On cruise, beware the air

Even out at sea, the air on cruise ships may be dirtier than you think, a study shows. Ryan Kennedy, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, secretly measured the amount of ultrafine particles in the air on four cruise ships. He found measurements similar to prominently polluted places such as Beijing and Taipei, Taiwan, with the worst readings taken in areas designated for exercise or children’s activities. Carnival Corp. said the tests were “completely ridiculous, inaccurate and in no way represent reality.” Kennedy tested the air on four cruise ships: Carnival Liberty in October 2017, Carnival Freedom in April-May 2018 in the Caribbean, Holland America Amsterdam in October 2018 and Princess Emerald in November 2018 off the West Coast of the U.S. He found average particle counts ranging from 1,540 to 33,514 particles per cubic centimeter across all four ships. The air on a beach, he found, has an average reading of under 500 particles per cubic centimeter. A busy street in Beijing in 2009 showed concentrations of about 30,000 particles per cubic centimeter, and a train station in Taipei in 2009 had readings averaging 15,500 particles per cubic centimeter.

Miami Herald

Disney updates Pixar Place

Walt Disney World has debuted its new-look Pixar Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. It comes complete with Incredibles experiences and a re-imagined space previously known as the way into Toy Story Mania. The entire alleyway has been redecorated in a Municiberg 1960s theme, featuring characters from “The Incredibles” movie series. There are dance parties, funky period-piece photo ops and a meet-and-greet area known as the Edna Mode Experience. Folks line up to see Edna, while Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone take shifts on the dance floor and with interactive games.

Orlando Sentinel

Face-lift for the Peninsula

The Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel has undergone a face-lift. Changes aren’t radical — just aggressive tweaking, with new carpet, upholstery, lighting and fabrics. (Parts of the 195-room hotel were serially closed for the work.) Since the Peninsula is only 27 years old, it proves that in Hollywood, you’re never too young for a refresh. The result: The elegant epicenter of Beverly Hills feels like a French château just bought by a rich Russian oligarch with good taste (imagine that) and an endless supply of cash to leave you reveling in luxury. As befits a hotel whose room prices start at just under $600 and then quickly escalate, the staff strives to accommodate every guest’s whim. Set at Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards near Canon Drive, the Peninsula is an easy walk to the best shopping in Beverly Hills, from Neiman Marcus to the designer shops on Rodeo Drive, that holy grail of spending.

New York Times

Roar of planes in cold air

If you were startled by the loud rumbling of a plane overhead during the recent frigid weather, it’s not your imagination. Sound travels farther in dense cold air. And because background noise is lower during the winter, jet engines can sound louder, said Steve Orfield of Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis, which analyzes acoustics and other environmental factors. Orfield, who has evaluated airport noise for cities and companies and lives near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said airplanes could also be louder because engines are working harder in the cold air.

Kelly Smith