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The Incredible Life Of Bill Gates, Who Is Still America's Richest Man


bill gates

With a net worth of approximately $81 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest people in the world. 

He topped Forbes' list of the wealthiest people in America, released Monday. It's the 21st year in a row that Gates has held the top spot. 

Gates has been a public fixture ever since he and Paul Allen started a computer revolution in the 1980s. He has all of the toys you would expect from the world's richest man, from a private jet to a 66,000-square-foot home he nicknamed Xanadu 2.0. 

Yet as his wealth has grown, Gates has done more and more philanthropy work, donating billions of dollars to charity projects through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Bill Gates was born on Oct. 28, 1955, in Seattle. The son of a lawyer and a schoolteacher, he was an argumentative but brilliant child. As a teenager, his appetite for knowledge was so great that he read the entire "World Book Encyclopedia" series from start to finish.

Source: Wall Street Journal

His parents enrolled him at the Lakeside School, a rigorous Seattle private high school that future Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen also attended. Gates often credits his discovery of computers to the tools he gained at Lakeside. "The experience and insight Paul Allen and I gained here gave us the confidence to start a company based on this wild idea that nobody else agreed with — that computer chips were going to become so powerful that computers and software would become a tool that would be on every desk and in every home," he said in a 2005 speech at the school.

Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


After graduating from Lakeside in 1973, Gates headed to Harvard. Though he entered as a pre-law major, he soon changed course and quickly worked his way through the university's upper-level math and computer science classes.

Source: NPR

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14 Billionaires Who Started With Nothing — Including Jack Ma And Larry Ellison


jack ma alibaba

Forbes released its annual Forbes 400 list on Monday, revealing the 400 wealthiest people in the US.

It's not just a list of privilege; it's a story of opportunity. Many of these mega successes started with limited means. 

Just ask Jan Koum, the WhatsApp founder who once lived on food stamps. After selling his company to Facebook in February for $19 billion, he's now worth $7.7 billion, Forbes estimates.

Then there's Larry Ellison, who worked eight years of odd jobs before founding Oracle. He's one of the biggest dollar gainers since last year, making a $9 billion jump in net worth from 2013. 

It's not only an American Dream. Several international entrepreneurs have had similarly meteoric rises. Talk to Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who started his career as an English teacher and is now worth over $20 billion after taking his company public

These rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.

Vivian Giang contributed research to this article.

Jan Koum, the CEO and cofounder of WhatsApp, once lived on food stamps before Facebook made him a billionaire.

Net worth: $7.7 billion (according to Forbes)

Koum, 37, came to the US from Ukraine when he was 16 years old. His family, struggling to make ends meet, lived on food stamps that they picked up a couple blocks away from Koum's future WhatsApp offices in Mountain View, California.

In 2009, he and cofounder Brian Acton launched the real-time messaging app with an aim to connect people around the world. It essentially replaces text messaging.  

WhatsApp, which now has over 600 million global usersagreed to a $19 billion buyout from Facebook earlier this year. 

The deal made Koum a multibillionaire.

Jack Ma taught English before founding Alibaba in 1999.

Net worth: $20.2 billion 

Born in Hangzhou, China, Ma grew up in poverty. He couldn't get a job at the local KFC. He failed the national college entrance exams — twice — before finally graduating and starting his career as an English teacher. 

Then, in 1995, he had his first visit to the US. He saw the internet for the first time. 

Recognizing that there was little in the way of Chinese content online, he started China Pages, a directory that was arguably the very first Chinese web startup. It promptly failed. 

In 1999, he founded Alibaba. Today, the online retailer handles double the merchandise of Amazon. With September's IPO, Ma became China's richest person

Elizabeth Holmes started her blood diagnostics company when she was 19. Now at 30, she's a billionaire.

Net worth: $4.5 billion

When Holmes was a 19-year-old sophomore at Stanford University back in 2003, she started Theranos, a blood diagnostics company that makes blood testing cheap. 

The Palo Alto startup has 500 employees, a reported $400 million in funding, and a $9 billion evaluation. 

Holmes has always been precocious — she taught herself Mandarin in her spare time when she was growing up in Houston. She was filing patents before getting to Stanford. And now she's worth billions. 

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There's An Incredibly Secretive Starbucks At The CIA's Headquarters



The Langley, Virginia, Starbucks is one of the busiest in the world. 

Located inside the CIA compound, it is also the most secretive, writes Emily Wax-Thibodeaux at The Washington Post.  

Here are a few ways the so-called "Stealthy Starbucks" protects the identities of its CIA patrons. 

1. Baristas don't write any names on the drinks. 

"Giving any name at all was making people — you know, the undercover agents — feel very uncomfortable. It just didn’t work for this location," an anonymous worker told Wax-Thibodeaux

2. Workers are put through an intense background check process. 

The address for the CIA Starbucks doesn't even show up on a GPS, one worker told the WashPo. Once workers get the job, they aren't allowed to reveal where they work. 

