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What makes you more attractive to mosquitoes isn't how good you taste


An Anopheles stephensi mosquito obtains a blood meal from a human host through its pointed proboscis in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters November 23, 2015.  REUTERS/Jim Gathany/CDC/Handout via Reuters

For some of us, mosquito bites are an annoyance that plagues our arms and legs all summer long.

Meanwhile, others seem immune to the pesky things, which have gained increased notoriety lately thanks to the fast-spreading Zika virus, which is transmitted via one species of mosquito.

As it turns out, how attractive you are to a mosquito might have less to do with how your blood tastes and more to do with how you smell.

There are a trillion or so microbes that live on our skin that play a huge role in body odor. Without those bacteria, human sweat wouldn't smell like anything.

And for each of us, those bacteria vary widely. While we share 99.9% of DNA with other humans, our microbes are much more diverse, in part because they're influenced by our lifestyle.

So what does all this have to do with mosquitoes?

A siren song for mosquitoes

A small 2011 study found that those microbes produce different chemicals. And some of those smell more attractive to the insects.

To demonstrate this, researchers asked 48 adult male volunteers to refrain from alcohol, garlic, spicy food, and showers for two days, as these factors could interfere with the kinds of microbes that thrive on the men's skin.

The men wore nylon socks for 24 hours to build up their collection of unique skin microbes, which the researchers then used to collect their scent as bait for some malaria-carrying Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes.

Out of the 48 men, nine proved to be especially attractive to mosquitoes. Another seven men were largely ignored by the insects.

So the researchers looked at the microbe profiles for each of the men. Not surprisingly, the "highly attractive" group had more than twice as high a concentration of one common skin microbe, and more than three times higher concentration of another common microbe compared to the "poorly attractive group."

Overall, that poorly attractive group had a more diverse bacterial colony on their skin, findings that suggest some people's smell may act as a natural deterrent for mosquitoes.

Scientists have also looked into how smells influence the behavior of the mosquito species that's responsible for transmitting Zika and dengue — the Aedes aegypti.

For one of these studies, researchers analyzed the chemicals produced by skin microbes and found that some of them appear to attract particular mosquitoes. One they found is lactic acid. (In addition to being produced naturally by our bodies, it's also found in milk and cheese.)

When mixed with the carbon dioxide we breathe out, lactic acid makes for a potent combination that attracts female A. aegypti mosquitoes. In particular, Limburger cheese, which tends to smell like body odor, was a definite mosquito attractant.

There you have it: Being attractive to mosquitoes is all about smells, and the kinds of microbes that produce them.

NEXT: The world's deadliest animal isn't a shark or even a human

DON'T MISS: The untreatable Zika virus just made its way into 2 more countries — here are all the places the virus has spread so far

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Why 'Cartel Land,' a documentary about American and Mexican vigilantes fighting the war on drugs, could be the upset winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary


Since 2007, Mexico's drug war has resulted in the murder of more than 100,000 of Mexico's citizens and brought an influx of violence and drugs into the United States.

"Cartel Land," nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary, could easily take to the podium for the much-coveted award. The film sheds light on a less well-known part of the story: the existence of vigilante groups on both sides of the border to combat the cartels. The film, directed by Matthew Heinemen, focuses on the leaders of both vigilante groups, including a Mexican doctor who has lost faith in his government's ability to fight the drug lords.

As Heinemen explains, and the documentary reveals, initial assumptions about right and wrong and good and evil prove far too simplistic for this complex war. 

Produced and edited by Josh WolffCinematography by David Fang. 

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Michael Strahan was the worst-dressed man at the Oscars


Michael Strahan

The Academy Awards are frequently a pretty staid affair for men's fashion. Being black-tie, there's not a whole lot of room for error.

Unless you're Michael Strahan. The former NFL star-turned-TV personality decided to spice up his black-tie ensemble by wearing a tuxedo in an odd turquoise color.

In fact, Strahan's outfit is so bad we're calling him the worst-dressed man at this year's Oscars.

Now, we know navy-blue tuxedos are pretty hot right now. But this color is nowhere near navy — not even if you squint and look at it sideways.

Aside from the dreadful color, the proportions are odd. The high cut of the vest makes the already very tall Strahan look like a giant. The large break of the pant leg brings him down to Earth, but it also makes him look a bit sloppy.

