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10 Realistic Ways To Cut Commuting Costs


foot traffic commute

As the price of everything goes up, everyone is looking for easy ways to cut their commuting costs.  You can scour the internet for ideas, but many ideas just aren’t realistic.

Drivers are told they should buy a new car, purchase a different home or get a new job, but those ideas might end up costing you more money out of pocket all at once. 

SSo, how do you cut commuting costs?  You can make small changes in your commute instead of overhauling your life.  You can take small steps every day that will add up to a considerable savings over the entire year.

Take a look at 10 different ways you can save money on commuting.

1. Make coffee at home
Avoid unnecessary stops and trips. You will save time and money by making your own coffee at home, and you won’t be using extra gas running to the coffee chop and sitting in the drive-thru.

2. Make sure your tires are properly inflated
You can save money just by making sure your tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended psi. You lose gas mileage with each pound of air below the recommended.

3. Reevaluate your work schedule
Explore options at your place of employment. Do you have the ability to work from home? Can you change your work schedule? Some employees are working longer hours to reduce the number of days they commute, or they are working different days.

4. Reduce your speed
Slow down! You may get to the office a couple minutes faster, but you can cause an accident, get pulled over and reduce your gas mileage if you have a lead foot. Plus, driving slower helps you save on gas.

5. Explore mass transit options
If you live in an area that has mass transit options available, consider taking advantage of the savings. Many commuters take buses, trains and the subway to help save money. When you aren’t driving, you are saving money on gas and insurance costs.

6. Carpool with coworkers
Share a ride with your coworkers and take turns driving so everyone saves money.

7. Share a car with your spouse
If you and your spouse take 2 cars, consider driving to work together. You can alternate cars each day or choose the most efficient vehicle to drive each day.

8. Keep up on your car’s maintenance
When your car is running properly, it burns fuel more efficiently and reduces the likelihood of mechanical breakdowns later on.

9. Take your bike to work
For the commuters who work fairly close to home, a bike can be an inexpensive option. Your bike doesn’t cost anything to ride, and it will help you get into shape. Before you take off for work, make sure you do a test trip first.

10. Ask your employer about transit programs
Ask about employer sponsored transit programs. Some companies have reimbursement programs or special passes for employees who use public transportation such as the bus or the subway.

If you are trying to save money, incorporate a few strategies each week.  Even if you bike one day a week, that is one step closer to putting money back into your pocket. Make a schedule that allows you to use an alternative mode of transportation at least a couple times a week.

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Planning a Summer Trip? Top 5 Airline Fees Compared

SEE ALSO: 13 reasons you should bike to work >

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Professor Claims To Have Discovered The World's Oldest Torah Scroll In Italy


A Torah scroll dating from as early as the 12th century was found tucked away in the University of Bologna's library after sitting mislabeled for over 120 years.

Discovered by Hebrew Professor Mauro Perani, two separate carbon-14 tests showed that the scroll dated from between 1155 and 1225, making it the oldest complete Torah scroll on record.

According to a press release, the manuscript was misidentified in 1889 when the head librarian dated it to the 17th century and described the Hebrew letters as "an Italian script, rather clumsy-looking."

In fact, the script was from the Bablyonian tradition, which would make it much older, according to Professor Perani. The professor also noticed that the 13th century rules for copying Torah scrolls — that are still followed today — were not used for this text.

It is still unknown how and when the scroll became a part of the University's collection, but an investigation is under way to find the source, according to the academic press release.

Oldest torah scroll university of bologna

SEE ALSO: Why Major Art Museums Are Going Gaga For Islamic Art

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Russian Oligarch Plans To Demolish His $95 Million Mansion Because Of A Terrible Mold Problem


donald trump dmitry rybolovlev miami house

Russian fertilizer tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev plans to level the $95 million Palm Beach property he bought from Donald Trump in 2008 because of mold problems, Gossip Extra reported.

The sale of the 33,000-square-foot property, dubbed Maison de L’Amitie, was the highest ever for a single-family home, netting Trump a more than $50 million profit, according to the site.

