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It Costs Up To $80,000 To Make A Business Class Airplane Seat


Lufthansa Business Class seat

A single business class seat in an airplane can cost somewhere between $30,000 and $80,000, according to a New York Times report.

That's because while airlines work to pack as many seats as they can into economy class, they're also fighting to offer the most luxurious business class options to attract high-paying passengers.

The seats themselves need to be comfortable, of course (some offer massages), but must also meet strict safety standards and be as light as possible, to reduce the plane's overall weight and fuel use. 

A new seat can take three years to design and produce.

First class offerings get even more complicated, Tom Plant of B/E Aerospace, which produces seats, told the Times. With more than 2,000 components, they can cost between $250,000 and $500,000.

Here's the full video:

SEE ALSO: 11 Ways Airlines Are Cramming People Onto Planes And Saving Money

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A Born-Again Victoria's Secret Model Is Launching A Christian Clothing Line


kylie bisutti victoria's secretFormer Victoria's Secret model Kylie Bisutti is launching a clothing line that showcases her Christian beliefs. 

Bisutti's "God Inspired Fashion" line features items like skinny jeans and camisoles with Bible verses emblazoned on them, according to the New York Daily News

Bisutti walked the Victoria's Secret runway after winning a national contest in 2009. She says she left after feeling like a "piece of meat," and has also written a book about the experience.  

Victoria's Secret slammed Bisutti, stressing that she was never one of the brand's famed Angels, and that it had actually made the decision to stop working with her. 

We checked out God Inspired Fashion's website

Here are some skinny jeans. One touts Proverbs 4:23, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." The other pair says "Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." They retail for $59.99. 

God Inspired Fashion

Here's a tank top, with Romans 10:10 emblazoned on the back. It retails for $16.99: 

god inspired fashion tank top

And here's a "The Lord Is My Strength" t-shirt, which costs $22.99: 

the lord is my strength tshirt

SEE ALSO: The Victoria's Secret Angel Who Gave Up Her Wings For God

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Amazon Is Selling This $1.45 Million Monet In Its New 'Fine Art' Section, And The Reviews Are Hilarious


Amazon's new Fine Art and Collectibles section just launched yesterday, and it is already getting less-than-stellar reviews.

One of the most vocal opponents is economist Tyler Cowen, who says that much of the art is low quality and overpriced. "It looks like dealers trying to unload unwanted, hard to sell inventory at sucker prices," he wrote on Marginal Revolution.

Most of the items by famous painters — including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Míro — are lithographs, mady by a delicate printing process that uses oil and water on an aluminum plate to make copies. Since there are multiple renditions available, these are usually much less expensive than a typical painting.

But there are a few original paintings for sale. The most expensive is a Norman Rockwell for $4.85 million. There's also a Claude Monet painting titled "L'Enfant a la tasse, a portrait de Jean Monet" from 1868 available for $1.45 million.

The Monet is getting particular attention from Amazon reviewers who find the new section — and its prices — absolutely ridiculous.

Below are some of the best comments about the painting.

monet painting amazon fine art jean monet

"For as much as I paid I'm a little upset that this isn't a new painting. You can see OBVIOUS cracks and I'm worried that the artwork has had several owners before me. I might return to Amazon if I can't get in touch with the seller. 1 out of 5 stars."

"BUYER BEWARE: THIS ITEM IS IN FRENCH. There is no English version. I purchased this product and couldn't understand a word of it."

"The meme has no caption!"
"Pros: Delivered as promised, packed well.

Cons: Stupid picture of some kid, and it's old. And the kid that painted it left their signature right on the painting where everyone can see it; ego much?"

Overall: This was a waste of money, I'll never buy any memes by this Jean woman ever again."

"Eww, as if"
"My friend Dionne advised me against buying a Monet, and I should have listened. From far away, it's okay, but up close it's a big old mess."

"I've been a fan of Monet since the early days and this is a serviceable example of his mid-period stuff, not too fancy but gets the job done and gives an idea of what he's like for people who aren't ready to make up their minds about Waterlilies or Impression, Sunrise. But I really wrote this review to warn casual searchers that some bunch of opportunists are trying to rip off the unwary or inexperienced browser by flooding Amazon with their cheap replicas, under the confusingly similar name "Manet". Remember, it's "Monet", with the "o" that is the real thing. Apparently it's permitted by the Terms of Conditions for people to sell "Manet" product, as long as (when pushed!) they admit somewhere in the fine print that their "Manet" paintings aren't genuine Monets. Seems as unethical as hell to me, but I guess all we fans can do is warn the gullible."

"Amateur Hour"
"I was seriously considering purchasing this item, but I can't get beyond my suspicion that the artist doesn't know how to draw hands. The clumsy attempt to hide them behind a misshapen bowl just screams AMATEUR."

