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Disgraced Fashion Designer John Galliano Is Making A Comeback



For many in the public eye, a drunken outburst like that made by the fashion designer John Galliano in December 2010 would have been a terminal blow to reputation and career.

"I love Hitler," he told two Jewish Italian women sitting at a neighboring table in a Paris bar. "People like you would be dead today. Your mothers, your forefathers would be fucking dead, fucking gassed."

The comments, which were filmed and circulated online, led to abrupt disgrace. He was fired as creative director of Christian Dior and would go on to be prosecuted over the outburst and other racist comments; France stripped him of the Légion D'Honneur it awarded him in 2009.

But there are crimes against fashion and crimes against the fashion world, and when it comes to the latter, it seems, no misdemeanor is absolutely unforgivable. On Friday it emerged that the 52-year-old Briton is to make a tentative return to the fashion establishment, undertaking a temporary residency at the studio of Oscar de la Renta in New York.

"I am grateful to Oscar beyond words for inviting me to spend time with him in the fam iliar surroundings of a design studio," the shamed designer said of the short-term placement. "His support and faith in me is humbling.'

De la Renta added: "John and I have known each other for many years and I am a great admirer of his talent. He has worked long and hard on his recovery and I am happy to give him the opportunity to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion and reacclimate in an environment where he has been so creative."

The arrangement was brokered by Anna Wintour, the powerful editor of US Vogue, it was reported, who is a friend of both designers and is said to have first suggested the residency.

Galliano, who was born in Gibraltar and grew up in south London, has not been without supporters during his exile – Kate Moss, a longtime friend, pointedly chose him to design her wedding dress. The influential US stylist Patricia Field said his remarks were no more than "theatre", and sent out emails headed "In praise of John Galliano". Sir Philip Green was even reported to be trying to coax him into designing a collection for TopShop.

Galliano himself dismissed those rumors, saying his "only focus for the foreseeable future was concentrating on his rehab". The designer had blamed his behavior on a catastrophic alcohol addiction, saying his racist insults were "not views I hold or believe in. In the video I see someone who needs help".

In comments to Women's Wear Daily, Galliano said: "I am an alcoholic. I have been in recovery for the past two years. Several years prior to my sobriety, I descended into the madness of the disease. I said and did things which hurt others, especially members of the Jewish community. I have expressed my sorrow privately and publicly for the pain which I caused, and I continue to do so. I remain committed to making amends to those I have hurt."

While Galliano's contrition will inevitably provoke some cynicism, the US-based Anti-Defamation League, which campaigns against antisemitism, told Vogue, which first reported the story, that it was content the designer had learned from his disgrace. "We believe that individuals can change their hearts and minds as long as they demonstrate true contrition," said Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director.

"Mr Galliano has worked arduously in changing his world view and dedicated a significant amount of time to researching, reading and learning about the evils of antisemitism and bigotry. Along his journey to recovery he met with us on numerous occasions. He has accepted full responsibility for his previous remarks and understands that hurtful comments have no place in our society."

As for the fashion establishment, Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue said most people would be "entirely enthusiastic" about Galliano's return. "Certainly the people I have spoken to are delighted to hear that he has been given a new opportunity," she said. "John Galliano has a very particular take on fashion that is nostalgic and luxurious and very beautiful. I think it is the beauty of his work that is a huge part of his appeal. It is often not the most commercial sensibility but it is extremely individual and desirable and I imagine will merge well with Oscar's aesthetic."

It would be "helpful" for the designer to make a small-scale return with the support of someone of the stature of Oscar de la Renta, she said, but with the placement initially due to last only three weeks, Galliano's rehabilitation as a force in fashion has some way to go yet.

This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk

SEE ALSO: The Rise And Fall Of John Galliano

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10 Reasons The New Corvette Was The Star Of The Detroit Auto Show


2014 c7 corvette stingray

The Detroit Auto Show opens to the public tomorrow, and we were on the scene for the press days earlier this week.

Without a doubt, the biggest reveal of the show was the 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray. The long-anticipated car — Chevrolet offers a truly new Corvette only about once a decade — was revealed Sunday night before the show.

On Wednesday, the newest incarnation made an appearance in New York to mark the 60th anniversary of the famous sports car, where we spoke with the team that created it.

It was a chance to go beyond the formality of the press conference and the anonymity of the specs, and really find out what sets the new Stingray apart.

Here are the 10 most interesting things we discovered about the Corvette, all of which together explain just how this car stole the show in Detroit.

#1 The C7 is almost 100 percent new: Only two parts were carried over from the C6.

#2 Corvette lead engineer Tadge Juechter considered a mid-engine early on, which would have made a very different C7. His team went for the more practical front engine instead.

#3 The 6.2-liter V8 engine produces 450 horsepower, enough to take the Stingray from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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DISCOVERED: 8 Hidden Billionaires No One Knew Existed


man in shadows walking

Bloomberg News' Alex Cuadros & David de Jong have uncovered eight hidden billionaires that no one knew existed. 

These people have their fortunes in publicly-traded companies and live in Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Spain, according to the report.  

They're considered hidden because you might see them walking around, but you wouldn't recognize them. It's for safety reasons, a source told Bloomberg.

