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Amazing Pictures Of New York's Penn Station Before It Was Torn Down To Build Hideous Madison Square Garden

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There used to be two beautiful train stations in New York City:

Grand Central Station, which still exists and is still beautiful, and Pennsylvania Station, which still exists and is, well, no longer beautiful.

The reason Pennsylvania Station is no longer beautiful is that the original Pennsylvania Station was torn down in 1963.  This made room for Madison Square Garden and the new Penn Station, which is called many things, but never "beautiful."

The old Penn Station was built in 1910.

Historian Michael Beschloss tweeted a picture of it recently. That picture, which is from 1929, is below, along with another with the same sun-beam effect. And there's a link to more pictures of the old Penn Station at the bottom of the page.

Out with the old and in with the new makes sense sometimes. But in this case, it came at a big cost.
 penn station 1929

old penn stationSEE ALSO: More Gorgeous Pictures Of Penn Station Before It Was Demolished

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Architects Want To Turn A Nigerian Slum Into A City That Floats On Water

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Lagos, Nigeria is one of the world’s ever-expanding “megacities”urban centers with populations of more than 10 million.

Places like this are increasingly demanding the attention of forward-thinking architects and urban planners who can help address the demands arising from this rapid expansion, aided by new technologies that can meet the growing challenges caused by destructive forces of nature and mounting population concerns.

For Nigerians living in the Lagos slum of Makoko, the port city’s Portuguese name "Lagos" (“Lakes” in English) pretty much sums up the foundation of their neighborhood, economy, and day-to-day lives. If its 200,000+ inhabitants aren’t navigating the avenues in canoes, they’re tossing buckets of water accumulated from the near-monsoon level rainfall deposits from their houses during spring time.

But while Makoko is primarily known as a densely populated and impoverished district, much of Lagos’ economy, which is growing at such a rate it has surpassed the entire national economy of Kenya, is rooted in the fishing and trading markets historically conducted in its waters.

Even more interesting is that Makoko has been somewhat of an autonomous community over the past 120 years. Government presence has been nearly non-existent in the region, and certain aspects of its economy are relatively independent from on-land activity. Reason enough, then, for Nigerian-born architect Kunlé Adeyemi and his architecture, urban design and planning firm NLÉ to begin working towards solutions for the neighborhood's survival, especially as rising sea levels and Lagos' desire to eradicate slum housing threaten its existence. Floating Houses Nigeria 1As a part of NLÉ´s Lagos Water Communities Project, Adeyemi and company are in the design phase of transitioning Makoko’s common quarters from dilapidated houses on stilts to floating a-frame family units, with a “floating community” being the end goal of the initiative. Prototype images of Adeyemi’s vision depict a surreal, near-fantasy-fiction setting. 

The floating a-frames will incorporate systems similar to earthquake proofing technology created by Japan-based Air Danshin System. Sensors built into the houses will detect significant environmental changes, causing a compressor to pump air into a series of cushions beneath the unit’s foundation. The added height and plasticity of the cushions will theoretically absorb the shocks and alterations spurred by flooding or rises in sea level.


Video demonstrating the earthquake proofing technology for land-based structures

The above video demonstrates the technology’s efficiency on land. Once tremors are detected, it takes a single second for the cushions to fill with air and elevate the structure 1.2 inches off the ground. After movement subsides, the bags slowly deflate and the structure returns to ground position. In line with NLE’s desire to provide intuitive housing that’s both sustainable and affordable, the technology is a perfect fit for the project: relatively cheap compared to most other earthquake proofing systems, requires very little long-term maintenance, and guaranteed by a 10-year warranty.Floating Houses Nigeria 3It’s currently unknown when communities like Makoko will see the beginning stages of public housing incorporating Adeyeme’s vision. However, NLÉ has already actualized a similar design via the Makoko Floating School, which was inaugurated this March. The school can host lessons for up to 100 school children at a time, and is used as a community center when not occupied by students. 

The need for a solution is pressing if Makoko is to survive. Attempts to clear the area with force—chainsaws to houses on stilts, inconsiderately short-notice demands by the government for residents to relocate their livelihoodshave given clear indication that Nigeria isn’t hesitating to make Makoko a memory. And with some projections suggesting Lagos will reach a population of 40 million within the next 20 years, the necessity for habitable and environmentally adaptable spaces is an immediate concern for all the city’s inhabitants. Adeyemi and NLE’s efforts are pure examples of how innovative thinking and novel applications of technology can respond to inevitable complications in realistic, sustainable ways.

