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A Man In China Wore 70 Pieces Of Clothing On A Flight To Avoid Baggage Fees

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shirts hangers

Do all those extra baggage fees airlines are charging these days have you up in arms?

Then do what a man at Guanzhou Baiyun International Airport in China did earlier this, week, and wear all of your clothing onto the flight to avoid paying any extra charges at all.

According to The Examiner, the unnamed man arrived at the airport only to be told that he would have to pay an additional fee or get rid of some luggage before boarding his flight.

But he did neither of those things. According to The Examiner (citing the Guangzhou Daily):

At that point, he simply took out more than 60 shirts and nine pairs of jeans. He didn't get rid of them, but instead put them on and decided to wear them to avoid the extra charges.

He then moved on to board his flight to Nairobi, Kenya, but he was stopped by a metal detector. That was when he had to undergo a full body search.

Apparently, he had forgotten to remove some alarm-raising items like electrical chargers and thumb-drives from his many pockets.

SEE ALSO: 10 Futuristic Pieces Of Luggage That Will Make Travel A Snap

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Louis Vuitton's New CEO Steps Down After Only One Month On The Job

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Louis Vuitton

Jordi Constans is stepping down as CEO of Louis Vuitton, citing medical reasons. He joined the fashion house just last month.

His medical condition is "not life-threatening," but he's unable to meet the physical demands for the job, since it requires him to be constantly traveling, a source told Miles Socha at Women's Wear Daily.

Michael Burke, the CEO of LVMH-owned Bulgari, will take the helm of Louis Vuitton.

"I have worked with Michael Burke for many years. He has enormous experience in our business and knows Louis Vuitton well," said LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault in a statement. "He is a seasoned leader with a well-rounded profile — pragmatic, multi-cultural and modern."

“He has a long history with the group. He has done very well with Fendi. This is a choice for the known, rather than for the unknown,” Luca Solca, head of luxury-goods research at Exane BNP Paribas, told Bloomberg Businessweek.

SEE ALSO: Here's What You Missed At The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show >

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This 3-Man Chess Set Will Make Your Brain Hurt

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This is the 3 Man Chess set.

Why We Love It: Chess is already a game that requires immense skill in both strategy and forward-thinking, but this patented 3 Man Chess set takes it to the next level. 3 Man Chess has the same rules as conventional chess, but with the addition of a third person to make checkmates and threatening your opponents even more challenging.

It comes with three sets of plastic chess pieces with felt bottoms, as well as the multi-player board which can fold up when you're through. 3 Man Chess also includes a detailed rule sheet, given that the first few games you play are bound to be confusing. You can find the rules and tutorial video on the original website as well.

3 Man Chess

 

3 Man Chess

Where To Buy: Available through Amazon.

Cost: $49.95.

Want to nominate a cool product for Stuff We Love? Send an email to Megan Willett at mwillett@businessinsider.com with "Stuff We Love" in the subject line.

SEE ALSO:  Fork-Knife Chopsticks For Every Kind Of Take-Out Dinner

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15 Vehicles That Will Help You Survive After The World Ends

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conquest knight xv armored suv

By some accounts, the world is going to end on Friday. It's unclear exactly what will go down, but it's not going to be pretty.

If you are one of the few to make it to Saturday, staying alive in a post-Apocalyptic world will be tough. To help you prepare, we've put together a list of 15 cars and trucks that will be your best bet for survival.

That means fuel-efficiency (as resources will be scarce), no electric cars (since the grid will go down), and no convertibles or motorcycles (they don't offer enough protection).

And since money will be a thing of the past, there's no worrying about what's in your price range.

But even if the Apocalypse is postponed, keep these rides in mind in future emergencies: They are some of the some of the most formidable forms of four-wheeled transportation on the planet.

Roll through trouble in the Conquest Knight

Armored car builder Conquest Vehicles makes the Knight XV, likely the best ride to keep you safe in a dangerous post-Apocalypse world.

The $629,000 vehicle has bulletproof glass, armored plating, run-flat tires, and reinforced door hinges.

And the interior is pretty luxurious, so you'll stay comfortable.



There's an armored Audi A8 somewhere in Spain

In July 2011, we reported the Spanish government in Castilla-La Mancha spent nearly one million euros on a fleet of 22 cars.

It might have been foolhardy spending, but the €377,749 they dropped on an armored Audi A8 might be to your advantage.

Not only is it safe, it has DVD players and plenty of extras to keep you entertained and comfortable.

And as of last year, it had only 33,000 miles on the odometer, so it is likely to last a good while after civilization collapses.



