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President Trump installed a room-sized golf simulator at White House – The Washington Post

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President Trump swings a golf club during the White House Sports and Fitness Day on the South Lawn in May 2018. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

President Trump has installed a room-sized “golf simulator” game at the White House, which allows him to play virtual rounds at courses all over the world by hitting a ball into a large video screen, according to two people told about the system.

That system replaced an older, less sophisticated simulator that had been installed under President Barack Obama, according to two people with knowledge of the previous system.

Trump’s system cost about $50,000, and was put in during the last few weeks in a room in his personal quarters, a White House official said.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the president’s private residence, said that Trump had paid for the new system and the installation personally.

President Trump has built his schedules around long blocks of executive time — unstructured periods in the day with no official meetings. He often spends this time watching TV, tweeting, holding impromptu meetings and making phone calls, aides have said.

The news outlet Axios examined three months of Trump’s schedules, and found that “Executive Time” accounted for 60 percent of his scheduled hours. Axios said that Trump usually did not leave his residence for the Oval Office until about 11 a.m.

Trump has responded that he uses the time productively. “When the term Executive Time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing,” he tweeted shortly after the Axios report was released.

The White House official said that Trump has not used his new golf simulator during executive time — or at all since it was put in.


President Trump plays a round of golf at Trump Turnberry, in Scotland, during his first official visit to the United Kingdom in July 2018. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Trump has played golf — the traditional kind, on an outdoor course — about 139 times as president, largely at his own golf clubs, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. There is no way to have an exact count because he usually does not acknowledge having played.

But this winter, as Trump’s demand for a border wall triggered a month-long partial government shutdown, Trump stayed off the golf course for about 69 days, the longest such period of his presidency. Trump broke the streak on Feb. 2, playing with golf legends Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus at Trump’s course in Jupiter, Fla.

Trump complained to friends during the shutdown that he missed Mar-a-Lago and being at his Florida course.

The White House has a long history of changes made to suit presidential hobbies. President Dwight D. Eisenhower put in a putting green. President Richard M. Nixon added a bowling alley. Obama turned an existing tennis court into a full basketball court and added his own golf simulator. One former aide to Obama called it “fairly unsophisticated” on Tuesday, but did not provide more details.

Trump — then a businessman and conservative celebrity — repeatedly criticized Obama for spending too much of his presidency playing golf. “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf?” Trump wrote on Twitter in October 2014.

As president, however, Trump has played golf more often than Obama did; Obama played about 38 rounds a year, vs. about 70 per year for Trump. That’s just the outdoor kind of golf: The Post could not obtain statistics on Obama’s virtual play.

Trump owns 16 golf courses. Three of them — in Jupiter, in Sterling, Va. and in Turnberry, Scotland — own simulators made by the Danish company TrackMan Golf, according to the TrackMan website.

Officials at TrackMan did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking if the firm provided the White House’s new system.

YouTube/TrackMan

The TrackMan website offers some description of how Trump’s system might work: The system sold by the company includes a faux-grass mat, which serves as the tee box and fairway. It has a large flexible screens onto which a virtual golf course is projected.

That system offers choices. Players can play on a digital copy of the famous St. Andrews course in Scotland or on fictional courses made up just for the game. One offers the chance to play nine holes among “temples, volcanoes and dinosaur skeletons” in a South American jungle.

Players then hit a real ball into the screen and sensors track the speed, spin and path of the ball. Then, the computer takes over. It transforms that real shot into a virtual one and shows the ball soaring over fairways (or dinosaur skeletons) toward the hole.

When the digital ball rolls to a stop, the player resets with a real ball and smacks it into the screen again.

“Feel the excitement of playing real golf on beautiful courses year round,” the TrackMan website says. The system also allows players to analyze their own shots and practice without playing on a virtual course.

It says that a full setup, including the turf, screen and sensors, starts at $49,995.

How much time does it take to play a virtual round of 18 holes? About an hour if you’re playing alone, according to the websites of indoor-golf businesses that rent out their TrackMan systems to visiting players. But the games can go longer: In a video posted on TrackMan’s website, one customer says it takes 3 to 3½ hours if he plays with three friends.

