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Actress Jane Birkin no longer wants to be associated with the world's most coveted pocketbook

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jane birkin

Everyone seems to want an Hermés' famous Birkin bag — except for the actress who lent the bag her name.

Jane Birkin has asked the French leather goods purveyor to rename the version of the Birkin bag made out of crocodile skin, in protest of crocodile farming and skinning practices, according to Reuters. 

In a statement obtained by the Associated Press, she "asked Hermes to de-baptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place."

The request comes after an investigative report at a Texas farm into how crocodile leather is obtained for high-end accessories was released by PETA in June. The video showed the farm's employees referring to the crocodiles as "watch straps," as well as being left to die slowly in a "bloody ice container," according to the AP.

"Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years," the company said in a statement to Vogue UK. "Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast."

crocodile birkin bagHermès has denied that the farm in Texas depicted in PETA's video, called Lone Star Alligator Farms, supplies crocodile skins for the Birkin bag, which can take up to two skins for a single bag. It is a Hermés supplier for other bags and accessories, however, and the company has made assurances that there will be a full investigation, according to the AP.

The bag was created in 1984, after a chance encounter on an airplane between Birkin and former Hermés director Jean-Louis Dumas. The Birkin bag — and in particular the ones made of crocodile — are one of the rarest and most expensive luxury leather goods available. A fuchsia-colored crocodile-skin Birkin broke the record for the most expensive handbag sold at auction in June, selling for $222,912 in Hong Kong. 

The starting retail price is $10,000, and many would-be customers spend months or years on waiting lists hoping for the chance to buy one.

SEE ALSO: Some women would go to hell and back to pay $10,000 or more for a pocketbook

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NOW WATCH: Jane Birkin wants her name off this $22,000 bag










Control your home's light with a smartphone using this Bluetooth light bulb

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The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

ilumi A21 smartbulbIt's hard to get excited about a light bulb, but in the tech world's quest to make anything and everything "smarter," even simple household objects like that have gotten a smartphone-aided makeover.

e6cade9c28ff14de8ddbb5b107a8195d264ba918_main_hero_imageIlumi's diminutive A21 Bluetooth Smartbulb makes a solid case for why adding wireless connectivity to a light bulb isn't as silly as it may sound.

Like similar Bluetooth bulbs, it features an LED light whose colors can be adjusted and tuned via your smartphone. If you're throwing a party and want to splash the walls in neon, just dial away on ilumi's companion app and watch the light adjust accordingly.

Ilumi claims that the A21 will last up to 20 years, and that it's significantly more energy efficient than a typical bulb. That's due in part to the fact that the app also lets you control the brightness of each bulb. Like most light bulbs, it isn't particularly difficult to get the ilumi all set up either.

The A21 is technically about to be supplanted by ilumi's follow-up bulb — which is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign— but that's allowed this version to become more affordable. Case in point, StackSocial has the device up for $49, down from its list price of $90. (By comparison, the sequel will cost $60 when it releases en masse.)

This isn't the cheapest bulb on the block, and as a Bluetooth-based device, it requires that you actually stand near it to take full control. At the same time, most light bulbs can't turn a bedroom into an interactive game of Simon.

ilumi A21 Bluetooth Smartbulb, $49, available at StackSocial.


 

SEE ALSO: Amazon gives startups a platform with its new marketplace called Launchpad

READ THIS: The one item every beer enthusiast should own

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20 of the best hotels in Italy

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hotel hassler rome rome italyLuxury, history, style—there's no place like Italy.

And there are no places in Italy like these amazing hotels, named the best by our Condé Nast Traveler readers.

From the ivy-covered Hotel Raphaël to the Grand Hotel Majestic on Lake Maggiore, here are the best hotels in Italy. 

SEE ALSO: The 10 best hotels in the world

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Boscolo Venezia

Its location away from the Grand Canal, in a relatively quiet part of Cannaregio, is a good thing: being far from the crowds means an infinitely more peaceful experience.

In a city famous for water, the hotel's amazing, 21,000 square foot garden offers a unique terra firma touch. Plus, a free shuttle service will get you to St. Mark's and other attractions daily.

Readers' Rating: 81.096



Westin Europa & Regina, Venice

Comprising of five interconnected palazzi—it is the amalgamation of the former Hotel Britannia and Hotel Regina—this hotel still manages to feel secluded despite its size and renown.

It’s tucked away inside a leafy, hidden courtyard, and guests arrive via a private jetty on the Grand Canal. Its 185 guest rooms are Venetian-inspired, many with private terraces and views over the Canal.

Readers' Rating: 82.100



Luna Hotel Baglioni, Venice

This historic, 68-room hotel in the heart of the city is housed in an aristocratic Venetian palace dating back to 1118.

Though it’s been through countless transformations over the years, it still brims with original details: ceiling frescoes, ornate stucco walls, Murano chandeliers and antique gold fixtures. Its restaurant, Canova, has won multiple awards for its seasonal, traditional Italian cuisine.

Readers' Rating: 82.140



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A new craze has people 'vaping' caffeine

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caffeine vaping

Instead of getting their morning hit of caffeine by sipping a cup of coffee, some people are now inhaling it.

Caffeine vaporizers deliver a puff of the popular stimulant on the go. Instead of coffee beans, the active ingredients are guarana (an Amazonian plant rich in caffeine), taurine (a supplement used in energy drinks), and ginseng.

Like e-cigarettes, these devices use a heating element to vaporize the ingredients to provide a stimulating hit when inhaled.

The New York Times described the experience as "Red Bull for the lungs."

While a 12-ounce cup of coffee contains between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine, a standard "serving" of inhaled caffeine is roughly 20 to 40 milligrams, with each caffeinated puff containing about two milligrams, according to Eagle Energy Vapor, a Billings, Montana-based company that makes one of these devices.

