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Maid In Beijing Hotel Caught Cleaning Toilets With The Same Towels Guests Use To Wash Themselves

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We all know to eschew the bedspreads in hotels since they are notoriously filthy, but now we have a new thing to worry about while staying in a hotel: towels.

A maid at the Beijing Mehood Hotel in Beijing was caught cleaning the toilets, showers, floors, and even tea cups with the same towels that guests use to wash, according to China Daily.

An undercover reporter from Beijing News captured the acts on camera and video.

"We apologize to our dear customers and will rectify our management," Zhou Jia, the general manager of the Beijing Mehood Hotel, said. Hotel management said that the maid has been suspended.

This is not the first time a China hotel has come under fire for misusing guest towels. Last year, Home Inns Group, which has more than 1,800 hotels across China, had a similar scandal when its Qingdao branch was reportedly caught using filthy cleaning tools and providing unsterilized cups, according to China Daily.

You may want to start rethinking washing your face with a hotel towel—especially in China.

Watch the video below:

SEE ALSO: Take A Tour Of China's New Donut-Shaped Hotel

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Haunting Pictures Of Abandoned Cars Off 'Dead Man's Curve' In Hollywood Hills

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dead man's curve

Photographer Jason Knight likes taking pictures of decaying things, like the abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans, an abandoned federal prison in the desert, and parts of Detroit.

One of his upcoming exhibitions is of a bunch of photos of abandoned cars off the winding road above Fryman Canyon Park in Los Angeles.

Here's how he describes "Dead Man's Curve":

I was intrigued by legends of cars left to decay, dotting the hillsides below Mulholland Drive. The legends may have been true, but no one had taken the time to photograph these cars as far as I could tell. I did some research to find the most likely spot to discover if the rumors were true.

Here's a little narrative:

These ruins proved a little more difficult to discover than I had originally expected. As a result, I found myself proceeding in increasingly random patterns, grabbing at roots, close to tumbling down the hillside like the cars I was hunting. After one near fall, I looked up and saw a color that didn’t quite fit with the greens and browns of the hillside. It was a little off. A rust color. It was the first of the car wrecks that I would find. Judging from the lack of trees above it, it looked like it had barrel-rolled down the hillside. And it had been here for a while, I think. There was no leather interior, no plastic, no upholstery. Just the red, rusted metal and the shoots growing out of a long-ago crushed tree that still managed to survive and flourish.

I was on one bank of a hairpin turn, and just the one car was there. I crossed to the other side and climbed up the creek that ran down that canyon, and I was astonished at what I found. 

First, a disintegrating section of crankshaft, half-buried in the creek, then big sections of plastic bumper, semi-buried in the walls of the narrow canyon and in the creek bed. And when I crested the next rise, I saw entire cars. Some were almost completely buried. Some were totally exposed. I saw at least seven that were mostly visible. I wondered how many more were buried, and in one section of debris, there were three cars, stacked haphazardly on top of each other. One car had a splintered loop of cable tied to its bumper. 

A friend later told me that the city had tried and failed to pull some of these cars out of the canyon. With the expense, lack of success, and lack of outcry, they apparently gave up. I understood what he meant. Unreasonable expense is an unexpected, but grand protector of modern ruins.

Check out some pictures:

dead man's curve

dead man's curve

dead man's curve

dead man's curve

dead man's curve

dead man's curve

dead man's curve

SEE ALSO: Car lovers will weep at all of these totaled Ferraris

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How To Investigate The Neighborhood Where You Want To Buy A House

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most expensive zip code atherton

You’ve gone to the open house. You’ve had a private showing. You’ve read the disclosures. You’ve decided this is the house for you, and you’re ready to make an offer.

Before you take that step, though, you should fully check out the neighborhood. After all, this is where you’re going to live for years.

Is there something you don’t know about that could negatively affect the resale value later? Is there a neighbor who comes roaring home late at night on a muffler-free motorcycle? Is the next-door neighbor operating a day care for pre-schoolers?

Given the high stakes of homeownership, it pays to do your homework before making an offer. For example, a potential buyer was ready to sign on the dotted line for a home in San Francisco, a city famous for its microclimates. The buyer had only been to the home during the day, when it was sunny and warm. On his real estate agent’s advice, the buyer returned at night — to find the house blanketed by cold, windy fog. He continued his home search elsewhere, relieved he hadn’t unknowingly bought into the city’s “fog and wind belt.”

Here are five ways to investigate a neighborhood before you buy.

1. Talk to the neighbors

Without being intrusive, look for an opportunity to chat with your potential neighbors. What’s their opinion of the block and the neighborhood? Do they know of any problem neighbors? Are they aware of any recent car or home break-ins? Is anyone planning a big remodel that could impact other homes or their values? Do they know of someone on the block who might be getting ready to sell? An even more desirable home could be coming on the market.

2. Visit day and night, weekday and weekend

As the San Francisco example shows, don’t just visit the house during the day. Check it out at night to get a sense of what’s going on in the neighborhood after hours. Is it noisy or calm? Visit on the weekend and early morning, too. The more times of day you go, the more chances you’ll have to get the feel for the neighborhood.

3. Check out the local newspaper and the neighborhood blog

Some neighborhoods still have their own newspapers. If there’s one published for the neighborhood you’re considering, check it out for local stories. Pay particular attention to the “police blotter,” which typically lists crimes reported in the area. Also, some neighborhoods have blogs where locals ask for tips and advice, or post issues or concerns affecting the neighborhood. A Google search should help you find out whether there’s a blog for the neighborhood you’re considering.

4. Get an app

Some smartphone apps, such as CrimeReports for iPhone, provide information about crime based on your location or address. Among the problems you may see displayed on a map are noise nuisances, sex offenders and vehicle break-ins. The CrimeReports app gives you some specifics, such as when and where each incident occurred.

