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I usually struggle to fall asleep, so I tried a sleep training app and it worked wonders


Sleeping baby

I've have been using a sleep training app called Sleepio for the past few months and I am definitely sleeping better.

However, before I tell you why, I must confess: the Sleepio system was too hard for me. I couldn't really follow it closely and I stopped using it last week.

But even using it partially, I learned a lot about sleep, my own personal sleep patterns and how to get a better night's sleep, even when I travel.

A sleep class taught by experts

I wouldn't exactly say I have insomnia, but like most people, I do go through periods where I have trouble falling and/or staying asleep. 

Falling asleep is particularly hard when I travel. (First night in a new hotel = hours of laying there awake.) International travel is even rougher.

I choose Sleepio because it was developed by international sleep expert Professor Colin Espie of the University of Oxford, along with Dr. Bryony Sheaves, a clinical psychologist at Oxford's Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, and Dr. Simon Kyle, a sleep expert at the University of Manchester.

Sleepio is really a six-week sleep class. It costs $10 a month (so $20 to do the whole six weeks) and you can use it on your PC or iPhone/Android. It works a little better on the PC, with more features, such as being able replay a sleep lesson. However, I mostly used the app on my iPhone because I found that more convenient.

The class covers the science behind most sleep problems, how to set up your room and how to deal with a racing mind at night.

It offers some guided meditations if you are stuck awake at night and includes a diary, where you can record your progress. 

It also works with sleep trackers like Fitbit or Jawbone. 

Sleepio course

Focusing on "sleep ratio"  not "sleep duration"

Sleepio focuses on one key measurement of sleep, something called "sleep efficiency." That's the ratio of the time you spend in bed versus time spend actually sleeping. 

The goal is 90%, meaning you fall asleep pretty fast (within 15 minutes), don't get stuck awake in the middle of the night (at least not for long) and pop out of bed quickly in the morning.

Sleep ratio doesn't care how few hours you slept, as long as you were asleep while you were in bed.

That was one of my biggest gripes with the program (more on that in a bit).

During the time I did the Sleepio course, my sleep ratio ranged from a low of 72% (where I laid awake for hours) to 90%. At the end, I was mostly in the 80-90% range, and I felt like I was definitely sleeping better.

Here's a portion of my final diary:

Sleepio diary.PNG

Here's what I learned

Sleepio walked me through many of the basic stuff than any sleep program suggests:

  • Don't drink caffeine late in the day. (I actually mostly gave up caffeine, and now stick to decaf.)
  • Don't drink alcohol after 6 p.m.
  • Don't exercise within about two hours of bedtime. Exercise can rev you up.
  • Do only relaxing things for 1-2 hours before you go to bed, reading, watching TV, listening to movies. 
  • Make sure your bedroom is slightly cool.
  • If your mind races with to-do list items, keep a bedside to-do notebook.
  • If you have trouble with noise, desensitize yourself to it. That was a biggie for me!

Learning to deal with noise turned out to be the best thing ever!

I prefer the world to be perfectly quiet when I sleep, but the world never cooperates. Ear plugs never worked.

I added a fan to my room to make it cooler and grew used to the white noise of the fan. It drowned out other noises.  The last time I traveled, I also used a fan for a cool room and white noise and I slept better, even on the first night.

Sleepio progress

Only go to sleep when you are sleepy

I always thought I needed 8-9 hours of sleep. But my sleep diary taught me I'm actually averaging 7-7.5 hours of sleep even though I'm laying in bed for 8-9 hours. On bad nights, it's closer to 4-6 hours of sleep.

Sleepio only lets you be in bed if you are sleepy, not just feeling tired. It teaches you how to recognize the difference between tired and "sleepy tired." (Tip: yawning and eyes closing is "sleepy tired.")

It creates a schedule where you are only allowed to be in bed a restricted certain hours, based on your sleep diary. 

With Sleepio, you can't go to bed earlier and you can't sleep in later. Not even on the weekends.

If you are awake for more than 15 minutes, even at 3 a.m. you must get up and do something until you are sleepy again.

Sleepio assessment

The part I couldn't really do

If I followed the schedule, I would have kept myself slightly sleep deprived. The hope is that I would fall asleep faster and stay asleep at night until I was retrained and could add more hours of sleep into my night.

But the sleep diary taught me that even with a 90% sleep ratio, if I only got 5 or 6 hours of sleep, I felt exhausted in the morning, not refreshed. 

