Channel: Business Insider
Browsing All 48857 Browse Latest View Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

The Guy Who Founded Joe Boxer Has Started A New Men's Fashion Line


Nick Graham

You know you had a pair.

Nick Graham, the founder of ubiquitous Joe Boxer underwear, has launched a new men's fashion line named after himself, Nick Graham.

The new line, sold exclusively through its e-commerce site NickGraham.com, includes everything from tees and ties to scarves and dress shirts in bold prints. There are money clips and belt buckles and cuff links, all 3-D printed here in the U.S., and some still rocking the  Joe Boxer tagline, 'Because he can.'

Graham described what he's trying to do as "post prep,"and has argued that it's time men to dress with considerably more style. Consider this a part of that larger revolution in men's wear.

Now, even if you're comfortable in your khakis you should know about all this because since Graham founded Joe Boxer from his San Francisco apartment in 1985, the brand has made $7 billion world wide. He's an ideas guy.

“It’s kind of like how Joe Boxer pushed men without knowing it," Graham told Business Insider. "When I started 80% of men’s underwear was bought by women. Now that’s down to 20%."


It was Graham's idea to close Fashion Week in 1999 by flying 300 people to Iceland for a total blow out fashion show on an air plane hangar. It was also his idea to take over Times Square with Richard Branson in 1995. For that adventure, Graham was dressed as the Queen England, Branson was wearing a kilt, and with 14 bagpipers going strong a crane lifted them 200 feet in the air while they gave away free stuff.

Graham sold Joe Boxer to Windsong Allegiance Group in 2001. Since then he's stayed on as a consultant, done some smaller projects, bought into a perfume plantation in Borneo... you know, the usual boring retirement.

He's getting back in the game now because the game has changed. In a world of problem-solving startups and bypassing the man, Graham sees nothing but vast potential in e-commerce.

"7th Avenue hasn't shown up," he said, adding later, "People say to me: 'You're going into the E-Commerce space? It's so saturated'... but to me, all I see is wide open space."

When you sell your brand through a Macy's or Nordstrom the store decides everything — what is sold, where and when. And as one would expect, "all they care about is profit margins," Graham explained.

That's why he decided to join the ranks of the Warby Parkers and the Bonobos of the world. Those brands are killing it, and they're getting attention for their innovation from the huge retailers who've realized it's better to join them than try to beat them. Last year, Nordstrom lead a $16.4 million round of funding for Bonobos.

Just as with Joe Boxer, Nick Graham the brand will come with a distinct spirit attached to it. A QR code on each item will take shoppers to a lifestyle page where they can win a $10,000 vacation to London, New York and another destination yet known. Anyone named Nick Graham will get 50% off everything on the site, and Graham's trying to figure out how to give away a trip to NYC to run NickGraham.com for two weeks.

He's also decided to hire people named Nick Graham to work on the project alongside him... 'because he can.'

Join the conversation about this story »


31 Things Every New Yorker Should Do This Winter


new york central park winter

We know it's cold outside and you want to burrow under the covers.

But as of today, it's officially winter in New York City!

It's also one of the best times of year to live in NYC, thanks to all the twinkly lights, creative holiday displays, and surplus of delicious hot food and beverages.

Plus, those sub-par temperatures keep the majority of tourists at bay after the Christmas season.

So keep reading to see your seasonal to-do list, from ice skating to indulging at the best steakhouse in the city.

Head over to Rockefeller Center to take a picture with this year's Christmas tree. The Norway Spruce looks especially dazzling with 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and a 9 1/2-foot-wide Swarovski star.

Skip touristy Serendipity 3 and head to Jacques Torres Chocolates in DUMBO for the best hot chocolate in the city. It's so thick and delicious you just might have to share.

Find out more info and directions here.

Browse some of the city's best pop-up holiday markets. Local purveyors set up shop at locations such as Columbus Circle, Astoria's Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, and Union Square to bring you great gifts and goods.

Find a holiday market near you here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tennessee Man Wins Lottery Jackpot For Second Time


mega millions lottery ticket

C.W. Whitson of Spring Hill won $2 million this week in the Tennessee Lottery's Play It Again drawing. The win marked his second score in the last three years. Whitson also won $1 million in March 2010 playing the instant ticket game, Tennessee Millionaires Club.

Whitson told WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, "I guess I'm just lucky."

Whitson claimed his most recent and largest prize after he received a call from Lottery President Rebecca Hargrove notifying him he had won $2 million in the Play It Again drawing.

To participate, players enter eligible non-winning instant tickets for another chance to win cash prizes in drawings held approximately three times each year.


Information from: WTVC-TV, http://www.newschannel9.com/

Join the conversation about this story »


Rich People Talk About How Happy Money Makes Them — What They Say Will Both Offend And Reassure You


Evan Spiegel

There's an oft-cited study out there that says money does buy you happiness — but only up until a certain point. It says that after you make $75,000 per year, increasing your income is not going to make you any "happier."

But the truth about wealth and happiness is more complicated than any study can say.

Take the case of Evan Spiegel, the 23-year-old CEO of a startup called Snapchat.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal and others reported that Spiegel turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook. When people read these reports, they thought Spiegel was crazy.

But here's the thing. Spiegel comes from a wealthy family. His dad lives in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area. Also, Spiegel was able to sell some of his stock in Snapchat to investors for millions of dollars.

So the fact is, when he turned down Facebook's $3 billion offer, Spiegel was not saying "no" to being rich. He was already rich twice over.

And what did that money — his father's and his own — buy him? It bought him a relatively risk-free chance to spend the rest of his life running a global technology company. It bought him a pursuit.

Having a pursuit that means something to you is not the same thing as having happiness, but it's something like it that can't quite be quantified in a study.

Many people in the tech industry know that, and appreciate Spiegel's decision.

Not everyone, though. One tech executive I met with last week shook his head in bewilderment when Snapchat came up. He said that Spiegel was "taking food out of the mouths of generations of Spiegels."

Obviously, the topic of wealth and it's relationship to happiness is complicated and conversations about are laced with judgement. And that's why it so fascinating to read a thread they have on Quora where rich people are answering the question: "What does it feel like to be financially rich?"

Here are some of the most candid thoughts from the thread. Some of them are heart-warming. Some are brutally honest. Some are very surprising.

Money does not make you happier, relationships do.

