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Knowledge Update

Singapore museum unveils art-science fusion exhibit

​Singapore, March 19 (IANS) The Singapore ArtScience Museum on Saturday unveiled a new exhibit that merges cutting edge technology with artistic design and creativity in 15 larger-than-life installations mimicking ecosystems, cities and space. "Art is usually static with limited interaction. Now technology has opened new opportunities for artists to stretch their imagination," said Fujiwara Tetsuya, the managing director of Panasonic System Solutions. Panasonic in Asia Pacific partnered with the Singaporean ArtScience Museum and teamLab, a Japanese art and technology collective, to create the earth-inspired exhibit, EFE news reported. The 1,500 square-metre exhibit "FUTURE WORLD: Where Art Meets Science" under the first theme "Nature" invites visitors to explore rooms where flowers bloom and die and butterflies flutter in interweaving pixels on gallery walls. Using teamLab's interactive 4D vision technology "visitors experience the universe from within it, as it surrounds, enfolds them and responds to their presence, thus helping visitors understand themselves as part of the vastness of celestial space", said teamLab. The second concept, "Town", reflects a cityscape that invites visitors to populate towns by inputting digital data, watching cities grow and physically build and construct architecture with fibreglass light cubes. Finally, the crystal universe of "Space" transports viewers into a darkened galaxy with star-studded skies, with over 170,000 LED lights used to light up the re-creation of the universe. "We hope to invoke in visitors a new and imaginative sense of wonder in the world around us," said Honor Hagar, the executive director of the ArtScience Museum.​

Thai hotels on drought alert

​Bangkok, March 18 (IANS) Thai hoteliers in major tourist destinations are preparing measures to deal with serious drought this summer, the media reported on Friday. Members of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) are running water-saving campaigns after being warned that this year's drought will be the worst in a decade, The Bangkok Post. "We have asked for cooperation from our member hotels to help save water," said THA president Surapong Techaruvichit. Many hotels, particularly big ones, have their own water reserves and some have already bought water. In Phuket - one of most visited places in the country, the THA reported that hotels have enough water reserves for use until June. According to the Public Works Department, hotel guests use an average of 350 litres of water per day. Normally, people consume 180-200 litres per day. Saving water in Thailand has become a major issue after warnings that many provinces are expected to run out of water for household consumption and other essential use. ​

Indonesia waives visa requirements for 79 more countries

​Jakarta, March 18 (IANS) Indonesia has waived visa requirements for 79 more countries, expanding the list to 169 visa-free nations as it continues its efforts to boost foreign visitor numbers. President Joko Widodo on March 2 signed a decree granting visa-free entry to tourists who wish to travel in the country for 30 days, said a statement published on the Cabinet Secretary website on Friday."The presidential decree comes into effect once it is ratified, " the statement said, noting that the Legal and Human Rights Ministry authorised it on March 10. According to the statement, Australia is included in the list of countries after the country was mooted three times last year but later the reciprocal issues were dropped over, Xinhua news agency reported.Throughout last year, the Indonesian government expanded the list to 90 from 15 visa-free countries. The government has set a target to attract 20 million foreign tourists annually by 2019 as an effort to boost growth in Southeast Asia's largest economy. Last year alone, 9.73 million tourists visited the Indonesia​

New, improved Visit Abu Dhabi app launched

​Abu Dhabi, March 14 (IANS/WAM) The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) has launched a new, improved version of its Visit Abu Dhabi mobile application.The app, which allows users to gain instant access to "all that’s new" in the emirate, is now live and features several upgrades and enhancements. Version 4.0 of the app, which allows access to the same content as the authority’s destination portal,, is available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.Mouza Al Shamsi, acting executive director of marketing and communications at TCA Abu Dhabi, said, "We’ve listened carefully to customer feedback and our app has been completely redesigned following the latest user experience trends to make the whole experience even more immersive and easy to use. All of the key features that you’re familiar with from our previous versions are still present but now they’re even faster, smarter and bursting with functionality." "A number of useful and intuitive new additions are also present, including integration with The Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars, which will allow users to book a taxi directly from within the app will allow the user to discover the best route and schedule to get to any point of interest, said Al Shamsi. "The app has also been integrated with TripAdvisor, to allow access to reviews for all locations, hotels and restaurants," she added.​

