Quantcast
Channel: Business Insider
Browsing All 49192 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.
0

5 Basic Tips For A Budding Whiskey Drinker

0
0

The Glenfarclas whiskyThe world of whiskey, though long considered an “old boys club,” is slowly opening its doors to the masses.

In fact, more women than ever are drinking whiskey, Pernod Ricard recently USA CEO Bryan Fry told Bloomberg Businessweek.

In business, it's also important to know the basics of whiskey, said Claire Bertin-Lang, a spirits expert and owner of CBL Liquid Consulting. Like wine, it's seen as a status symbol because there's so much to learn about it, but people also bond over it, à la Mad Men, she said.

I'm a novice when it comes to whiskey, but recently picked up some tips for tasting at a chocolate and whiskey pairing event hosted by Richart Chocolates and pop-up retail shop STORY in New York.

Know what you're tasting.

"Whiskey," you should know, is different from "whisky." Whisky without an "e" only describes the ones from Scotland; all other types—from Ireland, Kentucky, Canada, etc.—are spelled with an "e."

The first sip is just to shock your palate.

If you're pairing whiskey with food, taste the whiskey first to acclimate your palate to the high alcohol content, Bertin-Lang said. Take a small sip, swish, and swallow, then wait before taking another sip. Then try the food, and then the whiskey again to see how it's changed. I tried a 12-year-old Balvenie, which had an oakey taste that turned more cherry after eating a vanilla macaron.

You won't taste what others taste.

Also like wine, different people can get different notes from the same whiskey. And the notes you get can also change depending on what you're eating with the whiskey.

It should taste strong.

Bertin-Lang says that a good whiskey should have a strong taste, but it should become more subdued as you acclimate to it. However, a good whiskey shouldn't burn going down. I tried an Ardbeg Corryvreckan, and the first thing I noticed was a strong taste of smoke and iodine. But despite the taste, it didn't burn at any point. 

Ice and water are totally acceptable.

It's completely acceptable to put a splash of water or a little ice in your whiskey if the taste is still too strong for you, Bertin-Lang said. Just be careful not to dilute it too much. A good alternative is a little water, plus a couple of whiskey stones to also keep the drink cool.

SEE ALSO: Here's How The Experts Eat Chocolate

Join the conversation about this story »

    


These Simple Tricks Will Make You Into An iPhone Photography Pro (AAPL)

0
0

artsy iphone photo

The iPhone's camera can shoot at an impressive 8 megapixels in size, making it a good replacement for most small digital cameras. Then consider that you almost always have it with you. And let's not forget there are loads of apps that can extend the camera's capabilities. Now you've got a powerful photographic device on your hands.

Apple devices famously come with minimalist manuals, if any at all. And maybe you're not the most experienced photographer in the world.

Fret no more. Here's your bootcamp for instantly taking better pictures with your iPhone.

Always have it with you.

Obvious? You bet. Just remember the best camera is the one you have with you.



Hold it steady!

The best bet here is to brace it against something sturdy – a railing or streetlight, for example. Nothing can ruin a potentially great photo like blurred action right through the middle of it.



Use a tripod mount.

If you have shaky hands or still just can't seem take a steady picture, just use a tripod mount. We recommend the Glif, available here for $20.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    


Here's Where Model Scouts Go To Spot New Talent In New York City

0
0

We’re pounding the pavement of Times Square in search of the world’s next top model…at McDonald’s.

Who knew the fast food chain would also be a place where model scouts like Lanny Zenga from One Management regularly scout for fresh faces?

It sounds counterproductive but Zenga explains that it’s these types of chain locations located in New York’s most touristy locations (Times Square, Herald Square) that a scout can find a foreign or midwestern beauty.

Other prime locations: H&M in Herald Square, the Zara next to Bryant Park.

“Seriously, if you want to be discovered as a model, just go to these places, it’s where model scouts go,” he quips.

It’s summertime in the city and a prime time for scouts like Zenga to find fresh faces to add to their model boards.

“In the winter you can’t really make out the body of a girl who’s bundled up,” he says. “In the summer girls really can’t hide their bodies and we get to see what they really look like.”

Zenga has been working as a scout at various agencies for a little under a decade. His current employer, One Management, represents some of the world’s top models including Karolina Kurkova, Selita Ebanks, and Poppy Delevingne, to name a few.

And though we’re scouring the city streets for those rare over 5’10″ size 0 birds, Zenga admits that the big apple isn’t exactly a hotspot for finding fresh faces. “Most of the girls you see on the streets are already models,” he says.

Agel Gaya, a modeling scout at New York Model Management agrees.

“Everyone who has that potential is signed so what I do is instead of scouting here I’ll go to music festivals, concerts, a lot of place you’ll see young, good looking people,” he says.

“Typically I’ll go to Europe to street scout,” Zenga says. “The country right now that’s hot is Denmark and the Scandinavian countries. When I went there a couple of months ago every girl on the street was scoutable. I swear, I walked around and everyone was f***ing gorgeous!”

On a recent weekday afternoon I tagged along with Zenga to get a glimpse inside the model scouting world and to find out how exactly he goes about approaching potential models, what he looks for, and if it’s at all possible to be scouted as a model in one of the biggest fashion capitals of the world.

“Flag her down, oh my God, yes, her!” Zenga say to his assistant, Jamie Davis, a recent grad. We’re a good distance away from the woman he’s eyeing and Davis is hustling to catch up with her. It’s apparent that Zenga has an eagle eye when it comes to spotting what he’s looking for.

fashionista

“Some people look at what people are wearing, I look at their bone structure,” he says.

Jamie jets towards an Asian girl. She’s tall, lean, perfect, and carries a Rebecca Minkoff purse.

“Have you ever been asked to model before?” she asks, catching her breath.

“Yeah, I’m already a model,” the woman replies.

“Of course you are! Which agency are you signed to? If you ever need a change, contact me,” Davis says, giving her a card.

This exchange repeats itself throughout the day. New York is swarming with models.

We start out in NoHo on Lafayette Street, and head north to Times Square.

Zenga–tall, lean, scruffy–could be a model himself. He’s been with One for the past couple of years, and trained his eye at Ford and Muse before that. He travels about twice a month in search of new faces. So far he’s been all over Europe, to China, and in the States he’s visited a smaller agency in Texas.

We finally get to Union Square where Zenga jets towards a girl. She’s around 5’7” (a little short given that female models usually are at least 5’9” with few exceptions, like Kate Moss).

“Wait, this isn’t for America’s Next Top Model, is it?” the woman asks. “Because I’ve been scouted before and I’m really not interested.”

