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These 10 Revolutionary Concept Cars Are The Future Of Transportation


toyota fun vii concept

What will the cars we drive look like 10, 15 and 20 years from now?

Cars that drive themselves, or anticipate our every move—even a car that flies—could all be part of the automotive landscape.

Click here to see the cars of the future >

Most of the car concepts that follow aren’t yet in production, but they provide a compelling glimpse into what the future might hold.

One thing’s for sure: All of them illustrate the trend toward boosting fuel efficiency and automation while not sacrificing design or performance.

Click here to see the cars of the future >

More From The Fiscal Times:

Mercedes Benz F-125! Concept

This car, which Mercedes says is intended to give the public a look at what cars will be like in 2025, uses fuel cell technology and runs on hydrogen, which has a far greater range than electric vehicles. Mercedes says it can go as far as 621 miles on a tank of hydrogen, with a fuel economy of 105 miles per gallon.

It will be able to rely on a driver's hand gestures to understand and execute commands. The car has autonomous features, automatically change lanes on one-way roads and navigating traffic jams without driver involvement.

BMW i Concept

Featured in the movie "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," this sleek four-seater sports car is a plug-in hybrid that uses a three cylinder engine, optimizing performance while ensuring high fuel efficiency. The car accelerates from 0 to 62 miles per hour in under five seconds, while achieving 104 miles per gallon in fuel efficiency.

Chevrolet EN-V Concept

General Motors' goal for this electric vehicle is to be a connected, zero-emissions personal transportation car that addresses issues with traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability. At 1,100 pounds and less than 50 inches long, it's one-third the size of a conventional automobile. Running on a lithium-ion battery, it has a driving range of 25 miles.

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The Best Parts Of Venice That Most Tourists Miss



Despite the daily invasion of tourists that flood Venice, some neighbourhoods retain a down-to-earth village feeling, where there are still butchers and bakers rather than mask and glass shops. In the residential quarter around the Ormesini and Sensa canals at the northern end of Cannaregio you can still enjoy a real slice of genuine Venetian life. Here are 10 of the best bars, restaurants and shops to check out.

Al Timon

Al Timon has fast established itself as not just the favourite rendezvous for locals of Cannaregio, but a popular hangout for students and young Venetians from all over the city. The setting is perfect, with tables at the edge the Ormesini canal, and the savvy owner, Alessandro Biscontin, has moored a boat alongside as a floating terrace and impromptu venue for live jazz concerts. Occasionally tourists reserve tables for dinner, but this is a quintessentially Venetian locale, with most people drinking spritz al bitter or one of a fine selection of regional wines by the glass, and snacking on tempting cichetti such as grilled zucchini with pecorino cheese, or smoked ricotta and roughly chopped tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, or radicchio topped with gorgonzola, mascarpone and walnuts.
Fondamenta degli Ormesini, +39 041 524 6066

Old World Bookshop

Tucked next to a narrow bridge in the heart of Venice's historic Jewish ghetto, Old World Books is a goldmine of rare books on Venice and Italy, run by eccentric Englishman John Francis Phillimore. Books are in English and Italian, ranging from little-known 16th-century editions to secondhand copies of the latest Donna Leon, sometimes signed by the author herself, who lives nearby. You never quite know who you'll bump into here – visiting poets, philosophers, artists – because John Francis also runs the Casa delle Parole, an active literary society, which sponsors Vapoesia, a series of eye-catching poems regularly exhibited on the vaporettos (water buses).
Campo Ghetto Vecchio

Dodo Caffè

This is the ultimate locals' haunt, from the first building workers who stop off for a caffè coretto con grappa at 7.30am, to mums enjoying an espresso after the school run, grizzled regulars who wander up and down the canal all day, going from bar to bar, and those enjoying the ritual of an early evening aperitivo as the sun begins to set. Dodo himself is a great personality, and he and lively barmaid Cristina make probably the best – and most lethal – spritz al bitter in town. The bar closes early, at around 9pm, but next door the partying carries on late at the funky Profondo Rosso bar, whose owner, Fifo, doubles as a DJ, while just across the bridge is La Bagatela, open till 1am and serving food well after midnight.
Fondamenta degli Ormesini, dodocaffe.it

10 Metri Quadrati

The latest hotspot to open in the neighbourhood, this buzzing bar has become an immediate hit with locals and tourists alike, and is worth visiting soon before it gets discovered by bloggers and guidebooks. The interior – small but not as tiny as the claimed "10 Square Metres" – is more Milan than Venice: sleek white minimalist decor contrasting with wooden beams, and modern art exhibitions decorating the walls. everyone wants a table looking out over the busy Canale di Cannaregio, where there is a nonstop parade of vaporetti, motoscafi (water taxis) and hefty cargo boats chugging past. Apart from the usual spritz, barman Giuliano mixes an array of cocktails, from the classic Martini to exotic fresh fruit mojitos. The bar stays open till well after midnight and serves salads, tasty grilled panini and plates of affetati, sliced ham, salami and local cheeses.
Fondamenta di Cannaregio, +39 041 713241

