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The 10 best beers chosen by beer enthusiasts across America

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founders brewing co best beers in america 6

For the second year in a row, Bell's Brewery in Comstock, Michigan, is home to the No. 1 beer in the United States, as chosen by beer enthusiasts. 

Each year Zymurgy Magazine, the official magazine of the American Homebrewers Association, asks the group's tens of thousands of members to cast their votes for the best beers in the country. Because Zymurgy readers are homebrewers, the idea is that they have more refined palates than most and can most accurately call the winners. 

While some beers managed to cling on to their spots in the ranking from last year, others have climbed ahead or fallen off the list. Here's the full top 10:

SEE ALSO: How much it costs to grab a pint of beer around the world

10. Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA (TIE)

Grand Rapids, Michigan

The All Day IPA is a light and crisp session IPA that's bursting with grapefruit, tangerine, orange, lemongrass, and pine. The light and refreshing beer features a complex array of malts, grains, and hops for optimal aromatics and a clean finish.



10. WeldWerks Brewing Juicy Bits (TIE)

Greeley, Colorado

Weldwerks Brewing's take on the New England-style IPA climbs into the top 10 this year. The aptly named Juicy Bits packs a whopping citrus and tropical-fruit hops character that's like drinking juice with extra pulp. It's made with Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado hops and has a softer mouthfeel thanks to its adjusted water chemistry.



9. Founders Brewing Co. Breakfast Stout

Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Breakfast Stout is a wake-up call you don't want to miss. A harmonious blend of flaked oats, bitter and imported chocolates, and coffee, this imperial stout offers a fresh-pot-of-coffee nose and a creamy, luscious taste.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Superfly' director on how making music videos for Drake and Rihanna taught him how to thrive in the Hollywood studio system

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Director X Paras Griffin Getty final

  • The director of "Superfly," Director X, is best known for his landmark music videos for artists like Drake ("Hotline Bling") and Rihanna ("Work").
  • But he's now taking the skills he learned making music videos and commercials to build a career in Hollywood.
  • He compares working for Madison Avenue or Hollywood to being a chef or mercenary who has been hired to follow through on an order.


Director X can easily recall the biggest cinematic moment of his youth.

“‘Empire Strikes Back’ is the movie that I remember affecting me immediately,” X, whose real name is Julien Christian Lutz, told Business Insider over the phone. “The Legos I used I was trying to recreate the spaceships from the movie. That’s the standout.”

Born and raised near Toronto, Director X said he was always a visual person. Around the time he was being amazed by the “Star Wars” saga, he was also running around with his friends in the neighborhood shooting little movies with a video camera. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was drawing in a notepad with dreams of one day getting into the comic-book business.

It’s that thirst for the visual arts that led him to cement himself as the premiere hip-hop music video director working today.

Hotline Bling Cash MoneyIf you’re not familiar with his name you most certainly have seen his work: “Hotline Bling” (Drake), “Work” (Rihanna), “Excuse Me Miss” (Jay-Z), “Hot in Herre” (“Nelly”) aren’t just standouts because of the artists behind the music, but the look of the videos. They are crafted by X with polished production design and his trademark opening and closing of the videos with the horizontal or vertical frames of the shot, expanding to reveal the shot and closing in until the screen goes black.

Now X is getting his chance at a studio movie, as he’s director of the reboot of the Blaxploitation classic, “Superfly” (in theaters).

The plot points are similar to the original movie (1972 “Super Fly”) — a cocaine dealer named Priest (played by Ron O’Neal in the original movie and Trevor Jackson in the reboot) is out for one last major score — but the new version tweaked it to give it more of a 2018 feel. Instead of being set in New York City, it’s in Atlanta (the generous tax credit for shooting movies in the state of Georgia may have also motivated this change), and instead of the cops providing Priest with the massive amounts of cocaine to sell, like in the original, a Mexican cartel is the distributor.

These changes and the injection of hip-hop in the movie (the soundtrack was produced by artist Future) make it an experience at the multiplex that is extremely entertaining.

As X put it, “If you don’t know the song the cop is singing when he pulls Freddy over, you shouldn’t be seeing the film.” He was referring to when one of the members of Priest’s crew is pulled over and, while the police search his car, the officer sings Chamillionaire’s anthem, “Ridin’.” 

Superfly Sony final

But even with the movie’s playfulness, X sprinkles in moments of seriousness. One gang leader dies at the end of a car chase by crashing into a Confederate statue, which is a nod to the string of monuments celebrating Confederate figures being torn down last summer around the country. And at the end of the movie, Priest has a fight with a cop, pummeling him with his martial-arts moves. It’s a moment that isn’t just borrowed from the original movie, but a recognition of Black Lives Matter.

“No one is under the illusion that what’s been happening lately is a new occurrence,” X said of police violence. “The original ‘Superfly’ was a moment of revenge, even if it’s a fantasy, you got to feel it. So this movie I feel is the same way. It’s a fun ride but really it’s the moment of fantasy to see somebody get their f---ing deserved a-- whipping.”

For X, the release of “Superfly” is a landmark moment in his career, as he ascends to a new level in filmmaking.

But he’s seen firsthand that it all can change drastically. One of his biggest mentors is legendary music video director Hype Williams. Like X today, he was behind the most ambitious videos by the biggest artists in the late 1990s (The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” TLC’s “No Scrubs”) and early 2000s (Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’,” Kanye West’s “Stronger”).

At one point, it was Williams (along with fellow music video director Alan Ferguson) who gave X the pep talk he needed to stay in the business after a rough day of shooting on his first music video, in which he said “he got walked on” by everyone on the set.

“Hype’s main thing was that voice that you hear that you suck is the enemy and you can’t listen to it,” X recalled. “It was the inspiration that I needed to keep on going.”

Belly Artisan EntertainmentA few years after that incident, Williams made the movie “Belly,” which X was a visual consultant on. Starring Nas and DMX, its highly stylized story of the drug game became a cult classic and a beloved work for many in the hip-hop community. But Williams has never since gotten another feature film made. X absorbed what Williams went through. He also built an understanding of how to work collaboratively with corporate executives over the years through countless music videos and commercial shoots, and seems destined to handle working for Hollywood better than Williams has.

Comparing himself in some moments to a chef and in others to a mercenary, either way X is making the point that he sees his job as completing a project using the blueprint formed already — whether by a marketing executive, screenwriter, or producer.

“Joel Silver has been trying to make ‘Superfly’ for 20 years, so who the f--- am I to take it out of his hands and act like it’s mine,” X said. “Studio pictures definitely have a lot of things flying around and the idea that the director is the one sole creative decision-making source is not real. It took me a long time to get that balance versus my vision.”

X pointed out that a sequence at the end of “Superfly,” where a flashback scene is used to drive home the connection Priest has with his mentor Scatter (Michael Kenneth Williams), exists because of note from the studio. Going forward, X sees his experience on Madison Avenue benefitting him greatly in Hollywood.

Going back to that chef analogy —

“This is the job, you are getting hired to prepare a meal, in a sense,” he said. “As a director you are in the kitchen cooking it up and if they ask for a steak you better bring them a steak. I approached ‘Superfly’ to fulfill the order that had been made.”

SEE ALSO: Ray Liotta on working with Jennifer Lopez, why he's been in only on Scorsese movie, and not believing the Woody Allen sexual-misconduct allegations

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 5 science facts that 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' totally ignored

Here's how to taste gin like a pro, according to a 'nosing panel'

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gordons

  • Gin is more popular than ever.
  • Gordon's gin, a brand that has a royal warrant, has its own 'expert nosing panel,' who sample the spirit throughout the distillation process.
  • They shared their top tips with Business Insider on how to taste gin — neat of course — like a pro. 
  • You could presumably apply this to many other spirit tastings. 


Artisan gins are big business these days, and if you've invested in a bottle then you will likely want to get the most out of it, to experience the full range of botanicals it has to offer. 

