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Take a tour inside the super-elite club that counts Elon Musk, James Cameron, and Buzz Aldrin as members

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explorers (25 of 84)

World history is full of secret clubs with elite members, like Skull and Bones, the Freemasons, and the Illuminati. Shrouded in mystery, these clubs become the stuff of legend.

In a lavish Upper Manhattan townhouse lies the headquarters of similarly legendary, though far less secretive society — The Explorers Club.

Founded in 1904, The Explorers Club is a professional society that serves as a meeting place for explorers, scientists, and just about anyone with an interest in scientific exploration.

The Explorers Club funds, promotes, and assists expeditions around the world, often bringing together business bigwigs like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with enterprising explorers hell-bent on doing things that no one else has done. Among the club's current and historical members are astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, film director James Cameron, Space-X founder Elon Musk, President Teddy Roosevelt, and aviator Charles Lindbergh.

Located on the Upper East Side, the Explorers Club operates in a Jacobean townhouse that, in style and extravagance, recalls a miniaturized version of the mansions of old-time robber barons.

Last year, Business Insider got a look at the priceless historical artifacts and beautiful architecture the club has been storing there all these years.

The Explorers Club is located on East 70th Street in Manhattan near Central Park. The house's Jacobean facade makes it instantly recognizable.



The Explorers Club headquarters was originally the home of Stephen C. Clark, the heir to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune and founder of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Club member and famous writer Lowell Thomas later bought the house and gifted the property to the club.



The front sitting room is suffused with history, including many 15th- and 16th-century fixtures from Europe. The wood coffee table was originally a hatch cover on the USC&GS Explorer, a survey ship and research vessel that was one of the few ships to survive the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider








Mark Cuban bet $300,000 that stationary surfing would become a huge workout trend

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Besides bleach blonde hair, surfers are known for their ripped arms and toned abs. And now, you don't even need to live by a beach to get that surfer bod.

A new fitness craze has hit the country, and even caught the attention of investor Mark Cuban: stationary surfing.

Apparently, a 45-minute class on these plastic "surf boards" — which are unstable, thus activating your core — can burn between 500 and 900 calories, and promise to build lean muscle and burn fat. 

We went to Surfset NYC to check it out.

Story and editing by Ben Nigh

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17 eerie photos that show just how polluted China's air has become

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China Pollution

Although no one knows the exact amount of carbon that China emits each year, it's a well-known fact that the country has some of the most polluted air in the world. A recent study from UC Berkeley found that 4,000 people die every day because of complications from air pollution in China. 

In March, Chen Jining, the country's minister of environmental protection, said that while China cannot hold back on efforts to address the pollution, the turnaround is not going to be immediate. 

On November 9, the country was once again blanketed in acid smog from burning coal, breaking the record for the highest amount of pollution ever recorded in China. That weekend, the levels of airborne harmful particles were more than 50 times the number that the World Health Organization deems safe. The smog is estimated to remain lingering in the air throughout the rest of this week.

Here are a selection of photos that illustrate the escalation of China's pollution problems over recent years.

SEE ALSO: 20 shocking photos that show the many ways humans are destroying the Earth

A woman strolls through polluted air in front of a construction site of a residential compound in Wuhan.



Residential buildings are shrouded in a haze in Shenyang.



Even the night skies are hazy over downtown Shanghai.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider








Meet Sandi Ball, the nail artist and YouTube star who just launched a popular smartphone game

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Sandi Ball, the 26-year-old nail guru better known as "cutepolish," just released a super addictive video game.

"Cutepolish" is a veritable YouTube celebrity. In only five years, she's gotten over two million subscribers, and another 16 million followers across her other social media platforms. However, none of her fans had seen her face until last year.

Sandi told INSIDER that she worked with kids, and wanted to keep her work life and YouTube life separate. However, she explained that her subscribers kept begging her to reveal herself in the comments, which is why she finally appeared on camera once she hit two million subscribers.

With her identity revealed and her YouTube channel booming, Ball decided to expand her brand through another passion: video games. She released her very own nail-themed game, "Polish Blast," a few weeks ago for iOS and Android, and it already has over 65,000 downloads.

Story and editing by Alana Yzola

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China spent $1 billion replicating an entire Austrian village

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Back in 2012, China unveiled a knockoff of the entire Austrian village of Hallstatt.

