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This super sleek yacht cuts through water like a knife

The YouTuber behind the 'African Drug Lord' pranks reveals his secrets – and a disturbing truth about our online privacy


If you haven't watched the hilarious "African Drug Lord" videos on YouTube, you should check it out – just be aware the videos contain profanities.

In his videos, YouTuber "VirtuallyVain" scares the hell out of video gamers by pretending that a seemingly random person from Africa with a thick accent knows their names, location, and sometimes even their phone numbers.

african drug lord youtube prank video

It sounds terrifying for the prank's victims, as there's a sense of total helplessness when a person from a foreign place with unclear intentions and capabilities reveals private information they thought was private. 

For the rest of us watching, the videos are hilarious. And Vain will get in touch with his "victims" after the prank to reassure them that everything is OK, they haven't been hacked, and he asks them permission to appear in his YouTube videos. He's doing it for a laugh, as well as a "public service" to show you that "your information is not safe."

I spoke with VirtuallyVain, who keeps his identity secret and chose to simply be called "Vain," to find out how he gets a gamer's information for his pranks, and what tips he has for anyone who wants to boost their privacy online.

hacking smaller

How he gets your information.

"What I'm doing is not hacking at all, nothing I do is illegal," Vain told me. "It's basically when people are irresponsible with the information they post online."  

For his specific videos that center around pranking online video gamers, Vain focuses on revealing two main pieces of information to scare them: their names and where they are.

Vain says he can find a name by "researching their gamer tag (a nickname you use for online multiplayer games) or their username in different avenues that might provide more information."

That part isn't the scariest. It's when the "African Drug Lord" reveals he knows where you are at that very moment.

Once Vain gets a name that's linked to a gamer tag or username, social media will essentially do the work for him, as he can potentially find your location and even your phone number from a Facebook account.

anonymous facebook profile

Don't have your phone number listed on Facebook? Doesn't matter, there's another completely legal website called Whitepages.com that lets you type in a name to find out a bunch of information, like a phone number. 

Don't have your location listed on Facebook, either? Piece of cake. "The easiest most guaranteed information you can get" is from your IP address, which reveals where the computer you're using is located. Vain can get your IP address from the online video game pretty easily and legally. 

Go on then, do your worst

Believing that I was responsible with the information I post online, I asked Vain to use his legal methods to see what he could find out about me after of our Skype call. About five minutes after we hung up on Skype, he called me on my cell phone. The thing is, I never gave him my cell phone number, I never publicly posted it on any social media platform, and it's not on Whitepages.com.

 The Matrix, Warner Bros 

He then emailed me with two addresses, one of which was my old address, and the second was my current one. Again, I didn't think that information was available anywhere.

"There are some places that you can't even think of where you use your username where you would also use your name, address, or phone number," he told me. Indeed, he got my phone number from somewhere I never would have thought he could get it from. 

Vain says that a lot of people assume he's using a method called "social engineering," which is fraudulent. It's when someone pretends to be someone else to obtain a victim's information. For example, a person looking to get information about you could call your cell phone provider posing as you or even the service provider's representative to transfer your phone number to a new SIM card.

But Vain doesn't do that, or anything else illegal or fraudulent.

So how do you protect yourself from someone with malicious intents?

  • You're less at risk if you have a common name.
  • "Have a reserved alias or username and in no way make any connections towards your personal self." That means any account you have online shouldn't link to you. When you sign up for anything online that requires an email, use a separate email to your personal email that's dedicated to online accounts, and don't make any reference of your name or personal details in that email address.
  • "Use a VPN (virtual private network)." A VPN will mask your IP address with a different IP address, so anyone trying to find it won't see your actual IP address.
  • "Ask your internet service provide for a dynamic IP address," where your internet service provider will continuously change your IP address.
  • "Ask to have your information removed from Whitepages." 

At the end of the day, however, Vain told me "nobody's safe, we live in a time where our attacks are better than our defenses, so I think it comes to a point where you have to acknowledge the fact that you are susceptible to this."

