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These photos show everything people touch in a day


Claudia(41) Madrid

How much can you tell about a person by looking at their things?

Paula Zuccotti started investigating this question a few years ago by photographing everything people around the world touch in a day. The subjects took notes on everything they touched and then gathered the objects later.

"Many gadgets have been designed to help us figure out what we do in a day—calories consumed, steps taken, stress levels—but the answers are already in front of us," Zuccotti says in an email.

The project, "Everything We Touch," is featured in a book and will be the subject of a documentary. Zuccotti, a product designer and consultant, says focusing on the items people interact with provided some insights.

"People are unified much more by their interests than by geography or age," she says. "Someone’s photo from China can look more like someone from California than from another Chinese counterpart."

From an 8-year-old in Melbourne to a 72-year-old in Shanghai, here’s what people touch in a day.

SEE ALSO: Here's what life is like for the average person on earth

DON'T MISS: Two designers tracked every aspect of their lives

Arki, an 8-year-old in Melbourne, likes sports.

Claire, 33, is a director and photographer in Los Angeles.

Gemma, 48, is a chef in Marrakesh.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There's a right way and a wrong way to snack — here are 7 healthy tips to live by


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The midmorning hunger pangs that come after a much-too-early bowl of cereal can be hard to ignore.

But as you head toward the refrigerator, keep in mind that there's a right way and a wrong way to snack.

To help guide you toward the healthiest options, Harvard Medical School compiled a list of seven tips. Here's the ultimate guide to healthy snacking habits.

SEE ALSO: How to have perfect hygiene, according to science

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Choose whole-grain snacks.

For a sure-fire energy boost, pick a whole-grain snack. "Whole-grain snacks can give you some energy with staying power," Harvard Medical School's Healthbeat newsletter said. When you can, opt for whole-grain pretzels, chips, or cereals that are high in fiber.

Breakfast is key — but avoid too much sugar.

Breakfast can help keep you energized throughout the day, especially when you're accustomed to eating it. Try to go for a morning meal that's high in protein and complex carbohydrates but low in sugar.

"Many breakfast foods can be repurposed as a nutritious snack later in the day. How about a slice of whole-grain toast topped with low-sugar jam?" the newsletter suggested.

Nuts, in moderation, can keep you feeling full and satisfied.

"Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels)," the newsletter said.

But because nuts can be high in calories, try to keep the portions on the smaller side. Pictured is one serving of almonds.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

8 ways dating and relationships may look different by 2040


BI_Graphics_The future of dating copy_3x4_03Dates in the future may not happen in coffee shops — instead, you might just sit in your living room with a virtual reality headset, according to a recent report from Imperial College London and eHarmony.

Released in late 2015, the report predicts how relationships will change over the next 25 years (and discusses how they've already changed in recent years) using eHarmony's user data; historical accounts; and interviews with anthropology, technology, and biomedicine experts. 

"People want to be matched — and ultimately form relationships with — like-minded people in the most efficient way possible," eHarmony's UK director Romain Betrand tells Business Insider. "What’s different is how people will go about it, redefined by advances in science and everyday consumer technology."

Here's how dating and relationships could look by 2040.

Dates in virtual reality.

Forget swiping right on Tinder — dates in VR could make things a whole lot easier.

In 2016, people have already popped the question in VR. By 2040, you may be able to hold someone's hand before you actually "meet" them IRL, according to the report.

With new VR technology, we might not only be able to see and hear other people, but touch and smell them too.

"Nobody would be really too far away to have a relationship with," Betrand says. "It would be like your partner is in the room with you when you want them around."

The ability to see how our partners feel.

In the future, we may be able to physically see a person's emotions, the report says.

New Deal Design, the designers behind Fitbit's trackers, are working to create a "tattoo" embedded under the skin that visualizes health and emotions.

When someone touches or feels something, the tattoo, called UnderSkin, will glow a personalized pattern. For example, when a person holds their partner's hand, the tattoo may glow in the shape of a pentagon to express love.

The designers believe they could build UnderSkin by 2021.

Relationships with robots.

When we're feeling introverted, we could one day turn to robots instead of humans.

Interacting with a robot, rather than a partner, could create less emotional pressure, says managing director of Silicon Valley Robotics Andrea Keay. By 2029, the report predicts we could have two soul mates: one human and one robot.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These digital frames are like Netflix for artwork


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For $9.99 per month — less than one museum ticket — New York startup Electric Objects wants to beam art from galleries and museums into your living room.

The company announced its newest product, a 23-inch digital canvas called the EO2, on October 18. The device is designed to show static or animated artwork on a 1080p matte screen, which can be controlled from your smartphone or desktop. The screen, which is surrounded by an aluminum frame that's 21.75 inches tall by 12.9 inches wide, retails for $299.

The EO2 connects to your home Wi-Fi network, and comes with a connected app that lets owners choose which images to display. They can upload their own images, or browse an array of offerings and user-submitted art playlists on Electric Objects' platform. From there, they can freely switch between images as desired or put them in a slideshow rotation. Call it a Chromecast for art.

Electric Objects founder Jake Levine tells Business Insider that he hopes the device will make art more accessible to people who either don't go to museums or are sometimes unsatisfied with the experience. While there's value in seeing art in person, there's no comparable digital analogue.

Gallery version

"The connection between artist and viewer has escaped the art world for the last 10 years while every other industry has been transformed by the internet," he says. Electric Objects wants to erase that gap by forging a connection from creators to viewers on its platform.

"We have artists who live in Brooklyn and produce something, and within minutes it's up on the wall on someone's kitchen in London," Levine says.

