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A bartender reveals the disturbing truth about the ice in your drink


Cocktail, bartender, martini, drink

  • Business Insider recently asked more than 30 bartenders to weigh in on what they'd love to tell customers but can't.
  • One bartender said restaurants and bars don't keep their ice machines as clean as you think.
  • You may be better off ordering your drinks "neat" from now on.

Proceed ordering your drinks with caution.

When Business Insider recently asked more than 30 bartenders to weigh in on what they'd love to tell customers but can't, one response stood out as particularly disturbing:

"Almost no restaurants or bars clean their ice machines as regularly as they're supposed to," the bartender said.

What that means is, you could be drinking contaminated drinks.

Americans love ice. And even though we probably don't think of it this way, ice is the most consumed food in a restaurant in the US.

As such, there are laws to help ensure establishments treat it that way.

According to forensic sanitarian Robert W. Powitz, cleaning and sanitizing the ice machine in a restaurant or bar on a regular basis is required by law.

In most instances, ice machines must be cleaned from two to four times a year, or "at a frequency necessary to preclude accumulation of soil or mold." If establishments are found not to be sanitizing their ice machines frequently enough, they could face a fine of $100,000 in regular circumstances, or up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations if the misdemeanor results in death.

Other guidelines, including "Starting and Running a Restaurant For Dummies," recommend establishments empty and disinfect the ice machine every month.

But, despite these guidelines, ice has a history of causing foodborne illness in the US.

Powitz reports that epidemiologists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traced several outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness — including noroviruses — to the use of contaminated ice.

As Karen Constable, the certification manager of HACCP International, writes for Food Safety Magazine:

"Some of the illnesses are caused by bacteria and some are caused by viruses. Many outbreaks have been linked to the presence of norovirus in the ice. In some cases, the norovirus came from contaminated well water that had been used to make the ice, in other cases, from poor handling practices. Other outbreaks associated with ice consumption have been caused by Salmonella, hepatitis A, and Escherichia coli O157:H7."

Constable explains that norovirus, which originates in human fecal matter, usually finds its way into food, including ice, due to poor handling practices — and improperly washed hands are thought to be the main cause of contamination.

"If you have ever seen a bar person drag a glass through an ice tub with his bare hands or watched an employee drop the ice scoop back into an ice machine bin with the handle coming into contact with the ice, you have seen a norovirus outbreak waiting to happen," she writes.

In 2002, a healthy 15-year-old boy died after contracting norovirus from ice contaminated by a sick employee who had not washed his hands.

"Most people don't realize that not washing their hands could cause death," Debra Huffman, a microbiologist with the University of South Florida, told NBC News. "They just don't see the risk. It's not going to smell funny. It's not going to look funny. These are microscopic, and so you're not going to see it. You wouldn't known it happened."

In 2008, Pennsylvania investigators blamed an ill bartender and a contaminated ice machine for sickening two newlyweds and about 70 wedding guests at a reception.

A 2011 study focused on ice dispensers conducted in Las Vegas food establishments found that approximately one-third of commercial ice machines were breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria, while 72.2% contained indicators that coliform bacteria could be present.

And an investigation conducted by the Daily Mail, where the publication collected ice from ten fast-food franchises in the UK including McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and Starbucks, showed that six out of ten branches were serving up ice dirtier than samples of water taken from these branches' toilet bowls.

So the next time you order a drink at a bar, you may be better off ordering it "neat."

SEE ALSO: Bartenders share 13 things they'd love to tell customers but can't

DON'T MISS: Bartenders reveal what customers' drink orders say about them

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We tried kava — the national drink of Fiji that gets people high

A drug that claims to boost focus has been tied to 36 deaths — but you can still buy it online and from a vending machine



  • Kratom is an herb derived from a plant native to Southeast Asia.
  • It's listed as an unapproved drug by the FDA and has effects similar to opioids. It has been linked with 36 deaths.
  • FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement on Tuesday warning people to stay away from the herb.


A pill that's been credited with delivering super-human strength, feelings of euphoria, powerful pain relief, and better focus has now been linked with 36 deaths, drawing a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday.

The drug is kratom, and despite failing to gain FDA approval, it continued to be available for sale online and in stores — including inside a vending machine in Arizona.

"Evidence shows that kratom has similar effects to narcotics like opioids, and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and in some cases, death," FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Aside from being marketed online and in largely unregulated supplements as a concentration booster and workout enhancer, kratom is being advertised as a replacement for opioid painkillers. It's also being touted as a way to treat addiction to opioids.

These two uses are what Gottlieb appears to see as the most troubling.

"Patients addicted to opioids are using kratom without dependable instructions for use and more importantly, without consultation with a licensed health care provider about the product’s dangers, potential side effects or interactions with other drugs," he wrote.

Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant in the coffee family that is native to Southeast Asia. When ingested, the drug taps into some of the same brain receptors as opioids.

The scientific research about kratom and its potential medical uses are very limited, but evidence of its risks are clear.

Kratom_PillsBetween 2010 and 2015, calls about kratom to poison control centers rose 10-fold from just 26 to 263, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around the same time in 2012, the FDA "first put kratom on import alert" FDA press officer Lyndsay Meyer told Business Insider.

Since then, there have been reports of 36 deaths linked with the use of products containing kratom; it can cause serious side effects including seizures and liver damage, and can even trigger symptoms of withdrawal when use is stopped, according to the FDA. Samples of the herb have also been found to be tainted with other opioids like hydrocodone.

Kratom is banned in Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand and in several US states — Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Across the US, several reports of deaths and addiction led the Drug Enforcement Administration to place kratom on its list of "drugs and chemicals of concern." Last year, the DEA proposed a ban on kratom but backtracked under pressure from some members of Congress and outcry from kratom advocates who said it could help treat opioid addiction.

"I want to be clear on one fact: there are currently no FDA-approved therapeutic uses of kratom," Gottlieb wrote.

Nevertheless, the drug has continued to pop up in supplements, prompting the FDA to issue a health alert in 2014 about kratom-containing dietary supplements and bulk dietary ingredients.

The supplement industry is largely unregulated — and it allows dangerous products to slip through the cracks

Kratom is far from the only risky ingredient that has shown up in supplements.

In November, researchers at Harvard Medical School and independent product testing company NSF International identified four unapproved, unlisted stimulants in six supplements currently marketed for weight loss and fitness. Evidence suggests the stimulants could be similar to ephedrine, a compound derived from ephedra, the dangerous and lethal weight-loss supplement that the FDA banned in 2004.

It wasn't the first time.

A study of product recalls published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that of the 274 supplements recalled by the FDA between 2009 and 2012, all contained banned drugs. A 2014 report found that more than two-thirds of the supplements purchased six months after being recalled still contained banned drugs.

"Consumers should expect nothing from [supplements] because we don't have any clear evidence that they're beneficial, and they should be leery that they could be putting themselves at risk," S. Bryn Austin, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Business Insider this summer.

"Whether it's on the bottle or not, there can be ingredients in there that can do harm."