In the end, I did about half of the recommendations like certain relaxation rituals before I go to bed and waiting until I feel sleepy. 

But on the weekends I sleep in!

And I now have a bunch of options if I have trouble gain, from white noise to using a sleep meditation tape.

Overall, I'm very glad I did the Sleepio course and I would go back, or try another sleep app, if I ever had trouble again.

SEE ALSO: 8 hours of sleep can make you happier — plus 21 other discoveries from sleep-tracking devices

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What men and women fantasize about has more in common than you think


French Love

You might have more in common with your partner than you know. 

According to a study published last year in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, men and women share a surprising number of sexual fantasies. 


For the study, researchers asked 1,516 men and women living in Quebec (most of whom were between the ages of 20 and 40), what they fantasized about.

The study group's answers are by no means comprehensive or culturally diverse. However, they offer an interesting peek into a part of the human mind that is largely unexplored.

Participants completed an online survey where they responded to 55 statements about their sexual fantasies using a number scale to rate the intensity of each fantasy.

Not surprisingly, the top 10 most popular fantasies among men and women were different. But each gender's top 10 list had five fantasies in common, which are color-coded in the two graphics below:

BI_Graphics_sexual fantasies men

BI_Graphics_Sexual fantasies commmon in women

LEARN MORE: Here's why marriage is harder than ever

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

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You should never trust the pictures hotels post online


La plage resort hotel websiteWe recently learned that hotel stars can't be trusted, but you probably shouldn't fall for their photos, either.

Often, hotels find clever angles and smart ways to tweak the photos they post online to make them appear nicer than they actually are.

Hotel-review-website Oyster sends professional reviewers around the world to check out vacation properties — and sometimes, these reviewers come across hotels that are vastly different than the photos on their websites suggest.

Here are some photos they took that didn't quite match up with the online fantasy — let these "photo fake-outs" serve as a cautionary tale against relying solely on hotels' marketing materials.

SEE ALSO: These hotels look nothing like the photos they post on their websites

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FANTASY: Chilling at the Delfino Beach Hotel's private beach in Sicily, blissfully devoid of other people.

REALITY: Feeling like a sardine.

Read the Delfino Beach Hotel's full review at Oyster »

FANTASY: Sleeping like a baby in a giant, plush bed at Hotel Athena in Tuscany.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Are you a passionate DFS player in New York City or elsewhere? If so, we want to hear from you


Sports fans cheeringWe're working on a report about the cultural phenomenon of Daily Fantasy Sports — what it is and how it works. But in particular, we want to hang out with people immersed in the game.

Do you play on sites like DraftKings or FanDuel on a regular basis? Is this a major passion of yours, with or without high stakes? Have you won — or lost — a large amount of money doing so? Are you willing to speak with Business Insider on camera about your experiences?

If you answered yes to some or all of those questions, we'd like to hear from you, regardless of where you live. As one part of this project, though, we are looking to follow some New York City fans who play together, so let us know if you and your friends are interested.

Email us at dfs@businessinsider.com, and please include your name, where you live, your occupation, what the sport means to you, how often you play DFS, which site(s) you play on, and how much money you typically wager in a week.

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One of the coolest underground supper clubs just became free to the public


It's like a scene out of a classic thriller movie: We walk down the dark, smelly streets of Chinatown, the neighborhood growing darker and darker, before we finally arrive to a small garage underneath the Manhattan Bridge. 

But when we get there, it's not a tragic fate that greets us, but rather a setup of long tables shrouded in pink and purple lighting. 

The tucked-away garage is the setting for an evening with Dinner Lab, a supper club that's currently hosting a series of pop-up dinners in 31 cities across the US. 

dinner lab

Dinner Lab was started by four friends who were living in New Orleans in 2012. They were growing frustrated at how difficult it was to get a quality dining experience after 9 p.m. Their original business plan was to host dinner parties that started at midnight, but that plan flopped when they realized their guests had become too inebriated by that time of the night.

Even though their initial concept failed, in the process they became acquainted with many New Orleans-based chefs who were looking to do something beyond their usual routine. 

Today, Dinner Lab serves as a testing ground for chefs on the rise. As diners arrive, they're given comment cards asking them to rate the taste and creativity of each course, as well as the quality of the service and the alcohol pairings. 

That data is helpful to the chefs, as they can see what went well and what they can improve on. It's also used to make sure Dinner Lab is being thoughtful about the experience as a whole. 

