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15 rooms in the White House you probably never knew existed, from a chocolate shop to a private bowling alley


white house

The White House is America's most famous residence — and one of the biggest, too.

The massive complex at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue contains six levels, 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, and 28 fireplaces.

Some of the White House's most famous rooms include the Oval Office, the Situation Room, the Cabinet Room, and the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

But tucked away in the far reaches of the building are some of the more obscure, less heralded rooms of the White House: the Chocolate Shop, the Game Room, and the Solarium, to name a few. 

Read on to learn about 15 of the least-known rooms in the White House.

SEE ALSO: 20 US presidents who belonged to secret societies

DON'T MISS: 19 financial perks of being the president of the United States

Music Room

Hillary Clinton turned this sitting room on the third floor of the White House residence into a music room where Bill Clinton could play the saxophone.

Source: The White House Museum

Workout Room

Next to the Music Room on the third floor is the Workout Room, where presidents and their families can exercise at any time of the day.

Before the 1990s, the room was a guest room and a sitting room.

Source: The White House Museum

Chocolate Shop

The Chocolate Shop is one of several kitchens in the White House. Located on the ground floor, the Chocolate Shop is where chefs make desserts and centerpieces for White House functions.

It's also where chefs prepare eggs for the annual Easter Egg Roll and assemble the gingerbread replica of the White House that graces the building each holiday season.

Source:The White House Museum

Bowling Alley

Near the Chocolate Shop on the ground floor of the Residence is the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley, an off-the-beaten-path favorite for visitors to the White House.

The first White House Bowling Alley was built for Harry Truman in 1947, and Richard Nixon moved it to its current location below the entrance to the North Portico in 1969.

Source: The White House Museum

Family Theater

The Family Theater is a 42-seat movie theater located in the East Wing of the White House, on the first floor. 

Movie studios make their films available for screenings at the theater upon presidential request, according to Variety, which noted that filmmakers relish the chance for their works to be seen by the president. In 2017, "Finding Dory" made headlines for being the first film screened in Donald Trump's White House.

Movies had been screened at the White House since Woodrow Wilson's presidency, but it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who was responsible for turning a former cloakroom into the dedicated theater it is today. 

Source:The White House Museum

Map Room

The Map Room, located on the ground floor, is used for small social gatherings and television interviews.

The name comes from the room's original use. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt used the room to consult maps to track the war's progress — a task later presidents migrated to the Situation Room. Maps were organized by hemisphere, region, and theater of operation, according to the FDR Library.

One notable map hanging on the walls pays homage to the Roosevelt era: a map of Europe showing Germany's latest positions in the spring of 1945, shortly after Roosevelt's death.

Source:The White House Museum

China Room

The White House China Room sits near the Map Room on the Residence's ground floor. The China Room was designated by first lady Edith Wilson in 1917 to house the White House's growing collection of state china.

Nearly every president is represented in the China Room, there are even examples of state china dating back to George Washington's presidency.

Source: The White House Museum

Vermeil Room

Adjacent to the China Room is the Vermeil Room, which houses a collection of gilded silver tableware. It was converted from a general social room in 1956 when the silver pieces were bequeathed to the White House by American heiress Margaret Thompson Biddle.

The room is decorated with portraits of several first ladies.

Source: The White House Museum

Family Dining Room

On the first floor of the Residence, there is a 28-feet by 25-feet room where the first family hosts small formal dinners.

Not all families use the room for such reasons, and it frequently becomes an "overflow" room for staff members during dinners and events held in the more grandiose State Dining Room across the hall.

Source: The White House Museum

Flower Shop

Just a few doors down from the Chocolate Shop and the Bowling Alley, the Flower Shop is where the White House florist purchases flowers in bulk and prepares them for official occasions like state functions and inaugurations, as well as for decoration around the building.

Source: The White House Museum

Calligraphy Office

Located on the second floor of the White House's East Wing, the Graphics and Calligraphy Office is where the small team of White House calligraphers prepares invitations, place cards, and greetings for formal events.

Source:The White House Museum


The Solarium on the Residence's top floor is where presidents and their families go to relax.

The room has alternately been used for Mamie Eisenhower's bridge parties, a kindergarten for Caroline Kennedy, a hangout for Lyndon Johnson's teenage daughters, a study room for Rosalynn Carter, and a space for the Clintons to play board games.

Richard Nixon was in the solarium with his family when he informed them he was stepping down as president, according to the White House Museum. And it's also the room where Nancy Reagan was informed her husband had been shot.

Source:The White House Museum

Game Room

Not far from the Solarium is the Game Room, where presidents can wind down with a game of pool.

A number of presidents have owned pool tables in the White House, at times housing them in the modern-day Map Room and Vermeil Room. It's unclear when the Game Room — formerly a bedroom — became the designated pool space, but it dates back to at least the George H. W. Bush era, according to the White House Museum.

Source:The White House Museum

Private Study

Moving over to the West Wing, the Private Study or Oval Office Study is a small working space immediately across from the Oval Office. It also contains a private bathroom and kitchenette.

Source:The White House Museum

Navy Mess

On the ground floor of the West Wing next to the Situation Room, you'll find the Navy Mess or White House Mess, a small dining facility run by the US Navy.

The dining room seats about 50 people and is not available to the public — but if you're lucky, you could score an invitation from a senior White House official or Cabinet secretary.

Source: The White House Museum

Steve Bannon was arrested on a $28 million yacht owned by an exiled Chinese billionaire — take a look inside


bannon yacht arrest

Former Trump associate Steve Bannon was arrested on fraud charges Thursday aboard a $28 million yacht.

The vessel where the arrest took place, a 151-foot long yacht owned by an exiled Chinese billionaire, is just as remarkable as federal prosecutors' allegations that Bannon was a part of a group that used a campaign to raise funds for a wall on the US/Mexico border to defraud donors out of millions of dollars. Bannon pled not guilty to the charges.

Keep reading to learn more about Bannon's arrest aboard the Lady May.

SEE ALSO: A family feud, a real-estate empire, and a supermodel: Meet the family of 'coronavirus czar' Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top adviser

DON'T MISS: Trump has lost the financial support of some of the billionaires who bankrolled his 2016 campaign — take a look at who's dropping out in 2020

Steve Bannon, a longtime associate of President Trump, was arrested by US Postal Inspection Service agents Thursday. Federal prosecutors allege Bannon and three others used a campaign to build a border wall to defraud donors out of millions of dollars, but Bannon has pled not guilty.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

The arrest reportedly took place aboard a luxe yacht called 'Lady May.' The boat was in the Long Island Sound off the coast of Westbrook, Connecticut at the time of Bannon's arrest.

Source: Business Insider

Bannon was spotted on the vessel Wednesday, the day before his arrest, Fox61's Ben Goldman tweeted.

Source: Ben Goldman/Twitter

The 151-foot long vessel is owned by Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui. Guo is a friend of Bannon's and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government who is wanted on charges of fraud, blackmail, and bribery in Beijing.

Source: Business Insider, Washington Post

A video tour of the Lady May posted on Instagram by its broker shows the yacht's luxe interiors, including five staterooms that can sleep up to 10 guests and 8 crew members.

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Width: 540px


Source: Moran Yachts/Instagram

The interior features a salon with furniture on a rotating platform so guests can "maximize the stunning views" and glass doors that open onto the bar area on the vessel's aft deck, per Burgess Yachts.

Instagram Embed:
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Source: Moran Yachts/Instagram

Lady May has been up for sale since 2016, with an asking price of $27.9 million.

Instagram Embed:
Width: 540px

Source: Moran Yachts/Instagram

Bannon likely won't be reboarding the Lady May or any other yachts any time soon. A condition of his $5 million bond is that he can't travel on private planes or yachts without the court's permission.

Source: Business Insider

COVID-19 turned our European summer holiday into a staycation. Here's why we'll opt for another UK break next summer — even if travel goes back to normal.


Marc Shoffman

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic derailed travel plans, Marc Shoffman and his family traded in kids' clubs and breakfast buffets in Menorca for a summer staycation in Norfolk 
  • The outdoor getaway was a more comfortable option than flying — but there were still plenty of rules and social-distancing guidelines to maintain a safe bubble around guests.
  • Shoffman, his wife, and their two little girls wore face masks and kept a safe distance from others as they explored nature and took part in paid organised activities, like tree-climbing and bird feeding. 
  • Shoffman says they enjoyed it so much, that they'll probably pick a staycation again next year, even if COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Summer holidays in past years would begin with my wife, our two little girls, and me packing our car to drive to the airport for a well-earned trip abroad. School would have broken up and we would have spent much of the year saving hard for a break.

In the past, we've cruised the Mediterranean and travelled to the Spanish island of Menorca, to which we were set to return to this year until the coronavirus pandemic grounded any chance of sunshine and sangria. Instead, we drove past the junction for London Stansted Airport, towing a bike rack and boot full of clothes and food, as we continued up the M11 motorway for a summer staycation at a Forest Holidays cottage in Norfolk, on the UK's east coast.

Swapping the Balearics for bike racks

Marc Shoffman

Forest Holidays has 10 sites in woodland across England, Scotland, and Wales that offer self-catering cabins, your own hot tub, and extras such as a barbecue and log burners. You can cycle around the surrounding woods, take in the wildlife and even climb trees or rent a kayak.

It was a world away from the usual mix of kids' clubs, breakfast buffets, and getting up early to reserve deckchairs. But after four months of lockdown, it was the perfect place for us to have fun within our bubble and remain socially distanced from others, safe in the great outdoors.

The rules for a safe staycation

But we still had to adapt because of the pandemic.

Usually visitors can check-in from 4 p.m. and checkout at 10 a.m., but we weren't allowed to enter before 5 p.m., and had to depart by 9 a.m. to give more time for two deep cleans of the cabin. So when we arrived, we had the day to explore the surrounding area. The girls, five and seven, made use of the on-site playground — after sanitizing their hands at the entrance — while we waited in the sun to collect our keys.


As we waited, I thought about how we could've been sitting on a crowded plane in face masks, worrying about allocated times in the hotel pool, and dreading the prospect of having to quarantine when we returned because the "air bridge" — allowing people to travel freely between two countries without restrictions — between England and Spain had been closed.

Marc Shoffman

The first thing I noticed at check-in were the floor stickers telling you to stand two metres apart and posters reminding you to wear a face mask in reception and in the site's shop. I was given a sanitized pen to complete a check-in form. I then had to put the pen in a box to be cleaned before it could be used again.

Having a conversation through a face mask took some getting used to. I felt like I'd come to rob the place — but I felt a shared comradery as I looked around and saw everyone else, like me, struggling to ask questions through the muffles of personal protective equipment.

There were plenty of reassuring signals that precautions were being taken to minimize the risks of infection: Tables and chairs were spaced apart in the outdoor communal area, with signs reminding people not to move them. There are hand sanitizers around the Forest Retreat and at the playground entrance, and our key was handed to us in a plastic wrapper.

Marc Shoffman

Our daughters found wearing masks in the indoor spaces exciting, and insisted they wanted to, despite the fact they didn't have to because they're younger than 11.

Keeping to your bubble

Once we drove to our cabin and walked up the steps, there was a sticker on the edge of the door that said it had been "cleaned and sealed for your safety and protection." The sticker ripped as we unlocked and pushed open the door. It felt as if we were entering an extension of our own COVID-19-safe bubble at home.

We brought our own cleaning wipes, even though all guests are given a bottle of BioGuard disinfectant spray and cleaning cloths. 

Marc Shoffman

From then on, it was up to us how much contact we wanted with others. We could order food including pizza or a chocolate fondue to be delivered to our door — or instead cycle for miles without seeing another face.

Some extras were temporarily unavailable due to the human contact they would require, such as an afternoon tea. But while we had no scones, there was still plenty to do, either by exploring the nature and local sites or by paying for organised activities.

Our daughters took part in a "forest ranger morning," where they made bird feeds and bravely picked up bugs (though later in the evening in the cabin they would still ask me to remove spiders). Isabelle, our eldest daughter, tried a tree-climbing session, for which we had to sign a form confirming she had no coronavirus symptoms. The instructors were careful each time they approached her, and checked we were ok with them adjusting her harness.

We felt safe and relaxed throughout and made as many fun memories, if not more, as we would have had we been in Menorca or on a cruise. A staycation lets you control how much risk you want to take — and you avoid congregating in an airport, and mixing with travellers from around the world in an overseas resort by the pool.

Marc Shoffman

It was easy to forget there was a pandemic as we sat, breathing in the countryside air, basking in the sun, and, at night, staring at the stars from our hot tub. 

Next summer, even if the world has mostly gone back to normal, we might skip the airport junction for another staycation.

SEE ALSO: UK staycations could boom during the pandemic — but don't expect a breakfast buffet or a turndown service. Here's how hotels and holiday cottages are preparing for the rush.

Join the conversation about this story »

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How to get your start in real estate, from the woman who took top spot at her brokerage with over $75 million in sales less than 4 years after entering the business



  • Allison Chiaramonte is a real estate agent for Warburg Realty in New York City.
  • She began working in residential real estate back in 2016, and in less than four years was named the number-one producer at her brokerage.
  • In an interview with Business Insider she lays out five pieces of advice for real estate agents who are just getting started.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Real estate agent Allison Chiaramonte began working in residential real estate in New York City back in 2016.

By 2019, she was named Warburg Realty's top producer of the year, with more than $75 million in total sales volume.

Chiaramonte's path to resi real estate was far from traditional. Right out of college, she began marketing for-sale commercial buildings for CBRE. After just under two years there, she pivoted to business school, then to women's fashion, where she worked for roughly five to seven years until she had her first son at the end of 2014.

It wasn't until she was selling her own apartment that the thought of a career in resi real estate came to her. At the time she was debating whether or not to accept a six-month consultant project when her broker told her she had a real knack for representing resi properties. 

Chiaramonte would go on to intern for the team that represented her at Brown Harris Stevens. She stayed with Stevens for about a year-and-a-half before moving to Warburg, as she learned the ropes of buying and selling in New York City and building out her own strategies. 