Anice Stellato

One canal over from the buzzing Ormesini neighbourhood, is this elegant restaurant, out on sleepy Fondamenta della Sensa. Reservations are a necessity as the creative cuisine of the husband and wife chefs has gained a serious reputation, and the place always seems to be fully booked. The menu is a tempting mix of cucina della mamma recipes with original twists, such as scampi in saor profumati allo zenzero – similar to the traditional sarde in saor, but using plump shrimps instead of sardines and adding a zing with grated ginger – or tortellini stuffed with baccalà (salt cod) and chickpeas, smothered with lightly fried courgette flowers. To walk off lunch, two landmark churches are just nearby, Sant'Alvise, with three splendid paintings by Tiepolo, and the towering Madonna dell'Orto, parish church of Tintoretto.
Fondamenta della Sensa, +39 041 720744

Malefatte Boutique

Shopping in Venice often does not go further than Murano glass, Fortuny lamps and carnival masks, but the intrepid fashionista that tracks down Malefatte in Cannaregio will discover one of the Serenissima's most original boutiques. This is the main store in Venice run by Rio Tera dei Pensieri, a work-in-jail cooperative that promotes products made by prisoners in the city's male and female jails. You can pick up beauty products, hand-sewn leather notebooks and sketchpads and its latest hot seller, a series of Freitag-inspired canvas bags at bargain prices. The most popular purchases, though, are their distinctive silk-screen T-shirts and shopping bags graphically imprinted with the Spritz logo.
Calle Zancan, rioteradeipensieri.org

Osteria Al Bacco

Bacco is one of Cannaregio's hidden secrets, tucked away so far along the quiet Canal delle Capuzine that few tourists discover it by chance. But it is one of the most ancient osterie in Venice. This is the place to spend the evening enjoying a long romantic meal, from the seafood antipasti of shrimps, anchovies and baby octopus to spaghetti cooked with black ink squid, freshly grilled sea bass or a plate piled high with a fritto misto of Adriatic seafood. A few tables line the canal outside and the garden is covered with a giant 120-year-old vine, but the best spot is inside the cosy wood-panelled dining room. Roberto Meneghetti is a laid-back host, but on certain evenings he may put on his favourite tango music and wheel one of the customers round the restaurant. Dinner will set you back €40-€50, but there is a well-priced set lunch at €13.
Fondamenta Capuzine, +39 041 721415

Cantina Azienda Agricola

It is easy to walk straight past this hole-in-the-wall bar, but once inside, you'll find the atmosphere is more like a private social club, filled with raucous locals moaning about politics, football and tourists – though everyone is made welcome, especially by the friendly host, Roberto di Berti, who has been running the place for 35 years. This is an authentic bacaro, the Venetian dialect term for inn, where a glass of the excellent house wine is 90 cents, and the tempting cichetti on the counter cost €1.50 and are made using the finest regional products – sopressa salami, prosciutto, asiago and montasio cheeses. This is an all-standing bar – no tables or chairs – and Roberto also has an extensive cellar with around 150 wines to take away, from renowned local producers such as Sirch, Pieropan and Livio Felluga.
Rio Tera' Farsetti, Closes 9pm


This venerable osteria, at the entrance into the ghetto, has just been taken over by flamboyant Calabrian chef Domenico Iacuzio, who has immediately turned back the clock to when Bentigodi was both an obligatory stop-off for locals on daily their giro d'ombra, or bar crawl, and for foodies looking for a gourmet dinner. Domenico has filled the dining room with his favourite black-and-white photos of Gina Lollabrigida, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren, as well the lucky giant yellow cash register that follows him every time he changes restaurant. A glass of wine and a tasty polpetta (meatball) will still only cost €2-€3, at the crowded counter, and his menu spans Venetian favourites like insalata di polpo (octopus salad) to raviolo di burrata al pomodoro e basilico (with mozzarella, tomato and basil) from his native south Italy. Domenico's American wife, Stacy, runs a bed and breakfast just round the corner.
• +39 041 822 3714, bentigodi.com

Cichetteria Venexiana Da Luca e Fred

Sitting out on the terrace of Luca and Fred's friendly bar is the ultimate spot for people-watching in Cannaregio. You sit right on the busy drag, between the train station and the Rialto bridge, and there is a non-stop stream of tourists heading for the sights, and Venetians now living on the mainland getting to and from work. The Rio Terà is filled with stalls – masks and tacky souvenirs, but also fruit and veg. While there is a menù turistico, locals prefer to come at noon when the dish of the day, usually a delicious risotto, comes out of the kitchen steaming hot. This place alos offers some of the traditional cichetti that few bacari prepare today – milza, skewers of pork spleen, and nervetti, veal tendons with onions and vinegar.
Rio Tera San Leonardo, +39 041 716170

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

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Architect Says What She Learned From Dennis Hopper In Las Vegas


amanda leveteWhat first drew you to architecture?

I left school at 16 to go to art school, and then felt embarrassed about not doing A-levels. So I started reading a lot about the history of art. Through those books, I discovered the world of architecture – and that was it.

What was your big breakthrough?

Getting shortlisted for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France competition in 1989. It came just two weeks after I'd left Richard Rogers' office to join Jan Kaplický's. We had no work, Jan and I, so it was fantastic timing. We didn't win, but our fee – about £20,000 – kept us going for a year. We were very mean and keen in those days.

What has changed about architecture?

When I started out, I drew with a drawing board and set square, and wrote with an ink pen. Now, it's all computerised. When Jan and I started doing the Media Centre at Lord's, we were drawing all these very complex three-dimensional forms by hand. To make any changes, we had to scratch out the drawings with a scalpel. In the end, the people in our office gave us an ultimatum: either computerise or we leave. We computerised.

