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8 Things You Never Knew About The World's Biggest New Year's Eve Celebration

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New Year's Eve Times Square

You can watch the ball drop on TV or online from anywhere, but if you happen to be in New York on December 31, Times Square is a classic place to ring in the New Year.

The New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is co-produced by the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment and takes a year of planning to put on.

Here are some things we learned from the organizers about what goes into the event.

Planning for New Year's Eve begins the day after last year's bash.

When the streets are finally cleaned of noisemakers and confetti, planning for the next New Year's Eve celebration begins. This includes booking entertainment, making the ball bigger and brighter, working with sponsors, and all the other things viewers don't see going on behind the camera.

New Year's Eve, Times Square, Ball Drop

The ball today weighs almost 17 times what the first ball weighed.

Made of iron and wood, the first New Year's Eve ball to be dropped from the flagpole at One Times Square in 1907 weighed 700 pounds. The ball today weighs 11,875 pounds. The celebration begins when the ball is raised at 6 p.m.

The televised event gets bigger and better every year.

While a million people gather in Times Square to watch the live performances every year, another million and a half from over 200 countries tune in to watch the event online from a live webcast, which you can also view on your smartphone through the Times Square Ball App or the Times Square Crossroads App. O.A.R., Idina Menzel, American Authors, and the USO Show Troupe, among others, will perform.

The celebration continues Dick Clark's tradition of "New Year's Rockin' Eve."

The program still takes the name of its original host of 40 years, though today it's hosted by TV and radio personality Allison Hagendorf who, for her second year, will ring in the New Year with a few co-hosts.

New Year's Eve in Times Square confetti

The confetti that rains down on Times Square has messages written on it.

Pick up a piece of confetti from the street and you'll likely find a note on there written by someone wishing for good things for the next year, or letting go of something from the past one. The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment actually do a trial run of the confetti a couple of days before New Year's Eve.

Revelers are ushered into "party pens" just before 6:00.

Police officers start letting people, in groups, into sectioned-off areas known as "party pens" just before the New Year's Eve bash begins at 6 p.m. (though many people wait around hours before then to get a good view of the ball drop). But once you're in, coming and going is not permitted, lest you lose your spot.

Each year someone new gets to drop the ball.

Each year the mayor and a special guest pushes the Waterford crystal button that activates the descent of the ball down the Times Square flagpole. Last year it was Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; this year representatives from the International Rescue Committee will do the honors.

New Year's Eve revelers in Times Square

The countdown to the New Year always ends with a kiss at midnight.

Kissing at midnight is a New year's tradition, one which hundreds of thousands of revelers in Times Square uphold. The tradition is even turned into a contest, sponsored by Nivea, where a winning couple gets to kiss on stage.

SEE ALSO: The 7 Hottest New Year's Eve Parties In Las Vegas

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The 12 Best History Books Of 2014

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women reading outsideIf you're looking for a compelling story to start off the new year, why not opt for a true tale?

Amazon recently announced its list of the best history books of 2014, and it's filled with in-depth stories that shaped the United States, from the founding of the first west coast colony in 1810 to what really happened in Benghazi in 2012.

Go ahead — dive headfirst into the past.

1. "Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard: The latest addition to O'Reilly's series of books explaining famous murders explores the death of General George S. Patton, Jr, who died mysteriously shortly after World War II. O'Reilly examines the circumstances around his death, which many suspect wasn't an accident.

2. "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson: What makes an entrepreneur disruptive? Where does creativity come from? Isaacson analyzes the personalities throughout history that led the digital revolution, all the way from mathematicians in the 1840s to modern standouts, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. 

3. "In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette" by Hampton Sides: In 1879, the USS Jeanette left San Francisco headed for the unexplored North Pole with captain George Washington de Long at the helm. However, the ship quickly became trapped in ice, forcing the crew to abandon it two years in and continue their treacherous arctic journey on foot. 

4. "Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson" by S. C. Gwynne: This book takes an in-depth look at the life and career of Stonewall Jackson, a Confederate Civil War general who is often considered one of the greatest American military figures of all time. More than just his military accomplishments, Gwynne also dives into Jackson's personal life, explaining his rise to power in the South.  

5. "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David" by Lawrence Wright: Wright gives a play-by-play account of the 13-day conference at Camp David between President Jimmy Carter, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, and Eygptian president Anwar Sadat in 1978. During the meeting, the three leaders created and signed the first peace treaty in the Middle East, which is still in use today.

6. "A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal" by Ben Macintyre and John Le Carre: During the Cold War, Kim Philby rose to prominence in Britain as the head of counterintelligence against the Soviet Union. However, Philby was secretly working for the Soviets, transmitting everything he learned back to Moscow, a secret unbeknownst to even his closest friends.

In The Kingdom of Ice7. "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China" by Evan Osnos: As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Osnos has a firsthand look at everyday life in China, including political and economic upheaval as the Communist Party struggles to stay in control. In this account, Osnos chronicles the lives of China's everyday citizens through this period of growth and stress.  

8. "Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence" by Karen Armstrong: As worldwide violence mounts and religious self-identification slows in the US, Armstrong examines the links between the two, and the effects violence has had on different faiths over time. 

