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11 TED Talks That Will Help You Lead A Happier Life

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friends happy laughing jumping, twenty-somethings

It's easy to lose perspective when you get caught up in office drudgery, have an argument with a loved one, or push yourself too hard in the pursuit of success. As our lives grow more chaotic and stressful, many forget about the importance of achieving happiness and enjoying the ride.

Increasingly, psychologists, neuroscientists, business leaders, and spiritual advisors have studied the mechanics of happiness and how we can utilize them in our everyday lives. Many of them have shared their findings at TED conferences.

We've gone through TED's expansive online library of presentations and picked out some of the best on happiness. You'll learn why smiling more can improve your health, why giving to others is more than a nice gesture, and why the happiest people are also the most productive.

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says we have a "psychological immune system."

In "The Surprising Science of Happiness," Gilbert says our brains can create happiness if we choose not to give into misery when faced with an undesirable situation. His talk explores the science behind the way the brain has evolved to adapt to unmet expectations.

"[O]ur longings and our worries are both to some degree overblown, because we have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing," he says.

Watch here >>



Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff explains how humans are wired to live in harmony with others.

Etcoff goes through the interesting evolutionary history of human happiness in "Happiness and Its Surprises," and explains that focusing too intently on the self could be keeping us from a more satisfied life because it goes against our nature.

"Because when you think about it, people are happiest when in flow, when they're absorbed in something out in the world, when they're with other people, when they're active, engaged in sports, focusing on a loved one, learning, having sex, whatever. They're not sitting in front of the mirror trying to figure themselves out, or thinking about themselves," she says.

Watch here >>



Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes what it's like to get into the zone.

Csikszentmihalyi is renowned for his research on "flow," which is the state of intense focus some people call being in "the zone." He explains why he thinks it is the key to a fulfilled life in his talk, "Flow, the Secret to Happiness."

"There's this focus that, once it becomes intense, leads to a sense of ecstasy, a sense of clarity: you know exactly what you want to do from one moment to the other; you get immediate feedback. You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though [it's] difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself; you feel part of something larger. And once the conditions are present, what you are doing becomes worth doing for its own sake," he says.

Watch here >>



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






The 15 Most Famous Students In College This Semester

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Lourdes and Madonna

Another school year is just around the corner, with upperclassmen returning to finish their degrees and a whole new crop of eager freshman ready to make their marks. 

While most students spent their summers rejuvenating, taking additional classes, or building resumes with a summer internship, some college kids spent their vacations in the spotlight.

Lourdes Leon celebrated her high school graduation with mom Madonna on a luxury yacht in France, while Dakota Fanning kept up her impressive film portfolio

See which celebrities and famous offspring will be hitting the books this fall semester.

Alexander Ludwig

College: University of Southern California

Year: Senior

Canadian actor Alexander Ludwig played the ruthless District 2 tribute Cato in the first "Hunger Games" movie. (He's the one who fights Peeta and Katniss on top of the cornucopia in the final fight scene.)

A Phi Kappa Psi brother and theater major, Ludwig belongs to one of USC's most exclusive fraternities, which has a reputation for throwing the year’s wildest parties.



Chiara de Blasio

College: Santa Clara University

Year: Senior

During her father Bill de Blasio's New York City mayoral campaign, Chiara starred in an advertisement and made a dramatic, surprise return from college to cast a vote for him.

The floral-headband-wearing hipster recently made headlines of her own with a powerfully candid video about her struggles with depression, and history of drug and alcohol abuse.



Corinne Foxx

College: University of Southern California

Year: Junior

Like her dad, Foxx has appeared in the red carpet spotlight, at multiple premiers, awards shows, and after parties since she was seven.

Now 20, she's a cheerleader and Public Relations major at USC, but she still finds time to party with Queen Bey and dish on her style for W Magazine.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






THE NEW BILLIONAIRES' ROW: See The Incredible Transformation Of New York's 57th Street

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57th street side by sideThe market for high-end penthouses and ultra-luxury apartments in New York City is booming, and developers are once again building expensive new units after a post-recession slump.

Nowhere is the rise of development more striking than on 57th Street, where six new luxury high rises are under construction, casting long shadows over Central Park and earning the street the nickname "Billionaires' Row."

One57 already stands at 1,005 feet, making it New York's new tallest residential tower. Soon, that title will be surpassed by 432 Park, which will top out at 1,396 feet, and then Nordstrom Tower, which will reportedly rise 1,775 feet in the air when it's completed in several years.

And that's just a sampling of the building spree on 57th Street.

Michael Gross, author of of "House of Outrageous Fortune" and "740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building," told Business Insider that these shiny new skyscrapers are “bizarre throwbacks" and "effectively hotels for foreign money.”

"I suspect they will be a 'flash in the pan,'" Gross said. "The motivation to build them doesn't seem to be to build homes for New Yorkers, but to attract investment capital without regard to what sort of homes they will be."

Indeed, many of the new units will be bought as investments, rented out, and flipped for a profit. But whether the glossy highrises of "Billionaires' Row" are a passing fad or mainstay for New York's elite, they are quickly changing the face of the city.