Here are the eight billionaires we didn't know about until today: 

  • Juan Gallardo Thurlow (Mexico)— $1.4 billion (Organizacion Cultiba SAB stake)
  • Luis Enrique Yarur (Chile)— $2 billion (Empresas Juan Yarur SAC/Banco de Credito & Inversiones stakes)
  • Patricia Angelini Rossi (Chile)— $1.7 billion (inheritence from uncle/ Antarchile SA shares)
  • Ana Maria Marcondes Penido Sant’Anna (Brazil)— $2.1 billion (CCR SA stake)
  • Rosa Evangelina (Brazil)— ~$1 billion (CCR SA stake)
  • Rafael del Pino y Calvo-Sotelo (Spain)— $2.2 billion (Ferrovial SA stake)
  • Leopoldo del Pino y Calvo-Sotelo (Spain)— $1 billion (Ferrovial SA stake)
  • Maria del Pino y Calvo-Sotelo (Spain)— ~$1 billion (Ferrovial SA stake)

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index tracks the world's wealthiest people's fortunes based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. The list is updated daily.

Read more about how these billionaires amassed their fortunes here >

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15 Gorgeous Vacation Homes You Can Buy For $500,000 Or Less



Let's be honest –– this is around the time of year when the Winter Blues start to set in for those of us sticking it out above the Mason Dixon Line. 

You might be craving sand and surf on a tropical island, but why not find a slice of paradise somewhere a little closer to home? 

We teamed up with home real estate marketplace Zillow to comb through millions of home and rental listings to find 15 stellar vacation homes for under $500,000. 

If that's not exactly in your price range, a lot of these gems are available as short-term rentals, too. 

A beach house in Alligator Point, Fla.: $350,000

Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Single Family: 925 sq. ft. 

Ditch the daily grind and kick back in this beach-side dream house. You'll have 100 feet of sand to yourself, and a lot next door in case you decide to expand the property. 

Bonus: It comes fully furnished, with refinished oak floors, a remodeled kitchen and new countertops. Not interested in buying? You can rent the place by the week. 

See the listing here.

A two-story lake house in Galveston, Tx.: $367,000

Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Single Family: 1,740 sq. ft,

If you'd rather have a lake than back yard, this is the place for you. Sailors and casual boaters will love zipping around the Gulf at this two-story gem in Galveston, Tx.

Bonus: There's a dock to park your own personal water taxi, too. 

See the listing here.

A gated home by the golf course in Las Vegas, Nev.: $425,888

Bedrooms: 2 
Bathrooms: 3
Single Family: 2,347 sq. ft.

If hitting the golf course is your idea of TLC, why not vacation in a home overlooking the green? This Old Pasadena Ca.-style home is in a gated community, and features a full view of the golf course from the living room. 

Bonus: A salt water pool brings the beach to you. 

See the listing here

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Ritzy Hotels Brace For Flu Epidemic With Chicken Soup Deliveries


Chicken soupHotels are rushing to prepare to accommodate guests who arrive or come down with the potentially deadly flu that's sweeping the nation.

"We hear the flu reports every day, and we want to be prepared (for sick guests)," says Andy Labetti, general manager of the Omni Berkshire Place in Midtown Manhattan.

Preparations include having chicken soup to serve to sick guests stuck in their rooms, stocking up on jugs of hand sanitizer gel, medication and boxes of tissues. They're also trying not to spread the flu by reminding employees to wash their hands or giving them flu shots.

Other hotels are taking similar steps as the flu strain is widespread across 47 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

- The Beverly Hills Hotel in California, part of the luxury Dorchester Collection, has stocked its shop with extra hand sanitizer, Theraflu and other medications, says publicist Jenna Duran. It's sending complimentary chicken soup, tissues, cold medicine and lip balm to sick guests.

- At the Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas, Texas, the hotel's kitchen makes chicken soup for sick guests, says food and beverage director Charles Riley. "We send it up with a get-well card and ginger ale," he says.

- The Mayflower Renaissance hotel in Washington has added hand gel to its front desk counters.

Labetti of Omni Berkshire Place says staffers are encouraged to approach guests who appear ill to see how they can help.

"As a hotelier, the first thing out of your mouth is, 'What can we do for you? Do you need extra blankets? Do you need a humidifier?'" he says. "Whatever you need, we're going to take care of it. We want you to know you're not here alone."

No traveler wants to catch the flu on the road, so many are taking their own precautions. Susan Jacobsen of Washington says she took a mini-bottle of disinfectant spray with her to Las Vegas earlier this month when she attended the International CES, the giant consumer electronics show.

Despite the precautions hotels are taking, some travelers are avoiding hotel gyms or even elevators for fear of catching the flu bug.

Penny Ridderbusch of Port Townsend, Wash., says she saw so many fellow travelers coughing that she stopped by a drugstore when traveling in December to get a flu shot.

She remains so leery of catching the flu, however, that she's avoiding hotel gyms to work out in her room. And, "I try to avoid riding in the hotel elevator with anyone," she says. "I use the back of my hand for pressing elevator buttons."

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Fashion House Fendi Will Pay $3 Million To Restore Rome's Iconic Trevi Fountain


Trevi fountain italyFashion house Fendi is to pay for the €2.5m (£2m) restoration of Rome’s historic Trevi Fountain, the monument that starred in Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic film La Dolce Vita.