Zillow’s real estate apps allow you to see estimates of properties on the block. They also allow you to search recent sales or see rentals, a good indication of whether your neighbors are renters or homeowners.

5. Google the street address

If you Google the home’s street address, you might be amazed at what you find. You might, for instance, discover a nearby home-based business with employees (which could reduce street parking spaces). Using Google’s Street View, where photos can be months if not years old, you might discover that the ground-floor bedroom window once had bars on it.

Be a sleuth before the sale

The Internet is an amazing resource of information. Too often, though, potential home buyers don’t fully use it to find out everything they can before entering into a contract on a home. As soon as you’ve identified a home you want to buy, get online and do your homework. You might be pleasantly — or unpleasantly — surprised by what you learn.

Join the conversation about this story »


    






Ex-Pat Pornographer Explains The Most Surprising Things About Holland

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amsterdam queen's day boat

Australian pornographer Garion Hall, who runs the "happy, healthy, and natural" porn site Abbywinters, moved to Holland in 2010 because of its more liberal pornography laws.

Apparently he loves it in Amsterdam. Hall offered the following answer on Quora to a question about facts about a country are mind-blowing to foreigners [republished with permission]:

In Holland (Netherlands). I'm an ex-pat, so these things really stood out to me:

  • School finishes at midday on Wednesdays. This is so parents can spend more time with their kids, and many employers allow parents to go home at midday on Wednesdays.
  • Amsterdam really could not be less about prostitution and marijuana. They are small parts of the city that some tourists (and few locals) enjoy, but there's so much more to Amsterdam than that!
  • Riding a bike is the primary means of transport for most people in cities, regardless of the "event" - going to a wedding (bride included!), dressed up, dressed down, wearing a suit, going to the beach, taking kids to school, moving house, going to work, shopping, having breakfast, talking on the phone, putting on makeup at the lights. Any time a person in LA might consider using a car, Dutchies will ride a bike. No one wears helmets.
  • On warm summer evenings, many people will eat on the street (or on their front steps), cos most homes do not have air-con, and the streets are generally lovely.
  • Parties often happen on open boats that motor around the canals (as opposed to, at someone's home). They stop near public toilets every so often (and at bottle-shops, to stock up). I find it very weird seeing parties motor past our house, just like a party in someone's living room... but on the water.
  • Many people leave their curtains open, so people walking down the street can see right into their home. It's not uncommon to see people going about their lives, including moments that others might consider private, when looking thru windows. It's considered impolite to look thru windows at these times, however.

As for his Web site, Hall told The Age that it was harder to find outdoorsy, sun-tanned girls or good natural light and outdoor shooting space in Holland, which is why he continues to do much of his work with models in Australia.

DON'T MISS: 13 things Americans do that seem bizarre to the rest of the world

Join the conversation about this story »


    






Why Architect Le Corbusier Wanted To Demolish Downtown Paris

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le corbusier 1949

Walking through Le Corbusier's exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, I was surprised by how many of the great modernist architect's designs were never built. They were simply too radical, and none more so than his 1925 proposal to demolish two square miles of downtown Paris.

It's probably a good thing the architect, born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, didn't get his hands on Paris. The area he would have destroyed, including the 3rd and 4th arrondissements on the right bank of the Seine, is today among the prettiest, hippest, and most architecturally significant neighborhoods in the city. What's more, the replacement of organic urban areas with huge new developments has been criticized since the 1960s for sapping the vitality of cities.

All of that said, let's take a moment to appreciate how cool Le Corbusier's Plan Voisin would have been.

To start, demolishing central Paris made a lot of sense in the 1920s. The formerly aristocratic Marais district had fallen into squalor, characterized by poor sanitation, disease, and overcrowding, as chronicled by Marybeth Shaw in "Promoting An Urban Vision: Le Corbusier and the Plan Voisin." By 1921 in the Beaubourg area, 250 out of 276 houses were marked uninhabitable due to tuberculosis contamination.

Le Corbusier wanted to replace this urban blight with something incredible.

Plan Voisin called for 18 cruciform glass office towers, placed on a rectangular grid in an enormous park-like green space, with triple-tiered pedestrian malls with stepped terraces placed intermittently between them. Extending perpendicularly to the west, there would be an adjacent rectangle of low-rise residential, governmental, and cultural buildings amid more green space.

The new development would be integrated with highways, train and subway lines, as well as an airport, making this area the first thing that most visitors to the city would see.

The design sounds beautiful, as described by the architect :

I shall ask my readers to imagine they are walking in this new city, and have begun to acclimatize themselves to its untraditional advantages. You are under the shade of trees, vast lawns spread all round you. The air is clear and pure; there is hardly any noise. What, you cannot see where the buildings are ? Look through the charmingly diapered arabesques of branches out into the sky towards those widely-spaced crystal towers which soar higher than any pinnacle on earth. These translucent prisms that seem to float in the air without anchorage to the ground - flashing in summer sunshine, softly gleaming under grey winter skies, magically glittering at nightfall - are huge blocks of offices. Beneath each is an underground station (which gives the measure of the interval between them). Since this City has three or four times the density of our existing cities, the distances to be transversed in it (as also the resultant fatigue) are three or four times less. For only 5-10 per cent of the surface area of its business centre is built over. That is why you find yourselves walking among spacious parks remote from the busy hum of the autostrada.

The new office district would be the business center of the city, the country, and the world — while looking nothing like the "appalling nightmare" downtown streets of New York City. The adjacent housing district would be home to the world's business elite.

"Paris of tomorrow could be magnificently equal to the march of events that is day by day bringing us ever nearer to the dawn of a new social contract," Le Corbusier wrote.