Is caffeine vaping safe?

The simple answer is that we don't know. The US Food and Drug Administration has not reviewed the Eagle inhaler to assess its safety, because the product is considered a dietary supplement. "This isn't a medication, it's safety has not been reviewed by the FDA, and they should [exercise] caution," Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, told Business Insider.

Consuming too much caffeine, whether from energy drinks or in vapor-form, can cause symptoms such as a rapid or fluttering heartbeat, lightheadedness, upset stomach, and overall feelings of jitteriness. At high enough levels, it can make blood pressure spike and cause heart problems, Goldberg said. 

As with drugs like marijuana, caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream faster if you inhale it than if you eat or drink it. With coffee, the caffeine you're drinking is typically diluted with milk or water. But vaporized caffeine can be inhaled much more quickly, and Goldberg is concerned that caffeine vapers might up their consumption over time. 

Elliot Mashford, the president of Eagle Energy Vapor, said the company is taking steps to ensure its product's safety. "We don't require FDA approval because we’re a dietary supplement," he told Business Insider. But just in case, the company is currently conducting clinical trials in Northridge, California. The vaporizers are manufactured in China and imported through Canada, and the company tests every shipment to confirm there's no nicotine in it.

Mashford and his family and friends have been using the product for five months with no side effects, he said. 

What it's like to inhale caffeine

Alex Williams, a style reporter for the Times, tried the Eagle Energy Vapor. He claimed that after five puffs of caffeine, his fingers tingled, and after 10, he felt a buzz. But the experience was a little bizarre: "it felt a bit as if one had been freebasing a Jolly Rancher Cherry Stix," Williams said.

Given the potential downsides of caffeine vaping, perhaps we should stick to traditional coffee for now.

And "maybe, people should focus on a better night's sleep," Goldberg said.

SEE ALSO: 11 health benefits of caffeine, the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world

CHECK OUT: What caffeine does to your body and brain

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NOW WATCH: 8 horrible things excessive coffee drinking can do to you










Animated map shows how Christianity spread across the world

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Christianity is currently the world's largest religion with over 2 billion followers. Beginning with the son of a Jewish carpenter, the religion was spread around the world first by Jesus's disciples, then by emperors, kings, and missionaries. Through crusades, conquests, and simple word of mouth, Christianity has had a profound influence on the last 2,000 years of world history.

Produced by Alex Kuzoian

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Science says couples in lasting relationships typically wait this long to start having sex

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couple, relationship

Research has given us the answers to several of our biggest sex questions, from how often couples should have sex in a relationship (it depends on your sex drive) to whether having more sex will make you happier. (It usually won't.)

But when is the optimal time to start being sexually intimate in a relationship?

Like many relationships, the answer is a little complicated.

One of the reasons it’s so hard to determine the best time in a relationship to have sex is because there haven’t been a ton of studies that address that specific question. Plus, the studies have been conducted on very specific samples: married heterosexual couples and college-aged men and women.

Few studies have taken a look at the health of a relationship as it relates to when the couple first had sex. And what's out there is somewhat conflicting.

Here's what we know:

Back in the early 2000s, Illinois State University communications professor Sandra Metts did a study to find out if having an emotional connection — in particular saying “I love you” before having sex — could have a positive impact on the trajectory of the relationship.

Her study of almost 300 college-aged men and women found that it did.

In fact, Metts found, couples that had sex first and said “I love you” after had a negative experience: The introduction of that conversation was often awkward and apologetic.

Though not a clear indicator of the exact timing to have sex, Mett’s study did provide a checklist of potential steps partners should take before they get physical. That emotional connection is one of the key elements of any relationship, Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist from the Washington, DC, area, told Business Insider. Having a good level of communication and an understanding of where the relationship is also helps make sure the experience is positive, she said, referring to her professional experience working with single men and women working toward successful relationships.

Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist from California, agreed that being on the same page emotionally is helpful for finding the best time to start having sex.

“The most important thing is you both agree not to push,” he said. “Be clear that the person is comfortable.”

In other words, it's best to wait at least a little bit, at least until you're comfortable with one another and have a better picture of what each of you want in the relationship. But when it comes to how long you wait, that depends.

Option No. 1: Wait as long as possible

In 2010, Dean Busby, the director of the school of family life at Brigham Young University, did a study which suggested that the longer you delay sex — especially if you wait until marriage — the more stable and satisfying your relationship will be.

To be fair, Brigham Young University, which funded Busby's research, is owned by the Church of Latter-day Saints, and they have some thoughts when it comes to sex and marriage.

Of course, all social-science studies are somewhat subjective: Many are taken with surveys and interviews, and participants may respond based on what they think the researcher wants to hear. 

Option No. 2: Give it a few months

In Coleman’s experience, and based off the findings of studies, she suggests at least three months — or when it’s clear the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over — is the best time to start having sex. The honeymoon phase is the first few months of a relationship, when everything is new, feelings of attraction are intense, and it seems like the person you're with is perfect.

“You move past that, and your feet are more on the ground,” she said. “I think that's probably the point at which [Mett's study] said, the couples who waited until that level fared a lot better than people who had sex on the first, second, or third date.”

Option No. 3: Give it a few weeks

Goldsmith disagrees. He thinks the time after the honeymoon period, or the time before a couple has children, is too late. By then, he says, the strong desire to have sex may have already subsided. A 2012 study on sexual desire found that after the beginning phase of a relationship, sexual desire drops, particularly in women.

In his experience, 36 hours spent together is all it takes. And that 36 hours doesn’t have to be consecutive, says Goldsmith. It would probably take a few weeks to add up.

