16 Differences Between Living In Hong Kong And Taiwan

Taiwanese comic artist Jie Jie lives in Hong Kong and keeps an illustrated diary.posted on November 6, 2013 at 4:37pm EST

Jie Jie is a Taiwanese comic artist living in Hong Kong. His comics have been making the rounds on Chinese social media. Below are some rough translations:

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The City of the Dead: The ghostly Chinese town filled with luxury properties that nobody lives in

By TRAVELMAIL REPORTER

Locals call it ‘The City of the Dead’, a ghostly urban landscape with no residents to fill it.

More than 100 villas stand empty after they were built six years ago for locals in the Chinese city of Beihai, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

They were built to cater to a new rising class of wealthy people who, it was hoped, would invest in real estate and snap up the properties, many of which are priced at over three million yuan (£285,900).

Lonely luxury: The exclusive properties were snapped up by investors but remain empty six years on

Lonely luxury: The exclusive properties were snapped up by investors but remain empty six years on

Empty streets: A whole urban metropolis has been created but is devoid of residents

Empty streets: A whole urban metropolis has been created but is devoid of residents

Standing by: The owners of the houses are hoping that rising property prices will make their investment worth it

Standing by: The owners of the houses are hoping that rising property prices will make their investment worth it

 

Chinese citizens are not allowed to invest overseas, so there has been a real boom in real estate as people look for safe havens for their wealth.

In a bid to cater to those wanting to invest in property, entire cities have been built complete with skyscrapers, shopping malls, highways and parks. But they are often devoid of residents and turn into soulless ‘dead zones’ due to their distance from important economic centres.

Some workers, who can earn as little as $2 (£1.18) a day, have invested savings from up to to three generations of one family just to buy the properties, but can’t make use of them as they are too far from key city centres, meaning they are left with no residents at all.

Work needed: Further investment will soon be needed on the properties to maintain them as they have been standing empty for six years

Work needed: Further investment will soon be needed on the properties to maintain them as they have been standing empty for six years

Risky investment: After six years standing empty, the properties will soon need more money spent to maintain them

Risky investment: After six years standing empty, the properties will soon need more money spent to maintain them

Unfinished: The properties look perfect from the outside, but are unfinished inside as investors are simply holding onto properties to wait for a profit

Unfinished: The properties look perfect from the outside, but are unfinished inside as investors are simply holding onto properties to wait for a profit.

Most hope the growth in property values will make the investment worth the risk, despite being unable to afford to live the houses they have invested in, however, observers believe China is over-building, which could cause a housing bubble of vacant properties.

Others say that the modernization of China is ‘the greatest urbanisation story the world has ever seen’, and that ghost towns like this one will soon become ‘thriving metropolitan areas’.

That remains to be seen. Six years on and with not a soul living in them, the villas will soon need more money spent on them to protect them from the elements.

Picture perfect: The town has been designed as a complete urban development but so far nobody has started living in the properties

Picture perfect: The town has been designed as a complete urban development but so far nobody has started living in the properties

On the waterfront: Some of the properties cost upward of £285,900, which is a huge investment for many Chinese families

On the waterfront: Some of the properties cost upward of £285,900, which is a huge investment for many Chinese families

Ongoing construction: Many of the new towns and cities springing up are not close enough to economic centres to make them viable places to live for the families who are investing in them

Ongoing construction: Many of the new towns and cities springing up are not close enough to economic centres to make them viable places to live for the families who are investing in them

 

The construction industry not only employs hundreds of thousands of Chinese, but it has displaced hundreds of thousands of others who have been forced off their land and homes to make way for construction projects.

‘It’s a madness – homes built to stand empty!’ said one local who lives in a wooden shack.
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2610353/The-Chinese-ghost-town-filled-luxury-properties-lives-in.html#ixzz2ziPESGYy

Chinatown’s American Dream: Meet the migrant workers who sleep packed into tiny $9-a-night New York cubicles, while families share meals in a space the size of a cupboard

  • Four-year photographic project reveals the abject poverty that some in Manhattan’s famous Chinatown live in
  • Annie Ling was inspired by the loss of her own Chinatown home in 2008 to a fire
  • Traveled the tenements of the downtown Manhattan district – especially the infamous 81 Bowery
  • Nearly 30 migrant workers shared 64 square feet cubicles on one floor of the building
  • They paid up to $9 a night or $200 a month – but were controversially evicted in March 2013

By JAMES NYE

Chinatown is the bustling heart of downtown Manhattan and with an estimated population of 100,000 literally piled on top of each other in century old tenements, it is also the most crowded.

Bordered by the every-shrinking Little Italy and the fabulously wealthy Tribeca and SoHo neighborhoods, Chinatown is a throwback to the cramped, wilder days of New York City at the turn of the 20th century.

Rootless members of the Chinese diaspora make their way to the Big Apple to find work in the bustling metropolis, but with little money, no job protection and no guaranteed income, the invisible workforce finds accommodation where they can.

Cramped: One of the last lodging houses in New York City, 81 Bowery was home for more than a generation of immigrant Chinese laborers who work at construction sites and kitchens in Chinatown. Last March, dozens of individuals sharing the fourth floor¿each occupying a 64-square-foot cubicle were evicted

Cramped: One of the last lodging houses in New York City, 81 Bowery was home for more than a generation of immigrant Chinese laborers who work at construction sites and kitchens in Chinatown. Last March, dozens of individuals sharing the fourth floor¿each occupying a 64-square-foot cubicle were evicted

Photographer Annie Ling has spent the past four years documenting the different aspects of life in Chinatown, observing family life and those less fortunate who struggle inside rent-regulated Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings such as the legendary 81 Bowery.

Cramped into one floor on one building on the infamous Manhattan thoroughfare photographer Jacob Riis called the ‘great democratic highway of the city’, 81 Bowery provided Ling with a glimpse of the reality of life in Chinatown.

Before it was dramatically shut-down in a flurry of controversy in March 2013, the SROs of 81 Bowery provided a 64 square foot cubicle for $200 a month, or $9 a month – cash in hand.

Family meal time: Workers share a late supper together with in cubicle #4, at 81 Bowery

Family meal time: Workers share a late supper together with in cubicle #4, at 81 Bowery

Searing New York hear: Often on hot summer nights, residents at 81 Bowery relaxed and took naps on the fire escape to cool down.

Searing New York hear: Often on hot summer nights, residents at 81 Bowery relaxed and took naps on the fire escape to cool down.

The residents of 81 Bowery, some who have lived there for decades, found themselves evicted on one night by the City of New York in March 2013

The residents of 81 Bowery, some who have lived there for decades, found themselves evicted on one night by the City of New York in March 2013

There, like a modern-day Riis, Ling found dozens of people, mostly immigrants, aged anywhere from 18 to 88-years-old, crammed into small rooms, sharing bathrooms.

However, for the proud people who called it home, there was no shame.

Indeed, some had lived there and other such SRO buildings in Chinatown for nearly three decades.

They would cook together, watch Chinese opera on television together and lend money to each other in support of their attempt at the American Dream.

Annie Ling’s project is entitled ‘A Floating Population’ and went on display as part of an exhibition that explores, ‘the connection between people and lived spaces within this neighborhood’ at The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in New York.

Communal: Chen Yin Zhen prepares to turn in for the night. Because the cubicles were without their own ceilings, there was very little privacy at the Bowery lodge

Communal: Chen Yin Zhen prepares to turn in for the night. Because the cubicles were without their own ceilings, there was very little privacy at the Bowery lodge

Mr. Chu, an immigrant laborer from China, once lived in cubicle #4 in 81 Bowery. Like many immigrant laborers, he lives on very little and sends most of his earnings back to his wife and children back in China

Mr. Chu, an immigrant laborer from China, once lived in cubicle #4 in 81 Bowery. Like many immigrant laborers, he lives on very little and sends most of his earnings back to his wife and children back in China

The March eviction was not popular in the city, especially when it was revealed the complaint that sparked it came from someone in Arizona, after they watched  CNN piece on 81 Bowery.

Resident, Chen Xiukang, 62, was despondent on losing his home.

‘We were like a family,’ said Chen Xiukang, 62, a cook at a Chinese restaurant to The New York Times. ‘We help each other. We rely on one another.’

In the aftermath, the city tried to help those who could prove legal documents that they were residents help in the form of temporary housing.

Simple: The hallways on the fourth floor of 81 Bowery was a place where its residents shared stories, dried their laundry and played card games

Simple: The hallways on the fourth floor of 81 Bowery was a place where its residents shared stories, dried their laundry and played card games

Sad: Some of the elderly who resided at 81 Bowery, have no options. They live there, because it¿s what they can afford

Sad: Some of the elderly who resided at 81 Bowery, have no options. They live there, because it¿s what they can afford

The others were left to ask friends and relatives for help.

The Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV), is still trying to rehome some of those turfed-out and briefly led a campaign to reopen 81 Bowery, which ultimately failed.

Asked why a housing situation that would seem unpalatable to most New Yorkers is being so fiercely fought over, Ling said that for some, it is all they have.

‘They struggle to operate outside of Chinatown because of language and cultural barriers,’ she says.

