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Take A Look Inside The Beautiful And Powerful Lexus RC F Coupe


2015 Lexus RC F Coupe

We were introduced to a lot of terrific cars at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Among them was the latest and greatest effort from Lexus, Toyota's luxury arm.

Along with design cues borrowed from the Lexus LFA supercar (which "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson called "senbleedingsational") the new RC F coupe promises a ton of power, and even decent fuel economy. 

It's got two doors and four seats, but all the fun is reserved for the driver, who gets to control a brand new 5.0-liter V8 engine with rear-wheel drive.

Between the RC F and the RC350, which debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in November, Lexus expects to sell 1,400 cars each month.

Under the hood is an all-new 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine. It pumps out 450 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque.

It's the first Lexus engine to combine two technologies, the Atkinson and Otto cycles, to reap the advantages of each.

Atkinson gives better fuel economy at cruising speeds; Otto delivers improved performance at higher rpm.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Jelly Belly's New Beer-Flavored Jelly Beans Have Some Parents Freaking Out


Jelly Belly beer

Jelly Belly has come out with a new beer-flavored jelly bean meant to emulate the "effervescent, clean, crisp and wheaty taste" of a German Hefeweizen ale.

The new flavor has unexpectedly polarized candy lovers. Thousands are thrilled by the new flavor, but a number of people are outraged by it, saying it will encourage kids to try alcohol and could even trigger a relapse for recovering alcoholics.

"I am so angry and disappointed about this decision," Facebook user Mindy Chemaki wrote on the company's Facebook page. "I have been a big fan of Jelly Belly since I was 13. And now you have developed a flavor that that may encourage minors (like I was 20+ years ago or my own children today) to develop a substance abuse problem. Just as bad, have you though about recovering alcoholics who are harmed by such an influence?"

Amy Mehalko added, "It's just so wrong to have this flavor. Very disappointed. Why not just make a cigarette flavor while your at it."

Several people said they would be boycotting the brand for introducing the new flavor, which is formally called "Draft Beer."

"Kids will taste these beer jelly bellys [sic] and like the flavor and want the real thing," Denise Evans wrote. "They won't be tasting them in [my] house but teens are teens and will buy them."

Another Facebook user wrote, "We don't need that for our children. We aren't going to buy any more. Just lost a lot of customers this way."

Jelly Belly has been developing drink-inspired flavors since the late 1970s, according to Jeff Brown, Jelly Belly's vice president of operations and distribution.

"We started with the Piña Colada and Mai Tai, and now we are very proud to add Draft Beer to that line," Brown said in a video ad for the new flavor.

The Mai Tai flavor debuted in 1977. Jelly Belly has also developed and sold drink-inspired flavors like Blackberry Brandy, Strawberry Daiquiri, Piña Colada, Margarita, and Mojito.

Responding to the uproar over the Draft Beer flavor, Facebook user Ginger Smallin joked, "Those of you complaining that this is going to get kids hooked on beer should be thanking Jelly Belly. It's certainly an improvement to the margaritas, daiquiris, piña coladas, and mai tais that Jelly Belly got your kids hooked on before."

Here's a video on how the new flavor was created: 

SEE ALSO: New Hampshire Burger King Cracks Down On Elderly Women Who Use Its Parking Lot

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This Is The Coolest Paper Airplane You'll Ever See


model paper airplane

This is no ordinary paper airplane.

Since May 2008, Luca Iaconi-Stewart, 22, has been building this 1:60 scale model of the Air India Boeing 777-300ER, made entirely out of manila folders. 

It's incredibly detailed, from the ultra-smooth nose down to the miniature seats he installed inside. Amazingly, Iaconi-Stewart isn't an architect, though his project was inspired in part by a class he took in high school. 

"We made 'massing models' from manila folders, which are rough 3D sketches of building ideas," he said to Business Insider. "I took that concept one step further and started this crazy plane project. I wanted to see how far I could push the limits of the material (and the concept, I suppose)."

It's still a work in progress. Though he took some time off during college, it's been an incredibly time-consuming project: For one, it took an entire summer just to build the seats.

He just started work on the final components — the wings — and hopes to complete them over the summer. 

Here's what the plane looks like head-on, with the two front cabin doors open.

With the door open, we get a peek inside.

Every single detail, down to the pilots' chairs and control panels, was meticulously recreated.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

25 Places To Party Before You Die


party nightclub ibiza

When Matador Network, an online travel magazine, was first approached by publishing house Macmillan to write the new book "101 Places to Get F----- Up Before You Die," they were concerned.

"Our website is not about exploiting destinations," David S. Miller, a senior editor at Matador Network, told Business Insider. "Matador and our brand has always been about traveling in a respectful way and trying to connect with local people."

Which is why when they decided to take on the project, it wasn't just the obvious destinations and festivals — Burning Man, Oktoberfest, and New York nightclubs — that made it into the book (though those are in there, too). It was also about finding places that were off-the-beaten track: Locales that were not only fun to visit culturally, but that also knew how to have a good time.

"In the end, I felt like we were able to tread a really nice line between showing the exuberance and partying, and connecting with people," Miller said. "We also had natural humor with it without being fully salacious."

Matador Network shared some of their editors' top places to visit — keep reading to see where you need to get trashed with the locals.

Austin, Texas, U.S.A.

Known for its young population and unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird," Austin is a diverse mix of college students, musicians, tech, and business people.

For those who want to party in this Texas town, Matador editors say to "Start at Sixth Street, at the far eastern end of the street, and work your way west, drinking in as many places as you can and seeing how far you make it."

Barcelona, Spain

Filled with gorgeous beaches and teeming with nightlife, Barcelona even has a bar that's dedicated to producing hundreds of different types of shots for only 2 euros.