Board without multiple security checks at airports soon

​London, March 16 (IANS) SITA, a Switzerland-based IT and telecommunication company, on Wednesday unveiled "Smart Path" -- a single biometric token that can be used at the airports for hassle-free entry and exit movement. The new technology, unveiled during the world's largest airport exhibition "Passenger Terminal EXPO" being held in Germany from March 15-17, allows passengers to move through the airport and board the aircraft simply by presenting themselves for a biometric check. Once verified, there is no need for the passenger to present a boarding pass, a passport or travel documents again. "We have built on this unique expertise to create SITA 'Smart Path' -- a single, secure, self-service process using existing common-use infrastructure that simplifies secure, passenger processing for everyone - airlines, airports and border authorities," Matthys Serfontein, vice president, airport solutions at SITA, said in a statement. With "Smart Path", the passenger's biometric details are captured through a facial scan at the first touch point in the journey. The record is checked against the passenger's travel documents, typically the passport, and a secure single token is created. Then, at each step of the journey - from check-in, to aircraft boarding or border control - passengers gain access simply with a facial scan and without having to show their passport or boarding pass. SITA is currently working with a number of major airlines and airports to integrate biometrics into the passenger journey and expects that by 2020, passengers using biometrics will be the norm at airports across the world.​

Gearing up for air journey? Follow travel hacks

​New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) A holiday is meant to relax you, but the endless planning, long flights, and jet lag leave you restless -- no wonder then that many people feel they need a holiday to recover from a holiday! Carrying less and taking care of alcohol limits can make the journey smooth for you. Global travel search company Skyscanner conducted interview with cabin crew across airlines and asked them a bunch of questions on how to make your travel experiences better and the answers may surprise you. * What is the simplest way to get upgraded?: While all airlines have their own policies regarding upgrades, the best chance to get upgraded is by not being a total douche at the check-in counter. That completely eliminates all odds of an upgrade. The sure shot way though is to enrol yourself into a frequent flyer programme -- especially if you tend to have a preference for a particular airline. Most airlines will upgrade their frequent flyers. * How to avoid paying for overweight baggage?: Carry less is the solution. Apparently the trick is to balance out the weight between your check-in and hand baggage. Always pick a backpack over a trolley bag (as hand baggage) since the former is unlikely to be suspected for being too heavy. * What is the alcohol limit on international and domestic flights?: Despite whatever you’ve read, this highly depends on two factors -- your behaviour, and the cabin crew’s mood. Since everyone has a different capacity, flight attendants constantly monitor signs of passengers being too high (like suddenly breaking into a jig), and if you are, consider it your last drink! In general, every subsequent drink reduces your chances of the next one. * How to calm down a constantly crying infant?: Every child is different, but in general, taking them to the galley brings out the curiosity in them and keeps them busy for a bit. Distractions always work since they are usually crying out of sheer boredom. Never give them sugar since the temporary rush makes them even more irritable. Moreover, many infants cry due to pressure in the ears and feeding during take-off and landing helps since the jaw movement keeps their ears open. * What does it cost to cargo your pet?: This is highly dependent on the airline and its individual policies along with the size of your pet. Also there are restrictions on how many animals are permitted on board so you need to book much in advance to ensure a place. Certain breeds are not allowed at all since their genetic traits make them unsuitable for air travel. * How to ensure that your baggage arrives first?: The simplest way is to request for it to be marked as ‘priority baggage’. If you’re a frequent flyer, this request will always be processed but even if you’re not, nicely asking for it will help you get a tag. Also marking your bag as fragile helps. * How to beat jet lag?: Pop a melatonin pill before the flight. This works like a charm for many people. Also, if you reach a place in the morning and it's night time in your home country, do anything but keep yourself awake till it’s night wherever you are. This resets your body clock and helps you adjust to the time difference easily.​