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The 8 Best Vegetarian Restaurants In Manhattan

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Dirt Candy, NYC vegetarian restaurants

Vegetarians may get knocked for turning up their noses to steak and bacon, but they know that you don't need meat to make a great meal.

Chefs whose restaurants are exclusively vegetarian or vegan get creative to construct their enticing, artful meatless dishes. New York is home to a lot of vegetarians, so it makes sense that some of the best vegetarian restaurants are in the Big Apple.

Zagat has explored and rated the finest herbivore-friendly restaurants in the city, with food so gluttonously good you'll have a hard time believing it's healthy.

#8 Caravan of Dreams

405 East 6th St.

Food: 24

Decor: 18

Service: 21

Cost: $28

Caravan of Dreams is the vision of Spanish expat Angel Moreno, who opened the vegan restaurant in 1991 with the goal of serving delicious, organic, and humane Mediterranean dishes. Caravan also features a calendar of live music performances at dinner and brunch.



#7 Candle Cafe

1307 3rd Ave.

Food: 25

Decor: 17

Service: 21

Cost: $32

Candle Cafe can be found on the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side and the menus are very similar. The simple yet tasty organic veggie dishes are inspired by a wide and satisfying variety of ethnic cuisines, including Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, Asian, and Cajun.



#6 Candle 79

154 East 79th St.

Food: 25

Decor: 22

Service: 23

Cost: $47

Candle 79 is the "upscale, elegant sister" of the Candle Cafe that serves the kind of fare typical of a fine dining restaurant, only it's all plant-based, so the chefs can get creative as they depart from the chicken or beef dishes you might normally find at dinner.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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10 Cars We Can't Wait To See At The Detroit Auto Show

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cadillac electric elr electric

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) kicks off in Detroit on Monday, and we will be among the estimated 6,000 journalists on scene to see what the auto industry has to offer for 2014.

Here's a quick look at the ten rides we're most excited to see, including big reveals from Cadillac, Lexus, BMW, and, best of all, the long-awaited 2014 Corvette.

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG will come standard with all-wheel drive. Under the hood, it will have a 5.5-liter V8, good for 550 horsepower.



This is all Nissan's Infiniti has revealed of the new Q50, its new luxury sports sedan.



This is the third year Nissan is offering the electric LEAF. The 2014 version will have more range and a lower base price than its predecessors. It will also be the first LEAF built at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee plant.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Our 'Eternal Quest For The Best' Is Making Us Miserable

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The toughest part about making a decision is dealing with the unknown. This leads many people to put off making important decisions altogether, and simply freeze with inaction. 

Columbia Business School Professor Sheena Iyengar — who wrote The Art of Choosing and gave a popular TED talk on decision making — takes a closer look at this phenomenon in a new paper, "Eternal Quest for The Best" published in the Journal of Consumer Research

Along with Stanford Professor Baba Shiv and Wharton Business School's Cassie Mogilner, Iyengar analyzes how having all options presented at once (or "simultaneously") differs from encountering them sequentially. They found that it's a lot easier to make a decision in the first scenario. For example, when you're shopping for shoes at Zappos.com, you have the ability to compare and contrast options immediately.  

It's a lot harder, and more stressful, when you encounter options sequentially over time. In that instance, you're dealing with imperfect information and the strong emotions of hope and regret. Should you wait for a better option? Or just go with it? This scenario explains why it can be especially difficult to make hiring decisions and choose a life partner, among other things. If we're not careful, focusing too much on the unknown (or un-chosen) can lead to deep dissatisfaction. The researchers write: 

"This feeling of hope undermines how choosers subsequently experience their selected option, resulting in lower satisfaction and commitment levels. Sequential choosers consequently exhibit lower outcome satisfaction regardless of which option they choose, whether sequentially passed-up options remain available, and whether they have equivalent option information to simultaneous choosers. Thus, enjoying the most satisfaction from one’s choice might require being willing to give up the eternal quest for the best."

Instead of focusing on missed opportunities, it's better to make a decision and stick with it. 

Iyengar and the researchers performed three experiments that validate this statement. In one, they asked 87 participants to rate several different types of chocolate in the Wharton Behavioral Lab. Some had to deal with a higher cognitive load (they were given some information to remember while testing the chocolate), and the entire group was split between either trying the chocolate sequentially or simultaneously. 

They found that those who tried the chocolates sequentially — without knowledge of what was next — were less satisfied in the end, and more likely to change their minds about their top choice. "Not only are sequential choosers more likely to feel hope than simultaneous choosers, but it is this yearning for a better option that we predict reduces sequential choosers’ satisfaction with whatever option they select," says the paper. "This is because people’s satisfaction with their chosen option depends less on the objective merits of that option and more on how well that option fares against alternatives—real or imagined." 

Chocolate study

NOW READ: More on Sheena Iyengar's research on why too many choices are bad for us

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Versace Wants Men To Wear Lingerie

How An Executive Head Hunter Found Her Husband

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shadow handshake

When Iris Levenberg found herself divorced and living in South Florida in her 50s, the executive head hunter-turned-life coach was determined to find a life partner.

"I was on a mission," recalls Iris, now 61. "I spent years as a head hunter, and that's how I look at life: You're constantly searching for talent. I knew what I was looking for. So I went online and put myself out there. You can't expect things to land in your lap."

Meanwhile, Dennis Bailen was licking his wounds in the Chicago area after two divorces and 10 years of trying to find companionship online.

"Online dating is exhausting," says Dennis, 64. "It becomes a full-time job. And there were so many disappointments. I went on and off those dating sites because I hadn't found someone who really met my expectations. But I got tired of being alone on weekends, so I went back on JDate (an online dating site for Jewish singles)."

Iris immediately spotted Dennis online and viewed his profile not once, but twice.

"You notice when people view your profile," Dennis says. "But she lived in Florida, so that wasn't realistic since I was in Chicago."

A dialogue began a couple of days after that second viewing, regardless of distance.

"We got on the phone May 13 (2005), and we had a very easy conversation," Dennis recalls. "At the end of it, Iris said, 'This didn't seem like an interview at all!' After dating for 10 years I learned not to have expectations, so I was really happy it went so well."

Iris had family in the Chicago area, and a date was set for them to meet Memorial Day weekend so Dennis could show her around the city.

"I didn't know this at the time, but she had set up multiple dates when she came to town," Dennis says.

"And a job interview," Iris admits. "I wanted the trip to be worthwhile."

Dennis went to pick Iris up at Union Station, and his timing was perfect.

"Literally, I was pulling up to the entrance of Union Station, and she comes up the steps," he says.

"And you were listening to Joe Jackson music, and I remember thinking, 'Good taste in music.'" Iris adds. "He looked like his picture; I liked the way he dressed. I was relieved."

Their stroll along Michigan Avenue was a success, which led to a second date at Arlington Park race track the following day.

"We put $2 bets on every race," Dennis says. "We don't know horse racing; we bet colors, middle names. And we collected on every single race!"

"Dennis saw this as a sign, and I got freaked out because this was happening so fast," Iris says. "I'd just met him. And I still had four dates lined up."

Two days later, they planned to meet for dinner after Iris' job interview.

"I had canceled a couple of my dates. Not all of them," Iris says, much to Dennis' amusement. "And I was sitting on a chair talking to Dennis after my interview, and just talking to him was so easy -- I decided to cancel my last two dates."

Later that night at the restaurant, they shared their first kiss.

"I leaned over to kiss you while you were sitting at the table, and it was a 'wow' kiss, babe, it really was," Iris recalls, putting her hand on Dennis' arm. "That was like a melding kiss. And I was done."

After spending most of Iris' 10-day visit together, a bond was forming fast.

"Dennis said, 'I want you to be here,' but I thought I needed space. I needed to go back to Florida and clear my head," she says. "He gave me a shirt of his, and I went to Florida and I slept in that shirt every night, and we talked on the phone constantly. ... I lasted nine days. Dennis flew me back. I could not be without him."

They dated that whole summer of 2005. By fall, they talked about moving Iris to Chicago permanently, but she was "not moving to be somebody's girlfriend."

"I said to him early on, 'I'm old-fashioned, I want to remarry, and if that's not on your radar, tell me now,'" Iris recalls.

"I had given up on marriage," Dennis says. "I got burned. I was very devastated by my last divorce, so I wasn't sure I wanted to go back into that water again. But Iris and I were really connecting, so I was willing to consider being married again."

