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Vassar Student Kicked Out For Alleged Rape Is Suing The School

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Vassar College

Former standout Vassar College student and rower Xiaolu "Peter" Yu has sued the school for expelling him after he was accused of rape by a teammate he had lost his virginity to a year earlier, the New York Post reports.

According to the Post, Yu's suit states that male Vassar students accused of sexual offenses are "invariably found guilty."

Court documents claim that Yu and Mary Claire Walker had consensual sex after a rowing team party in February 2012. Walker allegedly took the lead in their sexual activities after Yu told her it would be his first time and sent him a Facebook message the next day saying she "had a wonderful time," the Post reports. After everything was over, she apparently acknowledged that she "took Peter Yu's virginity."

No information has come out about why Walker accused Yu of rape earlier this year, but the Daily Mail notes that Vassar has harsh policies in place for sexual offense accusations.

Vassar's regulations state that "Any student accused of rape will automatically and concurrently be charged with attempted rape, sexual assault, and attempted sexual assault. The minimum sanction for any student found guilty of rape will be immediate expulsion from the college."

Additionally, the Mail points to a 1994 New York Times article in which a former Vassar student who was charged by the school's judicial board claimed he was not allowed to bring his parents or a lawyer to his hearing, or present evidence on his own behalf.

Yu, originally from China, is suing Vassar for "gender discrimination, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress," according to the Post.

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21-Year-Old Raises Largest Seed Round In Silicon Valley History — $25 Million — For Mysterious Payments App

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clinkle lucas duplan

Twenty-one-year-old Lucas Duplan just raised more millions than his age.

The first-time entrepreneur and recent Stanford graduate (he finished a computer science degree in three years) has been working on a mobile payment app for the past two years. He's now been awarded $25 million from a long list of Silicon Valley investors which includes Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Accel Partners' Jim Breyer, Intel, Intuit, former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, the founders of Qualcomm and VMware, and many others.

The kicker: The app hasn't launched yet and it isn't going to for a few more months. Duplan's 50-person team raised the entire $25 million – the largest seed round in Silicon Valley history – on a mere working prototype and a beta test at Stanford University.

Duplan says his pitch deck didn't move VCs to invest but as soon as he showed them the app they were compelled to back him. He's also secured a number of patents for his technology.

What is Clinkle, the wonder app that made investors open their wallets?

It's hard to say. Duplan declined to share many details prior to Clinkle's launch, which is expected to be released on iOS and Android later this year. All he revealed was this:

"Our goal is to completely modernize how payments work," Duplan says. "What we're trying to do is basically take your phone and have it for the first time be able to rival cash and credit cards. We've developed a way for consumers to download an app, no hardware needed, and achieve scale from a software point of view."

He also said the name Clinkle comes from the sound change makes and its ability to turn into a verb ("Clink this!"). Also, the domain was available.

There are many reasons Clinkle's $25 million seed round is shocking.

First, Duplan is entering a crowded space where there are already clear winners infused with lots of cash, such as Square and PayPal, not to mention credit card companies like American Express. From Duplan's description, it's hard to see why Clinkle is different or easier to use than Square Wallet, which already lets people pay for items in stores dongle-free. 

Second, the product hasn't launched yet. Normally investors give founders in stealth mode a few hundred thousand dollars to see if a startup has legs before writing a massive check.

Third, this is Duplan's first company. He doesn't have clout like Sean Parker had before he raised Airtime's $35 million round, or Bill Nguyen had before raising $41 million for Color Labs. Furthermore, both Color Labs and Airtime failed spectacularly. If serial entrepreneurs can't make startups work with tens of millions of dollars pre-launch, can a young founder who lacks experience do better?

A final worry: After raising so much money, does Duplan have a high enough percentage left in Clinkle to stay motivated and see it through?

clinkleAndreessen Horowitz (A16Z), one of Duplan's lead investors, says he will have no trouble staying motivated. It also explained why $25 million isn't unreasonable for Clinkle.

Clinkle was first introduced to A16Z by Diane Green, the co-founder of VMWare. She suggested Margit Wennmachers, one of A16Z's partners, meet with Duplan, and funding talks spiraled from there.

Because so many people are invested in Clinkle, no one firm had to write a gigantic check. Having a lot of investors is also good for Duplan; as a first-time founder, he's smart to surround himself with industry leaders for guidance.

Also, the payments space is a huge industry to take on. Duplan is going to need a lot of money to make a dent.

