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'The Most Interesting Man In The World' Names The Real-Life Most Interesting Man

Girl's Plea To Pope Francis Results In Father's Release From US Detention Facility

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Pope Francis Brazil

After a 10-year-old California girl traveled to the Vatican to plead with Pope Francis for help as her father faced deportation, the man was released Friday on bond from immigration detention.

Mario Vargas was freed from a detention facility in Louisiana after he posted $5,000 bond. A relative who saw the girl on television pleading with the pope during a public audience helped with the funding, said his wife, Lola Vargas.

"When she left, her wish was that her father would be home," she told the Associated Press in Spanish. "Thank God she is going to get her wish."

Mario Vargas' release came after his daughter Jersey, of Panorama City, California, addressed the pope this week as part of a California delegation that traveled to Rome to urge the Vatican to prod President Barack Obama on immigration reform.

The girl and a teenager went as part of the 16-member group to represent the American children of immigrant parents who are afraid their families will be divided by deportation. The president and the pontiff met for the first time Thursday.

"I feel very happy and proud because I'm finally going to have my dad back and we're going to be reunited," Jersey told the AP late Friday before boarding a flight from Rome to Los Angeles. She said her father was also heading to Los Angeles, and that she hoped he would get there before her arrival Saturday.

"I haven't seen him in two years," she said. "It's been very hard since my dad hasn't been home. My mom has had to be the provider for my family, she's been the mother and father for two years."

Mario Vargas was arrested last year in Tennessee and convicted of driving under the influence before he was taken into federal custody earlier this month, said Bryan Cox, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Authorities released him after he posted bond, and an immigration judge will determine the outcome of his deportation case, Cox said.

Lola Vargas said she had been gathering money to pay for her Mexican husband's bond but didn't have enough until one of his cousins called, surprised to see the girl on television, and offered to help. Her husband had gone to Tennessee to look for work in construction and had been sending money to his family in California, she said.

A message left for Vargas' immigration attorney, Alex Galvez, seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Juan Jose Gutierrez, an immigrant advocate who co-ordinated the trip to Italy, said the archdiocese of Los Angeles helped get the group a key spot so they could speak with Pope Francis amid the crowds.

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Objects Bearing Colors Of Missing Plane Seen In New Search Zone

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search for malaysia flight

A Chinese military plane searching for signs of debris from MalaysiaAirlines Flight 370 spotted several objects floating in the sea on Saturday, including two bearing colours of the missing jet.

But it was not immediately clear whether the objects were related to the three-week-old investigation, and the second day of searching in the area ended with no evidence found of the jet, officials said.

The Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 spotted three floating objects, China's official Xinhua news agency said, a day after several planes and ships combing the newly targeted area closer to Australia saw several other objects.

Ships from China and Australia scooped up items described only as "objects from the ocean", but none were confirmed to be related to Flight 370, said a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is overseeing the search.

Relatives and friends of the passengers said they were tortured by the uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones, as they wait for hard evidence that the plane crashed.

"This is the trauma of maybe he's dead, maybe he's not. Maybe he's still alive and we need to find him. Maybe he died within the first hour of the flight, and we don't know," Sarah Bajc, the American girlfriend of US passenger Philip Wood, said in Beijing.

"I mean, there's absolutely no way for me to reconcile that in my heart," she said.

The three objects spotted by the Chinese plane on Saturday were white, red and orange in colour, the Xinhua report said. The missing Boeing 777's exterior was red, white, blue and gray.

An Australian PC3 Orion search plane also sighted objects in a different part of the search area, but the maritime safety authority did not describe those objects in greater detail.

An image captured a day earlier by a New Zealand plane showed a white rectangular object floating in the sea, but it was not clear whether it was related to the missing jet or was just rubbish.

Flight 370 disappeared on the 8 March while bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and investigators have been puzzled over what happened on board the plane, with speculation ranging from equipment failure and a botched hijacking to terrorism or an act by one of the pilots.relative missing malaysia flight

The latter was fuelled by reports that the pilot's home flight simulator had files deleted from it, but the Malaysian defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said checks, including one by the FBI, had turned up no new information.