The Land Rover LR2 is capable of going off-road

It might not be as hardy as the Knight XV, but we got to drive the 2013 LR2 on a snow-covered off-road course in Canada, and it handled very well.

Like Conquest's car, Land Rover's ride has a leather-lined interior.Fighting to survive is more pleasant with heated seats.

The 2013 LR2 starts at $37,250.



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Someone Just Left $500 Million In Checks At A Jerusalem Holy Site

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Jerusalem Israel

Worshippers usually leave notes to the Almighty at one of Judaism's holiest sites. But half a billion dollars?

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, who oversees Jerusalem's Western Wall, said a worshiper found an envelope at the site Wednesday with 507 checks in the amount of about $1 million each.

They were not addressed to anyone, and it's doubtful they can be cashed.

Rabinovitch said most are Nigerian. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said some were from the United States, Europe and Asia.

Rabinovitch says he has found similar checks in Western Wall charity boxes before, but they all bounced. He says most of them were written by people from Africa.

The rabbi says he thinks the check writers "wanted to give all they had to the Creator of the universe."

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A Private Equity Wunderkind's Start-Up Is Infiltrating The NYC Art World

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nahema mehta

Nahema Mehta isn't interested in disrupting the art world, she's set on actively conquering it from within — and her plan is working.

Mehta is the founder of start-up Art Remba, a web-based club that allows members to rent pieces of art from top galleries and artists for their home or office. It's a luxury service, launched in the Spring of 2012, and already cash flow positive.

Art Remba takes its members to see galleries and shows, consults them on what will work well for their taste and space, and handles insuring and transporting any pieces.

Art Remba will even break down talking points about the art members decide to rent. Mehta's clients range from venture fund offices and young art enthusiasts, to seasoned collectors looking to diversify their holdings to new markets (think: Western Art collectors looking for pieces from Latin America).

"We're going after a demographic that the art world always wants to reach, but the secret sauce is making things accessible without losing the gallery feel of exclusivity. That's why it's members only," Mehta told Business Insider.

The idea for Art Remba came from something simple. Mehta, who was educated at Columbia University and Sotheby's' Institute of Art, hates the idea of works of art being locked in storage. Art Remba is an effort to ensure that pieces are always being enjoyed.

To accomplish that, Mehta is working with galleries and artists. She may have found herself in something she calls, "start-up free fall," trading French lessons for HTML training sessions, but Mehta is as Wall Street as she is Silicon Alley. Her Sotheby's master thesis, fo example, was called Trading Art: The Evolution of Art Funds and the Feasibility of Exchange Traded Products for Art — she was valedictorian of her class.

On top of all of that, Mehta is a portfolio manager at Arts India Funds, an investment firm that specializes in diversifying its client's portfolios with precise valuations of art works.

"When people talk about the art market in general, I run away screaming," said Mehta. "People often think they can treat art as any other market, but the art market is illiquid, opaque, and an insiders game."

The combination of art industry insider clout, startup creativity, and a strong background in finance is getting Mehta noticed worldwide. Earlier this year she was speaker at the International Art Industry Forum and also presented Art Remba at the Dublin Web Summit 100 Strong Startup Competition in October.

"There's a lot of glamour in disruption... But I wanted to work with the establishment because if you don't, you don't get established artists," said Mehta, later adding, "I'm  a mathematics person. I'm a fund manager, that's what I do."

That's why Art Remba has become a go-to for people looking for an easy, efficient way to enter the world of fine art. Prospective members need only fill out an application that discloses, most importantly, the level of security in their apartment building or office. Dues are a membership fee plus 10%-50% of the value of any works the member is renting at the moment. That money can go toward purchasing the art, which ranges in price from a few thousand to $150,000.

It's an attractive deal, and that's why it's working. Mehta says that won't stop her from continuing her work as a portfolio manager, though... or from sitting on the Asia Society Young Patrons board, or from acting as the Columbia Alumni Association's Ambassador to her native Belgium.

"I will never have made it. There's always something next. I think the second you think you've made it and become complacent, you become blind to opportunities that are out there," said Mehta.

Her eyes are obviously wide open.

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The Biggest Mayan Apocalypse Celebrations Around The World

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etna volcano eruption sicily end of the world

Look, we're all willfully ignoring the fact that the world will not be ending on Friday. NASA told us so, as did the Mayans, since we've completely misunderstood their calendar this entire time.

But that won't stop believers and non-believers around the world from from partying on December 21.

We've rounded up the biggest and best Apocalypse celebrations around the globe, from Salt Lake City to Bugarach, France.