"The whole point is to provide a platform for up-and-coming chefs, and to get them out there," CEO and co-founder Brian Bordainick told Business Insider. "We get them cooking what they want to cook, and they can have it served to an eager audience." 

The night we attend, Dinner Lab co-founder Francisco "Paco" Robert is cooking up dishes inspired by his Puerto Rican upbringing. A small book explaining his background and inspiration is left on the table for each guest. 

"This is personal stuff. We're not hiring someone to execute a meal," Bordainick said. "We're hiring people to tell their story, to tell an important story through their food. It should always remind you of family dinner." 

On the menu is a salted cod fritter, chicken escabeche, plantain soup, braised beef tongue, and a pumpkin rice pudding for dessert.

dinner lab

Dinner Lab currently has 20,000 nationwide members who pay annual dues of between $125 and $175 to access dinner events, which usually cost between $50 and $60 each. 

Today, however, the company announces a new, free membership that grants access to any of Dinner Lab's core events, though members will still have to purchase tickets to each individual dinner.  

They're also announcing a Select membership, which, like the previous basic membership, costs between $125 and $175 a year. A Select membership guarantees advance notice of upcoming dinners, as well as access to special Dinner Lab events, like happy hours and meet and greets with elite chefs. 

"We're going to be able to offer more variety for people," Bordainick said. "If you're into food and trying new things, there's really no reason not to join our community." 

"Once we get people to come out to our events and experience our events, opting in to a Select membership will make sense for a lot of people. It won't for other people, but that's why we'll have both options." 

Dinner Lab is in its first three years, but a community has already already grown around it. As we took our seats at one of the long tables in the garage, our neighbors immediately introduced themselves. One worked in fashion, while another was a food photographer with more than 22,000 followers on Instagram. 

dinner lab

We compared notes on the courses we loved — the plantain soup and rum-based vudu punch were winners — and the ones we didn't like so much — the braised beef tongue was delicious, but difficult to handle texture-wise. 

"I feel like a real food critic," one of my table neighbors said as we wrote down our comments. 

dinner lab

As for the strange location, it's typical for a Dinner Lab event. Dinners have taken place on helipads, piers, and in factories, just to name a few. 

The venue isn't even announced to members until the day before the event — it's secretive, but the co-founders insist that wasn't their intention. 

"We're curious human beings, and we're constantly scouring the nation for cool spaces. But since we're using these really interesting spaces, sometimes things happen, and we have to change locations at the last minute," Bordainick said. "We weren't trying to be mysterious." 

Disclaimer: Dinner Lab paid for our meal tickets, which usually cost between $50 and $60. 

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13 Chinese customs that are shocking to foreigners


China hosts both long-standing and relatively new customs that travelers might initially be surprised by.

For example, burping in the country is seen as a way of giving thanks to the chef and gifts will often be refused several times before they are accepted.

Take a look at the infographic below to learn about the 13 customs you should know before visiting the country.

BI_Graphics_13 Chinese customs that are shocking to foreigners

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Inside the insane tailgate of the northeast's wildest horse race


Horse Race

It was another alcohol-soaked year for the Far Hills Race Meeting at Moorland Farms, commonly known as "The Hunt."

The race, now it its 95th year, operates as a fundraiser for Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Somerset. But the boozy event is nothing like the other charity events on the New Jersey social calendar. 

Keep scrolling to see the elaborate tailgates that hold court on the hilltop, and the wild binge drinking that happens on the infield. 

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The Far Hills Race Meeting is one of the most prestigious events of the fall season.

A photo posted by Hanna Kyle (@hanna_kyle) on

Much of New York and New Jersey's upper crust attend the event, making for some pretty incredible tailgating.

A photo posted by @devilandegg on

The buffet tables get quite creative.

A photo posted by Maryanne Mecca (@maryannemecca) on

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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A 23-year-old Google employee lives in a truck in the company's parking lot and saves 90% of his income


google headquarters

When 23-year-old Brandon S. headed from Massachusetts to the Bay Area in mid-May to start work as a software engineer at Google, he opted out of settling into an overpriced San Francisco apartment. Instead, he moved into a 128-square-foot truck.

The idea started to formulate while Brandon — who asked to withhold his last name and photo to maintain his privacy on campus — was interning at Google last summer and living in the cheapest corporate housing offered: two bedrooms and four people for about $65 a night (roughly $2,000 a month), he told Business Insider.

