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The best movies to watch on 12 major holidays, from July 4th to Christmas

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independence day

As the US celebrates Independence Day, you might feel the urge to watch a movie when you're not outside barbecuing.

But which movie is the best to watch?

Business Insider has picked the best movies to watch on 12 major US holidays, from the 4th of July to New Year's Day and Christmas. 

The movies include recent Oscar darling "Lady Bird," war epic "Saving Private Ryan," and the cult-classic "Office Space."

So when these holidays come around, keep these great movies in mind.

Below 12 of the best movies to watch on major US holidays:

SEE ALSO: The 11 best-reviewed movies of 2018 so far

New Year's Eve/Day: "When Harry Met Sally" (1989)

This classic romantic comedy closes with a satisfying, heavily quoted New Year's Eve party, so if you want to end/start your year off right, "When Harry Met Sally" is the perfect film to do so.



Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: "Selma" (2014)

Ava DuVernay's "Selma" may have been snubbed from some major Oscar categories in 2015, as it missed out on a director nod for DuVernay and acting for David Oyelowo, but it's still the definitive film about MLK, Jr. 



Valentine's Day: "Casablanca" (1942)

There's a plethora of romantic films to choose from that would be perfect on Valentine's Day, so why not go with the original, and arguably best?



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

People can seem more racist as they get older, but it's not simply a case of 'being from a different time'

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older lady

  • Research has shown there is greater prejudice among older adults.
  • This is often dismissed as older people being "from a different time," but this is not the whole story.
  • As we get older, certain parts of our brain shrink, making us less inhibited.
  • So older people may just be saying things they wouldn't normally say.
  • In other cases, they may have just always been that way.
  • It's up to the people close to the elderly to decide whether their remarks are meant maliciously or not.


It's become something of a national meme in the UK that 97-year-old Prince Philip might say something culturally insensitive when he's out in public. Similarly, people may find their grandparents say more unpalatable things as they get older.

These remarks are brushed off because older people "are from a different time," and "it's a different world to the one they grew up in." But while this may be partially true, it's not the full story.

Research has shown that young people are increasingly less racist than older people. For example, in 1958, just 4% of Americans approved of interracial marriage. This support only reached 50% in 1997, while now it is at 87%.

But the old prejudices of yesteryear don't encompass racism entirely. Sometimes it can reveal itself with an ill-judged joke, or subtle racial stereotyping. As people age, their ability to judge what is or isn't appropriate may falter, causing them to blurt out something others consider insensitive. (Although, others are simply born that way, and age has nothing to do with it.)

We spoke to psychologists about the possible reasons for inherent racism, and what the current research says about why people's behaviours alter as they age. There is never an excuse for being outright offensive, but when you are close to older people, context can be important in judging whether it's something you want to address directly, or let go.

Where racism comes from

Some scientists think there may be a biological or evolutionary basis to racism or prejudice because they see it as a reaction to a competition for resources. But there isn't a huge amount of evidence for this.

Rather, the reasons for racism are probably psychological; feeling a lack of security, a need for identity, a desire for belonging, and feeling threatened by other groups — insecurities that may increase as someone gets older.

If you don't like things about yourself, it's a lot easier to project that onto others than to look at yourself.

 

One reason in particular for this insecurity is that older people are closer to death, said Steve Taylor, a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University. There's a theory in psychology called terror management theory, he explained, and it essentially means that when people are more aware of their mortality, they become more naturalistic, materialistic, and conventional.

"They cling to the traditions and the conventions of their society in a stronger way," Taylor said. "The theory is when you think of death it creates a fear, and one way of reacting to that anxiety is to cling to identity, to try and gain a sense of belonging, or even a sense of protection."

For some, that comfort of belonging is found in the solidarity of hating others. Psychotherapist Allison Abrams told Business Insider people who relate to a hate group, such as neo-nazis, form strong bonds based on resentment.

"It's a distorted way to find a sense of belonging, but that's one thing that motivates people who fall into this category," she said. "If you don't like things about yourself, it's a lot easier to project that onto others than to look at yourself... Especially if somebody has low self-esteem or has a lot of self-hatred."

Greece Golden Dawn Neo Nazi

When people look or act differently to you, or come from somewhere else, it can be easier to use them as a scapegoat, by identifying them as a target to direct that anger and hatred towards.

Older people may feel their sense of identity is threatened if the world around them has changed a lot, such as when people from different countries and backgrounds move into their hometowns.

They may struggle to keep up with the world and feel as though they understand it less and less. This can be scary, and in retaliation, they may lash out at "the other" because it helps secure their sense of belonging.

When you're older, your mental structure is a bit more rigid, so you struggle to adapt in the same way

 

"You can never really underestimate the importance of the need for identity," said Taylor. "It's a really powerful psychological need... There's just a general feeling of anxiety in the air that creates this need for identity and belonging, and this need to demonise other groups."

There is something to be said for older people being from a generation where prejudiced views were more explicit — such as growing up during the times of segregation.

"But that's only part of it, because the research says even if people grew up in that era and had those attitudes, they can learn and they can become more liberal," Abrams said. "We have that ability as humans — our personalities change, and we can become more open."

Brains atrophy as we age

But that openness doesn't last forever. As people age, their flexibility declines, and they are less able to adapt and absorb like they could when they were young.

"When you're older, your mental structure is a bit more rigid, so you struggle to adapt in the same way," said Taylor. "And if you can't adapt it creates a sense of alienation, a sense of being overwhelmed and not fitting in."

Research has shown that older adults have a tendency to be more prejudiced than their younger counterparts, even when they appear unprejudiced throughout their earlier lives. This wouldn't make sense if people were only reacting to what they experienced when they were young.

alzheimers brain scan

Instead, the reasons could be biological. Abrams said the latest scientific theory for this is because areas of the brain going through changes as we age.

