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53 photos of Russia's decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union


boris yeltsin

In 1991, Boris Yeltsin stood atop a tank in front of the parliament building in Moscow and called on the people to resist the communist hardliners in the August coup.

Several months later, at the end of the year, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, leaving Yeltsin as the president of Russia.

Fast forward to December 31, 1999: Yeltsin grabbed the world by surprise once again when he resigned during a live televised address.

In between those shock events, Russia went through an enormous economic, social, and political transition as the state tried to adjust to the global economy following the dissolution of the USSR. During that tumultuous decade, Russia was also involved in two Chechen Wars and was slammed by a financial crisis in 1998.

We put together 53 archived photographs from Reuters and AP of Russia's 1990s. (Most of the captions are from Reuters or AP, lightly edited for clarity or additional background information.)

Thousands of Muscovites march to Red Square carrying a giant Russian tricolor white, blue, and red flag, celebrating the failure of the three-day hard line Communist coup attempt in Moscow, August 22, 1991.

Two free marketeers display their goods at the central market in Petropavlovsk, the capital city of the far eastern peninsula of Kamchatka, March 1993.

In 1993, there was conflict between Yeltsin and the parliament, which ultimately resulted in the use of force. In October, Yeltsin ordered troops to seize parliament from opponents. In the photo below, a Russian tank leaves its post in front of the Moscow's White House building on October 5.

Source: BBC, BBC, New York Times

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There are 5 places in the US where you need to make over $110,000 to afford a home


San Francisco California

  • Four of the five most expensive housing markets in the country are in California.
  • In these markets, buyers need to make more than $110,000 to qualify for a mortgage with a 20% down payment.
  • In the San Jose metro area, buyers need to make over $210,000.


Several of the priciest housing markets in the country are in the American West.

In the third quarter of 2017, the median cost of a single-family home in the region rose to $373,700, up 7% from the previous year and a greater increase than any other region, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

By contrast, the current US median home price is $247,000.

As supply lags behind demand, and prices and mortgage rates continue to rise, homebuyers entering the market may find it increasingly unaffordable to buy a home.

Looking at NAR's data on housing affordability, there are five US metro areas where the minimum salary required to qualify for a mortgage, with 20% down, is above $110,000. NAR assumes a mortgage rate of 3.9% for all areas, with the monthly principle and interest payment limited to 25% of income.

While the salary needed to buy in these areas is exceptional, purchasing a home in a number of markets across the country remains affordable, with required salaries at or below the median household income of $71,775 . The average qualifying income for the US as a whole is $46,435 .

Below, check out how much you need to earn to buy a home, and what the median home will cost you, in the most expensive markets.

The following markets are based on metropolitan statistical areas, with the exception of Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, which is a metropolitan division.

SEE ALSO: How much you have to earn to afford a home in 23 of the most expensive US housing markets right now

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5. San Diego-Carlsbad, California

Population: 3,299,521

Median sale price: $607,000

Salary needed to buy: $110,969

4. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

Population: 998,714

Median sale price: $760,200

Salary needed to buy: $138,977

3. Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, California

Population: 3,169,776

Median sale price: $790,000

Salary needed to buy: $144,425

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The fabulous life of 21-year-old millionaire Lele Pons, the actress, model, and YouTube star who had the most viewed Instagram stories of 2017


Lele Pons

While Selena Gomez claimed top spot when it came to Instagram followers in 2017 and Cristiano Ronaldo and Beyonce snatched the prizes for most-liked photos, it wasn't an A-lister who had the most watched Instagram stories of the year.

Instead, it was 21-year-old Elenora "Lele" Pons, the model, actress, comedian, and YouTube star you've probably never heard of.

Pons has a brand deal with US makeup brand CoverGirl, walked for Dolce and Gabbana earlier this year in Milan, and even judged on the Miss Universe 2017 panel earlier this month.

She also has over 20 million Instagram followers and a net worth of $3 million (£2.2 million), according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Scroll on for the fabulous life of Lele Pons — the Venezuela-born social media influencer that racked up the most views on Instagram stories in 2017.

SEE ALSO: This hilarious Vine star nails what it's like to be a teenage girl

This is 21-year-old Elenora “Lele” Pons, who was born in Venezuela in 1996.

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The model, actress, comedian is known for her self-deprecating skits on Vine and YouTube.

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Pons and her family moved to Miami, Florida when she was five years old. By the time she graduated high school in 2015, she’d already begun making her name on video-loop platform Vine.

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50 Christmas gift ideas under £50


BI Graphics_UK Holiday Gift Guide_4x3 (1)The team at Business Insider writes about and tests out products we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

It's officially December, and whether you like to have your shopping done by early or you spread your purchases out to make the most of the season, it's about time you got some Christmas gift inspiration.

And, if you get your shopping list right, the season doesn't have to mean going into debt or blowing your entire paycheque.

Our advice: Go for quality over quantity, and look for meaningful, personal gifts that are perfectly suited for each person on your list, whether you're shopping for a mum, a brother, a colleague, a son, or your in-laws.

In order to suit every budget — and save you some time — we've put together a comprehensive guide of the best gifts your money can buy under £50.

They are carefully arranged in ascending price order, so you can start at the cheapest and work your way up. Scroll on to see our top picks for under £50.

Star Wars Light-up Toothbrush — £3

A budget-friendly way to satisfy the Star Wars fan on your list, complete with light-up effects and Kylo Ren's voice from the film.

Buy it here.

"Beauty and the Beast" Chip Mug — £5

For the person on your list who loved 2017's modern take on "Beauty and the Beast."

Buy it here.

Bulldog Skincare Moisturiser Cracker — £6

Give the gift of healthy skin for the men in your life with this hydrating moisturiser  — perfect as a stocking filler.

Buy it here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Meghan Markle has to take a test on 'Britishness' before she marries Prince Harry — here's what's on it


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry make their first official public appearance since their engagement in Nottingham, England.

  • Meghan Markle is becoming a British citizen to marry Prince Harry.
  • It involves more than just signing papers — she has to take a test.
  • It can include esoteric trivia on British life — and you can try some questions below.

Since Prince Harry got down on one knee over a chicken dinner and asked Meghan Markle to be his wife, Great Britain has learned a whole lot about her.

But it turns out that before she can take her place in the royal family, she has to learn a lot about Britain too — in the form of an official written test on Britishness.

When announcing the details of the wedding on Tuesday night, Kensington Palace revealed that Markle, an American, will become a British citizen before the ceremony.

One step towards doing that — even if you're marrying a prince — is sitting the Life in the UK exam, required by the UK Home Office to become part of the nation.

Applicants have to take the test in official test centres around the UK, and it costs £50 ($67).