SEE ALSO: The $37 billion supplement industry is barely regulated — and it's allowing dangerous products to slip through the cracks

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NOW WATCH: Here's why we should just scrap daylight-saving time already

The 22 best apps for business travelers


Long Flight

Traveling for business doesn't need to be a chore. 

In light of that, we've come up with a list of apps that could help make your work trip go more smoothly. 

From planning the route, to staying organized while you're away, to keeping in touch with colleagues when you don't have a computer on hand, these apps will help you to have the most stress-free trip possible.

SEE ALSO: We tested the high-tech suitcase meant to make business travel less stressful — here's the verdict

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Google Maps

Avoid getting lost en route to a meeting and find your way with Google Maps. Enter the destination before you leave Internet service, and the app will keep your route on screen. 

Available on: Android and iOS.

Cost: Free

Oanda Currency Converter

Currency converter Oanda is a useful tool for international travelers. The app allows you to convert between currencies using up-to-date rates. 

Available on: Android and iOS.

Cost: Free


Hopper tells you "when to fly and when to buy." The app will track your route and alert you when the best price becomes available.

Available on: Android and iOS.

Cost: Free

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here are all the changes Amazon is making to Whole Foods (AMZN)


Whole Foods

Whole Foods is swiftly transforming under Amazon's control. 

Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods formally went through in August.

The changes began immediately, from cutting costs to internal restructuring.

And, in the months since August, Amazon has only accelerated the pace of change. 

Here's what changes have been revealed so far — and how they'll affect Whole Foods shoppers. 

SEE ALSO: I visited Whole Foods on the day it was acquired by Amazon — and it's clear it'll never be the same

Whole Foods immediately cut prices.

The day the acquisition went through, prices of many Whole Foods staples immediately dropped. Some price tags decreased by up to 40%. 

An identical basket of items from a Whole Foods location in Brooklyn went from $97.76 pre-acquisition to $75.85 post-acquisition. 

The grocery stores began selling Amazon Echos and Echo Dots.

According to Amazon, the popular voice-controlled speaker system will be available at select Whole Foods locations. A Brooklyn location advertised the Amazon Echo as the "pick of the season" the day the acquisition was completed. 

In November, more than 100 stores started selling even more Amazon tech.

These Whole Foods stores now sell products including the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Kindle e-readers, and Fire tablets.

Whole Foods is offering major discounts on these Amazon products the week leading up to Black Friday. Whole Foods' pre-Black Friday deals include $20 off the Echo Dot, $20 off the new Amazon Echo, and $30 off the Kindle Paperwhite. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

People are paying hundreds of dollars to take 'Rich Kids of Instagram'-style photos on this private jet while it sits on the tarmac


Private jet Studio 1

  • People are paying a Russian photo studio on a private jet to take Instagram-worthy shots of them.
  • Prices range from $191 to $434, depending on the type of service you're interested in.
  • Social media celebrities like the "The Rich Kids of Instagram" have popularized photos that show a jet-setting life.


"The Rich Kids of Instagram" have popularized the practice of flaunting a lavish lifestyle on social media, and now photo studios are making it easier to imitate their boastful posts. 

Private Jet Studio is a photo studio on a tarmac with a Gulfstream G650 jet, where customers can take pictures both inside and out.

People can book the Moscow-based company's services for $244 (14,000 roubles) an hour with a photographer, or for $191 (11,000 roubles) an hour without one. For $434 (25,000 roubles), people can also book a two-hour videography session in and around the private jet. Hair and makeup can be provided on set.

SEE ALSO: These doormen guard the residences of New York's wealthiest residents

Subjects can play along and act as if they just landed for an important trip.

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Dogs are allowed onboard.

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Group photos are encouraged.

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See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon has made some big changes to its service that lets you try on clothes before buying them


Prime Wardrobe

  • Amazon's Prime Wardrobe service launched in beta in June 2017.
  • The service has matured, and the rules for it have changed a bit.
  • It now limits each box to 10 items, and the discounts are now flat instead of a percentage.

Amazon's Prime Wardrobe service is growing up, and with that come some changes.

The service — which allows customers to try on clothing for seven days before purchasing it — is free for Prime members. Customers must be Prime members to use it.

Prime Wardrobe still allows customers to choose the items they want to put in their box, but the limit now stands at 10 items — down from the original limit of 15, according to Recode.

Amazon previously offered discounts as an incentive for customers to purchase more of the items in their box. The discount was 10% to 20%, depending on how many items were kept.

Now, the discount stands at $20 off if you keep at least $200 worth of merchandise, and $50 off if you keep $400 worth of merchandise.

You can still order a box as often as you wish, and there are still no additional fees to use it.

Not all clothing sold on Amazon will be eligible for Prime Wardrobe, but items that do apply are marked with a logo for the service. There are more than one million available items, according to the promo video.

It's worth noting that the service was in beta at the time it was announced, and it still hasn't officially launched, according to its page on Amazon.com. This is likely not the last change to be made before it exits its beta-testing phase.

SEE ALSO: Amazon is coming after Ikea with its first furniture brands — and it's one-upping the competition in one major way

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What it's like to eat at Milo's — the Alabama fast food chain that's better than In-N-Out and Shake Shack

A 'Swim Reaper' who patrols the beaches in New Zealand has become an Instagram sensation — but the account is more than just a viral joke


Screen Shot 2017 11 15 at 09.55.51

  • Instagram account "The Swim Reaper" has gained nearly 100,000 followers for his or her humorous images patrolling the beaches of New Zealand
  • However, the account is actually an effort by Water Safety New Zealand to help prevent water-related deaths among men between 15 and 30.

From parody fitness accounts to pilots or elderly couples who wear matching outfits, we've seen some pretty unique personalities gain traction on Instagram.

But a 'Swim Reaper' who patrols the beaches of New Zealand might just be the most arresting.

The Instagram account @iamtheswimreaper has nearly 100,000 followers, and a description that states: "Just lovin life. lol. Nah, jokes. Lookin to reap some peeps this summer. If ur gonna make dumb decisions in the water, I’ll be waiting. Holla!"

The "Reaper" posts dark but humorous images manning the sandy shores while watching over the Kiwi beachgoers — but the account is more than a viral joke.

According to The Sun, The Swim Reaper is a campaign by Water Safety New Zealand to warn people about the risk of drowning in the run-up to summer, using the tagline "Swim dumb and you're done."

It's aimed at the most at-risk age group: Young men aged 15 to 30.

The "Swim Reaper" is often seen sitting in lifeguard chairs...

Thanks for nothing, NZ. I’ll be back, but you guys better up your dumbness game in the meantime. Laters haters! 🖕 #imnotmad #justdisappointed #byefelicia #micdrop

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Mar 5, 2017 at 12:57pm PST on

...and appears to do a good job of looking out over the beachgoers — particularly the young men, who reportedly account for a third of all fatal incidents annually in New Zealand despite only making up 14% of the population.