They were engaged in December 2005 and had a small wedding 13 months later, Jan. 18, 2007, at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook.

"I found this perfect winter-white suit on sale for 30 bucks, which I figured was a good sign," she says. "I carried four white roses for our parents who could not be there. It was very intimate."

They bought a home in Libertyville and started building a life together. Iris became certified as a life coach, and Dennis ran a residential building company. But their newly wedded bliss was soon interrupted by the financial crisis in 2009, followed by the loss of Iris' mom and health problems with Dennis' family.

"Then Denny's business crumbled, our house was robbed, and I slipped into a depression," recalls Iris. "Meantime, I'm running a workshop on embracing change as a life coach, while our life was in turmoil. It was a horrible time. We had to rebuild our marriage."

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," Dennis adds.

Their deep commitment to each other, mixed in with some therapy and new work opportunities, helped them see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I've been in a helping profession my whole life," Iris says. "Before I was an executive coach, I was a social worker ... and I knew what to say to people. But I really dug in deep and started walking my talk this time, and it took me a while. I was always about seizing the moment and taking chances, and then when 2009 hit, fear took over me. That's something that I'm learning to manage."

"We are old enough and have lived through enough to know that life isn't always going to be as easy as you wish it could be," Dennis says. "But we know that we are better together than we are apart. We both said, 'You are the last spouse that I am going to have.'"

"We are going to grow old together. I've never felt the unconditional love that I know I have from Dennis," says Iris, wiping away tears, before adding with a laugh, "I mean, who else would put up with me?"

jweigel@tribune.com

Twitter: @jenweigel

Love lesson: Iris follows three steps in love and in life: intention, attention and no tension. "I believe you have to have the intention, and then I believe you have to take action and pay attention, and then at some point you have to embrace 'no tension' and let go of whatever the outcome is going to be." ___

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The 16 Most Famous Kids In College This Semester

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Dakota Fanning

A new college semester is about to begin and that means that students are preparing to head back to school for the spring semester.

But some students have to juggle a bit more than just classes and schoolwork.

We've found the 16 most famous kids in college this semester. These celebrities are pursuing their college degrees, juggling class and exams with the responsibilities of public life.

They're musicians, actors, models and athletes who somehow find a way to balance their college careers with their professional ones—an impressive feat for such young people.

They go to school all over America, from New York City's School of Visual Arts to California's University of Southern California.

We've listed them here in alphabetical order. Let us know who we missed!

Elizabeth Beisel

College: University of Florida

Year: Junior

Beisel won a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley event in the 2012 London Olympics. Even though she is a college student, Beisel is a two-time Olympian: she competed in the 2008 Beiijing Olympics at the age of 15. Beisel is also the 2011 world champion in the 400 IM.

She is majoring in communications at the University of Florida.



Miranda Cosgrove

College: University of Southern California

Year: Freshman

This actress and singer-songwriter is best known for her role on Nickelodeon TV's iCarly, but she's also starred in several films, including most notably School of Rock.

Cosgrove said that she took a drawing class last semester, which she really enjoyed.



Justin Combs

College: University of California Los Angeles

Year: Freshman

The son of Sean "P. Diddy" or "Puff Daddy" Combs, Justin Combs graduated with a 3.75 GPA from New Rochelle Iona Prep, a top private school, and is attending UCLA —on a $54,000 football scholarship.

The son of a multi-millionaire, Combs faced a lot of criticism for accepting the scholarship, but the 5-foot-9, 170-pound defensive back defended his decision to accept the scholarship, tweeting that he "put that work in" and earned the scholarship.

Combs made his debut as a UCLA Bruin last semester.



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Swatch Buys Luxury Brand Harry Winston For $1 Billion

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GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland's biggest watch maker, Swatch Group AG, says it has agreed to pay about $1 billion to acquire Canada's Harry Winston watch and jewelry brand.

The Biel, Switzerland-based company says it will pay $750 million to acquire the brand from Toronto-based Harry Winston Diamond Corp. and will also assume as much as $250 million in debt.

The acquisition includes the Harry Winston production company in Geneva and more than 500 employees globally.

Swatch Group's chairwoman, Nayla Hayek, said in a statement Monday that the addition of a jewelry-watch brand "brilliantly complements the prestige segment" of Swatch's portfolio, helping it compete against luxury watch makers.

Harry Winston Diamond Corp.'s chairman, Robert Gannicott, said that his company would change its name to Dominion Diamond Corporation.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

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10 Things Guys Shouldn't Wear This Winter

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men's color jeans

Winter is calling. And, just as temps are tipping south, it's easy to let your style slip into hibernation.

We’re here to snap you out of sleep mode to avoid this season’s biggest blunders (hint: oversize sweaters and pom-pom hats have to go).

Ski Jackets with Work Attire

You wouldn’t sport a swimsuit to the office, so why suit up in something meant for the slopes? Investing in a well-tailored wool car coat (not the '80s shoulder-padded kind) is yet another way to separate the men from the boys in the boardroom.



Oversized Sweaters

Perhaps winter’s worst wardrobe offense. From Fair Isle cardigans to cable-knit crewnecks, fitted is always best—even if you’re lugging around some seasonal poundage.



Pom Pom Hats

Pom-poms are fine for cheerleaders, 8-year-olds and hipsters. For everyone else, we suggest a simple beanie, fedora or newsboy.



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Why You Should Never Trust The Photos Hotels Post Online

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resort

Hotels aren't always completely honest when it comes to the photos they post on their websites.

Professional reviewers from hotel review website Oyster visited vacation properties from Barbados to Boston, and the photos they took didn't quite match up with the online fantasy.

This latest collection of "photo fakeouts" serves as a cautionary tale for anyone planning a vacation and relying solely on hotel websites. Some of these photo "upgrades" are so egregious, you'll think you are looking at pictures of two completely different properties.

FANTASY: Sugar Cane Club, Barbados



REALITY: Not much space, and no champagne

Read the full review at Oyster >



FANTASY: The Langham Hotel, Boston



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Here's What $1,600 Will Rent You In Today's Housing Market

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What can you find on the rental market with a budget of $1,600? From single family homes to charming studio apartments, see the rental listings we found for this price in five cities around the U.S.

Denver, CO

5577 Jebel Ct #1, Denver, CO
For rent: $1,595 per month

Denver house rental

Bright and spacious, this 3-bedroom, 3-bath Denver home will impress anyone who’s looking for a single family home to rent. A large kitchen with stainless appliances, granite countertops and lots of storage space will make this a perfect place to entertain. Other features include hardwood floors, patio and a large backyard.

Boston, MA

30 Peterborough St, Apt. 21, Boston, MA
For rent: $1,595 per month

Boston apartment rental

Live cozy in Boston in this conveniently located parlor-front studio. High ceilings, hardwood floors, crown molding and a working fireplace complete the charm. And if that’s not enough, you can hang out on the common roof deck, where there’s a view of the scoreboard at Fenway Park.

Columbus, OH

4011 Easton Way #116546, Columbus, OH
For rent: $1,595 per month

Columbus apartment rental

The lucky renters who snag this 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath Columbus penthouse will live in luxury and convenience. Located across the street from the Town Center Mall, these elegant homes offer loads of amenities, such as a 24-hour fitness facility, swimming pool, spa and salon, and even a concierge to help you make dinner reservations.

New Orleans, LA

Undisclosed Address, New Orleans, LA
For rent: $1,600 per month

New Orleans apartment rental

Enjoy life in the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans in this 1-bedroom, 1-bath apartment. The historic home has lots of character with all the features of modern and stylish interiors. The unit comes furnished, and rent includes utilities, cable and Wi-Fi.

San Francisco, CA

1375 California St, Apt 106, San Francisco, CA
For rent: $1,600 per month

San Francisco apartment rental

Renters can make themselves at home in this junior 1-bedroom apartment with a 98/100 Walk Score. A recently remodeled kitchen, hardwood floors and shared laundry are some of the great features of this cozy San Francisco apartment.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Tinest Homes On Earth

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COLLEGE STUDENTS: Jump-Start Your Career By Spending The Summer At Business Insider In Marketing And Sales

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Sales team at NYSE

Business Insider is looking for three awesome interns to join our business teams this summer.

Don't be fooled by the term "intern." Our paid interns spend their time doing meaningful work: researching, analyzing, preparing decks and reports, prospecting, and more.

Interns are required to work full-time in our NYC offices. But it's not all work: We have lots of free snacks and a ping-pong table, where interns have been known to give full-timers a run for their money.

