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Bugatti Hired A Security Guard Just To Keep Journalists Away From Its Car At The New York Auto Show

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The New York International Auto Show is in full swing at the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side, and journalists have been treated to the debuts of more than a few remarkable vehicles.

But while most of the automakers have hired female models — AKA booth babes — to stand alongside their products, Bugatti took a different approach this year. 

Accompanying the Veyron, the world's fastest production car, is a security guard, whose job consists of keeping interested members of the press a few yards away from the multi-million dollar ride.

According to the guard, someone checking out the Veyron at last year's show accidentally damaged it, costing the company quite a bit of cash. So for 2013 they're not taking any chances — although rumor has it journalists at the show can get closer if they talk to the Bugatti media representative, and set up a time beforehand.

bugatti veyron security guard

 

bugatti veyron

SEE ALSO: 15 Cars We Can't Wait To See At The New York Auto Show

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Famous Chefs Share Their Favorite Local Restaurants

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seafood dish

These chefs know good cooking, and they share their favorite places to eat when they’re taking a break from the kitchen.

London: “The food at Dock Kitchen ($$$), in Ladbroke Grove, is complex and delicious. Chef Stevie Parle pulls inspiration from his travels, as with his Cornish crab with curry leaves and coconut.” —April Bloomfield

PortlandOregon: “Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon’s (503/255-4356; $), at the back of a grocery store, is super-authentic. The nopales (cactus) salad is a must.” —Naomi Pomeroy

OaklandCalifornia: “My favorite Thai restaurant in the Bay Area is Hawker Fare ($$), which chef James Syhabout took over from his mother. Now it has a fun, modern vibe and Syhabout’s versions of the gutsy food he grew up eating.” —Daniel Patterson

Stockholm: “P.A.&Co. ($$$$) is like after-school for adults—everyone knows each other and no one has reservations. Every time I’ve gone by myself, I’ve felt right at home.” —Marcus Samuelsson

Charleston: “My top place to eat in Charleston is Two Boroughs Larder ($$). Get the tunaconserva with shishito peppers and sofrito.” —Sean Brock

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25
to $75

$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

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I Went On A Hunt For The Greatest Meal In Dubai

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burj“Do You Have the Code?”

It is a ninety-five-degree October day in Dubai. I am standing on the back lawn of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the one scaled by Tom Cruise in the latest of his Mission: Not Possiblemovies, facing a dapper African security guard.

But, unlike Mr. Cruise, I do not have the code. What I have is heatstroke. The Kenyan sentry appraises the melting man before him. “Oh, no, sir, I can’t let you in,” he says. “You have to be dressy. You have to be,” he takes his time, relishing the word: “eh-le-gant.”

Chastened, I shuffle off to the circular drive filled with Ferraris and Maseratis that separates the world’s tallest tower from the world’s biggest mall. FASHION: IMPOSSIBLE announces a giant Bloomingdale’s poster. The mall gives on to a man-made creek that leads to a fake souk that turns back into a real mall, then twists into a garage and then circles back to become a mall again.

Oblivious to the heat, a gaggle of ex-U.S.S.R. girls are sitting on the souk/mall’s restaurant patio smoking shisha pipes. A woman in a black niqab shovels biryani past her veil, while her uncovered daughter makes quick work of an iPad. I stare at the glistening top of the world’s tallest building, which looks like a beautiful steel flower reaching out to the desert skies. Before being stopped by security, I had been trying to get to the At.mosphere restaurant, the world’s highest. All I wanted was some lunch.

“The Confirmation Code Has Been Sent to Your Room, Sir”

Now we’re getting somewhere. I thank the concierge and hang up my bedside phone, which is about the size of my first 1980’s Apple computer. I’m staying in the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel, one of the twin Emirates towers, which look like crisp space-age steam irons against the busy Dubai skyline. Gazing out my window, I see an ocher construction site resembling a fresh Zuni fortification. Beyond it, somewhere in the haze, is a coastline. I dash to the shower, put on my blazer, and wait for the At.mosphere confirmation code to be slipped under the door. Success! I read the code aloud in case an unlikely wind sweeps off the Persian Gulf and deposits it in the lunar dust of another construction site. A4DE1, A4DE1, A4DE1.

An hour later,my taxi is stuck on the multi-multilane insanity known as Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai’s principal thoroughfare. Unless I tell you otherwise, I am writing every word of this while stuck in traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road, lost between dozens of reflective green skyscrapers, with the Indian cabdriver blasting Virgin Radio FM, usually “Like a G6” by Far East Movement, or some other song about expensive planes, trains, and helicopters.

To ascend to the world’s highest restaurant in the world’s tallest building, one goes through the Armani Hotel. The action heats up. After I present my credentials at reception, an elegant Chinese woman with a British accent takes me through the stylishly morose lobby to an elevator that takes us down to a second lobby, where I am handed over to a statuesque Russian with a Russian accent. Many key cards are swiped along the way, into elevators, into turnstiles. And then, finally, I am zooming up at 33 feet per second into the future, as my ears pop and pop some more.

Gentlemen are Expected to Spend at Least 200 Dirhams

I’m not sure if Dubai has its own anthem or coat of arms, but if it does it should definitely include the words MINIMUM SPENDING FOR GENTLEMEN IS AED 200. This is the sign that greets me at the entrance to the At.mosphere Lounge and will follow me around my week in Dubai. At this point, I am ready to eat my 200 dirhams (about $50). Instead, I am offered afternoon tea. The highest high tea in the world, natch.

I have ascended into the bosom of female Dubai expat society, surrounded by Marina Marys and Jumeirah Janes, those wonderful British ladies in flowery dresses who keep the local real-estate market from plummeting into the Arabian Gulf. In the pleasant circular room, I nibble on truffle-and-egg sandwiches and drink down my Laurent-Perrier Brut as the harpist serenades us. Outside the 122nd-floor window: Dubai.

