Thursday, December 29, 2011

California's travel and tourism industry sees job expansion

Despite reports that the California job market has screech to a halt, jobs in travel and tourism continue to rise – providing billions of dollars and a million jobs to the state. During August, the leisure and hospitality industry gained 1,500 jobs while the state’s unemployment rate raised to 12.1%.
“California’s economy is ever varying and businesses across all sectors have been experiencing challenges,” said Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California. “The fact that the travel and tourism industry is holding strong despite a common economic downturn demonstrates that the state is a premier domestic and international destination. People come here looking for the
California experience.”This summer, the leisure and hospitality industry continued to play a important role in California’s labor force and revenue.
During the summer months of June, July and August, the number of hotel rooms sold in California raised by 5% compared to the year before.
  • These figures come on top of a seven% growth in hotel demand and a seven% increase in total travel spending in the state during the 2010 calendar year.
  • Overseas travel has grown in 2011 – through June, point of entry arrivals into California grow 14% from 2010. Overseas visitors are particularly important to the state’s economy because they typically stay longer - 11.3 nights - and spend more - US$1,200 per journey - than do domestic visitors.

Friday, December 16, 2011


The Megalithic Stone structures, which exist not only in this country but also throughout the Continent of Europe, are a special feature of that period known as the Neolithic Age. As has already been shown, Stonehenge represents a very late type, erected at a time when the bronze culture had begun to overlap that of polished stone (Neolithic).

These stone structures can be roughly divided into three classes.

1. Single upright stones, or menhirs (Celtic = "high stone"), which may be commemorative of some great event or personage.

2. Dolmens (Celtic = "table stone"), in which a stone slab is set table-wise on three or four uprights.

3. Cromlechs (Celtic = "stone circle"). Circles enclosing barrows or dolmens.

Stonehenge is a highly specialised example of this last class. Round these cromlechs popular myth and superstition have crystallised themselves into tales of the devil and his works (as in the case of Stonehenge), ogres, giants, dwarfs, Sabbath breakers, and infidels, turned to stone. In nearly every case there is some story of the supernatural, which cannot be accidental, but which must have its root in past religious observance.

It is a recognised fact that the worship of stones is more widely distributed than any other primitive cult. Its almost universal distribution can be referred to the tendency of the half savage mind to confuse persons and things, and from seeming likeness of the inanimate to the animate, to endue the lifeless object with the virtue and power of the living object. This mental outlook is better understood in practice than in theory. A Melanesian native may come across a large stone, lying upon the top of a number of smaller stones. It suggests to him a sow with her litter of pigs, and he at once makes an offering to it, in the hope that he will secure pigs. In determining the function of Stonehenge, therefore, it will be useful to compare it with similar existing stone circles. The largest of these in this country is Avebury, not many miles distant from Stonehenge. Unluckily, to-day it is so ruined that its former greatness is hardly to be distinguished by the unskilled observer. Formerly comprising some hundreds of unhewn Sarsen stones, barely a score remain in position at the present day. In Avebury, as it was, can be found the early typic model of which Stonehenge is the final product. The use of the circle as a basic form is common to both. In Avebury the Sarsen is a rough unhewn monolith; in Stonehenge it is squared, dressed, and crowned with its lintel. All evidences of a slow evolution from Neolithic to Bronze culture. But whereas the circle alone is used at Avebury, Stonehenge has in addition the horseshoe series of Trilithons and foreign uprights, and in this particular differs from all other Cromlechs in this country. It is the climax of the Megalithic monument, and its use very certainly must have been connected with the religion of the race which set it up. It was, in short, a religious structure, probably used for the observation of the sun, and possibly connected with "nature worship."

The fact that the sun rises over the Hele Stone on the Summer Solstice, and that it can be observed in direct alignment with the centre of the Great Trilithon, can hardly be due to accident. Chance might bring two stones into such a position on the Solstice, but, in this case, the entire monument is so arranged as to place the rising sun in a due line with its axis on this particular day.

It will be well to consider the facts which must have been within the knowledge of the builders of Stonehenge, and to trace as far as may be their reasoning in the building of it.

To begin with, it is almost certain that at the time of building, there existed some primitive form of priesthood, or body of "wise men." This is quite compatible with the culture of the period. The existence of the Neolithic Long Barrows is sufficient evidence that man had, by this time, arrived at that particular culture which grasps the existence of a "spirit."

Death only terminated the existence of the body, and not that of the spirit. It was even able to return and enter another body, say that of a new-born infant, an animal, or tree. And being after the manner of human beings, spirits could understand human language and become accessible to human petitions. Thus a spirit might even prove a powerful friend or enemy. And the dwellings of these spirits would be those great powers which meant so much to a primitive people; the sun, moon, stars, rivers, forests, and clouds; from which arose the two great classes of spirit, the "ancestral" and the "spirit of nature." From this general body was developed a regular hierarchy of good and evil spirits, gradually ascending to the conception of one great creative spirit, or superior deity.