Which artists do you most admire?

Of course, my late partner Jan. Many of his concepts were tinged with genius – and I don't use that word lightly. Rogers, who was my first employer. And Zaha Hadid, for her tenacity, her work – and the fact that, despite being one of the most famous architects in the world, she still enjoys girly gossip.

Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?

I've never taken on work I didn't want to take on, even if that meant making compromises financially. I didn't own a dishwasher until I was 40.

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

About four years ago, I sat next to Dennis Hopper at dinner. I'd just come back from Vegas, where we'd been commissioned to design an art gallery. I'd found it apocalyptic. When I told him so, he just said, "Relax, babe – if you can't enjoy Vegas for a few days, there's something wrong." He was right: I was being far too uptight.

Is there an art form you don't relate to?

I find video art quite heavy-going.

What's the biggest myth about architects?

That we're all individualistic fundamentalists. Actually architecture is a very collaborative discipline. On a big project, there can be a cast of thousands: the job of the architect is not only to create, but to get everybody on board. In that sense, it's very consensual.

Do you suffer for your art?

I do. But I love to suffer, so it's not a problem.

In short

Born: Bridgend, 1955.

Career: Started out at the Architectural Association and with Richard Rogers; became a partner at her late ex-husband Jan Kaplický's firm Future Systems in 1989. Founded her own practice, Amanda Levete Architects, in 2009.

High point: "Winning the competition [to design a new extension] for the V&A."

Low point: "Completing the Media Centre at Lord's. We were virtually bankrupt."

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

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Flight Attendant Enters Record Book After 63-Year Career


ron akana

A flight attendant is landing in the Guinness World Records book after spending 63 years moving about the cabin.

Ron Akana, 83, worked his last route over the weekend on a United Airlines flight from Denver to Kauai, ending his career in the state where it began.

Hawaii, however, wasn't his final stop. His destination was retirement in Boulder, Colorado, where he has been living since 2002 to be closer to his grandchildren. He spent his first few days of retirement writing thank-you notes to well-wishers.

"I wasn't expecting this much attention," he said Tuesday.

Akana joined the airline while a student at the University of Hawaii in 1949, when friends spotted a newspaper ad. "We didn't even know what a flight steward was," he recalled. "But it meant getting to the mainland, which was a huge deal in those days.

"It seemed pretty exciting and it proved to be more than that," he said.

And so he became one of United's first male flight attendants. "We just liked working with girls," he said.

The Korean War took him away from his job for two years when he was drafted in 1951. Akana said his most memorable moments included meeting the cast of the 1953 movie "From Here to Eternity," - mentioning Frank Sinatra and Deborah Kerr by name – and going from propeller planes to jets, which cut travel time in half.

Over the years, he's seen it all. Passengers would dress up, not down. Think suits, not flip-flops. Smoking was no big deal, not a federal offence.

Over time, though, things changed. The meal service became better. No more smoke. In-flight movies, which he said started to be shown seven or eight years after he began his career. And, of course, tight security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Guinness World Records came calling a few months ago and later sent him a plaque recognising him as the longest-serving flight attendant. He's been told he'll appear in the record book in October.

To get a sense of how long he's been in the air, consider that if his 200 million miles (320 million kilometres) counted toward United's frequent flier program, he could treat the entire town of Big Rock, Illinois, population 1,138, to a first class trip from Chicago to Honolulu and back – then once a month for the next 12 years, he'd still have enough miles to travel with his wife, Elizabeth, anywhere they want in the continental U.S.

Akana decided to retire after he was offered a buy-out. But he admits being tempted to hang on for the arrival of the next super jet, the Boeing 787. "I shall have to watch from the sidelines," he said.

While he's now retired, Akana is not done flying. From now on, his wife will be joining him.

"I got terrific travel privileges," he said, adding: "There's a lot to be seen."

Source: agencies

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Swedish Intelligence Agency Blows $800,000 On James Bond Themed Party


james bond

Sweden’s intelligence agency has been left red faced after it emerged that it held a James Bond themed party for its spies, at a cost of more than half a million pounds.

The lavish event included casino tables, an evening dinner, trays of martinis and even a guest of honour from England – the head of MI5 Jonathan Evans.

Bosses at the Swedish intelligence agency have since struggled to explain the extravagant expense, which cost 5.3m Swedish krona (£508,000) and took place during a government austerity drive in which the agency underwent several budget cuts.

General Anders Thornberg, head of the Swedish intelligence service (Sapo), said the event had followed "a unique and extraordinary time" for staff at the organisation.

In 2010, Islamic extremists were plotting to attack Sweden and in December that year a suicide bomb killed one and injured three others.

"We thought that we needed a special gathering for the whole security police team," he told Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper, adding: "We'd been subjected to extreme pressure."

General Thornberg also conceding that the body had made things worse by requesting £96,000 worth of VAT refunds after the event.

The agency has since come under scrutiny for its spending habits.

Party organiser Anders Danielsson, the former head of Sapo, apologised for the expenditure, telling Dagens Nyheter: "I take responsibility for everything. If it's wrong, it's wrong … It will be sorted."

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YACHT OF THE WEEK: Hang Out On The Enormous Sycara V For $739,000 A Week


superyacht sycara v luxury

The Sycara V debuted at the 2010 Monaco Yacht Show, and in 2011 won Boat International Media's World Superyacht Award in the displacement motor yacht class. It's no wonder: She is a real beauty.