Gordon's gin has its very own "expert nosing panel," a team of six distillers dedicated to sampling the spirit — using their noses of course — "every hour on the hour" during the distillation process.

They shared their top tips with Business Insider on how to taste gin like a pro, and you could presumably apply it to any other spirit that takes your fancy. 

1. Leave out the tonic, ice, and garnish

gin pouring tonic

While gin is rarely enjoyed neat, it's important to taste the spirit on its own if you're really set on developing your own "gin palate."

2. Use a curved glass, a whisky glass works well

whiskey tasting glasses

According to the experts at Gordon's, using a glass with a curved side will help you to "nose it."

"Whisky glasses are recommended, as the shape is designed for tasting neat spirits with curved sides to capture aromas, and a small bowl that allows you to swirl the spirit and unleash more of the aromas," they said. 

3. Sniff coffee to cleanse the palate in between sips

coffee beans "[I]t resets your nasal passages so you can stay sensitive to the aromas."

And if you don't happen to have any coffee beans to hand then sniffing the back of your hand should work, as smelling yourself also apparently resets your senses. 

4. Swirl the glass to mix in air with the spirit

gin and tonic

5. Then 'nose it' gently

smelling wine

Gordon's nosing panellists advise you to hold the glass to your nose, but not to give it a big sniff to avoid inhaling too much of the perfume aroma which can be overpowering.

"[B]e careful on this first sniff, you may still be picking up lots of alcohol. Breathe gently and let the aromas take hold." They added that the most common aromas associated with gin are citrus, fruit, floral, earthy, spicy, sweetness and wood.

6. Now wet your palm with the gin and smell it again

They also recommended placing a hand over the top of your glass so that it’s completely covered and tipping it upside down for a second to wet your palm with the gin. Then wipe your hands, cup them, and sniff from there.

GORDON'S (1)

7. Sip your gin carefully, and follow these three steps

According to the nosing panel, that the more air there is, the easier it is to detect flavours, that's why sommeliers slurp wine sometimes. 

  • Take a first sip and see if you can detect the same flavours that you did when nosing the gin. It should be "warm with a light alcoholic heat"
  • Let the spirit rest on the tongue, then swirl it around the mouth to detect any other aromas, like citrus, liquorice, cinnamon, aniseed or herbs
  • Swallow the gin and pause to detect which tastes linger

shutterstock_635947814

SEE ALSO: The 9 mistakes people make when buying, ordering, and drinking gin — and what to do instead

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Sneaky ways Costco gets you to buy more

The 50 best cities to live in around the world if you love to try new food

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Beautiful food

  • The best cities for international food span the globe, from Bangkok to Moscow to New York.
  • Bott and Co, a legal organization in the UK, found the best cities for international food based on how many national cuisines are offered.
  • New York City came out on top, with restaurants offering 94 different national cuisines.

If you're bored of your neighborhood restaurant and are looking to spice up your meals with new global food options, you may consider moving to a new city — or even just visiting one.

Bott and Co, a legal organization in the UK, found the top 50 international cities for foodies, based on the number of nationalities represented in each city's restaurant scene.

To determine the ranking, Bott and Co analyzed restaurant data for every international city with a population of at least 1 million. To qualify as having a specific national cuisine available, the city needed to have a restaurant dedicated to the cuisine listed in Google Maps. They also found the top-rated restaurant for each cuisine in each city.

To place in the top 50, a city needed to have at least 34 different national cuisines represented.

Some of these cities might surprise you, and you may not have heard of some national cuisines. It's always the hole in-the-wall restaurants — ones that you maybe can't pronounce — that are the best.

Keep reading to check out the list of the top 50 cities for international food, plus one of the top-rated restaurants for one type of cuisine in each place.

SEE ALSO: 10 food festivals around the world that are worth traveling for

DON'T MISS: This food subscription service lets you try food from all over the world without actually having to travel anywhere

50. Moscow, Russia

International cuisines: 34 

A top-rated restaurant: Thai Pattara Restaurant (Thai)

 

 

 

 



48 (TIE). Phoenix, Arizona, United States

International cuisines: 37

A top-rated restaurant: A Touch of European Cafe (Polish)



48 (TIE). Auckland, New Zealand

International cuisines: 37

A top-rated restaurant: King Tut Restaurant (Egyptian)

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Trader Joe's employees share 8 annoying things they wish shoppers would stop doing

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trader joe's 8

  • Trader Joe's jobs have a good rep in the grocery business.
  • The grocery chain was named as one of the best places to work this year.
  • Still, there are some things that shoppers do that tend to irritate Trader Joe's employees.
  • Crew members have taken to social media to discuss the customer behaviors that tick them off.


Trader Joe's earn pretty high marks in terms of employee satisfaction.

This year, Glassdoor named the grocery chain with a cult-like following as one of the best places to work in the US. Trader Joe's also earned that distinction in 2017, 2013, 2012,and 2011.

But any consumer-facing gig is sure to cause some stress. Sometimes, shoppers just do or say things that have a way of grating on crew members' nerves.

One Trader Joe's crew member wrote on Reddit that the stores probably attract no more rude customers "than the average retailer."

But there are always going to be bad eggs.

"Many TJ's are built in or near affluent neighborhoods, so we do get a lot of people who can be a bit snooty, but won't go out of their way to be rude necessarily," the crew member wrote. "The outrageously rude customers are thankfully far and few between, and we even have had to ban a couple of them. For the most part, I think 99.9% of our customers are decent people. I am even on first name basis with many of the regulars."

With that in mind, here's a look at some of behaviors that are sure to aggravate Trader Joe's crew members:

SEE ALSO: 13 foods at Trader Joe's employees say they can't resist

DON'T MISS: Trader Joe's employees share 6 tips for getting the best deal at the store

SEE ALSO: 15 things all Trader Joe's employees know that most shoppers don't

Abusing the store's sampling policy

Trader Joe's wants customers to try its new products without having to commit to buying them outright. So crew members are instructed to open up items — aside from alcohol and products that require cooking — to allow shoppers to dig into some samples.

But, on occasion, people take advantage of this sampling policy.

"I've only experienced two or three occasions where a customer tried to take advantage of this and wanted us to open literally ten plus products," one person who said they were a Trader Joe's crew member wrote in a 2017 Reddit thread. "Management had to step in and kindly inform them that one or two products is fine, but we have to draw the line somewhere."

Plus, even if you purchase a product you end up hating, you still have some recourse.

"We have the no-hassle return policy where you don't even need to bring a receipt, so they can buy the product with confidence and, if they don't like it, they are welcome to return it," the crew member wrote.

Another Reddit poster who said they were a crew member at the chain said that handing out samples is "... only annoying when I am the one running the sample station and a customer wants to try like three things — and I'm swamped with people wanting samples."



Acting impatient when it comes to finding products

One Reddit poster who said they were a Trader Joe's employee noted that having customers ask them to check for a product in the back of the store was irritating whenever they found that the shopper subsequently asked an additional crew member "...to do the same exact thing."

They also said they were sick of customers "... walking up to me — or sneaking up on me — and just saying the name of a product they have a question about, instead of saying, 'Hi, can you help me for a moment?'"



Leaving frozen items all over the store

If you decide a product isn't for you, Trader Joe's employees would appreciate it if you'd put it back where you found it.

One person who said they were a Trader Joe's crew member wrote in a 2018 Reddit thread that they felt irked by "... people who decide they don't want something refrigerated or frozen, who just leave it on a shelf somewhere."

"It inevitably gets to room temp and is ruined," the employee added. "It's just so wasteful. One time, I found a package of chicken breasts hidden behind the bottled water. Why?"



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Aaptiv is the on-demand fitness app that lets you choose from 2,500 audio-guided classes — Here's how it works

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Aaptiv logo black background

Aaptiv is a fitness app for anyone unwilling or unable to plan their day around a regularly scheduled class, or for someone like me — someone who wants to stay active but doesn't want to be told when, how, or for how long to do it. 