When it comes to qualifications, a digital media or marketing background helps, as do strong analytic and writing skills. Excel and PPT wizards have a leg up. Strong interest in the internet, events, social media, marketing, or sales are required.

There are three internships available:

  • Sales/Sales development: you'll help create the awesome, custom solutions that win business for the Business Insider ad sales team. Sales development is the engine that drives sales. You'll be an integral part of the 5-person sales development team and work directly with the CRO as well.
  • Marketing, Subscriptions, and Events: from analytics (serious spreadsheets here) to event logistics and prospecting for subscription leads,  this internship will teach you about marketing, e-commerce, and bringing the Business Insider brand to life at events. 
  • Business Development: you'll support the bizdev team across their range of revenue- and audience-driving activities. Be prepared to crunch numbers, make cold calls (mostly emails), and do research.  

Please apply here >>

In your note, indicate which ONE internship you are interested in. Applying to more than one automatically disqualifies you.

Not familiar with Business Insider? Here's some reading on our company and where we're headed, so that you can be well-prepared for an interview if you score one.

Thanks in advance for your interest.

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Calvin Klein Has Been Building This Glass Mansion On Southampton's Meadow Lane For Years

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After years of construction, it looks like fashion mogul Calvin Klein is nearly finished building his dream home on Southampton's prestigious Meadow Lane.

Klein spent nearly $30 million on the beachfront property back in 2004. Five years later, he tore down the historic castle that had stood there since 1929 and started replacing it with a glassy black box of a house.

The 10-acre lot is "destined to become a major trophy property," brokers told The New York Times in August.

We imagine Klein's Meadow Lane neighbors, who include David Koch and Leon Black, will be relieved when the construction is finally done.

Jeff Cully at EEFAS snapped these exclusive photos of Klein's Meadow Lane rebuild for us:

Meadow Lane runs along a broad stretch of beach in Southampton

calvin klein meadow lane

The home is almost complete, but still needs a few finishing touches

calvin klein meadow lane

It will have floor-to-ceiling windows in every room facing the ocean

calvin klein meadow lane

10 acres affords plenty of privacy

calvin klein meadow lane

Here's the "castle" Klein tore down to build his dream home. The new design could not be more different

calvin klein meadow lane

SEE ALSO: Meet The Fabulously Rich And Famous Residents Of Southampton

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Incredible Photos Of The Hindu Festival Expected To Draw 100 Million Devotees

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kumbh mela hindu holy men

Some 100 million mostly Hindu devotees are expected to gather in Allahabad for the Kumbh Mela festival, according to the BBC

Hindu pilgrims flock to the confluence of the river Ganges, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati to bathe and wash away their sins and achieve salvation. Ten million pilgrims are said to have bathed in the river on the first day, with the entire event said to last 55 days.

Click here to jump straight to the photos >

One of the biggest spectacles of the festival is when naked Hindu holy men wearing marigold garlands and ash on their faces run to the river. From the BBC:

"The Kumbh Mela has its origins in Hindu mythology - many believe that when gods and demons fought over a pitcher of nectar, a few drops fell in the cities of Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar - the four places where the Kumbh festival has been held for centuries."

On observing the festival, Mark Twain is reported to have written in "Following The Equator: A Journey Around The World":

"It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites."

The Kumbh Mela itself takes place every twelve years, but the BBC says this year's festival is the Maha Kumbh Mela which occurs every 144 years and is determined based on astrological calculations.

The festival is said to cost authorities $210 million but will create $2.2 billion in revenue.

Over 100 million people Hindu devotees are expected to attend the Maha Kumbh Mela.



Hindus bathe in the confluence of three rivers to wash away their sins.



Hindus believe when Gods and demons fought over a pitcher of nectar a few drops fell in four cities, including Allahabad where this Kumbh Mela is taking place.



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The Head Of A Small Investment Bank Is Selling His Unreal 6-Story Upper East Side Townhouse For $30 Million

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39 East 74th Street

Eric J. Gleacher, founder of Gleacher & Company, a boutique investment bank in Manhattan, is selling his six story Upper East Side townhouse for $30 million, the NY Times reports (h/t Curbed).

Glecher founded Lehman Brothers' Merger and Acquisitions department in the 1970s, and then headed up global M&A at Morgan Stanley from 1985 to 1990 before founding his own shop.

That's impressive, and so is the house.

From the NY Times:

The 20-foot-wide town house has seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half baths, a chef’s kitchen, a formal dining room, a parlor and four working fireplaces. Most of the building has high ceilings and well-maintained herringbone hardwood floors. Light streams in from three south-facing windows on each floor at the front of the house, and there are outdoor spaces throughout, including a patio garden off the ground-floor family room, a planted terrace with a wrought-iron trellis off the formal dining room on the second floor, another terrace off the rear bedroom on the fourth floor, and the deck on the roof.

Gleacher paid $11 million for the property in 2005 according to city records. Corcoran's Carrie Chang has the listing.

Welcome to the house.



The house has been thoroughly rennovated since it was bought in 2011.



In fact, the Gleacher's even added a floor.



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The BROpener Turns Any Surface Into A Bottle Opener

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This is the BROpener, a Kickstarter project by San Francisco design team Matt von Mering and Aaron Avallon.

Why We Love It: For your inner frat guy, this domino-shaped bottle opener will allow you to open a beer on literally any stable surface without ruining the edges of your furniture. It's made of 7075 aircraft-grade machine-milled aluminum with a built-in magnet to catch the bottle caps. The BROpener attaches with double-sided tape so you can stick it wherever you want, and when you're ready to remove the BROpener, just twist it sideways to release the tape.

The BROpener Kickstarter project has already generated over $20,000 at the time of this post, just $15,000 short of its $35,000 goal. They are even customizable if you want your own logo or text to appear on the laser-etched bottle opener. Pledges start at a minimum of $1, or $14 to have your own BROpener shipped to you.

BROpener Kickstarter

Where To Buy: Available through donation at the Kickstarter BROpener website.

Cost: $14.

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

SEE ALSO: This Hi-Tech Sticker Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Keys Again

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See Which Diet Plans People REALLY Like

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running, exercising, jogging, beach, girls

For years people have been searching for the "perfect diet" like they were hunting the Holy Grail. But which diets actually work?

Consumer Report (CR) recently asked more than 9,000 readers to weigh in on the question. They ranked 13 weight loss plans and tools, assigning each diet a score out of 100 based on factors like initial weight loss, food variety, and maintenance, among others.

Consumer Reports found that do-it-yourself plans were more popular than commercial alternatives, possibly because of the lower cost and the better flexibility. But ratings aside, Consumer Reports points out that weight loss is possible on any of the plans, and satisfaction is based on more than just shedding pounds alone.

Weight Watchers is a commercial plan in which dieters monitor their food intake with "points."

CR Reader Score: 56

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 12 to 35 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 28 lbs

Pros: Weight Watchers provides the flexibility to create your own diet plan and lets you eat whatever you want.

Cons: The Weight Watchers points system can be annoying to keep track of each day, and their premade food products are a bit pricey.



SparkPeople is a diet tracking website with an additional online support community.

CR Reader Score: 60

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 25 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 5 to 21 lbs

Pros: SparkPeople is free and readily-accessible, and enables you to easily track your weight loss journey. The site also has a user community that you can rely on for encouragement and shared tips.

Cons: The premise is mainly a low-carb, high-protein diet, which isn't best for everyone, and there can be a wait to get advice or answers from physicians on the site when you need help.



Nutrisystem is a commercial plan with many easy-to-make meal choices.

CR Reader Score: 66

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 30 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 7 to 24 lbs

Pros: Carbs are not off limits on the Nutrisystem plan, and the meals are simple and easy to make.

Cons: Nutrisystem's food choices have been called "palatable," and eating them feels like sitting down to a TV dinner instead of a meal.



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The More You Earn, The More Expensive It Is To Be Single In America

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high line date couple

In October 2009, New York Times reporters Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Lieber compared a hypothetical married couple with an equivalent-earning unmarried gay couple, to see just how much difference those extra privileges made.

Here's what they found:

In our worst case, the couple's lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562. But the number fell to $41,196 in the best case for a couple with significantly better health insurance, plus lower taxes and other costs.

This is unfair. The solution? Bernard and Lieber argue that "the federal government [should legalize] same-sex marriage."

But in fact, legalizing gay marriage only solves the problem for a few.

Many more single people (gay and straight)—more than half of the population—continue to suffer from institutionalized singlism, the discrimination of individuals based on marital status.

