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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) recently declared the establishment of a caliphate and has changed its name to simply the Islamic State. This declaration came after a series of military successes on the part of ISIS and its affiliates against the Iraqi military in the country's north and west.

    ISIS's continued success is at least partially due to its seizure of military equipment from fleeing Iraqi soldiers. When ISIS overran Mosul, they captured weaponry that allowed them a conventional army, rather than a ragtag insurgency. 

    "You lost approximately three divisions worth of equipment and probably at least three depots in that area," Anthony Cordesman, a security analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Wall Street Journal

    A large quantity of the weapons that ISIS seized from Mosul were supplied by the U.S. to the Iraqi Army. ISIS also fields weapons produced in Russia, China, the Balkans, and Iran. 

    T-55 Tanks

    The T-55 tank series is a Soviet tank line that was produced from the end of World War II through the 1980s. It is estimated that ISIS has around 30 of these tanks, although it is unknown how well the organization can maintain and operate them. 

    Despite the tanks' age, they remain operational in up to 50 armies around the world. The tanks feature heavy armor, along with a 100-mm rifled gun and a secondary 7.62-mm machine gun. 

    T-72 Tanks

    The T-72 tank is the second-generation Soviet battle tank. The tank first entered production in 1971, and they're still rolling off the assembly line. ISIS has an estimated five to ten T-72 tanks, although it is unknown whether they will be able to keep the vehicles in working order. 

    The T-72 is heavily armored, and features a 125 mm main gun. It is also armed with a secondary machine gun and an antiaircraft gun. 



    ISIS acquired U.S.-built Humvees when it stormed Mosul. The U.S. had provided these same Humvees to the Iraqi Army. The vehicles allow for quick and effective movement across rough terrain.

    The Humvee's heavy armor also protects forces against small-arms fire, as well as against collateral damage from indirect explosions. The vehicles offer little protection against land mines or buried IEDs. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Verrücktis water slide GIF

    The world’s tallest, fastest, and steepest water slide is finally in its testing stage, and to celebrate, Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn water park has uploaded video footage of the first two riders going down the insane 168-foot-and-7-inch drop. 

    The video shot with a GoPro will give you vertigo. Check it out: Known as The Verrücktis, this slide is taller than both the Statue of Liberty and Niagara Falls. To get on, park goers must first climb 264 steps, or a whopping 17 stories. They are then get strapped into a four-person raft that takes them down at speeds reaching up to 65 miles per hour.

    The first two men to ride down the Verrücktis were water park designer Jeff Henry and ride engineer John Schooley — it's nice to know that they have faith in their terrifying invention. Here’s their POV-only GoPro version of the video, which unfortunately cuts out right before the second jump.

    It’s a good thing the test run went well, because io9, who first reported the story, found clips from the Travel Channel of Schlitterbahn park testing the ride — and the rafts were lifting into the air.

    There’s no official date set yet for the ride’s premiere, but the website says “opening 2014!” Thrill seekers, get ready.

    SEE ALSO: The 15 Most Thrilling Roller Coasters In America

    DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's Life On Facebook!

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    scratching head

    Sometimes the hiring practices of even the biggest and most successful companies can be outright ridiculous.

    There can be bizarre interview questions that seemingly have no answers. There can be standards — like not hiring anyone who attended a college outside of the Ivy League — that will knock candidates out of the race before they even approach the starting line.

    Google used to be the shining example of these practices. It had high standards and asked silly questions.

    The questions were so nuts that they were eventually banned from being asked. That's right, banned.

    In 2009, Seattle job coach Lewis Lin put together a list of 140 questions his clients were asked by Google. We've picked out some of the wildest and added a link to the whole list at the end.

    Future Google employees should be grateful these questions are no longer on the table.

    How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?

    Why are manhole covers round?

    You need to check that your friend Bob has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly ...

    You must write the question on a card and give it to Eve who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure that Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    google popularity quiz

    Do you know what the world really cares about? What celebrities, products, and companies get typed into Google more than the rest? If you do, then you have a valuable intuition that will help you create or tap into viral ideas.