Eight months later, Chiaramonte scored her first big listing — right after she had her second child. The listing turned into a rental and would mark the first and only deal in her first year as an agent. 

So how did Chiaramonte go from one deal that first year to Warburg's top producer of 2019? She attributed her quick success to, among other things, networking, building a client base, developing patience, having confidence, and having an eagerness to learn.

In an interview with Business Insider, she broke down five pieces of advice for beginner agents looking do to the same. 

1. Be persistent and patient 

This is key, according to Chiaramonte.  

"It takes a long time to get started and I think that people think it will be a quick money-making endeavor, and it's not," she explained. "It's really a full-time job and you have to make yourself available to your clients 24/7."

"It's like a normal job that you'd be working full-time hours, except it's spread out over seven days." 

2. Find a mentor

Learning from someone is very helpful at the beginning, Chiaramonte explained. 

"I learned so much just by watching deals get done," she said. "I always tell people who are starting out, even if they're not financially benefiting from a deal, that you get so much out of watching deals unfold because they always play out a little differently and there is always something to learn."

If you don't know someone right off the bat, Chiaramonte suggests finding industry professionals who model the type of work you plan on doing and offer to do some work for free. 

3. Don't be afraid to talk about real estate during your day-to-day life

"Everyone is interested in real estate," Chiaramonte said. 

Talking about real estate within your friend group or at clubs and organizations you are a part of is a great way to let people know that you are a go-to source to find out information about the market. 

"Just start bringing it up, and don't expect anything at first," she explained. 

4. Develop a thick skin

"In real estate, you're not going to get hired every time," she said.

Things like failing at a pitch, not getting a listing you want, or having people back out of deals is an inevitable part of the profession. 

"Learning to bounce back from that in the beginning was one of the hardest things for me," she continued. 

5. Play to your strengths 

Chiaramonte has a natural knack for designing and had several years of experience in the fashion industry. She told Business Insider that using some of your personal skills is a great way to market yourself. 

For example, Chiaramonte will oftentimes work with clients looking to do a gut renovation because she is able to help them envision what their future home will look like. In addition, she said that she has been a great source for staging and redecorating apartments for open houses. 

SEE ALSO: A top-20 Manhattan broker who sold 4 apartments in the middle of the pandemic takes us inside his daily routine, from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

DON'T MISS: If you want to buy your first house this summer, you may have a fight on your hands. Here's why.

Join the conversation about this story »

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These are the 29 power players steering TikTok's rise in the US


  • TikTok's influential emergence in the US social scene has attracted millions of loyal fans and creators, and also the ire of President Donald Trump due to its China-based parent company, ByteDance.
  • TikTok is facing a full-scale attack from the Trump administration, which has threatened to issue a nationwide ban on the app over accusations the platform allows the Chinese government to spy on Americans, and therefore poses US national-security risks.
  • Although TikTok's popularity has allowed its US presence to rocket to 1,500 employees (and rapidly counting), the company has successfully kept the lid on how it operates and who makes the behind-the-scenes decisions.
  • Business Insider has compiled a list of the 29 most influential and important people in charge of TikTok in the US, a presence which has been as controversial as it is popular.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Whether you're for or against TikTok's presence in the United States, there's no doubt its impact on internet discourse and mainstream politics.

TikTok, used monthly by an estimated 100 million active users, has turned in recent months into the latest target of the Trump administration thanks to its trade war with China. The origins in China of TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, has led the president to issue a flurry of executive orders this summer aimed at banning the presence of the app in the United States.

In two years, TikTok's rise to viral popularity in the US has grown the company's American base to more than 1,500 employees — a number TikTok says it wants to boost to 10,000 by 2023. Outside of the new five-floor Los Angeles office it opened at the beginning of this year, TikTok is actively hiring for positions in New York, Texas, Chicago, and Washington, DC — even as its future in the US is threatened.

Despite TikTok's cannibalization of recent tech and political headlines, little is known about the inner-workings of the company's US presence. Its executives don't have the same name recognition and scrutiny as those of higher-ups at Facebook and Google. TikTok continues to be tight-lipped about the leadership doing the decision-making: We don't know who looks over the app's content moderation policies, who curates the "For You" page, and who gets music artists and brands to pay to get their names in front of millions of users.

Perhaps it's because TikTok only recently started to deliberately separate out its US operations to appease the Trump administration, and hired a CEO based in Los Angeles only two months ago. As pressure on TikTok continues to build, it may be beneficial to know some of the names and faces responsible for shaping TikTok's presence in the US.

These are some of the most important people in charge of TikTok's US operations:

SEE ALSO: Ex-Uber security head charged in connection with the cover-up of a 2016 hack that affected 57 million customers

Kevin Mayer was brought on as TikTok's global CEO in June to give the app a US-based face as it faces an uncertain future.

Mayer was only recently appointed as TikTok's first CEO, as part of the app's strategy to show its separation from its parent company ByteDance, which has raised concerns in the US over national-security risks. He made his first public statement in late July to slam Facebook for painting the app as the "enemy."

Before joining TikTok, Mayer was a longtime executive at Disney in charge of the company's streaming service that launched in late 2019. He was considered one of the favorites to become Disney CEO when Bob Iger stepped down earlier this year, but he was passed over for the position.

Mayer works out of TikTok's Los Angeles office, but the app's US operations are still led day-to-day by Vanessa Pappas.

Zhang Yiming founded ByteDance back in 2012, and is currently weighing whether he's willing to part ways with TikTok's successful US operations.

Little is known about Zhang Yiming, the notoriously private CEO who founded ByteDance in 2012. Zhang, who comes from an engineering background, saw initial success with apps operating in China — most notably, a news aggregator app called Toutiao — but saw the possibility of ByteDance's global presence with the booming popularity of TikTok. Zhang is worth an estimated $16.2 billion, and his company was recently valued at more than $100 billion.

As ByteDance holds negotiations to sell off TikTok's US operations, Zhang has faced criticism from Chinese citizens for giving in too easily to Trump's threats to ban TikTok. To employees, Zhang has defended the move as a "legal process" ByteDance has to follow. It's possible Zhang is holding acquisition talks to appease Trump, and will be fighting the US government in court instead of giving up his hold on TikTok in the US.

Vanessa Pappas is in charge of day-to-day operations of TikTok in the US, and has been the public-facing figure assuring the US community TikTok isn't going anywhere.

Since Pappas joined TikTok as its US general manager in February 2019, she's oversaw a team of employees growing at a rapid clip: The company has around 1,500 employees in US offices including New York, Chicago, and Austin, Texas, and has pledged to hire 10,000 jobs by 2023

Pappas makes public appearances on behalf of TikTok, including on stage at VidCon in 2019 and in a community-wide video after Trump said he would ban TikTok in the US. Her role has taken on even more value as TikTok faces the possibility of being sold off, which would include a massive undertaking of duplicating TikTok's infrastructure and backend operations in the US.

Before TikTok, Pappas was a major player at YouTube, where she worked for seven years and headed up the video platform's creative insights and growth teams. Pappas works out of TikTok's biggest US office in Los Angeles.

Michael Beckerman was hired earlier this year to spearhead TikTok's growing presence in Washington, DC, as it fights the US government to stay.

Beckerman started in February as TikTok's head of US public policy, and has immediately gotten to work lobbying US lawmakers to allow TikTok to stay in the US. Beckerman is an established advocate of internet policy: Before TikTok, he was president of the Internet Association, the top lobbying group for internet companies.

Considering the US government's distrust of TikTok's Chinese roots and fraught relationship with the app, Beckerman is facing an uphill battle. In a letter shared with Business Insider that Beckerman penned to lawmakers ahead of the recent congressional antitrust hearing, the TikTok executive argued that allegations of TikTok's national-security risks are "unfounded," and attempted to settle the "rumors and misconceptions" spread about the app.

Blake Chandlee is the VP overseeing all of TikTok's ad partnerships, sales operations, and anything the app does to generate revenue.

Chandlee came in at the beginning of 2020 to head up TikTok's global business solutions, the division working with brands to advertise on the growing platform. Under Chandlee, TikTok's ad product offerings have expanded dramatically, to include opportunities for sponsored hashtags and challenges, in-feed videos, and branded AR effects.

TikTok's ad business is still new: The platform anticipates generating $1 billion in ad revenue in 2020 — only a fraction of Facebook's $70 billion and YouTube's $15 billion reported in 2019. Chandlee was poached from Facebook, where he worked for more than 12 years heading up the company's global partnerships.

Erich Andersen was named TikTok's first global general counsel in January, and could play an instrumental part in the company's coming lawsuit against the US government.

TikTok is expected to sue the US government any day now over its executive order banning the app, arguing the order is unconstitutional because the company wasn't given a chance to respond and that claims of its national-security risks have no evidence. It's unclear who the attorneys representing TikTok and ByteDance will be, but there's a good chance Andersen could be called to argue the company's case.

Andersen previously worked at Microsoft for more than 20 years and worked closely with company president Brad Smith, a connection that has fueled speculation about Microsoft's possible acquisition of TikTok's US operations. Andersen was Microsoft's chief counsel focused on intellectual property, an issue that could come up as TikTok expands its music partnerships and runs into potential copyright issues.

Roland Cloutier was brought in earlier this year as TikTok's global chief security officer amid concerns about potential privacy and data security issues due to the app's ties to China.

Perhaps the biggest issue for TikTok — which Trump's argument to ban the app falls on — is the privacy of American users' data and the access China has to it through ByteDance. Enter Cloutier, a cybersecurity veteran who was hired in March to help TikTok address these concerns.

TikTok has consistently insisted the Chinese government can't access user data, but that hasn't stopped concerns raised over how the company stores and handles it, and any risks it could pose to Americans' national security. At the same time, TikTok is being investigated over its handling of children's data. As chief information security officer, Cloutier is beefing up the security of users and employees, and making privacy a top priority for the app.

Will Farrell works with TikTok's chief information security officer to lock down TikTok and defend the platform from potential cyberattacks.

While Roland Cloutier presides over TikTok's security efforts as a whole, Farrell is focused specifically on building up the company's defenses in anticipation of any cyberattacks or data breach attempts. 

Farrell came to TikTok after a 15-year stint as director of a team of elite security experts inside Booz Allen Hamilton, a top-notch tech consulting firm often contracted by federal defense and intelligence agencies. TikTok only hired Farrell last month as its head of global cyber and data defense, which could mean he'll be vital in helping TikTok demonstrate its security is tight and user data can't be accessed by external parties, like the Chinese government.

Eric Han is in charge of the safety of the TikTok's US community, whether that's through policy changes, product updates, or content moderation.

Han is overseeing TikTok's continual efforts to create a set of community guidelines unique to the app's US users. But while TikTok tries to move away from its roots of emphasizing "creative and joyful" content, the company has been caught restricting videos that are "culturally problematic" and critical of the Chinese government.

TikTok has taken the approach to content moderation — unique from other US social networks — of over-censoring and then scaling back. Since joining TikTok in April 2019, Han is the public-facing figure who has to apologize for the company's mistakes, but is also responsible for announcing new measures to protect users from misinformation, hateful content, and child exploitation.

Joshua Goodman works closely with TikTok's product team to fix any safety-related issues they face in building the platform.

Although the overall safety of TikTok's US users is in the hands of Eric Han, Goodman is focused on making sure the product itself is safe. Goodman looks at the product — including platform features, backend infrastructure and algorithms — to identify what could cause safety-related issues, and find a solution prioritizing users' well-being.

Goodman holds the role on the trust and safety team not just for TikTok in the US, but for all ByteDance platforms operating outside of China. Goodman started in May 2020, and previously held engineering roles at Amazon and Facebook.

Sean Kim oversees the development and launch of new features that will best serve the US TikTok community.

Although the engineers behind TikTok's well-curated "For You" page are based in China, Kim plays a role in just about every feature on TikTok's US app. He collaborates with TikTok's teams working on design, engineering, and content strategy to introduce features users need. Amid the pandemic, Kim worked to highlight information in the app from Center for Disease Control, prioritize videos from medical experts, and add a donation button for supporting relevant nonprofits. 

Kim was hired a year ago to help TikTok compete with established US social networks like Snapchat and Instagram. Today, TikTok has more than 100 million monthly users in the US — and is now outperforming its competitors.

Bryan Thoensen helps publishers and brands not just create the best content for TikTok, but also figure out how to turn it into revenue.

A rising number of brands are discovering the benefits of creating content for a young, Generation Z-heavy audience. TikTok created a dedicated content partnerships team in 2019 to build up these relationships, and put Thoensen in charge of it.

Since Thoensen joined TikTok last year, the platform has expanded the ways brands can make money on the platform — like making videos shoppable— and offered them strategies and insights on what type of content performs best.

Greg Justice stays updated on trends in user-generated content, and directs programming TikTok itself releases on the platform.

Justice may be the most knowledgeable person at TikTok when it comes to changing trends in the dances, challenges, and sounds users are creating and watching on the platform. Additionally, Justice pioneers TikTok-sponsored and TikTok-created content released on the platform: He organized #HappyAtHome, TikTok's livestreaming series amid the pandemic in March featuring content from popular TikTok creators, music artists, and celebrities.

Justice was hired as head of content programming in December 2018 from Snapchat, whose ranks TikTok has thoroughly poached talent from over the last year and a half.

As director of the creator community, Kudzi Chikumbu is responsible for maintaining the relationship between TikTok and its more than 100 million monthly users.

When TikTok creators have questions, Chikumbu is the one in charge of providing answers. As one of TikTok's longest-serving executives (he was hired in 2016 when the app was Musical.ly), Chikumbu has helped develop the company's creator partnerships, content-making features, and ads and monetization strategies.

But creators' frustration with TikTok's lack of transparency in how it moderates and filters content has also fallen on the shoulders of Chikumbu. In the last year, he's defended TikTok against accusations of censoring political content, shadow-banning Black and LGBTQ creators, and acquiescing to the Chinese government.

Stephanie Hind is the liaison dedicated to serving TikTok's most popular and high-profile creators and public figures.

