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Here's The Best Sleeping Position For Your Health


SleepBI Answers: What is the best way to sleep?

When you're asleep during the night, what is the position of your body? Do you turn over onto one side, crunched up in a ball like a fetus in the womb, or do you roll over on your back, arms at your side like solider?

Though a sleeper may find it difficult to record their posture for obvious reasons, there are "good" and "bad" ways to sleep. The cause of aches and pains or many sleepless nights (which can lead to a bunch of other negative risks) may have a lot do with the placement of your head, back, arms, and legs after you hit the hay.

"It is clinically accepted that a change in sleep position may benefit the systematic health of individuals," Australian researchers wrote in a 2007 study published in the peer-reviewed publication, "The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice."

The best sleeping position by far is either on the back or the side, says Austin-based professional chiropractor Cynthia Vaughn. It doesn't matter if you sleep on your left or right side, unless you're pregnant. Both of these positions support the spine and the neck, leading to a more restful night's sleep and helping to prevent injuries in the long run.

Similarly, the Australian team found through a large telephone survey that most people favored the side-sleeping position, and these subjects were significantly less likely to report waking up during the night bothered by neck, shoulder, or arm pain compared with subjects who slept in any other position.

Sleeping positionIn the back-sleeping position, Vaughn suggests putting a pillow under the knees, placing the legs in a more direct line with the lower back spine so that it's flattened against the mattress and receives more support. It's best to keep the arms down at your side, not sprawled over your head.

The one drawback of sleeping on your back is that it may exacerbate snoring. People who suffer from sleep apnea are also advised to avoid this position.

When a person is laying on either the left or right side, it's best to slightly bend the upside leg and place a pillow between the knees. This keeps the pelvis in a straight line and prevents unnatural twisting, says Vaughn. She says to avoid the full-fetal position — when a person is on their side with both knees are touching — because it can irritate the skin after just an hour.

The worst position to sleep in is on your stomach. "There is a consensus that the prone sleep position should be avoided," the Australian team wrote. If a person is lying with their belly down and face pressed into the pillow, they must crane their neck in order to breathe, says Vaughn, which can begin to strain the vertebrae in the bottom part of your skull after just 15 minutes.

"It’s a natural tendency, too, for the person to then bend the knee and hip of the same side to which the head is turned, and bring that leg up," she said. "This causes an unnatural lateral, or outward, rotation of that leg that, overtime, leads to a chronic lateral hip rotation on that side."

Unfortunately, Vaughn says that many adults find stomach-sleeping the most comfortable position because they grew up during a time when mothers were told to place their babies tummies-down and have kept that habit through adulthood.

To break that sleeping pattern, Vaughn advises her patients to tape an uncooked pea to their stomach at bedtime. When they eventually roll over onto their stomach, "the pea will act as an irritant, and it will awaken them enough to discover they are on their stomach, make the correction and drift back to sleep," she said.

Bedding also affects our snoozing pose and, in turn, our quality of sleep. "Memory foam" mattresses provide the best body support, according to Vaughn, while firm inner-spring types aren't recommended. A mattress should "break" a bit so that it molds to the natural curve of the lower spine and props it up.

Similarly, a pillow that is too hard or bulky will not support the "C" curve of the neck. If that curve is diminished it won't support the head, leading to neck pain and other problems.

This post is part of a continuing series that answers all of your "why" questions related to science. Have your own question? Email dspector@buisnessinsider with the subject line "Q&A"; tweet your question to @BI_Science; or post to our Facebook page.

SEE ALSO: Why Skiers Fly Through The Air In A V Shape

More BI Answers: Is Drinking Carbonated Water Bad For You?

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Former Citi CEO Sandy Weill Is Selling His Stunning Greenwich Estate For $14 Million


Sandy Weill's home

Former Citigroup chief executive Sandy Weill has listed his stunning Greenwich, Connecticut estate for $14 million, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The 16,400-plus square-foot mansion sits on 6.3 acres on Round Hill Road. 

Sotheby's International Realty has the listing.

Weill and his wife Joan currently live mostly in Sonoma, Calif. They still own residences in New York City, the Adirondacks and the Bahamas, according to the WSJ. 

Weill's Connecticut compound is definitely a dream home, and now we're going to take a tour. 

The stunning country home was designed by architect Ira Grandberg.

Sotheby's International Realty

The home features 14 rooms, 6 bedrooms, 9 full baths and 3 partial baths.

Sotheby's International Realty

The craftsmanship on the interior of the shingle-style home is gorgeous.

Sotheby's International Realty

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

11 Video Games From The 1990s That Are Better Than Games Today

American Officials Play Board Games To Understand War


Persian Incursion Board GameTo understand war, American officials are playing board games.

Two evenings a month, four dozen defence and intelligence officials gather in an undisclosed building in Virginia. They chat informally about "what if" scenarios.

For example: what if Israel were to bomb Iran's nuclear sites? Recent chats on this topic have been fruitful for a surprising reason, says John Patch, a member of the Strategic Discussion Group, as it is called. Nearly a quarter of those who regularly attend play a board game called Persian Incursion", which deals with the aftermath of just such an attack. For half the players, such games are part of their job.

You don't need a security clearance to play Persian Incursion. Anyone can order it from Clash of Arms, a Pennsylvania firm that makes all kinds of games, from Epic of the Peloponnesian War to Pigs in Space. Yet playing a war game is like receiving an intelligence briefing, Mr Patch says. It forces players to grapple with myriad cascading events, revealing causal chains they might not imagine.