    Think you've got what it takes? Now's your chance to prove it.

    In the first iteration of Business Insider's Google Popularity Quiz, based on June 2014 search results, we will ask you to answer 13 questions and to keep score yourself. Get all 13 right and you may call yourself a zeitgeist master; get 11 to 12 right and you are a global connoisseur; get 8 to 10 right and you are a culture whiz; anything less and you are out of the loop.

    Who is the most-searched-for Jennifer in the world?

    Jennifer Lopez can't be beat.

    Who is the most-searched-for Michael in the world?

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Andrews Sisters, 2

    Since the days of Cain and Abel, sibling rivalries have dotted history in many shapes and forms.

    Some siblings sue each other over money or defamation while others live out their days amid a frigid silent treatment. Some sibling rivalries are purely playful, competitive one-upsmanship.

    These 16 sibling groups prove that it's impossible to expect brothers and sisters to get along all the time, but they also show that some just simply have it out for one another.

    Mukesh and Anil Ambani

    When Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani died in 2002 without a will, his elder son, Mukesh, took over the company as chairman while his younger son, Anil, was made vice-chairman.

    Mukesh then reportedly tried to push Anil off the board, and tension between the siblings turned into an ugly legal battle, resulting in a de-merger of the company led by the brothers' mother in 2005. For the next five years the brothers continued to wage war against one another, both in and out of court, until their mother intervened again, this time issuing a noncompete agreement between the two in 2010.

    Though the brothers announced soon after that they were no longer feuding, new deals in the telecommunications industry could become a new source of competition for the Ambanis.

    LaVerne, Patty, and Maxene Andrews

    Their careers were built on harmonizing together, but the Andrews Sisters weren't always as bright and cheery as their songs. Known for hits like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," the Andrews Sisters were the most successful female recording group in pop history, according to a 1987 Los Angeles Times article.

    So it's strange — or maybe natural — that their success is clouded by a decades-long feud. All three sisters are deceased as of January 2013, but Maxene once chalked their intense loathing for one another up to too many years of working too closely together ... though it may not have helped things that Patty joined another singing group in 1951 without telling her sisters.

    But in spite of their sweet trio image, Patty believed that their diehard fans didn't care about the feud at all, telling the LA Times, "When I start singing the Andrews Sisters songs, they don't give a damn whether I talk to my sister or not."

    Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso and Mikkel Borg Bjergso

    Mikkel Borg Bjergso and Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso have been making beer for years, and while they started out brewing together, the last few years have been spent brewing apart.

    The identical twins each own their own beer outfit — Mikkel is the mastermind behind the brewery Mikkeller in Copenhagen while Jeppe runs the now-Brooklyn-based Evil Twin Brewing— but the two haven't spoken to each other in more than a year. The rivalry is clear; after all, each brother runs a business in the same industry, but the Bjergsos say they don't look at one another as competition — or at least, Mikkel doesn't. "I don't see Jeppe as a rival,"he told The New York Times' Jonah Weiner in a recent article about the brothers' ongoing love of beer and animosity toward each other.

    Weiner makes it clear that, rivalry or not, there's definitely a feud between the two that the brothers even tried to resolve with some couples-type counseling, but to no avail.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    $48 million tribeca penthouse

    A penthouse at Skylofts on Hudson Street in TriBeCa that looks like a glass cube has returned to the market with a $48 million listing price, according to The New York Daily News.

    The 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom apartment has 360-degree views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. It's being sold by William Duker, a private investor who did a stint in prison for defrauding the government. He's never lived in the stunning condo, according to the NYDN.

    It's being marketed by Tal and Oren Alexander of Douglas Elliman.

    Meredith Galante contributed to this story.

    The apartment sits on top of a Art Deco building in southern Manhattan.

    The staircase is made of steel and glass.

    The home has self-adjusting light and shade systems.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi meal

    Sukiyabashi Jiro is not only one of the best sushi restaurants in the world, it’s also one of the hardest to get into.