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Inside The Hottest Parties At The Swankiest Ad Festival In The World [PHOTOS]

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pool party cannes lions instagram

The most important advertising execs in the world gathered on the beaches of Cannes last week for seminars, awards ceremonies, and almost more importantly, the parties.

While they weren't inside listening to P. Diddy talk about why he hates commercials, they were living it up on the French Riviera. Some parties were classy, others were downright bizarre with contortionists dressed up in wolf costumes.

Things got pretty weird.

Luckily for us, advertisers are obsessed with all things social media, so we were able to piece together the Cannes parties you wish you were invited to.

Even though advertisers were swept away to the beautiful beaches of Cannes, they couldn't escape the power of social media. Here's the view from Twitter events manager Tom Spano's room.



That meant almost no pool party went undocumented on Instagram, Twitter, and Vine.



And, boy, were there lots of pool parties.



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40 Meals You Should Eat In Your Lifetime

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crispy fish taco

A memorable meal can define a destination and keep you salivating for years to come.

From unpretentious fried fish tacos in Baja, Mexico, to the 7-course tasting menu at Spain's El Celler de Can Roca (the new best restaurant in the world), we found 40 meals that are worth traversing the planet for.

Foodies will want to put these spots on their travel bucket list.

Slurp up a bowl of steaming hot Pho, a tangy beef noodle soup, in Hanoi, Vietnam.



Indulge in an epic seven-course meal at El Celler de Can Roca, a Catalan restaurant in Girona, Spain, that was named the Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine's 2013 World's 50 Best list. With the wine pairing, the meal costs $248 per person.

Read more on El Celler de Can Roca >



Take a bite out of a crispy, chewy, fresh falafel sandwich overstuffed with vegetables in Tel Aviv, Israel. People swear by the sandwiches at Ratzon Falafel and Gabai Falafel, but you really can't go wrong at any of the city's falafel stands.



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20 Things I Learned On My Whirlwind Trip To Mobile, Alabama

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fried crab clawsMobile, Alabama, got pretty miffed several months back when I included it on a list of "miserable" cities, based on health and wellness statistics from Gallup.

So when a local mayoral candidate invited me down to prove me wrong, I booked a flight. I'd never been to Mobile before, and figured it would be a good chance to learn about a new city beyond a set of numbers.

I won't say that I got an unbiased view: During my three days in Mobile, I was wined, dined, and shown the best side of the city. There are blighted neighborhoods, crime (though violent crime numbers are down in 2013), and room to improve citizen health.

But I found that Mobile is actually a pretty cool town. It's got a long history, great seafood, and people who made me, a New Jersey native, understand the meaning of "Southern Hospitality." 

Keep checking back here to read more about my trip over the next few weeks.

Disclosure: A couple of months ago, I included Mobile, Alabama on a list of the "most miserable cities in America," based on Gallup data. Sandy Stimpson, a mayoral candidate in Mobile (#3 on the list) objected to my characterization, and offered to fly me down and show me how great the city really is. After a little prodding, I agreed to a visit. Stimpson is paying my travel expenses and arranging my travel in the city. I'm not planning to cover the mayoral race, but will be writing about my trip here.

Mobile was settled by the French in 1702. It has flown under six flags: French, Spanish, British, Republic of Alabama, Confederacy, and United States.



The city has 8 nationally recognized historic districts, and dozens of landmarked homes and buildings. This Italianate-style house in the De Tonti Square Historic District is now a museum.



Mobile is home to the ninth largest port in the U.S. It opens into Mobile Bay, and is just 32 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.



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Congratulations Walle, The New Ugliest Dog In The World

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WALLE WINS! world's ugliest dog contest 2013

A new winner of the annual Ugliest Dog Contest in California was crowned this weekend — a sweet, four-year-old mutt mix name Walle.

He may look normal in the above picture, but the part beagle, basset, and boxer mix looks a bit stranger in person with his huge head, hump back, and duck waddle walk.

Those are exactly the traits that helped Walle stand out from the 29 other contenders this year at the 25th anniversary of the competition.

Said Judge Brian Sobel of this year's winner, "This dog looked like he's been photo shopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals."