U.S. Federal Code Title 5 Part III says: The President may prescribe rules which shall prohibit... discrimination because of marital status. Yet more than 1,000 laws provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples. Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single.

The U.S. government is the main perpetrator, but private companies follow its lead. Thus marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives. Insurance policies—ranging from health, to life, to home, to car—cost more, on average, for unmarried people compared to those who are married.

It is not a federal crime for landlords to discriminate against potential renters based on their marital status. And so on.

One reason these policies exist is to encourage people to get married, because being married was—and still is—considered a social good. Some have suggested that marriage makes people healthier and happier, but critics such as Dr. Bella DePaulo have pointed out that most studies show that, in the long term, there is little to no difference between married and single people in terms of health, happiness, or personal responsibility.

Additionally, these studies are often poorly designed, consider data sets that are not representative of the general population, or fail to consider alternative hypotheses—for example, people who are already happy might be more likely to become married, or happiness might come from having close interpersonal relationships, which may or may not include a spouse.

Whatever the truth might be about marriage's effects, we the authors would like to redraw the lines of discussion and argue that policy-makers need to reject policies that take into consideration an individual's marital status, because such policies are discriminatory.

As two straight women with no desire to get married, we are not against marriage per se. We're not callous and repressed man-haters. We're not bitter about ex-boyfriends who cheated or tried to teach us the correct way to pour laundry detergent (ok, well maybe a little bitter about that last one).

We're not even necessarily uncomfortable with the institution's arguable gender expectations and socio-political history. We just don't much care whether we're married, or not. But governments and corporations do.

We decided to determine a person's lifetime cost of being single by paralleling Bernard and Lieber's general approach. So, blissfully unaware of the morass of math awaiting us, we created four characters living in Virginia: two single women and two married women of equivalent means.

The single women made $40,000 and $80,000, as did their married counterparts. The two salaries represent relatively middle and high-income levels in Virginia, where 2011 per capita income was $44,700 statewide. So far, so good. Then we broke out the calculator.

Our married women's husbands worked too, earning $51,000 and $103,000 respectively. (The husbands' salaries to reflect the fact that a woman earns 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, although this is the median rate for all women and in fact black and Hispanic women are paid even less.)

We assumed the married women filed jointly with their husbands (generally more advantageous than filing separately). We imagined that our characters worked in Virginia from ages 26 to 66 and then lived for another 20 years after retirement. We chose to examine one year in their lives and extrapolate the lifetime impact from their finances for that particular year.

We quickly realized that our experiment could not be comprehensive. Had we looked more closely at a longer time period, we might have seen some fluctuations. Because we didn't have the resources to run 900 income tax returns over 50 years, as Bernard and Lieber did, we left out many complicating factors of the single-versus-married filing-status dynamic.

We did not factor in the differences between a married woman with a working husband and a married woman with a stay-at-home husband. Nor did we consider the high probability that our characters would change or lose jobs several times, and/or receive pay increases throughout their lifetimes. And we didn't consider the expenses of children (though for the record single women bear more of a financial burden of raising children, compared to married women).

We did not address the high likelihood that our married women would get a divorce or outlive their husbands. A comparison of single versus married men would also likely return different results.

So, what did we examine? The primary areas where government and corporate policies have institutionalized discrimination against single people: income taxes, Social Security, and IRAs. We also looked at discrimination that is not officially institutionalized: housing and health spending. Singles have little choice but to expend more in these areas out of practical necessity.

Here's the breakdown:

Income Taxes

Normally, married couples can save thousands of dollars just by filing jointly instead of separately. Those thousands are largely the direct result of federal and state laws that privilege married people.

First, we wondered how much our characters would spend in one year in income taxes. We figured this out with the help of a tax professional, who focused on the taxes the women paid during their working careers.

In 2010, our single woman earning $40,000 paid $6,181. Her married peer paid more than a thousand dollars less: $5,162. The contrast became more dramatic as our subjects' incomes increased: our single woman earning $80,000 paid $16,125, whereas her married counterpart paid almost four thousand dollars less per year. (The numbers for 2011 were similar: our marrieds paid $963 and $3,875 less.)

Here are the numbers extrapolated from income hypothetically earned over 40 years, based on the 2011 rates:

Our single woman earning $40,000 per year paid $245,000 in income taxes. Our married woman earning $40,000 paid $206,000 in income taxes—a difference of $39,000.

Our single woman earning $80,000 per year paid $645,000 in income taxes. Our married woman earning $80,000 paid $490,000 in income taxes—a difference of $155,000.

At this point in our calculations, we each wanted to run out and get a husband, STAT. And the buttons on our calculator weren't even warm yet.

Social Security

Perhaps the most pervasive myth about unmarried people is that no one will care for them as they age. This fear is both ridiculous, and not. We ourselves feel it sometimes, even though we know that having a spouse and/or kids is no guarantee you'll die in satin sheets with the ocean breeze blowing through your window as muscular half-clothed but fully oiled young men fan your greying cheeks with palm fronds and place peanut butter cups between your lips (we will not say which of us has this particular fantasy).

But being married does in many ways make planning and saving for the future easier—simply because society provides more such options for married couples. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Social Security.

Social Security started in the 1930s and evolved partly as a way to support child-rearing women who couldn't work (which at the time was about 85 percent of women). They received benefits through their husbands. Today, women can of course hold jobs and put money into Social Security. Upon retirement, married women can claim their own Social Security or their husbands'.

But they are subsidized in large part by single people. The original rationale for this policy was the belief that single men would marry eventually and then recoup the benefits of Social Security at that time. But the repercussions of this reasoning impact singles to this day.

If a single person dies without children, her money will—must—go into the system to be provided to whomever needs it most, which is good because that was the original intent of Social Security. However, if a married person dies, the money can be routed back to her family. This is good for the married person, but fails to account for the important people in singles' lives.

Social Security privileges marrieds in many ways. For example, our hypothetical married woman could receive up to 50 percent of her husband's benefits while her husband is alive. Spouses can also receive 100 percent of their dead spouse's benefits, if the deceased's benefits are higher than the recipient's would have been.

But wait, there's more! For married couples, the federal government throws in this handy dual-claim option: When our married woman reaches retirement age, she can claim Social Security as a spouse and then later as a worker. For example, she could sign up for spousal benefits at age 66 and then wait four years before claiming her own benefits, because by delaying she accrues credits which increase her benefits by a certain percentage (depending on her date of birth).

With these benefits in mind, and stiff drinks in our hands, we calculated and recalculated—in today's dollars—how much more Social Security our married woman received than our single woman. We used the Social Security Administration's online calculator to estimate benefits for our two women, assuming they were both born in 1974 and that they retired at age 66 or 70 and lived until 86.

We assumed their spouses were the same age and also retired at ages 66 or 70. Below are just some of the many permutations that resulted in relatively large sums of money for marrieds, at the expense of unmarrieds:

If both women earning $40,000 retire at age 66, they will collect $333,600 if we assume our characters live for twenty years after retirement. If our characters both retire at 70, they would each collect $357,504 over the next 16 years.

If they retire four years later, both our women earning $40,000 can collect an additional $23,904. But suppose during those additional years, our married woman takes her option to collect on her (now retired) husband's Social Security (in addition to her own income).

Because her husband has earned $51,000 per year for the last 40 years, his wife would receive $39,768 for those four years, which is half of his Social Security (and doesn't diminish the amount he receives). That's $39,768 that our single woman did not have the option of receiving from a loved one.

If our women earning $80,000 retire at 66, they will receive $496,080 over the next twenty years. If they can hold out on retiring for another four years, they will get $528,960 over the next 16 years.

But again, our married woman earning $80,000 can defer retirement between ages 66 and 70 and earn an extra $55,896 in addition to her own income, simply by also collecting her husband's Social Security.

That's a lot of money the government (and single contributors to Social Security) gives to people for saying "I do." But perhaps nothing illustrates the power of marital privilege more than this: unmarried people can ride on another person's Social Security benefits if they were previously married to that person for at least ten years and are 62 and not entitled to Social Security based on their own work history.

If marriage benefits can be flexed based on the nature of the marital relationship, logic dictates that they might also be adapted to include relationships outside the marital sphere. Both of us can think of someone whom we might want to help support via our Social Security earnings.

IRAs

Single people can designate anyone as an IRA beneficiary or an inheritor of property—or be the beneficiary him/herself. Sounds like great news, right? Not once you compare unmarried people with their married counterparts. Married couples enjoy privileges related to IRAs and property taxes that are unavailable to singles.

