$25M Xhibitionist megayacht is the Batmobile for the water


Built by Swedish-based car designer Eduard Gray of Gray Design, the luxury yacht will cost you a cool $25 million. (Gray Design)

When it comes to billionaire toys, it’s nice to get as close as you can to superhero status.

The megayacht called the Xhibitionist is the Batmobile –but for the high seas.  But you better have deep pockets like Bruce Wayne.


Built by Swedish-based car designer Eduard Gray of Gray Design, the luxury yacht will cost you a cool $25 million.


Its striking hull, complete with sports car lines, features a low stern that sits closer to the lapping water and a sleek front deck with built-in solar panels which slide out from beneath the yacht’s deck that can be used to power the ship and act as a helipad and concert space.  On top, is a Jacuzzi and plenty of space where guests can relax take in the views.


Down below, the interior has an art nouveau design with shiny monochrome furnishings, room to sleep 8 guests and ample space to showroom a fleet of sports cars.   At the bow is an above-water viewing window set in a secluded alcove that provides views of aquatic life.


The engines, instead of hidden away, are housed behind the glass walls are plainly visible, and allows easy access for maintenance.  It even has its own matching sports car for those onshore errands, like saving mankind.

Now, if it could just fly.

Inside China’s futuristic glowing orb hotel

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    The Sunrise Kempinski hotel was designed to look like a sun rising over the Yanqi lake. (Source: Kempinski)

Could this be China’s coolest place to say, amidst a string of architecturally astounding hotels?

The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel –designed to look like the sun rising over Yanqi Lake –will open its doors next month.

Just an hour outside of Beijing, the luxury hotel took 24 months to build. Despite the upwards of 10,000 glass panels covering the external surface, it was constructed to withstand a level 8 earthquake. The exterior angles are angled to catch the sunlight, and at night the orb glows from the light of hydroelectric-powered LED lights.

The Sunrise Kempinski has 21 floors and 306 guest rooms and suites, several meeting rooms, recreational and fitness facilities and a number of restaurants and bars.

The structure of the hotel was designed by Zhang Hai Ao from Shanghai-based Huadu architect design company, while the interior was designed by U.S.-based firm DiLeonardo Design, reports DesignBoom.

According to Kempinski, in addition to the main hotel, there are an additional 111 rooms at the nearby Yanqi Hotel on Yanqi Island, and another 178 among 12 boutique hotels on a private island nearby.

The architecture of the hotel is not traditional by Eastern standards, however there are many classic Chinese elements that can be seen from different angles.

The entrance is shaped like the mouth of a fish, symbolizing prosperity. Viewed from the side, the building appears to be in the shape of a scallop, representing fortune in Chinese culture. The panels are angled to enable the top of the building to reflect the color of the sky; the middle portion reflects the nearby Yanshan Mountain and the bottom reflects the Yanqi Lake.

In addition to the architecture, the new luxury property will be a welcome addition to the landscape for the millions of tourists who visit Yanqi Lake every year. Home to the Mutianyu Great Wall –a cultural and historical attraction that is a section of the Great Wall itself– the lake is a tourist destination, which brought in 2.79 million visitors in 2013, according to Kempinski.

Last surviving Hindenburg crew member dies at 92


An undated photo, left, provided by John Provan shows Werner Franz, the last surviving crew member of the Hindenburg airship disaster, right, 77 years ago. Franz died Aug. 13 in Frankfurt, Germany. Franz was a cabin boy on the Hindenburg, making three journeys to South America and one to North America before the disaster. (AP Photo/dpa, John Provan)

Werner Franz, believed to be the last surviving crew member of the German airship Hindenburg that crashed 77 years ago, has died. He was 92.

Franz was a 14-year-old cabin boy when the hydrogen-filled Zeppelin caught fire and crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6, 1937. The disaster was captured by waiting photographers, film crews and a radio broadcaster on the ground, making it one of history’s most iconic air accidents.

Luck and quick thinking meant Franz was able to jump out of the Hindenburg as it fell burning to the ground, said historian John Provan, a long-time friend.