"I realized I was paying an exorbitant amount of money for the apartment I was staying in — and I was almost never home," he says. "It's really hard to justify throwing that kind of money away. You're essentially burning it — you're not putting equity in anything and you're not building it up for a future — and that was really hard for me to reconcile."

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He started laying the groundwork for living out of a truck immediately, as he knew he'd be returning to work full time in San Francisco. A school year later, he was purchasing a 16-foot 2006 Ford with 157,000 miles on it.

It cost him an even $10,000, which he paid up front with his signing bonus. His projected "break-even point" is October 21, according to the live-updating "savings clock" he created on his blog, "Thoughts from Inside the Box."

His one fixed cost is truck insurance — $121 a month — as he doesn't use electricity, and his phone bill is handled by Google.

"I don't actually own anything that needs to be plugged in," he explains on his blog. "The truck has a few built-in overhead lights, and I have a motion-sensitive battery-powered lamp I use at night. I have a small battery pack that I charge up at work every few days, and I use that to charge my headphones and cellphone at night. My work laptop will last the night on a charge, and then I charge it at work."

The space is sparse and minimal, he says: "The main things that I have are a bed, a dresser, and I built a coat rack to hang up my clothes. Besides that, and a few stuffed animals, there's pretty much nothing in there."

As for food and showers, that's all on Google's campus. He eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner at work and showers every morning in the corporate gym post-workout.

Few expenses mean significant savings: "I'm going for a target of saving about 90% of my after-tax income, and throwing that in student loans and investments," he says.

He graduated with $22,434 worth of student loans, and has paid it down to $16,449 over the course of four months. "As a conservative estimate (and taking bonuses into consideration), I expect to have them paid off within the next six months, saving thousands of dollars over the standard 10-year, or even 20-year plans," he says.

Additionally, saving on rent has allowed him to dine at nice restaurants and enjoy San Francisco more than if he opted for living in an apartment.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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I spent 10 nights alone on a deserted island — here's how I survived



I still can’t quite believe it happened.

I’ve been somewhat obsessed with islands and going ‘back to basics’ since I was kid.

"Shipwrecked" was key viewing, Ray Mears was my guy, and more recently, watching shows like ‘The Island" and "Naked and Marooned" reinforced just how much I really wanted my next challenge to be a raw castaway experience.

Following a very random and slightly unbelievable string of conversations, I was bouncing ideas back and fourth with a man in Japan.

"We can make something work but you’ll need to go in 11 weeks time, is that too soon Ben?"

Four flights, a long drive, and a dodgy boat transfer later, we pulled up to a remote island in Indonesia.

"For emergency, just break the seal and use the cellphone to call and we come back by boat. Good luck." —reassuring words, lads.

Anyway, it was time to get stuck in. To make life a little easier, I had a basic water supply and a handful of tools (a machete, speargun, fishing line, hooks and knife) to hopefully find some food.

Otherwise, it was just little old me on a 150 hectare (approx 370-acre) island with bags of enthusiasm but very little idea on the how the hell I was actually going to get through the following 11 days!

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

You can get a lot of work done when you remove all distractions


When you have no phone, no internet, and no people around, it’s tough to find an excuse not to be productive. A typical day on the island requires roughly six hours of focused time to complete a few key tasks, from collecting firewood and bait to foraging, hunting, and cooking.

On top of that I averaged almost a book a day and had plenty of time to keep a diary and make solid progress on a couple of creative projects.

It’s essential to reduce the amount of time spent reacting to email and social media each day to focus on more important tasks.

Mindset is everything


The first six days were really tough and the extreme low calorie diet began to compound  —  I felt dangerously lethargic and found it almost impossible to focus on anything but food.

A combination of getting quite pissed off after another failed fishing attempt and reading "The Obstacle Is The Way" made me realize the more I focused on the ongoing battle against hunger the worse it was getting. As soon as I redirected that attention towards having as much fun as possible I felt WAY better and those problems subsided.

Get your mind sorted and your body will follow. 

Have foresight and do things properly


I messed up big-time on the first night. Being oblivious to how quickly it gets dark out there (the sun sets at about 5.45 p.m. and by 6.30 p.m. it’s pitch black) I got REALLY lost in the jungle. Trying to retrace my steps and work out which direction the sea was in whilst getting mauled by mosquitos was not a strong look.

Eventually I found a way out but it wasn’t pretty, and I still had to wade back through water for ages as the beach was gone where the tide had come right in.