"What I know is that there is nothing sinister from the simulators, but of course that will have to be confirmed by the chief of police," he said.

Newly analysed satellite data shifted the search zone on Friday, raising expectations that searchers may be closer to getting physical evidence that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard.

That would also help narrow the hunt for the wreckage and the plane's black boxes, which could contain clues to what caused the plane to be so far off-course.

The US navy has already sent equipment that can detect pings from the back boxes, and the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, told reporters in Sydney that the equipment would be put on an Australian naval ship soon.

"It will be taken to the most prospective search area and if there is good reason to deploy it, it will be deployed," he said, without giving a time frame. Other officials have said it could take days for the ship – the Ocean Shield – to reach the search area.

The newly targeted zone is nearly 1,130km (700 miles) north-east of sites the searchers have crisscrossed for the past week. The redeployment came after analysts determined that the Boeing 777 may have been travelling faster than earlier estimates and would therefore have run out of fuel sooner.

The new search area is closer to Perth than the previous one, with a flying time of two-and-a-falf hours each way, allowing for five hours of search time, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

AMSA said five P3 Orions – three from Australia and one each from Japan and New Zealand – plus a Japanese coastguard jet, the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, and one civilian jet acting as a communications relay took part on Saturday.

"The weather in the area was reasonably good – most of the area we were able to see four or five kilometres or more," Royal Australian Air Force Flight Leiutenant. Russell Adams said. "The sea state was up, however, which meant there were quite a few whitecaps in the area so the crew would have had a bit of difficulty discerning between objects in the water and the whitecaps, so it made it hard for the guys today."

Some family members in Beijing said they want to fly to Kuala Lumpur to seek more answers from the government, but an airline representative said it may have to wait a day because of a lack of hotel space this weekend because of the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix race on Sunday.

Steve Wang, a representative of some of the Chinese families in Beijing, said about 50 relatives wanted to go to Malaysia because they were not happy with the responses given by Malaysian government representatives in China.

"Because they sent a so-called high-level group to meet us, but they have not been able to answer all our questions," he said. "It's either they are not in charge of a certain aspect of work or that it's still being investigated, or it's not convenient for them to comment."

Malaysia Airlines' commercial director, Hugh Dunleavy, said on Saturday in Beijing that the airline was trying to facilitate the relatives' travel to Kuala Lumpur, but that plans had not been confirmed because of the difficulties in booking hotels this weekend.

If investigators can determine that the plane went down in the newly targeted zone – which spans about 319,000 sq km (123,000 square miles) – recovery of its flight data and cockpit voice recorders could be complicated.

Much of the sea floor in the area is about 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) below the surface, but depths may reach a maximum of about 6,000 metres (19,700 feet) at its easternmost edge.

The hunt for the plane focused first on the Gulf of Thailand, along the plane's planned path. But when radar data showed it had veered sharply west, the search moved to the Andaman Sea, off the western coast of Malaysia, before pivoting to the southern Indian Ocean, south-west of Australia.

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37 Breathtaking Photos That Won At Sony's World Photography Awards

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130384228050401250_ Michael Nordqvist_Nordics_1st Place_National Award_2014

Now in its second year, Sony World Photography Awards' National Award uncovers the best single image taken by a local photographer in countries spanning from Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, to the Pacific Island region.

A handful of photography experts saw nearly 140,000 entries and selected 37 winning shots. The competition also featured a Youth category for up-and-coming photographers and an Open program.

A photographer of the year will be announced on April 30th. The 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition will open at Somerset House in London, running May 1-18.

Australia: "Going Home" by Neville Jones

 



Hong Kong: "Jump Of Life" by Cheung Lai San



Germany: "Lightsnake" by Holger Schmidtke

 



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One Great Thing About This Otherwise Crappy Time Of Year Is Making Maple Syrup...

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Making Syrup15

Kurt Vonnegut, a resident of the northeastern United States, used to say that there were actually six seasons in the year in this part of the world: winter, spring, summer, and fall...and "locking" and "unlocking."

