|Artists Collecting Art||How four artists of note take their art.|
|This Week in Cinema||This lucky journalist got to spend some time with Spike Jonze, and in completely unrelated cinema news The Amazing Spiderman 2 trailer is here. Electro kind of looks like Dr. Manhattan, right?|
|Beneath San Fran||Seems like everyone and his brother is going into underground tunnels and taking sweet pictures these days. These ones, from under San Francisco, will slake your thirst for a Goonies style adventure without the risk of contracting tetanus.|
|Put the City on your Back||So a judge ruled that Detroit could, in fact, declare bankruptcy. Since when can a city even do that?|
|For the Dictators Among Us||Lovers of wanton corruption, Transparency International wants to help you find your new home with their recently released 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index. Hint: don’t go to Denmark, New Zealand or Finland, which ranked as the least corrupt.|
|Spaceship, Meet Ice Cream||Just in case there was any question as to whether or not Pharrell Williams was a cool dude. Speaking of Pharrell, did you know that the most played song in a 24 hour period in 2013 was Get Lucky, which had 1.5 million streams? Fact courtesy of Spotify, which explores the year in music.|
|Tough On Tough Mudder||Want to test your mettle with a Tough Mudder competition? This piece in Outside magazine calls the famed obstacle course’s safety into question.|
|Texas Versus the Ants||Ever heard of crazy ants? They sound like the ants from Carl Stephenson’s awesome short story, “Leiningen Versus the Ants“. Except they’re real. And no one knows how to stop them.|
|Tough Draw||Thought this was the United States’s year for a deep world cup push? Check out the draw and think again. Yikes.|
|Slow Down||In case you live in a city, or are really stoned, here’s six hours and twenty one minutes of “anti” time-lapse video from a rural Nevada night sky. For a more traditional time lapse, look here. It’s from space.|
Come for the baths, leave for the government officials
Kamchatka isn’t just that territory in Risk where Alaska’s always leaking through to ruin Asia’s dominant 8-player bonus. Nope, it’s a real place, one that combines the enormity of the Canadian Tundra, Hawaii’s volcanic peaks and Iceland’s hot springs. Little does anyone know, you can technically vacation there, and not just if you’re heading to Mr. Putin’s Gulag Resort No. 1. No, if you happen to have connections with the Russian government (we aren’t kidding), you can stay at Russo-Balt North Adventures Kamchatka instead, where lonely serenity meets luxury and soaks in thermal hot springs until it’s turned nearly to jelly.
If you're between a soft and a hard case...
In the good old days of train travel a gentleman would have a cavalcade of steamer trunks in tow, housing all manner of wardrobe, knick knacks, accoutrement and what-have-yous. These days, a guy’s lucky if his rolling carry-on isn’t checked at the gate. Thankfully, weary traveler, technology is on your side. We’re pleased to introduce to you the best hard shell suitcases we would find, each a convergence of all the necessary requirements for travel, each unique in its own way.
Nearly a year after his training began, Dirk Shaw called from Costa Rica, where he had just completed the final mission in The Road to La Ruta: the race itself. He explained how he’d learned to enjoy the process as much as the culminating event. Process over product. Wise words, Mr. Shaw.
But we also know that race day happens to be both process and product, when reason and reflection give way to adrenaline and ecstasy — or despair. Deep, raw despair that people in the industry call “injury”, “mechanical failure”, or simply “Did Not Finish”. Luckily, as Dirk’s grueling journey from coast to coast and peak to peak unfolded, we had someone on hand to document the dramatic highs and lows. Now we present the final chapter in the Road to La Ruta series, our film of the epic race.
Conquering La Ruta
Suffering is a universal language. October 24-26 were the hardest three days I have ever spent on a bike, but they were also the most connected I have ever felt with the people and the world around me. The power of a shared experience, through joy and pain, transcends almost everything. It crushes barriers of language and culture. Now I know why everyone becomes so emotionally bonded to the La Ruta de Los Conquistadores: words are unnecessary when you have shared the suffering of a ride that is practically straight up for nearly two hours in the blazing heat.
Putting a Solar-Powered Purifier through its paces
Our attitude about drinking water is better safe than sorry, particularly when traveling outside the United States in places where water is known to be contaminated. We sent our correspondent to Costa Rica for the final installment of The Road to La Ruta armed with the SteriPEN Freedom Solar ($105). While the water in Costa Rica is generally safe to drink, the CDC warns of hepatitis A and typhoid — and we didn’t want that coming back to HQ.
Lifelong surf legend
If you’re looking for a lesson in the good life, look no further than Robert August. At 18 he starred in The Endless Summer, the first great surfing film, taking him on a seven-month world tour of uncharted breaks. The rest, as they say, is history. August went on to launch an eponymous line of surfboards, which he still shapes today. We caught up with him at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, to talk about parenting, lamb chops and the difference between monkeys and people.
Light, fast, local
There are big-name brands in the outdoor clothing market that turn out lustworthy, cutting-edge shells, baselayers and insulation pieces season after season. But every once in a while, we stumble upon a small brand doing things a little bit differently yet equally well. One of those is NW Alpine, based in that outdoor playground, Portland, Oregon. We got to test out three pieces of NW Alpine gear in the mountains this fall: the Black Spider Hoodie, the Fast/Light Pant and the Simplicity Jacket.
Stuttgart Speeds Into the 21st Century
Mercedes has been innovating in Silicon Valley for over two decades, but they’ve decided to bolster their cutting-edge technological efforts with their new Mercedes Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. We were on hand to explore the new facilities, check out their in-car technology and gawk at the beautiful, newly unveiled AMG Vision Gran Turismo.
What Your Air Should Wear
Just because the word “air” is in your latest iPad’s name doesn’t mean it’s going to float on the ether if (when) you drop it. There isn’t going to be some magical, fluffy cloud protection when you slip it in your work bag or duffel; there is neither a keyboard nor some sort of built-in kickstand. So, clumsy, what’re you supposed to do? How do you keep your pristine investment and advanced piece of technology looking new? How do you keep it accessible and functional in every imaginable way and every imaginable place, from the airplane to the board room to the living room?
For starters, you could do worse than picking up one of the best iPad Air cases on the market. We’ve rounded up 35 of the grandest grippers, gewgaw-laden sleeves, shells, keyboards and folios and parsed them by price.
Though it was a “must-have” item when it hit the market decades ago, the cordless screwdriver’s charms wound down faster than the AA batteries stacked in its tail. To maintain shelf space on impulse item peg-boards, tool manufacturers did what they do best: they added power, shed weight and extended run times. While noble in effort, their improvements just weren’t reason enough for tradesmen to sacrifice space in their tool bags…until now. To see if the DeWalt 8V Max Gyroscopic Screwdriver ($89) delivers the right balance of intuitive tech and commonplace comfort, we took it out for an involved spin.
Business travelers used to have serious panache: Vasco da Gama traveled in a fleet of ships accompanied a few hundred men; Benjamin Franklin allegedly wore a rustic fur hat while serving as an ambassador to France; in the 1960s men wore three-piece suits in Economy. Today’s business traveler is less ostentatious but dangerously effective: he’s creative, flexible, mobile, well-connected and never ever sick at sea. Working all the time? Sure, but that’s a small price to pay for a life without borders. If that sounds like you, this is the gear you need.