How might local support for Iran's regime be sapped if successful Israeli raids strengthen claims that its anti-aircraft batteries were incompetently sited? Might a photo purportedly showing Iran's president with a prostitute help the Saudi monarchy contain anti-Jewish riots? Might those efforts be doomed if the photo were revealed as a fake?

Paul Vebber, a gameplay instructor in the navy, says that in the past decade the government has started using strategy board games much more often. They do not help predict outcomes. For that, the Pentagon has forecasting software, which it feeds with data on thousands of variables such as weather and weaponry, supply lines, training and morale.

The software is pretty accurate for "tight, sterile" battles, such as those involving tanks in deserts, says an intelligence official. Board games are useful in a different way. They foster the critical but creative thinking needed to win (or avoid) a complex battle or campaign, he says.

Some games are for official use only. The Centre for Naval Analyses (CNA), a federally funded defence outfit, has created half a dozen new ones in the past two years. Most were designed by CNA analysts, but commercial designers occasionally lend a hand, as they did for Sand Wars, a game set in north-west Africa.

CNA games address trouble in all kinds of places. In Transition and Tumult, designed for the marine corps, players representing groups in Sudan and South Sudan try to whip up or quell local unrest that might lead American forces to intervene. In The Operational Wraparound, made for the army, players struggle to stoke or defeat a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Avian Influenza Exercise Tool, a game designed for the Department of Agriculture, shows health officials how not to mishandle a bird-flu epidemic.

Board games designed for the government typically begin as unclassified. Their "system", however, becomes classified once players with security clearances begin to incorporate sensitive intelligence into it, says Peter Perla, a game expert at CNA.

If an air-force player knows that, say, a secret bunker-busting bomb is now operational, he can improve the dice-roll odds that a sortie will destroy an underground weapons lab. During official gaming sessions, analysts peer over players' shoulders and challenge their reasoning. Afterwards, they incorporate the insights gleaned into briefings for superiors.

One reason why board games are useful is that you can constantly tweak the rules to take account of new insights, says Timothy Wilkie of the National Defence University in Washington, DC. With computer games, this is much harder. Board games can also illuminate the most complex conflicts. Volko Ruhnke, a CIA analyst, has designed a series of games about counterinsurgency. For example, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-? (sold by GMT Games of California) models "parallel wars of bombs and ideas", as one reviewer puts it, on a board depicting much of Eurasia and Africa.

Even training for combat itself can be helped with dice and cards. Harpoon, a game about naval warfare, has proved so accurate in the past that hundreds of Pentagon officials will play it when the next version comes out in a couple of years, says Mr Patch. One of its designers, Chris Carlson, is also responsible for the "kinetic" aspects of Persian Incursion (ie, the bits that involve shooting).

Mr Carlson is a former Defence Intelligence Agency analyst; Persian Incursion's data on the nuts and bolts of assembling and commanding bomber, escort, and refuelling aircraft "strike packages" for destroying Iran's nuclear sites is so precise that on at least two occasions intelligence officials have suggested that he is breaking the law by publishing it.

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Washing The Floor Is No Fun So I Had This Robot Do It For Me


iRobot Scooba 450 8

iRobot is perhaps most famous for its line of Roomba house-vacuuming robots. But the company also has an excellent Scooba series of robots that wash your floor with detergent and water.

For those who would rather laze on the couch (and that's all of us), we can now set an autonomous robot loose on the floor and it will do a pretty good job.

The second in iRobot's floor-washing series is the Scooba 450. It looks like a heavy-duty Roomba and operates in much the same fashion, using sensors and algorithms to navigate your floor so that it covers every exposed inch while avoiding your rugs. It comes with a charger and stand to help speed up the drying process when it's finished.

I got to use one for a while and was simultaneously impressed and grossed out at how well it cleans floors. To the observer's eye, it appears to be largely working in box patterns to cover all of your exposed floor. Bumping into a rug causes it to change direction, so there's no need to take up your rugs if you don't want to. It cleans in three stages, first soaking your floors, then scrubbing them, then squeegeeing them dry. It doesn't make any more sound than you'd expect — I was able to watch TV one room away without needing to adjust the volume a significant amount.

When the robot's done cleaning, it's unfortunately up to the user to empty the unit of the dirty water. You probably won't like the way it looks, but that's only because the Scooba works really well. According to iRobot, the Scooba will remove 99.3% of bacteria from your floor using its cleaning process. After seeing the filthy water that came out of the tank when it finished cleaning, 99.3% sounds about right.

Lazy germophobes such as myself will have difficulty saying no to this device, and with good reason — it's an effective housecleaning robot that's really good at what it does, totally rising to the challenge of cleaning gross floors.

The Scooba costs $600 and I have no complaints of substance. The Roomba, its vacuum-only cousin, has an excellent return-to-dock feature that executes upon completion of vacuuming, which would make an excellent addition to the Scooba, but I imagine this is absent here (and in its Scooba 390 predecessor) due to the difficulties associated with safely carrying water in a battery-powered robot.

While my cat largely ignored the Scooba, your mileage may vary. Here's a video showing the robot in action:

Check out iRobot's site for more on the Scooba »

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Chinese Clinics Offer Horrible 'Cures' For Homosexuality


China Hong Kong gay rights paradeThe Confucian desire to be a dutiful son or daughter can lead to horrible therapies.

In 2011 Lin Yan attended the Chuanwei Psychological Counselling Centre in Shenzhen, a southern city. Worried that his parents would not accept his homosexuality, Mr Lin, who was then 24 (and now uses a pseudonym), spent $1,700 on three months of so-called "conversion therapy".