Mold has become a “Wal-Mart-size problem,” Gossip Extra wrote.

“I don’t care about the house,” Trump told Gossip Extra. “I bought it for $41 million, put in $3 worth of paint and gave it a good cleaning — and I sold it for the highest price ever for a single family home. I don’t know what he wants to do with it, and I couldn’t care less,” he said.

Rybolovlev, the billionaire owner of the A.S. Monaco Football Club, could chop up the 6.26-acre property, which includes a 475-foot-long beach, into as many as a dozen beachfront lots, the site said, citing an unnamed source. [Gossip Extra]

More from The Real Deal:

1. South Beach Setai $8.6M condo sale sets record
2. Morgans fighting bad deal it made in recession
3. High-end home sales smash records as South Florida market catches fire

SEE ALSO: Meet The Residents Of 'Billionaire Lane' In The Hamptons

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NYC Set Up An Obstacle Course To Teach People How To Cycle In The City


One of the biggest criticisms of New York's new bike share system is that participants may not have experience biking in a city filled with aggressive pedestrians and drivers.

To help prepare and educate potential cyclists, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) set up a Street Skills Zone at a launch celebration in Union Square on Sunday.

On the short obstacle course, riders were taught how to stay in bike lanes, move safely around cars, and use turn signals.

nyc citi bike event union square june 2013

nyc citi bike event union square june 2013

The DOT also distributed 500 free helmets at the event on Sunday. Helmets are not required for adults in the city, and they do not come with a Citi Bike rental, but they are encouraged.

nyc citi bike event union square june 2013

SEE ALSO: WSJ Goes Absolutely Ballistic Over New York's New Bike Share Plan

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Saudi Prince Reportedly Dropped $19.5 Million On A 3-Day Extravaganza At Disneyland Paris


disneyland parisA Saudi prince reportedly spent 15 million (or $19.5 million at today's conversion rates) for a three-day celebration at Disneyland Paris, AFP reports.

Prince Fahd al-Saud supposedly booked whole areas of the theme park to "celebrate his degree" with 60 guests.

Park operator Euro Disney told AFP that festivities included custom-created events involving "rare Disney characters."

Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly identified the Prince as Fahad al-Saud, a tech entrepreneur who is unrelated to this incident. We apologize for our error.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Hang Out At Disneyland's Super Exclusive, $10,000-A-Year Private Club

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BMW's M6 Convertible Is Surprisingly Difficult To Understand


2012 BMW M6 convertible

Over Memorial Day weekend, I was lucky enough to secure an invite to spend a few days in the Hamptons.

I was even luckier to have a 2012 BMW M6 convertible to get me and three friends there.

This $127,000 BMW is packed with luxury and power. But it is not a simple or intuitive machine.

Opening the trunk is confusing. The navigation screen is dizzying. Putting it in park felt like I was solving a Rubik's Cub, not driving an automatic car.

After a few hours of trial and error (in the rain and the dark), I got it all figured out. Then the sun made an appearance, and everything clicked.

And I learned why this gorgeous convertible is the perfect ride for a summer getaway.

We picked up the M6 in Manhattan in the rain, so it didn't look nearly as good as this. The model we drove cost $127,095.

Just opening the trunk was a challenge. The lid is really heavy and difficult to lift, so I thought it was locked. At least it had enough room for all our bags.

Then we had to fit everyone in the car. It has four seats, but it's really made for two people. Here's where I like the front seat to be, which didn't work for the person behind me. So I drove for several hours in an awkward position.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Actor Mark Ruffalo Explains Why NYC's New Bike Share Program Is Awesome


We recently tested out New York City's new bike share program to see how it would work for the average New Yorker. While we were out, we encountered lots of people who were curious about the new system and how it worked. One of those people was actor Mark Ruffalo.

We asked him what he thought of the program and if he planned on using it.

