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There's A New Business Offering Food Stamps Just For Pets


Beagle puppy sitting on grassAs many unemployed Americans have found, putting food on the table without a regular paycheck can be a challenge, which is why so many of them have come to rely on food stamps.

But what about their pets? There is no federal program to help feed dogs, cats or other animals kept as household pets, but one enterprising entrepreneur has stepped in to fill the void by creating Pet Food Stamps, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

Started by Marc Okon in February, the program is available to people who are already on government assistance. Okon said he was inspired to start the program after a friend in his old New York City neighborhood fell on hard times.

"She told me she sometimes fed her cat before herself," the newspaper quotes Okon as saying.

Regardless of the reasons — job loss, home foreclosure or health problems — the need is real. Though some 47 million Americans receive food stamps, the benefit cannot be used to purchase pet food, which frequently results in pet owners having to give up their cherished animals.

As Okon told the Journal, "Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year and euthanized because their owners can't afford to feed them."

Okon says his small nonprofit, which employs about a dozen people, has received more applications for aid than it can readily process. As CBS News reports, the organization has received more than to 160,000 applications from needy families across the country.

The program is a lifeline for pet owners such as Marissa Jenkins. The Salem, Ore.-resident considers her 6-year-old Dachshund, Olivia, a part of the family.

"She's a kid to us," says Jenkins, a new mother whose husband lost his job in December.

Jenkins is grateful for the help she's received from Pet Food Stamps and told CBS News that once the couple is back on their feet, they will donate to the program to help other needy families feed their pets.

SEE ALSO: The best cities for new college graduates >

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Dear Wall Street, This Is How You Buy A $37 Million Penthouse Without Reporters Finding Out


$44 million 15 central park west apartment

Everyone on the Street is buzzing about Andrew Ross Sorkin's must-read piece in The New York Times on former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond

It's a great reflective profile on the top banker who fell from grace last summer amid the LIBOR rigging scandal.

It's also full of nuggets like how Diamond was able to purchase a $37 million penthouse in New York without getting caught.  

Pay attention.

From the NYTimes: 

And his current residence is a $37 million penthouse apartment on the 40th floor of 15 Central Park West, where Sting and Lloyd Blankfein also live. Diamond was aware enough of the “optics” that he tried to hide the fact that he was buying the apartment by purchasing it under the name of Novgorod, a Russian-sounding company he created to make it appear that an oligarch had bought the apartment. It worked. The New York Observer reported at the time: “Are the Good Times Back? 15 Central Park West Penthouse Sells for $37 M.” The article never mentioned the name of the real owner.

We looked up the old New York Observer article.  Here's what it said:

The buyers are listed as the corporations Novgorod and Novgorod Two–as in the Russian city. Paul Wrobleski of Clarfeld Financial Advisors, listed as a contact for the buyer, did not return several messages.

Now that's how it's done. 

SEE ALSO: Meet The Big Shots Who Live At 15 Central Park West

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Where Are Your Marketing Dollars Going? Please Take Our Short Survey!


Jon Hamm Don Draper Mad MenDo you often find yourself targeting demographics? Shifting paradigms?  Promoting synergy? Despising buzzwords?

If so, we’d like to hear from you.

How are you allocating your marketing budget? Do you figure the banner has one foot in the grave? Is native advertising the next big thing? What’s the deal with ad networks anyway?

Whether you work for an agency, brand, or publisher, we’d like to hear from you. 

Click here to take the survey >

Thanks in advance for your candid answers!

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Turks And Caicos Is The Perfect Caribbean Island


turks and caicosThis post originally appeared at Fathom.

It's easily accessible, friendly, lazy, and just active enough. Fathom founder Pavia Rosati makes her way to Turks and Caicos, and is totally sold.

TURKS AND CAICOS – Is Turks and Caicos the perfect Caribbean getaway?

Let’s consider the evidence. I’ve been to Jamaica and I can’t stop dreaming about Goldeneye. I’ve snorkeled around St. John, I’ve whiled away lazy mornings reading in the Augustinian Cloister at One and Only Ocean Club Bahamas. I haven’t been to Sugar Beach in St. Lucia, though, yes, I know it’s heaven.

But if we’re giving points for convenience, ease of planning, flight options, water gorgeousness, available activities, local culture, and general we-know-how-to-roll-out-the-welcome-mat-for-visitors, I’m giving the blue ribbon to Turks and Caicos.

And not just in the winter. I spent a week at the awesome Grace Bay Club last June, when New York City was already in its summer bloom, when one might reasonably think the last thing a New Yorker needs is a week in the Caribbean. Reasonable, maybe, but I love the Caribbean in the summer. The rooms are cheaper, the sun is glorious, and the scene isn’t bonkers. Their off season is my on season. 


There are several islands in the chain (see below), but you’ll probably stay on the main one, Providenciales, home of the international airport. Everyone calls it “Provo.” Most of the hotels concentrated 20 minutes from the airport along Grace Bay on the northeast shore. “Most hotels” and “concentrated” may sound like a recipe for touristy overload, but it’s not. Even the biggest hotels are on the small side, and the beach is wide enough that it never feels crowded. T&C deserves credit for its careful civic planning: The island never feels overdeveloped.