He was shown sexualised images of men and induced to vomit by an injected drug. Other techniques included what he describes as "mental torture". A counsellor would repeat that his family would never forgive him and that being gay was immoral. He endured electric shocks.

 Mr Lin's treatment may be abhorrent but it is far from uncommon in China's big cities. The country declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 2001. Today urban centres harbour vibrant gay scenes and even hold cautious gay-pride festivals. There are over 100 support groups around the country. But the idea that homosexuality is a curable disease prevails in rural areas and among older generations.

Almost all young people come under pressure to provide an heir, a basic tenet, influenced to a certain extent by Confucianism, that leads some young people to feel their homosexuality must be unfilial. Zhang Beichuan of Qingdao University, in east-central China, reckons that four-fifths of young gay men in China end up marrying women. Those in such predicaments are drawn to clinics which offer counselling to gay people and services including what is often touted as a "cure". Enrolling in such schemes can cost $5,000 or more--a fortune for most Chinese.

 Elsewhere in the world, therapies that purport to turn gay, lesbian or bisexual people into heterosexuals have been discredited. The American Psychiatric Association says undergoing such treatment risks depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour. The United Kingdom Council for Pyschotherapy calls the practice unethical.

 In China, where conversion clinics have operated for decades, there has been no such outcry from medical or official bodies. In December LGBT Rights Advocacy China, a non-profit organisation in Beijing, staged a small protest outside one clinic. The group's members held signs saying: "homosexuality is not an illness".

They sent 20 letters to the health bureaus of ten cities with details of clinics offering what they say are illegal services. No one has written back. Clinics need special licences to administer physical treatments such as electric shocks, says Mr Zhang. Few of them have the proper paperwork.

 They also lack proper professional standards. A counsellor at the Nanjing Urban Psychological Counselling Centre says he uses hypnosis to uncover the "root cause of the homosexual tendency" in childhood memories. A statement on the clinic's website says that boys born into families with a strong female presence are more likely to be gay. Alternative medicine or electrotherapy is administered to create an aversion. The counsellor claims a 70% success rate.

 Mr Lin counts himself a fortunate failure. He spent all his savings on his treatment and suffered anxiety, insomnia, weight and hair loss. But he remained gay. Seeing no alternative, he came out to his parents. It has taken his mother months to come to terms with his sexuality. Eventually she joked that if her son was to bring a boyfriend home, he should at least be rich and handsome.

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According To This Formula, You Should Consider Selling All Your Banksy Paintings Immediately


The art market is blazingly hot right now — Christie's 2014 inaugural auction saw 35 works sold for over 1 million British pounds, with four artists setting records for their work.

But how do you know whom you should be buying?

The gallerist, quant trader and data scientist behind ArtRank.com can tell you. 

Using a proprietary algorithm, the art fund the trio operated for 16 months through the spring of 2013 helped net them a 4,200% return, according to Carlos Rivera, the gallerist, venture capitalist, and only member of the group authorized to speak on the record about the project.

The formula has four main components:

  • Market Saturation (number of works extant)
  • Social media presence 
  • Market Support (measuring the influence of the institutions, market makers and collectors backing the artist)
  • Auction performance

Here's the current ranking: 


Zak Prekop, the 35-year-old Brooklyn-based painter (and brother of legendary underground Chicago rocker Sam Prekop) takes pole position. Rivera explained that Prekop has a large following on social media and hasn't yet produced many works, but the ones he has created continue to sell well.

Lucien Smith, 24, meanwhile, just sold a painting for $100,000. By ArtRank's count, that means he's peaking now. 

"We track points of inflection," Rivera said. "Once something sells for x-amount, people start to come out of the woodwork." 

But growth in the market for Jacob Kassay, 30, who is No. 4 on the liquidate list, has stalled. One of his works recently sold for just $50,000, after a comfortable period in the six-figure range. If ArtRank is correct, it's a sign of just how short the prime period for an emerging artist can be — just four years ago, BlouinArtInfo ran a piece called, "Through the Looking Glass: Behind Jacob Kassay's Meteoric Auction Rise."

Rivera explained the algorithm ultimately tracks the shape growth potential.

"If you buy a Jacob Kassay at $100,000 now, there's a chance it could sell for $120,000 six months from now maybe. That's quite optimistic. Whereas if you buy works from the under $10,000 category, there's a large potential for exponential returns."

Kassay's career may not be finished — it just means the growth market for his work is now likely to simply be linear instead of exponential. The same is true for Banksy, Rivera says.

By now you've probably realized that such an algorithm can be used in other ways. As a venture capitalist, Rivera is keenly aware of this too, and he says the trio are actively exploring expanding their offerings to more mainstream consumer products. For now, their main source of profit is selling early access to updated tables.

"We're looking at how a corporation that isn't necessarily as large as Nike, but wants to know whether green or red shoes will be more popular, what can be created in service of that."

The website is highly polarizing: One gallerist we spoke with currently representing a top-ranked artist in ArtRank's "buy now" category would not let us run an image of the artist's work for this post, saying he didn't wish to be associated with it in any way. Rivera acknowledges that gallerists have proved hostile, and that they changed the site's original name, "Sell You Later, to ArtRank to avoid further inflaming parts of the art crowd.

"There was a collector who said we should be put in front of a firing squad," Rivera said.

But he explained that the artists themselves — at least the ones in the "buy now" category — have mostly given the site the okay, since it gets them exposure.

