintain “control” of most aspects of their lives, would be shattered as if a piece of glass  hitting the concrete of this sudden reality. I believe that all this time seeking that ‘control’, having it slip through the grasps of their expectations, is the cause of so much anger, disappointment, and frustration in North Americans’ lives.. There is no “Road Rage” here.

If this is how you imagined driving in one of China's cities would look like you're mistaken. So says writer, farmer and traveler Bill Stewart.
If this is how you imagined driving in one of China’s cities would look like you’re mistaken. So says writer, farmer and traveler Bill Stewart.


Once into the downtown, the pace slows somewhat, taking time to congeal into something even more unexpected.. Now there are people, thousands of them,.. mixed with electric bikes, bicycles, motorcycles, pedestrians, carts of vegetables and fruit perched high on platforms innovatively connected to motorcycles, wagons of produce drawn by donkeys and cars.. All are dancing in and out of lanes of traffic, up onto sidewalks, threading the pedestrians walking different directions, the buses and taxis faster than the rest.. Cars and motorbikes making U-turns anywhere without notice.., a car honks, someone concedes the space, and life goes on.

The remarkable impression to be made here for a Caucasian in ‘Neverland’,… is that, there are no egos here to set off a clash of emotional diatribes leading to certain physical, or vocal, outbursts.. Just ‘focus’ of purpose.. There is only the destination to be sought.., nothing more matters.. It is not a matter of forgiveness, on the part of the conceded ,.. just a plain sense of infective respect.. An old woman, peddling a bicycle, weaves suddenly directly across the lanes of traffic.. I look away, fearing the sounds and images of her death.. A few impatient honks from the cars,.. all traffic stops.. as she slowly winds her way to the sidewalk on the other side of the street.., the motorbikes weaving around her, pacing in and out of the stopped buses, cars and taxis.. A woman on a motorbike with a child in front, one in back of her seat, sails by me on the sidewalk…It is ‘Elegance in Confusion’ at it’s finest.. For the Silo, Bill Stewart.


Here's what some folk are saying about the video above.
Here’s what some folk are saying about the video above.

Must Have Chargers For iPhone X

With recently reporting that Apple sold an estimated 6 million iPhone X units this past Black Friday weekend alone, as calculated by an analyst with Rosenblatt Securities, and with untold millions more sure to sell throughout the holiday season, it’s clear the marketplace is embracing this new iPhone iteration. In fact, the analyst firm is so optimistic that it increased December quarter iPhone X shipment estimates from 27-28 million to 30 million units.

Given each new iPhone model launch ushers in an abundance of equipment and accessories hell-bent on helping users make the most of their prized smartphone, I began wondering what extras are on tap for the eagerly anticipated iPhone X. In the event that your own curiosity is piqued just the same, or if you’re one of the multi-millions of customers for whom iPhone X marks the spot in your heart (and wallet), here’s an array of accouterments that can help ensure smartphone satisfaction for any X-phile. All prices are in US dollars and are msrp.

ALLDOCK USB Charging Station ( – Starting at $129.00

The ALLDOCK is a multi-port USB charging station that offers consumers a piece of technology that looks like anything but, allowing them to embrace their electronics and avoid the cable chaos. This interior design-friendly gadget gives users the ability to charge all devices you’re your iPhone X, as well as other smartphones and tablets, all in one place. Accessory add-ons include a docking mount for the Apple Watch, Fitbit Wearables, Apple Pencil and Apple AirPods (more charging add-ons are to be released the company says). It offers all around compatibility for both wireless and quick charge phones, and delivers a 40% quicker charge as compared to using a standard charger. ALLDOCK is available in two sizes and is offered in various premium materials such as Bamboo, Walnut and Aluminum.

ALLDOCK iphone charger
photo- ALLDOCK

Skyroam Solis ( – $149.99

Skyroam Solis is a dual 4G LTE global WiFi hotspot and power bank. It satisfies the most significant needs of travelers with super-fast LTE speeds, long-lasting battery and mobile charging that will keep users powered-up all day long. Skyroam service seamlessly connects users with mobile WiFi on-the-go through its proprietary global WiFi network that’s powered by patented virtual SIM (vSIM) technology. With instant access to secure, unlimited data in over 100 countries, Skyroam Solis offers the convenience of going from one country to another without configuring local SIMs, updating plans, or incurring roaming charges or overage fees. Plus, it’s shareable on up to five devices simultaneously.

Skyroam Solis
photo- Skyroam

Mophie Wireless Charging Base ( – $59.95

Mophie makes charging your iPhone easier than ever. This wireless charging base includes the latest Qi technology and delivers fast charging speeds of up to 7.5W to your phone on contact. In fact, it delivers safe charging speeds 50% faster than standard wireless chargers. The non-slip finish ensures perfect placement, and the included wall adapter means you get everything you need right in the box to start charging right away. The wireless capability also allows users to be clutter-free and take the base with them while they’re out and abut; making it a portable option for those indelibly on-the-go.

photo- Mophie

Tech Armor ActivePower External Battery Dual USB Power Bank ( – $39.99

Compact and lightweight, the Tech Armor 6000mAh Power Bank will boost your smartphone’s battery life, ensuring you’re charged up for your entire day. You’ll get not just one, but two full charges for your smartphone. And, it boasts a built-in flashlight. The Power Bank also has dual USB ports to charge two devices at once, such as a phone and a tablet. Tech Armor’s high performance ActivePower external battery packs use only the highest quality, Grade A Korean battery cells available on the market. With four models to meet anyone’s power needs, Tech Armor ActivePower series his sure to have something for you. This 6000 model is covered by a hassle-free two-year warranty. The company even says that they are committed to your satisfaction and will send you free replacements for defective or unsatisfactory product.

photo- Tech Armor

Ventev Mobile Powercell Chargers ( – $54.99 – $74.99

Ventev Mobile’s Powercell 6000+ is a useful device for frequent travelers who hate carrying multiple chargers to keep all of their gadgets and gear juiced up. The Powercell 6000+ is a 6000mAh, dual output portable backup battery that provides a full 25 hours of talk, 18 hours of Internet, 20 hours of video or 100 hours of audio playback power. It features 1A and 2.1A ports that allow for optimal and simultaneous charging of phones and tablets, and built-in folding AC prongs that make recharging the battery extremely easy. Also from Ventev Mobile is the Powercell 3015c, a 3000mAh portable battery with a built-in Apple Lightning cable. The slim, wallet-sized device provides 12 additional hours of talk time and features an on/off button with LED battery indicator light. The attached cable eliminates the need to carry around pesky removable cords to charge your devices while on-the-go.

Ventev Powercell 6000

For the Silo, Merilee Kern. 
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at, on Twitter at, on Facebook at and on Instagram at

Here’s the fineprint- ********Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided at no cost and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.********

Featured image- ALLDOCK


Ontario Marine Fossil Reveals Ancient 400 Day Year

Haldimand and Norfolk County, Ontario have become an attractive area to expolore for marine fossils.

The Great Lakes Basin, once inundated by a vast ancient, shallow sea that covered much of central North America, is today revealing an abundance of fossil corals, invertebrates, and marine organisms found within many limestone formations uncovered by glaciers and erosion. Haldimand and Norfolk County have especially become an attractive area to explore for fossils of marine organisms by both scientists and amateur fossil collectors who can travel to local location such as Rock Point Provincial Park in Haldimand County.

However, these fossils represent more than just evidence of unique life forms that once numbered in the tens of thousands of species co-existing in a marine ecosystem. They are scientific evidence of marine ecosystems in ecological transition, shifting continents, changing climates, and a record of our planets’ every day rotation around the sun.

Many fossil corals found in Haldimand and Norfolk County date around 410 to 360 million years ago. It is a time geologically known as the “Devonian Period”, the “Devonian Reef” or the “Age of Fishes”. During this period, fishes of many different species became abundant in the fossil record. A partly submerged North America, or as yet to be formed Great Lakes Basin, was colliding with Europe close to the equator. Reef building environments began to develop and produce some of the largest reef complexes in the world.

The reef complexes were in large areas of shallow equatorial seas that existed between the continents. Evidence of a saltwater sea supporting a vast coral reef system once covering southern Ontario over 400 million years ago in the form of fossilized coral deposits support the theory that a coral reef system existed for a very long time. It was in the basins of these former shallow seas that great quantities of rock salt, gypsum, and other types of minerals precipitated, and today, mining industries dig well below the lowest depths of Lake Erie to recover these minerals.

The “Heliophylum halli” is a fossil particular to the Great Lakes region and studies of its growth rings revealed 400 days in one Earth year when this creature was alive.

Exposure of reef basins varies and depends on how glaciers or water erosion has pushed or washed soil off bedrock. Under these conditions, a geologist’s field magnifying glass can help find very small fossils such as radiolarians and diatoms. Otherwise, larger fossils such as different varieties of bivalves (clams), trilobites, and even large fragments of fossilized coral are exposed. In some case, there are discoveries of fossilized marine organisms that are both rare and some times difficult to identify.
What ended these reef complexes and created one of the greatest mass extinction events of earth’s biota was a combination of events that took place over a period of 25 million years. Since species rely on a warm water marine ecosystem for their survival it would seem that a slow and gradual continental shift north from the equator would over time impact a large variety of marine species, including those supported by coral reefs. Therefore, events such as shifting continents, lowering of sea levels, climatic changes influencing land and sea ecologies, and/or possibly a glaciation had significant roles in the extinction of earth’s biodiversity.
The large deposits of fossil corals and invertebrates found in Norfolk and Haldimand County has been of great interest to scientists and fossil collectors for many decades. However, fossil collecting took on a new importance in the last 50 years when it was determined there was a connection between growth rings of coral skeletons with the number of days of the year. Scientists studying samples of coral skeletons from contemporary coral reef systems discovered growth rings on the outer surface of coral skeletons.

