These Are the Best Cities Around the World for Drinking on the Street

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Photo by Ruth Hartnup

There are so many things to love about travel but street drinking has quickly become one of my favorite activities abroad. If you live in a place where it’s legal (and normal) to walk down the street with a beer, maybe you can’t imagine what the big deal is. For the rest of us, it’s pretty great.

For one, street drinking is cheaper. You can BYOB anywhere—you’re not limited to the overpriced selection in bars and restaurants. You can buy a cheapie at 7-11 and walk around freely, which brings me to another advantage: buzzed sightseeing.

There’s nothing like cracking open a tall boy with your travel companion while you walk around and explore a city at a relaxed pace. You want to be safe and keep an eye on your surroundings, of course, but that should go without saying. And picnics! Picnics are a perfect travel activity. You can relax and soak in the atmosphere of a city and, like many activities, picnics are even more enjoyable with alcohol.

Plus, it’s just fun to do something you don’t get to do back home! After all, isn’t novelty half the fun of traveling in the first place? From Vegas to Germany, there are quite a few places in the world where you can drink on the street without worry. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans doesn’t have strict open container laws, so you’re free to drink on the streets and sidewalks as you please (and there are plenty of bars and restaurants that will accommodate with to-go cups). However, open glass containers are prohibited, so make sure you’re drinking out of plastic cups.

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New Orleans is one of my favorite places, period, and it’s often called the Vegas of the South. Sure, Vegas has the Strip, and you’re welcome to drink on it while you squeeze and shuffle among the tourists, but for the most part, Vegas is all about hanging out at your hotel: the hotel nightclub, the hotel pool, and, of course, the hotel casino. There is no reason to ever leave your hotel, which makes street drinking a little less exciting in Vegas.

In New Orleans, though, there’s so much happening outside, from tours to music, and it’s extra fun to walk around with a Hurricane in hand while you take it all in.

Tokyo, Japan

Japan doesn’t have any open container laws, but public drinking isn’t always socially acceptable (here’s a great thread on what people think about it). You won’t see much street drinking, but you might see people sitting down in a park with a cold one.

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That said, Tokyo is fun for public drinking in Japan, just because there are so many tourists and so much going on, that it seems less likely to be frowned upon. And the rumors are true: there are alcohol vending machines all around Japan, but they’re actually pretty rare—I didn’t see a single one in Tokyo (though I did find one in Kyoto).

Copenhagen, Denmark

Like a lot of Scandinavian countries, Denmark doesn’t have super strict or rigorously enforced open container laws. Denmark’s seem to be even more relaxed than the rest of Scandinavia, though.

Not only is street drinking legal in Copenhagen, it’s socially acceptable and encouraged. If you visit Nyhavn, for instance, you can spend upwards of $15-$20 on a beverage at any one off the fancy restaurants along the canal. But you’ll probably just want to grab a beer from the grocery store for a few bucks and join the rest of us drinking on the waterfront—the view is just as nice. Again, Copenhagen is also great because the laws are so lax. In Sweden, if you want a drink with more than 3.5% ABV, you can’t just go into a grocery store and get it. You’ll have to find a Systembolaget, a government-owned liquor store chain that isn’t always open. It’s easy and fun to drink on the streets in Copenhagen.


These are my favorites, but there are so many other tourist destinations with relaxed open container laws in the world: France, Germany, England, Wales, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and China to name a few. There are some unlikely cities in the U.S., too. You can have beer or wine in public in Fredericksburg, Texas, for example. And Butte, Montana allows it except between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.

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SpaceX has launched and landed another used rocket, saving what could be millions of dollars

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spacex bulgariasat 1 falcon 9 launch spacex youtube

SpaceX on Friday kicked off the first of two rocket launches this weekend with a smashing success.

The aerospace company, founded by tech mogul Elon Musk, fired off a Falcon 9 rocket around 3:10 p.m. EDT on June 23. Minutes later, it delivered Bulgaria’s first telecommunications satellite into orbit some 22,230 miles above Earth.

But part of the rocket did something extra-special right after launch: Its first-stage booster — the vehicle’s biggest and most expensive section — fell back to Earth, reignited its engines, and safely landed on the deck of an autonomous barge named "Of Course I Still Love You".

"Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard (used almost all of the emergency crush core), but otherwise good," Musk said in a tweet shortly after the landing.

This wasn’t the booster’s first landing, however. The same one launched and landed itself months ago, and was then refurbished and reintegrated into another rocket — the vehicle that launched BulgariaSat-1 on June 23.

Also, because the satellite’s target orbit was tens of thousands of miles higher than a low-Earth orbit, the booster had barely enough fuel to land; in fact, Musk didn’t expect it to survive.

"Falcon 9 will experience its highest ever reentry force and heat in today’s launch. Good chance rocket booster doesn’t make it back," he tweeted shortly before launch on Friday.

This marks the second re-launch and re-landing of a previously-flown rocket booster, SpaceX said.

If the company can reliably repeat this feat, over and over again, the implications could be enormous. That’s because nearly all rockets fall back to Earth and crash after launch, turning tens of millions of dollars into garbage.

Musk has said a Falcon 9 booster comprises up to 70% of the entire rocket’s cost to SpaceX. So each time it can land and refurbish the booster, it can save millions on the cost required to build a whole rocket. The company can then discount the $62 million price tag associated with a new Falcon 9.

Discounting an already affordable rocket system is opening up space to new businesses. For example, SpaceX gave BulgariaSat (which paid for Friday’s launch) enough of a discount to enable their mission.

"People don’t realize that, for small countries and small companies like us, without SpaceX, there was no way we would ever be able to even think about space," Maxim Zayakov, he CEO of BulgariaSat, told writer Stephen Clark of Spaceflight Now. "With [SpaceX], it was possible. We got a project. I think, in the future, it’s going to be even more affordable because of reusability."

spacex bulgariasat 1 falcon 9 drone ship landing spacex youtube

SpaceX previously declined to tell Business Insider about its cost or profit margins, or how much of a discount it’s giving to customers like BulgariaSat for launching with used equipment.

But we recently took all available public information, combined with launch market analysis and reports, to estimate those discounts.

If SpaceX is raking in a 40% profit per launch on a Falcon 9 rocket, as the investment firm Jefferies International LLC has estimated, then a new booster may cost SpaceX about $26 million. This means that if SpaceX re-uses a booster just once, it could be saving as much as $13 million.

If it uses a booster an average of 15 times, however, SpaceX could be saving much more in the long run — $24 million per launch, at least compared to a brand-new rocket.

We used these and other estimates to guess how quickly SpaceX could pay back what Musk said was a roughly $1 billion in reusable rocket technologies. You can read our analysis here — though it doesn’t account for rocket accidents, launch schedule delays, and the emergence of reusable-rocket competitors like Blue Origin.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk spent $1 billion developing SpaceX’s reusable rockets — here’s how fast he might make it all back

DON’T MISS: The used rockets of tech billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here’s how

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch SpaceX launch and land its second used rocket of the year

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Sexually Active Old People Seem to Be Smarter

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Image: Edwin Torres/Wikimedia Commons

Fucking is good. What else can you say? We’re a species that gets to actually enjoy sexual activity. It makes babies. When consenting adults do sex-making, it is good.

A new study suggests that when old people do sex, it is also good. Maybe even more good. The researchers behind a new study already knew that increased mental, social, and physical activity is associated with less cognitive decline. So, they posit, seeing as sex consists of mental, social, and physical activity, more sexing must also mean better thinking.

The study only had 73 people in it, aged 50 to 83, with an average age of around 62. The study recruited the frisky folks through “adverts disseminated by local community networks.” Each old person answered survey questions about their sexual activity frequency from the past twelve months, where “sexual activity was defined as engagement in sexual intercourse, masturbation, or petting/fondling,” according to the study. That’s also how I define it, by the way.

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The researchers also asked questions about their participant’s educations, gender, and cardiovascular health, as well as other factors like their social wellbeing. Then, the older crew performed tests of their attention, memory, and other cognitive abilities. Ultimately, the study finds that the ability to articulate oneself, and the ability to determine how objects relate to each other in space increased the more people performed sexual acts.