As Matador's writer Sarah Briggs put it, “Throughout the year, multi-generational party-seekers travel to Barcelona or BCN as cool people abbreviate it, many remaining to embrace the Mediterranean and the opportunity to nap on a daily basis without tan lines or scorn.” Enough said.

Berlin, Germany

Matador writer Josh Heller says of Berlin: “Everyone has their own version of where to go totally bonkers in Berlin, and each one of these prescriptions is 100% right."

And clubs never seem to close, either. "No matter how early you arrive in town, you’ll hear the thumping bassline of a familiar track," Heller says. "You’ll soon realize that it’s 8:00 A.M. and they’re playing an extended remix of the theme song from Ferris Bueller. This is Berlin.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Mobile Payment App Venmo Makes Paying For Group Dinners Easy


young people friends group millennials happy

Like Google, Xerox, and Facebook, mobile payments startup Venmo has already achieved that rare and highly coveted milestone in the product services world: its name has been verbalized.

"Just Venmo me."

The phrase has become synonymous with "pay me back" or "I got it," thanks to technology that empowers its young and growing userbase to instantly wire money to their friends' accounts from their phones. In fact, a recent study on the mobile payments industry put Venmo users at the youngest end of the spectrum, ages 18 to 24, which reflects the founders' ultimate goal: to make financial transactions social.

It wasn't until this summer that I'd even heard of Venmo. A friend and I were sitting in a cab outside our shared apartment building and the driver was waiting for payment. I didn’t have any cash on me  I’d given my last crumpled dollars to the lady at coat check  and the fare was just enough that I’d have felt guilty letting my friend pay for us both.

While we live close by, I wasn't sure when I'd see him again or remember to have enough cash on hand when I did (a common problem for us Millennials — researchers at CreditUnions.com found that 20% of Millennials have not made a cash purchase over $5 in the past 30 days). 

Normally this predicament involves an awkward dance of credit cards or a quick mental tally of who owes who and how much. One person leaves feeling uncomfortably indebted, and the other mildly annoyed (or even resentful) at having to cover the shared cost.

But this time my friend deftly motioned my card aside, swiped to pay, and as we got out of the cab said, “Just Venmo me."

Oh, right! I whipped out my phone, pulled up the payment exchange app, and typed in a quick "To Zander, $8 for Taxi" and hit send. Before he'd even reached his door, he had $8 in his Venmo account, ready to be cashed out or used for another Venmo payment, and I was headed home debt-free.

Founded by two recent University of Pennsylvania graduates, Venmo launched in March 2012. It was bought only five months later for $26.2 million by Braintree, a payments company that supplies technology to process mobile credit card transactions. Perhaps sensing competition in the mobile payments space, eBay-owned PayPal bought Braintree for $800 million in 2013. Sources involved in the transaction told TechCrunch that Venmo was "a key part of what attracted PayPal to the company."

Besides its young userbase, what makes Venmo so attractive is that it intrinsically understands young peoples' spending habits when they're out with friends. They share cabs, buy each other drinks, cover tabs when someone's short, and above all, they go out to dinner in giant groups. With its free peer-to-peer mobile transaction service and use of existing social networks, Venmo could revolutionize the going-out experience by removing the most awkward part of the evening: divvying up the tab.

It's a situation anyone who's had dinner with a group can relate to: the moment the bill is presented, the buoyant mood of the evening suddenly dissipates as everyone scrambles to make sure they aren't saddled with more than their personal share. Those free-flowing bottles of wine now seem like a terrible idea. Someone tries to divide the cost of the communal appetizers based on how much each person consumed. Half the party didn't bring any cash whatsoever and the restaurant only accepts two cards per bill.

By the time the individual tax and tip have been calculated, one person's been left with an enormous tab and everyone feels like they overpaid.

Now, imagine this scenario with Venmo: At the end of a delicious meal, the waiter brings over the check and one or two people put down cash or card. The rest of the diners are then "charged" for their individual and communal orders by whoever covered the tab. Since every account is linked to an existing bank account, the other diners can complete the transaction at the table on their phones, and within minutes everyone has paid what they owe.

It's a simple, tidy solution that does away with the pile of $20s and loose change heaped on the table. It also introduces a level of accountability for those who didn't bring the cash to pay right away, because all users can see their friends' transactions. On your Venmo feed all charges and payments (scrubbed of the dollar amount) are visible to the public, which consists of your Facebook friends who also use the app. Since no one wants to be seen as a freeloader, those who pay upfront can feel more at ease knowing they'll be paid back.

Most importantly, by reducing some of the intrinsic discomfort associated with asking friends to repay a debt, Venmo has established itself as an app that's truly designed for young people. Bugging a roommate for her share of the bar tab you covered the other night is awkward — sending her a charge for "Draaaaaannkkkks :) :) :)" is a funny reminder that brings up the positive feelings from the night you had and addresses the situation without making her uncomfortable.

The next time you get a check that needs to be divided eight ways, it may be a better option than long division and empty IOUs.

SEE ALSO: Mobile Is Poised To Upend The Payments Industry

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When A Math Geek Hacked OKCupid, He Landed 88 First Dates And His One True Love


Ok Cupid

If you're using OKCupid to help you find true love, and the lack of response from potential mates is depressing, Chris McKinlay's story should cheer you up.

McKinlay was using OKCupid and other sites for months with no success when it dawned on him that he was doing it wrong, reports Wired's Kevin Poulsen in an in-depth profile.

OkCupid matches people by asking them to answer 350 questions from a pool of thousands. But, McKinlay realized, that if the 350 questions you answered don't line up with the 350 questions your soul mate answered, OKCupid will never show your profiles to each other.

So he hacked up a way to find out which questions to answer. This involved setting up fake accounts, scraping questions from thousands of women's accounts, setting up mathematical models.

This is not ok with OKCupid, by the way. His fake accounts were spotted and banned, Poulsen reports.

But he eluded detection long enough to discover the questions to answer. So he answered them.