But before you unplug to go live in the woods where no one can find you, Vain reassured me that "for those who aren't a target, you're pretty much safe. It's very rare that someone would target you for no reason."

Still, you don't want to make it easy.

SEE ALSO: Why Apple's big event in September is going to be very important, even if the iPhone is boring

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An ex-North Face employee claims to have made the world's strongest tent


SlingFin Kahiltna Dome on Everest '15 (photo by Ryan Waters)

If you're looking for a proper tent, you'll find a wealth of brands: REI, ALPS Mountaineering, The North Face, Tarptent. What you won't get, though, is something strong enough to survive disasters. 

Martin Zemitis is trying to change that. A former North Face product designer with 33 years in the outdoor equipment industry, Zemitis claims he has created the world's strongest tent. 

In 2010, Zemitis started SlingFin, an outdoors equipment company specializing in heavy-duty tents and accessories made with withstand high winds and harsh elements. SlingFin's products are designed with a level of durability that's often lacking in recreational tents in the $100-400 price range.

The company now sells seven tents, three of which have its proprietary WebTruss frame, an ultra-strong, aerodynamic set of interconnecting poles that provide the tent's structure. The overlapping arches created by the WebTruss hold up the tent's cover, which is hooked underneath. 

The company credits the WebTruss for the tents' resilience and ease of use — that's what keeps it from blowing over in 60-mile-per-hour winds. All the poles are the same length, and the joints are protected by a sleeve of material that makes the tent less likely to come apart. Compare that to a regular tent, where all the poles are different lengths, and usually are constructed to be light over sturdy.

The design is also simple enough that campers can set up the tent in two minutes and 30 seconds.

SlingFin HardShell in Iceland (photo by Thor)

CNBC's Adventure Capitalists program did a field test of SlingFin's CrossBow 2 tent. For maximum effect, the team set up two large fans near the area, both blowing at speeds of 50 mph. The structure proved resilient enough for show's hosts to set it up in the high-speed winds.

Without that resilience, you'd be out of luck in strong weather. The show's hosts also tried to set up a competitor tent, but had less luck — the poles and flaps were disassembled like an umbrella in a heavy storm.

If you're a conscious backpacker that checks up on weather patterns, it's unlikely you'd need a heavy duty tent that resists gale-force winds. CNBC notes that SlingFin is entering a tough tent market, since 90-95% of the market share goes to recreational tents.

That said, the tent is affordable compared to other extreme-wind-resistant tents, which can run well over $6,000. You can buy a SlingFin tent on the company's site starting at $750.

SEE ALSO: 9 outdoor clothing brands you’ll like as much as Patagonia

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Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse reveals the most memorable thing he ever ate while traveling the world


emeril lagasse

James Beard Award-winning chef Emeril Lagasse has traveled all over the world, sampling native cuisines and learning about local cultures along the way. 

If you ask him about the most memorable meal he's ever had, he says that plenty of experiences come to mind.

Many of those experiences came in the filming of his new show, "Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse," which premieres on Amazon Prime Video September 2. The show follows Lagasse and his chef friends as they travel to different countries to learn about new foods.

In one episode, he goes with Spanish chef José Andrés to his hometown of Oviedo to learn about the origin of Modernist cuisine; in another, he and La Brea Bakery founder Nancy Silverton go to Italy to find what Silverton considers the very best pizza in the world. 

But it was in Sweden with his friend Marcus Samuelsson — who, when he was 24, became the youngest chef to receive a three-star restaurant review from the New York Times — that Lagasse ate the meal that has perhaps stuck with him the most. 

"In Stockholm, I had reindeer heart," Lagasse told Business Insider. "It was incredibly delicious, and the restaurant has no electricity, so everything was cooked using wood, fire, and smoke." 