“No, no, no,” Davis replies. “We’re from One Management. How old are you?”

The girl–lean, with wispy hair, a quirky smile, oversized specs and a Williamsburg vibe–shies away.

fashionista

“I’m 21,” she winks. “Okay, fine, fine. My real age? 26.”

They exchange cards. We walk away and I ask if 26 is too old.

“I’m not going to call her back,” Zenga explains. “If she were 10 years younger then yes.”

Given the new CFDA regulations stipulating that runway models in New York be at least 18, and the year-old Vogue health initiative that requires models to be 16, I ask Zenga about the age at which he feels it’s appropriate to scout models.

“In Europe they actually poach girls who are way younger in age–like 12–and they’ll groom them to become supermodels,” he says. “I wish we could do that here, look at that girl over there.”

He points to a small pre-pubescent child who walks with her group of friends. She’s petite, thin, a brunette with an amazing face.

“She would be someone I’d want to groom to become a huge star,” he says.

Zenga mentions how pertinent it is to get the girls early on, work them out at yoga studios the agency sends them to, and then provide housing for them. Most of the models stay in Williamsburg, which, according to Zenga, is a haven for models.

“Williamsburg is probably the best-looking place to go to if you want to see beautiful people everywhere,” he says.

And the least gorgeous place?

“Queens?”

We saunter towards the Flatiron District and Zenga’s eyes grow bigger. There’s a group of tourists taking photographs.

“This is usually where we find some good ones!” he exclaims, running towards them.

He quickly shakes his head in disappointment. Nothing good in that batch, apparently.

Zenga’s eye wanders like a four-year old in Dylan’s Candy Bar. He’s excitable, eyes girls like they’re different flavors, and notices every person that comes across his radar: “That girl running was just in a Vogue spread!”; “Look at that hot guy, he’s totally a model!”; “Oh wow, that girl is a plus-sized supermodel.” That plus-sized supermodel turns out to be Camilla Hansen at Muse whom Zenga once worked with.

The two embrace and catch-up for a bit in the summer heat before we head to Herald Square.

“We’re in good grounds right now!” he says without a hint of irony as we stand on the corner of 34th Street and Sixth Ave.

“Look at that girl! Okay, never mind she could lose a little weight. Oh! Jamie that girl over there!”

She gives him a look, her left eyebrow raised.

“Her? Okay, let me get a double take.”

A woman is on her cell phone hiding under an awning at a deli away from the sun.

“Yeah, no,” Davis says.

We walk into an H&M there where we find no potentials, then into an Urban Outfitters. While browsing through the racks we come across a young teen, a redhead, who’s shopping with her mother.

“That’s her! That’s what I’m talking about, young girls with their moms,” he says, smiling.

They approach the young girl together and ask if she’s ever thought about modeling. The girl shyly looks at her mother, as if looking for an answer.

“Oh, we’re leaving tomorrow back to Indiana,” the mom says. “I don’t know if modeling is for her actually. Sorry.”

The teenager looks back at Zenga, bashful and flattered. They walk off and the young girl looks back again.

“We planted a seed in her,” Zenga says. “She’s so perfect that I’m sure she’ll talk to her mom and really get on her case until she finally comes see us. I hope she does.”

We end our day at Jamba Juice exhausted and without luck.

Then, suddenly Zenga taps me on the shoulder while we sip on our juice.

“Her!”

fashionista

I look up to spot a beautiful black woman in the back of Jamba Juice. She’s tall, lean, gorgeous. Her hair is in braids, her face clear without makeup. She wears her uniform so well it could be mistaken for an outfit some hipster would put together.

“I’m so glad we seriously at least found one girl!” Davis exclaims.

Zenga immediately calls out for her.

“Excuse me, excuse me!” he beckons.

“Yeah, can I help you?” she asks, wiping her hands with a towel.

“Have you ever thought about modeling?” Zenga says, a flicker of light twinkling in his brown eyes.

“That’s so funny you ask,” she says. “But I’m already signed.”

More from Fashionista:

The 15 Fashion Brands That Do Social Media Best

The Top 20 Fashion Schools In The US

Timo Weiland Teaches Us How To DJ

Join the conversation about this story »

    


How Swiss Watchmaker Patek Philippe Handcrafts Its Famous $500,000 Watches

0
0

making of a patek phillipe watch bloomberg

Patek Philippe watches are some of the most coveted timepieces on the planet.

Not only is each one hand assembled, but they're also made with the finest materials and can take a year to put together.

But owning the most luxurious watch in the world is going to cost you: The split-second chronograph version is $500,000.

And even if you could afford the outrageous price tag, they're not easy to come by since Patek Philippe only makes 50,000 of its watches per year. That's compared to competing Swiss brand Rolex, which pumps out 700,000 of its flashy timepieces annually.

Bloomberg TV recently visited the watch-making lab of the famous Swiss brand and took an inside look at how the watches are put together. You can watch their full video here.

Patek Philippe is a famous Swiss luxury watch manufacturer founded in 1851. It's widely considered to be the most prestigious watch brand in the world.

Source: Bloomberg TV



Its split-second chronograph watches are immensely popular, with each one costing $500,000. Patek Philippe only makes 50,000 of its watches every year (that's 14 times less than competitor Rolex).

Source: Bloomberg TV



That's because the watches they produce are incredibly complicated — it takes 12 months for the craftsman to build.

Source: Bloomberg TV



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    


The Inventor Of The Cronut Just Released A Frozen S'more

0
0

The inventor of the cronut just released his latest creation: a frozen s'more. 

Dominique Ansel's latest creation comes on the heels of his popular croissant and donut hybrid. We went to the Manhattan bakery to sample the creation for ourselves (review to come). 

"Ansel’s rendition encases the vanilla ice cream with a chocolate wafer and marshmallow mixed with dondurma (a thick, Turkish ice cream); skewers the whole thing on an applewood-smoked willow branch; and then torches it," writes Dominique Zamora at Foodbeast

According to Grub Street, the s'more and ice cream confection costs $7. 

Here's Ansel torching his new invention:

dominque ansel

And here's a close-up of the s'more: 

frozen s'more 

SEE ALSO: The Most Famous Brand In Every State

Join the conversation about this story »

    


A Close Look At China's Growing Appetite For Luxury Brands

0
0

women china chanel luxuryDespite China's recent crackdown on luxury spending, wealthy Chinese buyers are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to buying high-end goods, a new report from Digital Luxury Group shows.

They increasingly see luxury purchases as "lifestyle" rather than "celebratory," and have become more interested in smaller niche brands, as opposed to big established brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Jing Daily recently wrote.

