I Suppose a Room With a Balcony is out of the Question

Even in 2010, the idea of a fully-functional underwater community seems like a super futuristic and ridiculously impossible sci-fi dream. It wouldn't surprise me to see an underwater fortress being used as a hideout by Dr. Evil in the next Austin Powers movie. It also makes me think of the Looking Glass station on LOST, and we all know by now what happened there. (If you don't, don't click that link, yell at yourself for being so far behind, and get on Netflix right now and find out.)

What I am describing is not, in fact, a far-off dream but a currently-under-construiction reality named the Poseidion Undersea Resort - a fully-submerged getaway that will be open to anyone willing to pony up about $1500 a night for a 550 square-foot suite:

The resort's official website details the concept:

Accessible by elevator and nestled in the crystal clear cerulean waters of the 5,000-acre Fijian lagoon, Poseidion Undersea Resort is the world's first seafloor resort and the only place where you can spend the night 40 feet underwater in incomparable luxury.

Beginning in early 2010, a select group of the world's adventure travelers and undersea enthusiasts will have the opportunity to stay with us for week-long visits, enjoying two nights underwater and four nights in our remarkable beachfront and over-water bungalows.

When completed (is it "early 2010" yet?), the resort will feature all of the typical fare (spa, restaurants, fitness club, conference facilities) as well as activities for the more adventurous among us (submarine piloting, scuba diving, water sports, parasailing, etc.). The site even mentions the ability to play 9-holes of golf. I assume that they mean on land nearby, but in the unlikely event that they are developing some new mind-blowing technology that allows you to hit the links underwater, I just may have to book my stay.

Baring the new golfing technology, I have seen the movie The Abyss far too many times to brave a claustrophobic week in the Posedion. But, don't let me spoil the party. Who among us would be brave enough to enjoy a water-logged week of R&R?

(Via Wayfaring)

Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California
The Concept of the American 'Backyard' is Newer Than You Think
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California

Backyards are as American as apple pie and baseball. If you live in a suburban or rural area, chances are good that you have a lawn, and maybe a pool, some patio furniture, and a grill to boot.

This wasn’t always the case, though. As Smithsonian Insider reports, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Americans began to consider the backyard an extension of the home, as well as a space for recreation and relaxation. After World War II, Americans started leaving the big cities and moving to suburban homes that came equipped with private backyards. Then, after the 40-hour work week was implemented and wages started to increase, families started spending more money on patios, pools, and well-kept lawns, which became a “symbol of prosperity” in the 1950s, according to a new Smithsonian Institution exhibit.

A man mows his lawn in the 1950s
In this photo from the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit, a man mows his lawn in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington
Library in San Marino, California

Entitled "Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Back Yard," the exhibition includes photographs, advertisements, and articles about backyards from the 1950s and 1960s. The traveling display is currently on view at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum in Temple, Texas, and from there it will head to Hartford, Connecticut, in December.

Prior to the 1950s, outdoor yards were primarily workspaces, reports. Some families may have had a vegetable garden, but most yards were used to store tools, livestock, and other basic necessities.

The rise of the backyard was largely fueled by materials that were already on hand, but hadn’t been accessible to the average American during World War II. As Smithsonian Insider notes, companies that had manufactured aluminum and concrete for wartime efforts later switched to swimming pools, patio furniture, and even grilling utensils.

A family eats at a picnic table in the 1960s
A family in Mendham, New Jersey, in the 1960s
Molly Adams/Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection

At the same time, DIY projects started to come into fashion. According to an exhibit caption of a Popular Mechanics article from the 1950s, “‘Doing-it-yourself’ was advertised as an enjoyable and affordable way for families to individualize their suburban homes.” The magazine wrote at the time that “patios, eating areas, places for play and relaxation are transforming back yards throughout the nation.”

The American backyard continues to grow to this day. As Bloomberg notes, data shows that the average backyard grew three years in a row, from 2015 to 2017. The average home last year had 7048 square feet of outdoor space—plenty of room for a sizable Memorial Day cookout.

[h/t Smithsonian Insider]

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