"Locking," Vonnegut said, comes between fall and winter, when leaf-season is over and the world is hunkering down but real winter has yet to arrive. "Unlocking" comes at the end of the winter, when the world has begun to thaw, but it's still in no way spring.

These two seasons tend to be bi-polar and confusing.

But if you live in the northern United States and have access to some woods, there's a fun thing you can do with the "unlocking" season...

Make maple syrup!

That's what I did when I was a kid.

You start with the stuff — buckets, taps, hooks, a drill, a hammer, and a sap collection tank. A pickup truck helps, too.



Buckets are actually an old-fashioned and inefficient way to collect sap (you'll see why). These days, serious "sugaring" operations use vacuum tubes that whoosh sap straight from the trees to the sugar house. But you can still get tin buckets secondhand from specialty dealers. Ours are from Canada.



Our taps are the old-fashioned kind, too. The ones you use with vacuum tubes are thinner and made of plastic.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    






HISTORY LESSON: How A Hungover Wall Streeter Invented Eggs Benedict

These iPhone Headphone Tricks Will Make Your Life Much Easier

The 12 Best Kickstarter-Funded Restaurants In New York City

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colonie interior 2More than 300 restaurants across the U.S. have been funded with the help of Kickstarter, according to a map released by the site last week. 

Kickstarter has increasingly become a valuable resource for budding restaurateurs. Some even speculate that the crowdfunding site could be the future of restaurant financing, in part because it offers an infusion of cash without the attachment of private investors. 

It also offers a way for entrepreneurs to engage closely with their community. 

"I really think of them as being the perfect project because they are, obviously, so community-based, largely by physical location, but not always," Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler said to Eater. "They're great ways for communities to get together and to really have a closer relationship with a place that can be a pretty central hub to that neighborhood or town."

Inspired by Kickstarter's map of the restaurants that had been funded using their services, we looked at which of those eateries in New York City offered the best dining experience. To compile our rankings, we considered ratings from Yelp and OpenTable, as well as professional reviews from publications like Zagat, New York Magazine, and the New York Times. 

From a Japanese-Jewish eatery to a Michelin-starred restaurant, there are plenty of places worth exploring. 

#12 Snowdonia

34-55 32nd Street, Astoria

Snowdonia is a Trappist-inspired gastropub with an extensive offering of affordable craft brews. There's plenty of beer-inspired fare to be had here: mussels in beer, beer-battered fish and chips, as well as classic pub items like bangers and mash. 

Their Kickstarter campaign reads, "As young professionals (and cool people) ourselves who have lived in Astoria for over 10 years, we feel there is a void in the Astoria restaurant/bar scene that needs to be filled, especially after 10pm, for people looking for something more intimate than a dive, but less pricey than fine dining."

They raised $11,260 in Kickstarter funding. 



#11 Shalom Japan

310 South 4th Street, Williamsburg

The Japanese-Jewish cuisine of Shalom Japan is the brainchild of married owners Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi. The combination may be unconventional, but it works — according to the New Yorker, "At its best, their food is fusion in the truest sense, seamless and utterly convincing." 

Matzah ball ramen, pastrami-stuffed chicken, and lox rice bowls are among the unique offerings. 

The concept restaurant earned $20,086 from 131 backers on Kickstarter



#10 Emily

919 Fulton Street, Clinton Hill

Matt and Emily Hyland raised $16,132 on Kickstarter to design and build an authentic wood-burning pizza oven. The pizza oven is the centerpiece of their restaurant, but they serve delicious pastas and small plates, too. 

Eater recently named Emily one of the 21 hottest pizza places in the U.S. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    






9 Things You Didn't Know About Chipotle

13 Things You Never Knew About The Eiffel Tower

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Eiffel Tower

125 years ago today, the Eiffel Tower was officially completed in Paris after 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days of construction.

It stood as the gateway for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in honor of the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, and continues to make an impact on the world’s conscious today.