"Our prefrontal cortex starts to atrophy," she said. "In other words, the frontal lobes lose their sharpness."

That's the part of our brain that control executive functioning, like our ability to reason, to use logic and judgement, to apply filters, and inhibit inappropriate thoughts.

Everyone gets strange ideas popping into their heads that they'd rather not say. Most of us are able to control these thoughts, but as that cognitive ability starts to decline, you may find older adults blurting out things they might have kept to themselves in the past. It's a bit like having Tourette's syndrome, in that you have less control over what comes out of your mouth.

"They may have said them anyway, depending on their personality when they were younger," said Abrams. "But for the most part, they probably wouldn't have... Once we reach that old age where our brains start to lose that ability, those more hidden parts, those more subconscious thoughts, we are less able to inhibit them."

This isn't to say everyone is secretly racist. But as psychologist William von Hippel puts it in an article on the BBC website, it may not be the case that our inhibitory abilities suppress our personality. Rather, they actually shape it.

old man surfing

Older people may appear more racist, or more prejudiced, but it's not necessarily malicious or hateful. Sometimes it is, but not in every case, said Abrams.

"It could be that they hold these very negative views, and maybe they were racist and maybe they did say inappropriate things, and now it's just amplified. It's hard to know," she said.

There are two roads to go down

There is a growing sense of alienation between the young and the old, said Taylor. Especially looking at political differences such as the Brexit vote, or the rift between conservative and liberal voters in the US and UK.

In some areas of the world, older people are valued and respected. But in Western culture, it tends to be the opposite.

... just because somebody was born in an era that was less tolerant... doesn't mean that they are set in their ways.

"It's a very youth-obsessed culture, old age is seen as a process of decay where you lose your attractiveness, lose your productivity," Taylor said. "There does seem to be this schism between the young and the old."

This could be a factor in older people wanting to "say what they feel" more often, to get back at an oversensitive younger generation which is leaving them behind. This isn't likely to be the case for the majority of people, but it's worth pointing out.

According to the work of developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, there are two roads people can go down as they age. One is to go towards bitterness and anxiety, by complaining about the world today, and how much better things were in the past.

The other road is one of acceptance and wisdom, where people let go of the things that don't matter and feel more at peace with the world. After all, research has shown being over the age of 65 is one of the happiest times in human life— rivaled only by the late teens and early 20s.

So there is no absolute rule that people get judgmental and resentful as they get older. But for those who do, whether they start saying what they say out of bitterness, fear, or a cognitive decline, isn't going to be all that certain.

Research is helping us to understand that if someone you're close to says something completely inappropriate, there may be a biological factor to it. This understanding may provide the context to be able to reduce the schism between the young and the old, rather than writing older people off completely.

"The fact that just because somebody was born in an era that was less tolerant or there was more prejudice explicitly, doesn't mean that they are set in their ways," said Abrams. "It's not always the case that if you're an older person you're doomed and you're not going to change. Especially as we progress in society and become less ignorant. Well, most of us."

SEE ALSO: Scientists have found an exciting new clue about how 'super-agers' stay sharp as they age

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We visited a convenience-store chain with a Texas cult following, and we were amazed by what we found

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Buc-ee's

  • Buc-ee's is a convenience-store chain with a cult following across Texas. 
  • The chain serves as a super-sized highway pit stop complete with "world-famous" bathrooms, branded t-shirts, a beef jerky bar, a wide-ranging home decor section, and fresh-made fudge. 
  • We visited Texas to see if Buc-ee's could live up to the hype, and were shocked by what we found. 

 

If you're on a road trip traveling through Texas, Buc-ee's looms large as a mythical highway oasis — and not just because of the endless signs along the road, telling travelers how many miles until the nearest location appears on the horizon. 

Much like Pennsylvanians worship at the altar of Wawa, the gas-station chain Buc-ee's is answer to hungry road trippers' prayers across the Lone Star State. 

Need gas? Buc-ee's apparently has it cheap! Food? Chefs say their breakfast tacos are some of the best! Clothing? Per sources, Buc-ee's t-shirts — featuring its iconic beaver mascot — are one of the trademarks of a cool Texas teen. 

Despite the Texan obsession, most of the world has never even heard of Buc-ee's. The chain, founded in 1982, has almost 40 locations. 

We visited Buc-ee's to see if it lived up to the hype. What we found was like nothing we'd ever seen before:

SEE ALSO: We visited convenience-store rivals Wawa and Sheetz to see which does it better — and the winner is clear

We rolled into the Buc-ee's parking lot well aware of the promise that "everything is bigger in Texas." But even the state's self-aggrandizing did not prepare us for what was waiting inside.



Walking into Buc-ee's was like wandering into a mix of a Walmart, a barbecue-centric deli, and the Texas tourism bureau, plus a dash of the Cracker Barrel general store.



The snack aisles carry the classic road trip rations, like trail mix, dried fruit, and candy — but on a scale unseen anywhere else in the country.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A look at the daily routine of George Washington, who drank tea and wine and spent hours on horseback

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george washington

  • George Washington was the first president of the US.
  • He's widely-regarded as the father of the country.
  • Here's a look at the typical schedule he stuck to when he was at his Mount Vernon plantation.

George Washington is widely regarded as the father of the United States.

It's not surprising why. Not only did the general-turned-president ensure the survival of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, he also laid down a number of massively important precedents in his two terms as US president.

So how did he spend his days? Well, that likely varied a bit when he was commanding his army from 1775 to 1783. And, as it turns out, we know a bit more about the breakdown of his daily schedule when he resided at Mount Vernon, his estate on the banks of the Potomac River.