The most elite influencers and personalities on TikTok have a direct line to the company through Hind. In her role, Hind ensures that the platform is harnessing the popularity of TikTok-born stars like Charlie and Dixie D'Amelio, and providing these figures with opportunities to ensure they continue creating on the platform.

Hind has been working with influencers since 2013, most recently for a firm called Cycle connecting talent with brands for campaigns.

Julia Yan is a key part of TikTok's marketing team who's focused on finding ways to keep users spending time on and engaging with the platform.

Yan is in charge of growth marketing for TikTok, meaning she's focused on exploring how TikTok can ensure its userbase keeps using the platform, and spends more time watching and making videos. 

Since Yan joined in 2018 from Amazon, TikTok's growth has been astronomical, notably in the US: In the nearly two-year stint since TikTok launched in the US, the app has grown to 100 million monthly active users.

Corey Sheridan demonstrates the benefits of artists putting their music on TikTok and how the platform can help their content to go viral.

Sheridan has first-hand knowledge about how effective TikTok has been in turning new releases and forgotten soundtracks into viral memes and chart-topping hits. In his role, he oversees teams responsible for showing artists and labels the advantages of using TikTok to promote their music through ad campaigns and influencer marketing strategies.

Under Sheridan, the number of music artists engaging with TikTok rose to 750 by the end of 2019— and surely skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Tracy Gardner is a music industry insider brought on to negotiate licensing deals with music labels and smooth over any lasting copyright issues.

Music is a core part of TikTok's platform, but the company had done little to ensure it has the proper licenses to use the music until this year. Gardner joined as TikTok's head of label licensing and partnerships in November 2019, as pressure mounted on TikTok to address multiple allegations of copyright infringement and comparisons to Napster.

Gardner, who came to TikTok from her VP position at Warner Music Group, has helped TikTok strike licensing deals with three of the music industry's biggest publishers — Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music — as well as smaller labels. These deals mean TikTok can continue to be a launchpad for independent artists and breakout hits.

Mary Rahmani helps artists develop the best strategies for getting their music discovered and attracting a wider audience.

Outside of YouTube, TikTok is a rare social network to have a team of employees dedicated to helping out music artists on the platform. Under Rahmani, TikTok artists are given access to tips for going viral, insights to track playback numbers.

Rahmani's ambassadorship has been successful in convincing both budding artists and established stars, from a variety of genres, to put their music on TikTok to build their audience. With a background in managing artists at record labels, Rahmani joined TikTok in 2018 as director of music content and artist partnerships.

Isabel Quinteros manages TikTok’s growing number of relationships with music artists who are finding new-found recognition and popularity on the app.

Record labels and others in the music industry now know the power TikTok in driving the charts, while music artists try to figure out how to go viral on the platform. Quinteros acts as the liaison to these artists, advising them on which songs will perform on the platform and resonate with the community. Quinteros also provides support to budding artists who may suddenly see a song of theirs go viral or find themselves suddenly in the spotlight.

Since taking on her role in April 2019, Quinteros told Business Insider she's worked with stars Jason Derulo and Megan Thee Stallion, who the team helped convince that her song, "Savage," would find fame on the platform (they were right).

Nick Tran coordinates TikTok's ad campaigns and efforts to market the app as a source of good, especially as the Trump administration paints the app as a detriment.

TikTok poached Tran from Hulu just months ago to become the company's head of global marketing. Tran is responsible for overseeing the team in charge of TikTok's brand marketing, ad campaigns, and social efforts. As shown by TikTok's just-launched "It Starts on TikTok" global campaign, Tran is tasked with forwarding the narrative to the public the app is a home to a thriving community of creators and creativity. Tran's job is to keep people focused on TikTok's benefits and good as the Trump administration aims to highlight the negatives.

Tran started at TikTok in April, filling a role that's been vacant since August 2019 when Stefan Heinrich Henriquez left to be chief marketing officer at celebrity-booking platform Cameo.

Sandie Hawkins focuses on TikTok's ads division in the US, and must convince American brands to keep funding campaigns amid the potential ban.

While Chandlee oversees TikTok's ad business globally, Hawkins was hired in June to take charge of advertising solely in the US. In her newly created role at TikTok, Hawkins works with brands to secure ad partnerships and create marketing campaigns, showing off the new ad products TikTok offers in an attempt to boost its ad revenue and successfully monetize the platform.

When Hawkins started in June, Facebook's ad boycott opened a window for TikTok to snatch up brands. However, the threatened ban has led TikTok's advertisers to form contingency plans in anticipation and consider shifting their money to other platforms. Hawkins has to reassure brands of TikTok's longevity, and has already told advertisers the company will offer refunds for planned ad campaigns that can't be fulfilled.

Sofia Hernandez helped launch TikTok's new ad portal where brands can find, in one place, all of the marketing tools available to them for use.

Hernandez was brought onto TikTok's business team in June, the same month the company debuted a one-stop-shop for marketers to access all of the company's ad offerings. The platform, called TikTok for Business, gives marketers access to various ad options and the ability to launch their own campaigns.

This new approach to marketing, under Hernandez, helps to establish TikTok in the eyes of brands as a major platform worthy of major ad campaigns, right alongside Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter.

The marketing team working under Matty Lin focuses on expanding TikTok's brand partnerships and creators' opportunities to monetize content.

Although Lin is technically employed by ByteDance, his role means he oversees the marketing employees focused on developing company-wide strategy for monetization and partnerships. That means Lin's team is frequently working with the people and brands using TikTok, instead of the platform itself: He helps brands strategize how they want to best advertise themselves on the app, and assists creators in partnering with brands to monetize their videos.

Lin's team includes Dustin Goot, who is specifically focused on creator monetization. His role is especially important, given TikTok lacks a built-in structure (like YouTube) for users to generate revenue from video views.

Lin has been with ByteDance since early 2018.


Melissa Yang identifies and secures strategic partnerships with third-parties that can help innovate and improve TikTok's growing ad business.

While other executives leading TikTok's global business solutions are focused on attracting potential ad buyers and marketers, Yang forms working relationships with companies that can bring added technologies or capabilities to TikTok's ad business. By doing so, TikTok can streamline its ad business and focus its resources on select aspects, while outsourcing others with ecosystem partnerships.

Recently, Yang organized partnerships with severalaugmented-realitydesign companies to allow TikTok to offer AR effects for brand campaigns. Yang has been with TikTok for a year now, and previously held leadership roles at Facebook and JP Morgan.

Jorge Ruiz harnesses TikTok's trove of data and insight to shape the company's approach to developing new products and making changes.

As head of measurement, Ruiz knows the ins and outs of the numbers behind TikTok. Ruiz's team uses these data and analytics to inform how TikTok implements its ad product offerings on the platform, as well as shape how brands decide to most effectively spend their advertising dollars.

Ruiz came to TikTok in December 2019 from Facebook, where he worked with brands on marketing strategy for more than six years.

Kate Barney's department is tasked with TikTok's massive US hiring spree, as well as figuring out how the company can manage thousands of employees while remote during the pandemic.

As the most senior human resources executive devoted to TikTok's operations in the Americas, Barney has taken on TikTok's pledge to add 10,000 jobs in the US by 2023. She dictates TikTok's recruiting and hiring process, of which she shared tips on in a recent interview with Business Insider. As TikTok's 1,500 (and growing) employees work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, Barney has also guided the company's attempt to create a community-oriented virtual work environment that promotes inter-employee personal connections.

Given her US focus, Barney is also likely in charge of ensuring TikTok employees their jobs are secure given Trump's threatened ban. TikTok employees say they're planning to file a lawsuit to ensure US-based workers would continue getting paid after a ban is enacted. Barney has been with TikTok since May 2019, and reports to TikTok's new global HR head, Nicky Raghavan.

Belinda Frazier is TikTok's first executive tasked with leading diversity and inclusion efforts both internally among employees, and externally on the platform.

Tech companies started hiring executives dedicated to diversity efforts several years ago, but TikTok has just caught up this year as it expands out its US operations. Frazier, TikTok's first head of culture and diversity, was hired this year after a five-year stint leading D&I efforts at Disney.

Internally, Frazier works with the human resources department to develop diversity strategies for TikTok's growing number of US employees. But she also works with the company's content and moderation teams to ensure the TikTok app and community is inclusive. Frazier's job has taken on more significance after it was revealed TikTok was restricting videos from users deemed "vulnerable to cyberbullying"— including LGBTQ, fat, and disabled creators — and faces allegations it suppresses videos from Black creators.

Hilary McQuaide is charged with the vital task of shaping TikTok's message to users and press as it faces a deluge of scrutiny and attention.

Ever since Trump first surfaced the idea of banning the app earlier this summer, TikTok has been generating more media attention than ever before. As head of communications, McQuaide is responsible for providing reporters with answers that successfully assuage users' panic and show the public the company isn't concerned about its future in the US.

Before joining TikTok in 2017, McQuaide had previous experience leading communications for a company under scrutiny: She was the first head of communications for Yik Yak, the anonymous forum app popular on college campuses that shut down after widespread instances of bullying, sexual harassment, and threats of violence.

Here's what happens when two hurricanes collide

  • When two hurricanes collide, the phenomenon is called the Fujiwhara effect.
  • If two cyclones pass within 900 miles of each other, they can start to orbit.
  • If the two storms get to within 190 miles of each other, they'll collide or merge. This can turn two smaller storms into one giant one.
  • In rare instances, close proximity can throw a storm off course, as was the case with hurricanes Hilary and Irwin in July 2017. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. 

Following is a transcript of the video. 

Narrator: What happens when two hurricanes collide?

The phenomenon is called the Fujiwhara effect.

Named for Japanese meteorologist Sakuhei Fujiwhara, who originally described it in 1921.

If two cyclones pass within 900 miles of each other, they can start to orbit.

What happens next depends on the size of each storm.

If one storm is much stronger than the other, the smaller storm usually rotates around the larger one.

But when both storms are similar in strength, they tend to orbit a common center between the two.

If the two storms get to within 190 miles of each other, they'll collide or merge.

The result is transformative.

It can turn two smaller storms into one giant one.

The interaction can also throw a cyclone off course.

That's what happened in July 2017 with hurricanes Hilary and Irwin.

Hurricane Hilary changed Irwin's course from west to north.

This example is more the exception than the norm.

Hurricane collisions and interactions are rare.

Yet, growing evidence suggests a warming climate could affect hurricane season.

What the effects will be is unclear, but who knows?

Perhaps more hurricane mergers are in our future.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published on September 9, 2017.

Join the conversation about this story »

Inside the Bel Air mansion that Lori Loughlin sold to a Tinder cofounder for $18.75 million


lori loughlin house

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli sold their Los Angeles mansion just weeks before their college admissions scandal sentencing.

The sale of the home comes during a difficult summer for the couple. In May, they agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to get their daughters into college, in June they resigned from the elite Bel-Air Country Club, and on Friday they were both sentenced for their part in the college admissions scandal. Loughlin will serve two months in prison, while Giannulli will serve five months.

The six-bedroom, nine-bathroom home that the pair sold on July 29 sits on a golf course in the ritzy Bel Air neighborhood. The 9,000-square-foot home sold for $18.75 million.

Tinder cofounder Justin Mateen, the buyer, snagged the home a significant price cut — the property was initially listed for $28.7 million.

The Agency's Arvin Haddad held the listing and Rodeo Realty's Josh Flagg represented Mateen.

Keep reading for a look inside the home.

SEE ALSO: Here's the full list of people charged in the college admissions cheating scandal, and who has pleaded guilty so far

DON'T MISS: Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli resigned from the elite Bel-Air Country Club amid internal debate over the couple's 'irreparable reputational harm' to the club

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli closed a deal to sell their Bel Air mansion on July 29. Weeks later, they were sentenced for their role in the college admissions scandal.

Source: The Agency, Insider

Tinder cofounder Justin Mateen purchased the home for $18.75 million.

Source: The Agency

Mateen snagged the home for a significant deduction — the mansion's original asking price was $28.7 million.

Source: TMZ

The sale comes after the couple pleaded guilty for their roles in the college admissions scandal in May and resigned from the elite Bel-Air Country Club in June.

Source: Insider,Insider

The 9,000-square-foot home has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

Source: The Agency

Mateen, the home's buyer, stepped down from his role at Tinder in 2014 following highly publicized sexual harassment allegations.

Source: Business Insider

The mansion Mateen is moving into has a relatively open floor plan, with high ceilings ...

... and Mediterranean details like arches.

Cavernous spaces and modern touches like massive golden bars give the home a contemporary feel.

The property also has views of a golf course.

A glowing, spiral-shaped Frank Lloyd Wright house that was almost demolished just sold for $7.25 million — take a look inside


Frank Lloyd Wright's spiral-shaped David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix, Arizona

  • A spiral-shaped Frank Lloyd Wright home regarded as the architect's last residential masterpiece has sold for $7.25 million.
  • Known as the David and Gladys Wright House, the home was scheduled for demolition back in 2012, prompting a battle over its future. 
  • After two years on the market, the home sold this month to Jim Benson of Benson Botsford LLC, who plans to preserve its original architecture in partnership with architects Bing Hu and Wenchin Shi.
  • Take a look inside the iconic home, which sits at the base of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, and looks out over a citrus orchard.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

SEE ALSO: A private island an hour from NYC is renting for $40,000 a month. Take a closer look at the property, which comes with 2 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes and a private helipad.

NOW READ: A self-taught designer turned a dated Palm Springs home into something that looks straight out of Santorini, Greece — take a look inside

A spiral-shaped Frank Lloyd Wright home, regarded as a precursor to the Guggenheim museum, just sold in Phoenix, Arizona, for half of its 2018 price.

Bob Hassett of Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty represented the listing.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Known as the David and Gladys Wright House, it was completed in 1952 and is considered by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to be the architect's last residential masterpiece.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Set on close to six acres at the base of Camelback Mountain, the three-bedroom home is raised above the ground by concrete columns and enjoys views of the surrounding desert and citrus orchard.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International RealtyFrank Lloyd Wright Foundation

The main residence also looks out at a one-bedroom guest house ...