    The tiny Tokyo establishment was a destination of choice for Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during Obama's visit back in April, and it was also featured prominently in the documentary, “Jiro Dreams Of Sushi," inspiring sushi fans from around the world to seek out a seat at the counter.

    We spoke with three foodies who have traveled to the sushi mecca and eaten Chef Jiro Ono’s 20-course omakase menu, which costs around $300, or 30,000 Japanese yen. Here is their best advice on getting a reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro (all emphasis ours).

    Andy Hayler, a food critic at Elite Traveler, has dined at every Michelin three-star restaurant in the world. He ate at Sukibashi Jiro back in 2008.

    Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi mealWhen I went, booking was not especially difficult as such, but I had to go with a Japanese speaker (a friend who lives in Tokyo came with us, so that was not a problem).

    I had my friend who lives in Tokyo call and get some intel. I found out that they start taking reservations the first of the month, the month prior to when you want to go. As I was going to be there in March, I would need to call on February 1st. So on February 1st Tokyo time, I had my native Japanese speaker friends mobilized to call — a couple people in Tokyo, and one in New York. The line was busy for FOUR DAYS. By the time they got through, of course all of March was booked. Of course, this made me even more determined to score a res. After a few other desperate attempts failed, I finally had my hotel concierge in Tokyo call. They got me in, but to the Roppongi branch, not the original one in Ginza.

    A food blogger who goes by Little Meg on Instagram dined at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo at the end of 2013. You can see more of her food photos from the experience here.

    Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi mealFor Jiro, the official rule is that you should call in the first day of each month to reserve for next month's seating. However, most people that I know who got reservations are through local Japanese people who know the restaurant well, or they have some industry connections. Concierges from prestigious hotels may be able to help, but not always. Personally, I also have to book through a Japanese friend who is a regular here and so I can't attest to the level of difficulty to book a seat at Jiro as a new customer, especially from overseas.

    One thing I do know is that they only take phone reservations. In both of my visits, I had seen people (foreigners and local Japanese) who tried to walk in to grab a seat either on the same day or for future, and they would immediately turn them down and tell them to call instead.  So don't bother to think you can just go to the shop and make a reservation in person. They won't allow it to happen.

    Adam Goldberg, a food lover who takes incredible pictures of his meals for his blog A Life Worth Eating, ate at Sukiyabashi Jiro in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

    Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi mealI’ve visited Sukiyabashi Jiro three times. The first time I visited in 2008, I called and made the reservation myself. I spoke to them in Japanese, and explained that I ate everything without exception. I sensed reluctance on the phone. I made the reservation three weeks to the day.

    When I tried calling again in 2010 it was more difficult. There “wasn’t any availability.” I had the hotel concierge call and they were able to get three seats at the sushi counter. The same went for 2012. These reservations were made 3-4 weeks to date.

    In Short:

    1. Call in on the first day of each month to reserve for next month’s seating
    2. Have a Japanese speaker or you hotel in Japan call to make a reservation
    3. Go with a Japanese friend, or someone who speaks Japanese

    Foreigners who don’t speak Japanese are known as gaijin, and may have a hard time getting a reservation at Sukiybashi Jiro or being served once they do. Chef Ono doesn't speak English and his son speaks very little, so bringing along someone who speaks fluent Japanese is not only highly recommended, but often necessary.

    Guests should also be aware that the meal may cost $300 (or more, depending on the exchange rate), but will last no more than a half an hour. Chef Ono encourages a fast pace with each bite size piece of fish coming out every minute or so. “My last meal lasted 19 minutes,” Goldberg told us. “The meal never felt rushed, but each slice of fish is bite-sized and as soon as I took a bite there was another piece of fish waiting."

    Sukiyabashi Jiro Sushi Jiro Dreams of Sushi"The experience was worth it in 2008, but I no longer think it’s the best sushi in Tokyo," Goldberg added.

    Hayler agreed, saying that while his meal at Sukiyabashi Jiro was “objectively good,” it still did not compare to other sushi restaurants in Tokyo such as Sushi Saito, Yoshitake, Mizutani, and Sawada.