It's the end of days, friends — let's live it up while we can.

Know of a party we missed? Let us know at thelife@businessinsider.com.

Hang with Snoop Dogg in Salt Lake City, Utah

I bet when you were planning how you wanted to spend your last moments on earth, the name "Snoop Dogg" popped into your brain.

Well fear not, because the icon himself will be performing at an end of the world concert at The Depot in Salt Lake City on December 21st...and he looks super pumped.

Tickets are $50 and available at Smithstix.com.



Dance the night away in Puebla, Mexico

Skrillex will be DJ-ing in Mexican cities from the 18th to the 22nd, and will be in Puebla on the 21st along with Zedd, 12th Planet, and Nadastrom the Mothership performing on the Great Pyramid of Cholula.

So at least if we all go down, it will be set against an epic dubstep soundtrack.



Cruise the Thames on a party boat

Sure, there will be some London nightclub shenanigans to celebrate the end of the world, but the real party will be on the Pirate Radio Party Boat cruising down the Thames river.

Aztec Mixdeck: A World's End Party will have live bands, performances, and lots and lots of alcohol.

Tickets are around $32 and are available here.



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14 Secret Menu Items You Can Order At Fast Food Restaurants

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In and Out's Animal Style Fries

Fast food chains across the nation have been been satisfying cravings for decades, but few people realize that many of those restaurants offer a second, secret menu with items that are regularly requested but rarely publicized.

Some of the selections combine two existing menu items, like McDonald's Big McChicken, while others are completely unique, like Burger King's Suicide Burger and Whataburger's Green Hulk Drink.

We've compiled a list of some of the most impressive (and horrendous) secret combinations that are out there today. They aren't always available at every location, but they're worth asking for next time you're ready to chow down.

McDonald's McGangBang

The McGangBang, a McChicken sandwich wedged between a double cheeseburger, is the holy grail for carnivorous fast food eaters.

While not available at all McDonald's locations, hungry customers can still get this triple meat treat by employing a little ingenuity and creative manipulation of regular menu items.

By taking two items off of the Dollar Menu, diners can create this super sandwich for just $2.16.



Chipotle's Quesarito

Many people don't realize that the fast casual Mexican food chain Chipotle offers a secret menu, featuring items like cheese quesadillas, nacho-filled burritos, and the Quesarito, a customized burrito wrapped in a cheese quesadilla.

But diners who are aware of these hidden treasures often trade in Chipotle's regular fanfare for these savory alternatives.

One reviewer recently exclaimed, "The Quesarito tastes like a toasted burrito but the quesadilla burrito wrapper provides a mouthful of warm, melted cheese in every bite."



Starbucks' Raspberry Cheesecake Frappuccino

Starbucks' Raspberry Cheesecake Frappuccino is as sinful as it sounds. 

Perhaps that's why it's almost never found on the coffee giant's regular menu.

This decadent blend of white chocolate and raspberry is just the start of Starbucks' secret drink line. 

Other hidden favorites include the Biscotti Frappuccino, the Cinnamon Roll Cappuccino, and the Captain Crunch Frappuccino, which are only available per request.



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5 Ways Christmas Wreaks Havoc On Your Brain

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santa drinking drunk

What's going on in your head as Christmas approaches?

Your brain is already having to cope with your festive party schedule and the stress of Christmas shopping – and things are set to get a whole lot more intense.

Here are five Christmas catastrophes about to wreak havoc on your little grey cells:

1. Seasonal affective disorder

Researchers believe that as many as a third of the UK population suffer from seasonal affective disorder—severe changes in mood with the onset of winter. Those affected are thought to have low levels of serotonin and melatonin, which means they require much more daylight.

When light hits the retina at the back of the eye, electrical signals are sent to the hypothalamus. This is the part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite, body temperature, sex drive and mood. When there's not enough light getting through, these functions begin to slow down.

2. Over-eating

Gastric indulgence is pretty much obligatory at Christmas—and indigestion is a familiar consequence.

But over-eating also has a far more sinister effect. It stimulates a usually dormant pathway between the hypothalamus and the immune system. This results in an excessive immune response and leads to low grade inflammation throughout the body. And that's why you often feel unwell after eating too much.

Over-eating for long periods of time leads to chronic inflammation, which can contribute to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

3. Too much alcohol

Infrequent heavy drinking sessions at Christmas and New Year are unlikely to have a serious health effect, but you may experience short-term symptoms such as feeling anxious or irritable when you stop. Abrupt cessation of alcohol use leads to brain hyperexcitability due to the sudden "release" effect on receptors which had been inhibited by the alcohol.