Watch below to see what he had to say:


Produced by Robert Libetti

SEE ALSO: Inexperienced Rider Takes A NYC Citi Bike Out For The First Time [VIDEO]

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One Of Billionaire Hedge Funder Marc Lasry's Daughters Got Married


One of the daughters of billionaire Marc Lasry, who runs distressed debt hedge fund Avenue Capital, was married this weekend. 

Samantha Lasry was married to John Fleisher on Saturday at the Beach Club in Sea Island, Georgia during a black tie ceremony.

The weekend kicked off with a "southern casual" BBQ dinner and drinks and then an afternoon of leisure and lunch before the ceremony on Saturday.

The wedding gift registry included silver from Tiffany's and various household items from Bloomingdales, Barney's and Michael C. Fina. 

The couple met when they were working as congressional interns on Capitol Hill in the summer of 2005 for Congressman Rahm Emmanuel. (You can see a photo of them interning together below). 

From SamanthaandJohn.org:

Samantha and John met while interning for Congressman Rahm Emmanuel in Washington D.C. Despite the fact that Samantha misinterpreted their first date as "just dinner" with a friend, they never lost touch and spent the entire next fall emailing while Samantha was abroad in Rome. They finally began officially dating on April Fools Day that spring, and have spent the past six years playing a long game of "where in the world are Sam and John". Finally, last year they both took root in New York City and have been enjoying every minute of sharing the same zip code!

The groom works as a vice president in mortgage trading at Nomura, FINRA records show.  He previously worked at Lehman Brothers and Barclays, the records show.

He graduated with his bachelor's degree in government from Dartmouth in 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile.  He's originally from Chicago. 

Last year, Samantha bought a three-bedroom Greenwich Village co-op for around $4.3 million, the New York Post reported. 

Best wishes to both of them!

Samantha Lasry

SEE ALSO: The Fabulous Lives Of Wall Street Offspring

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The 15 Hardest Countries To Visit


garfors hardest countries to visitThe world's least-visited countries are not necessarily the most difficult to get to.

I am using the following three criteria to determine which countries are the most inaccessible, as well as my own overall experience of getting to the countries. (I have been to all 198 countries.)

Click here to jump right to the hardest countries to visit >>

1) Visa availability

The most important criteria. If you cannot get a visa, you can not legally visit the country. If you try to do so illegally you may face prosecution or worse. So, if you are not required to obtain a visa in advance to visit a country, it will not be on this list.

Some countries issue visa on arrival, but to me that is as easy as not having to get one at all. Just bring cash and a couple of photographs. Do note that I am writing this as the holder of a Norwegian passport. This list will therefore be more relevant to people with western passports. Norway is however not a part of the EU, and EU members will in some cases not require visas where Norwegians do.

Note that getting a visa to 'a difficult country' is usually easier and faster from one of their neighbouring countries than from embassies closer to home. 

2) The security situation

Of course, most often you should refrain from entering if there is a high risk of danger in the country in question. Then again, even countries engaged in wars or civil unrest usually have areas that are less affected than others and therefore safer to visit. So if you really want in, there is usually a 'safe' spot. 

3) Transportation

Most countries are fairly well covered with regards to planes, trains or automobiles, but some have a severe shortage of scheduled transport options. A little patience will go a long way, just keep in mind that sometimes the only available flight leaves from a specific airport which itself might be out of your way. Bring a book. And a pillow.

Note: If you are on a mission to visit all countries of the world, I'd recommend you to not save the following 15 for last. Unless you are fond of severe restlessness and stress ulcers while waiting to be allowed into them.

15. Bhutan

Why so inaccessible?
First of all, you will need to pay for your trip in advance. I am not talking about the plane ticket. I am talking about the all-inclusive package inside Bhutan. It has to be paid to a Bhutanese travel agent via money transfer, which makes it more of a hassle than using your worn Am Ex card.

The all-inclusive trips have given rise to the rumour that Bhutan is a very expensive country to visit. The 200-300 USD per day (depending on the season and whether you travel alone or not) will however cover "everything." As in accommodation, transport within the country, guides, meals and the tourist tax.

