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Johnny Depp is transformed in this trailer for Whitey Bulger biopic 'Black Mass'


Warner Bros. released the first trailer for the Whitey Bulger biopic "Black Mass," which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious Boston gangster, who is serving two consecutive life sentences in prison.

Depp looks eerily different in the trailer, thanks to contact lenses that make his eyes blue. The movie is directed by Scott Cooper, whose "Crazy Heart" earned Jeff Bridges an Academy Award for best actor in 2010.

We'll have to wait and see if the same outcome is in the cards for Depp. "Black Mass" hits theaters on September 18, 2015.

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REVEALED: Here are all the incredible perks for Facebook employees

11 ways to set yourself up for success in your early 20s


young guy tourist

Your early 20s are a strange time in your life. It's usually the first time you're figuring out what it means to be an adult.

Whether you're still in school or recently graduated, on your own or still living with your parents, you could benefit from some advice from those who've already figured out how to survive in the real world.

In a recent Quora thread, users addressed the question: "What can I do in my 20s that will benefit my future self?"

We've summarized some of the best responses, beginning with several insights from Shikhar Agarwal, a young computer engineer living in Palo Alto, Calif., whose insights led the discussion.

If you're in your early 20s, Agarwal says you should...

1. Learn to manage and balance your time.

Without the structure of school, it's up to you to figure how to organize your day. Since you'll be busy laying the foundation for your career, investing in your romantic life, and trying to have time left over for yourself, you'll need to figure out how to prioritize and juggle competing demands. Agarwal recommends experimenting with different approaches until you've mastered the art of time management. 

2. Put down your smartphone.

This generation grew up with social media, and many are probably too attached to their smartphones. Realize that someone liking your photo on Facebook or upvoting your post on Reddit isn't as important as what's going on around you. If you're living in the moment, you can actually learn something, listen better, and contribute to the conversation.

3. Travel as much as you can.

As Agarwal puts it, when you're in your early 20s, "you are mature enough to go out on your own and immature enough to learn from others." Take trips that introduce you to new cultures and open your mind to new ways of thinking. In addition to gaining confidence and social skills, you'll make memories that will last the rest of your life.

4. Pursue passion, not money.

At this stage, you likely do not have a spouse, kids, and a mortgage to take care of. Use this freedom to follow your heart rather than a big paycheck. Agarwal referenced a Steve Jobs' quote: "If you don't love something, you're not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much."

5. Figure out who you really are.

Use this period in your life to figure out what truly drives you, what scares you, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and who truly cares about you. Understanding who you are and what you'd like to achieve in life will give you peace of mind and set you up for success.

6. Remember that a larger world exists beyond your doorstep.

As you become more successful, give back to society's less fortunate. Whether it's by volunteering or donating to charity, plenty of evidence shows that those who pay it forward lead much happier lives than those who don't.

Other Quora users weighed in as well, saying you should...

7. Learn to ignore the voice that tells you to give up.

Fight the voice in your head urging you take the easy route. If you don't learn to ignore it, that same voice will plague you throughout your life, whether you're trying to be healthier or gunning for a promotion. If you can overcome it, "you can push yourself to heights never imagined, and it will help you during hard times." —Sang Young Noh

8. Start saving.

Even if you're paying off student loans, you should start a habit of setting aside a portion of every paycheck in an emergency fund. Set a goal of having enough money to cover at least six months of expenses, in case of an injury or job loss. Make sure to also take advantage of a retirement plan offered by your employer, because you'll appreciate the accrued interest years from now. —Drew Eckhardt

9. Take care of your body.

You're in the prime of your life. Now's the time to establish healthy exercise and eating habits, because it won't be as easy to change once you grow older. And take good care of your skin to avoid the onset of wrinkles. —Mo Seetubtim

10. Get as much education as possible, be it in the classroom or not.

If you want to get a graduate degree, go for it. But even if you don't spend any additional time in the classroom, read as much as possible, about as many things as possible. Learn a new language; get some writing published. You'll never have as much free time and energy as you do now, so gain as much knowledge as you can. —Bill Welsh

11. Accept your mistakes and learn from them.

As you establish yourself in the world, you're going to make mistakes in all aspects of your life. Don't react too emotionally to any of them, and make sure that you learn how to avoid repeating them. "If you understand this, it will make you patient with other people who make mistakes, and you will learn forgiveness. It's a very short hop from there to kindness, the greatest virtue a human being can have." —Bill Welsh

SEE ALSO: 10 Lessons That Will Help You Excel In Your 30s

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NOW WATCH: You should never wash your jeans — here's how to clean them

The Apple Watch has single-handedly revived an unusual style of watch band


apple watch charging stand

The Apple Watch can be outfitted with many different bands, from a simple synthetic strap to high-end leathers. But one band caught my attention from the get-go, back when the watch was first revealed last year.

It's called the "Milanese loop." You have undoubtedly seen it because many of the review watches that were distributed to the media came with this band. It's a delicate silvery mesh that combines a metal-link-style bracelet (think: Rolex Submariner dive watch) with a buckled strap.

