Animals Are Better Than People


SOURCE: VIRAL NOVA

I don’t know about you but this post made me smile and found it to be uplifting at a time when I can use whatever it takes to keep my tank full.  Enjoy as we humans can learn a lot by these odd relationships.

No matter how adorable, dangerous or strange animals are, there is one thing that is for certain: they are better than people. They don’t hold grudges, judge or condescend. Animals don’t ruin your day just because they can. All they want to do is act naturally, and in some cases, when they do, it’s the cutest thing in the world.

Take these 15 unique animal friends, for example. These odd couples couldn’t be more different from one another, yet they embrace their friendship. When do humans show such acceptance and love? We should learn a thing or two about how to live from these adorable animal pals.

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BATTLE OF THE ADVENTURE BIKES: COMPARISON TEST


Does Suzuki’s affordable new V-Strom 1000 have a chance against the BMW R1200GS

and KTM 1190 Adventure?

Adventure Bike Comparison group action shot

When the R80 G/S was introduced in 1981, no one at BMW realized the full impact of what they had just done. We now think of that first G/S as the original adventure bike, but that term was not coined for quite a few years. Instead, most people back then had no idea why BMWwould produce a large, heavy, shaft-drive, on- and off-road opposed twin in an era of lightweight, single-cylinder dual-purpose bikes. But enthusiasts eventually “got it,” and other manufacturers soon cashed in on the allure of exploring the world on big, powerful two-wheelers.

Since their one-bike origin, adventure motorcycles have evolved to levels of sophistication no one 33 years ago could have imagined. These three bikes—BMW’s R1200GS, KTM’s 1190 Adventure, and Suzuki’s V-Strom 1000 ABS—epitomize that progress with modern style, outstanding comfort, brilliant performance, and unmatched versatility.

And what terrific motorcycles they are! The 2014 R1200GS, the direct descendant of that ’81 R80 G/S, glides down the road to the soothing thrum of its 1,170cc twin, the first liquid-cooled Boxer motor ever. Bags of torque lurk in reserve, making the bike sneaky fast and always ready to push the 525-pound GS forward at an impressive rate at any rpm and in any gear.

2014 BMW R1200GS static side view

UPS DOWNS
BMW R1200GS
  • Highly refined all around
  • Shaft drive = no chain maintenance
  • Better tourer than some tourers
  • Footpegs a bit far to the rear
  • Electronics controls could be more intuitive
  • $$$ with all the optional electronics

Its ride and handling qualities are pretty much what you want them to be. That’s the result of the optional Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment), ASC traction control, adjustable riding modes, and ABS, all of which influence each other depending upon the setting the rider chooses. Match all that with a beautifully contoured and padded seat, and you have the industry’s most comfortable adventurer, reflecting BMW’s decades of experience building top-flight touring bikes.

While the BMW impresses with its finesse, the 1,195cc KTM is a 129-hp V-twin wildcat that wheelies in the first three or four gears, burns the quarter-mile in 10.62 seconds at 130 mph, hits a top speed of 151 mph, and fires from corner to corner on back roads like it has a rocket stuck up its tail. If the GS serves up its power with a magnum of champagne on a silver platter, the Adventure does it with a bottle of Bud slid down the bar. For certain, it is very refined, but in its own uncompromising, “let’s get it on” way.

Like the GS, the 1190 has a full suite of electronic suspension, traction control, power delivery, and ABS rider aids; but while the BMW’s are optional, the Katoom’s are standard. They also engage in a lot of cross-talk, allowing you to tune those performance factors over a sufficiently wide range to cope with anything you might encounter. Plus, the ABS is lean-sensitive, adjusting the antilock dependent upon how fast and far the 1190 is banked over in a corner.

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure static side view

UPS DOWNS
KTM 1190 Adventure
  • Electronic rider aids are standard
  • Does everything exceptionally well
  • Baaaad fast!
  • Engine mechanically noisy
  • Awkward, two-hand windscreen adjustment
  • Nosebleed seat height

Meanwhile, the V-Strom splits the difference between the other two—not as polished as the BMW, not as raucous as the KTM, and sans as many electronic aids as either. It’s a solid, legitimate adventure bike that never gets embarrassed by the other two, despite being priced several thou lower and having the smallest (1,037cc) engine. The 90-degree V-twin is smooth, torquey, and responsive, and its quarter-mile performance is only half a second and about 7 mph behind the BMW’s; even its top-gear roll-ons are just fractions of a second slower.

Because the ’Strom has an excellent chassis and is lighter and lower than the others, it handles beautifully. The 468-pound (dry) 1000 devours back-road corners like that was its dedicated purpose, yet it’s rock-steady on straightaways.

Okay, but how did these bikes play the adventure game in the dirt?

Pretty damned well, considering that they all are quarter-ton motorcycles riding on knobless street tires. We never tackled gnarly, rutted, rocky climbs, since that’s not what these bikes are intended to conquer in their existing configurations; we instead stayed on dirt roads, narrow trails, and gravel-strewn two-tracks. Only deep sand gave them any trouble, again, mostly due to their tires.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Suzuki. With its traction control either turned off or on the least sensitive of its three settings, the V-Strom churned through the aforementioned with no trouble whatsoever. The fork digested everything we bounced over without a hiccup, and the shock only bottomed on some of the whoops. You can’t turn off the ABS, so we had to be mindful of that when braking on slick terrain.