The real village is centuries old and a UNESCO World Heritage site, located in the Salzkammergut region of upper Austria. With its narrow, cobblestone streets, brightly painted homes, and church steeples surrounded by mountains and a scenic lake, Hallstatt couldn't be any more Austrian.

While the Chinese knockoff isn't an exact replica, it's pretty impressive. The fake version is located in Huizhou, in the country's Guangzhou province. The Chinese mining company that created it spent nearly $1 billion on the recreation, in hopes that the town would draw both new residents and tourists. While its touristy section is thriving, its large housing complex, known as Deutsch Kultur (German culture), remains mostly empty.

Story by Sarah Schmalbruch, editing by Stephen Parkhurst

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An insane Florida mansion that was once the most expensive home in the US is back on the market — and now it's even more expensive

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Le Palais Royal

One of the most expensive houses ever listed for sale in the US is back on the market — and this time it's asking even more.

"Le Palais Royal," a 60,000-square-foot, Versailles-inspired compound in Hillsboro Beach, Florida, spent a year on the market without selling at an asking price of $139 million. Though that price made it the most expensive home for sale in the US at the time, its main residence's construction has now been completed, and it's currently listed for sale with an even higher price tag: $159 million.

That price includes new additions on a lot adjacent to the property, which the listing refers to as "phase two" of the construction. When completed, it will feature some crazy amenities, including an underground party zone with an ice skating rink, a track for go-karting, a two-lane bowling alley, and even space that can be used for a nightclub. 

It is currently owned by construction mogul Robert Pereira, who had originally planned to live in the residence, but changed his mind, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Mayi de la Vega of One Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing.

SEE ALSO: Inside One57, the new most expensive building in New York City

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The Le Palais Royal is not your typical mega-mansion.



Instead, it's a 60,000-square-foot, 4-acre compound along 465 feet of oceanfront in Hillsboro Beach, Florida. This particular stretch of beachfront housing is known by some as "Millionaires Mile."



Construction on the main home just finished. It sat on the market as an unfinished project for a year.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider








Aziz Ansari nails Hollywood's race problem in one great episode of his new Netflix show 'Master of None'

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"Master of None," Netflix's latest original comedy, currently has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rare feat.

The show's boldest, and maybe best, episode to date is called "Indians on TV."

In the episode, Dev (star and creator Aziz Ansari) finds himself experiencing racism in Hollywood. First, Dev is asked to do a stereotypical Indian accent during an audition. He refuses, which Ansari has also done in real life.

Then, after auditioning for a different role for a sitcom, he finds out that no network executive wants to see more than one Indian person on TV at a time.

"If I do a show with two Indian guys on the poster, everyone's gonna think it's an Indian show. It wouldn't be as relatable to a large, mainstream audience," Dev is told.

But Ansari uses the episode as a platform to fire back at this notion, featuring a prominent Indian cast and, as Dev, replying "Yeah, but you'd never say that about a show with two white people. Every show has two white people. People don't watch 'True Detective' and go 'oh, there's that white detective show!'"

After the first season debuted, Ansari wrote an essay for the New York Times addressing this same issue, and calling out Hollywood for only casting straight white actors even though 40% of the population are minorities. 

Story by Ian Phillips and editing by Kristen Griffin

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Forget the red cups — Starbucks is running a TV spot that’s all about Christmas

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Starbucks finds itself at the center of a controversy over its infamous holiday cups– the 2015 design is a simple red cup, free of any holiday or Christmas graphics. 

Consumers have taken to social media to voice their outrage over the plain design and the coffee retailer responded with a statement claiming it wanted, "a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories."

Following the initial outrage, Starbucks has released this holiday commercial filled with Christmas references, including decorations, songs, and a baby bib that reads, "My First Christmas."

Produced by Graham Flanagan

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Hundreds of people did yoga on China's terrifying glass-bottom bridge

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Hundreds of yoga enthusiasts took to China’s new glass-bottom bridge to promote healthy living.

Brave Man's Bridge is the world’s longest glass-bottom bridge. It's 984 feet long, and spans a 590-foot deep crevasse.

While many have struggled to cross it without closing their eyes, hanging onto the handrails, or even crawling on their hands and knees, others have decided to do some yoga on there.

The yoga routine, which was meant to promote healthy living, looked incredible, if you can stomach the view.

Story by Tony Manfred and editing by Adam Banicki

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8 coffee shops that New Yorkers love

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jack's stir brew

New York runs on coffee — barely drinkable office swill, fast coffee from carts and bodegas, utility lattes from mega-chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, and the actual good stuff from local roasters and beloved cafés.

