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This mysterious continent may hold clues to humanity's most important questions


Earth's past, present and future come together on Antarctica, the wildest, most desolate and mysterious of the continents. Scientists say it holds clues to humanity's most important questions, such as how did we get here and what's next.

Produced by Jason Gaines. Video courtesy of Associated Press.

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The 8 essential items you need in your car


Hopefully your car is equipped with a properly inflated spare tire and a jack. But are you prepared to survive if you are stranded for several hours in the cold? How about a couple of days? Build this simple survival kit to feel better prepared when an emergency arises on the road. 

Refer to sources such as FEMA's kit for more suggestions to prepare for the worst.

Produced by Justin Gmoser. Additional Camera by Jason Gaines

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The 25 best new restaurants in the US


batard ny

The James Beard Foundation just released the semifinalists for its 2015 restaurant and chef awards, to be announced May 4.

One of the most coveted awards given by the culinary association is for "best new restaurant," given to a restaurant opened within the calendar year "that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come."

The 25 semifinalists were selected from more than 38,000 entries by a panel of top food critics. Given that thousands of restaurants open in the US each year, these 25 are truly the best of the best. They are listed in alphabetical order.

42 Grams, Chicago

(Left) House tofu w/ bamboo rice shoyu koji and crispy seasoned konbu - (right) passion fruit green tea steamed eggplant, miso, dulse seaweed, sprouted hericot shoot

A photo posted by 42 Grams (@42_grams) on Jan 24, 2015 at 3:04pm PST

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Abe Fisher, Philadelphia

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Alden & Harlow, Cambridge, MA

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Axe — the pungent body spray that teen boys love — has a new line for grownups, and it's not half bad



Axe — scorned by anyone who has to come into contact with tween boys regularly — is finally growing up.

Unilever's intensely fragrant collection of grooming products is getting a big brother. It's called Axe White Label, and comes in four distinctly upscale-sounding elemental scents: Night, Forest, Island, and Air.

You may wonder why Unilever decided to go with the Axe label on a line they are attempting to position upmarket — alongside their own line of Dove Men+Care as well as competitor Proctor and Gamble's Old Spice line. But one sniff of any of the new products, and you'll understand.

Though Axe describes them as "scents made with premium materials," they're still incredibly strong. This is still the Axe you remember, and it can be overwhelming at times.

I tried the entire line of White Label, which Axe provided to Business Insider for review purposes, in the "Night" scent. Axe describes Night as "a cool rush of grapefruit, lavender, cedar wood, and praline notes," and it's a far more pleasing scent than the Axe you're used to.

The line comes in dry spray antiperspirant deodorant, antiperspirant solid deodorant2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, bodywash, and cooling style cream. For maximum effect, I applied them all the same day. (The line also includes a "style refresher," which I did not get to try).

Here's what I thought:

Axe White Label dry spray antiperspirant deodorant

Axe dry spray antiperspirant

This is as close the White Label collection comes to Axe's signature body spray. And it's quite a far cry from the spray that fills the halls of your local high school.

I've never used dry spray deodorant before trying this product out. And I'm not sure I loved it.

The spray is easy to apply but it has a bit of a learning curve (watch where you're spraying it — your nose is NOT the target). It does fulfill its promise of going on dry— which is pretty incredible for a deodorant spray — and wears pretty lightly throughout the day. There's no damp film under your arms.

The spray kept me dry (and aromatic) until about midday. At the time, both the wetness protection and fragrance seemed to disappear completely. It's possible I didn't apply enough, but I thought three seconds of continuous spray under each arm would to be enough for the advertised 48 hours of feeling "confidently fresh."

The deodorant's scent smelled pretty good, but it was still too much. By the time it wore off, I was happy to see it go.

At $5.49, it's about the right price for deodorant, but I'm not sure how long the container would last.

Axe White Label body wash

axe body wash

This body wash actually surprised me. It's soft and light and doesn't dry your skin out like I expected it to. It's incredibly fragrant, but not overwhelmingly so. After your shower, it doesn't leave a lot of fragrance on your skin so you don't really smell like "Night" as much you might expect.

Overall: fragrant and generic, but a notable step up from a wash like Irish Spring and even Old Spice's harsher offerings. It retails alongside other premium bodywash at $3.97.