There's one in Hammersmith, west London, a few tube stops away from Markle's future home in the grounds of Kensington Palace. There's another in Slough, a few miles from her wedding venue in Windsor.

The test has 24 multiple-choice questions. The pass mark is 75%.

It's sat on a computer, and lasts 45 minutes. If Markle is feeling nervous beforehand she can do a mini practice paper of four questions before starting the real thing.

Luckily, if Markle doesn't hit the pass mark first time, she can do as many re-takes as she likes.

Business Insider tracked down a copy of the official practice questions guide to get a sense of what Markle might face. Here's a selection (the answers are at the end):

Some are easy political questions:

1) What happened to Margaret Thatcher in 1979 to make her famous in UK history?

A) She took part in the Olympics.

B) She became a High Court judge.

C) She became the first woman Prime Minister.

D) She was made a general in the British Army.

Margaret Thatcher 1989

Some are about fiddly points of geography:

2) Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE?

St Helena is a Crown dependency.

Old-school literature:

3) What are "Beowulf," "The Tyger," and "She Walks in Beauty?"

A) Plays

B) Films

C) Poems

D) Novels

Beowulf movie grab

Or sport:

4) Which of the following statements is correct?

A) There is a yearly sailing race on the River Thames between Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

B) There is a yearly rowing race on the River Thames between Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Or the legal system:

5) Which court would you use to get money back that was owed to you?

A) County Court

B) Magistrates’ Court

C) Youth Court

D) Coroner’s Court

Some, she really ought to get right, or it’ll be awkward at the dinner table:

6) Which jubilee did Queen Elizabeth II celebrate in 2012?

A) Platinum Jubilee

B) Diamond Jubilee

C) Silver Jubilee

D) Golden Jubilee


1) C — Thatcher was the first British woman Prime Minister. The first female High Court judge, Elizabeth Lane, sat in 1965. Women have been Olympians since 1900. Susan Ridge became the British Army's first female general in 2015.

2) False — St Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean, is a "British Oversea Territory," and has a slightly different relationship with the UK to "Crown dependencies" like the Isle of Man.

3) C — Although you'd be hard-pressed to find many Brits who have read all three of these.

4) B — But since most people refer to this as "the boat race" it could be easy to get confused.

5) A — County Courts deal with civil matters like money. Magistrates’ and youth courts deal with crimes, and coroners, investigate deaths. Plenty of Brits would get confused by these.

6) B — Elizabeth II, soon to be Markle’s grandmother-in-law, had her last major landmark when she celebrated 60 years on the throne in 2012. Next up is her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, should she live to be 95.

Join the conversation about this story »

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7 things people with multiple partners want you to know about what it's really like


three girls

  • Polyamory is when couples have more than one romantic partner.
  • There are many misconceptions about the lifestyle, including the fact it's all about sleeping around.
  • In fact, sex is just one part of why couples choose to be polyamorous.
  • Many couples report that polyamory has brought them closer together.

Couples can fall into a polyamorous lifestyle in a few different ways. Some decide they want to search for a third member of their relationship, whereas others simply fall into the polyamorous community and find it works out better for them.

A common misconception of polyamory — the word for having multiple romantic partners — is that it's all about people wanting to have their cake and eat it too. This may be the case for those who go "unicorn hunting," but others in successful polyamorous relationships don't see it that way.

As is the case with all sorts of relationships, there are many misconceptions about polyamory. Business Insider spoke to people in polyamorous relationships to find out what it's really like.

1. They don't really get jealous

Many people get jealous in their relationships, whether they like it or not. It's an ugly, upsetting emotion, but it's also basically inevitable in love. So introducing multiple people into your love life might seem like a recipe for disaster.

But according to Alex*, who has been polyamorous with his wife for several years, it's not really like that.

"I do feel jealousy in all my relationships sometimes, but for me I have learned that I feel jealousy mostly when something is wrong in my relationship with my partners," he told Business Insider. "It's not discomfort about them seeing other people. Jealousy for me acts as a warning sign that I am feeling insecure or stressed about my relationship with someone, and when I address whatever is causing that worry (usually with lots of reflective conversation) the jealousy goes away."

Dr Elisabeth Sheff, the author of "The Polyamorists Next Door," has been studying polyamory for over two decades and is also in a "monogamish" relationship with her wife. She told Business Insider that some people genuinely never experience jealousy. However, she has also seen cases where people believe they are unable to feel it, only to come back years later after learning they actually can — it just took the right situation or person to trigger it.

2. It's not all about sex

Sheff said she travels a lot for work, which is why polyamory works out well for her relationship. Sometimes she can be away for two months at a time, so she likes her wife to have someone to keep her company while she's away. But that doesn't mean they act on it all the time.

"We have a lot of flexibility, but we don’t tend to act on it very much. Me because I don’t have a very high sex drive, and her because she’s been working like a fiend," Sheff said. "She’s very serious about her career, and spends zero time trying to date. It’s only happened the once, where she met someone she really connected with."

Still, since polyamory is about getting a variety of needs met, sex is still an important factor. Sometimes one person may not be able to give you everything you want — but that doesn't mean you want to break up with them.

"A lot of people report having different kinds of desire for sex, like one person wants BDSM or kinky sex and the other really doesn’t, and that's hard to manufacture in a satisfying way," Sheff said. "If your partner can find someone who is totally psyched for that, nobody has to have the kind of sex they don’t want to have, and everybody gets to have the kind of sex they find fun and appealing."

cheating couple

3. Sometimes people just fall into the lifestyle

Alex and his wife Claire* talked a lot about all the reasons polyamory wouldn't work before they tried it. They then met and became friends with a lot of polyamorous people, and since then, they haven't looked back.

"We learned a lot about how poly worked for them and soon it was quite a normal thing in our social circle," he said. "It did make us more relaxed about other things, we became more comfortable telling each other when we found someone else attractive or had fun flirting with someone or whatever."

Sheff said that unless a couple goes out in search of a third member, couples can find themselves falling into polyamory.

"Polyamory just happens to people," she said. "Like they find themselves falling in love with their best friend, get drunk one night, have an accidental threesome, and say 'Oh wait, all three of us are in love, what is this?'"

4. It involves a lot of communication

Talking with each other is key in polyamory. In fact, because couples have to be so honest with each other about everything, many couples believe it has made them closer.

"When Claire told me she felt like she was falling for a friend of hers, we knew we could talk through how we felt and what it meant for our relationship and things," Alex said. "That wasn't initially easy, but we found we were able to work things out for ourselves through lots of honesty and conversation and being loving and considerate in a way that has also made our relationship much deeper and stronger."

5. It's not always easy

Alex and Claire made it clear to each other that their relationship comes first by defailt. They are planning for the future, want to have children, and make choices in light of those things. Alex believes that despite this, they are both still very capable of making their other partners feel loved.