"The most I can say to friends is that I work in a federal building," one barista said. 

cia headquarters langley

3. There are no rewards cards. 

"Officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents," writes Wax-Thibodeux. 

Despite the complicated logistics of running the CIA Starbucks, managers say that the coffee chain makes federal workers feel less isolated. 

Similar to many Starbucks across the country, the most popular products include the vanilla latte and lemon poundcake. 

Read WashPo's full investigation here

SEE ALSO: 3 Mistakes That Ran Sears' Business Into The Ground

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Mark Zuckerberg Made More Money Than Any Other American This Year


mark zuckerberg

The 2014 Forbes 400, an annual ranking of the 400 wealthiest Americans, launched Monday. One thing's certain: The rich keep getting richer.

Mark Zuckerberg, the 30-year-old cofounder and CEO of Facebook, became the 11th richest person in the U.S., with a net worth of $34 billion. The Zuck also scored the title of "biggest gainer" in 2014, pocketing an additional $15 billion since last year.

His placement atop this list continues a winning streak of sorts for the CEO, whose net worth has more than tripled over the past two years, according to Forbes' Katia SavchukHis soaring fortune is in part thanks to Facebook's recovery from its disappointing IPO in 2012. Shares of the $200 billion company have seen a sharp rise in the last year, and in the second quarter of this year.

facebook shares stock september 29 2014

Read more: Facebook Is Hiding Important Information From Investors

In July, Facebook announced its second quarter revenues were up 67% from the same quarter during the year before. "Even better, 62% of those revenues came from the sale of mobile ads, a business Facebook didn't enter until 2012, after its IPO," Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson reported earlier this month. Its market cap is now larger than Amazon's and Yahoo's combined.

The behemoths of tech were all winners this year. The top 10 earners working in the tech industry are collectively 23% richer than last year. Zuckerberg is also now the third richest American working in tech, behind Bill Gates ($81 billion) and Larry Ellison ($50 billion), and followed by Larry Page ($31.5 billion), Sergey Brin ($31 billion), and Jeff Bezos ($30.5 billion).

nick woodman goproAnd while Zuckerberg saw the biggest gain in dollars, GoPro founder Nick Woodman rocketed the most in terms of percentage points. His net worth is up 200% since last year, reaching $3.9 billion. GoPro, which makes cameras that strap onto bike helmets, surfboards, scuba gear, and more, went public in June. Shares are up a ridiculous 172% as of last week.

Here's the list of the top 10 dollar-gainers on the 2014 Forbes 400:


SEE ALSO: The 10 Wealthiest People In America

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The 10 Richest Americans In Tech


bill gates

The annual Forbes 400 list was released today, ranking the wealthiest Americans across industries. 

The rich continue to get richer. The combined net worth of the richest 400 Americans was $2.29 trillion, a huge increase from last year's $270 billion.

Bill Gates, who is no newcomer to rankings of wealth, topped the list for the 21st year in a row.

But it turns out that many of the richest people in America made their fortunes through technology — we've rounded up the 10 richest here. 

10. Charles Ergen is worth $16.9 billion.

Change from last year: +$4.4 billion

Age: 61

Charles Ergen is the founder and chairman of the DISH Network. His company had humble beginnings— in 1980, he, his wife, and a friend started selling satellite dishes out of the back of a truck. 

Ergen is notorious for being a frugal leader and micromanager. Up until about 10 years ago, he insisted on signing every check that came out of Dish.

Source: Forbes


9. Paul Allen is worth $17 billion.

Change from last year: +$1.2 billion

Age: 61

Paul Allen cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975. He left the company 8 years later after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease. 

Since then, he's beat cancer twice and has chosen to live a life of luxury, complete with with megayachts, rock bands, and vintage fighter planes. 

Source: Forbes

8. Michael Dell is worth $17.5 billion.

Change from last year: +$1.6 billion

Age: 49

Michael Dell created Dell Computer Corp. from his University of Texas dorm room in 1983.

In October 2013, he won a long, difficult battle to make Dell private again. He says the company has been thriving ever since.

Source: Forbes

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A Quick Refresher On The Difference Between Macau, Hong Kong, And Mainland China


hong kong macau china

As the "Occupy Central" protests in Hong Kong continue to unfold, here's a quick refresher on the island's relationship to mainland China.

hong kong macau mainland chinaIf you’ve ever traveled from Macau to Hong Kong to mainland China, you’ll notice that your passport gets stamped every time.

That's because Macau and Hong Kong are "Special Administrative Regions" with their own money, police force, schools, languages, and even government; for almost 20 years since rejoining China, Hong Kong has been able to elect its own leaders.

hong kong macau mainland chinaBut Hong Kong and Macau are not independent countries. Hong Kong has been under Chinese rule since 1997, and protests have erupted on the island over Beijing's decision to select candidates for a coming Hong Kong election.