Axe White Label solid antiperspirant deodorant

Axe Deodorant

This is a pretty standard, nondescript antiperspirant deodorant. It's mostly identical to the offerings of the Dove Men + Care's line, except with Axe's explosive signature scents.

If you're into Axe's scents, you'll like this solid. If not, this won't convince you. Its $3.97 MSRP prices it right alongside most competition.

Axe White Label 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner 

Axe Shampoo

Your standard stinky shampoo, in that less-than-desirable two-in-one combo. Personally, I much prefer separate shampoo and conditioner, but this works well for what it is.

It's also an unexpected, unnerving green slime color, unlike the deep, shiny purple of the body wash. I'm not sure if this was intentional to make it easy for sleepy men to tell the difference during their morning shower, but it's pretty strange.

The price tag of $3.97 for a relatively small bottle is slightly steep, but in line with other premium products.

Axe White Label cooling styling cream

Axe Styling Cream

Axe's new hair product is by far the best of the new products in the collection.

Allow me to rave a bit: 

The cream comes packaged in an easy-to-use bottle — which squeezes out more like a sandwich condiment than hair product — making it easy to remove from its tube.

Once you get it out, the pasty white cream takes a bit of effort to rub into your hair. But as long as you apply it root-to-tip, you'll be good. After application, the cream dries quickly in your hair.

The product wears light in your hair, and it looks and feels like there's nothing in your hair at all. It has a smooth matte finish and somehow leaves your hair feeling softer.

I can't say enough about how hard this is to find in a product at this price level, and what a great feat this is by Axe. It's also allows you to restyle your hair throughout the day.

The cream doesn't offer the strongest hold — if you're looking to spike your hair up, look elsewhere — but it will give you style and definition your hair naturally lacks. It was perfect for my rather thick, heavy hair.

In a switch from the rest of the Axe product line, this cream has only a light, pleasant scent.

The cream's price-to-quality ratio sets a new standard for budget hair product — one that I don't think another product will be able to reach. It's $6.97 MSRP is about half the price of any product that has the potential to be near as good as this.


Apart from the products, even the labels are grown up.

Gone are the insinuations that Axe will get you laid. Instead, the focus is on the wearer and his "confidence," which can be seen referenced in the packaging and advertisement material's insistence that wearing the products will make you "confidently fresh."

It's clear Axe is gearing this product to a more sophisticated, discerning man. They've even partnered with John Legend — a sophisticated pop icon if there ever was one — to start a new indie music label called "The White Label Collective."

It remains to be seen if Axe will be able to break away from its high-school/frat boy image successfully, however. 

So should you buy it? Well, I liked what I tried, but the signature smells that are Axe's biggest draw aren't enough to steal me away from my favored brands. The one exception is the styling cream, which I can't help but recommend wholeheartedly.

SEE ALSO: The Only Three Hair Products Men Should Use

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26 photos of Hong Kong's chaotic Kowloon Walled City, once the most crowded place on earth



Slightly north of Hong Kong Island there once stood one of the most densely populated places on earth.

From the 1950s until 1994, over 33,000 people lived and worked in Kowloon Walled City, a massive complex of 300 interconnected buildings that took up a city block.

Caught between China and the British-run Hong Kong government, the city was essentially lawless, equally known for its opium dens and organized crime as its dentists' offices. 

Photographer Greg Girard spent years investigating and documenting the strange place before it was demolished. Girard collaborated with Ian Lambot, another photographer, on a book about Kowloon, titled "City of Darkness Revisited," available here.

Girard has shared a number of photos from the project here, and you can check out the rest at the book's website.

Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated, ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, an area north of Hong Kong Island. What began as a Chinese military fort evolved into a squatters' village comprising a mass of 300 interconnected high-rise buildings.

The city began as a low-rise squatter village during the early 20th century. After World War II, Hong Kong experienced a massive influx of Chinese immigrants. This led to a lack of housing in the city. In response, entrepreneurs and those with "squatter's rights" in Kowloon built high rise buildings on the space to capitalize on the housing demand.

At its peak, more than 33,000 people lived in the 6.4-acre city. It was considered by many to be the most densely populated place on earth.

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We pitted an iPhone camera against a point-and-shoot and a DSLR to see if there's really any difference


Iphone vs DSLR graphic

Smartphone cameras have gotten so good that many people don't see the need for traditional cameras — and the truth is that for many people there is no need. But devoted cameras have to have some advantages, right?