First, a married couple can put two people on an IRA while a single person can't; this puts the single in a disadvantaged position. For example, a married person (such as our married women) can put away $5,000 for her spouse (the husband) for every year when the husband is not working.

In contrast, a single person can't put away that money in support of someone else, nor can someone else put away money for the single person if the single person is unemployed and not contributing to her own IRA.

Second, spouses can withdraw money from an IRA early, for medical or education expenses, without the usual 10-percent penalty (if those expenses are greater than the IRA-holder's adjusted gross income by 7.5 percent).

While it's never ideal to withdraw money from an IRA early, single people overburdened by unplanned medical expenses will lose 10 percent of the withdrawal amount even if the expenses are high. In other words, single people are penalized when they make the same choices as their married counterparts.

Just as married people can inherit a spouse's IRA, single people can also inherit IRAs, even from someone who's not a relative. Once again, however, married people enjoy significant privileges when they inherit the IRA: If the spouse died before 70 1/2 years of age, and if the surviving spouse is under 59 1/2, he/she can defer the required minimum distribution (RMD) until the spouse would have reached 70 1/2—meaning he/she won't be taxed for RMDs during those years (if the IRA is a traditional one). Additionally, surviving spouses can withdraw cash from the IRA early for any reason without accruing the usual 10-percent penalty—no questions asked.

In contrast, if a single person inherits an IRA, s/he must take the RMD—and be taxed for it—within a year of inheritance. Moreover, if she wishes to withdraw money early, she'll incur the usual 10-percent penalty for doing so. If the IRA owner was older than 70 1/2, the IRA account must be withdrawn within five years. In either situation, the beneficiary must pay regular income taxes on her inheritance. Compare this to the benefits received from a surviving spouse, and the imbalance is clear.

Health Spending

In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compared spending habits among single men, single women, and married people. Although many of the categories represent "extraneous" expenses (such as shoes, clothing, entertainment, and dining), the categories of housing and health spending stood out to us as significant, in that these expenses are practical and necessary for all adults.

According to the BLS, couples spent 6.9 percent of their annual income on health on average; single men spent only 3.9 percent (the data doesn't explain why this number is so low); and single women spent 7.9 percent.

It's not clear how the BLS broke down these numbers into component parts (ie., did they include insurance premiums?). But we used these numbers to calculate the 60-year lifetime spending on health for each of our women, with the following results:

Our single woman with an income of $40,000 spent $189,600 on health over 60 years; whereas our married woman with the same income spent $165,600—a difference of $24,000.

Our married woman with an income of $80,000 spent $331,200 on health over 60 years, and our unmarried woman with the same income spent $379,200—a difference of $48,000.

Our single women would fall even more behind if they became disabled. Here's why. Disability payments barely provide a livable wage. (We know this because one of us has a chronic illness, and while in the woe-is-me throes of a particularly bad flare-up she researched how much she would make if she went on disability. When she saw the numbers, she sucked it up and went back to work.)

Such a system greatly favors married disabled people, because by adding their paltry disability payments to their spouse's wages they can more likely come up with a livable income (although of course spousal support is by no means guaranteed—one's husband may prefer to spend his money on food, shelter, or hobbies). Moreover, our unmarried women's retirement accounts will suffer.

Without a job and on a tight disability budget, she would likely struggle to save in an IRA, and as we described above, no one could save for her. However, the husband of a non-working, disabled married woman might manage to afford the yearly $5,000 contributions to the IRA.

Here's the main takeaway for health spending: Singles pay thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, more in health spending. This is largely because of discriminatory policies by companies and the U.S. government.

Housing

In comparison to health spending, the discrepancies that exist for singles' housing are significant. This happens in part because of the inherent logistical costs of living alone (our single woman would pay more to rent a mountaintop mansion in Hawaii than our married woman would pay, as part of a dual-income married couple), but other factors come into play too, including the biased policies mentioned above.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, couples spent 23.9 percent of their annual income on housing; single men spent 30.3 percent; and single women spent 39.8 percent. We can't say why the disparities exist between unmarried men and women, though we speculate that it may have something to do with the wage gap - but that's another article.

We used these numbers to calculate the 60-year lifetime spending on housing for each of our women:

Our single woman making $40,000 spent $955,200 on housing over 60 years, whereas our married woman making $40,000 spent only $573,600. The married woman saves $381,600 in comparison to her unmarried equivalent.

As one might expect, the difference is even more striking when we analyze the women with higher incomes:

Our single woman making $80,000 spent $1,910,400 on housing over 60 years, whereas our married woman making $80,000 spent only $1,147,200- that's a difference of $763,200.

We did consider that the discrepancy was in part due to the simple logistical fact that two people can split a rent or mortgage. However, other less obvious factors also come into play. As described by social scientist and singles advocate Bella DePaulo, author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, realtors and landlords regularly discriminate against single home-seekers, thus narrowing the pool of housing options for singles.

Worse, governments and housing development companies, influenced by the economics of a single-family-worship culture, do not consistently provide housing options for alternative family structures or collective lifestyles that might benefit singles.

Just one example might be a house or condo complex with several private bed/bath areas but a shared kitchen and shared living/dining room (and, while we're brainstorming here, a shared beachside Jacuzzi and infinity pool.)

So, what were the final totals?

With calloused and bleeding fingertips we reached for the calculator one last time.

Because some of the categories described above were either too variable or overlapped with each other, we calculated the single woman's "best" and "worst" lifetime-cost scenarios using only the following financial categories: Income tax, Social Security, Housing, and Health Spending. We added up the amounts paid (or not received) for each single woman under each category.

For Social Security, where the results were more multifaceted, we chose to use the numbers for when our married women delayed their retirement and received half of their living husbands' Social Security for four years (this was largely because we were unwilling to inflict spousal death on even our made-up characters).

In each category, the singles paid or lost more than the marrieds. The single woman earning $40,000 paid less than her counterpart earning $80,000, simply because she had less money to start with.

When we calculated how much money our characters gained or lost altogether, our single women did indeed fare worse—much worse—than the married women. Their lifetime cost of being single?

Our lower-earning woman paid $484,368 for being single. Our higher-earning woman paid $1,022,096: more than a million dollars just for being single.

We anticipate that critics will point out that the numbers could be manipulated in any number of ways. At every stage in the process we, too, thought "these sums are just too crazy; surely we must have miscalculated or reasoned wrong." We have, however, made only the most conservative of estimates and still reached the conclusion that, no matter which way you read the numbers, the final assessment remains the same: Singles get screwed.

SEE ALSO: The 10 best US cities to become a millionaire >

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The More You Earn, The More Expensive It Is To Be Single In America

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high line date couple

In October 2009, New York Times reporters Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Lieber compared a hypothetical married couple with an equivalent-earning unmarried gay couple, to see just how much difference those extra privileges made.

Here's what they found:

In our worst case, the couple's lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562. But the number fell to $41,196 in the best case for a couple with significantly better health insurance, plus lower taxes and other costs.

This is unfair. The solution? Bernard and Lieber argue that "the federal government [should legalize] same-sex marriage."

But in fact, legalizing gay marriage only solves the problem for a few.

Many more single people (gay and straight)—more than half of the population—continue to suffer from institutionalized singlism, the discrimination of individuals based on marital status.

U.S. Federal Code Title 5 Part III says: The President may prescribe rules which shall prohibit... discrimination because of marital status. Yet more than 1,000 laws provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples. Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single.

The U.S. government is the main perpetrator, but private companies follow its lead. Thus marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives. Insurance policies—ranging from health, to life, to home, to car—cost more, on average, for unmarried people compared to those who are married.

It is not a federal crime for landlords to discriminate against potential renters based on their marital status. And so on.

One reason these policies exist is to encourage people to get married, because being married was—and still is—considered a social good. Some have suggested that marriage makes people healthier and happier, but critics such as Dr. Bella DePaulo have pointed out that most studies show that, in the long term, there is little to no difference between married and single people in terms of health, happiness, or personal responsibility.

Additionally, these studies are often poorly designed, consider data sets that are not representative of the general population, or fail to consider alternative hypotheses—for example, people who are already happy might be more likely to become married, or happiness might come from having close interpersonal relationships, which may or may not include a spouse.

Whatever the truth might be about marriage's effects, we the authors would like to redraw the lines of discussion and argue that policy-makers need to reject policies that take into consideration an individual's marital status, because such policies are discriminatory.