Here's a breakdown of how a day in the life of George Washington unfolded at Mount Vernon:

SEE ALSO: A look at the daily routine of Benjamin Franklin, who didn't always follow his own 'early to bed, early to rise' advice

DON'T MISS: A look at the daily routine of Alexander Hamilton, who loved coffee and worked for marathon stretches of time

SEE ALSO: A look at the daily routine of John Adams, who woke before dawn, walked 5 miles at a time, and drank hard cider at breakfast

In a letter to his grandson, Washington acknowledged that an early wake-up could be "irksome."

Source: "George Washington: The Man of the Age"



Still, he added that "... the practice will produce a rich harvest forever thereafter."

Source: "George Washington: The Man of the Age"



Washington himself awoke early, frequently rising at dawn. He would start off his day with a meal of three small cornmeal cakes and three cups of tea, without cream.

Source: "George Washington's Leadership Lessons: What the Father of Our Country Can Teach Us About Effective Leadership and Character"



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We drove a Bentley Bentayga SUV to see if it's worth the $246,000 asking price — here's the verdict

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Bentley Bentayga

  • The Bentley Bentayga arrived in 2016.
  • Upon its debut, the Bentayga helped usher in the era of the ultra-premium SUV.
  • Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini both followed Bentley into the segment.
  • The Bentayga is powered by a 600 horsepower, twin-turbocharged W12 engine.
  • The Bentley SUV can hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and reach a top speed of 187 mph.
  • The 2018 Bentley Bentayga starts at $195,000. 



The Bentley Bentayga is one of the most talked-about cars in recent memory that doesn't carry Ferrari's prancing stallion or one of Tesla's battery packs.

With global demand for SUVs unyielding, it was only a matter of time before the world's most exclusive automakers joined in on the action.  

High-end luxury SUVs have been on the market for as longs there's been luxury cars and SUVs. These days, Range Rover is an unstoppable sales juggernaut, while the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has long shed its utilitarian upbringing to become a status symbol for world's well-heeled elite. 

But it wasn't until the Bentayga's debut in 2016 that the era of the ultra-luxury SUV began. This year, the Bentley SUV was joined by both the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the Lamborghini Urus.

In late 2016, Bentley dropped off a white Bentayga for Business Insider to check out.  Even though we were able to shoot photos, scheduling restraints did not afford us enough driving time to properly evaluate the vehicle. So Bentley gave us another bite at the apple a couple of months ago when it loaned us another Bentayga — a 2018 model in Rubino Red.

But this time around, we were able to spend nearly a week with the Bentayga. The 2018 Bentley Bentayga starts at $195,000 but $48,120 in options and a $2,725 destination fee pushed the as-tested price to $245,845. 

Here's a closer look at the Bentley Bentayga:

SEE ALSO: We drove a $31,000 Honda Accord and a $39,000 Toyota Camry to see which one is the better family sedan — here's the verdict

FOLLOW US: on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

Here it is! Our 2018 Bentley Bentayga test car. A freak snow storm the night before left the roads and our Rubino Red Bentayga covered in a thick layer of salt residue.



For an unobstructed view of the Bentayga, here's the test car we checked out in late 2016. And it's obvious this thing is a Bentley, You couldn't possibly confuse it with anything else. The front fascia is punctuated by Bentley's corporate mesh grille and spherical headlights.



The production Bentayga's styling is the work of former Bentley design boss Luc Donckerwolke and head of exterior design SangYup Lee. Both have since been poached by Hyundai's new Genesis luxury brand.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 21 best places to celebrate the 4th of July this year, ranked from most to least expensive

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water swimming fireworks vacation party New Year's Rio

  • People travel all over the US to celebrate the Fourth of July, America's independence day, every year.
  • HomeToGo ranked the top 21 destinations for the Fourth of July based on popularity and affordability. 
  • The best and most affordable places to celebrate July 4 are San Antonio, Texas, followed by St. Louis, Missouri. 

America comes together every year to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Popular firework destinations usually boost their prices for the holiday, but some big cities get cheaper. For example, accommodations in New Orleans for the Fourth of July are 53% more expensive than at other times, whereas San Francisco is 27% cheaper, reports HomeToGo.

HomeToGo compiled data on everything from accommodation prices to the cost of sparklers to find out which cities are the best for celebrating the Fourth of July.

best cities to celebrate the 4th of july on a budget

Here's what HomeToGo factored in:

Food and drink: 1/4 gallon milk, bread, 3 eggs, 1/4 lb bananas, 1/4 lb chicken, 1/2 lb beef, 1/4 lb cheese, 1/4 head lettuce, 1/4 pound tomatoes, 1/4 lb onion, 1/4 lb potatoes, and two locally produced beers for one person. Prices sourced from a leading online grocery store.

Accommodations: The average price per-person per-night to stay in a four person space beginning Monday July 2, 2018. Prices sourced from HomeToGo's booking data for July 2018.

Cost of American flag: A 3' x 5' polyester flag including tax. Prices sourced from leading online retailers. 

Cost of sparklers: A single box of 10" color sparklers including tax. Prices sourced from online fireworks retailer. 

Cost of gas per-gallon: The cost of one gallon of regular gas including tax. Prices provided by AAA and calculated on May 29, 2018.

Below, see the total cost and item breakdown of a Fourth of July celebration in 21 US cities.