To pay for the project, Le Corbusier counted on investment from France's business elite, promising a five-fold increase in land value. As for the denizens of the area that he wanted to destroy, the architect said these "troglodytes" could be relocated to garden cities in outer Paris.

As for concerns with leveling such a historic neighborhood, Le Corbusier insisted that the best architecture from the district — including the Palais Royal, the Place des Vosges, and certain townhouses and churches — would be saved. They would be, as described by Shaw, "preserved like museum pieces in the green carpet of the skyscrapers and low-rises that one would come upon while walking the curved paths of the parks."

Now, courtesy of Fondation Le Corbusier, here's a sketch of the verdant business district:

corbusier plan voisin

Here's a close-up showing the green spaces between buildings, with hints of ground-level commerce and transportation access:

plan voisin close-up

Here's a model showing the business district and part of the residential, cultural, and governmental district extending west along the Seine:

le corbusier plan voisin 1

And here's what the area looks like today:

paris

Fondation Le Corbusier has more images of the Plan Voisin.

Le Corbusier: An Atlas Of Modernism is at MoMa through September 23.

SEE ALSO: The 65 Best New Buildings In The World

Join the conversation about this story »


    






Why Architect Le Corbusier Wanted To Demolish Downtown Paris

0
0

le corbusier 1949

Walking through Le Corbusier's exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, I was surprised by how many of the great modernist architect's designs were never built. They were simply too radical, and none more so than his 1925 proposal to demolish two square miles of downtown Paris.

It's probably a good thing the architect, born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, didn't get his hands on Paris. The area he would have destroyed, including the 3rd and 4th arrondissements on the right bank of the Seine, is today among the prettiest, hippest, and most architecturally significant neighborhoods in the city. What's more, the replacement of organic urban areas with huge new developments has been criticized since the 1960s for sapping the vitality of cities.

All of that said, let's take a moment to appreciate how cool Le Corbusier's Plan Voisin would have been.

To start, demolishing central Paris made a lot of sense in the 1920s. The formerly aristocratic Marais district had fallen into squalor, characterized by poor sanitation, disease, and overcrowding, as chronicled by Marybeth Shaw in "Promoting An Urban Vision: Le Corbusier and the Plan Voisin." By 1921 in the Beaubourg area, 250 out of 276 houses were marked uninhabitable due to tuberculosis contamination.

Le Corbusier wanted to replace this urban blight with something incredible.

Plan Voisin called for 18 cruciform glass office towers, placed on a rectangular grid in an enormous park-like green space, with triple-tiered pedestrian malls with stepped terraces placed intermittently between them. Extending perpendicularly to the west, there would be an adjacent rectangle of low-rise residential, governmental, and cultural buildings amid more green space.

The new development would be integrated with highways, train and subway lines, as well as an airport, making this area the first thing that most visitors to the city would see.

The design sounds beautiful, as described by the architect :

I shall ask my readers to imagine they are walking in this new city, and have begun to acclimatize themselves to its untraditional advantages. You are under the shade of trees, vast lawns spread all round you. The air is clear and pure; there is hardly any noise. What, you cannot see where the buildings are ? Look through the charmingly diapered arabesques of branches out into the sky towards those widely-spaced crystal towers which soar higher than any pinnacle on earth. These translucent prisms that seem to float in the air without anchorage to the ground - flashing in summer sunshine, softly gleaming under grey winter skies, magically glittering at nightfall - are huge blocks of offices. Beneath each is an underground station (which gives the measure of the interval between them). Since this City has three or four times the density of our existing cities, the distances to be transversed in it (as also the resultant fatigue) are three or four times less. For only 5-10 per cent of the surface area of its business centre is built over. That is why you find yourselves walking among spacious parks remote from the busy hum of the autostrada.

The new office district would be the business center of the city, the country, and the world — while looking nothing like the "appalling nightmare" downtown streets of New York City. The adjacent housing district would be home to the world's business elite.

"Paris of tomorrow could be magnificently equal to the march of events that is day by day bringing us ever nearer to the dawn of a new social contract," Le Corbusier wrote.

To pay for the project, Le Corbusier counted on investment from France's business elite, promising a five-fold increase in land value. As for the denizens of the area that he wanted to destroy, the architect said these "troglodytes" could be relocated to garden cities in outer Paris.

As for concerns with leveling such a historic neighborhood, Le Corbusier insisted that the best architecture from the district — including the Palais Royal, the Place des Vosges, and certain townhouses and churches — would be saved. They would be, as described by Shaw, "preserved like museum pieces in the green carpet of the skyscrapers and low-rises that one would come upon while walking the curved paths of the parks."

Now, courtesy of Fondation Le Corbusier, here's a sketch of the verdant business district:

corbusier plan voisin

Here's a close-up showing the green spaces between buildings, with hints of ground-level commerce and transportation access:

plan voisin close-up

Here's a model showing the business district and part of the residential, cultural, and governmental district extending west along the Seine:

le corbusier plan voisin 1

And here's what the area looks like today:

paris

Fondation Le Corbusier has more images of the Plan Voisin.

Le Corbusier: An Atlas Of Modernism is at MoMa through September 23.

SEE ALSO: The 65 Best New Buildings In The World

Join the conversation about this story »


    






8 Books That Will Make You Want To Travel To India

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Taj Mahal

India is filled with ancient temples, hidden yoga retreats, and grand palaces. It's also one of the busiest, dirtiest, and poorest countries in the world.

Whatever your impressions about India, reading about the country before you travel there can help de-mystify the experience and prepare you for what you're about to see. 

Here are 8 awesome books that will make you want to travel to India—or help prepare you for your journey.

"Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity" by Katherine Boo

Written by an American who fully immersed herself in India's slums, this book tells the sad but uplifting true story of life in a Mumbai slum, weaving together multiple narratives about different families and characters who live there.

Buy this book here >



"A Passage to India" by E.M. Forster

This classic novel by E.M. Forster tells the story of life in India under British rule, focusing on the underlying tension between the British colonists and the people of India.

It's based on Forster's experiences in India in the 1920s.

Buy this book here >



"Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found" by Suketu Mehta

Written by a Mumbai (formerly Bombay) native who had been living in New York City for over 20 years, this nonfiction book delves into life in Mumbai, exploring everything from the violence of Mumbai's gangs to elite Bollywood parties to the countless people who come to the big city in search of wealth only to end up living in the slums. It's a fascinating look at the thriving metropolis.

Buy this book here >



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    






How Gisele Bündchen Went From Awkward Teenager To The World's Highest-Paid Model

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gisele bundchen teen

Gisele Bündchen was just named the highest-paid supermodel by Forbes

Bündchen, known in the industry as simply "Gisele," has held the title for the past seven years

She earned a stunning $42 million last year. That's way ahead of second highest-paid model Miranda Kerr, who raked in $7.2 million. 

But before she was a one-woman empire, Gisele was an awkward teenager in Brazil with modest aspirations. 

We chronicled how she broke into the scene and became a legend. 

Gisele was born in Brazil, but her parents are of German descent. Here she's pictured (center) with her fraternal twin, Patricia, and another sister, Gabi.

Source: Instagram 



Gisele was discovered by a modeling scout in Brazil while eating a Big Mac. Her childhood nickname was "Olive Oyl," a reference to cartoon Popeye's gangly wife. She won a contest and was sent to Sao Paulo. Here she's pictured in a 1995 interview telling the station about how she hoped to break into the business.

Source: YouTube 



At age 16, she appeared on the cover of a Brazilian teen magazine with the headline "Gisele Bundchen, 16 years old, has gone to the top."

Source: SCStyleCaster



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    






We Tried Underwater Cycling, The Latest Exercise Craze In New York City

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Aqua Studio cycling entrance

Move over, SoulCycle — the latest spin craze in New York City is biking underwater.

Known as "aqua cycling," the exercise was invented by an Italian physical therapist years ago. Fans and adherents claim it fights cellulite, burns up to 800 calories in an hour, and there's no soreness the next day.

It sounds like the perfect workout, yet incredibly no one had heard of aqua cycling in NYC until Esther Gauthier brought it over from Europe this past April.

The French native had tried a similar underwater spinning class at Paris outpost La Maison Popincourt and knew she had found something special that New Yorkers would love.

"For over a year, I kept it to myself," she whispered to me in the airy Tribeca space that's home to AQUA Studio, New York's first and only aqua spinning gym, which I visited for a complimentary class last week. "I didn't want it to get out, I didn't want anyone to steal my idea!"

The downtown studio looks more like a chic spa than a gym. The space had been abandoned for years before Gauthier and her team knocked down three separate floors to create the loft-like studio.

Aqua Studio cycling work out shoesAfter checking in at the front desk — where students are handed a towel and clear jelly shoes ($2 to rent) — we walked down a flight of stairs to the gorgeous locker room. The walls were lined with mirrors and vanities stocked with cotton swabs and hair dryers, and it smelled like the peppermint body wash in each shower stall.

As we changed into our swimsuits, I noticed a few women seemed to know each other from previous classes — Gauthier told me the studio already has a loyal clientele base even though AQUA only opened this past April.

We then trickled into the small rectangular pool down another flight of stairs where 15 bikes (from Italy, no less) were arranged. The trainer, Andia, floated around in the four-foot pool, helping new students slip their rubber shoes into the bike pedals and adjust the seats and handlebars to the perfect hip height, with the water lapping at our chests.

Aqua Studio cycling work out poolThe lighting was dim, with candles lining the wall and pop music playing. Andia had us review the various positions (sitting, standing, bent over the bike, and a fourth position where we floated behind the bike while our feet were still on the pedals) before we began.

In some ways, it felt like a traditional spin class. There were sprints, music, and an instructor calling out various positions.

But there was no resistance knob — instead, you were pushing against the friction of the water.

Though I was skeptical about how good of a workout biking underwater would be, my muscles burned in a similar way to swimming laps or treading water. I definitely worked up a sweat, and my legs felt wobbly when I got out of the pool.

My favorite part was the splashing. We pushed the water back and forth, punched up through the water, and paddled with alternating arms. I was surprised to find that my arms also got a great workout, plus it was really fun (though I was soaked by the end of class).

Aqua Studio cycling work out andia on bike

There were a few cons with aqua cycling. One common complaint is that it's hard to hear the instructor over the water, music, and echoes of the basement.

Another is that since the bikes aren't secured in the water, they can sometimes lift off the ground or sway from side to side. It's hard to find — and keep — the right rhythm, and my bike moved a lot since I hadn't mastered the smooth rhythm necessary to keep the bike stationary.

But all things considered, I liked aqua cycling. It's a novel way to cross train, or a good exercise alternative for people with sports injuries, joint pain, or for pregnant women.

I also felt very relaxed after class. "Aqua cycling is a marriage between yoga and regular cycling," Gauthier explained. " It's the intensity of cycling, but then there's something about the water that's so soothing and adds the relaxation of yoga."

Gauthier said the studio is currently working on creating a class designed exclusively for men (AQUA will start accepting men in September, though men's changing rooms and a juice bar are still in the works), a strength training class, and a class for pregnant women. They're tentatively aiming to have these up and running by October.