Built by Nobiskrug, the Sycara V is spending 2012 cruising the Mediterranean and Caribbean. The 17 knot top speed is unremarkable, but understandable: the Sycara V runs 224 feet from bow to stern. A week on this behemoth costs just under $740,000.

The bulbous bow is designed for fuel efficient travel.

There are four bars on board.

This one is in the main salon.

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See Where The Best Dressed Americans Live [Infographic]


Even though New York City is considered a fashion mecca, its residents are not among the best-dressed in the country.

The website DressCodeFinder.com created this infographic of the best and worst dressed cities in the U.S. Their results are based on restaurant dress codes in the area.

By this metric, Beverly Hills is the best-dressed.

Check it out:

best dressed infographic

DON'T MISS: These Are The Best Days And Months To Shop For A Deal >


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See How An Artist Turned A Mercedes-Benz SL Into A Dream Office Space


Mercedes-Benz Desk Detail

South African designer Katie Thomas has repurposed the parts of a Mercedes-Benz SL to create the office space of your dreams.

Each car component was morphed to function as an aspect of the deluxe study.

Click here to see the finished office desk >>

Thomas made the speedometer a magnetized pad, the speed and rev counter became a triple time zone clock, the mirror turned into a lamp, the air vents became business card holders, the ignition lock now serves as a USB charger, and the gas and brake pedals became pen holders.

But the piece de resistance was the Mercedes-Benz SL driver's seat turned luxurious office chair.

Thomas, a self-proclaimed hoarder known for her recycled interior objects, used timber for the base of the desk and steel for the legs. The collaboration with Mercedes-Benz was to celebrate Cape Town's recent nomination as World Design Capital 2014.

Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to the furniture world. Earlier in April of this year, Formitalia Luxury Group partnered with Mercedes-Benz to design a line of home furniture. The collection debuted at the Milan furniture fair, and drew inspiration from the style and form of the famous cars.

Check out the Mercedes-Benz video of Katie Thomas building the dashboard desk.

Meet South African designer Katie Thomas, who partnered with Mercedes-Benz to create a desk out of an SL dashboard.

Here's Thomas with the dashboard before it became a desk.

The complete study has a chair, desk, drawers with clocks, and even a fan made out of the car's grill.

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Baskin Robbins Has Created Ice Cream Nachos


basket robbins ice cream nachos

Baskin Robbins has created ice cream nachos.

It calls them "Waffle Chip Dippers" — waffle and brownie chips that you dip into soft serve vanilla ice cream, which is loaded with M&Ms and pieces of Snickers, reports Foodbeast.

Baskin Robbins looked to customers to figure out what type of snack food they'd like recreated as a dessert. Chips and dip won.

Here's the explanation from ABC News:

"After surveying over 1,000 Americans, Baskin Robbins found that “one third (33%) of Americans chose chips and dip as the easiest finger food to eat – over mini sandwiches (22%) and chicken wings (20%) among other finger foods.”

And so, ice cream nachos were born.

NOW SEE: Japan's Epic Fast Food War Inspired These Crazy Menu Items >

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: A $25 Million Loft That Was Once A NYC Concert Hall


beethoven hall in noho nyc $25 million

Beethoven Hall, in the NoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, is on the market for $25 million.

The historic, pre-war loft was formerly a concert hall. It spans nearly 6,790 square feet and has 11 rooms in total.

The home has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and one half bath. The house has enormous brick archways, a wood-burning fireplace, reclaimed wood flooring, marble, and imported wood doors all mixed into the interior design.

Welcome to E 5th Street.

The building, which was a concert hall when it was first built in 1860, has 32-foot arched ceilings.

Taxes are $2,647 a month.

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5 Wine Components And How To Describe Them Like An Expert


Red wine

How often have you run across these phrases when you’re reading a wine review: “highly structured," “crisp,” “bright," “firm tannins,” “fine-grained tannins.”

How do they translate into your flavor experiences?

It’s nothing too mysterious. “Structure” is most often used in reference to relative levels of acid (especially whites) and/or tannin (reds). But there are other things that come into play such as alcohol, sweetness and body.

Isolated, none of these components are tasty or interesting. Think of them as the framework of the wine, just waiting to be fleshed out by delicious things like fruitiness, fermentation character, oak, floral character, herbaceousness, minerality, etc.

Fortunately, Mother Nature has made it remarkably easy to detect the relative levels of the main wine components. Grab a glass of red wine and taste as we go and you’ll see what I mean.

Alcohol is the only one of the main components that has an aroma, so you’ll have to rely on your palate to differentiate between the rest. Using the slurping technique will really help.

For the uninitiated: Take a little sip of your wine. Taste good? Now, all you have to do is take another small sip and hold it in your mouth. Purse your lips and pull some air in through your teeth and over the top of the wine (kind of like whistling in reverse). Swish it all around your mouth, like mouthwash, and chew on it a little. Wow – flavor explosion in your head, right? Now, we’re ready to get started.

Let’s start with acid:

Of course, acid has a tart flavor. Incidentally, if you refer to high-acid wine as sour you’re going to get a very sour look from the winemaker. In wine parlance, sour means spoiled, as in gone to vinegar!

