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The 50 coolest new businesses in America

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4x3_50 coolest new businesses 2015

Dozens of cool, innovative businesses pop up across the US every day, bringing new technologies, entertainment options, and services to their local communities.

Throughout the year, we've highlighted several of these small, independent businesses that have opened over the past five years or so in New York City, San Francisco, Houston, Portland, Boston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and now we've scoured the rest of the country for inventive new ventures.

From a pizza oven on wheels to a boutique where everything's free — with a catch, of course — there are plenty of smart places to check out. Read on to see our top 50.

Editing by Alex Morrell. Additional reporting by Lauren Browning.

SEE ALSO: The 29 coolest new businesses in New York City

SEE ALSO: The 19 coolest new businesses in San Francisco

5 Rabbit Cervecería

6398 W. 74th St., Bedford Park, Illinois

What it is: A Latin-influenced craft brewery that bases its beers on Aztec culture.

Why it's cool: Located just outside Chicago, the first Latin microbrewery, or cervecería, in the US infuses its brews with ancho chili, piloncillo cane sugar, and other Latin flavors. Inspired by an Aztec myth, 5 Rabbit names all of its beers to coincide with the Aztec calendar.



Angela & Roi

Online, based in Boston, Massachusetts

What it is: A handbag company that has a unique charity-donation policy.

Why it's cool: Angela & Roi handbags come in all sorts of colors, but when choosing, most customers don't just think about the color they like; they also think about the "color" they're donating to. A portion of each bag sale goes to the charity whose color coordinates with the bag — red is for HIV/AIDS, pink is for breast cancer, and so forth. Angela & Roi bags are also eco-conscious, made without animal products or sweatshop labor.



Arrowroot

Online, based in Denver, Colorado

What it is: A brand that believes in ethically produced clothing and dressing up every day.

Why it's cool: This online retailer based in Denver claims to make it easier to get dressed in the morning, whether you’re running errands, heading to work, or grabbing coffee with a friend. This fair-trade fashion label was created by E.A. Lepine, a designer intent on trading lazy-day yoga pants for casual, comfortable, and trendy dresses.

All items sold at Arrowroot are sewn by a group of seven women in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The women earn fair wages — about $10 to $12 an hour, enough to support a family — and healthcare benefits.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Your next innovative meal is at this pop-up restaurant in Portland

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Nomad PDX cooking

On any day of the week, you might find Ryan Fox foraging in northwest Oregon for mushrooms and herbs, visiting the farmers market, or buying seafood from fishermen.

It's not just an eccentric hobby. Fox then goes into the kitchen and prepares what he gathers at Nomad.PDX, one of the most innovative new restaurants in Portland.

Fox's approach to cooking is risky and adventurous: He takes whatever is in season — and only what's in season — and transforms it into a delicious work of art. Last winter, when ingredients were scarce, barley, potato, and cabbage dessert ("cabbage was the sweetest thing available," he says) appeared on the menu. 

"In some cities, chefs will have an idea for the menu and make the ingredients work around that idea," he says. "At Nomad.PDX, the ingredients dictate the menu 100%."

It may be harder to create a menu with these constraints, but Fox approaches it as an exciting opportunity. "The challenge is very real for us," says Fox. "No one in Portland has done what we're doing."

A new approach to fine dining

The 29-year-old executive chef is redefining the dining experience. While Fox has worked at some of the most upscale restaurants in the country, Nomad.PDX is a huge departure.

"The initial reaction was, 'These people are crazy!'" Fox says. "A few got it and were on board, but most people said, 'You don't have any money, any equipment, or even a restaurant; you don't have anything to do this.' But we did it anyway."

Nomad.PDX technically operates as a pop-up restaurant from a mezzanine above a bar, although Fox and sous chef Ali Matteis hope to find a larger, permanent space, and perhaps even start their own farm. In the meantime, Fox has made sure the restaurant has a distinct look and feel. He's traded in white tablecloths, chandeliers, and even a wait staff — Fox and Matteis serve everything themselves — for a simple, intimate dining experience.