"Even if you captured a small fraction of it, that's a very large endeavor," Wennmachers told Business Insider.

"Money is the cornerstone of society," Duplan agrees. "If we couldn't trade it, we'd all be farmers. It's a really, really important area and we've seen how tech has made so many things better. ... But still we're stuck with a piece of plastic and 16 digits and pieces of paper. The margin for error here is zero. That's why you need so much money to do [this kind of startup]. There are fraud and security issues, and we're obsessive about creating the best product possible."

Wennmacher says Duplan's app is brilliantly simple. His team has spent two years perfecting the technology and protecting it from a legal standpoint. The one screen shot Clinkle sent over looks just like a wallet with the option to select a credit card, cash or gift card as payment on the screen (see photo above).

A16Z was also impressed by Duplan's go-to market strategy. Rather than going after merchants (Square's approach), Clinkle is launching on college campuses and targeting early adopters there: the students.

College campuses are where apps such as Lulu and Snapchat are finding success and it's where Facebook famously took off in 2004. There are also fewer merchants to onboard if you stick to smaller communities like universities instead of entire cities.

"Clinkle is very, very different from everything else out there," Duplan insists. "I think we've seen all approaches to date be very niche. Peer-to-peer payments online [like Dwolla and Stripe]. Others let you accept credit card [payments] from phones [Square and Simple]. The really big deal here is just a consumer downloading an app and having that app replace current cash and cards. I don't think there's anything else that will let you do that."

We'll have to wait and see.

SEE ALSO: 12 common mistakes startups make

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This Photo Perfectly Captures The Celebration In The West Village After DOMA Was Struck Down

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A huge crowd gathered near the Stonewall Inn in the West Village yesterday after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that deprived gay couples federal marriage benefits.

The bar, at the intersection of Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue, was the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which sparked the gay rights movement in America. 

Early in the day, crowds listened to speakers including Edith "Edie" Windsor, the 83-year-0ld who brought the federal case against DOMA. The celebrations lasted late into the night, with people cheering and drinking champagne on a closed-off section of the street. Around 11:30, a giant puppet version of Lady Justice, complete with scales and blindfold, made an appearance outside the bar. 

stonewall inn after doma

 

stonewall inn crowd after doma

 

lady justice

DEAR GAY COUPLES: Here Are 22 Big Ways Your Lives Are About To Change

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Check Out The $528 Million Luxury Hotel Being Built In An Abandoned Chinese Quarry

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Construction has officially begun on a £345 million ($528 million) resort project in an abandoned quarry in China's Songjiang District, The Daily Mail reports.

Known as the Songjiang Shimao Hotel, the resort is part of a larger development plan to turn the area into a theme park, according to Li Xuyang, a senior manager for the Shimao Group.

Atkin, the British firm that designed the hotel, wanted to make sure it blended in with the landscape. They are planning to build an eco-friendly roof with grass and trees that uses natural resources for power.

Two of the building's 19 stories will be underwater with aquarium-style walls, so guests can look out into the quarry. The other 17 stories will be built inside the cave, which is at the base of the Tianmenshan Mountain, according to The Daily Mail.

The entire project is expected to take around three years to complete, opening in approximately 2015 with an average cost of £200 — or $306 — a room per night, The Daily Mail reports.

Check out some renderings of the futuristic project:

InterContinental Shimao hotel

 

InterContinental Shimao hotel

 

InterContinental Shimao hotel

SEE ALSO: China Has Built A Miniature Version Of Italy

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Bill Gates Buys $8.7 Million Equestrian Estate In Florida To Help His Daughter Become A World Class Horse Rider (MSFT)

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Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill Gates spent $8.7 million on an equestrian estate in Wellington, Florida, Gossip Extra reports

Gates is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $70 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index. For Gates, buying this mansion is like a normal person buying a nice sandwich. 

Two times previously Gates had rented the home. The combined cost of those rentals was $1.1 million, Gossip Extra says. At that price, Gates might as well just buy it. 

He bought the house because Wellington is a big horse area. His daughter is training to be a world-class show jumping rider, according to Gossip Extra. 

His other neighbors include Michael Bloomberg, Frank McCourt, and other wealthy individuals. 

We have photos of his new place, via Zillow, though they're not the highest resolution.

An overview of the estate.



What the house looks like.



A bathroom.



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10 Insider Secrets To Booking Cheap Flights

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argo planeWe like to refer to airfares as being similar to the stock market  –– they go up  one day and are down the next!).