9. "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi" by Mitchell Zuckoff and Annex Security Team: On September 11, 2012 a team of six American security operators fought to protect the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station attacked by terrorists in Benghazi, Libya. Though the attack made national headlines, details of the night were fuzzy — until now, as the team tells their story to set the record straight. 

10. "Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II" by Vicki Croke: When Billy Williams moved to colonial Burma in 1920, he almost immediately forged a bond with the elephant population, treating their injuries and teaching them to interact with humans. Eventually, he trained the creatures to operate as "war elephants," carrying supplies and sneaking refugees out of Burma. 

11. "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" by Karen Abbott: Abbott tells the true stories of four women who went undercover during the Civil War as spies for the Confederacy. The book also includes 39 photographs and three maps to further illustrate these women's wartime journeys. 

12. "Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival" by Peter Stark: In 1810 — six years after Lewis and Clark started their journey — John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson set out to settle America's first colony on the west coast. Throughout their three-year journey, the explorers faced both adventure and hardship, and eventually established the path that would become the Oregon Trail. 

SEE ALSO: The 20 Most Popular Books Of The Year

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Kim Kardashian And Kanye West Are Reportedly Expanding Their $20 Million LA Property

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kimye home new propertyKim Kardashian and Kanye West are reportedly buying the home next door to their new $20 million mansion, according to The Daily Mail.

An outdated ranch-style home with 1.49 acres of land went on sale for $2.92 million right next door to Kim and Kanye’s French country-style home in Hidden Hills. 

It was bought on December 15th by a company called Safari View LLC for $2.92 million and the deed was then transferred to the Noel Roberts Trust. Curbed linked the Noel Roberts Trust to the Bel Air mansion that Kim and Kanye are currently selling, as well as Kanye’s old Hollywood Hills home. 

The pair are most likely looking to extend their property and gain more privacy for themselves and their daughter North. They will probably demolish the current home and do some serious landscaping, bringing their total property acreage to 5.

The Wests already own the $20 million mansion next door with 15,600 square feet. The estate was once owned by Lisa Marie Presley, but her original mansion was razed in 2010 by the then-owner who built the current eight-bedroom spread on the property.

In addition to all their new real estate, Kimye — who were still living in Kim’s mother Kris Jenner’s home until recently — will enjoy two spas, a vineyard, two swimming pools, and more on their new property. 

"I am so ready to be out of my mom's house, you have no idea," Kim told People magazine. "We wanted to be away and have more privacy ... but it will be nice to still be close." 

Kim and Kanye bought this 8,000-square-foot estate in Hidden Hills in August — right down the street from Kim's mom's house, where the couple had previously been staying with baby North.



Now it's been revealed they also picked up the next door property (outlined in yellow). It will add roughly 1.5 acres to Kim and Kanye's 3.5 acre estate (in red).



The couple's new home — which boasts a very grand entrance —was previously owned by Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.



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The 24 Best All-Inclusive Resorts In The Caribbean

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St. Lucia

As temperatures drop in the US, many are starting to plan their escape to the Caribbean.

And what better way to enjoy a truly stress free holiday than an all-inclusive resort? 

With help from Hotels.com, we've rounded up some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean based on real travelers ratings. 

From adults-only resorts located on private beaches to family-friendly hotels with special water parks, these are some of the best Caribbean getaways. 

24. Anse Chastanet Resort, St. Lucia

This secluded resort in Soufriere is a popular Caribbean getaway for couples. 

Located on 600 acres of tropical foliage, the Anse Chastanet Resort offers snorkeling and scuba diving with 100 yards of beach, kayaking, jungle mountain biking, hiking, and sunset cruises, deep-sea fishing, and tours of a "drive-in" volcano. 

The resort even has a restaurant in a treehouse. 

Rooms from $504 per night. 



23. Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua

The Galley Bay Resort & Spa is located on 40 acres of land with a private white sand beach, lush tropical gardens, and tons of birds. 

Guests at the adults-only resort can enjoy drinks or a meal at the beach, pool, or in the privacy of their hotel room.

Rooms from $841 a night. 



22. Sandals Grande, Antigua

This couples-only resort has been voted the "World's Leading Honeymoon Resort" by the World Travel Awards four years in a row. 

Located on Dicenson Bay, the all-inclusive resort offers tennis courts, kayaking, sailing, and scuba diving. After, guests can unwind in the sauna, spa, or in a private cabana at the beach. There are 373 rooms spread over seven floors. 

Rooms from $1,541 a night. 



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Why You Should Start Ordering Your Starbucks Drink 'Extra Hot'

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starbucks baristaA former Starbucks barista has revealed some tips and tricks for ordering a coffee at the perfect temperature. 

Alecia Li Morgan worked at Starbucks for five years, first as a barista and later as a store manager.

Throughout her time there, she had many customers who ordered their drinks "extra hot," she wrote in a thread on Quora.

"Back when I first started working at Starbucks, the acceptable range for beverage temperature was around 145-165 degrees," she wrote. "That's not really all that hot."

The perfect temperature for a coffee, she learned through extensive trial and error, is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Morgan offered these tips and tricks for when and how to order a drink "extra hot":

1. When it's cold outside. "When I worked at Starbucks in North Dakota, the temperatures would reach -30F plus wind chill, so drinks cooled down QUICKLY if taken outside/ordered in a drive thru," Morgan wrote. 