You only need to worry about drinks and souvenirs. Just don't mix the first with the latter or you will end up with a lot of wooden souvenir penises. Penises in such a religious country? Well, even strictly religious people need penises to impregnate each other. Besides, the symbols of erect penises are intended to drive away "the evil eye and malicious gossip," and it isn't a Buddhist symbol, but one of Bön, an old and unorthodox religion.

Do note that you won't see any penises painted on buildings in Thimphu or major towns. You'll only see them in rural villages, so you can still travel to [certain parts of] the country together with your mother-in-law. Then again, who wants to travel with mother-in-laws anyway?

Why you should still bother to go
If huge erect penises aren't enough, throw in the fantastic mountains, the incredible Buddhist temples and Tiger's Nest, and you will be in awe. It doesn't hurt that people are very friendly too. Unless you start chatting up local girls. That may cause trouble and threats of brutal beating. Allegedly.

How I got in
I needed to produce a little patience and had to be willing to pay my trip in advance. I did, and I was picked up in the airport by my guides. Not difficult, just a little inconvenient.

Any loopholes? 

The guides will leave you to explore Thimphu on your own if you insist. If you do, find the karaoke bar in a cellar bar near the clock tower. It is the only place where I have seen karaoke with the option of having a live band play to your singing. Priceless!

14. Kiribati

Why so inaccessible?
Kiribati (pronounced "Kiribas" - there are no letter "s" in their alphabet, so "ti" is pronounced "s") is in the middle of the Pacific. Literally. I mean, most Pacific countries are often said to be, but Kiribati really is. It stretches 3,500 kilometers from east to west. Both the capital Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island) are served by international flights, but only twice a week.

The remoteness of the country isn't the only reason why it is the 4th-least visited country in the world. Entering it isn't all that easy either, unless you are from one of 60 countries. I am not from any of those and had to apply for a visa from Kiribati's sole consulate in Europe, conveniently located in Llanddewi Rhydderch in Wales. That was relatively straightforward, once I actually found the embassy.

The border police is more thorough than any other in the Pacific, with the possible exception of Australia, so do not attempt to go there without a visa. Then again, they probably won't even let you on the plane without one.

Why you should still bother to go
Did you ever see any cartoons about people on paradise islands? Kiribati is like that, just add facilities. Some facilities. There are in fact several good hotels in Tarawa alone. Diving is fantastic, and so is the available seafood. Some services do not see many competitors though. There is one coffee shop and one registered taxi driver in the country.

How I got in
I got my visa from the friendly consul in Wales. I flew in on Air Pacific (soon to be renamed Fiji Airways) from Nadi. Kiribati is also occasionally served by Our Airline from Nauru and Majuro, Marshall Islands.

Any loopholes?
Do not worry about getting a visa if you're from one of the 60 lucky countries. You will then get your essential visa stamp upon arrival.

13. Nauru

Why so inaccessible?
Only one airline, Our Airline, serves Nauru, and not every day. Do not expect to find it in your favourite flight ticket search engine either. A visa is needed to go there, and how many embassies or consulates of Nauru have you seen? To be fair, they are actually represented in four countries; Australia, Fiji, Taiwan and Thailand.

Why you should still bother to go
It is one of the few countries in the world where you can actually run around. Just remember that the country is virtually on the Equator, so don't attempt to do so at noon. It is also THE least visited country in the world. Certainly a country for your bucket list!

How I got in
I had been a little lazy, not bothering to get my visa in advance. Our Airline is however well connected in Nauru, and the staff at the airport in Brisbane managed to talk customs into issuing me a visa on arrival after 10 minutes on the phone. I was very lucky! The customs officer in charge in Nauru greeted me with few words: 

- Are you the tourist?

Everyone else on board were locals or in the country for business. Business in Nauru? In a country with less than 9,000 people? I was there at the time of an international fishing conference.