The latter is what really feeds our addiction, and at $5 a cup, drains our bank accounts.

Keep scrolling to check out some of Manhattan's most beloved coffee institutions, the places New Yorkers go to get their fix and even spend an entire Sunday afternoon.  

Stumptown

From Portland, Oregon, Stumptown is the OG craft coffee shop. It sources the best beans in the world straight from farmers and roasts them with the utmost care and precision. All of its baristas must graduate from a 12-week intensive training program. 

There are two locations in New York, one in Greenwich Village and one in The Ace Hotel. The former was once the home of the Eighth Street Bookshop, a haunt of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. At the brew bar you can have your coffee made with a Chemex, AeroPress, and other gadgets. 



Abraço

This tiny coffee bar is inspired by similar stalls in Spain and Italy. There's a windowsill bar and a slim table and bench out front where you can quickly down your espresso and polish off a slice of proprietress Elizabeth Quijada's famous olive oil cake.

Quijada opened Abraço with her husband, Jamie, in 2007. With tight quarters and a loyal East Village clientele, it's a convivial little shoebox with music thumping at all hours. The couple roasts their own beans and are known for interesting blends such as Lil' Jeffy, which has notes of chocolate, strawberry, and "cigar box wood and papa's pipe tobacco." 



Blue Bottle Coffee

With seven locations in New York, California's Blue Bottle coffee shop has this writer's favorite iced coffee. Its New Orlean's style cold brew is made with chicory and a touch of cane sugar for a supremely decadent yet mellow flavor. 

They're also known for their pour-over coffee and a commitment to only using beans less than 48 hours out of the roaster. At the flagship NYC shop in Chelsea, single origin coffee selections change seasonally and public cuppings held every Saturday are open to the public. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider








TONY ROBBINS: How to make a good first impression

How luxury shoppers are changing the face of retail

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bii luxury

Luxury shoppers are highly coveted customers for brands and retailers. The top 10% of US household earners (those taking home $120,000 or more annually) account for approximately half of all consumer expenditures.

This demographic’s growing preference for online shopping is changing the face of luxury retail, and it has significant implications for how brands target luxury consumers.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we profile the luxury shopper and take a close look at the spending habits and preferences of high-income earners — including how and where they shop.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Discretionary spending among the wealthy is growing faster than for the average US consumer. Discretionary spending among those earning $120,000 a year or more is expected to increase 6.6% in 2016, reaching $406 billion, according to YouGov. Among the top 1%, it's expected to rise 10%. By contrast, discretionary spending for the average US consumer dropped 1% between 2014 and 2015.
  • Wealthy consumers are expected to spend the most next year on fashion, travel, and dining. Among these categories, spending on fashion (specifically, apparel, accessories, and handbags) will grow the most, increasing 6.9% to $37.4 billion (roughly 9% of total discretionary spending). 
  • Luxury brands are over-allocating ad spend to print media. The seven largest US luxury brands collectively spent $133 million last year on holiday ad spending, 57% of which was allocated to magazine ads, according to the Shullman Research Center. But among luxury shoppers, recall rates are higher for digital ads.
  • There are signs that luxury shopping is less brand- and status-oriented than it once was. Luxury shoppers, like the average consumer, enjoy the convenience and low prices of online retailers like Amazon vs. shopping via official brand sites. Luxury shopping may become even more price-sensitive as millennials age. 

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the market for personal luxury goods, by country.
  • Measures the effectiveness of luxury marketing channels.
  • Breaks down ad spend among luxury brands.
  • Identifies where luxury consumers shop online and in-store.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now

BI Intelligence DevicesPS. Did you know...

Our BI Intelligence INSIDER Newsletters are currently read by thousands of business professionals first thing every morning. Fortune 1000 companies, startups, digital agencies, investment firms, and media conglomerates rely on these newsletters to keep atop the key trends shaping their digital landscape — whether it is mobile, digital media, e-commerce, payments, or the Internet of Things.

Our subscribers consider the INSIDER Newsletters a "daily must-read industry snapshot" and "the edge needed to succeed personally and professionally" — just to pick a few highlights from our recent customer survey.

With our full money-back guarantee, we make it easy to find out for yourself how valuable the daily insights are for your business and career.  Click this link to learn all about the INSIDER Newsletters today.