Customers eat bold, innovative fare while sitting on folding chairs, surrounded by rocks, leaves, and branches Fox collects on his foraging trips. This creates a unique juxtaposition between a bare-bones feel of the physical dining experience and a menu that's anything but basic.

Nomad PDX dish

"I’ve worked at a lot of very nice restaurants, but I never saw what chefs cared about translate to the atmosphere in the dining room," Fox says. "Chefs don't care about white tablecloths. Strip it all away and make it about the food."

The evolution of culinary innovation

Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Fox grew up on a "very simple" Midwest diet. But while washing dishes for restaurants as a teenager, he fell in love with food on a deeper level.

After graduating from high school, Fox attended The Culinary Institute of America in New York. From there he floated from city to city — Chicago, New Orleans, and Las Vegas, where he landed a coveted gig at the renowned Joël Robuchon.

Eventually, he made his way to Portland, and the city's emphasis on farm-to-table aligned with own beliefs.

We're trying to tell a story with food — a personal story, but also a story of the place that inspires us.

In January 2015, he opened the restaurant with Matteis, an Oregon native who's established in the industry (she worked at New York City's Atera).

Nomad PDX egg dish

Today, Nomad.PDX offers a 15-to-20-course meal ($95). Fox tries to weave a narrative about sustainability into each dish.

"We're trying to tell a story with food — a personal story, but also a story of the place that inspires us," says Fox. "This is the bounty this area is producing for us, and this is what can be done with it. We hammer across the whole story of the Pacific Northwest, and we need 15 to 20 courses to tell it."

Fox is well aware he's treading uncharted territory and could fail — or run out of money. But he's charging ahead anyway.

"I have no fear," says Fox. "My purpose on this Earth is to feed people who want me to feed them."

Visit Nomad.PDX.

Explore the unnecessarily well made at Glenmorangie.com.

This post is sponsored by Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

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The story of santa and his flying reindeer may have started with a shroom trip

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amanita muscaria.JPG

If you celebrated Christmas as a child, the story of a bearded old man flying around the world delivering gifts may have struck you as strange. But one interpretation of the myth's origins is even stranger.

As Live Science reported back in 2012, magic mushrooms may explain the origins of Santa and his flying reindeer.

"As the story goes, up until a few hundred years ago these practicing shamans or priests connected to the older traditions would collect Amanita muscaria [the Holy Mushroom], dry them, and then give them as gifts on the winter solstice," John Rush, an anthropologist and instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin, California, told Live Science.

Since the doors were usually blocked by snow, people usually entered through an opening in the roof — hence Santa's famous chimney entry, Rush added.

Santa's 'flying' reindeer

Some folklorists claim the flying reindeer tradition came from people tripping on these shrooms, since reindeer are common in Siberian climates. The reindeer are known eat the mushrooms, too.

Then there's the fact that A. muscaria grow under trees (like presents), and are red-and-white (like Santa's suit).

HarshLight Disneyland reindeer

These mushrooms are usually toxic to humans, but shamans used them in religious practices because of their hallucinogenic properties, according to the book "Hallucinogens and Culture" by Peter Furst. A. muscaria is distinct from the "magic" mushrooms commonly used as a recreational drug, such as Psilocybe cubensis.

A compound known as muscimol is the main psychoactive ingredient in A. muscaria. Muscimol acts similarly to the brain signaling chemical GABA, which suppresses the activity of brain cells and produces relaxing feelings.

Fact or fiction?

The Santa-shaman theory is disputed by some.

If you look at the evidence, "you find that shamans didn't travel by sleigh, didn't usually deal with reindeer spirits, very rarely took the mushrooms to get trances, didn't have red and white clothes," Ronald Hutton, a history professor at the University of Bristol, told NPR in 2010.

Instead, Hutton says, Santa was invented in 1822 by a New Yorker named Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote the classic children's book "The Night Before Christmas."

But shamans and hallucinogenic mushrooms sound a bit more magical, don't you think?

