6 travel apps for people who trust strangers

For most, the prospect of making yourself vulnerable to strangers is terrifying. This list is for the minority that has no problem depending on the kindness of strangers.

Although one of the best parts of traveling is meeting new people and making new connections, recent advances in technology walk a fine line between informative and just plain creepy.

SEE ALSO: I joined an app that paired me with a stranger for life. Now to find them.

These six apps can either be a great resource for learning about a city from friends you haven’t met yet or a horror film in the making.

So just be smart out there, guys — and don’t say nobody warned you about stranger danger.

Overnight

Image: overnight

Made for people who love waking up in the morning and trying to remember where they are, Overnight is the Airbnb for spontaneous (and trusting) people.

Users drop a pin where they are, and nearby hosts can offer to put them up. As the list of available pads pours in, users choose where they want to stay and make the booking for that night. 

Overnight only works in Los Angeles and Austin right now, but the company is planning expansion to New York and San Francisco.

Wingman

Wingman started off as a tongue-in-cheek way to find like-minded people on your flight and maybe join the mile-high club. But the idea has expanded to help travelers “meet people at your airport, on your flight, and at your destination.” 

If pre-travel, you’re swiping through people on your flight and someone looks cute, you can arrange to sit next to them for the entirety of your voyage. Maybe that person will shower regularly, not be racist and understand the rules of sharing armrests on the plane. Or not.

The app doesn’t officially launch until this summer, but eager travelers can sign up to be one of the first people onboard on the Wingman’s website.

Findery

Image: screenshot / findery

Findery advertises itself as a sort of virtual treasure hunt, using people’s real life experiences as clues along the way. It’s a solid resource for finding out about new restaurants or hidden bars, but it can get creepy fast. 

While swiping through nearby locations, one woman’s blind date popped up. From there, it was easy to access all of her other favorite spots. It didn’t take long to figure out where she hangs out regularly, what times she goes there and what she does while there.

However the creepy feeling took a long time to wash away.

Follower

If you’re looking for a truly authentic travel experience, why not just stalk a local?

The app Follower is an art project by Lauren McCarthy, and doubles as a travel app for either following someone else or being followed.

Following someone else is a great way to discover new parts of a city that you normally wouldn’t explore (like outside of a stranger’s apartment or office building!). And for those that are followed, the app aims to help you enjoy each moment more thoroughly, knowing that someone is watching everything you do.

It’s also a great option for someone who is traveling alone and can’t afford a photographer: The person following you will secretly take pictures of you and then send one to you via the app!

Follower is only available in New York City. 

TripWire

Image: screenshot / tripwire

Tripwire allows adventurous travelers to get the lowdown on the best things to do, places to go and who will be there. The app features a live feed of content that is tailored to each user’s routes.

It all sounds like fun and games until you start exploring and realize that you’re able to see who else is in town and how far away they are. But the creepiest feature is a map that tracks each user’s path. Once you become friends with someone, you can see their past and future paths and they can see yours. Choose your friends wisely. 

However, via the app, it’s possible to find really cool events. (We got invited to a secret ramen pop-up that looked really cool.)

Winston Club

Share your hotel room with a stranger! Save money! Maybe don’t make it out alive!

This is the premise of Winston Club (minus that last bit). The app lets users split hotel rooms with strangers. When the app officially launches in March, it will work in Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco.

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What Bernie Sanders’s big Michigan bet may be overlooking

Bernie Sanders will face a crucial electoral test in Michigan on Tuesday. His performance there will either give him a path to challenging Hillary Clinton for the nomination or put his campaign on life support.

“It’s really crunch time for Sanders,” says Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “If Sanders doesn’t win Michigan, what would lead you to think he’d win Illinois or Missouri or Ohio? If he’s really going to challenge Clinton in this race, he needs to find some big states to win.”

Sanders’s campaign has itself recognized Michigan as a critical battleground. Though Sanders has trailed there by double digits in most polls, the Vermont senator’s staff has argued that Michigan should be fertile ground for his populist economic message.

“I think his message on trade in particular will be very powerful out there,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s campaign manager, told the Washington Post about Michigan.

What Sanders’s bet on Michigan may be overlooking

The Sanders campaign has decided to invest substantial resources and time in its “big Michigan bet,” according to a report published by Politico. The Post said Weaver considers Michigan “ripe Sanders territory” in part because the state had suffered job losses and economic restructuring.

But it’s not clear that this is a narrative Michigan’s voters — particularly Michigan’s Democratic primary voters — will find persuasive.

In fact, by most measures, Michigan’s economy has done well under President Barack Obama, with gains in employment, population, and economic growth since 2009, according to Dr. Donald R. Grimes, a University of Michigan researcher who studies the state’s economy.

“Since Obama took office, Michigan has been doing great. And people will correctly attribute some of that to him and some of that to [Gov. Rick] Snyder,” Grimes said.

That should help Clinton, who has sold herself as a continuation of the Obama presidency. And overwhelmingly, voters who say the Democratic nominee should continue Obama’s policies have backed her over Sanders, according to exit polls. Those who want the next president to pursue more liberal policies have supported Sanders by a 6- to 10-point margin.

On first glance, Michigan’s strong economic recovery during the Obama administration appears to translate into an advantage for Clinton — one that may make Sanders’s gamble on the state not make much sense.

Michigan’s economy looks much weaker if you zoom out

But there’s a major flaw in this analysis: Michigan’s economy may have improved since 2009, but it’s still down sharply from where it was in 2000, particularly for low-income workers, according to Grimes.