Electric Objects' newest feature is an optional $9.99-a-month "art discovery service" called Art Club, which the company bills as a thoughtfully curated series that's updated every week. The subscription gives users access to work from museum collections — Electric Objects has partnerships with five museums, including LACMA, the National Gallery of Art, and the Getty — and exclusive original artwork. The company has an ongoing program that commissions artists to create series of five or six works for the platform. In the future, Electric Objects also plans to provide access to live-streamed performance art shows or painting sessions. 

Bedroom_Max_Van_Gogh copy

This isn't far from Netflix's model — the company also offers subscribers access to a wide array of content for a monthly fee, and pays studios to make original creative works exclusively for the platform.

Levine says his customers have been pleased with how seamlessly the viewing experience translates from gallery to home. One customer told him that she and her husband and kids were taking turns displaying different artworks and reading about them.

"That should be a museum director's dream," Levine says, "to be able to take that experience and educational mission of the organization and take it into the daily lives of their members. And it's thrilling to see that happen."

As a display, the EO2's functionality isn't much different than, say, a large-scale digital picture frame that you can order on Amazon for a similar price. But the relative cheapness of the EO2 for its size beats out the competition. Meural and Blackdove offer similar digital canvases with their own artist networks, but theirs are bigger and pricier — 32 x 21 inches for $595 and 42.4 x 24.6 inches for $999 respectively.

But at $299, Electric Objects could be an easy, affordable way to put a rotating art gallery inside your home.

SEE ALSO: 7 science-backed reasons you should make art, even if you're bad at it

Join the conversation about this story »

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The best marijuana vaporizer for every type of person


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Marijuana sales could hit $20 billion by 2020, with help from the ever-growing vaporizer market.

Vaping is an alternative to smoking that involves inhaling vapor from an electronic device. Some research suggests vaping is less harmful than lighting up because it doesn't require igniting a material and inhaling carcinogens and toxins along with it.

But as the industry heats up, so does the competition. These days, there's a range of devices to fit every consumer's needs — whether they prioritize ease of use, portability, or style.

With so many options out there, Business Insider set out to find the very best vaporizers.

We put together a panel of industry experts and asked them for recommendations in six categories: best for the beginner, the user-on-the-go, the user who blazes at home, the marijuana concentrates fan, the buyer on a budget, and the techie. We used their responses as well as anecdotal evidence and our own personal experiences to come up with the list below.

SEE ALSO: The 'Apple of vaping' made an e-cigarette for marijuana — here's what it's like

For the beginner: Alchemy Vaporizer Pen by Dark Heart

Price:~$40 per replacement cartridge

Taking a hit from a vape pen is often as intuitive as placing your lips on it and inhaling.

"I recommend beginners start off with vape pens since they are inexpensive and super easy to use," says David Hua, cofounder and CEO of medical marijuana company Meadow.

Hua is a fan of the Alchemy Vaporizer Pen, which uses cartridges filled with potent marijuana oil. The company behind the device names each botanical-infused pod after the effect it cultivates: "Relax" contains a soothing blend of lavender, chamomile, and an indica strain to calm the senses, while "Awaken" uses citrus, mint, and a sativa strain to invigorate the user.

"These experience-based oils are especially helpful for those who are new to cannabis and don't yet know the effects of particular strains," Hua says.

Dark Heart's cartridges also work with most generic pens, which retail for about $10.

Find it here.

For the on-the-go user: The Mighty by Storz & Bickel


The Mighty by Storz and Bickel might look like an old-school walkie-talkie more than a vaporizer, but the portable device has merits where it counts.

Max Simon, CEO and founder of Green Flower Media, says the Mighty offers the "highest quality in terms of functionality and precision."

Joe Dolce, author of "Brave New Weed," agrees: "The Mighty is not the most beautiful, inexpensive, or easily concealed vaporizer on the market, but it delivers the most generous and flavorful vape hit with low draw resistance of any I've tried."

Experienced users will enjoy the precision temperature control, which allows them to ramp up the effects of specific terpenes (oils) and cannabinoids (chemical compounds), Dolce explains. Plus, rich vapor flavor and a long-lasting battery make the Mighty a top performer.

Find it here.

For the user who blazes at home: Volcano Classic by Storz & Bickel


The Volcano Classic takes the cake in the tabletop vaporizer category. Really, what else could?

The device debuted in the mid-2000s and quickly amassed fans for delivering heavy hits with consistency and durability.

Manufactured by hand in Germany, the Volcano Classic works by heating up loose-leaf material packed into a chamber, which causes an attached balloon to fill with vapor. The user closes a valve that seals the balloon, removes the bag, and inhales from it to get high.

"The bags this vaporizer fills are a hit at any social event," writes Brandon Siddall, head budtender at top marijuana dispensary Caliva, and Adam Smith, purchasing manager, in an email. "But on a nice, low setting with just a little material, they are also perfect for a solo relaxation session after work."

Find it here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I spent 2 days at a marijuana business conference — here's how I know the industry is changing


Weed marijuana

This past weekend, medicinal marijuana patients, business folk, and "potrepreneurs" converged at the New West Summit, San Francisco's business conference related to all things marijuana.

But there was something unusual about the event.

I didn't hear one person say the word "pot."

Or weed. Grass. Dope. Herb. Mary Jane. Ganja. 420.

Richard Branson cracked during his keynote address that entrepreneurs in the space "like to get stoned occasionally" and he would enjoy a "spliff" after his talk— maybe the only time marijuana slang was used on stage during the weekend.

The marijuana industry is growing up in front of our eyes. As drug transactions move from back alleys and clubs to legal dispensaries, the culture around pot changes. In an effort to be taken more seriously, industry insiders find more sophisticated language to describe their trade.

Slang no longer has a place in the industry vernacular. Entrepreneurs tell me they much prefer the scientific name for the plant, cannabis.