Grace Bay Club
Where are you going to spend the afternoon? On a daybed along eleven acres of white sand beach? In one of the many pools? Getting a hot stone massage at Anani Spa? Grace Bay was the first luxury hotel on Turks and Caicos, and it remains one of the island’s best. There are three separate accommodations: the Villas, the Hotel, and the Estate. All are beachfront and have their own pools. The Villas is family-friendly, with apartments as large as three bedrooms with kitchens, balconies, and living rooms. The Hotel is adults-only, with suites up to two bedrooms.The Estate is really plush, with suites (many of which are privately owned) as big as four bedrooms with media rooms/libraries, professional-grade kitchens, and private plunge pools. Bring your valet and your private chef. Though you’ll eat well everywhere at Grace Bay: at the casual Grill Rouge, along the dramatic, 90-foot Infinity Bar, and at Anacaona, the gourmet dinner-only restaurant. There’s a kids club and a VIK package (for Very Important Kids), a boutique filled with beautiful beachy things, and tennis courts. I spent a lot of time at Grace Bay with COO Nikheel Advani, a man whose hotel matches his personality: sophisticated and friendly, charming and fun, worldly and welcoming.

Located along an isolated stretch on the western coast near North West Point National Park, it’s the only Aman Resort in the Caribbean. It’s private and discreet, a sanctuary of private stand-alone villas and tennis courts where money is no object and everyone around you is (or feels like) a king of the universe. Welcome to the world of Aman. (It's one of Fathom’s Most Romantic Hotels in the Caribbean.) 

Parrot Cay
A prize-winning resort on a private island. Known for its Como Shambhala Spa and excellent cuisine. If what’s ailing you can’t be fixed here, it can’t be fixed anywhere. (Also one of Fathom’s Most Romantic Hotels in the Caribbean.)

Ocean Club Resorts
The value option for Grace Bay Beach. Guests have access to two nearby hotels: Ocean Club and Ocean Club West.

Gansevoort Turks and Caicos
It's sceney, it’s Miami-y, it’s what you’d expect from a Gansevoort, including the excellent Exhale spa.

Beach House Turks and Caicos
The newest resort on Grace Bay Beach is a small, 21-suite boutique hotel with "pampering pods" on the beach.


You're probably taking most of your meals at your hotel, but when you do venture off to explore the island, these are the places to hit.

Da Conch Shack
Epic! And famous for good reason. Pastel-colored picnic tables on the beach, conch plucked from the ocean beds and served in any of a number of ways: ceviche, chowder, fritters, curried, and stewed. You could get jerk chicken and blackened fish, but, come on. It’s da conch shack. On Thursdays and Sundays, there’s live music. Sunday is family day.

Garam Masala
An excellent, lovely, and authentic Indian restaurant in Regent Village overseen by charming Vinni Razdan, who I met when he managed the food and beverage program at Amanyara. He cooked a private meal for me and my husband on the beach and made us fans forever when he admitted he called his mom in India to confirm a recipe. 

Coco Bistro
Dine outside under swaying palm trees within Provo’s largest palm grove, Sunshine Nursery, an easy walk to many area hotels, including Grace Bay and Ocean Club West. The menu is fresh fish, conch, and local cuisine. Dinner only.

The hilltop restaurant in Turtle Bay is the place to come at sunset. The views over the bay are amazing.


The Obvious Water Sports
Kayak. Paddleboard. Snorkel. Swim. Dive. The waters are blue, clear, gorgeous, and warm year-round. What they’re not is rough, so leave the surfboard at home.

Hear Some Music
They're crazy about music in T&C, so if you hear about a battle of the bands or a Junkanoo party, go, and get ready to dance. Also worth finding is David Bowen, the director of culture for Turks and Caicos — a choreographer, musician, yoga instructor, and terrific storyteller. He performs with his wife Shara in the Soul Redemption Jazz Duo. (If you're staying at Grace Bay Club, the concierge can arrange a private yoga class with David. It will be a highlight of your trip.)

Island Vibes Tours
Sign up for half- and full-day tours around the islands. You’ll dive off the catamaran, snorkel around the reefs, and make your way to a deserted island, where Captain Shaun and his sailors will prepare a fresh conch lunch right on the beach.

Explore the Islands
Your hotel can arrange a good charter and there are also local ferries. Here’s a quick overview of the surrounding islands. Miles of spectacular coral walls make West Caicos the place for diving.Grand Turk is the seat of government and is allegedly where Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. North Caicos is agricultural and tropical. Middle Caicos, the largest island, has gorgeous beaches, fewer than 300 residents, and the rugged Conch Bar Caves tunnels and caverns. East Caicos has dramatic views but is otherwise swampy and uninhabited, unless you count the feral donkeys. South Caicos is the fishing capital. Historic and quaint Salt Cay is awaiting its UNESCO World Heritage designation, and in the meantime remains a favorite path for whales during fall and spring migration seasons. The Leeward Cays are the tiny islands between Provo and North Caicos. Among them are Parrot CayFort George Cay (where abandoned cannons off the northwest shore make for great snorkeling), Pine Cay (home to the totally unplugged Meridian Club resort), Dellis Cay (site of a future — or abandoned— Mandarin Oriental project), and Little Water Cay (a nature reserve that’s home to more rock iguana than you ever thought possible). 