They say one in every two guys is a dumbass. I’m going with red shirt #everybreathyoutake #everymoveyoumake #illbewatchingyou

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:32pm PST on

It's not just beaches, either — the Reaper also been seen "reapin' the waterfalls with his 'trusty steed.'"

#tbt reapin’ the waterfalls with my trusty steed #giddyup #mypony #squadgoals⠀

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Feb 15, 2017 at 9:09pm PST on

He or she puts up signs...

This new sign is working a treat! People are so gullible #alternativefacts #posttruth #makedrowninggreatagain

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Jan 30, 2017 at 8:27pm PST on

...Some of which are more motivational than others.

Lol #justbeingbasic

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Dec 24, 2016 at 7:35pm PST on

The Reaper also has business cards on hand.

Hey, I just met you and this is crazy... But here's my number. So call me maybe? ☎️ #reaplinebling

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Feb 8, 2017 at 8:55pm PST on

He or she has been seen selling jeans as "swimming trunks" — a sure way to sink.

The Reaper's main weapon appears to be a water gun.

In between watching out over the beach-goers, he or she finds time for ice cream...

Goody goody dumb drops! My fave. #icecream #youscream⠀

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Feb 18, 2017 at 12:32am PST on


Beach yoga...

Want to be more zen with your drowning? 😌Just go with the flow. Find a calm spot in the surf and ride that rip all the way out to sea. #beonewiththedumb

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Nov 14, 2017 at 5:03pm PST on

...And sometimes some beach volleyball.

The account remains lighthearted on purpose, though.

U can’t touch this… da na na na… na na… na na… #hotstepper⠀

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on Feb 12, 2017 at 8:30pm PST on

According to The Sun, Jonty Mills, CEO of Water Safety New Zealand, said: "A lot of these drownings [of young men] are what we would describe as preventable fatalities. Lives would be saved if young males simply made smarter decisions around water.

"However, this audience can react badly to being told what to do — it is a struggle to get positive safety messages through to them.

"Through the Swim Reaper's dark humour, he illustrates the deadly consequences of making bad decisions around water."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Denmark's welfare policies help make it one of the world's happiest countries

A website which shares secret snaps of men on the London Underground has showed scientists which physical traits women and gay men find most attractive


tubecrush collage

  • TubeCrush.net lets users post photos of "attractive" men on the London Underground.
  • Users then rate and comment on the photos.
  • Physical attributes including signs of wealth and personal grooming are among those highly rated by users.
  • TubeCrush confirms the stereotype that men need to be rich and physically fit to be conventionally attractive to prospective partners.

A website where women and gay men secretly capture — and rate — photos of men they find "attractive" while riding the London Underground has been analysed by scientists at the University of Coventry — and there were some obvious trends that emerged. 

TubeCrush.net users send in photos of men that have left them feeling a little bit flustered during their travels. They then have the opportunity to rate or comment of photos that other users upload.

The majority of the photos that are highly rated on the site seem to favour signs of wealth.

City banker types in suits and extravagant watches feature heavily on the website, while men in gym and workout wear also make up a large proportion of the images on TubeCrush.

Bulging arm and chest muscles also feature heavily. Users leave comments and captions on the images such as "Hey sexy workout man — protein powder is working well for you!" and "This guy, fresh from CrossFit it seems, is so beautiful," fulfilling the stereotype that conventionally attractive men should be physically fit and wealthy.

tubecrush 3

Photos are shared on the website along with the tube line the "crush" was spotted on, the name of the spotter, and a caption.

According to the site's guidelines, all photos must be on an identifiable train on the Underground network or a commuter train pulling into London. No photos taken on buses, trams, train platforms, or any trains in cities outside of London are allowed.

The website has a strong social media following on Facebook and Twitter, collecting 11,000 and 10,000 followers respectively since it launched in 2011. The website was set up by accountant Steve Motion who wanted to "pay 'Homage to the Hommes' on our infamous transportation infrastructure."

tubecrush 9

Researcher Dr Adrienne Evans at the University of Coventry — one of the scientists who carried out the study — has been interested in TubeCrush for the last few years, and is especially intrigued by the way Londoners manage busy lives, work schedules, and their effect on the way we find people attractive.

The role of physical attributes which display signs of wealth and signs of personal grooming (tans, good hair, and shapely beards and often complimented) are among her fields of interest. Evan told Business Insider that the behaviour displayed by TubeCrush users is "ahistoric" in the way it creates higher expectations of men and the way they present themselves.

While the website sexually objectifies its subjects in a way more often associated with objectifying women, the subjects are still largely white and middle-class, and users' attraction is frequently based on consumerist items the men are carrying — whether that's a sharp-fitting suit or a designer satchel.

"It's transformative, but also at the same time it shows we're still very much fitting into the same boxes and conventions when it comes to beauty and attraction," Evan said.

Join the conversation about this story »

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This is the exact age when you're most likely to experience a quarter-life crisis — and how to deal with it if you do


girls millennials glastonbury

  • LinkedIn research conducted with 2,000 25 to 33-year-olds found that 72% had experienced a so-called "quarter-life crisis."
  • Most people in the UK hit this crisis at the age of 26 years and 9 months old — and it usually lasts around 11 months.
  • Gender and location also appeared to affect the likeliness of suffering a quarter-life crisis.
  • This is partly because millennials aspire to a less conventional standard of life than older generations, and aren't willing to settle for less.

Millennials have had it rough in so many ways, from a post-recession job market to sky high rents and a seemingly impenetrable property market — and new research suggests that almost three quarters of twenty and thirty-something Brits are in a state of crisis.

LinkedIn research conducted with 2,000 25 to 33-year-olds found that 72% of young professionals surveyed felt that they had experienced a so-called "quarter-life crisis," causing them to question their career path and life choices.

It found that most people in the UK hit this crisis at the age of 26 years and nine months old — and it usually lasts around 11 months.

The main factors contributing to the crisis were pressures to get on the property ladder (57%) and finding a career you’re passionate about (57%). These were significantly higher than the quest to find love (46%).

Clinical psychologist Dr Alex Fowke describes the quarter life crisis as "a period of insecurity, doubt and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships and financial situation."

"This can stem from a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, when a person starts to doubt their own lives and begins to face the extent of the stresses associated with becoming an adult," he said.

And these so-called crises have become far more prominent in recent years, according to Fowke, due to the new pressures younger generations face, particularly when compared to previous generations.

"Nowadays, twenty-somethings are under intense pressure to get themselves onto the housing market, navigate the increasingly complex professional landscape, struggle to maintain relationships and are commonly subjected to a distorted notion of life through social media.

He added: "Literature suggests that key challenges faced by people aged from between 18 and 35 can include identity confusion, internal conflict (failing to reach the expectations set for themselves) and uncertainty."

By Heather Goodman

Of the 2,000 respondents surveyed, 31% felt they had wasted years in the wrong job, 34% had relocated to another part of the country or abroad, 35% had changed their career entirely, and 22% had handed in their notice without a new job to go to.

The poll suggested that women are more likely to be unsure of what to do next in their careers (61%) compared to men (56%).

