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4 Winter Accessories Every Man Should Own


nick jonas

Accessories aren't a typical staple of the menswear wardrobe, but an exception must be made for the winter months.

In the colder time of year, winter accessories are pretty much necessary to battle the freezing cold temperatures.

We recommend you spring for wool in all of your winter accessories. In the dead of winter, cotton and acrylic are just inferior insulators.

If you have the cash, however, don't hesitate to go for the cashmere. Your skin will appreciate it.

Here are our suggestions for the warmest, most stylish winter accessories.

A Real Scarf


There's no getting around it: A scarf is necessary for keeping you warm in the winter months, no matter what kind of coat you're wearing. Choose wool for maximum insulation, and make sure you know how to tie it.

Better yet, get two: a finer knit for formality and a heavier gage chunkier knit for more casual wear. We prefer to go traditional, like this one made in Scotland with a lamb and angora wool blend. E-tailer Everlane has a great ribbed chunky scarf for your casual days.

A Pair Of Good Gloves


There are two options here: leather and wool. (Forget cotton, it will be of little help to you here, especially when it gets wet).

Leather is usually reserved for more formal occasions, though Ball and Buck's handsome brown pair is rather versatile. 

If you're a smartphone user, we recommend getting a smartphone compatible pair like J Crew's  Touchtech.

A Hat


Losing most of your heat through your head may be an old wives tale, but your head and ears can still get plenty cold in the whipping wind.

Most men these days elect for the wool watch cap. Your color choice will reflect its formality, but it still won't. Reject bright neon oranges and yellows, or you may be mistaken for a crossing guard.

Ball and Buck's plain wool and alpaca caps hit the right note, as do J Crew's ribbed lambswool offerings.

Avoid flat caps, as you will no-doubt be mistaken for someone's father. When it's really cold out, throw fashion out the window and just get a tuque to keep your noggin warm.

Warm, Wool Socks


It cannot be stressed how important warm socks are. A good pair of wool socks on a cold day will keep your feel toasty and warm in even the coolest of temps.

Many, however, overlook the benefits of wool socks and suffer the consequences. Though they are more expensive than their cotton counterparts, their value pays dividends with keeping your feet toasty.

Many complain that wool socks are too thick and itchy, but the benefit of the warmth far outweighs these downsides. Some of our favorite wool sock brands are SmartWool and Wigwam, both of which will keep your feet happy.

SEE ALSO: The 3 Kinds Of Boots Men Need For Winter

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NASA Animation Shows How 2014 Became The Hottest Year On Record


The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.

The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Video courtesy of NASA

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Inside One57, Where New York's Most Expensive Penthouse Just Sold For A Record-Breaking $100 Million


one57 from the sky

New York real estate is soaring, and there's no better proof than One57.

One of the penthouses in the 1,004-foot-tall residence has officially closed for $100.5 million, making it the most expensive apartment ever sold in NYC and the first to surpass $100 million.

Located on the 89th and 90th floors, the penthouse has 11,000 square feet, six bedrooms, a steam room, a library, and an indoor movie theater. 

Residents will also have access to the amenities in the Park Hyatt hotel, which takes up the first 39 floors of the building. But if they don't want to mix with the commoners, One57 owners can also use their own 20,000-square-foot amenities floor, complete with a pool, gym, library, and theater.

And though $100 million may seem like a lot, New York's priciest penthouse will most likely prove to be a savvy investment as more expensive homes continue to go on sale. Already, a tower on 520 Park Avenue has a penthouse on the market for $130 million, and prices are only expected to climb.

The buyer of the megaproperty remains a mystery, as do many of the owners in One57. Of the 26 units sold so far, over half of them are owned by limited-liability corporations and trusts to maintain the owners' privacy.

One57 was designed by starchitect Christian de Portzamparc to look like a cascading waterfall. It rises 1,004 feet and 90 stories above 57th Street.

Of the 26 units sold so far, only half of the buyers are known. They include head of BDO Unicon Group Andrey Dubinsky and president of Swanson Health Products Leland Swanson.