Any loopholes?
Having the Our Airline staff talk me into the country without a visa just before departure worked for me, but it is not a strategy I would recommend to others.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Putting A $127,000 BMW M6 Into Park Is Totally Confusing


I recently took a 2012 BMW M6 convertible for a weekend test drive. For the most part, it's a great car.

But at times, I found the car mystifying and in no way intuitive. I couldn't even figure out how to put the car in park. People pay $127,000 for this car, and making it stop requires solving a brain teaser.

Here's the gear shifter. Note the lack of "P."

BMW M6 Convertible gear shift

After a bit of trial and error, I found the solution: Treat this automatic ride like a manual one.

Put it into neutral, and apply the parking brake. Then turn off the engine. You get this error message:

2012 BMW M6 convertible

And this one:

2012 BMW M6 convertible

Ignore them both. Press the engine button again to turn off the car. Then the dashboard displays a "P," and you can walk away in peace.

OUR FULL REVIEW: BMW's M6 Is Great — Once You Figure Out How It Works

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Kim Jong-il's Favorite Type Of Sushi Was Fatty Tuna


sushi tuna

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Adam Johnson interviewed the personal sushi chef and sidekick of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il for GQ.

The story details how Japanese sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto (an alias) was able to join Kim's inner circle and become one of his most trusted confidants.

The entire piece is flabbergasting, and worth a read (you can find it here). One juicy tidbit revealed by Johnson is Kim's favorite sushi dish: Toro, or fatty tuna.

He writes:

All the men wore military uniforms except for one imperious fellow in a casual sports tracksuit. This man was curious about the fish. He asked Fujimoto about the marbled, fleshy cuts he was preparing.

"That's toro," Fujimoto told him.

For the rest of the night, this man kept calling out, "Toro, one more!"

Later, Fujimoto learned the man in the tracksuit was none other than Kim Jong-il, or Jang-gun-nim as his entourage called him — "honored general."

He would go on to stay with Kim for 11 years, playing nanny to his sons and witnessing the inner circle's outrageous partying and luxurious lifestyle.

The Japanese sushi chef would also hear the constant refrain: "Toro, one more!"

Read the full interview with Fujimoto at GQ.

SEE ALSO: The 12 Best Japanese Restaurants In New York City

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Germany Drops 63-Letter-Long Word From Official Usage


Kobe Beef

Germany's longest official word — Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz — has been dropped from usage, Der Spiegel reports.

The 63-letter-long word, which refers to the "law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling," was usually shortened to RkReÜAÜG. It was introduced by Mecklenburg Western-Pomeranian state government in 1999 in the wake of Mad Cow Disease.

While the German language allows the creation of compound nouns and run-on words, Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz was officially the longest word as it appeared on government documents, according to the Telegraph.

As the European Union has ruled that the testing is no longer needed, the word is no longer the official longest word, and the hunt is now on for a new official longest word. The longest word in the Duden, a German-language dictionary, is the 36-letter-long Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung (which means “motor-vehicle liability insurance”, according to the Independent).

GlobalPost recorded this audio to show how the word should be pronounced:

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NYC's General Motors Building Is Now The Most Valuable Office Space In America


apple store on 5th fifth ave, apple, nyc, november 4 2011, nov 2011, bi, dng

The families of Chinese real estate developer Zhang Xin and Brazilian banking magnate Moise Safra paid $1.4 billion for a 40 percent stake in the General Motors building, the Wall Street Journal reported.

This values the building at 767 Fifth Avenue at roughly $3.4 billion, making it the country’s most valuable office property.

Relatives of Zhang – who is the founder and chief executive officer of Beijing megadeveloper Soho China – and the Safra family’s New York-based investment arm M. Safra & Co. bought the stake in the 50-story, 2 million-square-foot property through an entity called Sungate Trust, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

The sellers were Goldman Sachs Group's U.S. Real Estate Opportunities Fund, which invests on behalf of the sovereign wealth funds of Kuwait and Qatar; and Dubai-based private equity firm Meraas Capital, the source told Bloomberg News. The sale closed May 31, the source added.