Lesson learned. Take a moment to plan ahead for what could go wrong before diving into an unfamiliar environment. There’s usually no need to rush. 

If you're reading this, your life is easy

It’s only when you’re stripped of modern luxuries that you realize just how comfortable your "normal" life is. The evening before I flew out, we broke down "Doing Good Better" at RBC and one insight that stuck was: if you live in the developed world and earn more than £34k annually, you are in the richest 1% on the planet.

When you put things into perspective, we’ve got it so easy. Tube delays? iPhone battery dead? Run out of avocado?! Seriously, let's stop moaning and just get on with it. 

Sleep is something to be optimized

I’m still getting my head around this one but I slept really well out there. Not a single yawn in 11 days, despite the strange animal noises, being open to the elements, no pillow, no bed, and no alarm.

I don’t know if it was the natural light, the lack of energy/tech/caffeine, or what, but I do believe that effective sleep can be hacked back at home. I’m sizing up one of these lamps and plan to experiment with some of the tips here.

Taking time out from "game mode" is worthwhile


Taking a step back from the regular London hustle has been awesome. Although I came off of the island looking like a malnourished child with mild sunburn and a grizzly beard I felt surprisingly refreshed and had produced some pretty strong creative work. I was super focused on the flight(s) home and I’m loving being back at work now.

We all need time away from our day-to-day to get clarity and avoid burnout. I’m committing to a quarterly weekend escape out in the sticks to kick back and do some thinking distraction free. Shout if you want in.

Stay curious


A lot of the big wins didn’t come from a carefully thought out strategy  —  the squid I got came from turning over a random rock in the sea and the almonds I found just happened to be inside some washed up shells I chopped open.

"We keep moving forwards, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity leads us down new paths" —Walt Disney

Stay curious!

Build. Measure. Learn.

I thought it made a lot of sense to apply the "Lean Startup" methodology to fishing. Note : I am probably THE worst fisherman to walk the planet, I’ve been twice in the last decade, once in Zanizibar (I caught nothing and chundered over the side of the boat) and once in Bali (I organized a lad's spearfishing trip and didn’t land a single shot) so my track record going into this experience was pretty shocking.

My MVP (minimum viable product) started off as two static lines tied to a tree with snails as bait, which yielded poor results. That "product" quickly developed into a stick and short line using a bit of washed up flip-flop as a float and hermit crab as bait, which I physically took out into the sea with a snorkel and carefully lowered around the corals. Whilst the technique was unorthodox , it worked!

Build fast. Measure fast. Learn fast. Particularly when your dinner depends on it.

There you go! All in all, a very tough but AMAZING experience  —  on to the next one! 

For more, check out Ben's website and follow him on Twitter.

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20 rarely seen images that show the struggle of America's farmers during the Great Depression


Farm Security Administration, depression era farming

October is harvest month, and with it comes the celebration of food and those who grow it.

In the course of American history, no one has documented the life of the farmer better than the photographers of the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information during the Great Depression.

Tasked by the US government to portray the poverty that had struck the nation, the FSA's photographers focused their efforts on rural areas in the hope of gaining support for the resettlement of farmers who had been displaced by the Great Depression. 

While many famous images came out of the FSA during this era, such as Dorthea Lange's instantly recognizable Migrant Mother and Walker Evans' Farmer Wife, there are troves of lesser-known images in the archive that is stored and kept by the Library of Congress. 170,000 of those photos recently became available to the public through Photogrammer, a web site developed by Yale University. 

We've gathered 20 incredible, lesser-known portraits of the farmers who performed back-breaking work during one of the nation's most trying times.

SEE ALSO: 21 pictures of New York City in the early 1900s

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Farmers sit on bags of rice in a state mill in Abbeville, Louisiana in September 1938.

Farmer Chris Ament stands on his wheat farm in the Columbia Basin, where he has farmed for 33 years. "I won't live to get the benefits of the water, but I hope to be able to see it," he said to the FSA.

A clover farmer works on a seed threshing machine in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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RANKED: The 10 most important Ferraris of all time (RACE)



With Ferrari's IPO just around the corner, fans of the prancing horse will finally have a chance to own their piece of the legendary sports car maker without having to pony up a few hundred thousand dollars. 

But for many, there's no substitute to the raw power and emotion of a living, breathing Ferrari. Since the company launched its road car business in 1947, it's reputation has grown from that of a respected racing team to a creator of automotive legends. 