CHECK OUT: There's a big problem with the way we study psychedelic drugs

NOW SEE: There’s a fascinating psychological reason behind your belief in ghosts

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The most popular Christmas traditions have nothing to do with Jesus

The 20 best bottles of champagne to bring to your holiday parties

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Champagne

If you're unsure of what to bring to a holiday party this season, a nice bottle of Champagne will always do the trick.

We partnered with alcohol review site Under the Label to determine which bottles of bubbly are the best — and most affordable — picks.

All bottles on our list retail for less than $100 and are ranked according to Under The Label's smart rating, a weighted average of scores given by 11 wine review publications and websites including Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and Wine Enthusiast.

Here are the best and most affordable sparkling wines to drink this season.

20. Argyle Extended Tirage Brut 2000 ($55.99)

The Argyle Extended Tirage hails from Oregon's Willamette Valley. The sparkling wine's aromas include "a revolving sense of red plum, apple pie, ripe pear fruit, blossom honey, graham cracker yeastiness" and, according to a taster, flavors of "beautifully intense layers of pear, caramel, spice and whole-grain toast that mingle seamlessly as the finish rolls on and on."

19. Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut 2002 ($79.99)

The Grand Vintage 2002 is the 69th from the Maison. It's "mature, harmonious, and precise" with "toasty flavors, both sweet and dry" complemented by "warm notes of grain and frangipane along with toasted almonds and malt, mocha and light tobacco." What follows the initial taste is notes of pear, candied citrus, plum, nectarine, and white peach.

18. Louis Roederer Brut Rosè 2010 ($74.99)

The bouquet of this 2010 Louis Roederer Rosè is intense and complex with fruity, floral, and mineral aromas and notes of gingerbread. It's energetic yet elegant upon tasting; "an intense energy 'interwoven' with a rich, almost 'proud' material, accompanied by a swirl of velvety flavors."

17. Schramsberg Brut Rose 2007 ($33.99)

The 2007 Schramsberg Rosè smells of strawberry, raspberry, and cherries complemented by mandarin orange and papaya. In the mouth, it has "exotic flavors of mango and cantaloupe, followed by mouthwatering citrus" ending with a "long, lingering" finish.

16. Gilt Deutz Cuvee William Brut 1998 ($89)

Aromas of the 1998 Gilt Deutz Cuveè are "reminiscent of baked apples, together with light and pleasant hints of preserved ginger and nutmeg." To taste, it's crisp with a rich and savory finish.

15. Deutz Blanc De Blancs 2004 ($74.99)

Champagne Deutz's well-respected house style is reflected in this Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Tasters say this bubbly is "firm and juicy, with a creamy mineral undercurrent to the flavors of yellow pear, light pastry, candied lemon zest, apricot and spice set on refined texture." 

Bollinger Rose14. Schramsberg J. Schram 2003 ($95)

The 2003 J. Schram has developed aromas of "lemon-lime, pineapple, baked pear, and orange marmalade" followed by sourdough, vanilla crème brûlée, and toasted marshmallow. On the palate, this vintage Champagne has a profile of "viscous, caramelized apple and citrus" and finishes with "a delicate minerality, a hint of warm almonds, and a lingering acidity."

13. Roederer Estate L'Ermitage 2007 ($39.99)

The 2007 L'Ermitage has great notes of "tarte tain: baked apples and buttery crust, with notes of apricot and delicate vanilla bean." To taste, it's creamy with flavors of quince and bread crust.

12. Bollinger Brut Rose ($89.99)

This non-vintage Bollinger Rose is richly complex, with balanced acidity, and pale copper in color. It has aromas of strawberries, raspberries, and toasty lees and is "full-bodied with a round flavor."

11. Argyle Extended Tirage Brut 1998 ($62.99)

This 1998 Argyle Extended Tirage is harmonious and intense. In flavor, it exhibits "wave after wave of rich toast, spice, and baked apple" with an elegant finish.

10. Veuve Clicquot Rare Vintage In Cellar Box 1988 ($99)

This rare vintage Veuve Clicquot is 68% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay with aromas of dried fruits and flowers with toast and brioche notes. On the palate, it's "firm and well-structured, with masses of substance and refinement."