“Werner survived the crash without a scratch on him,” Provan said.

Franz returned to Germany and served as an aircraft technician during World War II, and was a roller- and ice skating coach in later life. He spoke freely about his experience, said Carl Jablonski, president of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society, who last met Franz at an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the disaster that killed 35 of the 97 people on board and a Navy crewman on the ground.

Provan confirmed a report by German news agency dpa, quoting his widow Annerose, that Franz died of heart failure Aug. 13 in his hometown of Frankfurt.

Franz came to be on the Hindenburg by chance, Provan told The Associated Press.

“His older brother worked at a fancy hotel in Frankfurt where the passengers and the captain stayed overnight before the airship took off early in the morning,” he said. “One of the captains said they were looking for a cabin boy and (his brother) heard about it.”

Franz completed three journeys to South America and one to North America before the disaster.

The huge airship — as long as three football fields and 15 stories tall — was considered the most luxurious means to cross the Atlantic at the time. Its loss — widely attributed to static electricity that ignited leaking hydrogen — was a heavy blow to the image of a resurgent Germany that the Nazis wanted to project to the world.

“Werner was most fortunate because he was in the officers’ mess cleaning up,” said Provan. “Above him was a large tank of water that burst open and drenched him, which protected him a bit from the flames and the heat.”

Franz was able to jump out of a cloth supply hatch onto the ground below and made the wise decision to run into the wind.

“He didn’t make the mistake of going in the other direction or the flames would have caught him,” Provan said.

Jablonski said three other survivors of the disaster are believed to be still alive today. Werner Doehner and Horst Schirmer, who were both passengers aboard the Hindenburg, and Robert Buchanan, a member of the ground crew that was waiting to moor the ship.

Will New York City get its own floating beach?

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    City Beach will give Manhattanites a beachy playground along the Hudson River.Indiegogo/City Beach NYC

Summer in the concrete jungle is no picnic.  But one New York developer is looking to to create a sandy oasis right in The Big Apple.

Blayne Ross is using crowdfunding site Indiegogo to start a campaign that would convert an old shipping barge into a floating beach along the Hudson River. Called City Beach, it is estimated to cost $24 million.

Ross, who calls himself a creative entrepreneur, has teamed up with Workshop/APD and Craft Engineering to help develop the ambitious design.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see Manhattan needs a beach,” Ross says on his Indiegogo page. “It’s an island surrounded by water with no sand and it’s going to take a little vision to make it happen. We want to make your summertime experience awesome.”

City Beach is designed to accommodate up to 700 people on the barge, which is 260 ft. long by 72 ft. wide. On the upper deck, sunbathers will be able to take in the 360 degree city views at beach area that will be able to hold over 324 tons of sand. The lower level will feature three restaurants, a surf shop and Kids Science Lab.

There will be no pool at City Beach, but the idea is get permits to dock at designated locations along the Hudson River–like a traveling seashore — and cool off in the river if you’re brave enough.

So far, the project has raised over $2,000 of its initial round of $35,000 funding needed to develop an operation plan and begin the permit process.

With nearly a month left in the campaign, sweaty New Yorkers may be just desperate enough to contribute some cash.


No Man’s Land Fort is fit for a Bond villain


No Man’s Land sea fort in Solent near Isle of Wight and Portsmouth

A tiny artificial island in the UK with a rather dramatic history is now being transformed into a super-luxurious hotel fit for a Bond villain.

No Man’s Land Fort, located between mainland UK and the Isle of Wright, was built in the 1867s for an estimated cost of $78 million as protection against a French invasion.

But there was one slight oversight — the French weren’t interested in an attack. So the 80 soldiers who were housed there left and it sat abandoned for decades, until the Ministry of Defence tried to sell it in 1963.

Unfortunately nobody wanted to buy it.

It was turned into an extravagant hotel a few decades later, complete with two helipads, 21 bedrooms and a restaurant. However, unfortunately people still weren’t interested in venturing over.