Skype Stay together ad two girls hugging

"I don't believe very much in the hedonics argument about wealth - that the more you have, the more money you need to maintain a certain level of happiness. Happiness has mostly to do with relationships and the quality thereof. I doubt that it's a metric that can be measured effectively by economists to come to a conclusion." — J.C. Hewitt

After you are rich, you take it for granted, like you take having great parents for granted.

"[Being rich] feels like all the other blessings we have in life when times are tough - we know that they are blessings, strive not to take the for granted, but can forget we're blessed when we're feeling down. It's like having a beautiful kid of a wonderful spouse or great parents. And for me, at least, I can say with absolute certainty it has not made me any happier." — Rick Webb, COO Barbarian Group

Having a lot of money makes you want to make more.

"I thought, if I  could make 10 million dollars then it must be too easy. In fact, I honestly thought, everyone else had probably already made 11 million dollars. So then I felt poor again. I now needed 100 million dollars to be happy." — James Altucher

When rich people start dying, they become less proud of their wealth.

"After she attained what she thought was success, [my mother] was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She spent the days up until her death regretting almost all the choices she made and beat herself up day after day. One of her last journal entries included reflections on how unappreciative she was with the things in front of her, and finally realizing happiness does not lie within superficial matters a little too late." — Mona Nomura

Rich people get all the same sadness, but they don't hurt as much because they are still rich.

 "Rich people are prone to all the same maladies and emotions as anyone else, and at the same frequency. And certainly, in some cases, money itself can cause stress and unhappiness. But, with one difference -- if you're unhappy and rich, you have money. And money buys creature comforts." — Steven Kane

After you get rich, you feel the same.

man grooming shaving mirror"After a few months of wealth you will eventually get used to it and become the same person that you are now." — Balraj Chana

If you are rich because of your salary you end up working all the time.

"Socially, the life of someone who makes a lot of money is probably not what you expect. The "rich" on television are usually old money of some kind. The working rich pretty much have to devote their lives to work. At many points, my dad was working and traveling for twelve months out of the year. I think when my sister was born, he was literally commuting between NYC and Zürich five days out of every seven." — J.C. Hewitt

Being rich makes you feel smarter and better than the rest of the world, and that feels good.

"It feels good when you break your own money making records and look at the rest of the world like retards. It's good to defeat the system and money helps you do that." — Anonymous.

You get respect you don't deserve.

"Life is effortless for the rich. Just by being who you are, perhaps 99% of the world will hop-to and accord you respect that you don't deserve. Even the stupidest and most illiterate rich person can be showered with respect and praise."

Sometimes, you feel like you are God.

"Having grown up as a child in a family which can be described as old money, and having since then lived in humbling circumstances, I can say for sure that families from old money treat their children like gods. When I was little, I used to take kids aside and explain to them that I was indeed God. 'Psssst, you know I'm God, right?' Obviously that feeling has left me, but it hasn't left my father, who used to tell me that we have blue blood. He now sits in his room in a constant depression, and is the most miserable person I know." — Igor Atakhanov

Being rich makes life less risky.

" My life has less risk.  If I'm ever ill, I go to the best doctor.  If I want to invest in real estate, I can afford to lose the investment without effect to my lifestyle.  I can have 5 kids and know that each of them will go to college." — Josh Kerr

After you get rich, you will still ask: "Is this it?"

"When you've achieved all material goals, you startup asking yourself, is this it? And then if you're a truly ambitious individual, with some care for what the world could be you start asking yourself, what next, how can I change the world? That's where I'm at at this point." — Anonymous

NOW WATCH: Here's What Makes Smart People Leave School

Join the conversation about this story »


Check Out The Insanely Beautiful Offices Of W+K, The World's Coolest Ad Agency


Wieden+Kennedy foyer

Though you might not have heard of the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, you've undoubtedly seen, and probably remember some of its work.

W+K is the agency behind award-winning work like Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" and every notable Nike campaign you've ever seen ("Just Do It," "Bo Knows," "It's Gotta Be The Shoes" — the whole shebang). It also handles work for some of the corporate world's cooler clients, such as Facebook, Heineken, and ESPN.

Though Wieden now has eight offices around the world, its flagship remains in Portland, where the agency grew out of its close relationship with Nike, headquartered in nearby Washington County. That's another achievement of its own: Wieden attracts the world's most creative people to Portland, not New York, where the vast bulk of ad agencies have their main staff.

I had a chance to visit the office on a recent trip out to Portland, and it's something of a design marvel. Inside, I found one of the most impressive Christmas displays I've ever seen, a uniquely rustic meeting place, and the work spaces of some of the most creative people in the business.

W+K is located in the downtown area of Northwest Portland — west of the mighty Columbia River and north of Burnside Street, which runs east to west and cuts the city in two.

Here's what the entrance looks like up close.

Here's the incredible holiday display you see when you first walk in, created by W+K's studio team in partnership with members of the Portland design community.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Hospital Food Not Only Tastes Horrible But Is Actually Horrible For You


Hospital Food Patient Meal Smaller

If you're unlucky enough to end up in the hospital, the grayish meals you're served once there just add insult to injury.

They may be even worse than they seem, at least in the U.K., Katharine Jenner argues in a Dec. 19 editorial in the British Medical Journal.

Jenner chairs the Campaign for Better Hospital Food, which surveyed the nutritional content of 25 patient meals in the U.K. and found that 15 of them contained more salt than a Big Mac.

"A staggering two thirds of hospital staff say that they would not be happy to eat the food that they serve to patients," Jenner writes.

The problem isn't limited to the U.K., suggests a Canadian study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers analyzed patient meals at three hospitals in Ontario and found that their sodium content exceeded the recommended daily intake 100 percent of the time.

Even convicted criminals may have better culinary options. In a U.K. study from earlier this year, published in the journal Appetite, researchers noted that "prisoners are often better nourished than hospital patients" — even though hospital food has more funding. They observed how during the long process of food distribution in hospitals "hot food often cooled," "cold food became tepid," and many meals became dried out and discolored.

If you want to get sick without also suffering through terrible food, try Switzerland: A survey of patients at two Swiss hospitals found that 85 percent were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their food and 75 percent said it tasted good (that's better than some Yelp-rated restaurants).

Hospital meals in the U.S.

The U.K.'s hospital food is closely monitored because it's a part of their national healthcare system, which is run by the government. In the U.S., hospital food is determined by individual institutions.

"They each have to develop a diet manual for their facility and then follow it," Diana Vaca McGhie of the American Heart Association told Business Insider in an email.

But that doesn't mean it's tastier or healthier than U.K. hospital offerings. Specific information on hospital meals here is harder to find than it is in Europe and Canada, likely because our healthcare system is still largely private.

