Hotel Review: The JW Marriott in Austin

Downtown Austin is brimming with big-brand hotels (and has more on the horizon), so what makes this one unique? With 1,012 guest rooms, three restaurants and 42 meeting rooms, the property, which opened in February, is the city’s largest hotel and the second-biggest JW Marriott in the world. (JW Marriotts are part of a luxury brand within Marriott International that includes Ritz-Carlton.)

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Austin's Best Boutique Hotels

Austin is the Lone Star State’s golden child: the quirky alternative to more conservative, less navigable urban locales—a place where cowboys, politicos, students, and hippies mingle over smoked brisket and ice-cold pitchers of beer. There’s live music at every corner, natural springs for swimming, and new bars and restaurants opening faster than you can say, “Keep Austin Weird.” To explore the capital city’s more intimate corners, book a room at one of its finest boutique hotels.

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Safari Camps Where Animals Are So Close You Can Touch Them

“Sit here,” Chaba says. “And stay still. Imagine you’re a termite mound.”

The sun is just beginning to light up the eerily white Makgadikgadi salt flats when I make like a mound. It’s quiet—deafeningly so—until I hear a series of squeaks coming from behind me. The meerkats are awake and slowly emerging from their underground den. Suddenly, a self-appointed sentinel looks up at me with tiny spectacled eyes before climbing up my body—all the way to the top of my head, where he stands guard.

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Lion Facial Recognition Debuts in Africa

Even the king of the jungle can't escape getting his picture taken these days. In June the Kenya-based Lion Guardians launched the Lion Identification Network of Collaborators (LINC). The database of lion profiles was built with the first facial-recognition software specifically designed to analyze the mugs of these big cats and distinguish them from one another. With LINC, the conservation organization and other wildlife researchers will have an easier way to monitor the beasts' whereabouts.

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The SeaQualizer Gives Doomed Fish a Fighting Chance

It's got to be one of the worst ways to go: pulled to the surface against your will, changes in pressure attacking your body, only to be tossed away, no relief in site.

Fish inadvertently caught by sport and commercial fishers are known as “bycatch” and billions of them die every year. The ones affected by shifting pressure experience barotrauma and often due senseless deaths, but a new device wants to give them a fighting chance.

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Beast Friends: Animal Figurines Worth Collecting

To an outside observer, it must have looked strange when I decided to go to wild Namibia in the summer of 2009. I’d spent the previous two years as an unhappy securities lawyer in London, so with the financial recession roiling markets and my firm announcing a coming round of layoffs, I figured it was a good time for a career change. And when I heard about a three-week volunteering program at the Harnas Wildlife Foundation, I knew I had to go.

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