SEE ALSO: 13 places to travel in July for every type of traveler

DON'T MISS: 11 fun, free places to watch Fourth of July fireworks in New York City

21. New Orleans, Louisiana

Total cost: $161.84

Food and drink: $15.84 

Accommodations: $117

Cost of American flag: $12.08

Cost of sparklers: $14.29

Cost of gas per-gallon: $2.63



20. Los Angeles, California

Total cost: $153.33

Food and drink: $18.54

Accommodations: $105

Cost of American flag: $11.92

Cost of sparklers: $14.10

Cost of gas per-gallon: $3.77



19. New York City, New York

Total cost: $134.79

Food and drink: $20.70

Accommodations: $85

Cost of American flag: $11.91 

Cost of sparklers: $14.09

Cost of gas per-gallon: $3.09



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

What the Founding Fathers were doing before their act of rebellion made them famous

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Writing Declaration Thomas Jefferson John Adams Ben Franklin



The Fourth of July means summer fun, fireworks, and lots of red, white, and blue decorations, for most of us.

It also marks the day that the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution to declare independence from Britain 242 years ago.

Historians believe that most of the founders didn't actually sign the document until about a month later. But July 4 was the date on the copies that got circulated around the colonies, so that's what the US went with.

Many Americans learn about famous founders like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson in school.

But many of the guys who showed up in sweltering Philadelphia during the summer of 1776 were relatively obscure. And a good number of Founding Fathers, like Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, James Madison, and John Jay, didn't even sign the Declaration.

So let's take a look at the lives and careers of some of these lesser known founders. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the signers were prominent members of their communities. They worked as lawyers, physicians, merchants, and planters before being elected to the Continental Congress. A vast majority of them also owned slaves.

Here's a breakdown of the career paths of all 56 signers and what brought them to Philadelphia in the sweltering summer of 1776:

SEE ALSO: The 9 weirdest jobs of America's Founding Fathers

DON'T MISS: The top 20 presidents in US history, according to historians

John Hancock was a wealthy smuggler

The man with the most famous signature in American history led an allegedly illicit career before he entered the political realm.

On the surface, the president of the Second Continental Congress was a prominent New England merchant and a major financial backer of the revolutionary cause in Boston.

However, Hancock's mercantile fortune was allegedly bolstered through the illegal smuggling of products like Dutch tea, glass, lead, paper, and French molasses, according to the Boston Tea Party Historical Society.

He was charged with smuggling, but was acquitted thanks to his savvy lawyer — John Adams.



Samuel Adams was an incompetent tax collector

The founding father — and inspiration behind the modern day beer company— had a rocky start to his career after graduating from Harvard in 1740.

His first few business ventures ended poorly, and he dropped out of studying law. Even worse, he was an incompetent tax collector, neglecting "to collect the public levies and to keep proper accounts," according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

He later achieved great influence in local politics, founding the Sons of Liberty, Boston's revolutionary group. This activity allowed Adams to become a driving force in the growing movement against Britain's series of new taxes, which ultimately snowballed into the Revolution.



John Adams was an unfulfilled teacher before becoming a lawyer

John Adams established a reputation as a talented lawyer that would launch him on the path to the presidency. However, his first job mostly involved keeping order in the classroom.

After graduating Harvard, Adams took his first job as as a schoolmaster in Worcester, Massachusetts, according to the University of Groningen's biography of the second US president.

The career was not fulfilling for Adams and he was often filled with self doubt, as evidenced by the personal entries in his famous journal, which the Massachusetts Historical Society has posted online. To keep up with his own reading and writing, Adams would sometimes ask the smartest student to lead class.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A look at the daily routine of Thomas Jefferson, who rose early, drank coffee, and wrote a lot

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Declaration Thomas Jefferson



Thomas Jefferson helped draft the Declaration of Independence about 242 years ago. He was 33-year-old at the time.

Over the course of his career, he would go on to serve the fledgling United States as governor of Virginia, minister to France, secretary of state, vice president, and, finally, the country's third president.

Despite wearing so many hats in the government, Jefferson adhered to a relatively well-defined schedule throughout his life.

Here's a look at the Founding Father's daily routine:

SEE ALSO: A look at the daily routine of John Adams, who woke before dawn, walked 5 miles at a time, and drank hard cider at breakfast

DON'T MISS: 5 famous 'facts' about the Fourth of July that aren't true

SEE ALSO: A look at the daily routine of Alexander Hamilton, who loved coffee and worked for marathon stretches of time

Jefferson didn't wake up at a set time every day. Instead, he wrote that, "Whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun." Typically, he would get out of bed whenever there was enough light for him to read the clock next to his bed.

Source: Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello



He once boasted that he hadn't slept late in 50 years, according to Colonial Williamsburg's official blog.

Source: Colonial Williamsburg



Before breakfast, the Founding Father would tend to his correspondence. Over the course of his life, he wrote somewhere around 20,000 letters.

Source: Colonial Williamsburg, Early to Rise



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

19 US presidents' surprising first jobs

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barack obama ice cream

First jobs are usually a mixed bag; they can be disastrous failures, great learning experiences, or somewhere in between.

• That's the case even for people who go on to become the president of the US.

• American presidents had some memorable first roles across history.



The road to the White House isn't always glamorous.

Sure, most US presidents throughout our history have had experience in law, politics, or the military— or some combination thereof.

But many future presidents had rather unconventional first gigs— from plucking chickens to working at a circus to selling comic books at a grocery store.

It's definitely encouraging for anyone who suffered through a weird start to their career.

Here are the surprising first jobs held by Washington, Lincoln, Obama, and 15 other US presidents:

SEE ALSO: 29 American presidents who served in the military

George Washington started working as a surveyor in Shenandoah Valley at age 16

When Washington, the first US president, was 16, Lord Thomas Fairfax gave him his first job surveying Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and West Virginia, according to the official site of Historic Kenmore, his sister's plantation.

Surveyors measure land, airspace, and water, and explain what it looks like and how much there is for legal records.