If you want to become acquainted with the tart flavor of relatively high-acid wine, some common white examples are sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Northern Italy turns out a lot of lean, zippy reds.

Some wines, especially reds, are so flavorful that it’s difficult to taste the acid. Usually, you can still gauge it. As you taste the wine, notice the way your mouth begins to water, especially along the sides of your tongue and under it. Thus, the birth of the phrase “mouth-watering acidity.” Now that you’ve noticed it, you’ll begin to differentiate the levels as you taste different styles of wine. Generally, white wines are higher in acid than reds. Well-made dessert wines can really turn on the water works in your mouth because the sweetness needs to be balanced by a high level of acidity.

Why do you care? Acid is important because it keeps the wine fresh and lively on the palate. It has a cleansing effect and makes the wine easy to pair with food. Acid is a great, natural preservative! Wines that are high in acid (but balanced) will have fairly long lives and a better chance of retaining their fruitiness and freshness as time goes by.

The source: The grapes, although acid additions are permitted in many wine regions. As the grapes ripen, the sugar increases and the acid decreases. At harvest time, timing is everything!

Descriptions: Crisp, lively, bright, racy, nervy, vitality
Antonyms: Flat, flabby, soft, dull, insipid


Do you have a sudden urge to brush your teeth after tasting red wine? Then you recognize tannin – it’s that simple. It runs around your mouth seeking out protein and then clings to it, which explains the drying sense of grip on your gums – all over your mouth, really – and the furry teeth. The flavor of tannin is extremely bitter, so winemakers try to craft the wine in such a way that you feel it, rather than taste it. As you taste your wine now, you will probably remember other wines you’ve tasted that were more tannic or less tannic, so you'll begin to recognize relative levels.

Acid accentuates the hardness of tannin, so high-acid wine that’s also tannic can be hard to enjoy when it’s young. As the wine ages, the tannin enlarges with oxidation and gradually falls out of the wine as part of the sediment. So, the wine gradually softens and the texture becomes more velvety over time.

Why do you care? Tannin is an important part of the texture of red wine – when managed properly it gives it a nice chewiness. Like acid, tannin is a natural preservative. It's part of a group called polyphenols, which are anti-oxidants that prolong the wine's life. The more tannic the wine, provided it's well made and well-balanced, the longer its life in the bottle when stored properly.

The source: The biggest source of tannin in wine is the grape skins. Other sources are the seeds, stems and oak (wine barrels contribute wood tannin if they're relatively new). Red wines are almost always higher in tannin than white because the winemaker must ferment the juice and skins together to get the purple color. Whites receive little or no juice to skin contact.

Descriptions: Astringent, drying, grippy, chalky, chewy, hard, coarse

Antonyms: Soft, smooth, silky, round, velvety, mellow


Isolated, alcohol smells sweet. Give the wine a good swirl for a few seconds and pop your nose in the glass. If you actually smell something sweet that reminds you of rubbing alcohol or feel what seems like a heat-driven tickle in your nose, the alcohol is too high for the style of the wine – it’s not balanced. You’re not supposed to notice the alcohol, it’s just supposed to be there.

The mouth-feel: Do you notice that your mouth feels warmer than it did before you sipped the wine? That's the alcohol talking and in a very pleasant way. If it's quite warm, or almost hot, the alcohol content is on the high side. If you actually taste the alcohol or feel like a fire-breathing dragon, it’s too high, not balanced. It seems to be most noticeable in the back of your throat. The alcohol also adds an oily, viscous sensation.

Why do you care? Alcohol gives the wine a great deal of its body or “heft.” A wine that’s meant to be robust in style feels thin and unsatisfying on the palate if the alcohol is too low. Alcohol is yet another preservative, which explains why Port-style wine can live so long in the bottle and actually keeps better than table wine once it’s opened (sugar also helps in that regard).

The source: The sugar in the grapes at harvest. In many parts of the world adding sugar is permitted. It’s called Chaptalization. During the fermentation the sugar is converted to alcohol. 

Descriptions: Warm, hot, weighty, sweet


Well, this one’s easy – we all know sweetness, right? And that “dry” is the opposite of sweet? Sweetness also has a pleasant, slippery sort of mouth-feel.

Since sugar is so familiar, this is a good time to talk about perception vs. reality. The level of acidity can really play games with your head in gauging sweetness. It makes the wine seem less sweet than it is. Sparkling wines called "brut," for instance, are considered dry, but they may actually have as much as 1.5 percent sugar (our threshold for noticing sweetness in wine is most often at about .5 percent). They taste dry because they are so high in acid.

Try making some overly-tart lemonade and give it a taste. Then add a little sugar. Keep tasting and adding sugar until you reach a pleasant balance. Notice how the sugar has softened and rounded out the acid sensation? The acid level hasn’t changed, but your perception of it has.

Fruity flavors can also trick your palate into detecting sugar that isn’t actually there. The phenomenon is called auto-association.

If dry is .5 percent or less, off-dry can be up to about 4 percent sugar, medium sweet up to 10 percent sugar and anything over that is very sweet, indeed. But our perception? That’s another matter.

Why do you care? Who doesn’t love something a little sweet from time to time? Plus, besides its rounding effect on overly tart wine, a bit of sugar can cover a lot of sins in the production of inexpensive wine, and it’s another of Mother Nature’s natural preservatives. 