2. When you are ordering a milk-based drinks. Creamers, even when steamed, can cool down the temperature of a coffee. Tell the barista you want the milk steamed to 180 degrees, and it won't negatively affect the taste of the espresso or coffee.

3. When you don't plan to drink the coffee right away. If you want to enjoy your coffee at work but there's a convenient Starbucks location closer to home, ordering it extra hot will keep it warm during the commute.


NOW WATCH: 7 Subliminal Messages In Corporate Logos

 

SEE ALSO: Starbucks' $450 Gold Cards Sold Out In Seconds, But You Can Get Them On E-Bay For $5,000

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Way Too Many People Are Screwing Up The Difference Between 'I' And 'Me'

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As we say goodbye to 2014, it seems as good a time as any to correct a language error that a lot of people continue to make.

It's using "I" where they should use "me" or vice versa.

If you already know the rule from grammar school, good for you!

Consider these two sentences:

He's taking Jane and me to the park.

He's taking Jane and I to the park.

Which is correct?

central park sheep meadow looking south

If you said the first, you're right:

He's taking Jane and me to the park.

It's right because "Jane and me" are the objects of the sentence (the things being taken) while "he" is the subject (the thing that is taking). After all, "me" is the objective form of the first person pronoun while "I" is the subjective form.

For an example of proper "I" usage, just flip the subject and object:

Jane and I are taking him to the park.

The distinction is fairly simple when you think about it — yet even well-educated, native English speakers screw it up.

Bryan Garner, in his excellent book "Garner's Modern American Usage," lists this among several examples of people getting "I" and "me" wrong:

"My mother was busy raising my brother and I [read me]." / "Give Al Gore and I [read me] a chance to bring America back." Bill Clinton, accepting the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, 16 July 1992.

I come across this error a lot, in writing and in speech. I suspect one reason for this error could have to do with kids frequently being corrected when they say, for example, "me and Jane" — as adults tell them to put the other person's name first to be polite and to say "I" to be grammatical.

The result is that some people seem to think you always have to say "Jane and I" and that you can therefore never say things like "Jane and me." Language experts call this "hypercorrection."

But again, that's just not right. For example, "I" is correct when used as a subject here:

Right: Jane and I are eating pizza!

Wrong: Jane and me are eating pizza!

But "me" is correct when used as an object here:

Right: Jane is making me pizza!

Wrong: Jane is making I pizza!

Here's where confusion frequently happens:

Wrong: Jane is making Mike and I pizza!

Just because Mike is getting pizza too doesn't mean you change from "me" to "I."

Right: Jane is making Mike and me pizza!

If it "sounds wrong" to your ear, that's probably because you've been saying it and hearing it wrong all this time. Or you had things like "Jane and I" hammered into you so often the correct way now sounds, well, incorrect.

The error is common enough that you might even get into a situation where someone tries to "correct" you! This has happened to me. And it's always so awkward trying to explain it. You come off as a pedant. But know that there are people judging you when you make this error.

Another explanation for the error might have to do with people incorrectly thinking that the "and I" sounds "more correct" or "more formal" than "and me." But that's plain wrong.

A trick for getting it right: No one would ever say "He's taking I." You'd always say "He's taking me." You'd never say "Jane is making I pizza." You'd always say "Jane is making me pizza." So even though you're mentioning another person "in between" the subject and the object — that is, you — don't incorrectly change "me" to "I." Just remove the other person — in this case Mike — and see if what you're saying sounds right.

All of these are correct, by the way:

Jane is making me pizza.

Jane is making Mike pizza.


Jane is making Mike and me pizza.

Between you and me, Mike makes delicious pizza.

OK, so if you'd like some practice, here's a short quiz on "I or me?"

Coincidentally, as I was writing this post just now, I found this brand-spanking-new NPR list. And gee — look what's No. 1 on the list.

Also, Bill Flanagan has a pretty good explanation on CBS.

Clinton got “I” and “me” mixed up, and he should have known better. One guy I’m giving a pass, however, is Jim Morrison. Recall the line from the Doors’ “Touch Me” in which he sings:

“I’m gonna love you till the stars fall from the sky for you and I [read me].”

Happy New Year!

SEE ALSO:  Americans Need To Stop Mispronouncing 'Adidas'

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Airbnb May Soon Be Able To Tell What Type Of Photos Attract The Most Guests

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dog airbnbOne of the best ways to attract more guests on Airbnb is to use professional, polished photos of your place.

After all, the photos make the first impression, and the guest’s decision may ultimately come down to what your place looks like in those pictures.

Now it seems like Airbnb is planning to give extra points to those who use better-quality photos.

According to Bloomberg, Airbnb is working on a system that can automatically determine how attractive the host’s photos are to its customers. Based on that, Airbnb may even start to showcase listings with the more “attractive” photos, and eventually offer a “digital interior designer” that can offer guidance on how to beef up photos to increase bookings.

“We are trying to promote listings with more attractive images…we want to bring the insights back to the host,” Airbnb’s search lead Max Charkov told Bloomberg.

In fact, what Airbnb is doing is part of a big trend that we’ve been seeing in tech over the past few years. Often called “predictive analytics,” tech companies are collecting large amounts of data to analyze the past and predict the future.