Check out the video below for the quick explainer on the differences between Macau, Hong Kong, and China.

SEE ALSO: The Day 2 Hong Kong Protests Are Unbelievably Huge

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The 20 Best Hotels In America


four seasons hualalaiWe recently came out with our list of the World's Best Hotels, and several hotels on that list were right here in the USA. 

So we decided to dig deeper into our results and come up with a list of the Best Hotels in America.

To create this list, we aggregated four notable hotel rankings made by elite travel publications and websites: Travel + Leisure's World's Best Hotel AwardsCondé Nast Traveler's Top 100 Hotels & Resorts (part of its annual Reader's Choice Awards), TripAdvisor's Top 25 Hotels In The World (part of its annual Travelers' Choice Awards), and the Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards.

From Hawaiian beachside resorts to luxurious golf resorts in Georgia, here are the best hotels in the U.S.

20. Twin Farms

Barnard, Vermont

This rural Vermont hotel feels like a high-end summer camp for adults, with its sprawling grounds, glamorous yet rustic cabins, and endless activities, such as snowshoeing, hiking, canoeing, biking, fly fishing, and more. The resort has a laid-back vibe, yet is renowned for its excellent service and intimate feel.

The hotel ranked at No. 41 on Condé Nast Traveler's list.

Rooms start from $1,725 per night.

Twin Farms hotel


19. The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

New York, New York

The Carlyle is one of New York City's most historic, glamorous, and luxurious hotels. Mariah Carey has stayed there, as have U.S. Presidents Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. It's home to the iconic Bemelmans Bar, as well as a fine-dining restaurant and large guest rooms with classic decor.

The hotel ranked at No. 33 on Travel + Leisure.

Rooms start from $675 per night.

Carlyle hotel nyc


18. French Quarter Inn

Charleston, South Carolina

Located in Charleston's historic district, the French Quarter Inn is a romantic hotel that's lauded for its excellent service.

The hotel ranked at No. 54 on T+L and No. 18 on TripAdvisor.

Rooms start from $329 per night.

French Quarter Inn


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MEET THE WALTONS: A Guide To America's Wealthiest Family


The Waltons are the richest family in America.

The descendants of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, the family controls more than 50% of the Wal-Mart Corporation, according to Bloomberg, and combined are worth at least $160 billion based on Forbes' wealth estimates.

Four Walton family members are in the top 10 of the latest Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans. They have spent some of their money amassing huge collections of art, real estate, and expensive cars.

They also invest a portion of their fortune into charity, mainly through the Walton Family Foundation. But unlike some of today's millionaires who plan to donate most of their vast wealth to charity, the Waltons have used tax loopholes to keep getting richer.

Despite backlash, lawsuits, and even the occasional scandal, Wal-Mart's first family isn't going anywhere — especially when 90% of Americans live within 15 miles of one of the gigantic chain's stores.

Walton Family Tree UPDATED

SEE ALSO: The 10 Wealthiest People In America

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Why People Are Leaving Facebook For Ello

3 Photos That Show Hong Kong's Transformation Over 100 Years


As pro-democracy protests continue to erupt in Hong Kong, take a look at how the island has transformed over the last century.

This photo of Hong Kong's harbor was taken between 1910 and 1915, from what is now known as Victoria's Peak, while the island was under British colonial rule. The island started out as a fishing village, and later became a center of trade before exploding into a commercial and financial center.

hong kong

The photo below, from 1972, shows the same view from Victoria's Peak to the center of Hong Kong and across the harbor to Kowloon. After a brief occupation by the Japanese during World War II, Britain regained control of the island. The highrise buildings in central Hong Kong housed hotels, banks, and businesses.

hong kong old

The photo below was taken in 2011, and shows modern day Hong Kong, one of the busiest, most cosmopolitan urban centers on the planet. The island was returned to China in 1997, and is currently in the midst of a massive protest over what residents see as an attempt from Beijing to limit democracy by placing restrictions on who can run for the island's top office. 

Hong_Kong_Skyline 1.JPG

SEE ALSO: 12 Astonishing Photos Of The Protests In Hong Kong

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The Guy Who Raised $55,000 On Kickstarter To Make Potato Salad Threw A Big Party To Celebrate His Success


Back in July, Columbus, Ohio-based web developer Zack Danger Brown created a Kickstarter project that bewildered the internet. 

"Basically I'm just making potato salad," Brown wrote on the Kickstarter page. "I haven't decided what kind yet."

Brown ultimately raised more than $55,000 for his "potato salad" project, with nearly 7,000 people pledging donations. 