I used it for a few weeks last year, and only stopped because I started a membership at a specialty gym. At the latter, I loved the workout, the instructors, and the facility, but I decided I much prefer not being on someone else's schedule, especially on those weekends when I had to travel — and the fee was starting to get to me. 

Aaptiv's $10 a month (or $50 a year, which is about the monthly fee of an affordable New York gym) gives you over 2,500 audio-guided workout classes on your smartphone, with 40 new classes each week. The classes help you make the most of the facilities you have access to — or lack thereof — and can be filtered by workout type, intensity, length of time, music genre, or even by trainer.

In the two years since it launched, Aaptiv gained 200,000 users and has raised a total of $52 million as of June 2018. Since it's striking a chord with users (and some investors), I decided to give it a shot — well, another shot. 

Here's how to use Aaptiv, the app that gives you on-demand audio-guided workout classes for $10 a month:

When you sign up, the app asks you three questions so it can recommend workouts accordingly:

I signed up with my email address so I only had to share my first and last name, email address, and password, but there's also the option to sign up via Facebook. 



Now you're ready to go. On the 'Discover' tab, you'll see recommended workouts across the top, and all of the available classes organized by type of workout underneath.

When you go into one of the "Recommended for you" modules or the "Training" categories for long-distance runs, the workouts are listed in chronological order by day, to help you reach your goal.



The rest of the categories — which is where I spent most of my time — are filled with hundreds of workouts that vary by length, trainer, and level of intensity.

Here are the categories, from top to bottom:

Outdoor running, Treadmill, Elliptical, Indoor Cycling, Rowing, Stair Climber, Strength Training, Stretching, Workouts for Weight Loss, Ab Workouts, Programs, Yoga, Boxing (just released last month), Walking, Meditation, 5K training, 10K Training, Half Marathon Training, Full Marathon Training, and Featured Collections.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How marriage changes you physically and mentally, according to science

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wedding couple

Every summer, thousands and thousands of couples tie the knot.

That decision has lasting effects on their health over time.

Researchers have identified a variety of trends that show how getting married changes people. There has historically been an idea that marriage is good for your physical and mental health, perhaps due to the idea that having a supportive partner can make a person healthier. But more recent research has revealed that the relationship between marriage, health, and well-being is more complicated, with both benefits and drawbacks.

Evidence suggests that married men and women have a lower risk for certain types of heart disease than their single counterparts, for example, but married people are also more likely to be overweight.

Of course, these observed trends don't hold true for everyone. Every marriage is different, depending on the individuals involved, their relationship, their plans, lifestyles, and more — without even counting external factors. And there's much less research on the effects of marriage on same-sex couples so far.

But with that in mind, here are some of the ways that marriage tends to affect partners physically and mentally.

SEE ALSO: How playing video games affects your body and brain

Married people tend to have better overall health than other adults, even after controlling for age, sex, race, education, income, and other factors.

Source: CDC



But a large study published last year found those health benefits were mostly observable in older married adults. Among younger adults, married people essentially saw no overall health benefit compared to their unmarried peers.

Source: Social Science Quarterly



One study found that older married LGBT adults reported better quality of life, with partnered and married adults in the study reporting better health than single adults.

Source: Geronotologist



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I asked a marriage counselor for the 3 most common sex and relationship problems she sees, and they turn conventional wisdom on its head

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marriage counselor rachel sussman

  • Marriage and relationships can be challenging.
  • New York City-based marriage counselor Rachel Sussman shared three compelling insights related to sex and relationships, including the idea that "opposites attract" isn't always true.
  • This post is part of Relationships 101, a series which aims to help us all be happier and healthier in love — and to stop fighting over who should take out the trash.


Rachel Sussman has seen it all.

At this point in her career as a marriage counselor in New York City, there's seemingly no sex or relationship topic (and I've broached many) that can shock or embarrass her.

Over the course of the past year, Sussman has shared with me a ton of insights related to modern coupledom. Here are the three that I found most compelling:

Couples with mismatched libidos aren't doomed to an unsatisfying sex life

According to Sussman, the most common sexual problem among the couples she sees is mismatched sex drives.

Typically, she said, one person wants to have sex more often than the other, who's either happy with the amount of sex they're having or wants even less. (Though Sussman said the men she sees in her practice typically have higher sex drives, she's also seen many heterosexual couples in which the man has the lower sex drive.)

Sussman's approach is two-pronged. She'll work with the person whose sex drive is lower to see if there's anything they can do to increase it. She'll also work with the person whose sex drive is higher to be patient with their partner and to manage their expectations around sex.

She might even give the couple "exercises": For example, they have to try snuggling and the partner with the higher sex drive has to resist the urge to initiate sex.

You have to work to maintain passion in your relationship

Many couples come to Sussman worried that something's wrong with them, she said, because they're not as passionate as they used to be.

But this, she tells them, is totally normal.

When it comes to passion, Sussman said, "People think, 'Oh, it should just be there,'" Sussman said. "No! It shouldn't just be there. You have to create it."

Sometimes that means scheduling sex dates. Sometimes it means trying something new together. Above all, it means relaxing and realizing that the only real problem is your expectation of magic.

'Opposites attract' isn't always true in the long term

"The way I see it is, opposites attract and with the passage of time, a lot of couples tend to resent the things that are opposite,” Sussman said.

For example, one partner in a couple might be highly social and outgoing and the other might be more of a homebody. Initially those tendencies might complement each other, Sussman said; the couple might even say, "we balance each other out."

The problem is that over time, "people get more set in their ways" and there's less opportunity for compromise or mutual understanding.

Your goal shouldn't be to date a carbon copy of you, but to recognize when your partner's habits deviate from yours, as opposed to brushing those differences under the rug.

SEE ALSO: I asked a marriage therapist to tell me 3 surprising things about modern relationships

Join the conversation about this story »

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'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' takes in an impressive $150 million at the box office — 2nd best opening all-time for Universal

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jurassic world fallen kingdom

  • "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" earned a $150 million opening weekend, domestically.
  • That's the second-best ever opening for a Universal release.

Three years after "Jurassic World" gave Universal a surprising record-breaking opening weekend, the follow-up, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," took in an impressive $150 million at the domestic box office over the weekend, according to boxofficepro.com.

No one in Hollywood expected the fifth chapter in the "Jurassic World" franchise to perform the way 2015's "Jurassic World" did, but the weekend performance did exceed industry projections that the movie would earn between $130 million to $140 million.

The $150 million tally is the second best opening ever for a Universal release, trailing only "Jurassic World" ($208.8 million).

This adds to the movie's already very strong performance overseas.

Having taken in over $560 million abroad since it opened in many regions two weeks ago — including China where it had an over $100 million weekend — "Fallen Kingdom" took the unconventional route from most blockbusters by opening internationally before its domestic run.

The move certainly seems to have paid off — the movie's worldwide gross is now over $700 million.

And you can already mark your calendars for the next "Jurassic" movie. Universal has announced "Jurassic World 3" will open June 11, 2021.

"Fallen Kingdom" is just the latest big opening for a big summer movie release, something that the industry lacked last year. And because the major movies are performing as they are supposed to, the 2018 box office is looking strong.

Box office profits are up 6% from this time last year, according to CNN.

This is the combination of summer blockbusters performing as expected (so far) — "Avengers: Infinity War," "Deadpool 2," "Incredibles 2" — and big performers from earlier this year — "Black Panther," "Ready Player One," plus the surprise of the year "A Quiet Place."

SEE ALSO: Andre Agassi's troubled relationship with his coach led to this powerful new sports documentary you shouldn't miss

DON'T MISS: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' takes itself way too seriously, and that dampens the fun

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Trump pitched peace to Kim Jong Un with this Hollywood-style video starring Kim as the leading man

14 vegetables that are actually fruits

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vegetable market

Think you can tell a fruit from a vegetable?

Think again.

In the world of food, there are many plants most people consider vegetables that are actually fruits, botanically speaking.