For example, HR software company Workday is working on a system that could tell companies when employees are about to quit their jobs. Box, as the Bloomberg report points out, has a system in place that automatically organizes files based on the level of confidentiality. 

And this will only lead to more emphasis on data analysis.

As Norwest Venture Partners’ Managing Partner Matt Howard told us, “The year 2015 will be all about what to do with data. How do you make it into a strategic weapon? The hottest job in corporate America will be the chief data officer.”

Join the conversation about this story »








The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide To New Year's Resolutions

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Exercise more. Drink less. Travel. Save money.

These are your unoriginal regurgitated New Year’s resolutions. And they are getting pretty tiresome, especially considering the vast majority of you never fulfill them, choosing instead to wallow in the banality of your own existence, and roll them over again next year.

Join the conversation about this story »








Here's Everything You Need For Your Home Bar

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Don't be the one who doesn't know which beer goes in which glass. Or the person who accidentally serves a whiskey in a Collins glass. Yikes.

Insider Picks has put together a handy list of all the tools and glasses you'll need for a home bar. 

Impress your colleagues, your friends, and your date.

First up, glassware.

insider picks

Whiskey glasses:

There are two ways to serve whiskey: the 'rocks glass' and the snifter. The 'rocks glass' can double for whiskey cocktails, but keep the snifter only for neat drinks.

Luigi Bormioli Strauss Whiskey Rocks Glass (Set of 6) $41.41 | Amazon

Glencarin Whiskey Glass (Set of 6) $22.95 | Amazon


 

insider picks

Cocktail glasses:

There are two main groups of cocktail drinks: short and long. Short are generally for the nighttime, and are primarily made of liquor (for example, a Martini.) Long drinks, on the other hand, are the sugar-filled, full of ice, possibly-okay-for-daytime drinks (such as a Tom Collins.) It's good to have both on hand.

Libbey 10-ounce Preston Martini Glass (Set of 4) $18.17 | Amazon

Stolzle New York Bar 11 Oz Collins Glass (Set of 6) $35.o5 | Amazon


 

Wine glasses:

Red and white wines need different glasses. Typically the reds have a larger, wider glass. It's good to have both on hand.

Libbey Vina Round Red Wine Goblets (Set of 6) $22.00 | Amazon

Libbey Vina Tall Wine Goblet (Set of 6) $24.99 | Amazon


 

insider picks

Beer glasses:

Solo cups were kind of acceptable back when you were guzzling beers at that college mixer, but now it's time to group up and learn the rules. Different beers, different glasses. Here are the ones you should have on hand:

Pilsner glasses for light beers such as (surprise, surprise) pilsners and pale lagers.

Libbey 16-ounce Midtown Pilsner Glass (Set of 4) $15.85 | Amazon

A weissbier glass for wheat beers.

Libbey Craft Brews 23-Ounce Clear Wheat Beer Glass (Set of 4) $14.99 | Amazon

A glass for your Belgian ales.

Libbey Craft Brews 16.6 Ounce Clear Belgian Ale Glass (Set of 4) $14.99 | Amazon

And if all else fails, make sure you have the basic pint glass. 

ARC International Luminarc Pub Beer Glass, 16 Ounce (Set of 10) $18.69 | Amazon


 

insider picks

Next, you'll need your tools.

A cocktail shaker:

In order to mix up your drinks, you'll need a cocktail shaker. Stick your ingredients in and shake. Here are two great options that you can get.

Premium Cocktail Shaker Set $9.98 | Amazon 

Barware Styles Classic and Elegant Stainless Steel 3-Piece Martini and Cocktail Shaker Bar Set $17.97 | Amazon


 

A cocktail strainer:

A cocktail strainer is used to separate ice from a mixed drink as it's poured into a glass (after you mix everything up in the cocktail shaker.) Here are two quality options.

Winco Stainless Steel 4-Prong Bar Strainer $4.16 | Amazon

Swissmar Stainless Steel Cocktail Strainer $12.00 | Amazon


 

Screen Shot 2014 11 10 at 9.37.27 PM

A jigger:

In order to get the precise measurements for a drink, you'll need to have a jigger on hand. 

OXO Steel Double Jigger $8.95 | Amazon

Excellante 1 & 2 Ounce Stainless Steel Jigger $3.91 | Amazon


 

insider picks

Bar spoons:

Regular spoons aren't going to reach to the bottom of a cocktail shaker — they're simply not long enough. And that's problematic because sometimes ingredients pool up at the bottom, and you'll need to shake them up. So pick up some bar spoons.

Update International 11-Inch Stainless Steel Bar Spoons (Set of 2) $5.79 | Amazon

You can also get yourself swizzle sticks to mix up drinks.

Bonny Bar Stir Sticks (22 count) $5.68 | Amazon


 

An ice cube tray:

No bar would be complete with an ice cube tray.

Rubbermaid White Ice Cube Tray (Pack of 2) $6.99 | Amazon

Tovolo Perfect Cube Ice Trays, Stratus Blue (Pack of 2) $14.12 | Amazon

We recommend making spherical ice cubes. The drink will look more elegant — like you ordered it at New York speakeasy.

ROX Ice Ball Maker (Makes 4) $9.97 | Amazon


 

insider picks

A juicer:

And no one wants pulp floating around in their drinks. So if the cocktail you're making uses citrus flavors, we recommend squeezes the fruit with a citrus juicer in order to avoid pulp.