The Park Hyatt hotel will occupy the first 39 floors of the building, and the 95 condos of One57 will fill the rest of the space.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

9 Facts About Relationships Everybody Should Know Before Getting Married


romeo juliet

Although fewer young people are getting married today than ever before, research suggests that getting and staying married is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

As the New York Times recently concluded, "being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single — particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises."

If you wait until you're 23 to commit, you're less likely to get divorced.

A 2014 University of Pennsylvania study found that Americans who cohabitate or get married at age 18 have a 60% divorce rage. 

But people who waited until 23 to make either of those commitments had a divorce rate around 30%.

"All of the literature explained that the reason people who married younger were more likely to divorce was because they were not mature enough to pick appropriate partners," the Atlantic reports.

The 'in love' phase lasts about a year.

The honeymoon phase with its "high levels of passionate love" and "intense feelings of attraction and ecstasy, as well as an idealization of one's partner," doesn't last forever. 

According to a 2005 study by the University of Pavia in Italy, it lasts about a year. 

Eventually you realize that you're not one person.

Once you start living together, you realize that you have different priorities and tolerances — like, for instance, what does or doesn't consitute a mess. 

"People have to come to terms with the reality that 'we really are different people,'" says couples therapist Ellyn Bader. "'You are different from who I thought you were or wanted you to be. We have different ideas, different feelings, different interests.'"

It's a stressful — and necessary — evolution

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These Amateurs Recreated Hollywood-Like Action Scenes — And The Results Are Pretty Awesome


A cool video has emerged of amateur filmmakers recreating Hollywood-inspired special effects.

The footage, shot by a young filmmaking group called 'Scrape the Sky' in Nancy, France, shows the viewer how to reproduce classic movie effects on a tight budget.

Produced by Jason Gaines. Video courtesy of Associated Press.

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Here's What Chicago Looks Like In Freezing Temperatures

Hundreds Of Birds In San Francisco Are Getting Coated In A Mysterious Goop And Nobody Knows What It Is


A bird is cleaned at the International Bird Rescue in Fairfield, California January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Scientists are stepping up efforts to identify a mysterious gooey substance polluting waters along the eastern edge of San Francisco Bay, coating hundreds of sea birds and killing scores of them, a state wildlife official said Tuesday.

Initial field testing of the slime, first reported on Friday, came back negative for petroleum but authorities hope a more comprehensive laboratory analysis will provide some conclusive results, said Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

More than 100 birds, mostly ocean-going water fowl, have died after their feathers became soaked in the colorless, odorless goop, impairing their ability to insulate themselves from cold and leading to hypothermia, Hughan said. 

Rescue teams from two private volunteer groups have captured and cleaned some 300 or more contaminated birds that they hope to return to the wild, he said.

  On Tuesday, sandpipers and other species of shore birds were being found tainted by the substance, according to Rebecca Dmytryk of Wildlife Emergency Services, one of the two rescue groups.

"This has been incredibly difficult and taken a lot of time per bird," she said.

The viscous substance was more obvious when it first appeared in the bay late last week but the contamination of shore birds suggests that the material has been slow to dissipate in the environment, Hughan said.

“It was thick enough to see in the water for a few days and now you can’t really see it unless you know where to look,” he said. “It’s a real mystery. We’ve never seen anything like it and neither have the bird rescuers.”

In some cases birds that appear to be in distress fly off before they can be caught, leaving rescue teams unable to capture a bird "unless it is really fouled," he said.

“We don’t expect more mortality from the rescued birds but many more birds are out there that will die of exposure," he said. "This issue has tremendous priority within the department.”

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Bill Trott)

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Ringly Has Raised $5.1 Million To Make Cocktail Rings That Light Up When You Get A Notification


Ringly CofoundersRingly, a New York-based startup that creates an 18k-gold plated ring that connects to smartphones, has raised $5.1 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. 

Highline Ventures, Silas Capital, First Round Capital, Social+Capital, Mesa+, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, and PCH also contributed to the round.

Ringly uses Bluetooth to connect to smartphones and discreetly notify the wearer when she gets a call or text. The ring also integrates with a growing number of apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Uber, Tinder, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. 

The idea is to incorporate tech into women's everyday accessories so that they can enjoy the moment without missing something important  even when they're not wearing pockets or holding a bag.