Amazon also has a helpful "In Room" feature in the new section that shows what the art would look like in your (minimally-decorated) home:

amazon "in room" feature monet painting

SEE ALSO: The 15 Greatest Masterpieces At The Met In NYC

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A Los Angeles Restaurant Has A 45-Page Menu Dedicated To Bottled Water


fiji water bottled bottle resnick

This week’s edition of “S*** That Could Only Happen in Los Angeles, Like Seriously” is brought to you by LA-based eatery Ray’s & Stark Bar, which will make history next week by unveiling a brand-new, 45-page menu featuring...water.

Just water. Different bottled waters, to be fair, including water from ten different countries and carrying a variety of price tags. But still, water. The same stuff that you can get at your neighborhood Starbucks or McDonald’s for exactly $0. Welcome to Los Angeles.

Ray’s & Stark Bar’s bottled water selection is billed as the city’s “most extensive water menu” and features everything from the super luxe Berg, (harvested from glaciers in Western Greenland, retails for $20 a bottle) to the more commonplace Evian (filtered through sand and gravel in the French Alps, $8 a bottle).

The menu also features bottles of “9OH2O” water created by Ray’s & Stark’s GM Martin Riese and described as “the champagne of waters” by Riese’s restaurant, of course.

It’s true that there’s probably a taste difference between the water gushing from a Chevron bathroom sink and the glass-bottled selection that Ray’s & Stark is offering. We’re just not really sure that taste difference is worth a $20 price tag. But hey, what’s Los Angeles without a group of aficionados loudly declaring their preference for volcanically filtered groundwater over the freshwater spring alternatives?

Peep the menu in its bougie entirety at Ray’s and Stark Bar Water Menu.

SEE ALSO: The 25 Most Expensive Tasting Menus On Earth

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Photos Show The Stark Contrasts Of Mongolia's Economic Boom


Mongolia Ulan Bator ger

Mongolia is in the middle of an economic boom. In the last ten years the GDP has more than doubled, and Marc Faber has said it could be the "Saudi Arabia of Asia" due to its tremendous mineral resources.

But all this growth hasn't come without problems, namely the "resource curse" where economies become unstable because of overreliance on one sector. Political problems are emerging, and neighboring China's thirst for gold is leading to so-called "ninja miners" who work, dangerously and illegally, under the cover of darkness.

Meanwhile the economic disparities are glaring. Reuters photographer Carlos Barria recently spent some time documenting the ger districts of capital city Ulan Bator.

Mongolia Ulan Bator ger

Despite the gleaming skyline of Ulan Bator in the background, people in the informal ger districts often live in the traditional Mongolian gers, also known as yurts. The New York Times notes that the circular structures have been used since the time of Genghis Khan.

In the picture below, Baljirjantsan Otgonseren, 32, stands inside her family ger.

Mongolia Ulan Bator ger

Some 60 percent of Mongolia live in the ger districts, many living with limited access to basic services such as water and sanitation. The districts are growing, too — Reuters reports that a 2010 National Population Center census showed that every year between 30,000 and 40,0000 people migrate from the countryside to the capital.

Mongolia Ulan Bator ger

This is all despite Mongolia having is one of the world's least densely populated countries — just 2.8 million people are spread across an area around three times the size of France.


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Daycare Is So Expensive In New York That Parents Are Taking Out Loans


kids in a school classroomThere are few places where parents spend as much as New Yorkers do to educate kids who are barely on solid foods yet. 

Childcare in New York City costs upwards of $13,000 a year (the highest in the country) and private pre-k classes can run more than $30,000 a year.

For parents who can't afford the private route, public programs aren't necessarily an alternative. In 2011, more than 28,000 applicants vied for just 19,800 pre-k slots in the city's public schools, according to the New York Times. 

A controversial new initiative by City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn could help to change that. 

Quinn is rolling out a pilot program that would offer low-interest loans to middle-class families with young kids for daycare, the New York Post's Beth Defalco reports.

The loans will be doled out by Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, a local credit union that already offers a wealth of free financial services to city residents. For program's first year, 40 6% interest loans will be up for grabs for families with children between 2 and 4 years old.

In order to qualify, families must earn between $80,000 and $200,000/year, have a 620 minimum credit score, and sign up for a free financial counseling appointment with Neighborhood Trust. 

The loans will work a lot like college financial aid, disbursed directly from the lender to the childcare providers. 

But are they really worth the trouble? 