"That doesn't always mean it's easy," he said. "I was recently dating (for a few months) someone who found that she wasn't comfortable with falling into emotional attachment while being persistently aware that we would never have the sort of shared-life-building relationship that Claire and I have. So we were really into each other... and wanted to make things work, but had to take the decision to stop."

Alex said this was very sad, but they couldn't find a way of forming a relationship that made them both feel happy and secure.

As for the impact dating other people has on their marriage, Alex said they aren't really concerned.

"There is very rarely any worry that one of us will meet someone we'd prefer to be with," he said. "Being married is for us an expression (social scripting and all that) of our enthusiastic intention to carry on building a life together and make things work when it's difficult, and be a team because we recognise that we're at our best when we're doing that.

"So it's not that we separate the fact that we're married from being interested in other people — being married is a sort of permanent fact about us as individuals as well."

polyamorous relationship friends

6. Kids don't complicate things as much as you might think

According to Sheff, polyamory can improve couples' relationships with their children — if they have them — because they are already very good at communication.

She said children don't usually have more than their two parents. Any others who might be around are adult friends, who are there for support, but they don't often take on disciplinary roles.

"The children are very clear on who their parents are. They’re never confused by that," she said. "That person is much more likely to be seen as an aunt or uncle, extended family of some sort, but not an actual parent. But certainly an adult who they can rely on and go to for help, support ideas, and maintain a lasting connection with."

She added there are three cases where children might have more than one parent, but it's rare: it occurds if the child is very young when they meet the partner, that partner lives with the child, or the relationship has lasted for many years.

As "romance" happens in private, children aren't necessarily ever aware of it. They just know there are lots of people around to play with.

7. It doesn't always work

Sheff tends to work with people who are happy in their polyamorous lives, and so admits she is looking through rose-coloured glasses at the situation. In bad polyamorous relationships, things may get complicated and messy.

In fact, before meeting her wife, Sheff's husband suggested polyamory to her — he wanted to find a bisexual woman for them to share, but she wouldn't be allowed to sleep with other men. In the end, Sheff realised she was being manipulated, and that's not how a healthy polyamorous relationship should go down.

But when it's done right, Sheff believes it can be an ideal lifestlye for many people. Couples can be more satisfied with their lives overall, and children are unaffected or even benefit. They have more freedom, a large support group, and open communication, and end up more independent and self-sufficient as a result, she said.

* Names changed for anonymity.

SEE ALSO: What it means for couples to go 'unicorn hunting' — and why it usually doesn't end well

Join the conversation about this story »

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Doner kebabs could soon be banned across Europe due to links with heart disease


doner kebab

  • Doner kebabs could soon be banned across Europe if a proposal from the EU goes forward.
  • The Health Committee expressed concerns over links the phosphates in kebabs have with heart disease.
  • The full parliament will meet in two weeks to vote.


A late-night kebab could soon be a thing of the past, according to legislation which has been put forward by the European Union.

According to Metro, the legislation would make doner kebabs – which originated in Turkey — illegal across Europe, because of the phosphates that they contain and their links to cardiovascular disease.

The popular dish — often consumed after a night out — is made up of shaved kebab meat in a pita, usually with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of dressings.

An estimated 1.3 million doner kebabs are sold every day in the UK from more than 20,000 outlets, according to The Guardian, while 200,000 people work in the multi-billion euro industry across Europe.

Meanwhile, according to German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, there are around 16,000 doner restaurants in Germany, with three million doner kebabs served daily.

doner kebab

The EU's Executive Commission originally proposed to officially authorise the use of phosphates in the lamb, mutton, beef, or veal that goes onto a shop spit. However, earlier this week the Health Committee voted 32-22 to oppose it, expressing concerns that approving the meat would put Europeans at greater risk of heart disease, according to recent health studies suggesting a link between the two.

Takeaway owners are saying that doner meat needs the additives to "keep it juicy and full of flavour, both while being transported and on their rotisseries," Metro reported.

Some are even accusing the EU of "doner discrimination," since some sausages contain phosphates would still be allowed.

The most vocal owners are in Germany, where the doner kebab is incredibly popular. However, the dish has also spread to London and New York.

"They are looking for ways to hurt Turkish businesses here," Berlin kebab bistro owner Baris Donmez said.

"Such a ban would be the biggest pile of garbage imaginable."

The full European parliament will meet to vote on the issue in two weeks. If the proposal is rejected, it will be sent back to the commission — and the future of the beloved kebab will remain up for debate.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's fashion choices reveal how different the two women are


kate and meghan 1

  • With Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton is preparing to welcome a sister-in-law into the royal family. 
  • The differences between the two are encapsulated in their fashion senses. 
  • While Middleton tends towards timeless British looks, Markle has trendier tastes. 


Kate Middleton is about to welcome a new sister-in-law into the royal family. 

On Monday, news broke that Prince Harry was engaged to marry American actress Meghan Markle. 

"William and I are absolutely thrilled," Kate Middleton, who is married to Harry's brother and heir to the throne Prince William, told reporters Tuesday."It’s such exciting news. It’s a really happy time for any couple and we wish them all the best and hope they enjoy this happy moment."

Middleton is probably the person who could best understand what exactly Markle is going through as she prepares to marry into the royal family. 

However, so far in life, the two have taken very different approaches to how they present themselves — and that's shone through in their fashion. Here's how Markle and Middleton measure up. 

SEE ALSO: Meghan Markle has more in common with Princess Diana than you might think — here's how Prince Harry's fiancée is following in his mother's footsteps

Middleton met and began dating Prince William while the pair attended University of St Andrews.

The couple graduated in 2005. In early photos, the pair looks like typical college students, with comfort trumping sophistication. 

From the start, Middleton's fashion has been decidedly British.

Her taste for fascinators — as seen here at a wedding with William in 2006 — is one that is far outside the comfort zone for most American fashionistas. 

Meghan Markle, meanwhile, seems to have caught Prince Harry's eye from afar.

Markle is best known for her role in the legal drama "Suits," but she has also acted in a long list of shows like "CSI: NY" and "Castle," as well as films including "Get Him To The Greek."

While the pair was reportedly introduced by a mutual friend, this fame may have helped pave the way to romance. 

"He had a crush on Rachel Zane two years before he met Meghan and the reason I know is because I was having drinks with one of his friends," according to royals expert Katie Nicholl. "She told me she’d been on a night out with Prince Harry. He was single at the time, so she said, 'Harry, who’s your ideal girl?' And he said 'Meghan Markle from Suits.'"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Meet the 20 highest-paid celebrities in the world, who made a combined $1.7 billion in one year



With fame comes a big, fat paycheck.