Chunks of stone and plaster fell from the fountain’s ornate baroque facade last summer, loosened by snow and ice during the previous winter.

The fountain, which was commissioned by Pope Clement XII in 1732, was immortalized in the scene from the Fellini film in which Anita Ekberg waded into its waters in a black evening dress.

According to tradition, tossing a coin into the fountain ensures that a visitor will return to Rome.

The sponsorship deal, agreed between Fendi and Rome heritage officials, was revealed by La Repubblica newspaper and is expected to be confirmed at the end of this month during Rome fashion week.

The repairs to the facade are due to start in March and are likely to take at least a year.

Fendi is the latest company to come to the rescue of Italy’s underfunded cultural heritage, as the recession-hit country looks to private sponsors to help repair long-neglected monuments and archaeological sites.

Diego Della Valle, the owner of luxury shoe firm Tod’s, is paying for a €25m restoration of the Colosseum, although the deal has been caught up in endless delays and wrangling over the awarding of contracts for the work.

Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome, said this week that the delays were becoming “exasperating” and called for a resolution to the disputes so that the restoration could begin as soon as possible.

A €1m (£838,000) restoration of another of the city’s imposing monuments, a marble pyramid built as a mausoleum for a Roman dignitary, is being funded by Yuzo Yagi, a Japanese tycoon. The pyramid dates from 12BC and adds an incongruous touch of ancient Egypt to a corner of the Italian capital.

In Venice, a €5m restoration of the famous Rialto Bridge is to be paid for by Diesel, the Italian fashion company. It was completed in 1591 and is the oldest of four bridges that cross the Grand Canal.

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12 Men's Hairstyles To Try This Year


bradley cooper golden globes 2013

A new hairstyle has the power to transform your appearance.

To help you find the right one, we've listed six men's hairstyles for 2013 that offer something for everyone. 

We’ve broken each down by both classic and trendy takes. 

Peaked Cut — Classic

Who wears it: Channing Tatum

In the past year, the '90s was referenced in music (Azealia Banks), in television (a renewed interest in Boy Meets World) and in fashion (grunge came back), and it'll continue in 2013. In terms of men's hairstyles, you'll get your inspiration from late ‘90s icons like Fatboy Slim.

One of the most popular cuts of the time was the peak cut. For a modern version, check out Channing Tatum’s hairstyle and ask your barber for a short cut all around with a slightly longer, piece-y front. At home, work a tiny bit of gel through your hair, concentrating on getting some lift in the front, using either your fingers or a fine-tooth comb. Keep things modern by avoiding the use of too much gel and keep it office-friendly by not letting your peaks get larger than an inch.

Peaked Cut — Trendy

Who wears it: Hugh Jackman

If you’ve got a night out on the town planned or you work in a creative field, feel free to take more of a risk by going for a much higher lift in the front. Hugh Jackman, for example, was recently seen sporting the style with high peaks. For a similar look, use a comb to gather the hair on the crown and brush it upward using a touch of mousse, making sure that the very front strands stand straightest. To ensure you look like a grown man rather than a member of ‘N Sync, sport this style with some facial hair like Jackman does.

Crown Cut — Classic

Who wears it: Michael Fassbender

For men with thinning hair, the crown cut is a good option, because it makes the most of your hair by adding the appearance of more volume on top. Study Michael Fassbender’s hairstyle and then have your barber clip your hair short on the sides while leaving short- to medium-length layers all around the crown.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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There's More To Life Than Being Happy


Picking flowers

In September 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna, was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant wife, had perished -- but he, prisoner number 119104, had lived. In his bestselling 1946 book, Man's Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences in the camps, Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning, an insight he came to early in life. When he was a high school student, one of his science teachers declared to the class, "Life is nothing more than a combustion process, a process of oxidation." Frankl jumped out of his chair and responded, "Sir, if this is so, then what can be the meaning of life?"

As he saw in the camps, those who found meaning even in the most horrendous circumstances were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning, "the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Frankl worked as a therapist in the camps, and in his book, he gives the example of two suicidal inmates he encountered there. Like many others in the camps, these two men were hopeless and thought that there was nothing more to expect from life, nothing to live for. "In both cases," Frankl writes, "it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them." For one man, it was his young child, who was then living in a foreign country. For the other, a scientist, it was a series of books that he needed to finish. Frankl writes:

This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how."

In 1991, the Library of Congress and Book-of-the-Month Club listedMan's Search for Meaning as one of the 10 most influential books in the United States. It has sold millions of copies worldwide. Now, over twenty years later, the book's ethos -- its emphasis on meaning, the value of suffering, and responsibility to something greater than the self -- seems to be at odds with our culture, which is more interested in the pursuit of individual happiness than in the search for meaning. "To the European," Frankl wrote, "it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to 'be happy.' But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to 'be happy.'"

According to Gallup , the happiness levels of Americans are at a four-year high -- as is, it seems, the number of best-selling books with the word "happiness" in their titles. At this writing, Gallup also reports that nearly 60 percent all Americans today feel happy without a lot of stress or worry. On the other hand, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Forty percent either do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose or are neutral about whether their lives have purpose. Nearly a quarter of Americans feel neutral or do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful. Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression. On top of that, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is ironically leaving people less happy, according to recent research. "It is the very pursuit of happiness," Frankl knew, "that thwarts happiness."