This year, Chanel overtook Louis Vuitton as the most sought-after luxury brand in China, DLG found.

“Many brands expected that an increase in Chinese sophistication would reduce the cultural gap with their overseas consumers," said David Sadigh, Founder and CEO of Digital Luxury Group. "In some cases, it actually contributed to the development of unique local preferences, independent from Western tastes, thus challenging luxury brands in terms of product offering but also opening up the way for new  opportunities to grow in the Chinese market."

DLG shared the overall results of their annual luxury index for China with Business Insider. For a more in-depth look, download a copy of the report here.







See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    


Food Hacks That Will Make Your Life Infinitely Easier

A Martha's Vineyard Estate Just Hit The Market For A Record $118 Million

0
0

HP for web

A 314-acre property in Martha’s Vineyard has come on the market for $118 million, marking a record pricy listing for the New England vacation hotspot and one of the most expensive listings in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The West Tisbury, Mass., property, owned by Gerry DeBlois and a family trust, features 1,200 feet of oceanfront beach, two freshwater ponds, a four-bedroom, 5,600-square-foot main house, a gym and a 12,000-bottle wine cellar.

The home also opens up to a saltwater swimming pool, and features a 700-square-foot one-bedroom guesthouse on site.

Some of the property is undevelopable under a conservation easement, and is also available for purchase in smaller parcels. Among them is a 100-acre parcel that is available for $31 million.

Not too far away in Greenwich, Conn., a waterfront estate called Copper Beach Farm hit the market in May for $190 million with David Ogilvy & Associates. [WSJ]

Join the conversation about this story »

    


A Classic 1957 Jaguar Once Driven By JFK Is Up For Auction On eBay

0
0

A classic Jaguar once driven by John and Jackie Kennedy is up for sale on eBay Motors. The 1957 Mark I was owned by Jackie's stepfather, Hugh Auchincloss, and kept at his Virginia estate.

It has been fully restored, according to the auction site. The body, engine, and transmission are all original factory parts.

The auction is open to pre-approved bidders only, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the the Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Haiti.

The auction ends at 9pm EST, July 14. eBay would not speculate on a possible final price, but noted that Winston Churchill's 1939 Daimler DB 18 Drophead sold in April for $615,000.

Here's the car:

1957 jaguar mark i jfk kennedy

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

Join the conversation about this story »

    


The Biggest Stereotypes Of 50 US Cities

0
0

venice beach los angeles california yogaI always find it really fascinating to find out how people from different places can perceive the same things so differently.

And especially how people from other countries, regions, and cities perceive my city, region, and country – what they focus on, and what things stand out in their mind. In other words – people’s country, region, and city stereotypes.

For years – it has always been an interesting conversation to have – but finding out stereotypes has always been anecdotal. But last year – Renee DiResta had the brilliant idea to apply something that we all use everyday – Google AutoSuggest – to find out US State Stereotypes (you can see that post here).

Here’s the same methodology used on the top 50 US cities (by metro area population) to get the top 4 to 5 city stereotypes of each.

Just FYI – Google Auto Suggest works by using the most common and trending searches to auto-suggest the rest of your search. So when you go to Google and start typing in a search, Google uses other previously searched for terms to try to guess what you are looking for.

So, for this experiment, the search “why is CITYNAME so” will auto suggest the terms that people most commonly (or most recently) are using to complete that search. That search is like a window into what people are actually thinking and trying to find out about your city. Here they are in descending order of population (#50 to NYC).

Just to be clear – the images are from Google. They are not my perceptions. They are made up of what people actually search for.

50. Salt Lake City

50saltlakecity

Yes – I confirmed that Salt Lake City is the most smog-choked cities in the US. And yes, they do have absurdly wide streets.

49. Buffalo

49buffalo

Alas, I didn’t have any other pre-conceptions about Buffalo. This is going to be a theme among all the rust belt cities.

48. Birmingham

48birmingham

Apparently Birmingham is important (ie, people who slept through the Civil Rights part of history class?) – and I can totally confirm that it is quite ugly. There are definitely beautiful parts – but I-20 and I-59 really mess things up.

47. Raleigh

47raleigh

Yes – Raleigh is growing that fast. Not sure about the boring part.

46. Hartford

46hartford

I had no idea about this one.

45. New Orleans

45neworleans

Yes, New Orleans is all of those – but is coming back from what I hear.

44. Richmond

44richmond

Expensive?

43. Louisville

43louisville

That fits from what my sources say – it’s a great city, but no one knows quite why.

42. Oklahoma City

42oklahomacity

Oklahoma City is riding on the coattails of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant here.

41. Memphis

41memphis

This seems to be a theme among America’s third-tier cities.

40. Jacksonville

40jacksonville

Why smoky? The Okefenokee Swamp.

39. Milwaukee

39milwaukee

Apparently the last 2 actually fit. It’s cold – it’s nearly in Canada, and it is highly segregated.

38. Providence

Sorry Providence, not enough people cared enough to Google anything about you.

37. Virginia Beach

I had no idea Virginia Beach was the #37 metro area in America. Seriously. I would say they need to work on their branding, but it’s the headquarters of America’s Navy, so I don’t think they want the publicity.

36. Nashville

36nashville

Looks like the same theme as Louisville – but hotter.

35. Austin

35austin

Ok, I think Austin wants to fit in with its stereotypes.

34. San Jose

34sanjose

Spot on from what I hear.

33. Indianapolis

33indianapolis

Apparently the one thing people think of when they think of Indianpolis is the fabulous SoBro Cafe.

32. Columbus

32columbus

Poor Columbus, OH – they could go for some brand disambiguation.

31. Las Vegas

31lasvegas

Like Austin – I think Las Vegas embraces their stereotypes.

30. Kansas City

30kansascity

The last suggestion says it all about Kansas City.

29. Cleveland

29cleveland

Cloudy? Hmm – maybe Cleveland is still trying to shake this image.

28. Cincinnati

28cincinnati

Conservative and racist?

27. Sacramento

27sacramento

Hot?

26. Orlando

26orlando

Orlando-ites: this is spot on FWIW.

25. San Antonio

25sanantonio

Windy?

24. Portland

24portland

Ok, I think Portland has some sort of brand management going on here. They want to fit their stereotypes (err, maybe not the white part – but the others definitely).

23. Charlotte

23charlotte

Charlotte: so boring that book characters overtake them in Google AutoSuggest.

22. Pittsburgh

22pittsburgh

Bravo Pittsburgh! You have overcome the Cleveland/Buffalo/Middle America perception.