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS static side view

UPS DOWNS
Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS
  • Most-affordable big adventure bike
  • Bright, dark-piercing headlight
  • Comfortable ergonomics
  • No ABS Off switch
  • No centerstand
  • Desperately seeking skid plate

So, too, was the BMW impressive off-road, considering its greater weight, shaft drive, and two big cylinders poking out like fat outriggers. Its smooth, linear torque was easy to modulate in riding mode’s Enduro setting, and the low center of gravity provided by the opposed-twin layout helped disguise the GS’s mass. We were a little disappointed with the previous R1200GS’s suspension, but the new bike’s Telelever fork and Paralever rear combination—together with a new stering damper for 2014—is vastly improved.

Which brings us to the KTM. Once you quit the tarmac and hit the dirt, the 1190 morphs from a take-no-prisoners streetbike to an ass-kicking dirt bike. In agility, stability, balance, steering, suspension, and adjustable power delivery, the KTM was this test’s off-road class act. It was less bothered by rocks, ruts, and other trail obstacles, and even coped with the sand a little better. With the traction control in the Offroad position, the ABS even allows rear-wheel skidding while still applying antilock to the front brake.

Actually, the 1190’s stellar dirt manners should have come as no surprise. KTM has been building championship-caliber off-road machinery for decades, and that know-how has translated directly to the 1190. Whether off-road or on, it was the most capable, most confidence-inspiring, and most fun of the trio. The R1200GS is the best overall streetbike, the Suzuki the best bang-for-buck. But when you consider the KTM’s advantages in almost every area of performance—plus, its standard MSRP gets you all the electronic rider aids at about the same price as the BMW without such equipment—the outcome here is a slam dunk.

In the March issue of Cycle World, we stated that the KTM 1190 might be the best all-around bike in the world. We still believe that but with a small word change: Replace “might be” with “is.”

SPECIFICATIONS
BMW R1200GS KTM 1190 Adventure Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS
PRICE $19,520 $17,834 $12,699
DRY WEIGHT 520 lb. 490 lb. 474 lb.
WHEELBASE 59.2 in. 61.2 in. 61.4 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 33.9/34.6 in. 34.3/35.0 in. 33.4 in.
FUEL MILEAGE 37 mpg 35 mpg 36 mpg
0-60 MPH 2.9 sec. 2.8 sec. 3.1 sec.
1/4 MILE 11.07 sec. @ 119.44 mph 10.62 sec. @ 129.70 mph 11.60 sec. @ 112.82 mph
HORSEPOWER 116.5 hp @ 7900 rpm 128.8 hp @ 9360 rpm 91.1 hp @ 8240 rpm
TORQUE 84.0 lb.-ft. @ 6260 rpm 81.3 lb.-ft. @ 7670 rpm 67.4 lb.-ft. @ 3980 rpm
TOP SPEED 137 mph 151 mph 126 mph

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48 epic dream hotels to visit before you die


I would stay at any one of these if not all…my bucket list just GOT longer even without my bike….’-)

by  on MARCH 18, 2014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Scola

Alex is a recent graduate from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Though originally from Las Vegas, he continues to live in Portland where he produces and plays electronic music, and works odd-jobs (occasionally as a personal trainer). In his free-time, he is currently working on finishing a full-length album, and touching every continent.


A GOOD HOTEL CAN MAKE or break a trip. The worst hotel in the best place is still going to make retiring after a long day an unfortunate experience. The best hotel in the worst place, on the other hand, can be something of an oasis. Take the best hotels and put them in the best places, and you’ve got a private slice of the vacation you’ve always dreamed of.

Here are 48 absolutely epic dream hotels.

1. Ladera Resort, St. Lucia

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Low Budget


Best way to see Bald Eagles can be as simple as coming to BC, bring binoculars and watch….cheap…this is a video some local cable company made of our trip to see the bald eagle phenomenon that happens every fall/early winter here near our house.  Have a look…I made the cut.  I am the one in the video who says I am from NY.  ;-)

19 beloved Street Art Photos – Nov 2013 – Jan 2014


This is some of the most beloved photos on our Facebook Page october 2013!

Street Art Utopia

Click on a photo to see it bigger.

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By Daniel Siering and Mario Shu in Potsdam, Germany

On Facebook. By Daniel Siering and Mario Shu in Potsdam, Germany. Continue reading

Clearing the Head


Short photo gallery of an area once again near our house.  East in an area called the Fraser Valley.  Friday is it was cold for us…below freezing with a wicked win chill but ever so sunny.  I often post about my area mainly for those who are not from here.  There is so much to see this time of year if you like the outdoors.  Wild life, snow capped mountains, skiing for those who love to do that…still off road riding in many areas too.  No bike today, too much black ice when I left in the morning.  