9. Iron Horse Green Valley Chinese Cuveè 2004 ($99)

Iron Horse's second vintage is this Chinese Cuveè in celebration of the Year of the Snake. It's a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with "wonderful complexity and creaminess" and is considered to be "remarkably dry, spicy, vibrant, and bright."

8. Charles Heidsieck Vintage Brut 1995 ($64.99)

This sparkling wine has a deep complexity with "toasty, sweet, caramelized lemon and grapefruit aromas plus a wealth of grilled hazelnuts and sweet-smelling spicy accents." On the tongue, the vintage brut is "smoky, savory and has sherry-like nutty aged characters."

7. Billecart-Salmon Cuveè Nicolas Francois Brut 2000 ($89)

This Billecart-Salmon cuveè is a mixture of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay developing a "balance between richness and persistence" with aromas of white flowers and subtle notes of brioche.

6. Argyle Extended Tirage Brut 2002 ($69.99)

Released in 2012, the Argyle Extended Tirage was aged a decade but remains fresh with "delicate layers of cut pear, shortbread cookie, flan, persimmon, quince, and funnel cake" and "flavors of crisp red pear, straw notes, and crusty baguette."

Schramsberg J. Schram 20055. Schramsberg J. Schram 2005 ($89.99)

The vintage J. Schram 2005 has a fresh aroma of green apple, ripe grapefruit, and pineapple followed by subtle notes of lemon custard, crème brûlée, and toasted hazelnut. To taste, the Champagne is layered with sweet and spicy flavors of candied ginger and lemon curd.

4. Charles Heidsieck Blanc Des Millenaires Brut 1990 ($84.99)

The 100% Chardonnay Blanc Des Millenaires has flavors of "honey, coffee, citrus confit and ginger notes" in its firm and grained texture.

3. Charles Heidsieck Vintage Brut 1990 ($71.99)

This "Reserve Charlie" is named after Champagne Charlie, the man who reportedly first brought Champagne to America. One taster said this vintage is "seamless from start to finish" with "fruit blossoms, citrus, honey and vanilla, creamy and pliant, finely integrated with the firm structure."

2. Schramsberg J. Schram 2004 ($89.99)

To the nose, this 2004 J. Schram smells of fresh green apple, apricot, and lime with creamy vanilla custard and marzipan followed by fresh baguette. To the taste, it's full of orange, melon, and lemon flavors accentuated by warm spices, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

1. Schramsberg J. Schram Rose 2004 ($71.99)

This unique rosè has rich aromas of blood orange and melon mixed with notes of raspberry spice and ruby grapefruit. Its finish is crisp and tangy with a "long, quenching acidity." 

SEE ALSO: The 10 most expensive Champagnes on the planet

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How to saber a bottle of champagne with an iPhone

The best burger in every state

The 20 best business books of 2015

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elon musk

Whether you're looking for a last-minute gift or want to make sure you didn't miss a must-read, it's worth checking out the year's best business stories, career guides, and management studies.

From a biography of Elon Musk to a look inside Google's management structure and an introduction to behavioral economics, we've picked our favorite business books of 2015.

SEE ALSO: The 10 most popular free online courses for professionals

DON'T MISS: 33 business books every professional should read before turning 30

'Elon Musk' by Ashlee Vance

Musk is the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. He says his mission in life is to prevent the human race from destroying itself.

Vance, a Bloomberg Business reporter, gained unprecedented access to Musk and those closest to him. He paints a picture of a man who has always felt a desire to change the world despite having difficulty finding his place in it, and an inspiring leader whose intensity can sometimes be difficult for the people he works with.

Find it here >>



'Work Rules!' by Laszlo Bock

Since joining Google as its senior vice president of People Operations in 2006, Bock has seen the company transform into a powerful global business, growing from 6,000 employees to nearly 60,000. In that same time, Google has regularly topped lists of the best places to work.