21. Denver

21denver

Denver is sending mixed signals here.

20. Baltimore

20baltimore

The Wire was set in Baltimore. I’m not sure that helped things.

19. St. Louis

19stlouis

St. Louis: you and Memphis need to get together and hash out a plan here.

18. Tampa Bay

18tampa

Total surprise – my stereotype was one of retirement homes.

17. San Diego

17sandiego

I’d loved to be proved wrong by San Diego. It looks interesting, and is definitely California’s under the radar city.

16. Minneapolis

16minneapolis

How is it that so many people are wondering why Minneapolis would be cold?

15. Seattle

15seattle

Warm?

14. Detroit

14detroit

Hmmm. The urban conundrum that is Detroit.

13. Phoenix

13phoenix

Yes – Phoenix is extremely polluted - being out in the desert doesn’t help things.

12. Inland Empire

12sanbernardio

I didn’t even know this was that big of a metro area.

11. San Francisco

11sanfrancisco

I’ve heard that those fit for the most part.

10. Boston

10boston

Double-expensive – that’s my impression as well.

9. Atlanta

9atlanta

My city! Yes – Atlanta has a large gay community. Yes, it is a big city. I’m not sure what the sentiment of “ghetto” is – but there are some very under-developed and high-crime areas in the Southwestand West of the city (both on the way to the Airport and Downtown). And Atlanta can have a couple cold days in the Winter…but it’s pretty hot overall.

8. Miami

8miami

I’ve never really had a pre-conception of Miami – I’d be interested to hear from someone who lives there.

7. Washington DC

7washingtondc

Very revealing. Expensive and poor. There’s a dissertation for you.

6. Philadelphia

6philadelphia

From my sources – Philadelphia really is a love it or hate it kind of city.

5. Houston

5houston

Houstonians: These are very true.

4. Dallas

4dallas

Windy? Otherwise, dead-on.

3. Chicago

3Chicago

Yep, dead on.

2. Los Angeles

2LosAngeles

I think LA has more appeal than these – but I totally see where they come from.

1. New York City

1newyorkcity

I’d say New Yorkers would agree (and would have fun comparing these to LA’s).

That’s all for America, but you can do this with anything – cities, people, things, companies, etc. Here’s a few more international cities I looked at.

Toronto

57toronto

I always think of Toronto as the Dallas of Canada for some reason.

Sao Paulo

56saopaulo

Spot on from what I hear.

Shanghai

55shanghai

Cold? Yeah – I think of Shanghai as hot, but if I looked at the actual weather, it would throw me off.

Hong Kong

55hongkong

Spot on in my opinion.

Paris

54paris

Spot on from what I hear.

London

52london

Spot on from what I hear.

Tokyo

51tokyo

And I think Tokyo wins the city stereotype contest.

Join the conversation about this story »

    


A 1954 Mercedes-Benz Racecar Just Sold For A Record $29.7 Million

0
0

most expensive car fangio bonhamsA new world record was set at the Goodwood Festival of Speed today, when a 1954 Mercedes-Benz fetched the highest price for a car sold at auction.

The W196R, which was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and won a number of grands prix, sold for a hammer price of £17.5 million (US $29.65 million) at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale.

Once all the buyers fees have been added the total sale price will be £19,601,500.

The previous record price for a car sold at auction was $15 million - the equivalent price of the W196 is about $29,659,000.

The car was sold to a telephone bidder, whose identity hasn't been revealed. Bonhams confirmed that there were 11 bidders in total, with three in the room at Goodwood and eight telephone bidders, the majority of which were from the US.

James Knight, group motoring director, Bonhams, said: "Today we have witnessed a bit of history."

When asked whether the car would be a sound investment he said:"Demand for the W196 will be just as big, if not greater, in 10 year's time."

The record price will also " instill further confidence in the market place," he added.

Join the conversation about this story »

    


This Ping Pong Table Maps Your Every Move And Turns Games Into Crazy Light Shows

0
0

interactive ping pong table

It seems that the implementation of new gaming technologies revolve around playing table tennis.

Nearly forty years ago when the rise of computer screen display technology was in its infancy the world was given Pong, a simple two-dimensional simulation of playing table tennis.

Now with the rise of ubiquitous computing and motion tracking technology, table tennis has hit yet another evolutionary step, this time with a game entitled Pingtime.

Pingtime was created by Sergiu Doroftei, Bogdan Susma, Ion Cotenescu, and Silviu Badea for the Rokolectiv Festival in Burcharest, Romania. The teamed harnessed VVVV—a hybrid graphical and textual programming environment—to create the latest take on augmented ping pong (there have been others as Creat Digital Motion points out). 

With the exception of a paddle that might resemble a dismantled electric fly swatter, the table of Pingtime appears like any other table tennis system when inactive. However, when the Pingtime table comes alive spectators and participants become dazzled by the magic reactive visual effects this new gaming interface delivers. "

pingtime

Pingtime takes a look into how real-time generated computer responses are affecting reaction time in fast gameplay situations.” says the team.

Along with providing quick responsiveness to real-time tracking of the ball and paddles, Pingtime also synchs those movements up with digital projections and designs that could make a Pink Floyd laser show operator blush.

Check it out below.

pingtime

pingtime

pingtime

Join the conversation about this story »

    


19 Awesome Experiences You Can Only Have In New Jersey

0
0

AC Boardwalk

Each year, the first full week of July is National Be Nice to New Jersey Week (this year July 7-13), which is only fair because for years New Jersey has been treated like the punching bag of America.

As Lauren Barnett, publisher of Lone Star Publications of Humor and the holiday's creator, once told The New York Times, "there are more mean-spirited jokes about New Jersey than any other state, even counting Texas."

And let's face it, there are plenty of jokes we can make about New Jersey, no thanks in part to the cast of "Jersey Shore." But most people don't realize that, from the museums to the food to the slightly bizarre, Jersey actually has a lot to offer. So this week, be nice to New Jersey, and check out these 19 cool things to do and see that you can't find anywhere else. 

Thanks to Reddit users SpinkickFolly, anotherale, and DirtyBirdNJ for some of these suggestions.

Walk along the longest boardwalk in the world in Atlantic City, the city whose streets the properties in the game Monopoly were named after.



Pig out any time of day or night at one of Jersey's many 24-hour diners (they have the most per capita in the world).



Find a new appreciation for modern art at the Grounds for Sculpture, a public sculpture garden in Hamilton with works by established and up-and-coming artists.