In the exhibit hall, purveyors showed their wares: high-tech vaporizers from companies like Firefly and Pax Labs, a marijuana-infused health products line from Fleurish Farms, and reports from business intelligence platform Headset. I spotted few companies with names that reveal the industry they operate in, and plenty advertising health and wellbeing.

A recent investigation by the Marijuana Business Daily underlines this trend.

pax labs pax 3 era review 0340

In an analysis of over 3,000 state-licensed marijuana companies, the publication found that companies use wellness-oriented words, such as "organic" and "herbal," in their names far more often than slang. The Marijuana Business Daily did not include businesses in California and Michigan, which do not issue licenses at the state level.

"Farm," "green," "leaf," "bud," "garden," and "organic" are among the most popular words used in company names.

As Marijuana Business Daily writer Eli McVey points out, this hasn't always been the case. In the mid-2000s, before Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational weed in 2012, words like "ganja" and "dank" popped up more frequently. 

But as the national conversation around marijuana turned to issues around public health, rather than criminalization, the industry adopted a new vernacular around wellness and healing people.

Five states will vote to legalize recreational marijuana this November, while medical marijuana is up for consideration in four more states.

SEE ALSO: Richard Branson's advice for marijuana entrepreneurs: 'Screw it, just do it'

Join the conversation about this story »

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How a student at UPenn's Wharton School negotiated almost $50,000 off his yearly tuition


Freddy Chang

Freddy Chang, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, is happily immersed in the heavy course load required of his dual majors in finance and international studies at the Wharton School.

But as much as he's enjoying his second year at the Ivy League school in Philadelphia, he almost gave up his spot in the class of 2019 for financial reasons.

"I knew that there was no way that my family could fully front the cost of attending a private Ivy League institution," Chang told Business Insider.

Chang, who applied early to UPenn in 2014, was initially elated to find out he had been accepted.

But excitement soon gave way to disappointment when he read his financial aid decision letter indicating his family was ineligible to receive any money.

"We would have to front the entire — I believe it was $69,000 — cost of going to school," Chang said. "My heart just dropped when I saw that."

University Pennsylvania Quad Campus

For the 2016-17 school year, tuition and fees at Penn are $51,464, while housing, dining and other miscellaneous expenses are about another $18,000.

Unsure of what to do next, Chang reached out to NextGenVest, a startup based in New York that helps students navigate the complicated financial aid and student loan process.

The company advised him through negotiating more financial aid — an option Chang didn't know was possible.

While the appeal process differs by school, for UPenn, Chang wrote an appeal letter, submitted extra tax forms, and provided additional teacher recommendations.

It paid off. UPenn reversed its decision and provided Chang $49,000 in aid for his freshman year. It provided the same amount his sophomore year.

Students applying to college can also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. But by accepting a spot at a college and then seeking aid from the government, students are rolling the die on whether they will be granted the money. In Chang's case, he applied to UPenn early decision — before he could submit his FAFSA that year.

"In the end, I was flabbergasted at the amount of aid that they gave us after they said we weren't eligible for anything — to go from zero dollars in financial aid to $49,000 just because you asked," he said.

It's a lesson Chang found surprising, especially since he said he never heard that advice from college counselors. Chang now works for NextGenVest, attempting to pay forward the knowledge that afforded him the opportunity to attend his first-choice school.

He provided a bit of advice for students in a similar situation:

"NextGenVest tells all of its students to write an appeal letter, first of all thanking the university for accepting them, then explaining how they would be a leader on campus but due to the financial aid package they currently have they would be unable to go. ... Fight for your case and tell your story."

Chang stressed that once a college accepts an applicant, it typically tries hard to make sure the student can attend.

"Schools don't want to have any accepted student leave because of financial issues, so I think most colleges, if not all, will try to accommodate to the best of their ability," he said.

SEE ALSO: A student who got into all 8 Ivy League schools explains a trick for bargaining with colleges to lower the cost

Join the conversation about this story »

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18 European countries where people work fewer hours than the US


amazon warehouse

Last month, Amazon announced its plans to pilot a program in which a few dozen employees will work just 30 hours each week. In return, they'll receive 75% of their normal salary and retain full benefits.

The idea behind the pilot is to see whether working 30 hours could actually make employees more productive than a 40-plus-hour-week. Research backs up this premise, since evidence suggests most people can only concentrate on a task for four or five hours at a time before we start to feel fatigued. After we've hit our peak, our performance will begin to flatline or suffer. 

Citizens of some countries, like France and Hungary, have been working fewer hours for a long time. A new working paperspotted by Quartz, looks at the average annual work hours per person in 18 European countries and the US (factoring in vacation time)Researchers compiled data from the European Labor Force Survey, the US Current Population Survey, and the German Microcensus to produce the ranking. 

Check out the list below, which shows how many hours the average employee from each country works per year.

SEE ALSO: Why every weekend should be a 3-day weekend

19. The US — 1,353 hours per year.

18. Switzerland — 1,310 hours per year.

17. Czech Republic — 1,219 hours per year.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 42 best design concepts of the year



From a radical car prototype to a construction breakthrough to the coolest pen ever, there were a lot of cool designs in the past year.

The Red Dot Awards named 42 design concepts as the Best of the Best, selecting from nearly 5,000 submissions. Check out the winners below.

SEE ALSO: New data reveals 10 fashion trends sweeping America

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The 2-in-1 kitchen funnel can be a funnel or a container.

Red Dot juror: "This is a very elegant object. It’s the use of material which is unusual for this kind of product, being an air humidifier."

Design by Choi Jueun, Kim Bitnuri, Lee Soojin, Hong Hyekyung, South Korea.

"An Insight Into Sight" teaches about design for the visually impaired.

Design from Ngā Pae Māhutonga – The School of Design, Massey University, New Zealand. 