The 20 biggest earners in entertainment and sports — from Beyoncé and Howard Stern to LeBron James and Ellen DeGeneres — raked in more than $1.7 billion between June 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017.

That's according to the most recent Forbes' Celebrity 100 list, which ranked the world's top-earning front-of-camera entertainers by pre-tax income during that 12-month period. Their estimates are based on figures from Nielsen, NPD Bookscan, Pollstar, Box Office Mojo, Songkick, D'Marie and IMDB, and interviews with industry insiders and some of the celebrities themselves.

Below, find out what the biggest names in film, television, music, and sports did last year to become the highest-paid celebrities in the world.

SEE ALSO: From Beyoncé and Jay Z to Tom and Gisele — meet 7 of the world's richest power couples

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20. Mark Wahlberg

Annual earnings: $68 million

Profession: Actor

Age: 46

Mark Wahlberg had his highest-earning year to date thanks to massive paychecks for starring roles in blockbusters "Daddy's Home 2" and "Transformers: The Last Knight." He also appears in the A&E reality show "Wahlburgers" with his brothers about running and expanding their family restaurant business. He's currently the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.

18 (TIE). Jerry Seinfeld

Annual earnings: $69 million

Profession: Comedian

Age: 63

Jerry Seinfeldthe world's highest-paid comedian, struck gold with Netflix this year. The streaming giant paid him millions for a new stand-up special, two more seasons of his hit show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," and development credits. He's also still raking in cash from Hulu, which owns the rights to his 1990s self-titled sitcom.

18 (TIE). Adele

Annual earnings: $69 million

Profession: Musician

Age: 29

It was another banner year for Adele. The British singer embarked on a year-long world tour in 2016, which grossed a whopping $167.7 million at the halfway mark. In early 2017, Adele nabbed five Grammys, bringing her total to 15. Behind Beyoncé — whom she dedicated her Album of the Year Award to — Adele was the second highest-paid woman in music last year.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Queen Elizabeth has a fortune worth over $500 million — here's where the royal family got their riches


Royal Family of England

• Most of the British monarchy's wealth is derived from inherited lands and investments.

• British taxpayers also support the royal family through a "sovereign grant" issued by the treasury.

• The royal family has come under fire for money management in the past — along with certain investments that appeared in the Paradise Papers.


You might say the royal family is old money. Centuries-old money, to be exact.

According to Forbes, Queen Elizabeth II has an estimated private wealth of $530 million. Forbes also reports the British monarchy "contributes nearly £1.8 billion to the UK economy" annually, including £550 million in tourism.

British taxpayers support the family through a "sovereign grant" issued by the treasury. Next year's grant will come out to $104.8 million. That's about 65 pence per year per taxpayer, according to The Boston Globe

Here's everything you need to know about how the British royal family acquired its millions:

SEE ALSO: Queen Elizabeth only carries money one day a week — here's why

DON'T MISS: Watch our visit to the Queen's McDonald's, where we had a very British breakfast

The Crown — not Queen Elizabeth, herself — holds many luxurious residences and priceless objects in trust

The Queen herself doesn't personally own national treasures like the Crown Jewels or the Tower of London. 

Such national treasures are part of the royal collection, which the monarch holds in trust for the nation. The collection is made up of thousands of paintings, tapestries, pieces of furniture, photographs, and other objects, spread out between numerous royal residences. Certain palaces, like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, are also held in trust.

She does personally own certain items in the collection, including an immense royal stamp collection her father King George V passed down to her. She also privately owns the $65 million country house, Sandringham House, and the $140 million Scottish estate Balmoral Castle, according to Fortune.

The treasury doles out a lump sum — known as the sovereign grant — to the queen.

The sovereign grant is meant to cover the expenses Queen Elizabeth II racks up in her official duties as monarch, including travel, entertaining, and property maintenance, according to The Mirror.

The sovereign grant comes out to 15% of the annual profit of the Crown Estates. The amount granted to the monarch cannot decrease from the previous year, even if the Crown Estate fares poorly. The National Audit Office has free reign to audit the grant.

The arrangement hasn't always been without snarls. The grant came under review in 2015, essentially because the queen was making too much money, Business Insider reported.

What's more, the Guardian reported the grant jumped from 15% to 25% of Crown Estate profits, in order to pay for Buckingham Palace renovations.

Queen Elizabeth II also has her own personal income — and paid income tax for the first time after a fire devastated her favorite castle in 1992

Forbes reports Queen Elizabeth has an estimated private wealth of $530 million.

And, according to the law of the land, she doesn't have to pay any taxes on her wealth.

"The sovereign is not legally liable for income, capital-gains or inheritance tax," according to the Economist.

That expectation changed after one of her favorite residences, Windsor Castle, was devastated in a 1992, according to the Daily Mail.

The fire sparked controversy over who would foot the bill for the damages. Ultimately, Queen Elizabeth began paying taxes on her income. According to the BBC, she was the first monarch to pay taxes since the 1930s.

Business Insider reported that the queen also makes "voluntary payments to the UK tax authority HM Revenue and Customs" in lieu of capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

The sovereign grant itself is tax-exempt.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We visited America's most famous 'breastaurant' for the first time — and what we found shocked us



  • Hooters is the most famous "breastaurant" in America. 
  • As two Hooters dilettantes, we went in expecting to be disappointed. 
  • Instead, we found a pleasant atmosphere, good wings — and even some tasty oysters.


As two 20-somethings who had made it this long without ever visiting Hooters, we were both at peace with perhaps never dining at said establishment.

But as chain restaurant reporters and connoisseurs, we knew the omission of the nation's most famous "breastaurant" would not stand. 

Since its founding in 1983, Hooters has become something of a pop culture icon synonymous with buxom waitresses and... wings. There's a "bro-culture" vibe attached to the brand; in our minds, it seemed to have the stench of toxic masculinity, even from afar.

However, what we found upon venturing inside the chain was vastly different from our preconceived notion. Here's why everyone should give Hooters a chance. 

SEE ALSO: Chipotle is facing a reckoning — and I saw why it may never again be the chain it once was

The only Hooters in Manhattan is located mere minutes from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden — a prime locale for a wings-oriented sports bar.

The chain is vaguely beachy, fitting with its slogan, "Life's a beach." Hooters started in Clearwater, Florida, as something of a joke; the founders weren't very confident about their odds of survival.

But today, there are over 430 locations in 28 countries worldwide. And this location was reasonably busy, especially for a midday Friday in an area traveled by commuters.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 10 things everyone will be eating and drinking in 2018, according to Whole Foods


flower petal cocktail

  • Whole Foods has released its predictions of the 10 food and drink trends that will be big in 2018.
  • It includes the likes of super powders and mushroom-based dishes.
  • The list is based on the experiences of global buyers and experts.