Walle and his owner Tammie Barbee walked away with $1,500 for winning the title as well as a trophy. Walle will also appear in the new book World’s Ugliest Dogs: The Official World’s Ugliest Dog Book.

Aside from his bad hair day, Scamp is actually adorable.



Who doesn't love Boolah and his lopsided tongue?



Chupee is looking a little skeptical of his sweater.



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How I Live On The Cheap In Pricey Paris

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In 2010, I realized I needed to get away from New York City.

I had just ended a relationship, and every inch of my apartment was a reminder of it, as were the streets in my neighborhood, the subway, the pizza shops, the sounds of the Lower East Side—everything. I knew if I was going to survive the heartache, I had to head out of town and recoup in a place completely foreign to me. I chose Paris.

I had never gone to Europe alone. Actually, up until that point I had never traveled anywhere by myself. On a whim one afternoon, I pulled up apartment swaps on Craigslist. When I saw that a woman was looking to exchange her flat in the Parisian district of le Marais for an apartment in the East Village, I emailed her. Within the hour, I had cashed in my frequent flier miles and agreed to do the swap for the month of January and part of February.

Paris La Defense

RELATED: 6 Money-Saving Summer Airfare Secrets

Looking back, it wasn’t the most rational decision to make. I really didn’t think it through; I just wanted out of New York City and I wanted it sooner than later. However, in the words of Edith Piaf, “Non, je ne regrette rien.”

There’s Only One Paris

The first time I arrived in Paris I felt like I was in a dream. I couldn’t believe that I had come to the city all alone with nothing but an email agreement with a stranger whom I found on Craigslist. It wasn’t until I got to the flat that reality set in. I had never cried so hard from happiness in my entire life.

The woman had warned me that she had just bought the place, and outside of Wi-Fi and a mattress on the floor, there wasn’t much else. It was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a more romantic situation, and I fell asleep to the piano playing of the composer next door, waking to the bells of Notre Dame. I was in my element.

RELATED: I Sold Everything to Travel the World for Five Years 

I immediately took to the streets without a map. I longed to get lost in this city that I would eventually consider my second home. I walked everywhere, and when I did lose my direction—as Paris is not a grid like the New York streets that I’m used to—I asked locals how to get back on my way again. I had taken French for years and didn’t realize how much I was capable of recalling until I was forced to use it—in a very broken dialect, of course.

I sat in coffee shops, ate too many croissants, drank red wine with strangers who embraced my New York status, and smoked French cigarettes in the window of my flat above a trendy art gallery. I was home; I was certain I could stay there forever.

But six weeks isn’t very long in the grand scheme of things, and the day I had to return to New York City, I cried the whole way to the airport. I knew I’d return someday, but just didn’t know when.

My Finances, in France

I know it might sound strange, but I found in the three times I went to Paris (two after that initial adventure), I actually spent less money than I do in New York City. Of course, I’m coming from one of the most expensive cities in the world, but Paris isn’t exactly cheap either.

Some differences in the cultures that made a huge difference were, as you might imagine, the food and its accessibility.

Unlike at home, you can’t get food delivered 24-hours-a-day every day. In fact, delivery is rare, so that right there is a money saver. When you’re forced to go out and get your paper and coffee instead of having it brought to your door just because it’s raining, you immediately start to save. (It may also have something to do with that pernicious rumor about the French not gaining weight.)

Paris also doesn’t have the cabs that NYC has, so when I’m there, I’m forced to walk or take the metro. Again, money that I would normally just drop without the slightest inclination is not being used. Note: I’m not saying I’m a role model for financial propriety in my New York life, just that I tend to spend less while abroad.

With access to a kitchen and great produce, I can easily and cheaply make dinner for myself.

When it comes to actual spending on food, there is also savings to be had. Breakfast usually consists of a croissant for 1€, then I’m on my way. When it comes to lunch and dinner, I also go the cheap route.

With access to a kitchen (thanks to an apartment swap) and great produce, I can easily and cheaply make dinner for myself. Better yet, I want to do so because it’s an adventure to do as the locals do.

RELATED: 18 Delicious Ways to Cook Spring Vegetables

I also find I spend less on alcohol. Parisians have a different approach than Americans: They savor their wine, whereas we tend to pound beers and shots as if every night is our last night on earth.