The building – which takes up a full block between Fifth and Madison Avenues and 58th and 59th Street — houses an Apple store at street level. The deal — which follows Crown Acquisitions and Highgate Holdings’ $1.3 billion purchase of 650 Madison Avenue from the Carlyle Group — comes at a time when investors looking for yield have been paying top dollar for high-end office properties, causing values to escalate faster than rents and occupancy.

CBRE Group’s Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan handled the transaction. Boston Properties retains a 60 percent stake in the building and isn’t looking to sell, according to the Journal. [WSJ and Bloomberg News]

More from The Real Deal:

1. Sex does sell in real estate: Study
2. Witkoff to spend $300M on Toy Center building conversion 
3. Hell’s Kitchen rental buildings sell for eye-popping $880 per buildable foot 

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Lululemon Is Finally Restocking Black Yoga Pants After 'See-Through' Debacle


lululemon yogaSheer no more: Lululemon's Luon pants return to stores; analyst says no lasting brand damage

NEW YORK (AP) — Lululemon is starting to get its Luon black yoga pants, which were pulled in March for being too sheer, back into its stores.

That bodes well for the company, analysts said Monday. And the see-through snafu didn't affect Lululemon's brand too much, says Canaccord's Camilo Lyon.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. had blamed the sheerness on a style change and production problems. It hired a new team to oversee the making of the pants, which cost about $72 to $98. The company has said it expects to lose $57 million to $67 million in revenue because of the pants problem.

But that hasn't mattered much to its stock. Since the company announced it was pulling the pants off shelves, its shares are up about 18 percent.

The company said Monday that it will be steadily increasing the stock of Luon pants throughout June. The "inkwell Wunder Under" yoga pants were available Monday on the company's website, and checks by Wedbush analysts found the black "Groove" and "Astro" pants in stores across the country over the weekend.

Wedbush said its research indicated that "customers were please(d) with the opacity of the pants" and that demand for them means more people went to Lululemon stores in the past few days.

The see-through pants won't leave lasting damage on Lululemon's brand, said Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon, and that the current quarter will get a sales boost from pent-up demand for the pants.

Lyon, who has a "Buy" rating on Lululemon, raised the chain's price target to $92 from $87.

Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. added 66 cents to $78.47 Monday afternoon.

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American Men Seem To Be Falling Fast Behind In Today's Economy


Surfer Falling

Men – once the dominate sex in nearly every sector of society – seem to be falling far and fast.

A new Pew report finds that 40 percent of households with children under 18 have mothers who are the primary breadwinners – a dramatic rise from just 11 percent in 1960.

Women now earn about 60 percent of university degrees in America and Europe. Single women are increasingly becoming homeowners and a survey by Harris Interactive and Mortgage Marvel this week finds that women are more financially responsible when buying a home.

Of the 41 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 who expressed interest in buying a home this year, 17 percent of men said their finances were “shaky” – whereas only 6 percent of women said the same.

RELATED: The 11 Best Countries to Be a Mother

Female breadwinners are also driving up their family wealth - when the mother is the primary breadwinner, the total median family income is nearly $80,000 – $2,000 more than when the husband is the breadwinner, according to the Pew survey.

What exactly has happened to men?

Many trace the beginning of this dramatic gender reversal to the days of the Great Recession when men were being laid off in droves – three-quarters of the 8 million jobs lost were lost by men, mainly in traditionally male-dominated industries like construction, manufacturing and finance.

The decline of labor unions has also disproportionately affected men. But as Hanna Rosin reported in her 2010 Atlantic cover story, “The End of Men,”  the “mancession” was just the beginning. Thirteen of the 15 job categories projected to grow in the next decade are dominated by women. 

“What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?” she writes. “In the long view, the economy is becoming a place where women hold the cards.”

Though some women have opted out of childbearing to focus on their careers (the fertility rate in the U.S. has plummeted recently to below replacement level), the number of married women with children in the workforce has also skyrocketed – their employment rate has gone from 37 percent in 1968 to 65 percent today.