And wealthy collectors dig it too.

"What we've seen is popularity among a large portion of those doing early access, whose sport is finding an artist before he sells for a million dollars." 

For now, the site also only tracks living, emerging artists, to take advantage of the prevailing phenomenon of virality. But that's likely to change, Rivera says, given the larger data set for deceased artists and masters.  

Rivera also cautions that the site should not be the sole premise on which to make a transaction. "You should use this and use your own taste —it should only be used as a guide, to check out an artist's trajectory."

SEE ALSO: Why Anyone Would Pay $142 Million For A Work Of Art

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The 19 Most Expensive Mansions For Sale In Los Angeles Right Now


0 Carbon Canyon RoadLos Angeles, with its swanky neighborhoods and gated mansions, has always been an expensive place to buy real estate.

Home prices in the county grew a whopping 16.75% between January 2013 and January 2014, according to real estate intelligence firm DataQuick

Some Los Angeles houses, however, are in a league of their own. The experts at Point2 Homes helped us come up a list of the most expensive mansions for sale in LA county. We also looked at listings from The Agency, Sotheby's International Realty, and Christie's International Realty to compile this list. 

In addition to the desirable zip code, millions of dollars in Los Angeles will buy you a pool and other outdoor amenities, a nice plot of land and beautiful surrounding views.

Buy a modern mansion on Paradise Cove.

Address: 27960 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Price: $27.5 million

This 6,500-square-foot home provides ocean views of the Paradise Cove beach through its large glass front. The home has bamboo floors and a deck that leads directly to the beach.

This is a classic mansion for a prominent family.

Address: 385 Copa De Oro Road, Los Angeles, CA 90077

Price: $27.5 million

This 10,500-square-foot home sits on 1.1 acres of gated property. It's designed with an eye for grandeur, including a two-story entry with curved staircase.

Live in the estate built for Bob Hope.

Address: 10346 Moorpark Street, Los Angeles, CA 91602 

Price: $27.5 million

Called the Hope Estate, this mansion sits on 5.16 acres surrounding Toluca Lake. The property includes a guest house and staff quarters plus a one-hole golf course. It was originally built for the comedian Bob Hope.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Dominique Ansel Has Officially Brought His SXSW Cookie And Milk Shots To NYC


cookie and milk shots dominique ansel

The man behind the Cronut has debuted his next big thing — the Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots.

Dominique Ansel started serving his new warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shots at his Spring Street bakery today at 3 p.m. With only 200 snacks available and a limit of two per person, the line is snaking around the block.

According to Grub Street, the shots cost $3 each, and the bakery is working on a take-home pack of 8 for $25.

The snack features a buttery chocolate chip cookie molded into the shape of a shot glass that is said to be able to withstand the moisture from the milk.

And the milk is also special — full-fat and creamy, it's organic milk from an upstate Swede Farm that has been infused with vanilla and some sugar to give it a cold and sweet taste to go along with the cookie.

Ansel previewed the treats at a SXSW party in Austin, Texas last week, drawing a line that stretched for three blocks.

New York Post reporter Hailey Eber says the best way to eat them is "to be alternately sipping the milk, then nibbling down the cookie cup as the milk level lowers" — although feel free to throw the milk back immediately and chow down on the still-warm cookie glass.

And if you want more milk after you've finished devouring the cookie shot, Grub Street says you can ask for a milk chaser.

SEE ALSO: 12 Baking Hacks That Will Seriously Improve Your Cookies

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Banning Pledging Doesn't End Hazing


Sigma Alpha Epsilon SAE Fraternity House University Alabama

Sigma Alpha Epsilon — dubbed "The Deadliest Fraternity" in America — banned new member pledging last week following the deaths of 10 fraternity members and pledges over the past decade.

While SAE is not the first national fraternity to move away from pledging, it is one of the largest and best-known. Another fraternity that has made this announcement — Sigma Phi Epsilon — offered its congratulations in a statement:

After learning that Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) would follow their lead by replacing pledging with single-tier membership and a better fraternity experience, leaders of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity contacted their peers at SAE to offer congratulations and support on the historic news...

SigEp hopes that its two decades of experience challenging Greek stereotypes and operating a fraternity focused on the development and achievement of members without pledging will help SAE as they begin to make similar changes.

SigEp's membership process has been lauded by anti-hazing activists. In a New York Times op-ed, Cornell University President David Skorton wrote that "acceptable alternatives to the pledge process must be completely free of personal degradation, disrespect or harassment in any form. One example is Sigma Phi Epsilon's 'Balanced Man Program,' which replaces the traditional pledging period with a continuing emphasis on community service and personal development."

However, SigEp's experiences in Greek reform clearly show that banning pledging and reforming the new member process does not automatically lead to the end of hazing. In fact, SigEp has continued to battle hazing in its chapters since it launched the Balanced Man Program more than 20 years ago.

In a statement to Business Insider, SigEp national's communication director Beaux Carriere condemned hazing and outlined the fraternity's efforts to end it:

Hazing is a form of bullying, and any university's student judicial records will show that bullying and its various forms are very much a problem among student populations.

SigEp teaches our new members early on about bullying, bystander behavior and hazing prevention. Our members know that hazing is not a part of theSigEp experience, and they are willing to report it if they see it. We also work with parents and universities to make sure they understand our expectations for student safety and are willing to report behavior that could lead to hazing. The moment a student is put in an uncomfortable situation by one of his peers, a line has been crossed. It doesn't take a death or serious injury for us to take action. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to hazing, and we do everything in our power to ensure that it doesn't happen.