As two straight women with no desire to get married, we are not against marriage per se. We're not callous and repressed man-haters. We're not bitter about ex-boyfriends who cheated or tried to teach us the correct way to pour laundry detergent (ok, well maybe a little bitter about that last one).

We're not even necessarily uncomfortable with the institution's arguable gender expectations and socio-political history. We just don't much care whether we're married, or not. But governments and corporations do.

We decided to determine a person's lifetime cost of being single by paralleling Bernard and Lieber's general approach. So, blissfully unaware of the morass of math awaiting us, we created four characters living in Virginia: two single women and two married women of equivalent means.

The single women made $40,000 and $80,000, as did their married counterparts. The two salaries represent relatively middle and high-income levels in Virginia, where 2011 per capita income was $44,700 statewide. So far, so good. Then we broke out the calculator.

Our married women's husbands worked too, earning $51,000 and $103,000 respectively. (The husbands' salaries to reflect the fact that a woman earns 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, although this is the median rate for all women and in fact black and Hispanic women are paid even less.)

We assumed the married women filed jointly with their husbands (generally more advantageous than filing separately). We imagined that our characters worked in Virginia from ages 26 to 66 and then lived for another 20 years after retirement. We chose to examine one year in their lives and extrapolate the lifetime impact from their finances for that particular year.

We quickly realized that our experiment could not be comprehensive. Had we looked more closely at a longer time period, we might have seen some fluctuations. Because we didn't have the resources to run 900 income tax returns over 50 years, as Bernard and Lieber did, we left out many complicating factors of the single-versus-married filing-status dynamic.

We did not factor in the differences between a married woman with a working husband and a married woman with a stay-at-home husband. Nor did we consider the high probability that our characters would change or lose jobs several times, and/or receive pay increases throughout their lifetimes. And we didn't consider the expenses of children (though for the record single women bear more of a financial burden of raising children, compared to married women).

We did not address the high likelihood that our married women would get a divorce or outlive their husbands. A comparison of single versus married men would also likely return different results.

So, what did we examine? The primary areas where government and corporate policies have institutionalized discrimination against single people: income taxes, Social Security, and IRAs. We also looked at discrimination that is not officially institutionalized: housing and health spending. Singles have little choice but to expend more in these areas out of practical necessity.

Here's the breakdown:

Income Taxes

Normally, married couples can save thousands of dollars just by filing jointly instead of separately. Those thousands are largely the direct result of federal and state laws that privilege married people.

First, we wondered how much our characters would spend in one year in income taxes. We figured this out with the help of a tax professional, who focused on the taxes the women paid during their working careers.

In 2010, our single woman earning $40,000 paid $6,181. Her married peer paid more than a thousand dollars less: $5,162. The contrast became more dramatic as our subjects' incomes increased: our single woman earning $80,000 paid $16,125, whereas her married counterpart paid almost four thousand dollars less per year. (The numbers for 2011 were similar: our marrieds paid $963 and $3,875 less.)

Here are the numbers extrapolated from income hypothetically earned over 40 years, based on the 2011 rates:

Our single woman earning $40,000 per year paid $245,000 in income taxes. Our married woman earning $40,000 paid $206,000 in income taxes—a difference of $39,000.

Our single woman earning $80,000 per year paid $645,000 in income taxes. Our married woman earning $80,000 paid $490,000 in income taxes—a difference of $155,000.

At this point in our calculations, we each wanted to run out and get a husband, STAT. And the buttons on our calculator weren't even warm yet.

Social Security

Perhaps the most pervasive myth about unmarried people is that no one will care for them as they age. This fear is both ridiculous, and not. We ourselves feel it sometimes, even though we know that having a spouse and/or kids is no guarantee you'll die in satin sheets with the ocean breeze blowing through your window as muscular half-clothed but fully oiled young men fan your greying cheeks with palm fronds and place peanut butter cups between your lips (we will not say which of us has this particular fantasy).

But being married does in many ways make planning and saving for the future easier—simply because society provides more such options for married couples. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Social Security.

Social Security started in the 1930s and evolved partly as a way to support child-rearing women who couldn't work (which at the time was about 85 percent of women). They received benefits through their husbands. Today, women can of course hold jobs and put money into Social Security. Upon retirement, married women can claim their own Social Security or their husbands'.

But they are subsidized in large part by single people. The original rationale for this policy was the belief that single men would marry eventually and then recoup the benefits of Social Security at that time. But the repercussions of this reasoning impact singles to this day.

If a single person dies without children, her money will—must—go into the system to be provided to whomever needs it most, which is good because that was the original intent of Social Security. However, if a married person dies, the money can be routed back to her family. This is good for the married person, but fails to account for the important people in singles' lives.

Social Security privileges marrieds in many ways. For example, our hypothetical married woman could receive up to 50 percent of her husband's benefits while her husband is alive. Spouses can also receive 100 percent of their dead spouse's benefits, if the deceased's benefits are higher than the recipient's would have been.

But wait, there's more! For married couples, the federal government throws in this handy dual-claim option: When our married woman reaches retirement age, she can claim Social Security as a spouse and then later as a worker. For example, she could sign up for spousal benefits at age 66 and then wait four years before claiming her own benefits, because by delaying she accrues credits which increase her benefits by a certain percentage (depending on her date of birth).

With these benefits in mind, and stiff drinks in our hands, we calculated and recalculated—in today's dollars—how much more Social Security our married woman received than our single woman. We used the Social Security Administration's online calculator to estimate benefits for our two women, assuming they were both born in 1974 and that they retired at age 66 or 70 and lived until 86.

We assumed their spouses were the same age and also retired at ages 66 or 70. Below are just some of the many permutations that resulted in relatively large sums of money for marrieds, at the expense of unmarrieds:

If both women earning $40,000 retire at age 66, they will collect $333,600 if we assume our characters live for twenty years after retirement. If our characters both retire at 70, they would each collect $357,504 over the next 16 years.

If they retire four years later, both our women earning $40,000 can collect an additional $23,904. But suppose during those additional years, our married woman takes her option to collect on her (now retired) husband's Social Security (in addition to her own income).

Because her husband has earned $51,000 per year for the last 40 years, his wife would receive $39,768 for those four years, which is half of his Social Security (and doesn't diminish the amount he receives). That's $39,768 that our single woman did not have the option of receiving from a loved one.

If our women earning $80,000 retire at 66, they will receive $496,080 over the next twenty years. If they can hold out on retiring for another four years, they will get $528,960 over the next 16 years.

But again, our married woman earning $80,000 can defer retirement between ages 66 and 70 and earn an extra $55,896 in addition to her own income, simply by also collecting her husband's Social Security.

That's a lot of money the government (and single contributors to Social Security) gives to people for saying "I do." But perhaps nothing illustrates the power of marital privilege more than this: unmarried people can ride on another person's Social Security benefits if they were previously married to that person for at least ten years and are 62 and not entitled to Social Security based on their own work history.

If marriage benefits can be flexed based on the nature of the marital relationship, logic dictates that they might also be adapted to include relationships outside the marital sphere. Both of us can think of someone whom we might want to help support via our Social Security earnings.

IRAs

Single people can designate anyone as an IRA beneficiary or an inheritor of property—or be the beneficiary him/herself. Sounds like great news, right? Not once you compare unmarried people with their married counterparts. Married couples enjoy privileges related to IRAs and property taxes that are unavailable to singles.

First, a married couple can put two people on an IRA while a single person can't; this puts the single in a disadvantaged position. For example, a married person (such as our married women) can put away $5,000 for her spouse (the husband) for every year when the husband is not working.

In contrast, a single person can't put away that money in support of someone else, nor can someone else put away money for the single person if the single person is unemployed and not contributing to her own IRA.

Second, spouses can withdraw money from an IRA early, for medical or education expenses, without the usual 10-percent penalty (if those expenses are greater than the IRA-holder's adjusted gross income by 7.5 percent).

While it's never ideal to withdraw money from an IRA early, single people overburdened by unplanned medical expenses will lose 10 percent of the withdrawal amount even if the expenses are high. In other words, single people are penalized when they make the same choices as their married counterparts.