After the 45-minute class was over, I took a shower with the peppermint body wash provided in the shower stalls, and left feeling tired, yet refreshed. I don't know about fighting cellulite, but at least two claims on the website are true — you'll have the best sleep of your life afterwards, and you won't feel sore the next day.

Interested in trying it out Aqua Cycling? Here's what you need to know:

  • What to wear: I wore spandex shorts and a sports bra, but most women in the class were wearing swimsuits — either bikinis or one-piece suits. Bikinis are fine, but make sure your top is secure.

  • You will get wet! Though the water only comes up to mid-chest, all the splashing will definitely still get you (and your hair) wet. Plan to shower afterwards, and bring a hairbrush.

  • What to bring: An extra towel and a separate set of clothes are a good idea. Also remember to pack a bag to carry your wet swimsuit after class.

  • Cost: The trial class is $34 for your first time, plus $2 for the shoes. A single class is $40, unless you choose to buy one of the studio's packages (then the cost ranges from $33—$38 per class).

  • Who can go: So far, it's still women-only, but that will be changing in September. Men can sign up for the wait list by emailing AQUA.

SEE ALSO: 11 Great Accessories For Running Outdoors In The Summer

Join the conversation about this story »


    






An Architecture Student Transformed A School Bus Into A Mobile Home And Is Taking It On A Cross-Country Tour

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hankbus33Hank Butitta transformed a defunct school bus into a mobile home, and he's currently driving it across the country on the road trip to end all road trips.

The 27-year-old was a student at the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture when he revamped the bus for his senior thesis project.

Tired of designing hypothetical spaces on paper, Butitta bought the bus on Craigslist for $3,000 and got to work. 

In the same vein as the Tiny House movement, Butitta sought to create a living space that was space-efficient and multi-functional.

All the moving parts can be rearranged to accommodate sleeping, living, and storage, and Butitta ended up winning a critic's choice award from the school.

The repurposed 225-square-foot space can now sleep six, and Butitta and his friend, photographer Justin Evidon, are driving the bus 5,000 miles on an epic road trip. 

They've picked up and dropped off friends along the way, and have seen various national parks and monuments. They're chronicling it all in a blog called Hank Bought A Bus. We spoke to Hank about his inspiration, the road trip, and, of course, all the logistics of DIY-ing a mobile home.

hankbus15

BUSINESS INSIDER: So how did you get the idea to do this?

HANK BUTITTA: I wanted to build a small cabin on 80 acres of land owned by my grandfather just north of the Wisconsin Dells. After doing some research, I realized that the building code wouldn't allow us to build anything smaller than 600 square feet and would require all kinds of costly permits.

If we built our cabin on wheels and registered it as vehicle, we could build as small as we wanted without having to worry about permits. This idea was tossed around for a few years, but it wasn't until a week before my thesis was supposed to start that I needed to find a project. I impulsively bought a bus and converted it to earn my Masters of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

hankbus09

BI: How did you manage to buy a bus?

HB: I found the bus on Craigslist, where I find most of my quirky treasures. I paid $3,000 for a bus that ran well and provided me 225 square feet of living space, complete with windows and doors!

hankbus42

BI: You're on a long road trip right now. What places do you plan to hit along the way and where do you ultimately hope to end up?

HB: The journey is a round trip from Minneapolis, and includes a number of major cities, national parks, and visits to friends all along the way. We've been through Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, and Kansas City, and have stopped at Devils Tower, Yellowstone, Redwood National Park, Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Arches National Parks. It's a shame we can't spend more time in any one spot, but there are so many places to see!

hankbus12

BI: That sounds awesome. But we're curious: How does the whole plumbing situation work?

HB: Currently we have a portable toilet in the bathroom, and a foot-pump sink in the kitchen. There are plans for more integrated plumbing, but these temporary systems were enough to get us on the road for the trip! 

hankbus36

BI: Is this something that you two are hoping to expand upon in the future, i.e. remodeling other buses and selling them?

HB: There are definitely plans to continue the project, but there is more to be learned on our existing bus before the next one is converted. We're still very much in the prototype phase. For the next step we would like to do another cross country tour, this time stopping at Architecture schools and tiny house or sustainability conferences to share our story.

hankbus17

SEE ALSO: See What It's Like To Live In An 89-Square-Foot 'Tiny Home'

Join the conversation about this story »


    






Street Artist Finds A Clever Use For London's Trash [PHOTOS]

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Artist Francisco de Pajaro makes art out of garbage piles left on the street. He's built a huge following making little trash monsters in London this summer. According to de Pajaro's blog, Art is Trash, the artist first started painting on trash in Spain a few years ago.

"Rubbish is the only legal place you can make art on the street," he told James Buxton of Global Street Art.

You can see some samples of de Pajaro's trash monsters below. Check out the artist's blog for more his work.

trash 1.JPG

trash 2.JPG

trash 3.JPG

trash 4.JPG

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SEE ALSO: ANSWERED: Your 20 Biggest Health Questions

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In Honor Of National Dog Day, Here Are 10 Truly Heroic Pooches

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Lefty Pit Bull Hero Dog

In honor of National Dog Day, we wanted to showcase the heroism and loyalty of dogs.

These selfless canines put themselves in harm's way for the benefit of humans.

Some are big, some are small, but all are man's best friend.

Kabang stopped a deadly motorcycle accident

In December 2011, Kabang leapt into the path of an oncoming motorcycle to stop it from hitting her owner's niece and teenage daughter and suffered horrific injuries in the process.

The girls were unhurt, but the dog lost her snout and the top part of her jaw in the ensuing accident. Miraculously, she survived, and recovered in an animal hospital in California for seven months. When she returned to the Philippines, she was greeted with a hero's welcome. 