 

 

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Happy Friday the 13th — here's some of the creepiest places on Earth

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ISLAND OF DOLLS MEXICO

Life Magazine recently published "The World's Most Haunted Places," a round up of the spookiest sites from around the world.

Business Insider has combed through the list to bring you 9 of the creepiest places from around the world. The list includes possessed dolls, ancient crypts, crafts made from exhumed corpses, haunted houses, prisons, and hotels.

SEE ALSO: The 13 scariest real-life haunted houses in America

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco Bay, California

The Alcatraz Island has been home to a Civil War Fortress, a bird sanctuary, the American Indian Red Power movement, and most famously a prison.

On May 2, 1946, six prisoners overpowered guards, stole their weapons and attempted to escape from the island. But they didn't have the key they needed, and a hostage crisis ensued. 

Two prison officers, and three inmates were killed in the process, as well as 18 injured. 

Since then, the prison has gained a reputation as a haunted, forsaken place. Former inmate Leon "Whitey" Thompson described it as "the Island of the damned."

Some say a ghostly Al Capone, a former inmate, can be heard practicing the banjo he played in the prison's old band. Others say that mobster Alvin "Creepy" Karpis haunts the bakery and kitchen.

Though the National Park Service maintains the ghost stories are mere "flights of fancy," the consensus is that the most haunted spot is in cell block D, where the notorious escape attempt took place.

While in solitary confinement in cell block D, a prisoner was heard screaming that someone, or something, else was in there with him.When the guards opened up the door, the prisoner was found dead with strangulation marks around his neck.

Source: LIFE, The world's most haunted places



Ed Gein's home in Plainfield, Wisconsin

After the death of his mother, Ed Gein began digging up graves of recently buried middle-aged women. He took their bodies home, where he tanned their skins and made his paraphernalia.

Soon after, Gein began to abduct and kill women.

After the disappearance of a woman who ran a local tavern, authorities were led to Gein's farmhouse, and one of the most horrific discoveries of all time.

Inside the house police found chairs reupholstered with fatty human skin, a soup bowl made from a human skull, a shade pull made of lips, masks made from human faces, a belt made of female nipples, and a vest made from a woman's torso. In total, the remains of 11 women were found in the house.

Gein's horrendous crimes have been the inspiration for horror films like Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Silence of The Lambs

Source: LIFE, The world's most haunted places



The Dakota in New York City

In 1884, when Singer Sewing Machine President Edward S. Clark had a house built in Manhattan's Upper West Side, the area was so remote they named it "The Dakota," after the vast and unexplored Dakota territories.

The Dakota was the inspiration for Ira Levin's 1967 novel "Rosemary's Baby," which depicted scenes of witchcraft, satanism, cannibalism, and murder.

Common occurrences at The Dakota include phantom footsteps, mysterious rumblings, and elevators moving around on their own.

As Manhattan filled out around The Dakota, it hosted many celebrities. Most notably, John Lennon lived there at the time of his tragic murder in 1980.

Source: LIFE, The world's most haunted places



See the rest of the story at Business Insider








Here's what it's like to stay in an Airbnb in Cuba, where everything looked great but was actually broken

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outside of airbnb havana

Business Insider recently sent three reporters on a wild trip to Havana, Cuba, to experience the island nation's surreal time warp.

Instead of booking rooms in one of the state-run hotels, we decided to stay in a three-bedroom "casa particular," a traditional Cuban home we found through Airbnb, which started offering accommodations in Havana in June.

Our apartment was just a few steps away from the infamous Habana Libre hotel, the beautiful seaside views of Malecón, and Havana's main drag, "La Rampa." 

SEE ALSO: We sent 3 reporters to Cuba for a week, and it was a wild adventure from the moment they arrived

NOW WATCH: We just stayed at an Airbnb in Cuba, and this one thing was a big surprise

We booked a 7-day stay at "Diana's luxury apartment in the heart of Havana" for a grand total of $840. The listing was accurate for the most part, but it would have been nice to know that there was a serious issue with the water — most days, we didn't have any.



Bienvenidos a nuestra casa aquí en Habana, Cuba! This is what our living room looked like. We had two wooden rocking chairs, a glass table, and a bookcase. Most of the furniture in our apartment, including the Marilyn Monroe canvas, was from IKEA.



Our bookcase was stocked with plenty of Russian and communist literature, but since we had plenty of things to do, we didn't take the time to sit down with all five volumes of "Lenin."