The sun sets bleakly over the sail-like extravagance of the Burj Al Arab, the exceedingly luxurious hotel moored on an artificial island to the north. Closer by, the faces of the ruling sheikhs of the United Arab Emirates drape a small skyscraper, a strange reminder that there are actually people in the country, citizens, I suppose, who are not Indian or Pakistani or Russian or British or German. A thousand airplane warning lights are blinking off a thousand skyscrapers as the sun sets. Gigantic cooling fans are spinning within the incomplete ruins of half-finished buildings. Beyond them a cartography of growing desire: malls, housing estates, artificial lagoons, the endless lunar sands of further construction. A Russian-accented Asian woman named Valeria, surely from one of the Stans, deposits a tray of macarons before me. If you could hear the multilane traffic of Sheikh Zayed Road it would sound something like Henderson the Rain King’s “I want, I want, I want.”

I Want a Drink

I’ve come to Dubai to write a story about food. My friend, the lovely Nouf Al-Qasimi, has joined me on this mission. She is a Yale-educated, Santa Fe–based foodie whose family lives in a gracious, jasmine-scented compound in Abu Dhabi. As with many Abu Dhabians, Nouf’s view of Dubai, the brasher, far more outrageous emirate, can be summarized with an arched eyebrow.

I meet up withNouf at the bar and restaurant Teatro, in the Towers Rotana Hotel Dubai, another heap of reflective blue glass on Sheikh Zayed Road. Nouf wants to introduce me to Pat, the Indian manager of Teatro, who seems to know all of Dubai, from the highest rulers to the lowest punters. Teatro’s bar, a standard-looking rectangle lost beneath a healthy cloud of old-fashioned smoke, is where Dubai’s populace feels most comfortable. We’re listening to an instrumental version of “Like A Virgin” beneath portraits of Clark Gable. Pat examines my list of Dubai eateries: “No. Bad. Awful. No soul. Okay.” I cheerfully cross off the offending places. “The thing about Dubai,” Pat says, “is it’s all steel and chrome—the heart is elusive.”

We are joined by Nader Sobhan, an old classmate of Nouf’s at Yale. Born in Rome to Bangladeshi parents and speaking perfect American English, Nader is the consummate Dubai resident: a son of three countries who lives in exactly none of them. I am immediately pleased by his short stature and hirsuteness, traits that I happily share.

Nader’s full namemeans “rare glory,” and he foresees our evening very clearly. Tonight we will skip the towers of the center, the “steel and chrome,” to quote Pat, and head across the Dubai Creek for a glimpse of something real. And so, along with Nader and his Chinese girlfriend, we cram into a taxi and leave behind the heroic skyscrapers and well-groomed malls for a land called Deira.

With its 1980’s architecture in disrepair, Deira reminds me of the New York borough of Queens on an especially humid day. There are Cyrillic signs everywhere advertising MEX, or “fur” in Russian. Our first stop is the Japanese restaurant Kisaku, up on the top floor of the disheveled Al Khaleej Palace Hotel. The quotient of actual Japanese salarymen is high here, the décor is minimal, the food is authentic and superb and although gentlemen will probably spend more than 200 dirhams, there are no signs commanding them to do so.

There’s thinly sliced hammour, the endangered but oh-so-delicious local grouper fish. There’s ika natto, thinly sliced cuttlefish with fermented soybeans, and fatty tuna that looks positively marbled. Along with the NHK channel on the TV and the clink of sake glasses hitting marble, all the classics of a hardworking Japanese bar are present: agedashi tofu, smooth and creamy, capped with prodigious amounts of bonito flake; vinegar-drenched seaweed; a nice, crisp dish of burdock root. Most of all, there’s “tubular fried fish cake,” which defies all interpretation but leaves us in awe of its many clashing textures and its singular wistful note of the sea.

Welcome to the Desert of the Real

Another friend of Nader’s joins us for dinner, and herein we run into an interesting dilemma. Fresh from his long day working for a financial company, his friend is wearing the traditional whitekandora. The bars that Nader wants to take us to, however, do not allow men in “national dress.” This seems like the ultimate irony—U.A.E. citizens not allowed to enter a bar in their native land.

And so those of us in Western dress head for the African Garage Club, in the Ramee International Hotel in Nasser Square. Entering the democratic confines of the Garage after spending half the day begging for admittance to the world’s tallest building is like falling from the stratosphere into a small but welcome oasis. Everything here is sweaty and human and real. The theme is vaguely automotive. The clientele sit in hollowed-out cars, and the bar at the back is fitted inside the windows of an ancient bus, perhaps imported from Africa or the subcontinent. There’s a portrait of Jimi Hendrix over the stage, supervising some serious guitar- and drum-driven South African jams. On the dance floor, the women are dancing so hard, they’re practically doing push-ups.

We peel off from the Garage on a highway that sparkles with decorations for the Eid al-Adha holiday, the Feast of the Sacrifice. At night, the Burj Khalifa is as good a skyscraper as it gets, sparkly like tinsel, monumental like the Empire State Building. All alone up there above the malls and the sands, it looks like it could use a friend.

The Best Meal in Dubai

Nouf’s mother is from Lebanon, a country with a cuisine of such sophistication that it often startles me that every other restaurant in the world does not serve meze. Al Nafoorah, the Lebanese restaurant in the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, is just an elevator ride away from me, but it is by far the best meal I will have in Dubai. During the colder (read: still insanely hot) months, it is possible to dine outdoors beneath the lit-up palms. The air is infused with scent. You can smell Al Nafoorah’s tasty hookahs and charcoal grill from a skyscraper away.

My method here is to take a puff of the mint-grape shisha, take a sip of martini (in the Lebanese style this is simply Martini-brand vermouth, served, for some reason, in a margarita glass), eat something completely unexpected, and then listen to Nouf explaining what on earth I just ate. There are the sautéed chicken livers drizzled with pomegranate sauce, the smoothest, tastiest chicken livers I’ve ever had. “The richness of the liver is like a narcotic,” Nouf says, “but the sharpness of the pomegranate keeps you awake.” Muhammara means “reddened,” she explains, as in the gorgeous dip of chili paste, bread crumbs, walnuts, and olive oil that I follow up with puffs of smoke, letting the mint from the shisha hit the back of my scalded palate. Then there are tiny birds—assafir, pan-fried ortolan—again in pomegranate sauce, a little finger snack from heaven, though those who object to swallowing an entire animal in one bite should give it a wide berth. “It’s like you’re eating fried chicken in reverse,” Nouf says, because the crunch comes at the very end. The dishes pile up. A pickle platter bearing turnip, cauliflower, and Armenian bitter melon. Cold minced lamb with raw onion. Freshly sautéed dandelion root with onion and olive oil. All this bounty is scooped up withsaj, a paper-thin unleavened bread that makes ordinary pita look stupid. By the end of the meal I am a confirmed mezeholic.