In fact, the company has managed to maintain a waiting list for many of its models without engaging in any forms of traditional advertising. 

Ferrari's parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is offering more than 17 million shares of stock with the value of the Maranello, Italy-based automaker expected to approach $10 billion. 

Other the years, Ferrari has been responsible for a long line of fast, powerful, and evocative sports cars and supercars. Anyone who has ever encountered a Ferrari has his or her personal favorite. However, there certain select group of cars from the company's past and present that hold a special place in Ferrari's history books. Which is why Business Insider compiled a list of the 10 most important Ferrari's in company history.

These are the Ferraris that made a difference.

SEE ALSO: The McLaren 650S is taking aim at the Ferrari 488 and the Lamborghini Huracan

10. LaFerrari: The prancing horse stepped into the 21st century with the $1 million LaFerrari hybrid hypercar. Just 499 examples of the car will ever be built, and all are spoken for. Thus far, the LaFerrari is the first and only hybrid in company history.

Powered by a 6.3-liter, 789-horsepower V-12 boosted by a 161-horsepower electric motor, the hybrid stallion can reach 60 mph in under 3 seconds and reach a top speed of more than 217 mph, according to Ferrari.

9. 308 GTS: The Ferrari 308 GTS debuted in 1977 to great fanfare. The Pininfarina-designed, targa-top sports car was the car of choice on the '80s TV show "Magnum P.I." As a result, the 308 is one of the more recognizable Ferraris ever built.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The way United Airlines chooses your in-flight meal is far more intricate than you'd think


United Airlines Food 7671Just in time for those grueling holiday flights, United Airlines is unveiling a new onboard menu that you might actually want to eat. 

According to the company, the fall menu is all about customer satisfaction. 

Not only did the airline have four chefs collaborate on the new menu (rolling out November 1), frequent fliers were invited to its Newark Liberty International Airport facilities to taste the food and give their input.

With plenty of regional specialties and seasonal ingredients, the new premium-cabin and United Economy meal and snack options will feature chef-inspired dishes on flights throughout North and Latin America. 

Keep scrolling for a look at what's to come. 

SEE ALSO: A top sommelier rates the airlines with the best wine lists

United Airlines invited a handful of frequent fliers to its Chelsea Food Services center at Newark Liberty International Airport to test the new menu.

Four renowned chefs contributed to the menu.

Meals are only tested at sea level for now. But since altitude can affect the way we taste food, United plans to take a plane out of service and turn it into a flying test kitchen of sorts.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Meet the woman who invented the world's fastest motorcycle


eva and her husband

In 2014, Eva Håkansson set a world record for being the fastest female motorcycle rider, with a speed of 270.224 mph. 

She also happened to build the very motorcycle she set the record with — KillaJoule, the world's fastest electric motorcycle and the fastest sidecar motorcycle of any kind. 

Håkansson, who comes from an engineering background, spent five years building KillaJoule in her garage with the help of her husband. The vehicle made waves thanks to both its speed and its battery technology, which Håkansson credits to clever engineering.

We spoke to Håkansson to learn about the story, inspiration, and process behind her incredible creation.

SEE ALSO: Meet the woman who makes the food you see in commercials look irresistible

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Originally from Sweden, Håkansson moved to the US seven years ago. She enrolled in a PhD program for mechanical engineering at the University of Denver.

She comes from a family of engineers — her father was a racer in Sweden in the '60s, and he would build motorcycles in the time he had off from his job as an engineer. She decided to do the same, beginning the building of KillaJoule with her husband, Bill Dube, a research engineer at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in the two-car garage of their home in Denver, Colorado.

KillaJoule was essentially a hobby for Håkansson while she worked towards her degree, and it took her and her husband a total of five years to build. Her engineering background helped her to imagine and construct the vehicle, even though some people assumed her husband had taken the lead. "People are always directing the technical questions about the motorcycle to my husband," Håkansson told Business Insider.




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Here's how much actual pumpkin is in that pumpkin spice latte


For some, the changing leaves are indicative of fall, while for others it's that alluring scent of the wildly popular pumpkin-spice latte (PSL) — a seasonal coffee drink that mysteriously gives you a burst of delicious pumpkin pie flavor without the hassle of baking or dish-washing.

But have you ever stopped to wonder how the PSL does it?

Surprisingly, those iconic spices that go into a home-made pumpin pie constitute less than 11% of what gives your fall beverage its incredible flavor. And even smaller amount of actual pumpkin is in there.