While eating reindeer heart might seem extreme to the Amerian eater, reindeer in one form or another has been a central part of Nordic cuisine for centuries. The version that Lagasse ate, at Stockholm's Ekstedt restaurant, is elevated and refined, cooked in a cast-iron pot inside a wood oven, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

reindeer heart

Samuelsson also took Lagasse fishing for crayfish — no easy feat given that it was April, which means snow in Sweden. Still, it was exactly that kind of local experience that Lagasse's new Amazon show was aiming to capture. 

"My philosophy in life is to understand culture, and then food," Lagasse told us. "But first, you have to understand the people. No matter where you are in the world, there's going to be some kind of connection to food." 

Viewers can expect a bit of adventure and a lot of food knowledge when the show begins streaming in September.

SEE ALSO: 30 iconic American hotel bars everyone should have a drink at

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Steve Wynn is making a big bet on this new luxurious $4 billion casino in China

Facebook's new app for high schoolers has a worrisome problem: anyone can pretend to be a teenager (FB)


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Facebook's new app, Lifestage, is a social network specifically for high schoolers. But you don't have to actually be a high schooler to use it.

The app, which was created by 19-year-old Facebook employee Michael Sayman, is designed for teens to find and connect with other people who go to their school. Instead of directly messaging each other, high schoolers are supposed to use the app to share selfies and videos that all of their classmates can watch.

Lifestage is so focused on reaching high schoolers that it blocks people who list their age as over 21 in the app from joining a school or looking up other accounts.

But there's one catch: you can easily fake your age in the app and pretend to be a high schooler.

Lifestage Facebook app

When you first open Lifestage, it asks you to create an account with a phone number and enter your age. Even though the app is owned by Facebook, there's no option to sign in with a Facebook account.

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that it created Lifestage after hearing feedback from teenagers who said there wasn't a good social network for finding who went to their school. The spokesperson also said that requiring only a phone number was meant to encourage teens without Facebook accounts to use the app.

While testing LifestageI created one account that said I was 124 years old. I wasn't able to add myself to a high school or search for any accounts. Then I created another account that said I was 18 years old. In a matter of seconds, I could easily choose from a list of nearby high schools I wanted to join.

i created another account and said i was 18 then i was able to add a nearby high school

If it seems odd to you that an app that's specifically designed for and aimed at minors doesn't have any safeguards to prevent adults from posing as minors, you're not alone.

Lifestage's lack of age authentication and visibility settings pose serious privacy concerns, according to Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization that educates families about internet safety for children.

“Our view is that parents should most certainly pay attention," Common Sense Media president Amy Guggenheim Shenkan told Business Insider in an interview. “There are some features in the app that are concerning.”

Shenkan said that, because Lifestage doesn't show you who watches your videos, it could give "kids a false sense of security" that they're only being watched by their peers.

When Facebook first launched its social network for college students in 2004, users were required to provide a college email address in order to sign up. High school students don't typically have a school-provided email address, which makes it tougher to implement a similar system for Lifestage.

But Facebook would not say why the service doesn't include some kind of system to prevent adults from posing as high school students.

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that users can report "concerning activity" in the app and that the company will investigate reports like it does for normal Facebook accounts. The spokesperson also said that a Lifestage account can only be tied to one phone number as "an additional level of protection and enforcement."

Here's Facebook's full statement: 

"We are releasing Lifestage to a limited number of high schools. Lifestage will not provide access to content from other people for users who list an age above 21. We encourage anyone using the app who experiences or witnesses any concerning activity to report it to us through the reporting options built into the app. We take these reports seriously. Unlike other places on the web, Lifestage is tied to a person's phone number and only one account is allowed per phone number – this provides an additional level of protection and enforcement."

SEE ALSO: What it's like to use Facebook's new Snapchat competitor that's only for high schoolers

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We tried Boston Market's new chicken Marsala, but it did not compare to the classic rotisserie

Zaha Hadid's 'exoskeleton' skyscraper in Miami will have a private helicopter pad and an indoor infinity pool



The acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid, who died in early 2016, left a spectacular legacy.