Whole Foods Market has revealed its predictions on what the biggest food trends will be in 2018— and some of them are pretty out there.

The retailer's global buyers and experts compiled the list based on their combined experience in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences.

From functional mushrooms and floral flavours to seaweed tacos and sparkling drinks, scroll down to see the 10 things everyone will be eating and drinking in 2018, according to Whole Foods.

1. Floral flavours

"Foragers and culinary stars have embraced edible petals for years, but floral inspiration is finally in full bloom," according to the report. "From adding whole flowers and petals into dishes to infusing botanical flavors into drinks and snacks, this top trend makes for a subtly sweet taste and fresh aromatics.

"Look for flowers used like herbs in things like lavender lattés and rose-flavored everything. Bright pink hibiscus teas are a hot (and iced) part of the trend, while elderflower is the new MVP (most valuable petal) of cocktails and bubbly drinks."

2. Super powders

Matcha bowl and whisk"Powders are serious power players," according to Whole Foods. "Because they’re so easy to incorporate, they’ve found their way into lattés, smoothies, nutrition bars, soups, and baked goods.

"For an energy boost or an alternative to coffee, powders like matcha, maca root, and cacao are showing up in mugs everywhere. Ground turmeric powder is still on the rise, the ever-popular spice used in Ayurvedic medicine. Smoothie fans are raising a glass to powders like spirulina, kale, herbs and roots for an oh-so-green vibrancy that needs no Instagram filter. Even protein powders have evolved beyond bodybuilders to pack in new nutrients like skin- and hair-enhancing collagen."

3. Functional mushrooms

mushroom soup"Shoppers are buzzing about functional mushrooms, which are traditionally used to support wellness as an ingredient in dietary supplements," Whole Foods reported. "Now, varieties like reishi, chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane star in products across categories.

"Bottled drinks, coffees, smoothies and teas are leading the way. The rich flavors also lend themselves to mushroom broths, while the earthy, creamy notes pair well with cocoa, chocolate, or coffee flavors. Body care is hot on this mushroom trend too, so look for a new crop of soaps, hair care, and more."

4. Feasts from the Middle East

Shakshuka"Middle Eastern culinary influences have made their way west for years, and 2018 will bring these tasty traditions into the mainstream. Things like hummus, pita, and falafel were tasty entry points, but now consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions, regional nuances, and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures, with Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese influences rising to the top.

"Spices like harissa, cardamom, and za’atar are hitting more menus, as well as dishes like shakshuka, grilled halloumi, and lamb. Other trending Middle Eastern ingredients include pomegranate, eggplant, cucumber, parsley, mint, tahini, tomato jam, and dried fruits."

5. Well-labelled products

More is more when it comes to product labeling, according to Whole Foods, with consumers wanting to know "the real story behind their food, and how that item made its way from the source to the store."

"GMO transparency is top-of-mind, but shoppers seek out other details, too, such as Fair Trade certification, responsible production, and animal welfare standards," according to the report.

"The FDA’s deadline for nutrition labeling is among the first regulatory steps for greater transparency, but expect consumers and brands to continue leading the way into a new era of product intel."

6. High-tech plant-based dishes

chocolate avocado mousse

"Plant-based diets and dishes continue to dominate the food world, and now the tech industry has a seat at the table, too. By using science to advance recipes and manipulate plant-based ingredients and proteins, these techniques are creating mind-bending alternatives like "bleeding" vegan burgers or sushi-grade "not-tuna" made from tomatoes.

"These new production techniques are also bringing some new varieties of nut milks and yogurts made from pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts, and pecans. Dairy-free indulgences like vegan frosting, brownies, ice cream, brioche, and crème brûlée are getting so delicious, non-vegans won’t know the difference – or they might choose them anyway!"

7. Puffed and popped snacks

puffed rice snacks

"Crunchy snacks are perennial favorites, but new technology is revolutionizing all things puffed, popped, dried, and crisped," according to Whole Foods. "New extrusion methods (ways of processing and combining ingredients) have paved the way for popped cassava chips, puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava chips, and puffed rice clusters.

"Good-old-fashioned chips also get an upgrade as part of the trend, with better-for-you bites like jicama, parsnip, or Brussels sprout crisps."

8. Alternative tacos

sushi tacos"There’s no slowing down the craze for all things Latin American, but the taco trend has a life of its own. This street-food star is no longer limited to a tortilla, or to savory recipes: Tacos are showing up for breakfast, and trendy restaurants across the country have dessert variations.

"Most of all, tacos are shedding their shell for new kinds of wrappers and fillings too — think seaweed wrappers with poke filling. Classic tacos aren’t going anywhere, but greater attention to ingredients is upping their game.

"One end of the spectrum is hyper-authentic cooking with things like heirloom corn tortillas or classic barbacoa.'

9. Root-to-stem cooking

Whole Foods reported: "Between nose-to-tail butchery and reducing food waste, a few forces are combining to inspire root-to-stem cooking, which makes use of the entire fruit or vegetable, including the stems or leaves that are less commonly eaten. Recipes like pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto, or broccoli-stem slaw have introduced consumers to new flavors and textures from old favourites."

10. Another kind of bubbly

sparkling waterThere’s an entire booming category of non-alcoholic sparkling beverages ready to compete for the attention of customers, according to Whole Foods. "These drinks are a far cry from their sugary predecessors. Flavoured sparkling waters like plant-derived options from Sap! (made with maple and birch) and sparkling cold brew from Stumptown are shaking up a fizzy fix."

Join the conversation about this story »

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The 11 most overrated things to do in NYC for the holidays


how the grinch stole christmas

There's nothing more magical than holiday time in New York City — that is, until you have to push yourself through hordes of tourists and mouth-breathers.

The Grinchy, TLDR-version of this article is that virtually everything you plan to do in NYC over the holidays that usually draws a crowd is overrated. Sorry.

But take heart! There are some exceptions to this rule — and plenty of alternatives to choose from that won't result in you and yours getting overheated, trampled, mobbed, and then some.

To find them, Business Insider consulted staffers who live and work in and around New York City.

Here some of the most overrated things to do in NYC over the holidays, along with some caveats and alternatives.

SEE ALSO: 31 of the most bizarre holiday gifts employees have ever received from a coworker

DON'T MISS: 15 things you should never do at the office holiday party

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

"The event packs all the blocks around the tree with selfie-stick-wielding tourists, creating a crowd that can induce claustrophobia, especially for those who (like me) don't care about oversized Christmas trees that much," Science and Innovation Editor Dana Varinsky said. 

"And the thing is: The tree will be up for the entire season, all lit and everything, exactly as it looks on that first night, but with less crowds and better photo ops."