The closure on the loop is magnetic so the wearer can strap the Apple Watch securely to his or her wrist. It combines the precise adjustability of a strap with the durability and style of a link bracelet, minus the imprecise bracelet sizing that many folks with smaller wrists don't like.

The Milanese loop, naturally, was created in Milan. As WatchPro.com noted, the style was popular in the 19th century, a time when wristwatches were typically rather demure and seen as jewelry, mainly for women (men carried pocket watches).

Metal mesh bracelets were in the wristwatch mix for decades and looked particularly relevant during the Art Deco period of the early 20th century. In the post-World War II era, however, Milanese loops became more of an offbeat choice. Writing for WatchPro, Kathryn Bishop pointed out that the style became a signature for Skagen, a Danish brand that specializes in very thin watches; the more delicate Milanese loop makes sense with this type of timepiece.

Elsewhere, link bracelets and straps, as well as a type of closure called a "deployant" (a strap that doesn't buckle), have ruled the watch world. The trend in luxury watches and less-expensive timepieces alike has been toward larger and larger faces – 40 millimeters and up is the default for men these days – and big watches don't get along very well with a delicate mesh band. Thick, distressed leather bands, chunky link bracelets, and aftermarket stuff like militaristic Nato and Zulu straps are what we've seen.

Until the Apple Watch came along.


The Milanese loop made an immediate and early appearance in promos for the Apple Watch. If you searched "Milanese loop" online back in 2013, you would have gotten a bunch of obscure results. Do it now and you get sent right to the Apple Watch. I'd go far as to say that the Apple Watch is now inextricably associated with the Milanese loop.

In fact, the loop works very well with the stainless-steel version of the Apple Watch, which is fairly thin, as watches go. It also allows the watch to take center stage (center wrist?), something that's important for the Apple Watch, given that it is designed to have a much more active screen than the typical watch's face. Finally, because the Apple Watch is square, an unusual form factor in the luxury watch world, the mesh loop allows that unique shape to stand out.

The Milanese loop has always been a good choice for men in particular who do not have the large wrists that accommodate link-style bracelets. But the fine metal mesh came off a perhaps insufficiently masculine, and the burly nature of a lot of big sport watches didn't help.

Many men who haven't been wearing watches – they've got smartphones, thanks – are going to buy the Apple Watch, and plenty of those guys are going to go for the Milanese loop.

So good work, Apple, in reviving a classic band that had fallen completely by the wayside. The watch world rejoices!

SEE ALSO: Don't buy the Apple Watch — buy a real watch instead

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NOW WATCH: 11 amazing facts about Apple

There's a new 'King of Instagram' and he makes Dan Bilzerian's lifestyle look PG-13


tony toutouni and dan bilzerian

When the wealthy deign to share a glimpse of their lives on social media, followers usually come running.

This was the case for the Rich Kids of Instagram, their British equivalents at the short-lived PrivateSchoolSnaps, and the notorious Dan Bilzerian, known to his legions of bro followers as the "King of Instagram."

Now, there's another shamelessly ostentatious and social media-friendly scion to gawk at: Tony Toutouni, the "billionaire businessman" who chronicles his own models-and-bottles lifestyle through his account @lunatic_living.

(Click through his account at your own risk, because most of his photos are far less SFW than those embedded here.)


Toutouni "escaped from Iran at a young age and went on to become a successful Los Angeles Businessman [sic]," the Chive wrote earlier this month. His rags-to-riches tale continues at the Daily Dot. They report that he once worked as a car stereo salesman before getting fed up and flipping his boss the bird, leaving to pursue bigger and better things.

About that bird: Toutouni claims his middle finger, which is now his trademark, is insured for $7 million.


Toutouni says the cash he rakes in comes by way of his investments in car dealerships, nightclubs, restaurants and bars, he told the Mirror. Also, he says he is friends with Bilzerian, who actually inspired Toutouni to start his own account. With 733,000 followers to Bilzerian's 8.1 million, though, Toutouni has a long way to go.


"What man in the world can't say this isn't the lifestyle they want to live?" he asked the Mirror. "It's a lifestyle that every man wants to live and I enjoy living it." 


On Instagram, he tells tales of sponsoring women's breast augmentation surgeries and purchasing truckloads of toys for kids in need. He seems to be constantly surrounded by barely-clothed women, whether he is lounging in a cabana, taking the ol' Aventador out for a spin, playing poker with a congressman as seen above, or simply getting the laundry done.


He also posts inspirational quotes, in his own über-capitalist way. Under this photo of a Rolls Royce, he writes, "Those who won't have this life will stare at this pic and call this motivation , yet those who will one day have this life will get up and do something about it now #tonysadvice #privatejets #rolls #bentley #dontdreamitjustdoit"


To say that not everyone finds Toutouni's posts amusing is an understatement. "I have feminists who hate me with a passion and church people who want to cure me because I have 'issues,'" he told the Mirror.

Clearly, he isn't letting the criticism get to him though —  for better or worse.