Caicos Conch Farm
It’s easy to get sick of conch down here. But don’t laugh: I visited the conch farm and found it totally interesting. The conch in the hatchery are separated into pens according to age, from four months to two years. Conch are shy by nature, but the folks at the farm somehow trained two conch, a male and a female, to preen for visitors. I’m totally serious. 

Provo Golf Club
The 18-hole course is considered one of the best in the Caribbean. There are no restrictions on tee times, so feel free to be lazy about your game. 


Fly: American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, JetBlue, and Continental all fly direct from major east coast cities to Providenciales International Airport (PLS).

Getting Around: Taxi services are plentiful, but if you want to rent a car, the major companies (Avis, Hertz, Budget) are on the island. They drive on the left side.


From December-May, temperatures are in the low 80s.
From June-November, which is also hurricane season, temperatures range from the mid-80s to low-90s. Trade winds make the island feel cooler.


Tips: Add 15% at restaurants, which don’t add a gratuity, but do add an 11% service charge. They’re not the same thing, so don’t stint the server.

Currency: The official currency is the US Dollar. The local currency, TCI crowns (worth about $1.25), make great souvenirs for kids.


You’ll need beachy gear and a few good books. Leave everything else at home.

You can see many more of Pavia's Turks and Caicos photos at the original post on Fathom >

Fathom reinvents the travel website by mixing inspiring stories and practical destination guides with the best travel resources and product. Follow them on Twitter @FathomWayToGo, on Facebook, and sign up for their weekly wanderlusty newsletter.

SEE ALSO: 6 Private Islands You Can Rent Right Now

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Caroline Kennedy Lists Massive Martha's Vineyard Lot For $45 Million


Caroline Kennedy has just listed two huge parcels of land in Martha's Vineyard, with a combined asking price of a whopping $45 million, according to the Boston Herald.

The empty lots are simply called "6 Red Gate Farm" and "8 Red Gate Farm," and are selling for $20 million and $25 million respectively.

Lot 6 has nearly 40 acres of waterfront property in Aquinnah, while Lot 8 has over 50 acres of beachfront land.

“Simply magnificent is the only way to describe this pristine oceanfront parcel,” the listing gushes. “Rolling dunes, Squibnocket Pond views, Atlantic Ocean views...a blank slate for your dream home.”

The properties are a part of the original 366-acre parcel that was bought by Jackie Onassis in 1978. The house she had built is still owned by the Kennedy family, and sits on 106 acres of that land.

The rest of the property has since been subdivided into lots, including the two current properties on the market — which means whoever buys the land could be neighbors with the Kennedy's.

Kennedy Lot Martha's Vineyard 8

Kennedy Lot Martha's Vineyard 8

Kennedy Lot Martha's Vineyard 6

Kennedy Lot Martha's Vineyard 6

SEE ALSO: Buy Your Very Own Florida Key For $15.8 Million

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Overweight Riders Can't Participate In NYC's New Bike Share Program


fat man bike biking bicycle cycling

New York's new bike share program, designed in part to improve the health of those who use it, will not be open to cyclists who weigh more than 260 pounds.

The limit is noted in the Citi Bike rental agreement, which must be signed before a customer can use a bicycle:

You must not exceed the maximum weight limit for the Citi Bike bicycle (260 pounds) or the cargo carrier (17 pounds).

The program, however, has no way to enforce the weight limit, and Department of Transportation Policy Director Jon Orcutt told the New York Post the City does not plan to try: "I think people will be self-selecting, practical and safe."

Orcutt also said the limit was included for legal reasons.

Citi Bike is scheduled to open this month, though a specific date has not been announced.

Registration opened in April, and within a day, 5,000 people had paid $103 for annual memberships, indicating public excitement for a program that is more than a year behind schedule.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities On The Planet

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The Final Piece Of One World Trade Center Was Just Lifted Into Place


Construction crews just placed the final part of the spire on top of Manhattan's One World Trade Center.

The pieces are being lifted to a temporary work platform now, and will be installed upright at a later date.

Once the spire tops the lower Manhattan building, it will measure a symbolic 1,776 feet—a patriotic reference to the year the Declaration of Independence was signed—making it the new tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.

The first part of the spire was lifted into place in December.

NBC New York had live video capturing the occassion.

Here's a GIF of the event:

beige tbiwtc-spire-1.gif

And here are some shots of the spire being lifted:

one world trade

one world trade

 one world trade

one world trade

final one world trade

one world trade center spire

SEE ALSO: The 9 Tallest Skyscrapers That Are Being Built Right Now

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Ichiro Suzuki Is Renting A $23,500 Per Month Apartment With Gorgeous Views Of Central Park


ichiro suzuki new house

Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is renting an apartment on Central Park North in Harlem for $23,500 a month, according to Curbed.com.

The New York Post reported that both Yankee stars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez looked into buying the place for $9 million, but Ichiro ended up scooping it up for rent.

The apartment is 5,400 square feet and has six bedrooms and 6 and a half bathrooms.

It also has 100 feet of outdoor terraces and a beautiful view of NYC's Central Park.

The views are spectacular

And the light just pours in

Large, modern kitchen

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Frontier Airlines Will Now Charge $100 For Carry-On Bags


large carry-on bag in plane overhead bin compartment

Some travelers on Frontier Airlines will now have to pay up to $100 for the right to place a carry-on bag in the overhead compartment, the budget carrier announced Wednesday.