Intagramming the perfect picture of the Rockefeller Tree

"It's always super crowded in Midtown during the holidays, and there's no such thing as the perfect shot — unless you want it to include a bunch of random tourists in the background," said Insider Picks Editor Ellen Hoffman, who's been in New York for more than eight years.

An anonymous Business Insider employee who has lived in New York for five years suggested going to see the Washington Square Park tree instead.

Going anywhere in Midtown

In fact, Hoffman said going anywhere in Midtown ever, but especially during holidays, is a nightmare.

"The massive crowds will swallow you whole if you're not used to walking around NYC," she said. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The best photos of Europe that National Geographic has taken in its 125-year history


a symbol of Western democracy for more than 2,500 years, the parthenon overlooks the latest generation of tourists to gaze upon its ruined magni cence. Sitting upon a convenient rock, Maria Tsakonakou of the greek chapter of the International YWCa reminds prospective emigrants to australia, who are seeking better jobs abroad, that wherever they go this will always remain their cultural birthright.

National Geographic revolutionized photography and the photo essay. 

The magazine's photographers, who are sometimes armed with up to nine different cameras and 500 rolls of film for a single assignment, have captured the world with tack-sharp images.

More than 200 photos from the past 125 years are featured in the new book "National Geographic: Around the World in 125 Years - Europe." 

"The ideal Geographic picture should command attention," writes Photo Editor Franklin Fisher, who worked for the magazine in the 1920s.

Below, see our favorites.

Captions are from "National Geographic: Around the World in 125 Years - Europe."

SEE ALSO: 15 stunning photos that show why Portugal should be on your travel bucket list

West Germany, 1973

Shafts of sunlight stream through the windows of Munich's Augustiner Beer Hall, illuminating thousands of stein-hoisting patrons celebrating the annual Oktoberfest.

Writing in the March 1974 Geographic about Bavaria's 1,200 breweries, author Gary Jennings quipped: "One could have a Bavarian beer with his meals three times a day — and some do — for more than a year without drinking the same brand twice."

Soviet Union, 1965

A Russian fantasia in masonry, Moscow's multicolored, many-domed St. Basil's Cathedral stands mirrored in a Red Square rain puddle. Dating back to 1552, the dazzling edifice, with no fewer than eight side churches clustered around its central sanctuary, has survived not only fire and war but also the horses that Napoleon had stabled in its nave and the Bolsheviks who had hoped to raze it. It remains a state museum today.

Sweden, 2015

The setting sun silhouettes Mount Nammatj in the Rapa Valley of Sarek National park in northern Sweden. Nothing exemplifies wild Scandinavia like this sprawling reserve, home to more than a hundred glaciers, six of the nation's 13 highest peaks, and myriad lakes and streams.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We partied at the ‘Burning Man on a yacht’ party attended by the wildest part of New York’s tech scene


Kiva Sutton   BoatPaty17 484 8

By 10:30 p.m.,  I was ready to collapse on the dance floor. Everyone else was heading to an afterparty at a far-off warehouse. That's the kind of party New York's Burlesquerade is.

Now in its 7th year, the annual costumed gala has grown from a birthday party in a tiny apartment to an extravaganza on a 30,000 square-foot "super yacht" featuring an eye-popping lineup of DJs, aerialists, burlesque dancers, and performance artists.

The Burning Man-esque party attracts 1,200 partygoers ranging from bigwigs at Goldman Sachs and Facebook to Brooklyn's DIY fashion designers and filmmakers. Timothy Phillips, the man whose birthday started it all, says he hopes the event is "inspiring."

"The idea is really just to set this expectation that everyone should be surrounded by people who inspire and motivate them all the time," Phillips told Business Insider.  "We try to create events that facilitate that."

Phillips recently invited me to attend this year's Burlesquerade. Here's what it was like.

At Phillips' insistence, I showed up at Pier 40 early so he could show me around the boat, the Hornblower Infinity. I was dressed in my costume gala finest, but in true New York form, no one batted an eye.

As I made my way through the security line, where guards studiously checked the videographers and volunteers' bags, Phillips spotted me.

He was dressed in a black glistening jacket that evoked a raven's feathers and was flying back and forth a bit like a mad bird, talking to security or the caterer or picking up a cellphone for a harried call to an unknown person. 

Phillips said that the Burlesquerade started because he had friends from so many different scenes that were often “intimidated by each other” or “stuck in their preconceptions about who the others were.”

By creating a massive party and forcing everyone to costume themselves, he thought he might be able to “break down those barriers.”

Phillips soon handed me off to Joe Che, his business partner and the man most often tasked with turning Phillips' high-flying ideas into, in Che's words, "practical realities."

Dressed in a kind of antique captain's jacket festooned with ornaments, Che gave me a tour around the boat so I knew where all the performances and activities would be. But as he warned me, there's too much to do for any one person to see everything.

Challenge accepted.

Che explained that he and Phillips formed Lightning Society three years ago to expand what they had created with the Burlesquerade and to find new ways to “bring people together for meaningful connections.”

So far, that has resulted in the current version of the Burlesquerade and a co-living space in Bushwick.

The co-living space, which houses 16 people ranging from a teacher to tech developer to an astrophysicist, hosts weekly programming, including yoga and dance classes and an ongoing speaker series.

They started boarding the boat early because the security line takes so long.

The event recruits more than 150 volunteers to put on the party, who do everything from set up to production and photography. Volunteering is a way for many who can’t afford the $75 ticket price to join the festivities. 

It takes Che, Phillips, and the team of volunteers seven hours to set up the boat.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Inside the last slice of old-school San Francisco where you can still buy a home for under $1 million



Ingleside is miles off the beaten path for most San Franciscans.

It's a haul from any central location in the city, and it has a reputation as one of the tougher neighborhoods, which has helped the working-class area stay under the radar of tech workers and real-estate investors. In fact, you can still buy a home for under $1 million in Ingleside.

According to data from Paragon Real Estate Group, only 20% of homes sold in San Francisco since July 2016 went for under $1 million. Of those 593 sales, 83 have been in Ingleside.

Business Insider visited Ingleside to see what this last affordable enclave is like.

SEE ALSO: A couple bought one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco for $90,000 — now the city is making them give it back

San Francisco's public transit system services Ingleside, but it is by no means a short trip. We hopped on Muni by our office in downtown and arrived a solid 40 minutes later.

Ingleside sits to the far south of the rest of the city, sandwiched between Balboa Park and San Francisco State University. Highway 280 brushes its western border.

Our first stop was the community garden at Brooks Park, where locals can grow produce and ornamental plants for personal use. It's known for panoramic views of the city.