“Do You Have the Code?”

Oh, God, not again. Nouf and I are standing at the edge of Madinat Jumeirah, an enormous resort comprising 80 acres of Arabian-themed insanity. We are trying to get to Pierchic, the resort’s seafood restaurant built at the end of a long pier. The restaurant has not sent me the code. But I do have a room key to the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, a sister hotel, which impresses a man in uniform enough so that we are allowed in; that is to say, we are deemed of the right class. After 30 minutes of walking across innumerable bridges, bumping into a strange Thai statue that I mistake for a waitress and try to reason with, and catching a lift from a buggy driven by a Hindi-speaking man, we arrive at Pierchic.

The restaurant is most perfect in the dark, with the sail of the Burj Al Arab twinkling in the near distance, its helipad perched over the water like an offering plate, tables of well-heeled French and English families floating through the night alongside us. From this vantage point, Dubai after sunset looks interplanetary. We hear the slap of the waves against the pier, and the slap of fish in the water, and order a pan-fried sea bass and an equally pan-fried halibut. These two taste average; the best part of the meal lives under the sea bass, a mash of veal bacon and Savoy cabbage that we pick at for an hour while the worried server hovers over us with the eternal Dubai question: “Is everything to your liking, Mr. Gary?”

Before we arrived at Pierchic, Nouf and I had been to a birthday party at 360° Bar at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, another off-shore establishment in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab. There, we met Texan pilots, French skydiving instructors, and entire platoons of pink-faced, Dockers-wearing U.K. and Commonwealth expats. Between the inhalations of copious amounts of expensive alcohol, the talk, as always, was of Dubai’s ruling family, the most fascinating topic in the Emirates.

“They own four 737’s.”

“They use a C-130 as a station wagon.”

“They go falconing in Pakistan.”

“They have a private island and they stop military air traffic when the crown prince needs a lift home.”

“They see a restaurant they like in London or Paris and they just buy one for Dubai.”

Back on the buggy to the mainland, a drunk Australian in a fedora and pink oxford shirt squeezes in next to me and drapes his arm around my shoulder. Pointing to the approaching skyline of Dubai, he shouts: “I oin this town! I bloody oin it!”

He’s got the code.

Just For the Record

By now the reader maybe wondering, Where is the best view of Dubai proper as seen from an establishment jutting out into the Gulf? The answer is: the 101 Bar at the One&Only The Palm resort, which hangs off the crescent of the enormous palm-shaped archipelago of artificial islands. This watering hole and restaurant is built on stilts, giving it a Seychelles kind of feel. It is entirely free of drunken expats, catering instead to a more sedate crowd, including the monied locals who actually “oin” this town. The view of the Dubai Marina lighting up the shoreline like an instant Manhattan is easily the most romantic in the city, unless you’ve brought your own yacht.

Czar Nicholas’s Last Request

I begin the new day with a spicy, meaty breakfast at Ravi Restaurant, in the busy Satwa neighborhood, a stone’s throw but a world away from Dubai’s gleaming downtown. The Pakistani restaurant is a linoleum hole-in-the-wall, crammed with taxi drivers, low-level hotel staff, men in red worsted employee ties. There’s a bag of chopped onions in the refrigerator, along with gallons of Mountain Dew. There are hungry men expertly folding naan like handkerchiefs before dipping them into pools of spice. I eat a lula-style mutton kebab just for the fun of it, but the real star of the show is the nihari stew, on the breakfast menu. It’s the national dish of Pakistan: flaky, tender, just-off-the-bone meat studded with green peppercorns.

Slightly on fire, I stumble back to the Dubai Mall to visit the amazing new aquarium. Watching a tiger shark swim overhead is fun, but nothing beats the world’s smartest otters, who give their trainers high fives and could probably do your taxes if you asked them nicely enough.

The sea animals have rekindled my hunger. It is time for one of my last meals in the emirate. It is time to head back to the Armani Hotel, in the Burj Khalifa next door. But now I know the drill. Now I have all the codes I’ll ever need. Now I am Dubaian, smart as an otter.

I am joining Nader, the Rare Glory, for dinner at Armani/Ristorante. We enter the hushed, circular dining room with its tastefully beige décor. The nightly fountain show outside the artificial Burj Khalifa Lake is still going strong, and Nader points out the various dances being performed by the towering plumes of water: the Arabic Hair Dance, the Swinging Cane Dance.

In deference to local excess, we decide to order nearly all of our dishes off the truffle menu. A part of me wants to write the rest of this article as a Tom Wolfe homage. He was eating! The most! Expensive! Black truffle! In! The world’s! Tallest! Building! But I will restrain myself.

And then something happens that neither Nader nor I expect. The food proves to be as delicious as the view outside. The plump roasted scallops with celeriac and black truffle, the stracciatella cheese with artichoke, Parmesan, and black truffle—all are subject to slow chewing and contemplation. Nader remarks upon the authentic lack of red sauce in the dish of wild-boar pappardelle. My eggy tagliolini with white truffles is al dente to the massimo. We order a toothsome red wine for under $100, which may be the greatest bargain I’ve yet encountered in Dubai. I scan the coast for a gentlemen are expected to spend at least $200 on a bottle of chianti sign, but there is none. All we have in front of us is calm: the oatmeal tablecloth, the golden menus.

For dessert, we are presented with la sfera, which is essentially an edible Fabergé egg, made with vanilla cream, violet crème brûlée, and cassis sorbet. If poor Czar Nicholas II had been granted a last request, this would have been a good choice.

“I didn’t know dessert could be so good with truffle,” the tall Russian hostess exclaims to me as we leave.

“Everything taste good with zeh truffle,” I want to tell her, in my new Dubaian accent, which is neither Russian or American, but filled with rich, truffle-like sibilants.

