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The majority of Americans are making this huge mistake that can hold them back at work



Saving your vacation time can do more harm than good. Unfortunately, the majority of working Americans haven't gotten the memo, yet.

According to a new Project: Time Off study conducted by consumer research company GfK Public Affairs, the average US worker took 16.2 days of paid time off last year, which is down from the more than 20 days workers took off between 1976 and 2000. What's more, 55% of the over 5,600 working Americans surveyed left vacation days unused in 2015.

This is the first time the US Travel Association's initiative found a majority of American workers are not using all their vacation time. Last year's survey showed 42% of Americans were leaving vacation time on the table.

According to the report, Americans didn't take 658 million vacation days and lost 222 million of them entirely because they couldn't be rolled over, paid out, or banked for any other benefit.

Project: Time Off estimates that, by giving up this time off, Americans forfeited $61.4 billion in benefits. It also suggests that these unused vacation days could have generated $223 billion in spending for the US economy.

What's more, numerous previous studies suggest that not taking enough vacation time is bad for your health, happiness, productivity, and prospects for a promotion. Another recent study found that not taking enough time off is especially damaging to our interpersonal relationships.

Part of the problem is that people see their earned vacation time as a luxury and not a right. According to the new Project: Time Off study, 80% of employees said if they felt fully supported and encouraged by their boss, they would be likely to take more time off. Conversely, 65% of employees report that they hear nothing, mixed messages, or discouraging messages about taking time off.

"The culture of silence has created a vacuum, and American workers have filled that vacuum with the pressure they put on themselves," study author and senior director of Project: Time Off, Katie Denis, writes.

"The single-most important step workers can take is to plan their time off in advance," she concludes.

People who set aside time to plan how they'll use their vacation time each year tend to use more of their time than those who don't: 51% of planners took all of their vacation time, compared to 39% of non-planners who took all their vacation time. Planners are also more likely to take a full week of vacation time or more at a time.

SEE ALSO: Arianna Huffington's brilliant strategy to help employees take stress-free vacations

DON'T MISS: 3 reasons companies like LinkedIn, Virgin, and Netflix are giving their employees 'unlimited' vacation

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25 colleges with alumni who will jump-start your career


Texas A&M former students

Networking can be difficult and time-consuming, especially early in your career. But graduating from a school with a solid alumni base means diving straight into a built-in network of professionals.

The Princeton Review compiled a list of the 25 colleges with the best alumni networks in the country, featured in the book "Colleges That Pay You Back: 2016 Edition," published in February, based on students' ratings of how visible and active alumni are on their campuses.

We've also gathered salary data from PayScale to show how much new graduates from these schools can expect to make. Read on to see schools with active alumni who help students get ahead.

SEE ALSO: The 30 most fun colleges in America

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25. Colgate University

Location: Hamilton, New York

Median starting salary: $54,000

Colgate graduates find themselves among good company: The school counts NBCUniversal CEO and President Stephen Burke and Ben & Jerry's cofounder Ben Cohen among its notable alumni. Many are willing to lend a hand to undergraduates as well — students reported to The Princeton Review that "alumni would jump over any hurdle for you."

24. Stanford University

Location: Stanford, California

Median starting salary: $62,900

Stanford alumni — a network more than 217,00o deep — provide extensive help to their alma mater through CareerConnect, a job board that exclusively lists job openings from Stanford grads. Alums also volunteer with "career communities" of undergraduates in a specific field who aim to stay on the best path toward finding a job.

The school boasts no shortage of big names among its graduates, including Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, author John Steinbeck, and former US President Herbert Hoover.

23. New College of Florida

Location: Sarasota, Florida

Median starting salary: $39,800

Graduates of the New College of Florida stay involved with their alma mater long after graduation by mentoring current students, hosting alumni events, and working with students on independent study projects. The school's Alumnae/i Fellows Program pairs current students with New College graduates who coach them through a semester-long course or workshop in a specific field.

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Here's what it's really like to have obsessive-compulsive disorder



"Why are there always so many damn socks in the laundry?"

William Doan's wife asked him that question ten years after they got married. He laughs when he remembers it. There were, and remain, so many damn socks in their laundry because when William Doan wakes up in the morning he puts on two pairs.

"I had to sort of fess up at this point," he said, "and she was like, 'really?'"

Doan, at 57, has lived much of his life with a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, as well as an anxiety disorder. He's an artist and professor of theater at Penn State University.

In pop culture, OCD is often used as a kind of shorthand for fastidiousness. Every source I spoke with for this story quoted the casual diss Oh, you're so OCD!  that sometimes gets lobbed at neat freaks (or that neat freaks self-deprecatingly aim at themselves.)

But real-life OCD has a specific, straightforward meaning. People who have it experience obsessions and compulsions that feed each other in recursive, hard-to-escape loops.

Wayne Goodman, chair of the department of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai hospital in New York City, explained what obsessions and compulsions are.

"Obsessions are always unpleasant thoughts, or unwanted images, or unwanted impulses. They're not in any way pleasurable."

A child might imagine again and again their parents killed in a plane crash. A religious person might feel bombarded with blasphemous urges. Someone else might fear toxins or pathogens that could invade their body.

So they develop compulsions, rituals they act out that offer temporary relief from the obsessions. The connection between the obsessions and compulsions may be difficult for people who haven’t experienced them to understand.