4. Too much television

On Christmas Day, the average UK household watches more than eight hours of television. People are reluctant to accept that TV has any effect on them, but doing anything for that long will have some short-term neurological consequences.

Television encourages low alpha waves (brainwaves in the frequency range 8-12 Hz) in the brain. These brainwaves are associated with relaxation, but also suggestibility – something advertisers look to capitalise on by making your receptive brain associate their brands with positive emotions.

If you spend many hours with your brain operating in the low-alpha state, this can result in attention-span issues and an inability to concentrate when you return to work.

5. Family stress

Christmas is a time for family. For many, that is not an unmitigated blessing. Any form of stress leads to the release of adrenaline and cortisol – an automatic response that has been in our genes since we were hunter gatherers.

But there is one part of a brain that is especially vulnerable to increases in cortisol and that's the hippocampus. As a result, when you're stressed you may find your ability to multi-task and remember things is impaired. Not hugely helpful if you're making the meal.

Exercising (Boxing Day jog anyone?) and getting plenty of sleep are the best ways to counteract increased cortisol levels.

Exercise stimulates the growth and repair of cells in the hippocampus, and induces a more positive mood, making you less susceptible to stress and reducing the amount of cortisol released. Plus it provides the perfect excuse to run away from your relatives.

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

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The Ultimate Renter's Guide To Holiday Tipping

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doorman, NYC, real estate

The holiday season is here. There are gifts to buy and parties to go to, and your cash is getting tight.

Then someone asks how much you are planning to tip your super. Forgot all about that, didn’t you?

Now that you are living on your own, add holiday tipping to the list of apartment expenses you’ll need to budget for.

Having roommates once again provides a budgetary silver lining — you can all chip in for the tips.

But whom should you tip and how much to give? Here are some guidelines for showing appreciation in the form of a tip during the holiday season:

Super/handyman

If you have an attentive super and a great handyman (and often it’s the same person), you know just how valuable this person can be, especially if they’ve helped you with a major apartment-related headache this past year.

Consider giving a tip of $50-$100, on the higher end if there are four of you sharing the apartment. Even if your super is frequently MIA, and your handyman is, um, less than handy, don’t forgo a holiday tip totally.

A small tip may speed things up in the coming year, so still consider giving something.

Doorman

Doormen serve an important function: They protect your home by screening visitors, they sign for packages, hold mail and keys, help you solve minor emergencies, hail taxis and discreetly guide you to the elevator after a long night with your fraternity brothers.

These are people you want on your side. So if you’re lucky enough to have a doorman, a holiday tip is not optional. Depending on your area and the quality of your building, expect to give anywhere from $25-$75 per doorman.

Cleaner/housekeeper

This one’s another no-brainer. If you can afford a house cleaner to scrub your floors and bathrooms and keep your place sanitary, show this person that you appreciate their hard work.

The customary way to do this is to double their pay for their last cleaning session before the holidays.

All this customary tipping adds up to quite a bit of money, especially if you have no roommates to share the expense. So what to do if you absolutely, positively have no money for tips?

Maybe you just lost your job or your company did not give any bonuses this year. A heart-felt, handwritten thank-you note, delivered with a smile and a plate of home-baked cookies goes a long way with your super and doorman!

People who provide you with valuable services will appreciate your thoughtful gesture, however small, during the holiday season and will remember it throughout the new year.

SEE ALSO: 21 ways rich people think differently >

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HOUSE OF THE DAY: Pharrell Williams' Miami Penthouse Hits The Market For $16.8 Million

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Pharrell Williams Penthouse

Rapper and producer Pharrell Williams has put his Miami penthouse on the market for a staggering $16.8 million, according to NME.

The three-floor home is 9,080 square feet in total, with five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms. The massive penthouse also has unparalleled 360-degree views of the Miami skyline, a pool, elevator entry into the foyer, and massive terraces.

The building is located in Miami's business district, Brickell, and is available through Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

Pharrell's pad is right on the ocean.



His house has an "opposite fishbowl effect" where he can see out, but no one can see in through the glass windows.



The expansive dining room can seat 12 people easily and has 180-degree views.



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CHECK IN: Manhattan's New Tuscany Hotel Mixes Classic History With Modern Design

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Location:120 East 39th Street, New York City

Why Go: The Tuscany, a property of the luxe St. Giles Hotel chain, is a modern and sophisticated hotel which opened yesterday after a multi-million dollar, year-long renovation. Design is a priority here. All of the rooms and public areas are decorated with interesting details: rooms have leather-wall paneling, soft velvet furniture, and hardwood floors while public areas have unique lighting installations and furnishings.