In honor of the famous world attraction’s birthday, here are 13 cool facts about the Eiffel Tower everyone should know.

eiffel tower world fair exposition internationale 18891. The Eiffel Tower wasn’t the brainchild of Gustav Eiffel. Instead, his senior engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier designed the building. Gustav Eiffel wasn't overly interested in the project, but sent the engineers to the head of the company’s architectural department, Stephen Sauvestre. With Sauvestre's edits, Eiffel got behind the final plans and bought the right to the patent.

2. The Eiffel Tower in numbers: 300 workers, 18,038 pieces of wrought iron, 2.5 million rivets, 10,000 tons, 984.25 feet high.

3. The tower was built as a symbol of modern science, or as Eiffel himself said, “not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living.” At the time that the tower was being built, another technology was also in its infancy phase — photography. As the tower was built, many photographers captured series of photographs to show the tower’s construction.

Eiffle tower construction

4. At the time of its construction, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world. It wasn't until 1930 when New York City’s Chrysler Building rose up to 1,046 feet that the tower lost that title.

5. The Eiffel Tower's elevators weren't operational at first. On May 6, fair goers were allowed to enter the tower, but the 30,000 visitors had to climb 1,710 steps to reach the top. The lifts finally entered service on May 26.

6. Parisian residents originally hated the Eiffel Tower, calling it an eyesore. Newspapers received angry letters that said the tower didn’t fit into the feel of the city, and there was a team of artists that rejected the plan from the get-go. One apocryphal story says that novelist Guy de Maupassant said he hated the tower, but ate at its restaurant every day for lunch. When he was asked why, Maupassant replied it was only place in Paris he couldn’t see it.

eiffel tower7. It changes height by the season. Because it’s made with puddled (wrought) iron, the tower’s metal expands when exposed to the summer sun, causing the structure to rise by as much as 6.75 inches.

8. The Eiffel Tower was only meant to stand for 20 years, but the French military and government began using it for radio communication and later telecommunication. When the permit expired in 1909, the City of Paris decided to keep it.

9. The Eiffel Tower has stood up to quite a lot during its lifetime. It transmitted radio signals during WWI, and during WWII the elevator wires were cut so that the Nazis could not use the tower (after Allied troops entered the city, the elevators were fixed). It even survived a fire on its top floor, and over 250 million visitors from around the world climbing on it.

10. The tower is not painted one uniform color. To counteract atmospheric perspective, the tower is painted darker at the top and becomes gradually lighter towards the bottom.

11. Speaking of paint, every seven years 50 to 60 tons of paint are applied to protect the tower from rust.

12. It’s not just a tourist attraction. The Eiffel Tower has housed a newspaper office, post office, scientific laboratories, a theater, and the first level becomes an ice rink every year.

13.It is the most visited paid monument in the world, attracting almost 7 million visitors every year (75% of whom are from other countries). Here’s the full breakdown:

eiffel tower visitors

eiffel tower visitors

For more cool facts on the Eiffel Tower, visit the monuments website here.


NOW WATCH: The Strange Fashion Choices Of European Men

 

SEE ALSO: Scientists Discovered What Makes Someone A Good Dancer

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The 25 Richest Neighborhoods In The New York City Suburbs

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cars sands point long islandNew York City has long been considered the playground of America's millionaires and billionaires. But as many of the city's high earners start families and seek more space, they move out to the suburbs surrounding the city.

Stephen Higley, a professor emeritus of urban social geography at the University of Montevallo, recently ranked the richest neighborhoods in the U.S. based on American Community Survey 2006 - 2010 data.

He aggregated contiguous block groups (subdivisions of Census tracts) with a mean income over $200,000. You can read his complete methodology here.

These are the wealthiest neighborhoods in the suburbs outside of New York City — Westchester County, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. 

SEE ALSO: Should You Buy Or Rent In NYC?

#25 Talmadge Hill in New Canaan, Conn.

Mean household income: $381,648

75th richest neighborhood in the U.S.

Talmadge Hill is made up of relatively large homes, and is considered a great neighborhood for families in New Canaan. The school system is also considered top-notch.   

Talmadge Hill is 0.3% Black, 3.2% Asian, 1.5% Latino and 93.9% Non-Hispanic White. 

