VIA THE WEB
Billboard Reads World’s Mood, Cheers It Up
Jell-O has installed a billboard on the corner of West Broadway and Grand Street in New York City’s Soho district featuring a huge, three-dimensional face that smiles or frowns based on how many happy-face emoticons and sad-face emoticons are being used on Twitter. When the collective happiness level of the internet dips below 50% Jello-O randomly selects Twitter users who have recently tweeted frowns and gives them gift certificates for free pudding, ostensibly to turn the frown into a smile. While it’s doubtful that all the world’s problems can be solved with free pudding, hopefully the types of problems that people feel comfortable sharing on Twitter can be. (via psfk.com)
Small Business to Social Media: I Don’t Follow
According to a poll conducted by Hiscox, a small business insurance provider, 64% of small business decision makers said that social media was either not necessary for their business or was something they had no opinion about. Fifty percent however, said that word-of-mouth was a marketing tool they could not do without. Only 12% said that social media was a “must.” (via mashable.com) —Jeremiah Budin
CBS’s “EcoAd” program is gaining attention, both good and bad. The program allows advertisers to buy ad packages in which a portion of the price goes toward an environmental cause. Doing so earns the advertisers a green leaf stamp in the corner of their commercials. (Environmental groups such as Friends on Earth, the Rainforest Action Network, Center for Environmental Health, and news website Ecopreneurist have accused CBS of “greenwashing”— making companies seem environmentally friendly when in reality they are anything but, citing Chevrolet and PG&E as examples of companies with poor environmental track records that are participating in the program to change their image.) According to Psfk.com, 10% of CBS’s revenue is going to environmental efforts, and that number is increasing as more marketers buy EcoAd packages. —J.B.
KEEP ON TREKKING
Summer is nearly over, and, it’s time to take advantage of what nice weather we have left. Cheapflights.com recently compiled a list of the world’s Top Ten Hiking Destinations.
Appalachian Trail —Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME, US
The Appalachian Trail spans fourteen states and is known as much for its many hikers as it for its beautiful wildlife. As many as 3 million people hike a portion of the trail every year—although only around 500 complete the whole thing.
Camino Frances (El Camino de Santiago)—St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Compostela, Spain
The Camino Frances (French Way) was a medieval pilgrimage route in the 9th century and is now a popular destination for tourists from around the world. The route winds in and out of small towns in France and Spain, most of which have Pilgrim Hostels, so the journey is not a strenuous one.
Pembrokeshire Coast Path—Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales
Travelers walking along the cliffs and beaches of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path have their choice between campsites, hotels, and small family-run bed & breakfasts, making it another less strenuous hike. In addition to beautiful scenery and wildlife, visitors can witness 2,000-year-old remnants of castles and forts left over from the Neolithic and Iron Age.
For those looking for a challenge, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa at 19,341 feet above sea level. Reaching its summit takes six to eight days, brings visitors through five different climate zones, and requires a guide to navigate through the mountain’s ice fields and three volcanoes. Even with a guide, the trek is very difficult and completing it is no sure thing, but I can only imagine the feeling of the intense satisfaction that must come when you do. Or the feeling of intense cold that comes with being 19,341 feet above sea level. Bring a jacket.
Zion Narrows—Zion National Park, Utah, US
Visitors to the Zion Narrows spend about a third of their 16-mile hike in the Virginia River, either wading or swimming, making this hike a difficult one, especially if it rains. Hikers can attempt to navigate through the Narrows in one day or two, although the two-day option requires an overnight backpacking license. With its sheer red cliffs and flowing water, the Narrows is a favorite of photographers, but make sure your camera is waterproof.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing—Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing takes a relatively undemanding seven to eight hours and visitors will witness beautiful lakes, mud pools, snowcapped peaks, alpine meadows, and two active volcanoes.
Paine Circuit Trek—Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
The Paine Circuit Trek is among the most beautiful hiking destinations in the world, but also fairly challenging. The 62-mile ten-day journey takes visitors through Magellanic forests, glacial lakes, ice fields, and, most notably, to the pink granite peaks of the Torres del Paine.
West Coast Trail—Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Built in 1907 as a path to help shipwreck survivors find their way to safety, the West Coast Trail is now a popular and exciting destination for hikers on the slightly more experienced side. It features some great— but also dangerous—wildlife, as cougars and black bears, and wolves lurk in the woods and orcas, gray whales, sea lions, and seals can be spotted from the shore.
Tiger Leaping Gorge—Yunnan, China
After the first day of this two-day trek along the Yangtze River, visitors can stay the night in the Naxi tea houses. The hiking trail, known as the High Road, is bordered by the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Haba Snow Mountain.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu—Peru
For visitors to Machu Picchu there are many options available, including a four-day 50-mile guided hike, various two-day guided hikes, and a train service. Hikers pass through surreal cloud forests on their way to the ancient ruins of the city. —J.B.