We matched an iPhone 6 camera against the DSLR Canon 5D Mark II ($3,000 for the body alone) and the point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot SD1400-IS ($169).

We tested the cameras in various situations, including bright sunny day, moving objects, close up, etc. Don't expect techie jargon or focus charts here. We're just considering what looks best.

Here are the contenders. Starting from the left is the iPhone 6, the Canon 5D Mark II, and the Canon PowerShot SD1400-IS.

We started with a shot inside the office. Fluorescent light can be tricky for cameras to read. On a DSLR, you can change settings depending what kind of light a shot has, and we were able to produce this picture.

The point and shoot camera sees the fluorescent lighting more yellow.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This sport band will make it much easier to run with an iPhone 6 [43% off]


running runner arm band

If you don't like holding your phone while running (or keeping it in your pocket), check out the Supcase armband.

The breathable velcro armband will fit arm sizes from 9" to 21" (it pretty much fits everybody) and will be secure on your arm mid-run.

Plus, the casing and band can be separated — so you can use the silicone case as a standalone phone cover.

Note: this armband is designed specifically for the iPhone 6. 

Supcase iPhone 6 armband:$29.99$16.99[43% off]

SEE ALSO: This fitness storage belt is a runner's dream

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SEE ALSO: There are about 15,000 books on Abraham Lincoln — here are the 7 you should read

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10 things you didn't know your iPhone camera could do

Micro apartments are finally coming to New York — and that’s good news for renters


My Micro NY adAPT

The winning design of a 2013 micro apartment design competition is finally being built in New York City.

Called My Micro NY, the 55 affordable units are being assembled in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be stacked this spring in Manhattan’s Kips Bay, according to The New York Times.

And while some people are griping about how the 260- to 360-square-foot apartments are not so affordable at $2,000 to $3,000 a month (for the regularly priced units — the 22 affordable housing units will have a lower rent), what they should be really excited about is what this trend could mean for the rest of the real estate market. 

If the micro units are a success — which it appears they will be given the level of interest and a city-wide waiting list — more housing for singles in New York City will follow suit. For a population that is predominantly single, that means more housing will open up which in turn will bring down rent prices across New York City.

As The New York Times reporter Natalie Shutler explains (emphasis ours):

The project is being watched with interest by both housing advocates and developers, and not just because of its modular construction. Housing advocates say the creation of more micro-apartments could open up many more reasonably priced living options. More units dedicated to singles could eventually bring down rent prices across the city, as more two- to four-bedroom apartments would then open up to families. Singles looking for larger apartments to share with others may have artificially inflated the rental market, as the combined incomes of roommates can be greater than those of families.

The large NYC apartments that have become the norm since 1987 zoning rules are better suited for the 1950s when families were a more integral part of New York’s real estate market, according The Times.  

Today, many of those large apartments are already being broken down into multi-person apartments by temporary walls in order to fit in as many people as possible and drive down the rental cost. 

As more micro-units are built across the city, New York’s single population will have more housing options, which is good news for all of us.

Read more about New York’s coming micro-apartments here.

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70 years ago, a relatively-unknown photographer took the most iconic war photograph of all time


Iwo Jima

The raising of the US flag atop Mount Suribachi on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima 70 years ago is perhaps the most iconic image of World War Two.

No other picture so succinctly and evocatively captures the triumph of the Allied forces, while also highlighting the critical role that US troops played in the Pacific. The picture has also become one of the enduring symbols of the US Marine Corps.

Joe Rosenthal, at the time an unknown Associated Press photographer, is the man behind the photo. Although it was technically the second flag raising on Iwo Jima, which shows five Marines and a Navy Corpsman, it is no less important. The first flag planted was replaced, as it was too small to be seen from the coast.

Rosenthal, in an attempt to position himself properly for the shot, almost actually missed the flag raising. In a desperate attempt to capture the scene, Rosenthal shot the image without the use of his viewfinder. His gut instinct certainly hit the mar. He went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for his image.

Almost immediately, though, the overall quality of the framing led to accusations that Rosenthal had framed the picture.

This controversy still remains. Fortunately, an official video of the flag raising by a Marine photographer shows that the events transpired naturally, and exactly as Rosenthal had claimed.