SEE ALSO: The King of Instagram explains his childhood and how he became such a 'flashy lunatic'

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NOW WATCH: Here's how much sex happy couples have every month

5 things you can do to age more gracefully


george clooney

There's a reason guys like George Clooney and Robert Downey, Jr. manage to look better with each passing birthday: good genes.

But they also have some of the country's top skin advisors at their beck and call, providing them with tips on stopping time. 

We spoke with one such expert—New York City Dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank—to bring you the five commandments for younger-looking skin.

1. Say Yes to SPF

"It's the best anti-aging product on the market," says Frank.

(If you hadn't heard—90% of wrinkles come from the sun.)

Slather on a moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher every single day to shield skin from damaging UV rays, even in the winter.

2. Exfoliate Twice a Week

Another point for the guys: "Men don't have as many wrinkles around their mouth because we shave there every day, it's a type of cosmetic exfoliation," says Frank.

Even if you shave daily, you should still use a scrub (try Baxter of California's Facial Scrub) or a Clarasonic device twice a week to get rid of dead skin cells and even out the skin's surface.

If you want to bring out the big guns, a glycolic-acid peel at the dermatologist's office will take off the top layer of skin (yep—not going to feel good) and smooth out fine lines.

3. Use an Eye Cream

"Guys come in and complain not about looking old, but looking tired," says Frank. Pat on an eye cream, like ClarinsMen Anti-Fatigue Eye Serum, to tighten the delicate skin around eyes and reduce dark circles and puffiness. (If you're looking for something to disguise a rough night out, this is it.)

4. Strengthen Skin with a Retinol

As you age, collagen breaks down and causes skin to sag. A retinol like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream (available at the drugstore) boosts collagen production and cell turnover to firm things up and smooth out fine lines. Apply it only at nighttime (retinols make your skin sensitive to the sun) and start with a pea-sized amount since a little goes a long way.

5. Eat Less Sugar

"It's a tough pill to swallow, but gluten-rich foods like pasta and dairy create inflammation in your intestinal system and affect major organs, including the skin," says Frank. In other words: sugar makes you look old, so try to cut back on bad carbs (white bread, processed foods) and eat more fruits and veggies. 

More From GQ:

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NOW WATCH: Why guys are going crazy for 'solid' cologne

DEAL OF THE DAY: This slim and scratch-resistant iPhone case is up to 60% off right now


Screen Shot 2015 04 24 at 1.08.14 PMThere's an incredible deal on these awesome iPhone cases today.

The i-Blason iPhone case is slim and made of scratch-resistant materials.

The case is see-through, so you will be able to see the actual color of your iPhone (great news for all you gold fans!)

It comes with front raised edges, which provide additional protection when your phone is laying face down.

"Excellent case. Fits well, durable and enhances the iPhone 6. The bumpers provide protection from drops," according to one reviewer.

i-Blason iPhone 6 case: $24.99$9.99[60% off]

i-Blason iPhone 6 Plus case: $19.99$11.19 [44% off]

Screen Shot 2015 04 24 at 1.08.21 PM

SEE ALSO: Master Excel and more with this course bundle to land your dream job [96% off]

SEE ALSO: DRONE DEAL OF THE DAY: Save $110 on the 'Code Black' HD-camera drone with this exclusive coupon

SEE ALSO: Code your way to a higher paycheck today with these 8 coding courses [94% off]

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NOW WATCH: How to supercharge your iPhone in only 5 minutes

Here's why a trip to South Africa was the best vacation I've ever taken


Cape Agulhas

When I was younger, my family moved to Zurich, Switzerland for five years because of my dad's job.

Not only was Switzerland a great place to be an American expat, it was also a great home base for all the traveling my family did both in Europe and in other continents.

Out of all the amazing trips we took, there is one that really sticks out in my mind: our two-week trip to South Africa.

This is one of the only trips my family ever planned with the help of a travel agent. It was an investment, but a worthwhile one, because the trip left me with countless memories that I'll hold onto forever.

South Africa is a diverse country with so much to offer. There are larger cities to visit such as Johannesburg, Capetown, and the capital, Pretoria. Then there's Kruger National Park, which is a must for adventurous travelers hoping to experience a safari. There are beaches for surfers or sunbathers, and vineyards for wine aficionados. 

Here are the highlights from my family's visit.



We started our trip with two days in Johannesburg. Because we were short on time, we didn't see a whole lot of the city.

We did go to one of Johannesburg's many flea markets though, where you can find all kinds of unique arts and crafts that are handmade by South Africans. Bargaining is a must at these markets. I walked away with a beautiful painting that is still hanging in my room today — for a fraction of its original price. Besides artwork, you can find everything from jewelry to clothing to fresh produce from local farmers. They're a great place to look for a gift for someone back home or a souvenir for yourself.

Some of Johannesburg's best markets include the Rooftop Market in Rosebank, the Bryanston Organic & Natural Market in Bryanston, and the Hillfox Market in Weltevreden Park. Click here for a full list.