Trakr found one of the last survivors of the 9/11 attacks

Trakr was a police dog for six years in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and retired in May 2001. But on September 11th of the same year, Trakr and his trainer, Canadian police officer James Symington, came out of retirement. They drove 15 hours to Ground Zero to aid in the search and rescue efforts, and Trakr sniffed out Genelle Guzman, the last survivor of the attacks to be found in the rubble, according to TIME.

After two days of searching, the dog collapsed from smoke inhalation, exhaustion, and burns. He was later presented with the Extraordinary Service to Humanity Award by Dr. Jane Goodall, and died peacefully in 2009.



Eve saved her paraplegic owner

Kathie Vaughan was driving her truck one day when it began to fishtail, and when she pulled over, the cockpit began to fill with smoke. Kathie, a paraplegic, couldn't get herself out of the car, but she pushed her Rottweiler Eve out the door first.

Kathie was in danger of passing out when she felt Eve grab her leg with her jaws. The brave dog dragged her owner to safety ten feet away just before the truck burst into flames, according to Care2.



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8 Tips For Drinking Whiskey Without Looking Like A Newbie

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noorman's kil scotchWith a staggering 400 bottles of scotch, bourbon, and rye, Noorman’s Kil bar in Brooklyn is a whiskey fan’s dream.

“We all loved whiskey and grilled cheese, so we thought, ‘Let’s go nuts with both,’” co-founder Marcel Simoneau told Business Insider.

The bar is a place for serious and casual whiskey drinkers alike (grilled cheese enthusiasts too), so we sat down with Simoneau to learn some tips on how to drink scotch and bourbon without looking like an idiot.

1. Just get to it, tipplers.

Drinkers often start with bourbon because of the taste accessibility and price point. Eventually, many connoisseurs want to move toward scotch. 

So just start tasting them, Simoneau says. For a good first date, try the classic single-malt Oban 14. Another “nice and accessible” scotch stepping-stone is The Balvenie Doublewood 12, whose sherry finish gives it a sweeter taste. For fans of peatiness – the smoky flavor that results from peat firing malted barley – Simoneau recommends Laphroaig.

2. Relax. You’re not doing it wrong.

Whiskey snobs may say there’s a “right” way to drink the stuff, but just relax. Simoneau has seen every request, from a Laphroaig 10 year Manhattan (a cocktail usually prepared with rye) to Johnnie Walker Blue and ginger ale. Point being: You don’t always need to drink it neat.

Simoneau says he sometimes adds water to scotch and ice to bourbon when drinking, but the best way to really taste a whiskey is still when it's alone in a glass. Getting the full taste and aroma also looks dorky, so know your surroundings. Swirl the snifter by your nose to get a whiff. Then put the glass to your face and leave your mouth open as you sniff – you get more of the smell that way. Now take a sip and chew the scotch to let the flavor really hit you. Boom.

3. Look for “distiller’s editions.”

Trying to impress? Peruse the menu for a “distiller’s edition” scotch or bourbon. You’ll probably find a tasty, rare, and expensive treat.

4. Older is not necessarily better.

“Some people say an 8-9 year old bourbon is the sweet spot,” according to Simoneau. Don’t just go with the oldest thing you can find to look cool, even with Scotch. Age is just a number.

5. Branch out.

Everybody has staples, but don’t be afraid to do something different. You could try the High West Campfire– a wacky combination of bourbon, rye, and scotch (one hearty sip will put hair on your chest). There’s Old Pulteney’s sea salt finish or Balcones Brimstone, a Texan corn whiskey with a hint of powdered sugar.

6. Buy the app that will make sure you never pronounce anything wrong.

Go ahead and splurge $5 for Malt Whisky, a comprehensive whiskey app for your iPhone. The app comes with an essential pronunciation guide. Simoneau says a patron once asked him for a glass of “Le Frog” (apparently that’s not how you say Laphroaig).

7. Get local.

Craft distilling takes more time and effort than craft brewing, but the two industries are both in a renaissance right now. Simoneau likes to feature New York brands, like Brooklyn’s own Kings County Distillery, distiller of award-winning moonshine. Because distilling can take upwards of 10-20 years, fledgling brands will often sell colorless, un-aged "white dogs" for their first few years.

8. It’s fine to shoot flavored whiskey.

If the owner of a whiskey bar thinks it’s OK to take shots of Fireball and honey whiskey, it’s probably OK. “I’m not going to sit with it on the rocks, but it’s just fun to shoot,” Simoneau says.

There you have it. Enjoy responsibly.

SEE ALSO: The 18 Best Bottles Of Scotch In The World

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An Ivy League Education Can Be Surprisingly Cheap

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Harvard Business School graduationLet’s face it. This isn’t exactly the most optimistic time to be a college applicant. By now, even MTV-obsessed teens probably have heard or read about the $1 trillion student debt bubble, the soaring cost of college tuition and the federal budget cuts that have likely made even their safety schools more expensive than ever.

For most, the odds of affording a seat at an Ivy League school seem so slim they don’t even bother sending in an application. 

Here’s some good news. The idea that attending an elite school means shackling yourself to a lifetime of debt is one of the most persistent myths in higher education.

“Parents don’t understand the sticker price [of college tuition],” explains John McDonough, CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions, a Texas-based service that helps parents navigate the college application and financial aid process. “There’s a formula involved and if you’re a family with high need, assuming your child can get accepted, there’s a high likelihood that a private school will cover 100% of that need.” 

The key is understanding the difference between  a college's sticker price and net cost. 

 When you see Harvard University’s $51,000/year price tag, what you’re actually getting is the sticker price. Ignore it. That number means literally nothing to a low-income applicant. 

What parents and students really want is the net tuition cost – the amount that a university will expect families to shell out after accounting for financial aid packages.