Auroma One brews a high-tech personal coffee with zero plastic waste.

Design from Auroma Brewing Company, Canada.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

5 reasons Iceland has become one of the hottest tourist destinations for Americans



Iceland is booming. The northern island nation is quickly becoming one of the hottest European destinations for Americans going abroad.

In fact, American travelers are the largest source of tourism in Iceland, and it's projected that nearly 325,000 of them have already visited in 2016, according to Vox. It's expected that by the end of the year, more Americans will visit than there are people living in Iceland (the population is about 331,000).

It's a big increase from 2010, when just 51,000 Americans visited the country. American interest in traveling to Iceland has increased 65% over the last year, Kayak.com told Vox.

That's a lot of attention for a place that is extremely cold in the winter and only gets about four hours of daylight much of the year. There are, however, five reasons that could explain the explosion in tourism from 2010 to 2016, and the biggest one involves a natural disaster.

1. What volcano? 

The 2010 eruption of volcano Eyjafjallajökull attracted worldwide attention by halting much of Europe's air traffic for an entire week. Iceland's tourism board capitalized on this attention by releasing a PR blitz campaign highlighting the natural beauty of Iceland and putting it in the minds of would-be travelers, according to Vox. That marketing campaign appears to have paid off.

2. Cheap flights

But that wouldn't have been enough on its own to bring in so many Americans. The logistics of flying to Iceland also check out. It's a pretty short flight (around 5-6 hours) from the population-dense East Coast — shorter than most would expect it to take to fly to Europe. And more importantly, budget airlines like WOW Air are offering inexpensive flights. A trip to Iceland is 26% cheaper than other European destinations, according to Kayak.com.

This summer, WOW Air announced a set of flights from Los Angeles to Keflavik International Airport for just $99. Predictably, those sold out pretty quickly.

3. More places to stay

Iceland's popularity is peaking at the same time that services like Airbnb are making travel easier than ever. In addition, Iceland is seeing a major hotel boom in its major cities, and more major luxury brands arriving soon, according to Travel Pulse. Iceland saw a 36% increase in hotel stays from 2014 to 2015.

4. Iceland on TV

blue lagoon iceland

Iceland's natural beauty has also attracted American media producers, introducing the country to a bevy of TV watchers who otherwise don't pay attention to travel trends. For the sixth season of ABC's "The Bachelorette" in 2010, producers decided to set an episode in Iceland, no doubt contributing to the massive increase of tourism to the country.

5. Iceland is relatively safe and stable

Iceland is shielded from many of the economic and terrorism issues that are troubling mainland Europe. While tourism is declining in many parts of Europe, the trendiness of Iceland makes it a bit of an outlier, notes Vox. It's like going to Europe without really dealing with the problems plaguing the continent.

SEE ALSO: 11 warm places you can travel to this season without worrying about the Zika virus

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13 things you'll probably regret doing in your 20s


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How do you know if you're taking full advantage of your 20s, making all the right decisions in your personal and professional lives?

Well, you don't. Life is about taking chances and doing your best.

But those who've already been through this critical decade can certainly help point out the landmines. We turned to threads on Quora and Reddit, where users weighed in with their biggest regrets from their 20s.

Here are a few things you might want to avoid:

1. Not exercising

Quora user Carl Logan regrets never working out in his 20s.

"If I [had] hit the gym I probably would've been a lot happier and would've had more success with the opposite sex," he writes.

Even beyond happiness and the ability to attract mates with your six-pack abs, regular exercise in your 20s can help prevent health issues down the line. One recent study found that your fitness level in your 20s may have a major impact on your risk of heart disease and death as you progress toward middle age.

2. Worrying about what other people think

"I wasted a lot of time worrying about what others think — I've learned it rarely matters," Logan says.

In fact, research suggests that people generally overestimate the amount of attention others pay them. It's called the spotlight effect, because people mistakenly believe that they are the center of attention in a room.

If you accept this idea in your 20s instead of later on, you'll have more time to act freely, without fearing that you look like an idiot. Try one of these tips to stop obsessing over other people's impressions of you.

3. Letting your parents' opinions determine your life choices

Riina Rinkineva says she regrets "not standing my ground against my parents for what I wanted for myself in my life and what I didn't want."

It's incredibly important to set some boundaries between you and your folks, so that you have space to figure out what you want personally and professionally.

At the same time, you shouldn't cut yourself off completely from parental support. As psychologist Jeffrey Arnett told Business Insider, parents "often have life experience and wisdom that you haven't acquired yet."

credit card

4. Racking up credit-card debt

Yash Mishra says he regrets getting a credit card and "charging like crazy" in his 20s.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, consider taking a tip from one former Business Insider reporter and going on a cash-only diet, during which you stop using credit and debit cards completely.

5. Getting married too quickly

Before getting married, Diane O'Neil says, "I should have first found out who I was and what I was capable of achieving as an individual; I became someone's wife long before I found out what I wanted to do personally."

Obviously, everyone is different and, for some people, getting hitched before 30 is the perfect choice. In fact, some research suggests that people who marry in their mid to late 20s have happier marriages than those who marry later.

But if you feel like you need more time to explore — by traveling, trying out different careers, and learning what you want in a romantic relationship — you may not want to rush to the altar.

6. Not taking dating and relationships seriously

Over on Reddit, zazzlekdazzle says, "I wish I had been more serious about dating and sex. In my 20s, I just felt like it was wisest to treat dating/sex as casual by default, not looking for love, if love was meant to be it will happen."

Again, there's no one approach to relationships that works for everyone. But it's worth noting that psychologist Meg Jay, author of "The Defining Decade," says she sees many 20-somethings making the same mistake.