He raised so much money, in fact, that when he got close to the $3,000 mark, he wrote: "My kitchen is too small! I will rent out a party hall and invite the whole internet to the potato salad party (only $10 and above will be allowed in the kitchen)! The internet loves potato salad! Let's show them that potato salad loves the internet!!"

Brown followed through on that promise with a big party in Columbus this weekend. Dubbed "PotatoStock 2014," the event had food trucks, live music, and plenty of potato freebies. Proceeds went to a fund through the Columbus Foundation, which fights to end homelessness and hunger in central Ohio. Entrance was free to the public.

There was, of course, plenty of potato salad to be had at PotatoStock. Sponsors ended up making more than 3,000 pounds of the stuff just for the event. 

The recipe was created by Piada, an Italian street food company based in Ohio.

Brown lent a helping hand before the event.

There were a few different varieties to choose from, as several local restaurants got involved with their own recipes.

A stage was set up for the live music.

Attendees could show their potato love with these sweet stuffed animals. 

But the most die-hard potato fans got these temporary tattoos.

There were even potato-sack races.   


 Brown (left) has already donated some $20,000 to the charitable fund. On his Kickstarter page, he says that people who donated should receive their incentives by December. 

 This guy must really love potatoes.


SEE ALSO: The Potato Salad Kickstarter Is Over, And It Raised More Money Than A Lot Of People Make In A Year

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These Photographs From Hong Kong's Daredevil 'Rooftoppers' Will Take Your Breath Away


ig hk

With the massive protests in Hong Kong raging for a second day, officials in Hong Kong have initiated a blackout of Instagram throughout the city.

That means that, along with images of demonstrators flooding the streets of downtown Hong Kong, the impressive and sometimes nausea-inducing shots from the city's "Outlaw Instagrammers" will go unseen, as well.

These daredevils, who defy both death and the law, climb to the top of Hong Kong's tallest buildings, of which there are quite a few, and snap amazing photos of themselves and their friends, posting the results on Instagram.

With Instagram blocked in Hong Kong, we thought we would compile a list in the meantime of the best "rooftoppers" (as they like to be called) from Hong Kong. We don't suggest you try these feats on your own, but feel free to live vicariously through these crazy shots.

Hong Kong is known as the "most vertical city" in the world, with more than 1,200 skyscrapers. There seems to be no better place for Instagrammers, like @daniel__lau, to do what they do best.

Follow @daniel__lau on Instagram here

@Daniel__lau recently made headlines when he posted this video on Instragram of him and his friends taking selfies on the very top of Hong Kong's fifth-tallest skyscraper, known as "The Centre."

Follow @daniel__lau on Instagram here

His friend, @airin.heatscore was there, too, calmly eating a banana.

Follow @airin.heatscore on Instagram here

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Buried In Too Much Student Debt? Here's One Potential Solution


Woman stressed about bills

This post is sponsored by Citizens Bank.

Many of us remember the joy of receiving our first real (adult!) paycheck ... and the disappointment that kicked in when we realized a lot of it would go toward paying off student loans.

Though it's a common dream to attend a prestigious college, achieving that goal can be a financial nightmare. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition for the 2013-2014 school year was $30,094 at private colleges and $22,203 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. It stands to reason that leaving school with significant debt can have an impact on your life.

Fortunately, there's a relatively new option — the ability to refinance your student loans — that could make paying off that debt more bearable.

The Double-Edged Sword of Student Loans

In an ideal world, everyone would have an ample college fund set up in advance, but that's often not the case. The reality is that most students need to rely on student loans, of which there are two types: private loans, which are provided by financial institutions, and federal loans, which are sponsored by the government.

Of course, paying for college takes a financial toll not just on students but also on parents. According to a survey from Citizens Financial Group, 94% of parents with a child in college reported feeling "an increased burden from their child's college debt" — 54% were afraid it might even jeopardize their retirement plans.

A New Kind of Solution

For those grappling with student debt, there's an option many don't know about: refinancing. Similar to refinancing a mortgage, refinancing a student loan provides you the opportunity to lower your interest rate based on the current market. By exploring this option, you can consolidate your current federal or private student loans into a single monthly loan payment at a lower rate, potentially saving you thousands of dollars on interest.

Citizens Bank recently launched its own refinancing solution: the Education Refinance Loan. This loan allows those with student debt to refinance their private and federal student loans into one new loan at current market rates. Citizens offers a choice of either a fixed rate or variable rate loan, both with flexible repayment terms. To date, private student loan borrowers have saved an average of $127 per month — one customer even saved close to $1,200 per month through the Education Refinance Loan. There are no application, origination or disbursement fees, nor is there a prepayment penalty. If you're unsure of whether refinancing is a good fit for your situation, consult Citizens' comprehensive guide.

Managing student debt can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Refinancing your student loans can help make them both easier to manage and, more importantly, less costly.

Learn more about Citizen Bank's Education Refinance Loan.