While the demographic trend has shifted, our acceptance of the changing roles of mothers and fathers hasn’t caught up. Over half of respondents in the Pew survey said that children are better off if mom is home and doesn’t hold a job – just 8 percent said the same about dad. Three-quarters of respondents said that if the woman works, it’s more difficult for the couple to raise children.

The role reversal is dramatically changing family dynamics and upending traditional ideas of masculinity. Male support groups have sprung up in the post-industrial Rust Belt, and more attention is now being paid to the rise of stay-at-home dads. 

While this new crop of lower-paid, childrearing men struggle to redefine their identity, women report increased anxiety about work-life balance and wanting to “have it all” – a challenging career, a supportive husband, and being home to raise her children.

The shift will be painful for many – as Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer has shown, the workplace is still not conducive to baby-toting executives and the U.S. continues to be one of the only developed countries with no paid maternity leave requirement. But the growing pains of a new gender dynamics subside, the hope is that the genders can meet somewhere in the middle, and Mr. Mom can simply be Dad.

More From The Fiscal Times:

How Republicans' Brilliant Budget Tactic Backfired

7 Ways To Spot A Liar At Work

9 Startups Bringing "Made In USA" Back To Clothing

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8 Crazy Revelations From An Interview With Kim Jong-il's Personal Chef


attached image

As personal chef and confidante to late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, Kenji Fujimoto saw some pretty insane things.

Fujimoto (an alias) is the subject of a new profile in GQ by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Adam Johnson.

In it, he talks about the dictator's inner circle and crazy parties, his own arrest and interrogation by the Japanese government, and his family's imprisonment in one of the infamous North Korean "re-education camps."

The entire nine-page interview is riveting and worth a read (you can find it here). But if you want to skim some of the juicier parts, here are the eight craziest takeaways from the interview:

  • Kim's palaces sounded like they were straight out of the '80s: They were "decorated with cold marble, silver-braided bedspreads, ice purple paintings of kimilsungia blossoms, and ceilings airbrushed with the cran-apple mist of sunset, as if Liberace's jet had crashed into Lenin's tomb."

  • He had a sick swimming pool: "In Wonsan, Kim had an underground bombproof Olympic swimming pool constructed with his image emblazoned in gold tiles on the bottom. North Korean engineers had even built him a motorized boogie board."

  • He was entertained by a creepy "Joy Division" brigade: "Teams of beautiful North Korean girls, most forcibly recruited under the age of 16, were maintained to provide entertainment, massages, and sexual gratification ... the Dear Leader might order them to sing sentimental songs, disco dance, strip naked, or hold spontaneous boxing matches."

  • Kim had some expensive eating habits: "It was part of Fujimoto's job to fly North Korean jets around the world to procure dinner-party ingredients — to Iran for caviar, Tokyo for fish, or Denmark for beer. It was Fujimoto who flew to France to supply the Dear Leader's yearly $700,000 cognac habit. And when the Dear Leader craved McDonald's, it was Fujimoto who was dispatched to Beijing for an order of Big Macs to go."

  • And the Dear Leader was a foodie: "Kim Jong-il was a fan of cooking shows. Iron Chef was his favorite. When Fujimoto's culinary travels took him to Japan, he stocked up on VHS tapes of the latest episodes so he and [Kim] could have long discussions about foie gras, truffles, and Kobe beef."

  • He had a strange sense of humor: "As a wedding prank, Kim Jong-il had the unconscious Fujimoto's pubic hair shaved off."

  • Fujimoto introduced Kim's son (and current dictator) Kim Jong-il to his basketball: "Fujimoto introduced [Kim's children] to video games, remote-control cars, and most important, basketball. Fujimoto's sister in Japan sent him VHS tapes of Bulls playoff games, so Kim Jong-un's first taste of Western hoops came from watching Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman — men who became his heroes."