And suddenly, OKCupid was showing his profile to 400 women a day.

It wasn't a recipe for instant love. He first went on an astounding 88 first dates. That included a date with the woman that would become his finance.

For the engineers among us, Wired goes into great details on the hack. But even if you're not another McKinlay, his story might help you. If your profile isn't working, it might not be you. You might simply need to answer different questions.

SEE ALSO: I Spent A Month On Infidelity Dating Site Ashley Madison And Was Pleasantly Surprised By How Nice It Was

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Only An Investment Banker Could Write This Angry Seamless Review About A Roast Beef Sandwich


roast beef

An investment banker at a mid-town Manhattan office wrote the following Seamless review after ordering a rare roast beef sandwich that turned out to be a total disaster. 

The review doesn't appear to have made it through the Seamless review filter system, but it has made the rounds in email inboxes on Wall Street.  

Check it out: 

“I'd like to caveat this review by stating that I have never, in my entire life, been so compelled as to write a review for any establishment, of any kind. I was somewhat excited when I saw a restaurant that served a "Rare Roast Beef" multigrain bread sandwich - an oft-forgotten delectable way to prepare roast beef in a sandwich, and for $16 I was expecting top notch. Little did I know what was to come.

We placed the order at 5:38PM (20-30 expected wait) and received no confirmation. We called the restaurant at 6:00, and were told they had not set up their computers...odd, but we took it in stride...so they retook our order by phone (a 10 minute process as the person on the other end struggled through understanding a simple order). We received a call 10 minutes later saying they received the Seamless order. The food came at 6:40PM.

What came was a disaster. My $16 earned me a 5" x 5" *grilled* roast beef *panini* on *white bread* - 0/3 - not rare, not multigrain, and not a sandwich. There must have been 1 oz of meat on the sandwich, twice as thick in bread as meat, for sixteen dollars. Who charges sixteen dollars for a sandwich anyways?

My colleague ordered a burger (a simple burger) "medium well". I thought to myself: "that's odd"...although, it stood out to me as I've never seen a burger ordered that well-cooked before. His burger came inedibly rare. Literally, this meat was so rare you would need a master ball to catch it. Needless to say he didn't eat it for fear of succumbing to microbial pathogens.

[Restaurant Name Redacted], what you've just passed as a ~$27 meal per person is one of the most insanely idiotic things in which I have ever participated. At no point in this incompetently misrepresented  and overpriced experience were you even close to anything that could be considered as a viable Seamless option. Everyone who ordered this food is now angrier for having done it. I would award you zero stars (except I can't), and may God have mercy on your soul.”

In case you are wondering, "master ball" is a Pokemon reference

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Why My 3-Day Juice Cleanse Was Worth The Pain


Last week, I went on a cleanse. For you. Well, for me, really, but I had you guys in mind. Promise.

The decision to do a three-day juice cleanse can't really be chalked up to any one thing. I wasn't trying to drop weight, exactly, though I'd been feeling a little sluggish after a holiday season spent mostly eating and drinking.

As someone who's a little too quick to pull the mac and cheese down from the cupboard shelf when there's "nothing else" to eat, I also wondered if I would have the willpower to commit to clean eating..even for just a few days.
And for as much as we talk on here about the link between looking good and feeling good, I thought a discussion about a more mindful diet might inspire some of you to share (or take up!) your own healthy living efforts.

At the end of the day, I wanted to get a jump on the new year feeling a little…Lighter. Fresher. Newer. Pressed Juicery, the California-based company that shipped 24 16-oz drinks straight to my door, promised not just health but mental benefits, with the nutrient-dense cleanse "shifting your mind and body to a more central place, and giving yourself a chance to detoxify your cluttered thoughts while enjoying less processed foods." Sounded pretty good to me.

Here's my three-day cleanse diary.


IMG_1967 1024x1024

8:02 p.m.

A menacing calendar invite pops on my phone, reminding me to "stop drinking coffee/alcohol, eating bread/meat/dairy" beginning Monday.

That's because I had (thankfully) had enough foresight to think, hmm, maybe I shouldn't simply show up on Day 1 (Wednesday) without any pre-game conditioning. Looking online, Pressed Juicery suggests:

To get the most out of your cleanse, preparation is essential. You'll want to start weaning yourself off of your usual indulgences and make a few adjustments a few days before you start – don't worry, it's going to be easier than you think… and your body will thank you for it!

We'll see about that.


11:10 a.m.

My head hurts. By now, usually I'll have had one cup of coffee..maybe two. Today, I drank a smoothie for breakfast and drank some Sleepytime tea (the only decaf drink I had in the house). Caffeine is part of my morning ritual…or at least, I thought it was just a ritual, but apparently I am sufficiently addicted to the point that if I don't have it for 4 hours after my body expects it, I want to punch a very large hole in my apartment's very small kitchen wall. That's…interesting.

2:30 p.m.

I meet a friend for coffee…well, he has coffee, and I have nothing. As I chat him up about my impending cleanse, I realize I've become one of those people. You know, the kind with single-minded interests who's oblivious to the fact that no one else cares quite as much as them about the topic – like race training, or a new puppy, or a baby. I hear myself talking, but I just can't stop. I can't stop talking about my cleanse, and it hasn't even started yet.


10:47 a.m. 

My box o' juice arrives! It's huge. And heavy. All this is going into my body in only three days?

I spend the next twenty minutes arranging it all in my fridge, MTV Cribs style.

8:08 p.m.

I had every intention of trying out this delicious and easy-looking homemade tomato soup recipe tonight…but then I went to a spin class and realized I would have to make a bathtub-size batch to be satisfied. Instead, I inhale a plate of nachos for dinner. It's my last supper; I can't resist.

Wednesday (DAY 1)


6:00 a.m. 