Standout Feature: All 124 guest rooms are giant for Manhattan. Since this hotel once served as an apartment building (and then an office building and later a hotel), rooms—which were converted from 1- and 2-bedroom apartments—are large. Even the basic rooms are around 400 square feet—larger than many Manhattan apartments. Suites are larger.

Interesting Tidbit: The hotel was originally an apartment building called The Tuscany, built in 1928 by Henry Mandel. Although the developers totally gutted the building to make it a completely modern hotel, they unearthed some hidden treasures from the original construction, including a few fireplaces hidden behind plaster and some personal letters from the 1930s and '40s that got stuck in the building's mail shafts. (They haven't opened or displayed the letters, but it's still cool.)

Rates: Introductory rates start at $269.

The Tuscany hotel-front deskThere's a suede and studded panel behind the front desk that was made by artisans from Italy.

The Tuscany hotel-roomGuest rooms are giant for Manhattan, at an average of 400 square feet. Rooms have king-size beds, desks, sitting areas, and flat-screen TVs embedded in a leather wall panel.

The Tuscany hotel-roomThe hallways in each room have hardwood floors. The bathrooms are sleek and modern.

The Tuscany hotel- bathroom amenitiesBathrooms have luxurious toiletries from Molton Brown.

SEE ALSO: The Top 10 Hotels In The World >

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Miniature Pony Boards The Subway In Berlin [Video]

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Huh. This girl has a miniature pony, but still uses the subway?

That's like owning a motorcycle (in this case, a pocketbike) but hauling it around in the back of a pickup truck.

Blind people sometimes use eensie-weensie ponies as guide animals. That wasn't the case last week in Berlin, when an adolescent boarded the S-Bahn with her trusty steed "Seppi," a regular ungulate with no special disability training.

To its credit, the animal behaved better than many public-transit riders by remaining docile throughout the journey, although the U.K. Metroasserts that commuters on the train "got the fright of their lives," reflecting a long-held British terror of tiny horses.

For all you folks purchasing subway cards for your Shetlands right now – don't. A spokesperson for Berlin's transit agency assured the Metro that ponies on a train is still verboten, saying, "A horse can be dangerous. What if it escapes? The S-Bahn is no place for such animals."

And neither is McDonald's and H&M, two other institutions that also kicked Seppi and its startlingly oblivious owner off their property.

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Fisherman Found A Porsche Cayenne Under The South China Sea

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fishermen chinese porsche cayenne

A group of Chinese fishermen had quite a surprise recently, when they dragged a wrecked Porsche Cayenne out of the South China Sea.

The car, once worth $160,000, was thoroughly totaled. It was sold to a local garage for just 4,000 yuan ($640), according to CarNewsChina.

No one knows just how the Cayenne ended up under the water, but Tycho de Feyter at CarNewsChina notes that the area where the car was found is known as a spot for smuggling expensive goods:

"The smugglers of the Porsche Cayenne likely got scared of a patrol boat coming too close and dumped the vehicle in the sea."

SEE ALSO: 15 Vehicles To Keep You Alive After The World Ends

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The Spice Girls Musical Has Absolutely No Redeeming Features Whatsoever

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spice girls viva foreverThe Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever!, has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever.

In a more cerebral age, it used to take something like Laurence Olivier walking out on to the stage of the Royal Court at the first night of The Entertainer to constitute a major theatrical event. These days, it’s not Archie Rice but a musical about the Spice Girls that gets the punters into a state of near-frenzy.

When one is up against the tsunami of hype that the publicists of Viva Forever! have managed to whip up, it is awfully tempting to try to be a really hip old daddy-o, go with the flow, and, after lighting up a Hamlet cigar and taking out the earplugs, dispensing the five stars that the exclamation mark would appear to require.

One cannot, however, ignore the old tosh-o-meter, when the needle goes off the scale to register a show that’s so bad, it ought, if there were any justice, to be accorded a minus-star rating. This show is not just bad, it is definitively, monumentally and historically bad.

I shall not dwell on the plot because, goodness knows, Jennifer Saunders, its writer, certainly hasn’t done. Its producer, Judy Craymer, may profess to have spent some money on it, but I have no idea where it has gone.

It does not manifest itself in the set design – which is basic to the extent of being like Play School’s – and, as for the songs, they are uniformly scummy, scratchy and screechy. There is no acting to speak of, either, so I shall not identify any of the girls who appear in it, lest they be subjected to recriminations.