There was one 1996 letter co-authored by Marion Nestle in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that offers some clues. In short: Things don't look much better here.

The authors looked at patient menus from 65 American teaching hospitals. Only four of them met all seven of the National Research Council's dietary recommendations. Eighty-one percent had more than the recommended daily intake of cholesterol, and more than half had too much sodium.

Those things probably haven't changed much in the past 17 years. Any changes may have been for the worse since hospital costs are rising and budgets are continually being slashed.

Still, not everyone thinks there's a problem, and the NEJM report prompted some spirited replies. One responder, a nurse named Carol Porter from San Francisco, pointed out that certain "unhealthy" meals are offered specifically because sick patients sometimes need the extra calories:

The provocative conclusions only lead the media and the public to conclude that we are a bunch of dunces who have no understanding of the relation between nutrition and disease prevention.

Join the conversation about this story »


George Zimmerman Painting Sold On eBay For More Than $100,000


George Zimmerman paintingWinning bid tops $100,000 on eBay for flag painting made and sold by George Zimmerman

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Bidding has closed on eBay for artwork created by George Zimmerman.

The winning bid was $100,099.99 Saturday for a painting depicting a U.S. flag in shades of blue with the words "God, One Nation, with Liberty and Justice for All."

The item received 96 bids since Monday on the online auction website. A picture shows Zimmerman holding the artwork.

Zimmerman's attorney, Jayne Weintraub, told The Associated Press that her client created the artwork himself and posted it for sale.

Weintraub says that, "unfairly, he has not been gainfully employed of late and he's utilizing his talent to make some money."

Zimmerman was acquitted in July in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. Prosecutors recently declined to file domestic violence charges against him for an incident involving his girlfriend.

Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Join the conversation about this story »


Here’s Some History To Show The Epic Significance Of America’s Shale Boom


Williston North Dakjota

WHEN his neighbour discovered gold in a Californian river in 1848, Sam Brannan could have kept quiet about it. Instead, he filled a jar with gold dust and rushed around the streets of San Francisco shouting "Gold! Gold! Gold!" He had good reason to incite a gold rush: he owned a shop nearby. He became California's first millionaire by selling picks, shovels, beans and bacon to the horde of prospectors who heeded his call.

Gold fever spread fast. The lure of buried treasure "sucked nearly every free hand and available arm to the gold mines", observes H.W. Brands in "The Age of Gold", a brilliant history of the period. "They tore themselves from warm hearths and good homes, promising to return; they fled from cold hearts and bad debts, vowing never to return." The Alta California, a local paper, reported that "The whole country...resounds to the sordid cry of gold! GOLD!! GOLD!!!" It added that this would be the last issue for a while, since all its staff were heading for the gold fields.

America's current shale-energy boom has plenty in common with the gold rush, and might prove as momentous. It has created a gusher of wealth in remote places. It has lured young men to wild frontier towns, such as Williston, North Dakota. Jim Cramer, a television host, sounded just like Brannan when he reported from North Dakota in 2011. "This new black gold rush is just getting started!" he bellowed, against a backdrop of nodding donkeys. "Listen, people in this country who need a job, get up here!"

Unlike the Alta California, not all of The Economist's writers have headed for the frontier. But one correspondent, intrigued by the parallels between the two booms, put on stout boots, packed a copy of "The Age of Gold" and set off for Williston.

For the '49ers--as the men who hurried west in that year became known--the trek to California was arduous. "Mules old enough to travel well were unavailable at any price," writes Brands. Prospectors who made their way overland went "at the pace of the slowest oxen [pulling their wagons], no more than two miles [3.2km] per hour". Many succumbed to cholera, thirst or Indian arrows. One group, on escaping from the most godforsaken tract of the Mojave desert, doffed their hats, turned back and said: "Goodbye, Death Valley!" "The name stuck," notes Brands.

The journey to North Dakota today is more straightforward. Still, when your correspondent tried to reserve a rental car at Bismarck airport, they were sold out. He eventually found a pickup truck. Driving it through the Badlands was hairy: hundreds of huge oil lorries kept thundering in the opposite direction along narrow country roads. The pickup went much faster than an ox wagon, except in the traffic jam outside Williston, which looked like a long, motionless steel snake festooned with lights. A sign offered a cheerful welcome to "Boomtown, USA".

Men behaving badly

The communities formed by the two groups of migrants have some striking similarities. For gold miners in California, life was almost as rough as the journey west had been. San Francisco in the summer of 1849 looked like "the bivouac of an army on the move", writes Brands; most of the buildings "were actually tents". The miners smelled awful. No one "could be bothered to wash dirty underwear, only to wash gold".

Workers in Williston today generally have it easier--though newcomers sometimes sleep in their cars, which is not advisable in the winter, when temperatures often drop below minus 20°C. Places to stay are scarce and expensive. Many oil workers live in "man camps", which look like college dormitories that have been built in a hurry. The companies that run them, such as Target Logistics of Texas, prefer the term "crew camps" to man camps; it sounds less burly and tattooed. But who are they kidding? When The Economist visited Tioga Lodge, one of Target's camps, 99% of the 930 residents were male.

It is a bare-bones place for men who work long, sweaty hours to sleep and eat. Happily the food is free and unlimited. The kitchens chop up vast quantities of meat into portions just small enough to fit on a plate. "They eat a lot," says the chief cook, Jeff Ball, who used to cater for troops in Afghanistan. Some workers heap their trays with meat and potatoes in the dining room, then walk over to the cafeteria to load up with burgers, hot dogs and pizza. Your correspondent, at the salad bar, felt lonely.

Mr Ball gives the oilmen whatever they want. If they crave blackened catfish and prawn gumbo like mom used to make in Louisiana, they can have it. Likewise if a crew from Mexico wants tamales. The only thing they can't have--in the man camp, at least--is alcohol. Oil firms prefer that dangerous machinery be handled by men with clear heads.

Too drunk to frack

Life in the gold fields was often violent. Miners drank and gambled and fought. Thieves and ruffians preyed on the weak and unwary. Justice was rough. Brannan, the shop-owner, led a committee of vigilantes. In June 1851 his men caught a gangster stealing a safe. After a two-hour "trial", they hanged him from a beam in a public square.

Williston, too, has developed a bareknuckle reputation. "The theft up here is unbelievable," says a private detective hired by an insurer to investigate the disappearance of 15 truckloads of oil. "A lot of people here are trying to get a piece of the action without working." And, with so few women in the neighbourhood, many men are frustrated.