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider








This online financial firm lets people invest with purpose

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Aspiration marketWe live in an era when banks and investment firms are some of the most disliked businesses in America — and angst about fees is driving much of that dissatisfaction. So, why are over 90 percent of customers from one financial company voluntarily choosing to pay even when they don’t have to?

The answer comes in the unique approach of Aspiration, "an online financial firm with a conscience.”

Launched last year, the company joins the growing list of businesses that put mission and purpose alongside profit in guiding their actions – and brings this attitude to a financial industry known for focusing exclusively on its bottom line.

Aspiration’s “Do Well, Do Good” approach starts with its suite of products. Each of them, according to the company’s CEO and co-founder, Andrei Cherny, is built around addressing an unmet pain point of retail consumers. The Aspiration Flagship Fund is designed and monitored by its portfolio managers to produce steady growth and withstand many of the market swings.

In July, the company unveiled its no-fee, high-yield checking account that aims to put a little more money back in consumers' pockets, too. With interest rates up to 100 times better than those offered by most major banks, no ATM or monthly service fees, and a $10 minimum balance, the firm hopes to address the challenge Americans face around savings. This October, Money magazine named this Aspiration product "the best checking account in America" for 2015-16.

Next up from Aspiration is a new product that lets the average person invest in sustainable strategies without sacrificing returns.

While its products are distinctive for an online investment firm, perhaps Aspiration's greatest differentiator is its “pay what is fair” fee structure, which means customers choose how much to pay for its investment and banking services — including the option of paying nothing. This drives the Aspiration to constantly seek ways of what Cherny calls “delighting our customers.” Among them is the company’s commitment to donate 10 cents for every dollar it earns to micro loans for struggling and enterprising Americans.

And Cherny is betting the public is ready for a different kind of banker — one with a little heart. So far, that bet seems to be paying off. While Aspiration’s “pay what’s fair” business model drew some doubters upon launch, he says more than 90 percent of its customers do pay and most a very fair rate.

“What we’ve seen is you really can trust people,” he says. “If you’re doing good work for them, bringing them value, and living by the values you say you’re going to live by, they’re going to trust us and do right by us as well.”

Learn more about how Aspiration is shaking up the investment world and bringing unique financial products to "everyday people."

This post is sponsored by Aspiration.

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How the 'Friday The 13th' superstition got started

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The Last Supper

Fear of Friday the 13th, also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia, plagues our society. 

Every year, the world loses $700 to $800 million on Friday the 13th because people won't conduct business as usual. Many especially refuse to fly.

On top of that, almost 80% of high rise buildings skip the 13th floor. Many airports exclude gate 13, and hospitals regularly avoid room 13.

So where does this superstition originate? The roots link back to religion — of all denominations and time periods.

History of a superstition

First and foremost, the Last Supper's 13th guest (and last apostle), Judas betrayed Jesus, according to the Bible. Then, His Crucifixion occurred on a Friday. Some scholars also believe Eve tempted Adam on a Friday.

Also, Babylon's ancient Code of Hammurabi skips number 13 when listing laws. Egyptians considered the afterlife the 13th phase of life.

But the number thirteen's cursed beginnings fall outside the rise of Christianity, too. A similar story occurs in Norse mythology. The 11 closest friends of Odin, the father of all gods, chose to dine together when Loki, the god of evil and chaos, crashed the party. One of the gods, Balder, the god of joy and happiness, died that evening. ("Friggatriskaidekaphobia" brings together "Frigg," a Norse goddess and Friday's namesake, and  "triskaidekaphobia," fear of the number 13 in general.)

Much later, King Philip IV of France certainly didn't help by ordering the persecution of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307. In the following years, several thousand faced torture and execution.

If those tales don't convince you, math also has a stake in why people get bad vibes from the number thirteen. First, 12 appears a lot in our culture — 12 months in a year, 12 hours on a clock, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 apostles of Jesus. We love 12.

Twelve is a "pseudoperfect" number, according to Wolfram. The sum of some of its divisors equals the whole number. For example, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 go into 12. Both 2+4+6 and 1+2+3+6 equal 12.

On December 12, 2012, a boy in Alabama turned 12 at 12:12 p.m. People started calling him everything from "the chosen one" to a sign of the impending apocalypse.

Thirteen has a tough act to follow.

Regardless of where, when, or how this superstition started, we've perpetuated our own fear.