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Earth's Largest pyramid

Built by:Pharaoh khufu

Date:circa 2550 B.C


Height:481 feet(147 meters)

Khufu, son of Snefru and second ruler of the 4th dynasty (time line) moved the royal necropolis to Giza, north of modern-day Cairo. According to ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Khufu (aka Cheops) enslaved his people to build his pyramid. But archaeologists have since disproved his account (see "Who Built the Pyramids?").

On the Giza Plateau, Khufu's builders oriented his pyramid almost perfectly north. The largest pyramid ever built, it incorporates about 2.3 million stone blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 to 15 tons each. It is estimated that the workers would have had to set a block every two and a half minutes.

The pyramid has three burial chambers. The first is underground, carved into bedrock. The second, aboveground chamber was called the queen's chamber by early explorers. We now know it was never intended to house one of Khufu's wives but perhaps a sacred statue of the king himself. The third is the king's chamber, which held a red granite sarcophagus placed almost exactly at the center of the pyramid.

The king's chamber is accessed via the 26-foot-high (8-meter-high) Grand Gallery, which was sealed off from thieves by sliding granite blocking systems.

The Great Pyramid was the centerpiece of an elaborate complex, which included several small pyramids, five boat pits, a mortuary temple, a causeway, a valley temple, and many flat-roofed tombs for officials and some members of the royal family.

CLASSIC FACT: Several mystery shafts extend from the king's and queen's chambers. Neither airshafts (they were sealed) nor hallways (they are too narrow), they may have been designed to allow Khufu to travel to the stars in his afterlife. A blocked shaft from the queen's chamber was penetrated in 2002.

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Monday, December 05, 2011

United and Continental airlines working out details of merger

United loads passengers in window seats first. Continental boards from the back. And United has a specific way to load dogs onto a plane — always tail-first as they ride up the conveyor belt in carrier cages. On Continental, there's no strict policy.

These are just three of the thousands of differences in the daily practices and policies of United and Continental airlines. But soon they will have to act as one.

The two airlines are close to completing a $3-billion merger that next year will create the nation's largest carrier, with more than 86,000 employees and nearly 1,200 jets. Federal regulators approved a final clearance to the merger this week.

But over the last year and a half, a team of managers and staff from the two carriers has made about 2,000 decisions about how the new hybrid airline will operate. The trick has been trying to preserve the most popular practices of each without alienating devotees of either.

One merger decision — whether to have a fleet-wide audio channel to let passengers hear pilots talk to air traffic controllers — even sparked an online campaign by fans of the channel.

"If the acquiring airline has an open mind, it will examine both carriers' business practices and pick those that offer a combination of better service for the traveler and improved savings or efficiency for the airline," said Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a San Francisco travel marketing and technology research firm.

It's a time-consuming process. When Delta Air Lines merged with Northwest Airlines last year, airline officials said they had so many decisions to make that they started by writing the topics on yellow Post-it notes that covered an entire wall.

"It only made sense that they would do that," said Bob McAdoo, an airline analyst for Avondale Partners in Nashville. "That is the kind of stuff that makes a merger work."

Airline executives from Delta and Northwest opted to keep the Delta name but adopted some of Northwest's most popular menu choices in the first-class section, including adding Twix candy bars and fresh fruit. It also adopted Northwest's policy of offering pretzels in coach.

When United and Continental begin to operate as one, the new airline will fly with United's name but with Continental's globe symbol and a new motto — "Let's Fly Together."

In weighing which system of boarding passengers to use, airline executives chose the United method. Post merger, customers with window seats will be first to get on the plane, followed by those in middle seats and finally passengers in aisle seats.

Industry studies have shown that the United process reduces boarding time, allowing the airline to squeeze in more flights per day.

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Friday, December 02, 2011

MEP firm AE Arma-Elektropanc is closing in on the final work on the upcoming Rixos Palm Jumeirah Dubai in a fast-track job for the hotel chain, a fellow Turkish company.

The engineering firm will be able to handover the project next month after a six-month mandate to complete the full MEP package for the upcoming Dubai hotel, the latest from the Antalya-based Rixos Hotels. Main contractor is another Turkish company, Sembol Construction Company (SML), a sister company of Rixos.

“We’ve been working on the project for the last six months and will be able to finish next month,” Burak Kizilhan, business development manager for the Middle East and North Africa told CW this morning.

“This was a fast track project, and we have about 1,500 people working on site and about 50-60 engineers. The client wanted to be able to handover the hotel by the beginning of next year, so we’ve been able to help them do that.”

The hotel consists of 204 rooms and will cover only around 30% of the total developed area. The remaining 70% will consist of gardens and a beach promenade. It is the first for the hotel company in the region.

“Middle Eastern markets have always presented an invaluable investment opportunity for developing countries like Turkey and as a major hotel brand, we concentrate on key hotel and residence projects,” Fettah Tamince, chairman of Rixos Hotels, said earlier this year.

AE Arma-Elektropanc, which works through a joint venture with Bin Belaila locally, is one of the most international MEP companies of its kind, with a presence in many Middle Eastern markets as well as Cyprus, Ukraine and Russia among others.

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