The Pritzker Prize-winning architect was known for her neofuturistic works, characterized by sweeping curves and geometric forms. Over her four-decade career, she designed many celebrated buildings around the world, some of which are still under construction or in stasis.

One such skyscraper, called the One Thousand Museum, is currently under construction in Miami.

"Miami will mark her first high-rise residential tower in the Western Hemisphere," the building's codeveloper, Kevin Venger, told Business Insider. "Her love of the city — she had a permanent residence here — just makes this a really special project and adds to her worldwide legacy."

Set to be completed in late 2018, the skyscraper will be the epitome of luxury — the most expensive units will sell for $50 million. Some of its standout amenities include an infinity pool, a gym, stunning views of Miami, and the city's first private helicopter pad.

Take a look at the renderings of the tower:


The One Thousand Museum will sit on the waterfront in Miami, Florida. When complete, the 700-foot skyscraper will be one of the tallest in the city.

For the foundation, the construction crew poured 10,000 cubic yards of concrete into a mold over a period of 24 hours, Venger said.

RAW Embed

The facade is made of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete, or GFRC, a type of concrete with ultrastrong strings of glass embedded inside. Many of Hadid's buildings use this technique, which keeps thin pieces strong.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 50 best colleges in America


4x3 50 best colleges in america 2

What makes a college great? In Business Insider's latest ranking of the best colleges in America, the top schools share a few common traits: They provide a quality education and graduate students on time, they set graduates up to earn well-paying jobs early in their career, and they provide a memorable and enjoyable campus experience that instills pride and loyalty for decades to come.

Business Insider's 2016 ranking uses a formula that relies very little on glamour statistics, like reputation and selectivity, that are featured in many college rankings. Instead, we primarily leaned on data available from the government, weighting early-career earnings and graduation rate the highest.

College years are formative for young adults, so we also gave significant credit to schools that provide a top-notch student-life experience, as measured by Niche, a company that compiles research on schools. Niche assessed the social and community life of universities and provided letter grades based on metrics like campus quality, diversity, party scene, student retention, safety, and athletics.

Other factors that counted for less and rounded out each school's score: full-time retention rate, average annual cost (after accounting for scholarships and financial aid), average SAT score of incoming students, and admittance rate. Read more about our methodology

Read on to see the full list of the best colleges in the US.

SEE ALSO: The 50 best law schools in America

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50. Babson College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

Median salary 10 years after enrolling: $85,500

Average SAT score: 1258

Student life score: B+

A leader in entrepreneurial education, Babson College equips students with the skills to innovate, experiment, and lead in the business world and beyond. The private college has produced numerous successful entrepreneurs in its nearly 100-year history, including Arthur Blank, the cofounder and former president of Home Depot who is the eponym of the college's on-campus entrepreneurship hub.

49. Hamilton College

Location: Clinton, New York

Median salary 10 years after enrolling: $57,300

Average SAT score: 1384

Student life score: A

Hamilton College takes its name from founding father Alexander Hamilton, who served as one of the school's original trustees in 1793 when he was the US secretary of the Treasury. More than 200 years later, Hamilton is still going strong: One year after graduation, at least 91% of the class of 2014 had secured a full-time job or internship or were enrolled in graduate school. For those who entered the workforce, employers included companies such as General Electric, Amazon, and The New York Times.

48. George Washington University

Location: Washington, D.C.

Median salary 10 years after enrolling:$64,500

Average SAT score: 1297

Student life score: A

Located right in the US capital, George Washington University offers more than 2,000 undergraduate courses and more than 70 majors. More than 1,400 students choose to study abroad each year at GW's study centers and partner institutions in more than 40 countries. The school also has some distinguished alumni— former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and actress Kerry Washington all attended the university.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This 350-foot megayacht comes with its own private 'beach' onboard


Hareide Design

Award-winning Norwegian design studio Hareide Design has released new renderings for a concept yacht.

Its name, the 108m, refers to its 108-meter-long "mono hull." To differentiate itself on the crowded superyacht scene, the boat includes a garden, a "beach" area, two pools, and a double-story "Grand Hall" with an enormous floor-to-ceiling window.