57th Street is already known for its famous buildings, hotels, and restaurants. The 2-mile thoroughfare is home to the Hearst Tower, Le Parker Meridien hotel, Carnegie Hall, and the Russian Tea Room.

 



The street will soon be home to six new residential buildings that will change the face of New York's skyline due to their sheer height.



The artist's renderings below (courtesy of New York YIMBY) show what Manhattan's skyline will look like in 2020. The buildings outlined in red are all new.

Source: New York YIMBY



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






The World's Favorite Hangover 'Cure' Is Finally Coming To America

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berocca bayer

After studying abroad, my college friends returned from Europe hoarding packs of orange-flavored discs that they swore would end even the worst hangover.

These tablets are known as Berocca, and dissolve in water, releasing (according to the packaging) an effervescent cocktail of vitamins B and C, plus zinc and sometimes caffeine. 

After one glass, people say their hangover symptoms disappear completely. Now, the supposed hangover cure is finally coming to the United States, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Bayer officially bought the product back in 2005 when it acquired Swiss pharmaceutical brand Roche’s consumer health group. Already extremely popular in Australia since the 1980s, Bayer began marketing Berocca in more than 50 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, and Korea.

The pharmaceutical company plans to start selling the tablets at U.S. drugstores such as Target, Wal-Mart, and CVS.

Berocca bayer varietiesBayer is marketing Berocca as a “performance” drink that falls somewhere between an energy shot and vitamin tablet. The website claims that it will enhance both your mind and your body, and that maybe (just maybe) it could help your hangover:

Whilst there have been no studies conducted on the effect of Berocca on hangovers, alcohol can affect the absorption and use of the B group vitamins. Apart from the other essential vitamins and minerals, Berocca is a high-dose vitamin B supplement which may help restore depleted levels of B-vitamins. Drinking a lot of water or other rehydrating drinks will help towards preventing or lessening most hangover symptoms. Having a Berocca effervescent tablet in water may also help you rehydrate.

Bayer is smart to avoid saying that Berocca can definitively stop a hangover. A 2005 study published in the medical journal BMJ concluded that, “No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover." A more recent 2010 study came to the same conclusion.

Since most hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration, it's also possible that Berocca tablets help consumers remember to drink a lot of water, which is really the best way to combat a hangover.

Scientists are actively calling for more research into effective hangover cures. But in the meantime, "Community" star Joel McHale has already starred in two commercials for Berocca’s U.S. ad campaign, so chances are we’ll be seeing a lot more of Berocca in the coming months. 

SEE ALSO: Atlanta's Party Animals Are Crazy About A New Spa That Claims To Cure Hangovers With An IV Drip

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's Life on Facebook!

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Q&A With This Wine CEO Shows How Business And Family Can Mix Extraordinarily Well

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The Mariani Family

There's an old saying: "Business and family don't mix well."

The combination can be disastrous — yet so many people attempt to do it, thinking it'll work. And most often it doesn't.

But occasionally it does. And in some cases, it works extraordinarily well. 

Take the Mariani family.

In 1919, John Mariani, Sr. — a Connecticut native of Italian heritage — founded Banfi Vintners. Over 40 years later in 1963, John, Sr. named his sons John, Jr. and Harry as his successors. The brothers would eventually turn the company over to their children, Cristina Mariani-May and James Mariani, who today run Banfi, one of the world's leading wine merchants, as co-CEOs.

The two represent the third generation of family leadership in the company. And, despite that — or, "perhaps because of it," says Mariani-May — their wine business has been enormously successful.

Banfi Vintners co-CEOs Cristina Mariani-May and James Mariani.

The company has ranked as North America's leading wine importer for more than three decades.

So, how have the Mariani's managed to make it work?

We spoke with Cristina Mariani-May, a mother of two and Banfi's co-CEO who divides her time between Montalcino, Italy and Long Island, New York.

Business Insider: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? 

Cristina Mariani-May: Growing up in the family business, I traveled all over the world with my parents, who were restless nomads. I learned about food, wine, culture, art, and relating to different people.

When I was at Georgetown University, I studied art history and decided to study in Italy. Although I'd worked on Capitol Hill during college, it was during my junior year abroad that I realized I wanted to join the family wine business.

Upon graduating, I started working at Banfi in Events and Marketing and covered the U.S., learning our operations and organizing wine promotions. I loved interacting with the Banfi team and gained an appreciation for the market and for our customers. In this role, I really learned how to grow brands that truly connect with our consumers. I later went back to Columbia for my MBA. I think the MBA helped give me confidence and solidify my education.

Today, as co-CEO, I apply a combination of my education and my experience in the family business. I'm looking forward to continuing to promote and be the face of Banfi.

BI: Tell us about your co-CEO, James Mariani.

CMM: James, my co-CEO, is my first cousin. I am very fortunate in that James has an extremely strong skillset in strategic planning and analytics. He has been working at Banfi for many years and together, we have a lot of experience in the industry, success, and ideas to improve for the future. He is very dedicated, passionate, and trustworthy. These are values that a family business needs, and I'm lucky to have a partner that shares these same family values. 