But it’s important to remember that there are basic things you can do to make searching for cheap flights—and saving a lot of cash—easier.

Here are 10 simple tips for booking cheap flights.

1. Check Fares Early & Often

Do you know that, on average, the fare difference between the best day to buy your airline ticket and the worst is $236! And that doesn’t even include people who purchase within 7 days (who pay even more!). Airlines change fares constantly, often multiple times a week. So when it comes to buying an airline ticket, timing is everything. We recommend that you start checking fares as soon as you know you’ll be flying. Then, check continuously, at least once a week to get a sense of what’s a good deal. And when you find a fare you like, be ready to pull the trigger since the same fare may not be around for very long. We know it sounds crazy but the airlines use very sophisticated computer systems to adjust fares literally in real-time. Buying an airline ticket really can be like playing the stock market! (Learn about why airfares fluctuate.)

2. Buy at the Right Time

Knowing when to buy your flights can be the best tip for saving some serious cash on your next trip. We did a study last year and found that for domestic flights 49 days (about 7 weeks in advance) was, on average, the optimal time to buy plane tickets. But that number can vary quite a bit depending on where and when you’re going. The most important takeaway from our study: you’ll likely pay a big premium for booking too late (within 14 days), or for booking too early (more than 5 months in advance). Somewhere between 3 weeks and 4 months in advance is usually the sweet spot for flights within the U.S., although all bets are off if you’re traveling for a holiday or other peak time (see #4 below).

3. Some Days are Cheaper than Others

The day of the week you fly on can make a big difference in your airfare. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally the least expensive days for domestic flights and Friday and Sunday are the most expensive. (Monday, Thursday, and Saturday are in the middle). The difference between a Tuesday flight and a Sunday flight is $29 each way on average, or $58 round trip. If you’re traveling for the weekend, consider Saturday to Monday or Tuesday instead of Thursday or Friday to Sunday. And if you’re traveling for a full week, Tuesday to Tuesday or Wednesday to Wednesday is often your best bet. More generally, if you’re willing to be flexible, check a bunch of alternate dates around the same time period because you never know when there might be one combination of dates that has a fare a lot lower than the dates around it.

4. Be Mindful of Seasonality & Holidays

Knowing when to go can matter just as much as when to buy. Because the most important factor that influences the price of a particular flight is how full that flight is, it makes sense that travel during Spring Break, Thanksgiving, or Christmas time would be more expensive than normal. Similarly, some destinations, especially international ones, are very seasonal in nature so research the low and peak seasons for the places you’re interested in visiting. If you’re going to Europe, for example, you can find some amazing deals during the February and March low season, but if you want to go during the summer, you’ll pay up to double the price. If you do need to travel to popular places at popular times, you usually want to book earlier than you otherwise would since discount seats are likely to sell out quickly.

5. Mix and Match Airlines to get the Cheapest Flights

CheapAir.com features a “Mix & Match” category that essentially lets you combine two one way fares that may or may not be on the same airline, to form a round trip. “Mix & Match” options come in handy when either (1) the best possible fare for an itinerary requires travel on one airline going out and another airline coming back; or (2) the airline with the most convenient outbound flight doesn’t have a convenient return flight or vice versa.

6. Sign Up for Airfare Alerts and Track Routes

To help keep an eye on fare trends, sign up for CheapAir FareTracker alerts. You’ll get notified more quickly when a sale starts and get a head start when only a limited number of seats are available. Acting quickly when a fare sale starts can save you a lot of money. 

7. Prepare for Extra Bag Fees

Different airlines have different policies on baggage. Most charge for checked bags and some even charge for carry-on. You should factor that into your purchase decision. CheapAir makes that easy: when you see a list of flight options on our site, just hover over any of them with your mouse and you will see, among other things, the amount that airline charges for bags. With some airlines it’s also important that, once you buy your ticket, you pay for your bags ahead of time by going to the airline website because they may charge a premium if you wait until you get to the airport. Read moreaboutairline baggage fees and what to know before you fly. 

8. Check Alternate Airports

If there is more than one airport near your origin or destination city, check them both. The more options you have in terms of airports and travel dates, the more likely you will find what may be one of the last discount seats to where you are going. CheapAir automatically checks some nearby airports for you (San Francisco and Oakland; Miami and Ft. Lauderdale; New York and Newark; Washington, DC and Baltimore), but if you are willing to use other alternates, you should check those, too, by doing separate searches.