These features were designed to give the boat a seamless indoor-outdoor experience and provide a connection to nature, according to the designers.

"Today's mega yachts are most often designed like floating luxury hotels with interiors based on traditional luxury," Einar Hareide, founder of Hareide Design, told DesignBoom.com. "With this hybrid megayacht concept we want to shift the focus from extrovert admiration to creating a platform for actively experiencing the beauty of nature and the changing elements."

The design is just a concept for now, but it would certainly make a statement should the plans come to fruition.

SEE ALSO: No one wants to buy this bizarre house in a wealthy San Francisco suburb

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The Hareide Design studio has created plans for the 108m, a huge superyacht concept with some pretty special features.

It has a "classic" monohull design, which has the "unique combination of elegance and modernity of Scandinavian design," according to the agency.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the ship is near the rear, where the aft of the ship lowers into the water to form its own private beach-like shallow pool.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Controversial photos inside the homes of Russia's ultrarich show the country's problem with wealth inequality

35 photos that will make you grateful for your commute



The average American spends 38 hours a year stuck in traffic — or 90 hours a year if you live in LA.

Those numbers get worse in the world's megacities: Commuters in Mexico City, Moscow, and Beijing can sit in traffic for hours every day. Here are a few gripping images of those journeys.

Drake Baer and Alex Davies contributed to an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: 10 of the most incredible home libraries around the world

Thousands of people commute to work in Bangladesh by boat. Here, residents of Dhaka take out their umbrellas.

The security checks during rush hour in Beijing make for insanely long lines. The checks have been tightened due to an attack in China's Xinjiang region, where dozens were killed in May 2014.


It doesn't get much easier once you're actually on the train.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

6 ways America's national parks have dramatically shaped the history of science


shutterstock_47311708 (1)Today, on August 25, 2016, the U.S. National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday.

From the founding of the first park — Yellowstone— to today, the park service has protected and preserved large swaths of wilderness, from shorelines to mountain ranges, as well as myriad of historic sites and monuments. And today, the park system expands across 84 million acres, covering 412 sites.  

Over the last century, these parks are, and have always been, vital to science by providing living laboratories for research in some of the most intact natural landscapes in the world. In addition, because these natural sites have been managed and studied for nearly a century, there is a huge wealth of archival scientific data available to researchers working in the parks today.

To find out more about the role that national parks have played in the history of science, Business Insider spoke to Timothy Watkins, a climate change science and education coordinator at the National Park Service who is working with the US Geological Survey to draw attention to the scientific value of parks. Here are just a few national sites that have been instrumental.

Simone Scully contributed to this post.

SEE ALSO: 12 rare animals that are teetering on the brink of extinction

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Yellowstone National Park

Renown for being America’s first National Park, Yellowstone is also the site where microbiologist Thomas Brock discovered an interesting bacterium living in the park’s hot springs. This bacterium, which Brock named Thermus aquaticuswas able to survive in waters that were 80 degree Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit).

“That was just absolutely astonishing because nobody thought that anything could live at that temperature,” Watkins told Business Insider. “It revolutionized our understanding of the way life had evolved [to] survive in extreme environments.”

After Brock made his discovery, other scientists studying this bacteria found that it is an important, stable source of the enzyme DNA polymerase, which allows DNA strands to replicate. “They realized that you could use that thermally stable DNA polymerase to do some very important engineering and chemistry in the lab,” Watkins said, and researchers, who later won the Nobel Prize in 1983, developed a technique using this enzyme, called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is used in medical and biological research to amplify copies of a segment of DNA.

“But it all started with a bacterium that was found in Yellowstone National Park,” Watkins said.

Isle Royale National Park

Isolated in the middle of Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park is a rugged, small island, and it was also here that, in 1958, wildlife biologist Durward Allen began doing some some incredibly important research on the predator-prey relationship of wolves and moose. This project has continued ever since, with scientists returning every year to count the populations of these two animals, and today, this research project is the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world.