Where millenials live also appeared to be a factor. The study found young professionals living in London were among the most likely to experience a crisis (75%), as well as Norwich (77%), Cardiff (78%), and Liverpool (82%). Meanwhile Bristol is the city where young professionals felt these pressures least (66%).

The so-called quarter-life crisis, though, could also be attributed to the fact that millennials aspire to a less conventional standard of life that includes a work/life balance, flexible working conditions, rapid promotion, and making a difference in the world, as well as the more traditional values of older generations, salary, marriage and home buying.

It appears that these days, young professionals aren't willing to settle for less.

How to deal with a quarter-life crisis

By fizkes

If you feel like you're suffering your own mid-twenties-to-thirties crisis, here are some tips on dealing with it from Darain Faraz, an expert from LinkedIn's Career Advice:

1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

"A sure-fire way to bolster the feelings of disappointment and underachievement is to compare your own career trajectory to your peers," Faraz said.

"Remember that everyone is at a different stage of their journey, so don’t compare yourself to others — whatever your definition of success is and whatever makes you happy is enough."

2. Take a step back.

"It’s easy to be weighed down with all of the pressures of work and family expectations, often making you too close to the situation.

"Take a step back and write down what is making you most nervous, be it saving, not being happy in your current industry or even your personal relationships. This will allow you to address the problem and stand you in good stead to talk to others."

3. Be kind to yourself.

"Going through the quarter-life crisis can be a difficult process and exacerbated by becoming your own worst critic," Faraz said.

"Remind yourself it’s a positive experience that will hopefully enable you to make a change and progress, both with your career and with your life, eventually making you happier in the long-run. As you can see from the research, the crisis doesn’t last forever."

4. Talk to others.

"It’s important to discuss feelings of discontent. Talking to others about certain issues not only helps you rationalise the problem but helps with the solution. Though it’s great that your friends and family are there to support you, it’s also good to get an unbiased point of view, especially from someone who has the experience in your industry.

He suggests checking out LinkedIn's Career Advice feature, which allows you to connect easily with a range of mentors that will be able to offer "a fresh perspective and sound advice — it’s likely they’ve been in the same situation as you before," Faraz said.

5. Do your research.

"Once you have discussed your situation with the relevant people, it’s important to go away and research your options and most importantly your passions. Whether it’s starting a new career altogether, going travelling or progressing with your current role — it’s necessary to be aware of your possibilities. "

Join the conversation about this story »

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Americans are more worried than ever about being addicted to their smartphones — and they're starting to cut back


people on phones

  • An annual Deloitte study found that smartphone users are starting to become more aware of their phone habits.
  • Almost half of survey respondents said they try to reduce how much they are on their phones.
  • Users below 34 are the most concerned about a possible smartphone addiction. 

There's no way around it – we are addicted to our smartphones. Smartphone addiction even has a name now; nomophobia, short for no-mobile-phone phobia. 

We've all probably experienced the symptoms at one point: panicking when separated from our smartphone, not being able to focus at work or during conversations, and constantly checking phones for new notifications. 

The idea of being addicted to a screen is not a nice one, and according to a Deloitte survey, smartphone users have started to realize they might have a problem. Smartphone usage has been trending upwards since 2015, but for the first time Deloitte found that smartphone usage declined or plateaued in 2017, with almost half (47%) of survey respondents reporting that they are trying to reduce or limit their phone use. 

Interestingly, the most concerned groups of people are between 18 and 34 years of age. Seventy-two percent of 18 to 24-year-olds reported they "definitely" or "probably" use their phones too much, and 75% of respondents 25-34-years-old also said they use their phones too much. In contrast, only 13% of those 55 and older are concerned about their over use. 

Common strategies to cut back

Across all age groups there are a few common strategies for curbing the addiction. Most common is keeping a phone in a handbag or pocket when meeting other people. Years ago, this might have been normal common courtesy, and users are happily attempting to revert to the habit. Another common and easy trick is turning off audio notifications. Out of sight, out of earshot, and out of mind. 

Despite the slowly reversing trend, Americans still have a long ways to go. Somewhat terrifyingly, Deloitte found that collectively, U.S. smartphone users look at their phones 12 billion times a day. 

Phone etiquette

SEE ALSO: Here's why you should keep your smartphone in your pocket the next time you're bored

Join the conversation about this story »

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You're not alone, no one reads terms of service agreements


surprised hacker

  • A new Deloitte survey found that over 90% of consumers accept legal terms and conditions without reading them. 
  • When faced with no choice, users are willing to accept potential consequences in exchange for access. 

If you've ever tapped "I agree" to a legal terms and conditions agreement after hardly giving it a glance you're not alone. 

A Deloitte survey of 2,000 consumers in the U.S found that 91% of people consent to legal terms and services conditions without reading them. For younger people, ages 18-34 the rate is even higher with 97% agreeing to conditions before reading. 

The language is too complex and long-winded for most, and apparently, consumers are willingly to accept that the worst most companies will do is sell their name and email to a third party that wants to advertise to them. 

Jonathan Obar and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch at the University of Connecticut conducted a study to get an empirical idea of how far consumers could be conned into going. They created a fake social networking site called Name Drop, and wrote up a terms and services agreement for users to agree to before signing up. In the agreement they included the disclosure that users give up their first born child as payment, and that anything users shared would be passed along to the NSA. A whopping 98% of participants agreed.

This is an extreme example that existed only in an academic experiment. The real agreements are usually there to protect the company from legal trouble. Still, the experiment highlights how easily consumers are willing to waive their rights.

Of course, consumers don't have much of a choice. If they don't agree, they don't get access to the wireless network, new app or whatever it is they want to use — and there's nothing they can about it. 

Deloitte consumer privacy data

SEE ALSO: 6 Sneaky Terms That Tech Companies Force You To Agree To

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This 28-year-old got paid £8,000 a month to Instagram her way around the world staying in 5-star luxury villas


Sorelle Headshot 1_JSB4552

  • 28-year-old Australian-born Sorelle Amore landed a job travelling around the world staying in luxury 5-star villas for three months.
  • Third Home paid her $10,000 (£7,600) a month and covered her expenses while Amore Instagrammed and vlogged about her trip.
  • She visited 12 luxury properties in destinations like Scotland, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Croatia.

Meet 28-year-old Australian Sorelle Amore, a vlogger who was taking photos in Iceland when she heard she had been chosen to travel the world for 12 weeks staying in 5-star luxury accommodation for free — and earning $10,000 (£7,600) a month to do it.

Amore bested 17,000 other hopeful candidates who responded to the viral job posting, which was hailed as the "best job on the planet."

Now back in her hometown of Sydney, Australia, Business Insider caught up with her to hear about her trip.

I don't think I need a caption here. I feel like no one will pay attention to the caption for this photo. #ButtManNanaNanaNanaNana

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Nov 7, 2017 at 7:12am PST on

ThirdHome is a Tennessee-based luxury second home exchange club which handles multimillion pound properties dotted across the globe — it's been called the Airbnb for the top 1%.