BI: Do you think Banfi has had so much success in part because it's a family-run and family-owned business?

CMM: Absolutely! The wine business takes patience, passion, and a long-term commitment. I think families are best able to bring forth these values. Also, the wine business is one that thrives on stories — behind every bottle is a story of place and family. As a family-owned business, we are positioned to tell the colorful stories that help bring our wines to life.

The Mariani Family.BI: Do you see how mixing business and family often doesn't work out?

CMM: Yes, of course. Business is a delicate dance, as are families. Figuring out how to make it work takes dedication, but the rewards are tremendous if it all comes together.  

BI: Why do you think the family-business combination has worked so well, for so long, for Banfi? 

CMM: Listening to and respecting one another and what we bring to the table. We all contribute different strengths, but we have a shared goal. At Banfi we are all dedicated to success and to making the best wines. Having a team and business that is passionate about their work and shares these goals has to start at the top.

BI: Do you plan to keep Banfi in the family?

CMM: Certainly, that is the goal of many family businesses, to pass it on to the next generation. We want to leave them a company that is more successful than the one we inherited.

BI: What's the hardest part about running a business with family members?

CMM: Never escaping business discussions, even during downtime with family members. The business always seems to percolate in our conversations, so we have to be careful to keep it in balance.

BI: And what's the best part of running a business with family members?

CMM: I feel blessed to share my life's passion of family and wine all together. It's a strong bond to experience your family members not just as father, mother, or cousin, but also as business partners. 

And also, to work with my father as a partner is a tremendous privilege. Sharing a glass of wine with him while overlooking our beautiful vineyards is one of my life's greatest moments. 

SEE ALSO: 17 High-Paying Jobs For People Who Don't Like Stress

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The 9 Best New University Buildings Around The World

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With the school year getting started, AD takes a look at cutting-edge architecture in academia.

1. British architecture office Foster & Partners brought its brand of finely detailed design to Yale University, creating a rectilinear jewel box of a home for the institution’s Edward P. Evans Hall, Yale School of Management. A glass envelope gives way to open, light-filled corridors and public spaces, while lecture halls are housed in 16 drum-shaped modules clad in luminescent blue panels (seen at far left and far right).

Yale University

 

2. For the new Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania, firm Weiss/Manfredi designed a striking three-story building with a transparent front façade and planted roof. Sensitive to the demands of biological research and the delicate equipment the building would house, Weiss/Manfredi worked to isolate vibrations and noise from a nearby subway line and mitigate other external environmental factors to create an efficient, beautiful research hub.

Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology

 

3. The London School of Economics’ new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre was built into a tight triangular site in the dense English capital by Irish studio O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects.

London School of Economics

4. An ovoid clad in silvery stainless-steel panels and a rectilinear tower covered in tiles in various shades of red form a striking pair of new buildings (called Silver Mountain and Red Cliff, respectively) at the Senzoku Gakuen College of Music in Kawasaki, Japan, some 11 miles southeast of Tokyo. Created by Japanese studio K/O Design Studio, the unconventional forms house rehearsal spaces.

Senzoku Gakuen College of Music

 

5. Bands of windows snake up the brass-paneled exterior of SOM’s design for the New School’s University Center, revealing a staircase that broadens and narrows as it climbs to create flexible meeting spaces in this nexus of student life at the New York City institution. The center includes classrooms, dormitories, and computing labs.

New School’s University Center

 

6. Zaha Hadid Architects created this cast-in-place-concrete edifice for Lebanon’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. The structure’s dramatic 69-foot cantilever minimizes its overall footprint and maximizes public courtyard and plaza spaces below.

Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs

7. For the Library and Learning Centre at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Zaha Hadid Architects devised this dramatic instructional center, comprising a main structure (which tilts at a 35-degree incline) and a second space that cantilevers dramatically from its base over a plaza below. Clad in fiber-reinforced concrete, the building is marked by ribbon windows that streak and swerve across its façade.

Vienna University of Economics and Business

8. Thomas Phifer and Partners’ expansion of Lee Hall at the architecture school of Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, is a light-filled glass-and-steel edifice that plays counterpoint to the campus’s more traditional brick structures.

Clemson University

9. At the Glasgow School of Art, American firm Steven Holl Architects crafted a luminous five-story structure as an addition to the original 1909 building. The Reid Building is sheathed in a translucent laminated glass and includes art, design, and architecture studios, as well as a café, an exhibition hall, and other ancillary rooms.

Glasgow School of Art

See more at Architectural Digest >

 

More from Architectural Digest: 

A Rare Look Inside the Bushes Texas Ranch 

BMW Has Engineered the Sports Car of the Future 

Ralph Lauren Has a Jaw-Dropping Car Collection 

Pro Athletes With Incredible Homes 

 

Join the conversation about this story »








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

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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






Take A Tour Of SLS Las Vegas, The Hottest New Hotel On The Strip

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SLS Las VegasA new resort is burning up the Las Vegas Strip.