Bellemain Stainless Steel Squeezer $18.95 | Amazon


 

A knife:

A small knife comes in handy for garnishes and those not-so-easy-to-make cocktails.

Cocktail Kingdom Channel Knife $5.95 | Amazon


 

Screen Shot 2014 11 10 at 9.43.56 PM

And finally, some other accessories to complete your bar.

Chilling stones:

Chilling stones are a great way to cool drinks without letting them get watered down. Just toss them in your freezer and use as needed.

Sipping Stones, Grey Whisky Chilling Rocks (Set of 9) $11.95 | Amazon

EZ Drinker Liquor Chilling Stones (Set of 9) | Amazon


 

bi links

An opener:

Although champagne is fairly easy to open by hand, wine bottles are a different story. Make sure you always have corkscrew on hand. We recommend the Precision Kitchenware option, which comes with a wine stopper (so you can close the bottle, if you don't finish it.)

Precision Kitchenware — Luxury Corkscrew and Wine Stopper Set  $11.95 | Amazon

Or if you're particularly tech-y, you can get an electric bottle opener. Plus it's way easier to use.

Oster Electric Wine Bottle Opener $19.99 | Amazon 


A muddler:

You'll need a muddler to mash up citrus fruits, herbs, and even sugar cubes in a way that it releases extra flavors into a drink. 

Screen Shot 2014 11 12 at 10.26.05 AMDecodyne Cocktail Muddler $6.95 | Amazon

Epica Stainless Steel & Gridded Nylon Cocktail Muddler $6.95 | Amazon

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

WANT MORE? Click Here To See Our Other Insider Picks

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These Are The Countries That Will Party The Hardest On New Year’s Eve

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New Year’s Eve celebrations come with a lot of expectations — and one of them is the fact that you will be staying up until dawn toasting to the new year. 

But if all you want to do is have a bit of champagne and call it a night, you're not alone. According to data collected by Jawbone, a fitness tracker company, nearly one third of Americans are asleep before midnight. 

Jawbone collected information from hundreds of thousands of its users who track their sleep patterns through the wristband UP, and broke it down geographically. 

With that data they created a map that shows just how late people from around the world stay up on New Year’s Eve: 

New Year's Eve

Apparently the best country to party in on New Year’s Eve is Russia. Since Christmas was removed from the calendar during the Soviet era, all of the traditions of Christmas were moved to New Year’s Eve. The holiday has become a "super-holiday," in which people stay up late drinking, “Father Frost” comes to give gifts to children, and people decorate “New Year trees.” 

Only 71.2% of jawbone users in the U.S. make it to midnight, compared to the astounding 95.4% of Russians who are awake. In the United Kingdom 84% of users are up until midnight, 79.4% in Canada, and 69.9% in Australia (the country that gets the most sleep).

South American countries had a large proportion of users staying awake past midnight — in Argentina 97.5 % stayed up, 94.2% in Brazil, and 96.1% in Chile. Brian Wilt theorized that a reason the South American countries had such late average bedtimes is due to the fact that their New Year’s Eve in in the summer. 

China and Israel are asleep earlier than any other countries in the world, which make sense since they both have their own New Year’s traditions that are celebrated on different days. 

But the sleepy U.S. had an average bedtime of 12:55 a.m., compared to Russia’s average of 3:36 a.m. 

In fact, only one city in the US made the world's  top 19 list: 

New Year's Eve Chart

So for those in the New York City area, maybe you should check out Astoria this year. 

For more information on the study, check out Jawbone's website here

SEE ALSO: 8 Things You Never Knew About The World's Biggest New Year's Eve Celebration

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The 10 Most Expensive Penthouses Around The World

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The world housing market is going crazy, especially in the luxury sector.

Lincoln Property Company, a real estate company, has rounded up the most expensive apartments that are currently on the market, from a $400 million penthouse in Monaco to one in Hong Kong with a private pool on each floor. 

There are also five New York properties that made the list.

While most of us are worrying about security deposits and monthly rent checks, here’s how the other half is living.

10 most expensive apartments

SEE ALSO: Meet The Big Shots Who Live At 15 Central Park West

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

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The Most Jaw-Dropping Space Pictures Of 2014

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Aurora Norway

For as long as we know, humanity has looked up at the sky and wondered about our place in this vast universe while marveling at the beauty of the stars.

As Carl Sagan said in Cosmos,"the size and age of the cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home."

This year was an especially big year for space observation and exploration.

In 2014 we've seen auroras transform the sky, been dazzled by solar eruptions, cheered as we landed on our first comet, and marveled at images of our fragile planet captured from other worlds.

James Woodend won the 2014 Astronomy Photography of the Year competition with this photo of a vivid green aurora in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park.

Source: These 12 Mind-Blowing Space Images Just Won A Photography Competition



NASA's Curiosity rover shared its very first picture of Earth from Mars. The photo was taken about 80 minutes after sunset on Jan. 31, 2014, NASA said. The rover tweeted the photo with the accompanying caption: "Look Back in Wonder... My 1st picture of Earth from the surface of Mars."