Slate's Matthew Yglesias argues against the program:

"Day care lending ... has basically none of the features that make college tuition loans seem attractive. Being able to get a loan for your 3-year-old to get some child care doesn't in any clear way increase your income three, five, or 10 years down the road. For lots of hard-pressed New York families, a loan like this is going to be a great lifeline out of a difficult situation. But down the road, you're going to end up with a new set of difficult situations as people struggle to repay the loans. Whether this goes wrong in the form of large losses that the city somehow has to cover or a huge burden of payments on families is going to depend on the precise details, but either way you're asking for trouble."

On the other hand, there's no denying the fact that early childhood education plays a vital role in social and economic mobility – especially for low-income children. 

By the time they hit kindergarten, children from the highest earning households score twice as well as poor kids on literacy and math tests, according to a recent Pew study. And since 1970, the achievement gap between low- and high-income children has grown to 70%. 

But we've got to admit, we're with Yglesias on this one. The answer to filling that gap probably isn't tying up parents up in five-figure loan debt that they may not even pay off until their kids reach high school. Make pre-k available to any and every family in New York and then, we might be in business.

Join the conversation about this story »


Fancy French Fries Are The New 'It' Food At Upscale NYC Restaurants


Hudson Common Peking Duck Fries

French fries are appearing on unlikely New York City menus, according to the New York Daily News.

Upscale restaurants are rethinking the side and upselling it alongside more traditional items, writes Sheila McClear. 

Hudson Common, a craft beer joint at the trendy Hudson Hotel in Hell's Kitchen, fries its potato slices three time in duck fat, which the restaurant said is "more natural" and results in a "gamier and more crispy" fry.

The side costs $5, a bargain compared to the eatery's $12 Peking Duck Fries, which include black bean nuoc cham, bean sprouts, fresh herbs, Sriracha and garlic chips.

Fries from STK  a steakhouse with locations in midtown and the Meatpacking District  are covered in Parmesan and truffle oil and cost $9.

Chekmark Eats blogger Alex told the Daily News that fries are not the only food being dressed up for high-end restaurants.

“It seems like truffle fries and duck-fat fries are seen on every menu, but I think the bigger trend right now in restaurants is taking all kinds of comfort foods and dressing it up,” she says. “I’ve seen fried eggs on macaroni and cheese, peanut butter on burgers, doughnut ice cream sandwiches and tuna sashimi on pizza.”

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Jerry Rice Sold His Custom-Built 'Smart Home' For $9 Million


jerry rice houseJerry Rice has finally sold his Bay Area estate this week for $9 million, according to Realtor.com.

The house is fantastic. It has six bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a movie theater, a pool house, and even a gift-wrapping room.

It's also a custom-built "smart home," letting the buyer control security and various appliances from anywhere on Earth, Trulia reports.

Rice listed the place $22 million back in 2007, but only sold it this week.

At 17,000-square feet, the estate is huge

The pool, there's also a pool house

The deck

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Wedding Season Is Driving Guests Into Debt



If your wedding party is looking a little thinner this year, blame it on their bottom line.

More than 40% of consumers invited to weddings said they turned down the invitations due to financial constraints, according to an American Consumer Credit Counseling poll.

We can't exactly blame them.

Between hotel stays, transportation, bachelor(ette) parties, party attire, and wedding gifts, guests are spending on average $539 to attend a wedding, up 59% from last year.

And just because a guest who RSVPs 'yes' doesn't mean they can afford the expense. About 36% of respondents said they dealt with so much peer pressure that they went into debt to attend a friend's wedding.

Most advice on saving on wedding costs tend to favor the bride and groom's side of things. But we've got a spending tip for cash-strapped guests out there: split everything. Find friends or relatives willing to share hotels or go in on a gift together to trim costs. 

Join the conversation about this story »


An Insider's Guide To Cape Town


Cape Town

If there’s one thing Cape Town doesn’t lack, it’s natural splendor.

Whether you’re hiking Lion’s Head or simply parking your car on a side street, you’re sure to be greeted by a staggering vista, be it beach or mountain.

Even now, in the depths of winter, this picturesque destination on the tip of Africa sparkles under its carpet of lush emerald grass.

Here’s our guide to the best of the Mother City.


The top reservation in Cape Town is at chef Luke Dale-Roberts’s Test Kitchen; if you can’t get a table there, aim for its sister restaurant, Pot Luck Club, recently relocated to a sixth-floor perch overlooking the city in the Old Biscuit Mill. At both spots you’ll sample his seasonally-evolving menus filled with innovative dishes like Asian-style shortribs and beef fillet with a chocolate-coffee sauce.