After a $415 million renovation of the Sahara hotel, SLS Las Vegas debuted on August 23rd as the first major casino resort opening in Vegas in several years.

The enormous hotel has three separate towers with over 1,600 rooms, nine restaurants, three clubs, a spa with a salon, a 10,000-square-foot Fred Segal store, and a cabana-lined pool.

It celebrated its opening in the proper Vegas way, with over-the-top fireworks and A-list performances by the likes of Iggy Azalea and Lenny Kravitz. 

“It’s exciting to see the old Sahara brought back to life,” an employee told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “It’s a totally different place.”

Rooms start at $109 per night.

Welcome to SLS Las Vegas, the new $415 million resort situated on the northern part of the Strip.



If the buildings look familiar, it's because it's on the site of the former Sahara hotel. SLS divided the buildings into three different towers: Lux, World, and Story.



The hotel officially opened on August 23rd.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






An Enormous House Fit For A Silicon Valley Billionaire Just Sold For Nearly $29 Million

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bobby lent house

An enormous estate in Hillsborough, California has sold for $28.8 million, Curbed SF is reporting.

The 36,000-square-foot home is very castle-like, with Gothic doorways, art galleries, and 13 fireplaces. 

Still, the house has all of the amenities you would expect from a modern mansion, including two swimming pools, tennis courts, and a high-tech home theater. 

The home was previously listed for $48.9 million in 2011, and though it's not clear who the owner is, some rumors have hinted that the seller was Robert Lent, cofounder of software company Ariba.

Regardless of the owner, this mansion north of Silicon Valley has to be seen to be believed.

The home sits on more than 6.2 acres of property in Hillsborough, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the Bay Area.



The six-bedroom home looks like a manor belonging in the English countryside.



Inside, ornate wood carvings line the walls.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






Meet The World's Hottest Billionaire Offspring

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MG ivanka trump

Life is easy if you're born to billionaire parents, but it's even sweeter if you have dashing good looks, too.

That's the case with the 26 beautiful children of business magnates, fashion moguls, and casino tycoons.

And while some of these heirs have cashed in on their family names, many are striking out on their own, starting charities, or taking over the family business.

Vanisha Mittal, daughter of Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal

Lakshmi Mittal, No. 65 on the Forbes' world billionaires list and India's second-richest man, is worth $15.9 billion*

Vanisha, 34, is a graduate of the European Business School and recieved her MA from the University of London.

She is heavily involved with charitable work and oversaw a project in India to improve the quality of life for one rural town's inhabitants.

For her 2004 marriage to investment banker Amit Bhatia, her father threw her a reported $60 million wedding at the 17th Century Chateau Vaux le Vicomte with a performance by pop star Kylie Minogue.

*Note: Forbes rankings and net worths on this list were correct as of 9/02/14. The rankings change frequently.



Sofia Abramovich, daughter of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich

Roman Abramovich is No. 135 on the Forbes list and is worth $9.5 billion

Sofia (née Sonya), 19, is one of the five children Abramovich shares with his ex-wife and former Russian Aeroflot stewardess Irina.

The 19-year-old recently made headlines when her public Instagram account was spotted by The Daily Mail detailing her home life in the English county of Hampshire.

Sofia loves horses and competes in international show-jumping competitions. She competed at the Longines Global Champions Tour at Horse Guards Parade in London and has a stable full of horses herself in England.



Rotimi Alakija, son of Nigerian oil magnate Folorunsho Alakija

Folorunsho Alakija, No. 698 on the Forbes list and the richest woman in Africa, is worth $2.6 billion

Rotimi, 30, is better known as DJ Xclusive, his stage name as a British Nigerian DJ, producer, and artist.

With a degree in Financial Computing, he began his career as a DJ in 2003 at U.K. dance clubs like Vendome and Tribeca Nightclub to make extra money. He's since gone on to win awards, becoming an On Air Radio DJ for Cool FM Lagos, and is signed to the EME Record Label.

His recent singles include "Ibebe" and "Gal Bad." You can follow DJ Xclusive on Twitter.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






21 Awesome McDonald's Dishes That You Can't Get In America

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mcdonalds taro pie

McDonald's feeds more than 69 million customers in 119 countries every day, meaning the chain has a massive range of taste buds to please. 

The Big Mac chain has had to get pretty creative with its offerings, especially in foreign markets, which accounted for 68% of the company's $27.6 billion in revenue last year.

From Samurai burgers to seaweed-flavored fries and deep-fried bites of brie cheese, McDonald's has tried just about everything to cater to local tastes overseas. 

McDonald's Ebi Burger

Where: Japan, Singapore and other Asian markets

What it is: This sandwich features whole shrimp embedded in a crispy patty and topped with lettuce and spicy sauce. It's served on a Big Mac roll. In Japan, it's called the Ebi Filet-O.



McDonald's Shaka Shaka Chicken

Where: Singapore

What it is: Shaka Shaka Chicken consists of a deep fried chicken patty that's served in a paper sleeve with a packet of spices for pouring on top of it. 