Give me a few more weeks. I’ll oin this town.

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SEE ALSO: Incredible Aerial Photos Of Dubai

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Cure Your Own Bacon With This Simple Kit

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This is The Original Baconkit.

Why We Love It: Bacon is just pork slathered in salt or brine — it's so easy you can make it yourself. That's the idea behind The Original Baconkit, which allows you to make five pounds of homemade bacon.

Purchase fresh pork belly at your supermarket or butcher, and then follow the Baconkit's easy steps. The kit includes a curing bag, cure, maple sugar, thermometer, and the instruction sheet.

And the Seattle-based company is so confident you'll be glad you didn't just buy regular store-bought bacon, they have a 100% money back guarantee.

Baconkit

 

Baconkit instructions

Where To Buy: Available through The Original Baconkit website.

Cost: $16.99

Want to nominate a cool product for Stuff We Love? Send an email to Megan Willett at mwillett@businessinsider.com.

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A Feel-Good Story About A Comped Olive Garden Receipt May Be Fake

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A picture of an Olive Garden receipt showing a free meal was posted to Reddit with a heartwarming story. 

"My brother, wife, 3 year-old daughter and I went to Olive Garden after a recent house fire at my parents. When the manager asked how everything was my daughter said "Grandpa's house burned down". Here's how we received the check," reads the caption on Reddit. 

But the feel-good tale ignited some controversy after an anonymous poster claimed he or she was in the advertising business and that the receipt was clearly a marketing ploy. 

"That Olive Garden receipt is fake; it's free advertising," the person wrote. "I know because I work in advertising and have spoken to the people who plan these campaigns."

The anonymous poster cited the clearly visible "Olive Garden" logo as evidence it was too good to be true. 

Brands have been accused of fake-posting on Reddit before. An article by Ryan Holiday at betabeat.com explains why it would be a no-brainer for brands to try this free tactic. 

"The best kind of marketing messages are the ones that don’t seem like marketing messages," Holiday said. "Because it means that the viewers’ defenses are down."

Olive Garden and its external advertising agency both told The Consumerist that the company had nothing to do with the post. The publication has since talked to someone who  claims he was the original poster but wishes to remain anonymous. 

But because Reddit is anonymous, it's hard to say whether any photo or story posted there is genuine. 

Here's the photo in question: 

olive garden receipt

SEE ALSO: These Are The Victoria's Secret Items For Teens That Parents Are Furious About >

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Yes, Obama Probably Has A Food Taster – But So Did Ronald Reagan

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Obama, Pelosi, McConnell eating

It's very likely the President has a food taster, and despite criticism of the practice under President Barack Obama, the mystery anti-poison position apparently goes back to the days of Ronald Reagan.

The recent taster controversy was sparked after a report of the President not eating at a lunch with Republican senators earlier this month.

"Apparently he has to have essentially a taster, and I pointed out to him that we were all tasters for him, that if the food had been poisoned all of us would have keeled over," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told the Daily Mail after the lunch. "He did look longingly at it and he remarked that we have far better food than the Democrats do, and I said that was because I was hosting."

The U.S. Secret Service has long denied such a position exists. And Walter Scheib, a former White House chef has claimed, "there is no presidential food taster," at least inside the security zone of the White House. Instead, Scheib claims there are "food screeners" who sometimes watch during food preparation. 

"They do more — let's not characterize this as some kind of Medieval court food taster. That's not the case," Scheib told The Daily Intelligencer. "These folks have a number of different duties and responsibilities, one of which is to be sure that the president doesn't get poisoned, quite honestly."

But the criticism mocking Obama for asking to be treated as royalty appears to be misguided — presidential food-screeners appear to have been around since at least the 1980s.  

Here's a New York Timesreport from President George W. Bush's inaugural lunch in 2001:   

The president's tasters were on the job by 6 a.m., not just to make certain no one was trying to poison him, but to make sure the mushrooms that were to decorate the tenderloin of beef at the inaugural lunch for teetotaler George W. Bush were not cooked in wine. The tasters, Navy mess specialists who travel around the world with the president, watched the preparations in a makeshift kitchen just off Statuary Hall in the Capitol.

And here's a Jan. 26, 1998 report from Joe Murray of Cox News Service criticizing Reagan for the practice

reagan food taster

So does Obama have a food taster? We may never know for sure, because the Secret Service is understandably tight-lipped.

But with the President facing 30 death threats a day, it's not that outlandish to think the threat could come from the kitchen.

h/t Snopes

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A Disturbing Vision Of Augmented Reality In The Future

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sightWhat if you could digitally interact with everything?

The future of augmented reality — think cerebral implants and digital contact lenses — was imagined last year in a short film by graduate students Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo.

We highly recommend watching the eight-minute film, "Sight" — and also checking out our annotated walk-through.

Sight is an awesome product, but it's also disturbing in its creation of a world with no off switch, where privacy can be hacked like never before.

With technology like Google Glass set to debut this year and other wearable gadgets on the way, Sight isn't so implausible.

Forget Google Glass: The future is Sight contact lenses.

Source: "Sight" by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo



Here's what playing video games will look like once you're hooked up to Sight.

Source: "Sight" by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo



The user is playing a skydiving game, maneuvering his body through rings to earn points.

Source: "Sight" by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo



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Couple Explains What It Took To Pay Off $160,000 Of Debt During A Recession

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maria nedevaFor most people, tackling the average $8,000 we carry in credit card debt seems like an unbearable task.

What if you had 20 times as much to worry about?

UK residents Maria Nedeva, 50, and her husband, John, 64, found themselves facing nearly $160,000 worth of debt just three years ago.

"By Autumn 2009, I was getting a funny feeling that things are not right," Maria told Business Insider. "When John told me [how bad things were], I thought, 'My life has just ended and my existence has begun.'"

What's interesting is that they found themselves in that much debt to begin with. Maria was an associate professor at the time and John worked as a statistician for a software consultancy firm. And even though John's firm went under as a result of the financial crisis, Maria, who blogs about their debt journey at The Money Principle, admitted their money woes had begun long before.

Business Insider: Other than the financial crisis, how did a university professor and a statistician wind up with $157,000 of credit debt? 