Kruger National Park

We then took a short flight to Kruger National Park, a large game reserve in South Africa's northeastern Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

Motswari Bedroom

After a seemingly endless bumpy ride in a van along a dirt road we arrived at the Motswari Private Game Reserve, the resort we stayed at during our five days in Kruger National Park. We slept in private bungalows that were fully equipped with a large bed and bathroom. A bungalow for two runs around $670 per night; if you book three nights, you'll get a discounted rate of $570 per night.

Resorts like Motswari are built right into the wilderness, which is why you shouldn't be surprised if you run into a family of warthogs on your way back to your bungalow from breakfast (yes, that happened to me). Watching the sunset is breathtaking, as is the unobstructed view of the stars at night.

Motswari Elephants

During our stay we went on multiple safaris and were lucky enough to see four out of South Africa's "Big Five:" a lion, a leopard, an elephant, and a rhino (the only one we didn't see was a cape buffalo). Besides those four we also saw zebra, giraffe, a hippopotamus, and an impala.

Our safari guide took us through the park in an open jeep. The guide sits in the jeep, and then there's also a patroler who sits in a seat up front built outside of the car with a gun, just in case. This isn't your average trip to the zoo. You're seeing these animals in their natural habitat and you're getting close enough to actually touch them.

On our first trip, our guide instructed us to always keep all limbs in the vehicle, and to not make any sudden movements or loud noises. You're never permitted to leave the vehicle – although my dad did lean pretty far out once to snap a picture of an elephant. The goal is to avoid scaring off any animals, or worse, frightening them, which depending on the animal, can cause them to charge the vehicle (hence the patroler with the gun).


It's hard to describe the adrenaline rush you feel when a rhino jumps out of the bush directly behind your vehicle, or when your eyes meet those of a lion mother laying with her cubs. It's just something you have to experience for yourself.

The Wine Route

With a unique climate that's like the Mediterranean, South Africa has multiple wine routes that weave through its scenic wine lands and vineyards. The wine routes are all pretty much within an hour of Cape Town, and the vineyards along them not only offer beautiful scenery, but sophisticated wine and delicious food. The country's signature variety is known as pinotage, a red wine grape that was bred as a cross between Pinot noir and Cinsaut. Some of South Africa's best wines include the Sadie Family Columella, the Mullineux Wines Granite Syrah, and the Kanonkop Paul Sauer.

My family drove what's known as the Garden Route. We started in Oudtshoorn, made our way down south to Plettenberg Bay and the Cape Agulhas, then drove north to Gansbaai, continued to Stellenbosch, and ended our route in Cape Town. It took us a total of five days. During our drive we stayed at some beautiful guest houses, and made multiple stops for activities.

Rosenhof Country House

One of my favorite guest houses that we stayed in was the Rosenhof Country House in Oudtshoorn. The rooms were luxurious and elegant, and they looked out onto the Rosenhof's impeccably maintained garden and pool. With only 12 rooms and 2 executive suites, the hotel is small. A luxury double room for two people is around $190 per night.

Riding Ostrich

My family visited an ostrich farm while we were in Oudtshoorn, which gave my sister and me the opportunity to actually ride an ostrich. I can't remember the particular farm we went to, but the Safari Ostrich Show Farm and the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm are both good options.

It was a thrilling experience — they're a lot faster than you would think! Even though they're not particularly friendly, I thought the ostriches were adorable, so I was more than upset when my dad ordered ostrich for dinner that night. I refused to try it, but he said it was delicious, and it's a common dish in South African cuisine.

Snake Fam Photo South Africa.JPG

We also stopped at the Cango Wildlife Ranch, which is basically South Africa's version of a zoo complete with cheetahs, lemurs, tigers, crocodiles, and snakes. During our visit, my dad suggested we take a family photo all holding a huge boa constrictor. My dad and I thoroughly enjoyed it, my sister was petrified, and my mom basically stopped talking to my dad for the rest of the day because she was so mad at him for suggesting it.

We took a look at the world's highest bungee jump (Bloukrans Bridge) — unfortunately we didn't actually try it — and saw the Cape Agulhas, which is South Africa's southernmost tip and the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Just before we made it to Cape Town, we stayed at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in Gansbaai. The luxury eco-lodge describes itself as a "floral and marine eco-paradise." At Grootbos, guests can do anything from a nature walk to horseback riding to whale watching to shark cage diving. There's also a spa.

My mom and sister opted for the nature walk, while my dad and I went whale watching and horseback riding. We saw both whales and seals, and witnessed some shark cage divers. We only stayed there for a few days, but we probably could have stayed there for our whole trip and not run out of things to do. Grootbos' room rates are seasonal; in the high season — September through April (when my family was there) — a one bedroom luxury suite goes for $428 per night.

Grootbos View

Cape Town

Cape Town was the last stop on my family's South Africa trip. We were only there for a couple days, so we didn't get to see all that much. One of the city's most popular attractions is Table Mountain, which overlooks Cape Town and provides great views. Unfortunately it was extremely foggy when we were there, so it wasn't worth taking a trip to the top. You can take a cable car up the mountain, or take a helicopter ride which provides stunning views of both the mountain and city itself.