Just as married people can inherit a spouse's IRA, single people can also inherit IRAs, even from someone who's not a relative. Once again, however, married people enjoy significant privileges when they inherit the IRA: If the spouse died before 70 1/2 years of age, and if the surviving spouse is under 59 1/2, he/she can defer the required minimum distribution (RMD) until the spouse would have reached 70 1/2—meaning he/she won't be taxed for RMDs during those years (if the IRA is a traditional one). Additionally, surviving spouses can withdraw cash from the IRA early for any reason without accruing the usual 10-percent penalty—no questions asked.

In contrast, if a single person inherits an IRA, s/he must take the RMD—and be taxed for it—within a year of inheritance. Moreover, if she wishes to withdraw money early, she'll incur the usual 10-percent penalty for doing so. If the IRA owner was older than 70 1/2, the IRA account must be withdrawn within five years. In either situation, the beneficiary must pay regular income taxes on her inheritance. Compare this to the benefits received from a surviving spouse, and the imbalance is clear.

Health Spending

In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compared spending habits among single men, single women, and married people. Although many of the categories represent "extraneous" expenses (such as shoes, clothing, entertainment, and dining), the categories of housing and health spending stood out to us as significant, in that these expenses are practical and necessary for all adults.

According to the BLS, couples spent 6.9 percent of their annual income on health on average; single men spent only 3.9 percent (the data doesn't explain why this number is so low); and single women spent 7.9 percent.

It's not clear how the BLS broke down these numbers into component parts (ie., did they include insurance premiums?). But we used these numbers to calculate the 60-year lifetime spending on health for each of our women, with the following results:

Our single woman with an income of $40,000 spent $189,600 on health over 60 years; whereas our married woman with the same income spent $165,600—a difference of $24,000.

Our married woman with an income of $80,000 spent $331,200 on health over 60 years, and our unmarried woman with the same income spent $379,200—a difference of $48,000.

Our single women would fall even more behind if they became disabled. Here's why. Disability payments barely provide a livable wage. (We know this because one of us has a chronic illness, and while in the woe-is-me throes of a particularly bad flare-up she researched how much she would make if she went on disability. When she saw the numbers, she sucked it up and went back to work.)

Such a system greatly favors married disabled people, because by adding their paltry disability payments to their spouse's wages they can more likely come up with a livable income (although of course spousal support is by no means guaranteed—one's husband may prefer to spend his money on food, shelter, or hobbies). Moreover, our unmarried women's retirement accounts will suffer.

Without a job and on a tight disability budget, she would likely struggle to save in an IRA, and as we described above, no one could save for her. However, the husband of a non-working, disabled married woman might manage to afford the yearly $5,000 contributions to the IRA.

Here's the main takeaway for health spending: Singles pay thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, more in health spending. This is largely because of discriminatory policies by companies and the U.S. government.

Housing

In comparison to health spending, the discrepancies that exist for singles' housing are significant. This happens in part because of the inherent logistical costs of living alone (our single woman would pay more to rent a mountaintop mansion in Hawaii than our married woman would pay, as part of a dual-income married couple), but other factors come into play too, including the biased policies mentioned above.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, couples spent 23.9 percent of their annual income on housing; single men spent 30.3 percent; and single women spent 39.8 percent. We can't say why the disparities exist between unmarried men and women, though we speculate that it may have something to do with the wage gap - but that's another article.

We used these numbers to calculate the 60-year lifetime spending on housing for each of our women:

Our single woman making $40,000 spent $955,200 on housing over 60 years, whereas our married woman making $40,000 spent only $573,600. The married woman saves $381,600 in comparison to her unmarried equivalent.

As one might expect, the difference is even more striking when we analyze the women with higher incomes:

Our single woman making $80,000 spent $1,910,400 on housing over 60 years, whereas our married woman making $80,000 spent only $1,147,200- that's a difference of $763,200.

We did consider that the discrepancy was in part due to the simple logistical fact that two people can split a rent or mortgage. However, other less obvious factors also come into play. As described by social scientist and singles advocate Bella DePaulo, author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, realtors and landlords regularly discriminate against single home-seekers, thus narrowing the pool of housing options for singles.

Worse, governments and housing development companies, influenced by the economics of a single-family-worship culture, do not consistently provide housing options for alternative family structures or collective lifestyles that might benefit singles.

Just one example might be a house or condo complex with several private bed/bath areas but a shared kitchen and shared living/dining room (and, while we're brainstorming here, a shared beachside Jacuzzi and infinity pool.)

So, what were the final totals?

With calloused and bleeding fingertips we reached for the calculator one last time.

Because some of the categories described above were either too variable or overlapped with each other, we calculated the single woman's "best" and "worst" lifetime-cost scenarios using only the following financial categories: Income tax, Social Security, Housing, and Health Spending. We added up the amounts paid (or not received) for each single woman under each category.

For Social Security, where the results were more multifaceted, we chose to use the numbers for when our married women delayed their retirement and received half of their living husbands' Social Security for four years (this was largely because we were unwilling to inflict spousal death on even our made-up characters).

In each category, the singles paid or lost more than the marrieds. The single woman earning $40,000 paid less than her counterpart earning $80,000, simply because she had less money to start with.

When we calculated how much money our characters gained or lost altogether, our single women did indeed fare worse—much worse—than the married women. Their lifetime cost of being single?

Our lower-earning woman paid $484,368 for being single. Our higher-earning woman paid $1,022,096: more than a million dollars just for being single.

We anticipate that critics will point out that the numbers could be manipulated in any number of ways. At every stage in the process we, too, thought "these sums are just too crazy; surely we must have miscalculated or reasoned wrong." We have, however, made only the most conservative of estimates and still reached the conclusion that, no matter which way you read the numbers, the final assessment remains the same: Singles get screwed.

SEE ALSO: The 10 best US cities to become a millionaire >

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NBA Player Kenyon Martin Is Selling His Gloriously Over-The-Top Mansion For $5 Million

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kenyon martin fountain

NBA veteran free agent Kenyon Martin is selling his Texas home for $5 million, USA Today reports.

The house is decidedly over-the-top, with life-sized bronze dolphin fountains, white marble floors, a bowling alley, and an outdoor cabana.

If MTV Cribs was still on, it'd deserve a segment.

The 15,000-square foot home has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and a nine-car garage.

Let's start at the pool. Those are bronze dolphin fountains



The hot tub, with a waterfall to separate it from the pool



A full view of the deck



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Online Startup Plans To Create 'Ivy Caliber' Education For Half The Price

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Ben Nelson

There's a massive problem in higher education. The number of people qualified to attend the world's best universities who don't get the chance to do so is growing. At the same time, the cost of attending college has risen to the point where people question its value, and student debt is skyrocketing. 

The Minerva Project and its founder Ben Nelson, the former CEO of Snapfish, are making an ambitious effort to fight both problems.

Their goal is to attract the best and brightest young students in the world without a traditional campus, while charging tuition "substantially less than half" of what they do in the Ivy League.

Former Harvard President and Treasury Secretary Larry Summers chairs the advisory board; and, former Nebraska governor, U.S. senator, and the New School president emeritus, Bob Kerrey, will be executive chairman of the Minerva institute. Benchmark Capital, one of the world's most prestigious venture capital funds, put $25 million into it during its very first round of fundraising. The Economist says it's "one of the biggest seed investments of a leading Silicon Valley venture firm ever."

The first class is expected in 2015. All courses will be taught in seminar form, via live streaming from around the world, giving the organizers an incredible amount of flexibility, which is at the core of what's an intriguing idea. 

Today Minerva announced the creation of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, which aims to solve two of the problems the project hadn't thoroughly addressed yet: research, and creating opportunities for every student. "That's effectively what this most recent announcement is about—the foundation of the Minerva Institute—which will have a role of both promoting scholarship for our students and getting them up the curve and learning how to be the world's most impactful creators, as well as supporting our faculty in their pursuit of generating meaningful knowledge, CEO Ben Nelson said."

In an interview with Business Insider, Nelson outlined the overall idea behind the school, how it plans to get both the world's best professors and highest-performing students on board, and how it's solving that thorny research problem. 

The bottom line? 

According to Nelson, Minerva's a response to an enormous demand gap, and to the fact that we need an elite university built for this century, not another built "in a 19th century context." 

"That's effectively what Minerva is, so we really are taking every aspect of the university and rethinking it from scratch, and imagining, if we wanted to create the world's greatest university today, what would it look like?"

That includes rethinking everything from how the faculty's assembled, to admissions policies, to tuition, to how students will live.  

The pitch that got Larry Summers, Bob Kerrey, and Benchmark on board. 

"The pitch for Minerva is actually very straightforward," says Nelson argues. It all comes down to supply and demand. There aren't nearly enough spots at elite schools for the students brilliant enough to attend them.