The source: The grapes. In most cases the sugar in wine is residual, unfermented sugar because the fermentation was stopped before the yeast converted all of the sugar to alcohol. In some cases, the winemaker ferments to dryness and adds back grape juice or grape-juice concentrate to sweeten the wine. 

Descriptions: Sweet, syrupy, off-dry, cloying, doux, Extra-Dry (sparkling wine), demi-sec (sparkling wine)

Antonyms: Dry, austere, Brut (sparkling wine), Extra Brut (sparkling wine), Brut Nature (sparkling wine), Zero Dosage (sparkling wine)    


It’s all about mouth-feel and weight. Milk products make a good analogy:

•Light = skim milk
*Descriptions: Light, hollow, thin, lean, watery
•Medium = whole milk
•Full-bodied = heavy cream
*Descriptions: Heavy, full, fat, fleshy, lush, unctuous, concentrated, substantial

When the wine is balanced, the flavors, body and the relative level of the components interact harmoniously. Since alcohol gives wine body, a glass of red Bordeaux from a poor vintage that’s only 10.5 percent alcohol may feel thin and unsatisfying on the palate. Conversely, a Napa Cab from a hot vintage better have plenty of flavor and body to stand up to 15 percent alcohol. Otherwise, you will have spent a lot of money on something that makes you feel like a fire-breathing dragon.

The source: Mainly the alcohol and grape extracts (red); barrel-aging can increase the body due to evaporation.

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'50 Shades Of Grey' Author: 'I'm Not Such A Pervert'


EL JamesFifty Shades of Grey author EL James on sex, sequels and the time her husband bought her a tin opener as a romantic Christmas present.

EL James gave a rare interview to launch Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album, which features music that inspired her while writing the trilogy.

She spoke to Mark Ellen about the books, the forthcoming film and choosing "music to f--- to".

How did the classical music album come about?

I write to music all the time. I have music playing in my headphones and I have a huge playlist for writing. I have various songs for various things and some of them made it into the books.

Why is classical music particularly suited to a book of this kind?

The main protagonist, Christian Grey, likes classical music. He plays piano and that saves him very early on in his life. He's a talented but not particularly gifted pianist.

Why does classical music suit his character? Christian is a very cold and controlling individual...

I would say he’s controlling, I wouldn’t say he’s particularly cold. He warms up a bit. And it’s just one of his escapes. He’s a very lonely guy. He’s pretty f----- up.

Have you ever met anyone like him?

Oh, I wish!

In what way?

I think you can imagine.

What dimension does classical music bring to the book? Why did you choose classical?

Because I’m listening to it all the time. It's music to f--- to. We all want that.

How much research has gone into this work of fiction?

I had a lot of fun researching these books.

I get the most TMI emails you could ever hope for, which I hadn’t figured on because I hadn’t figured on any of this. People go and try stuff.

I imagine the books are for two types of people: people who probably used to have a fair amount of sex and now it’s dwindled slightly, and others who’ve never had sex at all - teenagers - who imagine what sex is going to be like.

Well, I hope teenagers aren’t reading it. I think a few are because I get emails from them as well, and I wish they weren’t. Women of all ages are reading it - women at university and college right through to women in their nineties, and I’m getting emails from them. The emails range from 'You’ve saved my marriage' to 'Thank you for this, I’m now adopting this therapy for my child that we adopted in Siberia who can’t bear to be touched and now we’ve seen these huge things happen to her and she’s moved on and getting better'. It’s this huge range of emails and it's completely unexpected. The really moving thing is from people who’ve been sexuallly abused saying 'This has really helped me'. They’re just extraordinary and it leaves me in tears.

Can I ask you about your own marriage? Your husband, Niall Leonard, wrote the other day that he was 'the least romantic fecker that ever lived' and for your first Christmas together he bought you a tin opener...

A tin opener! Jesus Christ on a bicycle. He never made that mistake again, trust me.

A lot of people are reading these books on a Kindle. There must be some element of 'I would like to read this erotic fiction but I'll pretend I'm reading War and Peace'?

Absolutely. E-readers has been very liberating for people because they can read whatever they like with no judgment. In fact, I designed the book covers because in my early thirties I read a lot of romantic fiction when I was slogging into and out of London on the Tube - such a hideous journey that I was just buried in these terrible books - and they had these horrible covers with women with their clothes falling off. I hated that, so I designed really discreet covers where nobody would know it's a really salacious novel.

Why have they been a success on such a scale?

I have no idea. I thought I could continue working, writing in the evening and this thing has taken off... I certainly didn’t foresee it and I still don’t quite believe it. it’s just bizarre.

Were you inspired by Story of O [the 1950s erotic novel by Pauline Réage]?

No. I haven't read it, though I’ve seen the film. The thing about Fifty Shades is it’s a very passionate love story. The Story of O is not a passionate love story, it’s sado-masochism at one end of the spectrum. So, no, no inspiration drawn from that whatsoever.

Which is the most powerful fantasy for women readers - is it the wildly adventurous sex in the book or is it this fantasy of being looked after and cared for and paid for by this 27-year-old billionaire?

No, it’s the love story. Women like to read a passionate love story.

If a man had written this book from the point of view of Christian Grey, would it have been less controversial?

I’ve no idea. All I know is that rather stupidly I put two of the first chapters in Christian’s POV at the end of Fifty Shades of Freedom. Every other tweet, if it’s not about Matt Bomer or Ian Somerhalder or Ryan Gosling, it’s 'Can we have Christian’s point of view please?'. So maybe I’ll do that.