It was our undergraduate members who realized that pledging was causing more harm than good, and our they asked for a reform to the pledging process in 1991. In 1992, we launched the Balanced Man Program, and its success has made it a demand-driven program since its inception....

It is important to note that The Balanced Man Program is more than the removal of pledging. Our members participate in programs and events that focus on academic achievement, healthy lifestyle choices, leadership development and preparing for a professional vocation.

The Balanced Man Program emphasizes continuous education for fraternity members during every year of college, not just as "new members." One part of the program that makes it so different than other Greek organizations, according to their website, is giving "a member full rights the day he joins, so he becomes a full contributor with equal responsibility." More specifically, there is no pledging in the fraternity.

According to Carriere, 85% of SigEp chapters currently operate the reformed program, and the fraternity is "working hard to raise the funds necessary to support the Balanced Man Program at 100% of our chapters because we know it works."

"We believe that telling a chapter they have to run the Balanced Man Program without giving them the staff support, volunteers and resources to implement the program would be like removing faculty from a college and instructing students to teach themselves<' Carriere said. "With the financial backing of our alumni, we are working to provide all SigEp chapters with the resources and support they need to implement the Balanced Man Program effectively."

Though the Balanced Man Program began in the 1990s, hazing at SigEp chapters has not disappeared just because the national fraternity has banned pledging.

Carriere explained how the national fraternity typically handles chapters that have been found to haze new members:

Sometimes hazing happens when a member acts alone, your typical bully. But if bullying has been tolerated by a chapter at-large, we won’t risk the safety and wellbeing of our members. In partnership with our alumni and universities, we have closed chapters where this has been the case and have 30 fewer chapters today than we did 10 years ago. We typically return to a campus once the current membership graduates, and we're able to recruit men who haven't been a part of a culture that accepts bullying.

A quick search revealed a number of hazing abuses of new SigEp members over the past few years.

In one disturbing example, the Purdue University SigEp chapter was placed on probation for four years after a 2013 university investigation revealed significant new member hazing. As The Purdue Exponent reported:

New members were yelled at and required to do tasks, such as cleaning the chapter house daily and requiring them to be sober drivers, which the University characterized as demeaning and degrading.

New members were also given "puke buckets." The buckets, normally used for decoration, can include messages that condone drinking and are given to new members by their "big brother," an older member of a fraternity who serves as a mentor.

On Sept. 22, new members brought an inflated sex toy representing a naked female body to the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center to take photographs of the sex toy for laughs.

Purdue SigEp notes the chapter's commitment to the Balanced Man Program on their website, writing, "Sigma Phi Epsilon is committed to developing its brothers throughout their careers at Purdue as GENTLEMEN, SCHOLARS, and ATHLETES. We are able to achieve this through the Balanced Man Program."

The SigEp chapter at Stetson University also recieved sanctions for hazing allegations last year, as the university reportedly discovered that new members were locked in a room and "urinated in the water jugs because they may not have felt comfortable to leave and go to the bathroom," according to The Stetson Reporter.

According to their website, Stetson SigEp "is not a pledging chapter. We have a Balanced Man ideal where we believe that, upon admittance, a new member has the same responsibility and impact upon the fraternity as a full brother."

Hazing charges are nothing new to SigEp chapters, though. In 2008, the University of Arizona chapter was removed from campus for three years after several major hazing violations came to light — all while openly continuing to have pledges.

Carriere told BI about the University of Arizona chapter's evolution:

After SigEp launched the Balanced Man Program the undergraduate leaders at the University of Arizona were unable to implement the Balanced Man Program. In 2007, SigEp closed the chapter because we could not provide a safe experience that supported the growth and development of Arizona students. When the chapter reopened in 2012, they began operating the Balanced Man Program...

The Arizona story is a great example of why it is so hard to make changes when students involved in a culture that accepts bullying are still on campus. To clarify the timeline, SigEp learned of allegations of hazing at the University of Arizona in 2007 and suspended all members and chapter operations. Arizona alumni worked with these students to understand and remove negative elements from the chapter so that operations could resume safely and free of hazing. Unfortunately, this attempt was undermined by former members of the chapter, and the house was shuttered in 2008. Today, these students have graduated and the young men on campus that have joined our new chapter are able to focus on the Balanced Man Program and all the advantages that come with it.

The Arizona Daily Star described the hazing that occurred in 2008 at the SigEp chapter's "History Night:"

Divided into groups of 10, the pledges rotated through rooms of the house behind University Medical Center and were asked to squat with their backs pressed against the walls and learn about the goals of pledging.

The pledges were asked to memorize traditions and recall one another's names while being yelled at and intimidated.

And when one pledge didn't behave as he should — members thought he was disrespectful — a dozen pledges were lined up and slapped one by one.

When a pledge ducked to avoid a slap, he was hit a second time and then had his shirt ripped off.

Among other instances of hazing was a particularly nasty description of making new members learn a song:

The most serious violations revolved around daily song practice, during which pledges sang traditional fraternity songs while members listened.

The investigation details that members threw paper balls at pledges, shot spitballs at them and pushed them while they sang. Some members threw ice down the pledges' shirts, the investigation said.

On Fridays, the underage pledges were forced to drink beer while they practiced the songs. The pledges were told to drink until they vomited, with garbage cans put out for them to use, the investigation details.

After they finished vomiting, the pledges would have to resume singing and drinking, according to the investigation.