Indeed, for Ling, this project is personal. Her Chinatown tenement burned down in 2008, leaving her homeless for a year and her photographs have helped illuminate an oft-ignored situation.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2610918/Chinatowns-American-Dream-Cramped-migrant-workers-sleep-cramped-tiny-9-night-cubicles-families-share-meals-space-size-cuboard.html#ixzz2ziOaFR3K

The wages of fear: The harrowing plight of the ship breakers of Bangladesh – one of the most dangerous jobs in the world

  • Arduous and dangerous job employs 200,000 Bangladeshis and is notorious for injuries to and deaths of workers
  • There are around 80 yards along an eight-mile stretch of the coast of Bangladesh

By SAM WEBB

The sad beauty of these incredible images cast a light on the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, where workers face death and injury from accidents and environmental hazards for just a few dollars a a day.

Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard is the largest of its type in the world. Around 80 active ship breaking yards line an eight-mile stretch of the coast, employing more than 200,000 Bangladeshis and accounting for half of all the steel in Bangladesh.

Ship breaking  involves the dismantling of ships for scrap recycling. Most ships have a lifespan of a 25-30 years before there is so much wear that repair becomes uneconomical, but the rising cost to insure and maintain aging vessels can make even younger vessels unprofitable to operate.

A satellite image shows a mile-long stretch of the Bangladeshi coast just north of Chittagong, where ships from around the world are beached and dismantled

A satellite image shows a mile-long stretch of the Bangladeshi coast just north of Chittagong, where ships from around the world are beached and dismantled

Arduous: At low tide ship-breakers haul a 10,000-pound cable to a beached ship to winch pieces ashore as they dismantle it

Arduous: At low tide ship-breakers haul a 10,000-pound cable to a beached ship to winch pieces ashore as they dismantle it

Swarms of laborers from the poorest parts of Bangladesh use acetylene torches and their hands to slice the carcass into pieces. These are hauled off the beach by teams of loaders, then melted down.

Ship breaking allows materials from the ship, especially steel, to be recycled. Equipment, fuel and chemicals on board the vessel can also be reused.

Peter Gwin, writing for National Geographic, visited the region to see it first hand. He described the guards, razor wire-topped fences and signs prohibiting photography there, installed following scrutiny in the ship breaker’s operations after a spate of deaths.

After workers spent several days cutting through the decks of the Leona I, a large section suddenly crashes, sending shards of steel flying toward the yard managers. Built in Split, Croatia, the cargo vessel was at sea for 30 years, about the average ship's life span

After workers spent several days cutting through the decks of the Leona I, a large section suddenly crashes, sending shards of steel flying toward the yard managers. Built in Split, Croatia, the cargo vessel was at sea for 30 years, about the average ship’s life span

He said: ‘In the sprawling shantytowns that have grown up around the yards, I met dozens of the workers. Many had deep, jagged scars. “Chittagong tattoos,” one man called them.

‘Some men were missing fingers. A few were blind in one eye.

‘In one home I meet a family whose four sons worked in the yards. The oldest, Mahabub, 40, spent two weeks as a cutter’s helper before witnessing a man burn to death when his torch sparked a pocket of gas belowdecks.

‘”I didn’t even collect my pay for fear they wouldn’t let me leave,” he says, explaining that bosses often intimidate workers to keep silent about accidents.’

Fishermen place their nets at low tide in front of the ship-breaking yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Today Chittagong is partially soaked with oil and toxic mud. File picture

Fishermen place their nets at low tide in front of the ship-breaking yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Today Chittagong is partially soaked with oil and toxic mud. File picture

Ship breaking is dangerous work and can expose workers to toxic chemicals. File picture

Ship breaking is dangerous work and can expose workers to toxic chemicals. File picture

The work is back-breaking because these massive ships are not designed to come apart, but withstand some of the harshest conditions imaginable at sea.

They are often constructed with toxic materials, such as asbestos and lead.

When ships are scrapped in the developed world, the process is more strictly regulated and expensive, so the bulk of the world’s shipbreaking is done in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, where labour is cheap and oversight is minimal.

The article about the ship breakers of Chittagong appears in the May issue of National Geographic

A worker in a ship-breaking yard in Chittagong. File picture

The article about the ship breakers of Chittagong appears in the May issue of National Geographic. Right, a worker in a ship-breaking yard in Chittagong. File picture

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2610478/The-wages-fear-The-harrowing-plight-ship-breakers-Bangladesh-one-dangerous-jobs-world.html#ixzz2ziNfR2Ue

THE SS DOCTOR WHO CONVERTED TO ISLAM AND ESCAPED THE NAZI HUNTERS

By Jamie Clifton 

Aribert Heim on horseback in his SS uniform

The Holocaust, as you’ll probably know, produced some of history’s worst human beings. The thing is, though, besides those who made it into your textbooks—the Hitlers, Görings and Himmlers—many escaped unscathed, free to live out the rest of their days pretending to be mild-mannered ex-pats who’d moved to Argentina simply because they preferred empanadas and polo to bratwurst and car manufacturing.

One SS member to ultimately escape prosecution was an Austrian concentration camp doctor called Aribert Heim, who later became known as “Doctor Death.” The atrocities committed in the Nazi camps have their very own scale of horror, and Heim sits somewhere near the top (his trademark was injecting gasoline into healthy people’s hearts and keeping their skulls as trophies). However, despite his horrific crimes he managed to mostly evade the authorities, and when they did finally catch up with him in the early 60s he had already fled Germany.

Almost 50 years later, New York Times journalist Souad Mekhennet got a tip that Heim had converted to Islam and had been hiding out in Cairo. Teaming up with another NYT journalist, Nicholas Kulish, the pair decided to follow up what they’d heard, hoping to track down Heim and explain what exactly had happened after his sudden disappearance.

An article about Souad and Nicholas’ search for Heim was first published in the New York Times, before the pair turned their investigation into a book, titled The Eternal Nazi. I recently spoke to the writers about their experience, the briefcase of Heim’s possessions they were handed in Cairo and the effect the story had on them and those closest to Dr Death.

Aribert Heim’s briefcase, which was handed to Nicholas and Souad by his adoptive Egyptian family

VICE: Hi guys. So let’s start at the beginning; when did you start investigating the story of Aribert Heim?
Souad Mekhennet: It started in 2008, when I received a phone call from an old source of mine. We met, and he took out this photocopied photo of Aribert Heim. He told me that he was the most-wanted Nazi doctor, “Doctor Death.” There was information that Heim used to hide out in a certain neighbourhood in Cairo, but it wasn’t confirmed. So I spoke to Nick and we decided to take on the challenge. I took this photocopy to Cairo to see if it was true. We went from small hotel to small hotel, until, on our third day, we found someone who recognized him.

What exactly had Heim done to become the most wanted Nazi in the world?
Nicholas Kulish: He worked as a Waffen-SS doctor in a series of concentration camps, including Buchenwald in Germany and Mauthausen in Austria. He was accused of committing hideous crimes in Mauthausen in 1941, including operating on healthy living patients, killing them in the process, and injecting gasoline into people’s hearts. He also used to take the skulls with particularly good teeth as trophies and keep them on his desk.

And he then managed to escape after the war.
Well, what a lot of people find unbelievable is that he was held in custody—first by Americans, then the German authorities—for more than two years after the war, but there was no sign on his record that he’d served in Mauthausen, so he was released under the Christmas amnesty in 1947.

How he did he manage to get that wiped from his record?
No one really knows. It could have been a lucky oversight; they were shuffling millions of soldiers around half of Europe.
SM: Also, the witnesses to Heim’s atrocities were in Austria, and it took the investigators quite some time to really figure out who and where Heim was.

Yeah, one story I found interesting was how Nazi hunters started putting things together after Heim was explicitly mentioned in a play written by a Holocaust survivor.
NK: Yeah, that was a fascinating thing – it was one of the earliest works of art about the Holocaust. The playwright, Arthur Becker, was a kind of assistant war crimes investigator in Mauthausen and took down the first known testimony about Heim’s crimes in 1946. Then he writes this play in which the villain is a doctor who collects skulls as trophies. So Heim has become this bogeyman Nazi murderer within two years of the war.

When really Heim was off playing professional ice hockey.
SM: Yes, he had moved to Bad Nauheim [near Frankfurt] and was playing for the Red Devils ice hockey team. Then he met a girl from a very wealthy family and moved to a tremendously big villa in Baden-Baden, where he settled as a gynocologist.

How long was it until the Nazi hunters caught up with him?
NK: He received a phone call in 1962 asking him if he was the doctor who worked in Mauthausen. He then had this incredibly casual encounter with a couple of investigators, but he knew what it meant. He borrowed his brother-in-law’s Mercedes and basically hightailed from Germany into France and France into Spain, then ditched the car before moving on to Morocco. His brother-in-law was pretty angry with him when he picked up the car. He said, “The least you could have done would have been to wash it.”