"It started with me being frustrated from leaving my phone in my purse and missing a bunch of calls and texts," Ringly cofounder Christina Mercando told Business Insider before the product launched in June. "It turns out a lot of other people have a similar problem." 

ringlyRingly offers a selection of four different stones set in gold plating, which vibrate and light up when activated. There's also a limited-edition ring made with a rhodium plated setting and a semi-precious quartz stone. Each ring costs $195.

As they were designing Ringly, Mercando and cofounder Logan Munro wanted all of the technology — accelerometer, Bluetooth LE, motor, and LEDs — to be incorporated into the ring as discreetly as possible. 

"We were going for something that was simple, classic, something that a lot of women could get behind," Mercando said. "It's so small and discreet that people wouldn't know the technology is there."ringly

Once you connect the ring to your smartphone through the Ringly app — available for both iOS and Android — you can customize the way you want to be notified. Blinking lights and vibration patterns are adjustable, as well as which apps you want to receive notifications from.

You can even customize notifications for certain people — if you wanted, for example, to only have Ringly light up when your significant other is calling, you could do that.

To charge the ring, all you have to do is drop it back into its box.


This round of funding will help Ringly to expand the range of its offerings.

"Miniaturization for us is key, not just because it creates that 'distance' from obvious tech, but because it allows jewelry designers and artists the freedom to create on top of and around it without restrictions," Mercando wrote in a blog post announcing the funding. "So this year, we'll be expanding our collection, adding new features and introducing partnerships with fashion brands and designers to create a wider variety of new designs — all with the technology embedded and invisible."

Mercando comes from a background in computer interaction and product design. She served as head of product at machine learning startup Hunch, which was acquired by eBay in 2011, when she was introduced to Munro. 

"We were both excited about wearables and the future of the space," Mercando said.


But it turned out that designing Ringly meant they would have to learn about a host of new techniques, including stone-cutting, sourcing, plating, and casting, among others. They've enlisted the help of jewelry designer Annie Van Harlingen to guide them through the process. 

"We didn’t begin with the idea of technology followed by fashion," Mercando said in the blog post. "We began with fashion first, and technology at the core. This required us to concentrate heavily on the miniaturization of our electronics upfront.

"It was no easy task — and took a lot of deep technical and manufacturing expertise that is invisible to our ring wearers, but we ended up with a lot of specialized knowledge as well as a set of ecosystem relationships that made our vision real."

The project came together rather quickly — Mercando quit her job to focus on Ringly in April of 2013, and by August the team had received $1 million in funding from Mesa+, First Round Capital, PCH, and Andreessen Horowitz. They then spent four months in San Francisco working on the prototype.

Ringly started taking preorders in June 2014. It took just eight hours for the team to meet its sales goal of $60,000.

Preorders started shipping in December, just in time for the holidays. 




 Ringly is available for purchase online and will be carried by select retailers later this year.

SEE ALSO: Why New Yorkers Love Dig Inn, The Healthy Restaurant Chain That Just Raised Another $15 Million From Investors

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Here's Why Jerry Seinfeld Is Obsessed With YouTube Star Miranda Sings

This Illustrator Stopped Shopping For A Year To Transform Her Spending — And Her Attitude


sarah lazarovic 4 2

In 2012, Sarah Lazarovic decided not to buy any clothes for a year.

"I had been working from home and I didn't think I shopped a lot, but boxes just kept arriving on my doorstep!" says the Toronto-based author and illustrator.

"It's so easy to buy everything online — everything is a rabbit hole. You start on a blog or Instagram and end up at a store you never heard of," she continues. "I just wanted to stop this mindless shopping."

Lazarovic admits that she wasn't the first to try a shopping fast, but she found that her experience resonated with people.

"People don't trust themselves enough to say, 'I'm going to be better at this.' They need a hard-and-fast rule. And when you actually do it, it's not that hard."

After writing a visual essay about her experience for The Hairpin, Lazarovic turned her newfound retail consciousness into a book, "A Bunch Of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy," which features both paintings of things she wanted to buy during her ban and her thoughts on consumerism and spending.