That’s the nice thing about private institutions. Thanks to healthy endowment funds, they’ve got cash for days and they are a lot more generous with their bankroll than your overworked, underpaid high school counselor may realize.

In 2012-13, on average, undergraduates enrolled full-time in private nonprofit four-year colleges pocketed $15,680 in grants (i.e.: "free money" not student loans) and tax benefits to help them pay for college, according to the College Board. Over the same period, undergraduates in public four-year institutions received about $5,750 in grants and tax benefits. 

How to find the net cost:  Use the White House’s simple college net tuition calculator. For example, we found that Harvard’s average net cost was actually just over $18,000 for the 2010-11 school year, making it more affordable than fellow Ivy Leaguers Princeton, Columbia, and Dartmouth. In fact, between 2007 and 2009, the cost of attending Harvard actually dropped by 15%.  

The average borrowing cost for students is also less than $90 per month. And if a student’s family earns less than $60,000 per year, Harvard charges nothing for attendance. Yale follows the same policy.

We’re just using Harvard as an example here but you’ll find similarly generous aid at pretty much every top private school. Don’t worry about being turned away at the door for being poor either. Admissions at Ivy League schools are all “need blind,” meaning they won’t factor financial well-being at all into the process.  In 2011, more than 60% of Harvard students qualified for financial aid.

“[These schools] don’t want to turn away a brilliant mind just because they grew up on the wrong side of the tracks,” McDonough says. “We have low-income families come in and it’s amazing when they find out that if their students can get accepted at an Ivy League or big ticket school, it can be cheaper than going to the state college down the road.”

So, if elite schools are such a bargain, why do less than 10% of low-income students apply?

That’s the question explored in a recent study by Stanford’s Caroline Hoxby and the University of Virginia’s Sarah Turner.

“The results of our research suggest that cultural or familial factors are not a primary driver of students’ behavior,” they concluded. “Indeed, the key barrier for many low-income high achievers seems to simply be a lack of information.”

Low-income students have a pathetic 1% chance of working with a school counselor who actually attended a highly selective school, they found, which makes it even less likely that they will be encouraged to pursue that path. 

“There’s a lot of economic profiling that goes on in high schools and these kids aren't even given the ability to dream about or think about going to these types of schools,” McDonough says.

We asked him to share a few strategies he gives low-income families who feel priced out of elite schools.

Never miss a deadline. “For some families on the low-income side, they probably haven’t had the ability to save anything for college. They’re living paycheck to paycheck. What we tell those families is there are still some deadlines you have to meet. Number one, make sure you get your SAT tests done on time. Apply early enough and then go through the financial aid process on time so that you can be sure you’ve done everything right.” 

You can negotiate financial aid offers.“A lot families have never heard that you can appeal colleges and negotiate them after they’ve sent a financial aid offer. That’s why we tell students to apply to multiple schools, not just one. You can use those other financial aid offers as leverage [when negotiating]. You write a letter to the school, saying that you can not afford X dollars of what they expect and ask them to please re-work their package. We have much better luck negotiating with private schools than we do big state schools. [Public schools] have a set budget and they can hide behind it.”

Visit admissions offices in person. “If you can walk into the college admissions office we find that to be sometimes beneficial. That way, you’re not just a number on a paper and you become a real person.”

SEE ALSO: How To Pay Off Student Loans When You Have No Money, No Job, And Nowhere Else To Turn

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How To Make A 'Classic' Maine Lobster Roll

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There's no one way to make a lobster roll.

I learned this on a visit to Portland, Maine, where lobster rolls are not only everywhere but come in all forms. The basics are usually the same — a split-top hot dog bun stuffed with cold lobster meat — but the roll is subject to countless variations depending on where you eat.

Some questions to consider: Is the bun toasted? Should the meat be drizzled with butter or lightly dressed with mayo? Is it acceptable to mix in celery, onion, and other herbs? How much meat should there be?

According to DiMillo's, a large waterfront restaurant in Portland's Old Port district, the "classic" Maine lobster roll consists of chilled lobster meat mixed with mayo and served on top of iceberg lettuce in a split-top bun.

Here's how it's made:

1. Steam the lobster and pick the meat from the tail, claws, and knuckles (here's a step-by-step guide).

Lobster 2. Cut the meat into smaller pieces. Place the meat in a plastic bag and chill.

IMG_36612. Lightly butter both sides of the bun. Toast the bun on a grill for about a minute on each side or until golden brown.

IMG_36693. When ready, prepare the toasted bun for the fillings.

IMG_36704. Fill the bun with a small handful of shredded lettuce.

IMG_36725. Mix the chilled lobster meat with some mayonnaise to bind it. Stuff the bun with 3.5 ounces of lobster meat and serve.

IMG_3673Some people prefer their lobster meat without mayo. That's the way Portland Lobster Company serves it. Their $15.99 lobster roll (market price at the time) was lightly brushed with butter and piled onto a single piece of lettuce. Fresh and simple. A lemon wedge, coleslaw, and French fries came on the side.

IMG_2819The Blue Rooster Food Co., a low-key sandwich shop in Old Port, puts an Asian spin on the seafood creation. The "Banh Mi" lobster roll comes with Maine lobster, pickled vegetables, cucumber, mint, cilantro, and crispy pork (which I didn't get).

This sandwich is definitely not for lobster roll purists, but all of the flavors worked well together. The vegetables were refreshing and they added a satisfying crunch to the lobster meat, which was mixed with mayo. The bun was toasted.

IMG_3517RîRâ, an Irish pub, serves their lobster meat au naturel with a dollop of mayo on top. The bun is toasted and it comes with French Fries on the side.