As Jay said in her 2013 TED Talk, "Picking your family is about consciously choosing who and what you want rather than just making it work or killing time with whoever happens to be choosing you." She told one 20-something client: "The time to start picking your family is now."

7. Not investing

One of Ramya Sridharan's biggest regrets from her 20s is that she didn't invest in the stock market. As she notes, the earlier you start investing, the higher the returns.

Sridharan is right — the earlier you invest, the more time your money has to accrue interest. It's a principle called "compound interest." That's why you should open a retirement account, such as a company-sponsored 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA), as soon as possible.

white beach boracay

8. Not traveling the world

"The biggest regret I have about one decision I made in my 20s is not traveling enough when there were a lot of opportunities," writes Vishnu Prabhu.

Inspired to globe-trot but overwhelmed with all the potential places to visit? We've narrowed it down to 40 trips you should take before you turn 30 — from swimming with jellyfish in Palau to camping out in Nevada for Burning Man.

9. Forgetting to floss

"I have cavities now because I didn't floss daily," says Eurycerus. "Kills me that I could've prevented it. Now I floss daily."

Recently there's been some controversy in the medical community over whether flossing has benefits. Apparently, as Business Insider's Erin Brodwin reported, the effectiveness of flossing has never been studied.

Still, many experts say that not flossing lets plaque build up between teeth and become tartar, a hard deposit that can irritate gums, and can potentially lead to infection and gum disease. Gum disease is also linked to other problems, including diabetes and heart disease — but there's no evidence that one directly causes the other.

10. Never living alone

"I always had a roommate or lived with my fiancé/wife," writes an anonymous Redditor. "I strongly believe I missed out on discovering some level of self sufficiency. ... It's not the [worst] thing in the world, but I feel like it could have contributed to my growth."

Living alone is getting more common. As of 2013, as many as 23% of Americans were doing it, partly thanks to the decline in marriage rates. But there's still a relative paucity of advice for singletons.

Kate Bolick, author of "Spinster," told Business Insider that, if you're living alone, it's important to accept that you'll be lonely at times and there's nothing shameful about it. You'll also want to place special importance on your friendships, which can have a big impact on your health and happiness.

Happy Couple on Date at Restaurant

11. Not mustering the courage to ask someone out

Redditor stardust7 says, "I regret not being more direct when I liked someone. I had no confidence back then."

If you're not quite bold enough to approach the object of your affection in person, be slightly less bold and take these tips from comedian Aziz Ansari on how to text them. Hint: "heyyy" probably won't work.

12. Not relocating for better job opportunities

David McGuirl says he may have sabotaged his career by being afraid of taking a risk:

"In my 20s, I came in second place in a Warner Brothers comedy writing competition, and they encouraged me to move to LA and get an agent. It was encouragement, not a job offer. Taking such a risk scared me because of the uncertainty and the idea of moving to Los Angeles on my own, so I never pursued it."

That said, moving across the country for a new job (or the opportunity to get a new job) is a big deal. If you're thinking about relocating, make sure you can first answer these 15 questions— like whether your salary is adjusted to the cost of living in the new city.

13. Living the way you think a 20-something is supposed to live

Ultimately, the only person who truly knows what would make for a fulfilling decade is, well, you.

"My advice is don't rush to cram stuff into your twenties because you think you should," writes redditor michaelnoir. "Just do what you want, do what feels natural, and take your time with it if need be."

SEE ALSO: 25 changes to make in your 20s to set yourself up for lifelong success

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: TONY ROBBINS: What you need to do in your 20s to be more successful in your 30s

Data says: Don't dress as Donald Trump if you're looking for romance on Halloween


donald trump

Not all Halloween costumes are equally attractive to potential romantic partners, according to dating service PlentyOfFish. In fact, some are likely to scare them off: namely Donald Trump (and The Joker).

In a survey of 500 US singles over age 21, PlentyOfFish asked men and women which pop culture costumes they were most likely to dress as, and then which costumes they would find the most attractive on members of the opposite sex.

The results had some significant differences.


First let's take a look at which costumes men were most likely to dress as:

Screen Shot 2016 10 18 at 5.15.28 PM

Now lets take a look at what costumes women said they would be most likely to be attracted to:

Screen Shot 2016 10 18 at 5.16.05 PM

What are the major differences? First, Batman and The Joker are roughly flipped, meaning men are a lot more likely to dress as The Joker, but women are more likely to be most attracted to Batman. Second, women are not attracted to Donald Trump. He came in last.

But perhaps the biggest surprise comes with Pikachu, who was chosen by just 2.1% of men, but chosen most attractive by 6.4% of women.


Moving onto women, here are what they chose as likely to dress as:

Screen Shot 2016 10 18 at 5.15.41 PM

And the ones men were likely to be most attracted to:

Screen Shot 2016 10 18 at 5.15.55 PM

The big takeaways from this one are that Netflix and Chill is less attractive relative to popularity, and Harley Quinn is more.

It must be said that, one, not everyone is looking for romance on Halloween, and two, this survey didn't take same-sex attraction data into account.

Still, if you're looking for love, you're probably better off not dressing like The Donald.

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17 bad habits that are sabotaging your productivity


woman laptop

Being more productive is about working smarter, not harder, and making the most of each day.

While this is no easy feat, getting more done in less time is a much more attainable goal if you're not sabotaging yourself with bad habits.

Following are 17 things you should stop doing right now to become more productive.

1. Hitting the snooze button

It might feel like pressing the snooze button in the morning gives you a little bit of extra rest to start your day, but the truth is that it does more harm than good.

That's because when you first wake up, your endocrine system begins to release alertness hormones to get you ready for the day. By going back to sleep, you're slowing down this process. Plus, nine minutes doesn't give your body time to get the restorative, deep sleep it needs.