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty

... and a central courtyard with a plunge pool and garden.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation 

Wright designed the spiral-shaped home for his son, David, and daughter-in-law, Gladys, who lived in the home until their respective deaths in 1997 and 2008.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

After Gladys passed away, the home fell into disrepair and a battle over its future ensued. In 2012, the home faced threats of demolition, prompting Las Vegas attorney Zach Rawling to swoop in and save the home.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Rawling originally intended to turn it into a museum, but following neighbor complaints about potential noise and traffic, listed the home in 2018 for $12.95 million.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, USA Today

After two years on the market, the home sold for $7.25 million this month to Jim Benson, CEO of Benson Botsford LLC, who plans to preserve its architecture with the help of architects Bing Hu and Wenchin Shi.

 Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Rose Law Group Reporter

"We had several offers over the past few years, but the buyers always wanted to only tear down the house and build all new ones," listing agent Bob Hassett said in a release.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Rose Law Group Reporter

The home sale included reproductions of Wright's signature 'March Balloons' carpet in the living room ...

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty

... as well as a dining table and chairs.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty

The house has been restored in part, but there is still work to do. According to the property listing, the home is in need of structural and electrical repairs.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty

Though impressive by day, the home's full architectural prowess can best be seen at night.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty

Lamps placed on pathways and ramps transform the property into a glowing maze of light.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty

Benson's restoration plans include installing a copper roof, which was part of Wright's original plans for the home. "These are the perfect buyers for this property, and we are all extremely happy that we were able to put this all together," Hassett said.

Source: Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Rose Law Group Reporter

Flight records show Michael Bloomberg's private jets took more than 1,700 trips and emitted at least 10,000 metric tons of CO2 in the past four years


Michael Bloomberg exits private jet in El Paso, Texas on January 29, 2020

  • Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former mayor of New York City, has publicly committed to ending climate change, and highlighted the issue during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • Flight records show, however, that Bloomberg's fleet of private jets receive regular and extensive use, both within the United States and to international destinations like Bermuda, Tokyo, London, Singapore, and Beijing.
  • Private jets like those owned by Bloomberg are notoriously carbon-intensive, yielding a much larger environmental footprint per passenger.
  • Business Insider calculated that, between June 2016 and June 2020, Bloomberg's jets emitted at least 10,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

During his short-lived presidential campaign, Michael Bloomberg repeatedly emphasized his commitment to reversing climate change. He pointed to the work of his charity, Bloomberg Philanthropies, whose assistance helped decomission hundred of domestic coal plants, as well as his personal record of environmental advocacy. His campaign's website said he would "tackle climate change as one of his highest priorities."

These and other policy positions, along with his immense fortune, have turned Bloomberg into a major Democratic player. Though less than initially promised, he transferred $14 million to the party in March, and recently pledged $60 million to help preserve its majority in the House of Representatives. On Thursday, the Democratic Party rewarded him with a prime speaking slot on the fourth and final night of the party's national convention.

Bloomberg's recent alignment with the Democratic Party is particularly noteworthy because of his lifestyle's environmental footprint. Indeed, flight data obtained by Business Insider depict a pattern of routine and extravagant international travel on private jets that emitted more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide in the past four years.

Business Insider analyzed four years of flight data associated with a fleet of eight aircraft owned by Bloomberg, and focused on three business jets that appeared to travel the most prolifically. The data, drawn from hundreds of thousands of avionic signals that resemble blips on a radar, do not show whether Bloomberg himself was a passenger on any particular flight. They do, however, offer the most detailed picture of the billionaire's private travels — and their cost to the environment.

Bloomberg travels prolifically on private jets, often to evade public attention

Reporters have attempted to trace Bloomberg's precise movements for years, sometimes down to the exact city block. As mayor of New York City, he spent so much time in Bermuda that the New York Times dispatched a City Hall reporter to the isolated British territory to figure out what he was doing there. Nine months later, in January 2011, several Bermudians told the same reporter, Michael Barbaro, about a series of events that suggested Bloomberg had been on the island when a severe snowstorm struck New York City on Christmas Day in 2010. 

In February 2011, three Wall Street Journal reporters analyzed a tranche of similar tranche of flight data, then maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration, for the years 2007 to 2010. In those four years, Bloomberg's jets took 981 flights that departed from airports in or near New York City.

Bloomberg has consistently defended his travel activities, and the secrecy surrounding them, by invoking his personal right to privacy. But the records analyzed by Business Insider could pose a different problem altogether. They suggest, after all, that Bloomberg's expensive lifestyle, and Democratic climate policy, are incompatible.

Out of a fleet of eight private aircraft, Bloomberg and his associates appear to favor three Dassault Falcon 900EX business jets

The FAA's public registration database shows eight aircraft and 11 identifying tail numbers registered to Wing & Rotor Transportation Holdings LLC, a Delaware corporation that shares two registration addresses with Bloomberg entities: a Morristown address shared with Bloomberg Services LLC, and an Albany address shared by a branch of Bloomberg LP, the financial data and media company founded and helmed by Mike Bloomberg.

The eight aircraft comprise three Dassault Falcon 900EX business jets, a smaller Pilatus PC-24 business jet, a Beechcraft King Air utility aircraft, a Cessna 182 Skylane plane, and two helicopters. After mapping the signal data associated with each aircraft, Business Insider found the vast majority of travel occurred on the three Dassault Falcons, the largest of Bloomberg's jets.

Between June 2016 and June 2020, Bloomberg's three primary business jets made 1,719 flights. Flight activity occurred on 880 days during that period, suggesting that at least one jet was airborne nearly two out of every three days. All three jets — bearing the tail numbers N5MV, N47EG, and N8AG —  traveled widely, both domestically and abroad, with N5MV making the most flights of the trio.

Bloomberg's business jets are typically held in Morristown, New Jersey. Prior to longer trips, the jets usually made trips to LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, or Westchester County Airport, presumably to pick up passengers before embarking on another flight. Upon returning to New York, the jets would drop passengers off in New York City or Westchester County before returning to Morristown. These, and other apparent layovers, are included in our total flight count.

Two private jets were used on the campaign trail

Flights made by N47EG aligned with stops made by Bloomberg on the campaign trail, indicating at least one private jet was used for campaign travel, and Bloomberg was likely aboard himself.

Shortly after Bloomberg announced his candidacy for president on November 24, 2019, the jet began to tour the country, making stops in Mississippi, Georgia, Colorado, Texas, and North Carolina, returning to New York every few days. Often, the jet would make multiple campaign stops in one day. In mid-February, both N47EG and N5MV flew concurrently between campaign rallies in Nashville, Winston-Salem, and Houston.

Both jets had returned to New York City by March 4, when Bloomberg announced the suspension of his campaign to an audience of supporters in Manhattan. Two days later, both planes had taken off once again, this time to separate locations in the Caribbean: N47EG to La Romana, Dominican Republic, where Bloomberg has previously been pictured playing golf at the luxury Casa de Campo resort — and N5MV to the US Virgin Islands. 

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2011 that aircraft registered to Wing & Rotor Transportation Holdings LLC are used both by Bloomberg and executives at Bloomberg LP, but that the former mayor paid for travel on his company's planes himself.

Dozens of flights took place after New York's stay-at-home order took effect 

All three of Bloomberg's Dassault Falcon jets continued to travel after Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced a stay-at-home order on March 22 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Between 8 p.m. on March 22, when the order took effect, and June 11, Business Insider found that Bloomberg's jets flew 33 times domestically, including five trips to Palm Beach, the most frequented destination. The number is a 73% decrease from the same period last year, when Bloomberg's Falcons made 124 flights collectively. By comparison, the number of travelers on commercial flights decreased by 96%, according to an analysis of TSA data by APM Research Lab

The travel activity of Bloomberg's jets produced more than 10,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide

Traveling by private jet yields a significantly higher carbon footprint than flying via commercial airliners. Mike Bloomberg ran for president on a clean energy platform that aimed to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. By Business Insider's calculation, the flights made by Bloomberg's Dassault Falcon jets released more than 10,311 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere between June 2016 and June 2020. 

Over the period with complete data per calendar year, the jets produced an average of 2,597 metric tons of carbon each year. If five passengers are assumed to be on each flight, the emissions would amount to 519 metric tons per passenger annually, from travel on Bloomberg's jets alone. For comparison, the annual carbon emissions of a typical American were 16.6 metric tons, according to a 2019 report from the Global Carbon Project,  an international consortium of scientists.

Business Insider's calculation — made by processing each flight through Paramount Business Jets' open source Private Jet Carbon Emission Offset System— is a conservative estimate. For flights with unknown destinations, emissions were calculated to the last known location of the aircraft.

Bloomberg's jets flew most frequently between areas where he owns homes — and where Bloomberg LP offices are located

The majority of flights taken by Bloomberg's Falcon jets fell into predictable patterns. Most frequent were flights made between New York City and Palm Beach, followed by New York City and London — all locations in which Bloomberg owns homes. Other domestic destinations visited often by Bloomberg's jets were Washington, DC, Dallas, Little Rock, Monterey, and Vail, where Bloomberg owns a vacation property.

Internationally, Bloomberg's planes jet-setted frequently to Zurich, Paris, and various locations in the Caribbean, including the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic. Multiple flights were found to each global Bloomberg LP location, including Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Dublin, and Sao Paulo. A dozen times, one of his jets made stops on the French Riviera in Cannes and Nice.

In total, 1,396 flights were made domestically — including two dozen flights to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico — and 238 were made internationally. The locations are consistent with photos of Bloomberg's planes captured by aviation enthusiasts and uploaded to sites such as JetPhotos.com and Jetspotting.com, which suggest that Bloomberg's jets have been flying in recurring patterns for years.

Dead zones, such as the Bermuda Triangle, mean that some flight paths were impossible to decipher

The raw data processed by Business Insider was provided by ADS-B Exchange, a flight tracking website that relies on a worldwide network of ADS-B receivers that pick up signals from aircraft overhead. When investigating the paths of aircraft, areas devoid of receivers — such as oceans and uninhabited swaths of land — are dead zones where flight activity drops off.

In March 2017, jet N47EG flew from Palm Beach to an unknown location in the Persian Gulf, returning to Palm Beach five days later. The only other known travel to the region took place on October 1, 2019, when the same jet flew from London to Abu Dhabi, and back the following day. 

Business Insider found 40 flights with signals that terminated abruptly in the Atlantic, suggesting flights to Bermuda, where Bloomberg owns an estate. There are no receivers feeding ADS-B Exchange on the island, the flight tracking website confirmed to Business Insider. Without the missing data, it is difficult to determine whether those flights terminated in Bermuda or elsewhere, either in the Atlantic or further south in the Caribbean, where Bloomberg's jets traveled extensively.

Business Insider sought comment from Bloomberg via Bloomberg LP, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the press contact listed on his personal website. None responded by presstime.

Join the conversation about this story »

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are selling their 7-bedroom Beverly Hills mansion for $24 million because they need more space — take a look inside


Beverly Hills home 02

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend have put their Beverly Hills, California, home on the market for $23.95 million, Katherine Clarke reported for The Wall Street Journal. 

The modern, 8,520-square-foot house features floor-to-ceiling windows, a heated saltwater pool and Jacuzzi, and a parlor entry with 33-foot ceilings.

The celebrity couple, who bought the Beverly Hills pad for $14 million in 2015, are selling it because Teigen, a cookbook author, former model, and reality TV actress, is pregnant with their third child and the family needs more space, Legend told the Journal. 

The Grammy Award-winning singer and Teigen aren't the first celebrities to live in the home. It once belonged to Rihanna, the world's wealthiest female musician, who reportedly was not a fan of the home

After bouncing between two more buyers and undergoing a gut renovation, the house became a home base for Teigen, Legend, and their family — at least, until now.

Take a look inside the luxurious seven-bedroom home.

SEE ALSO: Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's former Beverly Hills estate just sold for 34% off its original asking price. Look inside the home they spent 3 years renovating.

DON'T MISS: Rihanna is the world's richest female musician — from yachting trips on the French Riviera to a staff that includes a chef and personal trainers, see how she spends her $600 million fortune

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are selling their Beverly Hills home for $23.95 million, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Teigen, a 34-year-old  cookbook author and former model, and Legend, a 41-year-old singer-songwriter and musician, bought the home for $14 million in 2016.

Now, they're selling it because Teigen is pregnant with their third child, Legend told the Journal.

The modern home once belonged to another big-name star: Rihanna, who was reportedly not a fan of the house.

Rihanna, who's now the world's richest female musician, owned the home for barely two years before putting it up for sale.

The singer-songwriter, who paid about $7 million for the home when it was brand new in 2009, filed a lawsuit in 2011 that claimed the house flooded in a "moderate rainstorm," according to Curbed. That same year, she put it on the market, but it didn't sell until 2012 — and even then, for almost $2 million less than she paid for it.

The buyer flipped the home to yet another owner who did a gut renovation and put it on the market in January 2015. About a year later, Teigen and Legend purchased the home.

On The Ellen Show in 2016, Teigen said that Rihanna's mail was occasionally still sent to the house — and joked that she may have sneaked a peek at some of RiRi's bills.

The house sits in Beverly Hills, an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood that's a magnet for celebrities and the ultrawealthy, from Cher to Jeff Bezos.

Cher put her 11-bedroom Beverly Hills home on the market last year for $48 million, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, dropped $165 million on a brand-new Beverly Hills mansion earlier this year.

A Beverly Hills estate once owned by Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt sold earlier this month for $32.5 million.

Teigen and Legend's sleek, modern mansion spans 8,520 square feet and sits on a lot that's just under one acre.

The couple did some renovations of their own after buying the house, including turning the exterior from white to gray, replacing the floors, and adding bespoke patterned ceilings from Thailand, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The parlor features a sculptural staircase and 33-foot ceilings.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The home's spacious chef's kitchen is featured in many of Teigen's Instagram stories.

Source: Douglas Elliman

A formal dining room is anchored by a large chandelier.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The kitchen opens up into a large family room.