"There are things like hand washing, doing things over and over again, checking and checking," he said. "But sometimes they can be much more covert. They can be things you do in your head, that nobody else is aware of, to try to neutralize a disturbing thought or unwanted impulse."

(Interestingly, it's not actually clear that obsessions arise first and lead to compulsions. There's a body of research that suggests the reverse. Young children with OCD tend to display compulsions before they can articulate obsessions.)

That said, OCD isn't about delusion or psychosis, where people can't distinguish reality from their illness. Goodman said, "Patients with OCD in general have very good insight. They recognize that the thoughts they're experiencing, although intrusive, are from their own brain."

Goodman's description tracks with Doan's experience. "It's completely irrational," he said. "I don't even reflect on it or try to figure it out anymore. I just know when I get dressed in the morning I've got to put on two pairs of socks. It's part of how I have to begin my day. I have been traveling where I have gone and bought clean socks because I miscalculate the number of socks I'm going to need."

It would be a mistake though to imagine OCD as a set of odd, if somewhat difficult to manage, quirks. For people who live with it, OCD becomes part of the texture of their hours and days. When Doan walks, indoors, outdoors, or on the treadmill, he counts his steps: 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 1 .... 2 .... 3 .... 4

Other people with OCD may perform small rituals — in their heads or with their bodies — all day. These can be relatively trivial and difficult to notice. I watched a friend throw salt over her shoulder three times before she cooked for more than a year. But before she told me the ritual related to her OCD, I assumed she was just superstitious.

But the compulsions can also be debilitating. Goodman describes patients who end up housebound, unshowered, and with uncut fingernails because they're avoiding germs in the water and outdoors.

For many people with OCD, the symptoms ebb and flow over the course of their lifetime.

Doan4 OCD obsessive compulsive disorder"I can tell when im going to have some insomnia," Doan said. "Or suddenly I know that because I've been rehearsing arguments with people over and over and over again in my head that its like 'Whoa, you're letting this get the best of you.'"

Doan said that he feels OCD, along with anxiety, in his body before it translates into a mental experience.

The sensation begins in his chest, where the diaphragm sits and the bones of the rib cage join together. He feels vibrations, and a tightening feeling, and his breathing getting more shallow.

"If I could hear it I feel like it would be like humming. It's vibratory, that's the best word I have for it," he said.

Those vibrations the signs of either a panic attack coming on or a period of heightened symptoms that can last for days.

When that happens, he has a series of coping mechanisms he can engage. He meditates. He goes for long walks. He makes art — some of it is illustrating this article — to express the wordless sensation of the illness.

Sometimes Doan's wife will notice his symptoms before he does.

"We've been married for 33 years. And while she only figured out the socks 10 or so years in, she also just knows my personality. And she is really sensitive to when I might be moving into a phase of heightened anxiety."

She'll suggest he go somewhere quiet for a couple days to cope, or go for a long drive, or close himself in his art studio.

"She's become a wonderful partner in that sense, in that she also senses what might be happening, and she knows what my good coping mechanisms are and she helps to facilitate those."

Similarly, he said his close collaborators in his theatrical work have a habit of using humor to help break him out of obessive-compulsive loops.

While Doan's experience may be fairly typical as far as OCD goes, the illness has no single common form. Blair Simpson, a clinician, researcher and professor at the Columbia University Medical Center, said that while OCD may be easy to define, in practice it can be hard to recognize and diagnose. That's because the symptoms follow certain stereotyped patterns. But any two people with OCD will likely have very different experiences.

Broadly speaking, OCD divides into five categories or "symptom dimensions."

Some people live with fears of contamination (1) or harm (2). They might worry that something will damage or contaminate their bodies. Or they might fear hurting or infecting their loved ones. These forms of OCD tend to associate with cleansing and checking rituals.

Others people feel compelled to do things "just so" (3). I spoke to one person who feels paralyzed when he can't figure out which parking spot lies closer to his door at work. Another walks into stores to clutch every garment on her favorite rack until the ritual abates.

Then there are people who struggle with "kept thoughts" (4). These are "immoral" thoughts or urges that contradict the deeply held beliefs of people who live with them, like a religious Jew constantly imagining eating a pig.

And a final group struggles with hoarding (5), although researchers now consider that a somewhat separate disorder.

But even within those categories, no two patients have the exact same experience.

"I've seen thousands of patients, but I don't think I've seen the same symptoms replicated more than once," Simpson said. "You have no idea the range of thoughts or impulses patients have. We have patients who think California is contaminated."

Doan3For that reason, she said many researchers avoid focusing too heavily on the specific ways OCD can manifest. Those vibrations Doan feels are too particular to him to draw any broad conclusions from — though they may represent a type of sensation to which other people with OCD can relate.

Right now, Goodman and Simpson say there are only two proven treatments for OCD.

Medicine can help— specifically "serotonin reuptake inhibitors" (SRIs and SSRIs) like Zoloft, which are also used to treat depression and anxiety.

Psychiatrists don't actually know exactly why SRIs work for OCD, Goodman said. And for a long time seratonin acted as a kind of red herring. Researchers ran down a blind alley looking for a cause of OCD in the brain's seratonin system. But they found no answers there.

The other proven treatment for OCD? Exposure therapy, which is a specific type of what psychiatrists call cognitive behavior therapy or CBT.