Thrown together without any great thought, and ugly in every respect, the show is a fitting symbol of the me-me-me generation, whose members take the Spice Girls as their role models because they demonstrate that fame and fortune can these days be quickly, easily and pointlessly obtained by just about anybody.

Viva Forever! marks the West End coming to an unequivocal dead end.

To June 1; www.vivaforeverthemusical.com

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There Was A Big Expansion At Disney's Fantasyland

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fantasyland disney world

Magic Kingdom has added a forest to Fantasyland, doubling its size and reorganizing it into two mini-lands with polished charm, color, music, storytelling, long-lashed cuteness and talking critters, be they a gruff but softhearted seagull or a kindly candelabra with a French accent.

The expansion, which officially opened Dec. 6, adds an area called the Enchanted Forest with two castles, hills, groves and waterfalls. It contains the ride Under the Sea -- Journey of the Little Mermaid, an enhanced meet-and-greet built around the story of Beauty and the Beast, a table-service restaurant that serves wine and beer, and several smaller features.

Much of existing Fantasyland is now part of Storybook Circus, headlined by double Dumbo rides, a rethemed Barnstormer junior coaster, the Casey Jr. water play area and such old favorites as the Mad Tea Party and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

The two key attractions in the Enchanted Forest center around princesses -- Ariel, the mermaid and daughter of King Triton, and Belle, an official member of Disney's princess lineup (though nothing in the Beauty and the Beast story suggests royal lineage).

Both incorporate new technology and an emphasis on characters. And like most of Fantasyland, they appeal primarily to younger children.

Under the Sea is a traditional ride in which clamshell cars take guests under the sea and past scenes and music from The Little Mermaid movie, much as boats take riders past scenes of happy singing people on It's a Small World After All -- but the mermaid's music is vastly better. Favorites: Ursula, the fabulous, villainous sea witch, sings Poor Unfortunate Soul, and lobsters and a conga line of fish dance to the calypso beat of Under the Sea.

The ride itself is almost identical to the version that opened at Disneyland in California in 2011, but the Orlando attraction has more space for landscaping and an elaborate queue. Guests walk past waterfalls and into the grotto under Prince Eric's Castle, where Scuttle the seagull entertains them with an interactive scavenger hunt. Afterward, fans can meet the princess in Ariel's Grotto.

Enchanted Tales with Belle is an enhanced meet and greet in a richly detailed setting, a fun storytelling experience. Guests are assigned roles by a trilling and effusive Madame Wardrobe, then turned over to Lumiere (the candelabra), who introduces them to a surprised Belle.

Belle tells the story of how she and Beast met as guests wave their props, roar like the Beast, slap their hands on their thighs to make the sound of galloping horses and cheer on the kids who get roles in the story. Little ones get their pictures taken with Belle and exit beaming. So did a couple dads who played the parts of suits of armor. ("Yaayyy Daddy!" cried a little voice from the rear of the room, as Belle took Daddy's arm and posed with him.)

The expansion, elements of which are still under construction, uses the area formerly occupied by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as well as previously undeveloped land. Still to come are Princess Fairytale Hall, a meet-and-greet site for princesses who don't have a home of their own, in 2013, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, its bones rising above construction walls, to open in the first half of 2014.

On both sides of Fantasyland, the new and revamped attractions have an amazing level of detail, from the mother-and-child elephant footprints in the asphalt near the twin Dumbo rides to the ambience signaled by the kinds of rock used in the Beast's Castle and Prince Eric's Castle (rough, sharp-edged and foreboding for the former, warm, golden and rounded for the latter) to Maurice's inventions in and around his cottage at Enchanted Tales with Belle.

Gone are the flat painted plywood scenes in Snow White's Scary Ride, torn down to make room for Princess Fairytale Hall. Instead, a holographic rose drops petals in Be Our Guest restaurant in the Beast's Castle, snow sparkles on ledges of Cinderella Castle, and electronic crabs get help from guests in the scavenger hunt in the Under the Sea queue.

Guests now have more opportunities to interact with characters, which for many youngsters are as important as the rides -- the Beast in his restaurant, Belle in Enchanted Tales, Gaston by his tavern near the Beast's Castle, the Little Mermaid in Ariel's Grotto, plus Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Minnie at Pete's Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus, which opened in October.

Disney is promoting Be Our Guest restaurant in the Beast's Castle as another attraction, and in some respects it is. It is set in beautiful rooms designed to look like the film, with as much attention to detail as any new ride, and the rose theme woven throughout. In the ballroom -- the main dining room -- diners can see snow falling beyond the high, arched windows. Red napkins are folded and twisted into the shape of large rosebuds. Belle and Beast whirl in a dance atop a seven-foot music box in the Rose Gallery. In the West Wing, a slashed portrait of the prince changes to a portrait of the Beast.