I wake up with a little bit of a sore throat, and now I'm nervous. The voodoo acupuncturist lady I go to always talks about the danger of "cold winds" and "dampness" in the body and that when you're sick, your body wants hot things, not cold. I'm about to drink cold things for three days straight. Let's see how this works out.

9:20 a.m.

After drinking some warm water with lemon (not hot, just warm) as the instruction card that came with the juices suggests, I have my first juice, conveniently labeled "1." It's…not bad! It's green, which is a little strange, but tastes sweet enough to not make me feel like I'm drinking a salad.

The ingredients: kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon (this is definitely not a Beyonce/Master Cleanse situation – each of these juices are full of nutrient-dense ingredients). I definitely taste the cucumber, and the parsley..somehow the apple saves it from going full veg flavor.

9:27 a.m.

I'm halfway through and feel like I already have to pee.

9:57 a.m.

Oh my god, I finished my juice but I don't get another for another hour. What do I do til then? What do I do with my hands? What do I do when I don't want to answer that email that just popped into my inbox? What do I do with myself??

12:37 p.m.

Okay, I've had two juices, one green, one citrus, and I feel…full. Not sated necessarily, but I'm certainly not starving. Maybe this won't be so bad after all?

1:50 p.m.

I might be starving. Not sure. Maybe it'll pass?

9:46 p.m.

Done with Day 1! Well, almost. I'm slowly sipping my aloe vera h20 (why it's not just aloe vera water, I don't know..maybe water doesn't sound fancy enough?) and I kind of can't believe I made it. I only went outside once today and practically fainted from all the smells. Have you ever eaten Polish food? It's delicious and all smells amazing. That is my neighborhood, and like a person who's just been blindfolded, my senses were heightened to recognize the delicious smells everywhere.

I'm feeling a little wary about Day 2 just because the novelty will have worn off, and I already know what all the juices taste like. I also have a meeting at 11am at which I will drink herbal coffee and try not to have to go to the bathroom three times because my bladder is constantly full of liquid.

In terms of how I'm actually feeling…not so bad! It was definitely smart to start easing off solids and alcohol and caffeine (except for that little pre-cleanse Mexican blip the night before)..I had my caffeine withdrawal headache the day before I started, so what could have been a really bad day was only…strange feeling.

Plus, the last "juice" of the day is really an almond milk, and if you close your eyes, it tastes a little like melted ice cream. As someone who NEEDS to end their day on a sweet note, this is kind of life-saving.

Thursday (DAY 2)

12:07 p.m.

I'm only one juice into today and I'm actually feeling surprisingly fine.

I drank my first juice around 8 a.m., then tucked the next into my bag to have at some TBD time before or after my 11am meeting. Walking to the subway, I thought I might have to chug it while waiting for the train, but then the hunger subsided, and I decided to wait til after. Now, though, I'm working from a coffee shop (had to have a change of scenery, delicious food smells be damned) and the juice is still sitting in my bag. Partially because I feel bad about bringing it out while using this place's free wifi / partially because I really don't need it.

It's interesting working through some "Am I really hungry right now, or just bored? Am I hungry, or do i just eat at this time bc this is the time I've always eaten at?' questions on this cleanse.

4:54 p.m.

I just went to the grocery store and all I bought was toilet paper. I feel like I'm peeing every five minutes, but of course, that's a good thing. I also am only on juice #4 and it's already 5 o'clock. It really does feel like my body's getting used to the idea that i don't need a big breakfast..AND a big lunch..and a snack..and still be starving at dinnertime.

10:34 p.m. 

Okaaaaay, maybe the lack of food is getting to me just a little. Because I just yelled at someone I love on the phone who probably…okay, definitely, didn't deserve to be yelled at. I think I might be more food-deprived cranky than I thought. Time for bed.

Friday (DAY 3)

7:46 a.m.

I wake up and notice how totally fine I feel. It's the last day, and Im not starving. I'm not miserable. I do miss food and liquid that's not crushed vegetables and fruit, but I suppose knowing there's a light at the end of a three-day tunnel has made it that much more manageable. If I was doing a cleanse longer than this, right about now might be when I was the most unhappy.

If anything, the cleanse has made me less social. I had herbal tea yesterday when meeting someone in the morning to talk about a new project (she drank a latte..I was very jealous). I'm skipping a concert tonight because it doesn't start til 9, and that's about an hour after I've had my last juice, so I'd be ready for bed right around the time the headliner comes onstage.

I'm starting to feel tempted to celebrate the end of the cleanse with a big meal tonight..but that's really not how it works. While I feel confident I can hold out this last day, I'm not so sure how good I'll be about "slowly reentering" the world of real food tomorrow. I really want to give this cleanse the attention it deserves, and do it the way it's recommended to get the most benefits, but tomorrow when I wake up? I'm pretty sure I'm going to want an egg sandwich, not broth and steamed veggies.

1:32 p.m.

If anything, I'm a little tired of not eating. I'm on my third juice of the day, and I'm about to go meet a friend, and I'm going to have tea. What I've found I miss the most is salty carbs. I want pizza. And nachos. And ramen. Forget cake or cookies. Give me buffalo wings and bbq chips.

11:45 p.m.

Got a little caught up watching old West Wing episodes, so heading to bed finally with my aloe vera water (sorry, h20) in tow. Already feeling a little sentimental – I'm going to miss having everything I need for the day tomorrow planned out for me. Plus, there's nothing in my fridge.

The Final Verdict

While I'm not going to tell you what I weighed before or after the cleanse (what are you, crazy?!), I will say I had lost 3 pounds when I weighed in Friday. 3 pounds in 3 days? Not too shabby. And I feel…light. Not that I'm constantly stuffing my face with food and eating to excess, but y'know what? Sometimes I do. I did with those nachos. And sometimes I drink too much. And sometimes I don't exercise enough. Doing this cleanse made me feel good about myself because there was no "too much." The only test of will was in not cheating, not in a piece of cake sitting on the counter that I'm tempted to eat even though I'm not hungry.