IMG_3912

SEE ALSO: Maine's Top Chef Shows Us The Right Way To Steam And Eat A Lobster

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What It Looked Like When 22,000 Outdoor Ads Were Replaced With Beautiful Works Of Art

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Art Everywhere

Last week, 22,000 outdoor advertisements on billboards, bus shelters, and metro stations were replaced with reproductions of popular artworks in the UK.

The project, Art Everywhere, was created by Richard Reed, co-founder of the beverage company Innocent Drinks. Advertisers donated almost $4.7 million worth of outdoor ad space to be temporarily replaced with works of art.

The artworks on display are reproductions of 57 pieces of British art selected by the public from a list made by the Tate gallery and The Art Fund. It includes pieces from the 16th century to present day. In addition to its role in selecting which pieces would be displayed, the public made online donations to help fund the project.

The art will be on display for two weeks at sites in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Reed told the Guardian that the project had "no agenda other than to flood our streets with art and celebrate the creative talents and legacy of the UK."

Unfortunately, the exhibition of sorts ended on Sunday. But here's what the project looked like:Inhale (Yellow) by Michael Craig-Martin

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows by John Constable

SEE ALSO: Mercedes 'not amused' with spec ad showing a C-Class running over young Adolf Hitler

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The Signs Are Hilarious At Switzerland's New 'Drive-In Brothel'

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Zurich's new drive-in brothels opened earlier this week and they already raised a few eyebrows.

Across Europe there does seem to be a growing trend for sex drive-ins, however, with a widespread belief that it gets prostitution off the streets and into a safer environment, with similar schemes in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

One of the most unusual aspects of the Zurich brothel — which are being referred to as "sex boxes" in Swiss media— are the signs being used at the facility, which cater both to Switzerland's multilingual society (four official languages) and perhaps an odd sense of humor.

Those looking to find the sex boxes will have to look for a discreet "red umbrella," and follow those signs to a former industrial zone where the nine boxes appear. According to Meritall Mir of GlobalPost, the customers will then "drive up one at a time along a lane reminiscent of fast-food drive-thrus" between the hours of 7pm and 5am.

Other signs pointing the way to the sex boxes show a car with a woman standing next to it. It is not clear if male prostitutes will also be allowed at the site:

Zurich Sex Boxes Switzerland

"Along the way, they’ll negotiate fees and services with one of up to 40 sex workers," Mir continues. "Once an agreement is reached, they’ll join the prostitutes in a car-wash style box to complete the transaction."

The prostitutes themselves use a ticketing machine to pay a "stand fee" for the brothel's facilities. They pay this at a ticketing machine:

Zurich Sex Boxes Switzerland

The customer and the prostitute then drive to a covered area where they complete the transaction. The poster on the wall behind is not an instructional sign but a reminder to use condoms:

Zurich Sex Boxes Switzerland

There are a variety of rules to keep the situation at the "sex boxes" safe and sanitary. These are explained in the sign below.

We've done our best to translate (going right to left then working down):

Zurich Sex Boxes Switzerland

  • No one under the age of eighteen.
  • Only cars can use the facility — no motorbikes, people on foot, or bicycles.
  • Just one client at a time.
  • Use the facilities provided, not the outdoor space.
  • Again, do not use the outdoor space.
  • Do not go off facility grounds
  • Throw away your trash.
  • No photography, filming, or recording (or singing, perhaps).

It may all seem a little strange but the logic is understandable — keeping prostitution out of Zurich city center and creating a safer environment for prostitutes, who will also have access to things like showers, a small kitchen, and an area to rest.

There are some doubts, however, that the prostitutes and their customers will use the facility — which is said to have cost 2.1 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) to build and 700,000 Swiss francs ($750,000) a year to operate.

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How To Choose The Perfect Dog

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To call David Frei an "expert on dogs" would be an understatement.

He's the public face of the Westminster Kennel Club (he's hosted the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for over 20 years), and he's also the founder of a therapy dog program called Angel on a Leash.

David Frei tells us what people need to consider when choosing the right dog, especially for people who live in a city.

 


Produced by Kamelia Angelova & Will Wei. Additional camera by Justin Gmoser

SEE ALSO: Here's Why Dogs Are So Loyal

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Celine Dion Is Selling Her Lavish Florida Compound For $72 Million

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attached image

Celine Dion has put up her gorgeous compound on Florida's Jupiter Island on the market for $72 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The home, which is jointly listed by Sotheby's International Realty agents Joseph Montanaro and Cristina Condon, was custom-built and designed in 2010 by Celine Dion herself.

She and her manager husband Reneé Angélil bought the lot of land in 2005 for $12.5 million and the adjacent mansion in 2008 for $7 million, The WSJ reports. They then razed to build the current spread.

The five-and-a-half-acre property has views of the Atlantic Ocean, a four-bedroom guest house, a simulated golf range, pool house, and three separate pools.

The main residence alone measures close to 10,000 square feet, with five bedrooms and a custom-designed, walk-in closet with automated rack for clothing and automated carousel for shoes.

Last year, Dion listed her home on a private island in Quebec for $29.3 million; it's still on the market.

Welcome to Celine Dion's 5.5-acre compound on Jupiter Island in Florida.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty



The singer is selling the property for $72 million.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty



She and her husband custom-designed the property themselves after buying two lots and razing one of the existing homes.

Source: Sotheby's International Realty



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American Workers Waste $34 Billion Worth Of Vacation Pay A Year

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The lines between vacation and office hours are more blurred than ever. 

Blame your smartphones. 

More than 80% of workers check into the office while taking time off and on average, two out of 14 vacation days go unused per year, according to PGi, a global conferencing provider.

That adds up to more than $34 billion in wasted vacation time. Check out the infographic below to see how far Americans have fallen into the "workation" trap. 

workation infographic

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