Rosenthal's photo has gone on to become a deeply ingrained cultural image for America. The US Marine Corps War Memorial, in Arlington, Virginia, is modeled after this photo. President Franklin D. Roosevelt also used the image to promote war bonds at the end of the war, and it was featured on stamps.


It's important to note that while the image evoked a feeling of American victory, it was shot only five days into the Iwo Jima campaign. The battle went on for many more weeks, and three of the Marines who raised the flag were later killed in action.

Although Rosenthal's image has become synonymous with the courage of the Marines, many still debate the value of invading Iwo Jima.

The battle was particularly bloody and was the only battle in which the US Marine Corps suffered more casualties than the Japanese Army. The Japanese were well entrenched on the island when the US decided to invade. Iwo Jima is also a mountainous island, and its topography proved extremely difficult for US troops.

Once taken though, Iwo Jima proved of significant tactical importance as the US military pursued its strategy of "island hopping" to the Japanese mainland. For pushing the US deeper into Japan's Pacific holdings, the military command decided that the 26,000 American casualties was worth the island.

Both the cost and the accomplishment of the campaign is forever immortalized in Rosenthal's photograph.

Iwo_Jima_Suribachi_DN SD 03 11845.JPEG

SEE ALSO: The most iconic photo of World War II is also a reminder of how deadly the battle of Iwo Jima was

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The new trailer for Season 3 of 'House of Cards' is terrifying


Netflix released another trailer for the third season of its smash-hit original series "House of Cards," and it's scary as hell.

The 30-second clip suggests the Underwoods, having officially become the first couple, may be in over their heads. The trailer's eerie mood can be largely attributed to the use of the unsettling song "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of War Drums" by the band A Perfect Circle. 

The new season premieres on Netflix on Friday.

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From Thomas Edison to Winston Churchill, here are the sleeping habits of 12 great leaders


Even world-changing leaders need to rest. 

Some, like Thomas Edison, hated that fact. He thought sleep was a waste of time and did as little of it as possible.

Others, like Winston Churchill, loved to sleep. He credits his success in leading Britain through World War II to the naps he took

To see the sleeping habits of other great leaders, check out the below infographic, care of Big Brand Beds UK

sleeping habits rich famous infographic 103456

SEE ALSO: Take Our 21-Day Program For Radical Self-Improvement

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The only 3 pieces of jewelry men should wear


men's accessories

As far as jewelry goes, for men, simple is better. As Askmen.com notes, the "less is more" adage applies to jewelry above all else

Most men should only be seen with three main accessories decorating their appendages: a nice watch, a good pair of cuff links, and, if they're married, a simple wedding band.

Why? Because unless you're a movie star, pro athlete, or pirate, it's extremely hard for today's man to pull off anything more extravagant than those three pieces.

Earrings, metallic chains, and even bracelets look out of place on most men who try to pull them off. Unfortunately, they just make it look like you're trying too hard — more Tony Soprano than James Bond.

This doesn't mean your accessories have to be boring, though. There's plenty of room within the confines of the pieces to make a statement with your accessories. There are a millionkinds of watches to choose from, as well as a set of cuff links for everyinterestunder the sun.

As always, however, once you know the rules you have license to break them.

Men's style expert Barron Cuadro of Effortless Gent, shies away from absolutes in regard to male jewelry. He told Business Insider that "it all depends on a man's personal style and how eccentric he is in his day-to-day wardrobe."

"Some guys (e.g. PharrellJohnny Depp) can wear a ton of jewelry and they look great, because it fits their personality and aesthetic," Cuadro says. "If, say, Don Draper showed up at SC&P one day in the same jewelry, it wouldn't make sense."

If you can get away with it and it fits your personal style — more power to you, go crazy. But just keep in mind it might not fit in with your financial firm's conservative dress code.

SEE ALSO: Here's why you shouldn't wear the same pair of shoes every day

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Five awesome big-kid toys from the Toy Fair NY


Business Insider Toy Fair High Roller 1.JPGIt's that time in New York where power-mongering retail buyers and high-end designers decide what we'll be craving for the rest of the year, while editors jockey for front row seats.

Not Fashion Week, Toy Fair.