I will 100% do this cleanse again – right now, I'm thinking once a season, or at the very least twice a year – and I'm starting to think about how I could incorporate juicing into my regular eating habits. The cleanse I went on isn't cheap, but eating healthier usually isn't. Organic fruits, vegetables, and meats cost more, but they're also significantly better for you than the alternative.

The way I see it, it's an investment in me. Just like I set aside money from my budget for high quality clothing and accessories that will last, my body deserves the same attention. Whether that's splurging on a gym membership when the temperatures dip and I cant run outside, or a seasonal reboot to my diet, it's worth it – at least for me.

Now if only I could go cold turkey on my beloved mac and cheese…. 

A DIFFERENT TAKE: I Just Finished A 72-Hour Cleanse, And Now I Can't Stand The Thought Of Eating A Vegetable

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A Stunning Photo Of The Border Between Nogales, USA And Nogales, Mexico


The border between Nogales, Arizona in the U.S. and Nogales, Sonora in Mexico used to be a pretty relaxed.

Floats went down the street and into Nogales, Arizona. A coronation was held on a platform on la linea, and the Fiesta de Mayo Queen was crowned. Both towns celebrated,” Nicolas Demetrio Kyriakis told author Paul Theroux for The New York Times. Americans, notably servicemen from nearby U.S. Army Fort Huachuca, would cross over for Mexican goods or just a taste of the local food.

After 9/11, soldiers from the fort stopped visiting and border patrol started asking for passports. Meanwhile, violence related to drug cartels ramped up — though things have reportedly improved recently following heavy investment in security on the Mexican side.

Whatever happens next, it is clear how inextricably linked these two cities will always be, as is clear in a stunning photograph by David Rochkind from his book Heavy Hands, Sunken Spirit: Mexico at War:mexico drug war_BI_005

SEE ALSO: David Rochkind's haunting pictures of Mexico's drug war

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This Prison Wing For Mothers And Children Is Heartbreaking — But It’s Better Than The Alternative


Prison Nursery Cheryl Hanna-Truscott,

While the hit show "Orange Is The New Black" recently brought attention to women's prison issues, a Washington midwife has already spent years immersed in the lives of female inmates.

That midwife, Cheryl Hanna-Truscott, spoke to Business Insider about her volunteer work with the innovative Residential Parenting Program (RPP) at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. Hanna-Truscott, who's also a photographer, documented the lives of these women and their young children with their permission.

RPP lets a select group of nonviolent pregnant inmates keep and care for their infants in a separate part of the prison that resembles a dorm. The program is available to women who have 30 months or less to serve after they give birth, so the babies and toddlers who live at the prison full-time are all under 2 1/2 years old. 

The notion of infants spending the first part of their lives in prison is undeniably sad. While Hanna-Truscott's pictures capture sweet moments, it's clear these infants and toddlers are in an institution and not a home.

Yet supporters of the program would probably argue that it is better for kids to be with their mother in prison than on the outside, where they could end up in foster care or bouncing around various family members' homes. That could interfere with the babies' ability to form secure attachments to their primary caregivers (often the moms). Psychologists have found these early attachments are important for brain growth and the ability to form relationships later on.

These babies also have the chance to participate in Early Head Start (EHS), a federal program that helps very young kids from low-income families develop their cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Research has shown that EHS kids have bigger vocabularies and a higher level of social development than kids from a similar demographic who didn't participate in EHS.

So, while the images of kids in prison may be unsettling, the program in Washington State may give these kids the best shot they have. Most women's prisons in the U.S. don't have nursery programs like this one, but they may want to consider implementing them in light of the skyrocketing population of women in prison. The number of women serving sentences of more than a year grew by 757% between 1977 and and 2004, according to the Institute on Women & Criminal Justice. (The male population increased by 388% during that period.)

Pregnant prisoners are a particularly invisible population, Hanna-Truscott noted. "I feel like this is a group of people who don't get a lot of attention," Hanna-Truscott told me. "They're put behind prison walls, and they're pregnant. How vulnerable can you be?"

Hanna-Truscott posted some touching interviews with some of the women at the facility, which reveal how scary it can be to be pregnant and heading to prison.

“When I found out I was pregnant and going to prison, I just cried," one woman, whose name wasn't used, told Hanna-Truscott. "I didn’t know about this program and I was supposed to get eighteen months, so I thought, 'I’m going to have my baby and I’m going to be away from my baby for a year.'”

Then she found out about the residential parenting program, and she got accepted.

"Other inmates said I wouldn’t get in because of my criminal history. But, I don’t have a violent history," she said, "The judge gave me a year and a day and wished me luck. God or somebody is looking after me.”

Hanna-Truscott allowed us to share some of these images. Visit her website for more photos of mothers at the Washington Corrections Center for Women.

 Cheryl Hanna-Truscott prison nursery

Cheryl Hanna-Truscott,

Cheryl Hanna-Truscott prison nursery

 Cheryl Hanna-Truscott prison nursery

Cheryl Hanna-Truscott,


Cheryl Hanna-Truscott, prison nursery

SEE ALSO: Here's What The '80s Were Like In America's Prisons

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Here's The Yale Class Ranking The University Doesn't Want Students To See


Yale University Basketball Students

Yale University made news last week when administrators abruptly blocked a student-created website that combined information from the school's official course evaluations and course catalogue. 

The motivation behind twin brothers and Yale seniors Peter Xu and Harry Yu's site — Yale Bluebook+, or YBB+ for short — was to give students a cleaner interface than Yale's official website and make it easier to access various information about a course. "In particular, students could sort courses by numerical ratings given by students in previous semesters," The New York Times reports.