Plan a visit this summer.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    


New York City Used To Be A Terrifying Place [PHOTOS]

0
0

nypd 1970sThe New York City of the 1970s looked very different from the gentrified metropolis we know today. The Bowery, now lined with luxury apartments, housed much of the city's illicit activities, while drug dealers and prostitutes worked openly from Park Slope to Times Square.

Industrial decline, economic stagnation, and white flight led to the dramatic downturn for America's largest city.

Gotham had an unprecedented fiscal crisis in 1975, and two years later the city descended into chaos after the power went out for 25 hours. New York City saw 1,814 homicides in 1980 — three times what we have today — while the population declined to just over 7 million from nearly 8 million a decade before.

At the same time, crack and heroin infested the city, driving the crime rate even higher.

Robert Stutman, a former special agent for the NYC DEA, told Frontline, "Crack literally changed the entire face of the city. Street violence had grown. Child abuse had grown hugely. Spousal abuse. I had a special crack violence file that I kept to convince the geniuses in Washington who kept telling me it wasn't a problem."

By 1990, the annual homicides in New York peaked at 2,245. The city lived in fear.

In 1976, 2,383 arrests were made for prostitution citywide. Of these, 1,165 were girls between the ages of 15 and 20.

Two members of NYPD's "Pimp Squad" arrest an alleged prostitute in Times Square.

Source: Publication of New York Women in Criminal Justice in collaboration with the Prostitution Task Force



There were an estimated 40,000 prostitutes in New York City in the '70s, many with a sad story. This picture shows a hotel where a 15-year-old prostitute died in 1975.

The Hotel Belmore in Manhattan marked the end of Karen Baxter's life. A 15-year-old runaway from Cambridge, Mass., she resorted to prostitution to survive New York City until one of her customers choked her with a metal chain in 1975. The photo was taken five days after her murder. 

Source: Publication of New York Women in Criminal Justice in tangent with the Prostitution Task Force



Authorities were of little help. In this picture, Sydney Biddle Barrows, the "Mayflower Madam," celebrates with champagne after pleading guilty to promoting prostitution in return for a $5,000 fine and no prison sentence.

Barrows ran Cachet, a high-end escort service from 1979 to 1984.

Source: Publication of New York Women in Criminal Justice in collaboration with the Prostitution Task Force



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    


Here's How Early You Have To Get In Line To Secure A 'Cronut' In NYC

0
0

Cronuts, a donut-croissant hybrid, have taken New York City by storm. 

Business Insider ventured to Manhattan's Dominique Ansel Bakery to find out what all the hype was about.  

We found that only the earliest patrons got their hands on the pastries and broke down just how early you have to get to the bakery. 

Check it out: 

Cronut guide

Join the conversation about this story »

    


The Secret To Finland's Success With Schools, Moms, Kids — And Everything

0
0

finland finnish women

It's hard not to get jealous when I talk to my extended family.

My cousin's husband gets 36 vacation days per year, not including holidays. If he wants, he can leave his job for a brief hiatus and come back to a guaranteed position months later.

Tuition at his daughter's university is free, though she took out a small loan for living expenses. Its interest rate is 1 percent.

My cousin is a recent immigrant, and while she was learning the language and training for jobs, the state gave her 700 euros a month to live on.

They had another kid six years ago, and though they both work, they'll collect 100 euros a month from the government until the day she turns 17.

They of course live in Finland, home to saunas, quirky metal bands, and people who have for decades opted for equality and security over keeping more of their paychecks.

Inarguably one of the world's most generous —and successful—welfare states, the country has a lower infant mortality ratebetter school scores, and a far lower poverty rate than the United States, and it's the second-happiest countryon earth (the U.S. doesn't break the top 10). According to the OECD, Finns on average give an 8.8 score to their overall life satisfaction. Americans are at 7.5.

Sometimes when I'm watching the web traffic for stories here at The Atlantic's global desk, I'll notice a surge in readership in one of a couple of archival stories we have about how fantastic Finland is -- usually thanks to Reddit or a link from another news site. One is about Finland's "baby boxes, " a sort of baby shower the Finnish government throws every mom. A package sent to expecting women contains all the essentials for newborns -- everything from diapers to a tiny sleeping bag. (Want to choose your own baby clothes? You can opt instead for the box's cash value, as my cousin did.)

The other popular story is about Finland's school system, which ranks as one of the world's best -- with no standardized testing or South Asian-style "cramming" but with lots of customization in the classroom. Oh, and students there also spend fewer hours physically in school than their counterparts in other Western countries.

As the U.S. raises student loan rates, considers cutting food stamps, guts long-term unemployment insurance, and strains to set up its first-ever universal healthcare system, it's easy to get sucked into articles about a country that has lapped America in certain international metrics but has also kept social protections in place. Like doting parents trying to spur an underperforming child, American liberals seem to periodically ask, "Why can't you be more like your brother?"

It's a good debate to have, and in some ways, it seems like there's no reason why the U.S. shouldn't borrow from Finland or any other Nordic country -- we're richer and just as committed to improving education and health, after all. Here's the difference: Finland's welfare system was hardwired into its economic development strategy, and it hasn't been seriously challenged by any major political group since. And just as Finland was ramping up its protections for workers, families, and the poor in the 1960s, Americans began to sour on the idea of "welfare" altogether. What's more, some economists argue that it's because of all that American capitalism contributes to the global economy that countries like Finland—kinder, gentler, but still wealthy—can afford to pamper their citizens. With actual Pampers, no less.

***

Let's start with mandatory maternity leave, a favorite topic among the having-it-all, Leaning-In crowd. The U.S is one of the last countries on earth without it, but the Finnish state mandates four months of paid maternity leave, and on top of that, the mother and father can share an additional six-month "parental leave" period, with pay. After that, kids can either continue staying home with their mothers until they reach school age, or parents can instead send them to a publicly subsidized child-care center, where the providers are all extensively trained. The cost is on a sliding scale based on family income, but the maximumcomes out to about $4,000 a year, compared with $10,000 for comparable care in the U.S.

This is just one of the many reasons Finland is "the best place to be a mom," as the nonprofit Save the Children declared in May.

Can't get a job? Not to worry. Unemployment insurance in Finland lasts for 500 days, after which you can collect a means-tested Labor Market Subsidy for an essentially indefinite period of time. (The unemployment rate is a high-but-not-awful 8.2 percent).

At this point, if you've literally turned green with envy and need to see a doctor, you're in luck! In addition to dirt-cheap universal healthcare, Finland offers compensation for wages you might have lost while you were away from work, as well as a "Special Care Allowance" if you need to take some time off to take care of your sick kids.