When Simpson has a patient, she'll work with them to list the things they fear: their obsessions. Then she'll work through the list with them, from mildest to most severe. She guides them to encounter their obsessions without letting their rituals kick in.

It's not easy.

"Initially they get more anxious," Goodman said of his own patients.

People with OCD work hard to avoid their triggers. One person I spoke with compared them to allergies. The mild ones may resemble a light cat allergy. They might make you uncomfortable if you enter the wrong house. Severe ones can be closer to a bad peanut allergy. You might feel like you're dying if you bite into the wrong sandwich.

And for CBT to work, Simpson said, the course of treatment should be fast — just a few weeks. That's a lot of stress in a short period of time.

But even with the best medicine and CBT from an expert psychiatrist, Simpson said, she can only expect to reduce symptoms in most patients. There's no true cure.

"We see on average about a 40% decrease in severity," she said. Some patients go into near-total remission, while other may see little to no impact at all.

Doan2The researchers I spoke with want treatments for their patients. They hope those methods will emerge from better knowledge of the disease. Right now, they suspect the cause or causes of OCD lie in the big-picture ways different parts of the brain connect with one another. And there are already suspect circuits. But the details remain a mystery.

When they figure out the details, Goodman hopes it will transform her job.

"Ideally, I would have battery of noninvasive tests that look at the brain," she said, "And I could tailor treatments exactly to what I saw, and then monitor the outcomes to see not only if my patients are feeling better but if the circuit is performing better."

I asked her how far she thinks we are from that kind of treatment, and she paused for several seconds.

"Further than I would hope. I hope I get there in my lifetime. And if we don't I hope we get there soon."

In the meantime, most people with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms.

"I think it's a significant experience in my life, but not a dominant one," Doan said. "There are times where it has felt like a dominant one, and that's when reaching out to a counselor or using my coping mechanisms can help. But you know, I don't wake up every day frustrated or anxious about these things anymore."

I asked him if he would flip a switch to turn off his OCD if he could.

"Ten years ago I would have said yes," he said. "I want to do away with my OCD."

"But I think the time I've spent trying to figure out what to do with it, how to cope with it, how to manage it, how to embrace it, how to laugh about it, and how to let it be part of who I am has brought me to a point where I think a lot of my creative energy comes from that place. I'm not saying if I didn't have OCD I wouldn't be able to function as an artist, but I do think a good symbiotic relationship has emerged between my obsessive energy and my drive to make work."

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10 things you'll regret doing in your 20s


first date couple smiling laughing

How do you know if you're taking full advantage of your 20s, making all the right decisions in your personal and professional lives?

Well, you don't. Life is about taking chances and doing your best.

But those who've already been through this critical decade can certainly help point out the landmines. That's why we turned to threads on Quora and Reddit, where users weighed in with their biggest regrets from their 20s.

Here are a few things you might want to avoid:

1. Not exercising

Quora user Carl Logan regrets never working out in his 20s.

"If I [had] hit the gym I probably would've been a lot happier and would've had more success with the opposite sex," he writes.

Even beyond happiness and the ability to attract mates with your six-pack abs, regular exercise in your 20s can help prevent health issues down the line. One recent study found that your fitness level in your 20s may have a major impact on your risk of heart disease and death as you progress toward middle age.

2. Worrying about what other people think

"I wasted a lot of time worrying about what others think — I've learned it rarely matters," Logan says.

In fact, research suggests that people generally overestimate the amount of attention others pay them. It's called the spotlight effect, because people mistakenly believe that they are the center of attention in a room.

If you accept this idea in your 20s instead of later on, you'll have more time to act freely, without fearing that you look like an idiot.

3. Letting your parents' opinions determine your life choices

Riina Rinkineva says she regrets "not standing my ground against my parents for what I wanted for myself in my life and what I didn't want."

It's incredibly important to set some boundaries between you and your folks, so that you have space to figure out what you want personally and professionally.

At the same time, you shouldn't cut yourself off completely from parental support. As psychologist Jeffrey Arnett told Business Insider, parents "often have life experience and wisdom that you haven't acquired yet."

credit card

4. Racking up credit-card debt

Yash Mishra says he regrets getting a credit card and "charging like crazy" in his 20s.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, consider taking a tip from one Business Insider reporter and going on a cash-only diet, during which you stop using credit and debit cards completely.

5. Getting married too quickly

Before getting married, Diane O'Neil says, "I should have first found out who I was and what I was capable of achieving as an individual; I became someone's wife long before I found out what I wanted to do personally."

Obviously, everyone is different and, for some people, getting hitched before 30 is the perfect choice. In fact, some research suggests that people who marry in their mid to late 20s have happier marriages than those who marry later.

But if you feel like you need more time to explore — by traveling, trying out different careers, and learning what you want in a romantic relationship — you may not want to rush to the altar.

6. Not investing

One of Ramya Sridharan's biggest regrets from her 20s is that she didn't invest in the stock market. As she notes, the earlier you start investing, the higher the returns.

Sridharan is right — the earlier you invest, the more time your money has to accrue interest — it's a principle called "compound interest." That's why you should open a retirement account, such as a company-sponsored 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA), as soon as possible.

white beach boracay

7. Not traveling the world

"The biggest regret I have about one decision I made in my 20s is not traveling enough when there were a lot of opportunities," writes Vishnu Prabhu.