Not only did YBB+ use information exclusive to Yale's official website, but in the views of university administrators it also "gave undue prominence to the numerical ratings without including the descriptive evaluations that went with them," according to The Times. After three semesters of helping students plan their schedules, Yale blocked YBB+ from university servers last week.

Then, this weekend, Yale senior Sean Haufler posted a now-viral column — opening with "I hope I don’t get kicked out of Yale for this."— that introduced Banned Bluebook, a Google Chrome extension that allowed students to view course evaluation data within the school's official course selection website.

It's important to note that all of this information is available to Yale students, with or without Haufler's extension. However, the students don't have the ability to sort this information and view the course listing as a list of "hardest" and "easiest" classes.

When asked by Business Insider for comment, Dean of Yale College Mary Miller directed us to two open letters to the Yale community, where she explained the administration's viewpoint:

The information at the center of this controversy is the faculty evaluation, which Yale began collecting, not as a course selection tool, but as a way of helping faculty members improve their teaching. When a faculty committee decided in 2003 to collect and post these evaluations online for student use, it gave careful consideration to the format and felt strongly that numerical data would be misleading and incomplete if they were not accompanied by student comments.

While the extension is technically allowed by Yale's policies, the university's Dean of Strategic Communications Paul McKinley confirmed to The Yale Daily News that "the University does not support the way Banned Bluebook presents course evaluations."

With this in mind, here are the 10 easiest and 10 hardest classes at Yale University, based solely on their workload rating as presented by Banned Bluebook.

These are the 10 Yale classes with the least workload:

Yale University Easy Courses

Yale University Easy Courses

And these are the 10 classes with the highest workload:

Yale University Hard Courses

Yale University Hard Courses

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A Much Worse Water Crisis Is Happening In This Tiny West Virginia Mountain Town


West Virginia School Water 1 6

While the area around Charleston, West Virginia recovers from a chemical leak that shut down water supplies for a week, with ongoing concerns about water safety, another part of the state hasn't had clean water for five months. It hasn't made a lot of headlines, but then again the town of Bud (population 487) rarely does.

Pulling into town it's impossible to miss the Coal Miners Memorial dedicated to the men who lost their lives supporting their families and providing coal to the rest of the world.

With a legacy like that, the people of Bud are used to a bit of hardship, and they have a culture of helping their neighbors too. It's a good thing too, because sometimes the system that's set up to provide them their most basic needs, like clean water, just isn't up to the task.

Bud's family-owned water treatment plant, Alpoca Water Works, has maintained a boiled water advisory since last September. Spokesperson Rhesa Shrewsbury (daughter of owner Patsky McKinney) told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that problems started when the company "lost" its water operator.

Local school Herndon Consolidated has been particularly hard hit by the crisis.

After months of asking the school board for bottled water and watching while 250 families went without clean water, the school's new principal, Virginia Lusk, reached out to a Charleston organization to see if they could help — and that's why we were there.

Bud West Virginia Water Crisis Herndon Consolidated School

The school's drinking fountains are covered with garbage bags, taped to the metal, reminding students the water is unsafe to drink.

West Virginia School Water 1 2

While we're there, one local resident stops by to pick up some bottled water, hoping to get some of the 300 gallons sent by a North Carolina church that day before they're gone.  

West Virginia School Water 1 3

The water in the toilets is a dark, coffee colored brown, and we remove the tank in back to see what's coming in. It's not pretty.

The principle is quick to point out that the problem is "no one's fault," but that doesn't get the water flowing.

Our guide promises her that he'll do what he can to get water trucked down here, nearly two hours from Charleston, and the principal is grateful. She's concerned about causing friction and says she walked into the problem when she assumed the job last fall. "It's like I inherited a baby T-Rex," she says. 

West Virginia School Water 1

Shrewsbury says that the eastern part of the county is stepping in to buy and operate the water plant. "They've been working on the water since a couple weeks before Christmas and they say it's still going to take a couple more weeks."

The plant is on a hill outside of town, up a steep muddy hill behind posted signs and a handwritten warning that says, "You will be arrested."

West Virginia School Water 1 4

A January 15 comment by Karen Lane Sizemore Cashwell on a West Virginia Public Broadcasting article on the school gets to the suffering of the local community:

For now....and for the last five months...not only the school but also the many families who live in this community. The only way you can brush your teeth is with bottled water.

Do you want to put your body parts into a bathtub of that water? But what choice do you have really? Would you wash your dishes in it? What choice do you have?

What do you think it would do to your child's hair? What if you had an elderly mother who forgets she is not supposed to drink the water?

What if you had to decide whether you can buy your child new winter boots or buy umpteen bottles or gallons of water? What choice do you have? You can't survive without water, which the company is still collecting money for, by the way.

What will you do if disease strikes this community from bacteria in the water? I think you will find out the true meaning of "complicated" then. No one should rest a day while this situation is ongoing. Work out the issues TODAY.. hire a water operator TODAY! Just do it! And by the way, no one in this community has been offered one bottle of water by any agency or group....just sayin.

Even though the water is only good for flushing toilets, residents of Bud and Alpoca say they have continued to pay monthly bills to the utility company.

We part ways and our guide tells us that the people here will do what they've always done: rely on each other and hope for the best.

SEE ALSO: Former West Virginia Miner: We've Been Dumping Those Chemicals In The Water For Decades

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The Most Expensive Apartment Buildings In New York City


New York City is without a doubt one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in.

New Construction Manhattan, a luxury real estate company, put together a list of 2013's most expensive buildings based on closed sales and average price per square foot.

The most expensive building in 2013 was 15 Central Park West, at an average of $5,636 per square foot. The luxury building has stunning views of Central Park and is home to a laundry list of NYC's powerful bankers, celebrities, and big shots.

Still-under-construction One57, where a penthouse sold for a record-breaking $90 million in 2012, barely made the cut at $3,548 per square foot. Lincoln Square's Millennium Tower also made the list at $3,671 per square foot.