Earlier this year, the company announced it was looking for someone to stay at 12 of its exclusive villas in places like Scotland, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Croatia, while Instagramming and vlogging about their stay.

Lots of travel-related companies now hire individuals with big Instagram followings to produce these kinds of sponsored posts, as it often works out cheaper than placing adverts in magazines — and typically reaches more people through the mighty powers of social media.

Amore had already set up her own YouTube channel and had a following of nearly 100,000 on Instagram, which no doubt helped her application — and land her the gig.

Her journey started in a Scottish castle called Glen House— roughly an hour from Edinburgh — on July 31. The estate is surrounded by lush parkland and woods, which Amore said she found "magical."

From there she headed on to a posh townhouse in Islington, London, for a week, eventually making the journey to Montana in the US.

Amore's fourth destination was Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic...

Sorelle Dominican Republic

...where she visited a blue lagoon, which she called the "the ultimate tropical paradise."

Sorelle Amore Dominican Republican 1

Next up was one her favourite destinations of the trip, the Bahamas — and it's not hard to see why.

Heaven exists. I've been there. #Bahamas #BestJobOnThePlanet #TravelMore #StayWorldly #luxurytravel (📷 @sherbetbirdie_photography)

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Sep 30, 2017 at 5:35am PDT on

Amore was staying at the Bougainvillea in George Town, Great Exuma, where Hollywood actress Penelope Cruz has also stayed as a guest. Her giant villa directly overlooked the white sandy beach and turquoise water.

She was allowed to have a travel companion join her at various stages of her trip. One of her best friends joined her with her baby for this stretch.

While in the Bahamas, she managed to fit in some swimming with sharks.

This is what my dreams are made of. Swimming with sharks was one of the most memorable things I've ever done. The sharks felt like soft sandpaper. I've never felt anything like it. They swam over and under me and I loved every second. Further dreams that came true on my tour yesterday was swimming with PIGS, hanging on the beach with iguanas, snorkeling in the most beautiful cave where they filmed a snippet of the James Bond movie, snorkeling over Pablo Escobar's sunken drug smuggle plane and so much more. Bahamas really is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. To top it off, the people I spent the day with were the absolute greatest. @sherbetbirdie_photography @meganolivi @joejitsu Edna & Kolvin. THANK YOU! All travel is thanks to @3rdhome! #BestJobOnThePlanet #StayWorldly #Bahamas #LIFE!

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Sep 1, 2017 at 4:28am PDT on

From there, she headed on to Costa Rica, another of her top picks.

costa rica

She stayed alone at Villa Punto de Vista, a five-storey house where she had her own butler and eight other staff members to make her stay comfortable.

She told Business Insider she didn't mind being alone, and enjoyed the nature of the nearby rainforest, from monkeys and squirrels to toucans.

"I think I felt lonely just three days out of the whole three months, as having previous experience as a solo traveller you just meet so many people," she said.

"Everyone was super friendly."

Amore said that she met some of the friendliest people in Costa Rica, China, and Bali.

"My travels reminded me that humans all around the world are the same, they just want love, connection, and respect," she said. "In today's world there's so much fear it's BS. Seeing how caring the world is reminded me that actually we're OK."

Her travels took her to Europe, too. Amore visited Arab baths in Malaga, Spain, and the stunning island of Brac in Croatia.

This is how they bathed in the Arab baths thousands of years ago right? Whenever I'm in one of these moods I should ban myself from Instagram 🙅🏻And that's the crazy weirdo joker kid mood. If you watch my insta stories you know I have a strange side to me that comes out every now and again. I'm serious and sexy one second and then BAM! The switch has been flicked. Social media can force you to box yourself in and become one thing. In marketing they call it a niche and you should stick to it to now confuse the viewer 🤦🏻‍♀️ But we all have so many different sides of our personality and for me, it's hard to tame the joker at times. Haha Unfortunately it ruins my perfect serious, sexy feed. But what can you do! Hehe #BestJobOnThePlanet #Spain #StayWorldly #TravelMore

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Sep 27, 2017 at 6:03am PDT on

The pinnacle of her trip, though, was Bali, Indonesia, the only part of her trip that her boyfriend was able to join her for.

They stayed at The Mandala House, which was voted by Elle Decoration as "One of the World's Most Beautiful Homes" in 2017.

In Bali, the couple spent their time meditating, surfing, doing yoga, and sipping plenty of cocktails.

Many "Instagram travel couples" like Jack Morris and his girlfriend Lauren Bullen even get paid by brands to globetrot together and stay at fancy resorts — and it certainly makes for some pretty dreamy photos.

Amore said that only spending one week with her boyfriend out of the entire trip has actually strengthened their relationship.

"I know that I can trust he's OK with me going and seeing some of the world on my own," she said, which is just as well, as she plans to travel more.

The Mandala House in Bali had a two-storey swimming pool with a see-through bottom.

Out of the 12 properties I'm going to for the Best Job On The Planet (I still can't believe I won that competition!), my boyfriend was able to join me for one of the destinations. Yay! And that was in Bali, Indonesia. And wow...what a life changing week that was. So much sun, massages, scootering around, exploring, eating some of the best foods I've had, boyfriend cuddles and of course enjoying staying at @themandalahouse. A stunning huge mansion with a double story pool, with the top one having a glass bottom. A bar in the pool, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a gym, cinema, TV room hidden behind a bookcase, stunning decor and a palm tree within the house (stop it!). House video tour coming soon. I really didn't think I'd love Bali as much as I did. With so many Australians in Bali, I wanted to be different (hehe) and not be desperate to go back. But nope. I love it and want to go back. And there are many reasons why. Thank you @3rdhome for organizing this haven for me to stay in. Thanks boyfriendo for joining me this week. I like your face. A lot. . . . . Property ID 13298 | #BestJobOnThePlanet #Bali #Indonesia #StayWorldly #LuxuryTravel

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Oct 9, 2017 at 11:55pm PDT on

There was also this rather fancy standalone bath.

I realize there's a lot of new people following here that don't know what wild adventure I'm on currently. So...sit back, relax and enjoy this crazy story. In May, @3rdhome who is a luxury travel and home exchange club, ran a competition called the 'Best Job On The Planet'. It was for one person to win the dream job of traveling to 12 luxurious homes valued at $2.5m on average all over the world, documenting the experience through videos, photos and articles. And so little Sorellie submitted her 1 minute application video along with 17,000 others. There were three rounds with different criteria, narrowing down to just 14 worthy finalists. It was a very, very tough, stressful and intense competition, specifically because my life at the time was not exactly flash hot awesome and I knew this was exactly what I needed to turn my life into the awesome adventure I wanted. But nevertheless, the heavens shone upon me and...this chickie came out victorious! Woo! Fast forward just a couple of months later to August 1 and it was just me, a suitcase and my fast racing, excited heart about to embark on a whirlwind experience. Dreams do come true kids. They really do. What's a dream you so desperately want for yourself to come true? . . . #BestJobOnThePlanet #LuxuryTravel #StayWorldly

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Oct 13, 2017 at 1:53am PDT on

Amore's time in Indonesia was followed by a stint in China, about an hour outside Beijing, and then a week's sailing on a TradeWinds Yacht Cabin in Fiji, where she said she spent nights sleeping out on the deck watching the stars.