  • Years later, once he returned to Japan, Fujimoto was nearly murdered by one of Kim's henchmen. When Fujimoto asked Kim about it, he admitted he had sent an assassin to Okinawa: "He urged Fujimoto to forget about it. He was still alive, wasn't he? It was Kim's wife, Ko Young-hee, who'd reminded him of how funny and lovable his Japanese friend had been. Thus the killer was recalled."

Read more of Fujimoto's terrifying and unbelievable story at GQ.

DON'T MISS: AP Photographer's Instagram Pictures Show What Life Is Like In North Korea

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Here's The First Look At Pagani's Highly Rumored New Supercar


Pagani Teaser Image

Pagani is on the verge of launching a new model and today released a teaser image for the car, which is rumored to be based on the Zonda R track special and limited to a production run of just five examples.

Along with the teaser image, Pagani released the statement “The Revolution is about to begin...”

The words suggest that the new car is in fact the rumored Zonda R Evolution that we first saw a week ago.   

Presented to a private audience at the recent 2013 Mille Miglia, the rumored Zonda R Evo is said to be the most extreme version of Pagani’s Zonda supercar yet and could output as much as 800 horsepower.

That’s 50 more horses than the Zonda R, but in addition to having more power the Zonda R Evo is also said to weigh less and have better aerodynamics. With the Zonda R capable of lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife in an astonishing 6:47, we wonder what a lighter and more powerful version could do.

Stay tuned for an update.

SEE ALSO: The Ridiculous Supercars Of The Dubai Police Force

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Meet The Teen Entrepreneur Whose Flip Flop Line Made It To Nordstrom


maddie stevens fish flops

Houston teenager Maddie Stevens has gained national exposure as an entrepreneur after her flip flop line was picked up by Nordstrom. 

Stevens, 14, started designing sandals when she was just 8, reports My Fox Houston. 

"In 2006, I had an idea to make flip flops that showed my love for swimming, fishing and drawing.  I hope you wear them, love them and share them with your friends and I hope they make you smile," the teenager told MyFox Houston

A few years later, her children's sandals were being sold in small boutiques under the name Fish Flops. 

But Stevens' big break happened when she wrote a letter to Nordstrom's buying team about her brand. 

The retailer responded and decided to sell Fish Flops in 60 stores. 

The flip flops feature intricate illustrations and light up when a child walks. They sell for about $20. 

Check them out here

SEE ALSO: 16 Small Businesses On The Verge Of A Breakthrough >

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Guys, Here's How You Can Avoid Looking Like A Hot Mess On Television


Anyone who saw Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's notorious on-air meltdown at the All Things D conference a few years back knows that even the most successful entrepreneurs don't necessarily know how to handle a television appearance. 

Fortunately, there are a few things anyone who could be called for a last-minute TV hit can do to be prepared.

We spoke to Manoush Zomorodi, a media consultant and author of "CAMERA READY: How to Present Your Best Self and Ideas On Air or Online," about how guys can get "camera ready" without much prep time.

She told us how men should deal with their facial hair, what they should wear, and whether they should put on makeup before sitting in front of the camera.



SEE ALSO: You've Probably Been Screwing Up Your French Press Coffee All Along

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Steve Martin Is Selling His Spectacular St. Barts Villa For $11.4 Million


attached image

Funny man Steve Martin is selling his mansion in St. Barts for 8.75 million, or $11.4 million at today's conversion rates, according to celebrity real estate blog The Real Estalker.

The home — known as Villa Au Soleil — is situated on the hills of Lurin with a 180-degree panorama view of St. Jean Baie.

Two terraces look out over the water with a pool and hot tub, and the mansion is surrounded by tropical gardens and a built-in barbecue pit.

The four-bedroom home is currently listed through St. Barth Properties Sotheby's International Realty, and is also available to rent by the week, according to The Real Estalker, making it the perfect vacation home for millionaires.

Steve Martin's Villa Au Soleil home has a 180-degree view of the surrounding St. Jean Baie.

The mansion has glass walls that offer impeccable views of the lush scenery.

There are four bedrooms and four bathrooms throughout the home.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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