In the book we discover Christian Grey is damaged by things that happened in his childhood. Is it trying to excuse the fact he's into sado-masochistic sex?

I do get asked this. BDSM just works for this particular work of fiction. I’ve met many people who are into this lifestyle who aren’t completely f----- up.

I have to ask you about equipment. How did you find out about all this? Did you research it online?

Yes. You’d be amazed what’s out there.

What songs do you think are best for making love to?

I think these things are in the eye of the beholder. I have songs that I write sex to. One of them is the Black Eyed Peas' Sexy. That’s a very sexy song. And that’s all I’m prepared to tell you. Because if I told you the other ones you wouldn’t believe it.

You once said writing these books was your midlife crisis writ large.

I kind of meant it. I worked for a company I was incredibly miserable at. Then I discovered writing after reading Twilight. I stopped going out and getting drunk quite so much, so it was good.

It’s happened so fast - you’ve gone from being completely unknown and now in the top 100 world’s most influential women.

It’s overwhelming and I try not to think about it too much. I wrote these books for me, for myself, and I would say to anyone who’s writing: write stuff for yourself. But other people seem to share my fantasies too, so that’s interesting. I’m not such a pervert. It was a huge relief to find that out.

Is there anybody from any era you would like to play Christian Grey?

Robert Redford was cute. Paul Newman was cute as well. I don’t know. This is not the road I want to travel. If you say 'so-and-so' and they don’t want to do it... it’s just best to keep your mouth shut.

Where next for you?

There’s so much going on in the next three months. I’m doing a book tour of the West Coast. I’m finally going to Seattle and Portland, where the books are set. I set them there because it started out as Twilight fan fiction. I didn’t know the places at all and I researched everything on Google Street View.

Gritty investigative journalism...


Fifty Shades of Grey: The Classical Album is released on September 17

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The Wildest Moments From Fashion's Night Out In NYC


victoria's secret fno

New York fashionistas hit the streets last night for the fourth annual Fashion's Night Out. 

Department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's hosted celebrity-filled bashes, while the crowds came out in full force to drink champagne and shop in SoHo and the Meatpacking District.

From the Upper East Side to lower Broadway, here are the highlights from this year's FNO.

In Rockefeller Center, models posed in clothes from the surrounding shops as people walked by and snapped photos.

Across the street at Saks Fifth Avenue, technicians gave out free manicures and makeovers.

The Astro Twins did palm readings on the eighth floor of Saks in the new shoe department.

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Lululemon Just Proved It Isn't Fazed By All The Competition



Women haven't abandoned Lululemon for cheaper copycats just yet. 

Lululemon just posted second-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates and sales are up 15 percent from this time last year. 

The good news comes at a tough time for Lululemon. Shares are down and the retailer is facing more competition than ever before. 

Gap's Athleta is seen as Lululemon's biggest threat. The activewear retailer is even going as far as to open stores in close proximity to Lululemon. Because Athleta's stuff is cheaper, analysts speculated that women might abandon their beloved $98 yoga pants. 

Nordstrom also got in on the yoga-wear trend, poaching Lululemon designers to curate its Zella line. And Lululemon is currently suing Calvin Klein for allegedly violating a patent they had on a certain pair of yoga pants. 

The brand is continuing to innovate its clothing and stay one step ahead of competitors, CEO Christine Day said this morning in an earnings conference call. 

Today's results prove that Lululemon is more than capable of excelling under pressure. It looks like the activewear retailer is here to stay. 

DON'T MISS: Celebrity Designer Max Azria Tells Us How Fashion Houses Are Coping With The Bad Economy >

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The Newest Range Rover Is More Efficient And Luxurious Than Its Predecessor


range rover land rover debut 4th generation

In London last night, Land Rover revealed a Range Rover that is an improvement over its predecessor in just about every way.

An all-aluminum unibody structure (a first for an SUV) and a 5-liter V8 engine make the new model 926 pounds lighter than the third generation Range Rover.

That drop translates to a 22 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

The new Range Rover offers more of the luxury the brand is known for, with 4.7 inches extra legroom in the rear seats, thanks to an increased wheelbase. Acoustic lamination reduces noise in the cabin, allowing the 29 speakers of the Meridian sound system to shine.

The SUV's unusual entrance it arrived on stage after driving through a three-foot deep pool of water and over a pile of rocks  showcased its off-road capability.

Land Rover plans on deliveries to North America in December. How the SUV drives remains to be seen, but it has a lot of promise.

Land Rover also announced plans for an upcoming hybrid Range Rover for production in late 2013.

new ranger rover suv

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: A Massive Old Estate Near San Francisco Just Hit The Market For $85 Million


flood estate

A huge historic home in Woodside, Calif. is on sale for $85 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The home spans 9,000 square feet, has nine bedrooms, eight and a half bathrooms, and sits on 90 acres of land.

The house has belonged to Elizabeth Dresser Flood, who passed away last year. It had been in her family since it was built in 1941, and has hosted politicians such as President John F. Kennedy. 

Also on the property are a two-bedroom gatehouse and a two-bedroom caretaker's house.

Welcome to Greer Road in Woodside, Calif.

The Flood Family is selling the house because their matriarch Elizabeth Flood passed away in April.