Why I Keep Going

Admittedly, although those closest to me love the idea that I can go off into the world alone and live my life, they are sometimes concerned that I’m not just “getting away” for a bit, but rather escaping from emotionally difficult situations. It’s probably not the healthiest thing, but for me, it’s a coping mechanism and one that helps me heal. Paris is the city that heals me; time away from my great love, New York City, makes me feel whole again.

I realize as a freelance writer I have the advantage of taking my work with me, but the affordability of an apartment swap in Paris applies for two days or two weeks. I have always been lucky enough to find someone great (and sane!) on Craigslist, but I know that there are other sites like HomeExchange, Home Base Holidays and Airbnb for those who aren’t comfortable with the Craigslist scene.

RELATED: How to Travel the World … While Working

Going off to another country alone isn’t for everyone; I understand that. But I also encourage anyone who has never done it, to do it at some point. Even if you find yourself scared as hell at the notion of such a leap, you should remind yourself that being scared makes you feel alive—as does sitting on the banks of the Seine, alone with your thoughts and feeling that anything, anything at all, is completely possible.

SEE ALSO: How I Lived In Tokyo On $30,000 A Year

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The Internet Is Going Crazy For Ridiculously Fluffy 'Poodle Cats'

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"Poodle cats" are so fluffy that they look more like stuffed animals than living things.

The felines, which have been referred to as "cats in sheep's clothing," have made a splash on the internet in recent days, but according to Mother Nature Network, Poodle Cats, officially known as Selkirk Rex, have been around since 1987.

Last year, scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna confirmed that the cats had formed a genetically distinct line, and declared them a unique breed. 

The signature of the Selkirk Rex is, obviously, its absurdly curly hair; even their whiskers curl at the ends. Since this curliness is a dominant gene, the Poodle Cat can be cross-bred with other cats and still produce offspring with the same poodle-like look, according to the Daily Mail.

The International Cat Association reports that the first curly cat was born in 1987 in Montana. There she garnered the attention of Jeri Newman, a breeder of Persian cats, who cross-bred her with a black Persian male. The majority of their kittens were born with curly fur, leading Newman to conclude that the gene was dominant.

Besides being a genetic anomaly, Poodle Cats are also becoming more and more popular as pets and are downright hilarious to look at:

selkirk rex, poodle cat.

 

5 month old selkirk rex cat

 

poodle cat

 

Selkirk Rex Poodle Cat 

 

SEE ALSO: Switzerland's Illegal Cat Fur Trade

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9 Hindi Words That You Should Learn And Immediately Start Using

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bllywood poster

It's common to hear English language users say words like schadenfreude in the absence on an English equivalent of the German word that means pleasure at the misfortune of others.

Of course, German isn't the only language with some great words that should be dropped into English.

So we decided to put together a list of Hindi words that could cross-over too.

This was a crowdsourced list - so huge thanks to my family and friends that chipped in.

  • Jhoota (झूटा) - There is no real equivalent to it in English. It's when someone asks if they can place their mouth on a utensil or cutlery that you intend to place your mouth on as well. A person might for instance ask for a drink of your water and ask if you're ok with jootha water.
  • Aap (आप) - A respectful way of referring to someone, especially someone older than you but also a stranger. It applies to both men and women.
  • Chai pani (चाय पानी) - Literally means tea-water, but can refer to both a small bribe or refreshments.
  • Vela (वेला) - To have nothing to do. For instance,  'I'm vela today, do you want to hang out?'
  • Gaganchumbi (गगनचुम्बी) - It literally refers to something that kisses the sky and suggests something that is lofty.
  • Matlabi (मतलबी) - Someone who uses people and acts in his/her own interest.
  • Angdai (अंगडाई) - A lazy stretch, the kind you do when you wake up in the morning (h/t Rosetta Stone)
  • Abey (अबेय) - Hey you or oye there. For instance, Abey, what are you doing?
  • Rozi roti (रोज़ी रोटी) -  It means daily meal but typically refers to daily livelihood. 

Enjoy!

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NUTRALOAF: This Revolting Food Is Used As Punishment In Prison

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Nutraloaf prison food

A now-defunct Philadelphia prison recently gave tourists a chance to taste prison food, and one of the items on its strange menu is used to punish prisoners: Nutraloaf.

A lot of U.S. prisons serve Nutraloaf — which is also known as "disciplinary loaf" — to inmates who misbehave, often three times a day. Nutraloaf recipes vary but often involve tomato paste, beans, and potato flakes baked into a flavorless brick served warm or at room temperature.