Sources: Higley 1000city-data.comneighborhoodscout.com



#24 Sunny Ridge-Highfield in Harrison, N.Y., Westchester County

Mean household income: $382,054

74th richest neighborhood in the U.S.

Sunny Ridge-Highfield is part of the southern half of Harrison, N.Y., and is the home of Harrison High School.

A big part of the culture in town is an annual football game between Harrison and Rye high schools. The friendly rivalry between the towns dates back to the end of the 17th century. According to local lore, John Harrison purchased a plot of land from the Siwanoy Native Americans that two residents of the neighboring town of Rye had already claimed.    

Sunny Ridge-Highfield is 90.7% white, 2.2% Asian, 4.2% Latino, 0.5% black

Sources: Higley 1000city-data.comneighborhoodscout.com



#23 Oyster Bay Cove in Long Island, N.Y.

Mean household income: $385,230

68th richest neighborhood in the U.S.

The village of Oyster Bay Cove was founded in 1931. Many of its current residents make a living in jobs involving computers and math. Italian, Irish and Russian ancestries are common.

The area is known for its wildlife, and is less congested than other places on Long Island. It sits next to Sagamore Hill in Cove Neck, which was the home of Theodore Roosevelt from 1885 until his death. 

Oyster Bay Cove is 86.9% white, 8.5% Asian, 2.2% Latino, 1.5% black

Sources: Higley 1000city-data.comneighborhoodscout.com



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20 Brilliant Ways You Can Slice Up Europe

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Europe is getting sliced up again, this time by Russia taking Ukraine.

In response, DataRep has posted graphic designer Yanko Tsvetkov's sweet infographic from the second edition of his Atlas of Prejudice showing Europe through 20 stereotypes. 

Tsvetkov is the genius behind those other amazing Europe-stereotype maps. His blog is great too.

In an email, Tsvetkov described the slices as "caricatures of common prejudices that I have collected from various sources — personal observations, books, history, news, pop culture, etc."

We first saw it at Marketplace.

tumblr_n39dx2Bk2a1sq2igro1_1280

NOW WATCH: The Strange Fashion Choices Of European Men

 

SEE ALSO: Is Your City An Elegant Grid Or A Sprawling Chaotic Mess?

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Why Men Are Dressing Better

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guys at party

It's like all of a sudden we woke up one morning and the guys who thought they were killing the style game in a pair of wide-leg jeans and a pinstriped, button-down shirt the night before, started buying pocket squares and making appointments to get custom blazers fitted.

That's how quickly it happened. That's how quickly men found style.

And what seemed like the day after the pocket-square rush, HSBC wrote a report about this new kind of man called the Yummy — a young urban male with disposable income that he disposes of on clothes and accessories. These guys buy the good stuff, too. Last year Bain reported that men account for 40% of the total luxury market and the demand for menswear products keeps on growing.

The question is, why now?

The answer is that the Internet has changed an experience men hate — shopping.

"We've been slammed with men," said Michelle Goad, founder of shopping app PS Dept. It's an app that looks like Instagram, but every picture is an item that you can buy in a few clicks. Plus, there's a personal shopper that you can message for help with anything you're looking for.

"It's like they're ordering pizza on this thing, but instead it's Prada suits," Goad continued.

If you work at a bank here in New York City, PS Dept. will make sure that whatever you buy gets to you the same day. If you don't like it, returns are free.

PS Dept. is just one example of how the Internet has completely changed shopping — or for our purposes, the barrier between men and style.

Now instead of entering a store, finding your size, getting thirsty, not finding your size, having to pee, trying things on, losing your girlfriend/sister/mother in another store full of teenagers and just being bored in general, men need only scroll and click to get what they want.

So now they want things.

It's a revolution that some in the fashion industry saw coming a mile away. Take Nick Graham for instance, the man who founded the now-ubiquitous Joe Boxer. When he started Joe Boxer, 80% of men’s underwear was bought by women. Now that’s down to 20%.

After that experience, Graham knows how to notice when the tide is turning, and he sees it turning now. It's prompted him to go back into fashion and start a new Nick Graham line sold only online.