Source: Here's A Stunning View Of Earth From 99 Million Miles Away 



On April 21, the Hubble telescope captured what looks like a black hole in Jupiter's Great Red Spot — but really, it's the shadow of the Jovian moon Ganymede.

Source: Hubble Snapped This Picture Of Jupiter With A Creepy 'Hole' In Its Great Red Spot



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Scientists Discovered What Makes Something Funny

5 Drinks To Choose For Healthier New Year's Eve Boozing

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Most evidence suggests that moderate drinking is relatively healthy, and it might even boost your immunity. No M.D. will give you the thumbs up for heavy drinking (for good reason), and teetotalers can safely opt out of this delicate, self-serving calculation — but it is possible to choose drinks this New Year's Eve that aren't all bad.

While drinks light in calories (say those made with diet soda or bubbly water) are good choices for your waistline, a variety of drinks offer some health rewards on a night when hedonism usually reigns.

Manhattan cocktail drink

Manhattan

A Manhattan, or really anything made with bitters, is a good choice for a cocktail that goes down easy. Bitters are a potent mix of herbs or flowers with water and alcohol, and they were a staple of herbal remedies long before they were an artisanal ingredient in fancy cocktails. Limited evidence suggests they may ease digestion.

wine

Red Wine

A glass of Cabernet is not a common choice for hard partiers, but some studies in animals have suggested that — thanks perhaps to an ingredient called resveratrol — it may protect against a variety of age-related diseases.

While something in red wine does seem to help the heart, according to The Mayo Clinic, "to get the same dose of resveratrol used in the mice studies, a person would have to drink over 60 liters of red wine every day." Bottoms up?

Screwdriver cocktail drink orange juice vodka

Screwdriver

Orange juice may be packed with sugar, but just one cup will get to your recommended daily value of Vitamin C. (The popular immune-booster is by no means a cure-all, but it may reduce the severity of colds.) Mix OJ with vodka to make this classic drink, which increases your likelihood of a happy New Year by steering clear of dark alcohols, which some evidence suggests may be more likely to produce a hangover.

Different Types of Beer Glasses

Beer

Wine seems to get all the positive attention, but beer — provided you choose a variety lower in calories — has health benefits too. "The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine," reports a study in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, and "from a nutritional standpoint, beer contains more protein and B vitamins than wine." Silicon, a mineral found in beer, may also contribute to stronger bones.

Bloody Mary Cocktail Drink Celery

Bloody Mary

Sure, it may be an unconventional choice after brunching hours, but if you want to stay up until the wee hours, you could do worse than this spicy, vodka-based beverage.

The salt will help you replenish the electrolytes you sweat out on the dance floor, and an antioxidant called lycopene, found in tomato juice, is "associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases," notes a review in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Snacking on the celery in your glass can't hurt either.

Bonus: Water

Alcohol dehydrates you, and when you're boozing and get thirsty, the instinct is to chug a beer or reach for another icy cocktail. Resist. Instead, try mixing it up with a few glasses of water — unglamorous but definitely essential. Since dehydration may also be partially responsible for hangovers, you'll probably be just a little happier when you wake up in the morning.

DON'T MISS: What Alcohol Does To Your Body And Mind

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The 50 Best Photos Of 2014

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KievProtestsCOVER

This was a tumultuous year. From revolution and war in Ukraine, Syria, and Israel to social unrest across the US and the Ebola outbreak in Africa, 2014 was anything but quiet. 

And, as the old adage goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words."

We compiled the most unforgettable images from the past 12 months, captured by photographers from around the world.

Beginning in November 2013, Ukrainians protested the government's decision to distance itself economically from Europe in a movement that became known as EuroMaidan. The protests exploded into violence and burning tires in January after anti-protest laws went into effect. Here, protesters took cover from water sprayed by a fire engine on Jan. 23.



The anti-protest laws banned "face concealments." Protesters, like this one, deliberately disobeyed the law by wearing gas masks.

 



The Tower of David in Caracas, Venezuela, is the tallest slum in the world. In February, Reuters photographer Jorge Silva went there to capture what life was actually like for those living there. Here, men rested after salvaging metal on the 30th floor.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider






How To Dress Like James Bond

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James Bond and carThe next James Bond movie — "Spectre" — was announced back in December.

The bad news is: the movie won't be out until the fall of 2015. 

But the good news is: you can still get some Bond in your life while you wait.

We've put together a style guide based on Daniel Craig's James Bond: edgier and darker, but still maintaining that smart-elegant vibe. 

Whether you want to go full-on Bond, or just add an accessory or two, you'll find it here.


The Classic Gray James Bond Suit

 

james bond

You just couldn't have a Bond without a suit. Usually, he's sports a gray one, ranging from light to charcoal tones. We recommend erring on the darker side — not everyone can pull off a heather gray.

For the shirt and tie — choose a light blue shirt and navy tie. They're warmer than white and black, respectively, but still convey a serious vibe.

Gray Suit

Investment:Burberry London grey slim-fit wool suit $1,395

Deal: Salvatore Exte Men's two button charcoal gray suit$449.00 $95.86 to $109.86 

Light-Blue Button Down

Investment: Brioni blue striped cotton shirt — £310 ($482)

Deal: Bloomingdale's Houndstooth Check Dress Shirt — $449.00 $49.77 

Navy Tie

Investement: Turnbull & Asser ribbed silk tie — £95 ($147)

Deal: Calvin Klein men's silver spun solid tie — $65.00 $33.14  


The Omega "Seamaster" Watch

 

james bond omega

For almost two decades Bond's been wearing the Omega "Seamaster watch," which you can get yourself as well. Or you can find yourself a better deal on a lookalike.