Source: Douglas Elliman

And the family room flows into another sitting area.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The house's master bedroom features a massive brass, concrete, and clay fireplace as well as a large private balcony.

Source: Douglas Elliman

One entire wall is made up of glass that slides back to open up the room to the outdoors.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The master suite also includes a "glam room," as the listing calls it.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The master bathroom has a marble Teuco tub, onyx sinks ...

Source: Douglas Elliman

... and a luxurious double shower.

Source: Douglas Elliman

At night, the tub offers sparkling views of Los Angeles.

Source: Douglas Elliman

One of the standout features of the master suite is its massive, walk-in closets.

Source: Douglas Elliman

Teigen and Legend's wardrobe, handbag, sunglasses, and shoe collections are on full display (though unfortunately they're not included in the sale price).

Source: Douglas Elliman

All of the home's seven bedrooms have their own balconies and en-suite bathrooms, according to the listing.

Source: Douglas Elliman

Listing photos show a spacious playroom where Teigen and Legend's children have undoubtedly played.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The home cinema is outfitted with comfortable-looking sofas and a popcorn machine.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The house has its own home gym with a variety of exercise equipment.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The backyard is reminiscent of a luxury resort.

Source: Douglas Elliman

There's a pergola wrapped in grapevines, a wood-burning oven, and a chef's grill.

Source: Douglas Elliman

And of course, any respectable Los Angeles mansion must have a pool: Teigen and Legend's is a heated saltwater pool that also includes a Jacuzzi.

Source: Douglas Elliman

The living room's floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views.

Source: Douglas Elliman

And of course, one listing photo shows the parlor's grand piano next to a wall of Grammys and other awards.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Legend has written new music, filmed some of his appearances on the TV show "The Voice," and participated in a virtual Global Citizen event in the Beverly Hills home, the singer told the Journal.

The couple didn't say where they're moving to, but they did buy a $5.1 million house in West Hollywood earlier this year.

The West Hollywood home is less than a 15-minute drive from the Beverly Hills home they're selling, according to Google Maps.

But at approximately 3,500 square feet, the West Hollywood house is significantly smaller. As Legend told the Journal they were selling their Beverly Hills home because they needed more space for their growing family, it seems unlikely the West Hollywood pad will become their home base.

Teigen and Legend also own two New York City apartments, one of which they picked up in March for $7.7 million.

Britney Spears' conservatorship was just extended until 2021 — look inside the 12-year legal arrangement that prevents the pop star from controlling her life and $59 million fortune


britney spears

  • Britney Spears' conservatorship, also known as a legal guardianship, was implemented in 2008 after Spears experienced several mental breakdowns.
  • Under the arrangement, Spears has no legal control over her estate or financial and personal assets — those rights were granted to her father and a lawyer.
  • While supporters of the #FreeBritney movement say Spears is being manipulated, those involved in the conservatorship say she's very involved in decision-making.
  • The conservatorship was just extended through February 1, 2021.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Britney Spears hasn't legally controlled her life and fortune in 12 years.

The conservatorship— a legal guardianship typically enacted for those incapable of making their own decisions — was approved by the court in 2008 after Spears had several public mental breakdowns. The arrangement put her estate, financial assets, and some personal assets under the control of her father and a lawyer. 

Earlier in August, Spears asked for her father to be removed as sole conservator of her estate, according to court documents. However, after a hearing on August 19, Judge Brenda Penny of the Los Angeles County Superior Court in California opted to extend the conservatorship in its current form through February 1 of next year, the New York Times' Joe Coscarelli reported.

Since its implementation, the conservatorship has generated a lot of controversy among Spears' fans. Some think she's being controlled and manipulated, which has fueled the #FreeBritney movement. But those close to Spears have told several media outlets over the years that the conservatorship is meant to help the pop icon and that she is very involved in business decisions.

A representative for Spears didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on this story.

Here's a look inside the complex arrangement that is Spears' conservatorship.

SEE ALSO: Britney Spears hasn't legally controlled her $59 million fortune in 12 years. Here's how the pop icon makes and spends her money, from Target shopping trips to California mansions.

DON'T MISS: Taylor Swift's Netflix documentary just dropped. Here's a look inside the $81 million worth of mansions and penthouses the pop superstar owns.

In the late 2000s, Britney Spears had several highly publicized mental breakdowns.

During this time, Spears was spotted driving her SUV with her son Sean on her lap and not strapped in a car seat. She also famously shaved her head and was seen hitting a photographer's car with an umbrella.

In 2008, Spears made several trips to rehab and was committed twice to a psychiatric hospital — also known as a 5150 hold in California, where Spears lives, Laura Newberry reported for the Los Angeles Times. Newberry spent three months examining Spears' conservatorship.

This tumultuous period led to Spears' court-approved conservatorship, which was implemented at the end of 2008.

Her father, Jamie Spears, petitioned for an emergency "temporary conservatorship" after Britney's second psychiatric hold, Newberry reported. 

A conservatorship is also known as a legal guardianship. It's granted to those who are incapable of making decisions, such as people with mental disabilities and those with dementia. Law experts told Newberry a conservatorship was "unusual for someone as young and productive as Spears."

Under the conservatorship, Spears has no control over financial or personal decisions. That power was granted to her father and her attorney.

Jamie Spears was granted oversight of her estate and health, which involves everything from negotiating business opportunities to restricting visitors, while attorney Andrew Wallet was assigned to help manage her financial assets.

Wallet once called the arrangement a "hybrid business model." Newberry said this could mean that the conservatorship has helped Britney Spears seal business deals she wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

In 2019, Jamie Spears requested to extend his daughter's conservatorship to more than 10 states, including Hawaii, Florida, and Louisiana, Newberry reported.

The exact details of the arrangement aren't known, but all of Spears' financial decisions must be documented in court reports.

Britney Spears' most recent financial documents showed that as of 2018, she had a net worth of $59 million. That year, she spent $400,000 on living expenses and $66,000 on household supplies.

She also spent $1.1 million on her legal and conservator fees that year. Her father took home $128,000 of that, according to the documents cited by ET.

The conservatorship is intended not only to prevent Spears from making poor financial and business decisions but also to protect her from potentially toxic people.

Spears was granted a restraining order against Sam Lutfi in 2009 and 2019. He was accused of saying he was her former manager and being a bad influence during her mental breakdowns, CNN reported, citing a court filing.

The pop star's lawyers accused Lutfi of attempting to "insinuate himself into Ms. Spears' life with disastrous results for her," Lisa Respers France reported for CNN, citing court filings. He was also accused of sending her mom disparaging texts to disrupt the conservatorship.

The most recent restraining order says Lutfi must stay at least 200 yards away from Spears and can't make "disparaging public statements" about her, her family, her conservator, or her current manager, according to CNN.

But not everyone feels the conservatorship is a good thing. Some fans think Spears is being controlled and have pushed the conservatorship in and out of the spotlight with the #FreeBritney movement.

A fan site began the #FreeBritney campaign in 2009 as a response to the conservatorship, Julia Jacobs reported for The New York Times. Even celebrities like Taryn Manning and Miley Cyrus have publicly expressed concern for Spears.

Sources close to Spears have insisted she hasn't been manipulated, saying fans don't grasp the mental-health and legal specifics behind the conservatorship.

Newberry said she found no "independent evidence" that the conservatorship was harming Spears. The singer's attorney Stanton Stein told Newberry that Spears was involved in all career and business decisions. Two anonymous sources also told Chloe Melas of CNN that Spears had more control over her life than it appears.

"The conservatorship is not a jail," Larry Rudolph, Spears' manager, told Emily Yahr of The Washington Post. "It helps Britney make business decisions and manage her life in ways she can't do on her own right now."

And Spears has remained incredibly active in her career since her conservatorship was implemented.

Until 2019, Spears dropped an album every two to three years. She also had a four-year Las Vegas residency; her final performance grossed $1.1 million, the highest ever reported for a single theater Las Vegas residency show, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. That's not to mention her "Piece of Me Tour" in 2018 grossed an estimated $54.6 million, according to Touring Data.

During this time, Spears also launched clothing and perfume lines, landed a luxury fashion campaign, and served as a judge on "The X Factor."

But in the beginning of 2019, Spears took a step back from her career to check into a mental-health facility, which prompted the #FreeBritney supporters to express concern yet again.

Spears had put her new Las Vegas residency, "Domination," on hold to focus on her mental health.

In April, a fan podcast called "Britney's Gram" released a voicemail from an anonymous source who said he was a former paralegal involved with the conservatorship. He said Spears was forced to go to the mental-health facility. The podcast hosts told Yahr they verified the source's employment but didn't give specifics.

But a source close to Spears told Melas that she checked in to the mental-health facility voluntarily to deal with the serious health issues her father was facing and because her medication stopped working. And Newberry reported that three weeks after she checked in, Spears wrote on Instagram, "Don't believe everything you read and hear."

Around this time, Spears' lawyer resigned as co-conservator but didn't give a reason for his resignation. This left Jamie Spears as the sole conservator.

Wallet wrote in court filings the "conservatorship is engaged in numerous ongoing business activities requiring immediate attention" and that it was best he resign immediately, Newberry reported. Otherwise, Britney Spears would suffer "substantial detriment, irreparable harm, and immediate danger," he wrote.

Wallet has said he has prevented "the many hundreds" of people working with Spears from giving her drugs, saving her from a financial crisis. The resignation might be a sign that he disagreed with Spears' father on the conservatorship terms, a lawyer whom Spears once spoke with about contesting the conservatorship told Newberry.

During a status hearing in May 2019, Spears reportedly asked the judge to consider ending the conservatorship.

A source close to Spears told Melas this was nothing new: "Of course she wants it to end, because she's not of the right mental state to understand her issues."

A lawyer who said he represented Spears tried to end her conservatorship in 2009 but was denied by the judge, Yahr reported, adding that Spears' conservatorship terms wouldn't have allowed her to hire him.

After the May hearing, Rudolph, Spears' manager, said he wasn't "sure if or when she will ever want to work again."

In a second hearing in September 2019, Jamie Spears asked to be temporarily removed as a conservator. The role was temporarily appointed to Britney Spears' care manager.

TMZ reported that Jamie Spears filed paperwork to temporarily step down as conservator so he could focus on his health.

However, the move came after Jamie Spears was accused of having an altercation with Spears' son Sean, Kat Tenbarge reported for Insider. The singer's ex-husband and the father of her two children, Kevin Federline, filed a police report that led to a child-abuse investigation. Charges weren't filed, but the children were granted a restraining order against Jamie Spears, according to People.

The judge allowed Jamie Spears to step down from his conservator role over his daughter's personal life but not her financial life. Jodi Montgomery, Britney Spears' "care manager," was appointed as temporary conservator of Britney's personal life at Jamie's request, according to People.

Jamie Spears received another court win that year after suing the Absolute Britney blogger Anthony Elia, a source of the #FreeBritney movement, accusing him of spreading false and defamatory information.

Jamie Spears alleged that Elia falsely suggested that Jamie and his team were using social media to hurt his daughter's image and making it seem that Britney was unstable and needed a conservatorship, Cori Robinson reported for Above The Law. Jamie Spears said the suggestions sparked several death threats against those involved in the conservatorship, Above The Law reported.

In December, the court ordered Elia to stop the allegations against the conservatorship, particularly those suggesting the conservatorship is harming Britney Spears.

Spears' mother, Lynne Spears, made attempts in 2019 to get involved in the conservatorship. She's also reportedly engaged with the #FreeBritney movement.

Lynne Spears, who is divorced from Jamie, filed a legal motion in 2019 to be involved in the conservatorship process — she wanted to stay informed and have a say in her daughter's medical issues, Melas reported, citing court filings. She was present at Britney's court hearings that year, TMZ reported.

Lynne Spears was also spotted "liking" comments on Instagram about the #FreeBritney movement, Yahr wrote. And when fans noticed that positive comments were being deleted from Britney Spears' social-media accounts, Lynne responded to an Instagram post and said she also noticed the comments had disappeared, Guy reported.

Spears' conservatorship has already been extended twice in 2020.

In February, an LA county judge extended Spears' conservatorship until April 30. Montgomery will also remain temporary conservator until that date, the International Business Times' Sarah Guy reported.

According to The Blast, which obtained new legal documents, the judge extended the conservatorship while those involved "figure out what is best" for Spears.

They decided to extend the conservatorship again until at least August 22, Entertainment Tonight's Liz Calvario reported. According to court documents obtained by ET, a hearing on the matter never took place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The news comes around the same time Spears posted a video to her Instagram revealing that she accidentally burned down her home gym after leaving candles lit.

And the #FreeBritney movement was in the limelight yet again in July. It prompted Spears' former photographer Andrew Gallery to read a letter on TikTok that he says Spears wrote about her conservatorship.

Gallery said Spears wrote the letter at the beginning of her conservatorship, according to US Weekly. Gallery claims Spears gave him the letter at the time, which was "destroyed" by her conservators, but that he made a copy of it.

Spears wrote the letter from a third-person point of view.

"As for Kevin saying Britney divorced him, she was forced to by her lawyers because she went to visit him in NY and he wouldn't see her and the children and her lawyers said if she doesn't divorce him he's going to do it himself," reads the singer's alleged letter, in part.

Referring to the 2008 incident that resulted in her hospitalization, she allegedly wrote, "No one knows the truth. Her behavior when her children got taken away b/c of her locking herself in the bathroom is understandable considering her friend at the door kept telling her the cops are leaving don't worry stay in the bathroom."

"She was lied to and set up," the letter reads. "Her children were taken away and she did spin out of control which any mother would in those circumstances."

The Daily Mail published images of the handwritten letter in 2019.

In August, Spears asked the courts for the removal of her father as sole conservator of her estate. Instead, the judge extended the conservatorship through February 1, 2021.

Spears wants Montgomery, the temporary conservator who took over in September 2019, to take over as conservator permanently, TMZ reported, citing court documents filed by Spears' attorney.

Her current attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, stated in the court filings that Spears wants a "qualified corporate fiduciary" managing the business affairs of her estate.