By studying a large sample of coral skeletons and determining how many growth rings represented a year’s growth of calcium carbonate, scientists were able to calculate an average of 360 rings per year. Thereby, approximately one growth ring represented one day’s growth for each day of the year. Taking this new information, scientists began collecting large numbers of exceptionally well-preserved coral fossils belonging to the Late Devonian Period. One particular species, found in the Great Lakes region, called a “Heliophylum halli” exhibited many growth rings developing in one year during this period. The result surprised even scientists.

Fossil coral showed there were approximately 400 growth rings per year 370 million years ago. Therefore, there were about 400 days in a year in the Devonian Period. Astronomers who have calculated that our earth’s rotation has been slowing at a rate of about 2 seconds every 100,000 years have since supported the new information.

Exposures of ancient reef basins can be discovered in dried up stream beds and even under farmers fields.

Despite Haldimand and Norfolk County being a small example of a region once holding a thriving coral reef system, existing over 400 million years ago, the number of fossils of different species exposed is vast. Fossil corals, invertebrates, and species of marine organisms exist in many different shapes, sizes, and can be very fragile. Therefore, whether you are a scientist or amateur fossil collector, the next time you take a walk across the landscape to explore and search for fossils be sure to take along a fossil guide.

You never know what new fossil discoveries you might make just walking across the countryside for an afternoon. For the Silo, Lorenz Bruechert.


Canada Space Agency On How Space Affects Our Body

Living in space has significant effects on the human body!

As we prepare for journeys to more distant destinations like Mars, humankind must tackle these risks to ensure safe travel for our astronauts. Have a look at this nifty infographic from the CSA. Leave us a video comment from your smart device by clicking on the record button. 

Comments on CSA Space infographic

Canada Space Agency PSA space info

The Consolidation Of North American Food

Adam Jacob sent in this tell-all graphic that is pretty shocking. If these statistics are true then ‘it’s clear the small food producer is an endangered species. Unless of course, they start supplying the big chain corporate grocery store chains. And that will likely spell the end of family farm gate-retail…and that will spell the end of the family farm. It is so important to support local farm to table initiatives and preserve food that is not only grown for profit, but grown for quality and healthy consumption.

To learn more about the consolidation of (North) American food and the implications for Ontarians, visit Silo Direct Link to


Finest Coffee And Coconut Oil From Dominican Republic

Everyone already knows Kimera Koffee’s for its finest ground coffee, highest quality beans, and some of the best flavors on the market. Now Kimera Koffee is growing the family with its limited edition Phase 1 Peaberry Whole Bean Koffee and Kimera Koconut Oil.

The Kimera Koffee Pase 1 Peaberry Whole Bean Koffee is grown in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. Using some of the finest beans, this blend uses the plants’ yield of 3%-5% peaberry beans, each hand selected and sorted. Peaberry beans are unique in that they are the only bean in the cherry (rather than two), therefore receiving all of the plant’s nutrients in a concentrated dose.

Peaberry beans roast differently partly because they have a single coffee bean within a single coffee cherry (fruit), instead of the usual two half-beans per cherry.

Peaberry beans are regarded as naturally sweeter, more aromatic, and more pleasant in taste than regular coffee beans. This limited edition flavor packs a punch to your morning routine with some of the freshest, most potent whole beans you can find.

Kimera’s other new addition is the Kimera Koconut Oil. This handcrafted, pure coconut oil is sure to pack a delicious punch with any drink or cooking need. Kimera’s Koconut Oil is extra virgin and cold pressed, giving you the finest, most high quality oil on the market. The oil is non-GMO and unrefined for the best flavor and potency money can buy.

As well as Kimera Koffee’s dedication to proving the high quality products on the market, they are aslo are proud supporters of the Belarminio Ramirez Foundation, which uses their donations to provide school materials, clothes, food, and basic household appliances to communities in the Dominican Republic’s farming towns. Every Kimera Koffee purchase helps aid this fight for a better future. Featured image-   For the Silo, Katie Lapinski.

Kimera Koffee can be purchased online through their website at or Amazon, as well as at select retailers in the USA, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Supplemental- Gourmet Coffee Lovers: What is a peaberry?

Mountain Biking In Nepal


Splash image

 H+I Adventures  returned to biking the Himalayas for the first time since Nepal’s devastating earthquake in late October 2015. Continuing to support and promote Nepal’s local tourism industry was a priority for the award-winning mountain biking specialists. Throughout all of H+I Adventures’ twelve-day mountain biking holiday in Nepal, riders experience some of the world’s most breathtaking climbs, technical descents, fast and flowing singletrack, and the most spectacular views from the roof of the world.

Small image

“There’s never been a more important time to visit Nepal than now,” says Euan Wilson, owner, H+I Adventures. “We are deeply saddened by the devastation caused by the earthquake, but our friends, colleagues and partners in Nepal are resilient. We want to show mountain bikers that Nepal is safe and that the country is ready to welcome them with open arms.”

Led by a local Nepalese guide, H+I travellers will find themselves surrounded by five-mile-high peaks and stay in teahouses run by local villagers stocked with delicious food, cold beer and great conversation. Highlights include criss-crossing the Kali Gandaki Valley, the deepest valley in the world, navigating the legendary Annapurna Circuit and the lower Mustang region, and riding through Shivapuri National Park to the historic town of Bhaktapur. A hot-spring soak in the village of Tatopani provides some well deserved respite and muscular relaxation after what has been a full week of epic highs.

“We are very much back in business, and my team and I can’t wait for the new season to begin and to welcome riders back to our beautiful country,” says Mandil Pradhan, lead guide for H+I Adventures in Nepal.

Known for combining rich cultural experiences with adrenline-pumping trails and breathtaking climbs, H+I Adventures has created enriching opportunities for travellers to engage with local communities during each tour. For example, in Nepal, H+I mountain bikers visit with Himalayan thangka artists and witness how they create the most exquisite masterpieces, which can take years to complete.

Rates start at $3,196 USD per person, based on double occupancy, and includes Global Rescue, a world-class emergency service provider that offers medical and security evacuation assistances and destination reports. Small image

For more information visit:
About Global Rescue

Global Rescue is a worldwide provider of integrated medical, security, intelligence and crisis response services to corporations, governments and individuals. Founded in partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine, Global Rescue’s unique operational model provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to potential threats. Global Rescue has provided medical and security support to clients during every globally significant crisis of the last decade. Memberships start at $119 and entitle members to rescue and transport services to their home hospital of choice.

About H+I Adventures

H+ I Adventures specializes in premium mountain biking holidays. Based out of Inverness, Scotland, the company offers mountain biking trips in Namibia, Mexico, Slovenia, Spain, Yukon, Nepal, Ecuador and Whistler, with four destination trips in Scotland. They are committed to providing sustainable and responsible travel within the communities they visit. H+I Adventures is bonded by the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT)

IDA Challenges Airlines To Cut Environmental Baggage And Save Animals

Air India announced that it has made one simple change that will save the airline $1.5 USD million (Rs 10 crore) and spare hundreds of thousands of animals from short, brutal lives and untimely deaths – it stopped serving non-vegetarian meals.

Air travel is one of the most notorious carbon polluters, which harms wild animals by changing natural habitats and acidifying oceans. Offering a plant-based meal not only saves animals directly by not serving them, but saves more animals by reducing greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions from farming that harm wild animals and the planet. There is a large body of evidence linking meat-based diets with unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide production. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that meat-based diets use more energy, land, and water than a plant-based diets.

As an environmentally conscious company with a strong track record of promoting environmental sustainability, Virgin Airlines is ideally placed to lead the industry in a transition to plant-based meals. The time has never been better to call on Virgin to go meat-free!

Please join us in asking Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America (Alaska Airlines) and Virgin Australia to take the next step in reducing their carbon footprints. Make plant-based meals the default option on all flights!

1. If you live in the U.S., please call 877 359 8474 (customer service representatives are available 24/7).

After the prompt, press “0” and respond to the auto-prompt by stating “something else” to be connected through to a customer service representative.

Once connected, you can say something like, “Hi, I’m calling to express my support for Virgin Airlines to make plant-based meals the default selection on all flights. This simple switch will cuts costs, dramatically reduce greenhouse gas and carbons emissions, easily address an array of dietary requirements, and reduce waste. Will you please pass my message on to management?”

2. After your call, please send our letter:

Dear Executive Team,

Increasing numbers of consumers are choosing plant-based diets to support the environment and decrease their carbon footprint. Yet, meat-based meals continue to be the default meal option for your airlines. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Just recently, Air India stopped serving non-vegetarian meals, showing this progressive move is one that can be implemented without hardship.

There is a large body of evidence linking meat-based diets with unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide production. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a meat-based diet uses more energy, land, and water than a plant-based diet and was less viable for the future. By simply switching from a meat-based meal to a plant-based meal as the default option, Virgin Airlines could go a long way toward decreasing the environmental impact of airline travel.

There are thousands of tasty and nutritious plant-based recipes available that exclude meat, dairy, and egg. These meals could easily address an array of dietary requirements and reduce the number of special meal options that Virgin Airlines currently offers. In addition, plant-based meals cost less and are healthier. In a 2012 study in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, investigators found that meat-based diets cost individual consumers $746USD more per year, and were less nutritious. There is no need to compromise your award-winning service – we are asking you to simply switch the default meal option so that passengers can still select a meat-based meal if they wish.

Offering a plant-based meal as the default option will save you money, increase profit margins, cut tons off your carbon footprint and cement Virgin’s reputation as the premier modern airline.