McDonald's Crock Brie

Where: Italy

What it is: These deep-fried triangles of oozing brie cheese are only available in Italy.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






HOUSE OF THE DAY: Buy The Insane Ranch Of 'Mr. Las Vegas' For A Discounted $30 Million

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wayne newton home

"Casa de Shenandoah," the Las Vegas home owned by singer Wayne Newton — a.k.a. Mr. Las Vegas — for more than 45 years, has been majorly discounted, according to real estate website Redfin

The 36-acre property was initially listed for $70 million in September 2013. The home was taken off the market and re-listed a month later for $48 million, and then finally discounted to $30 million on Tuesday.

The estate has eight separate homes, a huge garage, 37 stables, a tennis court, and even its own jumbo jet and terminal.

Even crazier, it once had a functioning zoo with Arabian horses, sloths, penguins, lemurs, and more than 100 birds. Newton moved in June 2013 after a legal battle over the future of the property, and the animals were relocated to wildlife centers.

The main house at Casa de Shenandoah is a two-story structure with three bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, and more than 9,000 square feet.



There's also a nice swimming pool in the backyard.



The entire property spans 36 acres, and has eight separate homes.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






I Spent 3 Days In A 'Tiny House' With My Mom To See What Micro-Living Is All About

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tiny house plattsburghDoes size matter? It does when it comes to the growing real-estate trend of "micro homes."

In a consumption-based society where "more is more," there's a surprising movement gathering steam. An increasing number of Americans are downsizing their homes and moving into "tiny houses," which range from 65 to 400 square feet, according to the blog Tiny House Talk.

The benefits of living in a tiny house are almost too many to count. Monthly bills start to look like chump change. The homes are cozy and easy to manage, not to mention better for the environment. And the size limitation forces tenants to unclutter their life — getting rid of unwanted stuff and embracing a sense of minimalism and purpose.

Naturally, we wanted to experience it for ourselves.

I recently recruited my mom to live in a tiny house in Plattsburgh, New York, which is available for rent on Airbnb, for three days. It cost just $100 a night.

We survived. We didn't once go at each other's throats. But I don't know that I could ever go back.

This is me and my mom, Vicki. We’re close in that we talk on the phone every day, have held each other during more Nicholas Sparks movies than we care to admit, and share a hatred of messes. But we live about 250 miles apart. We recently tested the limits of our relationship by living in a tiny house for three days.



We booked a two-night stay at a tiny house in Plattsburgh, New York, on Airbnb. Mom was most concerned about the bathroom situation after I told her it might have a compost toilet — essentially a covered bucket. "I might be living in the car," she said.



I was more concerned about privacy and personal space. Would we be stepping all over each other? Would it be like living with that college roommate who never leaves the dorm room?



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






How To Make A Caffeine-Packed Espresso — Or What Baristas Call 'The God Shot'

Why Electric Cars Will Eventually Dominate The Roads

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2014 B CLASS EV GALLERY 009 GOE DThis post is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

Not long ago, it wasn't that easy to spot an electric vehicle. They seemed rare, like something only movie stars, aging hippies, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs drove.

But now that EVs are becoming popular, it's fair to wonder: What's it like to own one? We asked veteran automotive journalist and author Jim Motavalli how EVs are similar to, and different from, gas-powered vehicles. Motavalli has been writing about alternative vehicles since the mid-1980s, and in his assessment, EVs are "not only just as good as gas-powered cars — in many cases, they're better."

Motavalli helped us answer some common questions that people in the market for an EV might have, and made the case for why they will eventually "dominate the roads."

1. Is it difficult to charge an EV?

"EV owners tend to be very enthusiastic about their cars," says Motavalli. They track their charge level and often keep them plugged in at night in their home garages. They also take advantage of more than 8,000 available public charging stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. About 180 more stations are also being added every month, usually in public parking garages and employee parking lots. 

Motavalli notes that the "infrastructure cost for setting up a charging station is comparatively low, at around $10,000," so finding a charging station will only get easier as time goes on. He adds that the previous lack of charging infrastructure is now "yesterday's problem."

D3_46682. How far can I drive on one charge?

Worrying about how far you can drive in an EV is common — so common in fact there's even a term for it: range anxiety. On a full charge, an EV like the Mercedes B-Class can whip down the road for 87 miles. B-Class owners who have the optional Range Plus feature can also get an additional 15 miles beyond that when the feature is activated while charging. 

But bear in mind that Americans drive, on average, just 40.7 miles a day, with a median driving range of only 31.6 miles, according to one study. Also remember that the math in favor of the EV gets even better when you take into account that electric vehicle owners average 27.9 miles between consecutive charging "events" with a median distance of only 19.8 miles. That means an EV can handle most daily chores.

Still, a lot of people do suffer from range anxiety. Potential EV owners might be worrying about the few annual road trips they'll take, rather than those hundreds of short hauls to work and the mall. As Motavalli says, "People don't think rationally when they buy cars," and every owner has a different set of requirements that need to be taken into account at the time of purchase. Other potential owners might have very long commute, or maybe they live in rural areas without any nearby charging stations. The best way to think about an EV may be as an excellent second, daily-use car.