Cape Town

Instead, my family explored the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Besides the waterfront, Cape Town is home to many visitor attractions. You can take a trip to Robben's Island to see the maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela served 18 years, lounge on Beta Beach or Oudekraal (both just 10 minutes from Cape Town's center), see endangered penguins at the Boulders Penguin Colony, and of course sample some mouthwatering seafood at restaurants all over the city.

I made the decision to get my whole head braided, which in retrospect, was not my best idea. After four very painful hours at a local salon, my family headed back to our hotel and flew back home the next day. Let's just say the flight was anything but comfortable.

SEE ALSO: I lived in Europe for 5 years — these are the places I tell all my friends to visit

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NOW WATCH: Animated map of what Earth would look like if all the ice melted

Watch a determined chimpanzee repeatedly take down a drone flying in a zoo


While Royal Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands was using a drone to film the grounds for a television program, a determined chimpanzee knocked down the camera each time it flew by.

Produced by Jason Gaines. Video courtesy of Associated Press and Royal Burgers' Zoo.

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Here's the full list of the best companies to work for in America


When you're working for the right company, you don't need to choose between a job you love or one that pays well.

We partnered with employer information website PayScale to find the 50 best companies to work for in America.

In creating this list, companies in the 2014 Fortune 500 list were ranked using PayScale's salary and survey database. Final scores were determined by multiplying six criteria: high job satisfaction, low job stress, ability to telecommute, high job meaning, experienced median pay, and salary delta. Since we think that pay is one of the most important factors, we double-weighted it in our calculations. Read the full methodology here.

Best Companies 2015

DON'T MISS: The 50 best companies to work for in America

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The action-packed life of GoPro's Nick Woodman, the highest-paid CEO of 2014


nick woodman gopro

Nick Woodman, founder and CEO of sports camera company GoPro, was the highest paid U.S. chief executive of 2014, Bloomberg recently reported.

Woodman was granted 4.5 million restricted stock units valued at $284.5 million at the end of 2014, earning him the top spot on Bloomberg's list. In 2013, he earned a salary of $800,000 in addition to a bonus of $1 million.

Woodman's financial success is more than a decade in the making. He founded GoPro in 2004, initially just making wrist straps for small cameras and then eventually branching out into building the hardware itself. 

Woodman came up with the idea for GoPro before leaving town for a surfing trip, when he realized he needed some kind of device that would make taking action shots easier. When he returned from the trip, he used his mom's sewing machine to start work on GoPro's first camera strap.

Woodman's life hasn't slowed down since — he's an adrenaline junkie, Red Bull addict, snowboarder, mountain biker, race-car driver, and an avid surfer. 

Woodman's high school classmates remember him as being immensely passionate, waking up at five in the morning to go surfing before classes. "Now professional content is inspiring kids around the world to pursue their passions, just like I was inspired by those Surfer magazine tear outs on the wall," he told UCSD's alumni magazine.

Source: CNBC, UCSD Alumni

After building his first startup, a web marketing company that eventually flopped during the dot-com crash of the early 2000s, Woodman decided to fund his next venture himself. He moved back in with his parents and traveled up and down the California coast in a Volkswagen Westfalia van called "The Biscuit," where he worked on the first GoPro wrist straps and cameras.

Source: GoPro, YouTube


Woodman sold his first GoPro cameras in surf shops and even on QVC, which he appeared on several times in GoPro's early days. Here he is on the home shopping network in 2005, three years after creating the first GoPro. "It was very humble beginnings for GoPro, but I think it's the right kind of beginning," he told Outside.

Source: YouTube


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

You've been arranging the groceries in your fridge all wrong


Stop putting your milk in your refrigerator door and stop putting your bread on top of the fridge. It turns out that seemingly harmless mistakes such as these can make a big difference in the freshness and safety of your groceries. Watch and learn the right way to organize your refrigerator.

Produced by Justin Gmoser

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Grim photos of the 'tent cities' springing up around Nepal after the deadly earthquake


nepal kathamandu tent cities survivors recovery earthquake

In the wake of Saturday's devastating earthquake in Nepal, which has killed more than 3,600 people, hundreds of thousands of survivors escaped the rubble and set up camp on open grounds.

Sleeping in makeshift tents and rationing food and water, the Nepalese continue to suffer harsh conditions. Still, many fear returning home in case of future aftershocks.

The photos of these "tent cities," sprawled across the region, are unbelievable. 

Additional reporting by The Associated Press and Pamela Engel.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal have made camp away from the rubble following a devastating earthquake over the weekend.

Many Nepalese find themselves in communities of makeshift shelters, called tent cities, that are springing up across the country. Local parks, army bases, and old parade grounds have been completely transformed.

Saturday's magnitude-7.8 earthquake was the worst the country had seen in 80 years. It swept through the capital region and killed more than 3,600. The following day, a 6.7-magnitude tremor, just 40 miles east of Kathmandu, sent people sprinting to open ground.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

8 specialty websites that let you book a luxury hotel room for cheap


Plaza Hotel NYC

Luxury hotels can cost thousands of dollars a night, but they don't have to. 