“It’s really important field ecological data on real live populations out in the wild that has produced a data set that is just incomparable,” Watkins said. “[It] has informed and confirmed certain models of populations of predators and prey relationships in ecology that were derived from mathematical models or studies of bacteria or very small organisms in the lab … and a lot has been learnt from the predator-prey relationships, as well as the influence of disease and climate change.”

Durward Allen is largely considered a pioneer among ecologists for initiating the Isle Royale wolf-moose project and having the insight to understand the value of continuing to observe a site long after others would have moved on to study something different. “That work really became canonized and is in every introductory textbook on the market now,” Watkins added.

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

Located just north of Las Vegas, Nevada, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is the site where nuclear physicist Willard Libby field-tested his technique of Carbon-14 dating.

Libby, who had been a part of the Manhattan Project, developed this technique of Carbon-14 dating, also called radiocarbon dating, after World War II. Carbon-14 is an isotope of carbon that decays naturally, so Libby realized that it is possible to measure its concentration in an object and compare it to other isotopes of carbon in order to calculate the object’s age.

He had developed the method of carbon-14 dating in the lab and tested it on some museum specimens, but the first time Libby actually used the technique in the field was on Pleistocene-era mammal fossils in Tule Springs, and his results showed that these mammal fossils were 30,000 years older than any human presence in the area.

“He provided evidence that falsified the hypothesis that humans were killing and cooking those mammals,” Watkins explained.

Libby’s work on Carbon-14 dating won him the Nobel Prize in 1960, and today the site of his research is protected by the National Park Service as a national monument.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These disposable bedsheets help college students achieve peak laziness


beantown bedding disposable linens

This fall, college students can avoid doing laundry without making a trip home.

Boston-based startup Beantown Bedding is offering a line of "laundry-free linens" that are meant to be thrown away after just a few weeks. The sheets, available in twin extra-long size for those oddly shaped dorm-room beds, are biodegradable and compostable.

Cofounders Kirsten Lambert and Joan Ripple got the idea for throwaway bedding when they sent their children off to college and learned they rarely took the time to wash their sheets.

Beds are like super-sized petri dishes for fungi, bacteria, pollen, soil, dust, and all sorts of detritus from the human body, according to Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine, who spoke to Tech Insider earlier this year.

The average person spends about one-third of their life in bed, so these filth-incubators can be responsible for exacerbating allergies and asthma.

beantown bedding disposable linens

While Tierno recommends washing your sheets about once a week, just throwing them out is another option. Beantown Bedding's linens are made out of Tencel, a fiber made from organic compounds found in eucalyptus. It's soft, breathable, and less prone to wrinkles than cotton, according to online reviews and a retail consultant who spoke to Business Insider in 2015.

Disposable sheets aren't the most economical choice. A twin-XL set costs $19.99, and a monthly subscription service for new bedding runs $14.99. A typical college semester lasts about three months, so students could be dropping $89 annually if they subscribe.

The sheets supposedly decompose in as little as two weeks, but not all college students have easy access to compost bins. Needless to say, constantly throwing away bedsheets isn't the most environmentally friendly option.

This week, Target will begin carrying Beantown Bedding in five Greater Boston locations.

SEE ALSO: Silicon Valley is getting its first-ever public high school that lives on a corporate campus

Join the conversation about this story »

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Photos of Yellowstone National Park taken in 1871 and today look incredibly similar


yellowstone national park

In the summer of 1871, photographer William Henry Jackson set out on an expedition to document the untamed, other-worldly beauty of a region that would become the country's first national park. At the time, Congress was reviewing legislation to establish Yellowstone National Park, but it needed convincing.

They heard accounts of the wonders explorers had seen — "spouting geysers, towering waterfalls and a huge, pristine mountain lake," as photojournalist Bradly J. Boner told Business Insider. But they "seemed too extraordinary and were often dismissed as campfire tales."