While it is certainly laudable that SAE is working towards decreasing the danger that has become associated with many of its chapters, it may need to do more than just banning pledging. For many, hazing has become an integral part of the fraternity experience, and certain chapters may continue offensive and illegal traditions regardless of their national fraternity's actions.

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How To Learn A Foreign Language In 3 Months


tourist berlin germany guidebook

Benny Lewis speaks six languages fluently.

"French and Spanish, English, German, and Brazilian Portuguese..." he ticks them off for me. "And Esperanto."

That last one is a made-up language, or a "constructed international auxiliary language," meaning it was designed to help people from different nations without a common tongue communicate.

Lewis is the author of the new book "Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World." The title pretty much says it all. He believes — strongly — that with the correct approach and enough practice, anyone can master a foreign language in as little as three months.

"There's almost an epidemic of people thinking they don't have a language gene," he says. "So many people end up learning a second language but never speaking it."

Benny Lewis Fluent In 3 MonthsThe globe-trotting Irish native has made a name for himself by studying and speaking about how we can improve our language-teaching systems. For Lewis, who notes that he could only speak English until he was 21 years old, the key point is to give up the quest for linguistic perfection.

Lewis believes that the critical flaw in our current language-learning setup is that we approach it like any other factual subject. We try to build competency in a specific, methodical order with grammar lessons and sets of related vocabulary, as we move toward the ultimate goal of fluency. In some cases, he says, people become "so obsessed with that end stage that they never get past the beginner stage."

Instead, he aims to have them reach the so-called "B2" level on the Common European Framework of Reference, which is considered sufficient knowledge to travel in a country that speaks the language.

Here are some of his best tips for learning a language in three months:

  • Speak the language out loud from day one. Beginners shouldn't be afraid of mispronouncing things or sounding unpolished, Lewis says. It's most important that they start practicing — aloud — right away.
  • Learn practical phrases first. New language learners should aim for phrases like "bathroom where?" that will help them communicate about basic needs. "That's not very eloquent, but it's totally understandable," Lewis notes.
  • Forget about learning strict grammar. As part of getting basic vocabulary and phrases down, Lewis says people shouldn't worry too much initially about learning the rules of grammar. Those can be filled in later.
  • Practice by Skyping with a native speaker. One of today's best language learning tools, Lewis says, is the Internet — specifically video chats like Skype. Using these free services, an English speaker in New York can easily get free or cheap conversational lessons from a native speaker of another language elsewhere in the world.
  • Listen to local radio stations. Another option for immersing yourself in a foreign language is to stream radio from a country that speaks it. To do this, Lewis recommends checking out TuneIn, an online repository of radio stations from around the world.
  • Practice a one-minute introduction to yourself. One of Lewis's favorite tricks for beginners is to have them write out a short introduction to themselves, and then work on translating it with a native speaker. This relatively quick activity teaches plenty about basic vocabulary and phrases.
  • Avoid generic language courses. Lewis discourages people from signing up for classes like Rosetta Stone, which he feels are too generalized to help the average beginner. At that stage, he says personalized feedback is the most important thing to have.
  • Instead, check out free language-learning tools online. Duolingo is one of Lewis's favorites, as well as italiki, an online site that connects you with native speakers for personal language lessons.
  • Be prepared to put in a lot of time and practice. Lewis believes that people who are willing to study a foreign language full-time could reach a B2 level in just a few months. On the other hand, he thinks the same level could be achieved in a year or two with one to two hours of practice each day.
  • Don't aim for perfection. The problem that most beginners run into, Lewis argues, is that they become so focused on reaching a perfect end-stage that they get discouraged and never get past the early stages. The best way to deal with this? Get comfortable with mistakes, and don't try to be perfect.

SEE ALSO: This Brilliant Entrepreneur Is Making Money Off You Without Your Even Noticing

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Bill Gates Says People Are Way Too Pessimistic About The World


bill gates

Despite all the poverty, famine, disease, terrorism, and war in the world today, things are actually really good and they're only getting better, according to Bill Gates.

"We're on this rising tide that's not recognized. It’s overwhelming how prosperity is spread around the world," the ex-Microsoft CEO who is the world's richest man said in a conversation at the American Enterprise Institute.

One reason that people don't appreciate global gains is our obsession with GDP, which doesn't account for many ways our lives are getting better in the modern era. Even when it comes to GDP per capita, however, Gates is optimistic.

Here's more on his prediction that there will be almost no poor countries by 2035:

[T]oday 45 countries that are still in that low-income category. And what I’m saying is that, by 2035, there should be less than 10, and they’ll mostly be either places like North Korea, where you have a political system that basically creates poverty, or land-locked African countries where the geography, the disease burden, the disparate ethnicities mean that they haven’t been able to bring together a government that in terms of education, infrastructure, health does even the most minimum things for them.

And so we’re on this rising tide that’s not recognized. It’s overwhelming how prosperity is spread around the world, say from 1960, where there were very few rich countries and a gigantic number of poor countries. Now most countries are middle-income countries, and poor countries are much smaller. Now, just saying that they’ll all move up past that threshold doesn’t mean they won’t have poor people within the countries; it doesn’t say their governments will be fantastic, but it will be a lot better on average than it is today.

He says people tend to be irrationally pessimistic:

I think that a deep problem in perception is that if you want something to improve, you have a tendency to be bothered by the status quo and to think that it’s much worse than it is. And that can be beneficial because you don’t like, say, the level of violence in the world, the level of poverty, the level of — number of kids dying. But if you divorce yourself from the true facts of improvement and look at the exemplars, look at what’s worked — if you get sort of a general despair about is the world improving, then you won’t latch on to those examples.