Here's the full list of buildings with square footage.

  1. 15 Central Park West $5,636/sq. ft.

  2. The South Tower of Time Warner Center $4,166/sq. ft.

  3. Residences at Mandarin Oriental $4,044/sq. ft.

  4. 18 Gramercy Park South $4,042/sq. ft.

  5. Superior Ink $3,901/sq. ft.

  6. The Hudson $3,714/sq. ft.

  7. Millennium Tower $3,671/sq. ft.

  8. The Mayfair $3,637/sq. ft.

  9. 200 Eleventh Avenue $3,565/sq. ft.

  10. One57 $3,548/sq. ft.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Big Shots Who Live At 15 Central Park West

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Here Is America's Best Hope For Ending China's Ping Pong Dominance

An 88-Year-Old Man Has Spent 50 Years Building This Cathedral Out Of Recycled Materials


Spanish monk cathedral

For the past 50 years, a cathedral made of trash has steadily risen above the small town of Mejorada del Campo, just outside Madrid, Spain. 

One man is behind it all: a former Trappist monk named Justo Gallego, or Don Justo.

He started building the church in 1961, after a bout with tuberculosis forced him to leave the monastery where he lived. He sold some of his inherited land to raise enough money to start construction, using salvaged materials like donated bricks and oil drums to build it.  

Incredibly, Justo has no architectural or construction experience. Occasionally, volunteers will help him with the work, but most of it he does himself. He doesn't even have any formal design plans — he told the BBC in 2010 that all of the details for the 24,000-square-foot church are "in my head." 

Critics call him a madman and his cathedral trash, and the town seems to have turned a blind eye to how neither his materials nor the building itself meets construction codes. 

Still, the building shows a remarkable beauty and attention to detail. 

"If I lived my life again, I'd build this church again, only bigger. Twice the size," he said to the BBC"Because for me, this is an act of faith."

The cathedral's towers reach a height of 130 feet.

The incomplete dome, modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, was made from cut-up plastic food tubs. It took 20 years just to erect the structure.

There's still quite a bit of work to be done up here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

News Broadcast From 1981 Foretells The Collapse Of Print Journalism


"Imagine, if you will, sitting down to your morning coffee, turning on your home computer to read the day's newspaper," a news anchor said in a 1981 KRON San Francisco broadcast

Well, none of our readers have to imagine that scenario. They do it everyday. 

Back in 1981, however, the concept of online media seemed far-fetched. Regardless, two local San Fransisco papers, The Examiner and Chronicle, wanted to make it happen. 

Under their system, editors programmed content into an online database. Then, when readers called a phone number (linked to Columbus, Ohio), the news would appear on their televisions — with the exception of pictures, ads, and comics. The screen looked like this:

1981 Kron newscast screenshot old online media

Downloading the entire edition took over two hours via phone, running $5 per hour. Both papers' street editions cost 20 cents. 

"This is an experiment. We're trying to figure out what it means to us as editors and reporters and what it means to the home user. And we're not in it to make money. We're probably not going to lose a lot, but we aren't gonna make much either," David Cole from the S.F. Examiner said. 

Only six other publications joined the system then. And in 1981, just two-to-three thousand people owned computers in the Bay Area, KRON reported. 

"This is only the first step in newspapers by computer. Engineers now predict a day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer — but that's a few years off," KRON reported.

The transition took longer than a few years, but people now consume news on their computers religiously. Publications without online components will almost certainly fail — although print hasn't died either.

Moreover, computer ownership has likely reached at least 600,000 in the Bay Area today.  (In 2011, 75.6% of Census respondents reported having a computer in their home, and San Fransisco's population borders on 826,000).

Watch the newscast below:

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Why Luxurious Five Star Hotels In China Are Deliberately Making Themselves Crappier


china luxury

Why would a five-star hotel want to make itself a less luxurious and more crappy? That's the questions observers asked themselves this week after Chen Miaolin, vice president of the China Tourism Association, was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying that 56 five-star hotels had pledged to to downgrade themselves to a four-star rating last year.

“I’ve been in the business for decades and I’ve never seen this before,” Chen reportedly told the Chinese publication. The comments were apparently so shocking that the Wall Street Journal called to confirm he actually said it.

While hotels generally strive to be as nice as they possibly can, the situation in China has changed over the last year due to President Xi Jinping's recent anti-corruption drive. "In the past, hotels and restaurants competed for stars, to be high-level, but now they compete on who is more low-profile," said He Jiahong, an anti-corruption expert at Renmin University, told the Guardian.

"The series of anti-corruption measures in 2013 was quite strong, compared to the past, although it has still not fixed the problems in the system," He said. "The decline in the hotel and restaurant business shows that in our country, the luxury hotel business, or high-grade consumption in this area, is supported by government spending."

The decision to remove stars has been made not only for financial reasons — operating revenue amongst 4,000 star-rated hotels in China had dropped 25% over the last year, Chen noted — but it may also show a shifting conception of luxury: New hotels are delaying their applications for five-star status, the Financial Times notes, hoping to avoid the stigma currently surrounding luxury products.

SEE ALSO: The 25 Best Hotels In The World

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Oreo Is Releasing A Cookie Dough-Flavored Version


cookie dough oreos

Oreo is releasing two new flavors next month. 

The popular cookie will now come in Cookie Dough and Marshmallow Crispy, the company said in an email. 

The limited-edition cookies will debut in a commercial during the Grammy Awards on Sunday. 

"At the end of the commercial, OREO will reveal a one-time-only, top-secret hashtag," the company said. "Fans with the fastest thumbs who tweet the hashtag could get a free first taste of Cookie Dough or Marshmallow Crispy Oreo Cookies, while supplies last."

We're excited to try the new flavors. 

Martha White at the Today Show appears to already have some of the cookies. 

She notes that the new flavors are more caloric than the classics. 