Not only will this simple switch cuts costs, it also reduces greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions. As an environmentally conscious organization with a strong track record of promoting environmental sustainability, Virgin Airlines is ideally placed to lead the industry in a transition to plant-based meals.

We applaud Virgin Airlines’ commitment to ecological air travel solutions, including the use of biofuel and carbon offsets. We ask that Virgin Airlines again show leadership in the field of environmental sustainability by making plant-based meals the default selection on all flights.


Luxurious Aquila Reaches Power Catamaran Milestone

CLEARWATER, Fla.  – Aquila is pleased to announce that they have built their 100th catamaran boat, an Aquila 44.

Frank Xiong SinoEagle CEO

The Aquila 44 boasts Aquila’s signature fresh evolution of classic boating traditions where efficiency in design and performance compliment her luxurious living and was named “Best New Multihull 40′-49′” in the 2014 AIM Media Editor’s Choice Awards.

“This is an exciting and momentous occasion for us. From the very beginning, we have felt the Aquila Power Catamarans were the best in the world, and we have been excited to be a part of the team designing and building them. We look forward to surpassing this milestone and continuing to celebrate many more,” stated Frank Xiong, Sino Eagle Group CEO.

Construction of Aquila Power Catamarans began in 2012 when Sino Eagle Group began building the Aquila 38 specifically for MarineMax, the world’s largest power boat dealer, for its new charter business in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

In 2012, experts from multiple development, design, and manufacturing firms, namely, Sino Eagle Group, J&J Design Group, Seaway, and MarineMax, all collaborated to expand the Aquila range by developing a new, purebred power catamaran.

This international team consisted of MarineMax’s Lex Raas, a highly-experienced boat developer and charter industry veteran, and J&J Design group and their development arm, Seaway, who have worked on designs for Azimut, Bavaria, Beneteau, Dufour, Jeanneau and Monte Carlo. This highly regarded, award-winning group began the process of designing the first true Aquila Power Catamaran, the Aquila 48.

“Bringing this group of companies together made for a very knowledgeable and powerful team. We’ve been able to combine our experience and expertise to design and build boats that are innovative and truly setting new standards for the industry,” stated Lex Raas of MarineMax.

To position itself to become a prominent boat builder, Sino Eagle Group, recognized globally in high-tech composite manufacturing, built a new factory which provided the Aquila brand with full in-house manufacturing capabilities paired with in-depth knowledge and experience in advanced yacht building practices.

With the combined knowledge and advanced experience of the most talented group in the yachting industry, Aquila is establishing a new standard of power catamaran innovation and becoming the game changer in the marketplace.

Aquila represents the newest and most exciting evolution on the market today, offering practicality and comfort with trend setting innovation, quality, and design. Both inside and out, Aquila Catamarans are designed to provide the perfect cruising vessel whether crossing oceans or traveling the Great Loop, living aboard, or exploring worldwide destinations, or simply entertaining friends and family at the dock. The expanding Aquila range currently consists of the Aquila 36,  Aquila 44, Aquila 48, and will soon be including the Aquila 60 (2019 debut).  MarineMax is the exclusive dealer for the Aquila brand boats throughout the world other than mainland China.

Bill McGill, MarineMax CEO

“Congratulations to the Sino Eagle Group, J&J Design, and MarineMax teams for their hard work on designing and building industry leading catamarans. Passionate teams pulling together has created winning products for our customers,” exclaimed Bill McGill, MarineMax CEO.

Aquila is excited to have reached this milestone in their continued growth to new markets with new model offerings.


Recognized globally for its high-quality, advanced composite manufacturing capabilities, Sino Eagle Yachts builds Aquila Power Catamarans in a state-of-the-art facility to exacting standards. With one of the most talented teams in the industry providing the combined knowledge and extensive experience, Aquila has established a game changing new standard of power catamaran innovation. Leading the way in the market segment, Aquila continues to pave the way with strong international sales of the award-winning Aquila brand. Uncompromising design coupled with unmatched industry experience, engineering, and manufacturing by world class builders, make up the Aquila line of true pure-bred power catamarans. For more information visit  For the Silo, Sara Yasi & MarineMax.


This Quiz Helps You Discover Your Perfect Gap Year

Hello There! Everyone dreams of taking some time off to travel. However, before settling on the location or how long you intend to stay abroad, as an intrepid explorer you should be thinking about exactly what type of gap year is right for you.

Perhaps you’re looking to explore off the beaten track? Add to your CV? Maybe you want to earn your own way as you travel?

Our friends at have put together this quiz to help you make this tricky decision. For the Silo,  Isabel Swift.


Travel Friendly Solutions That Will Enhance Your Experience

As one who is exposed to new product innovations as a regular course of business, I’ve seen my fair share cool gear and smart solutions that’ll make the rigors of travel, well, that much less rigorous. From leading-edge technology to killer fashion and keepsakes to helpful health and wellness resources to things that just make jaunting more fun, here’s an awesome assortment of things I’m absolutely loving right now.

V-MODA Remix – Premium Bluetooth Speaker ( – $300.00USD
Nothing beats a picnic or beach outing, or a killer backyard soiree, like your favorite tunes playing in the background. Now that’s super easy with the Remix Premium Bluetooth Speaker from V-MODA—the company’s first Bluetooth portable speaker boasting a built-in amplifier and hi-fi sound quality. As the world’s first 3D-printed custom speaker, all six sides of REMIX can be personalized (patent-pending). Using V-MODA’s renowned jewelry-grade 3D-printing expertise, owners can add new sides, change the front grill or even replace the main “C-shell” housing for the ultimate in bespoke appearance. Built on the foundation of V-MODA’s multi-award-winning audio technology, Remix projects precise and vibrant sound at all listening levels. Available in two finishes–minimal CNC aluminum and luxurious vegan leather–this premium speaker exemplifies the work of V-MODA’s Milano-based design studio. It’s classically styled, beautifully proportioned and completely customizable on all six sides to reflect the personality of its owner. Led by Chief Visionary Officer and professional musician Val Kolton, V-MODA blends analog renaissance age inspiration, Italian design and precise Japanese engineering. V-MODA products have reportedly won 40-plus editors’ choice awards and have become essential gear for the world’s top professional DJs.

Image: V-MODA


Cotton Junkies ( – Starting at $31USD

Image: Cotton Junkies

Whether touring with family and friends or knocking around town, a great way to keep cool and comfortable, while still being fashionable, is with Cotton Junkies. This company’s super comfy tees are great year-round! They offer a nice range of tees and tank tops for both him and her in the softest of cotton–and the standout designs are super cool. Centered around an ethos of natural style, sex appeal and comfort, this brand new label combines cotton, the most comfortable of materials, with modern designs in eye-catching colors from charcoal greys and electric blues, to volcano reds and sage greens. From V-necks to crew necks, their secret is in the way the cotton is treated. All of their merchandise is handpicked, and uses a blend of organic cottons with other natural materials that are U.S. made and pre-washed for a true-to-you fit and style. This means they don’t shrink in the wash! What’s more the brand has a unisex feel, so a lot of the tees for him can be worn by her!


Grayton Automatic Watches ‘Radiance’ Collection ( – Starting at $200USD
For any travel itinerary, keeping time is of the essence. And, the ‘Radiance’ Collection from Grayton Automatic Watches is a way to do this in fab form. They feature a classy design and advanced quality reflecting the company’s exceptional experience of crafting automatic watches—and offering them at a reasonable price. Like the prayer flags that sway eternally in the breeze, the colors of the Radiance collection watch dials are said to be inspired by the unique color palette of Shangri-La: green alpine pastures, white-silver mountain snows or brown wooden Tibetan chalets in the old city itself. The elegance of the Radiance collection makes it the perfect combination between traditional and modern. Grayton choose top-quality materials for watch cases, straps and bracelets, and integrates a Japanese movement by Seiko—a respected standard in the watch industry and a token of quality. One of its finest features is its transparent backside design that allows you to see the detailed mechanical movements operating within the watch. Its super luminous colored hands will also tell you the time no matter how dark it is. Whether for style, quality or utility, This and other Grayton Automatic Watch designs can be handed down from one generation to another as valued family treasures.

Image: Grayton Automatic Watches

Grafo Maps ( – $49USD – $168USD
Here’s something great-looking and fashionable for your walls! Remind yourself of the place you grew up, went to college, your honeymoon location, or that unforgettable vacation spot with a beautifully designed custom map poster from Grafo Maps. These posters are an artful decor piece designed by you. The company’s easy-to-use online poster editing tool lets you design anyplace you love—you can even search by address. Once you have found the perfect spot you want to map, simply choose a color scheme that will add even more personality to your piece. Within days you will receive your unique one of a kind poster printed on acid-free 180g matte paper made to not only to look great, but also last a lifetime. You can order it framed or unframed. Place it in a special location as a reminder of that place you love or a special event. It’s sure to spark conversations with family and friends.

Image: Grafo Maps

tech21’s Impact Clear Urban Edition Case ( – $44.95USD

Image: Tech21

It’s imperative to keep that iPhone safe while out and about. Clear protection meets urban design with the Impact Clear Urban Edition Case from tech21. Inspired by minimalistic streetwear, The Urban Edition offers a unique geometric pattern with sleek and clean lines, fit for the fashion-conscious smartphone user looking to coordinate their case with their outfit in a subtle manner. tech21 products feature a highly advanced impact protection material called FlexShock, which is an ultra-thin and lightweight material that absorbs and dissipates force and can withstand drops up to 6.6 feet. With enhanced UV yellowing resistance and a durable, scratch resistant finish, your phone, and your case, will look better for a longer period of time. It’s available in two different styles and two colors (Brushed Black or Clear White) for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Combining urban design with clear materials and advanced drop protection, the Urban Edition can keep your phone as beautiful as the day you took it out of the box.