The most famous example is probably the tomato. Its status as a fruit or a vegetable was so contentious that in 1893 the Supreme Court had to weigh in and settle the issue once and for all.

What it comes down to isn't sweetness, but seeds. "Any thing that grows on a plant and is the means by which that plant gets its seeds out into the world is a fruit," Merriam-Webster dictionary wrote.

So fruit isn't part of the plant itself, but a reproductive part growing from the plant. "The thing a tomato plant produces isn't a part of the plant itself, any more than the egg a chicken lays is part of the chicken," the dictionary said. When we eat vegetables, on the other hand, we're eating the plant itself or some of its parts, like roots, stems, or leaves.

Tomatoes are far from the only example of common vegetables that are actually fruits. Read on to see 14 foods you've been misunderstanding this whole time.

SEE ALSO: A tomato is actually a fruit — but it's a vegetable at the same time

DON'T MISS: 7 things the average American has accomplished by age 35

Tomatoes

Even though tomatoes are technically a fruit, it doesn't stop people from treating it and most of the other foods on this list as a vegetable.

It's that logic that prompted the Supreme Court to declare in 1893 that tomatoes should be taxed like other vegetables.

Here's how Justice Horace Gray summed up the argument:

"Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas," Gray wrote in the court's opinion.

"But in the common language of the people … all these are vegetables which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert."



Peppers

Every kind of pepper, from the bell pepper to the jalapeño, fits the bill as a fruit and not a vegetable.



Pumpkins

Anyone who's carved a jack-o-lantern for Halloween knows that pumpkins are full of seeds. Pumpkins and all other gourds are technically fruits, not vegetables.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Trump tweets he wants to deport illegal immigrants 'with no Judges or Court Cases' — a move that would violate due process

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Donald Trump Immigration meeting

  • President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the US should start deporting illegal immigrants with no legal process.
  • He said those who "invade our Country" will be removed with "no Judges or Court Cases".
  • Trump's proposed move would violate immigrants' rights to due process guaranteed by the US Constitution and clarified by the Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the US should deport immigrants who enter the US illegally with no legal process.

Trump said once "somebody comes in" the country, they should be removed with "no Judges or Court Cases" — a move that would violate the long-established legal precedent for immigrants' rights to due process.

The US Constitution's Fifth Amendment guarantees no one can be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." In 1953, the Supreme Court clarified this right extended to non-US citizens.

In 2001, the Supreme Court doubled down in Zadvydas v. Davis, concluding: "the Due Process Clause applies to all persons within the United States, including aliens, whether their presence is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent."

Trump's tweets came amid a flurry of on-air talk on the Sunday political shows about upcoming immigration policy from Republican lawmakers.

Many of them were responding to the president's Friday tweet saying Republicans "should stop wasting their time" on immigration reform until they elect more lawmakers in a "Red Wave" this November.

Republicans currently control both houses of Congress, and have been trying to pass immigration legislation. Lawmakers from both parties have been calling for solutions to fix the border crisis, which the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy has exacerbated.

Despite Trump urging against immigration reform in his comments Sunday and a Friday tweet, Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCaul said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump was "still 100% behind us" on passing legislation, based on a conversation he said he had with the White House Saturday.

SEE ALSO: 29 photos that show the US-Mexico border's evolution over 100 years

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Andre Agassi's troubled relationship with his coach led to a powerful new sports documentary you shouldn't miss

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love means zero showtime

  • The Showtime documentary "Love Means Zero" (airing Saturday) looks at the career of tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.
  • But the main focus of director Jason Kohn's movie is the relationship Bollettieri had with his star student, Andre Agassi.
  • Kohn talked to Business Insider about why he had to have a confrontational relationship with the coach to get the movie he wanted.


In the 1990s, there was no bigger coach in tennis than Nick Bollettieri. A charismatic motivator with an oversized ego, he also had a gift for molding raw talent into champions.

At his lauded tennis academy, he launched the careers of tennis legends like Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Anna Kournikova. By his count, 180 grand slam titles would come out of players he coached.

But his crown jewel was Andre Agassi. 

Nick Bollettieri Anna Kournikova Simon Bruty GettyComing to Bollettieri’s school as a teenager, Agassi instantly caught the coach’s eye because he was different. His attitude, his game, it all just shouted superstar. Bollettieri, yearning to be a star himself, put Agassi under his wing and the two became inseparable as his pupil became the hottest thing in the sport. 

However, the good times didn’t last forever. Following two grand slam wins with Agassi, in 1993 Bollettieri shockingly left the player he said he loved like a son. And if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough for Agassi, Bollettieri didn’t give a passionate face-to-face goodbye but instead ended it all via a letter to his star. The two have not been on speaking terms since. 

Now decades later, at the age of 86, Bollettieri agreed to sit down with documentary filmmaker Jason Kohn (“Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)”) to talk about it all. But “Love Means Zero” (airing on Showtime Saturday) is hardly a conventional sports documentary that looks back on the highlights of a legendary career. It’s hard hitting and full of confrontation — just like its subject. 

Kohn admits he didn’t have major aspirations for the project. In many ways he saw it as an opportunity to practice storytelling. Unlike his debut feature film, 2007’s “Manda Bala (Send a Bullet),” a complex telling of corruption and kidnapping in Brazil (it won the documentary grand jury prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), Kohn could see from the start how to tell the story of Bollettieri: be as real as possible.


“The biggest learning opportunity was figuring out how do I make this into a real story,” Kohn told Business Insider. “How do I make this into a protagonist who has really clear specific goals and desires with very clear moments of conflict?”

And that was the initial challenge for Kohn: getting Bollettieri to come on board with his idea.

Nick Bollettieri Andre Agassi John Russell Getty
“I was extraordinarily concerned that if I wasn't able to get something real with Nick that this was just going to be a conventional sports documentary, and that was a genuine fear,” Kohn said. “Even though I knew what the story was I didn't mention to Nick that I knew exactly what the story was I wanted to tell. Rather than say, ‘I want to exclusively tell the story about his relationship with Andre,’ what I told him is I wanted to tell a family story and that I wanted to tell a story about surrogate fathers and sons and the relationships between his players. At that point Nick said to me, ‘Well, what about French Open 1989 when I chose [to coach] Andre [Agassi] over Jim [Courier]? They were both my boys.’ And I was like, ‘Nick, that's a wonderful idea!’ Meanwhile, that was the treatment that I had written.”

With Bollettieri on board with the story, the other challenge was figuring out if Agassi would participate in the movie. Initially, Kohn had the project set up as a “30 for 30” documentary at ESPN. But it became clear that the network was only interested in the movie if Agassi was involved. After a year of back-and-forth discussions with Agassi's manager, Kohn finally got the "no" — Agassi would not be in the movie (Showtime snatched it soon after). 

What Kohn realized in that moment was he had been free of a major restriction: working with a temperamental superstar. He changed his story treatment from a 60-minute documentary to a 90-minute feature doc and began tracking down Bollettieri’s former students. 


Kohn’s confidence in the project came from knowing how he wanted to structure the storytelling of Bollettieri and Agassi’s relationship — using the battle sequences from the Akira Kurosawa samurai classic “Ran” as a model for how to showcase three key Agassi matches — and capitalizing on the on-camera personality that Bollettieri would bring.


But the latter turned out to be more than what Kohn bargained for. In an attempt to get Bollettieri out of his usual soundbite speak, the result was constant arguments caught on camera between the two that aren't just entertaining to watch, but a refreshing subplot to the movie. As most sports documentaries are helmed by directors too busy gushing over their subjects to get them to be revealing, Kohn can be heard off camera pleading with Bollettieri to give him genuine answers to his questions.

Kohn said the key to the whole movie was that his producer Amanda Branson Gill had Bollettieri agree to sit down for two days of interviews. It was vital, because what Kohn realized was almost the entire first day was the famous coach doing the shtick he’d done for interviews for decades.