All of this adds up to the stress equivalent of living in what is essentially a vast, reindeer-fur-lined yoga studio.

"It seems to me that people in Finland are more secure and less anxious than Americans because there is a threshold below which they won't fall," said Linda Cook, a political scientist at Brown University who has studied European welfare states. "Even if they face unemployment or illness, Finns will have some payments from the state, public health care and education."

The Finns didn't always have it this good. For much of the early 20th century, Finland was agrarian and underdeveloped, with a GDP per capita trailing other Nordic countries by 30 to 40 percent in 1900.

One advantage Finland did have, however, was enlightened policies towards gender. The country focused on beefing up child and maternal care in large part because women were at the core of Finland's independence and nation-building efforts at the turn of the 20th century. Finnish women were the second in the world to get the vote in 1906, and they were heavily represented in the country's first parliament.

Ellen Marakowitz, a lecturer at Columbia University who studies Finland, argues that because women helped form modern Finland, things like maternity leave and child benefits naturally shaped its welfare structure decades later.

"You have a state system that was built on issues concerning Finnish citizens, both men and women, rather than women's rights," she said. "Government was created in this equal footing for men and women."

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 11.20.45 PM.png

Finland's strong trade unions pioneered its initial worker protections, but the state soon took those functions over. Today, roughly 75 to 80 percent of Finnsare union members (it's about 11 percent in the U.S.), and the groups dictate the salaries and working conditions for large swaths of the population.

And as the country worked to industrialize in the 1960s, its economic policymakers took on a mentality similar to that of CEOs at tech companies with awesome employee perks like free string cheese and massages.

"The thinking was, 'for a country of 5 million, we don't have many resources to waste. If people are happy, they'll maximize their work ethic, and we can develop,'" says Andrew Nestingen, a professor who leads the Finnish studies program at the University of Washington. The theory of the welfare state was that "everyone should get a slice of the cake so that they have what they need to realize their life projects."

The country's unemployment and disability system was in place by 1940, and subsequent decades saw the expansion of child benefits and health insurance.

Meanwhile, thanks to the country's strong agrarian tradition, the party that represents the rural part of Finland pushed through subsidies for stay-at-home (or stay-on-farm, in their case) mothers -- thus the current smorgasbord of inexpensive child-care options.

Over time, Finland was able to create its "cake" -- and give everyone a slice -- in large part because its investments in human capital and education paid off. In a sense, welfare worked for Finland, and they've never looked back.

"In the Finnish case, this has really been a part of our success story when it comes to economic growth and prosperity," said Susanna Fellman, a Finn who is now a professor of economic history at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. "The free daycare and health-care has made it possible for two breadwinners -- women can make careers even if they have children. This is also something that promotes growth."

With this setup, Finns have incredible equality and very little poverty -- but they don't get to buy as much stuff. The OECD gives the U.S. a 10 when it comes to household income, the highest score, while Finland gets a measly 3.5.

And there are some major lifestyle differences: Finns live in houses and apartments that are about half the size of Americans', and their taxes on the wealthy, like those on capital gains, are much higher than ours. (Hence why taxes make up a huge chunk of their GDP.) Professionals such as doctors make far less there, which helps medical care to stay reasonably priced. (The conservative Heritage Foundation ranks Finland as downright "repressed" in some categories, like government spending, on its "Index of Economic Freedom.")

taxes.gif

It's also worth noting that Finland isn't a total economic Wonderland, either: It's not growing very fast and will probably have issues with its aging population in coming years. The Bank of Finland recently predicted that the country might soon exceed the 60 percent debt-to-GDP ratio mandated by the European Union -- a common problem in Europe these days.

Some of Finland's more conservative politicians have suggested cutting public benefits there in the wake of the economic downturn -- but even with those cuts, social protections there would still be far more generous than ours.

And the economic redistribution there doesn't always work perfectly. Some municipalities inevitably find themselves with lower-quality hospitals and day cares, even when they're supposed to be roughly identical, and recently some pro-business groups have tried to edge the country toward greater privatization (though unions have pushed back.)

Still, the country's small, well-educated population and investments in technology have allowed it to avoid some of the problems currently plaguing other, similarly socialist European countries. Overall, most Finns love the welfare system that loves them back.

I asked my cousin's husband, Reijo, why he was willing to support such an arrangement even though he works full time.

"Money isn't everything. We value equality, not inequality," he said. Fair enough. But does he have any gripes about the Finnish way? Anything he would change? Perhaps kick some of those freeloaders off their indefinite unemployment?

No, he said, but he did point to one small issue: "I think that for university students it is not yet good enough. Many students have to work while they are studying."

***

Like Finland, the U.S. also set up massive safety-net programs, in the form of Medicare and Medicaid, in the 1960s. But paradoxically, many Americans began developing a deep aversion to government handouts at the same time.

The 1960s saw a rise in poverty and children born out of wedlock, particularly in urban communities. Sensational media stories about families "abusing" welfare -- especially when the putative abusers were portrayed as African-American -- helped cement opposition to public assistance.

One study foundthat in the early 1970s, nearly three-quarters of magazine stories about welfare or poverty featured images of African-Americans, even though African Americans comprised only about a third of welfare recipients.africanamericansmagazines.png

"I do think that racial divisions are an important factor here -- the sense among many people that universal benefits will take from 'us' and give to 'them' -- to a part of society that is seen as different, less deserving, imagined as racially different," Cook, from Brown University, said. "I think that many middle-class Americans favor social benefits for what they see as 'deserving' people who have worked and earned them -- so Medicare is good -- but universal health care would provide benefits for people who are imagined as not deserving."

In a 1976 speech, Ronald Reagan made mention of supposed "welfare queens" who make six-figure salaries while drawing government funds, stoking a sense of outrage over perceived waste in public assistance. (It was later shown that he used an exaggerated anecdote). Arguing that social insurance dis-incentivized work, and prioritizing markets and individual liberty, the growing new conservative movement eventually joined together businesses and working-class voters in pushing for cuts in government programs.

Though we seemingly support spending on the sick, poor, and elderly, in 2006,46 percent of Americans still thought the government spent "too much" on welfare, even 10 years after a total structural overhaul of welfare had passed.

***

Jefferey Sellers, a University of Southern California political scientist, foundanother key difference between the two nations: Finland has much more powerful local governments than the U.S., and they're tasked with executing the myriad functions of the welfare system -- from helping the poor to operating the day cares. Municipal taxes are redistributed and supplemented with grants, thus largely eliminating the problem of under-resourced areas. Local public expenditures are 20 percent of GDP in Finland, but just 10 percent in the U.S., he points out.