The next year, at age 17, Washington was appointed the official surveyor of Culpeper County. By the time he was 21, he owned more than 1,500 acres of land, according to American Studies department at UVA.



John Adams was a schoolmaster

After graduating from a class of 24 students, Adams took his first job as as a schoolmaster in Worcester, Massachusetts, according to the University of Groningen's biography of the second US president.

However, the career was not fulfilling for Adams and he was often filled with self doubt, as evidenced by the personal entries in his famous journal, which the Massachusetts Historical Society has posted online. To keep up with his own reading and writing, Adams would sometimes ask the smartest student to lead class.



Thomas Jefferson was a lawyer

Before he became the third president of the US, Jefferson handled 900 matters while specializing in land cases as a lawyer in the General Court in Williamsburg, Virginia, according to Encyclopedia Virginia.

Influenced by his political ideology, Jefferson served clients from all classes. As he wrote in his "Autobiography" in 1821, he wanted to create a "system by which every fibre would be eradicated of ancient or future aristocracy; and a foundation laid for a government truly republican."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

5 famous 'facts' about the Fourth of July that aren't true — and what actually happened instead

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American flag face paint USA US America fan

  • The Fourth of July is a big deal in the US.
  • It marks the 13 colonies' declaration of independence from Britain.
  • There are a number of popular historical tales out there about the US's Independence Day.
  • Here are a few that are untrue or impossible to actually verify.

The Fourth of July is all about fireworks, food, and freedom for many Americans.

In the US, Independence Day commemorates the 13 colonies' decision to rebel against King George III and declare their independence.

But be careful before you start regaling your friends with Fourth of July lore.

There are plenty of popular myths about Independence Day disguised as common knowledge.

Here are a few "facts" about the Fourth of July that are actually historically bogus:

SEE ALSO: A look at the daily routine of Benjamin Franklin, who didn't always follow his own 'early to bed, early to rise' advice

DON'T MISS: What the Founding Fathers were doing before their act of rebellion made them famous

The founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776

On a hot summer day in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress declared the 13 colonies independent from the Crown. Massachusetts delegate and future US president John Adams was certain that he'd witnessed history — and that the date would live on in memory.

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America," wrote Adams, in a July 3, 1776 letter to his wife, Abigail.

Poor Adams. He was only off by two days. The Continental Congress actually issued an initial resolution asserting independence from Britain on July 2, which was then revised and finalized on July 4.

However, historians believe that the signing didn't take place until about a month later. Emily Sneff, research manager of the Declaration Resources Project at Harvard University, writes that 49 of the 56 signers didn't even add their signatures the declaration until August 2, 1776: "It took several months, if not years, for all of the signatures to be added."

She cites the Journals of the Continental Congress, which include this August 2 entry: "The declaration of independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed."

So, why do we gather together to blow things up and grill meat on the Fourth? The Declaration was technically agreed to on that day, and the copies distributed throughout the colonies were dated July 4, 1776.

As a result, that was the date that stuck in people's minds.



The Revolutionary War was all about the American colonies and Britain

As any American student can tell you, Independence Day in a nutshell was the rebellious, teen-aged colonies finally having it out with their overbearing mother country. And France helped, too.

It's probably more helpful to look at the war through the lens of the power struggle between France and Britain. The American Revolution was, in many ways, more of an episode in their drama, as opposed to an earth-shaking event, in and of itself.

The American Revolution took place on the heels of the French and Indian War — one of the theaters of the Seven Years' War between France and Britain.

That North American clash provided a prelude to the Revolution, launching George Washington's military career and prompting a victorious but cash-strapped Britain to raise taxes on its colonies.

France's eventual decision to dive into the fight on the side of the colonists was a chance for payback.

That being said, it's understandable why the American Revolution is a bigger deal in the US than other countries— it is our history, after all. Plus, it's probably fair to say that the rebellion, along with the spread of the Enlightenment, sparked future global changes, including the French Revolution.



The Liberty Bell cracked on Independence Day

The Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell are forever tied together in the popular imagination.

As the lore goes, after the colonies declared independence, the citizens of Philadelphia partied so hard that they cracked the bell, which was first made in 1751.

While it's a great story, this tale is total nonsense. First of all, the official announcement about the Declaration didn't go out until July 8.

"On that day, lots of bells were rung to celebrate public readings of the Declaration, and the Liberty Bell was probably one of them," writes historian Joseph Coohill — who blogs about historical myths under the name Professor Buzzkill.

We have no way of knowing for sure, though, since the state house steeple in which the bell was housed was kind of falling apart and under repair at the time, according to the Independence Hall Association.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A look at the daily routine of John Adams, who woke before dawn, walked 5 miles at a time, and drank hard cider at breakfast

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John Adams

  • John Adams served as the second president of the US.
  • His daily routine varied a bit over the years.
  • That's understandable given that, before he rose to the presidency, Adams worked as a lawyer, colonial delegate, commissioner to France, and vice president.
  • Generally, though, Adams liked to make time in his daily life for long walks and lots of letter-writing.


John Adams had quite a career.

After graduating from Harvard in 1755, he worked as a schoolmaster in Worcester, Massachusetts. The role wasn't a great fit.

From there, Adams began studying law and was admitted to the bar in 1758. Over the years, Adams would become a legal powerhouse in New England.

He was also an early rebel against the Crown, writing essays criticizing measures like the Stamp Act and helping to prod the colonies into war with England.

Adams would become a crucial member of the Continental Congress. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence. He also teamed up with Benjamin Franklin to work as a diplomat in France.

After the war, Adams became the first-ever US vice president. In 1796, he was elected the second president of the new United States.

So what did this very busy Massachusettsan get up to all day?