RELATED: How much sex you should be having in a healthy relationship

CHECK OUT: Scientists discovered that having more sex won't make you happier, but that's not the most surprising part

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NOW WATCH: Spontaneous sex is a myth — here's how a 'sex schedule' could save your relationship










There's a super easy way to tell which kind of dress shirt collar requires a tie

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The tieless look is more popular than ever. Guys want to be able to lose the tie after hours, and they don't want to be held back by a floppy collar, which needs a tie to keep it in check.

Turns out, there's an easy way to tell when you're good to go tieless, based on what kind of collar you're wearing. Here's an easy visual guide:

BI Graphics Which shirt collars require a tie

SEE ALSO: 7 outdated men's style 'rules' that you don't always have to follow

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9 books that will inspire your kids to build, invent, and engineer

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Kindle Paperwhite Kids ReadingToys that purport to teach STEM skills are all the rage, but plopping a box in front of a kid is just as likely to teach them how to lose a bunch of toy pieces as it is to get them building anything.

If you really want to encourage a builder's mindset, start with books, where you control the message.

It may not guarantee that they get straight As in physics or finally design hoverboards, but it will ensure that when the subject arises they can say, "I read a book (or 9) about that once."

SEE ALSO: The four cultural shifts that led to the rise of the helicopter parent

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"The Invention Of Hugo Cabret"

This moving, cinematic story of a thieving orphan who tends the clocks in a Paris train station and unlocks the mystery his deceased father leaves behind won the 2008 Caldecott Medal, but it sounds familiar to you because it inspired Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning 2011 film, Hugo.

So you can introduce your kid to engineering and prestige filmmaking in one shot, without forcing them to sit through 3-plus hours of Jack Nicholson attempting a Boston accent.

"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick ($14)

Ages: 8-12



"Rosie Revere, Engineer"

The Godmother of maker women was World War 2's Rosie "We Can Do It!" The Riveter, whom the title character of this book is lucky enough to have as a great-great aunt.

Rosie (the younger) is too shy to talk about her passion for inventing, but is motivated by a timely visit from Rosie (the elder) to pursue her dreams, attempt to build a flying machine, and start wearing a polka-dotted scarf around her head.

"Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts ($11)

Ages: 5-7



"Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became An Inventor"

Check that — Rosie has some company in the lesser known Knight, aka "The Lady Edison," whose story reads like a real-life Rosie Revere. As a child she built her mother a foot warmer. At 12 she designed safer looms that saved textile workers' lives.

After that went uncredited, she continued inventing as an adult and fought to become the first woman ever granted a U.S. patent. The only thing she didn't do was get herself on an iconic World War 2 marketing campaign.

"Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became An Inventor" by Emily Arnold McCully ($14)

Ages: 6-10



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The 'global failure' that led to the slaughter of a famous African lion says a lot about Western culture

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cecilThe Internet is blowing up over the death of a 13-year-old lion named Cecil, who lived in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and was considered a local favorite.

The viral outrage began on Tuesday when Zimbabwe officials announced that they were investigating an American's involvement in Cecil's death.

That American is Walter James Palmer who is a dentist in Eden Praire, Minnesota, and admits to killing the lion but defends his actions as being perfectly legal. Zimbabwe officials, however, allege that the act was anything but.

"To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted," Palmer said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Whether Palmer's actions were legal or not isn't the point, according to Eric Jensen, an internationally recognized expert on public engagement with wildlife from the University of Warwick. 

"It is remarkable that this dentist thinks the core problem is that there may be legal trouble caused by shooting Cecil the lion," Jensen told Business Insider in an email.

Palmer allegedly paid $50,000 for the kill, Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told CNN's Don Melvin.

And it's this kind of incentive that is the "global failure" driving this sort of "unthinkable" behavior, says Jensen:

"The global failure to effectively support sub-Saharan Africa in terms of providing a basic level of economic opportunity directly connects to problems of wildlife poaching both for local consumption as food and for export to wealthy customers outside of Africa.

At the same time, the very fact that there is any interest in killing these animals amongst wealthy visitors suggests that there still needs to be a major change in how animals are viewed. As long as animals are viewed as just instruments to serve human purposes, with no intrinsic value as living creatures, it is not a great step to think it is okay to kill a lion if it makes you feel masculine or powerful."

What's more, now that Cecil is dead, his cubs could be fatal danger:

"The saddest part of all is that, now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho will most likely kill all Cecil's cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females," Rodrigues told CNN. "This is standard procedure for lions."

READ MORE: American dentist who killed one of Africa's most famous lions allegedly lured him out of a protected wildlife zone

SEE ALSO: The woman accused of glorifying 'trophy hunting' says the only reason she gets hundreds of death threats is because she's a girl

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NOW WATCH: Scientists have a theory about the 1,100 starving sea lion pups that have washed up on California's beaches










15 airports you'll actually want to have a long layover in

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McCaren airport

Having a long layover while waiting for your next flight at the airport is often an unpleasant experience, but some airports are adding a variety of entertainment features to make your wait as enjoyable as possible. 

These airports have everything from IMAX movie theaters to golf courses and rooftop pools. 

From an on-site brewery with live music at the Munich Airport to over 1,000 slot machines in Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, here are 15 airports where you won't mind having a long layover.

SEE ALSO: The 10 best airports in the world

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Singapore’s Changi Airport has a two-story butterfly garden with a 27-foot waterfall, a cacti garden with around 40 species of cacti, and orchid and sunflower gardens. It also hosts a rooftop pool, several in-terminal hotels, one of the world’s tallest airport slides at 4 stories high, and a Fish Spa that offers treatments like hot stone massages, fish pedicures, and ear candling. There's a reason it's regularly ranked the No. 1 airport in the world.