Kardia Mobile ( – $99USD
Here’s a way to stay heart healthy all year through and no matter where you are (however near or far from your doctor): the Kardia Mobile personal EKG. Sadly, more people die from heart disease and stroke each year than any other disease- but did you know that 80% of strokes are preventable? Kardia Mobile is a consumer EKG monitoring device that allows you to quickly access, track and analyze your heart health. Taking a clinical-grade heart rhythm reading in just 30 seconds, results are delivered right to your smartphone! Now you can know anytime, anywhere if your heart rhythm is normal, or if atrial fibrillation is detected—helpful data that can reduce your risk of stroke. Smaller than a credit card, it provides a way for people to easily take their health into their own hands. Kardia Mobile gives you peace of mind right from your pocket.

Image: AliveCor

International Hyperhidrosis Society ‘Fan Faves’ Products ( – Prices vary
Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is a serious medical condition that affects approximately 5% of the population. This means that nearly 367 million people worldwide—including throngs of travelers—struggle with extreme, uncontrollable sweating…be it on their hands, feet, face, underarms, torso, lower extremities, or any combination of these—which greatly impacts their quality of life. From stress and embarrassment to depression and isolation, hyperhidrosis takes its toll; but there’s help! Since 2003, The International Hyperhidrosis Society has been providing information, resources, expert perspective, and support to those struggling with this condition. It’s is the only global non-profit organization dedicated entirely to improving the lives of those affected by hyperhidrosis while also supporting healthcare providers and researchers to improve hyperhidrosis treatments and understanding. From the International Hyperhidrosis Society’s website,, you’ll find up-to-date information on treatment options, U.S. insurance codes, clinical trials, a physician finder, an award-winning, useful blog, and much more. IHhS also maintains a useful product guide called “Fan Faves” where you can receive special discounts and discover ingenious, cutting-edge products to help handle even the sweatiest situations.

Image: The International Hyperhidrosis Society

WeCool Kits for Kids ( – $7.99USD – $29.99USD
For some crafty portable fun for kids I love the Compound Kings Makin’ Station from WeCool! This activity set lets kids make their own slimy mixture in just two quick-and-easy steps – and get it perfect every time. There’s no mess or long list of ingredients that need precise measuring. All they have to do is add water to the special powder mix in the activity center and the stretchy compound is ready within minutes! It yields more than one pound. Compound Kings offers a range of slimy mixes from single packs to activity sets, including glittery, fluffy, and crunchy slimes in addition to make-your-own varieties. Also awesome is WeCool’s Bobble Bitz Creation Station, an activity set featuring an irresistibly squishy, squeezy and crunchy medium that doubles as a molding compound. It’s a textured product kids have called “oddly satisfying” – like playing with bubble wrap. The set includes molds, tools and accessories so kids can make their own unique designs that air-harden overnight for cool 3D creations they can wear, share and display.

For the Silo, By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor.

As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority–a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She identifies and reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online, on Twitter  , on Facebook and on Instagram.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or sponsored at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Sharing Economy Travel Market Leader Acquires Spanish Competitor Eyes America

Nights Exchange Leader NightSwapping Acquires MyTwinPlace   NightSwapping is the first Nights exchange community with more than 250,000 members throughout 160 countries. It pioneered a new concept in 2012 which is unique in the sharing economy travel market. Read the PDF backgrounder by clicking here.

It takes the best parts of vacation rentals, home exchanges and Couch-surfing to let members travel for less or earn money. Whether you’re a traveler or a host, you earn Night credits with each trip which you can them use to travel or convert into money commission free.

Thanks to the innovative idea, you can keep traveling locally, authentically and meet friendly hosts and guests, all the while enjoying improved safety conditions and saving money.

In order to speed up its development, NightSwapping has acquired a Spanish competitor founded in 2013. MyTwinPlace’s community consists of 55,000 members throughout the world.

Serge Duriavig

According to Serge Duriavig, founder of NightSwapping, “this acquisition, which we have been preparing for the last few months, will allow us to significantly strengthen our community by bringing even more travel opportunities to our members, particularly in the booming Spanish market.
This deal affirms our ambition to become a mainstay in the sharing economy travel market. Thanks to MyTwinPlace, our goal to reach 300,000 members in 2017 is already realized. We aspire to reach 1,000,000 members in the next 2 years.”

For Xavier Labollos de Jesus and Jean Noel Saunier, the heads of MyTwinPlace, “the acquisition by NightSwapping is a guarantee that our community lives on serenely.”

In 2014 and 2016, NightSwapping raised 2 million euros successively with venture funds, Family Offices and Business Angels. A fundraising round that allowed the French upstart to grow its community tenfold.
A new round is scheduled before the end of the year, so NightSwapping can keep expanding, with an eye on the American market.

The website is available in seven languages; English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German and Dutch. An app will soon be released on Google Play and the iPhone App Store.

Travel To Sustainability Pioneers The Tongsai Bay

On a regular basis The Silo informs you about personalities who took their part in changing our world to a better place. This part brought to you by our friends at Green Pearls®  is dedicated to the Tongsai Bay in Thailand which engages in sustainable tourism since its foundation celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

How it all began

It all began in 1986 when Khun Akorn Hoontrakul was on a boat trip with his twelve year old son Thanakorn and they spotted the bay from the sea. Khun Akorn immediately felt passionate about it – something Thanakorn did not understand back then. “My 12 year old mind didn’t really appreciate its beauty at that time. The sand was coarse and the water was dark blue because of its depth. It was my Dad who saw the potential and later said to me: ‘It was love at first sight'”, recounts Thanakorn.

Sleeping under the stars

Within one week Khun Akorn bought the land and started building the hotel. At a time when nobody thought about sustainable tourism, he believed in the responsibility to protect nature. To ensure that no tree was felled and the impact on nature was kept as low as possible, he slept at the beach for three months.

Setting a good example

Today, almost 30 years later, the hotel is led by Thanakorn and his wife Saisiri. They share the same passion about sustainable tourism believing that everyone is responsible for the protection of the environment. Their deep belief is that every little step makes a difference. They set a good example for everybody in their private and professional life: “It’s a way of life, to not destroy the environment. It’s a constant thought to make sure habits don’t contribute to waste. If we forget our water bottle, we won’t drink, as we do not drink from plastic”.
Acting sustainable is a holistic approach

Leading the hotel in a sustainable way does not only mean to take green aspects into account. Furthermore it involves a holistic approach, taking into account environmental as well as social aspects, like fair salary, staff training and education. Just as in their private life they focus on waste prevention: kitchen waste for example is composted and reused as fertilizer in the own garden.

Open for everyone: the organic garden

The hotel’s own horticulturist and gardeners are responsible for the organic garden which provides the vegetables and herbs for the kitchen. They developed a fermenting process from oranges and limes using different kinds of micro organisms for an efficient cleaning process. The garden and its plants are open for guests, who can use for example the aloe vera to treat sun burned skin. Additionally there is natural mosquito repellent made by locals, glass cleaner made out of pineapples as well as natural toothpaste.

What has changed since the opening (or in a good way not changed)

Many trees have been planted along the walkway leading to the Cottages providing more shade and in the space of ten+ years there will be a tree tunnel with shade all day long which makes walking much easier in the heat. This is to say that Tongsai is even greener than it used to be. There are 66 kinds of birds spotted in Tongsai in the past 12 years. The star resident bird is the colorful Pink-Necked Pigeon, and even a slow Loris had been spotted near NangGong Villa by Gob and Goya back in 2002. There is still a lot of natural space left in the territory but instead of building more man-made structures the business is not being expanded and natural areas are left untouched.

Pink-Necked Pigeon

Celebrating the 30th anniversary

On the 8th of July 2017 the Tongsai Bay celebrates its 30th birthday inviting the guests to a BBQ dinner. In a special corner called ‘Year One: A Taste of Yesteryear’ guests can try some of the dishes served in the first year after the opening. Furthermore until the end of 2017 guests can book the ‘Tongsai Bay Celebratory Package’ containing three nights in a Seafront Cottage with a view over the private bay and the deep blue sea, daily breakfast and fruits, welcome drinks and much more. ­

The German Green Pearls GmbH ( based in Darmstadt, Germany ) unifies international tourism companies that support environmental protection and demonstrate social commitment. Thereby, Green Pearls is the first holding company worldwide that consolidates sustainable hotels, destinations and restaurants in a global data source.

Among the criteria of admission to Green Pearls® Unique Places, are a sustainability plan on management level, sustainable architecture, comprehensive water, energy saving and waste recovery measures, the use of seasonal and regional ingredients in the kitchen, as well as a large commitment for the social balance in each of the vacation regions.

Index Rankings Of One Day Cost At Over 300 Beaches Worldwide

Amsterdam, Netherlands,Online travel specialists, TravelBird, have released their annual Beach Price Index, featuring more than 300 seaside locations from 70 countries around the globe. On a year-to-year basis, the price of holiday beaches can change substantially when you take into account factors such as currency fluctuation and inflation. As a company which prides itself on inspiring travelers, TravelBird ranked the beaches in order to provide holidaymakers with the information they need to make a smart decision when booking.

TravelBird first examined an extensive catalogue of the world’s most popular beaches, before reducing this to a final shortlist of just over 300 locations, ranked on the cost of spending a day at each. To calculate their affordability, the price of five essentials were then researched for each destination: the cost of a bottle of sun cream (200 ml), a bottle of water (500 ml), a beer (33 cl bottle), lunch (including drink and dessert for one person), and an ice cream. The sum of these five essentials determined the final affordability ranking of each seaside location. All prices were calculated by standardizing the sizes of products, and with monetary transactions true to exchange rates on 1st June 2017.