"Men’s wear sales at some of the contemporary Web sites that carry both men’s and women’s are 50 percent higher in comparison to the off-line sales of women’s apparel," he wrote in Women's Wear Daily last summer. "If total women’s clothing sales in the U.S. are about $120 billion, and men’s are about $60 billion, does that mean that men’s has a $30 billion upside if there were more fashion for them to buy?"

Maybe. And more importantly, the companies that figure out how to create the best experience for men will stand to gain a lot. Why? Because they're loyal shoppers.

"We're a service, not a retailer, so if we recommend bad items we don't have clients," said Goad. "Once you pull a good suit for a man, though, you can pull for them forever."

If guys like an item's fit or style, they'll go back again and again. To get to that point, though it's all about simplifying the experience.

How simple is this: Yuvi Alpert has a men's accessories line called Men In Cities. Everything on the site is $40. Nine new items are introduced to the site on the first of every month (you can get an e-mail about it if you want).

Alpert says that one of his goals with the way Men In Cities is set up is to "simplify discovery."

"I wanted to create a place where you don't spend more than a few minutes on the site," he said.

In his mind, men should always be finding new favorites and buying them over and over again. That's what they like to do, after all, and so retailers should conform to that and make it simple. The Internet makes that possible.

And with that, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Internet, personally.


NOW WATCH: 3 Watches You Should Wear If You Want To Impress People

 

SEE ALSO: Here Are The 4 Bags Every Man Needs

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The Most Expensive Taxi Fares In The World [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Getting to the airport can be a costly venture that tacks on to your trip budget, so it's wise to plan ahead and know just how much that cab will cost you.

Cheap Flights released an infographic that compares the cost of a taxi ride to the airport in major cities around the world.

It should come as no surprise that the most expensive taxis are in Japan: It costs a whopping $214.53 to travel from Japan's Narita International Airport to Tokyo.

The cheapest cab fare is in India: It costs a mere $8.67 to travel from Indira Gandhi International Airport to Delhi.

See the full infographic below:

Infographic on taxi fares

SEE ALSO: How To Make Your Flight Attendant Like You

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We Figured Out Where It Makes Most Sense To Buy Or Rent

One Of America's Greatest Photographers Was A Nanny With A Sadistic Streak

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There's a riveting and dark new documentary that digs into the life of one Vivian Maier, who took thousands of unbelievable street photos that didn't see the light of day until her death.

"Finding Vivian Maier" pays homage to her stunning work, but it also suggests Maier had a dark, sadistic side.

Maier — a poor child of a French mother who wore baggy clothes and floppy hats — worked as a nanny for a number of families in the Chicago area from the '50s to '90s. She was an odd woman. Maier always had a Rolleiflex camera around her neck and dragged her charges around Chicago's seedy areas to take pictures.

Those pictures often captured the weakest moments of their subjects, who included children weeping and a young boy who had just been hit by a car. Maier took one of her charges, Inger Raymond, to a stockyard, where she exposed the young child to the slaughter of livestock.

Near the end of the movie, Raymond reluctantly talks about her former governess's alleged abuse. That abuse included force-feeding. Maier stuffed food into the little girl's mouth and choked her until she swallowed, according to Raymond. Her nanny also threw her around the room when she couldn't tie her shoes quickly enough, Raymond says.

Other former charges also hinted at her darkness. One said Maier abandoned her by herself on the street so she could take pictures, while another simply said she was mean. A woman who hired Maier said the nanny kept massive stacks of newspapers with gruesome headlines around the house and grew livid when she tried to remove them. Eventually, Maier and that family parted ways.

Despite Maier's odd and mean behavior, at least two of her former charges had some affection for her, as they put her up in an apartment near the end of her life. In her final years, Maier often sat in the park, mumbling in French, eating food directly from a can, and accepting old clothes from strangers.

She would have left little mark on the world, if a 26-year-old real estate agent named John Maloof hadn't bought a massive box of her negatives in 2007. These days her name is mentioned along with the likes of photo legends Robert Frank and Diane Arbus. The families she worked for agreed that she would not have liked the attention.