In a press release titled "Frontier Enhances Service for Customers Using FlyFrontier.com," the airline explained the carry-on fee will range from $25-100, and apply to customers who book flights through third party sites, starting this summer.

The price of the fee will depend on whether the customer checks in for the flight at FlyFrontier.com.

This summer, the airline will also begin charging for onboard beverages. Those who cough up the $1.99 will at least get the entire can of soda, and free refills for coffee and tea.

The changes, the airline said, are "part of the transformation into an Ultra Low Cost Carrier," and will allow it to offer its more loyal customers better service.

Those who pay fares at the Classic, Classic Plus, and Summit & Ascent levels (as opposed to the lowest rate, Basic) won't face charges for carry-on bags.

Members of the carrier's EarlyReturns program will also be exempt, and will still get free drinks.

The new fees are part of the general trend in the airline industry to charge more and more for services that were once considered part of the ticket price. In 2012, 14 major American airlines instituted 52 fee changes, nearly all of them designed to take more money out of travelers' pockets.

In October, Spirit Airlines instituted a $100 charge for carry-on bags for some customers. At the time, a spokesperson defended carry-on fees as a way to speed up the boarding process, ensure overhead space for bags, and reduce fuel-consumption.

This method of unbundling service may backfire, Craig LaRosa, a principal at innovation and design consultancy Continuum, warned at the time: "Their growth model is adding fees...they may get a revenue bump," he said, but added, "in two years, what are they going to charge for next?"

Spirit, and now Frontier, run the risk that customers hit with the $100 fee will decide the airline is not as inexpensive as it seems, despite rock bottom ticket prices, and opt for another carrier.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Airlines For Flying Economy

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How To Make The Perfect Mint Julep


mint julep

Mint Juleps are Kentucky Derby tradition — more than 120,000 are served during the two days of races at Churchill Downs.

The sweet cocktails, made with mint and bourbon, date back to the eighteenth century. And they're pretty simple to make.

Rob Samuels, grandson of Maker's Mark founder Bill Samuels Sr., shared his family recipe for a perfect mint julep. Note: for best results, this recipe should be made 24 hours in advance. Serves 4-16.


1 liter Maker’s Mark bourbon

Lots of fresh spearmint

Distilled water

Granulated sugar

Powdered sugar


  1. To prepare the mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves – wash and place in a small mixing bowl. Cover with 3 ounces of Maker’s Mark.  Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Then, gather the leaves in a clean, soap-free piece of cotton cloth and vigorously wring the mint bundle over the bowl of whisky. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times.  Then set aside. 

  2. To prepare the simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and one cup of water in a cooking pot.  Heat to dissolve the sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.

  3. To prepare the mint julep mixture, pour 3 ½ cups of Maker’s Mark into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. (Pour the remaining whisky from the liter bottle into another container and save it for another purpose). Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the Maker’s Mark. 

  4. Now, begin adding the mint extract a tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture.  Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added. You may have to leave the room a time or two to clear your nose. The tendency is to use too much mint.  You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste – generally about 3 tablespoons.

  5. When you think it’s right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.

  6. To serve the mint julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver mint julep cup) half full with shaved ice. Insert a sprig of mint and then pack in more ice to about an inch over the top of the cup. Then, insert a straw that has been cut to one inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep. 

  7. When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice, add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice and serve. 

SEE ALSO: How Maker's Mark Distills Its Beloved Bourbon

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Why Some Wall Streeters With Six Figure Salaries Still Have A Tough Time Getting By


greenwich mansion

In theory, a seven figure annual pay packet should be more than enough to live on. In the UK, only the top 1% of income taxpayers earn anything more than £150k according to figures from the Office of National Statistics. In the US, the top 1% of people earn more than $370k according to the Internal Revenue Service.  And yet, some bankers in the top bracket are having money troubles.

“It’s really not that unusual to find Wall Street bankers who are close to declaring themselves bankrupt,” said Gary Goldstein, co-founder of U.S. search firm Whitney Partners. “Some people are really struggling.”

Claims that bankers are having problems making ends meet won’t do much to ingratiate them to the public. At last week’s Barclays Annual General Meeting, Joan Woolard, a pensioner from the north of England berated Barclays for overpaying its bankers. Anyone who wanted more than £1m ($1.5m) a year was simply a “greedy b*stard,” said Woolard.

For some people working in financial services, however, £1m is simply what’s needed to cover the cost of living.

“You get a lot of people who have a very expensive lifestyle,” said Louise Cooper, a former Goldman Sachs salesperson and financial analyst at Cooper City. “They will always have a nanny, private schools for the children and they will have a very big expensive house. All of this has to be paid for out of taxable income,” she points out. “With a top tax rate of 45%, this means that you need to be earning nearly double what you’re spending.”

Tax is an issue in the U.S. too. “After tax, your million dollars will be around $600k,” said Goldstein. “Out of that, you get people trying to pay the mortgages on, and maintain houses, in the Hamptons and Manhattan, to put three children through private schools costing $40k a year each, and to pay living costs.”

Why can’t bankers simply ditch the house in the Hamptons and put their children into state run educational establishments? Unfortunately, this seems easier said than done. “When you work in banking, you end up surrounded by people who earn a lot of money,” said Erika Shapiro, a former fixed income saleswoman at Goldman, Citi, Credit Suisse and UBS who became a yoga instructor. “Everyone around you has a big mortgage and is sending their children to private schools.”