Bock takes readers behind the scenes and explores the management strategies that have helped make Google exceptional, from differentiating between employee development and performance and "paying unfairly."

Find it here >>



'Misbehaving' by Richard Thaler

Thaler is an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business best known as "the father of behavioral economics."

In traditional economics, people are presumed to be purely rational actors; in reality, people's decisions are also influenced by biases and impulses that often have nothing to do with logic.

"Misbehaving" serves as an introduction into Thaler's way of understanding markets, and it's filled with his colorful wit.

Find it here >>



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Business Insider's complete guide to last-minute holiday gifting

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It's not easy to shop for everyone on your list. If you're scrambling for ideas at the last minute, we've got you covered. From coworkers to world travelers to foodies to teens, we've got a gift guide to make all the people in your life happy this holiday season.

Join the conversation about this story »

This guy didn't have a drink until he was 21 — now he's running the best bar in America

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Sean Muldoon decided to be a bartender because employment was nearly impossible to come by in Belfast, Northern Ireland — he hadn't even had a drink until he was 21.

Now he's now running the best bar in America.

"I decided in 1998 in Belfast that I wanted to be the best in the world at what I did," he told Business Insider. "You can take anything, no matter how humble it seems, you can take anything and you can be very average at it, or you can be extraordinary. It's just about belief, it's about sacrifice, it's about being able to chase your dreams."

After making a name for himself at the 5-star Merchant Hotel in Belfast, Muldoon moved to the US and in 2013 co-founded The Dead Rabbit, a New York City bar near Wall Street that specializes in Irish whiskey cocktails. It was recently named the second best bar in the world — and the best in the US — by Drinks International Magazine.

Story by Allan Smith and editing by Stephen Parkhurst

 

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SEE ALSO: Here's the real story behind the Time photo shoot where a bald eagle attacked Donald Trump

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The most important thing men should know before starting a skincare routine

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So you've finally decided to take care of your skin — good for you! You're finally convinced that it's an investment in the future of your skin, which is great.  But you're probably wondering — what do you do now? How on Earth do you start a skincare routine? 

The first step is finding products that you like and that work for you. But before you buy anything, the real first step is knowing your skin

According to Chris Salgardo, president of skincare brand Kiehl's and author of Manmade: The Essential Skincare & Grooming Reference For Every Man, it's really not that hard to figure out your skin type. Most men have either dry, normal, or oily skin. It turns out, there's an easy way to tell. 

At the end of the day:

  • Does your skin still feel tight? You likely have dry and dehydrated skin.
  • Is it shiny and oily? You probably have oilier skin than most.
  • Does it look fine, with a matte appearance? Then you likely have normal skin.

But hold on — let's complicate that a little bit.

Some guys have combination skin, where the skin in their T-zone — the T-shaped area around the forehead, nose, lips, and upper chin, where there's a larger concentration of oil glands — is oilier than the rest of their face.

t zone

Once you know what kind of skin you have, you can buy the appropriate moisturizer and sunscreen for your skin type. If you have normal or dry skin, your options are pretty much everything under the sun, as many products say they are for "normal to dry skin."

But if your skin is oilier than most, you're better off getting a moisturizer formulated specially for oily skin. Clinique's oil control, Kiehl's oil eliminator, and Kyoku's oil control are all great options.

For combination skin, you're going to have to get multiple products to treat the different areas. For example: if your T-zone is oily but your cheeks are dry, you're going to need to use an oil-control moisturizer for the T and a regular moisturizer for the rest of your face, so you don't dry out your skin too much.

SEE ALSO: 4 steps for the perfect shaving routine, according to a dermatologist

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15 tips to save time and stress when cooking for a large crowd

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dinner party

The thought of hosting a large dinner can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it less stressful. 

Learning a few cooking tricks can help turn your preparation from dreadful to fun. 

Whether you're hosting a holiday dinner party or happen to have a large crowd throughout the year, here are 15 tips that will help save you time and stress. 

SEE ALSO: 9 simple cooking hacks that will make you feel like an expert chef

DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

Go for a buffet setup instead of individual plates.