"If nobody bothered to teach us about these negative taboo superstitions like Friday the 13th, we might in fact all be better off," Stuart Vyse, psychology professor at Connecticut College in New London, told National Geographic.

Now Watch: 7 Optical Illusions That Will Make You Look Twice

 

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New York's hottest pickle joint showed us how to make fried pickles

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In honor of National Pickle Day, we asked the experts at New York City's famous pickle place, Jacob's Pickles, how to make their delectable fried pickles at home.

While Jacob's Pickles serves up unique takes on classic Southern comfort food, they are renowned for their fried pickles, which they serve with a spicy red mayonnaise for dipping.

Making fried pickles is pretty simple. First, make the batter: Jacob's is made of flour, seltzer, and a spice blend.

Mix those ingredients together, and then dip the pickles into the batter. Then, place them into a pan of hot oil, and cook for four to six minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Watch the video to see how the pros do it.

Story by Sarah Schmalbruch and editing by Adam Banicki

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The dangerous and unbelievable lives of fisherman on Alaska's Bering Sea

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Corey_Arnold_FWBS 10In 2002, photographer Corey Arnold left behind a poor economy in San Francisco and headed up to Alaska to try his luck at his longtime passion of fishing.

Arnold, who had worked summers during college on a salmon boat in Alaska, signed on to the f/v Rollo, a crabbing boat that fishes in the dangerous Bering Sea.

While working long, strenuous hours on the Rollo, Arnold often stole away with the captain’s permission to grab his camera and photograph the crew and the ship. 

Arnold eventually put together "Fish Work: Bering Sea," a documentation of his seven adventurous and dicey crab seasons aboard the Rollo.

Arnold shared a selection of the photos with us here, and you can check out the rest in the book or on his website.

There are two annual crabbing seasons in the Bering Sea, King crab and Opilio crab. During each one- to two-month season, Arnold went on numerous trips crabbing. He went on one or two trips during King season, and three to five during Opilio season.



The Bering Sea, located between far east Russia and Alaska, has a unique interaction of strong currents, sea ice, and powerful weather patterns. It is one of the most dangerous places to fish in the world. Arnold calls the sea "a continuous storm."



The 107-foot f/v Rollo is equipped to handle tumultuous seas. Average seas in the Bering Sea have around 10- to 20-foot waves, but Arnold has witnessed massive 50-foot waves and the Rollo's captain, Eric Nyhammer, has witnessed 80-foot waves. Arnold rarely saw his captain get nervous, but when he does, the crew knows it's time to worry.



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This JJ Abrams TED Talk explains why the new 'Star Wars' trailers are so mysterious

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"Star Wars" fans are in a frenzy because Luke Skywalker has been missing from every single trailer and poster for the new movie, "The Force Awakens."

But there's a reason we haven't seen Skywalker yet.

It's all part of J.J. Abrams' philosophy as a filmmaker. In a TED talk in 2008 he referred to this as "The Mystery Box."

"The withholding of information... doing that intentionally is much more engaging," Abrams said. "I find myself drawn to infinite possibility and that sense of potential. And I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination."

He added that the reason "Jaws" and "Alien" are so engaging is that we barely see the monsters.

So what part does Skywalker play in the new "Star Wars?"

Find out for yourself on December 18th.

Story by Ian Phillips and editing by Stephen Parkhurst

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We taste-tested pizzas from Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and Domino's — here's who does it best

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Pizza Taste Off 4

Americans adore pizza.

According to a 2014 study by the US Department of Agriculture, about 1 in 8 Americans ate pizza on any given day. That's a lot of pizza.

While local pizzerias are always a good choice, there are millions of die-hard chain pizza lovers out there. These acolytes of the Pizza Big Three are steadfast in their preferences: Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's.

But the question is, from which chain to order?

It's a loaded question, and everyone has their own answer.

We decided to take the matter into our own hands and test the Big Three pizzas head-to-head to see who has the best pizza.

Who is crowned the classic-cheese champion, and who snags the supreme-pizza prize? Keep scrolling to find the results.

Our test has three categories: the classic cheese pizza, the supreme pizza, and breadsticks — the pizza palace essentials.



First, the cheese pizza choices — still hot and cheesy.



The smell of mozzarella and tomato fills the room. No matter how disappointing, all pizza is still good, so this will prove tricky. Are any pizzas truly bad?



See the rest of the story at Business Insider








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