Maria Nedeva: We were rather irresponsible when it came to managing our money, but this is a simplification. I suppose, money was never in my world view. An example of this is that four years ago, I didn’t know how much I earn (this is not hard, I get a pay slip every month) or how much a pint of milk costs. Although I have always earned well, money ran through my life like water on really dry soil –– without leaving a restorative trace. I suppose my husband didn’t care to manage the family finances either (we have always had joint finances). His attitude was, 'We’ll earn a lot and it will all be fine.' 

BI: How did you balance a household budget that was so clearly out of whack?

MN: For the first time in years we looked at our house insurance and changed it. We changed our life insurance. Competition is a great thing – being 15 years older than when we first got it we managed to cut the premium by half between us. We started cooking (for me it was a steep learning curve) and meal planning. We had to accept that we are ‘cooks’ not ‘chefs’ and buy products for recipes. This reduced waste considerably (we hardly throw away any food) and our food bill halved. I stopped spending $30 per day just to go to work (coffee, lunch and driving/parking). 

BI: You also made the decision to take out a debt consolidation loan with your bank. What was that process like? 

MN: We had been with the bank for decades and are very good customers ... Hence, our bank was very good to us in return and after a discussion with our personal bank manager we had a £80,000 ($126,000) consolidation loan secured against the house and at 7.7 percent interest (with monthly payments of $1,435). On Jan. 4, 2010 we had a loan to run for 10 years and £20,000 ($31,000) on credit cards and overdraft ... at the time it felt to me more like a prison sentence.

BI: You paid off a 10-year loan in only three. That's pretty remarkable. What was it like getting used to an entirely different lifestyle?

MN: The main thing that helped us reduce our outgoing was not what we stopped doing but that we changed the way in which we do things. We still went on holidays, had a ring-fenced budget for fun, kept a gym membership and expensive haircuts, and [ran] marathons ... The fun budget was modest. I bartered for my gym membership – the owner trained me and I wrote for him. 

BI: Will you continue using credit now that you're debt free?

MN: If you are asking whether we’ll be spending money we don’t have again I’ll have to answer ‘not a chance!’ I’ll never be in debt again, apart from the mortgage but we have a plan for this one. However, credit is like any other instrument and can be used responsibly or not. Hence, we may use cheap credit if and when needed – the difference would be that this will be done as a considered decision and there will always be either ready money to cover it or money certainly coming in. 

BI: Were you able to increase your incomes at all during that time?

MN: [Our incomes] have increased in two ways: 1) Through the incremental increase of my salary and John’s private pension to bring these in line with inflation (but my increases stopped because British universities are rather short of cash). 2) By increased consultancy income and generally ‘side hustle’ ... Also the fact that John’s consultancy collapse turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The company owed us so much that we didn’t have to pay tax. 

BI: What's been the response from people who've read your blog and know your story?

MN: People may read our story and think: ‘Yeah, it is OK for some. They did pay all this debt off but they were well off to begin with.’ My response to this would be that our debt was twice our annual income after tax. Which is a lot!  We are privileged, however, but it is only because of education, high level qualifications and experience. Education matters not only because of what you study but because it shapes a particular kind of thinking. 

SEE ALSO: This couple built an incredible treehouse village in Costa Rica >

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The 10 Happiest And Healthiest Cities In America

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lincoln nebraska football team

Galluprecently came out with the results of its annual wellbeing index, and today takes a closer look at the metropolitan areas that ranked highest on its scale.

The index ranks wellbeing by averaging scores in six categories: Life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. 

Lincoln, Nebraska topped this year's list, jumping 20 spots from 2011. And Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which topped last year's wellbeing index, did not make it into the top 10 this year.

#10 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA

Overall score: 71.2/100

The metro area jumped 47 spots on this year's index. It scored 7th on emotional health and 4th on healthy behavior, which looks at lifestyle habits such as smoking, exercise frequency, diet, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index



#9 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC, MD, VA

Overall score: 71.3/100

The area moved up three spots in 2012. It jumped 53 spots to #41 on the work environment index, which measures participants' perception on their work experience including job satisfaction, treatment, and office environment and interactions.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index



#8 Ann Arbor, MI

Overall score: 71.4/100

Ann Arbor dropped five spots, from #3 in 2011. For the second year in a row, its residents topped the index for life evaluation, a self-evaluation of one's current personal wellbeing and expected wellbeing in five years.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index



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An Expert Explains The Scary Reality Of 'Shopaholism'

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buzz bissingerShopping addiction is in the national spotlight this week after "Friday Night Lights" author Buzz Bissinger revealed in an article for GQ that he had spent $638,412 on designer clothes in three years.

Some people are skeptical about the reality of over-spending addictions, but they are very real, and can ruin a person's finances, relationships, and life.

We got in touch with Terrence Shulman, the founder and director of The Shulman Center in Detroit, which treats compulsive theft, shopping, and hoarding, to find out more about the addiction.

Here's what he had to say about "shopaholism." Answers have been edited for clarity.

BUSINESS INSIDER: Is there a certain type of person who is inclined to become a shopaholic?

TERRENCE SHULMAN: I would say we need more research on that. But it affects men and women roughly equally. It also affects young people, because they're getting access to credit cards at an earlier age. And kids want expensive gadgets: They want a new phone every year or a new video game every month. We also know it affects people who are well-to-do, are gainfully employed, and have a decent income just the same as people who are barely scraping by. So it really cuts across all categories.

BI: How do shopaholics behave, and does the addiction affect men and women differently?

TS: There are different patterns. They may shop for themselves, or for other people to gain love or approval. Some people have to get bargains, while others need a high-end item to feel good, and still others need something that directly improves their self-image or their image in the eyes of others — for instance, clothing. There are also people who buy and return items who we call return-aholics or bulimic shoppers.

Shopping addictions affect women a little more than men, but men are quickly catching up. Men don't tend to over-shop, but over-spend: On a car, on a vacation, on sporting events, or on a concert. They typically go for larger purchases. Women can certainly do that too, but I've found women are a little more cautious about large purchases, but tend to do more continual shopping than men.

BI: How many people suffer from shopping addictions?