Am I lonely at all when traveling? How could I be lonely when I have WILSON! I just finished exploring the island in Fiji where they filmed Castaway with Tom Hanks. The captain told me that it's impossible to walk around the island....so whilst finishing up my swim there, I spontaneously decided to check if he's correct and I ended up with battered feet, sunburn and dehydration, but it turns out the captain was wrong 😉 (I'm not so good at people telling me something is impossible) Half way around the island, I started feeling like I was part of the movie. Around every corner I thought it was the end of my exploration but it kept going and going. The island was much bigger than I thought. And so some desperation set in since I didn't tell one person where I was and it was pretty damn hot. But whatever, I was totally fine and the adventure just added to the awesomeness of the visit to this Fiji island. . . . I've had a really great week this week. Thanks @tradewindslife and @3rdhome for organizing this first of a kind getaway for me! #BestJobOnThePlanet #TravelMore #Fiji #Castaway #StayWorldly

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Oct 17, 2017 at 11:40pm PDT on

She finished her trip back on home turf — in Cromer, a suburb north of Sydney, in New South Wales.

She said she's already planning her next few adventures — she's heading back to Iceland in January and Egypt soon after that.

"44 is my favourite number so I'm hoping to make Egypt my 44th visited country in around February, then head back to Bali after that," she said.

Fortunately, with most of her expenses covered by Third Home during her trip, Amore said she has managed to save most of her $30,000 wage.

"It's a base that will keep me travelling and making short movies until I get more clients," she said.

A common occurrence during this 3 month adventure is to wake up not knowing where I am. This is what happened when I arrived in Sydney. My alarm was set for 5am the next morning and I opened my eyes and was pleasantly surprised my sister was tight asleep next to me. "Oh that's right", I thought. I'm in Sydney for my last destination for the Best Job On The Planet! I nudged my sister softly and asked whether she wanted to run down to the Sydney Harbour and take some sunrise pictures of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Without hesitation and a smile on her face she said yes. Being away from each other for two years and knowing we have a limited time together this week, we're almost glued to one another, cherishing every moment. We quickly gathered our belongings and ran, ran, ran down to catch the sunrise. Thankfully we stayed at my favorite hotel in Sydney, the @qtsydneypics which is close to these landmarks. The moments shared down at Sydney's STUNNING harbour with my sister by my side, no one around and this giant cruise boat pulling in was so special. Lots of laughs were had as together we watched the sun come up over the city. I find travel brings out the best in people. Everyone is just seeking joyous adventures that can be shared together. There's always so much love being exchanged at every moment. What are some of your favorite travel moments that you will never forget? #Sydney #TravelMore #SeekAdventure #Australia #BestJobOnThePlanet

A post shared by S O R E L L E A M O R E (@sorelleamore) on Oct 24, 2017 at 1:12am PDT on

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From smoking in Singapore to dancing after dark in Japan — doing any of these 13 things could get you in trouble while travelling abroad


new york crossing unsplash frank kohntopp

Every country and culture has its own quirks that are often completely overlooked by outsiders.

However, sometimes these quirks are so extreme that they can land you in trouble if you're not aware of them.

Airport transfer company Hoppa has compiled a list of quirky and peculiar laws from across the globe that could get naive holidaymakers in trouble.

As pleading unaware of some laws doesn't seem to work as a get out of jail free card, the list of laws hopes to educate jet-setters before they make any costly or consequence-heavy blunders.

From crossing the street to packing paracetamol in your suitcase, scroll on to discover 13 peculiar things that could get you in trouble when travelling abroad.

Buying alcohol mid-afternoon in Thailand.

Thailand is known across the globe as a partying hotspot thanks to its Full Moon beach parties and party resorts. However, what many travellers don't realise is that it's illegal to order any alcoholic drinks throughout the country outside of the hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 5 p.m. to midnight.

This means no 4 p.m. cocktails on the beach or late night beverages while out clubbing into the small hours. Any clubs, bars, or vendors caught selling alcohol outside of these designated time slots can be fined 4,000 Baht (£92) or even face a prison sentence of up to two years.

Dancing after dark in Japan.

Dancing after midnight is illegal in Japan due to a law introduced in 1948, put into place to regulate the sex industry. 

The law was changed in 2015 after campaigners asked for the ban to be lifted. Now, dancing after midnight is allowed, but only if the lighting is at least 10 lux (that's 10 lumens per square metre).

Smoking in public in Singapore.

Although smoking isn't illegal in public in Singapore, regulations on where you can smoke in public places are extreme.

Bus stops, playgrounds, and carparks are all strict non-smoking zones. Smokers must also stay at least five metres away from all entrances to buildings, bus shelters, and common areas while holding a lit cigarette, or face fines of up to S$10,000 (£5,600).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The way 'good' people explain away bad behaviour is called 'moral licensing' — here's what it means


green hair smoking

  • Humans have a way of explaining away their more questionable decisions by something called "moral compassing."
  • Psychologically, we believe we can balance out our less favourable actions because we have been good in the past.
  • This phenomenon has been seen when highly respected or powerful people act in ways that contradict their public personas.

Most of us like to think our moral compass is more or less intact. If we do something wrong, we feel guilty, and say we won't do it again.

However, we also tend to get into the habit of balancing out our good and bad decisions. We may tell ourselves that it's okay we didn't do any recycling this week, because we usually do. Or that it's fine to have that second helping of cake because we went on a run yesterday.

This psychological bargaining is called "moral licensing" and it explains how when people initially behave in a moral way, they are more likely to display behaviors that are immoral, unethical, or problematic in other ways later.

In a study from Stanford University, which was published in the online journal Social and Personality Psychology Compass, the researchers write that moral licensing happens when individuals face the ethical uncertainties of social life.

"When under the threat that their next action might be (or appear to be) morally dubious, individuals can derive confidence from their past moral behavior," it reads. "Such that an impeccable track record increases their propensity to engage in otherwise suspect actions."

In other words, when we are confident we have behaved well in the past, and our actions demonstrate compassion and generosity, we are more likely to explain away acts that are selfish, bigoted, or thoughtless.

Public figures carefully build up positive personas

However, it's not only self-sabotaging behaviour — like cheating on a diet — that we explain away. Moral licensing behaviour can also have more severe impacts on others, like being discriminatory or abusive.

For example, as an article in Refinery29 points out, several men who claim to be liberal, or to be feminists, have recently been accused of sexually harassing or abusing women.

Harvey Weinstein donated millions of dollars to the Democratic party, and went to a Women's March in January.

