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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Entertainment Mogul David Geffen Supposedly Bought This Hamptons Compound For $67.5 Million


Georgica compound

Rumor has it that billionaire music producer and film studio exec David Geffen bought an East Hampton compound nestled between the beach and Georgica Pond for $67.5 million, according to real estate blogger The Real Estalker.

The waterfront compound includes four separate lots: one for the 7,500 square foot house, one for a guest house, and two additional vacant lots. 

Other luxurious amenities of the house include seven bedrooms, two fireplaces, a fitness room, library, and a home office.

The property was listed last April for $75 million by socialite and philanthropist Courtney Sales Ross, wife of the late head of Time Warner, Steven J. Ross.

The expansive compound sits on nearly six acres of land between the beach and Georgica Pond.

The pond front is 481 feet and has small dock for boats.

Plus, pretty amazing sunset views.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Look How US Birth Rates Soared And Then Plunged In The Past Century


Birth rates have varied over time, but especially prominent is the "baby boom" after WWII.

This boom is especially visible in new data collected by researchers at the University of Michigan. They digitized 78 years of monthly birth records from every U.S. state.

From the data they created this chart of the average birth rates in different states, in three different eras: Pre-baby boom era (1931-1945), the baby-boom era (1945-1954) and the modern era (1965- 2008).

You can see how drastically the birth rates changed. The redder the state, the higher the birth rate (2.14 babies per couple and above, up to 3.16). The darker the blue the lower the birth rate, from 2.14 down to 1.12 babies per couple.

birth rates by eraThe chart is from a new study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The researchers say it's "the most extensive spatiotemporal data set on human births to date."

They actually used the data to analyze when birth rates peak in different places, and used the data with a model of measles infection to see the best time of the year to vaccinate.

This information can be used to time vaccination to reduce the burden of disease in developing nations.

SEE ALSO: Why Northerners Are Born Earlier In The Year Than Southerners

SEE ALSO: Peak Birth Month And Latitude Are Incredibly Closely Linked [CHART]

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This Sustainable Home In Silicon Valley Is The Perfect Alternative To A McMansion [PHOTOS]


low rise house

To many observers, Silicon Valley is the land of cookie-cutter developments and massive McMansions. But a recently completed home in the area could provide a useful model to change that.

Situated on a half-acre lot in Menlo Park, the "Low/Rise house" is an impressive example of sustainable living. The house uses a number of energy-efficient techniques, including radiant floor heating and hidden solar panels that generate 90% of the home's energy.  

"Given the great advances of technology emerging from Silicon Valley, architectural innovation surprisingly lags behind. The house is intended as a counter proposal to the suburban McMansion, the sprawling suburban developments that represent costly wasted space, resources, and energy," Dan Spiegel, founding partner of San Francisco-based Spiegel Aihara Workshop, said to Business Insider. "The Low/Rise House proposes a more responsive, flexible approach to the single family home."

Spiegel designed the home for his parents, two professors at Stanford. It has some pretty amazing green features. 

The house is made up of two low structures that meet in the center.

A three-story guest tower rises on one end of the property. The owners can use an app to shut off the utilities in the separated structure so that it doesn't use too much power when unoccupied.

Solar panels on the roof generate 90% of the house's energy, but they're purposely hidden from view.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Oil Drilling Plans Off Spain's Coast Threaten One Of the World's Premier Party Hotspots



Plans to drill for oil off the Spanish holiday island of Ibiza have met with fierce opposition from locals who fear the white sand beaches and marine life will be damaged.

"Everyone is against it here," said Carlos Bravo of the Blue Sea Alliance, an umbrella organization of 50 groups including environmentalists, hoteliers and unions, seeking to halt oil exploration off Ibiza and Formentera, a neighboring island that is only accessible by boat.

More than 10,000 people, some carrying signs saying "The Mediterranean is not for sale", marched in February through the streets of the capital Ibiza Town against the planned exploration.

Their campaign has the backing of celebrities like US socialite Paris Hilton and British model Kate Moss who are regular visitors to Ibiza, one of Europe's top tourist destinations which is famous for its nightclubs and turquoise waters.

"Ibiza is in danger. It is not a myth, not a metaphor and not an exaggeration. The island is facing an ecological disaster," Hilton wrote on her Instagram page earlier this year.

Moss has signed a petition urging the Spanish government not to allow the oil prospecting to go ahead, and posted a photo of herself holding a sign that read "Ibiza Says No" to her 32.8 million Twitter followers.

The project dates back to 2010 when British firm Cairn Energy obtained four exploration licenses for the waters around the Balearic Islands, one of which is Ibiza.

The company now plans to use seismic imaging, which bounces sound waves off the ocean floor, to map pockets of underground oil in the region before it applies for government permits to start drilling.

Cairn Energy said it will carry out the seismic imaging over 2,400 square kilometres (930 square miles), an area roughly the size of Luxembourg, 53 kilometres (32 miles) from Ibiza.

"The company is currently at the very early stages of assessing whether to explore for hydrocarbons," it said in a statement, before adding that the seismic imaging will take place "at a time when any impact will be at a minimum, most likely in the winter months".

- Noise threatens marine life -

Environmentalists warn the sonic shocks used in seismic imaging are a threat to marine life.