Hell yeah!!!

Does the study have limitations? Of course it does. The authors point out that 73 isn’t a large number of people to generalize about something like this. They also don’t differentiate between different kinds of sexual activity. “This field of study is still relatively young, and we plan to address such details in our subsequent research,” they write.

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Finally, and I’m so glad they point all these limitations out, it’s not a controlled experimental study, just a survey. “We cannot infer a causal relationship between SA and cognitive function,” just that the people who had better cognitive abilities also said that they boned more. Maybe they bone more because they’re smarter, for all we know. The study does have another thing going for it, though: it’s a replication study of another one performed by the same team last year.

So, honestly, fuck it, grandmas and grandpas of the world. By “it,” I mean each other.

[Journals of Gerontology]

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FCC greenlights OneWeb to deliver satellite internet in the US

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Providing internet to remote users beyond the telecom grid has always been a difficult dream to realize. But as Trump assured supporters in Iowa yesterday that better rural broadband would get looped into his infrastructure plans, the ambition at least has the White House’s attention. Actual beyond-the-grid solutions have been varied and still, alas, experimental. A company working to support that population with a novel network of internet-beaming satellites, OneWeb, just hit an important milestone: The FCC has approved its request to broadcast internet on certain frequencies, giving it access to the US market.

That just gives OneWeb access to market: It still has to create and deploy its proposed global web of 720 small satellites, which are specced to hang out in non-geostationary low-Earth orbit. It isn’t alone in the satellite internet dream, either, with SpaceX planning to start launching its 4,000 tiny signal-beaming machines that make up its network in 2019, while the European Space Agency just signed a pact with 16 other Euro companies to someday deploy its "Satellite for 5G" solution.

Satellite internet isn’t the only solution for rural and remote internet users. Google’s long-running Project Loon proposed beaming it from aerial balloons, but it’s still in uncertain development after the team’s lead left in March. Facebook itself pondered a microsatellite network, but sidelined that for Project Aquila, an airliner-sized drone (that’s still very much in the testing phase) that will stay aloft for up to 90 days beaming signal down to Earth.

Source: FCC

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Report: Obama authorized a secret cyber operation against Russia

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President Barack Obama learned of Russia’s attempts to hack US election systems in early August 2016, and as intelligence mounted over the following months, the White House deployed secrecy protocols it hadn’t used since the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, according to a report by The Washington Post. Apparently, one of the covert programs Obama, the CIA, NSA and other intelligence groups eventually put together was a new kind of cyber operation that places remotely triggered "implants" in critical Russian networks, ready for the US to deploy in the event of a pre-emptive attack. The downed Russian networks "would cause them pain and discomfort," a former US official told The Post.

The report says CIA director John Brennan, Obama and other officials had at least four "blunt" conversations with Russian officials about its cyber intrusions beginning August 4th. Obama confronted Vladimir Putin in person during a meeting of world leaders in China this past September, the report says, and his administration even sent Russia a warning through a secure channel originally designed to help the two countries avoid a nuclear strike. Moscow apparently responded one week later — after the US election — denying the accusation.

Trump’s win on November 8th came as a shock to the White House, The Post reports, and the investigation into Russia’s hacking campaign stalled until December.

That’s when Obama ordered a comprehensive review of Russia’s influence on US election systems, dating back to 2008. Later that month, he took a firm stance against Russia during a press conference, saying, "The Russians can’t change us or significantly weaken us. They are a smaller country. They are a weaker country. Their economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy, except oil and gas and arms."

At this point, the investigation was picking up steam and uncovering a broader tapestry of Russian election meddling than the intelligence community originally realized, The Post writes. On December 29th, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia, ejected 35 Russian intelligence officials from the US and shut down two American compounds used by Russian intelligence authorities. The FBI compiled the list of officials to kick out of the country, and it had long lobbied to close those two US-based compounds, according to the report.

Even then, people involved in designing the sanctions told The Post they weren’t meant to be particularly punitive — they were more of a symbolic attack on Russia’s intelligence infrastructure.

