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SkyMall is Coming Back!

Lovers of weird tchotchkes can let out a huge sigh of relief: SkyMall is coming back!

There's just one problem—it's going to be a somewhat boring, more practical catalog. ScottVest, a former SkyMall advertiser, has plans to resurrect the company, but with a different business model. "We're going to include items in the magazine that people actually want to buy," CEO Scott Jordan told Yahoo! Travel.

“We’d not only include listings for, say, noise-canceling headphones, but also an article explaining how the technology actually works,” he said.

His partner, Jim Louderback, elaborated: “We’re going to make it an entertaining experience, a curated shopping journey targeted at real travelers and their interests.” Basically, an educational and practical catalog for frequent fliers. 

Yawn.

On the bright side, the company has some pretty innovative ideas for the magazine. Taking advantage of supply-chain solutions, purchases could be delivered to your hotel room just hours after your plane lands. “Say you want to buy a digital camera to use on your trip. The partnerships and technology are there to have it delivered to your hotel the next day after you arrive,” Jordan explained. “The magazine could include a link to an online photography course to purchase during the flight, so you’re an expert on the camera and some new techniques by the time you land.” This is no underwater cell phone, but still a pretty cool idea.

Speaking of underwater cell phones and other nonsensical goods, Louderback promises that the catalog will still include some gag items as a nod to the original catalog. “We want the readers to continue to have the experience of the unexpected, of wonder, of delight, so you’ll be seeing stuff like the next pet rock, the new fake Google Glass-type gag, whatever may tap into that month’s zeitgeist,” he said. 

The new and (arguably) improved SkyMall is slated to hit the seat back pockets this June, so keep an eye out! 

[h/t: Yahoo! Travel & TechTimes.com]

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This Beach That Glows in the Dark Is Completely Magical to See
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by Reader's Digest

The Maldives is world-famous for its unbelievably picturesque beaches. A simple online image search brings up images of the clearest water in the world, cloudless skies, and … glow-in-the-dark sand?

That’s right, that photo is real. No Photoshop here. Some beaches in the Maldives do light up at night, and it’s not because a visitor with no environmental conscience sprayed fluorescent paint across the sand.

The organisms responsible for this blue light are called ostracod crustaceans, also known as seed shrimp. They are generally about 1 millimeter long and can emit blue light for several seconds, sometimes for even a minute or longer, Cornell biology professor James Morin told The Huffington Post. (To compare, bioluminescent phytoplankton, another light-giving organism that lives in the water, can only shine for a moment when they collide with the beach or water.) It’s believed that these glorious (albeit unpredictable) displays are created from a mass mortality of ostracods—a sad but spectacular sight all the same.

 
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If you’ve been meaning to take a trip to the Maldives, you now have another reason to book your ticket. However, if a transoceanic vacation isn’t an option, you’re in luck. These aquatic light shows also occur in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Belgium, and San Diego (though the blue light in San Diego is caused by bioluminescent algae).

See? You don’t have to travel out of the country to experience amazing beaches. Anyone who says differently needs to check out the 12 best beaches in America.

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This Just In
This Gorgeous Town in the Swiss Alps Wants to Pay You $25,000 to Move There
Peter P // Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Peter P // Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

If living in a fairy tale-like village in the Swiss Alps is like something out of a dream, then getting paid to do just that might be your fantasy life come true. But that’s exactly what the tiny town of Albinen, Switzerland is proposing. As The Independent reports, the town’s residents are getting set to vote on a proposal that would pay a family of four over $70,000 to commit to spending 10 years living there, as a way to bolster the dwindling population.

New residents will be eligible for grants of approximately $25,000 per adult and $10,000 per child for two kids. There are, of course, a few stipulations: new residents must be under the age of 45 and commit to making the town their permanent residence for at least 10 years. (If they leave before the allotted time frame, they’ll have to pay the money back.) They'll also have to choose to live in a home with a minimum price of $201,000.

Currently, the village is home to about 240 people, but that number is beginning to shrink, as longtime residents have chosen to move away. According to commune president Beat Jost, the recent relocation of three families in particular led to the loss of eight pupils at the local school, which forced its closure. While jobs in the village itself aren't plentiful, Albinen is close to several larger towns. And if you're game to do a bit of traveling, Geneva's only two hours away and Zurich is just about three hours.

The hope is that the promise of some cold hard cash, which could come in handy when it comes to purchasing a home in the town, can help to reverse this trend.

In a newsletter to residents detailing the proposal, the town noted that the program would be “an investment in the village’s future.”

[h/t: The Independent]

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