A buffet-style setup is one of the simplest ways to serve your guests when hosting a large event. You can set up cold items and dishes ahead of time, leaving valuable table space so that your guests can sit comfortably.



Use slow cookers, chafing dishes, or warming trays to keep food at the right temperature.

Whether you choose to go for a buffet setup or traditional plating, keeping dishes in slow cookers, chafing dishes, or warming trays is an easy way to ensure they stay warm.

That way, you won't have to fuss about preparing your dishes to all be ready at the same time. 



Make space at your table by using multi-height serving platters.

If you do decide to go for a table setup, using cake platters or higher dishes can help bring more room to your table.

Higher stands will allow you to layer dishes underneath them, while multi-level cake stands are good for items like bread rolls and desserts. 



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Tony Robbins on how to achieve a great relationship

Chelsea Clinton is expecting another baby

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chelsea clinton

Chelsea Clinton is expecting a baby next summer. 

The vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation and only child of Bill and Hillary Clinton announced on Twitter that her daughter, Charlotte, would be a big sister next summer. 

In the photo posted to Twitter, Charlotte was reading a book titled, "Big Sisters are the Best."

Clinton's husband is hedge fund manager Marc Mezvinsky. The couple's first child was born in September 2014.

SEE ALSO: Chelsea Clinton wrote 'Dad' and 'Mom' an email about the incompetence of the Haitian relief effort

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NOW WATCH: Business Insider's full interview with Jeb Bush

'Glamping' is camping with style

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Those who like the idea of sleeping in nature, but not that of roughing it, should look into glamping — a comfortable and stylish way of camping.

Glampgrounds exist across the globe. Firelight Camps, in Ithaca, for example, looks like a traditional campground, but tents have hardwood floors, and big, comfortable beds that are fitted with fine linen.

Story by Jacob Shamsian and editing by Stephen Parkhurst

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SEE ALSO: Scuba divers can touch two continents at once in this Icelandic lake

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This Venezuelan street food is like a taco but better

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The Arepa is a staple of Venezuelan cuisine, and often compared to a taco.

However, there are a few key differences between the two that make the arepa stand out as the tastier option. The shell is a soft dough made from soaked, ground kernels of corn maize, which is placed on the griddle, giving the arepa its signature grill lines. It's then filled with a variety of ingredients ranging from meat to veggies, cheese, and sauce.

We decided to take a trip to the Arepa Factory in New York City's East Village neighborhood to see how they're made.

The Arepa Factory only makes small batches of arepas at a time, meaning that customers are served food that's fresh. We ordered the Frida Kahlo, an arepa filled with ground beef, avocado, shredded cheese, and Latin sour cream.

One bite of the finished product convinced us we'd take this over a taco any day!

Story by Sarah Schmalbruch and editing by Jeremy Dreyfuss

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SEE ALSO: Here's how factories make soft pretzels

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Iraq just held its first national beauty pageant in more than 40 years

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Iraq is sending a contestant to the Miss Universe pageant for the first time since 1972, after holding its first national beauty pageant in more than 40 years.

Shaymaa Abdelrahman, 20, won Miss Iraq 2015, which took place in Baghdad Saturday.

"There has not been such an important cultural activity in Baghdad since 1972," Humam Ablobaidi, the sales and marketing director for the pageant, said per Reuters. "We try to send a clear signal to terrorism that Baghdad is a capital of culture and beauty, which can never be wiped out."

"We do not only pay attention to a beautiful appearance," Ablobaidi said. "These girls participated in many activities over the last week. They went to refugee camps and orphanages to experience the misery of the Iraqi people. We are sending a strong signal to society and the world to show what Iraqis have sacrificed for a peaceful life, and what we can do to help all the people."

The event was not open to the public, and most of the audience was made up of the contestants' relatives.

Several women withdrew from the pageant out of fear they'd face backlash for participating.