Heim’s passport photo

And it was in Egypt that he converted to Islam and became Tarek Hussein Farid. It’s apparent in the book that he was very good at hiding who he really was. Do you think his conversion had something to do with that?
SM: We heard a few theories, and one from his immediate family was that when Egypt started to have closer relations with Israel, Heim started to feel very unsafe there. So one way to change his name and blend in better would have been to convert to Islam. But, on the other hand, his Egyptian adopted family believed that he had a genuine interest in the religion and that he prayed and followed all the rules. So it depends on who you talk to. But he definitely succeeded in making people believe he had a genuine interest in Islam.

Can you tell me a little about the family he lived with in Egypt?
He moved into a little hotel called Kasr el-Madina, and the owner’s family felt sorry for him because he was this older foreign man living alone. He eventually became close friends with the owner and they used to cook for him and hang out. He more or less adopted them as family and they adopted him. He became very close to Mahmoud Doma, who we interviewed several times for the book. Heim became Mahmoud’s and his younger brother’s second father, because their father passed away when they were very young.

What was it like telling the family that the man they knew had done all these horrendous things?
They had no idea that he was hiding or who he really was, so it came as a big surprise to them. They didn’t about his second identity. But they did know that he’d been married and had two children in Germany. They also met Rüdiger [Heim’s younger son] at one stage because he started to visit his father.

How aware were his real family of what he’d done?
Well, we spoke to his wife before she passed away and she said she had no idea until she first heard the accusations [after Heim met with the investigators in Baden-Baden]. It appeared that her mother had told him there would be no way the family could face such a trial and said it would be better for all of them if he took off.
NK: One of the central ironies was that he supposedly fled to protect his family, in Germany in 1962, when a Nazi war criminal could get off with a slap on the wrist or a couple of years in prison, before going back to a normal life. Instead, he subjected his family to half a century of phone taps, questioning, and searches, and set himself up for decades in exile, essentially turning Egypt into his own prison.

What were Rüdiger’s feelings when you spoke to him? How did he reconcile what his father had done with the father he was visiting in Cairo?
SM: My impression was that he didn’t want to believe that his father would have committed all these evil crimes, and he didn’t want to know whether he’d really done it all or not. He was totally obsessed with trying to prove that his father was innocent.
NK: Heim had two sons, and it’s really telling how different their reactions were. The older son more or less knew and remembered his father and going through all the questions and police investigations. He had nothing to do with his father and never went to visit him in Cairo. Whereas the younger son, who was six when his father disappeared, barely had the faintest memory of him, so he went in search of a father he never knew and who he always longed for.

Was there anything you learned while working on the book that surprised you?
One thing that surprised me was how many real Inglourious Basterds stories there were. Groups with names like Vengeance and the Avengers tracked down and killed former SS and Gestapo members. Tuviah Friedman, who later worked with [renowned Nazi hunter] Simon Wiesenthal, hunted down Nazis in post-war Europe. The SS captain known as the Hangman of Riga was found in a trunk in the bedroom of his beach house in Uruguay, executed for his part in the Holocaust.
SM: Also how the Mossad tried to kill Nazis in Egypt. Hans Eisele, who was also a Nazi doctor, was sent a letter bomb, but it exploded in the delivery guy’s hands.

What did you personally take away from the experience?
It was a chance to learn about what happened in Germany from a totally different perspective. The Egyptian family handed over Heim’s dusty, rusty old briefcase, which was stuffed full of letters and medical records and a long report about Jews and anti-Semitism, which he obsessed over. I took away that there are still so many things that we don’t know about – and, I mean, I grew in Germany and studied history, but there are so many things we don’t know.

What about you, Nick?
I asked a retired judge who was hunting Nazis in his spare time, “What’s the point in arresting these 90-year-old guys? What’s the point in going after them?” And he said, “At the concentration camps they sent 90-year-old men and women to their death, and they had no problem killing newborn babies. So you pursue justice at any point and at any cost.” There’s a reason why there’s no statute of limitations on murder here in the US, and that’s because the victims deserve justice, no matter how long it takes.

What do you think of the theory held by some that Heim is still alive and out there somewhere?
SM: Well, there is no body. Our research led us to believe that he was buried in a common grave, but of course the final proof is not there. From the Nazi hunters’ perspective, this kind of scepticism is a normal part of their job. There was an investigation into Heim going on in Germany, but because of our research and because of further proof the case was closed.
NK: On the one hand, this guy made so many escapes after the war, and the idea of him slipping away one last time—of faking his death—is a really attractive one. On the other hand, Heim would be turning 100 in June, but people still feel that justice hasn’t been done—and, in some ways, you could never really catch enough people for the crimes of the Holocaust.

Do you think they’ve mostly missed their chance now?
In the late 40s and early 50s, when almost all the Nazis perpetrators were there to be caught, the Americans were more concerned with fighting the Soviets, and the Soviets were more concerned with fighting the Americans. The Germans just wanted to build Mercedes and BMWs and to forget about the whole thing, so it was only later—once these people started dying—that people were ready to go after them.

Thanks, guys.

Follow Jamie Clifton on Twitter.

The Eternal Nazi, published by Doubleday, is available now.

10-Bonus-Shanghai-China-934x

WHEN BIG CITIES TURN OFF THEIR LIGHTS

April 21st, 2014  | Tags:, , 

Photographer Thierry Cohen created an amazing photo series where he shows the world’s major cities without any light polution.

01-Paris-France-934x

Paris

02-Rio-De-Janerio-Brazil-934x

Rio de Janerio

03-San-Francisco-California-934x

San Francisco

04-New-York-City-NY-934x

New York

05-Los-Angeles-California-934x

Los Angeles

06-Sao-Paulo-Brazil-934x

Sao Paulo

07-Shanghai-China-934x

Shanghai

08-Tokyo-Japan-934x

Tokyo

09-Bonus-Los-Angeles-California-934x

Los Angeles

10-Bonus-Shanghai-China-934x

Shanghai

11-Bonus-Hong-Kong-China-934x

Hong Kong

Check out his website : thierrycohen.com

Via : Distractify

http://www.wherecoolthingshappen.com/when-big-cities-turn-off-their-lights/

Ha! Ha!

22 Things You’ll Only See In Hong Kong

Welcome to Hong Kong! Mind the feral monkeys and inflatable dog poop.posted on April 21, 2014 at 5:09pm EDT

1. Streets that need to update their a pop-up blockers.

Streets that need to update their a pop-up blockers.

2. Bumper stickers for any occasion.

Bumper stickers for any occasion.

3. Monkeys having sex at bus stops.

Monkeys having sex at bus stops.

4. This fierce old man working it on the MTR.

This fierce old man working it on the MTR.

5. Brother Cream – Hong Kong’s most famous cat.

Brother Cream – Hong Kong’s most famous cat.

6. Some of the most creative custom license plates.

7. Elderly vibrator enthusiasts…

Elderly vibrator enthusiasts...

8. …selling sex toys next to McDonald’s.

…selling sex toys next to McDonald’s.

9. The other side of the globe on Facebook.

The other side of the globe on Facebook.

10. Fresh porn.

Fresh porn.

11. Dudes who bring their own office chairs onto the train.

12. The most technologically advanced taxis in the world.

The most technologically advanced taxis in the world.

13. People who don’t understand how umbrellas work. Or train doors.

People who don’t understand how umbrellas work. Or train doors.

14. Literal potheads.

Literal potheads.

15. Two young lovers in a tender embrace.

Two young lovers in a tender embrace.

16. Phubbers. And Phubber-scolding signs.

Phubbers. And Phubber-scolding signs.

17. The Buddha with the bionic arm.

The Buddha with the bionic arm.

18. Ah Meow – Hong Kong’s premiere cat cafe.

Ah Meow – Hong Kong’s premiere cat cafe.

19. Giant, inflatable piles of dog poop.

Giant, inflatable piles of dog poop.

20. This man advertising and enjoying baked goods.

This man advertising and enjoying baked goods.

21. People taking typhoons very seriously.

22 Things You'll Only See In Hong Kong

22. And of course, 7.1 million people all staring at their phones.

And of course, 7.1 million people all staring at their phones.

Hunt for lost First World War submarines

Explorers are launching a new project to locate dozens of British and German submarines which sank off the coast of England during the First World War, as part of a major new study to mark the centenary of the conflict.

Day trippers crowd around the German Submarine U Boat U118, washed up on the beach at Hastings, East Sussex, in 1919.

Day trippers crowd around the German Submarine U Boat U118, washed up on the beach at Hastings, East Sussex, in 1919.

The English Heritage research will involve identification and analysis of all submarine shipwrecks from the period which are within territorial waters – 12 miles from the coast.

Preliminary research by the team, studying historical records, has already identified three British and 41 German submarines from the conflict which are known to have sunk in the area.

The locations of some of these have already been established, but others have yet to be discovered.

Once they have been found, the team will dive onto them to assess their condition. They will then decide whether any measures can be taken to slow down the shipwrecks’ rate of decay on the seabed.

Depending on their historical significance, the vessels may also be added to existing list of shipwrecks covered by the Protection of Wrecks Act, which tightly controls such sites, or scheduled as an ancient monument.

If the vessels sank with men on board, they could be added to the register covered by the Protection of Military Remains Act, to ensure the war graves cannot be disturbed.