This is why some researchers are cautioning against the pursuit of mere happiness. In a new study, which will be published this year in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Positive Psychology, psychological scientists asked nearly 400 Americans aged 18 to 78 whether they thought their lives were meaningful and/or happy. Examining their self-reported attitudes toward meaning, happiness, and many other variables -- like stress levels, spending patterns, and having children -- over a month-long period, the researchers found that a meaningful life and happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. Leading a happy life, the psychologists found, is associated with being a "taker" while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a "giver."

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors write.

How do the happy life and the meaningful life differ? Happiness, they found, is about feeling good. Specifically, the researchers found that people who are happy tend to think that life is easy, they are in good physical health, and they are able to buy the things that they need and want. While not having enough money decreases how happy and meaningful you consider your life to be, it has a much greater impact on happiness. The happy life is also defined by a lack of stress or worry.

Nearly a quarter of Americans do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful.

Most importantly from a social perspective, the pursuit of happiness is associated with selfish behavior -- being, as mentioned, a "taker" rather than a "giver." The psychologists give an evolutionary explanation for this: happiness is about drive reduction. If you have a need or a desire -- like hunger -- you satisfy it, and that makes you happy. People become happy, in other words, when they get what they want. Humans, then, are not the only ones who can feel happy. Animals have needs and drives, too, and when those drives are satisfied, animals also feel happy, the researchers point out.

"Happy people get a lot of joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others," explained Kathleen Vohs, one of the authors of the study, in a recent presentation at the University of Pennsylvania. In other words, meaning transcends the self while happiness is all about giving the self what it wants. People who have high meaning in their lives are more likely to help others in need. "If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need," the researchers write.

What sets human beings apart from animals is not the pursuit of happiness, which occurs all across the natural world, but the pursuit of meaning, which is unique to humans, according to Roy Baumeister, the lead researcher of the study and author, with John Tierney, of the recent book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. Baumeister, a social psychologists at Florida State University, was named an ISI highly cited scientific researcher in 2003.

The study participants reported deriving meaning from giving a part of themselves away to others and making a sacrifice on behalf of the overall group. In the words of Martin E. P. Seligman, one of the leading psychological scientists alive today, in the meaningful life "you use your highest strengths and talents to belong to and serve something you believe is larger than the self." For instance, having more meaning in one's life was associated with activities like buying presents for others, taking care of kids, and arguing. People whose lives have high levels of meaning often actively seek meaning out even when they know it will come at the expense of happiness. Because they have invested themselves in something bigger than themselves, they also worry more and have higher levels of stress and anxiety in their lives than happy people. Having children, for example, is associated with the meaningful life and requires self-sacrifice, but it has been famously associated with low happiness among parents, including the ones in this study. In fact, according to Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, research shows that parents are less happy interacting with their children than they are exercising, eating, and watching television.

"Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy," Baumeister told me in an interview.

Meaning is not only about transcending the self, but also about transcending the present moment -- which is perhaps the most important finding of the study, according to the researchers.

Meaning is not only about transcending the self, but also about transcending the present moment -- which is perhaps the most important finding of the study, according to the researchers.

While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do; positive affect and feelings of pleasure are fleeting. The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness but not at all with meaning.

Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future. "Thinking beyond the present moment, into the past or future, was a sign of the relatively meaningful but unhappy life," the researchers write. "Happiness is not generally found in contemplating the past or future." That is, people who thought more about the present were happier, but people who spent more time thinking about the future or about past struggles and sufferings felt more meaning in their lives, though they were less happy.

Having negative events happen to you, the study found, decreases your happiness but increases the amount of meaning you have in life. Another study from 2011 confirmed this, finding that people who have meaning in their lives, in the form of a clearly defined purpose, rate their satisfaction with life higher even when they were feeling bad than those who did not have a clearly defined purpose. "If there is meaning in life at all," Frankl wrote, "then there must be meaning in suffering."


Which brings us back to Frankl's life and, specifically, a decisive experience he had before he was sent to the concentration camps. It was an incident that emphasizes the difference between the pursuit of meaning and the pursuit of happiness in life.

In his early adulthood, before he and his family were taken away to the camps, Frankl had established himself as one of the leading psychiatrists in Vienna and the world. As a 16-year-old boy, for example, he struck up a correspondence with Sigmund Freud and one day sent Freud a two-page paper he had written. Freud, impressed by Frankl's talent, sent the paper to the International Journal of Psychoanalysis for publication. "I hope you don't object," Freud wrote the teenager.

While he was in medical school, Frankl distinguished himself even further. Not only did heestablish suicide-prevention centers for teenagers -- a precursor to his work in the camps -- but he was also developing his signature contribution to the field of clinical psychology: logotherapy, which is meant to help people overcome depression and achieve well-being by finding their unique meaning in life. By 1941, his theories had received international attention and he was working as the chief of neurology at Vienna's Rothschild Hospital, where he risked his life and career by making false diagnoses of mentally ill patients so that they would not, per Nazi orders, be euthanized.