“You just get trapped at a certain level of expenditure,” said Tony Greenham, a former investment banker at Barclays and head of finance and business at the New Economics Foundation. “You’re in a peer group which aspires to and achieves a certain standard of house in a certain area, a certain type of holiday home, and certain schooling for your children.”

There's a lot more to this story at eFinancial Careers>

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Inside Last Night's Glamorous 'Gatsby' Premiere In NYC [Photos]


Tobey Maguire Leonardo DiCaprio Isla Fisher Great Gatsby Premiere After Party"The Great Gatsby" stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Isla Fisher all hit the red carpet Wednesday night for the film's world premiere at Lincoln Center in New York City.

After the premiere, celebs ranging from Jay-Z to Martha Stewart hit the after party at the Plaza Hotel, which was transformed to look like Gatsby’s mansion.

See who made it out for Baz Luhrmann's big night, and what everyone wore.

"Gatsby" opens in theaters May 10.

"The Great Gatsby" world premiere took place at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays title character Jay Gatsby.

Carey Mulligan has the role of his childhood love, Daisy Buchanan.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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50 Women Who Are Changing The World


Sheryl Sandberg 2

Women are having a bigger impact on our world than ever.

In the past year, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg pushed feminism back into the center of the national discourse.

In Afghanistan, a country where women used to be treated as second class citizens, parliament member Fawzia Koofi made history by announcing plans to run for president.

To recognize these and other impressive women, we asked readers for nominations and asked our reporters and editors to vote on the women who did the most in the past year to change the world.

#50 Cameron Russell

The Victoria's Secret model gave a powerful TED talk last year about the fashion industry's obsession with beauty, discouraging young women from pursuing careers in modeling. She has controversially said she "has to feel guilty" working in the industry, even as she's pushing the conversation about unrealistic standards into the forefront. 

Russell has also branched off into other political ventures by running the blog ArtRoots.info, which aims to encourage grassroots public art and political power; and is director of The Big Bad Lab, focused on participatory art meant to inspire people to engage in radical demonstrations to bring about positive social change. 

#49 Alice Waters

Chef Alice Waters is at the forefront of the popular "slow food" movement" that has gained momentum across the country. 

Her culinary philosophy is rooted in the belief that the ingredients should come from local and sustainable farms. Her restaurant Chez Panisse supports a network of local farmers, and has inspired many others around the country to do the same.  Chez Panisse was badly damaged by a fire in March, but is expected to reopen in June.

Waters is VP of Slow Food International, a global nonprofit organization that promotes local farming initiatives; and speaks out about how fast food ruins culture

#48 Tig Notaro

Comedian Tig Notaro captured America with her vulnerable stand-up routine last August. She took the stage soon after being diagnosed with cancer, and told the audience: "With humor, the equation is tragedy plus time equals comedy. I am just at tragedy right now."

The androgynous 41-year-old also shared her sadness over the death of her mother, a breakup, and a threatening intestinal disease. During her routine, one guy said, "This is fucking awesome." 

Since then, many people around the world say that she's helped them get through their own battles with cancer and other hardships. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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15 Ways Janette Sadik-Khan Is Making New York City A Better Place


nyc dot commissioner janette sadik-khan

In her six years as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Janette Sadik-Khan has made a lot of changes.

Those changes are all aimed at her goal of making it easier and safer to get around in New York, and to make the city a better place for residents and businesses, she wrote in a 2011 essay for Slate.

Sadik-Khan manages a $2 billion annual budget and 4,700 employees. She is in charge of maintaining and improving 6,300 miles of road, nearly 800 bridges, 12,000 intersections with traffic signals, and the Staten Island Ferry.

(Governance of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs public transit in New York, falls outside her purview.)

In her tenure, Sadik-Khan has focused on reducing the number of cars on NYC streets. She has built hundreds of miles of bike lanes, introduced a new bike share program, created pedestrian plazas, transformed Times Square, and installed maps designed for those on foot — all while making New York a healthier, richer place.

New York has hundreds of miles of new bike lanes.

nyc bike lane

Between 2007 and 2011, the number of New Yorkers commuting by bicycle doubled, meeting a DOT goal ahead of schedule.

To triple that number by 2017, Sadik-Khan has led the installation of 200 miles of bike lanes on streets throughout New York, providing a relatively safe way for cyclists to get around.

The bike lanes have aroused plenty of criticism, largely from neighborhood groups. At a 2011 event at the Center for Architecture, Sadik-Khan defended the expansion as a public good: 

“Some people have tried to paint bike lanes as elitist, which is really hard to believe because [the bicycle] is the most affordable way to get around town other than walking, and it’s really heavily used by a wide range of social and ethnic groups."

There are guards on duty to keep everyone where they belong.

goldman crossing guards

On the eve of the opening of New York's bike share program, Sadik-Khan announced that its Street Safety Managers — who first went to work on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges in 2011 — will be on duty in areas with heavy pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicular traffic.

Their job is to remind everyone to stay in their designated lanes. They will be on the streets during morning and afternoon rush hours between April and October.

Neighborhood traffic is slower, and safer.

nyc slow zone 20mph sign

In July 2012, Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced they would expand the Neighborhood Slow Zone program to 13 new residential areas, all at the request of local applicants.