Mark Dunkley, a marine archaeologist with EH, said: “These sites may be out of sight, but they are still an important part of our heritage. There are people still around who will have a link to the men lost on these boats.

“They are an important part of family, as well as military, history.

“People might know more about U-boats in the Second World War, but this project will show just what a significant part they played in the first world war – and very close to land.”

The locations of around half of the 44 vessels are known. To find the others, EH is planning to enlist the help of local diving groups around the coast.

Although most associated with the Second World War, submarine warfare was first deployed during the earlier conflict, as German U-boats attempted to cut supply lines into and around the British Isles, while Royal Navy vessels patrolled in search of enemy ships.

At the start of the war, submarines were supposed to abide by international rules which complied them to then allow the crews of merchant ships to get to safety before sinking their vessels.

But this swiftly became impractical and led to the adoption of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany, which, nearly brought Britain to its knees in 1917.

During the course of the war, German U-boats sank more than 12 million tons of shipping – around 5,000 ships – with the loss of 178 submarines and almost 5,000 men killed.

Most of the wrecks covered by the English Heritage project, which is expected to run throughout the four years of the Great War centenary, are German submarines which were targeting coastal routes, either attacking merchant shipping with torpedoes or laying mines.

They include UB65, which sank HMS Arbutus, a Royal Navy sloop, as well as six merchant ships and damaged six more, before sinking with the loss of all 37 crew near Padstow, Cornwall in July 1918.

The vessel, which went to the bottom after an apparent accident, had been plagued by bad luck and deaths and before its loss the German navy is said to have called a priest on board to perform an exorcism.

They also include UB115, which sank off the coast of Northumberland in 1918 with the loss of all 39 crew, after being attacked by British armed trawlers, warships, and even an airship, R29, which dropped bombs on it.

Several others went down off the east coast, among them UB107, which sank off Flamborough Head in July 1918, either as a result of an attack by British vessels, an accident, or after hitting a mine; UB41, last sighted by the SS Melbourne on October 5 1917 off Scarborough, which is thought to have struck a mine of suffered an internal explosion; and UB75, which had left Borkum on November 29, 1917 for the Whitby area. She succeeded in sinking four ships but never made it back home.

The only three Royal Navy submarines covered by the project were lost in accidents: HMS G3, which ran aground in Filey Bay, North Yorkshire, after the war in 1921; HMS G11, which ran aground near Howick, Northumberland, 1918; and HMS J6, which was sunk in a friendly fire incident, after being mistaken for a U-boat in 1918.

A young couple pose for photographs on the wreck of HMS G3 in Filey Bay, North Yorkshire.

English Heritage has responsibility for all historic wrecks off the English coast, but most of those it cares for are wooden warships.

To find out more about how to preserve the metal vessels from the First World War, it conducted a preparatory survey last year, on the wrecks of two submarines which sank just before the conflict – the Holland No 5, which sank off Beachy Head in 1912 and the A1, which went down in Bracklesham Bay a year earlier.

Both vessels sank without loss of life, although the A1 had previously sunk, in 1904, with the loss of all hands.

Both boats had a hull half an inch thick, but after more than 100 years on the seabed, researchers found these had thinned to as little as a quarter of an inch in places.

The team believe that some wrecks can be preserved by placing on them “sacrificial” anodes, which corrode at a faster rate, protecting the hulls.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/britain-at-war/10080492/Hunt-for-lost-First-World-War-submarines.html

From free Benson & Hedges to on board wifi: How First Class travel with British Airways has changed over the past 40 years

By EMILY PAYNE

While today’s passengers travelling First Class with British Airways would expect on board wifi and entertainment on demand, in 1974, it was different story.

To mark its 40th anniversary, the airline has released iconic photographs showcasing its top-price cabin through the ages – revealing how high flyers would be treated to a free packet of Benson & Hedges, and a seven-course meal.

From cabin staff wearing bow-ties, and food being dished up in the aisle of the plane, to passengers wearing three-piece suits, the insightful images indicate how both BA and passengers have changed over the years.

How it was: A photograph from inside the First Class cabin of a British Overseas Airways Corporation plane in the late 1960s

How it was: A photograph from inside the First Class cabin of a British Overseas Airways Corporation plane in the late 1960s

Caviar and canapes: British European Airways Sovereign First Class in the 1960s

Caviar and canapes: British European Airways Sovereign First Class in the 1960s

Glamour in the skies: A gourmet meal service on a British Overseas Airways Corporation Comet 4 flight in the late 1950s

Glamour in the skies: A gourmet meal service on a British Overseas Airways Corporation Comet 4 flight in the late 1950s

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the merger between the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, which led to the creation of British Airways.

In the late 1970s, the airline introduced a new style in in-flight catering for its First and club class passengers, going back 400 years to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I for inspiration.

 

The aim was to provide travellers with a style of service that was different from other airlines while at the same time retaining a specifically English flavour.

Passengers were offered dishes inspired from over the centuries, including real ale and Posset (an Elizabethan drink made from hot milk, spice and liqueur). 

Dated: First class style in 1989 featured heavy draped curtains, purple seating and floral decoration

Dated: First class style in 1989 featured heavy draped curtains, purple seating and floral decoration

Bouffant hair styles and cocktail sticks: The British Overseas Airways Corporation First Class service on a VC-10 aircraft in the mid 1960s

Bouffant hair styles and cocktail sticks: The British Overseas Airways Corporation First Class service on a VC-10 aircraft in the mid 1960s

No iPads here: A British Airways' First Class cabin in the mid 1970s boasted a healthy selection of fruit and some complimentary cigarettes

No iPads here: A British Airways’ First Class cabin in the mid 1970s boasted a healthy selection of fruit and some complimentary cigarettes

In the 1980s, the sleeper seat was introduced and the First Class cabins were revamped with chrome fittings, spotlights and heavy drapes.

Tables were redesigned to swivel away from the passenger, allowing freedom of movement, even when the table was laid for a six-course meal. 

Travellers were given a complimentary hot towel, fruit juice and champagne, along with magazines, playing cards, newspapers and most notably cigarettes.

The 1990s brought fully reclining seats, which gave flyers the feeling of having their own bedroom, five-course meals and international food menus, while the Noughties introduced larger video screens.

As of 2010, a new £100m cabin was unveiled, featuring impressive mod-cons, such as electric blinds, a 31-inch suite, a 6.6-inch bed, a 15-inch television screen, turndown service, a 200-thread count Egyptian cotton mattress, Anya Hinsmarch washbags filled with DR Harris products, pyjamas and a light blanket.

British Airways' First Class cabin in 1990: Fine dining has always been a priority

British Airways’ First Class cabin in 1990: Fine dining has always been a priority

Comfort is key: The 1990s saw the addition of the first fully reclinable seats

Comfort is key: The 1990s saw the addition of the first fully reclinable seats

The nineties brought with it autumnal colours, plush upholstery and fully reclinable seats, a shot from inside First Class, taken in 1995

The nineties brought with it autumnal colours, plush upholstery and fully reclinable seats, a shot from inside First Class, taken in 1995

Also introduced was the afternoon tea service inspired by iconic London hotel, The Dorchester, a la carte dining, informal Bistro dining and English cooked breakfast and lengthy wine list.

 

Frank van der Post, British Airways’ MD of brands and customer experience, said: ‘British Airways has a 90-year heritage in bringing glamour to the skies. Our customers who fly in First have very exacting standards, so over the years we’ve invested millions to ensure they enjoy exceptional service, style and privacy.

‘Our new First cabin on the A380 re-established the airline’s position as an innovator capable of producing the very best of understated British elegance.’

Changing with the times: As of 2010 the British Airways First Suite features all mod cons, including electric blinds, Egyptian cotton sheets and charging port

Changing with the times: As of 2010 the British Airways First Suite features all mod cons, including electric blinds, Egyptian cotton sheets and charging port

‘Next year we’ll take another step forward when we unveil the details of the new First cabin on the state-of the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner,’ he continued.

‘Suffice to say, we’ ve paid immense attention to developing it to ensure our signature style is maintained as well as concentrating on the materials and technology used, the space around the seat and the comfort of the bed.

‘First is exceptionally important to the customers that fly in it – and we’ll continue to ensure all our customers enjoy the very best of
British style and service.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2606873/How-First-Class-travel-British-Airways-changed-past-40-years.html#ixzz2zCBT785o 

Meet The Normal Guy Who Will Quit His Job And Retire At 32

 

brandon retire early

LearnVest

In our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.We first wrote about Brandon’s investing strategy in our story “Investing for Two: How Real Couples Save for Their Futures.” Today, he explains why, weary of the rat race, he’s decided to sock away enough savings so that he can stop working for good … in his early thirties. 

Money is emotional and sensitive, so please respect that this is just one man’s story.

Later this year, at the age of 32, I plan to quit my full-time job as a software developer and don’t intend to look for another one.

By then, I expect my portfolio will be large enough to fund my essential expenses for at least the next 30 years, if not indefinitely, so that getting another 9-to-5 job becomes an option rather than a necessity.