The Steven Pinker example, one of my favorite books of all time, is that if you ask people, “Is this one of the most violent eras in history?” they will say yes. Overwhelmingly, Americans say yes. Well, it’s overwhelmingly the least violent era in history. And so what it means is your disgust with violence actually increases, and that’s partly why we take steps and why within our own society and the world at large it’s come down so dramatically.

And here's more on the world getting better in ways not captured by economic data:

You know, I’m not a fan of the way time-series adjustment for comparing GDP between various points in time is done. I think it meaningfully understates the rate of progress. If you take, say, how you get news, your ability to get news, as far as the GDP is concerned, the news business is down. It’s employing less people. It’s gathering less money. And are you impoverished in terms of your ability to search and read articles today versus, say, 30 years ago? Probably not.

You know, buying encyclopedias, you know, I bought it — my parents bought a World Book. I read it. You know, I had to learn the world alphabetically. Very weird way to learn things. You know, now, every kid who has Internet access has Wikipedia. And so whether it’s in the area of technology or medicine or various things, you’re — there’s a lot of a qualitative nature that’s not captured in those things. So whether the gross number goes up or not, the rate of improvement in livelihood, you know, I think will be very rapid in the future.

Now just because things are getting much better, doesn't mean all of the world's problems are going away.

Gates says there will still be poor people and disease, and that problems like inequality and unemployment could keep getting worse. Speaking about the replacement of workers with software, he had a worrying prediction: "20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model."

Indeed, the $76-billion-man says we have a lot to do when it comes to charity, education reform, and tax reform to keep society moving in the right direction. But he wants people to remember the big picture: The world has never been better.

SEE ALSO: 31 charts that will restore your faith in humanity

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Here Are The Cities With The Most And Fewest Employed Teenagers


Employment prospects for young people have gotten much worse since 2000, but those prospects vary from place to place.

The Brookings Institution just released a comprehensive report on the state of youth employment and unemployment, and things are grim. They found that employment among teenagers and young adults has plummeted over the last decade.

However, in some places, teenagers are more likely to be working than others. The map below, based on data from the report, shows the ten cities with the highest rates of youth employment in 2011 in green, and the ten cities with the lowest rates in red:

brookings institution teen employment map nice borders

Here are the teen employment rates for these cities:

brookings institution teen employment table

Even in the cities with the highest teen employment, fewer than fifty percent for 16-19 year olds are working.

The Brookings Institution found a number of factors that are associated with different levels of teen employment in different cities: "Larger shares of college students, high school dropouts, and teens from low-income families among the teen population were significantly associated with reduced employment rates."

That is, it appears that lower teen employment levels could depend both on more teenagers going to college, which is likely a good thing in the long run, but also on negative factors like drop out rates and poverty.

SEE ALSO: Wall Street Bonuses Are Bouncing Back, While Everyone Else's Wages Are… Meh

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The Best Hamptons Summer Rentals At Every Price Point


hamptons summer rentals $700,000

With spring on the horizon, it's time to start gearing up for the upcoming Hamptons season.

Summer rentals go fast, so it's always best to look early and look often.

We scanned Sotheby's, Brown Harris Stevens, and Corcoran to find the greatest Memorial Day to Labor Day rentals currently on the market at every price point.

For $15,000, you can stay in this 1920s three bedroom for the summer.

Located in New Suffolk, it's a little out of the way. But with 1,400 square feet, an outdoor patio with grill, and walking distance to the beach, it's worth it.

hamptons summer rentals $15,000Photo: Corcoran Real Estate Group

This Amagansett rental could be yours for under $20,000.

The $18,000 one-bedroom has an upstairs deck and grill, plus a garden.

hamptons summer rentals $20,000Photo: Brown Harris Stevens

$30,000 for the summer gets you this four-bedroom Southampton home.

It has a pool, large sunny kitchen, and it's close to the village and beaches.

$30,000 hamptons rental homesPhoto: Brown Harris Stevens

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

My Surreal Journey Into Argentina's Currency Black Market


Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"And now we enter a Coen brothers film," said my Argentine friend Tony.

He wasn't kidding.

We turned off a noisy street into a plain unmarked office building in the center of Buenos Aires. Leaving the blazing sun behind, we entered a dark lobby. It wasn't cool inside but it was eerily quiet.

Our mission: change our dollars into pesos.

I was excited.

Tony checked in with a man behind a desk. He mumbled a code word and just like that we were ushered into a rickety-old elevator — the kind in which you have to open and close the doors yourself. It looked like any pre-war office building

We stopped and stepped off onto the third floor. Tony led me to the left to a door marked El Morro Haba. (I wondered aloud later what it meant. "Actually, it means nothing," Tony said.)

We tapped a bell and were buzzed into an entryway the size of a walk-in closet. On our left was a large bank teller-like window with no one behind it, and on our right was yet another locked door. A young man with a messenger bag was crammed into this closet with us, waiting.

I glanced at the closed-circuit camera hanging from the ceiling in the corner. That's when I realized we were trapped.

But since Tony didn't seem nervous, it all seemed normal. I came to learn that 'normal' in Argentina doesn't exist. Surreal moments lurk everywhere.

We waited some more...

argentina peso currencyCambio! Cambio!

I had arrived in Buenos Aires just five hours earlier and needed some pesos before dinner and a show.

I had $400 to change.