Source: Fodor's Travel

See why Singapore's Airport was named the world's best — again »



The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport hosts a branch of the Riijkmuseum where you can discover Dutch music, literature, and art; a 6XD Theater, where you can sit on a five-minute film ride with special effects; and a Back to Life oxygen bar, where oxygen infused with lavender and eucalyptus helps you relax before your flight.

Source: Fodor's Travel,Forbes



Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport has around 1,300 slot machines located in terminals 1 and 2. At the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum (in terminal 1), you can see a collection of 30 display cases showcasing Southern Nevada’s aviation history, and take your kids to the aviation-themed play area.

Source: McCarran International Airport



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Why no one wants to travel to Naples

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Naples View of the City

Not every city in Italy is a dream destination for tourists.

The city of Naples, located in Italy's southern region known as the Mezzogiorno, has long been considered a destination that's not worth a trip.

We decided to do a little investigating to find out exactly why Naples isn't a tourist favorite.

To start, we took a look at a Reddit thread that asked travelers what was the worst place they had been to — and many of them said it was Naples. From there we did some of our own research; here's what we learned.

The area doesn't market itself well.

A total of 48 million international tourists visited Italy in 2013 alone, making it the fifth most-visited country in the world, after France, the US, Spain, and China. But according to the New York Times, out of all the tourists that visit Italy, only a small 13% go to the country's southern region, or Mezzogiorno. 

And instead of working together to promote tourism in the country in general, Italian regions compete with each other for visitors. For example, according to the New York Times, flights and trains that arrive in the southern region of Calabria don't match up with ferries that cross the Strait of Messina — which separates Calabria from Sicily — because Calabria doesn't want to lose tourist business to Sicily.

The city has been a dumping ground for toxic waste for decades.

Naples Trash

Naples' trash problem goes way back.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Camorra, the local mafia in Italy's Campania region, has been dumping industrial and nuclear waste in and around the city of Naples since the 1990s.

After the mafia realized how lucrative the waste industry is, they illegally buried an estimated 10 million tons of toxic garbage in landfills in or near Naples that are only meant for ordinary waste.

Now the three towns of Nola, Acerra, and Marigliano — all of which surround Naples — are referred to as the "Triangle of Death" because of the above average cancer rates there. Italian and American scientists found that breast cancer rates are 47% above the national rate there and birth defects are 80% above the national average in that region.

There's not all that much to do or see in Naples.

TripAdvisor lists a total of 149 sights and landmarks and 118 activities and tours for Naples. For Rome, there's 552 sights and landmarks and 618 tours and activities. In other words, there are other Italian cities to visit besides Naples that offer many more options for tourists.

And while Italy is home to a number of beautiful and world-renowned churches, only three churches in Naples are well known enough to have received TripAdvisor's certificate of excellence.

Naples is also particularly lacking when it comes to dining. Although it's the birthplace of the original Neopolitan pizza, TripAdvisor only lists a total of 36 food and drink places in the city. In comparison, there's a total of 156 food and drink places in Rome. 

Crime is an issue in the area.

Piazza del Gesu Naples

Although it's hard to find exact numbers for Naple's crime rate, the Camorra — the local mafia — is enough proof that crime is an issue in the area. Locals refer to the Camorra as "the system," since the group controls life in the city — they act as a sort of government. They're often compared to the mafia, and are one of Italy's largest criminal organizations. The International Business Times reported that earlier this year, cameras installed by Naples police officers captured footage of Camorra members opening fire in the streets of the city. 

According to Vanity Fair, the Camorra consist of 100 autonomous clans and around 10,000 immediate associates, and that's not including its thousands of clients, dependents, and friends. Even though its members sometimes help to reduce street crime in the city, the Camorra also creates crime of its own when fights break out within the group.

In their 2015 crime and safety report for Naples, The Overseas Security Advisory Council reported that there has been an increase in the number of crimes committed by illegal immigrants in the city. The OSAC also notes that the Piazza del Gesu in southern Naples is a common area for physical fights to break out late at night and into the early morning hours due to the number of bars in that area.

Multiple tourists have also complained about pickpockets in Naples in various travel forums. Travelers who say they've been targeted recommend not keeping wallets or any other valuables in pockets.

It's one of the poorest cities in Europe.

In February of last year Bloomberg quoted Riccardo Realfonzo, a former Naples city councilman for economic affairs, saying that the city was "technically bankrupt." This came after a municipal court turned down plans to reduce the city's approximately $1.36 billion debt. The rejection meant that Naples was at risk of defaulting. Bloomberg compared Naples' fate to that of Detroit, Michigan's.

On top of its debt, Naples also has unemployment rates that are higher than the rest of the country. As of 2012, the city's unemployment rate was 22.6%; Italy's was 10.7%. The outlook is especially dismal for Naples' young people. In 2012, the youth unemployment rate stood at 53.6%.

There is a huge divide in the economies of the north and south of Italy.

Alley way in Naples

Naples is located in the south of Italy, otherwise known as the Mezzogiorno region. CityMetric reported that the GDP per person is over 40% lower in the Mezzogiorno region than it is in the northern and central regions of the country, a difference that CityMetric compares to the economies of the UK and South Korea. While the northern city of Milan is richer than Sweden and twice as rich as Italy's southern cities, Naples is worse off than the Czech Republic.

The infastructure in the south of Italy is lacking.

While there are plenty of trains — high speed or scenic — that travel to and from Naples train travel within the Mezzogiorno region is pretty limited. There are no high speed lines that travel from Naples to other southern cities such as Palermo, and there's only one main line that travels down the west coast into Sicily. According to the New York Times, some trains in the south travel as slow as 8.7 miles per hour.

Then there's the fact that the main highway in the Mezzogiorno region — the A3 Autostrada — is in horrible condition and there's not much hope for future reparations. According to the Daily Beast, back in 2012, the European Union demanded that Italy pay back a total of $471 million in grant money after the European Commission's anti-fraud office determined that the grant money had gone to the Italian mafia, and not towards actually repairing the highway.