You may wonder if I have some magic ability for picking Powerball numbers, or if I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Neither is the case. I’ve built my nest egg simply by watching my spending, and investing as much of my paycheck as I can. I am currently investing over 70% — and no, that’s not a typo — of my after-tax income into my retirement and taxable investment accounts.

All this super saving is so I can leave the rat race at an age when many people are just starting to ramp up their careers. Although this has been my primary financial focus over the past few years, it wasn’t always my goal.

TPS Reports? I’d Rather Travel the World

When I graduated from college with a degree in computer science, I was excited to work hard and build a successful programming career in Newbury, Vt., where I live with my wife, Jill. I thought maybe I’d even become wealthy along the way.

But then reality kicked in, and my life seemed to become one endless scene from “Office Space” after another. After a few years of pointless meetings, inept managers, and one too many TPS reports, the enthusiasm I once had was gone, and the thought of spending the next 30-plus years doing the same thing was depressing to me.

I felt trapped because I had worked hard to get my degree and establish my career. I didn’t feel as if I could just quit and start something new. I also didn’t want to trade my high five-figure salary for a lower one, so I continued, albeit unhappily, on the same career trajectory.

Rather than use my salary to buy frivolous material things, however, I used my money to fund sabbaticals for several months at a time that enabled Jill and I to see the world. Jill is from Scotland, so every five years or so we would quit our jobs — she works as an optometrist — and spend several months traveling in Europe, as well as other countries. Because the market is strong for software developers, I never worried about finding another job, and often whichever company I worked with last would ask me to consult for them until I found my next gig.

One particular three-month stretch in China and traveling through Tibet and Nepal made me realize just how rich most Americans already are, myself included.This further drove home the realization that I didn’t need to accumulate the things my peers had, like big houses and fancy cars.

Taking these sabbaticals was what I saw value in — but it wasn’t until around 2011, when I stumbled across a website called Early Retirement Extreme, that I realized I could work hard for five to ten years to make those periodic trips more of a permanent fixture. I was already a pretty good saver, but what I read on the site encouraged me to ramp it up even more. All I would need to do to retire early was to save and invest until my portfolio reached at least 25 times my annual expenses.

Based on historical data, my thinking was that those investments should return an inflation-adjusted average of 5% every year. I calculated that I would only need to withdraw, at most, 4% every year to cover my estimated essential expenses — more on those in a minute — which means my portfolio should have a high likelihood of never running out of money.

Fast-Tracking Financial Independence

Once I realized that obtaining this level of financial independence was possible, I began researching how to get myself there as quickly as possible.

The best strategy for me, both from a savings and tax perspective, was to max out tax-advantaged retirement accounts, including a 401(a), a 403(b) — both are types of defined-contribution plans offered by my employer — and a Health Savings Account. I max out all of these accounts each year, and get a 5% match on my 401(a). I also max out my Roth IRA, and anything that’s left over, after expenses, goes into my taxable investment account.

As far as my portfolio strategy goes, I prefer passive investing — putting my money into investments like mutual funds or ETFs that track an index, rather than actively trading in an effort to time the market. Studies have shown that, over the long term, passive investing beats out active investing. I invest the majority of my money in diversified index funds. My current allocation consists of 75% U.S. stocks, 10% international stocks, 10% real estate investment trusts, and 5% cash. I’ll likely transition into bonds as I get older but I’m happy to take on more risk now.

Since I’ll most likely need to access my retirement money prior to standard retirement age, I also plan to build a Roth IRA conversion ladder. IRS rules allow you to roll over 401(k)s, Traditional IRAs and 403(b) accounts into a Roth IRA and withdraw those conversions five years later, penalty free. To build a consistent income stream after I leave my job, I plan to roll over amounts from my retirement accounts equal to my annual expenses every year, starting next year. Five years from the time I make my first rollover, I’ll be able to take out that amount annually without paying any early-withdrawal penalties.

Living Simply Is Half the Battle

My ability to walk away from full-time employment isn’t based solely on stashing away so much of my income. In fact, I give most of the credit to the low expenses my wife and I are able to maintain.

If you met Jill and I on the street, you wouldn’t think we were any different than any other American couple — except we’re really good at living simply and frugally. We don’t have car payments because we bought our used cars with cash. We live in a modest-sized house with a very reasonable $600 per month mortgage payment. We have a Netflix subscription instead of an expensive cable package, and while we eat out occasionally, we prefer to cook our meals at home. All told, we’re able to live comfortably on $2,200 a month.

We intend to shave our costs even further after I leave my job by spending parts of the year living in low-cost countries like Thailand and Guatemala. We enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures, so we’d get to see the world and live on less at the same time. And luckily, I’ve become quite good at hacking travel by using miles, rewards points and premium status.

What Retirement Means to Me

Gaining this level of financial independence so early in life isn’t something many people think is possible, so I get a lot of confused and worried looks. Even Jill didn’t completely get it right away. It was only once she visualized what life could be like with fewer work commitments that she started to understand why I wanted to go down this path.

She still loves her job and plans to continue working as a locum optometrist (an optometrist who fills in at other people’s practices) when we’re living in the States or in Scotland, but will take off for a few months every year so we can live for periods in other countries. Because we largely keep our finances separate, she still plans to cover her half of our expenses with her income, while my savings will cover my half.

As far as what life will be like in “retirement” for me, I don’t plan to spend the rest of my life sitting on a beach. I do want to make a meaningful contribution to the world, so I will continue working part time on my own projects, including web applications, mobile applications and writing projects — including the blog I started about my journey to financial independence, madfientist.com — and will use the money I earn to fund my discretionary spending.

I also plan to write music, learn new languages while living abroad, spend more quality time with loved ones and develop new skills through volunteer work. The possibilities are endless, and having the time to explore those — rather than stay chained to a career that no longer excites me — is worth saving for.

Will I ever get a real job again? Probably not, but I can’t say for sure. If my wife and I decide to start a family, or if the market experiences turbulence the way it did in 2008 to 2009, I may go back to work for a few years to increase my balances a bit more.

RELATED: Retirement 101: Everything You Need to Know

Tips for Aspiring Early Retirees

If you’re interested in leaving the daily grind early, I’d start with really picturing your life after leaving work. The more you can visualize what your perfect life will be like, the easier it will be to make “sacrifices” along the way. I put “sacrifices” in quotes because most of the lifestyle changes you make to achieve this goal will probably make you happier anyway. I know that’s been the case for me.

I’d also suggest closely scrutinizing your expenses. You might be paying for things that don’t make your life better, so you should cut those out immediately. For each expense, ask yourself: “If giving this up meant I could quit my job tomorrow, would I?” If you answer yes, that expense isn’t as important to you as your financial freedom, so eliminate it from your life, or find a free or cheaper alternative.

In his famous novel “Walden,” Henry David Thoreau states, “Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.” These words rang true to me on my journey to financial independence, and while I still may not know exactly what my soul requires to be completely happy and content, I look forward to having the time and the freedom to find out.

This story was originally published by LearnVest.

Read more: http://www.learnvest.com/2014/04/im-getting-ready-to-retire-in-my-30s/#ixzz2zC0U693f

What Does It All Mean? The Literal Translation of Hong Kong’s MTR Map

April 15th 2014 By Stasia Fong

Local blogger Justin Moe gave both Cantonese and non-Cantonese speakers a chuckle last week with his humorous ‘literal’ translation of Hong Kong’s MTR system. Although some of the reworked place names are not technically precise, with Tin Hau transformed into ‘Heavenly Queen’, Lok Fu into ‘Happiness Wealth’ and Tai Wo into ‘Upmost Peace’, no doubt the Tourist Board is taking note!

Moe, who says the alternative map took him a lot longer to complete than expected, explained that he put in the work so non-Cantonese speakers “have some idea as to what the MTR map is actually saying to the Chinese speakers”.

He continues, “With Cantonese place names in Hong Kong, its English name is simply a phonetic transliteration. As a result you get names that are almost impossible to pronounce correctly without Cantonese knowledge.”

Moe had to carry out extensive research for some of the station names where definitions were not so obvious, but managed to come up with clever and imaginative translations for all. Locations that have already been translated from their English counterparts (e.g. Jordan) were left unaltered.

While some of the new names are quite appropriate, such as ‘Goldfish Stream’ for the insanely complicated Quarry Bay station, others are quite ironic, such as LOHAS Park being called ‘Health City’ when it is right next to a landfill.

Moe says he amused himself along the way when coming across some “inappropriate/ politically incorrect/ downright vulgar” alternative translations, and teases that there may be another map in the making. Fingers crossed he makes good on that!

http://www.localiiz.com/social/what-does-it-all-mean-the-literal-translation-of-hong-kongs-mtr-map#.U1BsUuZdWhX

That Time The CIA And Howard Hughes Tried To Steal A Soviet Submarine

That Time The CIA And Howard Hughes Tried To Steal A Soviet SubmarineSEXPAND

Recently declassified documents reveal new details about Project AZORIAN: a brazen, $800-million CIA initiative to covertly salvage a Soviet nuclear submarine in plain sight of the entire world.