She writes in her book that after a typical childhood of mindless consumption, she started becoming aware of her money in college when she got to choose where every dollar went.

"It's these maiden steps in personal consumption that begin to define us," she writes. "But how not to go off track if our particular moment of consumer liberation comes just when everything is so plentiful, so accessible, and so cheap? It's a recipe for overindulgence."

Many of the pages in "A Bunch Of Pretty Things" are filled with colorful paintings of those exact things she chose not to buy, from a leather satchel ($120) to a parachute-gray caftan ($295).

Putting her illustrator hat on and painting the items she lusted after instead of purchasing them, Lazarovic says, served two purposes: It introduced the element of time, giving her a chance to think, "Do I really need this?" (the answer was usually no), and it allowed her to truly enjoy the things she wanted without spending on them. 

The Pinterest-ready paintings belie the book's serious underlying message: People are too focused on — and stressed out by — constant consumerism.

sarah lazarovic 2 2"It's the endless stream of stuff that both dazzles and disgusts," Lazarovic wrote in her initial essay. "On Pinterest I have to avert my eyes from the endless stream of effortlessly obtainable crap."

"To me, my book is kind of a subversive call to action dressed up as a frothy shopping guide," she adds. "The bigger issue for me is sustainability." In fact, she's currently studying consumer behavior.

However, Lazarovic doesn't intend to chastise people who drool, as she once did, over the products on websites and in store windows.

"You're not a bad person because you covet beautiful things," she says. "The world spends a huge amount of money presenting beautiful things they hope you'll buy. You can just say, 'It's OK, I like these beautiful things, and it's natural that I'm going to want these things. But I need to have some mechanisms to make sure I don't buy them.' Maybe in so doing, it sets you on a path to be aware that you don't need the stuff and the stuff doesn't make you happy."

When asked about where her spare cash goes now that she's shrugged off the online shopping, Lazarovic explains that she's set up systems so "extra cash" doesn't really exist.

"My disposable income goes into savings before I ever even see it, so there's this feeling I don't have this money to spend on a pair of $300 boots, so I'm not going to go there," she says.

She also explains that the problem with her shopping habit was never about overspending. She wasn't in consumer debt or unable to meet her expenses — she was just tired of the constant, mindless, consumption. "It's not tons of money," she says, "which is why I think it's easy to write off."

sarah lazarovic 1Now, Lazarovic has taken the research-backed perspective that she'd rather spend the money she has on experiences than things.

"If you think about it, I could have spent $100 on shoes, but for that $100 I could go out and buy enough groceries to make a really nice dinner party for friends. What would I rather spend my money on?"

Lazarovic has also gotten strategic about what she does buy online, like pantry staples. "On the weekend, I don't want to do shopping chores," she explains. "I get coffee sent to my house so I never have to be in a store."

"I would rather spend the day taking my daughter ice skating or go for a walk," she continues. "I don't want to be indoors looking at stuff under florescent lighting, I want to be outside. It's not even about experiences rather than stuff — it's just about experiencing life."

SEE ALSO: There's A Research-Backed Reason Why 'Sale' Signs Are Everywhere When You Walk Into A Store

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Why Most People At Your Gym Are Fitter Than You


gym kettlebell workout

I finally figured out why most people at my gym are in better shape than I am, and the answer may ring true for you, too. 

It all comes down to a form of the friendship paradox, which holds that most people's friends tend to be more popular than they are. That paradox happens because people with lots of friends are disproportionately likely to be friends with you (while people with few friends are disproportionately unlikely to be friends with you), and therefore your friends will tend to be more popular than average.

Something similar happens at the gym. Let's assume most members of my gym (including me) go only two to three times a week, but some members are fitness nuts who go every day. Because those fitness nuts go more than everyone else, the set of people in the gym will always be disproportionately weighted toward them. Thus I may go to the gym an average number of times for members of my gym, but any time I go to the gym I am surrounded by people who go more often than average.

Planet Fitness memorably portrayed how this feels in its Gymtimidation ad.

