The structure during better times, seen in 1989 as the Saigon Floating Hotel in Vietnam (via manhhai, Flickr)

The route began at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, made its way to Saigon, Vietnam, and finally ended up at the Korean Peninsula.

This might sound like a pleasant travel itinerary for a long vacation, but it is, in fact, the unlikely journey of a floating hotel. While modern cruise ships are often referred to in this way, I’m not talking about any ocean vessels, but a literal floating hotel-the first in the world.

The John Brewer Floating Hotel was constructed in 1988 in Singapore. It was floated thousands of miles to Australia and placed atop its namesake, the…

Could Siberia be the breeding ground for a long-dormant enemy? (Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash)

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic may, at long last, be visible on the horizon. While the United States still has a ways to go in getting a majority of the population vaccinated, the defeat of the pandemic will be upon us sooner rather than later. Many scientists have described COVID-19 as a ‘hundred-year pandemic’, meaning most if not all of us have never experienced something like this.

This ongoing coronavirus crisis reminded me of a story that I first read a number of years ago, about another potential pandemic and its possible ramifications. …

Public Domain work via Flickr

With the death of Prince Philip this past Friday, attention has begun to shift to the next generation of the British crown. While Queen Elizabeth II is very much still alive, there will inevitably come a day when that is no longer the case. This may not be for a while (her mother lived to be 102, so longevity is in her genes), but nevertheless, it is worth taking a deep dive into the chain of events that will occur when the Queen passes away.

Plans have been in place for a long time in anticipation of the Queen’s eventual…

At first glance, the Portuguese coast might seem like an unlikely place to look for narcotics solutions (Photo by Pedro Santos on Unsplash)

If one were to walk the colonial streets of Lisbon or Porto, it might not seem like the most logical place to start looking for answers to the problem of illegal drugs. After all, when people think of drug dens and giant narcotics operations, the Iberian Peninsula might not be the first place that comes to mind.

There is a reason, though, that you won’t see the typical symptoms of the illegal drug epidemic in this nation. That’s because drugs have been decriminalized in Portugal.

All of them.

From cocaine to heroin, LSD to methamphetamines and everything in-between, drugs that…

President Biden holds an Oval Office meeting (US Government work via Flickr)

At first glance, the redesigned Oval Office of President Joe Biden may appear to be indicative of little more than the antithesis of his predecessor’s decor. In place of the Armed Forces flags and a letter from Richard Nixon, the new Commander-In-Chief has chosen to return to some classic American standards for the room. After President Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20th, his administration gave a first look at his interpretation of the oblong workspace, and while many changes were obvious, Biden also made choices around the room that seemingly serve to usher in a new American dawn. …

Nearly a year into the pandemic, the fact that so many Americans still won’t wear masks should be a cause for concern (Photo by Brian Asare on Unsplash)

I pulled my car into the mechanic’s shop, getting out to drop the vehicle off and pulling my mask over my face. My car was yet again having troubles, and as I entered the front office area of the mechanic, the sight of a young man caught my eye as he smiled at me. It was a smile that I could see easily, but I wish that I couldn’t.

I thought about why this man wasn’t wearing a mask. Maybe he had just taken it off while sitting at his desk, or maybe he forgot it. It made me question…

Wellington, New Zealand (Photo by Wolf Zimmermann on Unsplash)

As I took in the views of the Wellington suburbs from the top of the cable car outlet, the warm December breeze washed over me as I looked across Lambton Quay. A group of young people, probably my age, enjoyed a flat white at one of the cafe tables at the adjacent coffeehouse. At the bottom of the hill, a group of young children ran across the lush rugby pitch. A bird landed on the railing, chirping as another cable car arrived at the cafe.

This was New Zealand in the summertime, a far cry from the snow-covered streets and…

The Skywalker Saga is a vast conglomerate of different films, and almost every fan has a different opinion on the ranking of each of the nine main installments. I try to look past the flaws that exist each in movie (even the original trilogy wasn’t perfect) and enjoy each of the movies in their own way. Now that the full story of the saga is complete with Episode IX coming out last December, I’m going to provide my personal ranking of the saga films. …

Rain beat down heavily on the car windows, thunder crackling in the early morning sky as Ted Carter stepped out of the armored Cadillac. Without wasting time to pop his umbrella, he sprinted through the downpour to reach the awning of the West Wing lobby. The Marine standing guard at the door moved in a fluid motion to open the door. “Good morning, Mr. Secretary.”

“Thank you.” Ted nodded his appreciation, entering the security checkpoint where he practically launched his briefcase through the x-ray machine as the uniformed Secret Service agent beckoned him through a full body scanner. The agent…

Justin Klawans

Freelance writer/aspiring journalist based out of Chicago. Check out my Chicago Blackhawks blog at and my writing at Fansided

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