Around this time, Obama authorized a secret cyber operation under the NSA, CIA and US Cyber Command, The Post says. The program reportedly involves NSA-designed "implants" hidden in important Russian networks: These implants can be remotely triggered to disrupt crucial Russian systems, ostensibly as a response to a pre-emptive cyber attack, the report says.

This wouldn’t be the US’ first brush with covert hacking operations: Stuxnet, the bug that took down portions of Iran’s nuclear ecosystem in 2009, is probably the most famous example.

The Post says Obama didn’t have enough time in office to see the secret program through, as it would take months just to position the implants. With his signature, though, security officials were cleared to implement such an operation and would only have to stop if Trump issued a direct order — which he hasn’t done, authorities told The Post.

Source: The Washington Post

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This Could Be the Most Detailed Image of a Distant Star Yet

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Image: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O’Gorman/P. Kervella

Orion is the Beyonce of constellations. Pretty much everyone has heard of it and seen it (you can even see it in New York despite the light pollution). It’s hard not to like it. And if you spend some time studying its behavior and meaning, you’ll only appreciate its intricacies even more.

So there’s good reason to be excited about this new image of Orion’s second brightest and biggest star, Betelgeuse, taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Northern Chile. Not only is it one of the crispest images of a stellar surface yet, but it can tell scientists a lot about the massive star’s future.

“This is a big star that will go supernova one day,” paper author and astronomer Iain McDonald from the University of Manchester told Gizmodo. “But we don’t know when, we don’t know how, and don’t know how much material it will lose before it does.”

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Betelgeuse is a red giant star, but giant is sort of an understatement—its radius is 1200 times that of our Sun, equalling more than the distance from the sun to Jupiter. But it’s losing mass, and scientists want to know why, and how that mass loss will impact the star’s ultimate demise. So they took this image of its microwave emissions on November 9, 2015 using ALMA’s array of satellite dishes.

Betelgeuse compared to the orbits of the planets of our own solar system (Image: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O’Gorman/P. Kervella)

McDonald pointed out that you’d normally expect stars to be spherical, but in this image there’s a lump sticking out of the left side of the star’s surface, as well as bright hotspots, temperature differences on the surface. “We see localized regions of heating taking place in the atmosphere,” the study’s first author Eamon O’Gorman from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies told Gizmodo. “We think similar phenomena happening on the Sun are happening on Betelgeuse as well,” which is surprising because of how different the two stars are.

This confirms some of the past observations of the star taken with other telescopes, and could be from convection pushing material upwards, sort of the way water moves around when you boil it. And there’s more where this came from; this is certainly the best picture of a star that the advanced new ALMA has taken, but the telescope will soon take a look at other stars as well.

Betelgeuse in Orion, a past image of Betelgeuse and the previous best image taken by the Very Large Telescope (Image: ESO, P.Kervella, Digitized Sky Survey 2 and A. Fujii)

Understanding these irregularities and how Betelgeuse loses mass could ultimately help scientists predict the star’s fate. Supernovae are responsible for many of periodic table’s heaviest elements, but which specific elements might come from Betelgeuse’s explosion could depend on the mass loss taking place in the meantime.

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“If you blow it up soon you might end up with iron and nickel and gold, silver,” said McDonald. “But if you blow it up later you might make some of the other stuff like lead, barium, carbon or oxygen.”

Ultimately, studying Betelgeuse could help us develop a better picture of how we, and all of the elements that make us, got here.

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“We want to understand how the process [of element production] works in stars that are long gone,” said McDonald, “since it’s those stars that let us know how the elements we’re made of were made.”

[arXiv via Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies]

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Scientists Have Finally Figured Out Why Chimps Are So Damn Strong

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Illustration by Sam Woolley

Humans may have big, bulbous brains, but when it comes to pure muscle power, we’re often considered the weakest of the great apes. Even chimpanzees, who are significantly smaller than us, exhibit levels of strength that are practically super-human by our standards. New research shows the degree to which our primate cousins are stronger than us—and why their tiny bodies pack such an impressive punch.