Our reassuring insight came from research for a recent list: 16 Paradoxes That Will Make Your Head Explode »

NOW WATCH: How To Know If You're Fat



SEE ALSO: It Turns Out Exercise May Not Help With Weight Gain

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Why Big Spenders Fall Prey To 'The Winner's Curse'


wealthyThe following is an excerpt from FEELING SMART: Why Our Emotions Are More Rational Than We Think. Reprinted with permission from PublicAffairs.

One of the most intensely studied phenomena associated with auctions is known as "the winner's curse": in many cases the winner of an auction actually pays more for the item he or she has won than its true worth. This is a phenomenon observed not only in auctions of low-priced items whose participants are amateur bidders; large corporations bidding in major tenders are also prey to the winner's curse. In the early 1970s many US oil companies collapsed shortly after they won auctions granting them drilling rights in several places in the United States. These corporations had large staffs of geologists and economists assessing the values of the drilling rights for which they were bidding, but it turned out that they had bid prices that were much higher than the true values of the drilling rights on offer, which eventually bankrupted them.

There are two main causes of the winner's curse, one cognitive and one emotional. Participants in an auction try to assess the value of the item on auction as best as they can. They then submit initial bids that are slightly lower than that assessment. The more competitive the auction environment, the closer bids will be to the assessed value, because the more bidders there are in an auction, the higher the chances that someone else will outbid you.

auction 'the scream'If there are a very large number of bidders and they have conducted independent value assessments, it is reasonable to suppose that the average assessment will be quite close to the true value of the auctioned item. If that’s the case, then the winner of the auction, who has bid the most money, has made an offer higher than the average bid—meaning that it is probably higher than the true value of the auctioned item. This is the cognitive explanation for the winner's curse. In other words, the participants fail to take into account the fact that if they submit the winning bid, then they are valuing the auctioned item higher than everyone else, which in turn means that they are likely to be overvaluing it.

One way to avoid cognitively falling prey to the winner's curse is to write down the price you are willing to bid on a piece of paper that you then stow away in a drawer for twenty-four hours. After twenty-four hours have passed, take it out again and imagine that one of the auction officials who has already seen all the other bids informs you that you have submitted the highest bid. You should now recalibrate your bid based on this information. In most cases, this will lead you to lower your bid, protecting you from the winner's curse.

feeling smart eyal winter

But there is also an emotional cause to the winner's curse in many cases. Participants in auctions often find themselves driven to submit high bids by "auction fever"—an uncontrollable desire to win the auction at any price. A few years ago two students of mine asked me to suggest a research project. My advice was to find Web sites in which the same items were offered for sale in two different ways—by auction versus direct sale at a fixed price—and to compare the prices at which the items were eventually sold.

I hypothesized that the auction prices would in many cases be higher than the direct sale prices for the same items, and my hypothesis turned out to be true. The auction participants could have obtained what they had bought by auction at lower prices if they instead had gone to direct sales at the same site, but the competitiveness of the auction environment and the auction fever that accompanies it pushed them to pay much more.

SEE ALSO: Here's What Happens When Doctors Play God

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Grey Advertising Has A Separate 'Base Camp' Office Just For Millennial Staffers


grey base camp office

New York-based advertising agency Grey has created a separate office space designed to house only its millennial staffers, PFSK reports.

Grey explained that almost half (46%) of its 1,000-strong workforce are millennials — young people born between 1980 and 2000 — and over the years management has noted that these employees behave and work differently to their older colleagues.

So Grey created “Base Camp,” a more “collaborative” separate working space within its already-open plan office, dedicated to its younger members of staff that work as assistant account executives.

Those employees still work with the grown-ups on client accounts, but rather than sitting with their account teams, they are all seated in one central area. This space has its own dedicated meeting room and a lounge space with couches, chairs, and a TV.

Grey tells Business Insider that Base Camp also extends beyond just the structural working space. It includes an online personal assessment tool designed to help “address the potential issues around bonding and communication;” "AAE Spotlight" where different staffers are profiled each week; a weekly team meeting called “Wisdom of the Week” where employees can discuss what they’ve learned; and social outings.

base camp grey

A Grey spokesperson told PFSK: “The philosophy behind the Base Camp community was to create an environment that gives structure, but creates self-sufficiency [and] encourages relationship building, with key learnings more readily shared.”

base camp grey

Grey North America CEO Michael Houston added: “The key to me about the Base Camp movement is that we’re learning from this group rather than showing them how we’ve previously worked. We’re working to understand their organic tendencies.”