3. What's it like to drive an EV?

Unlike other cars, EVs don't ramp up to full power. As soon as you turn them on, they have 100% of their torque. "They take off with great speed and alacrity," Motavalli says. "That's why they're so good in drag racing. They just take off, with a feeling of effortless power." That means when you're merging onto the highway, an EV seems to glide into full speed. They're also great for hills, because they don't have that slight lurch as they shift into gear.

4. How easy are EVs to maintain?

EV maintenance costs are lower. "You don't have to worry about timing belt replacements, transmission maintenance, fuel injectors, gasket replacements, oil leaks, exhaust systems, and so on," Motavalli says. And because most of the braking in an EV is done magnetically — to capture the energy of the moving car and recharge the battery — the wear-and-tear on the braking system is less.

Over time, EVs are cheaper to maintain, at about $600 to $700 per year (whereas gas-powered cars come in well over $2,000 and scale up from there). Purchasing an electric vehicle also qualifies you for a $7,500 federal tax credit. And since time is money, we'll point out that in some states EVs can drive in the HOV lane and avoid traffic jams.

5. What's the future for electric cars?

If Motavalli is right, someday we'll be seeing electric cars everywhere. "EVs are going to dominate the roads," he claims, "and most of the heads of the auto companies agree with me on this. It'll take time — decades even — but sooner or later, EVs are going to take over the highways." It doesn't hurt that EVs are better for the environment than gas-powered cars, even when their electricity comes from coal-fired power plants.

6. When will everyone be driving an electric car?

According to Motavalli, the electric-vehicle future is going to ramp up slowly "but it's going happen." Some experts go even farther than Motavalli, on this: they argue that the real argument for electric cars is not the environmental one. It's just that they're better designed, more reliable, and more efficient than gas-powered cars.

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SEE ALSO: Mercedes Has A New Electric Car That's Fast, Roomy, And Powered By Tesla

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Here's The Salary You Have To Earn To Buy A Home In These 13 Major US Cities

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san francisco row houses

In May, we reported on the salary needed to buy a home in 12 major U.S. cities, based on first-quarter data analyzed by the mortgage website HSH.com.

The site has updated its data according to 2014 second-quarter numbers, which we have listed here (with the addition of Washington, D.C.).

Spoiler alert: It's only gotten more expensive.

The site looked at median home prices from the National Association of Realtors, along with interest rates for common 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages and property taxes and insurance costs, to figure out how much money it would take to pay a median-priced home's mortgage principal, taxes, and insurance — and how much you would have to earn to afford it.

HSH.com does caveat that of course, property taxes and insurance costs can skew the cost of an individual property. "Also, if other personal debts exceed 8% of a given monthly gross income," the site notes, "this will increase the salary needed to qualify." You can check out its website for the full methodology.

While HSH's full list includes 27 metro areas in the U.S., here we're presenting the data for 13 of the largest cities, ordered from lowest salary required to highest and rounded to the nearest $500. Note that they're calculating the salary needed to buy, which, if you're married or otherwise splitting the cost, may be your household income.

Can you afford to buy a median-priced home where you live?

Detroit

Population: 921,147

Median Home Price: $136,300

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $845

Salary Needed To Buy: $36,000



Phoenix

Population: 1,476,331

Median Home Price: $198,600

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $962

Salary Needed To Buy: $41,500



San Antonio

Population: 1,258,733

Median Home Price: $184,200

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,080

Salary Needed To Buy: $46,500



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Former 'Pocahontas' And 'Snow White' Dish About Life As A Disney Park Princess

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Disney Princess Pocahontas

One of the biggest attractions at Disney theme parks is meeting the real-life princesses.

Known as "face characters," the princesses not only have to look the part, but they need to know quotes from their movies, stay in character at all times, and know how to sing and dance.

Now thanks to two Reddit AMAs, we have an idea of what life is like for the women who work as these childhood characters at Walt Disney theme parks across the country.

Reddit user too-tsunamirecently held an AMA about what it was like to play Mulan, Pocahontas, and the fairy Silvermist (one of Tinkerbell's friends) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Reddit user doublenn held an AMA two years ago about her time as Snow White at California's Disneyland (her Reddit username has since been deleted).

They both broke down what it's really like to work at the park as a princess, from the audition process to the weird things that children say.

NOTE: Answers have been edited for grammar and punctuation. While the women's identities were verified by Reddit moderators, it can't be verified by Business Insider. The following Disney Princesses in the slideshow are not associated with the Reddit AMA.

What's the audition process like?

"If you attend a look-a-like audition, you literally stand there in a line, they look at you, and choose who they want to stay. Everyone else leaves, and there is an animation portion where they put on music and say, 'Pretend you're giving a dog a bath! Pretend you're making a giant sandwich! Pretend the moon is made of ribs!'

"They will then make another cut if they have to, and send you to cosmetology to get makeup and costume. You will be coached a little bit from a trainer on what your character sounds like, and you will read an excerpt of the movie or a monologue they've written, acting like the character.

"You do this in front of several casting people. They will then take pictures of you, send you home, and call you if you get it." - too-tsunami



What are the specific look requirements?