Inspired to globe-trot but overwhelmed with all the potential places to visit? We've narrowed it down to 40 trips you should take before you turn 30 — from swimming with jellyfish in Palau to camping out in Nevada for Burning Man.

8. Not mustering the courage to ask someone out

Over on Reddit, stardust7 says, "I regret not being more direct when I liked someone. I had no confidence back then."

If you're not quite bold enough to approach the object of your affection in person, be slightly less bold and take these tips from comedian Aziz Ansari on how to text them. Hint: "heyyy" probably won't work.

9. Forgetting to floss

"I have cavities now because I didn't floss daily," says Eurycerus. "Kills me that I could've prevented it. Now I floss daily."

But it's not just cavities that result from letting plaque build up between your teeth. Medical experts say that not flossing can cause periodontal disease — when the gums recede and create a gap between the gum and the tooth that can become infected.

Periodontal disease is linked to other issues as well, including heart disease, HPV infection, mouth cancers, diabetes, and kidney failure.

10. Never living alone

"I always had a roommate or lived with my fiancé/wife," writes an anonymous Redditor. "I strongly believe I missed out on discovering some level of self sufficiency. ... It's not the [worst] thing in the world, but I feel like it could have contributed to my growth."

Living alone is getting more common. As of 2013, as many as 23% of Americans were doing it, partly thanks to the decline in marriage rates. But there's still a relative paucity of advice for singletons.

Kate Bolick, author of "Spinster," tells Business Insider that, if you're living alone, it's important to accept that you'll be lonely at times and there's nothing shameful about it. You'll also want to place special importance on your friendships, which can have a big impact on your health and happiness.

SEE ALSO: 11 things you'll regret doing in your 30s

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This is the best-looking application Apple has made in a long time (AAPL)


Among the many announcements Apple made Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), one particular introduction caught my eye: A new Apple-made app called Breathe.

In recent years, I’ve looked at various ways to better cope with stress. I’ve tried changing my diet and exercising more, but the simplest and most effective solution I’ve found thus far is something called deep-breathing.

It’s really easy to do: Just breathe in for several seconds, hold that breath for several seconds, then exhale for several seconds, repeating that process over the course of a few minutes. In my experience, it’s worked exceedingly well at calming my body and mind, and relieving stress. I’ve found it also helps ameliorate headaches and stomach aches, too.

The hardest part, though, is setting time aside to actually do it.

We all face so many distractions every single day — smartphones are one of them, but so are our daily routines — that it’s not easy to carve time out during the day just to breathe slowly for several minutes.

That’s where Apple’s new Breathe app comes in. If you own an Apple Watch, the app will guide you through simple deep-breathing exercises to calm your body, relax your mind, and deal with everyday stress.

When the watchOS 3 update rolls out later this year, you can access the Breathe app from any watch face you have or the new dock functionality (pressing the side button below the digital crown summons the dock), but the Apple Watch can also be set up to remind you to do some deep-breathing every once in awhile in the same way it reminds you to stand up at least once every hour (this can be done in your settings).

apple breathe

The way the Breathe app works is actually really cool, and it’s one of the great recent examples of Apple’s hardware working in sync with its software. Once you open the app, you can change the amount of time you want to do your session, from one to five minutes, just by turning the digital crown.

When you’re in the app experience, Breathe has some nice visuals to help you follow along. But, if you’re like me and you’d prefer to do this exercise with your eyes closed, Apple’s unique Taptic Engine can guide you with gentle taps so you never need to look at the screen. It’s an incredibly clever use of the Apple Watch’s unique hardware.

When the exercise ends, you’ll get a quick summary showing you how long you were deep-breathing and your heart rate from the last few seconds of the session.

apple watch breathe

“If you already do deep breathing, we think this is going to be a great way for you to fit it into your day more often. And for those of you that don’t, we think this is going to be a great way to get started, and just one more simple way that it can help you live a better day,” said Jay Blahnik, director of fitness for health technologies at Apple, during the WWDC conference on Monday. 

This is why I love the idea of the Breathe app: It's a simple, beautiful-looking app based on an incredibly simple concept: helping remind people to stop and relax every once in awhile. It doesn't have a ton of ancillary features or functions; it just uses the hardware and software to help you slow your breathing and relieve some stress. As Tim Cook would say, "That's it!"

This Breathe app is a small addition that has potential to make a big impact on your life. I think more people would be generally happier and more balanced if they took some time out of their day to just sit and breathe slowly.

I appreciate its inclusion in watchOS 3 — it’s a small gesture that, to me, shows Apple really does care about the health and wellbeing of its users, aside from all the fitness stuff. Frankly, I’ve never used any of the Apple Watch’s fitness apps, but I could see myself using the Breathe app quite often. It’s a good habit to have.

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15 things that shocked me when I moved to Scotland from the US


When I decided to take the leap across the Atlantic to attend the University of St Andrews in Scotland, I knew it would be an adjustment.

Aside from taking on the responsibility of college life, I had to settle into the culture of a whole new country.

Born and raised on Long Island in New York, I had only been to Europe once before starting at St Andrews, and had never visited Scotland until I showed up for my first day.

Needless to say, I was quickly confronted with a slew of major differences between the US and Scotland — some that I expected, some that completely surprised me, and some that seemed downright weird.

Here is a list of 15 that have stood out the most in my three years there so far. 