Pan Fried Beef Filet at The Test Kitchen in Cape TownIn the nearby village of Noordhoek, another local top chef, Franck Dangereux, serves up fine dining in a revamped barn called, aptly, The Foodbarn. If you’re looking to try Cape Town’s unique, distinctive Cape Malay cuisine—a fusion of Dutch, Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian, and African flavors—head to the atmospheric Cape Quarter complex where, tucked away on a cobbled piazza, you’ll find Cape Malay Food Market. Order the samoosas (similar to Indian samosa pastries) and the bobotie—a spicy minced-beef entrée topped with a crispy, savory egg custard, often referred to as South Africa’s national dish.


Asoka in Cape TownScene-seekers should head straight to the sexy Shimmy Beach Club, which opened last December on a private swath of sand at the V&A Waterfront. Those looking for a slightly more mellow atmosphere without compromising on gloss prefer the vibe at Asoka, a stylish lounge set in a Victorian house on Kloof Street redone with an Asian aesthetic.

In the mood for something even more low-key, but with plenty of character? Tagore’s, in the artsy, bohemian "Obs" district—short for Observatory—is an intimate space cluttered with vintage knickknacks and packed with revelers grooving to jazz bands several times a week.


Kirstenbosch National Botanical GardensEvery Saturday morning, beautiful Capetonians descend by the droves onto the Old Biscuit Mill for the weekly Neighbourgoods Market, where they buy locally made clothes and accessories and feast on fresh biltong, steak pies, and salted-caramel ice cream served up by dozens of area vendors.

If the weather cooperates, pack a basket with goodies and drive straight to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens—nestled on the slopes of Table Mountain, it might be one of the world’s most spectacular picnic settings. On the first Thursday of every month, Cape Town galleries stay open late and the streets are filled with aspiring art patrons looking for their culture dose.


Mount Nelson Hotel South AfricaStepping into Cape Town’s iconic "Pink Lady," the elegant Mount Nelson, will bring you back to a colonial era; if you’re not staying there, at least stop by the Nelly for the lovely afternoon high tea.

At the V&A Waterfront, Cape Grace is a classic grand dame with 120 rooms and suites with nautical touches. Just off of Kloof Street, in the heart of a posh neighborhood filled with buzzy restaurants and shops, the Cape Cadogan is a gracious boutique hotel in a lavishly restored 18th-century home.

If you’d prefer to be right on the water, head straight for Ellerman House, in nearby Bantry Bay. The opulent manse boasts gardens overlooking the ocean, and is home to one of the finest art collections in South Africa.


African Penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape TownAt least one day of your Cape Town visit should be dedicated to the Peninsula drive, with stops at Kalk Bay, Simon’s Town, Chapman’s Peak, Cape Point, and the Cape of Good Hope—no trip to Cape Town is complete without a break at Boulders Beach, to pay a visit to an absolutely adorable colony of African Penguins sunning themselves on the sand.

If you have more time, then add a day trip to the Winelands as well; the stunning farm resort Babylonstoren is only about half an hour from Cape Town. A bit farther along is the historic village of Franschhoek, the heart of South Africa’s wine country, and home to luxurious resorts, world-class restaurants, and charming boutiques. Stop for tastings at Haut EspoirMoreson, or Anura; have dinner at the original outpost of Reuben’s, run by South Africa’s most celebrated chef, Reuben Riffel; then retire for the night at La Residence, a tranquil retreat nestled on a sprawling 30-acre estate. Bastille Day is celebrated with gusto every July in Franschhoek, a tribute to the burg’s French heritage.

Sarah Khan is a freelance writer based in Cape Town. You can read about her adventures in Africa at www.southafrikhan.com, or follow her on Twitter @BySarahKhan.

Read more on Fodor's:

The 10 Most Secluded Hotels Around The World >

5 Undiscovered Places In Asia >

What To Pack In Amsterdam >

Join the conversation about this story »


The Most Outrageous Yacht Charters In The World


Maltese Falcon

When Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's mega-yacht Eclipse docked in midtown Manhattan last February, it created frenzy among the Big Apple's princes and paupers alike.

See the yachts >

They flocked to the far west pier, usually reserved for cruise ships, just to get a glimpse of the 538-foot palace at sea.

At the time, Eclipse was the largest yacht in the world (and it's still the largest available for charter), with 18 luxury cabins for up to 34 guests, two pools, a three-man submarine and three helipads facilitating quick transfers to the mainland. It reportedly cost north of $500 million to build and another $500,000 a week just to keep afloat, making a day at sea in this mega-yacht a mega-fantasy for nearly everybody on the planet.

But a jaunt through the Mediterranean on Eclipse with 33 of your closest friends isn't completely out of reach. Back in 2011 Abramovich made the ship available for charter through the über-exclusive brokers of Super Yachts Monaco for a reported $2 million per week.