According to US Weekly, which reviewed the court filings, the pop star "is strongly opposed to having [Jamie] return as the conservator of her person" and "strongly prefers" that Montgomery "continue in that role as [she] has done for nearly a year."

But after a hearing on August 19, Judge Brenda Penny of the Los Angeles County Superior Court in California said she would extend the current version of the conservatorship, not granting any of the changes Spears' lawyer requested in the filings, through February 1, 2021.

To end the conservatorship, Spears needs to prove she doesn't need it to get through life.

In the court documents filed in August 2020, Ingham broke down Spears' conservatorship into three phases, according to PEOPLE:

  • Stage 1: A "triage" when "conservators rescued her from collapse, exploitation by predatory individuals and financial ruin"
  • Stage 2: Spears' "performing years" as a "world class entertainer"
  • Stage 3: Spears has no desire to currently perform. "We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes," the documents read.

While Spears is seeking changes to the structure of her conservatorship and who is overseeing her life and finances — not asking to dissolve it entirely — some aren't so sure she still needs it at all.

Rudolph, Spears' manager, previously said that Spears' father wanted her to be free of the conservatorship. "He doesn't want this to continue forever," he said. "It's his daughter. He wants to see her happy. A functional life without any intervention like this."

The conservatorship that has kept Britney Spears from controlling her own fortune for 12 years was just extended until 2021


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  • Britney Spears' legal guardianship, or conservatorship, that was implemented in 2008 after highly publicized mental breakdowns will remain unchanged until at least February 2021. Earlier this year, it was extended until at least August 22.
  • The arrangement, as previously reported by Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower, makes it so that Spears has no control over her own estate or personal assets; her father and lawyer do. 
  • Earlier this month, Spears requested that her father be removed as conservator of her estate. After an August 19 hearing, however, LA Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny extended the conservatorship as is until at least February 1, 2021, The New York Times' Joe Coscarelli reported.
  • Some of Spears' fans have joined the #FreeBritney movement, saying that she is being controlled or manipulated, but insiders have told media outlets over the years that Spears is involved in business decisions.
  • Even still, Spears' recent attempts to change the conservatorship has only bolstered the #FreeBritney fan effort.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

SEE ALSO: Britney Spears' conservatorship was just extended until 2021 — look inside the 12-year legal arrangement that prevents the pop star from controlling her life and $59 million fortune

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence

9 millionaires and billionaires with the most bizarre spending habits


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The ultrawealthy are known for buying extravagant things.

Yachts, mansions, jets, cars, sports teams, and even islands are commonplace in the portfolios of millionaires and billionaires. What's not so common are dinosaur skulls, pet octopuses, ghost detectors, endless glitter, gold-plated toilets, and other similarly eccentric splurges.

Business Insider rounded up some of the most notable millionaires and billionaires who have a history of splashing out cash on strange or unique things. These purchases are more than outrageous or outlandish — they're also a little weird and a little fun.

From Nicolas Cage's pair of albino cobras to Paris Hilton's dog mansion, these superrich people have some seriously quirky spending habits.

SEE ALSO: All the ways billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg spend their billions — from lavish real estate to vintage car collections

DON'T MISS: 10 millionaires and billionaires who shop at Target, Costco, and other bargain-lover favorites

Lady Gaga has a history of out-of-this world purchases, involving NASA and ghosts.

Estimated net worth: $275 million

Lady Gaga is so afraid of ghosts that she reportedly spent $50,000 on an Electro Magnetic Field meter to detect them. She also reportedly spent $52,000 on a NASA trained chemist to find a way to let steam out of a teacup-shaped dress during her Monster Ball tour, $19,000 on hand-crafted lace, and $60,000 on 27 koi carp for her fish tank.

Nicolas Cage loves exotic pets and historic artifacts.

Estimated net worth: $25 million

Cage paid $276,000 for a rare dinosaur skull in 2015, which turned out to be stolen (he had to give it to authorities). He also spent $150,000 on a pet octopus, and another $150,000 on the first Superman comic. He has also purchased two castles and a pair of albino cobras.

Cage has spent so much money that reports began to emerge in 2015 that he blew his $150 million fortune from 1996 to 2011, Business Insider previously reported.

And hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen likes a combination of the two, as seen in his unusual art taste.

Estimated net worth: $14.6 billion

Like many of the ultrawealthy, Cohen is an avid art collector. But his taste extends beyond paintings. He has spent a reported $8 million on a 14-foot shark preserved in formaldehyde, made by Damien Hirst.

Cohen also once paid $100,000 for Food Network star Guy Fieri to spend the day with him, Business Insider previously reported.

Mike Tyson, too, has a taste for the exotic — and for flashiness.

Estimated net worth: $3 million

Tyson has purchased three Bengal tigers that cost $70,000 each and a trainer for them, who he paid $125,000 a year, according to International Business Times. He has also purchased a $2.2 million 24-karat gold bathtub as a gift.

In 2003, he filed for bankruptcy.

Kanye West also has a thing for bling, especially when it comes to gold.

Estimated net worth: $1.3 billion

West is a giver. He's purchased a $34,000 golden skull for Jay-Z, a $62,000 diamond-encrusted tiara for North West, and diamond-encrusted teeth (that may have cost up to $60,000) for himself.

He and wife Kim Kardashian have also glammed up their pad, reportedly spending $750,000 on four gold-plated toilets and another $750,000 on Electrolux gear and a Swarovski- encrusted fridge freezer.

Kesha also likes some sparkle, but that's a result of her regular glitter habit.

Estimated net worth: $5 million

Kesha told Vanity Fair in 2011 that her yearly glitter budget was "pretty exorbitant."

"It's probably more like a few thousand every month," she said. "If you come and see a show of mine, there is no shortage of glitter. By the end, everyone from the back of the auditorium to the very front is covered and potentially choking on glitter."

And Drake has a penchant for customized luxury.

Estimated net worth: $150 million

Drake has luxurious taste that often veers into the unique. He purchased a $400,000 luxury horsehair mattress with a whiskey and champagne bar built into the headboard. He also fitted his customized Rolls-Royce Phantom with a diamond-encrusted gold owl ornament.

While many of the superrich like a pampered lifestyle, Mariah Carey's lavish spending even extends to her dogs.

Net Worth: $520 million

Carey reportedly spends $100,000 every month on having exotic flowers delivered to wherever she is located, according to Vanity Fair, and Page Six reported in 2016 that she drops $45,000 a year on spa treatments for her dogs.

She has also outfitted her house with unusual designs, such as a candy room for her kids.

Paris Hilton, too, has dropped major cash on her pets.

Estimated net worth: $300 million

Hilton bought her dogs a two-story doggy-mansion replete with air conditioning, heating, designer furniture, and mood lighting, Business Insider previously reported. It reportedly cost $325,000.

And while many millionaires splurge on cars, Hilton's auto collection is more unusual. It includes a holographic BMW i8 and a pink Bentley Continental GT with a diamond-encrusted dashboard she paid $200,000 to get installed.

Hilton recently told Glamour she bought a selfie drone.

How to craft the perfect cheese board, according to an expert at New York's famous Murray's Cheese shop


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  • Cheese boards are an exciting, versatile addition to any party, no matter how casual or formal.
  • There are no hard and fast rules for creating a cheese plate, but you can impress your guests by featuring cheeses with contrasting or a similar variety of flavors.
  • Tyler Frankenberg, customer experience manager at Murray's Cheese shop in New York City, recommended portioning out one ounce to 1.5 oz of each cheese per person.
  • The mantra "What grows together, goes together" can help you select meats, nuts, fruits, and other accompaniments that will match well with your cheeses.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The cheese plate is, without a doubt, everyone's favorite guest at a party. It's approachable, welcoming, and, above all, always different. Plus, it's incredibly versatile, whether it's at a casual picnic in the park or a formal (socially distanced) garden party.

Crafting the perfect cheese plate is easier than you may think. There are ways to make the dish artful — one that balances flavors, textures, and has depth and range. You can elevate your plate to the highest form with complementary meats, fruits, spreads, and crackers, or you can have it be as simple as three to four cheeses. There really is no wrong way to do a cheese plate.

We spoke to Tyler Frankenberg, customer experience manager at the famous Murray's Cheese shop in New York City, for his tips on how to begin to flex your cheese muscles and craft a wow-worthy plate.

"I get asked all the time at the pairing classes I teach whether it's okay to mix and match the cheeses and accompaniments, and my answer is 'absolutely yes,'" he told Business Insider. "The guidelines I'm offering should help you arrive at the most enjoyable pairings, but that's not to say your favorite pairing is 'wrong' if it 'breaks the rules."

The only "right" answer when pairing cheeses and accompaniments, Frankenberg said, is what's most enjoyable to you. In a nutshell, don't worry, don't overthink. Just slice, spread, and smile.

It all starts (but doesn't end) with taste

The Mother's Day sampler from Murray's Cheese which features 3 pounds of assorted cheeses.

Believe it or not, there are only five tastes that our taste buds can perceive: sweet, savory (salty), sour (tart/tangy), bitter, and umami. Everything else that we experience as "flavor" is contributed by our sense of smell. (Test it out: Hold your nose the next time you taste something and you'll see how muted it becomes). 

"These five tastes are just the starting point when balancing a cheese plate," Frankenberg said. "We want to taste with all of our senses, including smell, sight, touch, and sometimes even sound, in the case of crunchy crackers, cornichons, or the amino acid crystals that form in very firm cheese."

Setting the tone: casual or formal?

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When it comes to cheese, there can absolutely be a vibe. It can be as unbuttoned as Ritz crackers and cheddar, or you can elevate the experience to a decadent and formal affair. 

For a more casual cheese, Frankenberg recommended Aged Manchego, La Tur, or Cabot Clothbound cheddar.

"They are produced year-round with balanced, consistent, and familiar flavors, so they'll be a hit at any gathering," he said. These also offer a bit more bang for your buck, which is always something to keep in mind when shopping for a crowd.

If you're ready to make your cheese plate a bit more haute, try fancier cheeses. "I think of formal cheeses as those I might have to put a bit more effort into appreciating because they're only seasonally available, or because their flavors vary seasonally," Frankenberg said.

He recommended Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Jasper Hill Harbison, and Montgomery's Cheddar. "They are made with great care for the terroir of where they come from — the unique 'taste of place' that changes seasonally with the climate and their animals' diets," he said.

How to select complementary cheeses

Virtual Cheese Tasting

When selecting which cheeses to display, should they all be of a similar family, or is it better to play off of contrasting flavors? Again, there's no wrong answer.

"Contrast pairings are a very straightforward way to highlight the unique notes that contribute to your cheese's flavor profile, as well as deliver a uniquely satisfying experience with every cheese on the plate," Frankenberg said. 

For example, if one cheese has a light and smooth texture with a clean and tangy flavor profile, another cheese can swing more firm and fudgy, with strong aromas and flavors. For these contrasts, he recommended pairing Westfield Farm Capri with a Der Scharfe Maxx Extra.

"It doesn't have to be 'opposites attract,' though," he added. "If you love Brie and want to take your appreciation to the next level, try a plate of three to five different bloomy-rinded cheeses and explore their similarities until you can distinguish the nuances between them."

One thing that's important is to order cheese from least to most aggressive flavor — "From mild to wild," as they say at Murray's. "Offer palate cleansers like slices of fresh baguette or a wholesome cracker so that the flavor of each cheese stands on its own as much as possible," Frankenberg said.

How to portion your cheeses

Cheese also goes great with any type of wine

After choosing about three to five cheeses of a variety of milk types and styles, Frankenberg recommended portioning out one ounce to 1.5 oz of each cheese per person for a guided tasting. If you're hosting a casual get-together instead, you can easily double those portions.

Serving the plate at room temperature is the best way to get maximum flavor. For hard cheese, pull them out of the fridge an hour before serving, and set the softer cheeses out a half hour before. Adjust accordingly if it's a warm day.

Adding meat to a cheese plate

Cheese Boards 2

A cheese plate can sing beautifully all on its own, but pairing cheese with a delicious selection of meat can absolutely raise the bar and bring a whole new series of experiences. 

Pairing meat with cheese isn't all that different from pairing cheeses with each other. Remember that contrasting or comparing textures and flavors enhance the experience.

"I love pairing Alp Blossom with Duck Mousse pate because the cheese's firm, consistent paste and light, clean, floral flavor profile contrasts so well with the pate's smooth, rich texture and fatty, gamy notes," Frankenberg said. 

He recommended the mantra, "What grows together, goes together" — meaning meats and cheeses (or wines, nuts, fruits, etc.) that come from the same region and are products of the same genealogy, climate, cultural, and agricultural tradition, often centuries or millennia of shared evolution. 

"More often than not, this means they're going to taste great paired together."

Try, he suggested, a Basque cheese like Ossau-Iraty or Pyrenees Brebis alongside Jambon de Bayonne, or have Pecorino Toscano with wild boar salami.

What about fruits, nuts, and spreads?

Cheese boards 3

Absolutely! Why not add more flavors, textures, aromas, and colors to the table?

"Choosing what exactly to have is a matter of rounding out the representation of those tastes we perceive with our taste buds and adding additional textural elements to the mix," Frankenberg said.

Take feta and marinated olives, for example. They balance each other out beautifully. "Nuts like walnuts or Marcona almonds also tend to bring a nice smack of umami and sometimes a hint of bitterness to the table, and can be an especially textural contrast with sweet, buttery triple cream cheeses like Nettle Meadow Kunik," Frankenburg said.

The cracker isn't an afterthought

More than just a vehicle for your cheese, the cracker is just as important as the rest of the plate because it's a great palate cleanser in between cheese and accompaniments. 

"Crackers add a crispy or crunchy texture that you won't find in any cheese, and therefore adds a contrast element," Frankenberg said. "A flavorful cracker can be another solid pairing in its own right."

Choose a cracker that's simple, like a sea salt flatbread that's made to go with cheese. He recommended brands like Firehook or Onesto— both are wholesome, sturdy, and flavorful without being overpowering. Onesto happens to be gluten-free and vegan as well. 

Creating a cheese plate isn't a perfect science. As long as you cater the dish to you and your guests' own tastes and preferences, it's sure to be a crowd pleaser.