Like the rest of the country, Michigan suffered a serious economic downturn beginning around 2001. (Michigan’s began a little earlier, in 2000.) But while much of America rebounded from that recession within the year, Michigan’s free fall largely continued uninterrupted until 2009, according to Grimes.

“Michigan was just hit incredibly hard in that nine-year period, from 2000 to 2009,” Grimes said. “Housing prices were collapsing, people were losing jobs, people were leaving the state. Those nine years or so were almost depression-like in terms of decline.”

By that metric, the past two decades still look pretty terrible for the Michigan economy. And if that’s the time frame Michigan voters have in mind when they head to the polls, Grimes noted, they’re probably much more likely to seek a major break with the status quo at the ballot box. That’d probably play to Sanders’s advantage.

“If your perspective is back to 2000, you say: ‘Life sucks, and we need to throw the bums out and start the revolution, and somehow get to where we were in 2000,'” Grimes said. “We’ve undergone this tremendous income loss over this long, 16-year period back to 2000. … When you ask a person here if they’re happy, if they’re better off, it depends on if you’re talking about compared to 2009 or 2000.”

Another problem with this strategy: shifts in what the Democratic Party looks like

Clinton remains the prohibitive favorite in Michigan. The former secretary of state has led Sanders by at least 10 points in every poll of the state since September 2015, according to RealClearPolitics.

“If Sanders won Michigan, it’d be a huge upset given what the polls have said,” said Kondik, of the University of Virginia.

There are two major regions where Grimes expects Clinton to do very well: in Oakland County, where there’s a large number of high-income voters; and in the city of Detroit, which is about 90 percent African-American.

Sanders, meanwhile, will probably need to win in places like Macomb County and in the city of Lansing, which have a higher number of white, working-class voters. If there’s higher turnout in those places and in Washtenaw County — home of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — Sanders may be able to give Clinton a real challenge.

But even banking on these voters may be risky for the Vermont senator. Grimes noted that poorer white voters in the state have increasingly left the Democratic Party and voted Republican.

“I think the Democratic Party in Michigan has increasingly become a party of upscale voters,” Grimes said. “But it may be fertile territory for the ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan.”

This Groundbreaking High Fat Diet Could Combat Diabetes and Promote Weight Loss

One diet that has existed for more than 80 years is making a comeback as a way to ease symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes affects the body’s use of glucose, a type of sugar that is found in the bloodstream and a fuel source for cells in the body. According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 1 diabetes affects younger individuals, while type 2 diabetes occurs when an individual can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the blood’s glucose levels.

 

The ketogenic diet may slow the effects of the debilitating disease. Originally used to treat children with epilepsy, how can a diet that focuses on high fats possibly be a solution to diabetes?

 

Read more: How to Eat Healthy and Avoid a Ramen-Only Diet When You’re a Broke College Student

 

The keto diet is high in fat but low in carbohydrates, according to Healthline. The diet is all about changing the way your body stores and converts energy, burning fat instead of carbs. Carbohydrates are generally converted into glucose, but the keto diet forces the body to use fat as energy for the body instead. Burning fat instead of carbs helps ease the symptoms of diabetes and may decrease blood glucose levels.

 

Dr. Jay Wortman, a Canadian physician, conducted a study of the keto diet in an aboriginal community in the Namgis First Nation in Canada.

 

“We designed a study, trying to do something different, because clearly what we were currently doing to manage these problems wasn’t working,”  Wortman said during a dieting summit in Cape Town, South Africa, according to BizNews. “We approached a small aboriginal community and suggested they try on a low-carb, ketogenic diet based on their traditional diet. People lost weight and improved their metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.”

View photo

.This Groundbreaking High Fat Diet Could Combat Diabetes and Promote Weight Loss

Source: Matthew Mead/AP

 

Of course, this doesn’t seem to mean go out and gorge yourself with every type of fat. According to Healthline, “heart-healthy fats are the key to sustaining overall health,” so dieters should try healthy fats like eggs, fish, cottage cheese, avocados, and almond butter.

 

Not all researchers believe that low carb, high fat diets are healthy options. But Dr. Eric Westman, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University Health System, has been using the diet for several years.

 

“While not all experts agree that a LCHF diet is a healthy way of eating (like I do), most experts agree that the LCHF diet is a therapy for many of the chronic medical conditions that we see today: type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heartburn, polycystic ovarian syndrome and fatty liver disease, to name a few,” Westman told Whole Foods Magazine. “I have been using the LCHF diet as a first-line treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes for eight years.”

 

The keto diet may also benefit the wallet as well. “I lowered my grocery bill 20% to about $75 a week,” Joshua Schall, a business consultant, told US News World Report after trying the keto diet. “The main difference was being able to buy cheaper cuts of meat from my traditional lean cuts.”

Diabetes: Yet another reason to get out of that chair

Earlier studies have shown that sedentary behavior can lead to type 2 diabetes and many other diseases including cardiovascular problems, cancer and other chronic conditions. There’s a reason physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

So what can you do to reduce your sitting time?

There are some really simple things. Experts suggest one may be as simple as being aware of exactly how much you sit. Make it a goal to get up for a few minutes every hour. Some pedometers will now even send you reminder notes to get up if you get too engrossed in your work. If you do have to sit for your work, switch to a standing desk.

If you watch TV at night, don’t zoom ahead during the commercials with your DVR. Instead walk around or at least stand up during the show break.

Whatever you do get up and move. Your body will thank you if you do.

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