    And for those who love to Instagram their meals, feel free to bring along a camera. “The restaurant, and chef Ono, have evolved very much from 2008 to 2012,” Goldberg told Business Insider. “In 2008 photography was discouraged. In fact, I remember Chef Ono reminding me to ‘eat quickly’ because it would affect the texture and temperature of the fish and rice. In 2012, Chef Ono encouraged photography — even posing and smiling with guests.”

    DON'T MISS: The Man Who Has Eaten At Every Michelin 3-Star Restaurant Says The 'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi' Spot Is Not Worth The Hype

    SEE ALSO: 17 Mouthwatering Photos From The Legendary Sushi Restaurant Where Obama Just Ate Dinner

    DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's Life On Facebook!

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    iphone girl user

    With thousands of apps being released every month, it can be tough to keep up.

    Luckily, we've collected all the best apps from last month, with a nice mix of games, puzzles, and productivity.

    From Facebook's new Snapchat competitor to sweeping sci-fi adventures featuring performances from Elijah Wood and Jack Black, there's something for everyone.

    Broken Age is a beautiful hand-painted iPad adventure game.

    With an orchestral soundtrack and voice acting from Elijah Wood, Jack Black, and Jennifer Hale, Broken Age (iOS, $9.99) lets you play as Velle and Shay, two teenagers stuck in a stunning sci-fi fantasy world.

    120 Sports is a sports coverage app with a clean design.

    Aiming to be your hub for sports coverage and analysis, 120 Sports (iOS, Free) features over eight hours of daily live coverage, real-time highlights, and tons of on-demand videos.

    Grub is a modern re-imagining of the classic Snake game.

    Grub (iOS, Free) lets you control your character by tilting and turning your iPhone or iPad. Chomp away at apples to grow longer, but avoid the hedgehogs or wolves.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Erica Lockheimer LinkedIn

    It can be downright horrible to be a woman working in the tech industry these days. It's an industry that can't seem to cure itself of sexism. 

    Then again, it can be absolutely wonderful.

    There's a huge push these days to encourage more girls to learn to code and to hire more women engineers once they graduate. The tech industry knows it can't fill all the jobs it has while discouraging half the population from joining the industry. It also knows that it can't do a good job of designing new tech products for women if women aren't part of the design process.

    Because women are vastly outnumbered by men in technical jobs (about 3:1), they are even harder to find in leadership roles. But they do exist.

    And once a year, we like to give a shout-out to these women. 

    No. 22: LinkedIn, Sarah Clatterbuck

    Name: Sarah Clatterbuck

    Job title: Senior manager, web development at LinkedIn

    Why she's powerful: LinkedIn would be nothing without its website and Sarah Clatterbuck sets the technical standards for web development and leads several web development teams.

    She's a big believer in Web Accessibility, too, making the web easier to use for people with disabilities and leads the company's task force on that. Clatterbuck is also a mentor for girls learning to code in the Bay Area.

    No. 21: Box, Divya Jain

    Name: Divya Jain

    Job title: Staff data scientist and engineer lead at Box

    Why she's powerful: Jain joined Box in 2013 when Box bought the technology behind dLoop, the company she cofounded. (Box is careful not to say that it acquired the whole company.) dLoop is a data analysis tool that helps enterprises discover information and insights.

    Now she's leading a project that will help Box's customers search and analyze documents.

    Jain previously held roles at EMC, Kazeon Systems (acquired by EMC), and was senior software engineer at Sun Microsystems. She holds a graduate degree in data mining and analysis from Stanford.

    No. 20: Citrix, Ashi Sareen

    Name: Ashi Sareen 

    Job title: Director of product development for the mobility team at Citrix

    Why she's powerful: Citrix is a $3 billion company with 7,000 employees. Its flagship product helps enterprises run apps over the network on any device.

    Ashi leads product development for the company's important mobility product called XenMobile. She runs a team of about 33 people, six managers, each of whom manages their own teams.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    ABBASwedish pop group ABBA is responsible for hit songs like "Dancing Queen,""Mamma Mia," and "Money, Money, Money."