Another gaffe: the black tie calls for a bow tie. Strahan didn't even get that right.

The lapel color isn't terrible, but the matching with the buttons and tie is just too much. The contrast of the stark white shirt is jarring — the last straw for the whole outfit.

When it comes to trying to stand out with black tie, less is more. Strahan could have gone for something subtle like a lapel pin.

SEE ALSO: It turns out that dressing well can actually make you more successful

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'AMY’ — a shattering biographical portrait of Amy Winehouse — wins Oscar for Best Documentary


The 2015 film, "Amy," based on the life of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, became the highest-grossing British documentary film ever and has now won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. 

We recently sat down with the director Asif Kapadia, who discussed the transformations that take place in the film.

"Amy looks at the camera and looks at the audience all the way through the film, and what happens is, we, the person looking at her, change," he says. "We start off as Amy's friends, we become her manager, we become her boyfriend, we become the paparazzi eventually and her relationship with the camera changes during the film."

Kapadia continues, "I want people who really didn't like Amy to go and see 'Amy'. It's not just about appealing to the hardcore fan. It's about speaking to the people who really think they're not interested and getting them to fall in love with Amy Winehouse."

Producer/Editor: Josh Wolff

Cinematography: David Fang

Special Thanks: A24, Sam Rega

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A Harvard psychologist says your success in any situation hinges on 3 things


amy cuddy power posing

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy is perhaps best known as the creator of the "power pose."

As she described in her 2012 TED Talk, power-posing is about taking advantage of the body-mind connection: You adopt the body language of powerful people so that you feel and act more confident.

But power posing is just one path to a state of calm self-confidence that will help you succeed in challenging situations. That state, which Cuddy calls "presence," is the subject of her new book by the same name.

Cuddy defines presence as being attuned to and able to express your full potential. When you're present, you approach challenges without a sense of threat.

Whether you're interviewing for a job or pitching your startup, people can tell right away if you're present, and they judge you more positively when you are.

In an interview with Business Insider, Cuddy said there are three things people see when you're present:

1. You believe your story

When you're present, you demonstrate conviction and passion so that other people come to believe your story, too.

In the book, Cuddy describes a yet-unpublished study she conducted, in which participants went through mock interviews. For five minutes, they had to persuade the interviewer that they were the best person for the job, while being completely honest. All the while, the interviewer held a completely neutral expression.

Three independent pairs of judges watched videos of the interviews, looking for presence, believability, and hireability. Sure enough, the interviewees who were rated more present were also rated more believable and more hireable.

Cuddy writes: "Presence mattered to the judges because it signaled authenticity, believability, and genuineness; it told the judges that they could trust the person, that what they were observing was real."

confident presentation public speaking

2. You're confident without being arrogant

In the book, Cuddy quotes a venture capitalist describing what turns him off during an entrepreneur's pitch: "They're too high energy and aggressive, maybe a little pushy. It seems defensive, I don't expect them to have all the answers. Actually, I don't want them to have all the answers."

Being open to feedback is key, Cuddy told Business Insider. The more you shut down other people and their perspectives, the less appealing you become. That's because it can seem like you're trying to cover up a sense of uncertainty.

"A truly confident person does not require arrogance, which is nothing more than a smoke screen for insecurity," Cuddy writes. "A confident person can be present to others, hear their perspectives, and integrate those views in ways that create value for everyone."

3. Your verbal and nonverbal communication is in sync

When we're being inauthentic — or when we're intentionally deceiving someone — Cuddy said our verbal and nonverbal communication is incongruent.

In the book, she explains that's because you're constantly trying to adjust what you're saying and doing to create the impression you think others want to see.

On the other hand, when we're present, our verbal and nonverbal behavior matches. People aren't distracted trying to figure out why something feels "off," and they're more likely to put their trust in you.

Ultimately, if you're confident in yourself, other people will be more likely to be confident in you, too. It doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the job or the investor's money, but you'll walk away knowing that you did the best you could — and the right opportunity for you is out there.

SEE ALSO: A Harvard psychologist says there's a personality trait that's just as important as charisma and is easier to develop

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STEPH CURRY: Inside the spectacular life of the world’s greatest basketball player


Steph Curry has been on fire as of late. Last Saturday night, he hit a game-winning 3-pointer against OKC from 38 feet out and broke his own record for most 3-pointers made in a single season (and there's still tons of basketball left). Outside of basketball his life is just as spectacular.