1. A prevalence of kilts


Kilts may seem like one of the most stereotypical things about Scotland, but trust me, it's for good reason. People DO wear them, especially to formal affairs! It's not uncommon to see men wearing kilts to weddings or other black-tie events, and the specific pattern of Tartan (or plaid) on the kilts may go hundreds of years back in a Scottish family's history. As for what the guys wear under the kilts? That's undisclosed information. 

2. There are more sheep than people 


According to the Scottish Government, there were 6.7 million sheep in the country as of June 2015. In June of the same year, the census counted 5.37 million people. That would explain why you may drive miles without seeing a single person, but sheep-- they're everywhere. 

3. Haggis 


Even the name sounds unappealing, and once you find out what it actually is, you'll understand why. Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish that is a mixture of sheep insides, oats and spices, all stuffed into a sheep's stomach as casing. Being an adventurous eater, I wanted to try Haggis on Burns night, when Scottish poet Robert Burns' "Address to a Haggis" is read aloud while the lovely loaf is held up for all to admire. Let's just say I wasn't the biggest fan.

4. Grocery bags cost extra 


A law recently enacted placed a charge of 5 pence on plastic grocery bags. While not a bank-breaker, the charge does encourage people to bring reusable shopping bags from home when they go to the supermarket, which is much better for the environment. 

5. The "Eeyore effect"


Scotland is famous for bad weather, but also for the fact that a whole four seasons can happen in one day: sun can change to rain, wind, or snow in a matter of minutes. It's also home to what I call the "Eeyore effect:" a phenomenon where a rain cloud can actually be small enough and quick enough to follow one person as they walk down the street, just like the one that follows Eeyore, the perpetually depressed donkey from Winnie the Pooh. It's definitely depressing to be followed by your own personal raincloud. The incredible rainbows that follow, however, are totally worth it.

6. The Mexican food is terrible


Unripe, imported avocados and a general lack of Mexican immigrants means that Mexican food in Scotland leaves a lot to be desired. I will always remember the sad day when I tried to make my own Guacamole, and the avocados I had bought were so hard that I couldn't mash them up. The two Mexican restaurants in St Andrews aren't great, and students from Texas usually don't even step foot in them for fear of horrible disappointment. 

7. Trousers are pants, and pants are underwear


This is an important one. Terms for basic items often change when you cross the Atlantic, and you might not know until it's too late. In Scotland, pants are referred to as trousers, and the word pants actually means underwear. When an American friend of mine responded to a compliment on a dress she was wearing by saying "thanks, I just didn't feel like wearing pants today," it was no wonder that the surrounding Brits gave her disgusted looks. 

8. Hard liquor is sold in your everyday supermarket

tesco liquor

It's definitely convenient. You can come out of your local Tesco with toothpaste, Vodka and tomatoes: no separate trip to the liquor store is required. And you probably won't be judged, either. 

9. Many houses don't have clothing dryers

Washers and dryers are seen on display at a store in New York July 28, 2010.   REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

This infuriates me. Why, in one of the dampest and coldest countries in the world, would you build houses without clothing dryers? No dryer and lots of humidity in the air means that you can't expect to wear that sweatshirt you washed until 5 days later. And when you do put it on, it will be stiff, prickly, and will probably smell like mold. 

10. Tea often means dinner

London Dinner restaurant

You can imagine my confusion when some friends said that they were going to have Chinese food for their "tea." Then I realized that "tea" often means dinner, while actual tea is consumed during "teatime." 

11. Teatime is a real thing


If they're not meeting for pints at the pub, people will often get together to drink tea in the afternoon. And crumpets are real too. 

12. Roundabouts can have multiple lanes


Besides the fact that Scots drive on the left side of the road just like their English counterparts, they also love to have giant roundabouts with 3 or 4 separate lanes. They look horrible and confusing, and that's one of the reasons that I never want to drive over there. 

13. It gets dark at 3 p.m. in the winter


In the dead of Scottish winter, the sun rises at around 9 a.m. and sets about 6 hours later. The short, dark days certainly take some getting used to: when it's rainy (which is often) it sometimes feels like the sun hasn't risen at all. But long days in the spring and summer--when the sun rises around 4 a.m. and sets around 10 p.m. — make up for the winter's lack of light. 

14. Highland "Coos"


It's a water buffalo, it's a woolly mammoth, it's a...cow? The Highland Cow (or "Coo," as the Scots pronounce it) is one of Scotland's friendliest creatures. They can often be seen grazing in the fields that line highways and country roads alike, and, despite those giant horns, they're said to be very gentle. 

15. "It's a braw bricht moonlit nicht the nicht"


No, they aren't choking on Haggis. Scottish people have lots of their own words and expressions that originate from the old languages of Scots and Gaelic. These terms tend to vary regionally, and, peppered throughout general conversation, can make the Scottish especially hard to understand for the rest of the English-speaking world. The translation for this particular phrase: "It's a good (or brilliant) bright moonlit night tonight." Other points of confusion: "Aye" means yes, "nae" means no, and "ah dinnae ken" means I don't know. 

Despite occasional difficulties in understanding them, Scots are generally some of the kindest and most welcoming people I have ever encountered. Unlike New Yorkers, they will not hesitate to say hello to you on the street, and are always eager to help a lost foreigner find her way. So, even though you might miss simple things like sunlight and good Mexican food, Scotland is a beautiful country and highly worth a visit. 