TS: There was a landmark study done at Stanford in 2006 where they estimated about 6 percent of the population, and I think that's conservative. Then a few years later in 2008, the University of Virginia did a study that estimated it was closer to 9 percent. I would say about 10 percent of people have a compulsive buying or shopping problem.

BI: What causes people to over-shop?

TS: Two of the main things I see are over-indulgence and deprivation, either material or emotional. Traumatic events can also trigger the addiction since they could be going through life with feelings of pain, longing, emptiness, loss, and hey find they feel better when they shop.

Then there's the group of people who were over-indulged and spoiled. They get used to having whatever they want when they want it, and they continue that pattern into adulthood.

BI: What is treatment like for shopaholics?

TS: I do a lot of therapy, sometimes via phone or Skype to make it convenient for people. And we try to get to the root of the problem. I also am a big fan of people being engaged in a support group. There's a Debtor's Anonymous group in each major city that you can find at DebtorsAnonymous.org, and even those who aren't necessarily in debt can find help there.

I also really encourage people to read books about this to educate themselves and engage their family, friends, and partners who don't understand it —they don't get why the person can't just stop shopping, but it's easier said than done.

They also need to know what recovery looks like — you can't expect the person to never shop again, but they need to curtail credit card usage, internet usage, get mailing lists, learn their triggers, create a budget or spending plan, and figure out what other activities they can channel that energy into. There's a lot of prompts in society to "BUY BUY BUY!" and so it's something most people will have to monitor for the rest of their lives.

SEE ALSO: The Most Outstanding Looks Of The Year

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Four Months After Sandy, The Rockaways Still Look Awful [PHOTOS]

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rockaways march 2013

When Hurricane Sandy struck no one was prepared, least of all the communities in the Far Rockaways and Staten Island that were hardest hit. More than four months later, these communities are still reeling. 

In November, the damage was so bad that Mayor Bloomberg made it clear there would never be a new wooden boardwalk. When we went out there residents spoke of the difficulty and delays in getting emergency aid.

By December business and individuals were getting back on their feet, but power and telephone service had only just resumed for many residents. In January as Congress fought over the specifics of an aid deal, people in the Rockaways were busy trying to save their homes.

In early February, early plans for how to use the first $1.77 billion for New York City from the $51 billion in federal aid for Hurricane Sandy relief, were released, but city officials warned it could take months for the money to be distributed.

But residents have persevered on their own. With local businesses like Suncycle Studios reopening already. And the YANA (You Are Never Alone) Center, another important aid center during the initial weeks after the storm, is close to reopening with the help of Occupy Sandy and other volunteer organizations.

Just last week, plans for aid were finalized, and in the Rockaways people say it is desperately needed. They're close to giving up hope.

 

As you drive into the Rockaways, a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds can give the impression everything is back to normal.



But there are many reminders of work to be done.



In February, Mayor Bloomberg presented New York City's initial plan for its first $1.77 billion installment from the $51 billion relief funds set aside by Congress.

Source: "City Plans to Allot First $1 Billion in Storm Aid to Housing and Businesses"



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The 18 Hottest Restaurants In Florida

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Baoli Miami

OpenTable.com just released its list of 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America.

The list is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in the U.S.

Of the top 100 restaurants that made the list, 18 restaurants are located in Florida.

From Miami Beach to Tampa Bay, these are the hottest restaurants in Florida.

Bâoli Miami

Location:1906 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

Cuisine: Mediterranean and International

Price:$31 to $50

This export from the French Riviera is one of the hippest new restaurants in Miami. The chef takes advantage of fresh, local ingredients to create inventive Mediterranean dishes. Located on Collins Avenue, the space is sexy and intimate, and there's an open-air garden out back.

Bâoli Miami also has a night club, which happens to be one of the hottest tickets in town.



The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Hotel South Beach

Location:1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Cuisine: Latin / Spanish

Price:$31 to $50

Located inside the hot new SLS Hotel South Beach, The Bazaar by José Andrés is Andrés' first venture in Miami. It serves modern and inventive Spanish and Latin cuisine.

Designed by Phillipe Starck, the space is meant to evoke a modern, European-inspired "indoor piazza."



Buccan

Location:350 South County Rd., Palm Beach

Cuisine:Contemporary American

Price: $31 to $50

Located in Palm Beach, Buccan is a high-end bistro that serves creative modern cuisine in a casual setting. Most of the dishes by Chef Clay Conley are small, allowing diners to sample a wide variety of plates.



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One Of Henry VIII's Wives Ran Down This Hall Screaming For Mercy Before He Chopped Her Head Off

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King Henry VIII

It was hazardous being married to King Henry VIII, who ruled England from 1509 to 1547.

Of Henry's six wives, two were divorced, one died, and two were beheaded. Only the sixth survived him.

You hear a lot about Henry's wives if you visit his palace at Hampton Court, about a half an hour outside London.

And when you enter the corridor below, in the royal "apartments," you hear the story about Henry's fifth queen, Kathryn Howard (often spelled "Catherine").

Henry married Kathryn when she was 19 and he was 49.

Henry had just discarded his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, reportedly because he found her unattractive.

Henry developed a crush on the "vivacious" young Kathryn and soon married her. Kathryn's family, the Howards, were thrilled by the engagement, as they had been on the outs at the King's court and they assumed the marriage would restore their family to greatness.

Henry was over the moon about Kathryn, referring to her as his "rose without a thorn" and "the very jewel of womanhood."

Alas...

The young Kathryn was as flirtatious as the average 19 year-old.Kathryn Howard

And a year after the marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury informed the King that Kathryn had not only not been a virgin when he married her but might even now be carrying on behind his back.

Henry was reportedly heartbroken and refused to believe this.

But he ordered an investigation.

And the news that came back was not good.

So Henry ordered that Kathryn be imprisoned in the palace until she could be executed.

One day, the story goes, Kathryn escaped from her guards and rushed down the corridor below in search of Henry.

She thought he was praying in the royal chapel, which was at the end of the hall. And as she ran, she screamed and begged for his mercy.

The guards caught her before she reached the chapel, and returned her to her cell. (And Henry may actually have been out hunting.)