"You put a bunch of guys together, working 12 hours a day, and they're going to get into fights," shrugs Josh Wipf, a mechanic from Montana who moved to Williston last year. Mr Wipf, who says the ratio of men to women in Williston "sucks", admits to having been in a bar fight himself. "It was about a girl, I think. I don't really remember. I was, you know..." he trails off.

"They get rowdy when they get drunk," says Alice Trottier, a student at Williston State College. "I would never go out jogging alone at night now," she laments. Like many young females in Williston, she finds it annoying to be stared at all the time. On the plus side, scarcity gives women power. Men "treat you like a princess. They pay for everything," says Ms Trottier. On a good night waiting tables at a pizza joint she can make $200.

In California during the gold rush, many men could only find female company if they paid for it. Life for boomtown prostitutes was rough and risky; some Chinese women, speaking no English, were in effect slaves to their pimps. But others made a lot of money. "At a time when a Paris streetwalker might make the equivalent of $2 a night, some of the Frenchwomen in San Francisco made $400," writes Brands. Belle Cora's brothel on Dupont Street was renowned for fine wine and music as well as sex. "Men with lust in their hearts...and gold in their pockets beat a path through the muddy streets to her door, where she made sure they wiped their feet before entering."

The same trade exists today in Williston, but with fewer chandeliers and violins. Most paid hookups are probably arranged online: the oil workers all have smartphones. Some practise the oldest profession the old-fashioned way, but this can annoy bystanders. One of the staff at Bubba's Bubbles, a laundry shop, says she "had to kick out" a woman with a pink wig who was accosting male customers in the parking lot.

Striking it lucky

The California gold rush was a low-tech affair. "No capital is required to obtain this gold, as the labouring man wants nothing but his pick, shovel and tin pan," wrote William Sherman, later a civil-war general, in a missive to President James Polk in 1848. It seemed to offer ordinary people a chance to get rich quick: one man, sifting through the dirt at the bottom of a stream, might conceivably find enough gold to retire on. Not a good chance, mind: only a lucky few prospectors struck the mother lode. The rest typically struggled to find enough ore to cover their expenses; some died poor and sorry, or quit panning to find a steadier job.

Fracking, by contrast, requires capital and expertise. Oil giants such as Statoil and Schlumberger are flocking to North Dakota. They bring pricey, high-tech equipment, from microseismic sensors to drilling rigs that walk, like something out of "Star Wars". From little frack pads in the middle of vast wheat fields, they can drill four miles down, more than a mile to the side, and, thanks to satellite technology, hit a target three feet across. Then they shoot thousands of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the shale formation, creating hairline fractures in the rock--hence the procedure's proper name, "hydraulic fracturing". The sand stops those fractures from closing up when the pressure is turned off.

But North Dakota rewards ordinary folk, too. The lure is not a slender chance of becoming rich, but the near-certainty of finding a blue-collar job that pays middle-class wages. A roughneck or truck driver can easily make $100,000 a year. (Why did Mr Wipf make the trek from Montana? "Good money.") Anyone who can pass a drug test can find work.

And just as the gold rush made shopkeepers and shovelmakers rich, so the spoils of gas are widely spread. A whole economy has sprung up to support the frackers. Someone has to build man camps, roads and schools. North Dakota Developments, a property developer, is trucking ready-made six-room housing units over from Minnesota and erecting them in what used to be a cornfield. Rob Gavin, the boss, says demand is so strong that he expects to recoup the development costs in a single year.

The place is growing so fast that, even at boomtown wages, finding workers can be hard. Paul Coppinger, a boss at Weir-SPM, a firm that makes oil and gas pumps, says that only a couple of his 63 staff in Williston are native North Dakotans. The Walmart in town is the messiest your correspondent has ever seen; there are too few hands to tidy the shelves. Workers quit and take better jobs faster than you can say "frack".

Theron Amos, the manager of the local Pizza Hut, says he has lost a fifth of his staff--in the past week. "I have 20. I need 30," he sighs, as he wrestles with the cash register and passes the shrieking phone to a colleague. "Oh, man, I've got more grey hairs than when I started this job." Would Mr Amos turn any applicant away? "Well, one woman came in and ordered a pitcher of beer before the job interview. I didn't hire her."

Sitting on a gold mine

The locals in 19th-century California were not consulted about the gold rush. Many Native Americans, who in previous decades had reached accommodations with Spanish and Mexican settlers, were murdered or infected with unfamiliar diseases. Scorched-earth offensives starved them off their land: since hunting them down was too time-consuming, one white soldier wrote, "It was therefore decided that the best policy was to destroy their huts and stores, with a view of starving them out." Their descendants live in reservations. Williston's natives are faring rather better.

Because they can drill sideways, frackers can suck out the oil and gas under a huge farm while disturbing only a tiny part of it. So the farmer carries on rearing cows as before. The fracking takes place so far underground that he never notices it. But he notices the royalties that the energy firms pay.

"Most farms round here have mineral income," says Tom Rolfstad of the Williston Economic Development office. A farmer with two square miles of land will get a signing bonus of $2.5m and nearly 20% of the gross value of the oil and gas pumped from it, he estimates. A good well can keep producing for 30 years and yield 500,000 barrels of oil. At $100 a barrel, that's $10m for the farmer. Even small landowners benefit. Mr Rolfstad gets regular little cheques for the oil and gas extracted below his modest home.

Many of the ancestors of today's North Dakotans arrived at Ellis Island in the 19th century. "If you were Norwegian, they'd send you to North Dakota. If you didn't speak English, they'd give you a card round your neck asking people to help you find the right train," explains Mr Rolfstad. Under the Homestead Act of 1862, if the immigrants staked out 160 acres and farmed it for five years, they owned it--and their descendants own the mineral rights. In Europe, where such rights typically belong to the state, people resent the disruption fracking might cause. Americans, by contrast, tend to be delighted if a firm wants to frack under their land.

And for landowners, the fracking itself is not the only money-spinner. A farmer with land near Williston will have no trouble renting it out. The town is desperate for more offices, homes, shops and hotels. In one small field your correspondent counted 50 mobile homes.

One occupant, Cindy Martin, says the farmer charges her $1,000 a month to park there, with no electricity or water. "It's a terrible price," she complains. But the boom means labour is scarce and wages are high; Ms Martin makes twice as much as she would elsewhere, working at Bubba's Bubbles. She and her husband drove up 2,000 miles from Arizona. She seems content: "We came here to work. We refuse to lay back and let the government take care of us. We're too American for that."