While there are plenty of new "Frozen" products for the younger set, we also found cool goodies that are either specifically designed for us, or at least get away with setting on your desk without claiming that "some kid must have put it in my bag."

Robert Haynes-Peterson covers wine, spirits, cocktails and luxury lifestyle topics. Including toys. He lives and drinks in New York City.

Building Bricks

No one's going to fault you for coveting the latest Lego Star Wars kit (there's a huge new Boba Fett Slave 1 ship out!). But the age range on the box still tops out at 14.

Enter Todd McFarlane Toys. McFarlane (creator of the "Spawn" comic books) set about creating a grown-up building block set with a more finished look. Super detailed components, like Daryl on his bike, the Governor's zombie-head room or modular prison cells run between about $10 and $70. It also means you can display a small build on your desk, or turn the entire basement into a postapocalyptic nightmare.

Not a zombie fan? McFarlane says more themes are coming up. We're rooting for "Breaking Bad's" SuperLab.  

Find it here.


Race Tracks

The new, non-slotted Anki race system is seriously cool in a way Hot Wheels never could be.

Taking a cue from the "toys to life" category (think Disney Infinity), Anki is a radically different sort of track: Your smartphone controls the car, which can traverse any part of the track, accelerate, and even battle other cars (for points, achievements and to unlock upgrades). There's an entire virtual story arc, but the action happens in the real world. Race or battle against friends (iOS and Android) or NPCs with AI capability.

"We like to bring out the little kid in everybody," says Joby Otero, chief creative officer at Anki. Generation 2—Anki Overdrive, previewed at Toy Fair—consists of flexible, interchangable segments, allowing you to design endless tracks.

$150 for a starter set with two cars, chargers, 10 track components and the downloadable app.

Find it here. 


Power Trikes

Remember Big Wheel? Plastic tricycles with giant wheels that (on TV at least) power-slid around corners years before "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."

Designer Matt Arbruster decided it was time to up the ante with a full-sized ride. The "High Roller" features the bright yellow seat from your childhood on a metallic red steel frame. 14-inch rear wheels provide maximum slide and drift, and the whole thing can be accessorized and customized.

At $650 - $800, nostalgia doesn't come cheap, but it does come fully loaded with fun. 

Find it here.

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22 lessons from Stephen King on how to be a great writer


stephen king

Renowned author Stephen King writes stories that captivate millions of people around the world and earn him an estimated $17 million a year.

In his memoir, "On Writing," King shares valuable insights into how to be a better writer. And he doesn't sugarcoat it. He writes, "I can't lie and say there are no bad writers. Sorry, but there are lots of bad writers."

Don't want to be one of them? Here are 22 great pieces of advice from King's book on how to be an amazing writer:

1. Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible.

If you're just starting out as a writer, your television should be the first thing to go. It's "poisonous to creativity," he says. Writers need to look into themselves and turn toward the life of the imagination.

To do so, they should read as much as they can. King takes a book with him everywhere he goes, and even reads during meals. "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot," he says. Read widely, and constantly work to refine and redefine your own work as you do so.

2. Prepare for more failure and criticism than you think you can deal with.

King compares writing fiction to crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub, because in both, "there's plenty of opportunity for self-doubt." Not only will you doubt yourself, but other people will doubt you, too. "If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that's all," writes King.

Oftentimes, you have to continue writing even when you don't feel like it. "Stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea," he writes. And when you fail, King suggests that you remain positive. "Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure." 

3. Don't waste time trying to please people.

According to King, rudeness should be the least of your concerns. "If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway," he writes. King used to be ashamed of what he wrote, especially after receiving angry letters accusing him of being bigoted, homophobic, murderous, and even psychopathic.

By the age of 40, he realized that every decent writer has been accused of being a waste of talent. King has definitely come to terms with it. He writes, "If you disapprove, I can only shrug my shoulders. It's what I have." You can't please all of your readers all the time, so King advises that you stop worrying. 

4. Write primarily for yourself.

You should write because it brings you happiness and fulfillment. As King says, "I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."

Writer Kurt Vonnegut provides a similar insight: "Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about," he says. "It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style."

5. Tackle the things that are hardest to write.

"The most important things are the hardest things to say," writes King. "They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings." Most great pieces of writing are preceded with hours of thought. In King's mind, "Writing is refined thinking."