"Tink has a specified height requirement, as do all the other princesses. Princesses are usually 5'4''-5'7'', Fairies and Alice or Wendy are all 4'11''-5'2''." - doublenn



How much training does Disney give you?

"Everyone is hired initially as the role 'Character Performer.' You are not allowed to learn a 'face' role (the characters that talk to you) unless you have had training as a fur character first (costumed characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, etc.).

"It is probably different now than my training five years ago, but when I trained, I had five days of fur character training, which was three days of animation and autograph practice, and two days meeting guests as a fur character. After you are approved for the fur character training, you are allowed to move on to face character training.

"You have two days of training per face character you're given. Day 1 is watching the movie, learning how to walk, talk, and act, and day 2 is meet and greets with guests. I think there may be an additional day for accents (like Alice in Wonderland and Mary Poppins), but none of my three face roles had an accents, so I'm not sure." - too-tsunami



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7 Hard Truths About Life That People Don't Like To Admit

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When Harry Met Sally

While people generally like to think they're in touch with reality, the truth is that many of us shield ourselves from certain unpleasant facts to make us happier and more productive.

Users on Quora recently discussed the question: "What is an example of something true that nobody generally wants to admit?"

From unpleasant insights about love to the truth about meritocracy, here are seven uncomfortable truths people don't like to admit:

1. Looks matter.

It's nice to believe in karmic justice where good things happen to good people, but Quora user Dania Faruqui points out that actually, good things tend to happen to good-looking people.

"We keep denying it all the time, but an attractive person has an upper hand over a not-so-attractive person most of the time. Ugly truth," Faruqui writes.

Indeed, research suggests that attractive people make more money and are seen as smarter and more trustworthy than people who aren't as alluring.

2. No one is truly altruistic.

Suraj Agarwal writes that "we are all self-centric; it's just the radius that varies," meaning that the only difference between selfish and unselfish people is how intensely they pursue their self-interest.

Ramachandra Bhakta takes this notion even further by sharing a quote from the Indian philosopher Chanakya to point out that even our most intimate relationships are created to serve our own needs: "There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth."

3. There is no such thing as a soulmate.

Quora user Soumadeep Mazumdar says that despite our personal delusions of grandeur, nobody is actually unique.

"No matter how ahead of the curve you think yourself to be, there will be thousands like you walking the same curve," Mazumdar writes. "You will think that you are the only one who has those odd fetishes or you are the only one awake at that particular hour of the night. But the truth is, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands who are exactly like you."

As a result, Mazumdar says that searching for your "one, true love" is a silly pursuit.

"There are millions who would satisfy your criteria of Ms. Right and Mr. Perfect. It is just coincidence that you found one of them and were acquainted to him or her and now consider them your soulmate."

4. Life is precious.

One of the most popular responses in the thread pointed out that everyone eventually dies, and it could happen at any moment.

While we all know we'll die one day, the suddenness with which death could come is something most of us try to forget.

As Quora user Mohit Sharma put it, "It's not like they don't believe it; they just ignore the fragility of life."

5. Nobody has any idea what they're doing.

If you are confused about what you want to do with your life, take solace in the knowledge that most, if not all of us, are also still figuring things out.

Quora user Josh Vogel writes, "It's drilled into our heads that we have to speak with certainty and confidence about things, especially if we are 'expert' in these things, but the truth is that we don't know."

Sri Teja adds that this uncertainty extends even to successful people who seem to have everything under control.

"The people you look up to are just as nervous as you are," Teja writes. "Succeeding gets a lot easier when you realize that everyone who has ever succeeded has doubted that things will work, has failed terribly, and has generally been where the rest of are: worrying and certain that they aren't good enough."

6. Success doesn't happen over night.

Quora user Samyadeep Basu writes, "Most successes happen in small steps and take a long time."

While many people search constantly for a quick fix to turn their lives around, the truth is that the hard work you put in today will likely only begin to pay off months, if not years, down the road.

Even then, Samantha Deakin writes, our hard work doesn't necessarily guarantee future returns.

"There are so many confounding variables in the equation, that often the most successful people have been incredibly lucky in ways that you can only really see when you look back on their lives," Deakin says.

7. The world is full of suffering.

While it is certainly worth trying to make things better, no individual's work will put a real dent in the pain and suffering people experience around the world.

In a particularly depressing post, Ishan Rana writes, "Somewhere at this very point in time, someone is being tortured, hostages are being held captive, someone is being raped, girls are being punished for studying, and maybe, just maybe, the homeless guy and his little kid you pass every day hasn't had lunch for days."

Quora user Andy Lim adds that this knowledge makes it difficult for him to enjoy his life of relative ease. "I choose to not believe this fact, at least while I'm indulging my self."

SEE ALSO: 7 Things People Pretend To Like But Actually Hate

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10 Incredible Award-Winning Photos Of Nature

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Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, one of the cornerstones of the conservation movement in America. The Wilderness Act created the National Wilderness Preservation System through which the federal government has protected more than 100 million acres of wilderness. 