But in a country like Argentina, few people are naive enough to do this through official channels or exchange bureaus like you would in other countries. Strict capital controls, aggressive monetary policy, and blazing inflation rates have distorted exchange rates.

The official Argentine Peso-U.S. Dollar exchange rate that day was around 7-to-1. Not so bad at all compared to 2013. But Tony insisted we could do much better. So we entered the murky environs of the black market exchange world.

A gringo like myself can easily do this by flagging down one of the dozens of people on the pedestrian-friendly Calle Florida who is shouting out "cambio!" which translates to"'change!" But every Argentine has a "guy" who can give you an even better deal at what they call the "blue" rate. I imagine some people in Argentina are making a decent, albeit illegitimate,  living playing off the spread between the "official" rate and the "blue" rate. Newspapers like La Nacion publish the spread daily.

Tony put a call in to a friend who put him in touch with his "guy" — who was actually a woman. She was offering the best exchange rate Tony could find that day: 11.50 pesos for every dollar. Sounded good to me — that was about 3 pesos more for my dollars than the official rate.  So we headed east across town on the Subte (the city's subway system).

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Back in our tiny holding cell, I thought about taking a photo but didn't know if that would get us thrown out. Changing money outside the "official" exchange is technically illegal.

Before I was able to ask Tony what I could and couldn't do, we were buzzed through into the main office by a young woman with dark hair who greeted us with a smile and escorted us to another room. The journey was underway.

F&Jselfie_02We passed through a few rooms set up like waiting areas at a dentist's office. We also passed a pantry full of old computers — the kind you may have used in 1993.

The woman motioned us over to a couple chairs, said something I didn't catch to Tony in Spanish, went through a door, and closed it behind her.

Again, we waited.

Across from us on a white couch was an older man with white hair and a beautiful mustache. At his feet was a big backpack full of something. Dulce de leche? Empanadas? Dollars? I was intrigued. He ignored us — staring straight ahead.

Tony and I passed the time by catching up. We hadn't seen each other in a year. We traded stories for 10 minutes or so.

A mysterious mustached man was called into a room next door on our left. The door was only halfway closed, and I could see that he was exchanging a stack of dollars for pesos. Just like we were supposed to. It seemed painless.

A Maze Of Doors And Blank Walls

The mustached man left.

Again, we waited.

Five minutes later it was our turn. Tony and I were called into the room next door where we were once again greeted us by the woman who first walked us in. Tony had our combined money — $600 — in one stack and handed it to her. She stood up and left through yet another door behind her.

So many doors in this place!

But there was nothing on the walls. Just a desk and three chairs. Tony turned and winked at me. She came back just a moment later with a receipt highlighting a conversion rate and our peso total. The total was the number we had agreed to before on the phone. We nodded and smiled. She left again and returned immediately with our pesos which she re-counted using a money counting machine — the same kind you'd see at a bank.

This woman was all gestures, no speech, and if I had to pick her out of a lineup tomorrow I'd fail. Tony had called her by name when he spoke to her on the phone earlier, but I had already forgotten what he called her. The office space we were in was so plain — from the white walls to the beige carpets and generic office desk and chairs — that it seemed to encourage forgetting. The details didn't matter. Faces blended into each other.

We had our cash in hand. Tony and I echoed "muchas gracias" and it was done. We walked out past a group of people waiting their turn to change money.

The Bottom Line

I ended up with 5,000 pesos at a fantastic rate. Plenty of money to spend on our week-plus vacation in Buenos Aires and in the northwest province of Salta. Tony and I and our wives enjoyed wonderful meals with fine regional Torrontes and Malbec wines for about $50 a day — for all four of us. What a deal! It's a really cheap travel destination for Americans right now.

The currency exchange was just a minor, almost forgettable part of the trip. After so much anticipation, the final process was disappointingly anticlimactic because it was so quick.

More importantly, the country is beautiful top-to-bottom. And Salta (near the Bolivian border) is like nothing I'd ever seen before — large cactus plants (cardones) loomed over lush vineyards. Llamas and goats frolicked across dusty roads. Mountains crowded around us. It really is paradise.

You should go. And I know a "guy" who can hook you up with a great rate.


SEE ALSO: 15 Crazy Things That Only Happen In Argentina

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10 Things Every College Student Needs To Do Before Graduation


Day Drinking College

College is a time of exploration, both inside and outside of the classroom. However, most students only have four years of higher education — and it goes by quicker than you think.

Here is our list of the 10 things every student must do before graduation. Some are easier to seek out than others, but we promise that each of these is an experience worth having.

This bucket list will take students all around their schools, into the depths of the library, and even outside the boundaries of campus. While some of these involve alcohol, it's no secret that college eventually just becomes an excuse to find different ways and places to drink (and most of us can legally drink by senior year).

So, here is the list what you have to do during your time in college. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

Write an article for a campus publication.

Crash a party where you don't know anyone and make a friend.

Take a trip off campus and explore your surrounding area.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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You've Probably Been Screwing Up Your French Press Coffee All Along




A new wave of coffee drinking has swept across the country.

Coffee houses like Stumptown Coffee in Portland, Oregon and Intelligentsia in Chicago and Los Angeles, turned what used to be a simple cup of Joe into something between an exact science and an art form.

We stopped by Maialino, a restaurant in Manhattan, where head barista Natalie Czech, showed us what it takes to make a perfect cup of french press coffee, and why being coffee obsessed is worth the trouble.

Produced by Robert Libetti. Originally published in May 2013.

NOW WATCH: How To Supercharge Your Coffee To Give You Even More Energy In The Morning

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