For all their good fortune, some locals fret about the crowding, pollution and change that accompany the new wealth. "It was a quiet, small town," laments Gary Daniel, a middle-aged Willistonian, as he eats fried chicken at Gramma Sharon's family restaurant. He has seen oil booms before, "but not like this one." People used to know each other in Williston, he recalls: "Now everyone's in a hurry to go nowhere." Prices have soared. Mr Daniel knows of old people whose rent quadrupled so they had to leave their homes. "It's flat-out greed," he spits. The schools are packed; their walls are "just bulging out". The traffic is "insane". Overall, "whether it's good or bad, I haven't made my mind up."

Mr Rolfstad has fewer doubts. Growth is being carefully planned, he says. "We decided to double the size of the town. Then we decided to quadruple it."

After the flood

The gold rush of 1848-55 not only transformed the lives of those who found fortunes in the dirt (and those who failed to); it also changed America. It rapidly populated the new territory of California, which America had just seized from Mexico, and hastened the day that the Golden State became a state. It led to the construction of railroads to bind the settled eastern states to the Wild West. Its legacy includes San Francisco and America's thriving Chinese population (which exploded during the gold rush, as boatloads of Chinese prospectors arrived).

Brands, the historian, goes further, arguing that gold transformed the American dream. Whereas the Puritans dreamed of accumulating modest fortunes "a little at a time, year by year", through "sobriety, thrift and steady toil", the '49ers dreamed of "instant wealth, won in a twinkling by audacity and good luck". Among the early settlers, failure "connoted weakness of will or defect of soul". In the gold fields, by contrast, "a person was expected to gamble, and to fail, and to gamble again". And "[w]here failure was so common, it lost its stigma." This idea--that failure is a socially acceptable stepping stone to success--is one reason why American capitalism is so dynamic.

The fracking boom could be every bit as important as the gold rush. It is about to turn America into the world's largest oil and gas producer, outstripping Russia and Saudi Arabia. It could add almost $700 billion to the economy by 2020 (about 4% of GDP), predicts McKinsey, a consultancy. By then it will have created up to 1.7m jobs--far more than the car industry provides. The sudden abundance of natural gas has drastically reduced American energy bills while curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, since gas is cleaner than coal.

The longer term effects of a boom are unpredictable. For instance, the gold rush arguably led to the creation of Silicon Valley. It spurred the laying of the railroads, making Leland Stanford rich. He founded Stanford University, which trained the engineers who started the tech firms, from Hewlett-Packard to Google, which made the Valley the envy of the world.

In North Dakota fracking has poured money into schools. Some of those Norwegian immigrants used to set aside a portion of their farmland income to support the village school. That rule lives on, in places, and the land now generates mineral royalties. No one expects to see a great university emerge in the Great Plains just yet. But you never know. Who in 1849 could have predicted that the empty hills around San Francisco would one day sprout an Apple?

Life in the gold fields was often violent. Miners drank and gambled and fought


The lure is not a slender chance of becoming rich, but the near-certainty of finding a blue-collar job that pays middle-class wages


Click here to subscribe to The Economist

Join the conversation about this story »


How To Make Delicious Cupcakes With Just 2 Ingredients


Soda cupcakes

There's a ridiculously easy way to make delicious cupcakes using two simple ingredients — cake mix and soda.

This trick has been making its way around food blogs for years, but many people are still unaware of it. It's just as easy as it sounds — you dump a can of soda in a bowl of cake mix, blend them together, fill cupcake tins with batter, and bake.

It's best to pair chocolate cake mix with dark soda and white cake mix with light soda (like Sierra Mist or Sprite). You usually can't taste the flavor of the soda once the cupcakes bake, especially if you're using chocolate mix.

Depending on the ingredients in the cake mix, this is also a great way to make vegan cupcakes.

Use a 12-ounce can or bottle of soda and pour it into the cake mix.

Soda cupcakes

Eggs, oil, and water aren't necessary. Substituting soda for these ingredients might yield fewer than the standard 24 cupcakes, but it's an easy shortcut to use when you're short on time or ingredients.

Use an electric mixer to beat the batter for about two minutes on medium speed.

Soda cupcakes 2

Fill cupcake tins about two-thirds of the way to the top.

Follow the baking time guidelines on the cake mix box. Cupcakes should be in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Soda cupcakes

Test the cupcakes with a toothpick or fork after they come out of the oven. The utensil should come out clean once the cupcakes are done baking.

Soda cupcakes

Let them cool for a few minutes, then use your favorite frosting to ice them. And that's it!

Soda cupcakes

Join the conversation about this story »


How To Use Hot Tongs To Crack Open A Wine Bottle



Jonathan Ross, a sommelier at Eleven Madison Park, is responsible for resurrecting the Old World tradition of using heated tongs to open wine. 

By placing the red-hot metal around the bottle neck, it makes a clean break and leaves the cork intact. The method originated in Portugal as an alternative to opening very old bottles of wine with corks that tended to crumble from age.

Follow BI Video: On Twitter

NOW WATCH: We Got Tired Of Being Laughed At, So We Asked This Guy How To Pick A Tie

Join the conversation about this story »


Here's What Happens When You Pour Molten Aluminum Down An Anthill


Sometimes art draws inspiration directly from nature.

In a video posted to YouTube, artists from a company called Anthill Art poured molten aluminum inside a fire ant anthill, dug it up, and washed off the dirt. 

The resulting sculpture resembles a Christmas tree. The cast weighs almost 18 pounds and stands around 18 inches tall. 

Screen Shot 2013 12 22 at 4.25.47 PM

It's not clear if these are abandoned anthills and how many fire ants were harmed in the process, but in the company's defense, a caption below the video reads: "These are the red imported fire ants which are harmful to the environment and their nests are exterminated by the millions in the United States using poisons, gasoline and fire, boiling water, and very rarely molten aluminum."

Watch the video below:

SEE ALSO: Here's A Mesmerizing Video Of Lava Swallowing A Ravioli Can

Join the conversation about this story »


I Tried A Flaming Dr. Pepper, A Very Popular Shot In The South, And It Was Delicious


I grew up in Houston, but since I went to college in upstate New York and moved directly to New York City after graduating, I never really got to go to bars in Texas.