Jackson returned to Capitol Hill with an exhibition of photos that diminished all doubts. Yellowstone National Park was born, much to his credit.

Boner recently returned to the Great American West to recapture Jackon's iconic images. To celebrate the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, we've published a selection here.

SEE ALSO: These simple tricks will make your iPhone photos better without downloading any apps

Boner spent three years researching surveyors' diaries and hiking unmapped terrain in search of the locations where Jackson stood.

There have been some change of scenery since the inclusion of roads, bridges, and parking lots, which allow millions of people to experience Yellowstone annually.

But more or less, "the landscape has remained virtually untouched over almost a century and a half, save for changes wrought by the forces of nature," Boner says.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The American McMansion is dying for good


large house mcmansion salinas california

In the late 1990s to mid-2000s, there was perhaps no better indicator of affluence than the McMansion, a cookie-cutter suburban home that typically measures between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet.

In this era of speculative homebuilding before the 2008 financial crisis, bigger was considered better, and buyers sought homes with the same general list of features: five or more bedrooms, a three-car garage, and cathedral ceilings in the master bedroom or living room, for example.

It used to be the case that although McMansions would cost more to construct, they would also sell for more than a typical starter home.

But according to a new report from Bloomberg, that just isn't the case anymore. Bloomberg cites data from Trulia that shows that the premiums paid for McMansions have declined significantly in 85 of the country's 100 biggest cities.

To cite one example, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the extra money that buyers were expected to be willing to pay to own a McMansion fell by 84% from 2012 to 2016.

In that same city in 2012, a typical McMansion would be valued at $477,000, about 274% more than the area's other homes. Today, a McMansion would be valued at $611,000, or 190% above the rest of the market.

McMansions are often despised for their mishmash of architectural styles and general ostentatiousness.

"People used to buy a home under the assumption that they would be living there until the end of a long, nebulous concept of time. A house was for life, a marriage of sorts," the anonymous writer of McMansionHell, a tongue-in-cheek blog that criticizes the design flaws inherent in the American McMansion, told Business Insider.

"The McMansion was never designed to last forever ... [it] was built cheaply in order to get maximum items checked off the check-off list for the lowest cost. The designing of houses from the inside out caused the rooflines to be massive and complex."

mcmansion missouri

The author of McMansionHell — whose ire for the home style began when they saw their rural North Carolina neighborhood be transformed into what they called "Anywhere USA" — said that they hope their criticisms of the McMansion will help bring an end to this architectural era.

"Among the general population, a positive trend is emerging: People are starting to see that bigger isn't always better — this is evidenced by the tiny-house phenomenon that's been sweeping the nation the last couple of years," they said, adding that McMansions could be declining in value in part because millennials are waiting longer to buy homes.

"However, I started McMansionHell with the goal of educating people about architecture and making them aware of the flaws of these houses (both architectural and sociological) through a combination of humor and easily digestible information in a way people who wouldn't otherwise care about architecture can get engaged with. If my work can stop just one person from bulldozing a forest to build an oversized house that's a blight on the environment, then I would call McMansionHell a very successful project."

SEE ALSO: 8 of the craziest perks we've seen in luxury real estate listings

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A 31-year-old who's been traveling the world for 5 years explains how she affords it


nina palu sulawesi indonesia

A month before her 26th birthday, Nina Ragusa landed in Bangkok, Thailand.

She had been living in Tampa, Florida, preparing and saving for open-ended travel for the past two years.

During the day, she worked at a foreclosure law firm, and a few nights a week, she moonlighted at bars and promotional events.

About five years later, Ragusa has only been back to the US twice.

In the meantime, she told Business Insider via email from her current home in Darwin, Australia, her adventures have included:

"hiking down through a volcanic crater to see blue flames coming out of the ground in Indonesia, drinking coconuts and jetskiing at a lagoon in Mozambique, rock climbing on some of the most incredible karsts in Krabi, Thailand, snorkeling with blacktip reef sharks in Malaysia, wandering ancient temples and seeing a friend's father and brother become monks, eating everything as you walk down the chaotic market streets, and hiking with orangutans on Sumatra."