Steve Klooster

“It is very interesting for travelers who are planning their trip to see how much the price of spending a day at the beach varies across the world. There are many useful tips in here. One to easily forget, currency fluctuations can make a big difference in the actual cost of your holiday, so keep those in mind. For example, beaches in the UK have become almost 10% more affordable for continental European visitors due to the decline of the pound after the Brexit referendum.” Said TravelBird CEO Steven Klooster. “Also, if you are keen on enjoying local food on the beach, pick Vietnam for instance, where you can enjoy delicious local food on the beach that is very affordable. Another one: in some places you pay a lot for sunscreen, up to 3 times more than you would pay in The Netherlands, so make sure you take some with you!“

The study reveals the 10 most expensive beaches are:









Total (USD)


Kristiansand Beach









Huk Beach


















Mareto Plage Publique

French Polynesia








La Plage de Maui

French Polynesia


























Ribersborg Beach









Anse Vata

New Caledonia








Anse Georgette








Most expensive beach according to study- Kristiansand Beach, Norway. image:

In contrast, the study reveals the 10 most affordable beaches are:









Total (USD)


Cua Dai Beach









City Beach









Long Beach









Marsa Nayzak









Sunken City









Varkala Beach









Benaulim Beach









Palolem Beach









Cavelossim Beach









Sharm El-Naga Bay








Most affordable beach according to study- Cua Dai Beach, Vietnam. image:

Click here for the full results:

4 Canadian beaches appear in the Index, with the following results:









Total (USD)


Grand Beach









Brady’s Beach

British Columbia








Wasaga Beach









Parlee Beach

New Brunswick







Grand Beach, Manitoba. image:

Other findings from the study include:

Sun cream is most expensive when bought from beaches in The Seychelles, costing $26.63 for a 200ml bottle. In comparison, Cua Dai Beach in Vietnam has the world’s least expensive sun cream, costing just $1.95 per bottle.

The seaside location with the most expensive bottle of water is Huk Beach in Norway, costing $2.97 for a 500ml bottle. The beach with the least expensive bottle of water is Sunken City in Egypt, where the same sized bottle costs just $0.20.

The beach with the most expensive beer globally is Huk Beach in Norway, where a 33cl bottle costs $8.83. In contrast, Soma Bay in Egypt is the seaside destination with the least expensive beer, available for just $0.63.

Norway’s Huk Beach also has the world’s most expensive ice creams, at $5.09 each. Egypt’s El Gouna is the beach with the least expensive ice creams in the world, costing just $0.52.

West Palm Beach in the American state of Florida has the world’s most expensive seaside lunch, costing $28.61 for one person. Egypt’s El Gouna is the beach with the most affordable lunches, available for just $5.63.

About our friends at TravelBird: TravelBird is an online travel company offering a curated collection of holiday and travel experiences – from short inspirational breaks to international get-aways. TravelBird’s passionate local travel advisors work directly with tour operators across the world to offer a selection of travel experiences that invite travellers to discover something new and immerse themselves in different cultures. For more information, please visit:


The study has 310 of the most visited beaches in 70 countries based on local tourism board numbers and data from the UNWTO.  

Total Price = $ Sunscreen + $ Water + $ Beer + $ Ice-cream +$ Lunch

Sunscreen costs calculated by taking an average cost from a store in local resort/hotel, a hostel and local pharmacy or supermarket (all where available). We searched for SPF 30, 200 ml.

Lunch costs calculated by taking full meal cost, including a drink and dessert, for one person from a walking distance of maximum 10 minutes from the beach or the closest establishments to it (largely within tourist areas), outlets include hotels and restaurants.

Beer costs were calculated by taking an average of the biggest local beer brand along with the retail cost of Heineken, Budweiser, Becks, Guinness and Fosters at local prices, where available. Where sizes were not available, calculations were undertaken to make serving sizes equal.

Water calculations were found by taking the three largest local brands and calculating an average of these.

Ice-cream costs calculated by taking an average prepackaged branded ice-cream price in the capital city of each country and applying consumer produce cost differences to each area, where applicable.  For the Silo, Ricky Sutton.

Featured image- Wasaga Beach, Ontario courtesy of

Defoy At Heart Of Official Quebec Antique Dealer Route

“It’s the tiny town of Defoy. Only a gravel road from the main highway, but about a half a mile down there is the wonderful “antiques dump” of Rene Boudin and his freres.” photos: P. Ross

By the winter of 1982, we had been going to the Harbourfront Antique market every Sunday for about a year, and were making a pretty good living selling things we had bought at local auctions and garage sales. Then one day, I read in the excellent and entertaining “bible” of Antique dealing The Furniture Doctor” by George Grotz ,  that the village of Defoy, Quebec was mecca for the antique picker. To quote “there’s a wonderful secret wholesale place up in the province of Quebec. It’s the tiny town of Defoy. Only a gravel road from the main highway, but about a half a mile down there is the wonderful “antiques dump” of Rene Boudin and his freres. And here under enormous sheds you will find literally acres of antique furniture, chests, and tables piled three to five pieces high”.

“…it wasn’t hard to find because it was near town, and his name was painted boldly on the barn.”

View Larger Map

The book had been out quite awhile so there was no telling if this situation still existed, so I asked the old guys at the market if they knew of such a place. I got several reports of it’s glory days, followed by “of course that was years ago and nobody goes anymore. That being said they also all encouraged me to give it a go, and gave me “leads”as to who may still be active. We gathered up our courage, our baby, and what cash we had, and set off.

That first twelve hour drive felt like an eternity. It was a tired crew who pulled in late afternoon to a tiny motel in Victoriaville, Quebec. Our first move was to look up Marcel Gosselin in the phone book because he was one of our most promising leads. To our delight he was listed, and he answered and told us where and how to come the next morning. It wasn’t hard to find because it was near town, and his name was painted boldly on the barn. Marcel greeted us warmly and proceeded to lead us to his main barn. There, behind the red and white cross doors was the biggest pile of dining chairs I had ever seen. About thirty feet across it reached to the top of the barn. Through the hatch work of legs I could see tantalizing glimpses of a cupboard and some chests. Then he took us upstairs where in a loft he had sorted hundreds of chairs in sets of four, six, or more. Some were painted and some varnished. It was $45cdn each for simple painted chairs, $65cdn each for nicer pressbacks and/or varnished ones. We got a couple of sets knowing we would get about $150cdn-$250cdn each for these when refinished., Next I asked him about that cupboard I had seen in the giant pile downstairs. He told me all about it including the age, condition and reasonable price of $250cdn and told me he would extricate it and have it ready for my next trip if I wanted it. I said I did, and then he didn’t even want a deposit.

“That’s not the way we do it down here. Your word is good enough, until it isn’t” Marcel (R) Phil (L)

“That’s not the way we do it down here. Your word is good enough, until it isn’t. I liked him immediately and knew he was a man I would enjoy doing business with. Next he took us to the garage attached to his 100 year old frame house. The downstairs was filled with every kind of “smalls” including small boxes, glassware, pottery, antique clothing, folk art, etc, etc; and the tiny, about to collapse, upstairs loft was filled with hundreds of pottery washsets. There were some beauties, and this was a hot item at the time in Toronto. Prices ranged from $45cdn-$75cdn per set. We bought 8 of the nicest sets knowing we would get between $145cdn to $375cdn back home. This was getting truly exciting. We spent a terrific four hours or so with Marcel that first day and pulled away from his place, with half our money spent, and half our truck full of interesting, excellent quality, and reasonably priced stuff, not to mention the overwhelming sense of warmth, excitement and wonderment of that first glimpse into a Quebec picker’s life. We were hooked, and we knew it was the first of many more trips to see Marcel.  For the Silo, Phil Ross.

Featured image courtesy of      Originally published in The Silo print edn. Spring 2012.

2017 And Another Year Closer To Asteroid Mining

It’s been two and a half years since an historic landing took place between an European Space Agency drone and a comet.(which looked suspiciously a lot like an asteroid to us!) At that time a report from Deep Space Industries laid out their business plans up to 2020 and what they committed to  sounded more like science fiction than fact. But it wasn’t and they’d already secured investors. Today’s announcement that NASA will soon begin hunting a nickel laden asteroid speaks volumes about not only the possibility of asteroid prospecting- but also to its inevitability.

Their plan was and still is to send an entire fleet of prospector spaceships to Near-Earth asteroids in order to harvest them for precious metals and other undisclosed resources. (space rubies anyone?). Starting in 2015, Deep Space Industries were to begin their operation by sending three small spacecraft called FireFlies to selected asteroids near earth for sample taking and photo reconnaissance. One year later, bigger craft called DragonFlies were to leave on four year missions to retrieve asteroid samples and bring them back to Earth. An ambitious project to be sure and not surprisingly, the timeline has been pushed back.

dsi timeline mission planning

The most current press releases from DSI says that a precursor mission is scheduled to launch this year:

Recently, Deep Space Industries and its partner, the government of Luxembourg, announced plans to build and fly Prospector-X™, an experimental mission to low-Earth orbit that will test key technologies needed for low-cost exploration spacecraft. This precursor mission is scheduled to launch in 2017. Then, before the end of this decade, Prospector-1 will travel beyond Earth’s orbit to begin the first space mining exploration mission.

Assuming this is a successful venture, it will open the door for the next stage Prospector-1 mission.

daniel faber ceo deep space industries

What are the expected results?