“I was getting very frustrated,” Kohn said. “Nick is self-mythologizing and when you're taking to people who are good storytellers and who have told the same story over and over and over again the actual story becomes extraordinarily detached from what actually happened. It was pretty boring.”

With visions of a conventional sports doc flashing before his eyes, Kohn at the end of the first day finally began to get Bollettieri out of his interview speak by confronting his subject on camera. Kohn said at the end of filming the first day Bollettieri got out of his seat and said to the crew, “You see that? Jason and I are fighting, it's great!"

Jason Kohn Vittorio Zunino Getty“I saw how well he responded to that so the second day of the interview I just went in with the idea that we're going to fight now,” Kohn said. "And that was great, I felt really liberated.”


The result is one of the most powerful sports documentaries you’ll see this year. Through the pressing by Kohn, Bollettieri opens up about the controversial decision to sit in Agassi’s box when he played fellow Bollettieri protégé Jim Courier at the 1989 French Open, why he sent Agassi the letter ending his time as his coach, and why his world-renowned academy ended up not making any money. 

But where we find the macho coach’s most revealing moment is when Kohn asks Bollettieri to read a passage from Agassi’s autobiography, “Open,” in which the star writes an emotional letter directly to his old coach. It shows a rare vulnerable side of Bollettieri leading to him finally saying how he feels about his protégé: that he still cares deeply for Agassi. 

Kohn said he offered Agassi a chance to see “Love Means Zero” at a private screening when it was completed, but the tennis legend declined. Though he would have liked to have known what Agassi thought of the movie, it was more important for Kohn to find out what Bollettieri thought. The director admitted showing the movie to his subject for the first time was a strenuous ordeal.

The small screening included some of Bollettieri’s friends, and at the end it seemed the coach liked it, as he then held court and told stories. Kohn snuck out feeling it all worked well. Then around 10:30 that evening, Bollettieri called Kohn.

“I’m thinking, s---, this is when Nick is going to pull his mafia persona," Kohn said. "And then he gave me a world class Coach Bollettieri ‘I’m proud of you’ speech and I was extraordinarily moved. The fact that I was moved was the most surprising thing to me because I wasn't looking for Nick's approval with this picture. I wasn't looking to make him happy. But that was the last thing about Nick's power as a coach and a motivator that I couldn't grasp until it happened to me. To give me the kind of speech I can only imagine he gave some of his players, I loved it.” 

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Jeanette Epps would have been the first black astronaut to live on the Space Station, but NASA bumped her, and she says they never told her why

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Jeanette Epps Nasa

  • Jeanette Epps was about to become the first African American to live at the International Space Station.
  • But NASA announced in January it was replacing her with another astronaut. Epps said this week that she still doesn't know why.
  • Appearing at a conference, Epps said she didn't want to speculate that the decision was racist or sexist, an accusation many critics made after the announcement.

Jeanette Epps was preparing for a historic launch to the International Space Station in January when NASA suddenly pulled her off the mission without warning.

Epps is still waiting for an explanation, the Houston Chronicle reported.

In a January press release, NASA announced that Epps would not be part of the Expedition 56/57 crew as previously announced and that she would "return to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to assume duties in the Astronaut Office and be considered for assignment to future missions."

Rachel Becker of The Verge noted that although other African Americans had been to the International Space Station, Epps would have been the first to live and work there on a long-term basis.

On June 6, the six-month mission launched without Epps. NASA sent Serena Auñón-Chancellor in her place, making Auñón-Chancellor the first Hispanic woman to live on the ISS.

Speaking about the issue for the first time at the Tech Open Air Festival this week, Epps told Space.com reporter Megan Gannon that she did not have any of the health of family issues that are typical reasons for crew changes. Epps said crew members have been taken off missions before, "but not in the same fashion that this was done, partly because I was so close to launch."

Epps believes the decision originated at NASA and not with their Russian flying partners, who she said were supportive.

"I don't know where the decision came from and how it was made, in detail or at what level," she said. "I seriously do not believe it was the Russians, partly because I had been through the training with them and I was able to develop good working relationships with everyone there."

Since NASA's announcement to remove Epps from the mission, the space program has received complaints of racism and sexism.

"There's no time to really be concerned about sexism and racism and things like that, because we have to perform," Epps told Gannon during the interview. "I can't speculate what people are thinking and doing unless I have a little bit more information."

Before becoming an astronaut in 2009, Epps, a native New Yorker, worked at Ford Motor Company and the CIA.

SEE ALSO: This veteran NASA astronaut has tried SpaceX and Boeing's new spaceships and spacesuits — here's what she thinks

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I visited a Texas courtroom where dozens of chained immigrants were prosecuted under Trump's 'zero tolerance' policy — and it was surreal

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The Department of Justice's Southern Federal District Courthouse in McAllen, Texas.

  • I attended a mass prosecution proceeding in McAllen, Texas, where dozens of immigrants pleaded guilty to crossing the US-Mexico border illegally.
  • Under President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, everyone caught crossing the border illegally is charged with a federal crime, even if they're seeking asylum.
  • The immigrants were cuffed at the hands and feet, and chained at the waist throughout the court hearing. It was a surreal and sobering experience.

MCALLEN, TEXAS — I counted 62.

That's how many undocumented immigrants sat in the five wooden rows of the eighth-floor courtroom of the federal district courthouse in McAllen, Texas on Friday.

Charged with the misdemeanor crime of crossing the US border illegally, they were cuffed at the hands and feet and chained at the waist.

These mass prosecutions have become a daily routine under President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy, which mandates that every single person who crosses the border illegally is charged.

The policy stoked public outrage after it resulted in the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents. Trump signed an executive order last week halting those separations.

Customs and Border Protection is reportedly no longer referring parents for criminal prosecutions if they crossed the border with their children, and the public defender in the courtroom I visited confirmed that none of the immigrants being prosecuted were split from their children.

The immigrants sporadically fidgeted as they waited for the judge to enter and decide their fate. Their chains created a low, rattling noise in the background that punctuated the two-hour proceeding.

Their shoelaces had been removed and many of their shoe tongues were folded over where their laces should have been. Their clothes appeared dirty, likely the same ones they'd worn on their journey to the US.

I stood on the side, against the tan walls of the courtroom. The defendant closest to me was a young man who looked like he couldn't have been more than 21 or 22 years old.

He wore a purple collared shirt dotted with white stains tucked into his CAT blue jeans. His no-name sneakers were black and yellow. His eyes betrayed what seemed to me neither fear, hatred, nor confusion — just pure indifference with a slight twist of disdain.

"All rise!" the bailiff announced as the judge entered.

'Each of you did knowingly and unlawfully enter the US'

migrants court deportationsWhen the 62 defendants rose, their chains loudly crashed against the wooden benches they had been sitting on in unison.

They sat back down, and the loud crash of metal on wood repeated.

The stocky, white judge had gray hair and wore a black robe over a blue shirt and red tie, and stood throughout the proceeding in the courtroom's well, between the bench and the defendants.

He put the defendants under oath, telling them through a translator to rise again and raise their right hands as their chains crashed against the wooden benches.

The translator sat to the judge's right, softly translating the judge's words into Spanish that filtered into the defendants' headsets, which quietly echoed through the courtroom.

The 62 defendants' public defender sat beside the translator, and the prosecutors sat on the judge's left. Journalists and bailiffs lined the tan walls behind the defendants.

"You're here for illegal crossing," the judge told the defendants. "Your attorney has announced that you all want to enter a guilty plea and be prosecuted."

The judge asked the defendants if this was truly what they wanted, warning them that perjury was more serious than the "petty" offensive for which they were already charged.

In rapid fire, he went down the line, pointing and asking each defendant to answer "yes" or "no" to the question. Every defendant answered "si," and the judge's translator said "yes" each time.

The young man closest to me in the purple shirt said "si" forcefully.

The judge then went down the line again, certifying their name, age, and home country.