"With more flavor comes more calories. One of the new cookies comes in at 80 calories and 6.5 or 6 grams of sugar. That's more than the 53.3 calories and 4.6 grams of sugar of one regular Oreos," she writes. 

SEE ALSO: IHOP Boosted Sales By Making Three Major Changes To The Menu

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10 Things A Wedding Guest Should Never Do


Noel Wedding

Weddings can induce some crazy behavior.

Emotions are high, families are thrown together, and everyone must conform to a tight schedule, not to mention the shenanigans that ensue when there's an open bar involved.

Sarah Pease, a well-known New York City proposal planner, has been planning weddings since 2008 with her company Brilliant Event Planning. She's seen everything from the "bridezilla" stressing about every detail to guests showing up in white — a major faux pas.

Pease shared a list of 10 ultimate wedding guest "don'ts" with Business Insider.  

Don't deviate from a schedule: "It's not a very sexy idea, but planning can really impact your day and the happiness of everyone there," Pease said. "If you've got to be at the church by 6 p.m., the bride has to leave the hotel by 4:30 because it will take her a half-hour to get into her dress. The hair and make-up people need to know that everyone has to be done by 4:45 so they can help the bride get into her dress. And so on."

"If you're helping or attending, stick to the timeline so the bride only has to worry about her schedule." 

Don't wing a wedding speech: "People who say they're just going to wing it crash and burn every time," she said. "You wouldn't show up to a half-marathon without training, so don't show up to the wedding without a prepared speech."

"And keep it short," Pease added. "A five-minute speech is long. Hit three general ideas. Don't ramble. In my experience, you'll get on a tangent and then start talking about something uncomfortable."

Don't wear anything resembling white if you're not the bride: "The bride should be the only person wearing white," Pease said. "There's always at least one person, man or woman, who shows up to the wedding as a guest wearing white or a color too close to white."

Don't stiff the bartender: "You should still tip the bartender even at an open bar because they're making your drink right there," she said. "It's a nice service and they're there for a long time."

Don't get drunk: "This is really up to each person, but there's this idea of 'wedding drunk' that I find useful," she said. "Basically, don't become a hassle for the bride and groom."

Don't complain about the food: Wedding food is notoriously bad, but Pease advises sucking it up. "The rule of thumb is, ask yourself will this upset the bride and groom. If the answer is yes, you shouldn't do it."

"You could have a Michelin chef cooking for everyone and some people would still complain," she said. "Just focus on what's good about the wedding, like getting to celebrate with friends and family." 

Don't monopolize the bride and groom: "Cocktail hour is a great time to spend two minutes with the couple," Pease said. "Don't track them down and try to spend 30 minutes catching up. If they did that with all 200 of their guests, they'd run out of time."

"The best thing to do is say a quick congratulations," she said. "You can always schedule a phone call or lunch with the bride or groom for later."

Don't get too aggressive with the bouquet toss: "You've either got a wedding full of single girls or possibly some divorcees," Pease said, "but either way emotions can run high if you think about it as a literal sign for who's getting married next. I like when there's an alliance to flip it to a girl who really wants it."

"If guys want to get in on the action, by all means go for it," she added. "Just be gentle. Don't tackle anyone. It's not a contact sport."

Don't buy a gift the couple didn't put on their registry: "Going off registry is always a contentious subject," Pease said. "Some people think an off-registry gift is more personal or heartfelt. But honest to God, people really just want the stuff on their registry. That's why they picked it."

"But if you do choose to go off registry, cash is a better option than an alternate gift," she told us. "I prefer cash gifts where the giver says, 'Here's x-number of dollars for a helicopter ride in Hawaii, close to where you're honeymooning,' or 'Here's something to put toward your new mortgage.' Something like that to give the money a purpose."  

Don't steal souvenirs from the wedding decorations: "Always check with the venue before you grab anything," Pease advised. "Don't ask the bride and groom, but you can ask a waiter or a wedding planner."

"Sometimes, depending on something like an agreement with a florist, you can take the whole centerpiece," she said. "Other times, the vases are rentals or the flowers are being donated to a local hospital the next morning. It's always best to check."

SEE ALSO: 23 Insanely Cool Wedding Photos From Around The World

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A Yoga Studio In New York City Is Now Offering Co-Ed Classes In The Nude


bold naked yoga cotton clubBefore you go spending $98 on a new pair of Lululemon yoga pants, consider hitting the studio in the nude. 

Bold & Naked Yoga studio in New York is now offering co-ed naked yoga classes after limiting the sultry sessions to only men for the past seven years. 

"The first thing that comes to mind is you save a lot of money — you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on Lululemon," Bold & Naked co-owner Joschi Schwarz told Well + Good.

Participants in the classes will be prohibited from wearing a single article of clothing during instruction. 

"All participants must be naked in order to keep everyone on the same level and equal," the studio's website says. "That's what naked yoga is all about."

The website explains that practicing yoga naked "frees you from negative feelings about your body and allows to to be more accepting and deeper connected with yourself and the world around you."

Touching other participants is okay, but only if its non-sexual in nature. 

"Sometimes teachers will incorporate partner work into their classes that involves touching and body contact between members," the website says. "However, this is not to be 'sexual touching' and should any contact of sexual nature occur, it will not be tolerated and will result in the offending member being asked to leave."

Erections might happen, according to the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the website, but only rarely.

"When it does [happen] it's okay and nothing to be embarrassed about," the website assures. "It will pass quickly."

Bold & Naked, formerly called Le Male Yoga, is co-owned by Schwarz and Monika Werner. The studio, which began offering the co-ed classes this month, has more than 7,700 fans on Facebook.

"We are both European, so we are pretty liberal to begin with," Schwarz told Well + Good. "I was a little bit scared [of New Yorker's reactions], but New York is coming with us. I hope they will realize how cool and freeing and liberating it can really be."

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