    Made up of two sets of then couples — Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — ABBA has sold over 380 million albums and singles worldwide and is the third-best-selling group of all time, behind the Beatles and Queen and ahead of the Rolling Stones.

    But in 1979, at the height of their success, Fältskog and Ulvaeus divorced while Lyngstad and Andersson called it quits soon after in 1981. By 1982, the group was broken up.

    AbbaIn 2000, amid a revival of several of their hits, an American-British consortium offered the group $1 billion to reunite for 100 shows, but they declined the offer, according to E! Online.

    To put that into perspective, the group was offered more than the value of 25 different Major League Baseball teams and the GDPs of some countries. That's potentially $250 million that each member of the group refused.

    "It's a hell of a lot of money to say no to, but we decided it wasn't for us," Andersson told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet in 2000.


    Andersson and bandmate Bjorn Ulvaeus both argue that popular reincarnations of their songs (many by teen group S Club 7) have been successful because the group never reunited.

    "We have never made a comeback," Ulvaeus told the paper. "Almost everyone else has. I think there's a message in that."

    Fältskog explained to Radio Times last year: "We said no because they wanted 250 shows or something, it was incredible. No chance. We had done it.

    Lyngstad also confirmed this year to Ireland's RTE that "no amount of money would change our minds. Maybe we sometimes say it would be good to do a song together again, just a recording and nothing else, but I don’t know if that will happen  so don’t say that we will!"

    Despite the fact that the foursome recently reunited — the "chemistry was still there"— all members said they were not tempted to reunite.

    The four founding members are doing just fine since the group's break-up 32 years ago.

    Last March, "Mamma Mia," a stage musical based on ABBA's music, became the ninth-longest-running show in Broadway historyOver the show's 13-year run, it has been seen by 50 million people worldwide and raked in over $2 billion.

    A star-studded film based on the musical was released in 2008 and went on to be a $609 million hit at the box office.

    In 2010, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    SEE ALSO: Here's Why 'Jersey Boys' Bombed At Theaters

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    450580197We’ve all heard the stories of people dropping out of college to work on their startups, living on their friends’ couches, or eating ramen every day for a month.

    Some ambitious entrepreneurs take this to the next level, going the extra mile to make their businesses successful.

    We'll take a look at the lengths startup founders go to get their companies off the ground, from AirBnB's wacky fundraising side-business to PayPal giving away money to get initial users to join.

    The founders of AirBnB got their initial funding by selling their own brand of cereal.

    AirBnB, the service that helps people rent out their rooms to travelers, was recently valued at $1.3 billion.

    Yet in its early days, angel investors were wary about investing in it. To raise money, the cofounders sold their own breakfast cereals. They purchased huge quantities of bulk cereal, pasted together cardboard boxes, and branded them as limited-edition, politics-themed cereals called Obama O’s, Cap’n McCain, and Breakfast of Change.

    In two months, they sold 800 of them for $40 each and earned more than $30,000. Apparently, they made great sales on their Obama cereal but had to eat the McCain cereal to stay alive.

    The founders of Reddit created tons of fake accounts.

    Reddit, known as the "Front Page of the Internet," is a site based on user-generated news links. In 2013, it had 731 million unique visitors.

    But when it launched in 2005, it had so few visitors that the cofounders operated multiple fake user accounts and responded to themselves to give the semblance of traffic. Furthermore, since the founders owned all the fake accounts, they could build the tone and shape the discourse and direction of the site.

    Their "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy paid off. As the real user base grew, they were able to abandon the fake accounts.

    The founders of Warby Parker bought an old yellow school bus and traveled across the country.

    Warby Parker, a brand that sells designer eyewear at a lower cost, started when one of the cofounders, Dave Gilboa, lost his $700 glasses on a backpacking trip and couldn’t afford to replace them. 

    To attract media attention early on, the team bought an old yellow school bus, traveled across the U.S., and created a mobile store called The Warby Parker Class Trip. Since they knew half of their traffic was from word of mouth, they wanted to make strong impressions in person.