2. Prioritizing work over sleep

This isn't to say you should cut back on sleep.

As Arianna Huffington discusses in her sleep manifesto, "The Sleep Revolution," a good night's sleep has the power to increase productivity, happiness, smarter decision-making, and unlock bigger ideas.

As she explains to Business Insider, a recent McKinsey study shows the direct correlation between getting less sleep and workplace inefficiency. The prefrontal cortex, where the problem-solving functions of the brain are housed, is degraded if we don't get enough sleep. Working 24/7 "we now know is the cognitive equivalent of coming to work drunk," she says.

The trick for getting enough sleep is planning ahead and powering down at a reasonable time.

3. Keeping your phone next to your bed

Another key to getting better sleep is not letting outside influencers impair your sleep.

The LED screens of our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, for example, give off what is called blue light, which studies have shown can damage vision and suppress production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle.

Research also suggests that people with lower melatonin levels are more prone to depression.

4. Skipping breakfast

Our minds and our bodies are connected in a number of important ways, and getting the fuel we needs doesn't just mean resting up.

As Lisa De Fazio, a healthy-lifestyle expert and registered dietitian, tells Business Insider, breakfast is the most important meal of the day

By the time you wake up you likely haven't eaten for 10 or 12 hours, which is where breakfast got its name — it means "breaking the fast," De Fazio says.

Your first meal of the day is what kick-starts your metabolism and replenishes blood-sugar levels so you can focus and be productive throughout the day. When blood-sugar levels are low, she explains, it's much harder to focus and you're more likely to feel tired, irritable, and impatient.

Starting your day off on the right foot is all about balancing high-fiber carbohydrates with lean protein, De Fazio says. While all carbohydrates raise your blood-sugar levels, high-fiber carbs like fruits and whole-grain products do so at a steadier pace than sugar and low-fiber carbs like processed grain.

5. Eating junk food for lunch

Similarly, maintaining energy levels also requires eating a balanced lunch.

High-fat, high-sugar lunches make us sleepy and have low energy by 3 p.m., De Fazio says, so it's important to go heavy on the protein and healthy fats and easy on the carbs when choosing what you eat for lunch.

Luckily, plenty of fast-food chains offer healthy meal options that won't make you pass out at your desk.

6. Impulsive web browsing

Since most of us have access to the internet at work, it's easy to get sidetracked looking up the answer to a random question that just popped into your head.

That's why Quora user Suresh Rathinam recommends writing down these thoughts or questions on a notepad. This way, you can look up the information you want later, when you're not trying to get work done.

7. Multitasking

While many people believe they're great at doing two things at once, scientific research has found that just 2% of the population is capable of effectively multitasking.

For the rest of us, multitasking is a bad habit that decreases our attention spans and makes us less productive in the long run.

8. Checking email throughout the day

Constant internet access can also lead people to check email throughout the day. Sadly, each time you do this, you lose up to 25 minutes of work time. What's more, the constant checking of email makes you dumber.

Instead, strategy consultant Ron Friedman suggests quitting Outlook, closing email tabs, and turning off your phone for 30-minute chunks of deep-diving work.

9. Moral licensing

Whether it's a new diet, workout routine, or work schedule, one of the most difficult things about forming a new habit is the urge to cheat as a reward for sticking to a routine for a while.

This idea that we "deserve" to splurge on fancy meal after being thrifty for a week is called "moral licensing," and it undermines a lot of people's plans for self-improvement.

Instead, try making your goal part of your identity, such that you think of yourself as the kind of person who saves money or works out regularly, rather than as someone who is working against their own will to do something new.

10. Putting off your most important work until later in the day

People often start off their day by completing easy tasks to get themselves rolling and leave their more difficult work for later. This is a bad idea, and one that frequently leads to the important work not getting done at all.

As researchers have found, people have a limited amount of willpower that decreases throughout the day. That being the case, it's best to get your hardest, most important tasks done at the beginning of the day.

11. Taking too many meetings

Nothing disrupts the flow of productivity like an unnecessary meeting. And with tools like email, instant messenger, and video chat at your fingertips, it's best to use meetings for introductions and serious discussions that should only be held in person.

BlueGrace Logistics founder Bobby Harris recommends that people don't accept a meeting unless the person who requested it has put forth a clear agenda and stated exactly how much time they will need. And even then, Harris recommends giving the person half of the time they initially requested.

12. Sitting all day

Nilofer Merchant, a business consultant and the author of "The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy Paperback," shares with TED audiences how she's helped several major companies develop successful new ideas: walking meetings.

She recommends forgoing coffee or fluorescent-lighted conference-room meetings in favor of walking and talking 20 to 30 miles a week.

"You'll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking, and in the way that you do, you'll bring into your life an entirely new set of ideas," she says.

13. Skipping your workout

Studies have shown that morning and afternoon workouts can increase a person's quality and amount of sleep at night — one study found that exercise adds around 45 minutes of extra sleep — and better sleep leads to a more productive day.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Friedman argues that adding exercise to your regimen can directly contribute to your work productivity.

He points to certain cognitive benefits you can expect after incorporating regular exercise into your routine including improved concentration, sharper memory, prolonged mental stamina, and lower stress, and says exercise has also been show to elevate mood, all of which has "serious implications for workplace performance."

14. Failing to prioritize

Some people think having lots of goals is the best way to ensure success — if one idea fails, at least there are plenty more in reserve to turn to. Unfortunately, this sort of wavering can be extremely unproductive.

Warren Buffett has the perfect antidote. Seeing that his personal pilot was not accomplishing his life goals, Buffett asked him to make a list of 25 things he wanted to get done before he died. But rather than taking little steps toward completing every one of them, Buffett advised the pilot to pick five things he thought were most important and ignore the rest.