Investment: The Omega "Seamaster" 300 Chrono Diver watch — $3,640

Deal: SO&CO "Monticello" stainless steel watch — $325.00 $43.99  


 

Leather Jacket

james bond

But sometimes, Bond is running around in a more casual look, typically rocking a leather jacket. (Which is pretty much the cool-guy staple.)

We recommend combining 2014's biggest trend in menswear with the classic James Bond style staple by getting yourself a leather bomber jacket. It's pretty much a win-win.

Investment: Schott slim-fit leather jacket  £775 £387.49 ($1206$603)

Deal: Navy A-1 Leather Flight Bomber Jacket — $299.99 $149.99 


Tuxedo Bow Tie 

james bondArguably the best scene in Casino Royale is the whole poker sequence. Scratch that — there's no debate. If you ever find yourself invited to a black (or white tie) setting like this high-stakes poker game, you better have that real bow tie ready.

Investment: Turnbull & Asser Silk Bow Tie — £55 ($86)

Deal: Silk Bow Tie — $15.99 $9.50  


A Martini Glass james bondAnd of course, James Bond's martini. Have a couple of glasses on hand so that you, too, can prepare a strong cocktail. Especially if you'd like to impress a date.

Investment: Luigi Bormioli martini glasses (set of 4) — $37.00

Deal: Libbey martini glasses (set of 4) — $39.99 $17.01 

 

How about a drone?: The Sleek Panther Drone Is The Perfect Way To Start Flying [55% Off]

Looking for gadgets? Here Are 15 Hi-Tech Timepieces You'll Actually Want On Your Wrist

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Google Plans To Build An Enormous New Campus In Colorado — And Residents Are Worried About Gentrification (GOOG)

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boulder pearl street

Google plans to nearly quintuple its presence in Colorado with the construction of a new, four-acre campus in Boulder. 

The project, which was recently approved by Boulder's City Council, includes three, four-story office buildings with all of the usual Google luxuries, including fitness centers, cafeterias, and a large underground parking lot.

The new campus will increase Google's Boulder workforce from 340 employees to nearly 1,500. 

That huge jump has some Boulder locals worried about the future of their city. An influx of high-salaried tech workers could worsen problems Boulder is already having, like traffic congestion and a shortage of affordable housing.

"Prices are rising. We are becoming less and less affordable to lower and middle income. We’re also seeing local businesses that have been here for decades being priced out," City Council member Suzanne Jones said to the New York Times. "It puts a finer point on this issue of, where are we headed? Attracting big business is great, on the one hand, but it will be part of that change on the other."

A set of nearby apartment buildings seems like the perfect spot to accommodate the incoming Googlers. Still, many worry that these high-paid workers will eventually look for housing beyond the immediately surrounding areas, leading to an explosion in home prices like that seen in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. 

"Many of the eventual 1,500 employees and their families won't choose to live in the monolithic apartment complexes that are right next door. Many of these high-paid techies will want houses with yards," Boulder resident Judy Amabile writes in a letter to the Daily Camera, the city's local newspaper. "They might drive: to work, to drop off kids at school, to grocery shop, to dine out on Pearl Street. Google's expansion may well exacerbate rather than mitigate our affordable housing and transportation problems."

The new campus will be located just a block away from the bus station currently under construction at Boulder Junction. When the city council approved Google's project, it also asked that the company provide incentives for employees to use public transportation rather than drive to work. The campus will have only 600 parking spots, less than half the number of employees who will be based there.

Another concern voiced by residents and the city's planning board regards the appearance of the buildings themselves. Google's campuses tend to be rather contained environments, with luxurious amenities that employees can enjoy behind closed doors.

The new campus will be built in one of Boulder's busiest commercial areas, but it won't have any ground-floor retail space. It's not exactly inviting.

google boulder

Four stories is also significantly taller than many of the other buildings in the area.

"It will be a very nice place for the employees, but, as far as addressing the public realm, especially the streetscape, I think it falls short," planning board member Liz Payton said during a site review earlier in December. "I don't think this is coherent, in that it is this very insular campus, but not relating to the context around it very successfully."

Google will construct a path winding through the campus itself, with the hope that it will keep the complex relatively open to the community.

And some argue that a growing tech presence in Boulder would be a positive influence on the community. 

Scott Green, site director for Google Boulder, emphasized the impact tech workers could have on the city's innovative sector, citing the engineering team's work on apps like Google Earth and Google Drive. There could be increased recruiting from the University of Colorado nearby.

The Google Boulder office also has sales and marketing teams. 

"These are critical projects, and they're big projects. They're growing, and staying still is not really an option. We've grown quite rapidly, and we expect to continue to grow," Green said to the planning board in December. "Our identity is tied to Boulder. We want to be in Boulder."

SEE ALSO: Here's What Each State Googled More Than Any Other State This Year

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10 'Better Burger' Chains Taking Over America

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elevation burger

Demand for better burgers is heating up. 