Altogether, 49 of the defendants were men, and 13 were women. Twenty-nine of them were from Mexico, nine were from Honduras, 14 were from Guatemala, and 10 were from El Salvador. Their ages ranged from 18 to 63, but the majority were under 35 years old.

Most of the older defendants were from Mexico, while the younger ones were from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — countries that have been ravaged by gang violence in recent years.

Each of you are aliens, and each of you did knowingly and unlawfully enter the US.

The young man in the purple shirt closest to me was from El Salvador. His last name was Ventura, and he was 24 years old.

Going down the line again, the judge asked all of the defendants if they were under any substances or medications that may affect their judgment. The defendants all said no.

Ventura said "no" emphatically.

The judge then explained the charges.

"Each of you are aliens, and each of you did knowingly and unlawfully enter the US," the judge said, adding that the maximum penalty is six months in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a $10 court assessment fee.

"Do you understand the charges?" the judge asked. They all said "yes" or "si."

Ventura said "yes," and would continue to switch back and forth between "si" and yes" throughout the rest of the judge's questions.

The judge calmly — and congenially — continued to explain the defendants' options, saying they could plead not guilty and go to trial. He asked if any of them had been forced or threatened to plead guilty, or had been promised any benefit for pleading guilty, and if they were pleading guilty voluntarily.

For each of these questions, he again down the line in quick succession, stopping periodically for a few of the defendant's malfunctioning headsets.

One woman didn't understand one of the questions, eventually saying she wanted to appeal her case. She was then taken out of the courtroom. There were now 61 defendants.

The judge asked them if they understood that once convicted, they could be deported and denied entry or citizenship in the future. They all said "si" or "yes."

When the judge asked a 20-year-old woman from Guatemala whose last name was Ramirez this question, she closed her eyes, pressed her lips, and looked down when she answered "si."

'Culpable'

migrants mcallen texas

The judge went around again pointing and asking the defendants if they were guilty or not guilty before stating their alleged date of crossing illegally. Most of them had crossed on June 20 or June 21, which was just one or two days before their prosecution.

As the defendants individually answered "culpable," and the judge's translator ominously said "guilty," a security guard went over to Ventura and told him to sit up.

Apparently Ventura, holding two white and wrinkled, sealed envelopes, had been slouching.

Ramirez couldn't stop blinking and swallowing as she awaited her turn, and when the judge reached her, she said "culpable" before her eyes appeared to well up.

After all of the defendants said "culpable," the judge asked them how they had crossed the river. Most said they had taken a boat or raft across. Three said they had walked across, to which the judge asked how high the water was. The three defendants said chest high.

Ramirez said she had taken a raft. Ventura said he had taken a boat.

"I'll accept your guilty pleas," the judge eventually said after his series of questions before telling them more about their rights and that they could contact their country's consulate if they wished.

"Now I'm going to start sentencing you for this offense of illegal entry," the judge said, explaining that afterwards they would be turned over to immigration and be able to seek asylum if they wanted.

He added: "If some of you have been separated from your families, hopefully you will be reunited."

"When I call your name, please stand," the judge said. He called their names in groups, and their chains rattled as they stood.

Their sentences: no additional jail time and a $10 fee

migrants courthouse mcallen texasBefore asking if they wanted to address the court, which none of them did, he started handing down sentences.

Almost all of them got "time already served" and a $10 court assessment fee since they had no criminal history or previous deportations.

Bailiffs escorted the defendants out in groups, Ventura and Ramirez among them. Waddling like a chain gang, they returned their headsets as they exited.

The judge then sentenced smaller groups and individuals. Some got sentences ranging from 10 days to 135 days in jail given their past criminal history, such as assault, DWI, and other crimes.

Many of these defendants, when asked if they wanted to address the court, told the judge (or their public defender told the judge) that they just wanted to find work, have a better life, or find their family.

One man said in a shaky voice that he had crossed to find his wife and child, whom he hadn't seen or spoken to for nearly five months. They didn't have a cell phone, and he didn't know how to contact them, but he thought they were in Kansas. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail.

There was confusion over the last defendant's criminal past, and the judge asked to take a recess. He had apparently been previously convicted of domestic assault and pointing a gun at someone.

I had to leave before the court reconvened, but his fate didn't look good.

Michelle Mark contributed reporting from New York.

SEE ALSO: What it looks like at every stage when migrant families get separated at the US border

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The cofounder of Coffee Meets Bagel says there's a big difference between how men and women date online

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smartphone

  • Dating apps can reveal meaningful differences in the way men and women date.
  • According to data from dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, men prefer to see lots of potential matches, while women prefer to see a limited number. This applies to straight and gay users.
  • In 2016, Coffee Meets Bagel introduced "#LadiesChoice," offering straight men and women different experiences.

In 2016, dating app Coffee Meets Bagel introduced "#LadiesChoice," a new format that offered men and women distinct user experiences.

Men would receive up to 21 "bagels," or matches, every day at noon, and the app would then present women with a curated selection of the men who had liked them. Users who identify as LGBT would receive up to six matches a day.

According to Dawoon Kang, a Coffee Meets Bagel cofounder and the company's co-CEO, the company made this change because they'd seen stark differences in the way men and women — both gay and straight — date online.

As Kang wrote in a blog post when #LadiesChoice debuted, "men like selection." Coffee Meets Bagel asked men and women how many potential matches they'd like to see every day: Men preferred an average of 17 while women wanted an average of four.

"But they [women] wanted to make sure they were high quality Bagels who were serious about taking the next step," Kang wrote.

When I spoke with Kang over the phone in June, she told me: "The more bagels we give to men, the more engaged they are. They like it. They actually like going through profiles and checking out different women."

On the other hand, Kang said, "When we gave more bagels to women, the attention that they give drops significantly. They stop responding. They stop checking."

Coffee Meets Bagel's findings jibe with other research on the way men and women use Tinder differently.

In 2016, scientists at Queen Mary University of London, Sapienza University of Rome, and Royal Ottawa Health Care Group found that women on Tinder generally swipe right only for men they're seriously interested in, while men are less picky.

But when it comes to sending that first message, the researchers found that just 7% of male matches sent a message, compared to 21% of women.

Kang said that ultimately, Coffee Meets Bagel wants to give users different experiences based on their past behavior. She acknowledged that there are some people who don't act like typical members of their gender while dating online.

"But in the absence of us being able to do that right now," she said, "we have to generalize."

SEE ALSO: When the founders of dating app Coffee Meets Bagel turned down Mark Cuban's $30 million offer on 'Shark Tank' 3 years ago, they got dozens of emails calling them 'crazy,' 'greedy,' and 'stupid' — but they still aren't sorry

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11 words you probably didn't know were acronyms

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  • We use acronyms all the time, and in some cases, we don't even realize we're using them.
  • You may not know, for example, that Taser stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle."
  • Other examples include "radar" and "snafu."


Acronyms show up everywhere in our everyday language, from ASAP to BYOB, JFK to ROY G. BIV.

But sometimes, an acronym is so natural-sounding that we forget it even stands for anything in the first place.

That's certainly the case for Taser — invented in 1974, Taser stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle," an homage to a fictional character from the early 1900s. The word caught on and eventually gave us the verb "tase," meaning to fire a Taser at someone.

Read on for 11 words most people have no idea actually stand for something.

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Laser is an acronym describing how the technology works.

Laser stands for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation."

Lasers were invented in 1960, but the first use of the term came one year earlier, when physicist Gordon Gould coined it for a paper about the technology.



'Taser' comes from the name of a science-fiction book character.

Tasers sound like an invention taken from science fiction, and as it turns out, the name of the device actually was.

The weapon was invented in 1974 by NASA researcher Jack Cover, and when it was time to give his device a name, he found inspiration in Tom Swift, the title character from a series of adventure books about a teenage inventor from the early 1900s. In one of the books, Swift invented an "electric rifle" that could shoot bolts of electricity and was powerful enough to bring down an elephant.