That was the same year when he had a decision to make, a decision that would change his life. With his career on the rise and the threat of the Nazis looming over him, Frankl had applied for a visa to America, which he was granted in 1941. By then, the Nazis had already started rounding up the Jews and taking them away to concentration camps, focusing on the elderly first. Frankl knew that it would only be time before the Nazis came to take his parents away. He also knew that once they did, he had a responsibility to be there with his parents to help them through the trauma of adjusting to camp life. On the other hand, as a newly married man with his visa in hand, he was tempted to leave for America and flee to safety, where he could distinguish himself even further in his field.

As Anna S. Redsand recounts in her biography of Frankl, he was at a loss for what to do, so he set out for St. Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna to clear his head. Listening to the organ music, he repeatedly asked himself, "Should I leave my parents behind?... Should I say goodbye and leave them to their fate?" Where did his responsibility lie? He was looking for a "hint from heaven."

When he returned home, he found it. A piece of marble was lying on the table. His father explained that it was from the rubble of one of the nearby synagogues that the Nazis had destroyed. The marble contained the fragment of one of the Ten Commandments -- the one about honoring your father and your mother. With that, Frankl decided to stay in Vienna and forgo whatever opportunities for safety and career advancement awaited him in the United States. He decided to put aside his individual pursuits to serve his family and, later, other inmates in the camps.

The wisdom that Frankl derived from his experiences there, in the middle of unimaginable human suffering, is just as relevant now as it was then: "Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself -- be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself -- by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love -- the more human he is."

Baumeister and his colleagues would agree that the pursuit of meaning is what makes human beings uniquely human. By putting aside our selfish interests to serve someone or something larger than ourselves -- by devoting our lives to "giving" rather than "taking" -- we are not only expressing our fundamental humanity, but are also acknowledging that that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness.

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Why America Performs Poorly On Nearly Every Measure Of Health


IT IS hardly news that America spends more on health care than any other country. Nor is it news that this money fails to make Americans healthy. But a new report from America’s Institute of Medicine and National Research Council illuminates the many ways in which America’s health lags that of other rich countries and tries to explain why. Health spending reached $2.7 trillion in 2011, equal to 17.9% of America’s GDP (and more than the entire GDP of Britain). Yet America performs poorly on nearly every measure. Life expectancy has risen, but not as quickly as among America’s peers. In a ranking of 17 rich countries, America’s death rate from non-communicable diseases is higher than any country except Denmark.

The statistics are particularly bleak for the young. America has the highest infant-mortality rate of the 17 rich countries examined. Its teenagers are more likely to become pregnant or die from a car accident or violence. Shockingly, deaths among under-50s account for roughly two-thirds of the gap in life expectancy between American men and those in comparable countries. The old fare better. If an American is lucky enough to reach 75, he can expect to live longer than his peers elsewhere.

America is obviously doing something wrong. But what, exactly? That is the $2.7 trillion question. The report offers a few tentative answers. The structure of America’s health system is partly to blame. Different types of care are siloed, which is inefficient. Doctors are paid for providing lots of services, rather than keeping patients well. There are fewer general practitioners. More citizens lack insurance and more find care unaffordable. The gap might also be explained by behaviour. Americans may smoke and drink less than people in other countries, but they tend to eat more, take more drugs, own more guns and are more often in drunk-driving accidents. They have sex younger, with more partners, using protection less frequently. But circumstance and behaviour cannot explain all. Interestingly, even rich, insured, non-smoking, normal-weight Americans are less healthy than adults with similar traits in similar countries.

How all these factors relate to one another is difficult to untangle. Even harder is getting politicians to agree on which problem to tackle first. Barack Obama’s health reforms, which will take full effect in 2014, expand insurance and start to tweak doctors’ perverse incentives. This new report is a reminder of how much is left to be done.

The Economist

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13 Good Reasons Why You Should Become a Billionaire


Rich People Dogs

Having a billion dollars would be pretty cool.  

Everyone knows that.

But why exactly? 

The mansions, exotic vacations and luxury cars are obvious, but there are TONS of other awesome perks that come with earning ten-figures.

We've included 13 reasons why should become a billionaire.  

You could afford to live in a sky scrapper.

Well, the "grand tour" at your house warming party would be pretty impressive when everyone realizes that you're using the word "house" quite loosely and in fact you actually just built yourself a sky scrapper to live in. 

Billionaire Indian business magnate Mukesh Ambani and his wife and three kids live in this 27-story home in Mumbai named "Antilia." 

You could turn your home into your own personal art museum.

As a billionaire, you could afford to fill your palatial home or office with works from your favorite artists.

Billionaire Steve Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital, owns an impressive art collection, which is said to be worth around $1 billion.  It includes pieces by Monet, Picasso, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol, according to a 2010 Vanity Fair profile.


There's no need to take public transportation ever again.

Forget waiting for the Subway, which can feel like the pits of hell in the summertime.

If you're a billionaire, you could be flying in your helicopter to work and/or docking your yacht at the nearest harbor a la media exec Barry Diller.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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10 Of The Most Overrated Tourist Traps In The World


leaning tower of pisa

Some iconic sites just don't live up to the hype.

Skip these 10 tourist traps and visit our alternatives instead.

Stonehenge, England

This group of mystery stones has been described as mystical and magical.

But what you rarely see in the postcards is that Stonehenge is wedged between two very busy roads—and that you’re not even allowed to get close to the stones.

You'll pay an admission fee, of course, but you'll only be able to view the site from afar. (Tourists used to chip off pieces of the ancient rocks as souvenirs. This is why we can't have nice things, people.)