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I've been going to Cape Cod during the summer for 23 years — here are all of the affordable things I tell my friends to do


cape cod

Vacation isn't cheap — particularly if you're traveling to Cape Cod, a popular East Coast vacation spot that also happens to be one of the most expensive US summer destinations.

But when you're a regular, you eventually find the freebies, bargains, and things worth spending money on.

My family has been going to Cape Cod since 1952, when my great-great-grandmother Lyla Flagler retired in Falmouth. She was the town's oldest citizen when she died at 101, and it was her hope that my family would continue coming out to the Cape.

We've been doing just that, spending summertime in Cotuit, Massachusetts, since before I can remember.

I rounded up 13 affordable places on the Cape that I think are must-see's. While this is far from a comprehensive list, it's a good starting point based on the 23 summers I've spent there.

Spend a summer evening eating Crackerjacks and hot dogs at the ballpark. Cape Cod has a highly competitive collegiate summer league, and games are played nearly every night from June to August. We root for the Cotuit Kettleers, but there are nine other teams scattered across the Cape. The best part about summer baseball on the Cape: Admission is free!

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Check out the full 2016 schedule.

Stop by the legendary Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville for a pint of ice cream (by far the best deal at only $5!) and side of the rich hot fudge. It's a cash-only joint, but there's an ATM in the parking lot. If that doesn't satisfy your sweet tooth, head over to the 1856 Country Store, a penny candy spot right around the corner.

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Check out the full list of Four Seas flavors (I recommend peppermint stick).

Take a day trip to Provincetown, a town at the very tip of Cape Cod. The water is gorgeous, the narrow, cobble-stoned streets are lively, and restaurant options are endless. If you're up for an adventure, you can always catch a whale watching boat and spend a few hours scouring the sea for marine life.

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Learn more about whale watching in Provincetown here and here.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

10 things you should ask for on your next flight


alcohol on airplaneThere are plenty of free goodies you can snag on a flight, if you know to ask for them.

A Reddit thread asked flight attendants about secret perks passengers should be taking advantage of on flights. We consulted that thread and did some of our own research to create the following list.

From free alcoholic drinks to ibuprofen, here are ten things you should ask for on your next flight.

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1. The entire can of soda

Flight attendants generally dole out half of a can, which, combined with the quantity of ice they dispense, simply isn't enough to quench our thirst.

Next time, order a whole can. Flight attendants are often happy to oblige, or, if they've run out of cans, they'll be happy to return to refill your cup.

2. Hot chocolate

As an alternative to coffee or tea, most airlines also offer hot chocolate.

Etihad Airways and Southwest Airlines are just some of the airlines that offer hot chocolate in Economy. Qantas even has hot chocolate made with Cadbury chocolates to satisfy your sweet tooth.

3. Temporary babysitting

For parents traveling with children, it’s great to have a helping hand when you need to step away for a few minutes. Many flight attendants will be happy to briefly assist you with your kids.

Etihad Airways offers "Flying Nannies", who can organize everything from arts and crafts to hand puppet games and magic tricks for kids, while Gulf Air has its "Sky Nanny", who can assist you with boarding and disembarkation. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Dating app Bumble is partnering with Spotify to help you find suitors who share your music taste


spotify bumble

Bumble and Spotify: It's a match!

The dating app, known as the "Feminist Tinder," announced on Wednesday that it would partner with Spotify to help users find suitors who share their music taste. 

Here's how it will work: Bumble users can opt into showcasing their Spotify top artists on their profile page, which Bumble hopes will give users more information about a potential suitor and potentially serve as a conversation starter.

The musical preferences will also be programmed into Bumble's algorithm so that people with similar music tastes will show up first. So, if you primarily swipe right on pop music fans, users who like pop music will show up first the next time you open the app.

"Music says a lot about a person," Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe told Tech Insider. "It either reinforces your opinion about them, or it completely changes it."

Wolfe, a Tinder cofounder who left that company after filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, says she's been eyeing a partnership with Spotify since she launched her app shortly after leaving Tinder. On Bumble, female users have to initiate conversations with matches. 

whitney wolfe edit

"Spotify has been our radar since launch. But when we launched, I think a lot of people assumed ‘well, this just another dating app,’" Wolfe said. "We ramped up and once our brand became quite viral, we reconnected with Spotify and said, 'Let’s definitely find a way to do this.'"

After over a year of discussions between the two brands, the partnership was solidified. 

"We love that Bumble is changing the rules of the game by putting women in charge to help people make more meaningful connections," a Spotify spokesperson told Tech Insider. "Both Spotify and Bumble recognize the power of music in terms of bringing people together, so its that shared interest that excites us about leveraging music taste to give users a peek into the preference of their potential connections."

Wolfe says they initially considered putting favorite songs in profiles, but ultimately decided on artists. "We wanted to make it a little more overarching," she says.

It isn't the first Silicon Valley partnership for either company. Spotify has inked deals with tech giants like Uber, Facebook, and Google. Bumble, meanwhile, has a partnership with Snapchat to allow users to add filters to their profile pages. 

And Wolfe says there will be more partnerships in Bumble's future.

Wolfe says Bumble is looking for hyper-local partnerships with restaurants and ride-sharing apps in areas with a large concentration of users to help improve the dating experience offline.

"We want to add value through the entire dating process," she said. 