So, take a look around.  I saw plenty of bald eagles around the Fraser river…many immature ones learning how to survive by the few adults who are now repairing old nests and getting ready for our 2014 eaglet season.  Many eagles down south have all ready laid eggs and have off springs developing into fledglings.  We start later up here.  February and March “N”estorations time and April egg time.

Russian Mother Takes Magical Pictures of Her Two Kids With Animals On Her Farm


Had to post these amazing pictures.  Some say photo-shopped, I say beautiful and I don’t care and I can’t tell.  Such an eye for composition, lens choice, lighting..well, overall I think talent. 

These wonderful photographs by Elena Shumilova plunge the viewer into a beautiful world that revolves around two boys and their adorable dog, cat, duckling and rabbit friends. Taking advantage of natural colors, weather conditions and her enchanting surroundings, the gifted Russian artist creates cozy and heartwarming photography that will leave you amazed.

The boys in the photographs are the photographer’s sons and the animals belong to the farm she runs. “I largely trust my intuition and inspiration when I compose photos. I get inspired mainly by my desire to express something I feel, though I usually cannot tell exactly what that is” Shumilova explained to BoredPanda.

Rural settings, natural phenomena and the changing seasons seem to be the greatest stimuli in her works. “When shooting I prefer to use natural light – both inside and outside. I love all sorts of light conditions – street lights, candle light, fog, smoke, rain and snow – everything that gives visual and emotional depth to the image,” the photographer said.

Shumilova told us her passion for photography manifested in early 2012 when she got her first camera. Her most recent equipment includes the Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and a 135mm lens. As a mother who doesn’t want to miss out on her growing children, she says she shoots every day and processes the images at night.

We suggest you take a cup of tea, lean back comfortably in your armchair and browse this beautiful collection of Elena Shumilova’s photographs.

See her gallery on: Flickr | 500px

animal-children-photography-elena-shumilova-2

“Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm,” - Shumilova told Bored Panda. Continue reading

Amazing macro-photography of individual snowflakes [10 Pictures]


Photographer Alexey Kljatov takes incredible close-up photos of snowflakes in his backyard in Moscow.

“I capture snowflakes on the open balcony of my house, mostly on glass surface, lighted by an LED flashlight from the opposite side of the glass, and sometimes in natural light, using dark woolen fabrics as background.”
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The Top 75 Pictures of 2013


December 17, 2013 

Following on from our very successful blog “100 of the Best Street Art Images of 2013″ (see HERE), we’ve widened the net and thanks to the guys over at Sifter, we bring you the Top 75 Pictures of 2013. All credit goes to the individual photographers and their inspiring visions of our beautiful planet. What’s your favorite? Continue reading

Stuff You Will Never Forget


Now that the year will be quickly drawing to a close, we wanted to remember some of the downright insane things have have happened this year. From the deadly to the triumphant, 2013 has been filled with events that none of us will soon forget. Countless people were injured by bombings, civil uprisings and natural disasters. However, within that tragedy, humanity’s beautiful true nature shone through. These are 28 photos that you simply must see before the end of the year.

27 Incredible Views You’d Only See If You Were A Bird


We humans sure take up and use a lot of space.  I think I would rather live in the Maldives.  Holy cow Mexico City!

The world looks pretty cool from up there.

BuzzFeed Staff

Bald Eagle Haven – all pics can be enlarged


The weekend of November 23-24, 2013, Cheryl and I headed out about an hour east of where we live to get away for the weekend and enjoy the Bald Eagle frenzy that happens every year around here.  Thousands of salmon come to the Chehalis Flats where the Fraser and Harrison Rivers meet to spawn.  It’s also this time of year when the annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival goes on as well.

Around this time of year into January resident and transient eagles come by for their free buffet of food before their nesting season starts around March.  Most are coming from Alaska after the salmon spawned up there and leave after the big freeze. Tons of food for all species so it is also a special time to see normally non-social raptors gets along with so many young and old.  Continue reading

National Geographic Photo Contest 2013


Who will win?

National Geographic has once again opened its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on Saturday, November 30. One first-place winner will be chosen from each of the three categories, and the winning photographs will be published in National Geographic magazine. The overall grand-prize winner will be announced in December of 2013. National Geographic was kind enough to let me choose among its entries so far for display here on In Focus. Gathered below are 39 images, with captions written by the individual photographers. [39 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate  Choose: 1024px 1280px

Fox Glance: During a regular trip through the forest, of which my actual intent was landscapes, I encountered this stunning little Red Fox. The moment came as the light broke through the clouds and trees, he turned with a glance of curiosity and gave me the unusual composition I was after. A scene I’ll never be lucky enough to see again in my life, so was over the moon I’d managed to capture the moment. Location: Thetford Forest, England. (© Sam Morris/National Geographic Photo Contest) Continue reading

When You See This, You’ll Understand Why


Everyone’s Talking About What This Shy Photographer Did.

This is an amazing story and beautiful yet strange photography.

A couple of years ago, Kyle Thompson became interested in photography. Unfortunately, his anxiety prevented him from talking to people, so he opted to experiment with self-portraits.

He would spend hours, even days, walking alone through forests and exploring abandoned houses. He’s been to over 50 of them. After taking hundreds of photos, he posted some of his best to Reddit. From there, his life changed forever.