We first learned about the amazing science behind the popular drink from food scientist Kantha Shelke on the Institute of Food Technologists.

Here are the facts:

BI_Graphics_Pumpkin spice latte

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There are 3 great reasons to join a wine club


wine bottles women

Should I join a wine club? This is one of the most commonly asked questions I’ve received. Also in the top ten are: “What’s the best wine club?” and “Are wine clubs really a good deal?”

Personally, I don’t currently subscribe to wine clubs, though I have in the past. Many of those seemed like great deals.

I often found that a great price is different from a great deal. Also, as I got more knowledgeable about wine, I found that I could navigate online and retail wine stores and do well without the help of a wine club.

But my experiences were from a few years ago, so I revisited the wine club market and investigated eight clubs. Many resembled my experience in the past, but two stood out. More on that in a second.

Why join a wine club?

I see three primary reasons:

  • To replenish your supply of a particular winery's bottlings that you love
  • To have a regular supply of wine come to you with virtually no hassle
  • To have a knowledgeable buyer (often with more pricing power than you have) send you interesting wines you would or couldn’t buy yourself

Want to use a club for education or to get bargains? Don’t bother. There are other ways to do that (and I hope my columns can be one of those methods.)

Things to avoid 

- Clubs that require long-term commitments

- Clubs that hide shipping costs

- Clubs partnered with a brand that isn't tied to wine. That newspaper, magazine, or hotel chain is adding cost without adding value. Also, the brand is almost certainly not involved, except for the licensing agreement.  

My favorite club for each use case:

Specific wineries.

Wine clubs from a particular winery will depend on your palate — I'll  leave that choice to you. But beware signing up after you’ve toured multiple wineries and tasted LOTS of wine in one day. Your good mood may not transfer to the bottles they send you in 3 months. The club will be there tomorrow, if you're still excited then. Also, if you love a commonly available wine, you may want to forgo the club and buy it at lower prices closer to home. 

Low-cost, "everyday," no-hassle wines  (under $15 a bottle.) Tasting Room from Lot 18.

Notice I didn’t say cheap. I liked the Tasting Room approach to customizing the club's selections to your palate. New members receive a tasting kit of 6 small bottles of wine, which you then taste and rate using the accompanying website. After tasting through the six small bottles, the service provides you with a taste profile and then follows up with wine (either all red or red and white) matched to your profile. I had my wife do the tasting kit (she enjoys wine but isn’t nearly as obsessed as I am) and the results suggested some wines she wouldn’t have typically gravitated to on her own.

The wine was uniformly good, but none of wine was amazing or something you would want to collect. But that isn’t why you join a club like this! You join to have wine you like on hand when you want it with very little hassle or risk. If that sounds good, this is a very good option. The site does a nice job of allowing you to provide feedback and further tailor offerings after the initial tests. It also helps you find something you like you can order at restaurants or wine stores, which is a nice feature. Here is the suggestion they provided based on my wife’s feedback on the test:

Screen Shot 2015 09 30 at 11.51.04 AM

What I liked: The ability to tailor shipments to your palate. A great entry point for learning more about wine. Decent to good wine at an affordable price. Great feedback loop on the website. 

Premium Discovery Option ($25+ per bottle.) Wine Club by Winestyr.

Winestyr is a new wine club from four-year-old online wine seller Winestyr. Inspired by the wine offered by individual wineries, the club focuses on smaller, independent, American (mostly California) wines that don’t make it to the shelves of most wine stores. Unlike the clubs from specific winery however, Winestyr’s club presents a variety of well-made, interesting wines from lesser-known winemakers. Think about this as a “greatest hits” of multiple-producer clubs. 

The club leans toward bold, well balanced, classically American style wines. The wines in my shipment were all really well made and well worth the $25-33 per bottle price of the 3-bottle packages (price is lower if you select red and white over all-red wines.) If you are looking for a variety of well-made wines this is the best club option I could find.  

What I liked: Well made American wine that is difficult to buy through other channels. Great documentation on each wine. Ability to purchase more of anything you like. This is a great gateway to vineyards that could easily fly under your radar.

What about the other six clubs? I couldn't recommend any of them. There are certainly more than eight wine clubs on the market, and some of them are very certainly good. But I had to end my review somewhere! The vast majority (and the other six I tested) delivered wine that was either uniformly or predominantly bad. Low-cost airline kind of bad.