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3 New Ways Companies Can Lead In The Digital World


Screenshot 2014 09 24 16.11.52This post is sponsored by IBM.

No matter how big a company is, usually it's the executives who set the goals, while middle management oversees the employees who have to carry them out. It's an efficient model, but it can cause ideas to flow in one direction: from the top down. 

But these days, millennials and digitally savvy companies accustomed to more open lines of communication have realized that there are better, more inclusive ways of making things happen.

In a presentation at TED@IBM, Charlene Li, CEO and Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group and author of the bestselling books "Open Leadership" and "Groundswell," said companies can no longer thrive on the old methods. They need to do a better job of sharing and collaborating with their own employees.

And this is an urgent issue, according to Li. "Research from Gallup shows that worldwide, amazingly, only 13% of people are engaged in their work." While companies are working hard to making things better, "that number has barely budged over the past decade." 

Successful organizations are changing everywhere, at every level. A strong advocate of collaboration and social business, Li laid out three criteria companies need to meet to thrive in the new digital world.

1. Trust Your Employees

Our current hierarchical structure was developed during the Industrial Revolution. Despite its efficiency, the usual structure "pales against the need for innovation and change," said Li. That's because the very people who have to deal with the rapid changes at any company "often reside at the edges and bottom of the organization." They're not listened to, even though they can see the company's problems (and possible solutions).

But Li said the the best way for a company to thrive in the new, digital world is for it to empower its employees. It needs to have a "two-way non-hierarchical conversation across the organization that can lead to decisions and action." 

Li cited the restaurant chain Red Robin. When they launched a new burger, Red Robin servers posted customer feedback on the company’s internal social network — "and it wasn’t all good." Executives quickly realized that they had to change the recipe. They consulted with the servers and cooks, and changes were made in 30 days, rather than the usual 6-12 months. When companies listen and share, they become flexible. 

2. Create A Culture Of Sharing 

Li said middle managers can be facilitators of communication and accelerate the spread of information throughout their companies. But when they're not backed up by their supervisors and encouraged in their efforts, they can stifle innovation. An example of good communication within an organization, according to Li, can seem unlikely: the US military. 

When Li was aboard the USS Nimitz, she noticed the captain encouraged input from anyone, anywhere. As she said, "It’s ironic that one of the models of hierarchy, the military, is also one of the most transparent organizations." But technology allows the hierarchical organization to share information — and to react quickly in times of crisis. Managers that promote information exchange can gain a possible tactical advantage. Otherwise, lives could be put into danger.

There are many ways to encourage communication within a company. It can be encouraged on an ad hoc basis, or made a part of the company. IBM, for example, has internal "Jam" sessions that allow employees to collaborate and exchange ideas.  

3. Practice The Art Of Followership

Li said in her presentation that she has found "People often put off acting like a leader until they have a formal title. People don’t cross 'chains of command' because they can only report to one leader."

In a modern "followership” organization, though, the quality of your network determines how much influence you have. "One manager I know posted internal video updates about a project and answered questions from people throughout the organization," Li said. When it became time for that project to launch, that manager was able to tap her network for advocates of her project. Her influence came from her network.

When middle managers are encouraged to build their "followership" even as "their titles shift or even disappear," they remain relevant, Li said. And when meaningful decisions are made and executed through the networks, employees at all levels become more involved, responsive, and powerful.

How Can Companies Make These Changes Happen?

Ask your employees for help, Li said. She cited one CEO who "made the shift by asking employees via an internal platform for suggestions on how to eliminate needless processes and technologies." The CEO received over 800 suggestions, prioritizing which ones to cut, "again with input from employees." The organization then became more efficient, because it trusted its own employees. 

Li said, "the generational shift from a control mindset to a influence mindset is happening." It won't happen overnight, but "just like when you were a teen and your parents had to let go in order for you to grow, organizations need to let go as well. They need to trust that their employees — if empowered and engaged — will do the right thing." 

Find out more about how collaboration can help your business at IBM Social Business.

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SEE ALSO: This Female Tech Exec Has A Passion For Coding — And Motorcycles

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See What Hong Kong Looked Like 42 Years Ago


hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, transportation

With all the interest surrounding Hong Kong in the past few days as pro-democracy protests continue to eruptit's easy to forget how much change the city has seen in the past 50 years. Hong Kong has undergone major growth, moving from a small city to one filled with massive skyscrapers, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Photographer Nick DeWolf captured daily life in Hong Kong during a trip to Asia in 1972. His photos show just what it was like in a time when the Pearl of the Orient was still transitioning into what it is today.

DeWolf has shared his photos with us below. Check out what Hong Kong was like more than 40 years ago.