See Maier's works at vivianmaier.com.

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Business Insider Is On Pinterest! Follow Us For Neat Maps, Gift Ideas, Travel Inspiration, And More

These Pictures Of Dogs At A Grooming Competition Are Insane

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Studio Session 1031

The elaborate dog fashion found at grooming competitions can be totally ridiculous. Just look at the poor pet on the right whose fur was cut and dyed to display the faces of multiple Disney characters.

Last year, photographer Paul Nathan visited the preeminent Intergroom competition in East Rutherford, N.J. and captured some of the madness and, yes, beauty.

While most people say elaborate pet haircuts are all in good fun, some critics have called the practice of "extreme grooming" humiliating and psychologically damaging for the dogs

Nathan shared some photos here, but you can check out more at his website or in his upcoming book, "Groomed."

The Intergroom conference and competition began in 1981 in Newark, N.J. It is now the largest international competition of its kind. Studio Session 102Over 3,000 dog and cat groomers from 21 different countries participate. The "Intergroom International Groomer of the Year" award is considered the most prestigious in the dog grooming world.

Studio Session 319The competition is divided by breed and type of grooming.  Studio Session 347 EditThe categories are poodles, terriers, spaniels/sporting dogs, other purebreeds, miscellaneous, and hand-stripping (where groomers pull the hair from dogs instead of cutting). Studio Session 644 EditThere is one other grooming category: creative. This is where groomers use hair dye and special techniques to make the dogs look like fictional characters or other animals, like this cheetah-dog.Studio Session 902 EditWhen dogs are presented in the creative competition, the groomers typically dress in a costume that matches their dog. Studio Session 1049 EditTo decide the winners, judges look for skill and creativity, Nathan told Business Insider.Studio Session 385 EditCelebrity dog groomer Jorge Bendersky explains his approach in the introduction to Groomed: “My task as a groomer is to capture and enhance that particular animal’s singularity with a distinguished and fashionably tasteful grooming style that brings out the best attributes [of the dog].”Studio Session 421 EditEach dog breed has its own grooming history. Poodles, for example, were typically groomed with their torso hair clipped short and rings of fur on their legs to facilitate swimming while out on a hunt.Studio Session 863 EditDepending on the complexity of the style, it can take anywhere from 3 hours to 9 hours to groom the dog. The dogs are given plenty of breaks.Studio Session 559The dogs in the competition are experienced at being groomed for this long, says Nathan, so they rarely get uncomfortable.Studio Session 599Not every dog is suited to the creative competition, however. It typically takes a lot of patience to be able to tolerate the long grooming sessions.Studio Session 1021The hair dyeing is done over several days. The dye is nontoxic and not permanent. It can last anywhere from a few washes to a few months.Studio Session 991This year's competition is on April 5th. It will draw a whole new crowd of dogs and groomers looking to make their mark with even more elaborate designs. Studio Session 1098

 

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Los Angeles' Massive Fleur De Lys Estate Sells To A 'Highly Secretive French Billionaire' For A Record $102 Million

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Fleur de Lys mansion

After years on and off the market, Los Angeles' massive Fleur de Lys estate has sold to a "highly secretive French billionaire" for $102 million, making it the most expensive home ever sold in L.A. County, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The home, which was sold by socialite and philanthropist Suzanne Saperstein, has 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a ballroom, two kitchens, a massive movie theater, a pool, tennis courts, and a nine-car garage. It had previously been listed for $125 million.

According to the LA Times, the 4.6-acre estate was sold after a three-way bidding war among international billionaires, and the winner closed in 10 days in an all-cash deal that included the home's antique furnishings.

Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone reportedly showed interest in the house in late 2012, and it was the setting for a much buzzed-about "off with their heads"-themed 40th birthday party for Yammer CEO David Sacks.

Fleur de Lys has a private, gated entrance on N. Carolwood Drive.



It's on more than four acres of land.



In addition to a swimming pool, the estate has two motor courts, a spa complex, and a tennis court.

 



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