SEE ALSO: 15 summer wines to know this season, according to sommeliers and wine experts

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Millennials don't want high-end furniture because they're constantly moving, according to a renowned designer who's been in the business for decades


Tom Dixon

  • Tom Dixon, OBE, is a British designer who specializes in lighting, furniture, and accessories.
  • He is currently the creative director of his eponymous brand and his work has been shown in places including the MOMA and the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK.
  • Dixon recently released his AW'20 accessories collection, which will be available starting in September.
  • The designer says millennials don't buy high-end furniture because they move so frequently and don't want to lug it all around with them.
  • Dixon also says office spaces were already evolving before the pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Millennials aren't really in the market for high-end furniture, according to renowned lighting and interior designer Tom Dixon. Why? Because they move so often.

"People are moving 14 to 15 times in their lifetimes rather than what used to happen, which was two or three times," Dixon told Business Insider. "Now they want more vintage pieces, more natural materials; they are buying a lot of cheap furniture because they're not investing in interiors because they've moved so many times in their lifetimes." 

This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, however, because millennials only own about 4% of American real estate. Spending thousands of dollars on a couch that will eventually just be lugged from one Brooklyn apartment to another seems gratuitous when one can spend a quarter of that on a decent couch that they won't feel too badly about tossing to the curb once they move (where it'll almost undoubtedly get scooped up by another millennial looking for a furniture bargain).

Tom Dixon

And of course, the majority of millennials don't have the financial security to feel comfortable splurging on high-end furniture. The generation was notoriously hit by the blunt end of the economic stick: the Great Recession, skyrocketing housing prices, student debt, stagnating incomes, and now, another impending recession spurred by a global pandemic.

With many millennials unable to afford the down payment required to purchase a home for decades, it's easy to see why the appeal of luxury couches has become lackluster.  

Of course, that's not to say millennials won't splurge on what matters to them.

"There has been slightly less interest in interior design and more interest in investing in technology," Dixon told Business Insider. "People are less inclined to invest in the future of permanence and certainty of what is going to happen next and that has an impact on the type of objects that they buy."

Tom Dixon

Instead, Dixon says, high-end and heritage furniture are more likely to be seen in hotels, bars, and restaurants — places, he notes, where people like to be "comfortable" and which have, over time, become less technical and more domestic in purpose.

"It's sort of the WeWork revolution," he continued. "In America, the office has moved from being a kind of booth to a relaxed affair, with people standing up and sitting down in bean bags." 

Tom Dixon

But the aftermath of the pandemic is bound to cause even more changes to the already-evolving office space, and talk of what the "office of the future" will look like has been swirling for months.

So far, Dixon predicts that special door handles or one-way entry-and-exit systems will be two of the new features offices will prioritize. But for the most part, the safety of office workers goes much deeper than just furniture. 

"There's been a rethinking of space and putting more space between computers and desks," he said. "But I don't think furniture will change anything. It's how people behave." 

SEE ALSO: The womenswear guide to dressing for Zoom this summer: We asked style experts to pick the 11 shirts, pants, and accessories for a professional at-home look

DON'T MISS: THE STYLE SERIES: How an entrepreneur inspired by the sudden death of her husband used $75,000 to launch a sustainable fashion brand and was recognized by the Obama administration

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11 things private jet flyers should know when they charter a plane as the industry sees a wave of first-time flyers due to the pandemic


Gulfstream G550 private jet

  • More first-time flyers are embarking on private jets as they're promoted as the safer way to travel during the pandemic. 
  • The industry is purposely cost prohibitive but private flyers often end up paying more than they need to thanks to the unknown extra costs that could be incurred on every trip. 
  • Flyers also need to know when it's time to stop chartering and start shopping for a plane of their own, especially if the pandemic drags on.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Private aviation is experiencing a wave of newcomers this summer as the wealthy seek more exclusive accommodations than first class on a commercial airline, and many embarking on their first-ever private flight.

While the debate on blocking middle seats rages among America's leading airlines, such an issue is non-existent in the private terminals of the country's executive airports as flyers pay to have total control of their experience, including the passenger manifest. Flying private has always been touted as the safer way to escape the big city or vacation with family and the private terminals are only going to get more crowded as the purse strings of the elite loosen. 

McKinsey data viewed by Business Insider revealed that 90% of high-net-worth individuals choose not to fly private even though they have the means to and firms are successfully moving to capture that market as the pandemic sours the public's perception on flying commercial. 

Jamie Walker, the CEO of Omaha-based private jet charter firm JetLinx, told Business Insider in a previous interview that around 90% of new clients from March until June were first-time private flyers, with his firm putting an emphasis on disinfecting all of its aircraft and private terminals to ensure peace of mind for flyers.

Whether you're a first-time private jet flyer or charter a plane every weekend, here's what you should know when you fly. 

1. You're often flying on someone else's plane

Boeing 737 BBJ

Private jets are often not owned by the firms that offer them for charter. Instead, the aircraft are merely managed by the firms, which handle all aspects of maintaining the aircraft for its true owner – whether it be a celebrity, businessperson, or another high-net-worth individual.

Chartering the aircraft to private flyers simply brings in revenue when its owner isn't using the aircraft that offsets the cost of owning a plane. The owner's identity is often kept a secret but with some aircraft – such as Silver Air's Boeing Business Jet 737 owned by Tony Robbins– there are sometimes clues on the aircraft that can give it away.

2. Being flexible can save you thousands

Dassault Falcon 7X

When just one hour on a private jet can cost thousands, even just a few minutes of extra flying can add up on the final bill. Utilizing the aircraft's home base – even if it means driving to a further airport – can easily shave off thousands by saving on repositioning costs, extra landing and airport fees, and the additional fuel.

The savings can be even more pronounced when it comes to one-way flights or empty legs, where a plane is already scheduled to fly a given route and the operator can sell the flight cheaper since the aircraft is heading in that direction.

For example, a traveler requesting a West Palm Beach to Teterboro flight could match with an aircraft flying from Fort Lauderdale to White Plains. The aircraft can easily reposition from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach and then from Teterboro to White Plains, but it will likely cost extra in the thousands.

While the uber-wealthy need not worry about a few thousand dollars extra in repositioning costs, inquiring whether it's cheaper to depart from another area airport can save thrifty flyers money on each trip.

3. The winter comes with more opportunities to pay more

Private Jet Snow

The cold season comes with more challengers to flying an aircraft, especially in the Northeast, Midwest, and Rocky Mountain regions in the US. Planes sitting outside will often accumulate ice that requires the application of de-icing fluid – of which even a conservative application can cost thousands, depending on the plane – or placing the aircraft in a heated hangar, a practice that's cheaper than de-icing but doesn't come free. 

Cold winter months also come with headwinds that make flying against the jet streams more difficult and increase the journey time of westbound flights. They can, however, make flights in the opposite direction shorter but if the quoted flight time doesn't match the actual flight time, flyers may be receiving an updated bill. 

4. Cheaper never beats reliable in private aviation

Cessna Citation CJ3

Flyers often request the cheapest and smallest aircraft that can perform the mission to save money. While cheap doesn't always mean bad, it can mean using a less reliable operator. 

A frequent problem is having an aircraft experience mechanical issues, rendering it useless for a trip. If a backup aircraft is not available, a recovery option can often cost extra with any savings gained by picking the initial cheaper option immediately vanquishing and a flyer spending more to salvage the trip.

Price alone won't prevent mechanical issues but at the very least, flyers should ensure that they're flying on a plane that is safety rated from Argus, Wyvern, or IS-BAO – the three main safety regulators for the private aviation industry – and insist on only using aircraft from reliable operators.

5. Bring your own food

VIP CRJ200 XO Tour

Aircraft catering puts even the most-luxurious restaurant in New York City to shame when it comes to pricing. A simple dinner order can end up in the hundreds if not thousands thanks to the premium placed on the service by enterprising caterers who know most of private aviation's elite clientele often don't care about price. 

A good broker will call the local deli for the order instead of an aircraft caterer but flyers should consider whether the duration of the flight is worth the extra hassle for all involved – including the charter sales representative or broker placing the order and the crew who receives it at the airport, puts it on display on the plane, and cleans up afterward – as many in-flight meals go untouched. 

6. Ditch the limo

private jet

A major benefit of using the private terminal at airports is free parking right outside the terminal door. Most airports also offer the perk to drive a car right up to the plane and having it waiting planeside upon arrival, rendering the airport limo pointless.

Upon arrival, more private jet flyers are turning to ride-sharing apps like Uber to transport them to their final destination at a fraction of the cost for a high-end limo. Similarly to aircraft catering, limo providers are also charging premiums for the service that can quickly add up to a hefty bill at the end of the trip. 

7. WiFi charges can quickly add up 

LAX Day Trip Alaska Airlines

Complimentary in-flight WiFi is becoming more widespread in private aviation but not all aircraft have it and it's typically limited to domestic flights on overland routes. Satellite-based international WiFi is rarer – limited typically to large-cabin jets  – and even if the aircraft does have it, using the service typically comes with a fee, with charges of over $10 per megabyte on some planes.

Anyone with a limited data plan knows how quickly data usage can add up. 

8. Don't expect your plane to stick around on extended trips

Cessna Citation

Private jet firms are always looking for ways to maximize revenue with their aircraft and that means getting them as many trips as possible, even when they're already on a trip. A flyer can charter a jet for the weekend to fly down on Friday and then back on Sunday, leaving it open on Saturday.

Even though it's committed to a customer, some firms won't hesitate to keep the aircraft flying on its off day. A good firm will ensure there's no room for conflict with the original trip – by not letting it go too far and not wearing the pilots out – but the client may find themselves in a pickle if they want to leave early and their plane is a few states away. 

9. Tip your pilot directly

airline pilot

Some brokerages and operators will include a gratuity for the crew in the price of a charter but whether those funds actually get to their intended recipients is up for debate. The best way to show appreciation is by opting to tip the crew directly.

10. Mind your manners or pay extra

private jet

Some flyers don't appreciate that they're flying on a multi-million dollar aircraft and will, instead, treat it as a rental car. Trashed planes – whether it be from negligent passengers who frequently miss their mouth when they eat or from a pet that's untrained to fly – are common in the industry and operators are more than happy to pass those costs along to the flyer.

Even spilling red wine can see a massive cleaning fee slapped on to the bill at the end of the flight. 

Cabin attendants will often do as much as they can but some messes require professional cleaning and detailing, which doesn't come cheap and often inconveniences the crew who may have to supervise the process, especially if away from home base. 

11. If you're spending over $500,000 every year on charter, it's time to consider investing in your own plane

Cirrus Vision Jet

At a certain point, owning a plane becomes more cost-effective than constantly chartering one and most of the aforementioned issues go away. Owners are given top priority when it comes to their planes and do not have to worry about their plane not being available when they need it.

A new type of aircraft, known as personal private jets, are also making owning a plane more affordable thanks to low operating costs and crew required to fly the aircraft, as Business Insider found on a recent demonstration flight for the Cirrus Vision Jet. New models from Embraer, Cessna, Cirrus, HondaJet, Pilatus, and others are helping democratize aircraft ownership beyond the super-elite while keeping the luxuries of private flight intact. 

SEE ALSO: I flew on JetBlue for the first time during the pandemic and had a sterling onboard experience that couldn't make up for a chaotic terminal and last-minute flight cancellation

DON'T MISS: I toured the most iconic British Airways jet since the Concorde just before its abrupt retirement. See inside the plane that shuttled VIP flyers between New York and London.

Join the conversation about this story »

This 328-foot concept yacht has an aquarium and a glass floor that can turn solid color — see inside


Gresham Yacht Design's Thor Explore concept yacht

  • Gresham Yacht Design designed the Thor Explore from the inside out, with a glass floor that can change opacity.
  • The yacht has an indoor aquarium and a glass floor in the main saloon that can turn opaque for more privacy.
  • According to a report by CNN, the yacht could be built within three to four years if the concept plans are used by a shipyard.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Gresham Yacht Design has created a concept 100-meter, about 328-foot, yacht with an indoor aquarium, and a glass floor that can change opacities for more privacy.

The Britain-based design studio specializes in yacht designs of all boat types, whether it be an explorer ship with labs onboard, or luxury yachts with a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, such as the Thor Explore.

According to Gresham Yacht Design, the Thor Explore was designed from the inside out, starting with the spaceship-like interior and its large windows. Beyond its "norm-breaking" design, the inside of the ship also showcases features that aren't typically found on a luxury yacht, such as glass floors that can turn opaque with the touch of a button, two separate hangars, and the aforementioned aquarium.

Keep scrolling to see inside the futuristic-looking yacht:

SEE ALSO: The superyacht concept 'Hide' uses reflective glass on the hull to blend into any environment

Thor Explore — which has a range of 1,000 natural miles — has "organic shapes" throughout the interior and exterior, according to Gresham Yacht Design.

The grand saloon has a glass floor with exposed beams, creating a lighter interior.

This glass floor can then turn opaque for more privacy and a greater separation between the upper and lower levels of the saloon.

The upper main saloon holds the futuristic-looking control center and seating areas.

Despite the eye-grabbing windows and bright interior, according to Gresham Yacht Design, the "focal point" of the room is the skylight, which is above the seating area.

Across the glass floor is the lower level, which has a lounge bed, bar, and several seating and leisure areas.

The yacht also has a beach club …

... which can be accessed by walking through a circular room with an aquarium at its center.

The beach club, which extends across the 59-foot beam, has fold-down balconies …

… and a tender storage area behind glass doors.

According to Gresham Yacht Design, the tender hangar is a one-of-a-kind storage space that can fit water toys like a submarine, jet skis, and the ship's custom 41-foot long tender.

The Thor Explore also has storage space for non-water toys, specifically a helicopter hangar and deck.

Like any luxury yacht, there's also a pool onboard.

The ship can accommodate up to 36 passengers with guest bedrooms in the lower deck.

The main bedroom is on the upper deck and includes two bathrooms, an office, and a walk-in closet.