The program adds traffic calming measures and reduces the standard speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph, which Sadik-Khan said would improve safety:

“Our residential streets need to be drawn to this human scale, and by simply reducing the speed of passing cars by 10 miles per hour, we can save lives as we make the streets people walk along more inviting.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Inside The Whitney Museum's Star-Studded Annual Art Party [Photos]


Olivia Wilde, Lake Bell, Lo Bosworth and countless fashionistas attended the Whitney Museum's annual Art Party Wednesday night at Moynihan Station in New York City. 

Sponsored by Max Mara, Belvedere and in partnership with Art.sya pre-sale preview of the art works alone generated close to $70,000 in funds.

See who made it out for the museum's big night.

Newly engaged actress Olivia Wilde attended solo:

Olivia Wilde Whitney Party

Tattoo artist Scott Campbell accompanied his girlfriend, actress Lake Bell:

Lake Bell Scott Campbell WHitney Party

 Reality star-turned-entrepreneur Lauren Bosworth kept it sleek and simple:

Lauren Conrad Lo Whitney Art Party

"Girls" actor Adam Driver made a rare appearance:

Adam Driver Whitney party

Yasmin Dolatabadi of Google Ideas wore her Google glass:

yasmin dolatadadi google glass

Model Jourdan Dunn struck a pose:

Model Jourdan Dunn WHitney party

Manrepeller blogger Leandra Medine made a funny face: 

Leandra Medine Manrepeller Whitney

Nur Khan, Chloe Norgaard, Harif Guzman showed off matching looks:

Nur Khan, Chloe Norgaard, Harif Guzman Whitney Party

Honorary Co-Chair Hannah Bronfman got some fresh air:

Hannah Bronfman Whitney party

While her boyfriend Brendan Fallis played DJ:

Brendan Fallis DJ whitney party

SEE ALSO: Inside last night's glamorous "Gatsby" premiere in NYC >

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Melinda Gates Will Save Thousands Of Lives With Birth Control


Melinda GatesMelinda Gates has been married to billionaire Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, since 1994.

But Melinda is no trophy wife.

She's a brilliant, strong-minded businesswoman and philanthropist who's intent on changing the world. In fact, she took the number one spot on our list of Women Who Are Changing The World.

Recently, she has become a champion for women's rights and reproductive health, arming women around the world with birth control.

"Contraceptives unlock one of the most dormant but potentially powerful assets in development: women as decision-makers," she wrote in an article in Foreign Policy. "When women have the power to make choices about their families, they tend to decide precisely what demographers, economists, and development experts recommend. They invest in the long-term human capital of their families."

And she has the money and drive to back that vision, as the head and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest charitable foundation in the world.

Bill and Melinda GatesSince the foundation began in 1994, it has given away over $26 billion. To put this into perspective, the Rockefeller Foundation, which was formed in 1914, has given away a total of $14 billion, after adjusting for inflation.

The newest goal of the Gates Foundation, is to get 120 million more women in impoverished, developing countries access to contraception by 2020.

The Gates Foundation is planning to contribute $560 million to a planned $4.3 billion initiative led by the British government and officials from African nations to promote contraception and fight high rates of unplanned pregnancy, according to Forbes.

Though Bill is also involved in the Gates Foundation, this issue is really Melinda's calling. She's the driving force behind it.

"I think the goal here is really clear: universal access to birth control that women want," Melinda Gates said in a recent Ted Talk. "And for that to happen it means that both rich and poor governments alike must make contraception a priority."

Though she has made family planning her signature issue now, she wasn't always so confident about the issue. Gates is a Catholic, and it was not easy for her to go against the teachings of the church. She has said that she disagrees with the church's position on contraception, but insists that this program is not a means of supporting abortion.

"We're not talking about abortion," she said in her Ted Talk. "We're not talking about population control. What I'm talking about is giving women the power to save their lives, to save their children's lives, and to give their families the best possible future."

Gates argues that giving women contraception is an important public health initiative that has "become a life and death crisis". She points out that 100,000 women die each year in childbirth after unintended pregnancies, and 600,000 babies born to women who did not want to be pregnant die in the first month of life.

Even if these babies survive, the family is forced to feed another mouth. And in a world where more than 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25 each day, another mouth will take away from the already malnourished family every day.

In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the areas with the most need, the foundation's strategy is to increase the use of modern contraceptives, improve family planning services for the poor, introduce innovative low-cost solutions that can expand the supply of and demand for family planning products and services, and find ways to integrate family planning into HIV and other health care initiatives.

Under Melinda Gates's watch, the Gates Foundation is focusing on giving women access to injectible contraceptives like Depo-Provera, which women would only need to take four times per year. Many women in developing countries also say that they like this contraceptive because they can hide it from their husbands, who may be pushing them to have more children. Another product the foundation is introducing is the Sino-implant (II), a long-lasting birth control device that's inserted under the skin.

There are several studies that show the benefits of contraceptives. A study from Bangladesh taken over 35 years proves that people who have access to contraceptives have a higher quality of life than those who don't. They are healthier, better educated, and more prosperous than women who are not educated about birth control.

The Prime Ministers of Ethiopia and Rwanda have both said that access to birth control methods will decrease poverty in their countries, according to Forbes.