Produced by Emmanuel Ocbazghi. Original reporting by Scott Davis.

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Billboards are going to start tracking you using your phone

This two-legged bunny got a wheelchair, and now he's unstoppable

Starbucks’ new flavor is blowing up on the internet because it reminds people of Harry Potter


Harry Potter fans were quick to call Starbucks' new Smoked Butterscotch drink "butterbeer," the non-alcoholic beverage that students and professors at Hogwarts drink in J.K. Rowling's fantasy novels. In fact, in an interview with Bon Appetit in 2002, the author says she imagines butterbeer tastes like "less sickly butterscotch."

Story and editing by A.C. Fowler

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20 mind-bending photos of 'Human Chameleon' Liu Bolin


Liu Bolin

Chinese artist Liu Bolin has an amazing talent. He can blend into any surroundings he chooses, making himself, or his subjects, practically undetectable to the human eye.

Bolin, known to many as the "Human Chameleon", decorates the body and clothes with color, painting himself and his subjects into the surroundings, making them almost imperceptible at first glance. He sees his work as a type of political protest, and a way of hiding from the authorities.

In a recent work titled "Dongji (Winter Solstice)", Bolin took a political stance on the environment, commenting on the air pollution crisis happening in China.   

His work has been exhibited all over the world and can be seen in his book "Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man." Bolin has shared his recent works with us, courtesy of Liu Bolin Art Studio and Klein Sun Gallery. We've combined those photos with others taken by Reuters photographers. 

Christian Storm wrote an earlier version of this post. 

SEE ALSO: These photos of India's overcrowded railways will make you grateful for your commute

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For his body of work "Dongji", which translates to "winter solstice", Bolin painted models in camouflage colors to represent the smog in the air.

The piece was debuted during Beijing's second-ever "red alert" for air pollution in December of 2015.

Here, Bolin is being painted by his assistants to match the wall of an old temple in central Beijing.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's exactly how long guys should go in between haircuts



There are few rituals a guy prizes as highly as his haircut. Every month, like clockwork, right?

If you follow that rule, you may not be going as often as you need to — or you may be going too often. That common once-a-month rule is actually much more flexible than you think.

It all depends on the length of the cut you're looking to maintain. For someone with shorter, razored hair on the sides, in order to maintain that style you will need to go back to the barbershop every two weeks, according to Riki Bryan, a strategist who works with New York City- and San Francisco-based barbershop chain Fellow Barber.

If you have a longer haircut, say an inch or two all around, a month is an acceptable amount of time to go in between cuts.

That's because hair always grows at the same rate — about 0.5 inches every four weeks, according to GQ. It's all about maintaining ratios.

Since 0.5 inches can be up to double the length of the shorter sides of a close-cropped, clippered haircut, to maintain that shape you must go within a few weeks. However, if your hair is two inches or longer, that ratio of growth after a month is going to be much smaller, and no one will really notice a 0.5-inch increase in hair length.

Basically, the longer your hair is, the longer you can go without getting it cut. However, we'd still follow a plus- or minus-two-week range from a month schedule.

After six weeks, you're going to need at least a trim, no matter how long your hair is.

SEE ALSO: It turns out that dressing well can actually make you more successful

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Netflix wants to pay you $4,000 to hang out on its TV sets and Instagram for 2 weeks (NFLX)


Reed Hastings

Netflix is currently recruiting four "Grammasters" who will each get to spend two weeks hanging out on Netflix sets in Europe and the Middle East, snapping photos and getting paid $4,000 to do so.

To apply, you have to follow the Netflix Instagram account (@Netflix) and hashtag your best three photos with #grammasters3 (by March 6).

What kinds of photos should you pick?

Netflix isn't particularly specific, but it does say that they should "show off your interests or passions."

See more about the Grammaster position here.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is quietly funding a startup that could break open a whole new market for streaming music

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Welcome to Beijing, the new billionaire capital of the world


temple restaurant beijing Beijing was recently found to have the world's highest concentration of billionaires. 

The results came from Hurun, a Shanghai-based firm that releases annual rankings and research about the world's richest people.

With a total of 100 billionaires this year, Beijing is now the next destination for the ultra-wealthy.