When tackling difficult issues, make sure you dig deeply. King says, "Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground ... Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world." Writers should be like archaeologists, excavating for as much of the story as they can find.

6. When writing, disconnect from the rest of the world.

Writing should be a fully intimate activity. Put your desk in the corner of the room, and eliminate all possible distractions, from phones to open windows. King advises, "Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open."

You should maintain total privacy between you and your work. Writing a first draft is "completely raw, the sort of thing I feel free to do with the door shut — it's the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts."

7. Don't be pretentious.

"One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones," says King. He compares this mistake to dressing up a household pet in evening clothes — both the pet and the owner are embarrassed, because it's completely excessive.

As iconic businessman David Ogilvy writes in a memo to his employees, "Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass." Furthermore, don't use symbols unless necessary. "Symbolism exists to adorn and enrich, not to create an artificial sense of profundity," writes King.

8. Avoid adverbs and long paragraphs.

As King emphasizes several times in his memoir, "the adverb is not your friend." In fact, he believes that "the road to hell is paved with adverbs" and compares them to dandelions that ruin your lawn. Adverbs are worst after "he said" and "she said" — those phrases are best left unadorned.

You should also pay attention to your paragraphs, so that they flow with the turns and rhythms of your story. "Paragraphs are almost always as important for how they look as for what they say," says King. 

9. Don't get overly caught up in grammar.

According to King, writing is primarily about seduction, not precision. "Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes," writes King. "The object of fiction isn't grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story." You should strive to make the reader forget that he or she is reading a story at all.

10. Master the art of description.

"Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's," writes King. The important part isn't writing enough, but limiting how much you say. Visualize what you want your reader to experience, and then translate what you see in your mind into words on the page. You need to describe things "in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition," he says.

The key to good description is clarity, both in observation and in writing. Use fresh images and simple vocabulary to avoid exhausting your reader. "In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it 'got boring,' the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling," notes King.

11. Don't give too much background information.

"What you need to remember is that there's a difference between lecturing about what you know and using it to enrich the story," writes King. "The latter is good. The former is not." Make sure you only include details that move your story forward and that persuade your reader to continue reading.

If you need to do research, make sure it doesn't overshadow the story. Research belongs "as far in the background and the back story as you can get it," says King. You may be entranced by what you're learning, but your readers are going to care a lot more about your characters and your story.

12. Tell stories about what people actually do.

"Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do — to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street," writes King. The people in your stories are what readers care about the most, so make sure you acknowledge all the dimensions your characters may have.

13. Take risks; don't play it safe.

First and foremost, stop using the passive voice. It's the biggest indicator of fear. "I'm convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing," King says. Writers should throw back their shoulders, stick out their chins, and put their writing in charge. 

"Try any goddamn thing you like, no matter how boringly normal or outrageous. If it works, fine. If it doesn't, toss it," King says.

14. Realize that you don't need drugs to be a good writer.

"The idea that the creative endeavor and mind-altering substances are entwined is one of the great pop-intellectual myths of our time," says King. In his eyes, substance-abusing writers are just substance-abusers. "Any claims that the drugs and alcohol are necessary to dull a finer sensibility are just the usual self-serving bullshit."

15. Don't try to steal someone else's voice.

As King says, "You can't aim a book like a cruise missile." When you try to mimic another writer's style for any reason other than practice, you'll produce nothing but "pale imitations." This is because you can never try to replicate the way someone feels and experiences truth, especially not through a surface-level glance at vocabulary and plot.

16. Understand that writing is a form of telepathy.

"All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing is the purest distillation," says King. An important element of writing is transference. Your job isn't to write words on the page, but rather to transfer the ideas inside your head into the heads of your readers.

"Words are just the medium through which the transfer happens," says King. In his advice on writing, Vonnegut also recommends that writers "use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted."

17. Take your writing seriously.

"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or despair," says King. "Come to it any way but lightly." If you don't want to take your writing seriously, he suggests that you close the book and do something else. 

As writer Susan Sontag says, "The story must strike a nerve — in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk."

18. Write every single day.

"Once I start work on a project, I don't stop, and I don't slow down unless I absolutely have to," says King. "If I don't write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind ... I begin to lose my hold on the story's plot and pace."