Cover did have to employ some creativity with the word "Taser" — the books never actually reveal Tom Swift's middle name, but Cover added it to ease the pronunciation.



The 'BASE' in BASE jumping describes the objects people jump from.

For thrill-seekers, BASE jumping is one of the most adrenaline-filled activities out there.

"BASE" is an acronym describing the types of objects the risk-taking parachuters jump from: building, antenna, span (like a bridge or steel beam) and Earth (like a cliff).



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Taylor's radical new acoustic guitar design proves that a centuries-old musical instrument can be high-tech

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Taylor Review

  • Taylor Guitars has been in business since the early 1970s.
  • It has always defined itself by a culture of innovation in a world where acoustic guitars are based on very old designs.
  • It recently pushed the envelope with a new bracing system that's a big departure from what guitar makes have been doing for a century.

Electronic music is all the rage these days, but the most high-tech of America's Big Three guitar makers is proving that the acoustic guitar can keep up.

That's no small feat: the basic idea of a soundbox joined to a fretboard with plucked strings providing musical notes has been around since the 1500s. In the US, the premium acoustic-guitar market is ruled by three companies, each with its own approach to the instrument.

Pennsylvania-based C.F. Martin & Co. has been in business since the late 1800s. Nashville's Gibson, Martin's chief 20th-century rival, got started in 1902. And California's Taylor Guitars is the new kid on the block, founded in 1974.

Martin has long been beloved for the sheer exquisiteness of its acoustics and created the most popular acoustic shape, the dreadnought. Gibson's guitars have often been flashier and are often favored by rock, blues, and country players for their earthy, grittier tone and eye-catching looks (Keith Richards was a fan of the Hummingbird, and Pete Townshend likes the J-200 jumbo).

Taylor — named for co-founder Bob Taylor — has a reputation for a sparkling high-end and unrelenting innovation in the context of a 500-year-old instrument. I really like Gibsons and can't argue with Martins, but many times when I strum a Taylor, especially upscale, made-in-US versions, I'm blown away by the power of their guitars. Taylors are also popular with guitarists who often plug in and play amplified: the company's proprietary "Expression" system is stupendous.

The creation of "V-Class" bracing

Taylor Review

This year, Taylor shook up the acoustic world with the introduction of a new internal-bracing system for its pricier acoustics. Called "V-Class" bracing, it was devised by Andy Powers, a master guitar maker who joined Taylor in 2011 and has been talked about as an heir to Bob Taylor's leadership.

I both sampled a V-Class guitar for a month and discussed the innovation with Taylor.

First, the axe: Taylor loaned me a 914ce guitar to review, a $5,000 instrument that reminded me how much better a crummy player such as myself can sound with a truly great guitar in hand. Clearly, this isn't a purchase that any player will take lightly — a guitar of this caliber is a lifetime investment.

The 914ce is a cutaway grand auditorium shape, which means that the instrument is a bit smaller than a traditional dreadnought; I increasingly favor this design, which is easier to play standing with a strap than a dread, as well as when sitting.

Taylor is using the V-Class bracing in a range of guitars, with the least expensive coming in a $3,000 and the most costly weighing in at $9,000. All are made in El Cajon, California, near San Diego.

The 914ce I checked out has a Sitka Spruce top, Indian rosewood back and sides, and a West African ebony fretboard. The details are glorious, with a graphite nut, Micarta saddle, very solid Gotoh 510 tuners in a sort of mellow brass, and the onboard Expression amp system, complete with a jack in the strap button. You can get lost studying the inlays on the headstock and the fretboard.

What does the design sound like?

Taylor Review

Unplugged, playing the 914ce is like holding a piano in your lap: the dynamic range is miraculous. Plugged in (I ran the guitar through a Fender Pro Junior IV because I don't have an acoustic amp), the 914ce is bold and balanced.

There's a reason why musicians who play in churches and a lot of electric-centric folks adore Taylors: the amplified characteristics are stunning, replicating the natural sound of an acoustic even at higher volumes.

But most players are going to become addicted to the unplugged virtues of the 914ce. I certainly did, and I threw everything I had in standard tuning at it, with forays into my preferred alternative tunings, DADGAD and open-G.

At this level, acoustics don't have flaws — they simply have varying degrees of magnificent virtues. But the V-Class bracing lives up to its billing and then some. By nature of their legacy design, acoustic guitars are never really perfect, and almost everybody fights a bit to achieve what they want, no matter how skilled they are.

How V-Class works

Taylor Review

In coming up with V-Class, Powers sought to solve an age-old problem with the so-called "flat top" design — what most players recognize as the steel-stringed acoustic guitar. (Watch him talk about it here.)

With flat tops, there are some limits on what a traditional guitar will allow," Powers said when we chatted on the phone. "There's a balance point between volume and sustain."

Volume is self-explanatory and is a function of how flexible a guitar's top is: More flexible equals more air moved equals louder, and if you have a bigger top, you have more volume. You can also make it louder with a super-flexible top, such as the drumhead on a banjo.

Sustain, however, is governed by stiffness. That's why notes last longer when played on a stiffer instrument. To return to the banjo example, those sharp, loud notes decay very rapidly.

Powers was certainly familiar with the industry standard X-bracing, given his pre-Taylor career as a custom builder and musician. But the constraints of the old ways frustrated him.

An unlikely insight came from his second home (outside the guitar workshop) — the Pacific Ocean, where he regularly surfs. Wave patterns in water suggested a new idea to him, and V-Class entered the experimental stage.

The results were quickly successful, but also intimidating.

"Oh my gosh, I've opened a Pandora's Box!" Powers recalled. "This guitar is actually gonna do what I want it do do. I was excited and scared at the same time."

A neverending learning experience for the guitar maker

Taylor Review

Several years of development followed, during which Powers would concoct a design, test it, figure out if something was a fluke, and then get control of a feature so that it could be replicated.

Powers also had to contend with his own "Eureka!" feelings, not to mention feedback from his luthier compatriots.

"I thought, 'I'm an idiot for not seeing this sooner,'" he said. But the world of guitar makers is not large, and when Powers revealed his concept, they scratched their heads.

They didn't treat him quite as if he'd rolled out a square wheel. "We don't know all that much about the instrument," he said. "The more we learn, the less we know."

My time with the 914ce reminded me that if you're a casual guitarist and deeply amateur musician, you can certainly enjoy a fine instrument. But it also highlighted how much a good guitar can help a great player better express him or herself. In my experience, even some famous guitars, such as the Gibson J-45, don't much like to be played all over the neck.

Not so with the new Taylors — where the V-Class bracing, combined with the company's neck-to-body joining for which its already renowned, means that you can hit every single available note and savor the sustain and volume that Powers focused on while remaining deliciously in tune. And even if you don't like single-note playing and prefer strumming chords, the difference between a three- and four-finger G chord on the 914ce is a revelation.

My acid test for a guitar, when you get right down to it, is can I write a song on the instrument. The reason why is that there's no correlation between cost and results: I've written numerous songs on a $5 Yamaha that I bought at a yard sale.

The 914ce yielded a slightly fast-playing number with a little riff at the beginning, a benefit of the neck, which is slick and swift.

The pros were stunned

Taylor Review

According to Powers, more talented musicians see larger vistas when they first sample a V-Class guitar.

"Some of them get really quiet," he said. "Quite a few start swearing. And few chords in, it's almost as if the guitar has turned into their voice."

The V-Class innovation comes along at a good time or the acoustic guitar. Musicians such as Taylor Swift— a Taylor player, naturally — have spurred interest among new, female customers to pick up a humble thing made of wood and string to see if they can make it sound cool.

With Gibson's recent bankruptcy declaration and the general shift in pop away from anything that resembles guitar heroes, there's been no shortage of eulogies for an instrument that's defined music since the 1950s. But Powers isn't buying it.

"I've heard all kinds of gloom and doom about the future of the guitar," he said. "But I don't think it's going to disappear. We have an inherent need to tell stories and make music. We might just not have the exactly same instrument that we had decades ago."