There are some good reasons to visit Naples, though.

Pizza from Naples Italy

Naples isn't all negative. In fact, there were multiple Reddit users who commented that they enjoyed their time in the city. It's actually the birthplace of the original wood-fired Neopolitan pizza, making the city worth a visit for die-hard pizza fans. Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba is Naple's oldest pizzeria, so if you're looking for tradition and authenticity, give that one a try. And all the other food that Italy does right, Naples does right too — pasta, seafood, and pastries are mostly all delicious here.

Besides its food, Naples also serves as an excellent jumping off point for other more sought-after Italian destinations. Its southern location means the city is close to both Sicily and Sardinia, the ancient ruins of Pompeii, and the beautiful Amalfi Coast.

Naples is also home to one of Italy's best archaeological museums: the National Archaeological Museum. According to its website, the museum was one of the first of its kind to be built in Europe, and it's housed in a 17th-century building. You'll find everything from the Farnese Bull to Artemis of Ephesus to the frescoes and mosaics of Pompeii in this museum.

If you're a fan of Italian art, you'll want to stop by the Museo di Capodimonte too. Only the Uffizi Gallery in Florence has a larger collection than this Naples spot. The works of plenty Italian masters are featured here — think Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and more.

SEE ALSO: 10 tourist traps you should avoid in Italy — and where to go instead

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5 barbers you should be following on Instagram

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Instagram is the best way for barbers to show off their work (and see what colleagues are up to).

Here are some of our favorite feeds, how these guys keep clients looking sharp, and who they follow to stay on the cutting edge.

1. Matty Conrad

Victory Barber & Brand, Victoria, British Columbia

A photo posted by @mattyconrad on

The man: Conrad started as a hairstylist in top Canadian salons before being poached by the European hair-care line Schwarzkopf as an instructor.

The feed: Barbershop candids, bulldogs, and backstage shots from Milan and New York City Fashion Weeks.

'Gram game: "I'm playing horse with haircuts with a few barbers. We'll do a haircut, post them side by side, and get everyone to vote. Whoever loses gets a letter."

Trick of the trade: Barbers are responsible for taking some off the top of your brows, even shaving down to the shoulders and cleaning up the T-shirt line."

Who he follows: Amsterdam's @cutthroatbarberandcoffee, which started a #gameoffades competition.

2. J. Clark Walker

Fellow Barber, New York City

The man: Walker was once on a premed track. "I talked to a bunch of barbers," he says. "They all said, 'Best job ever,' so I signed up."

The feed: Almost exclusively his cuts, with details about the guys who end up in his chair.

'Gram game: "I found Fellow Barber's feed in barber school. We followed each other. When I got here, we talked, I did some haircuts, and they offered me a job."

Trick of the trade: "Clippers. Period. A lot of guys who come in will ask for scissor cuts. They don't realize how good a clipper cut can look."

Who he follows: Hamlet Garcia (@inthecut305), based in Miami, is a master of the high-shine pompadour.

3. Jason Schneidman

Chris McMillan Salon, Los Angeles

The man: When he's not at his day job, Schneidman offers advice as a Dove Men+Care Hair expert and grooms Hollywood A-listers.

The feed: "I don't just post hair. I've got my family, my surfing, my motorcycle."

'Gram game: "I treat celebs the same as normal clients. But Bruno Mars followers are like a cult—they can't get enough behind the scenes. We take a photo if we're really stoked about a cut."

Trick of the trade: "I specialize in mid-length cuts, what I call the movie-star haircut. A lot of people don't know when to stop."

Who he follows: An account almost every barber mentions, the Rotterdam shop @schorembarbier posts vintage-inspired pics, the occasional mohawk—and shots of straight razors and shears.

4. Mark Bustos

Three Squares Studio, New York City

A photo posted by Mark Bustos (@markbustos) on

The man:Phillip Lim's favorite barber ("He does the most wicked fades," Lim says) spends his weekends cutting homeless people's hair.

The feed: Salon cuts—and photos and anecdotes from his work on the streets (look for posts tagged with #BeAwesomeToSomebody).

'Gram game: "I approached this guy named Joe. The sign next to him said give money to a dead corpse, and he told me that's what he felt like. After the haircut and some food, he said he didn't feel that way anymore. I post these photos to inspire people to pay it forward."

Trick of the trade: "I always go with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. If you're not washing your hair every day, and you shouldn't, this will suck away unnecessary oils."

Who he follows: Named British hairdresser of the year, @kevinluchmun works at Toni & Guy in London and is equally adept with Caesars and side parts.

5. Miguel Gutierrez

The Nomad Barber Shop , London

The man: After learning barbering as a teenager in Liverpool, Gutierrez became a fixture at London Fashion Week and cut hair in the UK and Australia before he began traveling to learn new techniques from around the world.

The feed: Alfresco barbering sessions, photos of friends in places like India, and renovation projects in his brand-new shop in the East End.

'Gram game: "The goal is to keep a certain flow so people can follow the journeys I'm on."

Trick of the trade: "I've picked up a lot of service-inspired ideas, like offering a neck massage after haircuts."

Who he follows: Another favorite of industry insiders, @mjsolofamensgrooming features recent cuts and images of well-coiffed icons like Clint Eastwood and Elvis.

More from Details.com:

SEE ALSO: The best men's fashion influencers to follow on Instagram for suit inspiration

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10 fashion mistakes men make over and over at the office

Pocket squares are back — here’s how to wear them

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ZThe pocket square as a decorative addition to a blazer or suit jacket is a fairly recent development. 