Meanwhile, Reuters estimates that about 80 million unintended pregnancies will be avoided because of Melinda Gates's campaign. Given that many women and babies die in labor in developing countries, that potentially means millions of lives saved around the world.

SEE ALSO: 50 Women Who Are Changing The World >

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Here's How One World Trade Compares To The Tallest Buildings In The World


petronas towers tallest buildings

This morning, the spire went up at One World Trade Center in Manhattan.

Once it's completed, the building will tower at 1,776 ft., making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere—but it still won't be the tallest building in the world.

That title still belongs to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat ranks the currently standing tallest buildings in the world, as well as proposed skyscrapers and those that are currently under construction. 

We looked at buildings that have already been completed, and those that are still under construction but have already reached record heights, to see where One World Trade falls.

#12 Guangzhou International Finance Center - Guangzhou, China. Height: 1439 feet

#11 KK100 - Shenzhen, China. Height: 1449 feet

#10 Willis Tower - Chicago, USA. Height: 1451 feet

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Comedian Tig Notaro Shared Her Personal Tragedy With The World And Made Us Laugh


Tig Notaro

The comedian Tig Notaro did something truly revolutionary in August 2012.

She'd just been diagnosed with cancer in both breasts, and she stepped onto a stage in Los Angeles where she'd originally planned to tell jokes. The jokes didn't come, though.

Instead, Notaro talked about her cancer and the string of tragedies she'd experienced in the span of just four months. This is not the typical formula for an evening comedy show.

"With humor, the equation is tragedy plus time equals comedy," Notaro said that night. "I am just at tragedy right now."

Notaro — an androgynous 41-year-old with deadpan humor — continued to go over the truly crappy things that were still troubling her during a set that has since become legendary. The cancer diagnosis. The sudden death of her mother. A breakup. To top it all off, Notaro got a life-threatening intestinal disease that left her frighteningly thin.

"The condition I had in the hospital is called C diff. And so I just refer to it as the C diff diet. You just sit there and watch the pounds melt away. Don't like exercising? Who does, girlfriend? This diet does all the work for you. Just clear all the bacteria from your intestines and let the C diff whittle way at your waistline," she said that night.

A week after she got out of the hospital, her mother died.

"I know, it's hilarious. Then I went through a break up, right in the middle of it all. It's tough times. You can't stick around for that. Got to get out before the cancer comes," she added.

The audience was rapt. People looked on sympathetically, but they also laughed. At one point, she suggested telling goofy jokes instead of talking about her cancer, to which one man shouted, "This is f---ing amazing."

Notaro's dry take on her cancer that night was indeed funny. It was also incredibly raw and one of the most emotionally honest performances in recent memory. (You can listen to the entire thing here.)

"It's OK. It's going to be OK. It might not be OK. But I'm just saying, it's OK. You're going to be OK. I don't know what's going on with me," she said.

She didn't plan on going on stage to talk about her tragedy. The first part of her performance — "Good evening. Hello. I have cancer." — popped into her head in the shower an hour and a half before the performance, Notaro told Business Insider.

Once she got on stage, she says, she was consumed with thoughts of dying.

"I was just so scared that my life was about to slip away. When I went on stage I didn't have all the information yet," she told us. "It [The cancer] was bilateral. It was invasive. I just didn't know a lot. It was standup but it was also just me being on my knees in a way."

It turns out Notaro will probably be fine. She had a double mastectomy, and there's only a 7% chance that her cancer will come back.

But her few moments on her knees before a live audience have touched a lot of people. She gets letters every single day from people with cancer, and from people who are dying of other diseases. People tell her she's helped them get through their own impossibly rough times.

"This one guy he was in his early 30s and he had pancreatic cancer he said he felt like it [her set] gave him courage, like he could do this," Notaro said. "And it was terminal cancer."

If it's difficult to imagine how somebody who's dying can get courage from a comedy set, consider these observations on Notaro's set from the comic Louis C.K.

"Tig took us to a scary place and made us laugh there," he writes. "She proved that everything is funny. And has to be."

By taking everybody to that scary place, Notaro showed us that we can stare tragedy in the face and laugh despite our terror. Notaro admits the cancer has changed her. She's more honest than ever, and she doesn't stay angry at people. But one thing won't change.

"I love silliness," she says. "That will never go away."


SEE ALSO: 50 Women Who Are Changing The World >

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Online vs. Big Banks: Which Path Is Right For Your Finances?


fork in the road highwayIt's news we've heard before — online banking is the way of the future.

They seem to have it all: relatively high interest rates, stellar customer service, low fees, and the added bonus of 24/7 access to your finances with the click of a button.

Still, online banking isn't for everyone, and the line between the two is becoming blurred as more banks ramp up their web presence to compete.

To help you decide, we tapped Richard Barrington, a senior financial analyst at MoneyRates.com, to break down the pros and cons of keeping your cash in a traditional versus online bank.

Security: This is one issue that scares many people away from taking their banking online, but Barrington said it shouldn't. Even traditional banks have all your financial information stored in a big data center that could be vulnerable to hackers. "Data theft is a very real risk these days, but, unfortunately, as a consumer, it doesn’t come down to whether you choose to bank online," he said. 

If you choose an online bank backed by the FDIC, you'll be covered for losses up to $250,000 just like any other bank customer (use the FDIC's Bank Find tool to be sure). And, of course, remember to avoid doing any online banking on a public or shared WiFi connection, since that's when your information can be most easily intercepted.