9. Break up Families or Groups into Separate Purchases

This one sounds counter-intuitive – the more people that go, the better the rate should be, right? That’s rarely true with the airlines; “group discounts” are few and far between. Because airlines will typically limit the number of seats per flight they sell at their lowest rate, sometimes you can actually price yourself right out of a good deal simply by having too many passengers. If, for instance, Airline X has two seats remaining on a flight at $100 and a bunch of other seats available for $150, if you do a search for a group of 4, the price that will come back will be $150. But if you search for two seats at a time you can buy two for $100 and only have to pay the extra $50 for the second two. How do you know when to do this? Always search first for your whole group at once to make sure that the flight has enough seats to accommodate everyone. Then try the same search for a smaller group. If the price comes out lower for the smaller group, buy the seats for the smaller group, and then do a subsequent search for the rest of your party. It can be a lot of work but, hey, if it saves money…

10. Buy on a Site that Offers Price Drop Payback

OK, this is a somewhat shameless plug, but we think it’s justified. CheapAir’s uniquePrice Drop Payback program is as simple as this: if the price for the same itinerary goes down any time before your trip, we’ll pay you back the difference in the form of a travel voucher for up to $100 per ticket! We are proud to be the only U.S. travel site that offers this buyer protection and we hope this program will arm you with buying confidence.

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Only An Elite Group Of College Students Can Still Afford To Study Abroad

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study abroad

As the majority of America’s college students struggle to pay rising tuition bills and prepare to graduate with overwhelming debt loads, an elite group of students are paying thousands more per semester to study Italian art in the Tuscan hills, or learn about modern architecture from the top floor of the world’s tallest building in Dubai.

It’s college for the 1 percent.

RELATED: 13 INSANELY EXPENSIVE STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS

With interest rates on student loans about to double, studying abroad has increasingly become a luxury for American college students.

Still, as one of the largest generations in the U.S. moves through the higher education system, the number of American college students studying abroad continues to steadily increase.

While those studying abroad only represents a small portion of college students (a little over 1 percent), in 2011, 273,986 were enrolled in a semester-program abroad, according to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers, up from just over 260,000 in 2009.

Most major universities continue to offer and add more programs, and tout them to perspective freshmen.

RELATED:  10 PUBLIC COLLEGES WITH INSANELY LUXURIOUS DORMS

The select number of American students studying abroad is likely attributed to the cost of the programs.

While the average cost of a study abroad program at a state university tends to be between $3,000 and $10,000 per semester, some schools offer programs that cost two to three times as much—many of which include swanky residence halls with private cooks and swimming pools, and luxurious excursions to popular destinations.

Click here for a slideshow of the 13 most expensive study abroad courses .

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SEE ALSO: Grad Student Lived On A Boat For 14 Months To Escape Student Loan Debt

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Chinese Tourist Finds And Returns A Bag Of Diamonds Worth $32 Million

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Huge Diamond

Chinese tourist and jewelry enthusiast Fu Zhuli made a surprising find during her visit to Hong Kong's Jewelry & Gem Fair: a forgotten bag of diamonds worth a cool $32 million (HK$250 million). 

“I went to the cafe to take a rest and have some chocolate ice-cream. I saw two foreigners chatting…after a while, they left – empty-handed. After a while, when the cleaners came to take the rubbish out, I realized there was a black bag at the foot of their table,” she said of finding the bag, according to the South China Morning Post. 

She correctly identified the men as Israeli, and headed to pick up the bag so she could return it to them. She told the SCMP that she looked inside and found the bag was full of  “good quality, soy-bean-sized roughs" — diamonds that she estimated were worth between $130,104 to $65,052 each. 

Fai decided to guard the bag at the cafe and wait for the foreigners to return, wrote IDEX news— and sure enough, one of the Israeli men came rushing back to the scene. 

"The shirt on his back was soaked with sweat, and his face was pale. He rushed in and saw the bag with me and leaned forward, uttered some incoherent words and kept bowing and saying ‘thank you’ in Putonghua,” she said, according to IDEX.

She said that she reprimanded him "for being so careless and leaving something so precious behind." 

“I never thought of doing that, I just felt like [the men] would come back to get it so I just sat there and waited,” said Fu to the Shenzhen Daily, noting that she is a Christian, and her husband is a police officer, according to the SCMP.

"I am a very honest, simple person and I believe in sincerity."

