Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 05.03.2012

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

Recipe for happy holiday revealed – experts

Want to know the secret to the perfect holiday? Spend six nights away from home, fly for at least nine hours and travel with a partner or four friends.

That’s the formula for holiday happiness devised by a mathematician, psychologist and a group of travel experts from travel booking website

The opportunity to make friends jealous via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter also rated highly, as did a trip with plenty of activities, that felt safe and secure and was value for money.

Great food, weather, destination and hotel were also factors.

Doctor of Mathematics Rupert McCallum said the team interviewed more than 1000 Australians and analysed their responses to determine which factors were most important to their enjoyment of their last holiday.

They then used sophisticated mathematical techniques to explore the relationship between the individual factors and overall enjoyment.

The research found most satisfied Australian holidaymakers spent at least six nights away and flew for at least nine hours to get to their destination.

They also travelled in groups of two or five.

Psychologist Meredith Fuller said the flight time highlights Australians are an inquisitive bunch who are willing to make longer trips to experience new cultures, cuisines and activities.

She said psychologically, high performing teams worked best when made up of between five and seven people.

“A group of five people is ideal for getting the best out of everyone: there is less chance of individual conflict, more mental stimulation and enough variety in interests to broaden our experiences,” Dr Fuller said.

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6 private initiatives of contemporary art in Stockholm

Visit Stockholm Blog

Did you know that Stockholm is one of the leading destinations for contemporary art? Besides the well known contemporary institutions, such as Moderna Museet (the modern museum), Stockholm has several private initiatives all with their special angle. Here are six of them and why you should see them.

1) Magasin 3

Why bother: The privately owned investment company Proventus are aiming to support artistic practice and actively take part in society by introducing and presenting artists at the gallery.
Why now: Currently showing the chinese political artist Ai Weiwei. When: Feb 3- June 10.
Where: An artgallery with the slogan “Hard to find. Easy to love” must just have a great sense of humour. It’s situated in the Frihamnen port area in the city.

2) Bonniers Konsthall

Why bother: The largest publishing company in Sweden aims  to support the emergence of and to promote encounters with new art  through the gallery.
Why now: Currently showing “A Trip to the moon. Before and after Film” about the love affair between art and film. When: Feb 8 -April 8.
Where: The Gallery is situated on Torsgatan street, just between the residential disttrict Vasastan and all the hotels on Vasagatan in the city.

3) Sven-Harrys konsthall

Why bother: This contemporary golden shiny brass bulding is the vision of the housing-entrepreneur Sven-Harry Karlsson. It is a ”home” for both people and art,  and is situated in the Vasaparken-park. Besides contemporary art you can visit the Collection, which is a blueprint of Sven-Harry’s 18th-century mansion Ekholmsnäs on Lidingö, furnished and filled with an art collection, just like the original. The house also holds a block of flats, a lovely restaurant, and the design company Gärsnäs.
Why now: Just one week left to see the works of Torsten Andersson/Kristina Eriksson . When: Until March 11.
Where: The Vasaparken park in the residential Vasastan district.

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Climate change could make Canada’s traditional ice hockey extinct

The Guardian

Milder winters with shorter ice season and unfrozen lakes could render much loved winter sport unplayable, study claims.

A quintessentially Canadian winter tradition – outdoor ice hockey – could be facing extinction within decades because of climate change, a new study says.

Pick-up games of ice hockey, also called shinny or pond hockey, are a way of life during the long winters. Many towns are studded with neighbourhood ice rinks, some families even freeze over their backyards. Ottawa has the Rideau Canal, the 5-mile skate run through the nation’s capital. But such pursuits are in peril as milder winters and earlier springs pare down the outdoor ice season.

The ice season has shortened noticeably over the last 50 years, especially in southern British Columbia and Alberta and parts of the prairie provinces, the study in the Institute of Physics’ journal, Environmental Research Letters, says.

Temperatures are not staying low enough long enough to allow ice to freeze over.

By mid-century, it may no longer be possible to play ice hockey or skate on outdoor rinks without artificial intervention. “If you draw a straight line into the future you get zero rink-flooding days by mid-century which implies that at some point in that period you can’t build a rink because it is not getting cold enough,” said Damon Matthews, a geographer at Concordia University and author of the study.

That prospect might even be enough to alarm the prime minister, Stephen Harper, who has come under growing criticism in the international community and at home for reneging on Canada’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and for his aggressive promotion of the Alberta tar sands, which have a heavier carbon imprint than traditional crude.

“I think this is going to strike a chord with Canadians,” Matthews said. “When I think of things that are vulnerable to climate change that people care about in Canada I would place outdoor ice hockey very close to the top of that list.”

It takes a long cold spell to be able to build a good foundation for ice sports – at least three days in a row at -5C, the researchers determined, from interviews with public rink officials.

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TripAdvisor to remove new ratings system following criticism

TripAdvisor is to scrap its controversial new “ratings” system, which allows reviewers to mark hotels, restaurants and attractions without leaving a written review.

The system permits the website’s users, and Facebook members, to award businesses with a mark out of five, but does not require them to justify their decision.

KwikChex, the online reputation management company, which has frequently spoken out against TripAdvisor’s methods, described it as “baffling”.

Chris Emmins, chief executive of KwikChex, said: “It seems astonishing that at a time when there is rising concern about deception and malice on the web and a growing desire for greater reliability and an end to anonymous bullying, that TripAdvisor should apparently introduce the least diligent system yet and produce greater levels of mistrust and distortion.”

Mr Emmins said the company had been contacted by “hundreds” of businesses who were concerned at the new system, and questioned whether the ratings were subject to the same fraud checks that TripAdvisor claims to use when screening reviews.

“This seems to be an extension of the quantity rather than quality model, adding to already existing factors such as the number of ridiculously out of date reviews on the TripAdvisor site,” he added. “We estimate around 30 million are of no use for that reason alone, making the statistics quoted so often by them more puffery than real substance.”

A spokesperson for TripAdvisor said the feature has been “in development”, and would be removed today, following complaints.

“We’re always trying to make TripAdvisor even better for both travellers and businesses, and as an innovative tech company we constantly test new features to make the site even more useful,” said Emma Shaw, a spokesperson for the website. “We are always open to the results of these tests and have listened to the valuable feedback we have had over the past few days. From this feedback, we recognise we have some work to do to ensure that ratings are as useful as they can be and so we have decided to remove displaying ratings from a business’s listing page today.”

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