Insiders know where to book a luxe hotel on the cheap. Of course there are the major online travel agencies like Priceline, Orbitz, and Hotels.com, but those are just a starting point for in-the-know travelers.

Here are eight websites that let you book luxury hotels for less.


Jetsetter.com began as an offshoot of Gilt Groupe, but was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2013.

One of the original flash sale vacation sites, Jetsetter offers discounted rates at top hotels around the world. Their sales usually only last a week or so though, so if you see a hotel you're interested in, book a room before the sale expires. The site also allows users to book rooms at their curated hotels year-round — though not at the same discount you'd find in a flash sale.

Luxury Link

In addition to offering discounted rates to top hotels around the world, Luxury Link makes sure its users get other perks, like resort credit or complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi. 

The site also offers the option of bidding on getaways at some properties for discounted rates through an auction.

Luxury Link works with Gilt Travel. 

Secret Escapes

Secret Escapes is a members-only hotel booking site that negotiates rates with luxury hotels that are up to 70% off.

There's no fee to become a member. Simply enter your email address and you'll have access to the sales.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This couple gave up 90% of their possessions and sold their dream house to build this incredible tiny home they absolutely love


tiny home morrison

In 2010, Gabriella and Andrew Morrison had just moved into what they thought was their dream home in a coveted neighborhood in Southern Oregon. 

But six months later, they were already regretting their decision. 

“We began to feel like our dream was actually a nightmare,” Gabriella told Business Insider. “The amount of stress that was involved with having to work more to pay for it compounded with feeling like slaves to it begged the question, ‘Was it really worth it?’”

Soon after, the couple learned of the tiny house movement by way of Jay Shafer’s “The Small House Book” and realized that they wanted to live with less. So they got rid of 90% of their possessions, sold the house, and moved to Baja Mexico for five months, where they resided in a pop-up tent trailer.

From that experience, we saw that we were happiest with the least and we committed to designing and building a tiny house for ourselves,” Gabriella told us.

When the couple moved back to Oregon, they began designing and building their own tiny home. 

“At first, friends and family were skeptical of what we were doing,” Gabriella said. “Hardly anyone had heard of the tiny house movement at that point and I think they thought we were being unrealistic.”

But four months later, their new 221-square-foot tiny home was complete. The couple spent $22,744 building the home, plus another $10,345 on cabinetry from IKEA and appliances. Gabriella and Andrew were so inspired by the experience that they started TinyHouseBuild.com to teach people how to make their own tiny homes.

They now live on five acres of rural land that they bought in Oregon, and share the space with their daughter, cat and dog. Neither of the Morrisons can imagine moving anywhere else.

“We designed it to be a forever home,” Gabriella told Business Insider. “We also plan on spending six months out of each year down on the beaches of Baja again so we will split the time between two places.”

Gabriella and Andrew Morrison built their 221-square-foot tiny home on five acres in Southern Oregon. It took them four months and cost $33,089.72.

They call it a "hOMe" with the emphasis on "om" (a mystic symbol — think yoga and meditation).

Because the weather can get cold, the family stays warm with two 100-gallon propane tanks they refill every six or eight months.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

9 scientifically verified ways to appear more attractive


chris pine

Attraction relies on much more than your physical appearance. 

It's in the way you carry yourself, the people you hang out with, and how you talk to people — plus a whole lot more.

Be funny.

Multiplestudiesindicate that women are more attracted to men who can make them laugh. 

In one study, a psychologist asked men to tell a joke to their friends at a bar while a woman sat at a nearby table — and the guys who told jokes were three times as likely to get her number as the people who didn't.

"The effect of a great sense of humor on women's attractions might be partially explained by the fact that funny people are considered to be more social and more intelligent, things that women seek in a mate," anthropologist Gil Greengross writes.

Surround yourself with friends.

A 2014 study from the University of California at San Diego found that people looked better when they were in a group. 

It's because our brains take the faces of a group of people in aggregate, making each face look more "average" — and attractive — as a result. 

"Having a few wingmen or wingwomen may indeed be a good dating strategy, particularly if their facial features complement and average out one's unattractive idiosyncrasies," authors Drew Walker and Edward Vul write.

Skip the small talk.

In a 1997 studyState University of New York psychologist Arthur Aron separated two groups of people and paired them off, giving each duo 45 minutes to answer a set of questions. 

One question set was small talk, and the other was increasingly probing. The people who asked deeper questions felt more connected — and one couple fell in love.

According to Harvard research, talking about yourself stimulates the same brain regions as sex or a good meal. 

"Activation of this system when discussing the self suggests that self-disclosure ... may be inherently pleasurable," Scientific American reports

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A New York City taxi tycoon threw his kid an epic bar mitzvah with a private Nicki Minaj concert


A New York taxi cab medallion mogul threw his son an epic bar mitzvah party this weekend complete with a private Nicki Minaj performance.

The lucky kid's name is Matt Murstein.