"A pocket square (or what was previously known as a handkerchief) was once a utilitarian piece of cloth, but is now a symbol of a well-dressed man," executive style consultant of The Weitz Effect, Andrew Weitz, told us. "It's meant to add more elegance and style to a gentleman's look, but to achieve that, it must be worn properly."

Below, Wietz is sharing 9 things you need to know about pocket squares before adding them to your repertoire.


todd snyder1. There are many styles of pocket squares. Most commonly they are made of linen, cotton, wool, and silk — with an average size of a 12'' by 12'' piece of fabric. However, any fabric can be used as a pocket square as long as it is thin enough to fit in the breast pocket when folded and not bulge out of your blazer.

Todd Snyder White Label Windowpane Plaid Linen Pocket Square, $49.50, available at Nordstrom.


alexander olch2. Not all pocket sqaures are square in shape. There are pocket squares that are, in fact, not square, but round. Ultimately it doesn’t matter because it’s all in how you fold and place the square in your breast pocket.   

Alexander Olch The Classic Pocket Round, $60, available at East Dane.


19013.Solid colors are easiest for most men, because they don’t have to worry about matching a pattered square with their outfit. On the other hand, a patterned square gives a lot more life to a man's look. 

1901 Gingham Cotton Pocket Square $19.50, available at Nordstrom.


51M40OavDhL4. Basic white or blue squares are ideal for beginners. Lavender, pink, and grey tend to pair nicely with almost anything as well. When you are feeling a little more adventurous, try a white or colored squared with contrasting edges. 

The Tie Bar Woven Silk Solid Twill Pocket Square, $11.99, available at Amazon.


marwood5. The fabrics of pocket squares are seasonal. Silk is appropriate year-round and all times of day but linen and cotton should generally be worn in the spring and summer, or if you live in an area of the world with a warm climate all year long. It's the same for a tweed, wool, flannel, or cashmere; they should be reserved for the fall and winter.

Marwood Cotton-Mesh Pocket Square, $110, available at MR PORTER.


drakes6. Do not match you pocket square to your tie, and do not purchase a jacket with a premade square sewn into the breast pocket. The color (or colors) of a pocket square should complement your shirt, tie, or jacket. 

Drake's Floral Tile Print Handkerchief, $66.50, available at East Dane. 


charvet7. A sqaure fold is the most professional. This fold works best with a cotton or linen fabric. Fold into a square and have the folded edge stick out of the breast pocket about one inch. That’s it. 

Charvet Silk Pocket Sqaure, $80, available at MR PORTER.


590508_mrp_e1_xl8. A puff fold is the most casual. It is best to achieve this look with a silk or woolen square. This is where you fold the fabric over into a semi-ball and tucked it into your breast pocket leaving about 2'' or more billowing out. Make sure the puff is neat and balanced. You can check out even more folds here.

Richard James Printed Silk-Twill Pocket Square, $85, available at MR PORTER


Z19. Skip the tie. For less formal occasions, you can always skip the tie and go with an open collared shirt or polo and wear a pocket square to act as your accessory. You will maintain a smart, casual, and styled look.

Royal Silk White Polka Dot Silk Pocket Square, $12.50, available at Amazon


 

SEE ALSO: The one item every beer enthusiast should own

READ THIS: 12 pairs of sneakers you can get away with wearing at the office

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This Bluetooth cooking thermometer makes grilling perfect steaks effortless

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At this point, pretty much everything in your home has been given a smartphone-aided makeover — light bulbs and central air systems, to name a couple.

So, a Bluetooth-enabled cooking thermometer isn’t much of a reach. It is, however, a convenient tool for cooking perfectly medium-rare steaks at home. The iGrill Mini monitors your foods' internal temperature from up to 150 feet away using the free iDevices Connected app on your smartphone or tablet.

Instead of an unreliable guess-and-check method, you can choose from dozens of preset temperature alarms, or create your own based on what you’re grilling or smoking. When your meat reaches your desired temperature, you’ll receive an alert on your phone telling you it’s time to take it off the grill.

Bonus: The iGrill Mini's smart LED allows you to see the progress of your cook without lifting a lid or cutting into your meat. For a reasonable $31, you’ll always know what’s up.

iDevices iGrill Mini, $31, available at Amazon

71S9qPxtSoL._SL1500_

SEE ALSO: This one-pot cooking wonder will help you cut back on Seamless takeout

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Unpaid family caregivers are bearing a $470 billion burden

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(Reuters Health) - Family caregivers in the U.S. provided an estimated $470 billion in unpaid medical support and other services to their loved ones in 2013, up from $450 billion five years earlier, according to a recent report from AARP.

Those unpaid services are worth more than total Medicaid spending for 2013 and also more than annual combined sales that year from the four largest U.S. technology companies (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Microsoft), researchers say.

An estimated 40 million family caregivers worked an average of 18 unpaid hours each week helping spouses, parents, partners and other loved ones, AARP estimated.

Almost half of the caregivers performed complicated tasks such as giving injections, operating medical equipment, and wound care.

“Providing care for a family member, partner, or friend with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition – known as ‘family caregiving’ – is nearly universal today,” lead report author Susan Reinhard, director of public policy for AARP, said by email. “It affects most people at some point in their lives.”

To assess the scope of unpaid care and services, Reinhard and colleagues analyzed data from 11 surveys of family caregivers done between 2009 and 2014.

All of these surveys included caregivers and patients over the age of 18, and questioned participants about whether family caregivers currently or within the past month provided help with daily activities such as bathing or dressing or assistance with other tasks like managing finances or preparing meals.

In 2014, 60 percent of caregivers were employed at least part-time, and 40 percent of the working caregivers were at least 50 years old. One analysis found that many of these workers are providing 21 hours a week of unpaid care in addition to their paying jobs.

One in five workers left their jobs earlier than planned to help care for a loved one, losing an estimated $300,000 in income and benefits each, on average.