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5 Reasons You Should Rock Shorts In The Office

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Wearing shorts to work is a hot debate.  What you can and can’t get away with depends on your industry’s official and unofficial approach to dress code. 

Shorts' popularity is on the rise, not only with the expected 18-24 year old age group, but with women 55 or older.

Silk, leather, tailored or pleated, pairing shorts with a top or blazer easily amps up your outfit from beachside to boardroom. Watch below to find out why it's now acceptable to wear shorts to the office.   

 

SEE ALSO: These Maps Prove Americans Speak Totally Different Versions Of The English Language

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Here's Where You Can Swim With The World's Largest Shark [PHOTOS]

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Whale Shark

In the village of Tan-awan, on the southern Philippines island of Cebu, whale shark sightings along the shore have become a prime tourist attraction.  

It was not always this way.  

Giant whale sharks typically swim through warm, tropical waters alone. Within the past couple of years, the gentle sea giants have been drawn to Tan-awan's coastlines in large numbers by fishermen who hand-feed the sharks with krill.

The practice has created a lucrative business opportunity for local fishing boats that have started whale shark watching tours, but sparked outrage among environmentalists who say the feeding technique is unnatural and could change the animals' migratory and eating behavior

Meanwhile, as many as 300 tourists a day visit the town in hopes of getting an up-close experience with the marine beasts.

Tam-awan is a coastal town in Oslob, located on the Southern Philippines island of Cebu.



Travelers come to this tropical location expecting to swim with and feed whale sharks, the biggest fish and shark in the sea.



Whale sharks can grow up to 40 feet long, or roughly the size of a school bus.



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We Went To France To Find Out How Airbus Builds The World's Biggest Passenger Jet

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Airbus A380 assembly toulouse

The Airbus A380 is one of the most incredible planes flying today, even judged by size alone.

It usually seats around 500 passengers, but can hold as many as 853 — making it the largest passenger aircraft on the planet.

After watching the behemoth perform at this year's Paris Air Show, we took a trip south to Toulouse, the French city where Airbus assembles many of its planes, to get an inside look at just what it takes to put together the A380.

After a trip by boat, barge, and truck, the various parts that make up the jumbo jet are assembled in an enormous building, in a process that takes just 10 to 11 days — fast enough that Airbus can produce 2.5 per month.

(The process of building and testing the entire plane, which sells for nearly $400 million, takes between 10 months and a year.)

It's remarkable.

Note: We've censored the tail of the jets in these photos, per Airbus's request to protect their customers' privacy.

Before work starts in Toulouse, the pieces need to get there. The various parts of Airbus planes are built at plants around Europe. Usually, they're flown to Toulouse in the endearingly ugly 'Beluga' cargo plane.



But the A380 is huge — so huge, its various parts don't fit in the Beluga.



So Airbus came up with a special delivery process, the Oversize Transport Itinerary.



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9 Brooklyn Barbecue Joints Even A Southerner Would Love

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Fette Sau barbecueIn the past, meat lovers may have flocked to the southern states for the best ribs or pulled pork, but some amazing barbecue is being made right here in New York City, specifically in Brooklyn.

With the introduction of new barbecue joints like Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue, and the expansion of beloved favorites like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, these days Brooklyn can hold its own against classic barbecue towns like Atlanta, Memphis, and St. Louis. Chefs are even beginning to develop what Thrillist is calling "New York-style barbecue."

Here are nine barbecue greats in Brooklyn that even southerners will love. Let us know if we missed one.

BrisketTown

359 Bedford Avenue

"Who knew Brooklyn would become the destination for barbecue? ...And I am from Texas where we are the undisputed kings of barbecue brisket..." wrote Yelp reviewer Grant C.

BrisketTown, of Delaney's Barbecue, started as the pop-up BrisketLab before it put down roots in Williamsburg last December. The restaurant is so insanely popular that they have two dinner times: 6 to 6:30pm, when they serve “pre-orders,” and 6:30pm to sold out. It's easy to understand why they sell out: The meat is juicy and tender, and on your birthday you get it for free.



Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

604 Union Street

“The food is great. I've lived in Texas, and this stuff is for real,” wrote Yelp reviewer Matthew K.

Dinosaur BBQ grew from a small BBQ joint in Syracuse, New York, to a formidable chain with seven locations. Its Park Slope, Brooklyn, location just opened on June 19.

The menu is monstrous, and customers pig out on BBQ pork ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and more.