Louis C.K. supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and was often praised for his feminist style jokes about men being the ultimate danger to women. In 2012, he also released Tig Notaro's comedy album, which sold 75,000 copies. In the New York Times exposé on C.K.'s actions, Notaro said she now thinks this was merely a way of covering his tracks.

In a study from 2001, three experiments were performed to see whether participants were more willing to behave in ways that could be seen as prejudiced when their past actions established themselves as not so.

In one of the experiments, participants who were given the opportunity to disagree with blatantly sexist statements were later more willing to select a man for a stereotypically male job.

In 2010, psychologists from Stanford University performed a study that was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The results showed that people who expressed support for president Obama were granted "moral credentials" from their actions, and were thus more likely to be racist or prejudiced afterwards.

Ultimately, anyone can fall victim to giving themselves excuses. The next time someone you admire or see as morally good behaves in a way that contradicts that, don't be surprised.

Moral licensing helps remind us that someone's actions can't be excused by their past, no matter how much respect they have, or how untouchable they seem.

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The true story behind Thanksgiving is a bloody struggle that decimated the population and ended with a head on a stick


Plymouth Plimoth Pilgrims Thanksgiving musket

• Most American schoolchildren grow up with the story of how the English pilgrims and Native Americans came together for the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.

• In reality, peace didn't last between the English settlers and their one-time Wampanoag allies.

• The two became embroiled in a devastating war just a generation after the famous feast.

In the US, Thanksgiving is a time for family, parades, lots of delicious food, and, oftentimes, intense travel snarls.

American schoolchildren are usually taught the tradition dates back to the pilgrims, English religious dissenters who helped to establish the Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. As the story goes, friendly local Native Americans swooped in to teach the struggling colonists how to survive.

Then everyone got together to celebrate with a feast in 1621. Attendees included at least 90 men from the Wampanoag tribe and the 50 or so surviving Mayflower passengers, according to TIME. The bash lasted three days and featured a menu including deer, fowl, and corn, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

In reality, Thanksgiving feasts predate Plymouth. You'll even find a number of localities have vied to claim the first Thanksgiving for themselves.

Settlers in Berkeley Hundred in Virginia decided to celebrate their arrival with an annual Thanksgiving back in 1619, according to The Virginian-Pilot— although The Washingtonian reported the meal was probably little more than some oysters and ham thrown together. And decades before that, Spanish settlers and members of the Seloy tribe broke bread with salted pork, garbanzo beans, and a Mass in 1565 Florida, according to the National Parks Service.

Our modern definition of Thanksgiving revolves around eating turkey, but in past centuries it was more of an occasion for religious observance. The storied 1621 Plymouth festivities live on in popular memory, but the pilgrims themselves would have likely considered their sober 1623 day of prayer the first true "Thanksgiving," according to the blog the History of Massachusetts. Others pinpoint 1637 as the true origin of Thanksgiving, owing to the fact Massachusetts colony governor John Winthrop declared a day of thanks-giving to celebrate colonial soldiers who had just slaughtered 700 Pequot men, women, and children in what is now Mystic, Connecticut.

Either way, the popular telling of the first Thanksgiving is what lived on, thanks to Abraham Lincoln.

The enduring holiday has also nearly erased from our collective memory what happened between the Wampanoag and the English a generation later.

Thanksgiving pilgrims

Massosoit, the sachem or paramount chief of the Wampanoag, proved to be a crucial ally to the English settlers in the years following the establishment of Plymouth. He set up an exclusive trade pact with the newcomers, and allied with them against the French and other local tribes like the Narragansetts and Massachusetts.

However, the alliance became strained overtime.

Thousands of English colonists poured into the region throughout the 17th century. According to "Historic Contact: Indian People and Colonists in Today's Northeastern United States," authorities in Plymouth began asserting control over "most aspects of Wampanoag life," as settlers increasingly ate up more land. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History estimated disease had already reduced the Native American population in New England by as much as 90% from 1616 to 1619, and indigenous people continued to die from what the colonists called "Indian fever."

By the time Massasoit's son Metacomet — known to the English as "King Philip" — inherited leadership, relations had frayed. King Phillip's War was sparked when several of Metacomet's men were executed for the murder of Punkapoag interpreter and Christian convert John Sassamon.

Wampanoag warriors responded by embarking on a series of raids, and the New England Confederation of Colonies declared war in 1675. The initially neutral Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was ultimately dragged into the fighting, as were other nearby tribes like the Narragansetts.

The war was bloody and devastating.

Springfield, Massachusetts was burned to the ground. The Wampanoag abducted colonists for ransom. English forces attacked the Narragansetts on a bitter, frozen swamp for harboring fleeing Wampanoag. Six hundred Narragansetts were killed, and the tribe's winter stores were ruined, according to Atlas Obscura. Colonists in far flung settlements relocated to more fortified areas while the Wampanoag and allied tribes were forced to flee their villages.

Great Swamp Fight Monument

The colonists ultimately allied with several tribes like the Mohigans and Pequots, despite initial reluctance from the Plymouth leadership.

Meanwhile, Metacomet was dealt a staggering blow when he crossed over into New York to recruit allies. Instead, he was rebuffed and attacked by Mohawks. Upon his return to his ancestral home at Mount Hope, he was shot and killed in a final battle. The son of the man who had sustained and celebrated with the Plymouth Colony was then beheaded and dismembered, according to "It Happened in Rhode Island." His remaining allies were killed or sold into slavery in the West Indies. The colonists impaled "King Phillip's" head on a spike and displayed it in Plymouth for 25 years.

In an article published in The Historical Journal of Massachusetts, Montclair State University professor Robert E. Cray Jr. said the war's ultimate death toll could have been as high as 30% of the English population and half of the Native Americans in New England.

The war was just one of a series of brutal but dimly remembered early colonial wars between Native Americans and colonists that occurred in New England, New York, and Virginia.

Popular memory has largely clung to the innocuous image of a harvest celebration, while ignoring the deadly forces that would ultimately drive apart the descendants of the guests of that very feast.

Modern day Thanksgiving may be a celebration of people coming together, but that's not the whole story when it comes to the history of the day.

SEE ALSO: The ancient story behind Valentine's Day is more brutal than romantic

DON'T MISS: The dark history behind Halloween is even more chilling than you realized

DON'T FORGET: Columbus Day has been controversial since it was established, and its history is even more gruesome than you realize

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Donald and Melania Trump's wedding cake is being auctioned off for hundreds of dollars


Vogue Melania

  • A cake from Donald and Melania Trump's wedding is being auctioned off. 
  • The starting price is $250. 
  • The actual cake from the Trumps' wedding couldn't be eaten because it was filled with wires. 


One of Donald and Melania Trump's souvenir wedding cakes is being auctioned off. 

donald trump cake

Julien's Live Auction is auctioning off the cake this week, with a starting bid of $250. As of Tuesday evening, bids on the 4-inch-by-4 inch treat — which was first spotted by The Awl — had reached $600.

According to the item's description, the chocolate truffle cake with a white frosting rose was sent home with guests as a wedding favor. The mini cake is housed in a white paper box, which is monogrammed "M D T." 