If that seems a bit steep, Abramovich's mega-yacht Luna is also available for charter through Super Yachts Monaco for a slightly smaller per-week fee. Consider yourself warned, though—this yacht has only one on-deck pool.

If you have the means and are looking for a completely customized holiday, yacht charters are one way to go. While many mega-yachts remain in private hands, some of the most exquisite vessels in the world are available for charter if you're willing to spend the dough.

Vacation planning starts with the select few brokerages that have access to the finest vessels at sea. “A luxury yacht charter is completely bespoke,” says Molly Browne, a charter broker out of Camper & Nicholsons International's London office. “Even if a client plans an itinerary, once on board there is no need to adhere to it. Everything is flexible, and the broker and crew will do their best to ensure that all your needs are taken care of.”

Camper & Nicholsons would know a little bit about the world's top yachts. The company was founded in 1782 as a premier shipbuilder and today is a global leader in the sale, charter and construction of mega-yachts. Take O'Mega, a 271-foot masterpiece with room for 30 guests and 28 crew that's now available for charter after a multimillion-dollar refit with new interiors and top-notch tech.

Y.CO is another high-end brokerage yacht addicts have come to rely on. “Be it global exploration, large groups, holistic retreats, regatta racing, adrenaline fueling or just the ultimate relaxing experience, we have something for everyone,” says Y.CO marketing director Bianca McNulty. Among the stunners in this portfolio is Serene, a 439-foot boat with an underwater glass room that turns the ocean into your private aquarium and a helicopter hangar—and if you're leaving the chopper at home, the hangar transforms into an indoor pool.

More from Executive Travel:

This story was originally published by Executive Travel


Sure, it's no longer the largest super-yacht in the world (that honor goes to the privately owned 590-foot Azzam), but at 538 feet Eclipse is the largest, most lavish super-yacht you can charter.

Launched in 2010, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's nine-deck ship of dreams has room for 36 of your best friends to bunk up in 18 luxury cabins, not to mention the crew of 70 required to keep it afloat. Go ahead and skinny-dip, because pool parties (there are two pools, one of which converts into a dance floor) are sure to stay private thanks to an “anti-paparazzi shield” that fires photo-ruining lasers at cameras.

Meanwhile, bulletproof plating and windows ensure that pirates don't stand a chance. If you do want to make a quick escape—or just check out the mainland—there are three helipads and a three-man submarine on board.


Stad Amsterdam

Thanks to this 250-foot clipper, you don't need a DeLorean time machine to experience the thrill of exploring the high seas in an authentic 1800s boat under full sail.

When it launched in 2000, Stad Amsterdam was the first true clipper ship built in more than 130 years. Up top you'll feel as if you've gone back in time as the crew hoists and sets the sails exactly as they would have back in the 1800s to reach speeds of 17 knots (about 20 miles per hour). A mahogany staircase descends into the Long Room, a magnificent teak cabin with copper finishes and a library that serves as a main gathering space and dining room.

It's powered by the wind but loaded with modern technology and amenities after a 2009 refit, sleeping 28 guests in 14 identical cabins. Two captains and two gourmet chefs are among the expert crew of 25.



Go island hopping around Greece in O'Mega, a 271-foot floating palace that was recently refitted with luxurious new interiors and top-notch technology.

Up to 30 guests can spread out in one master, four VIP, five double and five twin cabins. That still leaves room for 28 crew—a near 1-to-1 ratio.

Relax in the Jacuzzi or in the two elegant saloons, one on the main deck and the other on top of the boat where spectacular views abound. Below deck there's a full movie theater and well-equipped gym; an aft deck extends for easy water access. You'll want to be in the water with all the toys: a speedboat, two wave runners, three kayaks and a slew of towables including water skis, wakeboards and inflatable rafts.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Silicon Valley Engineer Analyzes Traffic Stops In Extremely Rich City, Discovers Disturbing Pattern


Atherton, California

The extremely wealthy Bay Area city of Atherton, Calif. ticketed 182 drivers from February to July 2013. Out of those, 175 had Hispanic last names, according to an analysis of Atherton's police blotter.

Kent Brewster, a front-end engineer for Pinterest, published his analysis on a website called "Profiling Atherton: The Dark Side To That Funny Little Police Blotter."

"I in no way, shape or form 'hacked' Atherton or its police department to produce this site," he wrote. All the information he used came from public records or the police blotter.

Amid noise complaints from grumpy yuppies and parking violations, he noticed a startling pattern in Atherton, which is right outside of San Francisco. Hispanics who didn't even live in the city received way more vehicle code violations than anyone else.

  • Of the 182 drivers ticketed, only two lived in Atherton. 
  • 96 tickets went to people living in neighboring Redwood City — 39% Hispanic. Atherton's population is 3.9% Hispanic
  • Police issued 99 citations at the two main points where Redwood City touches Atherton.