After some serious huffing and puffing up one of Ingleside's (many) steep hills, we arrived. Two people were tending their plots, and the garden was beautifully well-maintained and quiet.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 'bucket-list' items you can stop worrying about completing in your 20s


young woman smiling city

  • If you have a bucket list for your 20s, it should be personal to you.
  • You don't necessarily have to include experiences like running a marathon or quitting your job.
  • So if you haven't lived a life of adventure and become your happiest, most successful self by age 30, it's OK.

Everyone's got regrets — the countries they should have visited, the people they should have asked out, the boss they should have told off.

And if you listen to those regrets, it can make you feel like you've got do everything now — before it's too late and you're burdened with kids, or debt, or creaky knees.

Slow down. If you're drafting a bucket list for your 20s, it should be personal to you — not littered with experiences that other people wish they'd had. Below, find seven items you shouldn't feel obligated to include on that list, and why.

SEE ALSO: 17 things to start doing in your 20s so you don't live in regret in your 40s

Traveling the world

If you're planning to have kids, and/or pets, and/or a mortgage, then yes, it will be harder to book a last-minute flight to Australia when you're older.

But there's no point forcing yourself to create experiences that aren't meaningful to you. INSIDER's Kristin Salaky reported that, at 24, she's never been outside North America, partly because she's anxious about flying and partly because she prefers other kinds of closer-to-home excitement.

Travel is supposed to be fun — not a burden — so don't let that list of places you haven't yet been stress you out.

Networking with everyone in your industry

Workplace experts extol the virtues of networking — forging mutually beneficial professional relationships by showing up to events like conferences and happy hours.

Wharton psychologist Adam Grant shared a slightly different take in The New York Times: Instead of focusing on schmoozing, focus on working hard, and let those relationships form naturally. If you develop a reputation for being one of the most knowledgeable workers in your field, other people will necessarily be drawn to you.

Quitting your job

For most people, telling your manager you're leaving is a lot less exciting than it is in the movies. Even if you're incredibly frustrated at work, and long for the sound of the door slamming behind you for the last time, you might not be in the position to be able to leave. Since you're there anyway, consider seeing how you can tweak the job to suit you better.

Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans recommend keeping a "Good Time Journal." The first part is an activity log, where you list your primary activities and how engaged and energized you were while doing them.

The second component is reflection, which involves reviewing your activity log and noticing any patterns or surprises. See if you can eliminate those tasks you don't enjoy — and maximize the amount of time you spend on the ones you love.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The darkest day of the year is almost here — here are science-backed ways to fight winter blues


winter sunrise

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious depression that affects a small minority of the population.
  • But changing seasons and darker days affect most people's behavior, including our cell phone activity.
  • Psychologists say there are a few simple ways to help maintain mental health in the winter.

The idea that our mood might darken in the dark winter days has been around for millennia. 

The coldest months of the year were a terrible time for the Greek Gods: Persephone was banished to the underworld every winter, while Boreas ushered in the cool winter winds and his nasty temper. Later, Shakespeare wrote, "a sad tale’s best for winter."

Well, bring on the sad tales, because we’re barreling towards the darkest day of the year. On December 21, people in New York will get just over 9 hours 15 minutes of sun, while in Anchorage, Alaska there’ll be fewer than 5 and a half hours.

A correlation between lower latitudes and less seasonal sadness

The idea that darker days could make a portion of the population susceptible to depression wasn’t picked up by modern clinicians until the 1980s, when South African psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal moved to the US and noticed a change in his mood during the New York winters.Snow In Central Park

He wondered whether he felt more glum and low-energy because the days were darker than in his home city of Johannesburg.

Rosenthal put the question to the masses in the Washington Post in 1981, saying he wanted to hear from anyone who felt sad in the wintertime and had "gone through enough cycles to know that this is going to happen again." 

The results of his subsequent telephone surveys were conclusive — he found a clear correlation between lower latitudes and sunnier dispositions. Only about 1% of people living in Florida reported experiencing sadness, Rosenthal found, while nearly 10% of those in dark corners of the country like Alaska and New Hampshire said they were feeling down.

Rosenthal also found that women between the ages of 20 and 40 were twice as likely to have SAD compared to men, and suggested the hormones estrogen and progesterone may have an impact.

His new term for this seasonally-linked depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), was first included in the 'DSM' — the go-to-guide for psychologists and mental health experts — in 1987.

According to the DSM, people who have SAD are excessively fatigued, lose interest in their hobbies, tend to crave more starches and sweets, may gain seasonal weight, and have difficulty concentrating during darker months.

If you suspect you have this type of depression, it's best to see a professional — don’t try to diagnose it on your own.

But is SAD a real thing?

Recently there's been some debate about whether 'SAD' deserves its place among other disorders. Psychologist Steven LoBello published a study of nearly 35,000 Americans in 2016 that found no variation in their depression that could be explained by latitudes or seasonal changes.

"The belief that winter is a cause of depression, sadness, 'the blues' is very widespread in western culture," LoBello told Business Insider. But just because we believe we have SAD, he said, doesn't mean we really do.

LoBello's study, however, didn't rule out the possibility that major depression with seasonal variation exists for a very small portion of the population.

That’s an assessment other clinicians largely agree with. Kelly Rohan, who studies adult mood disorders and SAD therapies at the University of Vermont, said estimates that up to 10% of people in places like Alaska have SAD are likely due to overstated self-reports. The real number of people with SAD is probably between 1-2%, she said.

"It's going to be a pretty pervasive mood state that is going to affect the person for four to five months of the year,” Rohan told Business Insider. “It’s not going to wax and wane depending on what’s going on at work.”

What you can do about SAD

There are at least three ways that people who’ve been diagnosed with SAD can combat the problem. 

Light therapy boxes

sad light box light therapy

Artifically adding some bright light to the dark days via a light therapy box (some people call these 'happy lamps' or phototherapy boxes) can help — when used regularly and as prescribed. The boxes are meant to mimic natural, outdoor light, and researchers believe they can cause some chemical shifts in a depressed brain. Most emit more than 10,000 lux (for comparison, a typical house lamp emits around 50-80 lux, and office lights about 500 lux.)

Good light therapy boxes are designed to filter out damaging UV light, however, these are not FDA-regulated so it can be tricky to find a reliable one.  

The bulbs, which are usually white florescent and may carry the full spectrum of light, can come with side effects like mild sunburns, eye strain, and migraines. On the more serious side, some research has suggested the lights can increase thoughts of suicide, or trigger mania. 

The Mayo Clinic says they should be used in the morning, and patients should spend around a half hour of time in front of their lights after waking up. But again, it's not a device that should be self-prescribed.  

"Just because you can walk into Costco and buy one doesn’t mean that you should," Rohan said.