Shortly thereafter, Henry had her head chopped off.

The story is that the ghost of Kathryn Howard still haunts the corridor at Hampton Court, where she reenacts her desperate attempt to see the king.

Several visitors and staff over the years have reportedly seen her.

Others have reported feeling "chills" in the corridor. (Perhaps because, in the winter and early spring, the place is freezing.)

According to the Hampton Court guides, fully one-half of the visitor faintings that have occurred at the palace over the years have happened in that corridor.

So maybe, even 500 years later, the ghost of flirtatious young queen still runs down this corridor to beg the king not to chop her head off. 

Hampton Court Catherine Howard corridor

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A Former Wall Street Trader Took These Photos Of Street Life, Drug Dealers, And Prostitutes In NYC

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Chris Arnade

Former Citigroup forex trader Chris Arnade left his Wall Street job to pursue photography full-time. 

Arnade spends his time in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx learning the stories of dealers, addicts, prostitutes and pimps and taking their pictures.  

Arnade was kind enough to share some of his photos from his 'My Favorite' album on Flickr.

These pictures of adults and children in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn and probably in some areas that most people in New York City have never visited. We've included the photographs in the slides that follow.

Pictures and stories are all from Chris Arnade.  You can follow Arnade on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. 

Jose and Dimitri: Hunts Point Bronx

Jose, 17, lives in Hunts Point with his father. I met him about six months ago, I saw this blur of red run, jump, and do a back flip over a hydrant. I met him again early in January for a few more pictures: Jose one and Jose two.

We met again Sunday with some of his friends, I needed a nice positive afternoon. I really did nothing, just pointed my camera. Jose and Dimitri did the rest.

More from Hunts Point here: Hunts Point
More of Jose here: Jose the amazing

Pictures and stories are all from Chris Arnade.  You can follow Arnade on TwitterFacebook and Flickr.



Jose and Hydrant: Hunts Point, Bronx

The hydrants where open, and Jose was looking to cool down.

More of Jose here: Jose the amazing
More from Hunts Point here: Hunts Point

Pictures and stories are all from Chris Arnade.  You can follow Arnade on TwitterFacebook and Flickr.



Street Surfing: East New York, Brooklyn

It was close to a hundred today so the hydrants where open. These kids had laid a plank in front of the spout and where "street surfing". That and trying to charge passing cars 75 cent for a wash. As a business man I suggested they aim for the paper money and charge a dollar.

Ty-Shawn, Jaquan, Nahjee, and Dallas (I wrote it down) jumped at the chance for a picture. Now I have to bring back four copies of this picture and a Barbados flag (Dallas), a copy of the picture with sparkles (Nahjee), fruit soda (Jaquan) and a toy gun (Ty-Shawn). Got it

Pictures and stories are all from Chris Arnade.  You can follow Arnade on TwitterFacebook and Flickr.



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Billionaire Steve Cohen Just Bought A Gorgeous Hamptons House For $60 Million

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Steve Cohen, Alexandra Cohen

Steve Cohen's not going to let a little heat from the Feds ruin his lifestyle.

The billionaire founder of hedge fund SAC Capital bought a $155 million Picasso from Steve Wynn earlier this week. Now Peter Lattman over at Dealbook says that he's also bought an oceanfront Hamptons house for $60 million.

This is all on top of a $616 fine SAC Capital was just ordered to pay the SEC to settle insider trading charges, according to Reuters.

A few things about the house: It has a pool, tennis court, media room etc. but the most important thing about it is that it has an ocean view.

See, Cohen already has a house in the same area, the super elite Further Lane. He bought his old house in 2007, but tragically, its ocean view is obscured by fellow hedge fund manager Jim Chanos' house.

So obviously Cohen had to do something.

Lattman also reports that Cohen may sell his Midtown Manhattan apartment in Bloomberg Tower (he also has one in the West Village) for $115 million. If he does, it will be the most expensive property ever sold in NYC, beating the current record held by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought former Citi head Sandy Weill's $88 million apartment for his daughter last year.

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MEN OF WALL STREET: These Are The 12 Fashion Trends You'll Be Seeing This Spring And Summer

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CamouflageEditor's note: Spring is here and that means summer is just around the corner. 

We asked one of our favorite men's fashion bloggers Justin Jeffers, who runs The Fine Young Gentleman, to share some of his favorite trends for the season. 

We've included his top 12 trends in the slides that follow. 

Squared Off Sunglasses

All things old are new again. Over the past few years the popularity of the Wayfarer has been waxing.

No doubt as a result of that, heavier square framed sunglasses have been popping up more frequently. Expect to see them en masse out East this summer.



Brown Suits

Unfortunately, some time ago the powers that be in "mens fashion" dictated that brown suits were a no-go.

They should have never been out of "style," as they work well with the complexion of many men. But now brown suits are yet again on the rise.



Loafers

Loafers have always been badass. Not sure why it took mens magazines and designers so long to get with it.

But anyway, expect to see loafers paired with everything from seersucker shorts to double breasted suits this spring and summer.



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'Star Wars' Fans Will Unite For A Giant Lightsaber Relay

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star wars course of the force

"Star Wars" fans waiting for the next film to arrive can unite in California this summer for a week of costumed festivities. 

And, we're not talking about San Diego Comic Con.  

Lucasfilm and Nerdist Industries are hosting the second annual "Star Wars" relay "Course of the Force" this year in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  

Last year, the event comprised of a five-day relay covering 136 miles from the Skywalker Ranch in Santa Monica to San Diego right before the start of the annual Comic-Con festival.  

The event features fans dressed up in costume, booths, giveaways, and an Olympic-torch-style relay with all of runner registration funds going toward the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

This year's event will expand to cover nearly 500 miles and will take place July 9-16.   

Nerdist Industries' founder Chris Hardwick will return to host the event. 

Relay spots cost $150 and include a customized Hasbro lightsaber and "Star Wars" swag bag. 

Those interested in participating can head over to StarWars.com for more information.

SEE ALSO: Upcoming movies have found the most effective use for Vine >

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The 'Great GoogaMooga' Food Festival Will Return To Brooklyn After A Tough First Year

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googa mooga, bi, dng

Last May, foodies from all of New York's five boroughs and beyond descended on Brooklyn's Prospect Park to experience the Great GoogaMooga, a new outdoor food and music festival billed as an "Amusement Park of Food and Drink."