Matt's father is Andrew Murstein is the founder, president, and largest shareholder of Medallion Financial Corp. — a publicly traded company with a about $259 million market cap. Andrew Murstein is the co-owner of NASCAR team Richard Petty Motorsports and the majority owner of professional lacrosse team New York Lizards. 

Matt is a big Nicki Minaj fan, sources said.

During the private show, Minaj performed seven songs, including the clean version of "Super Bass."

After, the rap superstar did a meet-and-greet. She took photos with almost all of the 150 kids in attendance, the sources said.

She also gave the kids words of encouragement.

"Get an education. Stay in school. And don't be a slouch or a bum. And ladies, never let a man have to take care of you. Do you understand me? Be your own woman. Be your own person. Do you understand me?"

It's unclear how much it cost to book Minaj. Last year, Priceonomics published a list of booking price estimates and placed Minaj in the $200,000 to $300,000 category.

Matt's big night had a nice takeaway message. We're told that the theme was basketball and staying in school and getting your degree.

Sources said that Matt is a star player for his Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team. We're told that the 13-year-old is 6 feet tall.

Naturally, Matt also had a traditional bar mitzvah video. That was a blowout too. The video montage for the event was a play on LeBron James' TV special "The Decision," and it was hosted by Bob Costas. 

In the video, Costas and Matt sat in arm chairs in a gym much like LeBron did. Costas asked Matt if he was going to go pro and enter the NBA draft or stay in school. The video also featured celebrity appearances including Patrick Ewing saying how he and team owner Michael Jordan want him to play for the Charlotte Hornets and John Starks asking him to come play for the Knicks. At the end of the video, Matt decides to stay in school, sources said.

The party, which was held at The Pierre Hotel in Manhattan's Upper East Side, looked like a blast. The event had many major athletes and celebrities in attendance, including Hank Aaron and his wife Billye; former NY Knick John Starks; and pro lacrosse star Paul Rabil. Other prominent figures in attendance, included former US Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker; current NY Governor Andrew Cuomo; and Universal Records President Monte Lipman, sources said.

Now check out the Instagram posts: 








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The world's top chess players have just formed a new $1 million professional tour


Kasparov Grand Chess Tour

If you had any doubt that chess has gone big time in the era of current World Champion Magnus Carlsen, an announcement made last Friday at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of St. Louis (CCSCSL) should change your mind.

Eight of the top grandmasters on the planet have committed to a three-tournament circuit, christened the "Grand Chess Tour." Total prize money? $1,050,000 – a fairly huge sum for top-level chess.

Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov was on hand in St. Louis to participate in the announcement, a fitting role as Kasparov was instrumental in making the tour happen.

"I've spent my professional life making chess more popular," the 52-year-old Kasparov told Business Insider, right after he had wrapped up a series of games against Grandmaster Nigel Short at the CCSCSL.

"I want to bring chess to education, something I've done with the Kasparov Chess Foundation. And I want to generate more publicity and create a network of tournaments that people can rely on. This has worked for many pro sports, and I've always wanted to have it in chess."

The three tournaments that will make up the tour are Norway Chess, the Sinquefield Cup (held at the club in St. Louis), and the London Chess Classic. These are premier invitational events that attract the world's best. For the 2015 cycle, the Grand Chess Tour has signed up Carlsen (Norway), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Viswanathan Anand (India), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Anish Giri (Netherlands), and Hikaru Nakamura (USA).

Magnus Carlsen Game 4

A player to be named later and a wildcard will fill out the 10-person field.

“The Grand Chess Tour was created with just one goal in mind: Demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world’s best players,” Tony Rich, Executive Director of the CCSCSL, said in a statement. “Featuring the world’s strongest chess professionals fighting for massive prize funds, along with a full spectator experience led by world-class commentary, this circuit sets forth an internationally coordinated effort that casts a shining spotlight on global chess competition.”

Hikaru Nakamura

According to the organizers, "Each of the three 2015 Grand Chess Tour events will award individual prize funds of $300,000, with competitors also tallying points toward a tour prize fund of $150,000; the overall tour champion will receive an additional $75,000."

Kasparov stressed that the new tour will focus on cementing its status in 2015 – and then adding tournaments and attracting major sponsors, possibly as early as next year.

Anyone who has followed chess for the past few decades will recall that in the late 1980s, then-World Champion Kasparov tried to create a more coherent, better-packaged chess tour, featuring top players. The players would form what became called the Grandmasters Association, putting aside the traditional lone-wolf attitude of elite players. 

Think of how tennis players got together in the early 1970s to form the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

Ultimately, Kasparov and his challenger for the 1993 World Chess Championship – the same Nigel Short whom he was playing in an exhibition in St. Louis the weekend following the World Chess Tour announcement – would break away from the international ruling body of chess, FIDE, and start the Professional Chess Association to conduct a separate world championship match. 

The organization collapsed by the mid 1990s, but for chess professionals and fans who resent the lock FIDE holds over both the Candidates Tournament that leads up to the World Championship and title match itself, Kasparov's efforts to make chess more like other pro sports remain admired, even if they came to a bad end.