The story begins in March 1968, when a Soviet Golf II submarine — carrying nuclear ballistic missiles tipped with four-megaton warheads and a seventy-person crew — suffered an internal explosion while on a routine patrol mission and sank in the Pacific Ocean, some 1,900 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. The Soviets undertook a massive, two-month search, but never found the wreckage. However, the unusual Soviet naval activity prompted the U.S. to begin its own search for the sunken vessel, which was found in August 1968.

The submarine, if recovered, would be a treasure trove for the intelligence community. Not only could U.S. officials examine the design of Soviet nuclear warheads, they could obtain cryptographic equipment that would allow them to decipher Soviet naval codes. And so began Project AZORIAN. The U.S. intelligence community commissioned Howard Hughes to construct a massive vessel — dubbed the Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE) — to recover the sub. The ensuing salvage operation, which began in 1974, was only a partial success; the U.S. was planning to embark on a second attempt when, in 1975, the story was leaked to the press, and the operation was canceled.

In the years that followed, it was notoriously difficult to get information on Project AZORIAN beyond the details that were published in the newspapers. In response to a FOIA request, the CIA refused to release any documents, saying that it could “neither confirm or deny” any connection with the Hughes Glomar Explorer. (As a result, the phrase “neither confirm or deny” became popularly known as the “glomar response” or “glomarization.”)

In 2010, the CIA permitted the publication of a heavily redacted, 50-page article describing Project AZORIAN that had appeared in a fall 1978 issue of the agency’s in-house journal,Studies in Intelligence. And, in recent years, veterans of the operation have come forth to tell their stories.

Now, however, we have even more details, thanks to the publication of the latest volume of The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). Compiled by State Department historians, the FRUS series is an invaluable resource, containing declassified documents that include diplomatic cables, candid internal memos and minutes of meetings between the president and his closest advisors. For anyone who has the stamina to read through these 1,000-plus page volumes, it’s a unique opportunity to experience history as it happened.

The most recent FRUS, National Security Policy: 1973-1976, contains some 200 pages on Project AZORIAN. And it doesn’t disappoint.

We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

In 1969, the CIA assembled a small task force of engineers and technicians to come up with a concept for recovering the submarine. The technological and logistical obstacles were considerable. How could the U.S. salvage a 2,500-ton submarine, sitting on the ocean floor, at a depth of 16,500 feet? And, how could the U.S. conduct such a large-scale operation without arousing suspicion or being detected by Soviet reconnaissance?

Ultimately, the engineers opted for a plan that sounded like it was lifted from the plot of a James Bond film (actually, it did become the plot of a James Bond film). The plan involved three vessels: 1) An enormous recovery ship with an internal chamber and fitted with a bottom that could open and close. This ship would use a docking leg system that would, in effect, turn it into a stable platform for using a lifting pipe to raise and lower a 2)”capture vehicle” fitted with a grabbing mechanism that would be designed to align with the hull of the sub. The capture vehicle would be secretly assembled on a 3) massive barge with a retractable roof. The barge would be submersible, so that it could slip beneath the ocean, under the recovery ship, open its roof and deliver the capture vehicle — all the while remaining hidden from any potential reconnaissance.

The CIA contracted the Summa Corporation — a subsidiary of the Hughes Tool Company owned by billionaire industrialist Howard Hughes — to build the 618-foot-long, 36,000-ton recovery vessel, which was dubbed the Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE).

That Time The CIA And Howard Hughes Tried To Steal A Soviet SubmarineSEXPAND

Of course, the sight of a floating behemoth lingering in the Pacific Ocean was bound to raise some eyebrows. So, Project AZORIAN concocted a cover story that the HGE was being built for Hughes’s private commercial venture to mine manganese nodules located on the ocean floor. A May 1974 memo to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger explained:

The determination reached was that deep ocean mining would be particularly suitable. The industry was in its infancy, potentially quite profitable, with no one apparently committed to a hardware development phase and thereby possessing a yardstick by which credibility could be measured… Mr. Howard Hughes… is recognized as a pioneering entrepreneur with a wide variety of business interests; he has the necessary financial resources; he habitually operates in secrecy; and, his personal eccentricities are such that news media reporting and speculation about his activities frequently range from the truth to utter fiction.

And they were right. Much of the media unknowingly and enthusiastically popularized the story. “The race is on to exploit mineral riches that lie in the deep,” declared the Economistmagazine. New Scientist reported on the HGE‘s capacity to “suck up” 5,000 tons of ore per day.

But as Project AZORIAN progressed, government officials began to express doubt as to whether it was still worth going through with the mission. A number of years had passed since the sub sank. Was it an intelligence asset or an artifact?

An ad hoc committee took another look at the matter and decided, on measure, that there was still much to be gained from the operation. Although the sub’s short range SS-N-5 missiles were no longer deemed a major threat, they could still “provide potentially important technologies” relevant to the Soviet Union’s recently deployed, long range SS-N-8 missiles. And the cryptographic equipment “would be of very high value to the U.S. intelligence effort against Soviet naval forces.”

Moreover, in a separate memo, the Director of Central Intelligence expressed his view that the only thing more worrisome than pissing off the Soviet Union would be pissing off private contractors:

I think we should be concerned about the Government’s reputation. To the contractors, a termination decision at this late date would, I believe, seem capricious. This is a serious matter in intelligence programs where security and cover problems require a closer relationship between the Government and its contractors than is customary in other contractual areas. Our reputation for stability within the contractor community is therefore an important matter, and I am concerned that in the wake of such a termination it would become more difficult to find corporations willing to participate with us in such a cooperative way.

It should be noted that, in addition to retrieving equipment from the sub, a memo stated that “provisions for handling and disposition of the target crew remains are generally in accordance with the 1949 Geneva Convention. They will be handled with due respect and returned to the ocean bottom.” A later memo revealed the intent to collect the deceased crew’s personal effects for potential return to their families — a goodwill gesture to help ease tensions in the event that the Soviets discovered the true intent of the operation.

Finally, on June 3rd, 1974, a memorandum from the National Security Council to Kissinger announced:

Culminating six years of effort, the AZORIAN Project is ready to attempt to recover a Soviet ballistic missile submarine from 16,500 feet of water in the Pacific.

The recovery ship would depart the west coast 15 June and arrive at the target site 29 June. Recovery operations will take 21–42 days (30 June to 20 July–10 August).

Project managers estimated a more than 40% chance of success — an acceptable figure, since the estimates for high-risk, innovative endeavors seldom went higher than 50%.

Two days later, the operation was approved.

AZORIAN Springs a Leak

The recovery mission, which lasted from June to August 1974, was only partially successful. Although a portion of the submarine was retrieved, the remainder of the vessel fell away from the capture vehicle following a failure of the grabber mechanism.

The deputy secretary of defense briefed Kissinger:

Extensive analyses of the grabber failures have resulted in conclusions that new grabbers must be fabricated that incorporate a less brittle material and improved design techniques. All necessary actions are now being taken to reconfigure the capture vehicle and refurbish the recovery ship for a second mission during the next optimum weather period; i.e., July and August 1975.

Should the U.S. attempt a second mission? Things had changed a lot in Washington since the Hughes Glomar Explorer set out to sea. President Richard Nixon had resigned on August 9th, and White House officials had entered into full-scale, cover-your-ass mode. There were growing doubts, given the current atmosphere in Washington, whether the CIA could sustain the operation for another year without the story leaking to the press.

Still, the consensus favored continuing the initiative. However, even Henry Kissinger, who was among the operation’s strongest proponents, began to have private doubts. After one meeting with intelligence and defense officials in January 1975, Kissinger had a candid conversation with President Gerald Ford:

Kissinger: “There are so many people who have to be briefed on covert operations, it is bound to leak. There is no one with guts left. All of yesterday they were making a record to protect themselves about AZORIAN. It was a discouraging meeting. I wonder if we shouldn’t get the leadership in and discuss it. Maybe there should be a Joint Committee.”

Ford: “I have always fought that, but maybe we have to. It would have to be a tight group, not a big broad one.”

Kissinger: “I am really worried. We are paralyzed.”

Kissinger had another reason to be worried. Since as early as January 1974, New York Timesjournalist Seymour Hersh had been investigating the story. William Colby, the Director of Central Intelligence had twice met with Hersh — on February 1st, 1974 and February 10th, 1975 — urging him to delay publication. But how much longer could the story be kept out of the media?

Less than a week, as it turned out, though it wasn’t Hersh who broke the story. Project AZORIAN became public knowledge because of a burglary that had taken place on June 5th, 1974 (ironically, the exact same day that the operation had been approved).

The Los Angeles headquarters of the Hughes-owned Summa Corporation had been broken into. The burglars made off with cash and four boxes of documents. An inventory of papers that were missing after the burglary included a memo describing the secret CIA project. Had the memo been stolen, or had it been destroyed prior to the break-in? Nobody knew for sure.

Months later, the LA police reported that they had been contacted by an intermediary for an individual who claimed to be in possession of the stolen papers, though he did not specifically mention any memo concerning the CIA and Project AZORIAN. The price for returning the papers would be $500,000.