More than 100 of the people ticketed were charged with misdemeanors for driving without a license. L.A. attorney Steven Rodriguez' blog calls driving without a license a "woblette," meaning prosecutors have the choice to make the offense a misdemeanor or infraction.

Misdemeanors require booking, fingerprinting, and a mugshot and could land the offender 6 months in jail and a $100 fine.

Brewster's findings suggest Atherton police may be profiling Hispanic drivers. Another possibility, as one of our readers pointed out, is that (mostly white) locals are more aware that the city's cops strictly enforce speed limits than those who live outside the city.


SEE ALSO: The 20 Safest Cities In America

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: 'South Park' Co-Creator Trey Parker Bought A $13.9 Million Mansion In Los Angeles


trey parker la home

Last month, "South Park" co-creator Trey Parker bought a gorgeous seven-bedroom mansion in Los Angeles for over $13.89 million, according to real estate blog The Real Estalker.

The Spanish Colonial estate was listed through Prudential California Realty agent David Offer.

Perhaps Parker's purchase is tied to the fact that he'll soon be having a baby with his long-time girlfriend Boogie Tillmo.

The new home of the "Book of Mormon" co-writer is located in LA's Brentwood neighborhood, and has over 10,000 square feet of property filled with hardwood floors, stenciled ceiling beams, and hand-painted tiles.

It also comes with a whole-house sound system, solar heating, pool house, and at least seven wood-burning fireplaces.

Trey Parker's new home is in LA's Brentwood Park neighborhood and sits on nearly an acre of land.

Source: Redfin

When you first walk in, there's a long, vaulted hallway. The entire floor plan is very laid-back and open.

Source: Redfin

The home is filled with wood-burning fireplaces in the living and sitting rooms.

Source: Redfin

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This Story Of A Wheelchair-Bound Woman Using Google Glass Will Move You To Tears


Alex Blaszczuk

We hear a lot of stories about people using Google Glass, sometimes for awesome reasons and sometimes to the horror of their friends and coworkers. But here's one that really shows how the device can help someone.

Alex Blaszczuk owns Glass as part of Google's Explorer program, where Google allowed about 8,000 people to purchase the device at $1,500 a pop.

Blaszczuk is a law student whose life was changed in the fall of 2011. She was on her way to a camping trip when a car accident left her paralyzed from the chest down, unable to use her hands.

Last month, Alex finally made it camping, helped in large part by the confidence she regained by using Glass.

She shared her story and video of the trip taken with Glass. (Seriously, after watching this, we have tears in our eyes.) Congrats to Blaszczuk!

SEE ALSO: This 24-Year-Old Is Writing A New Operating System For Google Glass That Google Can't Control

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THE NEW YORK TIMES: No, We're Not For Sale


new york times sulzberger

The Washington Post's surprise sale to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Monday unleashed a flurry of speculation about whether or not the New York Times, now the only family-owned major paper in America, would be next.

Also read: In the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos Buys a Billionaire's Bauble, Not a Business

Chairman Arthur Sulzberger, whose family has owned the Times since 1896, on Wednesday afternoon issued a definitive "no."

Sulzberger wrote a memo to employees to assure them that no tech billionaires would be swopping down to buy the paper any time soon.

"There has been much speculation and understandable concern about what this could mean for us," Sulzberger wrote. "Will our family seek to sell The Times? The answer to that is no. The Times is not for sale."

Also read: New York Times Sells Boston Globe to Red Sox Owner John Henry

Sulzberger also admitted to being "stunned" and "sad" about the Graham family's decision to sell its paper, and hoped that Bezos would "continue the tradition of excellence that the Grahams achieved in their eight decades of stewardship."

Here's the full memo:

August 7, 2013

Colleagues –

We were all taken by surprise on Monday afternoon with the announcement of the Graham family’s decision to sell The Washington Post.  Surprise probably doesn’t cover it; we were stunned. 

We have spoken to Don Graham and he reiterated to us his desire to put The Washington Post into the hands of someone who he and his family believe is best positioned to help it grow and thrive and compete in the global and digital marketplace.  It’s sad to see a great American newspaper family like the Grahams depart from The Post, a publication for which we at The Times have much affection and common ground.  While The Times will continue to compete with them for the big story, we hope for the sake of quality journalism and an informed citizenry that Jeff Bezos will continue the tradition of excellence that the Grahams achieved in their eight decades of stewardship.