Since the original story was set in the French countryside, the cuisine is French influenced. Lunch is fast-casual: Guests place their orders on touch screens, and the food is brought to the table. At night, servers take dinner orders. For the first time in Magic Kingdom, wine and beer are available, although with dinner only.

The ambience is quiet and as elegant as it can be in a theme park where the Beast stalks through the dining room and many guests are wearing sneakers. For theme-park dining, the food is very good, but not as good as meals in several of the resort's hotels. The wait staff is attentive, sometimes to the point of being intrusive, but that might be expected in a new and very visible opening. Here's hoping they mellow as they find their rhythm. Dinner entrees are $15.99-$29.99; wine $8-$17 per glass.

Be Our Guest's dessert cart offers tempting cupcakes and cream puffs, but we opted to stop by Gaston's Tavern for a LeFou's Brew, a nonalcoholic slushy based on apple juice with a taste of marshmallow and a mango-passion fruit foam. The drink has a nice tang, as if the juice came from Granny Smith apples. (If you're keeping score, it's not as good as the frozen Butterbeer at that other theme park, but better than the Pumpkin Juice, which is also apple-based.)

Test track

Not all of Disney World's news comes from Fantasyland.

At Epcot, Test Track, closed for upgrading in April, reopened this month with Chevrolet sponsorship. The basic ride remains the same -- the car still hits 65 mph, the fastest of any ride at a Disney park -- but all the visuals have changed. Plus, the Imagineers have added a pre-show and an after-show.

Before the ride, guests design their own custom concept vehicle -- shape, wheels, engine, color -- on a touch screen at a design kiosk. As they work, the screen shows how the design affects capability, responsiveness, efficiency and power. It's a game of balance -- increase the power, for example, and the car will lose efficiency. Riders get an electronic card that they swipe at the kiosk so their design follows them through the ride and the post-ride show.

While the old ride wound through a mockup of a GM test facility, where it was tested for attributes including suspension, braking and handling, the new one runs through the inside of a computer so riders have the sense that everything is virtual. Some riders compared it to a scene from the movie Tron.

As the ride vehicle is "tested" for capability, responsiveness, efficiency and power, so are the riders' concept cars, with results displayed during the ride. (This function didn't work for my design; it wasn't clear whether there was a glitch or whether it was because I had started my design later than others in the same session.) Then the ride vehicle crashes through to the outside and runs at high speed on the track circling the building, just as it did before the redesign.

"We've kept that thrill but also added a design element and a personalization element so you're a part of it," said Melissa Jeselnick, Imagineer and assistant project manager.

Afterward, guests can swipe their design card at a virtual slot-car course and see their virtual car compete against other riders' designs. They can make a commercial for their concept car and email it to friends, take their photo with their concept car -- or with other Chevrolet models -- and email it, too.

Splitsville

Over at Downtown Disney, in what used to be the Virgin Megastore at Pleasure Island, Splitsville Luxury Lanes was scheduled to open a two-level, 30-lane bowling alley last week. Splitsville is an untraditional bowling alley, especially at Disney World, where it will cater mostly to out-of-towners and have no league play.

Food and beverage service will account for about 70 percent of the operation, said Jessica Anderson, a sales and event manager. There will be seating for about 500 (some of it outdoors), two sushi bars, menu items including sandwiches and pizza, and live music. "The bowling is more just for the fun of it," she said.

The lower level will be family-oriented at all hours, she said (the alley is open 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.), but upstairs will be 21-and-over-only late nights on weekends.

Splitsville has smaller operations in four other cities, including one at South Miami's Shops at Sunset Place.

Senses Spa

At the Grand Floridian, a revamped spa, previously run by an outside vendor but taken over by Disney, was set to open last week with 15 treatment rooms. The other spa on Disney property, at Saratoga Springs, is scheduled to close in January for a makeover and will also be operated by Disney when it reopens.

And for the hard-core Disney fans: Yes, Senses Spa does have hidden Mickeys. ___

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Don't Mess With The Traffic Cop In North Korea's First Ever Video Game

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North Korea's first-ever video game (according to Shanghaiist) let's you drive through a virtual Pyongyang. The game is produced by Nosotek, a western IT company based in North Korea, and you can play it for free on the website of Koryo Tours.

We gave it a try and will share our impressions.