Family caregivers generally provide so much unpaid help because their loved ones need a variety of different assistance that’s hard to get from one provider and due to a lack of affordable alternatives, said Carol Levine, director of the families and health care project at the United Hospital Fund, a nonprofit research and philanthropy organization in New York.

“For those who provide long-term care for years and for those with particularly demanding situations – caring for someone with dementia, for example – the detrimental effects on caregivers’ mental and physical health, financial status, employment, and on other family relationships have been well documented,” Levine, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

Family caregivers may benefit from strengthened relationships with their loved ones, as well as a sense of satisfaction from making it possible for loved ones to remain at home instead of moving to an institutional setting, Levine noted.

“There are potential upsides,” she said.

For many families, unpaid care provided to loved ones might be scaled back if more social services and medical assistance was available, particularly for complex tasks that can be difficult to master without clinical training, said Barbara Given, a nursing professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The best time to assess resources in the community is before loved ones become too infirm to care for themselves without help, Given, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“For all families, as people are aging or have chronic disease, families should have discussions about the plans they will have for care and discuss some of their preferences,” Given said. “They should become aware of community resources, and they should identify a health care professional, physician or nurses who they are able to talk to and seek out for assistance when they do need to provide care.”

 

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The killing of a famous lion exposes a deeply rooted problem in western culture

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cecil the lion

The killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe has brought fresh attention to an entrenched, ongoing crisis in wildlife conservation.

As unsustainable global consumption and population growth continue to roll back the space for wild animals around the world, many species are on the edge of extinction. This crisis has deep roots in Western societies, although the effects are often felt most acutely in developing nations.

The fact that in 2015 people are still travelling thousands of miles to kill exotic animals and bring back trophies shows deeply rooted cultural problems in Western societies, where such behaviour should be unthinkable.

What’s being done

There are global efforts underway, for example through the UN Decade of Biodiversity, to promote pro-conservation social change in the protection of plant and animal species. This programme’s first goal is to affect the way people view the diversity of plant and animal species. This has certainly not yet been met, as the level of understanding about biodiversity varies substantially around the world.

Appreciating the intrinsic value of biodiversity is important. But the case of Cecil the lion shows that a great deal more needs to be done to promote changes in attitudes, while also ensuring there are effective legal sanctions in place. Making a difference for wildlife conservation requires addressing the way wildlife are represented in media, the structures of wildlife tourism that support sport killing of animals, and changing attitudes about the consumption of animal products from poached animals.

Change needed in the way humans view animals

The fact that there is any interest in killing these animals among wealthy visitors also suggests that there needs to be a major change in how animals are viewed. Animals are widely understood simply as objects to be used by humans as they see fit. This way of relating to animals is unsustainable.

Cecil the lion

Beyond the sustainability concern, basic respect for other living creatures is needed. As long as animals are viewed as instruments to serve human purposes, with no intrinsic value as living creatures, it is not a great leap to think it is fine to kill a lion if it makes you feel masculine or powerful.

The important point here is that there are systemic problems with the way animals are used merely as resources to be consumed by humans. Non-human animals are often viewed as just another consumer good to be used up and discarded with no concern for the present or future consequences.

Animals in danger of extinction are obviously the most urgent concern, but large-scale social change is required to make a real difference. Moreover, as with many problems in poor countries around the world, the origins are in wealthier, developed nations such as the US, where a market for poached products continues to operate.

Enhanced public engagement with biodiversity, conservation and related issues is fundamental to the struggle to curtail the loss of plant and animal life already well underway around the world. But an occasional public outcry is not sufficient. This issue, like many others, requires sustained attention and systemic change to make a real difference for wildlife.

 

SEE ALSO: There's an excellent reason why gun control is one of the most divisive fights in America

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Climate change might make your favorite wine disappear

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Costco wine

Wine, as we have seen once again this week, seems to be a handy way to galvanise concerns about the future ill-effects of climate change. It’s perhaps telling that the prospect of losing a favourite tipple attracts media coverage so readily, when the bigger issue is surely about securing food for the billions who rely on subsistence farming.

Those concerns aside, viticulture delivers important messages about a changing climate, for several reasons. High-quality wine is extraordinarily sensitive to the vagaries of the weather. Grape-growers and wine producers (vignerons) are observant and responsive to any impacts on their product, especially when it comes to signs that a particular grape variety or vineyard is not performing.

One example is in South Australia, where high-quality wine producers are using their expertise to adapt as the state’s climatic conditions change.

Over the past decade, my colleagues and I have studied changes in the McLaren Vale wine region, south of Adelaide. This region’s wines regularly win international awards, particularly for shiraz that dominates varietal selection. Like other farmers, vignerons here are noticing more extreme heat and humid weather in summer, and less rain, stronger storms and milder temperatures in winter.

But unlike some other crops, viticulture has an enormous range of adaptation options and the capacity to apply them – and in the McLaren Vale change is underway.

The region’s growers have banded together to organise a recycled water scheme to secure their irrigation resources. This has largely eliminated the risk of groundwater depletion, for the near future at least.

rose wineThey have also worked together with governments to strengthen planning policy and protect rural land from the expansion of Adelaide’s southern suburbs. As a result, the rural land here is as secure as anywhere similarly close to a major Australian city. This is crucial because the McLaren Vale is a unique patch of land with complex geology, set between the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the moderating climatic influences of the St Vincent Gulf.

Growers have strong networks, from the formal McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association through to the Willunga farmers' market and the Friends of Willunga Basin. The region’s wine is defined by a globally recognised Geographical Indication mark, and that is being strengthened with the mapping of the region’s unique soils and wine consumers' increasing knowledge of the terroir of the McLaren Vale.