This leads us to the Ochs-Sulzberger family and this great institution, The New York Times.  There has been much speculation and understandable concern about what this could mean for us.  Will our family seek to sell The Times?  The answer to that is no.  The Times is not for sale, and the Trustees of the Ochs-Sulzberger Trust and the rest of the family are united in our commitment to work together with the Company’s Board, senior management and employees to lead The New York Times forward into our global and digital future. 

All of us at The Times are aware of the great strides we have made.  Our digital subscription model set the standard for the industry and put us on the path forward.  The Company is profitable and generates very strong cash flow, which we believe makes us perfectly able to fund our future growth.  The Times has both the ideas and the money to pursue innovation.

Mark Thompson has articulated our strategic plan to enable that growth, and we are implementing it beginning with a focus on The New York Times brand, increased investment internationally, in video, in paid products and in brand extensions.   Jill Abramson is presiding over a newsroom that is raising the bar with its innovation in storytelling capabilities while maintaining the highest standard of excellence in its journalism.  The same can clearly be said for Andy Rosenthal’s leadership in Opinion. 

We're incredibly proud of our association with this great institution and, on behalf of the Trustees and the other members of our family, we plan for that association to continue for many years to come.  

Arthur and Michael

On behalf of the Ochs-Sulzberger Trustees and family

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PayPal Founder's New Sex App Will Get You Pregnant — Or Give You Your Money Back


man woman sex flirtingPayPal co-founder Max Levchin has released Glow, a free iOS fertility app for tracking ovulation cycles and pinpointing the best time for conception.

Glow has also raised a $6 million venture capital round from Yuri Milner, Founder's Fund, Jeff Jordan of Andreessen Horowitz, and various other individuals.

After downloading the app, you have the option to donate $50 a month to the Glow First fund, and if you don't conceive inside that time frame, you can get your money back to help pay for fertility treatments. In an interview with AllThingsD, Levchin compares it to "crowdfunding babies":

App users have the option to contribute $50 a month to the Glow Fund, for a period of 10 months. If, after 10 months of using the Glow app, a woman hasn’t conceived, she can withdraw money from the Glow Fund and use it to pay for fertility treatments. Conversely, if she has gotten pregnant, she forfeits her contributions; they will go toward another user’s fertility treatments. Levchin himself has jump-started the initiative by contributing $1 million from his own pocket.

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Prostitution: Sex Doesn't Sell


brazilian prostitutes

An old industry is in deep recession

TIMES are tough for Debbie, a prostitute in western England who runs a private flat with other "mature ladies". She does two or three jobs a day. A year ago she was doing eight or nine. She has cut her prices: "If I hadn't, I wouldn't still be open." She says that she can now make more money doing up furniture and attending car-boot sales than she can turning tricks.

George McCoy, who runs a website reviewing over 5,000 massage parlours and individuals, says that many are struggling. Sex workers tell him they have been forced to hold down prices. Like other businesses, massage parlours and private flats are suffering from rising rents and energy costs. Even Mr McCoy's website is under the cosh: visitor numbers are down by a third.

In part, this reflects the sluggish economy. Overall consumer spending at the end of 2012 was almost 4% lower than its 2007 peak. And Vivienne, an independent escort in the south who works part-time to supplement her income as a photographer, says paying for sex is a luxury: "Food is more important; the mortgage is more important; petrol is more important." She is offering discounts out of desperation, reckoning it is better to reduce prices by £20 ($30) than to have no customers at all. Another woman says that some punters are just as anxious to talk about the difficult job market as they are to have sex.

The days of being able to make a full-time living out of prostitution are long gone, reckons Vivienne, at least in larger towns and cities. "It's stupidly competitive right now," she laments. More people are entering prostitution, agrees Cari Mitchell of the English Collective of Prostitutes. Some working women in Westminster say they have halved their prices because the market has become so saturated. In London, and increasingly elsewhere, immigrants provide strong competition. But Sophie, an expensive escort in Edinburgh, says she is seeing an influx of newbies including students and the recently laid-off, many of them offering more for less.

Parts of the sex trade are comparatively hale. At the top end of the market, Marie, another escort in Scotland, says custom has not dried up. Girls increasingly report requests for discounts, she says. But those who lower their prices sometimes swiftly raise them again, deterred by the kind of customer who is attracted to bargains. The market for dominatrices is holding up well, too, according to Mr McCoy. Some of the cheapest massage parlours, such as Club 25 in Sheffield (the price is in the name), attractive to the skint, are busy. Some newcomers are offering cut-price services such as webcams and phone sex.

On the streets, where prices are lowest and life is harshest, things are more desperate. Georgina Perry, the service manager for Open Doors, an NHS centre in east London that offers health services to sex workers, says that in the past few years some former prostitutes who had found low-paid work, for example as cleaners, have returned to the sex trade as other jobs have become harder to find. The women are back on the streets, charging £20 at most.