"The actual seven-tier wedding cake reportedly cost $50,000 and was not eaten by the wedding guests due to the amount of wire used to make it stand," the description states. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the wedding cake was a seven-tier masterpiece that weighed more than 200 pounds. The yellow sponge cake was flavored with orange zest, filled with butter cream, soaked in Grand Marnier, and featured 2,000 individually constructed flowers spun from sugar — but not served to guests due to the wire infrastructure. 

Julien's Auctions, which is based in Beverly Hills and specializes in entertainment auctions, has found luck selling off Trump goods before. In October, the auction house sold a sketch of the Empire State Building by Trump for $16,000. 

Bidding on the wedding cake ends on Friday. The estimated price is currently $1,000 to $2,000. 

SEE ALSO: Trump is spurring an unprecedented change for American companies

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Cards Against Humanity bought land to block Trump's border wall and released a statement insulting the president


cards against humanity for her

  • "Cards Against Humanity" says it has purchased vacant land along the US-Mexico border to block the construction of President Trump's proposed border wall. 
  • The card-game company called Trump a "preposterous golem who is afraid of Mexicans."
  • The company is promising a map of the land to anyone who donates $15 to its campaign.


The company behind the popular card game "Cards Against Humanity" says it has purchased vacant land along the US-Mexico border in an attempt to block the construction of President Trump's proposed border wall

The card-game company has promised a map of the land and six other "surprises" to anyone who donates $15 to its campaign to "save America."

The map and other promised items will be delivered to donors' homes in December, according to a website devoted to the campaign.

Within seven hours of the campaign's launch, the "surprise" packages were sold out, according to USA Today.

"Donald Trump is a preposterous golem who is afraid of Mexicans," the company says on its website. "He is so afraid that he wants to build a $20 billion wall that everyone knows will accomplish nothing. So we've purchased a plot of vacant land on the border and retained a law firm specializing in eminent domain to make it as time-consuming and expensive as possible for the wall to get built."

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20 things that have disappeared as malls across America have died


avril lavigne mall tour 2004

  • As shopping malls struggle to attract consumers, many have closed or converted to serve new uses.
  • Many features that were once common at malls have becoming increasingly rare.
  • These include playgrounds, arcades, and appearances and concerts from pop stars.


Malls once played a pivotal role in how we shopped and socialized. Many malls that would once be crowded on any given afternoon are now struggling to fill vacancies, with some being converted into residential or business centers. 

As a result, malls have lost many of the distinctive stores and features we used to associate with them.

Here are some of the stores, features, and behaviors you no longer see in malls.

SEE ALSO: These photos of abandoned malls and golf courses reveal a new era for the American suburb


When malls were a weekend destination for families, many of the shopping centers would have playgrounds so that kids wouldn't become restless after watching their parents run errands.

Sharper Image

The electronics retailer used to have a large physical retail footprint before it declared bankruptcy in 2008. It now sells its merchandise through its website, catalog, and third-party retail partners.

Promotional appearances from pop stars

Back when people bought CDs, pop stars like Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne would promote their new albums by touring malls, which would often be overwhelmed by young fans.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 60-minute morning routine that productivity expert Tim Ferriss swears by


Tim Ferriss, the author of "The 4-Hour Workweek" and "Tribe of Mentors," uses a specific routine to start his day. Following is a full transcript of the video. 

Tim Ferris: The first 60 minutes or so are very clearly defined. And that’s the recipe that I use to set up the rest of the day.

My name is Tim Ferriss, angel investor and author of books including "The 4-Hour Workweek" and the latest, "Tribe of Mentors."

Step No. 1: I wake up, and I meditate for 20 minutes, typically 22 minutes. That's 20 minutes of seated transcendental meditation — it could be Vipassana, it could be Headspace — and then two-minute decompression period where I sit there and let my mind do whatever it wants to do.

I get up, brew tea — very frequently oolong tea or some combination of, say, turmeric, ginger, and pu-erh. That’s another favorite.

And then I sit down to journal. And there are two different types of journaling I do, depending on the day, for different purposes. One would be morning pages, where I’m effectively vomiting my brain onto the page to trap my monkey mind in print so that it doesn’t bother me for the rest of the day. The other type of journaling I do is best encapsulated in a journal called "The Five-Minute Journal." There are different ways to do this, but I’m writing down three or four bullets of items or people or relationships, anything I’m grateful for, which is a very, very nice way to set the rest of the day so that you're viewing life through a lens of positivity. Then there are a few questions related — or prompts, I should say — related to focal points for the day.

Ideally, after that I'm having a small amount to eat. And then I would go into exercise of some type. That exercise could be  — riding on a Peloton bike and doing a 20-minute HIIT workout (high-intensity interval training), or it could be acroyoga, or it could be weight training or working on a Concept 2 rower. And that would be generally no more than 60 to 90 minutes in length, sometimes as short as 20 minutes. And then shower.  Off to the day.

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The 12 best cities around the world for families


denmark royal family

  • Copenhagen, Denmark was ranked the best city in the world for families, according to Homeday's Best Cities for Families Index 2017.
  • The Nordic capital boasts affordable housing, high levels of safety, and some of the happiest people on Earth.
  • The first US city to make the list is Seattle, Washington, which came in 31st.

If you want the best life for your family and children, it might help to start learning Danish.

According to the Best Cities for Families Index of 2017, created by real estate company Homeday, Copenhagen, Denmark leads the world's cities as the best for families.

Homeday took 16 factors into account to produce its rankings, including measures for education, housing, safety, unemployment, kid-friendliness, healthcare, and general happiness.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

2. Oslo, Norway

3. Zurich, Switzerland

4. Stockholm, Sweden

5. Hamburg, Germany

6. Vancouver, Canada

7. Basel, Switzerland

8. Toronto, Canada

9. Stuttgart, Germany

10. Munich, Germany

11. Lausanne, Switzerland

12. Vienna, Austria

Consistency wins out, while the US gives a lukewarm showing

The fact that the top five includes three Nordic countries shouldn't come as a surprise. Many of the factors in Homeday's rankings reward aspects of social welfare that Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have sought to strengthen for decades. Each of the three capital cities routinely appears in other rankings of quality of life, education, and healthcare.

Homeday standardized each metric out of a score of 10, so the highest-performing city in each category became the benchmark. Oslo earned a 10 for happiness, and Stockholm earned a 10 for healthcare.

Copenhagen didn't earn any first place rankings individually; however, it was the consistently high rankings that pushed it to the top. Less-family-friendly cities did poorly because their scores fluctuated from one ranking to the next. Stuttgart received a 10 in the green spaces category but placed 9th due partly to a 3.64 in transportation and 4.18 in kid-friendly airports.

American cities don't appear on Homeday's list inside the top 30. Seattle, Washington placed 31st; Houston, Texas came 35th; and Boston, Massachusetts came 36th. Since the US is only one of four countries without nationally mandated parental leave, all three cities earned a 1 in that category.

SEE ALSO: The 16 most innovative countries in the world

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