I visited my sister in Austin this weekend and went bar hopping through the city's famous 6th Street. At a bar called Cheers, which mostly serves specialty shots, I tried something called a Flaming Dr. Pepper. I had never heard of a Flaming Dr. Pepper shot before, but it's apparently very popular in the south.

Here's how it works. 

You pour a small amount of light beer into a pint glass. You then fill a shot glass with 3/4 amaretto almond liqueur and 1/4 Bacardi 151. You then set the shot on fire and dunk it in the beer and chug it. Somehow, the mixture of amaretto, Bacardi, light beer, and fire make the concoction taste like a Dr. Pepper soda.

They do it a bit differently at Cheers. Instead of simply lighting the shot on fire, the bartender takes a swig of Bacardi 151, ignites a lighter, and spits a fireball over the shots.

It was awesome. And the result really was delicious. I highly recommend it next time you're in the south.

I made a video of the whole process.

Join the conversation about this story »


Why Pappy Van Winkle Is The White Whale Of Bourbons



Pappy Van Winkle is an excellent bourbon that is hard to find to low production volume. If you see this "white whale," buy it, Tommy Tardie of the whiskey bar Flatiron Room tells Business Insider Video. He also shared what makes this bourbon so good and what other brands are worth trying.

Produced by Justin Gmoser; Additional Camera by Daniel Goodman

Follow BI Video: On Twitter

SEE ALSO: What Makes Vintage Whiskeys Worth Thousands Of Dollars

Follow Us: On YouTube

Join the conversation about this story »


A Former Goldman Heavy Hitter Rediscovered His 20s After Finding Gorgeous Photos In His Attic


Scott Mead

A few years after leaving Wall Street, Scott Mead, a former top Goldman Sachs investment banker, made a remarkable discovery while moving some boxes from his attic.

Or rediscovery, that is. 

Mead, who is known for advising Vodafone's nearly $200 billion takeover of Mannesmann, brought down boxes of old his photographs, negatives and cameras that had not been touched in years.

"I was aware it was sort of the physical baggage--the physical manifestation of some baggage we all park in our brains.  So I brought these down just partly out of curiosity, partly for some inexplicable reason."

He described this rediscovery process to us as "the most overwhelming experience." 

Click here to see his photos »

"It was like traveling back in time," he explained adding that it was like "getting to know another person." 

Mead, who grew up passionate about photography, spent the next year educating himself again and editing and printing these photos he had taken more than 30 years ago.  

"Since then, it has been a really amazing journey — exhilarating, humbling and everything in between." 

Eighteen months after bringing those boxes down, he put on an exhibition from several of the 8x10 negatives he found and printed called "Looking Back" at London's Hamilton Gallery.

Since then, he has done a number of exhibitions. Of the photographs he sells, 100% of the proceeds go to charity.

Mead has kindly shared some of the photos from his "Looking Back" portfolio with us in the slides that follow.

A few things you should know about the collection before you see them — The reason the images in this portfolio are round is because that's the way the human eye sees the world, Mead explained.

This technique brings the viewer back to a more authentic perception of what an eye, or in this case the camera lens, sees.  The black around it, particularly with the portraits, helps create a framing, highlighting the center of the compositions, he told us.  

Mead told us he first started taking photos at age 13 when he was given a press camera by his grandfather, who was a press photographer and journalist.  

From there, he taught himself how to develop photographs and spent a huge amount of time in his parents' basement.  

He was so enthusiastic about photography, that he studied it in high school and in college.  He focused on photography intensively until his 20s.  

When he began his 22-year investment banking career, photography eventually moved to the back-burner.

That being said, one of the key messages from his work is to highlight these beautiful moments that we might otherwise miss in our extremely busy lives.

"They are about finding what are ordinary places, times of day, patterns of light or shapes which we often overlook in the day to day of all of our busy lives and making them special through composition, print quality and balance—and hopefully conveying a sense of tranquility and peace," he told Business Insider.

First, let's meet our photographer, Scott Mead.

Here's a more recent photo of him. Amazing, right?

Apple Tree, 1974

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

17 Bottles Of Booze That Make Perfect Holiday Gifts


The beauty of gifting quality alcohol is, quite simply, that the right bottle will compel the recipient to crack it open right away — and share.

So it's really in your best interest this holiday season to give the gift of liquor (responsibly).

We headed to Astor Wines & Spirits — Manhattan's Shangri-La of booze — for some recommendations. Wine and spirits consultant Steven Bowles walked us through some of his favorites.

If you have a tippler in your life, don't just go to the liquor section and buy something expensive with a fancy label. There are plenty of special and rare items that won't break the bank.

The prices used are Astor's (and you can purchase these bottles on their website), but prices will vary.

Ransom Old Tom Astor Exclusive Gin

ransom gin

This single cask gin is unique to Astor, and carries a lot of flavors: "Woodsy pine, lemon balm, crushed rose petals, pepper and cinnamon spice." A richer and sweeter kind of gin.

Origin: Oregon, USA

ABV: 44%


Pueblo Viejo San Mattias Orgullo Anejo Tequila

orgullo tequila

A high-quality, single-cask bottle for the true tequila lover. This is for sipping, not shooting.

Origin: Jalisco, Mexico

ABV: 40%


Mount Gay Astor Black Barrel Rum

mount gay rum

Charred oak gives this sipping rum some serious power. Rich notes of vanilla "with a playful, fruity vibrancy and grassiness that can only come from a top-quality sugar cane spirit" makes this a really complex rum.

Origin: Barbados

ABV: 43%


Karlsson's Gold Potato Vodka

karlsson's vodka

Made with "virgin" potatoes from Cape Bjäre, Karlsson's actually retains its true potato flavor. Gift this to anyone who likes a good up martini with fresh cracked pepper.

Origin: Sweden

ABV: 40%


Berkshire Mountain Bourbon

berkshire bourbon

A solid whiskey with caramel and vanilla flavors coming through. It's 18% rye, giving it a nice spiciness too.

Origin: Massachusetts, USA

ABV: 43%


Barr Hill Gin

barr hill gin

Bar Hill's distiller is a beekeeper and adds raw northern honey at the time of bottling. The result is "sweet, floral, and slightly herbaceous."

Origin: Vermont, USA

ABV: 45%


High West "The 36th Vote" Barreled Manhattan

high west distillery manhattan

Here's a special gift for the Don Draper on the go. A barreled Manhattan. That's right, the cocktail. Rye, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters thrown into rye barrels for 120 days, served ready to drink.