Inside, the home is quaint and heavily wooded.

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No Jail Time For Artist Shepard Fairey In Case Over Obama 'Hope' Poster


SHEPARD FAIREYNEW YORK (AP) — The artist who created the "HOPE" poster that came to symbolize Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was sentenced Friday to two years of probation and 300 hours of community service by a judge who cited his charity work.

Shepard Fairey hugged his lawyers, was kissed by wife and shook hands with friends and supporters after his sentence was pronounced.

The government had said in a presentence memorandum that Fairey, 42, should serve some time for destroying documents and fabricating others in a civil lawsuit he brought against The Associated Press in 2009. No prison term, it said, would send a "terrible message" to others who might engage in similar conduct.

"After spending a great amount of time, energy and legal effort, all of us at The Associated Press are glad this matter is finally behind us," AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. "We hope this case will serve as a clear reminder to all of the importance of fair compensation for those who gather and produce original news content."

Prosecutors had told U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in Manhattan that Fairey had "both an ideological and financial motive" to alter evidence in his favor after basing his poster on one of the AP's photographs. They said he did so over several weeks, engaging in behavior that "cannot be dismissed as remotely impulsive or the product of a moment of bad judgment."

"This was not a mere failure to preserve documents," the government wrote. "This was the intentional destruction of evidence and the intentional manufacture of false evidence. The defendant knew exactly what he was doing when he created the fake documents and sought to destroy the deleted documents."

They noted that revenues at three companies he controlled doubled from roughly $3 million in 2007 to $6 million in 2009 while he was honored repeatedly, including being chosen to design the official poster of Obama's 2009 inauguration and commissioned to create the cover image of Obama for Time magazine's 2008 Person of the Year, which was displayed in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Defense attorneys argued that a prison term was not warranted, noting that the misdemeanor charge carries a potential of only six months in prison.

They said Fairey is contrite and noted that he settled his civil case with the AP on unfavorable terms that included sanctions. The government outlined in its court papers that the deal required Fairey to pay the AP $1.6 million, with an insurance company contributing about $450,000 of that amount.

In their sentencing memorandum, defense lawyers described Fairey as a devoted husband and father of two young daughters who runs companies that employ almost 30 people and who serves as the creative force behind a clothing line that employs another 80 people.

They called his crime the "worst mistake of his life" and said he altered evidence "not to better his chances of winning the lawsuit or to enrich himself, but out of fear of embarrassment."

The lawyers wrote that Fairey, who has diabetes, has already suffered "significant damage to his reputation," adding that an Internet search of his name "now produces results not just about his artistic and civic accomplishments, but also many web sites degrading him for his misconduct."

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This Model's 'Squinty Eyed' Photo Caused A PR Nightmare For Hollister In Korea


hollister squinty eyes

Hollister has caused quite a stir in South Korea. The American clothing brand recently opened its first store in the country, but that's not what's attracting all the attention.

Models who were visiting Korea to promote the store's opening took pictures that have caused a PR nightmare for the brand.

"Images of models making 'squinty eyes' faces, flipping their middle finger to photographers, and mocking Asian pronunciation of English appeared on their Twitter accounts," writes Lee Hyung-Ju at koreaBANG.

The offending tweet said, "Hahahaha they ruhhvvvv itttt!"

Word got out in a hurry. The big Korean publications picked up the story, locals flocked online to call for a boycott and some particularly angry people found the models' personal details and let everyone know.

Hollister has since apologized and fired the people involved. Here's a summary statement from Hollister, which was posted in reply to a user on its Facebook page:

"In summary, the company terminated the couple of associates involved. On behalf of our more than 80,000 associates around the world who cherish our core values and our culture of diversity and inclusion, we sincerely apologize for the offense caused by these unauthorized, ill-considered actions."

NOW SEE: This Tweet Sparked A Twitter Disaster For Starbucks >

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13 Iconic Andy Warhol Works That You Can Buy In A $100 Million Estate Sale


liza minelli warhol

Earlier this week, the foundation that oversees Andy Warhol's estate announced that it would sell some 20,000 of the artist's works as part of an effort to shift its focus to grant-making.

The works, which include silk-screen paintings, drawings, prints, collages, and photographs, are expected to bring in at least $100 million as they are sold by Christie's in a series of sales over the next few years.

The first Warhol auction is right around the cornerit's scheduled for November 12 at Christie's New York showroom, and will feature more than 300 photos, paintings, and prints. Click through to check out some of the highlights.

"Lynn Watt" (1980); Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas. Estimated sale price: $250,000 to $350,000.

"Still Life (Hammer & Sickle) (1977); Graphite and wash on ivory woven paper. Estimated sale price: $150,000 to $200,000.

"Three Targets;" Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas. Estimated sale price: $1 million to $1.5 million

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SPOTTED: You'll Need A Ticket To Fashion Week To See This Mercedes-Benz Up Close


It's Fashion Week in New York, and Meredith Galante, reporter for Business Insider's The Life, secured an invite to the tents at Lincoln Center, where she spotted this 2013 G-Class.

The boxy, luxury off-road vehicle arrived in US dealerships last month, with a $113,000 starting price.

Have you spotted a rare or unusual way of getting around in your travels? Did you take a photo? Do you like sharing? Let me know via e-mail: adavies@businessinsider.com or on Twitter: @adavies47.

mercedes-benz fashion week ny g-class

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