But there are good clubs out there. If there is a vineyard you particularly enjoy, join their club for regular replenishment of your wine reserves. Otherwise, clubs can be a great low-maintenance way to resupply your everyday wine closet, or they can send you new discoveries on a periodic basis with a high degree of success. I found two I liked.  If they sound good to you, take the plunge.

SEE ALSO: Why wine will taste different from year to year

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What those 'Dermatologist Recommended' and 'Clinically Proven' labels on your lotions and soap actually mean



All of the soaps, scrubs, and shampoos that hang out in your bathroom are littered with statements like "doctor recommended" and a whole list of alleged advantages that separate it from the competing product you left behind at the store.

But, in the not-so-highly-regulated world of cosmetics, it's tough to sort through all that jargon and really get to the bottom of what you're actually putting on your skin.

Here's how to decode all the statements on the products you use every day.

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'Clinically proven'

What it sounds like: The product has gone through strict clinical trial testing on large sample sizes of human volunteers. 

What it means: Anywhere from one person to a million people have tested out the product in an experimental setting. Robert Lochhead, a polymer science professor at the University of Southern Mississippi told Business Insider, "Clinically approved means somewhere, a doctor has put it on someone and said it’s OK." And it matters what the word "clinically" is followed by. If it's say, "clinically proven to heal wounds," that would make the cosmetic now a drug, since it's altering the body, which would require much more oversight by the FDA.

'Active ingredient'

What it sounds like: Something in this product is alive!

What it means: The FDA defines an active ingredient as something that seeks to change your body in some way, whether it be preventing an illness or clearing up your skin. Active ingredients are what differentiate cosmetics from drugs: Cosmetics can skirt through with far less regulation than drugs, which the FDA has a lot more oversight on.

'SPF' in non-sunscreen products

What it sounds like: Your skin will be substantially protected from the sun's rays.

What it means: Many cosmetics companies use small amounts of SPF to keep their products themselves safe from the sun, said Lochhead. So if your foundation has "sunscreen" listed as the third or fourth ingredient down, don't rely on it as your first line of defense against sun damage.

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The vacation ritual my mom taught me that everyone should do



"Been there, climbed that" was my family's tagline while living in Germany.

My dad's job took us to the land of beer and pretzels during my last six months of middle school and my first two years of high school.

During those 2 1/2 years, my mom took on the role of travel agent. Every weekend we ventured to a different German village; every school vacation we traveled to a new country.

One constant: If there was a church — or any tall structure with stairs — we climbed to the top.

I may have complained a lot then ("Another cobblestone street? ANOTHER church to climb?"), but today I'm forever grateful that my mom dragged us up, because just look at all the incredible memories we made ...

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Europe is full of incredible buildings and churches, all of which have rewarding views and seemingly endless stairs. This is the Strasbourg Cathedral de Notre-Dame in Strasbourg, France.

The 332-step climb culminates with unparalleled views of the city and beyond. Just another mini-workout sneaked into our vacation by my active mother.

My mom rarely researched which cities had churches to climb; we stumbled upon them as we explored. During our cruise around the Greek islands, we stopped in Split, Croatia, and saw the Cathedral of Saint Domnius standing tall.

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A shockingly affordable apartment just opened up on Manhattan's 'Billionaires' Row'


100 West 57th St 10G

The luxury condominiums that line Manhattan's West 57th Street have earned the nickname "Billionaires' Row."

But according to a new listing, you don't have to be a billionaire to live in the ritzy neighborhood. 

Unit 10G in the Carnegie House (100 West 57th St.) just hit the market for a modest $1.199 million. 

Mind you, the average price of a condominium in Manhattan hit $3.4 million this spring, according to The Real Deal.  

The newly renovated, two bedroom apartment has not one, but three closets, including a walk-in and one that's dedicated to shoes. Because if you live on Billionaires' Row, you probably own enough shoes to fill an entire closet.

100 West 57th St 10GEastern-facing rooms boast oversize windows and cascading natural light.

The Lake Tana Birch hardwood floors have a special underlay to minimize noise between floors, and the finishings throughout the home are top of the line. For instance, marble countertops and a Vissani 50-bottle wine fridge are part of the remodeled kitchen's design. 

100 West 57th St 10GBoth of the apartment's two bathrooms feature Kraus waterfall faucets and stainless steel fixtures.

Carnegie House is located two blocks from Central Park and one block from Carnegie Hall. It's surrounded by museums, restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities.  

Michel Madie Real Estate Services holds the listing.

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