Pound-for-pound, chimpanzees are 1.5 times stronger than humans at pulling and jumping tasks, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This strength is not the result of the chimpanzee’s physical form, its range of motion, or a newly-discovered dedication to bench presses and deadlifts, but instead, the product of how the fibers in chimp muscles are distributed. Because chimpanzees are our closest-living primate relative, these findings are offering new insights into human evolution—and why’re we’re such weaklings.

Scientists have known about chimpanzee strength for quite some time now, documenting feats of “super strength” in both wild and captive chimps. Researchers have used pulling and jumping experiments to compare chimpanzee and human muscle strength since the 1920s, but they’ve struggled to understand the physiological and mechanical reasons behind the observed differences.

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As to why they’re so strong, that’s an easier question to answer. Their extra strength makes sense from an evolutionary perspective; chimps are adapted to forest life, climbing trees and living among the branches. Humans, on the other hand, abandoned the forest a long time ago—a change of setting that required a different set of physical and cognitive adaptations. Over time, we’ve become less reliant on muscular strength for our survival, while chimps have retained their tree-climbing, branch-swinging strength.

Image: Thomas Lersch

In 2014, researchers discovered that chimp muscle feature unique properties that affect their power-producing capabilities. The new PNAS study, led by Matthew O’Neill from the University of Arizona, piggybacks off this prior research, taking a closer look the actual biology and mechanics of chimpanzee muscle tissue, and comparing muscle strength in humans and chimps.

“Our work is the first detailed study of the biology and mechanics of chimpanzee muscle tissue,” O’Neill told Gizmodo. “Our results show that the main difference between chimpanzee and human muscle is in fiber distribution, with chimpanzees having a much higher fraction of fast fibers than humans, on average,” adding that “all of our measurements of chimpanzee muscle are new.” For the study, muscle fibers were sampled from three young male chimps.

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In addition to reviewing the research done in this area between 1944 and 2014, the researchers used computational modeling and a simulation to determine the effect of fiber distribution on the chimps’ various muscles. “The modeling-simulation piece allowed us to set up computational experiments that mimicked how a muscle in the leg or arm would behave during a maximum jump and or pull,” said O’Neill.

Analysis of the previous experimental studies showed that chimps, on average, outperform humans by a factor of approximately 1.5 in pulling and jumping tasks. The computer models, which combined the experimental data with the simulations, showed that the maximum force and power output of chimp muscles is 1.35 times higher in chimps than human muscles of similar size. This is primarily due to the chimp’s higher fast-twitch fiber content, which enables high force and power, but lower endurance. Chimpanzee muscle is composed of approximately 67 percent fast-twitch fibers, compared to about 40 percent in humans.

Importantly, these strength measures are based on what scientists call “mass specific muscle performance.”

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“The ‘mass-specific’ is [an] important [point] to be clear on,” said O’Neill. “This is because most people will think of strength in absolute terms. If you go back and look at all the data in those earlier studies, in many cases humans pull a similar amount of mass or jump with similar power as chimpanzees in absolute terms. But humans also tend to be bigger than chimpanzees in these studies, so we account for this difference by dividing force or power by body mass. This gives us a relative or, more specifically, a ‘mass-specific’ measure of force or power output.”

In other words, chimps can pull more stuff and jump with more power than humans once our differences in size are accounted for (a typical adult chimp weighs about 100 pounds).

In terms of real world applications of strength—a issue that speaks to the evolutionary reasons for these differences—chimpanzees are unquestionably more proficient at climbing and navigating trees than we are, which O’Neill says demands “significant muscle force and power.” Humans, on the other hand, use much less energy during walking and can outrun many animals, including chimps (good to know). “But if we’re comparing apples-to-apples, humans really outperform chimpanzees in any activity involving walking or running on two legs.”

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These physical differences emerged over the course of the past seven to eight million years, as humans migrated away from forests and towards bipedal life on the ground. The resultant losses in maximum force and power output were offset by gains in endurance and the ability to perform repetitious, low-energy movements (such as fashioning stones into tools). What’s more, as hominins transitioned into a hunter-gatherer mode of existence, selectional pressures for cognitive skills emerged, resulting in bigger brains and a decreased reliance on physical strength.

Still, given the state of the world right now, seems like we got the short end of the stick.

[Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

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