Fatty 'Cue

91 South Sixth Street

"Some barbecue lovers might sneer at the idea of rhubarb kimchee served with their brisket, but at Fatty 'Cue... the meat is as perfectly smoked as anything you’re likely to find in the South," writes New York Post restaurant critic Max Gross.

Fatty 'Cue looks at barbecue through an Asian lens, making it completely okay, and completely delicious, to pair pork spare ribs with a yellow curry custard instead of your more typical bourbon barbecue sauce. Most notable on the menu is the half pig head. Exactly what it sounds like, it comes with a spring onion salad, pickles, and steamed bao.



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This Creepy Art Project Dies A Little Every Time It's 'Liked' On Facebook

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liked to death

Jean Baudrillard, the French philosopher whose ideas inspired The Matrix, didn't live long enough to sign up for a Facebook account.

It's a shame. As somebody who wrote about reality and simulations, he would've seen his theories echoed in the way social media allows us to create a virtual persona—and how that persona starts to become equally, if not more, important than our real life selves.

Geoffrey Lillemon and Stööki explore similar conceptual territory with Like to Death, a subversive project that explores Facebook's digital shelf-life. Inverting Facebook's most popular interactive mechanism--the omnipresent "like"--the project actually disintegrates a bit with every thumbs up, whereas not liking it will preserve the project from experiencing an untimely digital death.

Upon loading the Like to Death website, users are presented with flickering, pixelated white light on a black void. In the middle, the robed figure of Death, flanked by three symbols. On Death's fingers, four heads in place of rings. Lillemon and Stööki describe these symbols as “demons”—an alternative to terms like digital personas or simulacra. As more and more people “Like” the project, the portrait gets destroyed “by being engulfed in flames and particles.” And if users refresh the page, they will see Death undergoing further disintegration as likes accumulate. 

Stööki, founded by Luke Hippolyte, Nadia Abbas and Quincey Cassell Williams, is in one part an independent jewelry and apparel label, but also an art collective. Based in London, Stööki is interested in fusing jewelry with garments, and transforming “graphic art into a 3D form.” Geoffrey Lillemon, a leading figure in the contemporary Net Art movement, works with digital 3D animation and modeling. His style is one that's clearly inspired by the Tumblr generation's lo-fi, DIY approach to visual art. 

liked to death

Asked to describe Like to Death's “mortal time based experience,” Lillemon had this to say:

“It's art that may or may not last as long as archiving is possible. In this case we take a portrait of Death, and his state of existence is drastically altered and diminished by people clicking the 'Like' button until it is completely destroyed. If people like it to death, then it's gone forever. But if they don't like it, then it keeps on existing. So the way I see it is, if they 'like' it, they don't want it to live; therefore not liking it means they like it.”

Stööki often use social media to engage with their audiences, but recognize the pitfalls of this type of social interaction.“It's ironic that some people have a constant battle with saying things like 'I'm going to delete my Facebook, or I'm trying to give this a break and stick to Twitter, and then two months later they are back on it,” said Stööki. “It's more about making a point when it comes to Like to Death—we are all aware of online personas, but we never really explore the fact that it takes many of us to build a social network and many of us to destroy it.

“We don't actually realize the power of 'Like' and 'Share' just gets stronger and stronger. Who knows, one day we may be able to vote just by clicking on one 'Like' button,” they added.

liked to deat

liked to death

liked to death

See more images of 'Liked To Death' at The Creators Project >

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I Ate A Boatload Of Gulf Coast Seafood In Mobile, Alabama

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salad with grilled shrimp

Before arriving in Mobile, Ala. for a weekend trip to see that the city's not actually a miserable place, I received dozens of emails from Mobilians telling me I had to try the seafood while I was in town.

Mobilians take pride in their seafood, and with good reason: Crabs, oysters, shrimp, and fish arrive fresh from the Gulf of Mexico, a short trip down the Mobile River. There are dozens of restaurants in and around the city that serve seafood from the Gulf, and many have become famous for their preparations of dishes like gumbo, fried shrimp, and oysters Rockefeller.

Click here to see all the seafood I ate in Mobile >

The commercial seafood industry is major local employer, providing 11,000 jobs in Alabama in 2011, according to the Alabama Seafood Marketing and Testing Program. And fishing is also a popular hobby for people who live around Mobile Bay.

I love seafood, and was blown away by some of the local delicacies (how come they don't serve West Indies Salad up north?). But I also recalled reading some scary stories about Gulf seafood after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and wondered about the safety of the local seafood three years later.