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The first thing that's clear from the game is that Pyongyang is a welcoming place. There are lots of exclamation points and friendly statements welcoming the player and potential tourist. The soundtrack is a tinny, exuberant, and bizarre symphony, typical to mid-90s video games, except in this case it may be what North Koreans actually listen to.

The controls are simple enough, as is the directive to plow into petrol barrels so that your car doesn't run out of gas. There's also a warning that if you crash into ten other cars you will lose (more on this later).

 

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I get off to a bad start. After trying to drive off the road to explore uncharted areas of Pyongyang, and getting teleported back to the road, my steering wheel gets stuck to the side and my car keeps veering to the side and teleporting back again.

The game scolds me: "Pity they can't teach you to improve your driving."

 

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As I cross the first intersection, I meet an attractive traffic lady. She too scolds me: "Drive straight on. Don't stare at me, I'm on duty."

In the background there is a large propaganda poster. I can't help but notice Pyongyang is a ghost city.

 

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Chafing against the reins of this totalitarian society, I crash my car into the first vehicle I see. The traffic cop reappears and she isn't pleased. "If you hit three vehicles, you will be stopped for bad driving," she warns me.

Three?? I seem to remember the instructions at the start of the game saying ten.

 

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Driving around I encounter certain tourist attractions, like the famous Pyongyang Gymnasium.

 

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I see a billboard that suggests that they have car dealerships that sell Volkswagens in North Korea. Can this be true?

 

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Game over.

Play for yourself >

Don't miss: These Pictures Give A Rare Glimpse Into North Korea's Changing World >

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ENDING SOON: Subscribe To A Newsletter For A Chance To Win An iPad Mini

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ipadmini

Just in time for the holidays we're giving you have a chance to win an iPad mini.  Become a newsletter subscriber now and you'll have a chance to win Apple's latest tablet.  If you're the lucky winner you will have all of these great features at your finger tips and can stock up on our favorite iPad mini apps.  Click below to enter and to start receiving one or more of our newsletters to keep up to date with the news you need to know.

Entry deadline is December 21.

As a newsletter subscriber, you'll get daily updates and alerts on topics that matter most to you. You must subscribe to at least one newsletter to be eligible, so if you have not already, be sure to choose one or more newsletters before submitting your entry.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER >

On or before December 21, 2012, we'll announce the lucky winner.

You must be a legal resident of the U.S. and a newsletter subscriber to win.

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LAST CHANCE: Subscribe To A Newsletter For A Chance To Win An iPad Mini

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ipadmini

Just in time for the holidays we're giving you have a chance to win an iPad mini.  Become a newsletter subscriber now and you'll have a chance to win Apple's latest tablet.  If you're the lucky winner you will have all of these great features at your finger tips and can stock up on our favorite iPad mini apps.  Click below to enter and to start receiving one or more of our newsletters to keep up to date with the news you need to know.

Entry deadline is December 21.

As a newsletter subscriber, you'll get daily updates and alerts on topics that matter most to you. You must subscribe to at least one newsletter to be eligible, so if you have not already, be sure to choose one or more newsletters before submitting your entry.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER >

On or before December 21, 2012, we'll announce the lucky winner.

You must be a legal resident of the U.S. and a newsletter subscriber to win.

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McLaren Drivers Should Be Thrilled The New P1 Is Slower Than A Bugatti

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mclaren p1

Yesterday, McLaren brought the P1 to New York City to give potential customers and journalists who missed its Paris debut a firsthand look at the new supercar.

It's a gorgeous vehicle that is sure to be incredibly fast (no official numbers yet), but it will not take the world's fastest production car crown away from the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.

That's a good thing for McLaren drivers.

Marcus Korbach, the P1 brand manager, says the automaker did not even try to regain the record formerly held by the McLaren F1. To give the car enough power to break the 267.856 mph record, engineers would have had to add so much weight, the P1's handling would have suffered, he said.

Instead, McLaren wanted to "build a drivable car" that can be handled by non-professionals. It will prove its prowess on corners, not straightaways.

That's what it did with the MP4-12C, a move that made the new coupe one of Business Insider's Most Innovative Cars Of The Year. If the car is impossible to control, the ability to hit 200 mph is not only useless, it's deadly.

McLaren will make at most 500 of the P1, to boost the car's value. For the lucky drivers who get their hands on one, it's sure to be a sublime drive.

The P1 has a lot of styling cues we haven't seen anywhere else. Korbach says they are all there for aerodynamics, not just looks.



McLaren is already taking orders for the new car.



The estimated price: $1.1 million.



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