In 2014, Kasparov made an unsuccessful run to unseat Kirsan Ilyumzhinov as FIDE president. FIDE is widely viewed by those who follow big time chess as a corrupt organization, closely allied with the Russian ruling class. Ever since his defeat, Kasparov has been showing up at the various tournaments that collectively represent the existing pro chess tour, and more importantly, he's been spending quality time in St. Louis.

Due the efforts of retired financier Rex Sinquefield, the city has become the center of a revival of American chess and can now challenge world capitals for prestige for the international game.

It wasn't surprising to see Kasparov front and center when the World Chess tour was unveiled.

The problem is that [the FIDE] leadership isn't doing a good job," he said. "It's anathema for sponsors, it's relying on political support, and it's not going to attract commercial sponsors or lasting commitment."

"I couldn't manage to take on FIDE or the Russian oligarchs," he said of his failed run for president of the organization. "But I'm doing the things that I can."

As the Internet has matured, it's become possible to watch a lot more major-league chess. The big tournaments are now often streamed live, with expert commentary. The CCSCSL has set a new standard with coverage of the Sinquefield Cup, now headed into its third year, and the US Chess Championship. If you've ever wondered what chess would look like if it were covered like poker or golf on ESPN, the CCSCSL will show you.

In fact, the 2014 Candidates Tournament came off as far less thrilling than last year's Sinquefield Cup, which was dominated by the young player many consider to be Carlsen's closest rival, Italy's Caruana. Vishy Anand found a late-career return to form and won the Candidates, then went on to lose to Carlsen in a rematch of their 2013 match, held in Sochi, Russia.

Kasparov said that the Candidates and the WCC still "deliver great excitement," but he added that final match has only two players, happens only every two years, and that the current World Champion should be compelled to prove his superiority on a regular basis.

Anand Post-Blunder

However, in St. Louis after the Candidate had been decided, a stronger field of GMs fought it out, suggesting to many that the very best chess wasn't being played under FIDE's overt jurisdiction. Worse, during the tournament, there was serious speculation that Carlsen, who was playing, wouldn't be able to defend his WCC title, due to a dispute with FIDE.

The contrast was vivid: Carlsen welcomed in St. Louis and treated like a rock star, while at FIDE the most magnetic World Champion in decades – since Kasparov, really – was being treated like a weak pawn.

Carlsen has made chess about ten thousands times as popular as it was before he came along. Take nothing away from the previous generation, but the 24-year-old Norwegian has been electrifying for what had come to thought of as slow, boring game that computers played better than humans.

A cadre of new, young players is lining up to to test his talents (Kasparov thinks that Caruana is closest to Carlsen, but doesn't believe the younger player could outlast the World Champion in a multigame match). The ancient game is achieving a critical mass, with a deep-pocketed American, Sinquefield, determined to make it matter again.

Caruana Tata Steel

For fans, this is all thrilling. For professional players, it means that chess may finally begin to deliver the financial rewards appropriate to a demanding type of competition that asks for a near-lifetime commitment. We all knew chess was having a moment. With the Grand Chess Tour set to kick off with its first event in just a few months, we now know it's far more than that. 

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How Richard Branson likes to prank guests on his private island


branson novak

From dancing in a parade a la Ferris Bueller to making fake announcements about moving company headquarters, Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson never misses out on an opportunity to make a joke. 

Branson especially likes to play pranks on guests at Necker Island, his 74-acre private retreat in the Caribbean. 

In a blog post Monday, he shared the prank he likes best.

"One of my favourite tricks is to get behind someone who is being massaged by a beautiful lady, and take over without them knowing," he wrote.

"It's a good laugh to see their faces when they realise I'm not who they thought I was."

Branson goes on to say that he tries to inject some element of fun into every day. 

"Don't take yourself too seriously. Instead, ask yourself: is what I'm about to do going to make people smile? If the answer is yes, then do it," Branson writes in the post. "But fun shouldn't just be reserved for special occasions and holidays, if you find time for it in your everyday life you will be rewarded."

branson novak

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk's first wife explains what it takes to become a billionaire

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TECH DEAL OF THE DAY: These Sony Extra Bass headphones are up to 26% off right now


headphonesThis is an amazing deal on headphones.

You can get the Sony Extra Bass smartphone headphones in blue for 26% off right now.

The headphones come with acoustic bass booster, 30 mm drivers for wide frequency response, and an in-line microphone for hands-free calling.

The headphones have a lightweight, on-ear design. Plus, they swivel, which makes them extremely portable and easy to travel with.

"The sound quality is exceptional with and without the Bass Boost," one reviewer wrote.

Sony Extra bass smartphone headset (blue): $59.99$44.42[26% off]


SEE ALSO: These 6 luxury headphone sets are up to 73% off right now

SEE ALSO: These supportive running sneakers will be perfect this spring [up to 46% off]

SEE ALSO: 8 (affordable) gifts your mom actually wants for Mother's Day [up to 40% off]

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