Shake Shack recently filed for an IPO, while many other chains are aggressively expanding across America.

Research firm Technomic provided data for which chains are taking over. 

We've ranked the restaurants by number of locations.

Kim Bhasin and Aly Weisman contributed to this story.

Bobby's Burger Palace

Number of US restaurants in 2013: 17

% change from previous year: 42%

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is the mastermind behind this better burger chain. Specialties include a "Crunchburger" topped with potato chips and the "New Mexico" which includes a jalapeno slaw. 

Bobby's Burger Palace locations are primarily on the East Coast. There are also locations in casinos in Ohio and Las Vegas. 



Shake Shack

Number of US restaurants in 2013: 21

% change from previous year: 62%

Shake Shack has been gaining popularity thanks to its antibiotic-free meat and gourmet shakes. 

While the US footprint is still relatively small, the company is planning a massive expansion following its IPO. 



Umami Burger

Number of US restaurants in 2013: 22

% change from previous year: 57%

West Coast chain Umami Burger opened in New York this year after becoming popular on the West Coast. 

"Umami" means "fifth sense," that indescribable taste that adds to every flavor.

The menu has something for everyone, from sweet and savory toppings to vegetarian options.



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It's 2015 In North Korea Already — Here's How They Celebrated

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Residents of Pyongyang were treated to a lavish display of fireworks at midnight as part of North Korea's 2015 New Year's celebration. North Korea had its first grand New Year's Eve celebration in Pyongyang three years ago, after Kim Jong Un came to power following his father's death.

Produced by Devan Joseph. Video courtesy of Associated Press.

Follow BI Video: On Twitter 

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The 10 Best Snowboards On The Market

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snowboarder confidence trick mountain winter sports

It's that time of year to head to the mountains and start shredding the slopes.

With the expert help of FindTheBest, we found the best snowboards on the market. The boards are ranked with a Smart Rating scale which accounts for magazine awards, the model year, and price. 

Check out which boards are the best this season.

10. 2014 CAPiTA Defenders of Awesome ($400)

The CAPiTA Defenders of Awesome snowboard is designed for the advanced rider. The all-mountain board has a symmetrical twin shape and hybrid camber. The snowboard is $50 less than the average advanced board, and was named Whitelines Snowboarding magazine's top board for the 2013-2014 season.

9. 2015 K2 WWW Wide ($400)

Show off all your snowboarding tricks with the K2 WWW Wide freestyle snowboard. The rocker-flat-rocker camber will help you carve down icy conditions and float through powder. The board is one of Snowboard magazine's Platinum Picks. 

8. 2015 K2 WWW Enjoyer ($400)

The K2 WWW Enjoyer is another advanced freestyle board to make our list. The board's twin shape allows the rider to land their freestyle tricks in any direction. Like the K2 WWW Wide, this board is also a Snowboard magazine Platinum Pick.

7. 2015 K2 WWW ($400)

The K2 WWW snowboard is made for the intermediate boarder. The board has a soft flex, making it one of the most flexible boards on the market, allowing riders to have more control of the board while performing tricks. The board made Whitelines Snowboarding magazine's list of top boards.

snowboards k2 www captiva

6. 2015 Salomon Sabotage ($400)

The freestyle Salomon Sabotage snowboard has a flat camber and medium flexibility. The flat camber provides more stability while the medium flex allows for control at higher speeds, yet can bend when riding rails. Transworld Snowboarding magazine gave the board a Good Wood award.

5. 2014 CAPiTA Birds of a Feather ($380)

The CAPiTA Birds of a Feather board is the first women's board to make our list. The all-mountain board has medium flexibility, a hybrid camber, and is designed for the advanced female rider. The board is also one of Snowboard magazine's Platinum Picks.

4. 2015 DC PBJ ($350)

The DC PBJ has the traditional positive camber that allows for precise turns and has a spring-like effect to allow for an extra "pop" when you're at the snowboarding park. It comes in six sizes, and earned a Good Wood award from Transworld Snowboarding magazine.

3. 2011 K2 Eco Pop ($449)

The top women's board to make the list is the all-mountain K2 Eco Pop. The board is designed for the intermediate female rider, has a traditional positive camber, and a directional twin shape. Snowboard magazine gave the board the Platinum Pick and Best of Test awards. 

snowboards burton salomon

2. 2013 Salomon The Villain ($449)

The all-mountain Salomon The Villain board is flexible yet stable with its medium-soft flex. Transworld Snowboarding Magazine gave it a Good Wood award, saying, "It has a milled core and sidecut to match, along with a grip of other features for slaying the park."

1. 2015 Burton Family Tree Flight Attendant ($500)

The all-mountain Burton Family Tree Flight Attendant is the best snowboard on the market, earning a 100 on the Smart Rating Scale. The board has a rocker-camber, directional shape, and medium-stiff flex. The Burton board is a top pick from Whitelines Snowboarding magazine, Outside magazine, and Snowboard magazine.

Outside said,"As the name suggests, pro Nicolas Mueller's design flew over pillowtops and handled well in soft, uneven terrain... The topsheet is made from recycled Mountain Dew bottles (seriously) and weighs next to nothing, a big reason why throwing the featherlight Flight Attendant around on big days feels so effortless."

SEE ALSO: The 15 Most Intense Ski Runs In The US

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