Alabama started testing seafood from the Gulf shortly after the spill, and continues to conduct monthly tests of oysters, crabs, shrimp, and fish from local waters. So far, none of those samples have shown oil or dispersants above a government-mandated "level of concern," said Chris Blankenship, the program administrator for the ASMTP (created through a grant from BP) and the director of marine resources for Alabama.

Despite stories about mutated shrimp  including a disturbing report from Al Jazeera  Blankenship said he hadn't seen any deformed specimens, or heard complaints from local fishermen.

"Early on, testing was a major part of our marketing campaign," he said. "But after a year, few people even asked about test results. Especially along the [Gulf] coast, people don't have as much of a concern and continue to enjoy their seafood."

But it may still be too early to see the long-term effects of the spill on sea life, because the biggest impact is often not on stronger adults, but on juvenile populations and eggs, said John Hocevar, a marine biologist and the Oceans director at Greenpeace.

"One of the difficult things is that it can take a really long time to fully assess the impact of something like this," Hocevar said. "We still don't know what we're dealing with, and we won't know for several more years."

But he did reassure me that I had no reason to worry after eating three straight days of seafood. Click through to check out some of the fantastic seafood I ate on my trip to Mobile, including some local specialties.

Click here to see all the seafood I ate in Mobile >

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 paid my travel expenses and arranged my travel in the city. I'm not covering the mayoral race, but will be writing about my trip here.

A ton of people emailed me about Felix's Fish Camp, a popular spot overlooking Mobile Bay that serves some of the best seafood in town.



First up was a West Indies Salad, a Mobile specialty that is almost impossible to find outside the area. The simple crab salad contains white onion and vinegar, marinated overnight.



I tried the "One-One-One" soup sampler at Felix's. The turtle soup and gumbo were tasty, but the crab soup with lump crab straight from the Gulf (bottom) was my favorite.



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Take A Tour Of The Coolest NYC Office We've Ever Seen

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fueled office tour bi dng 8980The Fueled Collective is a 18,000 square foot co-working office space in New York City's posh SoHo neighborhood.

The Collective was started by Rameet Chawla and Ryan Matzner as a new business to complement the company's lucrative app development firm, Fueled.

Chawla has been involved with the tech industry since 2004. His primary company, Fueled, makes gorgeous apps for heavyweight companies like Porsche, Ducati, Proctor & Gamble, Hallmark, and the Chicago Bulls, to name a few.

Chawla envisions The Collective as a place where his company can work alongside like-minded startups to further collaboration and community. He spared no expense designing and hand-crafting many of The Collective's staple pieces.

What has resulted is an extremely luxurious, comfortable, and classy office space that would make even the top office designers jealous.

A single desk will set you back $650 per month and they are all gone ahead of today's big reveal.

For companies that want to secure a spot in The Collective, all hope isn't lost. There is a waiting list you can sign up for. But if you're dying to see The Collective in person you can always arrange a personal tour.

The Fueled Collective is a brand-new co-working space in New York's posh SoHo neighborhood.



As soon as you enter the 18,000 square foot space you feel comfortable. This is the office's "Moneypenny" Chelsea Bingham.



Each of the desk areas is broken down into different sections. If your group needs peace and quiet you'll be placed in a section that's away from those that are more animated.



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Citi Field Is Going All Out With The Menu For This Year's All-Star Game

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Bacon Macaroni and cheese

No matter where it's held, the annual Major League Baseball All-Star game is almost as much of a culinary event as it is a sporting event. Each year, vendors at the home field does their best to woo attendees with specialty dining options.

This year the game will be held on Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field, and the Mets franchise is eager to impress fans with their food.

We attended an exclusive media tasting hosted by the Mets and their food and beverage partner ARAMARK to sample this year's All-Star Game menu. With dishes from Pat LaFrieda of the famed LaFrieda Meat Purveyors and Dave Pasternack, head chef at Esca and culinary partner of Mario Batali, it's a sure bet that game-goers will leave satisfied no matter who wins.

Chef Robert Flowers, executive chef for ARAMARK at Citi Field, spent the off-season crafting a meatball hero just for the All-Star Game. His delicious take on the ballpark classic features his family's 300-year-old Italian gravy recipe from Sicily.



I got up close and personal with the hero, which is made with a blend of LaFrieda Meats' ground beef, pork and veal and is served on one of the best sesame rolls I've ever tasted. It's topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella and fried basil.