Origin: Utah, USA

ABV: 37%


High West Campfire Whiskey

high west whiskey

Another one from High West, the "campfire" delivers on its name. It really tastes like a camping trip, in a good way: Corn, toffee, maple, spicy vanilla, cherry, and a hint of peat smoke at the end. It's a blend of Bourbon, rye, and peated scotch — great for an all-around whiskey lover looking for something different.

Origin: Utah, USA

ABV: 46%


McCarthy's Single Malt Whiskey

mccarthy's whiskey

Peat-malted Scottish barley gives this single malt whiskey honey, bitter chocolate, and sweet malt notes. Plus, it's a pretty rare, small-production bottle.

Origin: Oregon, USA

ABV: 43%


Nikka Taketsuru 12 Yr. Japanese Whisky

nikka whiskey

Japanese whiskies like Yamazaki are already pretty popular in the U.S., but the Nikka is slightly less common. It's a really nice treat, and has that "exotic" alcohol gift feel.

Origin: Japan

ABV: 40%


NY Distilling Co. Chief Gowanus Gin

chief gowanus

Oak barrels give this gin its darker coloration. "The sustained aromas transition to spicy, malty rye on the palate."

Origin: New York, USA

ABV: 44%


Jim Beam Signature Craft Bourbon

jim beam signature craft

This is the biggest name on our list, but don't let that discourage you. "Baking cinnamon, vanilla, sweet cream, rye spice, acetone, and heady orchard fruits all leap out of the glass and lure you right in," according to Astor. For any Beam drinker, this is a holiday upgrade.

Origin: Kentucky, USA

ABV: 43%


Jean Fillioux La Pouyade Cognac

fillioux cognac

New cognac drinkers will go straight to the Hennessey, just because. But the Fillioux are one of the last independent cognac producers in France, and this one is a cognac staple. "Fresh and primary, with a focus on beautiful florals, mouth-watering citrus, and almond notes."

Origin: Grande Champagne, France

ABV: 42%


Neisson Reserve Speciale Rum

neisson rum

Rum (or "rhum") from Martinique has a purer, grassier feel. This one is aged 10 years in old bourbon and whiskey casks. "Roasted nuts, dark fruit, and warm spice make this a delightful body warmer." A winter rum if there ever was one.

Origin: Martinique

ABV: 42%


Tequila Ocho "El Refugio" Reposado

tequila ocho

Another tequila meant for sipping. "Distinct tropical citrus aromas and flavors are accented with whiffs of mint, spice, peppercorn and mineral-laden notes of rich, sweet and pure agave."

Origin: Jalisco, Mexico

ABV: 40%


Armorik Exclusive Cask Single Malt


One of the better single malt whiskies available for under $100, Armorik is matured in casks of Sauternes, a sweet French wine. "The resulting spirit is a fusion of rich nectar fruit complexity, creamy malt, nougat, and dry barrel spices."

Origin: Brittany, France

ABV: 46%


Glenfarclas 12 Yr. Scotch

glenfarclas scotch

Glenfarclas is a Speyside like Glenfiddich and The Macallan, and has "notes of sherried fruit, a touch of vanilla, and a tingle of spice." The 12 year expression is reasonably priced, but Astor also carries the 40 year for $500 a bottle if you're really going for it this holiday season.

Origin: Speyside, Scotland

ABV: 43%


SEE ALSO: 16 Perfect Gifts For Anyone Who Loves Whiskey

Join the conversation about this story »


A Bronx Family Has Turned Their Home Into A Celebrity-Filled 'Christmas Party' For The Past 40 Years [PHOTOS]


Christmas House 3

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Garabedian family's famed Christmas House in the Bronx.

Family matriarch Nelly Garabedian, a former seamstress, wanted to turn her simple family home into a holiday hotspot to give back to the community. With the help of her grown children — Gary, Linda, Elise and Michael — the extravaganza has only become more outsized over the decades.

Three sides of the Garabedian house at 1605 Pelham Parkway North are filled with dozens of mannequins in ballgowns and tuxes. They're made to look like movie stars and famous fictional characters. There are at least 40 outside, but Linda told Business Insider she doesn't know them by number, only by face. 

Santa's sleigh is parked on the roof, while an elaborate Nativity scene sits nearby. Christmas trees, cherubs and chandeliers stuff the rest of the yard. Unlike many Christmas displays, the Garabedians' is more about props than twinkle lights. 

"When we celebrate Christmas in our house, what do we do?" Linda said, "We all get together with friends and family and celebrate. Our vision was to have our house look like a big Christmas party." 

Linda and Gary took Business Insider on a tour of their house decked out for the holidays. 

The Christmas House sits at 1605 Pelham Parkway North in the Bronx.

The side of the house features a Nativity scene with movie star mannequins gathered for a Christmas party.

Santa and his reindeer sit on the roof above the Christmas House's front door.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

5 Sleep Myths You Can Stop Believing Now


napping, sleep, reading, park, grass

This post originally appeared on Details.com.

It's as much a part of your daily existence as your diet and exercise routine, and yet, even those who prioritize movement and nutrition are a bit misled when it comes to sleep. 

Much of this in-the-dark behavior stems from a misunderstanding of some of the most important factors affecting your sleep (which, by the way, affects your waistline as well as your performance at work and in the gym). To set the record straight, we asked Equinox advisory board member and sleep expert James B. Maas, Ph.D., author of Sleep for Success!, to dispel five of the most common falsehoods.

1. Sleeping too much makes you gain weight.

"Sleep is actually the best diet there is," says Maas. "Research shows that if you sleep just one extra hour a night, you can lose a pound a week." According to a study out of the University of Colorado, subjects who didn't get ample sleep ate about six percent more calories than those who did.

Here's why: Levels of leptin, a hormone that controls your appetite by telling your brain your fat stores are fine and you've got enough energy, drop when you haven't had enough sleep. And Maas says that even if you get six hours a night (and not the generally recommended eight to nine), leptin decreases. You wake up starving—and probably craving high fat and carbs to feel satiated. "So, the brain is tricked into eating more than you need to," he says.

2. You can catch up over the weekend.

Sure, sleeping in on a Sunday to counteract a super late Friday or Saturday night—or even a week's worth of running around—may make you feel like a million bucks, but it's not that easy to really reset a sleep deficit. "You can't replace lost sleep, be it a week's worth or a one-nighter, in one shot—it can take several days or a few weeks," says Maas.