With stunning ancient temples, gourmet restaurants, and high-end craft cocktail establishments, the city has plenty to offer visitors and locals alike.

SEE ALSO: 17 photos that show why the Bahamas are so popular with the 1%

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Beijing offers an eclectic mix of new and old. At Tiananmen Square, which is one of the world's largest public squares, visitors can get a glimpse of 1950s Soviet-style buildings, the gates of the Forbidden City, and incredible views of the city.


Beijing's Forbidden City is the largest ancient palatial structure in the world, and covers a total of 178 acres. The Forbidden City includes 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings, and 8,704 rooms that once housed emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

One of the best views over the Forbidden City can be admired from Jingshan Park.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's why you should never use an electric shaver again


Electric shaving

A man has choices when it comes to taking care of his beard hair. He can either let it grow, trim it, or shave it.

And even when he chooses to shave, the options don't stop there. There's another, just as important decision to make: traditional vs. electric.

Well, I'm here to make that decision for you. Let's face it: The drawbacks of using an electric shaver far outweigh the benefits.

Sorry, electric shavers, but you know it's true. It's OK. There is a better way.

First, let's examine the benefits of electric shaving. Many men prefer the ease and convenience of electric shaving to any other kind, noting the minimal cleanup and considerably less amount of time needed to devote to the ritual.

There's also no requirement to purchase any sort of replacement blades or cartridges, and you don't have to fuss about with water.

Unfortunately, the list of negatives is much longer. Electric shavers can be painful on longer hair, and they don't give anywhere near as close a shave. Often, you have to go over one patch of hair multiple times, and you'll still look like you have 5:00 shadow.

They also are more prone to making small nicks on your skin, leading to razor bumps and acne.

You may think that these are only problems of the cheaper electrics, but when Art of Manliness tried out some of the most expensive electric razors on the market in 2014, they found many of the same exact same issues I outlined above.

Save yourself the trouble and shave with a traditional straight-edge or cartridge razor — you'll be better off.

SEE ALSO: I just started using an eye cream, and now I finally understand why it's so important

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NOW WATCH: These 25-year-old BFFs are Instagram stars thanks to their crazy beards

An artist created a projector that can completely transform people's faces


Artist Nobumichi Asai used projection mapping to create "Connected Colors," a work of art that projects designs onto faces, tracking their movements to keep designs centered and conforming to every movement. The effect is like an animated mask.

Story by Jacob Shamsian and editing by Adam Banicki

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A designer reinvented scissors so they're at a 90-degree angle


Shane Vermette believes he has come up with "the most important innovation in scissor design in 2,000 years," having designed Right Shears, a pair of L-shaped scissors that are ergonomic and more natural to use than traditional ones.

Story by Tony Manfred and editing by Carl Mueller

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The key to picking the right running shoes is simpler than you think


It's hard to pick proper running shoes. Recently, Dr. Nigg at the University of Calgary produced a study, seen here in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, concluding: 

Based on the lack of conclusive evidence... two new paradigms are suggested to elucidate the association between footwear and injury. These two paradigms, ‘the preferred movement path’ and ‘the comfort filter’, suggest that a runner intuitively selects a comfortable product using their own comfort filter that allows them to remain in the preferred movement path. This may automatically reduce the injury risk and may explain why there does not seem to be a secular trend in running injury rates.

Produced by Joe Avella

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Oscar-winning director of Amy Winehouse documentary reveals the 2 secrets behind the making of the heartbreaking film


The 2015 film, "Amy," based on the life of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, became the highest-grossing British documentary film ever and has now won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary. 

We recently sat down with the director Asif Kapadia, who discussed the transformations that take place in the film, and to also learn how Kapadia gained the access to make the film.

Produced and edited by Josh WolffCinematography by David FangSpecial thanks A24 and Sam Rega.

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A young woman describes the terrifying moment she was attacked by a shark while swimming in Florida


Sarah was bitten by a shark in Palm Beach, Florida, in November. She was out for a morning swim with her boyfriend when she noticed something black and approximately 6 feet long swimming underneath her.

Before she knew it, she was out of the water trying to explain to her boyfriend what had just happened. Meanwhile, he was staring at the bleeding gash on her leg.

Story by Sarah Schmalbruch and editing by Kristen Griffin

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