Philip Bump contributed to this report.

Genius Company Installs Beehives In Your Living Room, And Here’s How It Works

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As you probably know already, the bee population is in a  decline and has been for some time, with modern industrial farming methods and loss of habitat being identified causes.

This is bad news for all of us, as bees do the crucial job of pollinating so many of the plants that we rely on for food. In order to counter this, we have to come up with innovative solutions, as we all know how difficult it is to make huge, moneymaking corporations change their damaging practices.

BEEcosystem has created a system of wall-mounted observation hives, that can be easily expanded in a hexagonal, honeycomb style, and even lets you invite the bees into your living room. This concept, bringing bees closer to humans in an urban environment, is not only good for the bee population as a whole, but it increases the understanding of the importance of bees and their role, as we learn to live side-by-side.

The system has been designed with safety in mind, so that even novice bee-keepers can use it with a peace of mind that few other systems offer. Because yeah, we can understand the trepidation that many people, brought up to fear bees and their sting, might have when sitting next to a few thousand of them on the couch.

You can watch the bees in action as they do their amazing work and build up their colony, see how they create honeycomb and beeswax, and even harvest honey if you are feeling hungry. Check out the BEEcosystem in action below, and let us know what you think in the comments!

This is the BEEcosystem, a new way to help curb the decline of bees

It matters because of the crucial job they do by pollinating the plants that we rely on for food

So bringing them closer to us and giving them spaces to thrive in urban environments, is crucial

The hexagonal hives can be mounted inside the home

As well as outside

They easily connect together to expand your hive space

The bees come inside through secure tubing that fits through any window

Almost like a ‘cat flap’ for bees

A post shared by BEEcosystem (@beecosystem.buzz) on

You can watch your busy bees at work from the comfort of your couch

As the colony grows, helping to support the environment

Check out a brief video of the hives here

Ecuadorian Embassy Runs Ad Seeking ‘No Drama’ Tenant For Newly Vacant Room

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LONDON—In an effort to find an occupant who doesn’t “bring the party home,” officials at the Ecuadorian embassy in London ran an ad Thursday on several local flat-sharing websites seeking a “no drama” tenant for a newly vacant room. “We’re looking for someone who can get along with a diverse group of foreign government dignitaries,” read the ad in part, noting that the ideal roommate to fill the vacancy in the spacious multi-story home located in the quiet Kensington neighborhood would keep regular hours and not spend all their time in the apartment. “You must have a steady job and pay rent on time—this is non-negotiable due to past issues we’ve had. Guests are okay, but if you’re constantly having over girlfriends, boyfriends, journalists, or activists, this is not the place for you.” The ad requested that all interested parties attend the embassy’s Saturday open house and be prepared with at least two past-roommate references and a security deposit of two months’ rent.

You Can Rent an Inflatable Irish Pub for Your Backyard

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PaddyWagon

You Can Rent an Inflatable Irish Pub for Your Backyard

PaddyWagon

It’s easier than ever to get yourself to a pub—just order an inflatable one for the backyard. 

The inflatable Irish pub, spotted by Food & Wine, is the adult successor to the bouncy castle. All you have to do is stick it on a patch of grass or a driveway (it doesn’t have a floor) and get ready to party. 

Boston-based PaddyWagon is a full-service pub-themed party caterer, with a cozy inflatable bar that fits as many as 80 people. The company provides Irish food and menus, along with music and entertainment from the Emerald Isle, if you so desire. The pop-up pubs come in multiple sizes, in case you want to host a really intimate inflatable bar gathering in your backyard. 

The beer slingers at PaddyWagon aren’t the only ones who will deliver you a blow-up booze fest. Ireland’s Inflatable Pub Company rents 33-foot-long blow-up buildings that come in several different designs and are painted to look like traditional pubs—whether with musty brick or timber framing. The temporary saloons cost about $435 to rent and come with a bar counter, benches, and lights. And if you live outside the country, not to worry: If you’re willing to buy one outright, the Inflatable Pub ships worldwide. 

If inflatable isn’t your style, there’s also The Shebeen, a rentable Irish pub on wheels. 