Instead: Check out Avebury, about 25 miles away from Stonehenge, where an entire town is set inside a stone circle.

Blarney Stone, Ireland

Legend has it that kissing this rock will give you the gift of gab, but judging by how many people smooch the stone every day, we think you're more likely to come away with a communicable disease.

(Especially if you believe the rumor that locals think it's funny to sneak in after-hours and use the Blarney Stone as a bathroom.)

You'll also have to brave long lines and a vertigo-inducing climb, and you'll be unceremoniously tipped backwards and headfirst over a ledge by a worker in order to get your peck.

Instead: Skip the long lines and spend your saved time exploring the Blarney Castle grounds, which are definitely worth the visit … and (probably) won't infect you with anything.

Pyramids at the Giza Necropolis, Egypt

If you're expecting a journey out to the quiet desert to see this world-famous wonder, think again.

Located in a suburb not far from downtown Cairo, the pyramids are set against the backdrop of a Pizza Hut, a KFC, and a ton of litter.

Be prepared to be surrounded by some of the most aggressive touts in the world, some of whom will literally jump into a moving taxi to try to sell you a camel ride.

You also can't touch the Sphinx or climb up the sides of the pyramids anymore.

Instead: Visit the less crowded (and less stressful) pyramids at Dahshur.

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The 10 Richest Hotel Moguls In America


Treasure Island Hotel

This post originally appeared on Oyster.com.

Fantasizing about luxurious hotels and faraway resorts is one thing, but fantasizing about owning them is an entirely different concept altogether.

Real estate is a high-stakes game that costs big, but, when done right, earns even bigger. And because we are constantly investigating the latest hotels around the globe, we couldn’t help but wonder who plays the proverbial Oz behind the curtain at some of our favorite spots.

Check out ten men and women who are serious players on the hotel scene right now — and just how fat their wallets are.

10. Neil Bluhm

Net Worth: $2.1 billion

Lawyer-turned-real estate magnate Neil Bluhm made his billions opening shopping malls and hotels across the Midwest. After graduating with a law degree and serving as a partner at a Chicago-area firm, Bluhm broke away from law and co-founded JMB Reality. He has since opened hotel and casinos across the US and Canada, and has owned stakes in the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and the Drake Hotel in Chicago, which allow him, as an avid patron of both, to fund his artistic and political interests.

9. Bill and Richard Marriott

Net Worth: $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively

Before Marriott became synonymous with the hospitality industry, founder J. Willard Marriott owned and operated several root beer stands throughout the Washington D.C. area back in the 1920s. Decades later in 1957, the first Marriott hotel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel, opened in Arlington, Va. J. Willards’s eldest son Bill Jr. joined the company that same year, and became president in 1964, running more than 3,700 properties in 73 countries. His brother Richard took control of Host Marriott International – now Host Hotels and Resorts – in 1993, which owns more than 100 properties worldwide, including the Marriott Marquis New York and the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. The Marriott brothers may have inherited a massive lodging operation, but together they have transformed their legacy into a multi-billion dollar hotel dynasty.

8. Thomas Pritzker

Net Worth: $2.2 billion

With his family’s net worth hovering around $20 billion, Thomas Pritzker has a pretty nice cut of the inheritance with his $2.2 billion. The Priztker family inherited their fortune from ancestors A.N. Pritkzer and his sons Jay and David, who co-founded the Hyatt hotel chain. Thomas, son of Jay, may not be the wealthiest Pritzker (that would be his cousin Karen, whose worth rings in at $3.2 billion), but he is the current CEO and executive chairman of the Hyatt Corporation, overseeing the company’s 492 properties worldwide, which include the Andaz and Grand Hyatt Resort brands.

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Meet The Classy Booth Babes Of The Detroit Auto Show


detroit auto show 2013 naias booth babes

We were in Detroit early last week for the press days before the opening of the North American International Auto Show, where we saw dozens of brand new cars.

Just as eye-catching were the many models — also referred to as "booth babes" — hired by automakers to pose for photos and draw the attention, and hopefully appreciation, of the many show-goers.

We even spotted an especially rare breed while in Detroit: the booth hunk.

Disclosure: Ford paid for our travel and lodging expenses to visit the North American International Auto Show this year.

Toyota's models wore red dresses.

We think the red clashes with the raspberry-colored Prius, but that's okay.

This model posed for a photo in Dodge's area of Cobo Hall, where the show was held.

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There Was Only One Lousy Thing About My Lufthansa Business Class Flight To Dusseldorf


Lufthansa A340

I'm in Munich this morning, jet-lagged to all hell (so I apologize in advance for any giddiness).

I came to do a panel at the DLD conference.  The DLD folks were kind enough to airmail me over last night via Lufthansa Business Class through Dusseldorf.

Well, it's always fun to catch up on what life is like up in the front of the bus.

And in case you haven't flown Lufthansa Business Class lately, I thought you might be curious, too.

Here's my plane--an Airbus 340. These are awesome 4-engine planes--smooth and quiet. This one's leaving from Newark at 4:45pm on Saturday afternoon. That's the Manhattan skyline in the background.

A humongous seat. So big that it felt too big. And oceans of leg room.

Willkommen! Time to check out the swag.