    Since it launched in early 2010, the brand has sold 1 million pairs of glasses.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    39 East 74th Street

    The United Arab Emirates is taking up residence on New York's Upper East Side.

    According to the Wall Street JournalThe Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations bought a six-story townhouse for $27.25 million, but declined to say what they would use it for.

    The country purchased it from Eric J. Gleacher, founder of Gleacher & Company, a Manhattan boutique investment bank, who originally posted it with Corcoran for $30 million in 2013.

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

    The brownstone features seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half baths, a chef’s kitchen, a formal dining room, a parlor, four working fireplaces, and many outdoor spaces including a roof deck.

    Welcome to the UAE's new house.

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

    In fact, the previous owner, Eric J. Gleacher, even added a floor.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Sun Valley  Sheryl Sandberg

    It's that time of year again.

    Investment bank Allen & Co. is hosting its 32nd annual, week-long conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, and many of the world's wealthiest, most powerful businesspeople in media, finance, technology, and sports have swarmed the scene. 

    We've grabbed photos so you can see which power players made it out to Idaho this year.

    Investor Warren Buffett waves from his car as he arrives.

    Here's Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast.

    Fiat Chairman John Elkann rolled up in a RAM truck.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    dubai camels

    Dubai has been one of the most exciting and volatile economic stories of the 21st century.

    It's global, glitzy, and growing like crazy.

    It also has a red-hot property market that has experts warning of a collapsing bubble. Related concerns have been tied to recent crashes in Dubai's stock market.

    Still, the tiny economy has developed into a world city that is a business and cultural focal point in the Middle East, and it has the attention of the world.

    Tourism and real estate drive the economy, and there seems to be a never-ending development of innovative and over-the-top projects.

    One out of every 4 cranes on Earth is located in Dubai.

    Dubai's real estate is growing so fast, that 24% of the the cranes on Earth are located in Dubai.

    Source: Gulf News

    Dubai's artificial Palm Islands imported enough sand to fill 2.5 Empire State Buildings.

    The construction of Dubai's Palm Islands required 94 million cubic meters of sand.

    The Empire State Building is 37 million cubic meters

    Source: Palm Islands Impact

    The Burj Al Arab uses enough gold inside to cover 46,265 Mona Lisa paintings.

    The interior of the Burj Al Arab is decorated with approximately 1,790 square meters of 24-carat gold leaf. The surface area of the Mona Lisa is 0.3869 square meters.

    Source: Burj Al Arab, Jemeirah

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    high school girls on computers

    Despite various awareness efforts, there's still little diversity within the tech industry.

    Some of today's biggest names in tech, including Facebook and Google among others, are mostly comprised of white, male employees.

    We've heard about the diversity issue within tech for a while, but it wasn't until recently that companies came forward to reveal their official statistics.

    Within the past two months, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo have shown exactly how drastic the diversity problem is within each company.

    We've combed through each company's statistics and compared them to create a snapshot of the types of employees you'll find in each company. 

    The charts shown are based on data provided by GoogleFacebookLinkedIn, and Yahoo

    All of the four major companies that released diversity statistics are predominantly male.

    This is what Google's overall workforce looks like in terms of gender:

    Only 39% of employees at LinkedIn are female.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Central African Republic

    Foreign Policy magazine has released its annual ranking of the world's least-stable countries, now known as the Fragile State Index. 

    The rankings are based on 12 metrics, including access to public services, the prevalence of refugees and internally displaced persons, human rights, and the legitimacy of the state. 

    It is no surprise that the Scandinavian countries round out the bottom of the ranking. What may come as a surprise is that North Korea — one of the most closed-off and oppressive countries on earth — avoided the top 25. 

    Below is an outline of the most fragile countries in the world within the past year. 

    24. LIBERIA (tie): A small country along Africa's western coast, Liberia became less fragile within the past year due to a slow transition toward democracy and a rebuilding of state infrastructure. The country still struggles with a huge refugee and displacement problem owing to 14 years of brutal civil war that ended in 2003.