What happened next can be best described as a comedy of errors. The CIA informed the FBI of the LA police report and the fact that the papers being offered for sale might include a sensitive memo dealing with Project AZORIAN. The FBI then told the LA police about the memo; and the LA police told the intermediary. By trying to determine whether the extortionists actually had the memo, the CIA itself had set into motion the circumstances that culminated in a leak.

On February 7th, 1975, the Los Angeles Times published a brief article, “U.S. Reported After Russ Sub,” saying that, according to “reports circulating among local law enforcement officers,” Howard Hughes had contracted with the CIA to “raise a sunken Russian nuclear submarine from the Atlantic Ocean… The operation, one investigator theorized, was carried out — or at least attempted — by the crew of a marine mining vessel owned by Hughes Summa Corp.”

That Time The CIA And Howard Hughes Tried To Steal A Soviet SubmarineSEXPAND

It was a vaguely sourced article, containing errors, but the story was out. On March 18th, 1975, syndicated columnist Jack Anderson mentioned the Hughes Glomar Explorer on his national radio show, and declared his intention to reveal more details about the operation. As a result of that announcement, journalists, including Hersh, were no longer obliged to delay publication. The next day, several major newspapers — including theLos Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and The New York Times — published front-page stories revealing that the Hughes Glomar Explorer, in an operation led by the CIA, had recovered a portion of a sunken Soviet submarine during the summer of 1974.

Mission Impossible

To the surprise of the White House, the Soviet reaction was muted. There had been expectations of outrage similar to the 1960 U-2 incident, when an American spy plane had been shot down over the airspace of the USSR.

That Time The CIA And Howard Hughes Tried To Steal A Soviet SubmarineSEXPAND

A report prepared by the CIA in April 1975 believed that the Soviet decision to refrain from a public response was due to several factors:

— It precludes embarrassment at home and abroad in having to admit for the first time the loss in 1968 of the Golf submarine.

—It avoids public acknowledgement of Soviet inability to locate the lost submarine vis-a-vis the obviously superior technical capabilities of the U.S. to not only locate but recover their submarine.

— It hides chagrin at the failure of Soviet intelligence services being unable to uncover the true purpose of the Hughes deep ocean mining project during its five-year development.

The CIA concluded that the Soviet Union had a vested interest in not publicizing the affair any further. However, the CIA also warned, “It seems beyond doubt that the Soviets would go to great lengths to frustrate or disrupt a second mission.”

That left one remaining question: How would the Soviet Union actually respond if a second recovery mission were attempted? The White House had not acknowledged any official connection to the Hughes Glomar Explorer. Would the Soviet navy actually open fire on an ostensible U.S. civilian vessel?

That turned out to be a moot question. Additional analysis from the CIA revealed multiple ways that the Soviets could covertly — and rather easily — disrupt the carefully choreographed operation. It would just require a couple of divers with cables to muck up the equipment.

On June 16th, 1975, Kissinger sent a memorandum to President Ford:

It is now clear that the Soviets have no intention of allowing us to conduct a second mission without interference. A Soviet ocean-going tug has been on station at the target site since 28 March, and there is every indication that the Soviets intend to maintain a watch there. Our recovery system is vulnerable to damage and incapacitation by the most innocent and frequent occurrences at sea—another boat coming too close or “inadvertently” bumping our ship. The threat of a more aggressive and hostile reaction would also be present, including a direct confrontation with Soviet navy vessels.

And with that, Project AZORIAN was terminated. The total cost of the operation: $800 million, which, in current dollars, translates into more than $3 billion. The Hughes Glomar Explorerwould eventually be refitted to match its cover story and perform deep-sea drilling. It was sold to a private company in 2010 for $15 million.

http://io9.com/that-time-the-cia-and-howard-hughes-tried-to-steal-a-so-1561583789

China’s Residential Property Market: Ghost Towns and Gilded Lilies

For China’s residents, the property glut is now quite evident, and despite unusually generous price cuts they have for now stopped buying mass market real estate in a number of cities. Ghost towns are more prominent than ever. At the same time, high-net-worth individuals continue to purchase luxury apartments in Beijing and suburban homes in California. How can we describe this bifurcation of the residential property market, and what implications does it have for China’s economy?

Residential real estate investment accounts for the majority of China’s real estate market. However, recent reports have revealed that Chinese property prices, particularly in second- and third-tier cities, are falling. Cities such as Hangzhou and Changsha face burgeoning swaths of empty apartment units, and developers have slashed prices in an attempt to lure home buyers. These developers are finding that the price elasticity of demand for residential real estate in China is inelastic: once consumers stop buying, deep discounts are ineffective in drawing them back. Mass market residential property purchases represent much of this decline. Most of those who purchase mass market apartments are middle class, and have invested most of their savings in their homes as primary residences (particularly since purchasing apartments for investment purposes was curbed in 2011).

At the other end of the spectrum are the high-net-worth individuals, those with more than 10 million RMB (about $1.6 million). Their number is rapidly approaching 1 million, or 0.07 percent of the population,according to Bain & Company, and they invest in high end apartments largely in first-tier cities in China, and in homes and apartments in urban and suburban areas abroad. As with all Chinese citizens, wealthy individuals have few alternative options for investing their money, but they also invest abroad to take money out of China, particularly to destinations in which they wish to attend university or live. High-net-worth individuals are more discriminating in their acquisitions and often seek luxury residences.

The two markets have different characteristics, and government policies have aggravated the disparities. Demand-side policies aimed at lowering home prices have reduced sales of mass market apartments, particularly outside of first-tier cities, while supply-side indicators, such as real estate investment and construction, have remained strong (although new housing starts have declined). Conversely, construction of luxury apartments has declined due to policy restrictions while demand for these properties, mainly in first-tier cities, has remained high. Therefore, what we see is a relatively efficient market for luxury residences and a large surplus of properties in the mass market category, which is pulling down property values within that market. Middle class Chinese, then, will experience a decline in wealth while high-net-worth Chinese suffer little in this market (ceteris paribus), sharpening economic disparities between the middle and upper classes.

This may have the impact of reducing consumer demand over time from the middle class as wealth shrinks, countering the government’s aim of boosting domestic demand. This also reduces equity, which is often considered a secondary economic objective, but which is an important one in maintaining social stability. While the wealthy will likely feel the pinch from declining business profits, the relative stability of demand for luxury apartments in the face of an economic slowdown highlights the fact that China’s wealthy have more ways to maintain their income levels than do middle-class citizens.

As long as purchases of mass market residential properties remain down, oversupply of real estate is expected to continue, as real estate supply is slow to respond to the sudden change. This is because the real estate industry the world over requires lead time and investment in both winding up and slowing down construction. Price cuts have been ineffective in selling units, and have angered Chinese residents who had previously purchased units in the same apartment complexes.

What will happen in the market for luxury housing in the coming months is less clear, as economic declines eat away at the wealth of high-net-worth individuals. Those who have not taken on excess debt particularly through the shadow banking sector, who are able to get on board with China’s new industry focuses, and/or who have vested interests in the current administration will thrive, while those whose fortunes were made on the excessive investment boom post-global financial crisis may find the going altogether trickier. The latter may have to sell off their distressed assets, as well as their luxury home in Beijing, and perhaps even take up residence in that Californian home.

Follow Sara Hsu on Twitter @SaraHsuChina

http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/chinas-residential-property-market-ghost-towns-and-gilded-lilies/

 

4 Crazy Plans For NYC That Thankfully Never Happened

New York City’s history is filled with crazy plans that have never panned out—below, we visit four of them.

nythighwaywashsq.jpg

THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK HIGHWAY: Just as he originally wanted to build the BQEthrough Brooklyn Heights, Robert Moses also wanted to bring a highway through Washington Square Park… all in the name of “urban renewal.” Ephemeral NY just revisited the plan, which was proposed in a few different ways through the mid-1950s, but was eventually beaten down by the little guy (in this case, the great Jane Jacobs).

The plan—which seems unbelievable—was to bisect the park “with a 48-foot-wide highway connecting Fifth Avenue to West Broadway—which would be widened and illustriously renamed Fifth Avenue South.” There would be a 36-foot pedestrian bridge for people to cross the park, and as you can see from the above map: the four lane highway would have run under the arch. [via Ephemeral NY]

14hudsonriverfill.jpg

PAVE THE HUDSON In the 1930s, a plan to pave over the Hudson River was proposed. The $1 billion project would have involved plugging up the Hudson at both ends of Manhattan and diverting the water into the Harlem River, “so that it might flow out into the East River and down to the Atlantic Ocean.” The drained portion would be filled, connecting the Island of Manhattan with… New Jersey!