The deep waters around the Balearic Islands are home to the endangered bluefin tuna, the striped dolphin, the long-finned pilot whale and sperm whales.

"Cetaceans are very sensible to noise. This will interfere with their capacity to communicate and search for food," said Txema Brotons, the president of Tursiops, a research and conservation group based in the Balearic Islands.

The seismic imaging will use airguns that produce a loud sound every 10 seconds, round-the-clock, for 75 days, said Bravo of the Blue Sea Alliance.

"They generate a huge noise level, 10,000 to 100,000 times louder than the engine of an plane, which seriously harms fish, cetaceans, turtles and invertebrates," said Bravo.

Local fishermen fear the seismic imaging will ruin their catches.

"Cetaceans, fish and their larvae... they are all going to leave," said Pere Valera, the head of Ibiza's main fishermen's group.

"We have seen what has happened elsewhere, there was a 70 percent reduction in catches after seismic imaging."

- 'Islands' oil is tourism' -

Opponents also fear that oil exploration will hurt tourism in Ibiza, the main source of revenues for the island which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"The Balearic Islands' oil is tourism," said the head of the islands' regional government, Jose Ramon Bauza, who belongs to the conservative Popular Party in power at Spain's national level.

Of all the advanced economies of the OECD grouping, Spain is the most reliant on energy imports, which account for 99.9 percent of its oil and gas.

The Spanish government is looking to reduce this dependence by developing Spain's own energy production.

The Spanish oil industry could create 250,000 jobs and account for 4.3 percent of gross domestic product within 20 years, according to a report published last month by consulting firm Deloitte.

The report is based on an estimate that Spain has reserves of two billion barrels of oil.

Environmentalists are discouraged by the example set by Spain's Canary Islands, where seismic imaging has already taken place and oil drilling is set to begin later this year despite protests by island residents.

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32 Awesome Sports Bars In Big Cities Around The US


Will's Northwoods Inn

The Final Four may have surprised NCAA fans across the country this year, but that doesn't mean they won't be turning out in droves to watch the final games.

Derek Hembree and Clint Lanier, authors of the book "Bucket List Bars," helped us find some of the best sports bars in big cities around the U.S.

Check out one of these venues for this weekend's Final Four games this weekend, and the championship game on Monday.


300 Marietta Street NW

What sets Stats apart is the personal beer taps at select tables, which means no need to catch the bartender's attention. The 70+ high-def TVs and $1 cinerator shots on game day? Those are just perks.

Diesel Filling Station
870 Highland Avenue

It may be "a bit divey," but Diesel has everything a sports lover needs, including plenty of TVs, a huge beer selection, darts and arcade games, and great pub food. Bonus: Many of their tables have outlets to charge phones or iPads.


The Tavern
922 W. 12th Street

Austin residents often say "you're never too far from 12th and Lamar," referring to the location of The Tavern. It's one of Austin's oldest and best sports bars, with big screens, great drafts, and their must-try specialty: white wings.

Mister Tramps Sports Bar and Cafe
8565 Research Boulevard

Mister Tramps is known for their local and craft beers, and unique drunk foods menu. If you're going with a big group, call ahead and reserve a private space just for you and your friends.


911 Boylston Street

With an impressive, 220-year history, McGreevy's was THE sports pub at the turn of the century, and that hasn't changed. Professional athletes, politicians, and businessmen often frequent here, mingling with diehard Boston fans alike.

Jerry Remy's
1265 Boylston Street

The first president of Red Sox Nation opened up this sports bar in his own name to give dedicated Red Sox fans a game-watching haven. With three locations across the city, patrons often boast that "it has more TVs than Best Buy."

Game On!
82 Lansdown Street

Game On! has an expansive layout that features more than 90 HDTVs, private party rooms, and an impressive sound system. If you're feeling lucky, Game On! often holds ticket giveaways to nearly every sporting event in the Greater Boston Area.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Best Men's Shoes For Rainy Days


man walking in the rain san francisco

Rainy weather can ruin your quality work shoes, and soak straight through your canvas sneakers.

That’s why every man needs a few options to choose from during a rainstorm — whether they're nice work shoes for a meeting, a quality waterproof pair, or cozy rain boots to keep you dry.

Here are eight great pairs of shoes that will stand up to showers while you stay stylish at work or about town.

1. Cordovan Leather Shoes

cordovan leather shoes(Cordovan Dalton, Allen Edmunds, $725)

For anyone who needs to meet an important client or get to an early meeting, one of the best types of dress shoes you can own for the rainy season is anything made with Cordovan leather.

Cordovan is equine leather that is naturally weather resistant, thick, and one of the strongest leathers on earth. While these shoes tend to be more expensive, they will always look shined, never crease, and are work-appropriate.

2. Shoes With A Rubber Sole

brogues waterproof Caterpillar(Caterpillar Dougald Shoe, Amazon, $145)

A rubber sole shoe prevents water from seeping in and will dry quickly, especially if you take time to add extra waterproofing protection before slipping them on.

A good option are Caterpillar’s Dougald Shoe, which looks like a quality brogue but has extra traction and a rubber sole on the bottom.

3. Water-Resistant Leather Shoe

waterproof leather shoes(ECCO Atlanta Plain Toe, Zappos, $110)

Some companies make less expensive (but still solid) footwear that uses water resistant materials such as synthetic leathers or gor-tex.