Here's what the harbor looked like then. Those fairly modest buildings have grown to more than 1,200 skyscrapers.hong kong 1972 wide skyline, nick dewolf

As it is now, the harbor was a busy place full of people.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, more boatshong kong 1972, nick dewolf, newspaper delivery

Here's what it looked like along the coast and the waterfront.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, buildingshong kong 1972, nick dewolf,restaurant on the bank

Much development and change has happened since then.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, apartment buildings on the shore

Here is Hong Kong's Pok Fu Lam village, where the city's first dairy farm once sat.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, more apartment buildings inland

This is Queen's Road Central, near where much of the protesting is occurring.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, shopping streethong kong 1972, nick dewolf, window signs

Hollywood Road, also in close proximity to the demonstrations, has no connection to the neighborhood in California.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, people sellinghong kong 1972, nick dewolf, clothes lines

Another street in the heart of the city, where much of the protesting is happening, is Morrison Street.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, hollywood streethong kong 1972, nick dewolf, fish stand

Neon signage was everywhere, much of which remains today.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, night timehong kong 1972, nick dewolf, nighthong kong 1972, nick dewolf, stores

City life was busy and bustling, even with 3 million less people living there, compared to current population figures.hong kong 1972, nick dewolf, street lifehong kong 1972 people wide, nick dewolfhong kong 1972, nick dewolf, people walkinghong kong 1972, nick dewolf, restaurant

In 1972, there was around 4.1 million people living in Hong Kong. Today, there's around 7.2 million.hong kong 1972 wide, nick dewolfhong kong 1972, nick dewolf, graffitihong kong 1972, nick dewolf, women carrying baggagehong kong 1972, nick dewolf, kids playing soccer

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Be An Expat In Hong Kong

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The 25 Coolest New Businesses In Brooklyn


bay ridge brooklyn A.L.C. ALC Louis Coluccio italian grocer

Often chided as the "hipster" or "stroller central" outer borough, Brooklyn, New York, is home to a thriving and diverse small business scene.

We scoured its 71 square miles, as far north as Greenpoint and deep as Bay Ridge, to find the shops, restaurants, bars, and startups worth the trek from Manhattan.

What sets this collection apart from our regular Coolest Small Businesses lists is the number of companies run by native Brooklynites. 

"Owning a business in Brooklyn, as a lot of my family members had in generations before me, means a lot in terms of being able to make something and sell it in a place I was born and raised," saysBridget Firtle, owner of small-batch distillery The Noble Experiment NYC. "It's super rewarding."

For this list we focused on businesses that opened within the past five years or so. Know a cool business we missed? Let us know in the comments.

A.L.C. Italian Grocery

8613 3rd Ave., Bay Ridge

What it is: An upscale Italian marketplace.

Why it's cool: Louis Coluccio, born and raised in the Brooklyn neighborhood where his grandfather started an Italian food importing business some 50 years ago, opened the upscale marketplace A.L.C. Italian Grocery in 2012 as a nod to traditional Italian salumerias.

The quick-service menu walks the line between old-school Italian and earthy-crunchy, serving both arancini — rice balls stuffed with fresh risotto, reggiano cheese, and parsley — and raw kale salad with beets.

Ample Hills Creamery

Multiple locations in Brooklyn

What it is: A neighborhood ice cream shop with addicting flavors.

Why it's cool: Named as a nod to a Walt Whitman Poem, Ample Hills Creamery is a new Brooklyn institution that churns out, quite literally, the best ice cream in the borough. Popular flavors include salted crack caramel, ooey gooey butter cake, and the munchies — a pretzel-infused ice cream with bits of Ritz crackers, potato chips, and mini M&Ms.

Founders Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna recently published a book of their best stories and recipes.

Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store

232 5th Ave., Park Slope

What it is: A gift shop for the person who has everything.

Why it's cool: Annie's Blue Ribbon is the store with anything and everything for people who love anything and everything. Browse the shelves full of Ryan Gosling coloring books, rockabilly temporary tattoos, wine candles, maps of all the best burger joints in New York, and other assorted tchotchkes. The shop also sells a ton of Brooklyn-themed goods and products.

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The 15 Best Cities For Couples


If you and your significant other are having a hard time being, well, "coupley," it may have something to do with where you live. According to the experts at Rent.com, some cities cater more toward couples than others.

With data from Onboard Informatics, Rent.com put together a list of the 15 best cities for couples to live in.

To create this list, Rent.com looked at cities with populations of at least 75,000 where over one quarter of all households are rental dwellings. Other criteria include crime rate, divorce rate, school systems, dining, entertainment, nearby cities, and recreation spaces.

Here are the 15 best cities for couples: 

15. Torrance, California

Couple on benchTorrance has a population of 146,892. Fifty-two percent of its adult population is married. Located right outside Los Angeles, Torrance has beautiful weather, endless stretches of beaches, and great restaurants.

14. Farmington Hills, Michigan

Michigan sunsetWith college town Ann Arbor a quick drive away and the median rental rate of a one-bedroom apartment at a mere $900, Farmington Hills is a great place for couples. Out of a population of 79,808, 55% of adults are married.

13. Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach SunsetNewport Beach has a population of 86,874, and 50% of its adult population is married. The vibrant nightlife, outdoor biking and hiking trails, and destination beaches are just a few reasons why active couples settle in this beautiful spot.

12. Columbia, Maryland

Couple Fifty-four percent of adults in Columbia's 103,661-person population are married. It's a short drive from D.C. and Baltimore, so couples can enjoy a suburban life while still being close to cities. There are many outdoor recreation spaces, as well as three local lakes for sailing, fishing, and boating.

11. Woodbridge, New Jersey

NYC coupleRight outside of New York City, Woodbridge has a population of 101,842 with 53% of its adult population married. Woodbridge is ideal for couples looking to start a family because of the strong public school system and over 400 amusement options.

10. Bellevue, Washington

Couple Space Needle SeattleBellevue has a population of 126,359, and 55% of its adult population is married. Seattle's largest suburb has everything to offer from zip lining to art galleries. The wine country of Woodinville is a quick trip away with over 100 wineries.

9. San Mateo, California

Golden Gate Bridge coupleSan Mateo has a population of 99,643 with 50% of its adult population married. Right near San Francisco and Silicon Valley, this sustainable city offers over 800 shops and restaurants as well as its own Central Park, which features a romantic Japanese tea garden. San Mateo has a population of 99,643 people. Half of the adult population is married.

8. Irvine, CA

Beach CoupleIrvine has a population of 216,417 with 49% of its adult population married. Who wouldn't want to live in a city whose mission is to create a safe, vibrant, and aesthetically pleasing environment? As an added bonus, it's often the site used to film Hollywood movies.

7. Troy, Michigan

college coupleTroy has a population of 81,060, and 61% of its adult population is married. A Detroit suburb, Troy attracts couples because of its excellent public services and safety, as well as its exceptional school systems.

6. Sunnyvale, California

Golden Gate Bridge coupleFifty-two percent of the adult population in Sunnyvale (population 144,528) is married. Nestled right in Silicon Valley, there are over 300 amusement options as well as great restaurants, leading tech companies, and the largest community-based farm in Silicon Valley.

5. Arlington Heights, Illinois

chicago beanThis Chicago suburb is full of entertainment options including the Arlington Racetrack, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, and the Mitsuwa Marketplace. Arlington Heights has a population of 75,358 people. Sixty percent of the adult population is married.

4. Fremont, California

Mission peak hikersLocated in the southeast section of San Francisco Bay Area, Fremont has a population of 218,764 with 56% of its adult population married. Also known as "Tree City USA" due to its 55,000+ trees, Fremont has a very reputable school system and is just outside Silicon Valley.

3. Edison, New Jersey

CoupleEdison has a population of 102,275; 55% of its adult population is married. Easy access to New York City and the Jersey Shore, in addition to its abundance of green spaces, makes Edison a great place for couples.

2. Staten Island, New York

Staten Island coupleStaten Island is just a short ferry ride away from everything New York City has to offer, with the distance still allowing couples to experience the best parts of suburban life. With a population of 478,653, 51% of the adult population on Staten Island is married.

1. Newton, Massachusetts

Couple SilhouetteOne of the safest cities in the U.S., Newton has a population of 86,811 with 55% of its adult population married. Located in one of the most historical parts of the country, Newton is close to Boston and the urban atmosphere there, but has its own suburban vibe and great cuisine.

SEE ALSO: The Best Cities For Singles

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Williamsburg Bar Sues New York City For The Constitutional Right To Dance


muchmore's bar in williamsburgMuchmore’s— a music venue, bar, and coffee house in Williamsburg — is challenging a New York law that prohibits its patrons from dancing, according a New York Post report.

The suit references NYC’s cabaret laws, which require all venues to have a license if they plan to host dancing by more than three people at a time. 

The restrictions date back to Prohibition when police were targeting New York’s (booze-serving) dance halls, and speakeasies began to pop up all around the city.

But bar owner and real estate attorney Andrew Muchmore argues that the law has become arbitrary in the 21st century and infringes on his customers’ First and 14th Amendment rights (free speech and equal protection).

muchmore's interior williamsburgAccording to The Post, the suit claims that without the license, Muchmore has been forced to play “folk music, rock music, experimental electronic music, jazz and other forms of music that are not conducive to dancing” at his bar.

But he believes it’s the constitutional right of customers to get down. Muchmore argues in his suit that cabaret laws prevent him from playing a certain type of music that would encourage dancing. 

So why doesn’t he just get the cabaret license? Muchmore claims that he would have to set up “elaborate digital security systems and to jump through a mass of bureaucratic hoops.”  

The Post also notes that the licenses are usually only issued to larger nightclubs than tiny bar establishments.