New York pizza shop Two Boots featured their "Grandma Joan" pie for the event, a simple but delicious compilation of plum tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella, fresh olive oil and parmesan cheese.



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Pippa Middleton Loves Pimms So Much That Diageo Had To Deny She's A Spokesperson

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Pippa Middleton Diageo has denied it has any commercial agreement with Pippa Middleton to promote its Pimms drink. The drinks company, when approached by the Daily Mail over Middleton’s frequent mentions of the product in her magazine columns, while she has been spotted and pictured on several occasions in public drinking the product, denied that she was being paid to promote the product.

“Diageo has not paid Pippa Middleton to plug Pimm’s, though we are happy she seems to like the product,” a spokesperson for Diageo stated.

According to the Daily Express, in this week’s article for the Spectator, where Middleton is writing a ‘Wimbledon Diary’ Middleton wrote: ‘I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a Pimm’s or three when I’m watching a game’, adding: ‘Only pints will do, frankly, since half the glass is ice anyway.” She continued to elaborate: “I try to smuggle mine under my chair and sip it when the cameras aren’t on me. “Oversized sunglasses help the disguise and mean I can nod off unnoticed after one too many Pimm’s in the sun.” Middleton’s spokesperson has yet to comment on any potential commercial deal.

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The 11 Most Polluted Beaches In The US

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Avalon Beach

Could a swim at your favorite beach make you sick?

According to data released by the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), American beaches were closed or on advisory for over 20,000 days last year because of high levels of bacteria and pollutants in the waters.

The NRDC analyzed water testing data from 3,000 beaches across the country, and identified the 11 most polluted beaches in the U.S—six of which are in the Great Lakes region.

These repeat offenders have consistently had water samples with high bacteria counts and contamination. Beachgoers who swim in these polluted waters are at risk of contracting all sorts of illnesses, from skin rashes and ear infections to stomach flus and hepatitis.

Before you head to the beach this summer, check on the water quality of the beaches in your state at the NRDC's website.

Avalon Beach, Calif.

Location: Los Angeles County, California

The Catalina Island town 26 miles off the Southern California coast has an old sewer system on the brink of deteriorating. A $5 million project is aiming to stop waste from infiltrating the waterways. Over 50 percent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution.

Of five monitored sections at Avalon Beach, the area 100 feet east of the Green Pleasure Pier was only one without persistent contamination problems. 



Doheny State Beach, Calif.

Location: Orange County, California

A popular surf spot, Doheny Beach is also a haven for pollution because of its inlet location, sewage runoff, and bird droppings. Over 30 percent of water samples exceeded state standards of pollution.

The majority of the beach's sections had persistent contamination problems.



Poche County Beach, Calif.

Location: Orange County, California

Over 65 percent of water samples exceeded state standards for pollution in Poche Beach. The beach is exposed sewage water that's often flushed out of storm drains during heavy rains, so the county has invested in a multi-million dollar storm water treatment plant to clean up the beach. Recent dry spells have temporarily masked the problem.

Last year, a falconer was hired to chase away birds leaving droppings along the shoreline.



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Now You Can Rent A Lamborghini Gallardo From Hertz

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lamborghini ferrari hertz

Rental cars no longer need to be boring. For travelers who want to drive in style, Hertz is now offering a fleet of supercars through its Hertz Dream Cars program.

The fleet includes rides from Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Tesla, and more, at 35 locations around the U.S.

Naturally, a top of the line rental costs more than a few days in an old Chevy Impala. Hertz's Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Bentleys start at $1,500 per day, and cost $3 for every mile above the 75 mile limit.

The Aston Martin Vantage and Audi R8 both start at $1,000 per day, with the same $3/mile penalty. The cheaper end of the luxury lineup, including Porsche and Mercedes rides, will cost you $350 per diem, with a $.49 penalty for roll of the odometer over the 75 mile limit.

Here's the full list of available whips. Hertz does not disclose how many it has of each:

  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage
  • Audi R8
  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Cadillac CTS-V
  • Ferrari (California, F430)
  • Lamborghini Gallardo
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Mercedes-Benz AMG (SLS, C63, E63)
  • Mercedes-Benz SL550, S550 and G550
  • Porsche (911, Cayenne, Boxster, Panamera)
  • SRT Viper
  • Tesla Model S

SEE ALSO: The 50 Sexiest Cars Of The Past 100 Years

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