CLICKETY-CLICK ACROSS RUSSIA BY COUCH
Doing anything next weekend? How about a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway? One of the world's most famous train journeys, a cool 6,000-mile odyssey from Moscow to Vladivostok, came online this month — visualized, virtual, and very, very long. The multiplatform portal by Google Russia and Russian railways lets you watch from the train window in real time as the journey unfolds across two continents, seven time zones, 12 Russian regions and 87 cities.
You can also follow the train's virtual progress on a Google map, looking at the satellite view or tracking the actual terrain and mountains.
The high-definition video footage covers the entire six-day journey.
If things get boring, you can jump on and off — to check out city highlights, say, or explore Russia's mysterious far-east territory. View mini-tours of key places by clicking on the red TV icon. There is a lot of steppe, so you have a choice of what to listen to along the way, including the rumble of wheels and Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace."
Two video crews filmed the journey from the train windows last summer, also stopping off in towns of interest along the way.
— Chris Oliver
JACKSON'S 'CAPTAIN EO' LANDS AT PLANET DISNEY
The Gloved One has returned to Disneyland. "Captain EO," the musical film starring Michael Jackson, started last week and will run indefinitely.
On a blog, a Disney executive says the park will show the 17-minute movie in the Tomorrowland theater, but without some special effects from the original presentation, which included lasers and smoke. Jackson, who died last year, plays a spaceship captain who uses love and music to fight a wicked witch queen played by Anjelica Huston.
NEAR LAS VEGAS
HOOVER DAM SPECTACULAR AS AN ENGINEERING FEAT
Some of the world's wonders of engineering are on the U.S. Mainland. Hoover Dam controls the wild Colorado River and forms the nation's largest reservoir, Lake Mead. Visitors can tour the concrete marvel on foot and see its inner workings, hover above it in a helicopter, savor views of the amazing rock formations and snap photographs from its center point. The dam harnesses and redirects water pressure to a plant generating enough electricity to power 1.7 million homes. From Las Vegas it's an easy side trip. The five-hour Hoover Dam Air and Ground trip includes coach to Las Vegas, a narrated tour and a 20-minute helicopter tour of the dam ($199, www.hooverdamtourcompany.com).