Though they’re not the same high-brow quality as your fancy leather work shoes, they’re more stylish than a pair of goulashes and will suit practical men in inclement weather. Just be sure to choose a pair that also has decent traction on the soles.

4. Waterproof Leather Boot

waterproof boots Timberland(Earthkeepers Heritage Rugged Boot, Timberland, $190)

A waterproof leather boot like this one has a rugged style while still looking high-end and appropriate for the more casual office.

A brand like Timberland will also have better traction and the higher ankle to keep your feet dry, no matter the weather. Plus, there’s an extra layer of waterproofing and rust-proof hardware, which doesn’t hurt either.

5. Slip-On Rain Galoshes

Swims Galoshes in Green(Classic Galoshes, SWIMS, starting at $99)

You can still wear your favorite work shoes even if it's raining (with the right accessories). Choose a pair of galoshes that fit right over your shoe, like the SWIMS brand, and just take them off when you get to work.

These are easy to slip on because they're highly stretchable and the inner lining is low friction. SWIMS galoshes are also tear-resistant and will insulate your feet from the cold.

6. Sneaker Rain Shoes

sneaker boots tretorn(Tretorn Gunnar, Amazon, $70)

If you bike to work or like the look of sneakers, check out a low-cut rain shoe like the Tretorn Gunnar.

The cuff goes up to the ankle and they are fully waterproof, but still easy and lightweight to walk around in. These are great for a guy who wants a simple, non-bulky rain boot option.

7. Duck Hunting Shoes

Duck hunting l.l. bean shoes(Bean Boots, L.L.Bean, $99)

Another outdoorsy choice is a pair of classic duck hunting shoes.

Great on camping or fishing trips (or even a rainy trip to brunch, depending on your style), these are the ultimate in warmth with extra insulation, gore-tex to keep feet dry, and a well-made interior that fits feet like a glove and will last for years in rainy or wintry weather.

8. Rubber Boots/Wellies

rain boots tretorn wellies(Skerry Boots, Tretorn, $78)

When it’s absolutely pouring outside, sometimes there’s no way around wearing a pair of Wellies.

While some men can rock a pair of tall rain boots, most will feel more comfortable with the shorter version that still protects you against puddles, but won't make you look like Paddington Bear. You can always carry your nice work shoes in a waterproof bag and change at work.

NOW WATCH: 5 Classic Men's Shoes For Work And Play

SEE ALSO: How To Match Men's Shoes With The Right Type Of Pant

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How To Keep Your Divorce Out Of Court




The legal action of separation and dissolving your marriage is the least of your worries when it comes to the emotional and potential financial impact of the major life event of divorce.

Divorce lawyer Ani Mason says 90% of divorces settle out of court.

Mediation and collaborative law are two alternative paths that many couples are choosing over litigation. Not only do they address each issue – co-parenting, spousal support and the psychological effects – separately,  they are often more cost efficient.

NOW WATCH: How To Keep The Spark In A Long-Term Relationship

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Here Are The Countries Where Young People Are Happiest


teen happiness ranking

Policies aimed at improving public health and well-being around the world often focus on infants and adults. But what about the people right in the middle?

For the first time, The Youth Well-Being Index [PDF] — a joint effort by the International Youth Foundation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Hilton Worldwide — tries to assess just how teens are doing in 30 different countries around the world.

Keep in mind: These are not the top 30 countries — these are the only countries the researchers looked at. They include 70 percent of the world's youth. Nigeria, for example, came in dead last, not 30th in the world.

To create the Index, the researchers looked at 40 different indicators to assess "citizen participation, economic opportunity, education, health, information and communications technology (ICT), and safety and security" among the world's youth (defined on the Index as people 12-24).

The well-being of this age group should matter to everyone. "Youth-inclusive societies are more likely to grow and prosper," the report notes, "while the risks of exclusion include stinted growth, crime, and unrest."

Here's what the rankings look like — green is best, tan is middle, red is worst:

teen happiness rankings mapThere are actually a few surprises in the data. Vietnam is the only country in the top 15 classified as "Lower-middle Income." (The World Bank classifies countries as either High Income, Upper-middle Income, Lower-middle Income, or Low Income.)

Russia is the only "High Income" country that's not in the top 10. (In fact, 1-9 are dominated by the 9 richest countries on the list, with the exception of Russia.)

Additionally, even though high-income countries in general had lower rates of youth mortality, they had higher rates of youth stress and self-harm. High levels of stress, self-harm, and smoking dragged down the ranking of the United States, for example.

To see a thorough description of methodology and the rankings within specific domains, check out the report.

SEE ALSO: Five Quick Ways To Make Yourself Happier

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See How New York's Storefronts Completely Transformed In A Decade [PHOTOS]



Ten years ago, photographers James and Karla Murray went out onto the streets of New York City to document the beautiful and unique storefronts that, for the better part of the last century, have been the defining face of New York. What they didn’t realize at the time was that they were documenting the end of an era.

After more than a decade under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s guiding hand, Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs have seen a dramatic change as Bloomberg’s policies championed new development through tax incentives and changes to zoning codes. The rezoning laws have allowed for luxury apartment high-rises in hot spots like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the East Village. Since Bloomberg took office in 2001, more than 40,000 buildings have risen in the five boroughs.