SEE ALSO: Fender has unveiled a lineup of acoustic guitars that electric players will love

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An Oxford Professor Has Unlocked The Mysterious Science Of The Guitar

Trump's former deputy campaign manager told a black panelist on 'Fox & Friends' that he was 'out of his cotton-picking mind'

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Fox and Friends cotton picking mind

  • On "Fox & Friends" Sunday morning, President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign manager David Bossie told Democratic strategist Joel Payne he was "out of his cotton-picking mind."
  • The two were appearing on the show to discuss political rhetoric.
  • Host Ed Henry apologized for Bossie's comment, saying he and the show "don't agree with that". Fox News also released a statement calling Bossie's comment "deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate." Bossie tweeted an apology Sunday afternoon.

David Bossie, President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign manager, told Democratic strategist Joel Payne on Fox News Sunday morning that he was "out of his cotton-picking mind."

The two were appearing on "Fox & Friends" to discuss current rhetoric in political commentating, specifically around the Trump administration's recent consideration and establishment of a zero-tolerance immigration policy.

"You guys, you, the Democratic party, are so angry and hate-filled towards the border patrol agents, towards police officers, towards ICE agents," Bossie said, beginning the discussion by replying to remarks from an MSNBC host that compared Trump's immigration policy to Nazi Germany.

"I just love to let people watch," Payne replied. "This is the president’s deputy campaign manager. This is the type of hate-filled screed that you saw in 2016."

The segment continued as Payne replied to host Ed Henry asking Payne to comment on the language Democrats have used.

"You started the segment saying progressive and Democrats and the left are attacking the president, calling him a racist. No. They're just calling him out," Payne continued. "You don't have to be a Golden Retriever to hear all the dog whistles coming out of the White House these days."

Payne then pushed back on Bossie's reference to former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden's tweet last week that included a picture of a Nazi concentration camp, which Bossie talked over, saying "you're out of your cotton-picking mind."

"Let me tell you something, I got some relatives who picked cotton and I'm not going to sit here and allow you to attack me like that on TV," Payne replied. "You better watch your mouth."

Henry later apologized for the "fiery" debate after the commercial break. "I want to make clear: Fox News and this show, myself, we don't agree with that particular phrase," he said on-air. "It was obviously offensive, and these debates get fiery. That's unfortunate."

"David Bossie's comments today were deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate," a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. "His remarks do not reflect the sentiments of FOX News and we do not in any way condone them."

Bossie tweeted an apology for the "offensive phrase" Sunday afternoon.

Bossie is the second Trump associate to land in hot water for on-air comments this week. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski mocked a commentator who spoke about an immigrant girl with Down Syndrome being separated from her mother. Lewandowski replied "womp womp." He later tweeted a defense.

SEE ALSO: Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski defends controversial comments on 10-year-old migrant girl with down syndrome affected by family-separation policy

SEE ALSO: Sarah Sanders said she was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because she works for Trump

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This top economist has a radical plan to change the way Americans vote

One of the best airlines in the world is one you've probably never heard of — here's what it's like to fly Air Astana

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7 AirAstana (2 of 23)

  • Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, operating in 60+ destinations primarily in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
  • Though the airline is only 16 years old, it has won a ton of awards. For the last six years, consumer aviation website Skytrax has given it a 4-star rating and named it the best airline in India/Central Asia.
  • I decided to fly Air Astana Economy-class cabin on a flight, from Seoul, South Korea to Almaty, Kazakhstan and Almaty to Moscow, Russia, to see what the experience was like.

Chances are, unless you're an airline junkie, you've probably never heard of Air Astana.

Only launched in 2002, Kazakhstan's flag carrier is relatively unknown to most Americans and Europeans, unless they happen to have taken a trip to Russia. But that may soon change.

In just 16 years, Air Astana has built a reputation for friendly staff, new, well-kept planes, and great service. For the last six years, consumer aviation website Skytrax has given it a 4-star rating and named it the best airline in India/Central Asia. In 2014, Business Insider named it the 12th best airline in the world.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said in 2012 that Air Astana had "performed better in its first decade than just about any other start-up carrier."

Add in the fact that the list of best airlines these days is dominated by flag carriers like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Etihad Airways, and I was very excited to give Air Astana a try.

I got my chance recently when booking a long-haul trip from Seoul to Moscow for the World Cup. I am pleased to say that Air Astana did not disappoint.

Read on to see what I thought of my flight on Air Astana, departing from Almaty International Airport to Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, operated on a 767-300ER.

SEE ALSO: I went to the massive World Cup party in Moscow, where up to 25,000 fans celebrate the games

DON'T MISS: I went to the World Cup for the first time — and it was even better than I imagined

For a recent flight from Seoul to Russia, I decided to book Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan. I was little bit nervous because the flight required a connection in Almaty, the former capital of the country. The first flight went off without a hitch and I landed at Almaty International Airport. It was a bit dinky.



To get on my second flight from Almaty to Moscow, I had to go through the transit desk in Almaty. Everyone on my flight was transferring to Moscow, as we were all heading to the World Cup. Because Almaty requires passengers to pass through security at the transit desk, I had to wait in line for an hour during my layover.



My flight was on time. After checking our passports at a small gate inside the airport, we boarded a bus that drove us to the plane on the tarmac. There's something about boarding a plane from the airstair rather than the gate that makes me feel like a celebrity.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

6 signs you're probably ready to get married

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relationship just married couple

  • Relationship expert Andrea Syrtash shared some of the top signs that you and your partner could be ready for marriage.
  • Those signs include having shared values and goals and having open conversations about sex.
  • Ultimately, you and your partner are the only people who can decide whether you're ready to commit long-term.


Today's young couples aren't making rash decisions when it comes to marriage.

A report by dating site eHarmony reveals that 25- to 34-year-olds across the US (not just eHarmony users) knew their partner for an average of 6.5 years before tying the knot. That's compared to an average of five years for all age groups surveyed.

You could, theoretically, spend all of eternity trying to decide whether your partner is the right partner for you. But who has all of eternity to wait?

We asked Andrea Syrtash, a relationship expert, founder of Pregnantish, and author of "He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)", for the top signs that you and your partner could be ready to make a lifelong commitment to each other.

Here's what she told us:

SEE ALSO: Divorce isn't a failure, therapists say. In fact, it could mean the marriage was a success.

You're the best version of yourself when you're with your partner

"It's amazing how often we put the focus on the other person — what he or she is offering," Syrtash said. "We don't look at who we are with them."

She went on: "You know you're ready to be in a long-term partnership when you can honestly say, 'This person is bringing out my best. I'm a good version of myself with this person.' That's a really good litmus test."

Syrtash's insights recall those of Ellen McCarthy, author of "The Real Thing" and a former weddings reporter for The Washington Post. McCarthy writes that the one word she heard couples use over and over again to describe their relationship was "comfortable."

As McCarthy puts it, a solid partner is like a "good pair of pajamas."



You have shared values and goals

"Hopefully, you're not getting married or thinking about long-term commitment before you've talked about future goals," Syrtash said.

Discussion topics should include kids, religion, and finances.

"If you feel that you've talked through significant future goals together and you're aligned, that's also a good sign."

Karl Pillemer, a professor of human development at Cornell University, spoke with a series of older Americans for his book "30 Lessons for Loving" and learned about the importance of shared values.

One 86-year-old man told Pillemer that it's important to find out from your partner: "What do they care about? How do they think about the world? What matters to them?"

 



You've talked openly about your finances

Money is a common source of conflict in a marriage, Syrtash said. "So we want to have open conversations before we are legally bound to each other."

For example, is one person coming into the relationship with significant student loans or credit-card debt?

According to Michelle Brownstein, Vice President of Private Client Services at Personal Capital, every couple should have three important money conversations: how they spend and save, how they envision a potential child's future, and whether to rent or buy a home.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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