15. Over-planning

Many ambitious and organized people try to maximize their productivity by meticulously planning out every hour of their day. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned, and a sick child or unexpected assignment can throw a wrench into their entire day.

Instead, you might want to try planning just four or five hours of real work each day, that way you're able to be flexible later on.

16. Under-planning

With that being said, you should take time to strategize before attempting to achieve any long-term goals. Trying to come up with the endgame of a project you're doing midway through the process can be extremely frustrating and waste a huge amount of time.

Harvard lecturer Robert Pozen recommends that you first determine what you want your final outcome to be, then lay out a series of steps for yourself. Once you're halfway through, you can review your work to make sure you're on track and adjust accordingly.

17. Perfectionism

More often than laziness the root of procrastination is the fear of not doing a good job, says British philosopher and author Alain de Botton on his website, The Book of Life.

"We begin to work only when the fear of doing nothing at all exceeds the fear of not doing it very well … And that can take time," he writes.

The only way to overcome procrastination is to abandon perfectionism and not fuss over details as you move forward. Pretending the task doesn't matter and that it's OK to mess up could help you get started faster.

Aaron Taube contributed to an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: 11 bad habits that are ruining your sleep

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Inside the dreamy pasta restaurant that was just named the best place in Britain for cheap eats



If you've spent any time near Borough Market over the past few months, you've likely noticed swarms of people queuing outside a modest restaurant on Southwark Street.

And for good reason.

Padella, which serves hand-rolled pasta dishes starting at £5.50, was just named the best place for cheap eats in Britain at the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2016, and earlier this month was given a Bib Gourmand for "good quality, good value cooking" by the Michelin Guide.

Business Insider took a look inside to see what all the fuss is about.

A project of Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda, who also run the North London Italian favourite Trullo, Borough Market's Padella runs on a no bookings basis, meaning there's almost always a queue.

However, it's more than worth the wait – the Pappardelle with Italian fennel sausage ragu, £8.50, appears to be the hit, and has become an Instagram favourite.

Upstairs, the seating is sleek but informal, with diners either watching the chefs in action at the kitchen bar or sitting at stylish high-top marble counters.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

One of America's creepiest hotels is undergoing a $44 million transformation into apartments — here's what it looked like before


divlorraine_hurst 11

The Divine Lorraine Hotel is a 124-year-old establishment near downtown Philadelphia that for 16 years stood completely abandoned. The building's past is somewhat twisted, with a history involving cult leaders, and its interior was filled with rubble and peeling paint for many years.

The hotel and its Victorian-style architecture have become a staple in the Philly skyline, as well as a place for urban explorers to venture into if they dare. Photographer Matt Hurst, who is well-versed in shooting abandoned spaces, documented the interior of the hotel for the first time in 2007, and then again in 2010, to see what was left of the historic landmark.

But now the hotel is in the middle of a $44 million transformation into apartments that are currently available for pre-leasing. They'll be ready for move-in sometime before the end of the year, according to Curbed Philadelphia.

Hurst shared some of his photos of the hotel with Business Insider, which we've combined with photos of its past.

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Architect Willis Hale was known for his unique Victorian designs and sturdy engineering. He worked on the Divine from 1892 to 1894. His use of terra cotta tile in the floors prevented molding and rotting, which is one of the reasons the building is still intact today.

Originally built as a housing complex, the Lorraine Apartments were intended for Philly's upper-class residents. This is what it looked like inside when it later became a hotel. In the 1940s, rooms could be rented for $5.50 a night.

Source: Curbed

Locals are intrigued by the hotel — the more than 3,000 hashtagged Instagram posts are proof — but many are unaware of its full history.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This startup replaces real-estate agents with an app — and says it will save homebuyers lots of money


Reali cofounders Amit Haller and Ami Avrahami

Amit Haller is living the American dream. He sold his startup for $42 million in 2006 and became a Bay Area real-estate tycoon. Now he has launched another tech startup taking on the real-estate industry with a new way to buy and sell homes — entirely though an app.

The new company, Reali, came from the experience he and his business partner, Ami Avrahami, had as real-estate investors.

"We bought and sold hundreds of houses and rental properties, and did development from the ground up. We saw many different angles in real estate. I've walked with, and I'm not exaggerating, over 100 different agents," Haller told Business Insider.

These days in the Valley's insane real-estate market, every purchase is a frustrating bidding war that relies too much on the real-estate agents, he says.

"Why does a simple negotiation become so complicated? Our agent needs to negotiate with the other agent, who needs to negotiate with the seller, and many times it's going nowhere, and you never know where the message broke," he said.

He tells the story of his friends who lost out on their dream house because their agent went to a party for a few hours. By the time the agent saw an email from the seller's agent, the seller had already accepted a counteroffer.

And there's no way to tell if you are losing a bid for a relative pittance, Haller says.

"To find the perfect home takes time, and then to lose it by $10,000 to someone else is very frustrating," he said. "If I could just know it would take another $10,000 to win it — that's nothing when Bay Area pricing is $2 million for a home."

So Haller and Avrahami built an app for their own use that would put them in control and move the human real-estate agent into a supporting role. They liked it so much that they released it to the public and launched a company.

Self-service real estate

Reali real estate appLots of apps let you browse a home online, and Reali matches them.

However, with Reali, you apply to become a qualified buyer through the app, submitting the documents of your prequalified loan. A person reviews those documents and validates them.

Once you're qualified, you go shopping. If you see something you like, you schedule a tour. The app can unlock the door, so a real-estate agent doesn't have to accompany you. And "info beacons" placed around the home will alert the app to the home's unique features so you don't miss them.

"When I buy a house, I want to be there myself to see it, feel it, sense it. If you have a question, you can click, and someone can answer," Haller said — a person is standing by to answer questions about the property.