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This Fancy Hotel In Munich Has Complimentary Dog Bowls [PHOTO]


Everyone has descended on Munich for the DLD conference.

The conference hotel, the Bayerischer Hof, is overwhelmed, and no rooms are ready. So we're all jet-lagged in the lobby with nothing to do but drink caffeine and pace.

I was doing the latter when I noticed the complimentary dog bowls (see below).

Is this a trend?

Hotel Dog Bowls

In context:

Dog bowls at the Bayerischer Hof

SEE ALSO: There Was Only One Lousy Thing About My Lufthansa Business Class Flight

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There Is Now A Socially Acceptable Way To Call Someone Ugly Or Attractive, And It's Sweeping College Campuses


party, teenagers, club, dance, wild, fun

A new dating app called Tinder was recently brought to our attention.

A "normal" person at Business Insider told us about it, and said all of her roommates and college-age friends use it. A few have found dates on it.

(By "normal," we mean someone who isn't gadget obsessed, and isn't an early tech adopter.)

What is Tinder?

It's more or less a socially acceptable, mobile version of Hot or Not. If you saw The Social Network, you might remember "Face Mash," the product Mark Zuckerberg made before Facebook. It takes people's photos and lets other people quickly say if they find the person attractive or unattractive.

But Tinder is Hot or Not or Face Mash with a purpose. Instead of rating people for cruel amusement, it helps you find single people you're attracted to in your area.

If you're attracted to them, and they're attracted to you, both parties are notified. If one of you is attracted and the other isn't, neither is notified. And of course, if both parties don't' find each other attractive, they both go on their ways, never knowing what the other thinks.

Tinder was founded by four entrepreneurs Sean Rad, Justin Mateen, Jonathan Badeen, and Christopher Gulczynski, and it is backed by IAC, the parent company of Match and OKCupid. It recently launched on a few college campuses and it seems to be making the rounds. According to TechCrunch, more than 35 million profiles have been rated on the app and one million matches have been made in less than two months. 

We wanted to know what all the fuss was about. So we downloaded it and gave it a try. Here goes.

When you open the app, it welcomes you with basic instructions.

If you like someone and they like you, it's a match! You're then allowed to message each other. If not, you go on your merry way.

If you're worried about privacy, Tinder assures you your picks are safe and private.

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How 15 Tech Millionaires And Billionaires Spend Their Fortunes


Larry Ellison wine glass

If you'd founded a tech company worth billions of dollars, what would you do with your cash?

That's a high-class problem faced by the moguls on this list.

Naturally, many of them buy expensive things, like cars, houses, planes—even islands.

But even if you're Larry Ellison, with a seemingly endless appetite for that stuff, there comes a time when you want to do more.

Maybe it's solving the world's problems, or just indulging in a geeky fantasy.

Larry Ellison: Anti-aging

Oracle cofounder and CEO Larry Ellison is known for pet projects like running the America's Cup sailboat race series, buying homes on Malibu's "Billionaire's Beach," and turning the Hawaiian island of Lanai into a sustainable living lab.

But he says his biggest philanthropic endeavor is medicine.

"I have a medical foundation called, very creatively, the Ellison Medical Foundation," Ellison said in an interview at the D: All Things Digital conference last year. "We are focused on diseases related to aging—I mean, for obvious reasons." (Ellison is now 68.)

Ellison spent about $1 billion on this foundation.

Bill Gates: High-tech toilets

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Microsoft cofounder is working on a lot of social issues in health, education, and agriculture.

But one problem that really caught Gates' attention is ... poop. The foundation sponsored a "Reinvent the Toilet" fair. Gates himself judged the entries and announced the winners. 

He was looking for methods "for capturing and processing human waste and transforming it into useful resources," Gates said in a blog post announcing the winners.

Paul Allen: Brain research, sports teams, and collectibles

Paul Allen, Microsoft's other billionaire cofounder, also has a long list of pet projects that includes owning multiple pro sports teams, building a rock-and-roll museum, collecting vintage WWII planes, and more.

He's also invested a half billion dollars into the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Its mission is to figure out exactly how the brain works and how to solve diseases like Alzheimer's, which his mother suffered from.

Another goal of the institute is to replicate the brain and build machines with human intelligence.

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To Live Like A Middle Class Citizen In NYC, You Have To Make At Least $80,000


drinking frat bros young guys gen yThe New York Times set out to define what "middle class" means in Manhattan.

It points out that Manhattan is one of the only places in the world where a housing project can sit next to a luxury penthouse.

What does a middle class citizen in NYC look like?

According to NYT:

  • Middle class people in NYC make between $45,000 and $134,000 per year (in other parts of the country the range is $33,000 to $100,000 per year)
  • In order to feel middle class and have some sort of purchasing power, they have to make at least $80,000.
  • Middle class citizens spend between $200,000 and $588,000 when buying homes in NYC.
  • The usually don't have children (only 17% of households in NYC have kids)
  • The average Manhattan apartment costs $3,973 a month, more than $2,800 the national average. The average home in Manhattan sold for $1.46 million last year.
  • Jonathan Bowles, the executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, says middle class status depends on how long a person has lived in Manhattan. "If you bought an apartment prior to 2000, or have long been in a rent-stabilized apartment, you could probably be a teacher in Manhattan and be solidly middle class," he tells NYT. "But if you bought or started renting in a market-rate apartment over the last 5 or 10 years, you could probably be a management consultant and barely have any savings."
  • Of course, being middle class is also a matter of opinion. A woman who makes $40,000 per year told NYT: “Middle class, to me, is having a pretty good job, enough money to pay bills and rent, and then a little extra.”