Valuable materials exist in abundance in space and have strong economic potential. By 2020, using their tested indicators as investment attractors, Deep Space will move towards securing a commercial space operation and start into the next phase of its business plan. This involves concentrating firstly on processing rocket fuel from asteroid-harvested water. This fuel, harvested and processed in space will save millions of dollars, since existing communications satellites will no longer be ‘thrown away’ when their fuel supply has been used up. (Satellites that can longer ‘move’ and stay in orbit by using their rocket engines are left to slowly fall towards earth and burn up in the atmosphere ). Deep Space Industries past-CEO David Gump estimated that a satellite ‘refueled’ and saved from burn up is worth up to $8,000,000 per month. Those figures start to add up when you factor in the number of satellites in use and being launched every year. Another plan during this phase of their business operations is to return precious group metals such as platinum and gold back to earth. After all, if you’re splitting up asteroids and discover metal commodities, why not bring it back down to earth?

Deep Space believes that other metals harvested from asteroids also have an in-orbit value. They are developing the Microgravity Foundry- a type of 3D printer that will be used to fabricate and machine metal parts in space from pure asteroid metal such as high strength nickel parts.

Deep Space cgi mockup of their planned 3D space printer.
Deep Space cgi mockup of their planned 3D space printer.

Since this factory will operate in space and in zero gravity and produce parts in space, the idea of permanent space development and human habitation is economically feasible. Stephen Covey co-founder of Deep Space Industries and inventor of the Microgravity Foundry process: “What’s cool about the [3D] printer is that it can take its own parts, grind them up, and recycle them into new parts.”

Stephen Covey- inventor of the Microgravity Foundry process
Stephen Covey- inventor of the Microgravity Foundry process

Deep Space Industries past-CEO David Gump: “Using resources harvested in space is the only way to afford permanent space development. More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year. They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century- a key resource located near where it is needed. In this case, metals and fuel from asteroids can expand the in-space industries of this century. That is our strategy.” Company estimates place a value of 1 ton of raw asteroid material at a worth of $1,000,000 [usd] in orbit. For the Silo, Jarrod Barker.


Updates: Deep Space Industries aligns with Luxembourg Government, applauds space commercialization policy.

Mexican commercial space company MXSpace partners with Deep Space Industries.

NASA hunting nickel 16 Psyche asteroid worth quadrillions of dollars.

Dubai DJ Sets Underwater Broadcast Record

The crew at Channel 4 FM in Dubai responded when the marketing team thought it might be fun to do a live 5-10 minute broadcast segment from the Ambassador’s Lagoon outside the iconic Atlantis the Palm Resort, more or less as a publicity stunt to promote this exotic location. We’re not talking poolside, mind you, but broadcasting from within the pool – an underwater broadcast from a pool that hosts a variety of sea life!

This might have been interesting enough, though such an aquatic broadcast had been done before, but the plan soon evolved into something more when Station Producer Lucas Poole (ironic, right?) suggested that Stu Tolan, host of the Celebrate Mornings breakfast show, attempt to break the record for longest underwater broadcast.

Mobile Rack featuring Telos Z/IP ONE used for underwater broadcastChannel 4 learned that this would mean staying on air and underwater for nearly five hours – no small amount of time to broadcast live while wearing scuba gear! The team was up for it, and preparations began to break the record. But would the tech hold up for such a stunt? Channel 4 IT and Broadcast Manager Muhammed Rafeeque says there were a number of challenges, and the engineering team initially didn’t feel prepared for the record-breaking broadcast.

“We were informed that one of the requirements to set the record was that the broadcast crew could not disconnect from the studio for more than two minutes, so we would need to ensure a stable link from the site of the broadcast to the main broadcast studio at all times,” Muhammed explains. In addition, the broadcast hosts would need to remain in communication with a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records, outside the pool, at all times. Muhammed continues, “These requirements presented some challenges for the technical crew to ensure these lines of communication would remain stable throughout the broadcast, and that any delays in communications or getting callers on the air would be minimal.”

Complicating things further, the resort could not provide a stable internet connection because it is reserved for guests, so the only access would be via cables. As such, a good bit of equipment would need to be hauled to the broadcast site so everything would be at the ready.

As a solution, Muhammed says the team used a router, which connected to a Telos Z/IP ONE, and then to the main broadcast studio. The studio features 100% Livewire infrastructure, so getting the audio feed into the studio would be easy using the Z/IP ONE, especially with sufficient backups. Muhammed assigned two Z/IP ONEs to the studio, so if one failed, the second one would take over and the broadcast could remain live. “For this broadcast it was all about convenience, quality, and low latency,” he points out.

“For this broadcast it was all about convenience, quality, and low latency.”

—Muhammed Rafeeque, IT and Broadcast Manager, Channel 4 FM

All the coordination paid off, and on May 13th, Stu and the Channel 4 Celebrate Mornings went live from underwater! Everything went smoothly, and presenters Saif, Vicky, Helen, and Kolter, Program Director Tom Ferguson, and news reporters on hand to interview the team, joined Stu underwater at various intervals during the show, while co-presenter Eve presented poolside.

With the help of the engineering staff—Ramesh, Chandana, Chaminda, Ibrahim, Mannan, and Shahid Kazmi—and the marketing team of CEO / Group Program Director and AlMurad Group CBO Talal Murad, and assistants Neeil and Yogesh, the broadcast came off without a hitch.

In the end, the record was not only broken, but shattered, as the broadcast went well beyond the five hour mark, giving future underwater broadcast hopefuls a high bar to shoot for. Check out the video highlights and the photo album.

Mr. Abdullah Murad, Chairman Al Murad group, parent company to Channel 4, phoned Stu to congratulate him once the record was officially broken, and the Guinness Book of World Records representative on hand certified the record presented Stu with the honor at the end of the broadcast.

It certainly wasn’t your everyday broadcast, but at a place like Atlantis the Palm, “A World Away from the Everyday” is the norm. The Telos Alliance is proud to have played a small part in this unique event, and help the Channel 4 team achieve a slice of radio broadcast history. For the Silo, Dave Sarkies.

How Mobile Phone Behavioral Data Can Help Save Our Planet

Zurich, Switzerland- A new study leverages mobile network data to estimate levels of carbon emissions and air pollution in cities, an approach that could substantially reduce the cost of implementing the Paris Agreement.

  • The study analyses mobility patterns derived from mobile network data to estimate the usage of different transport modes within a city and derive conclusions about the respective pollution they cause.

  • This innovative methodology allowed scientists to estimate the concentration of air pollutants in urban areas with up to 77% accuracy.

  • The method could provide a scalable and cost effective way to help understand and combat greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in cities worldwide.

Big data analytics company and ETH Zurich spin-off Teralytics, Telefónica NEXT and sustainability solution provider South Pole Group conducted a study in Nuremberg, Germany that reveals the analysis of mobile network data as an effective way to estimate CO2 and NOX emissions in urban areas at very low cost. To achieve this, Teralytics examined aggregated and anonymised data, which is generated when mobile devices communicate with Telefónica’s mobile communication cells while users make calls, send texts or browse the internet. Teralytics was able to refine this raw data into human mobility patterns to understand how the different modes of transport, for instance trains or cars, are frequented. Combining this information with data on the emissions of the different transport modes, the three entities were able to estimate air pollution and GHG emissions in the city.Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 14.56.33

As each form of transportation produces a unique amount of CO2 and NOX emissions, understanding urban mobility patterns is vital to understand the source of emissions. The study in Nuremberg used this information to estimate with up to 77 per cent accuracy the concentration of air pollutants in the city. These findings encourage further exploration of how big data can be used to understand and ultimately solve environmental issues such as air pollution in cities across the world. This is particularly interesting with regards to the lower cost of analysing and interpreting data compared to the higher cost of production and maintenance of elaborate measuring stations. The novel approach could thus allow an ongoing analysis on a nationwide scale.

George Polzer

“While our contemporary urban lifestyles result in the generation of harmful greenhouse gasses, it also generates large amounts of behavioural data. Our mission at Teralytics is to use this data for the benefit of society,” says Georg Polzer, CEO of Teralytics. “Our findings from Nuremberg showed that this data can be used to give city planners insights into how human mobility contributes to pollution. This is a vital part to efficiently design and implement clean air and low carbon strategies. We are looking forward to further exploring this opportunity.”

Using a three-level process, the fully anonymised and aggregated data was first transformed into movement flows by the data scientists at Teralytics, identifying over 1.2 million transportation routes during the analysed time period, as depicted in Figure 2. The sustainability solution expert South Pole Group then used an atmospheric model to estimate air pollution levels caused by the usage of the different modes of transportation, taking into account meteorological data and information on the respective traffic carriers’ emission levels from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB). In the third step, the accuracy of the method was examined by comparing the findings with existing data from air pollution measuring stations. The values measured at these stations were found to correlate up to 77 per cent with those from the Teralytics’ calculations (see Figure 3).

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 14.56.46

Figure 3: Correlation between measured NOx concentrations and NOx concentration calculated by Teralytics. This approach shows high correlations between values, in some cases up to 77 per cent.

The results of this pilot study in Nuremberg constitute a sound basis to further develop the methodology. Following its success, the consortium was able to secure financial support from Climate KIC’s Low Carbon City Lab (LoCaL), an initiative that brings together cities, business, academia and NGO’s to deliver high environmental and societal impact. With this backing, the research partnership will expand and improve the methodology, focusing on short travel routes and taking into account local emission factors like airports, large-scale events, and types of vehicles on the road (i.e. electric cars and SUVs). Moreover, the influence of factors such as traffic jams and red lights will be taken into account in order to make even more accurate estimations of the air pollution levels in a city.

“The results from this pilot study exceed our expectations,” says Maximilian Groth, responsible for Business Development & Partnerships at Teralytics. “We are confident that we will soon be able to scale this product to cities worldwide to support urban planners in making our air cleaner and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement at the lowest possible cost.”

This research follows other successful studies on usage of mobile network data, including a smart data analysis for transport in Stuttgart by Teralytics, Telefónica Germany, and Fraunhofer IAO.