Fast forward to 2004 and it was then bought by developer Harmesh Pooni, who intended to lease it out for special occasions. But then things got worse — there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease from the contaminated water in the hotel’s pool. Dismayed and facing financial ruin, Pooni locked himself inside the fortress, but he was eventually evicted in 2009.

Now the fort has been bought by hospitality company Clarenco, who are recruiting for the job of “Fort Ruler”, who must have sailing and fishing experience, while they renovate the private island.

Hopefully they’ll have better luck!

A typical day would involve a trip via speedboat or helicopter to the island, and the task of arranging extravagant events.

Duties will include clearing the seagulls from the helicopter pads, testing the guns in the laser tag playground, trying new wines and checking the light bulb in the lighthouse tower.

Chicago Skydeck on 103rd floor begins to crack under family

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    May 28, 2014: The glass Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Chicago Willis Tower reportedly began to crack while a family from California stood on it.Alejandro Garibay/NBCChicago.com

A California family visiting the Willis Tower in Chicago said they heard the glass flooring on its 103rd floor Skydeck begin to crack Wednesday night while they were taking in views of the city.

A spokesman from the building said the sound came from the coating on the glass and the family was never in danger, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“Occasionally this happens, but that’s because we designed it this way,” he told the paper. “Whatever happened last night is a result of the protective coating doing what it’s designed to.”

Moments before the family walked out onto the Skydeck, they say they were reassured by staffers that the window flooring was unbreakable.

“I had my palms on the floor and I could feel it cracking,” Alejandro Garibay, 23,told The Chicago Tribune. “Honestly, I was in shock, in disbelief. I was scared.”

Garibay was watching fireworks at the Navy Pier.

“It was an awesome view.  We were getting up and walking away and for some reason I thought it would be cool to get a picture of my cousins and brother … Then we started getting off and, as we push ourselves off, I could feel it cracking,” he said.

There are four glass enclosures called The Ledge, which opened in 2009 and give tourists the feeling of standing suspended in air.

The balconies are suspended 1,353 feet above the ground and jut out 4 feet from the building. They’re actually more like boxes than balconies, with transparent walls, floor and ceiling. Visitors are treated to unobstructed views of Chicago from the building’s west side and a heart-stopping vista of the street and Chicago River below — for those brave enough to look straight down.

All four boxes were closed Thursday morning for what a spokesman called a “routine inspection” and said the tower hoped to reopen the enclosures shortly,NBCChicago.com reported.

Massive tunneling machine stuck under downtown Seattle, fix could cost taxpayers millions

At 57 feet in diameter, it’s touted as the world’s biggest tunneling machine. It was even given a name, Bertha.

But now, after digging just over 1,000 feet, Bertha is broken down and stuck underneath Seattle’s downtown waterfront.

And fixing the massive mess could cost taxpayers millions.

The tunneling machine is the key workhorse in a $3.1 billion tunnel project aimed at replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct, a double-decker elevated highway that was damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. Bertha’s meltdown, though, has put the project in jeopardy of being the West Coast version of the biggest public works boondoggle in U.S. history, Boston’s “big dig” — which cost taxpayers $14.6 billion, nearly four times the original price tag.

“People should be very worried about what’s going on right now,” said Dori Monson, a radio host on KIRO in Seattle. “To have the state saying, ‘we’re not paying for the overruns.’ You have the contractor saying, ‘we’re not paying.’ The contractor has a provable history of making other people pay. So that means it’s going to be the taxpayers.”

The contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), already has put in for $190 million in additional pay due to unforeseen problems.

Among the issues the project has encountered are: too much groundwater; a labor dispute involving the International Longshore and Warehouse Union; and a well that Bertha ran into, damaging her massive cutter head and main bearing. The steel pipe was put there by the state, and STP thinks the state should pay.

How exactly Bertha got stuck underground is an open question. The running theory is the machine overheated when it hit the well pipe, but the issue will be argued by the attorneys.

“Who’s ultimately responsible and liable for that time and cost is going to be determined by a review of the contract,” said Chris Dixon, of Seattle Tunnel Partners.