The inaugural event was plagued by long lines and food shortages. But this year, the event is back, and hopefully will run more smoothly the second time around.

The festival will start Friday, May 17 with a kick-off concert headlined by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Flaming Lips. Tickets for the concert, which are $54.50 each, go on sale today. Like last year, tickets for the rest of the weekend festival will be free for those who register and are selected through a lottery.

The organizers have said they learned a lot from last year's feedback, and have made some changes to improve the experience this time around.

Some of the improvements slated for this year include:

  • Expanding the General Admission footprint  hopefully meaning more entry points and shorter lines.

  • Increasing the number of vendors and retailers so that lines move quicker and there is more food and drink.

  • Improving the VIP experience, which many complained about last year.

  • And finally, working with cell phone carriers to try and address the fact that no one could get cell service last year.

Given the way Superfly, the outfit organizing the festivities, built up its Bonnaroo festival into a world-class concert event, we are betting this year's Great GoogaMooga will be great.

Check out the festival announcement video below:

SEE ALSO: Here's What Happened When 40,000 Food-Loving Hipsters Descended On Prospect Park This Weekend

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Now You Can Hire Fake Mourners To Cry At Your Funeral

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mourners funeral processionBritish mourners are renting "professional sobbers" to blub at funerals to make people believe the deceased was really popular.

For £45 an hour, the fake mourners can be rented to cry for the duration of a funeral service in order to swell the numbers at funerals.

Ian Robertson, the founder of Rent-a-Mourner, in Braintree, Essex, admits the idea may be unfamiliar to the British, although the phenomenon is popular in places such as Asia.

The mourners-for-hire are briefed on the life of the deceased and would be able to talk to friends and relatives as if they really had known their loved one.

Rent-a-Mourner has 20 staff on its books to hire out for funerals, which Mr Robertson said were friends of his rather than professional actors.

He added that they are not required to well up, but are mainly there just to make up the numbers.

"We were actually inspired by the market growth in China," said Mr Robertson.

"The Middle Eastern way is to provide wailers - crying women - as opposed to the quiet, dignified methods we use.

"Our staff will meet with the client beforehand and agree 'the story', so our staff will either have known the deceased professionally or socially. They will be informed of the deceased's background, achievements, failures etc. so they can converse with other mourners with confidence."

Mr Robertson set up Rent-a-Mourner in January last year, and said he has had 52 bookings since the company began, with 15 in the first six months.

"It is growing in the UK - our bookings are up 50 per cent year on year," he said.

He added that his biggest source of his bookings were for funerals in Hull, and has sent staff to 12 funerals there, adding that he could not explain why that area showed the biggest demand.

The company also has plans to expand, after having to turn down more than 60 requests because the funerals were too far away for the fake mourners to get to.

Consumer expert Jasmine Birtles, who conducted the research, believes multi-cultural Britain is experiencing a "cultural shift in the way its mourners say their final farewell.

Birtles, the founder of personal finance site MoneyMagpie.com, said: "Hiring a stranger to weep at a funeral may seem strange, but it's a deep-seated tradition in the East.

"It's still a niche market at the moment but demand for professional mourners is increasing year on year as more people from East Asian and Middle Eastern countries move to the UK, bringing their customs with them.

"The rise in popularity shows a cultural shift taking place in how we choose to pay our last respects and like with many other cultural imports, it's only a matter of time before it crosses over into mainstream culture."

"At the moment it's not the sort of thing most people can treat as a career, but if it continues to increase in popularity then crying on demand could soon become a highly-prized skill."

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Wall Street's Best Paid CEO Is Trying To Kill A Rooftop Bar That Will Block His View

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Hudson River

The new king of Wall Street has a bearish outlook about a construction site a block away from his $23.7 million penthouse.

Richard Handler— who out-earned all other banking bigwigs last year with a $58 million pay package — wants to stop the renovation of the former Verizon building, including the construction of a booze-friendly rooftop lounge, at 50 Varick St. because it'll ruin the panoramic view from his posh pad.

Handler filed a petition in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday to halt a London ad agency's plans to turn four floors at 50 Varick into a creative center, including a rooftop event space serving liquor and food.

Handler, who made the petition under his limited liability company Raesky, fears that the planned roof deck and bar area will ruin the northwest view from his penthouse at 1 York St.

"The project will significantly obstruct the panoramic river views from [Handler's] apartment," the petition says.

He's also worried about the noise and light pollution from the nearly 119-foot building, according to the petition.

The ad agency, Spring Studios, has sought a liquor license and its application in November said the venue could hold more than 3,000 people, play live music and stay open until 4 a.m., seven days a week, according to Handler's petition.

"Use of the building roof deck as an outdoor event space and its concomitant noise will impair the use and value of [Handler's] apartment," the petition says.

The liquor license has also met stiff opposition from Community Board 1. Spring Studios has revamped its liquor license application since November. Last week it told board members it will limit the number of events on the deck and work with the community to address any concerns.

On Feb. 28 Handler's lawyers met with a deputy commissioner of the Department of Buildings to express their concerns and to request an audit of Spring Studios' plans. The commissioner has since assigned a plan examiner to look over the project, according to the petition.

The petition names the building's owner, 50 Varick LLC, its contractors and the DOB as defendants. It asks a judge for an order to halt construction while the DOB conducts its audit.

Handler is the CEO of investment firm Jefferies Group. In 2012 the finance titan took home $19 million plus $39 million in stock incentives over the next three years. The huge pay package bested the earnings of his peers at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

Handler purchased the penthouse in 2010, using Raesky LLC. The pad has floor-to-ceiling windows and was designed by renowned architect Enrique Norten.

The DOB did not immediately return a call for comment about the audit.

Bradford Sussman, a lawyer for Spring Studios, said the matter was between Handler and 50 Varick's owner.

"As tenants, Spring Studios is not named or involved in this action," he said. "This is a matter between the landlord, the Department of Buildings and the complainant."

Handler's lawyers did not immediately return a call for comment.

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