The casualties of that effort have been the “Mom & Pop” businesses that used to define the neighborhoods that they were in. According to the Murrays, many of these businesses, like Mars Bar and CBGB, closed due to skyrocketing rents.

The Murrays recently went back to the storefronts they photographed a decade ago to see what has survived and what hasn’t. They were struck by what they found. Nearly two-thirds of the stores they photographed the first time around were no longer there. 

James and Karla Murray shared some of the photos from the project with us here, but you can check out more at their websiteand blog. The original photographs of the storefronts were collected in the book, "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York." 

When the Murrays began photographing the storefronts ten years ago, they interviewed the store owners about their businesses. Many told them then that they feared losing their businesses due to rent increases.M&GDINER10yearsLater1400PxOften landlords pushed out businesses in hopes of converting to condos. Sometimes, those plans never materialized, leaving storefronts simply vacant.GERTELS Bakery10YearsLater1200pxThe East Village’s Mars Bar closed in 2011. It was torn down and replaced by a luxury condo with a soon-to-be-opened TD Bank on the ground floor.MarsBarthenandnow1400pxThe original 2nd Avenue Deli location in the East Village closed in 2006 after the rent increased from $24,000 a month to $33,000 a month.2ndAVEDELI2200pxMost of the small business owners were pushed out when it came time to renew their leases. The businesses that have survived did so because they already owned their buildings.14thStreetOptimo10years1100pxAnother issue is that high apartment rents have pushed out many of the neighborhood's original residents, killing the businesses' loyal customer bases.BARMARTINs10years1400pxLenox Lounge in Harlem closed on December 31, 2012 after a lease dispute. LenoxLounge10Years1400pxCBGB in the East Village closed in 2006 after the building owners claimed the music club owed $91,000 in back rent. A John Varvatos store has since taken over the space.CBGB10years1750pxRalph’s Discount City in TriBeCa was forced to close in 2007 when the building began plans for conversion into a luxury condo.Ralphs10YearsLatersidepxThe Murrays say that the closing of the businesses picked up speed with the recession in 2007. CLAUDIOSBarberShop10Years1400pxMax Fish, the iconic Lower East Side art bar, closed in July 2013 after a rent increase. At the time of the closing, the rent was at $16,000 a month and was due to increase again. A new Brooklyn location is in the works.MaxFish10YearsVertThe Murrays say the biggest issue is that the new stores don't necessarily have any connection to the neighborhood or its inhabitants. "There's a loss of character to the neighborhood," says Karla Murray.MartyandSonsMeatMarket10YearsLater1200pxThe new stores are typical chain clothing and electronics stores, banks, and pharmacies. Even these stores don't always do well. CasaNovaPizzaThenandNowHorz1200Joe's Pizza was forced to close its East Village location when it was subject to a rent hike from $900 a month to nearly $15,000 a month. The pizzeria has since reopened in a new location on 14th street.BleeckeratCarmine10YearsHorzMcHale's Bar was a mainstay of Times Square for 62 years, before the building's landlord pushed out the bar to make way for the Platinum NYC condo tower.MCHALESThen&NowHorz

SEE ALSO: 26 Vintage Photos That Show How New York Has Transformed Since The 1970s

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Here's What It Takes To Survive In The Tribal Amazon [PHOTOS]



For hundreds of years, the Ashaninka, Madija, and Huni Kui peoples have made their home in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon rainforest, living off the land. Until recently, the groups have lived peacefully amongst each other, struggling to survive in the often harsh, but bountiful environment.

Over the last three years, logging by Peruvians has led to widespread deforestation, putting strains on what the environment can support. The deforestation has led other indigenous tribes, considered "uncontacted" because of their complete lack of peaceful contact with mainstream society, to begin invading the territories of the Ashaninka and other peaceful tribes. These "uncontacted" Indians, called "Bravos" by Brazilians, have been raiding peaceful villages.

Reuters photographer Lunae Parracho recently took a trip through the Amazon rainforest with the attacked tribes to see life from their perspective.

The Ashaninka, Madija, and Huni Kui people live in northwestern Brazil in the Acre state, which borders Peru. They live in small villages and use traditional medicine.

Amazon1Despite threats over the years from drug traffickers, oil companies, and even conservation groups, the people have remained fiercely independent.

Amazon2Ashaninka, Madija, and Huni Kui live primarily by hunting and fishing local wildlife and farming yucca roots, sweet potato, corn, bananas, rice, coffee, cacao, and sugar cane using traditional environmentally conscious methods that promote biodiversity.

amazon8The Huni Kui are the most prominent users of "traditional" medicine. Here a Huni Kui shaman prepares ayahuasca, a powerful psychedelic brew, to use in a healing ritual.

amazon5The Ashaninka are friendly to the Brazilian government. For a time, the Brazilian government manned a base nearby called the Envira Front of Ethno-Environmental Protection. The base was meant to protect Brazil's indigenous people from threats, but has since been abandoned. The Ashaninka have debated taking over the facility.

amazon10Illegal logging has devastated the Amazon rainforest over the last 20 years. It has become a serious issue for Brazil's indigenous tribes recently, as it has put pressure on territory and on the natural resources they live off of.

amazon12The "Bravos," indigenous people with no contact to the outside world, have begun moving into Ashaninka territory.

"They steal pots, knives, cloth. They live naked, speak another language and don't want to talk. They are at war with everyone. If they get close, they shoot arrows at us," Ashaninka chief Txate told Parracho.

amazon13Poshe and Biana, an Ashaninka couple, say their three-year-old daughter Sawatxo was kidnapped by the Bravos a couple of years ago.

amazon4The Bravos are not the only threat that the indigenous people face. The most common cause of death for children is diarrhea. The groups are not opposed to modern medicine, but there is no health clinic nearby and a trip for help can take up to ten days. This man's niece died of diarrhea two weeks prior, as they went in search of medical help.

amazon11"The Bravos are coming at us because Peruvian loggers are heading straight for them. And nobody ever explained to us ... why [the government] fled the base. Now we know that we need to take care of our territory, because if we have to leave here we don't have any place to go," Txate told Parracho.

amazon7The groups have asked the Brazilian government to step in for their protection and send troops to patrol the area. That has yet to happen. Some of the groups are armed, but they maintain that they have no desire to fight the invading tribes.


SEE ALSO: Hiking Through Peru Showed One Journalist The True Dangers Of Climate Change

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We Ate Dinner At The Michelin-Starred Restaurant That Was Funded On Kickstarter, And It Was Fantastic


the musket roomEarning a Michelin star is an achievement many professional chefs spend their lives working toward. 

But amazingly enough, Chef Matt Lambert got his star within four months of opening his own restaurant, The Musket Room, with the help of Kickstarter funds

He and his management team ultimately raised $25,636 from 123 backers on the crowdfunding site. 

The Musket Room, in New York City's Nolita neighborhood, features cuisine native to New Zealand, with traditional seafood dishes and red deer among the highlights. 

We recently paid a visit to The Musket Room to try it out for ourselves. 

Live plants hang in front of the entrance to the Musket Room, located on Elizabeth Street in Nolita.

Inside, the woodsy theme continues, complete with a live tree sprouting from the bar.

The restaurant is fairly small, with only two rooms to seat guests.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

21 Gorgeous Photos That Show Why Iran Is A New Tourist Hotspot


mosque in iranIran is becoming a tourist hotspot this year, with tour operators reporting significant increases in tourists booking trips to the Middle Eastern country. 

Perhaps that's because of a slight thaw in its relationships with the West, or simply because of the allure of exploring a little-known tourist destination with few other tourists around. 

Americans are allowed to visit Iran. In fact, Iran is actively encouraging visits from them. But U.S. citizens who do visit must travel with an official tour guide and get their itinerary approved by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to get a visa. Travel within Iran is considered safe if you tour responsibly, even though the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel warning to Iran.

From ancient cities with breathtaking mosques to gorgeous natural landscapes, here are some of Iran's most beautiful, and untouched, tourist attractions.  

Isfahan, located in the center of the country, is perhaps Iran’s most touristy city, famous for its Islamic architecture, covered bridges, palaces, and mosques.

It's home to several major tourist sites, such as Imam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan Square), one of the largest — and most beautiful — city squares in the world. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site that features gorgeous Iranian and Islamic architecture.

There are also beautiful mosques here, like the dreamy Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

2 British University Students Invented An Incredible Folding Toilet


Two British university students may have invented the toilet of the future. The "Iota" folds in after use, and its creators claim it uses 50% less water than your run-of-the-mill stationary toilet (via Design Boom).

Aside from saving water, it is also comparatively smaller, so it can fit into tiny bathrooms. It also has a rimless design that makes it easier to clean

The students, Gareth Humphreys and Elliott Whiteley, created the sustainable toilet as their final project at the University of Huddersfield, according to Design Boom.

See how the toilet works below.

Iota has a small footprint, and is easy to clean.future toilet gif

The toilet flushes in the "closed" position.toilet of the future gif

Here's a look at how the interior mechanism works.inside toilet of the future gif
Check out a video that further explains the Iota:

SEE ALSO: This Sustainable Home In Silicon Valley Is The Perfect Alternative To A McMansion [PHOTOS]

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How A New Zealand Chef Used Kickstarter To Open His Dream Restaurant


the musket room

Chef and New Zealand native Matt Lambert is bringing a touch of Kiwi culture to New York City's trendy Nolita neighborhood. His year-old restaurant, The Musket Room, is earning plenty of buzz for its inventive cuisine, but the story of how it got started is equally intriguing.

In 2013, after years of cooking in New York City kitchens — Public, Double Crown, and Saxon + Parole, to name a few — Lambert decided it was time to open his own restaurant. 

He turned to Kickstarter for help, ultimately raising $25,636 from 123 interested backers. Just four months after opening, the restaurant earned a Michelin star  

Click here to see what it was like to dine at the Musket Room >>

We caught up with Chef Lambert to find out more about the Musket Room. 

Business Insider: Why did you use Kickstarter to launch the Musket Room? 

Matt Lambert: Once we started construction on the restaurant, we realized that there was a better way to utilize our space in the kitchen. Instead of going back to our investors and asking for additional funding for this small project, we turned to Kickstarter for the final push to get us over the finish line. It was a nice way to get support from the public as well ... from people other than just our friends and family so early on.

BI: What was the Kickstarter experience like?

ML: For us, Kickstarter was a fun experiment in selling people on The Musket Room before it even opened. We created a video about the project and were so excited to see the participation grow and grow, until we finally met our fundraising goal.

BI: What specifically did you use the funds for? 

ML: The last funding that we received through Kickstarter helped us get our kitchen set up. We purchased a combi oven, which we use every day for everything from roasting ingredients to baking bread.

BI: Where did you get the inspiration for the name of your restaurant? 

ML: Basically, it’s the connection to the time period in New Zealand of the Musket Wars in the 1800s. Apart from the obvious connotation of muskets, it’s about that period when there was so much discovery and adventure going on. The Musket Room is a modern approach to the country’s culinary past. 

the musket roomBI: What do you like most about the space? 

ML: This was actually our dream space. It used to be The Elizabeth, and when it became available, we jumped on it. The location is great; I’ve actually worked in this neighborhood for about six years, so it just felt like the right place to open my own space.

BI: How would you describe typical New Zealand cuisine? 

ML: New Zealand’s cuisine is all about fresh, clean flavors. Knowing where your ingredients came from makes a big difference, so things like the venison and quail on my menu are really driven by that standout protein. I’d also say that New Zealand’s seafood is great. I went fishing a lot growing up — New Zealand is an island, after all — so things like the cold smoked scallops or the ora salmon dish really evoke the spirit of New Zealand for me! Also, I think that the Pavlova is such a quintessential New Zealand dessert. When I put the menu for The Musket Room together, I knew that was an essential dish. 

the musket roomBI: What are your favorite dishes at the Musket Room? Any favorite wine pairings? 

ML: The Cold Smoked Scallops, Ora Salmon, quail, venison with flavors of gin … they’re all great. I know we’ve all been enjoying the Milton Chenin Blanc. The winemaker is the man, and the Chenin Blanc is a great biodynamic, single vineyard wine. It’s a standout from NZ and pairs well with a few dishes on our menu.  

BI: What was it like to receive the Michelin star, especially after only being open for a short amount of time? 

ML: It was the biggest goal I had opening The Musket Room. We thought, ya, maybe in a few years we’ll earn a star, and the idea of getting it so soon after we opened seemed completely impossible. If I’m honest, that day we received word I tore up a little on the line – it was such a professional honor to receive. Only problem is now, we’re left to figure out what’s next! We want to keep striving to maintain that standard, and do more. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Eat At The Michelin-Starred Restaurant That Was Funded By Kickstarter

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Lexington: The Home-School Conundrum


Romeike familyMeeting the German Christians who claimed asylum in America.

In these first days of spring a mood of relief fills Morristown, Tennessee, near the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. After a harsh winter, clouds of white pear-blossom once more soften the hillsides around town.

The air rings with children's happy cries and the buzz of garden tools. Still more cheeringly, city burghers--led by the mayor, a local state lawmaker and the head of the largest church--no longer face mass arrest, a risk they incurred by vowing to hide a family of asylum-seeking Christian home-schoolers rather than see them deported back to Germany.

Civil disobedience does not come easily to Morristown, a conservative spot of almost 30,000 souls. Yet city fathers swore to endure jail time, if necessary, to shield Uwe Romeike, his wife Hannelore and their seven children, from federal agents with orders to expel them from Morristown, where they have lived since fleeing Baden-Württemberg in 2008.

A stand-off seemed likely when, on March 3rd, the Supreme Court declined to hear a final appeal against the Romeikes' expulsion, handing victory to the American government, which had always rejected the family's claims to be refugees from religious and social persecution. However, a day later federal officials put the family's deportation on indefinite hold--thereby allowing them to stay without setting a legal precedent (and without insulting Germany, a close ally).

German laws forbid parents from educating their children at home in almost all cases, citing society's interest in avoiding closed-off "parallel societies". Germany's highest court calls schools the best place to bring together children of different beliefs and values, in the name of "lived tolerance". In plainer language, the Romeikes believe that, if they return to Germany, their children face being taken to school by force. This happened in 2006: the youngsters wept as they were driven away in a police van. (On the next school morning supporters showed up and officers backed off.)

Worse, their children might be taken into care--this is the family's greatest fear, prompting their flight from Germany. As the Romeikes scanned the globe for options, the Home School Legal Defence Association, a Virginia-based group, urged them to apply for asylum in America. The hope was to cause a fuss in the press, says an HSLDA lawyer, Michael Donnelly, and to "fuel the flame of liberty in Germany".

In America, home-schooling has been legal in all 50 states for more than a generation. About 2m children are home-schooled. Many but not all are Christians whose parents want to shield them from the wickedness taught at Godless public schools. Mr Romeike, a music teacher, works as the pianist at the First Baptist Church in Morristown, which attracts 1,300 worshippers on a Sunday and boasts its own TV station. The church hosts weekly gatherings for 60 home-schooled families, among them the Romeikes. The children meet friends, play sports and take classes (taught by parents) in everything from science to quilting.

The Romeikes' case has fired up social conservatives across America. Their church belongs to the Southern Baptist Convention, whose spokesman suggested in March that the Romeikes were unwelcome in Barack Obama's America because, as a heterosexual married Christian couple with well-grounded children, they represented "the antithesis of this administration's political agenda".

Morristown's mayor, Danny Thomas, does not go that far. But he says that locals were deeply upset that the Romeikes were initially granted asylum by a federal immigration judge, only for the government to challenge that ruling. A dapper retired businessman, Mr Thomas was ready to harbour the Romeikes in "some place where they couldn't be taken". He is not surprised that home-schooling is on the rise. Christians feel increasingly persecuted, he avers, and it would be hard to find anyone in Morristown who does not believe that "God is being pushed out" of the public sphere. Others call the Romeikes model migrants. Some people come to Morristown "illegally", says Dean Haun, senior pastor at First Baptist, but the Romeikes did everything by the rules. "They are not on welfare, they're not asking for handouts. They're hard-working."

Tilman Goins, a Republican who represents Morristown in Tennessee's House of Representatives, recently condemned Germany's home-school laws as "promulgated under Adolf Hitler in 1938". Mr Goins was being obtuse. If there is a link between Germany's home-schooling policy and Nazism, it is that history helps explain German angst about fringe groups with passionate views that reject the liberal consensus.

Father Knows Best v Father State

Many conservative Christians want to portray the Romeikes as religious martyrs. Yet relating his saga in his hilltop home, flanked by a child's swing and wide, sloping lawns, Mr Romeike mostly describes a sad story of mutual incomprehension, made worse by official bossiness. His countrymen are suspicious because they do not know much about home-schooling, he suggests. It is "the German mentality: things have to be a certain way." Piety puzzles them too. "If you believe the Bible you are kind of from the Middle Ages."

Mr Romeike has old-fashioned views, grumbling about German schoolbooks "ridiculing" parents and teachers, for instance. He takes a sternly Biblical line on Creation and homosexuality. But strikingly, he says his children might never have been home-schooled if the two eldest had not been bullied at primary school. Stones were thrown at them. His daughter saw a child's trousers pulled down. Their headmaster retorted that his school was "peaceful". Years of legal battles ensued.

At root, theirs is a story about trust in the individual and the role of the state, revealing wide transatlantic differences. Americans assume that most parents try to do what is best for their children. That can be an uncomfortable principle (there are some daft parents, among them Lexington on a bad day). But the alternative--the presumption that the state knows best--is worse.

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17-Year-Old Seal-Hunter Takes Aim At Ellen DeGeneres, Prompting '#SEALFIES' Campaign



Ellen DeGeneres is catching heat from way up north.

Remember the Oscar selfie tweeted round the world? Samsung pledged to donate $1 from every retweet (for a total of $3 million) to whatever charity DeGeneres chose. Half went to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. The Humane Society must have seemed like an good bet for the other half — safe and nonpolitical, something everyone who took part in making the image go viral could get behind. 

1394132851_ellen degeneres oscars selfie 467

Well, not quite.

The Humane Society has campaigned aggressively against seal-hunting, making the group as popular in northern Canada as a Mister Softee truck in February. And back in 2011, Ellen also took on seal-hunting in a post on her show's blog supporting PETA. (Of course, Ellen has had her own issues with animal welfare groups. Anybody remember Iggygate?)

Now a backlash is brewing among the Inuit of the Nunavut region, who have been flooding Twitter with selfies (hashtag #sealfies) posing with seal fur and affirming the importance of seal-hunting for food, clothing and traditional reasons.

The campaign began when Killaq Enuaraq-Strauss, a 17-year-old "Ellen" fan from Iqualuit, took DeGeneres to task on YouTube. "You're an inspiration as a woman but also as a human being," the teenager begins, addressing the talk show host directly, before going on to "educate you a bit on seal hunting in the Canadian arctic. We do not hunt seals...for fashion. We hunt to survive."

Enuaraq-Strauss continues, "I own sealskin boots and they are supercute, and I am proud to say that I own them, and I also eat seal meat more times than I can count. But I can't apologize for that."

Due to Ellen's actions, she says, "A huge part of your fanbase is targeting us as a people for practicing our own rights and traditions as an indigenous group... It's detrimental to our culture. It's oppressive." She adds, "Having a role model to people worldwide use a photo of a few celebrities to protest against our culture, to raise money to fight against us — I'm a little bit insulted and hurt and disappointed. But I'm not mad."

After the video hit local media, a number of her fellow Inuit rallied to her cause, posting #sealfies of their own, including the government of Nunavut's Twitter account. 


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China Has Buildings Where Parents Can Abandon Their Children


Child, Children, Little Girl, Little Boy, Shanghai, China, Asia, Yepoka YeeboA controversial scheme to deal with unwanted babies proves too popular.

"Before abandoning, think carefully about your actions. Home is a child's real safe haven." So reads a sign on a small yellow building attached to an orphanage in Tianjin, a northern city.

It is one of dozens of facilities, called "baby havens" in Chinese, that have been allowing parents of unwanted babies to leave them anonymously in a safe place. Pilot sites opened in 2011 and by last year 25 such buildings had opened around the country.

Each baby haven has an incubator, a cot and a delayed alarm device so that staff can tend to a baby no more than ten minutes after it is left. But amid complaints from orphanages that they cannot cope with the high volume of babies, the policy is getting a second look.

At the Tianjin facility, a surly watchman says visitors are not allowed in and that the facility will close soon. Officials in the southern city of Guangzhou have already closed their baby hatch less than two months after opening it. They have been "overwhelmed" by the 262 babies left there. Most of them had severe health problems, they say.

As in other countries, it is often economic hardship that compels parents to abandon a child. But China's one-child policy is also a factor. The policy is being relaxed, but only gradually. A sick or disabled baby is still often an unwanted burden for a family limited to one child.

Some critics say the hatches encourage abandonments that might otherwise not happen. Chen Lan, founder of a child-protection group, disagrees. She says giving up a child is an act of such desperation that parents will not do it just because a policy makes it safer.

A recent commentary at Caixin Online, a leading Chinese news website, accused officials at the Guangzhou facility of "retreating from their public duty". The 262 abandoned infants did not just suddenly appear because a baby hatch was created, it said. "They were already around, but not cared for properly."

Ms Chen is confident the policy will survive. She says many nations have shown that, when a society reaches a certain level, it starts taking care of vulnerable children. "China has now reached that level," she says.

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Famed Cronut Bakery Shut Down Due To Mice Problems


No need to line up for cronuts tomorrow morning — Eater New York is reporting that Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the cronut, has been shuttered by the Department of Health.

Thanks to a tipster, Eater added this picture to Twitter of the DOH notice and an ominous “CLOSED” sign hanging in the bakery's doorway.


We just heard back from Dominique Ansel Bakery, which released this official statement:

Due to the video that was released showing a small mouse running across the screen for 5 seconds, the health department used it as evidence to ask us to re-cement and closed down the bakery for extermination. As a small one-shop bakery, we often feel like we're being looked at under a tremendous microscope. A lot of time people don't see the larger ramifications of their actions and how a tiny video can be sensationalized and cause harm and damages to an honest, small business that people's livelihood depends on. We of course believe that we run a clean and good operation, but see that we were targeted and will rise to the occasion to be even better.
Chef says we will be doing everything that was asked of us, and hope to reopen on Monday mid-day. Our team will be here in person to speak to customers live.

The inspection report is unavailable online at the time of this post, but here is the video in question that Gothamist posted of a mouse scurrying around the kitchen.Until today, the bakery has had a solid “A” grade, even though its most recent inspection from October cited the restaurant for “evidence of live mice” and docked the kitchen for not being “vermin proof.”

Here's how the restaurant fared during that last Department of Health inspection:

dominique ansel bakery health inspection 2013

Dominique Ansel gained widespread notoriety almost a year ago when he invented the Cronut — a cross between a donut and a croissant. The dessert became a nationwide sensation, and lines at the SoHo bakery extended around the block.

Since then, Ansel has created everything from a deluxe s’more to a "cookie and milk" shot.

Earlier this week, the Health Department shut down a Manhattan Dunkin' Donuts after finding evidence of rats.

NOW WATCH: The Inventor Of The Cronut Shows Us How To Make His Insanely Popular Pastry


SEE ALSO: New York City's Restaurant Grading System Is In Need Of A Major Overhaul

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The 'Bartender Of The Year' Makes One Heck Of A Cocktail


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A bartending superstar visited New York City last night to celebrate the launch of a new line of cocktails.

Alex Kratena, crowned Bartender of the Year in 2012 at the Spirited Awards in New Orleans, just developed five drinks for Langham hotel bars in New York, Boston, Chicago and Pasadena, Calif. Each city has its own signature drink, with two specially created as permanent additions to the New York City menu.   

Dozens of professionals from the nightlife, food and beverage industries attended the event at Measure Lounge at Langham Place in Midtown.

Kratena, originally from the Czech Republic, lived in New York for a time in the '80s.

"I was fascinated by graffiti art," he told Business Insider. "Lady Pink was one of the big superstars of street art at the time and I wanted the New York drink to pay homage to her."

Lady Pink was interested in historical romance and aristocracy, both of which are right up New York's alley.

Kratena took rhubarb, in season for early spring, and complemented it with Fino (a dry Spanish sherry), citrus, agave, and bitter orange to create a fresh, light and perfumy drink.

One guest got exactly those notes. She said it "tasted like perfume and felt like cotton candy." A visiting couple from England, where Kratena founded his award-winning Artesian Bar at the Langham Hotel in London, also thought the drink had a nice sweetness.

A hip pair of friends from Harlem and Greenwich Village said it was too sugary, although they thought most New Yorkers want sweet drinks. The two men preferred a smoky drink called Back to the Future that Kratena concocted with Talisker, port, sherry, citrus cacao and raspberry for the Chicago Langham hotels.  

Social Club Drink Measure Lounge LanghamThe Boston drink, called Skylines, tastes like tart lemonade with a spiced Norwegian whiskey as its base. The Social Club, made for Pasadena, contains vodka and rosewater among other things, and is fizzy with a taste like a bouquet smells. It was a big crowd-pleaser.

Kratena said he'd never been to those two cities so he "did a lot of reading about their local flora and fauna" when inventing their drinks. A lot of his concoctions make liberal use of herbs and spices.

The simplest drink on the menu was the Marsey, named after a Langham staffer who recently died. It's a twist on the Manhattan with a side beer and will be available in New York City's Langham along with the Lady Pink. 

SEE ALSO: 5 Delicious Beer Cocktails For Summer

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