State officials say the contractor knew about the well and hit it anyway. The Department of Transportation gave Fox News documents supporting its case.

The issue is critical, because fixing the tunnel-boring machine is expected to take until March 2015 and cost $125 million. That’s $45 million more than STP paid for Bertha.

State officials say they’re trying to protect taxpayers.

“We have written the most robust contract we could possibly write with the best experts from around the country,” said state DOT Secretary Lynn Peterson. “And we brought a team together on the legal side to make sure we’re protecting taxpayers at every step of the way.”

The state has denied a majority of the contractor’s change orders, but that doesn’t end the dispute.

A court ultimately will decide who’s responsible for the delays and cost overruns. That puts taxpayers in danger of being on the hook for a project some fear may never get finished.


Dan Springer joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in August 2001 as a Seattle-based correspondent.

Radical new hotel design looks like giant game of Jenga

  • Real live Jenga? This giant hotel features interchangeable modules.OVA STUDIOS

If you’ve ever wanted to see a giant game of Jenga, look no further than the latest hotel design that stacks recycled shipping containers on top of one another.

Hong Kong-based architecture firm OVA Studios developed the new “Hive-Inn” concept which has a metal grid frame that would allow one container to be slotted in and taken out without the others above or below tumbling out.

The idea allows for hotels to evolve, by either increasing or decreasing the amount of rooms, to fit demand.

Each container can be designed with customized by a specific brand, allowing companies endless partnership or sponsor opportunities over the years.

The “Hive-Inn” design is a submission to the Radical Innovation Awards Competition this year, an architecture competition that seeks designs that could realistically be implemented in the near future to help hotels solve real problems within the hotel industry.

On their website, OVA Studios states that they “found that creating a link between famous brands, container fit-out, and Hive-Inn operators could be a winning scenario in which greater experience for the customer could meet with more exposure for the brands, at a less cost for the operator.”

In addition to the exterior electronic renderings, the design firm has created two themed rooms. Car lovers will love staying in the Ferrari suite while fashionistas will flock to the custom designed Alexander McQueen room.

The Daily Mail reports that OVA Studios envisions the design for facilities beyond hotels, such as emergency housing or medical care units.

At amusement parks, bigger is never too big, wilder is never too wild

  • When it opens, the Verrückt will be the world’s largest waterslide.YOUTUBE

When Verrückt opens at Schlitterbahn Waterpark next month in Kansas City, Kan., it will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty from torch to toes, beating out the world’s current tallest water slide, Kilimanjaro in Barra Do Pirai, Brazil.

Intrepid riders of the Verrückt will hike up 264 steps and then plunge nearly straight down in four-person rafts and be propelled up and over a five-story hill.

Did I mention Verrückt means “insane” in German?

But Verrückt isn’t the only record-breaking, insane ride that has people’s hearts pounding. A slew of new attractions will open across the U.S. this summer that promise wild adventures fit for Guinness World Records.

At Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., Falcon’s Fury will tilt riders 90 degrees so they face the ground, then drop them more than 300 feet on what will be the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America.

Then there’s the world’s highest swing ride, opening at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington; the world’s largest Ferris wheel, which recently opened on the Vegas Strip; and the Goliath, which will be the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster when it debuts this spring at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill.

All this reflects a rivalry among amusement parks to offer rides that are faster, bigger and higher-tech, says Jim Futtrell, historian for the National Amusement Park Historical Association.

“In an industry based on thrills and excitement, operators have always sought to push the envelope in terms of height or speed to stand out from the competition and keep their guests returning,” Futtrell says. “Over the past decade, however, we have seen an evolution.”

Beyond the record-breakers, many parks are pouring money into immersive experiences where visitors are part of the action, such as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. When it opened in 2010, it was the first attraction to use robotic arms that move along a track and allow for twists and pivots galore. The Gringotts Bank ride, part of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, set to open this summer in Orlando, will likely follow suit.

“Attractions such as Aquatica at Sea World (Orlando) and CarsLand at Disney’s California Adventure (in Anaheim) have used cutting-edge technology to create completely immersive environments,” Futtrell says.