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50 Awesome Facts (About Everything)

iStock

We’ve been learning a lot from reading National Geographic Kids’s book 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) 2. If you need a great conversation starter, here are 50 of our favorite awesome facts from the book.

1. IN 1889, THE QUEEN OF ITALY, MARGHERITA SAVOY, ORDERED THE FIRST PIZZA DELIVERY.

2. YOU CAN BUY EEL FLAVORED ICE CREAM IN JAPAN.

3. IT’S CONSIDERED RUDE TO WRITE IN RED INK IN PORTUGAL.

4. ALTHOUGH THE BOBCAT IS RARELY SEEN, IT IS THE MOST COMMON WILDCAT IN NORTH AMERICA.

5. A CAT’S TAIL CONTAINS NEARLY 10 PERCENT OF ALL THE BONES IN ITS BODY.

6. GECKO FEET HAVE MILLIONS OF TINY HAIRS THAT STICK TO SURFACES WITH A SPECIAL CHEMICAL BOND AND LET THEM CLIMB WALLS AND HANG ON BY JUST ONE TOE.

7. THE TERM “ASTRONAUT” COMES FROM GREEK WORDS THAT MEAN “STAR” AND “SAILOR.”

8. THE CALCIUM IN OUR BONES AND THE IRON IN OUR BLOOD COME FROM ANCIENT EXPLOSIONS OF GIANT STARS.

9. THE NILE CROCODILE CAN HOLD ITS BREATH UNDERWATER FOR UP TO TWO HOURS WHILE WAITING FOR PREY.

10. JELLYFISH, OR JELLIES AS SCIENTISTS CALL THEM, ARE NOT FISH. THEY HAVE NO BRAIN, NO HEART, AND NO BONES.

11. THE CHINESE GIANT SALAMANDER CAN GROW TO BE 6 FEET (1.8 M) LONG, MAKING IT THE LARGEST SALAMANDER IN THE WORLD.

12. PEOPLE REPORTEDLY PREFER BLUE TOOTHBRUSHES OVER RED ONES.

13. SOME PEOPLE USED TO BELIEVE THAT KISSING A DONKEY COULD RELIEVE A TOOTHACHE.

14. SCIENTISTS SAY THAT THE BEST TIME TO TAKE A NAP IS BETWEEN 1 P.M. AND 2:30 P.M. BECAUSE THAT’S WHEN A DIP IN BODY TEMPERATURE MAKES US FEEL SLEEPY.

15. BECAUSE THE SPEED OF EARTH’S ROTATION CHANGES OVER TIME, A DAY IN THE AGE OF DINOSAURS WAS JUST 23 HOURS LONG.

16. HUMMINGBIRDS’ WINGS CAN BEAT UP TO 200 TIMES A SECOND.

17. THERE ARE MORE THAN 1200 WATER PARKS IN NORTH AMERICA.

18. A SEAHORSE CAN MOVE ITS EYES IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS—ALL THE BETTER TO SCAN THE WATER FOR FOOD AND PREDATORS.

19. TO COOK AN EGG, A SIDEWALK NEEDS TO BE 158°F.

20. A GROUP OF JELLYFISH IS NOT A HERD, OR A SCHOOL, OR A FLOCK; IT’S CALLED A SMACK.

21. IT WOULD TAKE 100 EARTHS, LINED UP END-TO-END, TO STRETCH ACROSS THE FACE OF THE SUN.

22. LESS THAN 1 PERCENT OF ANTARCTICA IS ICE-FREE.

23. THE HIGHEST WAVE EVER SURFED WAS AS TALL AS A 10-STORY BUILDING.

24. THE BEAGLE BRIGADE, USED IN 21 INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS IN THE U.S., KEEPS A YEARLY AVERAGE OF 75,000 ILLEGAL ITEMS OUT OF THE COUNTRY.

25. SOME APPLES CAN WEIGH ABOUT AS MUCH AS A HALF GALLON OF MILK.

26. CORN IS GROWN ON EVERY CONTINENT EXCEPT ANTARCTICA.

27. UNLIKE MOST FISH, SEAHORSES ARE COVERED IN BONY PLATES INSTEAD OF SCALES.

28. YOU LOSE ABOUT 50 TO 100 HAIRS A DAY.

29. “ARMADILLO” IS A SPANISH WORD MEANING “LITTLE ARMORED ONE.”