SEE ALSO: 21 Hidden Bars In New York City

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8 Ways I Trick Myself Into Going To The Gym


treadmill running

My gym membership costs $90 a month.

I know.

Really — I know.

Yes, I have tried to negotiate, and yes, I've looked into other gyms, but after joining my Manhattan chain on a corporate discount that was about $20 less than I currently pay, I couldn't bear to leave the gym when I went back to civilian status after changing jobs. I love the teachers! I know the schedule! The locations are so convenient!

That's how they get you.

Anyway, the price of my gym is what it is, and I paid for a year in advance just to get that rate. So I better make it worth my money. Every night that I "don't feel like going" means I'm wasting cash, and as someone who would be naturally well-suited to those hover chairs from Wall-E, there are lots of nights I need to turn "don't feel like" into "can't wait."

How do I force myself to go? Below, I'm confessing the motivation tricks that get me off the couch and onto the spin bike. I can't guarantee they'll work for you — I can't even guarantee they'll continue to work for me — but this is what works right now.

spin class

I go to classes. If someone isn't standing in front of me, barking out reps and making sure I do them, it's not going to get done. That's something I know about myself. As much as I admire those sneakered, self-motivated New Yorkers bounding through Manhattan at a brisk jog all hours of the day and night, I'm just never going to be one.

And I stand in the front. You try slacking off when you're directly in the instructor's line of sight.

I think of the money. The brilliant thing about belonging to a gym, as opposed to those $30 boutique spin classes so many of my friends adore, is that since you've already paid, it gets cheaper every time you go. That's amazing! If I go to one class in a month, it's a $90 class. Two, they're each $45. Nine classes? At nine, which works out to fewer than three times a week, I'm paying only $10 per class.

I talk about going to the gym incessantly. If everyone in my office knows I plan to go, I have to keep my word. "It's like peer pressure!" my coworker exclaimed in dismay after the third time that day I checked to see if she was coming with me to the gym. "It's OK," I reassured her. "I'm fine with that."

I tell myself going to the gym is my reward. There's no better choice I could be making at that moment for my health and well-being. It's a breath of fresh superiority.

dog sleeping treadmillI leave my gym bag at the office. This is decidedly trickier if you're the type to work out before and after work, but I haven't yet reached that level of lunacy. As someone who exclusively exercises at night, I bring my gym bag home, empty it, refill it, and bring it to work the next day, whether I'm planning to go to the gym or not. On the weekend, I just bring it home and then back on Monday morning. This way, I'm never caught without sneakers … and I get an arm workout during my commute.

I wrangle an escort. Between my office and the gym are two different subway stops. Also cabs. And sidewalks that lead straight home. To make sure I'm shamed into actually arriving at the gym instead of being segued by an exit strategy, I do my best to press coworkers into escort service. "We don't even have to work out together! Let's just walk over together!" (Oh man, I'm the worst.)

I tell myself I can leave mid-class. I say it, but I never do it. Once I'm there, in my gym clothes, sneakers strapped on, in a prime front-row spot, you can bet I'm not leaving. It's not like I'm doing a four-hour CrossFit workout or running a marathon — it's a 45 minute class, and I can do pretty much anything for 45 minutes. By the time I think of leaving, it's over.

How do you motivate yourself to get to the gym?

SEE ALSO: 10 Easy Ways To Keep Yourself From Spending Too Much Money

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22 Brilliant Thinkers Everyone Should Follow On Twitter


paul krugman

If you've been following the same people on Twitter for the last five years, you're probably missing out. An engaging Twitter feed should provide an intersection of interests from thought leaders across fields. 

For that reason, we've gathered 22 intellectual heavyweights in areas like design, neuroscience, management, and economics. Start following them and get your ideas flowing. 

If we missed anybody, tell us in the comments.

Aimee Groth, Kim Bhasin, and Danielle Schlanger contributed research to this story. 

Scott Barry Kaufman, scientific director, The Imagination Institute, University of Pennsylvania

Handle: @sbkaufman 

The "Ungifted" author always has the latest on the science of imagination and creativity. 

If you want to learn more about learning, follow Kaufman. His research has helped us redefine our understanding of intelligence.

Tina Roth Eisenberg, design blogger and founder of CreativeMornings, StudioMates, and Tattly

Handle: @swissmiss

Eisenberg takes the sometimes stuffy world of design and makes it delightfully accessible. 

Of special note is the Friday Link Pack, her weekly digest of the finest detail-oriented content around. Her feed is also one of the best places to track down tickets to CreativeMornings, her creativity-oriented monthly conference series. 

Jad Abumrad, host and creator, Radiolab

Handle: @Jadabumrad

Abumrad stands at the intersection of curiosity, science communication, and public radio.

He has 2 million follows on air and 245,000 on Twitter, and he's worth listening to. He'll give you quirky musings on science, technology, and the world around us.


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