Non-prisoners (and even one food critic) have sampled that brick to see what inmates go through. Brave staffers at the Glens Falls Post-Star even ate the loaf on camera and described it to people who aren't so adventurous.

"Oh that's horrible. Oh my God," the Post-Star's Jon Alexander said. "I just see it as being a really great way to lose weight. It's the lack of flavor is what makes it so bad. It's like chewing on chalk."Nutraloaf

Others have tried Nutraloaf, too.

It's hard to imagine anybody eating more than a bite.

Why isn't making somebody gag cruel and unusual punishment?

Prisoners have filed lawsuits over Nutraloaf but have been unsuccessful in getting it banned. In a handwritten lawsuit, a Washington state prisoner named Tommy Lynn Lewis called Nutraloaf "a little punishment block, not meant to eat."

The main impediment to getting that "punishment block" banned is its nutritional value. It has vegetables, protein, and roughly 1,100 calories.

"The Eighth Amendment [which bans cruel and unusual punishment] requires only that prisoners receive food that is adequate to maintain health," an Illinois appeals court ruled. "It need not be tasty or aesthetically pleasing."

In case you want to try this healthful recipe at home, here's the recipe for Nutraloaf provided in that court opinion.

Now see what else prison in America entails What Life Is Like For The 2 Million People Behind Bars In America

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The Awkward Moment When Mario Batali Explained That He Doesn't Hate Bankers

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Betty Liu Mario Batali

Wall Street knows how to hold a grudge.

Perhaps that's why celebrity chef Mario Batali still feels the need to explain a comment he made in 2011 comparing bankers to Hitler, saying "the ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys."

Yikes.

It's a big statement, and perhaps worthy of a year and a half long 'mea culpa' tour.

The tour's latest stop is a segment on Bloomberg TV's, 'Titans of the Table', a show that gets a bunch of industry heavy-weights to talk shop over an awesome meal. It airs tonight at 9:00 pm and features Batali as well as Bobby Flay, Tom Colicchio and Rachel Ray.

But for 1:30 all eyes were on Batali as Betty Liu gave him the chance to comment on his anti-banker remarks.

Batali responded by asking her if she'd read the transcript (pro tip: don't do that) and she reminded him that there were quotes everywhere (as you know).

That's when Batali gave did his best to smooth it over, perhaps for the 100th time (from Bloomberg):

"A lot of the New York industry is bankers. And I like them individually...I keep my money in the bank. I love them to keep it safe. But that said, the kind of hullabaloo that it caused and what we call in the industry, the sh*tstorm of press that happened after it, was imminently regrettable."

Interesting that NYC is a big media city too, but journalists probably aren't throwing down nearly as much money on pasta as bankers are, so this is a decent pivot.

Watch the video below:

 

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These Are The Coolest New Cars You Can Buy For Under $18,000

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hyundai car

It's easy enough for the average consumer to come up with a list of the cheapest cars on the market right now. But does affordable necessarily mean cool?

For it's annual list of the coolest cars under $18,000 automotive pricing guide Kelley Blue Book searched for cars that are as fun to drive as they are to own.

We've highlighted the best of the bunch.

*Prices are based on Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price as of June 20, 2013. Prices are for a base model with standard options, obtained from kbb.com.

2013 Chevrolet Spark: $12,544

Consumer rating: 9 out of 10

What's to love: "On the road, the Spark drives like a glorified motorcycle: It's quick and nimble, but also loud and buzzy. We like the Chevy MyLink with its 7-inch touch screen, Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio and telephone with voice recognition. But what we like even more is that the system doesn't have a CD player but instead seamlessly connects to the owner's smartphone for personalized integration." — KBB

Stats:

-38 miles per gallon

-84 horsepower



2013 Honda Civic: $17,731

Consumer rating: 8.8 out of 10

What's to love:  "Just as driving feel is a big part of the magic in a Porsche, the way the Civic gracefully listens and responds to a driver's input is a key reason we consider the 2013 Honda Civic the connoisseur's compact sedan." KBB

Stats:

-39 miles per gallon

-140 horsepower



2013 Volkswagen Jetta: $14,953

Consumer rating: 8.5 out of 10

What's to love: "It continues to hit on all the proverbial cylinders in both sales and the sheer variety of forms in which it is offered .. .the plethora of power trains translates to a correspondingly wide range of driving experiences." KBB 

Stats:

-34 miles per gallon

-115 horsepower



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NYC Yuppies Are Paying $500 A Year For A New Exclusive Dating Club

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Veuve Clicquot Polo ClassicAfter years of being forced to socialize with the common folk, New York yuppies finally have the members-only club they always dreamed of.