SEE ALSO: Devastating Report For The TV Industry Shows Advertising Dollars Are Down Yet Again In Another ‘Paltry’ Quarter

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The Only Known Handwritten Manuscript By Code-Breaking Genius Alan Turing Is Up For Auction


Alan Turing

NEW YORK (AP) — A handwritten notebook by Alan Turing, the World War II code-breaking genius depicted by Benedict Cumberbatch in the Oscar-nominated "The Imitation Game," is going on the auction block.

The 56-page manuscript was written at the time the British mathematician and computer science pioneer was working to break the seemingly unbreakable Enigma codes used by the Germans throughout World War II. It is being sold by Bonhams in New York on April 13. It is expected to bring at least $1 million.

The notebook contains Turing's complex mathematical and computer science notations. It is believed to be the only extensive Turing manuscript known to exist, the auctioneer said.

It dates from 1942, when Turing was trying to break the seemingly unbreakable code with his team of cryptanalysts at Britain's World War II code and cypher school Bletchley Park.

In one entry Turing writes about a complex calculus notation.

"The Leibniz notation I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once! It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x ..."

The notebook was among the papers he left in his will to friend and fellow mathematician Robin Gandy.

Gandy gave the papers to The Archive Centre at King's College in Cambridge in 1977. But he kept the notebook, using its blank pages for writing down his dreams at the request of his psychiatrist. Bonham describes Gandy's entries as highly personal; the notebook remained in his possession until he died in 1995.


At the beginning of his journal, Gandy writes: "It seems a suitable disguise to write in between these notes of Alan's on notation, but possibly a little sinister; a dead father figure, some of whose thoughts I most completely inherited."

In a statement through Bonhams, Turing scholar Andrew Hodges said the notebook sheds more light on how Turing" remained committed to free-thinking work in pure mathematics."

"The Imitation Game," which also stars Keira Knightley, is based on Hodges' book "Alan Turing: The Enigma."

Turing committed suicide in 1954. He was gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal in Britain and was convicted of indecency in 1952. He agreed to undergo hormone treatment as an alternative to imprisonment to 'cure' his homosexuality.

Bonhams said the seller wished to remain anonymous. Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity.


This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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Here's The Right Way To Say 11 Scotch Whisky Brands You're Mispronouncing


Drinking Scotch is easy — but pronouncing the name of the whisky you're drinking can be challenging. Many brand names use Gaelic, which can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the language's unique set of phonetics.

We asked Heather Greene to help us out.  She's the director of Whiskey Education and sommelier at New York's Flatiron Room, and she also just wrote a book called "Whisk(e)y Distilled" on the subject.

Produced by Graham Flanagan

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This Is Davos, The Beautiful Swiss Resort Town That's Been Taken Over by World Leaders


world Economic Forum in Davos

The 45th annual World Economic Forum began Wednesday, and world leaders, billionaires, celebrities, and CEOs are flocking to Davos, Switzerland, where the conference is taking place. 

The mountainous snowy town is known for its ski resorts and beautiful countryside.

But during the conference, Davos welcomes world-famous leaders, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, as well as about 40 world leaders.

The conference will end on January 24th.

Viewed from above, Davos seems like a quintessential Swiss mountain town.

At over 5,100 feet, Davos is the highest city in Switzerland.

Normally it is fairly sleepy.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Take A Tour Of The World's First Virgin Hotel, Which Just Opened In Chicago


The first hotel by Richard Branson's Virgin Group is officially open for business in Chicago. 

It's the first in what the company plans to be a chain of hotels, with a second expected to open in Nashville in the summer of 2016 and a third in New York City by the fall of 2017.

"It's been a long held dream to start beautiful, comfortable, fun hotels for guests and give them what they want and need while being gentle on their wallets," Branson said in a press release announcing the opening of the Chicago hotel.

virgin hotel chicago

Virgin Hotels Chicago includes 250 guest rooms in the Loop's historic Old Dearborn Bank Building. 40 of those rooms are one-bedroom suites, and two are penthouse suites.