To celebrate the anniversary, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History recently conducted the Wilderness Forever photography competition.

The Smithsonian selected 50 winning photos from 5,000 entries from professional, amateur, and student photographers across the country. Each photo was taken within a U.S. wilderness area.

The Smithsonian has shared a selection of the winners with us, but you can check out more entries in the contest and vote for your favorites. Every month, the Smithsonian will feature the entry that receives that most votes. 

A Red Fox frolics in Denali National Park in Alaska during autumn. 3_DeeAnnPederson_RedFoxDenali_AKAn adult male Snowy Owl is wide awake at dawn in Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness Area. Otis Pike is the only federally designated wilderness area in New York.8_ScottDere_SnowyOwl_NYColorful petrified sand dunes of White Pocket tower over Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs in Arizona. White Pocket is a notoriously hard-to-reach patch of sandstone near the Arizona-Utah border. 13_RichardAnsley_WhitePocket_AZProxy Falls cascades down to a moss-covered forest in Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. The Three Sisters are a series of three volcanoes. Two out of three of the volcanoes are inactive.23_ThomasGoebel_StudentWinner_ProxyFalls_ORA lone paddler watches the sun set upon the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Superior National Forest in Minnesota. The area is renowned for its fishing and canoeing.34_DawnLaPointe_AmWinner_BoundaryWaters_MNThis path winds through the Aurora Ridge Trail in Olympic Wilderness Area in Washington. The Olympic Wilderness contains some of the most pristine forests left in the U.S. 37_PabloMcLoud_Trail_Olympic_WA

The Milky Way sparkles over Second Beach in Olympic Wilderness. Second Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Olympics. It is home to a labyrinth of tide pools, as well as bald and golden eagles and seals.42_JoeLeFevre__ProWinner_MilkyWay_OR

A brown bear in Alaska's Katmai National Park.10_RobertAmoruso_BrownBear_AKA herd of mountain goats huddle together on top of Mount Evans, Colorado, during a lightning storm. Mount Evans is one of 53 mountains in Colorado over 14,000 feet high. It is the closest to Denver.7_VerdonTomajko_AmWinner_MountainGoats_CO

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

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New York City’s World-Famous Metropolitan Museum of Art Has A Snazzy New App

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metropolitan museum of art

When you think of New York City’s world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, social media probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

But Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer at the Met, is out to change that.

"Everyone has their own impression of what a museum is like, what art is like, but there is so much going on here that people may not know about," Sreenivasan told Business Insider. 

Sreenivasan is leading the museum's effort to reach new audiences through digital means, whether it be through social media, online galleries, or through mobile apps like the one the museum launched this week.

"It’s not a zero-sum game," he said. "We’re all trying different things to get a broader base of people who want to come, from the people who come once as a bucket-list item and never come back, to the people who never come at all."

The Met's beautifully designed flagship app, which was released this week, does a variety of things. A list of highlights — complete with pictures of each work — would help first-time visitors get their bearings in the sometimes overwhelmingly large collection. Tapping on each photo brings up a description of the piece, as well as where you can find it in the museum. met appmet app

Museum visitors can browse listings of the day's events and buy tickets for those that are coming up in the future. The app has a quirky side, too, with a guided tour of the museum's best mustaches and its best hidden gems. 

To celebrate the launch of the app, the museum threw a party that would seem rather out of character to many.

Indie rock band Interpol played a concert in the museum's iconic Temple of Dendur, an enormous sandstone structure that was a gift from Egypt to the U.S. in the 1960s. 

"I’m sure the people who gave it as a gift didn’t imagine it being a site of a rock concert," Sreenivasan laughed. "It’s part of the idea of the Met doing new things that are surprising."

The temple made for a dramatic setting for the night's event — certainly a step up from your typical field trip to the museum.

The Met's flagship app is just the first in a series of apps currently in development at the museum.

The team is beefing up their social media presence, too. They were named one of the most influential museums on Twitter, and their Facebook page has more than 1.2 million likes. Since both of those platforms are banned in China, the museum created a Weibo account to reach art fans there, many of whom may never get the chance to visit New York. According to Sreenivasan, the team's approximately 60 Weibo posts have been viewed close to 3 million times. 

"We’ve doubled our social media team — to two people — who are posting around the clock and trying to increase the museum’s reach around the world," Sreenivasan said. 

The Met's Instagram account, which features photos of exhibits on display as well as more behind-the-scenes shots, won a Webby Award in the Social: Arts & Culture category in April. They've since grown their audience to more than 218,000 followers. That's not bad for an art museum that has historically had nothing to do with technology.

The museum's new digital gallery "One Met. Many Worlds." is the last piece of the outreach puzzle. Information on each piece in the Met's collection has been cataloged in multiple languages, and users have the ability to take the content and build upon it. 

"It’s sort of like the museum itself," Sreenivasan said. "It’s broad, encyclopedic, and every culture in the world is represented. We’re employing different strategies for displaying that, both in the museum and online."

SEE ALSO: Christie's Is Using YouTube And Instagram To Advertise For Its Next Big Art Sale

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