IvyConnect hosts posh events and provides members with romantic and professional opportunities, acting as a kind of pseudo-sorority social chair for cocksure twentysomethings.

The club has 3,000 members with an estimated 2,000 on the waiting list, according to the New York Post.

From the Post:

“We’re very selective,” explains 31-year-old co-founder Philipp Triebel, who grew up in Germany and has degrees from the London School of Economics, Cambridge and Harvard.

“And we do turn down people to ensure that we’re building a community of like-minded people,” he says, adding that he can’t disclose the rejection rate.

Harvard's rejection rate is about 94% if that's any indication.

“We want well-rounded people," co-founder Beri Meric said, probably with a straight face.

IvyConnect applicants must submit a résumé, photo, a list of frequented cities, and personality traits. A five-person selection committee reviews their applications. As a testament to IvyConnect's spirit of inclusiveness, you need not be a graduate of an Ivy League school (so long as you meet the "criteria" of excellence).

“We had a big room [in the Mount Snow, Vermont ski lodge] where we could host everyone for après-ski drinks and snacks when we arrived,” says Triebel, who shares a Chelsea apartment with Meric.

“It felt like one big family trip.”

Nauseous yet? Great, because IvyConnect is coming to a city near you. With $2.6 million in individual investments, they plan to expand to DC, Boston, and Los Angeles.

Read the full report at the New York Post >

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Man Dressed As A Woman Was Busted While Allegedly Trying To Take Pictures In A Female Dorm

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Rodney PetersonA crossdressing California man was busted last week after allegedly attempting to take pictures in a female dormitory at Loma Linda University earlier this month.

According to San Bernardino County authorities, Rodney Kenneth Peterson dressed as a woman in order to access "students only" areas at an on-campus female dormitory, the Los Angeles Times reports. Peterson was discovered by LLU staff members before he could enter.

After leaving the dormitory, Peterson returned to his car, where he was met by campus security, authorities told the LA Times. He then allegedly entered his vehicle and proceeded to hit a security guard while leaving the campus.

Peterson was arrested at home Friday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, but was released the following day after posting the $50,000 bail.

Peterson had previously visited other "female-only facilities" in the county and "allegedly tried to take pictures with a cellphone hidden in his purse," according to the LA Times.

LLU is a Seventh-day Adventist university with a focus on health sciences. 

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This Island Nation May Be Gone In 60 Years Because Of Climate Change

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Kiribati

On Tuesday, President Obama proposed new limits on carbon dioxide emitted from existing power plants, and other efforts to reduce gases linked to climate change from entering the air. For sinking island nations like Kiribati, however, that plan is likely too little, too late.

Kiribati, located in the South Pacific, stands, on average, just six feet above sea level. In 60 years Kiribati's President Anote Tong predicts that his island will be inhabitable due to climate change.

The island nation is at risk of disappearing because of sea level rise caused by melting sea ice and and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. These changes in climate are blamed on carbon emissions from power plants, cars, and other human activities.

Like many islands, Kiribati is in the unfortunate position of being the most likely to suffer from the effects of climate change even though they have done little to cause it — Kirbati's emissions per capita are only 7% of the global average and less than 2% of U.S. per capita emissions.

Kiribati is a chain of 33 atolls and islands in the South Pacific.



It is currently home to more than 100,000 people.

Source: Kirbati government



Kiribati's residents are at risk of losing their homes due to climate change.

Source: Kirbati government



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24 People Who Determine What's Cool In America

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Jenna Lyons

The fashion industry is filled with designers, celebrities, journalists, stylists, and executives vying for influence. 

We've selected the best of the best and created a list of who determines what's cool in America. 

Some of the people who made the list are controversial public figures who move fashion trends based on what they wear. Others are executives who run multi-billion dollar companies. 

Everyone on the list is a magnate in their own right. 

Angela Ahrendts

Job title: CEO, Burberry 

Influence: Ahrendts has solidified Burberry's position as one of the most aspirational brands in the world. Since becoming CEO, she's signed top spokesmodels like Emma Watson. She's also the highest-paid CEO in the United Kingdom. 