Because SAD is a form of depression, antidepressants that increase serotonin in the brain and pharmaceuticals that treat major depressive disorders — particularly Bupropion, or Wellbutrin XL — have also been shown to work.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a form of talk therapy that's meant to change a person's patterns of doing and thinking. Rohan said that with the approach,"we're working with a person to identify negative thought patterns and habits" and then break them. 

For example: “If the person is having the repetitive thought of ‘ I hate winter,’ we might change that to ‘I prefer summer to winter,’ which is more of a neutral thought,” she said. 

Unlike light therapy, which is palliative (you have to keep doing it to reap the benefits) CBT can have a lasting effect from year to year, so the treatment is more of a long-term solution, Rohan said. Startups in Silicon Valley are working to bring this kind of talk therapy to the masses with inexpensive texting apps and chatbots.

What to do about winter blues, even if you don't have SAD

Most people feel a little down in the winter months — it's a time of year when depression rates spike (though suicides don’t). Some clinicians refer to this sub-syndromal kind of doldrum as 'S-SAD.'Sunrise_Karkonosze_winter

And there’s no doubt that seasonal changes impact on our routines. A November 2017 study studied cell phone use data from a million people living in densely packed, artificially lit European cities. The researchers found that people were up and on the phone well past 11 or 11:30 p.m. in the summer months, while in the winter, they stopped gabbing by 10:30.

Here are some things that can help.

Go for a walk first thing in the morning, just after the sunrise.

“Light therapy is based on the theory that the biological clock becomes sluggish in the wintertime due to later dawns,” Rohan said.

With a morning walk, you’re getting aerobic exercise (always helpful for mental health) while the light is jump-starting your circadian clock.


Don’t shift your routine to the couch.

The fact that it's dark and cold at the end of a work day isn't a good reason to ditch your gym routine. Keep staying active, and if you enjoy winter sports, bundle up and get out there.

Make an effort not to change your activity level too much.

During the darker months, continue seeing people, making dates with friends, and keeping appointments. The Swedes deal with their 24-hour dark days by celebrating 'mys': their annual winter tradition of getting cozy, relaxing with friends, and eating delicious food. 

SEE ALSO: Some people have a strong urge to snack in the winter — but you probably won’t gain as much weight as you think

Join the conversation about this story »

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How often you should wash your bed sheets, according to a microbiologist — and what happens when you don't


woman sleeping

We spend more than a third of our lives in bed — but that place can quickly blossom into a "botanical park" of bacteria and fungus, according to New York University microbiologist Philip Tierno.

If left for too long, the microscopic life within the folds of our bed sheets can even make us sick, Tierno told Business Insider.

To stem the invisible tide, he said, sheets should be washed once a week.

The recommendation is also emphasized by the authors of a study published November 30 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. After testing thousands of American homes, the researchers found that more than 90% of them had at least three detectable allergens.

When these allergens lurk in places where your mouth and nose nestle right up to them, they can trigger sniffing and sneezing regardless of whether you have a known allergy or not.

"Even if you don't have allergies per se, you can have an allergic response," Tierno said.

Another reason so many of these microbes can lurk in our beds is that we keep them warm and moist simply by sleeping in them. Humans naturally produce some 26 gallons of sweat between our sheets every year. When it's hot and humid, this moisture becomes what scientists call an "ideal fungal culture medium;" our pillows alone can house as many as 16 species of fungus each.

In addition to the fungi and bacteria that come from human sources (including sweat, sputum, and anal excretions), beds also teem with foreign microbes like animal dander, pollen, soil, lint, dust mite debris and feces. They can also contain remnants of the finishing agents used to produce sheets.

All that gunk can become what Tierno calls "significant" in as little as a week. So he recommends doing yourself a favor and washing your sheets.

"If you touched dog poo in the street, you'd want to wash your hands," Tierno said. "Consider that analogous to your bedding. If you saw what was there — but of course you don't see it — after a while you have to say to yourself, 'Do I want to sleep in that?'"

Julia Calderone wrote an earlier version of this post.

SEE ALSO: How often you should wash your bath towel, according to a microbiologist — and what happens when you don't

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NOW WATCH: This is what happens to your brain and body when you check your phone before bed

Women sometimes cheat on their husbands — but not for the reasons you think


woman flirting

  • Sociologist Alicia Walker researched why women cheat on their husbands.
  • She found out that the clichés about what women look for in lovers is not necessarily true.
  • Women told her that they often cheat to stay married to husbands they loved, not to leave them.

If you ask someone the worst thing their partner could do to them, most of them would probably say "cheating."

Finding out your spouse has been unfaithful is heartbreaking, devastating, and can ruin someone's self-esteem.

When Alicia Walker, a sociologist and researcher at Missouri State University set out to look into why women cheat on their husbands, she expected to find results in tune with what people often assume about them. For example, people tend to talk about how infidelity happens when women want to seek out emotional support, or they fall in love with someone else.

However, as laid out in her book "The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women’s Infidelity," her findings were anything but cliché. She talked to 46 women in total, through the adult dating website Ashley Madison, and none of them were looking for anything other than physical connections.

They weren't looking for anyone to support them emotionally — they just wanted men who were sexually compatible.

"They were very practical and methodical in their decision making and then their vetting of who they were going to get involved with," Walker told Business Insider. "And they were very clear it had nothing to do with whether or not he was a nice guy ... So none of the sentimentality that we seem to want to assign women. They talked a lot about how participating in this was sort of this exercise of power and freedom for them."

The women weren't looking for love elsewhere, because all but two of them said they still loved their husbands. They were simply looking to be satisfied in bed.

"The women I spoke to are cheating to stay married," Walker said. "They're not cheating for revenge, or to get out of a marriage, or to get the husband to notice them through bad behaviour. It's none of those things."

Walker explained that they no longer had sex with their husbands at all, or at least their partners weren't bothered about giving them orgasms.

"They very much presented this scenario that their marriages are either completely sexless, or orgasmless — at least for the women themselves," she said. "They very much convey that: if I don't do something to address this, I'm going to end up leaving. I'm going to end up breaking up my family, breaking my children's hearts, breaking my husband's heart, and I just don't need that."

Overall, the women felt like cheating was working, and they were all very careful to ensure their husbands never found out about the infidelities. They spoke to Walker about all the positive things their lovers brought to their lives, without having to commit to anything other than sex.

"Most of them said that none of the men they were involved with outside their marriage were as good as their husbands are, at least not as good a person," Walker said. "They talked a lot about the ways that doing this had benefited them. It had made them more relaxed, less stressed, and there was less tension in the marriage. A lot of them talked about how before they started doing this they had all this resentment for their husbands, because of the sexual failure.

"By outsourcing the sex, they were able to come home and be more like the wife and mother that they really wanted to be."

SEE ALSO: Science shows intelligent people are less likely to want to cheat on their partners — but it's not that simple

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