Renat Heuberger

“Approximately 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are generated in cities, meaning that they play a key role in climate protection. We see great potential in the use of continuously generated data, such as mobile network data, to measure and reduce pollution levels in cities.” States Renat Heuberger, CEO of South Pole Group.

Florian Marquart

Florian Marquart, Managing Director of Telefónica NEXT for Advanced Data Analytics: “The pilot project in Nuremberg has clearly shown the specific added value of anonymised mobile network data for the environment. This is data from people for people. We see great potential in the results and will start the next phase of our research. The goal is to develop a product that German cities, German states and the German federal government can use to better face the challenges of emissions pollution”.

About Teralytics

Teralytics is the trusted data analytics partner for some of the largest telecom operators in North America, Europe and Asia. Using technology built for operators by data scientists, we have perfected the ingestion, modelling and transformation of raw signals from subscriber actions and movements on operator networks to deliver meaningful and actionable insights, that delivers new value to our mobile operator partners. By unlocking and processing a massive scale of device movement and consumer intelligence data from location and behavioural signals, we can analyse people, places and things and offer actual insights to help city planners, venue owners, retailers, NGOs and media companies make informed decisions, optimize operations and maximize ROI. Headquartered in Zurich, Teralytics has offices in New York, and Singapore.

South Pole Group is a leading provider of global sustainability solutions and services. The company has delivered climate-proven solutions to a wide range of public, private and civil society organisations for over a decade. The Group’s expertise covers key areas of corporate climate action, investment climate risks, sustainable supply chains, green finance, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency. A pioneer in emission reduction and renewable energy projects, South Pole Group has been consistently rated by Environmental Finance’s Voluntary Carbon Market Survey as one of the most successful carbon market service providers in the world.

Within Telefónica Germany NEXT GmbH based in Berlin, Telefónica Deutschland has bundled its digital growth areas “Advanced Data Analytics” and “Internet of Things”. The new company acts as an independent entrepreneur on the market and develops digital products and services under CEO Nicolaus Gollwitzer. As a partner to other industries, Telefónica NEXT enables companies to make better use of the growth opportunities provided by digitalisation. With “Advanced Data Analytics”, Telefónica NEXT focuses on the social and economic advantage that can be obtained from analysing large volumes of data. In addition, Telefónica NEXT is working on solutions for the Internet of Things. The new software platform helps companies to offer connected solutions for end users. Telefónica NEXT imposes strict data protection standards on all products and applications, and often goes even further, because people should be able to retain control over their data and shape their digital lives as they choose.

Climate-KIC is the largest European innovation initiative for climate-friendly technologies. Launched as EU program 2010, Climate-KIC supports with offices in 15 European countries innovation projects, start-ups and young innovators. Numerous partners from industry and commerce, science, public sector and civil society work in Climate-KIC on ground-breaking, scalable innovations to fight climate changes. For the Silo, Ricky Sutton.

VieVité Cotes de Provence Is Ideal French Rosé Wine For A Hot Weather Day

For many people, an ideal Victoria Day in Canada or Memorial Day in America depends on two essential things: SUN and BOOZE. VieVité’s Rosé #ROSEALLDAY is the weekend’s beach towel, boat, or post-brunch bag’s best friend. I mean.. is there really another way to kick off Summer celebrations?

“Perfectly pale pink. That perfectly chilled, hot weather day rosé is the ultimate dream.” – Women everywhere.

NEW YORK – The acclaimed Côtes de Provence region in France has long been known for its exceptional climate, soil and as the world leader in the production of premium rosé wines. VieVité (pronounced Vee-Veetay) is created at Domaine Sainte Marie, a renowned vineyard dating back to the 18th century and known for its true expressions of Provencal Rosé wine.
Located just 21 kilometers west of Saint Tropez, Domaine Sainte Marie stretches over 45 hectares of land; with bountiful southern exposure and land rich in filterable siliceous soil containing michaschists, schists, and white quartz, adding to the depth and quality of VieVité Rosé. Year after year, Domaine Sainte Marie receives critical acclaim and industry award recognition for its consistently excellent wines, which benefit from the soft gradient slopes, and hot, dry days and cool summer nights.

As one of the leading wines within the esteemed portfolio of Turquoise Life Beverage Brands, VieVité is offered in two varietals: the fresh and delicate VieVité and the limited cask VieVité Extraordinaire, sourced from older, time-tested vines. Both exceptional expressions of Provencal Rosé wine pride themselves on their unique vinicultural history, with the wines exemplifying the rare and old Grenache vines from which they are harvested.

VieVité is produced from grapevines averaging 25 years old, and offers a fresh and delicate aroma of cherries and strawberries coupled with notes of spice to create a satisfying sensation on the palate with a forward fruit nose of peach, grape and apricot.

VieVité Extraordinaire is sourced from 80-year grapevines and produced in smaller quantities, capturing the attention of true rosé connoisseurs for its opulent fruit flavors and exuberant panache. This deliciously vibrant Rosé delights with its intense and well- balanced fruit flavors, dominant with strawberries and berries, and structured with an intensity that highlights the old vines it is made from. Both wines have been declared as exceptional examples of true Cotes De Provence Rosé by wine lovers and critics alike.

Rosé wine has been gaining in popularity in the U.S. each year as more and more new wine drinkers are educated about the production methods used to make it; how the process of allowing the red skins of the grapes to macerate for a shortened amount of time gives it its signature hue. Not to be confused with the similarly colored White Zinfandel wine of years past, true Rosé wines are absent of an overly sweet taste, which allows their quality and flavors to shine.

Turquoise Life Beverage Brands offers both VieVité and VieVité Extraordinaire across the United States in fine restaurants & bars, luxury resorts and hotels as well as wine boutiques. VieVité is also available internationally in the Netherlands, Turkey, and Greece.

Whether paired with a brunch, dinner, an ocean breeze, a poolside lounge, yachting or barbequing, VieVité is an ideal choice — any day — and all day. For the Silo, Jessica Kirk.

My Mission Was To Find Classic Unrestored Cars In Tennessee Fields

19 (!) 1957 Chevy cars waiting for our writer in a Tennesee field

Originally published in Print edn. of the Silo May 2012. Well once again I find myself Down in the Southern U.S checking out beautiful un-restored classic cars in their usual (usual here) worn out aged condition. With very little rust. It never ceases to amaze me the sheer quantity of classics down here. I look at such a wide array of any make or model. (people actually think that they have all been picked already!). One short cruise down one back-road down here and I guarantee that you will spot at least an old Chevy truck parked out back behind a house, in a barn, or just barely sticking out of an old garage that is coming down around it. As an extreme car enthusiast, all I can say is that it is unreal.

This, not planned, but longer than expected trip to Georgia, brought me to see a sweet 1968 el Camino SS, with a 383 stroker engine and nice black interior. I almost got to look at an original, untouched 1963 split window Corvette, parked in a carport for like 20 years. Apparently under a couple inch thick layer of dust. Go figure it was gone before I even got there.

A teaser sneak-peek at the back end and side of the 1968 ElCamino. Complete with black interior and a 383 Stroker engine. GRRRR!

A couple of the more odd-ball cars I looked at were a 1985 Corvette on 20inch 140spoke knock-off rims ( I don’t understand this one!), and a metallic orange 85 Monte Carlo SS jacked up about 14 inches sitting on 24’s, and featuring real bullet holes that it received in a police shootout (the guy who had it, bought it from a police auction). Neat looking car.

I also met a man down here who had to have had about 6 or 7, 58-60 Corvettes in different stages of repair. With one I believe, 1959 Corvette completely restored, in a high-gloss black, with a mint convertible top, and factory 4speed std trans. He also had one 1958, close to finished. They were both sweet cars. I must also add that the other 4 or 5 were scattered around his property among scrap, building supplies, and bushes. It was quite a sight. These very rare cars in abundance on this property. I walked out behind his shop and he had a 1957 Chevy 210 Station Wagon with no engine, but complete interior down to the factory radio! This car just parked, with bushes and weeds growing around it. (I think I am going to buy this one to build with my son and daughter and keep as the Sunday cruiser). I’m thinking a nice, loud, built small block, flat-black paint, and white wall tires on gloss-red rallys. I love these cars!

On a previous trip down here about two years ago I caught wind of a guy in Tennessee who apparently had 19, (that’s right!!! 19!) 1957 Chevy cars. I couldn’t believe it when I got there and I don’t think too many people can say that they’ve seen 19, 57 Chevys all in one spot. It was incredible. This guy had acres and acres of farm with cars tucked away everywhere you looked. 1951 Fords, A 59 Chrysler, 38 Chevy coupe, 59 International pickup, a 1929 Chevy Hot-rod, an I think 1930 Nash, all kinds of cars and trucks that you never see. In nearly original condition. My actual favorite here though, was his personal “parts getter” 1929 Chevy Truck Rat-rod, it was clever right down to the piston rad cap that stuck out of the hood. I really liked this one. The cool thing about finding all these cars is meeting their owners and hearing all of their stories. Car people are usually fun to hang out with, especially in the south.

1929 Chevy Truck “Rat Rod” Imagine the fun factor.

I’m coming back with a friend who bought a 1966 Big back window, Chevy custom-10 short-box. Its not a half bad truck. He’s gonna fix it up. Maybe add a small block V-8. We’ll see. I’m heading back to Canada tomorrow. Goodbye t-shirt days in January, goodbye five dollar all-you- can eat buffets, goodbye three dollar smokes and goodbye constant, rare car sightings. Oh well, I always know that there will be future adventures in the deep south. Checking out sweet old cars for people, and telling them where they’re at. It’s always cool to have someone ask if I know of an old car they have been looking for and can’t find, and I can tell them “I can give you the phone number of a guy who’s got one of those”. It’s always very cool to have someone bring you a new project. So many possibilities with every car that rolls in…

For the Silo, Robb Price. Photos via the author. Check out Robb’s auto biz on Facebook.