Tom Brady

Job title: Quarterback, New England Patriots

Influence: Brady, known for his preppy-casual style, is one of the few fashion icons whom most men can relate to. He's landed fashion campaigns with Movado watches and Ugg shoes. 



Thom Browne

Job title: Fashion designer

Influence: Browne's menswear collection is groundbreaking because it is based around the newfound acceptance of business casual in workplaces. He also designed First Lady Michelle Obama's inaugural jacket. 



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14 Services For The Super Rich You Never Knew Existed

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The rich and famous really have it made.

Not only do they own expensive homes and cars, but they also pay for some amazing perks that make their day-to-day lives that much simpler.

We found a recent /r/AskReddit thread which asked about the craziest services and products for the 1% that most of us didn't even know existed — some of the responses were amazing.

Turns out there are a lot more services for the wealthy than chauffeurs and personal chefs. Here were some of our favorites:

1. Baller Fine Art Insurance

"And I don't mean, 'Sorry you lost it in the hurricane, here's your paycheck' insurance. I mean, 'The area is flooded and riots are breaking out. We're going to send a SWAT-like team to helicopter in and fly your assets out of the area and into a safer place.'" - Gevurah

SWAT team

2. Night Nannies

"If the celebrity mom is breastfeeding, the night nanny will come wake up the celeb at regular intervals, then when the feeding is over, take the baby and soothe it back to sleep." - Harbogoldbear

dad with baby

3. Full-Service Travel Agents

"Books flights and hotels and arranges visas. Also handles money for you (when you travel to another country). Got a problem? Don't call the airline or hotel, call the agent. She'll fix it or get fired." - MistaSchlong

Travel Bag

4. Christmas Tree Stylist

"A $20,000 handmade Christmas tree put in your home every year and trashed on Jan 1st." - Colin8651

Christmas Tree Worker

5. Next-Level Personal Shoppers

"She has my entire wardrobe organized and coded in a database, and keeps track of new designer trends...She has all my sizes and we re-measure twice a year, so I don't have to go hunting for sizing or tailoring." - annoy-nymous

Personal Shopper

6. Doctor House Calls

"We can set up a whole hospital suite in the comfort of your personal mansion, with private nurses and staff. It gives you optimal care, prevents [healthcare-associated infections], and gives you much more dignity when dying." - doctorchick

hospital room

7. Hooker Liaison Manager

"A mate of mine works on a super yacht for some playboy billionaire and part of his job is to get rid of the passed out hookers every morning and take them back to shore, then line up the next flock." - awan001

sugar daddy hooker prostitute money date

8. PRIMA Cinema Services ($35,000)

"Newly released movies at home, the same day they open in theaters." - BobBerbowski and faded_again

home theater

9. Private Suites At Events

"At Madison Square Garden, for instance, your suite is like a living room with a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the event floor. You are also given access to a lounge area where you can watch the players come out of the locker room." - MistaSchlong

Chase Facebook madison square garden

10. Heated Driveways

"So you don't have to wait for the plow guy." - colin8651

heated driveway in winter

11. Crestron Security System

"They control everything from music to temperature to the alarm system from an iPad-type device." - Harlbogoldbear

Crestron security system

12. A Family Office

"An all-purpose financial hub just for you that includes the services of accountants, investment managers, tax lawyers, personal lawyers, insurance professionals, financial planners, and concierge staff that cater to all your financial needs." - annoy-nymous

accountant

13. Flying Domestically With No Security Check

"Most people know that the wealthy fly private. Not everyone knows that this allows them to just walk (or drive) right up to the aircraft with no security screening or luggage inspection." - real_mermaid and damascusraven

vista jet private flight new york montreal

14. Amex Platinum and Black Card Concierge

"You'd be amazed how many thousands of people don't buy tickets themselves, don't plan their own weddings/engagements, doctors appointments, arrangements to pick their kids up from ballet/school/random location." The Amex concierge does it all for them. - woolife

Amex Black card concierge

SEE ALSO: 15 Rich And Famous People Who Destroyed Their Expensive Toys

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The 25 Most Popular Tourist Attractions In The World

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Petra, Jordan

TripAdvisor just released the winners of its first ever Travelers' Choice Attractions awards.

Millions of travelers ranked their favorite landmarks, parks, museums, amusement and water parks around the world.