“You are seeing this spread to the regional theme parks, with Wonder Mountain Guardian opening at Canada’s Wonderland (Ontario) this year. And other Cedar Fair parks are renovating entire areas to improve the environment.”

Cedar Fair, parent company of Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, last year unveiled the Gatekeeper, a roller coaster that has the highest inversion or loop in the world. This season, Cedar Point will be adding two new rides to the Gemini Midway section of the park.

Theme parks of yesteryear

To truly appreciate the over-the-top experiences we have today, though, you first must take a walk down low-tech memory lane. The roots of the industry date back to Europe from 1550 to the 1700s, when pleasure gardens sprang up offering concerts, fireworks and even primitive rides on the outskirts of major cities. “As America started growing in the late 1800s and early 1900s, versions of these pleasure gardens began opening in American cities,” says Futtrell.

American amusement parks began as picnic grounds built by streetcar companies and local railroad and excursion boat operators.

“The amusement industry rode the wave of the industrial revolution in the late 19th century to lead the world,” Futtrell says.

The creation of the theme park was largely an evolutionary process in the years that followed World War II. This is when Ghost Town (which would later become Knott’s Berry Farm) was developed in Buena Park, Calif.; Santa Claus Land was created in Indiana and Storytown in New York.

Then in 1955, Walt Disney opened Disneyland. Today, technology is “allowing Imagineers to bring their ideas to life,” says Duncan Dickson, who teaches theme-park management at the University of Central Florida. “There is an old story of John Hench having a model of Space Mountain on his desk for 10 years until the technology caught up and allowed them to build it.”

Now countries in Asia and the Middle East are also cashing in on the world’s love of thrills. China is building its own “Orlando of China” at Ocean Kingdom in Guangdong Province, where there are rides, attractions and the world’s largest aquarium.

Dubai is expanding Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest indoor theme park, and Yas Waterworld aqua park.

But “the USA is still on top, for no other reason than the sheer number of parks,” Dickson says. In fact, five of the 10 biggest theme-park companies in the world are based in the U.S.

“The other parks around the world do not threaten U.S. parks. They simply provide a quality theme-park experience for local and regional visitors,” Dickson says. “Most of the other parks are not destination parks, such as we have in Orlando. Their major visitor is a local or regional visitor, such as we see in Disneyland.”

At the end of the day, it is all about providing an experience that cannot be duplicated anywhere. Bigger, taller, faster, more immersive . . . that’s the experience that fits the bill.

One stunning photo shows 8 hours of planes taking off at LA airport



It sounds like a low rumble, about every three to five minutes. Then there’s a strong wind. When the gust is over, the rumble begins again and the rush that comes with it.

This is how photographer Michael Kelley describes what it’s like to watch airplanes take off for eight straight hours at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

On Sunday, after waking up to a particularly sunny and smog-free day, Kelley brought his camera to a park near the airport and captured a photo of almost every plane that took off over the course of the day. He then went home and stitched the images together to create one stunning photograph.

The photo went viral on Tuesday after he posted it to Reddit’s aviation subcategory.

“I think the picture resonates with so many people because now we take air travel for granted in our lives,” Kelley told FoxNews.com. “Flying has become so mundane. You forget how cool it can be, how many planes take off and land every day.”

The image is a compilation of 75 different pictures. Since more than 1,500 flights take off from LAX on any given day, Kelley pointed out that he only focused on one runway and this picture isn’t meant to capture every single flight – or even every plane he took a picture of during takeoff.

He omitted some smaller regional carriers from the image to focus on larger carriers and give viewers an idea of just how many international flights leave LAX every day. He also omitted repeats to avoid having the same airline over and over again in the same image.

Still, the photograph does an incredible job of telling the story of one day on a runway.

“No matter what I do, my job will never be as cool as a pilot,” said Kelley. “The whole concept of travel and aviation, it’s very glamorous.”

You can see more of Kelley’s work on his website and order a print of this imagehere.