David McCullough's "John Adams" includes plenty of details on what an average day looked like for this Founding Father.

Here's a breakdown of a day in the life of John Adams:

SEE ALSO: The 6th US president rose before dawn for his favorite morning habit: skinny-dipping

DON'T MISS: A look at the daily routine of Thomas Jefferson, who rose early, drank coffee, and wrote a lot

DON'T FORGET: A look at the daily routine of James Madison, who owned 4,000 books, was too embarrassed to be seen without a hat, and drank up to a pint of whiskey a day

Adams usually rose before dawn, beginning his day as early as 5 a.m.

Source: "John Adams"



As President, Adams typically ate breakfast at 8 a.m.

Source: "John Adams"



As a student at Harvard, Adams picked up one peculiar habit — drinking a morning "gill" of hard cider. He later wrote that he would "... never forget how refreshing and salubrious" he found the beverage in college.

Source: "John Adams"



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Here's what it's like to spend July 4th in the most expensive vacation town in America

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  • Fourth of July in America's most expensive vacation town — Southampton, New York — can be extravagant.
  • Pool parties and fancy backyard dinners, anyone?
  • These Instagram photos show how it's done.

Good company, delicious food, and plenty of sunshine: That's the winning formula for any summer vacation.

But in certain corners of the country, the summer soirées seem a bit more extravagant.

We turned to Instagram to find out how the most expensive vacation town in America— Southampton, New York — celebrates the Fourth of July.

The occasion is filled with pool parties, fancy backyard dinners, and beautiful views.

Scroll through the photos below to see for yourself.

SEE ALSO: The 21 best places to celebrate the 4th of July this year, ranked from most to least expensive

DON'T MISS: 10 cities where you can make 6 figures and still feel broke

Southampton, New York, is located on the East End of Long Island in the Hamptons.

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At least 5% of the homes in Southampton are occupied seasonally, and it doesn't come cheap. The median listing price for a home in the area is just over $1.5 million, making it the most expensive vacation town in America, according to Trulia.

 

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Source: Business Insider, Trulia



The seaside town is a hotspot for travelers during the summer, especially for those looking to escape New York City for a long weekend.

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Here's what every president's signature looks like

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Each US president's signature appears on thousands of documents from their terms in office, including letters, executive orders, and laws.

Public signing ceremonies are a tradition in American politics where the president signs an act of Congress into law. It has many storied traditions, such as how many pens are used during the signing.

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson famously used more than 75 pens to sign the Civil Rights Act in 1964. He gifted them to supporters of the bill, including Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

From George Washington's cursive to Donald Trump's infamous script, take a look at every American president's signature:

SEE ALSO: 12 quotes that show why Barbara Bush was such a beloved first lady

DON'T MISS: Trump's staff turnover is the highest of any US administration in modern history

George Washington



John Adams



Thomas Jefferson



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LeBron James is now a Laker — take a tour of the $23 million mansion he bought in Los Angeles

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Lebron James House

  • LeBron James is signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Before James decided to sign with the Lakers, he purchased a home in Los Angeles for $23 million.
  • The mansion is his second in Los Angeles and his third house overall.
  • LeBron and his family of five can live in great comfort and style in the luxurious, newly-built palace.

 

The king of the NBA is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, but he won't have to look for a new house.

The star athlete spent $23 million on a brand new home in the swanky Brentwood neighborhood. The home is actually King James' second in LA, in addition to his house in Akron, Ohio. 

This purchase clashes with the image LeBron tries to create of the frugal basketball star. Perhaps the Cleveland Cavilers' forward is prudent with other purchases in order to afford his three mansions. 

When he played for the Miami Heat, James resided in a south Florida home he sold for over $13 million. His newest purchase is a 2017-built home that cost him slightly more than the $20 million he handed over for his first LA mansion.

Everyone — even non-sports fans — can appreciate the splendor of his new digs.

Check out LeBron's sweet buy, photos and information courtesy of Trulia:

SEE ALSO: The world's richest people are flocking to these 17 cities

DON'T MISS: The 35-year-old billionaire president of In-N-Out Burger is selling her California mansion for $19.8 million — here's a look inside

When LeBron isn't shooting hoops, he can feed house guests thanks to his custom chef's kitchen. With a combination of natural French oak and marble on the floor, LeBron can cook in great comfort. Or he can just hire a chef to make him a meal high in protein.



The hard oak floors are reminiscent of a basketball court. And if LeBron's legs get sore, there's an elevator that will take him to the rooftop terrace.



The James' home has eight bedrooms, so the starting five for the Cavilers can stay over when they're in town. The master suite has a massive walk-in closet and a private patio.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Many people incorrectly think that the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4 — here's the REAL reason the US celebrates that day

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In the US, Independence Day is all about getting decked out in red, white, and blue, throwing some meat on the barbecue, and shooting off fireworks.

That's just America's way of commemorating the 13 colonies' decision to rebel against King George III and declare their independence in 1776.

Representatives from the 13 colonies debated the breakaway from Britain over the course of a number of hot summer days in Philadelphia.

But, while the Fourth of July is currently the US's national holiday, the Declaration Independence was issued as an initial resolution on July 2.

On that day, Massachusetts delegate and future US president John Adams was certain that he'd witnessed history — and that the date would live on in memory.

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America," wrote Adams, in a July 3, 1776 letter to his wife, Abigail.

Adams ended up being off by two days. The Declaration ended up going through some revisions and was finalized on July 4.

But historians believe that the document wasn't actually signed until about a month later.

Emily Sneff, research manager of the Declaration Resources Project at Harvard University, wrote that 49 of the 56 signers didn't even add their signatures to the declaration until August 2, 1776: "It took several months, if not years, for all of the signatures to be added."