If you fail to write consistently, the excitement for your idea may begin to fade. When the work starts to feel like work, King describes the moment as "the smooch of death." His best advice is to just take it "one word at a time."

19. Finish your first draft in three months. 

King likes to write 10 pages a day. Over a three-month span, that amounts to around 180,000 words. "The first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months, the length of a season," he says. If you spend too long on your piece, King believes the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel.

20. When you're finished writing, take a long step back.

King suggests six weeks of "recuperation time" after you're done writing, so you can have a clear mind to spot any glaring holes in the plot or character development. He asserts that a writer's original perception of a character could be just as faulty as the reader's.

King compares the writing and revision process to nature. "When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees," he writes. "When you're done, you have to step back and look at the forest." When you do find your mistakes, he says that "you are forbidden to feel depressed about them or to beat up on yourself. Screw-ups happen to the best of us."

21. Have the guts to cut.

When revising, writers often have a difficult time letting go of words they spent so much time writing. But, as King advises, "Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings."

Although revision is one of the most difficult parts of writing, you need to leave out the boring parts in order to move the story along. In his advice on writing, Vonnegut suggests, "If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out."

22. Stay married, be healthy, and live a good life.

King attributes his success to two things: his physical health and his marriage. "The combination of a healthy body and a stable relationship with a self-reliant woman who takes zero shit from me or anyone else has made the continuity of my working life possible," he writes.

It's important to have a strong balance in your life, so writing doesn't consume all of it. In writer and painter Henry Miller's 11 commandments of writing, he advises, "Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it."

SEE ALSO: This Stephen King Novel Will Never Be Printed Again After It Was Tied To School Shootings

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New York's new micro apartments will be successful because they’re basically college dorms


My Micro NY adAPT The winning design of a 2013 micro apartment design competition is finally being built in New York City.

Called My Micro NY, the 55 affordable units are being assembled in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be stacked this spring in Manhattan’s Kips Bay, according to The New York Times.

The apartments will be perfect for New York’s large small-family renting population. And one of the biggest draws is that the apartments will also have awesome amenities. 

“Amenities have become much more important to people as apartments have gotten smaller,” the executive vice president of new development at Douglas Elliman Cliff Finn told The Times. 

The 55 rental apartments will only be 260- to 360-square-feet, but they’ll have big windows, Juliet balconies, and lots of storage space — something anyone living in a small space will tell you is imperative.

Plus, the “micro” building itself will have lots of public spaces for residents looking to get out of their tiny pad, including a public meeting space, café, common rooftop garden, as well as a laundry room, residential storage space, bike room, and fitness room.

Essentially, these new micro apartments are like college dorm rooms for adults.

The amenities also make the units much nicer places to live. Instead of feeling cramped in a small living space, renters can make use of the rest of the building which will foster a community and make the apartments “livable, safe, healthy,” as Mayor de Blasio’s new housing plan puts it.

Read more about New York’s coming micro-apartments here.

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Ken Griffin says his soon-to-be-ex-wife is requesting $6,800 a month for groceries


Ken Griffin

Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin claims that his soon-to-be-ex-wife is requesting $1 million per month in living expenses/child support, CNBC's Robert Frank reports citing court documents. 

According to CNBC, some of the alleged expenses Dias-Griffin is requesting include $6,800 on groceries, $7,200 for meals and $8,000 for gifts. The monthly expenses also include $300,000 intercontinental private jet travel and $60,000 for private staff, the report said.

Griffin also claims that Dias-Griffin wanted $450,000 for a St. Bart's vacation over winter break. He forked over $45,000 for that vacation instead, the report said. 

Dias-Griffin's attorney didn't deny those expenses, CNBC pointed out. 

Last July, Griffin filed for divorce from his wife of 11 years, Dias-Griffin, while she was on summer vacation with their three children.

Griffin, 46, is the founder of hedge fund giant Citadel LLC. Dias-Griffin, 44, was born in France. She is the founder of the hedge fund firm Aragon Global Management.

Dias-Griffin later filed a petition seeking equitable division of their assets and sole custody of their children. She asked for their prenup thrown out.

Under the terms of the prenup, Dias-Griffin said that she will receive 1 percent of Griffin's assets. Griffin has an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Griffin and Dias-Griffin were married in Versailles in July 2003. This is the second divorce for Griffin. He divorced his first wife in 1994.

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