"The national government provides local governments with the financial means, legal powers, and the expertise to perform well," he said. Meanwhile, "Fiscal redistribution among local governments assures equality in how those services are distributed."

What's more, some economists argue that the only way countries like Finland can be so well-off and yet so cushy is because countries like the U.S. create the technology that powers the rest of the world -- with huge rewards for success but few safety nets in the case of failure.

"The entire world benefits because of Apple's iPhones," said Daron Acemoglu, an economist at MIT, admitting it was a relatable but not necessarily optimal example (Finland gave us Nokia and Linux's Linus Torvalds, after all). "If the United States did not provide incentives for Apple to come up with and develop the iPhone, then the entire world economy would lose the benefits it obtains from this product. The cutthroat reward structure in the United States is encouraging the creation of many products and technologies like this."

If America were to adopt some of Finland's "cuddly" benefits, the thinking goes, the entire world economy might slow down. For Finns, it would be out with the baby boxes, in with the subsistence farming again.

So what about education reform, then? Finnish school expert Pasi Sahlberg has written that Finnish schools are based on "improving the teaching force, limiting student testing to a necessary minimum, and placing responsibility and trust before accountability."

It's true that Finnish teachers design their own curricula and don't have to deal with test-score-based evaluations, but school officials there are also placing young minds in very well-equipped hands: All teachers have graduate degrees in education and their subject areas of expertise. And schools are funded based on need, so the most struggling schools get the most resources. There is no "Teach for Finland," as Sahlberg has said.

But in some ways, even the Finnish way of educating requires a strong welfare system as a foundation. The country has an extremely low child-poverty rate, which likely makes teaching without testing or score-keeping much easier. And how many American teachers would love to get a master's degree but aren't willing to take on the student loans that come with it?

"The easiest [explanation] is to say that Finland seems to be a well-performing system overall, as far as the international rankings are considered," Sahlberg told me. "So, it is no wonder the education system also works well."

The no-testing model also makes sense for a culture that's low on one-upmanship: "I think one of the more important things is that there's less of an emphasis on competition in Finland," Marakowitz said. "Many Finnish children don't know how to read before they go to school, and you need a certain kind of cultural setting for that. Some U.S. parents would be quite freaked out."

***

When Americans hold up Finland as a model, their arguments are usually dismissed with two indisputable facts: Finland is indeed much smaller than the U.S., making it easier to disperse generous benefits on a national scale. It's also far more homogeneous, making disputes over payouts less frequent and less racially charged.

Still, Cook says, the claims of homogeneity are a bit over-stated. Finland has both sizeable Swedish- and Russian-speaking communities, and right-leaning parties like the "True Finns" want to pare back the little immigration the country does have. (Even the True Finns, though, love the welfare state.)

Building on the success of Finland's local governments, individual U.S. states could conceivably be more like mini-Finlands -- just look at Massachusetts, which had a comprehensive health-care system before the rest of the nation. But creating and enforcing 50 separate safety nets would require a level of oversight the U.S. federal government just doesn't have. Even Obamacare was challenged aggressively in court and has faced opposition from some two dozen states.

Fellman described Finland's welfare state as a "virtuous circle"—Finns' social cohesion props up the welfare state, which in turn promotes greater harmony. But in a way, America's economic competitiveness, focus on innovation, and lack of safety net all reinforce one another, too.

The very reason we're so frequently googling what we can learn from "Finland's school success," after all, is that we want to stay one step ahead.

Click here to follow The Atlantic.

More from The Atlantic:

Yes, You Should Be Totally Outraged By The Farm Bill

Why Is The Golden Age Of TV So Dark?

Sinkholes: When The Earth Opens Up

Join the conversation about this story »

    


ROYAL LINE OF SUCCESSION: Here's Where William And Kate's Baby Will Rank

0
0

Kate Middleton is expected to give birth any day now to a baby who will be the third in line to the throne of England.

Called the Prince or Princess of Cambridge, the baby will rank behind father Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and grandfather Charles, Prince of Wales.

Royal Line of Succession after William and Kate's baby is born

Join the conversation about this story »

    


14 Of The Most Interesting Facts Ever

0
0

Already a site designed to surface interesting stuff, Reddit took it to the next level with a recent thread specifically asking for the most interesting/weird facts that people know.

We've pulled out the best responses, with links to the Redditor who found each fact:

There are more possible iterations of a game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe. — abbazabbbbbbbachess

Cleopatra lived closer in time to the Moon landing than to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. — StickleyMan cleopatra

It can take a photon 40,000 years to travel from the core of the sun to the surface, but only 8 minutes to travel the rest of the way to earth. — Bkaps sun

It would take 1,200,000 mosquitoes, each sucking once, to completely drain the average human of blood. — Bat245 mosquito 

Basically anything that melts can be made into glass. You just have to cool off a molten material before its molecules have time to realign into what they were before being melted. — cowboy-up glass

A small percentage of the static you see on "dead" tv stations is left over radiation from the Big Bang. You're seeing residual effects of the Universe's creation. — FanInTheCorner  static

Written language was invented independently by the Egyptians, Sumerians, Chinese, and Mayans. — NumberMuncher  hieroglyphics

If you were to remove all of the empty space from the atoms that make up every human on earth, the entire world population could fit into an apple. — TheSicilianDude fuji apple 

Honey does not spoil. You could feasibly eat 3000 year old honey. — Bluecheezeplatter honey 

If you somehow found a way to extract all of the gold from the bubbling core of our lovely little planet, you would be able to cover all of the land in a layer of gold up to your knees. — TryToFlyHigh gold

To know when to mate, a male giraffe will continuously headbutt the female in the bladder until she urinates. The male then tastes the pee and that helps it determine whether the female is ovulating. — Sir_Ostrich giraffe

The Spanish national anthem has no words. — ricick spanish flag

The state sport of Maryland is jousting. — KdogCrusader jousting

Dead people can get goose bumps. — ObturateYourForamengoose bumps

MIND MELTED? THESE WILL COOL YOU DOWN: 14 Things That Are Mildly Interesting

Join the conversation about this story »

    


Bentley's Brand New Race Car Is Finally Here

0
0

 Bentley Continental GT3

Bentley’s new Continental GT-based race car made its official world debut today at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the big bruiser also made a dramatic run up the event’s famous hill climb.

The new race car follows on from an original concept version unveiled at the 2012 Paris Auto Show and has been designed for GT3 competition.

We can see that it has a much more aggressive design than the original concept, with a new air dam and splitter extending even further forward and a massive rear wing now mounted to the trunk lid instead of the rear of the car.