She cited the Journals of the Continental Congress, which include this August 2 entry: "The declaration of independence being engrossed and compared at the table was signed."

So, why do we gather together to blow things up and overeat on the Fourth?

The Declaration was technically approved on that day, and the copies distributed throughout the colonies were dated July 4, 1776.

As a result, that was the date that stuck in people's minds.

SEE ALSO: 5 famous 'facts' about the Fourth of July that aren't true — and what actually happened instead

DON'T MISS: What the Founding Fathers were doing before their act of rebellion made them famous

SEE ALSO: A look at the daily routine of Benjamin Franklin, who didn't always follow his own 'early to bed, early to rise' advice

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Macy’s will set off 60,000 fireworks this 4th of July — here’s how they set it all up

A look at the daily routine of Benjamin Franklin, who didn't always follow his own 'early to bed, early to rise' advice

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Benjamin Franklin

  • Benjamin Franklin left behind detailed writings about his typical daily routine.
  • His schedule varied over the years — as did his commitment to some of his own popular aphorisms.
  • According to his fellow Founding FatherJohn Adams, Franklin didn't always follow his own advice in his later years.


Benjamin Franklin was a true Renaissance man.

After getting his start in the printing business, he went on to establish himself as a leading writer and political thinker in the English colonies in North America; invent the lightning rod, bifocals, and swim fins; make a number of crucial scientific discoveries; and help draft the Declaration of Independence and secure his country's' freedom from England.

The Founding Father got a lot done, so it's no surprise that he earned the unofficial moniker of "First American."

And it's definitely not a shock that he was pretty intentional about his time, according to his autobiography. 

Here's a breakdown of what Franklin's days looked like:

SEE ALSO: I followed Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule for a week, and the most rewarding part was also the most difficult

DON'T MISS: The turkey was never going to be the US national bird — here's the truth behind Thanksgiving lore

DON'T MISS: Visiting a modern-day salon where people discuss Ben Franklin's ideas showed me how valuable his insights can be 290 years later

You probably know the old cliche, which is popularly attributed to Franklin: "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." According to his autobiography, the Founding Father did wake up early, rising at 5 a.m.

Source: Business Insider, "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin"



He would then wash up and practice positivity and gratitude by addressing "Powerful Goodness." This "Powerful Goodness" was Franklin's concept of God. The Founding Father was a Deist, meaning he believed in a higher being.

Source: Business Insider, "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," The Washington Post



Before 8 a.m., Franklin would also get down to business and do some reading.

Source: "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin"



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I've been to 25 countries, and there are 16 things you'll almost never find outside the US

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  • Many things that are common in the United States are nearly impossible to find in other countries.
  • They include food items like peanut butter or Southern-style biscuits.
  • They also include everyday items like mailboxes and red Solo cups.


There are many things that, for better or for worse, you can only find in America.

Common food items like peanut butter or Southern-style biscuits are nearly impossible to find in other countries, for example. The same goes for everyday sights like mailboxes, take-out boxes, and red Solo cups.

At least that's what I found in my travels to 25 different countries. With each new country I visit, from Costa Rica to the Philippines, I find more and more examples of things that I didn't realize were distinctly American.

Read on to see 16 things that you won't find outside the United States.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a staple of school lunches across America, but you'd be hard pressed to find it outside of the States. It was one of the food products I didn't realize I would miss until I was deprived of it. 

Although you may get lucky and find a jar at an international grocery store, peanut butter is one of those foods that non-Americans don't know what they're missing out on.



Cheerleading

Cheerleading is almost exclusively an American activity. Thanks to American movies and TV, many people in other countries are aware of cheerleading, but few have actually seen it in person. For now, it's part of what distinguishes sporting events in the US.



Take-out boxes

First-time visitors to the US are frequently shocked at the massive portion sizes offered in American restaurants.

While their surprise is justified, they may not realize that in the US, it's also very common for customers to take home leftover food in a take-out box. The practice isn't nearly as common in other countries.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Sorry to Bother You' is right — minorities are judged by the sound of their voice, and there's science to prove it

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sorry to bother you

  • In the film "Sorry to Bother You," a black telemarketer finds success only after he starts speaking in a "white voice."
  • The movie is rooted in science — linguists have long known that minorities face discrimination based on the sound of their voice.
  • One linguist tried responding to local apartment listings using three accents — white, black, and Latino — and was offered more appointments when the landlord thought he sounded white. 


In the upcoming movie "Sorry to Bother You," a black telemarketer named Cash can't finish a single call without getting hung up on.

But Cash's fortunes change after a colleague instructs him to start calling customers using his "white voice." Suddenly, by changing his accent to that of a white man, he achieves unheard-of levels of telemarketing success.

While "Sorry to Bother You" may be a comedy, its premise is rooted in science. Language experts have recognized for years that people face discrimination not just based on their race but the sound of their voice — especially when they sound like a minority.

John Baugh, a linguist at Washington University in St. Louis, was the first to document the "linguistic profiling" some minorities face over the phone. It started in the late 1980s when Baugh, who is black, said he was discriminated against while searching for apartments in Palo Alto, California, where he was living as a fellow at Stanford University. 

Baugh launched an experiment in which he made hundreds of phone calls to landlords who had listed apartments in the San Francisco area. He greeted each landlord with the same line: "Hello, I’m calling about the apartment you have advertised in the paper." But he didn't always say it in the same accent — he alternated between using an African-American accent, a Mexican-American accent, and his natural accent, what he called professional standard English.

He found that in white areas, landlords were far less responsive to him when he used his black or Latino accent. In one predominantly white community, landlords offered to show him the apartment 70% of the time when he used his standard-English voice, but less than 30% of the time when he spoke in a black or Latino dialect.

