CLOSE

How to Kill Your Commute

Awhile back, we wrote about a very cool website called Walkscore, a Google Maps mashup that tells you how walkable your neighborhood is, based on factors like your home's distance from basic services, food, entertainment and other things. Now Walkscore has a sibling -- a website called Optimal Home Location (not that catchy, granted, but true to its name), which is the perfect tool to use before you move somewhere in order to achieve maximum neighborhood walkability.

Even if your new neighborhood/life isn't "walkable" per se, this tool should do much to guide your house-hunting, and at least reduce your commute, which is something we can all get behind. It works like this: you tell it where you and your family work and play -- entering all the addresses of the places you regularly go -- and its handy calculator will weight them all according to importance and frequency of travel, and find you a place to live more or less in the center of it all, where you can live using the least amount of gas (and just as important, travel time) possible.

Unfortunately, it doesn't take home prices or skeezy-ness of neighborhood into account, but it will allow you to choose a number of different neighborhoods and compare the commutes, so you can self-filter. Not to mention the fact that a pricier house near the places you work and play might end up being less expensive in the long run than living way out in the 'burbs and commuting. (For those of you moving to a new city, it helps to have a friend on the ground: a friend of mine is considering moving from Florida to Los Angeles in the near future, and was very surprised to learn that the neighborhood she was considering is easily an hour's commute from the heart of the city. That's traffic for ya.)

Anybody wishing they'd had a tool like this before they picked a new house?

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
travel
The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
iStock
iStock

When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

arrow
Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios