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Google's Sergey Brin Is Totally Obsessed With High-Adrenaline Exercise


sergey brin skydivingSergey Brin isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.

When he and Larry Page created Google in 1998, they would forever change how we use the Internet.

"When Larry and I started the company, we had to get some hard drives to, you know, store the entire Web," Brin told Wired of Google's early days. "We ended up in a back alley in San Jose, dealing with some shady guy. We spent $10,000 or $20,000, all our life savings. We got these giant stacks of hard drives that we had to fit in our cars and get home."

But Brin doesn’t just like to challenge his mind. In his spare time, he likes to push his body to the limits in any way he can think of, from roller hockey and ultimate frisbee to gymnastics, springboard diving, and even high-flying trapeze.  "I like to do a variety of acrobatic things," he has said. 

It turns out that athletics have long been a priority for Brin.

sergey rings

Born in Moscow in 1973, he and his family emigrated from Soviet Russia after anti-Semitism made it difficult for his mathematician father to get a job. 

After receiving his bachelor's degree in math and computer science at the University of Maryland, Sergey went on to pursue his Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford, where he would meet his future best friend and Google cofounder, Larry Page.

While at Stanford, he tried out a variety of different sports, including in-line skating, skiing, gymnastics, and trapeze. He spent so much time on his various physical activities that his father once asked him if he had chosen any advanced courses of study.

"Yes, advanced swimming," was Brin’s famous response.

Even in the search engine's early days, Brin brought an element of fun and activity to the Googleplex.

There have been plenty of stories of him arriving to meetings in rollerblades, and his go-to outfit appears to be workout clothes and Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoes. He sometimes walks around on his hands, just for fun. 

In "I'm Feeling Lucky," 59th Google employee Doug Edwards describes the beginnings of Google, observing even the tiniest quirks of the famous cofounders.

According to Edwards, at a 1999 company holiday event, Brin tried to address party guests from the top of a giant red rubber ball. 

But, according to Edwards' account, Brin "couldn’t maintain his balance despite the trapeze classes he was taking at a local circus."

That local circus was Circus Center, a training facility in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood, where Brin would bring Googlers for team bonding events in the company's early days. 

circus center sf

In 2009, he was spotted in an advanced class at Circus Warehouse, a training facility near the border of Queens and Brooklyn in New York City. Greg Roberts, a San Francisco native who had flown out to New York to participate in an immersive Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic yoga program at the facility, recognized Brin on the second day of class. 

"He was the only other person there who was interested in talking about technology," Roberts told Business Insider. Roberts is an avid acrobat and a serial entrepreneur who is currently working on a 3D-printing company called dSky9. "Though we were both there to kind of get away from tech and work on our bodies."

He was impressed with what he saw from Brin.

"People fly out from all over the world to take this class and learn from some of the masters. I'd say [Brin] was in the top 20% of the class," he said. "He was definitely giving his all." 

trapeze google glass

George Salah, who spent more than a decade as Google's director of facilities before leaving for a startup in 2013, initially joined the company after a roller hockey game with Larry and Sergey. 

"They were much better than I expected for a bunch of engineers," he told Edwards.

larry page sergey brin roller blades

Brin’s athleticism is especially obvious in comparison to his sometimes awkward cofounder. 

As opposed to Page, whom Edwards describes as having "awkward moves and self-conscious grins," Brin is "more fluid, athletic, acrobatic. Bouncy even. He laughed easily and seemed to always have an eye out for a railing he could vault or a rafter beam he could pull himself up on."

But there's an important motivation behind Brin's ongoing enthusiasm for exercise.

In 2008, he learned that he had a mutation on his LRRK2 gene, a defect that would substantially increase his risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Brin's mother, Eugenia, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1999. Not everyone with an LRRK2 mutation will get Parkinson's, but it does raise the odds of developing the disease from around 1% for the average American to between 35% and 70% for a carrier. 

Brin discovered he carried a defective gene after participating in a program run with 23AndMe, the genetic testing company founded by his wife Anne Wojcicki, from whom he has since separated. 

But rather than resign himself to his fate, Brin has decided to take steps to reduce his risk. He estimates that with increased exercise and a healthy diet, he could potentially cut his risk in half, to about 25%. 

"I know early in my life something I am substantially predisposed to. I now have the opportunity to adjust my life to reduce those odds," he wrote in his blog. "I feel fortunate to be in this position. Until the fountain of youth is discovered, all of us will have some conditions in our old age, only we don't know what they will be. I have a better guess than almost anyone else for what ills may be mine — and I have decades to prepare for it." 

As a multi-billionaire, Brin also has the means to support research into finding a cure for the disease he might develop some day. As of February 2014, he and Wojcicki had donated nearly $95 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, including a $32 million gift in 2013. 

"If I felt it was guaranteed to cure Parkinson’s disease, a check for a billion dollars would be the easiest one I have written," Brin told Bloomberg. "Pretty much everybody in the world has or will have some serious condition. How much is it worth to you to have that condition be potentially curable?"

NOW WATCH: I Tried Out One Of Sergey Brin's High-Flying Hobbies

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So This Is Why Sergey Brin Is Obsessed With Flying Trapeze


I am not very brave. When it comes to daredevil activities, the farthest I'll go is zip-lining and the occasional roller coaster. I don't even like heights.

But I do like adventure! And, as we have reported, Google cofounder Sergey Brin likes to push his body to the limits. He counts the flying trapeze as one if his favorite hobbies, having taken advanced classes in his college days and bringing groups of Google employees to try it as a team.

How would it feel to soar through the air? What would it feel like to push myself to do something I would normally never try? 

I spent an afternoon at the Trapeze School New York, and it was just as scary — and even more exhilarating — than I ever imagined.  

Produced by Sam Rega.

SEE ALSO: SERGEY BRIN: Why The Google Cofounder Likes To Push His Body To The Limits

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3D-Printed Dresses Are Radically Changing The Meaning Of Haute Couture


inbloom 3d print dress

The possibilities for 3D printing are endless — from instruments and toys to robots and mechanical parts, there's almost no limit to what a 3D printer can create. 

And now, designers and fashion enthusiasts are jumping on the bandwagon. While fashion designers have been using 3D-printed materials since 2010, their range has been limited until recently. 

"3D printed pieces are restricted to the materials that a machine can print with, and with this in mind, designers are often visually restricted in terms of what can be made," said Faith Robinson, content curator for global 3D technology showcase 3D Printshow. "With the recent introduction of multi-material, multi-color printing (at a more accessible price point), trends within 3D-printed fashion are moving away from the rigid, white 3D-printed nylon structures and towards pieces that look more 'real.'

Some designers, like Australia-based XYZ Workshop, are even making their designs available for download, which means anyone with a 3D printer can customize and create their own clothing. With 3D printers becoming more prevalent and affordable, it's truly the next frontier in fashion.

"Accompanied by 3D scanning technology, 3D printing can allow for the most incredible levels of personalization in fashion," Robinson said. "It's a new understanding of accessible haute couture."

Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen was one of the first to use 3D-printing techniques in fashion, starting in 2010 with her "Crystallization Collection." In January 2013, she debuted this intricate, lace-like dress that was created with a laser printing technique by Belgian company Materialise.

Source: Materialise


Van Herpen and Materialise collaborated again in March 2014, creating this 3D-printed dress that was coated in silicon for a glossy sheen.

Source: Materialise

In 2013, 3D-printing company Shapeways and architect Francis Bitonti debuted this amazing gown, modeled by burlesque star Dita Von Teese. The gown is made up of 17 pieces of flexible mesh with nearly 3,000 articulated joints and decorated with more than 12,000 Swarovski crystals.

Source: Shapeways, Francis Bitonti


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

15 Stunning Portraits Of Exotic Animals Closer Than You've Ever Seen Them Before



After 12 years photographing models, musicians, and celebrities, Brad Wilson decided that he wanted to photograph something a little more unpredictable: exotic animals.

Wilson began traveling to zoos, animal sanctuaries, and studios to photograph everything from a lion to a chimpanzee. The photo shoots were far from the orderly scenes Wilson experienced while shooting magazine stories and advertisements. Instead, he says, they became a kind of “organized chaos.”

"You can’t direct animals like you can people. When you are shooting animals, you have to wait for them to do whatever it is they are going to do. You have to be patient and pick your moments,” says Wilson.  “It’s completely changed the way I looked at photography.”

Wilson shared some photos from the project with us here, but you can see more in his book, Wild Life, available here. Prints from the series are available at the Doinel Gallery.

All of the animals that Wilson shot were "trained" animals. Trained does not mean they will do what you want them to, it only means that they are trained not to attack humans.Zebra1Animals were coaxed into participating in the shoot by providing them with treats. WesternScreechOwl1The hardest animals to keep interested, says Wilson, were the big cats. For the most part, the big cats were completely disinterested in Wilson and spent the time lying around looking away from the camera. It took a lot of patience to get this shot.Lion3In Wilson's studios, he usually surrounds the animals with various lights and flashes. In order to acclimate the animals, the team fires off flashes before the animals get on set so they aren't startled during the shoot.Serval1Some animals seemed to be completely unaware of the flashing lights, while others were clearly annoyed with them.Rhino1Many of the animals that didn't like the flash figured out that if they looked directly at Wilson, the lights went off. As a result, they avoided looking him in the eye.Raven2Wilson says that chimpanzees and other great apes were by far the most engaging and interested in the photoshoot. He says that they kept trying to figure out what he was doing.Chimpanzee12Orangutan6Baboon3The animal handlers were well-trained in identifying an animal's mood. If an animal seemed irritated or annoyed, the team stopped the shoot and let the animal take a break.MountainLion1

During one of the shoots with a tiger, Wilson and his team took a break after the tiger got agitated. When Wilson came back into the studio, the tiger was lying in the middle of the floor directly in front of him. With the animal handlers on the other side of the room, Wilson says that it was the first time in his life that he felt like "prey."Tiger6

The animals came from zoos, animal sanctuaries, and commercial trainers who train animals for appearing in movies, TV, and commercials. Wilson says that he knew that in order to make this series he had to move quickly.


GreatHornedOwl3 These days there are less and less trained animals, due to changing attitudes on captivity,  spearheaded by conservation and animal rights' group. There is also much less demand for the animals in Hollywood as most have replaced live animals with CGI.Elephant1

Here's a short behind-the-scenes video on how Wilson shot the animals:

SEE ALSO: These Photos From Ebola's Ground Zero In Liberia Are Horrifying

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The Best Beaches In America

Someone Paid $300,000 To Rent This Hamptons Mansion For A Single Week


hamptons sandcastle house

A family from the midwest dropped an eye-popping $300,000 to rent a mansion in Bridgehampton for a single week this summer, The New York Post reports.

That's a new Hamptons rental record, according to the post.

The home, dubbed the "Sandcastle" in Bridgehampton, has made headlines before. Jay-Z and Beyoncé reportedly spent $400,000 to rent it for a month in August 2012.

The Sandcastle was built by well-known Hamptons homebuilder Joe Farrell, and has a movie theater, bowling alley, walk-in refrigerator, wine room, climbing wall, basketball court, private gym, and spa.

Still, $300,000 is a ton of money for a week's vacation. Corcoran has the rental listing.

Callie Bost contributed to this story.

The Sandcastle sits on 11.5-acres on swanky Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton.

It has about 31,000 square feet of living space.

Here's the formal living room — complete with an intricate ceiling design and fluffy pillows.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

30 Award-Winning Photos Of Nature Taken By Scientists


Adult female-infant wild chimpanzees

The natural world is full of beautiful moments and interactions, but we don't always have the full context for what we see.

While many photographers capture beautiful images of animals out in the wild, few know exactly what's happening in the scene as well as a researcher does — unless that photographer happens to also be a scientist.

The BMC Ecology Image Competition is a contest designed to show both the beauty of what's happening in nature as well as highlight the researchers that help us understand it.

The journal just announced their 2014 winners and 22 additional "commended" images.

First, the commended photos: These Eastern Swallowtails frequently gather along riversides in the Eastern U.S. to feed on mineral deposits, according to photographer J.P. Lawrence.

Justin Havird photographed researchers Stephanie Irvin and Kiley Seitz gathering samples at this landlocked pond. It's named Skippy’s Pond and is a unique coastal habitat found at the ‘Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve on South Maui in Hawaii.

In the Ethiopian Highlands, these gelada monkeys scurry to safety as the light changes and predators come out, according to photographer Ryan J. Burke.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Science Proves It: Koozies Keep Beer Colder


heineken beer bottle wet condensation

Climate scientists at the University of Washington have made a major discovery in the keeping-beer-cool department. But actually, any of us koozie enthusiasts already knew this one: koozies actually do keep your beer (or other cold canned drink) colder for longer.

The important part is why. The researchers studied how much of an effect the water droplets that collect on the outside of the beverage — condensation — have on the temperature of the can.

The effect is huge: the formation of those droplets sucks heat from the surrounding air and delivers it straight to the cold can.

The koozie stops the build up of these water drops, slowing the cooling process.

"Probably the most important thing a beer koozie does is not simply insulate the can, but keep condensation from forming on the outside of it," says study researcher Dale Durran, of the University Of Washington.

condensationThis is most important on humid days, since the more water there is in the air, the more will collect on the can. Humidity magnifies condensation's warming effect.

"We found that after about five minutes in Phoenix, your can would go up about six degrees Fahrenheit, but in New Orleans, it would go up about 12 degrees Fahrenheit even at the same temperature," researcher Dargan Frierson, also of The University of Washington, explained to Inside Science (in the video below).

This research isn't just applicable to cold-drink lovers, either. Durran is actually a climate scientist, not a cold drink scientist. Understanding how water transfers heat is a very important part of atmospheric science. As water evaporates into the air, it takes heat from the Earth with it. That heat is released when the water condenses and falls as perspiration.

These water and heat cycles drive weather patterns around the world and will likely change as the world heats up.

The study was published in the April 2013 issue of the journal Physics Today. Inside Science just recently interviewed the researchers at their lab:

SEE ALSO: Here's What 9,000-Year-Old Beers Taste Like

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Wired Magazine's Cofounder Shares 3 Books That Can Change Your Life



Wired magazine cofounder, entrepreneur, and prolific writer Kevin Kelly has a two-story personal library in his home and says that he's read thousands of books.

In an episode of writer and speaker Tim Ferriss' podcast, he talks about the three that he recommends the most.

We've taken these selections from the third and final part of the full interview. All three parts are available on iTunes.

Scroll down for Kelly's choices, and check out his writing at his website.

"The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need"

Kelly says he recommends this graphic novel from author Daniel Pink and illustrator Rob Ten Pas to young people just beginning their careers.

"It's not about how to become successful — it's about how to become indispensable," he tells Ferriss.

Its Japanese-style manga format makes the valuable career advice fun and easy to absorb, even if you've been a professional for awhile and just need some motivation.

Ferriss says he's got a copy of it on his bookshelf at home.

Buy it here >>

"So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love"

Kelly recommends this book from author and speaker Cal Newport to those who are looking to find more meaning in their professional lives.

Kelly says that he used to believe the "New Age California dogma" that if you follow your passion, the money will follow, but changed his mind after reading Newport's argument.

Newport instead says that, for most people at least, mastery of a certain skill can lead to finding one's passion, since the mastery of this skill can open new doors and allow you to progress in your career.

Buy it here >>


This is a work of fiction from Australian writer — and reformed criminal — Gregory David Roberts, who based it on his experience in the slums of India.

The book has been publicly praised by international chess master Joshua Waitzkin and actor Johnny Depp for its immersive story about finding oneself.

"It runs on and on, but it'll be one of those books you'll wish will never end," Kelly says.

Buy it here >>

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

New York City's 2-Bedroom, 22-Person Apartment Is Your Worst Nightmare


worst apartment men's room GIF

A horrifying YouTube video showing a “luxury” New York City two-bedroom apartment is making the rounds today. The catch? It’s filled with 11 bunk beds for 22 roommates.

The video, which was first spotted by Brokelyn, was uploaded back in January, so unfortunately, this stunning real estate gem is probably already filled  or shut down. We're skeptical that it's even real, given the complete absurdity of the place, which looks like a camp bunk for recent college grads.

In the video, an anonymous landlord/broker shows off a tiny space he means to fill with 22 people. “People are serious here (students & young professionals),” the YouTube description says, “this is not a place to party.”

Things start to get weird at the 30-second mark when our tour guide says that this “huge” closet is going to be converted into the manager’s room. Fancy!worst apartment 22 bunk beds youtubeThe living room is filled with three bunk beds that are “mixed,” meaning that both guys and girls will be sleeping here.worst apartment 22 bunk beds youtubeThis tiny terrace can be used as an outdoor storage space, or where some of your 21 other roommates will smoke, the broker says, adding that perhaps he'll “put a grill out there and you can enjoy yourself."worst apartment 22 bunk beds youtubeApart from the living room bunk beds, there is an all-men’s bedroom (with three bunk beds) and a women’s bedroom (with five bunk beds, pictured below) with “plenty of closet space.” The women’s room even has a “private bathroom” for the 10 women who will be sleeping there.worst apartment 22 bunk beds youtubeNo price is given for this Manhattan real estate steal, but the apartment is supposedly on 27th Street and 3rd Avenue, and does not allow drugs or alcohol. According to the listing, people who stay here do so for two to six months (!!) with a minimum stay of 30 days.

Gothamist points out that this is definitely not legal. According to NYS housing law, “The maximum number of persons who may occupy any such apartment shall be determined by dividing the total liveable floor area of the apartment by 80 square feet.” Basically, there's no way each of the 22 unfortunate people living here have 80 square feet of space to themselves.

We’re not even sure this video is real, but given how awful New York City real estate has become, it just might be. Watch the full video below.

SEE ALSO: These Are The Worst Rooms For Rent In New York City

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Step Inside The $25 Million Arizona Mansion Of Baseball's 'Big Unit' Randy Johnson


randy johnson house

Baseball legend Randy Johnson has the pitch-perfect home. The retired player, nicknamed the Big Unit, has listed his 25,000-square-foot estate in Paradise Valley, Arizona, for $25 million, according to Zillow.

The Mediterranean home was built in 2006 and sits at the base of Mummy Mountain. This custom-built seven-bedroom mansion is situated on five mountainside acres and includes amenities like a commercial-grade fitness facility, a pet suite, and a recording studio with a stage.

The home is being sold by The Joffe Group in Arizona.

Welcome to the home of Randy Johnson, a pitching legend in Major League Baseball.

When you step inside the house, you immediately notice the Mediterranean theme.

The main level includes a formal living room with massive Canterra stone fireplace and 24-foot ceilings.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Stunning Time-Lapse Video Shows Just How Huge Burning Man Really Is


RTR4413JBurning Man is underway this week, out in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada. For those of us who have never been to the week-long festival of free spirits, it's hard to get a grasp on just how massive the festivities really are.

Musician, photographer, and Burning Man devotee Roy Two Thousand recently released a video, titled "Lake of Dreams," featuring gorgeous footage from last year's Burning Man. Using time-lapse technology and wide angles, we can see just how massive and busy the party really is.

The video begins by setting the scene, showing Black Rock Desert before any Burners arrive. We can see here how massive the landscape is.burning man 3Burning man 4Soon, though, festivalgoers arrive. burning man 6We already see the massive pyramid-like structure, known that year as the "The Temple of Whollyness," that had been designed and built for the festival.Burning man 5Here, we can see one of the many massive sculptures and art installations, present at every Burning Man.burning man 7As the sun sets and the night moves in, the activity picks up.burning man 9burning man 11Soon, the actual burning, which gives Burning Man its name, begins.burning man 14burning man 13But, at some point, the party has to end. Not for long, though. The sun rises over the desert and the festivities begin again.burning man 15burning man 16You can check out the full video here:

SEE ALSO: 12 Stunning Images Of Intricate Art Pieces In The Middle Of The Desert At Burning Man

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Here's What Scientists Discovered When They Conducted A Rigorous Study Of Pizza Cheese


pizza cheese

Nobody can ever seem to agree on which pizza is the best, so a team of scientists decided to call in an unbiased pizza-evaluation algorithm to determine how to compose a winning pie.

While a fair assessment of pizza quality — a pressing concern in certain food circles — would require considering everything from crust char to sauce flavor, the scientists kicked off what will hopefully be an ongoing project by zeroing in one highly important aspect of any pie: the cheese. (This was actually a collaboration with Fonterra, a multinational dairy cooperative with a clear interest in the study's results.)

How can a pizzaiolo select a cheese that will brown and blister perfectly? Is mozzarella really best? Teasing out the science of pizza cheese is no small matter.

"Pizza browning and blistering seems like a totally trivial question," study coauthor Bryony James, PhD, a materials engineer at the University of Auckland, admits in a video about the study. "You stuff your pizza in the oven, and it's clearly going to brown and blister."

But there's a lot of complexity underlying what seems like a relatively simple process. The cheese itself is a complex material, and the way it ends up looking and tasting is, in part, a reaction to every other ingredient in the pizza and the way each of them transforms under high heat.

The fact that two pizzas rarely come out looking the same may be celebrated by pizza purists, but it presents a difficult problem for pizza manufacturers, who may want to provide a consistent experience or offer custom options for picky eaters. "Consumers like pizza to look a certain way," says James, who goes on to describe what is probably her ideal pie. "It should have discrete patches of that toasty cheese color," she says, "and a uniform golden brown background."

The Experiment

In order to do a thorough investigation of the properties required to best achieve such results, the scientists included a wide range of cheeses — not just mozzarella, which is clearly the gold standard, but also cheddar, Colby, Edam, Emmental, Gruyere, and provolone.

They sprinkled each cheese on top of a pizza base in exacting amounts, and decided against using sauce so they wouldn't have to worry about an additional variable. Then each pie was baked for the same amount of time.

Some researchers may have opted to call in a panel of tasters to evaluate each pie. But humans can be fickle — not to mention expensive. So the team opted to do a machine-vision analysis of the pies instead, relying on a machine that took careful pictures and then made sense of them, using specially developed algorithms that could quantify the color and uniformity of each pizza.

The team also assessed each cheese for meltability and elasticity as well as oil and water activity.

What They Found

Turns out mozzarella is king of the pizza cheeses for a reason: "its unique stretchability," the authors, led by Xixiu Ma, conclude. It also produces high levels of bubble-making steam and low levels of free-flowing oil, which is why those bubbles brown up so nicely. But for those willing to mix it up a bit, the study revealed some interesting things.

Adding oily cheeses like Gruyere or provolone will make the pizza less burnt-looking, while sprinkling on some Colby cheese will facilitate a more uniform appearance.

Here are the photos of each cheese pizza, as well as the machine-vision analysis of its uniformity and color — mozzarella clearly produces the most varied, exciting-looking pie:

pizza chart

The image below shows how the different cheeses browned very differently (and that's not mold — the browned areas are outlined in green):

pizza chart 2

At the end of all this — which served as an example of the capabilities of machine-vision, not just an analysis of cheese — the authors offered this conclusion: "Different cheeses can be employed on 'gourmet' style pizzas in combination with Mozzarella."

You heard the scientists, pizzaiolos of the world: Go wild.

But for best results, don't forget to include a generous sprinkling of mozzarella.

The paper, "Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality," was published in the August 2014 issue of The Journal of Food Science.

SEE ALSO: A Chemist Has Uncovered A Secret To Brewing Delicious Coffee At Home

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This Photographer Asked Strangers To Touch Each Other, And The Pictures Are Incredible


 touching strangers 29

For the last seven years, photographer Richard Renaldi has gone to various parts of America to take portraits of strangers that make them look like friends, family members, or even lovers.

The point of the project, Renaldi says, is to show that strangers — often people who would never have contact outside of this photo series — can share an intimate moment. To achieve that effect, Renaldi hauls around a massive vintage camera with a hood he can disappear under. He uses the cumbersome camera for three reasons: 1) it takes incredible photographs, 2) it's a curiosity for most people who have never seen anything like it in person, and 3) it reminds people that they are sitting for a portrait.

Renaldi says the project has gotten an overwhelmingly positive response.

"Even people with no experience with art or photography are able to get what I'm doing and see the underlying message," Renaldi said. "It’s an accessible concept ... This connects all of us."

Renaldi shared a number of photos from the project, and you can see the rest in his new book, "Touching Strangers."

When Renaldi began the project in 2007, he approached people at random and simply told them to touch each other in whatever way they felt comfortable.  touching strangers 46Renaldi met Jeremy (left), who had just come from a Kesha concert, in the barbecue tent at the Ohio State Fair. After Jeremy agreed to the portrait, Renaldi went out into the fair, where he found Matthew. Renaldi says there was a lot of tension between Jeremy and Matthew during the shoot, which is reflected in the photograph. touching strangers 43As the project progressed, Renaldi started asking more of his subjects. He says it taught him an important lesson: "You’d be surprised what people are willing to do for you just by asking them. I was surprised that I could push a complete stranger over to my direction." touching strangers 50Renaldi was at Dolores Park in San Francisco when he saw Alaina, whom he thought had "striking features." Renaldi knew he wanted to get a photo of strangers kissing so when Tom (left) and Charlie agreed to the shoot, he proposed the idea to Alaina. Tentatively, she said yes, and the men had no objections. touching strangers 66Because Renaldi was trying to create a portrait of America, Renaldi says that he kept a list of the types of people he wanted to photograph. The list included people of different religions, professions, and body types. 75Renaldi was walking through downtown L.A. when he spotted Shawn, whom he thought looked like "a Jesus-type." After Shawn agreed to the shoot, Renaldi spotted Tari and Summer, a pair he described as stunning. All three were very comfortable during the shoot. touching strangers 60For this picture, Renaldi wanted to find two strangers he could shoot in front of the Superior Sewing Equipment sign in Manhattan, which has been there for more than 50 years. To start, Renaldi stood on 6th Avenue around 6 p.m. so he could catch people as they left work. Elaine (left) and Arly came together in that pose on their own.  touching strangers 74When Renaldi was in Chicago, he decided to capture two young strangers. After enlisting Chris, a native of the Chicago suburbs, he found Amaira, a young girl from West Virginia. Amaira and her parents were very open to Renaldi's portrait idea.158.Chris&Amaira2013IL 3You can see Renaldi in action in the segment below from CBS News:

SEE ALSO: Gorgeous Photos Of Nomads Who Spend Nearly Their Entire Lives At Sea

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Here's A Surefire Way To Check If An Avocado Is Ripe

Watch A Beautiful $266,000 Art Sculpture Burn To The Ground Friday At Burning Man


On Friday, a giant sculpture of a man and woman titled "Embrace" was burned to the ground at Burning Man.

Made from 160,000 lbs of wood, "Embrace" is a 72-foot-tall wooden cathedral-like sculpture on the same scale as the Statue of Liberty.

Built by The Pier Group with help from a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $52,000, the giant sculpture is meant to be a "celebration of all our relationships." All in, "Embrace" took about $266,000 and tons of volunteers to create.

Burning Man 2014 sculpture

But the area where sunlight previously streamed through the eyes of the 26-foot head was replaced by fire on Friday as the structure was ceremoniously burned to the ground.

Burning Man GIF 2

It wasn't long before the entire statue was engulfed in flames.

Burning Man GIF 4

Here's a view from further away, showing how much distance was actually between the burning structure and the people on the playa.

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While many art sculptures are ignited at Burning Man, material must first be placed on a preapproved "burn platform," elevated from the playa surface for the land's protection.

As part of Burning Man's "Leave No Trace Policy," all remnants of the burn must be cleaned up and removed from the land at the end of the festival.

Watch the full video below (burn begins at 6:45).

When the "Embrace" Kickstarter first launched, lead artist Matthew Schultz explained: "We've already raised about $106,000, but we still need to raise another $160,000."

According to the "Embrace" website, it wasn't easy to raise the extra money:

"To make this whole operation happen we have independently raised funds, held fundraisers, used coordinators/volunteers, sold swag, operated a website, run advertising, created proposals, written grants, solicited transportation; engaged design, build team and lighting crews. In all, it has taken thousands of people-hours."

burning man embrace 2burning man embrace See how "Embrace" was built below:

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SEE ALSO: 12 Stunning Images Of Intricate Art Pieces In The Middle Of The Desert At Burning Man

MORE: Watch a livestream from Burning Man

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Maine's Top Chef Shows Us The Right Way To Steam And Eat A Lobster


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Most people love lobster. But the idea of cooking — and then eating — a whole, live lobster can be a bit intimidating.

What color should your lobster be? How can you tell if your lobster is fresh? What is the most humane way to kill a lobster?

Last summer, on a visit to Portland, Maine, I met with Melissa Bouchard, executive chef of Dimillo's on the Water, to get the answers to some of these questions. 

Bouchard, a Maine native, was named the Maine Restaurant Association’s first female Chef of the Year in 2013. Her kitchen kills close to 150 live lobsters every day to feed droves of summer visitors who funnel in from Commercial Street, the tourist hub in the city's Old Port district.  

The head chef and her staff showed me how to steam a Maine lobster and the right way to eat it. 

There are many species of lobster. However, the authentic Maine lobster, also known as American lobster, has five sets of legs and two large claws that are filled with meat.

Maine is particularly famous for its soft-shell lobsters, mature lobsters that have recently shed their shells. The "shedders" are easier to crack open and are said to have sweeter, more tender meat than hard-shell lobsters, although there is less meat inside a new-shelled lobster than a hard-shell lobster of the same size. Dimillo's only serves hard-shell lobsters.

When picking a lobster, go for one with the most energy. The color makes little difference. Maine lobsters are typically greenish, brown, or black in color — all lobsters will be bright red once they are cooked.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Don't Be Afraid To Cancel Cable — Here's How To Get All The Programs You Love

This Is Toronto's Brilliant And Nasty New Campaign To Clean Up The City


Livegreen Toronto is rolling out an advertising campaign that has everyone talking right now. They're trying to stop people from littering on the streets.

The thing is, they're being really abrasive about it.

Check out the images, posted on Imgur, they're using to stop people from throwing trash all over the streets.

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 So far the campaign seems to be going over pretty well with many folks in Toronto:





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