SEE ALSO: Twitter invested 'around $70 million' in music-streaming service SoundCloud

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This is the perfect business casual outfit for summer


business casual

When the weather gets warm out, your casual outfits change drastically. Jeans becomes shorts, sweaters become T-shirts, and boots turn into boat shoes.

But if you work in a business casual (or even more formal) office, there's just seemingly no way to adapt your outfit to beat the heat — you'll still need to trudge to work wearing the same long sleeve collared shirts and chino pants as the previous seasons.

But that doesn't mean you need to suffer — for style or for heat exhaustion. It's not about what you can get away with, it's about what will put you in a position to be most successful.

The ideal summer business casual outfit in the summer invokes two main traits:

  • It uses lightweight fabrics so as to not make long sleeves and pants unbearable in the humidity and heat.
  • It doesn't look out of place with summer's intrinsically more laid back vibe.

Let's take it from the top.

Jacket: We recommend completely forging in the summer. If you don't need it for work purposes, you should just shed it.

If you absolutely do need it, get one in a super-breathable fabric like linen that will feel like it's barely there.

Shirt: Lightweight dress and collared shirts (like this one from J. Crew) will be your friend this summer. They're breathable, they won't cause you to sweat unnecessarily, and they'll keep you looking smart. They come in summer-friendly patterns that will look right at home in your office, as well as happy hour drinks.

How can you tell if a shirt is lightweight? Usually, stores sell shirts in summer-ready patterns and colors in lighter weights by default. Look for linen-cotton blends and gingham, and you'll likely be set.

We love patterns like gingham and windowpane in bright, color-friendly colors.

Pants: Let's get this out of the way: no you can't wear shorts to work. Don't even try it. Well, you can try it, but you'll be doing yourself a disservice.

Like shirts, you'll be looking for a lighter weight option (like this one from Club Monaco). The areas that pants cover may not be 

Socks: Depending on your office, recommended but not completely necessary. You may be able to get away with not wearing them. Whichever way you go, you should still wear still wear socks, just ones that are practically invisible like loafer socks.

Shoes: Low loafer style shoes are becoming very common in offices nowadays, and who are we to buck a trend? They're acceptable in most business casual environments today, even if a traditional etiquette expert might call them unwelcome. 

Other than that, suede, brogued, and colorful (light tan, navy, etc) shoes are all acceptable and encouraged in the summer.

Because of the nature of these clothing items, they are not suited to other times of year. Unfortunately for your wallet, however, that means you're going to need dedicated summer wear that you won't wear the other three seasons. 

SEE ALSO: 26 grooming and style hacks every guy should know

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Photographer reveals what it's like to sail to one of the most isolated places on Earth


Antarctica, 1911

Sailing to Antarctica may seem difficult, but photographer Rene Koster was up for the challenge. He sailed from Ushuaia, Argentina to the South Pole in three days.

"For me the harsh conditions on this continent emphasize the beauty and the tragedy in the landscape," Koster told Business Insider. "This continent is so impressive, it makes one feel humble."

His inspiration for sailing to the cold continent was the work of photographer Frank Hurley, specifically his 1915 photos of Ernest Shackleton's ship trapped in the Antarctic pack ice, forcing everyone to abandon the boat and camp. While they were unable to save the ship, no lives were lost during the expedition.

Below, see photos from Koster's three day sail to Antarctica.


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Koster and the ship's crew sailed 1,600 miles from Ushuaia, the south most part of Argentina, to Antarctica.

The ship he sailed in, The Europa, was built in 1911. He was invited on the trip by the company Bark Europa, which conducts various tours across the Atlantic. He was accompanied by a professional crew, as well as 30 other guests that included biologists, journalists, and researchers.

Source: Bark Europa

"Once we arrived in Antarctica, the contrast between the violent seas we had faced earlier and the immense silence of the ice-filled landscape couldn’t have been greater," Koster said. "All the passengers on the ship fell quiet. There, all references to the modern world are gone. It’s like entering a completely different realm that has its own rules and will. I wonder how Shackleton must have felt when this landscape appeared before him."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here are all the ways modern teens are doing better than you


screaming teen girls

You suck. Teens rule.

I know, I know. That's impossible. But unfortunately we have math to back it up. And at the ripe old age of 24, let me assure you I find this as depressing as you do — especially for those of us badass rule-breaking millennials who hoped the generation coming up after us would be as wild and crazy as we are. (Note: This reporter is neither wild nor crazy.)

But here are the facts: Modern teens are behaving better, doing drugs less, having safer and choosier sex, and even wearing seat belts more often. Goodbye to your bad-decision-making millennial youth. Hello goody-two-shoes Generation Z.

Sarah Kliff over at Vox spotted the trend in a report the federal government releases every two years called the "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System."