    24. MYANMAR (tie): Located in Southeast Asia, Myanmar dropped two places in the index within the past year. It ranks among the worst countries for minority group grievances as its Muslim Rohingya ethnic group lives under incredibly oppressive conditions. Myanmar's government also faces a crisis of legitimacy as it shakily transitions from decades of military rule toward a more open parliamentary system.

    23. ERITREA: A small country in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea fell two places within the past year. Eritrea has suffered under dictatorial rule since its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. The state also faces several U.N. Security Council resolutions imposing military and economic sanctions due to the government's support of armed groups throughout the region.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Russian One Tram

    The Russian One is a new commuter tram that looks like something from a sci-fi film.

    The futuristic tram features LED cabin lighting, felt-covered sofas, wooden handrails, and sliding glass doors that operate by touchscreen.

    Luckily, photographer Ilya Varlamov was able to snap some pictures of the new Russian One prototype, right from the showroom floor.

    Note: All photos shown are used with permission.

    The Russia One is covered in stunning glass paneling.

    This is the tram's designer, Alexei Maslov.

    The interior of the tram is incredibly beautiful.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Facebook update

    The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, a collaboration between U.K.’s Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new category: the People’s Choice Award.

    There are 50 images in the new category that were pre-selected by a jury from over 41,000 entries. The five photos with the most votes in this category, along with other winners from the competition, will be announced later this year at an awards ceremony.

    Take a look at some of our favorite images here, then head over to the Natural History museum website to see the full gallery. Online voting is open until September 5, 2014.

    "Apex Predators" by Justin Black from the U.S.

    "Stretching" by Stephan Tuengler from Germany

    "What's This?" by Peter Mather from Canada

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    cristina fernandez de kirchner and axel kicillof

    For weeks, Argentina has been in the news for a strange case that has come to a head. The country owes a group of hedge fund managers over $1.3 billion and for years refused to pay.

    Now, a U.S. court is demanding it pay by July 30, or the country could face a catastrophic default.

    Not that Argentina hasn't been through anything that crazy before. Economic crashes, underground dollar exchanges, Rolling Stones cults, and a string of five presidents in two weeks — the Argentine Republic is a crazy place.

    The country is rich with resources but often broke. As a result, Argentines are so accustomed to political and economic turmoil that they've adopted a bunch of interesting coping mechanisms — like tons and tons of therapy.


    In 2001/2002 the country had five presidents in two weeks.

    It was a tough time  — Argentina's economy had crashed after it defaulted on $13.2 billion of foreign debt it could not pay.

    The string of presidents started when Fernando de la Rua resigned in December 2001. The last of the five, Eduardo Duhalde, was appointed in January 2002 amid major protesting.

    The country's naval vessel, La Fragata Libertad, was impounded in Ghana for two weeks thanks to a hedge fund manager.

    Hedge fund manager Paul Singer got a Ghanaian court to impound the Libertad, which was docked in a Ghanaian port, last year. It was stuck there for months.

    The country has refused to pay Singer and other investors $1.4 billion in sovereign debt. The legal case has raged for years, with Argentina referring to the hedge fund managers as "vultures."

    Singer took the boat as collateral.

    The government put out this video of the crew finally returning home.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Seph Lawless - Dead Mall

    Hundreds of shopping malls across the U.S. have been forced to shut down following years of debilitating declines in consumer traffic.

    In many cases, the shuttered malls are left to decay for years before developers or local governments raise the funds to bulldoze or renovate the space.

    Pseudonymous photographer Seph Lawless traveled the country for years to find these forgotten malls and document their decay from the inside.

    The photos he captured are haunting and apocalyptic, featuring dead trees and abandoned shopping carts against landscapes of broken glass and crumbling walls.

    He compiled the photographs in a new book, "Black Friday: The Collapse of the American Shopping Mall," and shared some of them with Business Insider.

    You can also see his work on Facebook and Instagram.

    Lawless said he started taking photos of shopping malls in 2012 for a project focusing on some of the most "abandoned and forgotten cities in America."


    He was taking photos of abandoned houses, factories and hospitals, when he decided to focus on dead shopping malls.

    Most of his photographs were taken in the Rust Belt, including Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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