The incredible landmarks span the globe and include everything from 1,000-year-old temples to modern day cathedrals.

Peru's Machu Picchu took the number one spot, followed closely by Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal. The Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas took the spot for top U.S. landmark, but was just number 12 on the overall list.

#25 Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy



#24 Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, Georgia



#23 Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California



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10 Exotic Locations For Your Next Plastic Surgery Procedure

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Infinity pool

Medical tourism is a booming, $100 billion industry, and it's only becoming more popular as technology improves and more countries look to cash in on the trend.

But medical tourism is not without risks, and anyone considering going abroad for a procedure should do his research ahead of time. To help medical tourists make smart decisions, the Medical Travel Quality Alliance, an organization that promotes safety and quality for medical tourists, releases an annual list of the best hospitals for medical tourism.

This year, Malaysia's Prince Court Medical Center was crowned number one. The hospital is high-tech, and even has a specific manager to help make the journey and procedure as seamless as possible for international patients.

Overall, Asian hospitals dominated the list by offering more and higher quality medical procedures than other medical destinations.

Keep reading to see the best hospitals on the planet for medical tourism, and the sights you should see after your surgery.

#10 The Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai, India has one of the lowest surgical mortality rates in the world. Recovering patients can also journey to the nearby (and gorgeous) Juhu Beach to unwind.

Source: Medical Travel Quality Alliance



#9 Singapore's Gleneagles Hospital is the flagship of the Parkway Hospital Group, known for its exceptional private care. It's also just 20 minutes away from the Marina Bay Hotel where you can relax in the luxurious infinity pool that overlooks the city.

Source: Medical Travel Quality Alliance



#8 The flagship of the largest private hospital chain in Thailand, Bangkok Hospital Medical Center lists qualified medical travel companies on its website and operates a network of representatives. Architecture lovers can also meander over to the Grand Palace Phra Nakhon in Thailand to see the sights.

Source: Medical Travel Quality Alliance



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What It's Like Playing Chambers Bay Golf Course, Where The U.S. Open Will Be Played In 2015 (PHOTOS)

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Chambers Bay Golf Course14

Last week I was in Seattle to meet with some tech companies. 

I carved out some time to play golf because, well, priorities. 

One of the courses I made time for was Chambers Bay, which is going to be home to the U.S. Open in 2015. 

Chambers Bay is a links-style public course that was built in 2007 by Robert Trent Jones Jr. It was built on a former gravel mine.  

It's a seriously gorgeous golf course with jaw dropping views of the Puget Sound. 

It calls itself a "pure links" course. The dunes and the shape of the course were all man made. I've yet to play any real links courses in Britain, but one of the people that was in my group said the course felt just like being in Ireland. Expect, on the day we were there, there was no wind and it was warm enough for shorts. 

It will be interesting to see the course in 2015. It's going to be an unusual U.S. Open, since it will look like the Open Championship with its links layout. 

The course is pretty expensive for an out of towner ($219), but it's worth the price to play it once. It's always fun to tee it up on courses that host professional events. It gives you a better idea of how good the pros are and what the course is really like when you're watching it on TV.

Aside from the views, the course's strength is its greens, which are undulating and tough to figure out. (I had 41 puts. Normally, I average 36 putts a round.)

If you're going to play once, and money isn't an issue, you might want a caddy. He'll help with green reading, and more importantly he'll tell you where to hit it into the green. If you're a yard right or left it's the difference between a two putt and a three putt or worse.

gold mountain golf courseThe other course that I played with in Seattle was Gold Mountain's Olympic course. 

I played Gold Mountain after 3 PM and easily got in my round. It only cost $25. It's probably the best value I've ever seen in golf. It's a great layout, with just the right mix of easy and tough holes. 

If I lived in the area, I would actually play Olympic course more often than Chambers Bay. I thought it was more fun, slightly more diverse, and a better value.

However, Chambers Bay is going to be home to U.S. Open. If you can only pick one of the two courses, I would opt for Chambers Bay. It has better views, and it feels like a special course. 

Here's an overview of the whole course from the restaurant at the top of the property. A shuttle takes you down to the driving range and the course. On the right is the par-5 eighth hole.



Here's one more overview. On the left, right in front, is the par-3 ninth hole.



Here's the awesome message inscribed on the range balls. More people should take this to heart. Playing the tips of a course is generally pointless, unless you're a single digit handicapper who booms drives.



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