There hasn't been a new, elite research university created since the late 19th century. Since then, there's been a massive increase in demand as women and ethnic and religious minorities joined the pool. In response, elite universities increased their class size.

Then came the 1980s, which saw demand explode even more. The need for blind admissions policies, according to Nelson, "effectively quintupled" the market for elite universities. Then came the end of the Cold War. "When that happened the international demand jumped by a couple of orders of magnitude," Nelson said. And that's not just people who want to go, that's people who are absolutely qualified to. 

The response of elite universities? They froze the size of their incoming classes. "Effectively, the Ivy League's incoming class today hasn't even tracked population growth over the last 25 years," Nelson said.  

How big is the potential pool for Minerva? In Nelson's words, "very, very, very large."

"If you look at a traditional university, we characterize their admissions philosophy as having a high floor and a low ceiling. It means that it's obviously very difficult to get into any Ivy League university," Nelson said, "but, because of their capacity constraints, depending on factors that are completely nonacademic, your likelihood of getting in is dramatically different."

Think of Stanford, which just won the Rose Bowl. They only admit 1,700 hundred students, but have too many elite sports teams. Then you add the issue of diversity. Universities concentrate on that, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it does create a problem. "Because the highly qualified kid from New York doesn't have the 'right parents' or doesn't have the right throwing arm, he's kind of screwed," Nelson pointed out. 

The problem's even worse for international students. Seven percent of Stanford's class is non-American. Harvard accepts around eight students from China each year.

That leaves thousands, if not more, domestic Ivy League-caliber students who don't get into the Ivies or their peer institutions, and by Nelson's calculations, "orders of magnitude" more international students, because the U.S. is only five percent of the world's population. 

The pool gets even bigger when you look at the options available in students' home countries. Many countries may have top tier institutions in a few fields, but are completely lacking in others.  

"Let's say I'm a brilliant kid growing up in India. But I don't want to be a doctor and I don't want to be an engineer. Therefore, I don't want to go to IIT or IIS," Nelson said. "I want to be an economist, I want to study political science, I want to study philosophy. Right? Where do I go? There actually is not a single institution of the caliber of any top tier university in the world that teaches those subjects at an undergraduate level. So we provide that opportunity."

Assembling a world-class faculty without shelling out millions to poach them

Maybe the most important part of creating a new university to challenge the Ivies is getting world class faculty. Minerva doesn't want to go out and say, "We'll pay you 20 percent more if you come and leave Harvard and Yale and come to us." Nelson said, That's both very expensive, and worse, it's actually very bad for the industry.

What they do want to do is pick up the top talent that gets stuck in what Nelson calls "transition points"—the areas where bright people stall because there's simply no room. 

Nelson gave the example of a friend of his who teaches philosophy at Berkeley who described a grim job market for graduates. "There were two, and I kid you not, two postings for professors of logic open in the country," Nelson said. "I will tell you that there are more than two PhD graduates from excellent institutions who have concentrated in logic."

That's one of the four major transition points Minerva has identified—the transition from PhD to associate professor, where there simply aren't enough jobs. This is an opportunity to get formal training and experience in teaching, do research, and publish, which puts those graduates in a better position to move to a top tier institution. 

The second transition is from assistant to associate professor, where great professors don't quite get tenure. Nelson had an experience many people can relate to, where a beloved professor didn't get tenure because they hadn't published quite enough. "When you don't get tenure at Penn you don't wind up going to Princeton. Right? You wind up dropping a couple of 'tiers.'" 

Minerva hopes to provide an opportunity for these sorts of people to take a couple of years to publish and burnish  their credentials so they don't necessarily have to drop down to a lower-tier institution just because their seven years ended at the wrong time for their department.

The third point is dual academic households. Think of a doctor who wants to go work at UCSF, but is married to an economist. UCSF is only a medical school, so what's his spouse going to do? Because Minerva faculty can teach from anywhere, it can help resolve what's become a significant problem.

The final option is emeritus professors who still want to work, but want to live somewhere other than the last place they happened to have taught. 

It's a faculty model that works with, rather than against, existing institutions, without having to pay massive salaries to poach people, and without sacrificing quality. 

Providing an opportunity to professors left behind by the current system is one part of building a great faculty. The other is the opportunity to do great research. Minerva doesn't want to build massive labs, but professors sometimes need them. They will provide all of the support needed to write grants, but the experience will be very unique.

"Whenever there's overhead that's necessary for a research project, it is built just in time, not necessarily built but actually charged for, outsourced," Nelson said. "So as an example, there are entire biotech companies now that don't own a single lab, what they do is outsource their experiments to labs in India and they get the results back and continue to iterate on them in that fashion, and those labs in India are open 24 hours a day, so there's absolutely no lag."

That doesn't mean researchers who want to work in a lab won't be able to find one, because they can live anywhere in the world. "For example, if they want to sit in a lab they can go and [collaborate] with a scientist in Germany, they can go to the Max Planck institute," Nelson explained, "and even though we pay their salary, they can be working alongside their colleague and sitting on their bench for free."

The same goes for professors who work extensively in the field.

The final point, which Nelson hopes will be particularly appealing, is that Minerva won't claim any part of the intellectual property researchers create because they won't be paying infrastructure costs, unlike Universities, which get a chunk and manage commercialization.

Getting students to take a chance 

Beyond the fact that there's a massive population of brilliant students who are effectively locked out of an Ivy caliber education, Nelson argues that Minerva has something to offer students, to convince them to take a chance on a new model.

"I think the preponderance of our students will come simply because they believe in what we want to do and are excited by our educational system," Nelson said. 

Additionally, the experience is going to be dramatically different from anything else available. "At Minerva we will facilitate and expect our students to live in 7 different countries by the time they graduate. So they live in the U.S. or their home country for their first year, going through our core curriculum, and then every semester thereafter they move from city to city, to the city of their choice," Nelson told us, "so they can go to Moscow and London, another student can go to Beijing and Mumbai, another student will go to Rio and Sydney, and another student will go to Johannesburg and Jerusalem."

They'll have residence halls in a range of cities, where students will live together, but no central campus. 

Additionally, everything will be in a seminar format. "There are no lectures at Minerva. Every single one of our courses is meant to provoke and actually change your perspective of the world."

Completely changing the admissions process

When it comes to aptitude, Nelson expects Minerva will be harder to get into than Harvard. 

Applicants will have to demonstrate the ability to handle an intellectually rigorous curriculum, with good grades and good test scores. But they won't have to write an essay. According to Nelson, people often just pay someone else to write their essays. "The more you pay someone the better your essay will be, and that's generally what happens," Nelson said. "We don't think that that's necessarily a fair thing to do."

What differentiates their admissions process is the interview. "We interview the students. And in the interview we'll actually do a battery of tests that will look at their potential as far as leadership, grit, creativity, analytics, etc."

So once you demonstrate that you're "Ivy caliber as far as smart," you have to show that you have these additional abilities to get in.

However, the big difference is that "if you pass those tests, you're in. There are no waiting lists, there's no well, we will get back to you later. If you pass our bar, you will have an opportunity to get into Minerva," Nelson said. 

"What will never happen at Minerva is a student who is qualified who meets our bar but we say, 'we already have too many of you, so you're rejected,'" Nelson said. 

The business side of the equation 

The first thing to realize is that Universities are an incredibly good business. "The fact that Harvard has a $37 billion endowment is not because it's a non-profit organization, it's because it's a for-profit organization, and rather than paying out taxes on its profits, it puts it on its endowment."

Minerva hopes, by being narrowly focused, appealing to a huge pool of untapped demand, and dramatically reducing costs, they can be a big player in that business.

They won't have an ever-increasing infrastructure, they won't have a University-sponsored athletic system, they won't have major labs, they won't offer courses and majors that require intensive lab resources, like mechanical engineering, and they'll have a vastly smaller administration. 

All of that means that they will take out an "enormous percentage" of the costs of running a University. They won't spend it on advertising like some lower end universities. 

Those savings are going to go into creating a good experience, and into lowering tuition dramatically. "We really are going to spread our message by going and identifying the best students and talking to them, which is far more capital efficient."

"Obviously room and board is room and board, we have to eat and we have to live, and we don't know how to make that much cheaper," Nelson said, "but we certainly know how to bring tuition dramatically down and we think that's going to be very important."

NOW READ: 30 People With "Soft" College Majors Who Became Extremely Successful

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