According to a report by CNN, the Thor Explore could be built within three to four years by a shipyard.

Source: CNN

The ultra-creative tactics 4 hotels and destinations around the US are using to keep travelers safe and coming back


The Wigwam

  • Hotels and destinations around the US are ramping up health and safety measures as tourism and traveling take a hit from COVID-19. 
  • Some are adding changes as small as temperature checks for employees, while others are forming dedicated "SWAT" — Sanitation and Wellness Awareness Team — to clean high-touch surfaces and areas. 
  • One historic hotel in El Paso, Texas, even installed specialized HVAC-mounted ionizers. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As travelers continue to dream about vacations and ready themselves to explore, some hospitality properties and destinations have been going above and beyond their normal standards of cleanliness. 

From utilizing an ongoing renovation to install a state-of-the-art air to creating a "SWAT" team — Sanitation and Wellness Awareness Team — here's how different hotels and getaways have been adjusting for reopening.

Hotel Paso del Norte El Paso, Texas: HVAC-mounted air cleansing ionizers

Hotel Paso del Norte in El Paso, Texas has added innovation to their hotel's ongoing revamp by adding specialized HVAC-mounted ionizers. 

Originally built in 1912, this historic site was already undergoing a multi-million-dollar multi-year renovation with an anticipated reopening date of fall 2020. 

"In 2020, there is no amenity greater than safety," said Carlos Sarmiento, general manager of Hotel Paso del Norte, on the property's enhanced restoration. "Reopening during a pandemic means that offering an authentic destination experience is not enough. It's imperative that we employ advanced safety precautions to promote health and peace of mind. Then guests will truly be able to enjoy this beautiful hotel."

Made by Plasma Air, the HVAC system uses air purification technologies to eliminate airborne viruses safely by using the process of ionization. This has been a proven method for virus destruction, tested in simulated hospital ICUs and hotels. These HVAC systems will be installed in common areas, bars, restaurants, hallways, ballrooms, meeting rooms, spa and fitness rooms, and all guest rooms will utilize the filtration system shown to kill viruses.

10th Level Lounge Sample (1) (1)

"Saugatuck Douglas Together": A community initiative to protect the vacation town of Saugatuck, Michigan 

The popular Midwestern lakeside towns of Saugatuck and Douglas, Michigan banded together to create a community initiative that will implement safety solutions enforcing enhanced social distancing guidelines and cleanliness practices within local businesses — all while hopefully helping to maintain the sense of fun that visitors expect to experience on vacation.

Most businesses in the area get the majority of their revenue for the entire year in the summer— which is why this collaborative aimed for achieving a successful tourist season by offering guests confidence and peace of mind while they're visiting.

"The ArtCoast Safety and Sanitation Team has been a collaborative and grassroots effort to proactively prepare our ArtCoast Communities for reopening, to survive a pandemic, and to reimagine and reinvent their businesses in order to thrive in the new normal," said Lauren Flanagan, a Douglas resident and leader who facilitated the safety and sanitation team's process and recommendations for creating a safe space for guests.

The town created applications for a certified business "Seal of Approval," which are displayed on the windows outside of each establishment. They denote the business has been properly checked and is complying with essential CDC safety practices, including working with police and local law enforcement to ensure guests and locals are wearing masks.  

Saugatuck, Michigan Art Coast Seal of Approval

Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach, California: Stickers for employees

The Pebble Beach Resorts properties located between Monterey and Carmel, California began welcoming guests on June 15, after their first closure in the destination's 100-plus year history. The Lodge at Pebble Beach and The Inn at Spanish Bay have both implemented a comprehensive health, safety, and social distancing program. 

In addition to extensive health and sanitation guidelines onsite, practices include temperature testing and a health survey for employees at the beginning of each shift, as temperature checks are just one small element of screening for symptoms of COVID-19— and if the employee has symptoms or a temperature at or above 100.4°F after their screening, they will be sent home.

After they're screened, they'll be given a sticker to display on their uniforms, which will help visually communicate to guests that the associates that they've been evaluated and confirmed healthy. This sticker is a discreet but visible small colored dot — and it's a unique color every day.

The Inn at Spanish Bay   Photo credit Pebble Beach Company

The Wigwam in Phoenix, Arizona: A "SWAT" team

The Wigwam in Phoenix, Arizona, a 440-acre historic Litchfield Park resort, has officially reopened — and is completely committed to ensuring its guests' and associates' health and safety. 

In addition to already boasting plenty of wide-open and socially distant spaces directly on property, The Wigwam has launched its very own "SWAT" — Sanitation and Wellness Awareness Team — with "SWAT" members visible constantly throughout all public areas to ensure all high-touch surfaces such as pool chairs, door handles, and pool gates are clean. 

By naming the task force the well-known acronym "SWAT," which in this case stands for "Safety Wellness Awareness Team," the property aimed to spotlight their team members that deserve special recognition for this important job. This unique role of hotel staffers is part of The Wigwam's commitment to upholding cleanliness and social distancing guidelines under The Wigwam Cares Wellness policy. 

The SWAT is on property for two eight-hour shifts each day, and ensures there's no surface left unclean. These team members were already staff members of The Wigwam, but were specially re-trained for this distinctive position.

SWAT employees are highly visible, and can be easily seen everywhere onsite throughout the day and night in their bright red uniforms.  

"We wanted the enhanced visibility of our team members to be a comfort to our guests and assure them that we are on top of the increased cleanliness needs," said Katy Powers, managing director of The Wigwam. "Instead of making it an overwhelming experience, we really wanted to simplify it and make sure guests felt welcomed, protected, and safe at The Wigwam. It has been a great success based on the feedback that our guests have provided."

LeMonds Aveda Salon   Spa Pool

SEE ALSO: Hotel general managers share what it's been like to ride out the pandemic at 3 very different resorts, from a private island in the Caribbean to a wilderness lodge in South Africa

READ ALSO: 'Financially it's been catastrophic': How hotel and restaurant owners in Greece are reopening after the loss of tourism during COVID-19

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The rich are different from you and me, and so are their neighborhoods. The top 5 have an average household income greater than $400,000.


Wealthy People

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me."

For instance, a $400,000 yearly income is average for them, according to the annual Bloomberg ranking which lists the nation's wealthiest places to live. 

Ranking American towns by their residents' average yearly household income, the list showed that in 2020, the five wealthiest cities in America averaged an intake of more than $400,000 a year in household income, with one California town even averaging over $500,000. 

Comprised of northern California suburbs, a town just outside of Denver, and an enclave of Westchester County, New York, these are the wealthiest places to live in America.

SEE ALSO: 5 cities real estate investors should target in the 2020s, from a property manager who built an $8 million portfolio from scratch

5. Los Altos Hills, California

Los Altos Hills is a suburb of San Jose with a population of around 8,500, where 91% of residents own their homes. Ranked one of the best places to live in California, the town is home to one of the state's best school systems and offers residents a rural feel. 

The average household income in Los Altos Hills, California, is $405,073. 

4. Cherry Hills Village, Colorado

Cherry Hills Village is a suburb of Denver with a population of around 6,600, where 95% of residents own their homes. Ranked one of the best places to live in Colorado, the town offers residents a rural feel and one of the state's best school systems. 

The average household income in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, is $406,314. 

3. Hillsborough, California

Hillsborough is a suburb of San Francisco with a population of around 11,000, where 94% of residents own their homes. Ranked one of the best places to raise a family in California, the town offers residents a rural feel and one of the state's best school systems. 

The average household income in Hillsborough, California, is $430,681. 

2. Scarsdale, New York

Scarsdale is a suburb of New York City with a population of around 17,800, where 91% of residents own their homes. Ranked one of the best places to raise a family in Westchester County, the area offers residents a sparse suburban feel and one of the state's best school systems. 

The average household income in Scarsdale, New York, is $452,041. 

1. Atherton, California

Atherton is a suburb of San Jose with a population of around 7,100, where 94% of residents own their homes. Ranked as the richest town in America, the area offers residents a rural feel and a highly rated public school system. 

The average household income in Atherton, California, is $525,324. 

14 haunting photos of abandoned palaces and castles around the world


Abandoned palace in congo

  • Even once-opulent structures can deteriorate. 
  • These palatial estates were abandoned and now sit in varying states of decay for reasons ranging from natural disasters to rumored hauntings.
  • Photos of these crumbling palaces and castles around the world give a peak into yesteryear's high society lifestyle.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

These palaces and castles were originally the lavish homes of rulers or the dreamlike creations of aristocrats or business titans who fashioned themselves after royalty. They were considered to be the height of luxury when they were built.

Now, they are dilapidated and crumbling.

Some of these palaces have now been restored and even serve as wedding venues. Others, however, have remained untouched for years — reduced to a creepy spot to snap an Instagram photo.

Keep reading for a closer look at 14 abandoned palaces around the world.

SEE ALSO: 12 famous and expensive structures around the world that are now abandoned

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Bodiam Castle — Sussex, England

Bodiam Castle was built in 1385 by a knight of Edward III who planned to use it as a fortified family manor. After that family line died out, the castle changed hands several times until it eventually was left abandoned in the 17th century. Restoration work didn't take off until 1925.

Today, it is a tourist attraction complete with a gift shop.


Leh Palace — Ladakh, India

Leh Palace was constructed out of mud, wood, sand, and stone in 1553. At nine stories high, Leh Palace once housed members of the royal family on the upper floors and stables and storerooms on the lower floors. The palace was invaded in the 19th century and has been abandoned since.

It is now a tourist attraction managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Source:Tourism of India

Jal Mahal — Jaipur, India

Jal Mahal is a "floating" palace in the middle of a man-made lake in Jaipur, India. In reality, four levels of the building are submerged underwater. It was originally built in the 16th century as a hunting lodge for the local royals. Droughts, dams, and the expansion of the lake all contributed to the palace's eventual sinking a century after it was built.

Today, there are rumored plans to convert the sunken palatial ruins into a restaurant.

Source: Atlas Obscura

Kirby Hall – Northamptonshire, England

Kirby Hall is a manor that was built in 1570 for the family of the Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I. The home has been abandoned since 1810.

Although once dilapidated, it is now maintained by English Heritage, which hosts paid tours of the property. The manor has also been used as a movie set.

Source: Architectural Digest, English Heritage

The Palace of Sans Souci — Milot, Haiti

The Palace of Sans Souci is located in the mountains of northern Haiti and was completed in 1813. It was the home of King Henri Christophe until his death in 1820. It was known for being the "Versailles of the Caribbean." The palace was then irreparably damaged in an 1842 earthquake.

After standing empty for a century, it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1982.

Source: World Monuments Fund

Duckett's Grove — Carlow, Ireland

Duckett's Grove was built in the 1700s as part of the 12,000 acre estate belonging to the prominent Duckett family. The Gothic revival castle burned in a fire in 1933.

Source: Carlow Tourism

Pidhirtsi Palace — Lviv, Ukraine

Pidhirtsi Palace was designed by Italian architect Andrea dell'Aqua in the 17th century as a home for Polish military commanders. The palace was then converted to a hospital for tuberculosis patients during World War II. It was shortly thereafter abandoned.

It now serves as a tourist attraction.

Source: World Monuments Fund

Grand Hôtel de la Forêt — Corsica, France

Built in 1893, the Grand Hotel was once a luxury hotel featuring a grand staircase and tennis courts. It was specifically designed to have a palatial feel.

After World War II, though, the hotel had a difficult time attracting guests. It closed and was effectively abandoned.

Source: Le Modalogue

Wyndclyffe Castle — New York, United States

Built in 1853, Wyndclyffe Castle was once a 24-room country house for a Manhattan socialite named Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones. The mansion was once so opulent that it was said to have inspired the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses."

It was abandoned in the 1950s. The dilapidated estate sold in a 2016 auction for $120,000. 

Source: AP News

Bannerman Castle — New York, United States

Sixty miles north of New York City, there is a 6.5 acre plot of land with a decrepit castle. It was built in 1901 by Francis Bannerman, a Scottish arms dealer who needed a place to store his merchandise, including guns and ammunition. 

Bannerman died in 1918, and an explosion of the items housed inside destroyed the castle in 1920. It's been completely abandoned since the 1950s and is now open for tours.

Source:Curbed NY

Villa de Vecchi —Cortenova, Italy

Villa de Vecchi is a mansion east of Lake Como that is rumored to be haunted. The house was built in the 1850s by the head of the Italian National Guard, Felix de Vecchi. As legend has it, he returned home on day to find his wife brutally murdered and his daughter missing. A lengthy search for his daughter turned up nothing and he died by suicide later that year. The villa was passed on to de Vecchi's brother, who lived there until World War II.

No prospective buyer was interested in the potentially haunted house. It was left permanently uninhabited by the 1960s.

 Source: Atlas Obscura

Swannanoa Palace — Virginia, United States

An American railroad executive, James H. Dooley, had this marble villa constructed in 1912 as a replica of the Villa de Medici in Rome. It took 300 artisans to complete and included a 4,000-piece Tiffany stained glass window.

After the Dooleys died in the 1920s, the villa was converted into a country club. It was officially abandoned in the 1980s and then turned into a historical site.

Today, Swannanoa Palace hosts weddings and weekly tours. 

Source:Virginia Tourism

Sammezzano Castle — Leccio, Italy

There is a 365-room abandoned palace atop a hill just south of Florence, Italy, that was built in 1605 by Spanish nobility. It has seen several iterations: At one point, it was owned by the famed Medici family, and later, after World War II, it was even used as a luxury hotel.

Sammezzano Castle has been closed and effectively abandoned since the 1990s.

Source: Visit Tuscany

Gbadolite — Nsele, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Gbadolite, once a small village, was turned into the "Versailles of the Jungle" by former journalist Mobutu Sese Seko, who seized power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1965, renamed the country Zaire, and established himself as the president. The estate included a night club, a hotel, and an international airport in addition to Mobutu's private residence. After a military overthrow, he abandoned the palace and fled to Morocco in 1997. He died three months later of prostate cancer.

The derelict palace is reportedly now tended to by Mobutu's former supporters and their families.

Source:The Independent, Atlas Obscura

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