Virgin seems to be targeting business travelers with the design of its bedroom. Ergonomic headboards and a customizable footboard make it easy to work from bed. 

Each room in the hotel is made up of two areas, which Virgin calls "chambers." A door between the sleeping and dressing areas can be closed for privacy. Even the basic rooms are spacious.

virgin hotel chicagoThere are his and hers closets and a full vanity.

virgin hotel chicago

And there's also a separate makeup table.

virgin hotel chicago

The Commons is a two-story lounge area where guests can eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There's also a nightly happy hour hosted here.

virgin hotel chicago

The Virgin Hotel will ultimately have five total dining options. Miss Ricky's, a 23-hour diner and rooftop lounge, will open in February or March. There will also be a European-style coffee shop called Two Zero Three.

Rooms start from about $209 per night.

SEE ALSO: Beats Cofounder Jimmy Iovine May Have Bought This Malibu Mansion For $60 Million

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Here's How Changing Your Life Story Can Make You More Successful


writing by a window girl woman lady journaling

While it might sound like some kind of guru-peddled self-help fluff, psychologists have found proof that "editing" the stories you tell yourself about your life can help you achieve more.

An experiment with 40 distressed Duke University freshman shows how.

The students were worried about their grades, New York Times writer Tara Parker-Pope reports, and they were wondering if they were intellectual equals to their famously elite peers

A research team lead by Timothy D. Wilson conducted an intervention, splitting the students into experimental and control groups.

The experiment group watched videos of upperclassmen talking about how hard it was to adjust to college and how their grades got better after they had some time to get used to collegiate life. 

"The goal was to prompt these students to edit their own narratives about college," Parker-Pope writes. "Rather than thinking they weren't cut out for college, they were encouraged to think that they just needed more time to adjust." 

The long-term results may persuade you to start editing your own life story. 

After watching the videos of junior and senior students talking about how they adjusted to college life, the freshman raised their grade point averages. 

The most stirring result regarded drop-out rates.

The Times reports that 20% of the control group dropped out within the next year. But only 5% of the experimental group left school. 

This kind of intervention can "nudge people from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle," Wilson says.  

The experiment relates to two fascinating fields of research. 

First, the idea of "editing" your "story" springs from expressive writing, an area of study within positive psychology. Like a more focused variety of journaling, expressive writing consists of writing about a traumatic experience in your life for 15 minutes over several days — with positive effects ranging from greater well-being to improved working memory and reduced absenteeism.

While expressive writing provides a way to extract meaning from difficult experiences, the editing process serves as a way to shift your self-conception. 

In this way, it has a lot to do with Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck's research on mindsets. Her work has shown that the "mindset" you hold about yourself determines a lot of your professional success, subjective well-being, and stability in relationships.

In a wealth of experiments, Dweck has found that if you think that your success comes from your innate talent, you won't be as motivated to work hard, since success should be effortless. But if you think success springs from effort, then you'll be more motivated, since you think success is a result of your hustle. 

It's the difference between the grade schoolers that cry out "I love a challenge!" when they're hit with a pop quiz and the children that feel defeated before a test begins

By getting Duke students to edit their personal stories, Wilson and his team were training them to perceive their circumstances differently — to see themselves as up for a challenge, and thus motivating them to put in the work necessary to survive at one of the world's toughest schools.

SEE ALSO: 'Expressive Writing' Is A Super Easy Way To Become Way Happier

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Step Inside The Odd World Of The Big Apple Circus, Where Performers Live, Train, And Find Love


BAC intro hurrayAll over the United States, the arrival of the circus is an anticipated yearly event, met with excitement by people of all ages, and forgotten once the tent is dismantled and the act leaves town.

But for the performers — the ones who wow us with their daring feats and make us laugh with their slapstick humor — the circus is more than just a fleeting spectacle to see once a year. For them, the circus is a family, a career, and a way of life.

In mid-January, one of the most acclaimed circuses on earth, the Big Apple Circus, took down its tents at Manhattan's Lincoln Center, ending another successful run of shows. Before they headed off to do it all again in Bridgewater, New Jersey, we met with a few of the star performers to see what circus life is like behind the big top.