A good rule of thumb is to sleep for half the amount of time you're awake. As in: if you're up for 16, then you should be asleep for eight. But catching up is crucial. "Just like how you can't ignore a charge on your credit card because it will keep building up, if you ignore your lack of sleep, it doesn't disappear into thin air," says Maas. "You literally have to think of it like a sleep bank account."

3. You can condition your body to need less sleep.

You know how some people brag about being able to run on only a few hours of sleep because their body is used to it? Don't believe them. "You can become conditioned to waking up earlier but you can't alter your body's sleep requirements," says Maas.

In fact, 'getting by' on less could mean you're doing your health a great disservice. "There are so many people that say that five hours is all you need—that's a giant mistake," says Maas. "It may be there are individual differences and genetic factors like what your parents sleep habits are and so on and you might be one of the lucky few that really only need seven hours, but if not, over time, some aspect of your health like weight or mental focus will be effected by lack of sleep."

4. One glass of wine promotes deeper sleep.

While a little bit (or a lot for that matter) of vino can sure make you feel like you can sack out the minute your head hits the pillow, you won't get the same quality of sleep as you would if you were completely sober. "Any alcohol within three hours of bedtime can disrupt REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, so you never get into the deepest sleep possible, which is the critical sleep," says Maas. Do that one or more times a week and not only will your sleep deficit increase, but you'll risk the associated weight gain and memory loss issues.

5. Sleeping straight through the night is crucial.

Between taking a few sips of water, getting up to use the bathroom, or just tossing and turning, you could end up waking up a few times a night. The good news: NBD. "It's actually unusual for someone to sleep through an entire night without interruption," says Maas.

The critical element however, is whether or not you fall back to sleep within 10 minutes of waking. It's only when you keep tossing and turning that ample sleep as well as memory consolidation gets sacrificed. "If it takes you longer than 15 minutes to go back and you're up for 90 minutes or longer, the equivalent of more than a full REM deep sleep cycle, that's when it's disrupting and [could be a] sign of insomnia."

dec jan 2013 baleMore from Details:

Join the conversation about this story »


Check Out The Over-The-Top Holiday Decorations On Paul Tudor Jones' Mansion


Every year, billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones decorates his gorgeous Greenwich, Connecticut Belle Haven Estate with a spectacular holiday light show.  

He makes it so the public can drive their cars over to his waterfront estate and view the festive light show.  The lights are actually synchronized to music that's broadcasted on a local radio station.  PTJ's daughter, Caroline, has even performed songs in the past for the occasion.   

The fund manager certainly gets into the holiday spirit when it comes for decorating.  He even threw a big party at his estate earlier this month.  The Stamford Advocate reports that Usher was in attendance this year. 

In case you missed it, check out some images and videos from this year's display:  

Join the conversation about this story »


5 Ways Business Travelers Can Score Upgrades


reddit upgrade

Since many employers now pinch pennies when it comes to company travel, getting a last-minute bump up from a cramped economy seat to luxurious first class can make all the difference on a business trip.

How can you score a better flight, car, or hotel room? We reached out to a few travel experts for their tips on the easiest ways you can get travel upgrades on the fly. Here's what they said:

Get upgrades on flights by booking an economy ticket with a Y or B booking code. According to TravelNerd.com's Amy Lee, this special booking code is gold for fliers looking for an upgrade. "This means that the ticket will be full fare, but you will receive a complimentary upgrade if there are open spots in the next class of service," Lee said. Just request the upgrade when you book your ticket, and then check your status 24 hours before your flight. Frequent flyers should hear about upgrades within 100 hours of their departure (based on status level). 

Give up your seat on a flight, and kill them with kindness. When it comes to scoring upgrades, good manners could give you an edge over other grumpy flyers. "Once I volunteered to get bumped from a flight so a family could travel together," Lee said. "Not only did I receive a $500 flight voucher, but the gate agent upgraded me on the next flight. She did this because no one else would give up their seat, and she realized that although I was inconvenienced, I was willing to help the traveling family." 

Dress nicely to give yourself an edge. "When flights are oversold [in economy class], sometimes gate agents will pick people to upgrade based on whether they're dressed well, or if they were nice to someone when they checked in," said George Hobica, founder of discount airfare site Airfarewatchdog.com. Get ahead of the game by kindly telling the gate agent in advance that you hope they'll consider you if any upgrades are available. "They'd much rather sell you an upgrade for $100 or $200 rather than give it away to a frequent flier," he said. 

Rent a car at the end of the day. "By the end of the day, all the standard and compact vehicles have been rented out, and you are more likely to receive a complimentary upgrade," Lee said.

Ask for hotel upgrades when the front desk isn't busy. Front desk clerks are known to be willing to upgrade customers when business is slow, but you're best bet is to ask them when there aren't a load of other people around. "I just did this," Hobica said. "I had been booked in a room near the elevator. I told them I was a light sleeper and asked for a room at the end of the hallway. The nice person behind the desk upgraded me to a better room at no charge." Hobica typically follows this script: "I know the hotel is not full today. Do you think you could upgrade me to a suite?"

SEE ALSO: 13 things every business traveler should pack in a carry-on

Join the conversation about this story »


Each Christmas, Scientists At The South Pole Compete In A Race For A Hot Shower


Race around the world south pole

The North Pole may be busy with Santa and his elves getting ready for Christmas, but there's plenty of activity at the southern tip of the globe as well. 

Each year, many of the 125 scientists, engineers, and various workers living at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station compete in an icy two- to three-mile race. For those who live in a place where the year-round average temperature is a frigid 60 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, the grand prize  a long, hot shower

is highly coveted. 

The exact route changes every year, but racers typically makes their way around the multimillion-dollar research projects based at the station, over an airplane runway, and around the Geographic South Pole. In looping around the pole, participants can claim that they celebrated Christmas in every global time zone, according to the Wall Street Journal

Some competitors are more serious runners, like professional runner Rickey Gates, who got a job washing dishes in the station's kitchen so he could compete in the race and hopefully qualify for the McMurdo marathon, at another American Antarctic station. 

Others just do it for fun. Racers are allowed to use whichever mode of transportation they choose, including cross-country skis, bikes, floats, or their own two feet. Lighter activities like the Race Around the World make daily life a little more bearable for the scientists who study and live at the American station for months at a time. 

Residents are limited to two showers of two minutes per week, so the longer shower is definitely a welcome reward. This year the prize will be five minutes long.

Here's a video of the start of the race in 2007:

SEE ALSO: The Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded On Earth Was Just Captured By Scientists

Join the conversation about this story »


Browsing All 48857 Browse Latest View Live