Many of these changes reflect broader trends in Britain's unstable, part-time economy. But the danger in sex work is greater than in other industries. Newcomers advertising on websites include photos of their faces, their e-mail addresses and offers of risky services in their profiles, says Sophie, the Edinburgh escort, aghast. Moving around in search of clients, prostitutes must deal with unfamiliar and potentially dangerous men. Since July 310 have contacted Ugly Mugs, a scheme that encourages sex workers to report violence, although only around a quarter went to the police. Sex workers are taking greater risks for smaller returns.

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The Mary Kay CEO Is A Billionaire — Who's Going Break The News To Bill Ackman?


pink cadillacFifty years after its founding, Mary Kay Inc. — the company famous for rewarding its top salespeople with pink Cadillacs — has made its founder a billionaire.

Richard Rogers was 20 years old when his mother, the eponymous Mary Kay Ash, founded what is now the third-largest direct seller of cosmetics and skincare products, according to Bloomberg.

The company nets annual wholesale revenue of $3 billion and has 3 million salespeople across the globe.

Rogers owns half of the company, valued at $2.6 billion. 

And the multi-level marketing industry has received a strange amount of attention recently, fueled by the feud between billionaire investors Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn over the stock of Herbalife, another such company.

From Bloomberg:

About 350,000 Mary Kay businesses were started globally in the past year, including 90,000 in the first quarter of 2013, according to a company press release. About half of Mary Kay’s U.S. sales agents are 35-years-old or younger. March was the company’s highest-grossing month on record.

Who knows if Herbalife will have Mary Kay's shelf life. Bill Ackman, who is short the stock and has already reportedly lost $300 million, surely hopes not.

SEE ALSO: CARL ICAHN: I Have Made $500 Million On My Herbalife Position

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Sleep-Away Summer Camp Counselors Play NSA For Concerned Parents


summer camp kids

Camp counselors in sleep-away summer camp are playing a sort of NSA for concerned parents by posting daily images and videos of kids on an encrypted, closed website, reports Amy Gamerman of the WSJ.

The surveillance is then uploaded to a site called Bunk1, which, get this, collates the images from 1,500 different summer camps so that the analysts ... I mean ... parents, can observe their children.

From WSJ:

Stalking the camp photo gallery has become a rite of summer for parents. Most residential camps upload images and videos shot by staff photographers to secure websites every day.

Even Gamerman gets a little fun with her language, except she points more at Russian surveillance than American.

From WSJ:

Once proof of life has been established, parents analyze facial expressions and body language with the intensity of Cold War Kremlinologists. Is that smile real or fake? Why is she standing apart from her bunk-mates? Whose shirt is he wearing?

Though not all the kids like the surveillance. Some kids say they feel pressured to look like they're having fun. To smile for the camera. And to never give the odious "thumbs down" sign — which can illicit immediate phone calls from parents.

In light of recent NSA revelations, the idea of parents surveilling their children seems a bit odd, especially at a sleep-away summer camp.

The point of summer camp (having gone as a kid) isn't just to get away from all those electronic gadgets, but the parents as well. When immediate photo-inspired phone calls can hit the offices of camp managers, kids find themselves out in a wilderness of sorts but still under their mom's eye.

Totally not cool, mom.

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People Are Going Absolutely Crazy For The 'Ramen Burger'


Could chef Keizo Shimamoto's Ramen Burger be the next big food craze in NYC, rivaling Dominique Ansel's cronut?

It certainly appears so. If you haven't heard of the Ramen Burger, it's a burger surrounded by two patties made of fried ramen noodles with a secret shoyu sauce, scallions, and arugula. Here's what it looks like.

ramen burger

According to Gothamist, it tastes "exactly as you would expect: plain ramen, slightly crunchy but mostly soft and noodle-y, sealed together for hand-holding, but then it all comes apart pleasantly in your mouth."

The dish premiered at last Saturday's Smorgasburg food festival in Williamsburg, at the Sun Noodle booth. Word quickly spread about the burger, and pretty soon the wait was nearly two hours in the rain with an estimated 500 people in line.

Ramen burger food line smorgasburg williamsburg

Most were turned away since there was only enough food to make 150 of the specialty burgers.

But because of its immense popularity, the Ramen Burger will be coming back to Smorgasburg this weekend with enough beef and noodle patties to make 300 Ramen Burgers.

The Sun Noodle booth will open on Saturday at 11 AM, and if it's anything like the cronut, you'll want to get in line early.

You can find out more information and see additional pictures of the Ramen Burger on its Facebook page.

SEE ALSO: These May Be The Most Beautiful Hamburgers You'll Ever See

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