Every year for the past 38 years, New York's historic Big Apple Circus has performed over 300 shows in five different venues on the East Coast. During its Manhattan run, which ended last week, circus performers put on 135 shows and entertained over 162,000 fans in a one-ring tent behind Lincoln Center.

For its performers, the circus is a way of life and a career path. We had the chance to go behind the curtain of Big Apple Circus three days before it departed for New Jersey, to chat with the cast.

Traveling 10 to 11 months out of the year, life on the road can be lonely and unstable. Fortunately, troupe members become surrogate families.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's How A 2000-Year-Old Chinese Art Can Make You More Productive


standing desk

When Anthony Minko was designing his new office in Brooklyn, the estate planning attorney knew that it needed to feel calm and supportive. 

After all, a place where people talked about what will happen after they die should feel secure.

So Minko — who had studied the spend idly slow martial art tai chi — hired RD Chin, a New-York based feng shui architect. 

"The whole process started with our values in the law firm," Minko said said, "how we care about keeping families together across the generations, where grandparents can come with children and grandchildren."

"What surprised me was how practical the feng shui principles were," he said.

Literally translating as wind-water from Chinese, feng shui has been practiced for at least 1700 years in Asia before becoming popular in the US in the 1980s.

Chin, whose lectures are on YouTube, argues that everybody can sense feng shui — it's simply the how-it-feels quality of being in a place. If you feel inspired, creative, and capable in an office, then it's got some positive feng shui going on, but if you feel trapped, blocked, and insecure, then it's some poor feng shui, and your productivity will suffer as a result.

Vancouver-based feng shui consultant Rodika Tchi said that feng shui is "acupuncture for a space," a way of increasing the sense of harmony in a room.  

So how can we use these principles to improve our work spaces? Here are some tips from Chin and Tchi:

Pay attention to the quality of air. 

"In most businesses, somehow we overlook the quality of air," Tschi said, because "we get used to poor quality air very quickly." 

This is insane, given that the EPA estimates that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air

That's where plants come in, she said, citing NASA's list of the most air-purifying plants, like the areca palm and Boston fern

"Any business can have plants," she said.

It doesn't require anything new agey, you don't need to run out and buy a set of healing crystals. 

"Just to starting to pay attention to the air will do wonders," Tchi said. "You have to be aware of what you’re inhaling, what you’re feeding your brain." 

Then improve your light. 

"Light is nutrition," Tchi said. 

Most of us are malnourished.

Because while direct sunlight gives you 100,000 lux, or units of luminance, office lighting only provides around 500 lux

The solution — beyond going for a walk — is to install "full spectrum" lights in your office, which are more nourishing than fluorescent lights, which have been shown to make you feel less alert and screw with your quality of sleep.

If you can't control the overhead lights, then add a nice incandescent to your desk. 

desk placement rd chin

If possible, give your desk a "commanding position." 

In feng shui, the commanding position is where you have your back to the wall and your face to the door, so you know who's coming and going.

"You want to position your desk so that you feel very safe, very protected," Chin said. "You want to position your desk so you can see out the window and see who’s in front of you. People coming behind you creates a lot of distraction — you can get the feeling of being attacked, feeling of someone looking over your shoulder." 

And something to look at. 

"You reduce stress by looking out the window," Chin said, "because physiologically your eyes relax when you look out into the distance. That’s why you feel so great looking at the ocean — you can see a long, almost infinite distance into the horizon." 

So the obvious application is to make sure you can see out your window. If you don't have ready access to a window, then make a window to another world: put a painting or a photo on your wall so you can stare "into the distance." If you work in a windowless space, put a mirror up, since Chin said it will expand the space. 

For managers, taking care of feng shui is way of investing in your team. 

"Ideally, a successful business has people who are energized," Tchi said, "and there's no way to have that unless you have a space that supports that energy. You can use feng shui to support that human well-being, creativity, and talent. If you put people in a space that has no light, no color, no images, you can’t expect that energy from them."

SEE ALSO: Psychologists Say Couples Have To Make It Through This Stressful Phase To Have A Healthy Marriage

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