Unique Finds To Reduce, Reuse And Recycle For Earth Day

Reuse. That’s the name of the game.  Project Repat is a great and fun alternative to trashing clothes. Create unique and memorable quilts with t-shirts – like souvenir shirts from travels, concerts, sports, marathons! Plus, the back of each quilt is also made of fleece from recycled plastic bottles.

A unique way to recycle old electronics responsibly, buys and sells refurbished devices. Plus, ensures they sell only certified pre-owned items, meaning great quality at a great price!

Gazelle ecoATM kiosks offer another way to get instant cash for old, unwanted, electronics. It’s easy to find one at many stores and malls nationwide. It’s also a great way to safely dispose of broken phones so they don’t end up in a landfill.

Violet Love is an eco-friendly line of headbands and casual wear founded by L.A. fashion designer Rebecca Michaels. Rebecca, who has a degree in environmental engineering, implements energy efficient printing processes and environmentally friendly inks and practices in the production of the line.

The Nixi line from Bumkins offers families eco-friendly items, including waterproof travel bags and bibs made from recycled water bottles and fashionable jewelry teethers made of food-grade silicone. All Nixi products are BPA-free as well!

Parkmobile provides a green solution to the emissions caused by millions of cars looking for parking. The easy-to-use app helps people find and reserve parking. This limits the amount of time wasted in idle and driving around, cutting down on CO and NO2 emissions. For the Silo, Tayler Ladman.

5 Disruptive Luxury Travel Trends Shattering The Status Quo

With the global luxury market collectively growing at 4 percent to an estimated $1.15USD (€1.08) trillion in 2016, according to a recent “Bain & Company Luxury Study,” coupled with optimistic forecasts that the luxury goods market will pick up this year, the hospitality industry is gearing up for elevated demand among both leisure and business travelers. This amid evidence that, despite widespread geopolitical uncertainties, luxury consumers are redirecting their spending toward new and more personalized high-end experiences like luxury travel, food and wine.

“The luxury market has reached a maturation point,” said Claudia D’Arpizio, lead author of the study. “Brands can no longer rely on low-hanging fruit. Instead, they really need to implement differentiating strategies to succeed going forward. We are already starting to see clear polarization when it comes to performance with winners and losers emerging across product categories and segments.”

D’Arpizio also underscored that personal luxury market brands that “take an omni-channel, customer-centric approach will rise to the top.” Such is the prevailing wisdom for both the B2C and B2B luxury travel sector, specifically, with personalized experiences, quality of service and private booking options serving as primary distinguishing factors for luxe brand positioning throughout 2017 and beyond.

Here how these key drivers will converge with evolving luxury travel trends to greatly influence various vertical sectors—and, in doing so, the marketplace at large—in the months ahead:

1. Small group cultural immersions loom large.
Group Courtesy are increasingly seeking exclusive and regionally-authentic itineraries that cater to small groups. Tour companies like Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Gate 1 Travel are capitalizing on this trend with offerings that provide the convenience of an escorted tour with the intimate view of local cultures that large groups just can’t provide. “Our small group tours option has seen, by far, the most significant increase in booking volume–up 50% in 2016,” the company reports.

A City Lodge Hotel Group report concurs that the trend of being “connoisseurs of local culture” will boom this year. It emphasizes that indigenous tourism experiences and cultural immersion will remain a big factor whether traveling within your own home country or jaunting to faraway lands. “We’ll see more people wanting to visit more than the big landmarks and monuments of their destination,” it says. “Rather people are more likely to be interested in knowing about the locals–those that call that place home. Trips to the rural communities will become popular, and travelers are likely to be more interested in private guides that teach them about the traditional ways of life.”

2. Private villa travel surpassing leading luxe resorts.
Today’s breed of private villa rentals have become the ultimate in luxury travel lodging for vacationers and business travelers, alike. This is due to the vast array of benefits and creature comforts it proffers for couples, families and small groups. While maximized privacy and security, uber-tailored guest service and 5-star accommodations and amenities are chief reasons the trend toward private villa lodging is exploding, an elite few have offerings far beyond that don’t just rival, but far exceed, those offered by high-end resorts, including their elite Penthouse suit options.

Courtesy Casa Dos Cisnes.jpgAccording to luxury travel agent Sandy Webb who books elite vacations all over the world “private villa residences offering first class, one-of-a-kind services are ushering in an entirely new era of bespoke hospitality around the globe. They are, in fact, single handedly setting a new and decidedly elevated standard for luxe travel worldwide.”

One private villa exemplifying this new standard is Casa Dos Cisnes–Puerto Vallarta’s foremost premier private oceanfront villa vacation experience. This  10,000 square foot Casa Dos Cisnes property, a five-bedroom colonial style home with breathtaking views of the Pacific that can accommodate up to 10 adults, goes well over-and-above to ensure each guest’s needs, desires, hopes and expectations for an extraordinary private villa vacation are fulfilled.

According to owner Cathryn Arnell, this includes proffering a bevy of premium benefits, including an authentic and stylishly-appointed residential setting, custom-prepared gourmet meals from an on-site private chef, 24/7 bilingual butler service and multiple staff, monitored security, housecleaning services, private infinity-edge ocean view pool, fully equipped state-of-the-art gym, large media-entertainment room, concierge and spa service, musicians for hire, sports and boating excursions, VIP treatment at the city’s leading beach club and most renowned restaurants, and more. “Given that guests enjoy complete privacy and security in the most exclusive area in Puerto Vallarta, commandeering the entire 10,000 square foot space with all of the relaxation, solitude and discretion that affords, the result is a one-of-a-kind holiday providing an unparalleled culinary and luxury living experience.”

3. Higher caliber private jet jaunts.
Jet Courtesy to Sergey Petrossov, founder and CEO of JetSmarter—an industry-leading private jet company based in Dubai, people are increasingly growing accustomed to personalized experiences, so much so, that it isn’t a demand anymore; it is now an expectation that needs to be met.

In order for brands to be memorable, they need to remember their customers and offer unique customized experiences. For its part, this JetSmarter achieves by placing a heavy emphasis on member relationships, with each assigned a relationship manager who is responsible for creating personalized and customizable private travel experiences.

JetSmarter also cites that there’s a very thin line between high-end and luxury, with the difference barely noticeable. “The travel industry is inundated with both high-end and luxury brands, however the distinction is relatively minor,” Petrossov said. “People often confuse high-end brands for luxury ones. Luxury brands essentially need to heighten their levels of service to be able to distinguish themselves from their high-end counterparts.”

4. Next-gen travel tech eases and expedites.
Smartphone Courtesy Intelligence (AI) is another tech trend that will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. According to Advito’s 2017 Industry Forecast, AI has already enabled a range of apps, bots and software that makes it easier for industry purveyors to interact with travelers at every step of a trip to expedite, ease and enhance. AI automates computer processes to work in the same way as the human brain. Natural language processing (NLP) helps computers understand human speech or typing, and AI then applies machine learning to provide a useful response.

Advito reveals that the travel industry is “well-positioned to embrace AI,” and also that the wider travel industry is adopting AI as, for example, KLM passengers are now able to use Facebook Messenger to confirm bookings, get boarding passes and flight status updates. “AI is still in its infancy, but it is in our immediate future,” the report asserts. “As it develops, it will help simplify complex travel decisions, shorten the buying process and deliver a more personalized offering.”

5. Game changing smart suitcases solve perennial problems.

Courtesy Diego Cespedes.Bluesmart.jpgTravel is tough enough in the best of circumstances and is all-too-often replete with challenges. From crowded freeways, overbooked flights, Wi-Fi downtime and generally not having necessary items at hand, getting from point A to point B can be fraught with more than its fair share of frustrations.  Not surprisingly, technologists have responded with problem-solving gadgets and gear that exemplify tremendous innovation and ingenuity both in concept and execution. One glowing example of this is the Bluesmart Suitcase. Billed as “the world’s first smart suitcase,” this carry-on keeps traveler’s belongings tracked, devices charged, bag secure and trips hassle-free thanks to integrated technology that syncs to an associated mobile app that’s compatible with both iPhone and Android.

The suitcase features a built-in battery/charger with 2 USB ports. The substantial 10.000 mAh battery can charge your phone up to six times, juicing up this and any other USB-connectable device from the USB port on the back or the inside. The bag also boasts a 3G+GPS tracker with global coverage to track the suitcase anywhere in the world; a scale built right into the handle that interfaces with the app to tell you the approximate weight of your suitcase; and a remote digital lock that can be set up to lock itself when you step away and to unlock when you return. The TSA- approved smart lock provides distance alerts, notifying you if you leave it behind. Of course, the bag needs to carry you belongings, so the main compartment does provide large space for clothes, shoes, and coats, while a secondary TSA-friendly compartment is able to accommodate up to a 15″ laptop.

Despite the fact that luxury sales fell flat in 2016 as consumers shunned traditional products, it’s experiences—namely travel and entertainment—that are predicted to drive sector sales growth up ahead.  “There is a progressive shift from physical products to experiences, especially in the last year,” Federica Levato, partner at Bain & Company and co-author of the study, told Reuters, predicting that trend would continue. With the world economy poised to regain momentum this year and the penchant among wealthy consumers to spend on travel and gourmet food and wine rather than clothes and accessories, the future is bright for high-end hospitality. For the Silo, Merilee Kern.

MAIN-RT-LO-Tight-2.jpgAbout the author: Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered consumer product trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at Follow her on Twitter here: and Facebook here:


Spotlight image-