If you make more than $790,000 in Manhattan, you're considered part of the 1%. "The wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites make 40 times more than the lowest fifth," says NYT.

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The 6 Best Hotel Brunches In America


Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien, New York City

This post originally appeared at Oyster.com.

A meal that has been adopted by countries the world over, Sunday brunch was (supposedly) dreamed up in the late 1800s by a British writer who thought that the noonday feast would be a welcome treat — and much-needed hangover cure — for ”Saturday-night carousers.”

But no matter the origin, brunch has come to be a weekly staple — and the silver lining to a day often overshadowed by the start of a new work week looming in the future.

So whether it’s buffet-style, booze-focused (bottomless Bloody Marys, anyone?), or family-oriented, brunch can put a smile on just about anyone’s face. We’ve chowed down at plenty of happiness-inducing brunches across the U.S. and have come up with a list of our favorite spots to grub on Sunday. Check ‘em out!

The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Sunday brunch at the Palace Hotel is legendary. Not only is the setting beautiful — we’re talking 40- to 50-foot vaulted ceilings, neoclassical marble columns, and six-foot-wide crystal chandeliers, topped by a sunlit translucent windowed ceiling — but a jazz trio plays beautiful music as hotel guests, locals, and visitors pile tasty treats on their plates. Sushi (with sushi chef), omelets (with omelet chef), crepes (with crepe chef), fresh fruit, sandwiches, salads, oysters on the half shell… you name it, it’s part of the buffet. Plus unlimited coffee, orange juice, and champagne.

Oyster’s Pick: Cinnamon-raisin French toast with flame-heated maple syrup.

Sou’Wester at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

Also with live jazz, Sou’Wester at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC offers traditional brunch specials with a focus on Southern comfort food. And their cocktails — including their version of the Bloody Mary, complete with ham-infused vodka — are just as comforting as the entrees! Guests can enjoy views overlooking the marina as they feast on tasty (and expensive) meals loaded with eggs, bacon, and other brunch staples.

Oyster’s Pick: Pumpkin pie pancakes with roasted banana bourbon butter, pumpkin seed brittle, and maple syrup.

Henrietta’s Table at the Charles Hotel-Harvard Square, Boston

The plump pig (available for purchase in the form of stuffed animals) is a fitting mascot for Henrietta’s Table at the Charles Hotel-Harvard Square, as diners are sure to feel stuffed after a scrumptious meal at this local produce-focused hot spot, which has won several awards for its famed Sunday brunch. Though the restaurant is closed through January 17th for a “facelift,” guests can look forward to the all-you-can-eat buffet when it reopens. Along with unlimited coffee, tea, and orange juice, the buffet offers items such as omelets, breakfast pastries, desserts, carved meats, bagels, waffles, bacon, eggs, and even pasta.

Oyster’s Pick: The raw bar’s offerings, including Wellfleet oysters and jumbo shrimp.

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The 16 Greatest Cities In Human History



What New York City was in twentieth century, London was in the the 1900s, Constantinople was in the 600s, and so forth, back to Jericho in 7000 BC.

They were the largest cities in the world, and arguably the epicenters of human civilization.

These cities led mankind to new heights of culture and commerce—though in the end each of them was surpassed and some of them destroyed.

HistoriansTertius Chandler, Gerald Fox, and George Modelski identified the largest cities throughout history through painstaking study of household data, agricultural commerce, church records, fortification sizes, food distribution, loss of life in a disaster, and more. We have parsed their work in the following slides.

Jericho was the biggest city in the world in 7000 BC with 2,000 citizens

Jericho may be the oldest continually occupied spot in the world, with settlements dating to 9000 BC.

The city, nestled between the Dead Sea and Mt. Nebo, had natural irrigation from the Jordan River and the best known oasis in the region. The springs allowed residents to grow the highly lucrative opobalsamum plant, which produced the most expensive oil in the ancient world.

It is described in the Old Testament as the "City of Palm Trees."

Uruk took the lead in 3500 BC with 4,000 citizens

Uruk is famous as the capital city in the epic of Gilgamesh; also thought to be the Biblical city of Erech, built by King Nimrod.

The domestication of grain and its close proximity to the Euphrates River allowed Uruk's harvest to swell, leading to trade, advancements in writing, and specialized crafts.

The city declined around 2000 BC due to regional struggles and was finally abandoned around the time of the Islamic conquest.

Mari took the lead in 2400 BC with 50,000 citizens

Mari was the robust trade capital of Mesopotamia, central in moving stone, timber, agricultural goods and pottery throughout the region.

The city was home first to the Sumerite kings, then the Amorite kings, one of which built a massive 300-room palace.

Mari was sacked in 1759 BC by Hammurabi of Babylon and then abandoned.

In the 1930s a French archaeologist discovered 25,000 tablets written in an extinct language called Akkadian. Most were municipal documents, economic reports and census rolls—a third were personal letters. The find changed our understanding of the ancient Near East.

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