30. THE WORLD’S SMALLEST FRUIT—A UTRICLE—IS THE SIZE OF A SMALL ANT.

31. NEW JERSEY HAS THE HIGHEST CONCENTRATION OF SHOPPING MALLS.

32. KOMODO DRAGONS CAN DEVOUR 5 POUNDS OF MEAT IN LESS THAN A MINUTE. ANY EXTRA FAT THEY EAT IS STORED IN THEIR TAILS.

33. NOT ALL MOONS ARE DRY AND DUSTY LIKE OURS. JUPITER’S EUROPA HAS A LIQUID OCEAN UNDER AN ICY CRUST.

34. SOME VIKING CHIEFS WERE BURIED INSIDE THEIR SHIPS.

35. AT ANY MOMENT, CLOUDS COVER ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF EARTH.

36. ALL APES LAUGH WHEN THEY ARE TICKLED.

37. SPOTTED HYENAS CAN DIGEST SKIN AND BONES.

38. THE QUILLS ON AFRICAN PORCUPINES ARE AS LONG AS THREE PENCILS.

39. SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE WHO DREAM ABOUT AN ACTIVITY WILL ACTUALLY GET BETTER AT IT IN REAL LIFE.

40. YOUR HAIR CONTAINS TRACES OF GOLD.

41. IN JAPAN, INSTEAD OF A “MAN IN THE MOON,” PEOPLE SEE A “RABBIT IN THE MOON.”

42. DEPENDING ON THE SPEED OF THE WIND, SOME CLOUDS TRAVEL UP TO 100 MILES PER HOUR ACROSS THE SKY.

43. NAKED MOLE RATS ARE SOMETIMES CALLED SAND PUPPIES.

44. OPAL HAS BEEN DISCOVERED ON MARS.

45. GEORGE WASHINGTON LOVED EXPLORING CAVES.

46. IT TAKES A GALLON AND A HALF OF MILK TO MAKE A GALLON OF ICE CREAM.

47. THE TV REMOTE IS THE DIRTIEST ITEM IN A TYPICAL HOUSEHOLD, HOSPITAL, OR HOTEL ROOM.

48. THE HERCULES BEETLE CAN GROW BIG ENOUGH TO COVER AN ADULT HUMAN HAND.

49. THE FINEST QUALITY EMERALDS ARE MORE VALUABLE THAN DIAMONDS.

50. HEARING IS THE FASTEST HUMAN SENSE. A PERSON CAN RECOGNIZE A SOUND IN AS LITTLE AS 0.05 SECONDS.

For more incredible facts like these, pick up 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) 2, in bookstores now or available online at Amazon.

All images courtesy of iStock.

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The Optical Illusion That Makes Static Lines Look Like They’re Pulsing

Gianni Sarcone

Ready for an optical illusion? This one by artist Gianni Sarcone, which we spotted on Digg, is a pulsating wonder that’s almost guaranteed to trick your mind at first glance.

If you look at the pulsating image below, you likely see the colored lines changing in length. But in reality, the lines never change—only the direction of the arrows do. Based on the Müller-Lyer optical illusion—in which lines appear shorter or longer based on what direction the arrows at their endpoints are facing—the animated illusion consists of 10 lines radiating out from a central point, with arrows set at the midpoint and endpoint of each line. Each line is half red and half blue.

Lines with arrows on them appear to pulse.

As part of the animation, the arrows change direction, sometimes facing away from the center of the illustration, and sometimes facing toward it. The arrows of each line move in the opposite direction from one another, so that the middle arrow points toward the center when the arrow at the endpoint points outward, and vice versa.

The Müller-Lyer illusion shows that people perceive a line being longer if the arrow points away from its center, so when the arrows change direction on the animation, it looks like half of the line is getting longer, and half is getting shorter. In reality, though, only the direction the arrows are pointing changes.

You can see other versions of the illusion Sarcone created in different shapes here, and the code he used to create them here.

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