Fees: Online banks are friendlier to smaller depositors because they typically require lower monthly balances. Barrington said traditional banks require an average of about $4,700 to be kept in your savings account without charging you a nominal monthly maintenance fee. For online banks, that number is much lower at $350. In addition, online banks are about twice as likely to offer free checking, he said.

"I think (online banking) is a really good option for younger customers — the fees as a whole are lower, the balance requirements are also lower, and young people as a rule are more comfortable with technology," Barrington said.

ATMs: Banking is all about getting cash when you need it, and Barrington said people should look at the locations of a bank's ATMs before they open an account. "You want to make sure you choose a bank where the geographic footprint of their ATM network is similar to your regular movements," Barrington said.

Traditional banks, like Chase and Bank of America, have ATMs all over in many major cities. Online banks, like Simple, often have agreements with ATM networks like Allpoint for surcharge-free withdrawals. And most others offer to reimburse customers up to a certain sum for using out-of-network ATMs.

Deposits: Web-based banks offer a few different options to deposit physical checks. You can always mail them in, but most online banks also offer "eDeposits" in which you can take a picture of the front and back of each check and upload it to your account for deposit. A lot of people still would rather deposit a check with a teller than a text message, but the option's out there. "People are for the most part checking their balances online, getting information online, but when it comes to depositing a check, they’d much rather hand it to a teller," Barrington said.

Interest rates: Online banks typically have better interest rates than traditional banks because they don't need to take any funds to operate brick-and-mortar buildings. In a recent MoneyRates.com study, online banks were found to have about six times higher interest rates than the nationwide average. Some of the best were found at Ally Bank, American Express Bank and Sallie Mae Bank.

Customer service: If you like to deal with the people managing your money via email or over the phone, go digital. If you'd rather have someone to talk things through with face-to-face, stick with a regular bank. Nearly all banks also have call centers and online message centers as well.Online banks are rarely, if ever, "closed." But if you'd rather use a traditional bank to complete your transactions or get questions answered in person, you'll need to visit your bank during normal business hours and make sure it's not a bank holiday.

Personal preference: Having a personal relationship with a banker can be a big benefit for people, especially those who like getting new products or services pitched to them or getting in-person financial advice. But keep in mind that banks have been closing physical branches left and right to cut costs, even installing ATMs that allow tellers to answer questions via web cam. "As time goes on, the comfort level will grow more and more," Barrington said. "If the technology can prove itself, people will use the technology."

The bottom line: If you're comfortable with technology and don't feel like you need face time with the people handling your cash, keeping your savings in an online bank is a great option. You'll see your money grow faster than with a big bank, and you'll pay less in fees. As far as checking accounts go, online and traditional banks are pretty much neck in neck. 

 "I think the common denominator is that online banking is cheaper for banks to provide because they're not supporting a physical branch and people to staff that branch," Barrington said. "Even banks that offer both are likely to offer you higher rates and lower fees if choose online options."

SEE ALSO: Here's more proof it's time to switch to an online bank >

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A New Hampshire Man Lost His Life Savings On A Carnival Game



Carnies get a bad rap, and this sort of thing is why: A New Hampshire man says he lost $2,600, which he describes as his life savings, on a carnival game called Tubs of Fun.

He was trying to win an XboxKinect and show his kids a good time, he says; he wound up winning only a giant stuffed banana sporting dreadlocks and a Rasta hat.

Henry Gibbohm Jr. of Epsom, N.H, went to the carnival in Manchester on Saturday night. He says an employee enticed him into playing the game, which involves tossing balls into a bucket without having them bounce back out.

It was easy at first, said Gibbohm, 30, but after a practice round, the game became suspiciously more difficult. "The ball just bounces right out," Gibbohm told WMUR News 9, "there's really no way of doing it. But when you're throwing it in at first, I mean it just sinks right in. There's no issue at all. You get eight balls, seven mistakes ... It's foolproof, there's no way."

The carnival worker deceived him, Gibbohm said: "The guy's telling me, 'Just keep people interested, man. I'll give you your money back.'"

Gibbohm told WBZ-TV he repeatedly went double-or-nothing in an attempt to recoup his losses. After burning through $300 in a matter of minutes, he drove home to get $2,300 in cash.

But it didn't work. Gribbohm was unable to win the game, and New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Paul Feely explains why this might have been so. Citing a book called "Carnival Fraud 101," Feely writes that "the 'Tubs of Fun' game features plastic 'muck' buckets from home improvement stores so that the ball gets extra bounce. From inside the booth, the worker tosses a softball and from his vantage point, it stays inside the tub. Then he gives you the second softball for a practice throw -- and it stays in for a win."

The weight of the first ball dampens the bottom of the bucket, preventing practice tosses from bouncing out. But the carnival worker removes both balls and hands them to the player, once the fee for the game has been paid ($5 for two balls, according to the Union Leader). Now, keeping a toss in the bucket is virtually impossible.

When he went back the next day to complain, Gibbohm says, he was given back only $600 and the Rasta banana. He filed a police report, alleging fraud. The company that operates the carnival, Fiesta Shows, has said that Gibbohm spent far less than $2,600, a claim he rejects. Detectives have so far been unable to locate the game operator in question.

SEE ALSO: 13 money secrets from the Amish >

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