If you like the house, you submit your offer through the app, too. You conduct the bidding through it and are informed of counteroffers.

"It's a broker in your pocket," Haller said.

On top of that, Reali charges a flat fee of $2,950 to be the buyer's agent, and reimburses the buyer's agent commission, at closing, of 2.5% minus the fee.

On a $1.7 million home, that rebate would put around $40,000 cash in your pocket, according to Reali. Reali charges 4% commission on houses it lists as the selling agent.

The downside: Reali is currently available only in California, with listings only in the Bay Area. California is the company's first brokerage license. However, the company plans to expand to more cites and states starting in about a year, Haller says.

Here's Reali's promo video to give you a better sense of what working with an app instead of a real-estate agent is like:

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6 brand mascots that actually existed in real life


McDonald's Ronald McDonald 2

You probably recognize a lot of brands by their mascots.

McDonald's has its clown Ronald, Wendy's has its pigtailed Wendy. The entire cereal industry has longstanding visibility in the American public largely because of mascots.

But while they may seem larger than life, some brand mascots are based on real people.

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The redheaded, pigtailed girl in the Wendy's logo is indeed a real person, and she's still alive today.

The mascot for the restaurant chain is based on Melinda Thomas, the daughter of Wendy's founder R. David Thomas. People reported in 1990 that Melinda beat out her other siblings in being the namesake of their father's restaurant chain.

The eight-year-old's portrait, taken in 1969, became the iconic mascot for the brand.

The Sun-Maid Woman

The woman on the front of Sun-Maid rising boxes is a real person.

According to Sun-Maid, the mascot was based off the image of a woman named Lorraine Collett Petersen, a 17-year-old girl from Missouri who was working as a seeder, packer, and promoter for a subsidiary of the Sun-Maid company in Fresno. In 1910, she was stopped in the middle of drying her hair and was asked to hold a basket tray of grapes for a watercolor portrait.

Her face would first appear on Sun-Maid boxes in 1916, and would remain with slight changes over the years up until today.

Uncle Ben's

The Uncle Ben you see on the boxes of rice isn't the real Uncle Ben. But he did exist.

According to the Museum of Public Relations, Uncle Ben was a black Texan rice farmer whose crop continuously won awards for its outstanding quality. 

In 1932, German and British chemists Erich Huzenlaub and Francis Heron Rogers refined a process to make more nutritious parboiled rice and started the Converted Rice Company. The company itself didn't have any ties to Uncle Ben — he was dead by the time they started the company.

But Huzenlaub and Rogers took Ben's name, leveraged his reputation, and named their product after him. The two based the mascot's likeness on a Chicago maitre d' named Frank Brown.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Smithsonian is trying to raise $300,000 on Kickstarter to fix up Dorothy's ruby slippers


Red Slippers Wizard of Oz

Seventy-seven years after "The Wizard of Oz" movie was released, Dorothy's famed ruby slippers are in dire need of repairs — about $300,000 worth to be exact. 

To garner the funds, the Smithsonian Institution (where the shoes currently reside) is asking the public for donations. On Monday, it launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, and as of Wednesday, it's nearly halfway to its $300,000 goal. More than 2,600 backers have already given $145,000.


Since the 77-year-old shoes were given to the Smithsonian in 1979, they have turned from a sparkly red to a bleak brown. The ruby slippers' sequins are falling off, and some of the threads have broken. The coating on the sequins that give them the red color has worn off, too.

If the Kickstarter makes it to $300,000, the money will go toward repairs, conservation, and a new display case that's designed to protect the shoes from future harm. It will have a calibrated light exposure and controlled humidity and temperature. The Smithsonian also plans to move the slippers to a new exhibition on American pop culture that's set to open in 2018.

The MGM Studios prop department made the shoes, which were worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film. Most movie props are made quickly and cheaply, since they're only meant to last the length of the shoot. But according to the BBC, the pair of slippers are still one of the most viewed items at Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Though the lofty price tag for the repairs might be surprising, the fact that the Institution has already been able to raise so much money is not. The shoes are so iconic, in fact, that the Smithsonian has hardly had to do more than click its heels three times for its wish to be granted. 

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Sea salt spray is exactly the men's hair product you're looking for


good hair

Sea salt spray sounds like something you would use on chicken or beef before throwing it in the oven.

But don't use it to salt your salad. It's actually a hair product, one little known in communities of men using pomades and pastes.

When I speak with most men about hair product, however, they usually tell me they'd like something that doesn't leave their hair greasy, sticky, shiny, or hard.

I used to think that was a unicorn in the men's grooming world — most use beeswax or oils and tend to weigh hair down and make it slick-looking. But sea salt spray doesn't do any of that.

The spray is exactly what it sounds like: a spray with salt and sometimes additional compounds like clay, as in Beardbrand's version. The salt and other stuff binds to your hair, absorbs moisture, and adds texture to your hair. It's often called beach or surf spray, as it makes your hair feel similarly to how it does after a day at the beach in the salty air.

In plain terms, it gives your limp hair life and body by making it tossable and able to stand up on its own. You're still able to run your hands through it without residue, which is great if you're looking to create a style that is less defined. It's perfect for that not-quite-neat style.

It's also super easy to use. Application requires nothing more than a few spritz in some nearly-dry hair, and a run-through with your hands. Using a hair dryer can speed up the process and cause your style to solidify a little more, but it's not a necessity.

The spray works great for medium to long hair, and won't do much if your hair is less than an inch in length. The salt has a tendency to dry out hair, so make sure you take that into account.

sea salt

From left to right: Beardbrand ($25), Redken ($15), Sun Bum ($15), Toni & Guy ($7), OGX ($10)

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