To sum it all up, Bentley’s motorsport engineers have removed over 2,200 pounds of weight, reconfigured the Continental GT V8’s 4.0-liter V-8 engine to produce 600 horsepower, and developed a comprehensive aerodynamic package to ensure the car performs adequately on the track.

The car was developed with motorsports and engineering firm M-Sport, which has a successful history in the world of rallying, including two Manufacturers’ titles in the World Rally Championship. And leading the project is Graham Humphrys, one of the men responsible for Bentley's overall victory at Le Mans in 2003. He is serving as Bentley’s motorsport director.

Incidentally, the 2003 Le Mans-winning Bentley Speed 8 is also present at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed this week.

As for the Continental GT3, it will start testing later this year before entering the world of endurance racing in the FIA Blancpain Series in 2014. The competitive series was established in 2011 and currently enjoys five races taking place in Europe. Rival GT3 contenders will include the likes of the McLaren 12C GT3, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and the new Lamborghini Gallardo GT3.

Modifications to Continental GT platform are extensive. Starting with the engine, Bentley decided on its smaller twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter due to its more compact package and lighter weight. Thanks to a new ECU and some reinforced components, the engine now delivers 600 horsepower, 100 horses more than the production unit.

Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a carbon fiber driveshaft and an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox with a limited slip differential which is mounted as a transaxle for optimized weight distribution. Bentley engineers have achieved a near ideal 52:48 front-to-rear weight distribution and an overall curb weight of just 2,866 pounds.

The suspension consists of double wishbones front and rear, to which four-way adjustable racing dampers are fitted. The steering system features hydraulic power-assistance, while braking is via ventilated iron discs combined with six-piston calipers on the front and four-piston calipers on the rear. OZ Racing wheels measuring 18 inches across have also been fitted.

The aerodynamic package consists of a front splitter, rear wing, vented body panels and sporty side sills. These are all made of carbon fiber to maximize weight savings. Bentley says drag has been reduced dramatically while downforce and cooling of the engines and brakes also improved. 

Inside, all the luxury typically found in the Continental GT has been stripped and whatever was left was replaced with lighter units. A full roll cage and Sparco racing seat were installed, along with door pulls and an onboard fire extinguisher.

For our complete coverage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, head to our dedicated show hub.

 Bentley Continental GT3

Bentley Continental GT3

SEE ALSO: Absolutely Epic Photos Of Classic Cars Racing From Beijing To Paris

Join the conversation about this story »

    


5 Things You Shouldn't Do While Traveling In Seoul

0
0

seoul south korea

Let's play a game of what's hot and what's not.

What's HOT is flying to the other side of the world to land at Incheon International Airport, visiting Seoul, South Korea, and eating and shopping yourself silly in the city.

What's NOT is...well, not doing these things.

Seoul is absolutely one of the global capitals on the cusp of everything cool right now.

So while we definitely recommend making your stay longer than five days to even begin to scratch the surface, at least these do-not-dos will help no matter the trip length.

5. DON'T get an early start

Seoul, South KoreaSleep in! We realize this goes against the natural tourist survival instinct to be at the day's first temple/museum/landmark with the cock's crow, but Seoul's soul lies in the nighttime. 10am at spots like Gyeongbokgung or N-Seoul Tower means mixing with the tour bus set; the same spot at 3pm or, at 9pm at locations with later closing times, means a more relaxed pace, more locals and a wider variety of street vendors.

Spend enough time in Seoul and perhaps you'll even fall into nightlife Korean-style, which thrives with the concept that a good night out consists of three rounds. Dinner at a restaurant is the first round, the second round is often partying at a bar or karaoke ("noraebang") or both, and the third round is another food stop, though past midnight and often at a tent-and-tables street restaurant called a "pojangmacha."

4. DON'T go around singing 'Gangnam Style'

gangnam style psyPsy may have been named "tourism ambassador" for South Korea on account of his incredibly successful hit song "Gangnam Style," but he's also become spokesman for what seems like every other product under the sun. The Psy saturation level is Seoul is very high, so high that it's annoying in Spice Girls-style. In fact, on our recent visit, we didn't hear it played at all but did catch his most recent single, "Gentleman," being blasted from the storefronts around Myeungdong.

3. DON'T let North Korea's threats freak you out

North KoreaA few weeks ago, we addressed exactly how to handle an upcoming trip to South Korea if you're at all worried about North Korea. One tip was to register your travel with the US State Department, while another noted that the availability of the USO's tours to the DMZ (demilitarized zone) is an excellent barometer. If the tours are on hold because tensions are high, then perhaps it's time to think twice. Thankfully it almost never comes to this, and we've had several friends visit the DMZ as tourists in just the last two months.

Additionally, keep in mind that there are plenty other non-North Korean topics making the news in Seoul, and almost every day in the capital is normal as pie.

2. DON'T pack a full suitcase

IFC mall Seoul South KoreaForget Paris and Rome—we'd argue that Seoul is currently the best shopping city in the world. Typically we shy away from such superlative statements, but we're serious about this. You're going to buy some stuff, so we highly recommend packing light and returning heavy.

South Korea is serious about duty-free, so even if you don't swipe your card in one of the many shopping districts (like Myeungdong!), massive department stores (like Shinsegae!), after-hours markets (like Dongdaemun!) or even the super fun dollar stores (Daiso!), there's always the Lotte Duty-Free mall both in town and at the airport (where every day seems like Black Friday!).

1. DON'T be a picky eater

Seou South Korea FoodYou will eat kimchi and that's only the beautiful beginning. Allergies, intolerances and medical diets are one thing; refusing to eat anything other than white-color food is another. Seoul food options run the gamut from sugary red bean donuts to tiny snack crabs that crunch in your mouth like Fritos (except they're crabs). Dining well is not expensive, and indeed entire meals can be had for 5000 KRW ($4.50) from street carts. Just stay away from Starbucks.

First-time visitors who aren't sure what, if anything, they'll like should head out on a guided food tour, while the more experienced may dive right in to our list of the 31 must-try foods in town.

BONUS tip: DON'T cut your time short at Incheon International Airport. There's a Hello Kitty Cafe, for heaven's sake, and more shopping and cultural attractions than you can shake a stick at. There's a very good reason why it's often ranked number one airport in the world, and arriving late or even on-time for your flight is simply not enough time.

SEE ALSO: The Top 5 Things NOT To Do When Visiting China's Forbidden City

Join the conversation about this story »

    


Browsing All 49192 Browse Latest View Live