Story by Allan Smith and editing by Chelsea Pineda

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SEE ALSO: A California state employee threw coffee on a Muslim man after calling him a 'brainwashed murderer'

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50 million crabs take over an entire island every year

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Christmas Island, an Australian island in the Indian Ocean, is home to one of the world's coolest natural wonders: the Christmas Island red crab migration.

Every year, the island's ~50 million crabs trek from the forest to the coast to breed. Since the ideal breeding conditions are incredibly specific — it has to be in the last lunar quarter during the wet season, according to the Australian Parks Department — all the crabs migrate at once. As a result, the island experiences an unbroken wave of crabs.

Rather than see this as a nuisance, the local government goes to great lengths to help the crabs make safe passage. They install  tunnels under roads to reduce roadkill, and fences that lead the crabs to those tunnels. This year, there's also a specially made crab bridge that goes up and over a road.

Story by Tony Manfred and editing by Ben Nigh

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The BMW i8 is a car from the future, but we drove it through America's past

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BMW i8 ps

The BMW i8 is a technological tour de force. It's a twin-engine, plug-in hybrid with show-car looks, supercar performance, and economy-car efficiency. It's BMW's vision for what the future may hold for sports cars. Earlier in 2015, BMW lent Business Insider a white i8, and we took it on a road trip through historic New England.

SEE ALSO: The cars we loved in 2015: I can't get the BMW i8 out of my head

As a plug-in hybrid sports car, BMW i8 is unlike anything on the road today.



Sure, there are other high-performance hybrids out there, such as the Porsche 918 ...



... the McLaren P1 and ...



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An artist made people 'disappear' into China's smog

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A Chinese artist made seven models disappear into the woods. 

Artist Liu Bolin, known as the "Human Chameleon" for making people completely blend into their surroundings, did it to show the urgency of China's air pollution problem.

For his latest project, he painted models to blend in with Beijing's smoggy air. 

Last week, Beijing issued its second "red alert" ever for air pollution. Schools closed amid the hazardous conditions, and over 2.5 million cars were taken off the road. Before this month, Beijing had never issued a "red alert" for pollution. In December alone, they've announced two

"[My work] is at a critical point. Among various factors, I think it is a reflection of Chinese people's current living situation," said Bolin.

A recent study found that Chinese air pollution contributes to the deaths of 1.6 million people a year.

Story by Jeremy Dreyfuss and Julie Zeveloff, and editing by Jeremy Dreyfuss

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SEE ALSO: This is proof that China's pollution is getting out of hand

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Katie Couric's advice for working moms: 'get rid of the guilt'

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In addition to her role as Yahoo's global news anchor, Katie Couric is also a mother to Ellie, 24, and Carrie, 19.

While her daughters were growing up, Couric had a demanding career on TV. But she says it's important not to feel guilty about working.

"Get rid of the guilt," the 58-year-old urged working mothers during a recent interview with INSIDER. "When you're at one place, don't feel bad that you're not at work; when you're at work, don't feel bad that you're not at home."

Instead, Couric offers this advice: "You have to prioritize. And when things are really important and you need to be there, you should make no apologies."

Couric also has one specific tip for moms who have help around the house:

"It's really important for working women to compensate people who are helping them at home. Because let's face it, those are the most important people in their lives... Obviously, it depends on your salary and not everybody can be super generous, but I think it's something to keep in mind."

Story by Aly Weisman and editing by Adam Banicki

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Here's the Irish island where they filmed the most gorgeous scene from the new Star Wars

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While the "Star Wars" movies take place in a galaxy far, far away, they use real locations on earth to fill in for other planets. 

One of the most otherworldly scenes in "The Force Awakens" was filmed on Skellig Michael, an island located six miles off the coast of Ireland.

The shoot there was shrouded in secrecy, and locals were told that the crew was filming a documentary. They were shocked to find that the new "Star Wars" movie was being filmed in their backyard.

The island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a special place long before J.J. Abrams and the cast of "The Force Awakens" came along. It even hosts the ruins of an ancient monastery built sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries.

The views that the island offers are stunning — being there might just make you feel like a Jedi.

Story by Ian Phillips and editing by Ben Nigh

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