You can follow her adventures on her website, Where in the World Is Nina, or through her Facebook or Instagram.

Below, Ragusa told Business Insider what it's like to stay abroad for five years, what everyone gets wrong about long-term travel, and how she affords it.

SEE ALSO: A couple who ditched their 9-5 jobs years ago to travel the world explain how they afford it

In the two years of working before she left, Ragusa saved $16,000. She used $10,000 of that to pay off credit-card bills and prepay eight months of her ~$30,000 student loans.

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In Chiang Mai, Thailand.

She arrived in Bangkok in May 2011 with $6,000 in her pocket and a newly minted TEFL certification she'd gotten in the US, certifying her to teach English.

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In Bangkok, Thailand.

"I'm not rich, but I definitely want to stay longer than a couple of weeks, longer than a few months," she said she had realized. "I decided to teach English so I could make money while living abroad and traveling."

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With English students in Thailand.

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Go inside a former banker turned musician's drone-guarded 'sinful 60' party at the 'Playboy Mansion of the Hamptons'


Sir Ivan's Sinful 60 Birthday Party

Ivan Wilzig, known as Sir Ivan, is many things. Former banker. Electropop dance artist. Philanthropist. Reality star.

And now, apparently, God.

The personality threw himself a 60th birthday party at his 15,000 square foot home which has been called "The Playboy Mansion of the Hamptons." He called it his "Sinful 60" party, complete with a Biblical "Garden of Eden" theme.

Wilzig may now be 60, but if this shindig is any indication, he's not slowing down any time soon.

SEE ALSO: This 350-foot megayacht comes with its own private 'beach' onboard

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For Wilzig's 60th birthday (which happened 8 months ago in January), he invited 700 of his closest friends to his Hamptons home on August 20.

Drone security guards keep an eye over the revelers at all times, ensuring they didn't escape into the 10 acres of woods surrounding the house.

Wilzig himself showed up at wearing all white and silver on a carried chariot — a clear play at the supreme being.

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30 life skills every functioning adult should master


Life is funny.

No one gets a handbook upon turning 18, complete with all the rules they'll need to memorize and competencies they'll need to acquire.

You're just supposed to know that you should have more money coming in than going out, and you shouldn't wear a fuzzy orange sweater to a job interview. And while those may seem more obvious, others such as "managing up" — the strategy of gaining your boss' trust by helping them achieve their goals — are even more subtle, valuable behaviors.

We've put together our own handbook of sorts, which lists many skills you'll need to survive as an adult in the modern world. 

It's based on the Quora thread "What are some of the most useful skills to know?" as well as scientific research and expert opinion.

We can't promise we've outlined every skill you might need, but if you've mastered these, you're off to a good start:

 30 life skills

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Giant, laser-cut glass orbs will glow at Burning Man this year



Burning Man — the wild weeklong festival held in Nevada's Black Rock City desert every year — is known for the spectacular, larger-than-life artwork created by attendees.

For this year's festival — which begins August 28 — the artist duo known as Hybycozo is creating a set of three glowing balls. From smallest to largest, they will be called "Marvin," "Starship Bistromath," and the "Heart of Gold."

The two California-based artists, industrial designer Sergei Beaulieu and former Google employee Yelena Filipchuk, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project. After less than two weeks, 310 backers had pledged over $33,000 to bring their vision to life.

Check it out.

SEE ALSO: 9 of the most insane temples ever built at Burning Man — before they were set ablaze

The team will transport the giant geometric sculptures to the festival in a large van, Filipchuk tells Business Insider.

Here's a model of the largest ball, "Heart of Gold," which will stand 20 feet tall. Gold orbs with LEDs will sit in the middle of each ball, emitting light that will be bounced and reflected, Filipchuk says.

Since the spheres will be in the desert, the team will bring external generators to power the LEDs.

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