In effect, the whole socio-ecological system of the McLaren Vale is being made more resilient. Even before individual producers make choices about what grape varieties to use, or about techniques such as mulching, pruning, harvesting, and blending, they know they have strengthened their production system enormously by working together to secure their natural resources. Vignerons have also worked together to market their products in ways that reflect the uniqueness of their place.

Yes, growers are also looking to the warmer southern parts of Europe for varieties that might better fit their future climate, and have experimented with them on their fields and in their wineries.

Yes, they are developing new ways of farming using methods that conserve water and maximise the quality of the soils. And yes, they are spreading the risk by diversifying into other regions and industries, especially tourism.

Chile VineyardBut there is a bigger message than risks to wine quality that needs to get through to the people making decisions about our ecological futures. Wine quality is only an indicator of future risk and we are only in the early stages of a massive ecological shift that will require a different type of thinking about our environment.

While some of the most resourced, educated, informed and organised farmers in Australia are adjusting successfully in the short term, they are also looking to the future and noting that adaptation will meet new thresholds in the longer term.

Everyone needs to work to minimise the rate of climate change. We can learn from early adapters such as the vignerons of the McLaren Vale, but it is not going to be easy to adapt, because bit by bit climate change will change everything. The heatwaves that are burning the grapes of the McLaren Vale will get worse and make summers less comfortable for everyone. Dry summers will add to the bushfire risk on the periphery of our cities, just as they limit the complexity of flavours in our wines. The storms that strip leaves or cause mildew outbreaks in the McLaren Vale will also damage houses across southern Australia.

Yet at the moment, Australia is acting like a pariah state on climate change – it is up there with the worst performers on per capita greenhouse emissions and has a history of using accounting tricks to make its efforts seem more palatable.

It is not good enough to aim low on this issue, because we are going to lose things we value – not just our favourite wines, but the very security of the places where we live and grow our food. That is the real message in the bottle.

 

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Here's the truth about all the different oils on the supermarket shelf

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CRO_policy_gmo_foods_oil_10 13Alongside canola and olive oil on food-market shelves you may spot an array of newer oils and cooking fats.

Sales of flavored and specialty oils, from foods such as avocados, coconuts, and walnuts, jumped at natural-­food stores by more than 64 percent between 2012 and 2014, according to the market-research firm Mintel.

And once-unusual fats like ghee are now common at stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

Some are said to have special health benefits.

But do they?

Coconut oil

Proponents claim coconut oil can spark weight loss, prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease, and lower cholesterol. It’s a widely used topping for salads, vegetables, and popcorn, and it’s promoted as a healthful substitute for butter in baked goods.

The lowdown:

More than 90 percent of its fat is saturated. (Butter is just more than 60 percent saturated fat.) “Saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels, which has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Maxine Siegel, R.D., Consumer Reports’ food-­testing manager. Small studies suggest that coconut oil’s fats may be less unhealthy than other saturated fats, but that’s uncertain. Swapping it for butter, canola, or olive oil won’t benefit health. But a small amount on sautéed vegetables probably won’t hurt.



Avocado oil

Avocados are high in fat, but most of that fat is unsaturated—which has been shown to benefit the heart and possibly aid in weight loss when consumed in moderation. They also contain antioxidants, and some believe avocado oil can help to protect against cancer.

The lowdown:

Avocado oil, which has a nutritional profile similar to olive oil’s, can be a heart-healthy choice in salad dressings and for grilling, sautéing, and searing. “If somebody wants to drizzle a bit of that on their fresh tomatoes and peppers, that would be fine,” advises Alice H. ­Lichtenstein, D.Sc., professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Boston. But don’t expect huge health advantages. Yes, avocados contain antioxidants, but, Lichtenstein says, a balanced diet already provides sufficient antioxidants. One drawback to avocado oil is its cost, around $20 for an 16.9-ounce bottle.

 



Walnut oil

Unrefined walnut oil has become widely used as a replacement for olive oil in salad dressings because of its nutty flavor. It’s low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, and because walnuts are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-­linolenic acid), some researchers say the oil has heart-health benefits.

The lowdown:

If you like walnut oil, swap it for olive oil in dressings or in place of vegetable oil in breads and muffins. But “there’s no unique fatty-acid composition that would make it better than some of the more common vegetable oils,” ­Lichtenstein says.



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The latest luxury toy for the super-rich is a $1.7 million underwater plane

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When you're rolling in cash, you can spend on some outrageous things.

You can own a million dollar taxidermy collection, drink $760 cognacs, and install mega-closets in your mega-mansions.

That's what Robert Frank, host of "Secret Lives of the Super Rich," uncovered on the CNBC television show, which grants viewers access into the extravagant lives of the wealthiest people on the planet.

You can also buy a $1.7 million craft that flies underwater, he found.

Hawkes Ocean Technologies, under the guidance of marine engineer Graham Hawkes, has created a 4,000 pound underwater plane — the DeepFlight Super Falcon.

Designed to fit on the mega-yachts of the super-rich, the modern watercraft differs from a submarine, in that it doesn't just sink and rise, but uses a downward lift motion and can "barrel roll with dolphins," according to Hawkes Ocean Technologies.

It also is not as complicated to operate as a traditional submarine. It employs intuitive controls so that rookies can strap in and fly with minimal training.

"The minute we went under water, everything felt natural and calm, and it was just like flying," said Frank, who got to give the toy a whirl.

 on

 

The craft is targeted towards those with scads of money. Venture capitalist Tom Perkins and Red Bull cofounder Dietrich Mateschitz are among the few lucky owners of the $1.7 million craft.

We can't all fly with the whales in style, but becoming a millionaire is not out of the question— all it takes is smart saving and investing. It may not buy you an underwater plane, but it can't hurt.

SEE ALSO: 21 outrageous ways the super rich spend their money

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