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Teens are being more careful when they have sex. Hormonal birth control use jumped 15% among teens between 2011 (when the government started counting) and 2015. Condom use has declined a little bit though.
  • Fewer teens are having sex. In 1991, 54.1% of teens said they had ever had sex. In 2007, more than 47% said they'd ever had sex. In 2015, only 41.2% said the same.
  • They're having sex less often. In 1991, 39.1% of teens said they'd had sex in the last three months. In 2013 that number fell to 34%. Then by 2015, teens nearly doubled the drop from the previous 12 years, bringing the percentage of teens who'd had sex in the past three months down to 30.1%. While we wouldn't want to take a stand that teens exploring their sexuality is inherently bad, the world is probably better off for them being choosier about it.
  • Drug use is down across the board — with one major exception. Teens are drinking less, using less marijuana, consuming less ecstasy, and abusing less heroin. They're even using less meth. The big honking exception here? Vaping.
  • 44.9% of teens said they'd used electronic cigarettes. There's some data to tell us that e-cigs are probably better than cigarettes, but some teens eventually move on to the old-fashioned kind. And vaping still poses major health risks on its own. We don't know how e-cigarette usage compares to previous years, because 2015 is the first time the government has asked.
  • Teens are generally better behaved. In 2015, 22.6% of teens said they'd been in fights. Back in 1991, that number was 42.5%. Bringing weapons into school (itself a worrying statistic to even exist) dropped from 11.8% to 4.1% in the same time period. Meanwhile, seat belt use has risen dramatically, all the way up to 93.9%.

These prim and proper teacher's pet Gen-Z teens are making the rest of us look bad.

SEE ALSO: This teen brand is the future of Victoria's Secret

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Where not to live: These are the most air polluted places in the country


pollutionAir pollution has been a problem since the industrial revolution hit America in the 1800s. The BBC reports that more than 5.5 million people worldwide die prematurely each year due to air pollution, so this really is nothing to take lightly.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to levels that exceed WHO limits. In the US, the American Lung Association believes that over 50% of US counties suffer from an unhealthy amount of particle pollution. That’s a whopping 166 million Americans at risk. 

These harmful air particles come from such things as coal-fired power plants, diesel emission, or wildfires. The particles are small enough to get stuck in our lungs and this can cause asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, and even death.

Here is the American Lung Association's 2016 State of the Air list showing the top 10 U.S. cities subjected to the worst year-round particle pollution. You may want to consider living elsewhere if you take your health seriously.

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Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield is home to a crude oil company, which is nothing but harmful to human health. Contaminants are released at all stages of production. Exhaust fumes discharge particulate matter, while the burning of diesel fuel and natural gas produces the nitrogen oxides that form ground level ozone. 

However, the Los Angeles Times reported last year that as fuel prices have dropped, drilling projects in Bakersfield have been delayed or canceled. This may be bad news for the employees being layed off, but residents worried about their lung health can rejoice. 

Hanford, California

According to the Hanford Sentinel, it's no surprise to residents that air quality in this city is worse than ever. To blame are the combustion engines that burn petroleum-based fuels, which release particulate matter, as well as the ever-warming temperatures trapping pollution in this city surrounded by mountains. Officials there know they are over the EPA's pollution standards, but don't know how to fix the problem without new technology while long-term drought conditions persist in the area. 

Fresno, California

The American Lung Association has been reporting Fresno to be a hotspot of pollution for many years. According to the Los Angeles Times, a 3,000-person-area on the west side of the city is drowning in diesel exhaust, unsafe water, and pesticides. This dirty city is also suffering from poverty, which has only increased since 2000 according to a study done last year by The Century Foundation.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This is why San Francisco's insane housing market has hit the crisis point


san francisco google eviction protest

Five years ago, I moved to San Francsico — right as the current startup boom kicked off.

Those five years saw a lot of change in the city, as tensions between long-time San Francisco residents and the tech industry hit a fever pitch.

It all traces its roots back to the San Francisco Bay Area's housing crisis, where people are going to ridiculous lengths, including living in boats, vans, and cardboard boxes, just to make ends meet.

The thing is, San Francisco has been here before the tech industry was even a thing, and we'll be here again. And it's all because of some decisions made in the 1950s and 1960s.

SEE ALSO: I moved to San Francisco right when the startup craze began — here's what it's been like

San Francisco is the second-most dense city in the United States, after New York City, with about 18,451 people per square mile, packed into around 47 square miles.

That density, combined with the continued influx of people into San Francisco, has led to an epic housing crisis. In 2015, the median house price in SF was six times higher than the median price of existing homes in the US.

High home prices, plus high population density, plus low availability, has led to San Francisco becoming the most expensive place to rent in the country.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

20 objects that are perfectly designed and can't be improved any further



Some products are so timeless, recognizable, and intuitive that it doesn't make any sense to try to improve them.

We reached out to designers to get their take on the world's most perfectly crafted products.

We spoke with Aaron Draplin, a logo designer who's known best for his Field Notes memo books and extensive logo work, and asked Bill Cowles, hardware designer at Electric Objects about the products he loves.

We also spoke with Peter Rohles, an industrial designer at the software company solidThinking, to get a sense of which products are beloved by designers and consumers alike.

While Rohles acknowledges the process of design is just that — a process — some everyday objects are so efficient at what they do that it'd be pointless to tinker any further.

Keep scrolling to see which products are probably the best they'll ever be.

SEE ALSO: Why there's no reason for most people to spend over $1,000 on a laptop

Levi's 501 Jeans — The original Levi's cut is roomy enough for any wearer to move around in comfortably. It was as good for a ranch hand over 100 years ago as it is for anyone today, Draplin says.

A memo book— "In a world of data, clicks and dinging bells that embarrassingly has us in its grips, a pencil and a blank page in a memo book is limitless," Draplin says.

A pocket t-shirt — "We hold things. And a t-shirt with a pocket on the chest? Perfection. Good for a wad of cash and an I.D. card, that iPhone you can’t put down or that memo book I was going on and on about," says Draplin.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

BARBARA CORCORAN: It's okay to date someone you work with

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