Baugh's research proved that racism extends further than just face-to-face interactions.

"For people who felt that they had been the victims of linguistic discrimination, they were happy to see it," he told Business Insider. "And it was the kind of affirmation of like, well, we knew this all along. We knew it. We just didn't know that it could be proved scientifically."

Can you really tell someone's race based on their voice?

Although language and ethnicity are closely intertwined, the notion that one can "sound white" or "sound black" has stirred controversy in the past. It came up in the OJ Simpson murder case, when Johnnie Cochran memorably argued that it was inherently racist to assume someone's race based on the sound of their voice.

But as Baugh explains, we make inferences from people's voices all the time. We can usually tell when a speaker is a man or a woman, for example, and we can get a sense if they're old or young. Guessing someone's race is the same thing.

"It's not necessarily racist to draw an inference about a person's race from their speech," Baugh told Business Insider. "What is potentially racist is if you act on that inference in a discriminatory way."

Although Baugh's research uncovered a harsh reality for minorities, he said it did little to wipe out housing discrimination for good. Instead, it simply motivated the real estate industry to change its tactics.

Minorities still face discrimination in the housing market, as the Urban Institute think tank has shown. But now, instead of rejecting them over the phone, Baugh said brokers will often go through the process of having them fill out applications and granting them appointments before ultimately rejecting them, making it harder to take legal action.

"One of the unintended consequences of the research was that for those that wanted to discriminate, they realized, 'Oh, I'd better be a little more sophisticated than just simply telling people no.'"

For Baugh, the issue goes far beyond fair housing — it cuts to the heart of the American identity.

"Many of the people who engage in linguistic profiling and linguistic discrimination are descendants of people that came from someplace where English is probably not spoken. And some of their ancestors at one point in time, whether they came from Italy, Germany, Vietnam, or the Philippines, were subject to a form of linguistic discrimination," Baugh said.

"Accepting others who speak different than you do can potentially be a step toward healing divisions in the country."

SEE ALSO: Is "Talking White" Actually A Thing?

DON'T MISS: 27 fascinating maps that show how Americans speak English differently across the US

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: London's riverside pods have been revamped for summer — and they received 9,000 bookings in a single day

We compared the food courts at Costco and Sam's Club, and the winner is crystal clear (COST, WMT)

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  • Costco and Sam's Club are extremely popular in the United States, and while memberships are needed to buy items, the food courts are open to all. 
  • We decided to compare the food from two of the biggest bulk retail chains in the country: Costco and Sam's Club.
  • Both had nearly identical set-ups and price points, but Costco's larger selection and shockingly good quality won out in the end. 

Costco and Sam's Club are shining basilicas of American bulk shopping.

Within their hallowed — and exclusive — corrugated-metal-and-concrete walls, shoppers grab pounds of pasta and peanut butter amid miles of aisles of marked-down goods. 

There is virtually nothing that isn't offered by these warehouse giants — coffins, cars, even vacation packages can be purchased through their services. And even Amazon can't stand in the way of bulk efficiency, as Costco's most recent quarterly earnings report showed. 

And no matter which warehouse store you're shopping in, you're bound to get hungry. Luckily, both Costco and Sam's Club have mini food courts to satiate hungry shoppers. While they may look rather bare-bones, make no mistake: under the right circumstances, the food can be shockingly good. 

We visited a Costco food court and were floored by the quality and downright deliciousness of some of the options — it was suspiciously good. So, we decided to head over to one of Costco's biggest competitors, Sam's Club, to find out if its food could beat the best:

SEE ALSO: We tried biscuit breakfast sandwiches from major fast-food chains — and the winner is shockingly clear

First, a recap of Costco's highlights.



Costco has a fairly large amount on its menu considering it's a tiny kitchen hidden within a bulk retailer.

This entire spread — cheese pizza, hot dog, three different sandwiches, a quasi-stromboli, a soda, and a churro — cost just over $25. That's pretty impressive. 



The pizza is fine, but nothing astounding.

It's a large, doughy, slice that's similar in taste to Pizza Hut — salty, with a slightly sweet sauce. It's nothing special, but for $1.99, I wasn't complaining. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We visited convenience-store rivals Wawa and Sheetz to see which does it better — and the winner is clear

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  • Wawa and Sheetz are both convenience store chains with a cult following. 
  • We visited both to see which was better.
  • After the face-off, Wawa reigned supreme for offering food that's worth a trip in itself.


The Capulets versus the Montagues.

Harvard versus Yale.

Britney versus Christina.

Among history's fabled rivalries, perhaps none is more fiercely contested than Wawa versus Sheetz.

In Pennsylvania and the surrounding states where these premium gas stations dominate highway pit stops, everyone has an opinion as to which is the convenience chain of choice.

To definitively settle this schism, we took it upon ourselves to journey to the heartland of the two rivals — the borderlands of Pennsylvania and New Jersey — and see which chain reigns supreme.

SEE ALSO: We ate dozens of meals at restaurant chains in 2017 — here are the 9 absolute best things to try right now

Our quest begins in the parking lot of a Wawa in south Phillipsburg, New Jersey, off Route 22. The gas pumps are plentiful and bustling with activity, but we're more interested in what's inside.



Wawa, with more than 720 locations in six states on the East Coast, is renowned for its high-quality yet inexpensive food. Walking inside, we find the vibe to be clean and professional yet unassuming. Muted yellows and browns are the key colors, leading to a relaxed but often bland visual landscape.



It takes a few minutes to even comprehend the array of food options available at Wawa. The well-stocked prepackaged section is ambitious and diverse in scope. Even packaged food appears fresh — not as though it has been abandoned on the shelf for untold lengths.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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