This would have created about 10-square-miles of land, where thousands of buildings would have gone up, and roadways created to relieve traffic congestion. On top of that, subterranean tubes and tunnels were to be constructed, and underground levels would also “serve as a great military defense against gas attack in case of war, for in it would be room for practically the entire population of the city.”

eastriver14.jpg

DRAIN THE EAST RIVER: In 1924, Popular Science ran an article about New York’s traffic problem, which at the time was reportedly causing the city to lose over $1M a day. One proposed solution was to drain the East River and convert it into a 5-mile system accommodating roadways and the subway, while also providing parking spaces in garages and housing city centers. The idea was that of the deputy police commissioner of traffic at the time, John Harriss. If it had been carried out, there would have been a dam put up near the Williamsburg Bridge, as well as at Hell Gate… and an “imposing City Hall” would be placed midway through the thoroughfare.

domenyc.jpeg

PUT MANHATTAN UNDER A DOME: What if we were a poorly received CBS drama? In the 1960s and 70s, the idea of a domed city stepped out of the science fiction spotlight and seemed like it may become a reality. One of the first real life concepts came about in 1960, when engineer Buckminster Fuller proposed a two mile “geodesic dome spanning Midtown Manhattan that would regulate weather and reduce air pollution.” He planned the project with architect Shoji Sadao, and it would have covered the island from the East River to the Hudson River, from 21st Street to 64th Street.

The plan was for the giant dome to reduce cooling costs in summer and heating costs in the winter. Buildings would not be heated and cooled separately, instead the entire dome would be kept at a moderate temperature level. Presumably, in-dome apartments would have higher rents! Fuller believed the dome would eventually happen once he nailed down what materials to use, and said funding would be offset by the savings to the city—he wrote, “the cost of snow removal in New York City would pay for the dome in 10 years.”

In 2008, when The Whitney revisited his designs, and The New Yorker did as well, Elizabeth Kolbert wrote, “By staging the retrospective, the Whitney raises—or, really, one should say, re-raises—the question of Fuller’s relevance. Was he an important cultural figure because he produced inventions of practical value or because he didn’t?” You can find more of the ol’ Buckminster’s designs right here, and don’t forget to check out the floating cities he started to design after the dome era faded.

http://gothamist.com/2014/04/15/the_craziest_plans_for_nyc_that_nev.php


30 Mouthwatering Photos Of Street Food In Korea

 

korean street food

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

 

The Insadong neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. 

It’s packed with a bunch of tea shops, markets, dozens of carts selling various kinds of street food with everything from grilled octopus on a stick to delicious custard cakes.

I spent an afternoon stuffing my face with as much of it as possible. Here’s what I saw.

Disclosure: Samsung paid for a portion of our trip to South Korea for a separate series of stories about the company. It paid for the flight and some meals. Business Insider paid for lodging and all other expenses.


This is a twist potato. The chefs put an entire potato in a special machine that cuts it into this twisty shape. They then put it on a skewer and fry it up.

This is a twist potato. The chefs put an entire potato in a special machine that cuts it into this twisty shape. They then put it on a skewer and fry it up.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

You can sprinkle it with cheese or chili powder. This was the first thing I ate. It was greasy and delicious.

You can sprinkle it with cheese or chili powder. This was the first thing I ate. It was greasy and delicious.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

A lot of stands sell a variety of different foods.

A lot of stands sell a variety of different foods.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This one had fish cakes and hot dogs on a stick.

This one had fish cakes and hot dogs on a stick.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

I tried one of the fish cakes, which had a big chili pepper inside for some extra spice.

I tried one of the fish cakes, which had a big chili pepper inside for some extra spice.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

There aren’t many trashcans on the streets of Insadong, so you have to carry around a bunch of empty skewers unless you want to litter. Some stands will take your empty skewers and throw them away though.

There aren't many trashcans on the streets of Insadong, so you have to carry around a bunch of empty skewers unless you want to litter. Some stands will take your empty skewers and throw them away though.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This is either a kettle of nuts or bugs. I wasn’t sure. And I wasn’t brave enough to try.

This is either a kettle of nuts or bugs. I wasn't sure. And I wasn't brave enough to try.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This was one of my favorite dishes. It’s grilled octopus on a skewer.

This was one of my favorite dishes. It's grilled octopus on a skewer.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

The chefs dip it in soy sauce and these flaky things before they serve it to you. It had a rubbery texture, but there was a surprisingly sweet taste thanks to the soy sauce.

The chefs dip it in soy sauce and these flaky things before they serve it to you. It had a rubbery texture, but there was a surprisingly sweet taste thanks to the soy sauce.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This place had a line out the door. And I saw a bunch of people eating sugary twisted pastries stuffed with…something. I decided to wait until I was ready for dessert to check it out.

This place had a line out the door. And I saw a bunch of people eating sugary twisted pastries stuffed with...something. I decided to wait until I was ready for dessert to check it out.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

Sweet stuff seemed to be the most popular in Insadong.

Sweet stuff seemed to be the most popular in Insadong.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This stand had sweet cakes frying on a big pan.

This stand had sweet cakes frying on a big pan.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This woman poured batter from a tea kettle into a hot mold to make her tiny custard cakes.

This woman poured batter from a tea kettle into a hot mold to make her tiny custard cakes.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

These cakes had an egg cracked in them.

These cakes had an egg cracked in them.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

These guys were making a stringy, sugary dessert.

These guys were making a stringy, sugary dessert.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

The sugar strings were then wrapped around what looked like nuts.

The sugar strings were then wrapped around what looked like nuts.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

A lot of the food was spicy.

A lot of the food was spicy.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

And fried! No health food here.

And fried! No health food here.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This woman was making noodles in a spicy red sauce.

This woman was making noodles in a spicy red sauce.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

This stand was packed with people munching on platters of dumplings.

This stand was packed with people munching on platters of dumplings.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

I couldn’t tell what this was, but it was salty and crunchy.

I couldn't tell what this was, but it was salty and crunchy.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

If you wanted some booze, there was an outdoor cocktail cart. You could walk around the neighborhood enjoying some liquor.

If you wanted some booze, there was an outdoor cocktail cart. You could walk around the neighborhood enjoying some liquor.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

Restaurants and food carts have a bunch of crazy signs that try to entice you to stop by.

Restaurants and food carts have a bunch of crazy signs that try to entice you to stop by.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

Like this stuffed dog holding a menu.

Like this stuffed dog holding a menu.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

And this creepy crying kid.

And this creepy crying kid.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

I stopped inside one random restaurant for dumpling soup and a Cass, a local Korean beer.

I stopped inside one random restaurant for dumpling soup and a Cass, a local Korean beer.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

Then it was dessert time. I just had to see what those twisty pastry things were, so I went back to the crowded shop. Lots of kids were coming out with smiles on their faces.

Then it was dessert time. I just had to see what those twisty pastry things were, so I went back to the crowded shop. Lots of kids were coming out with smiles on their faces.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

I paid this guy 5,000 won (about $5 U.S.) and asked for chocolate, but I still had no idea what I was getting.

I paid this guy 5,000 won (about $5 U.S.) and asked for chocolate, but I still had no idea what I was getting.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

Then I went to the next counter. It turns out they fill the twisty pastries with frozen yogurt.

Then I went to the next counter. It turns out they fill the twisty pastries with frozen yogurt.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

It was really good! You munch your way down through the frozen yogurt. It’s cleaner and more efficient than your typical ice cream cone.

It was really good! You munch your way down through the frozen yogurt. It's cleaner and more efficient than your typical ice cream cone.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/korean-street-food-2014-4?op=1#ixzz2yUVf6W9e


30 Amazing Before-And-After Snapshots That Show How New York Has Transformed Over Time

nyc grid before and after

Paul Sahner, NYC Grid

 

Graphic designer Paul Sahner has been taking pictures of New York’s streets since he moved to the city nine years ago. He loves the feeling of capturing an ever-shifting urban landscape for posterity on his blog NYC Grid

Inspired by the changing shops and street corners he saw while walking around, Sahner started a before-and after-series on NYC Grid. The photographer would match his own photos of New York City with old pictures from the Library of Congress or Flickr to showcase the transformation of the city’s landmarks and streets.

“I don’t share the hopeless sense of loss that many other NY bloggers and writers express,”Sahner writes. “I don’t dislike modern architecture, I don’t fear gentrification, I enjoy change and relish new ideas. But I do feel there’s something special about the time we’re experiencing here. Once this time, this moment, has passed it will never return.”

Over at NYC Grid, readers can use a toggle function to compare the old and new photos interactively. We’ve presented them here back-to-back in slideshow format so you can get the full effect of each image.


1900: Mott Street has been the center of New York’s Chinatown for more than 100 years.

2013: Even today, the buildings remain largely unchanged, with the exception of modern conveniences and signs.

1907: Bowling Green is the oldest public park in NYC, built in 1733.

2013: After suffering neglect after WWII, the park was restored in the ’70s and is now one of the most visited places in the city.

1915: The arch and colonnade that welcomes motorists on the Manhattan Bridge was built as a part of the City Beautiful movement “to create moral and civic virtue among urban populations.”

2013: After decades of being covered in graffiti, the city made the arch a landmark in 1975, and restored it in the 1990s.

1922: Bryant Park has evolved over the years. Here, a “demonstration garden” is planted on the eastern end of the park.

2013: More than 90 years later, the park is still an urban sanctuary. Note the New York Public Library in the background.

1937: When the 8th Avenue/14th Street subway station opened in 1931, this impressive building was home to the New York Savings Bank.

2013: Today, the neoclassical structure is a CVS pharmacy, and the subway station has an elevator.

1938: A man crosses First Avenue on the Upper East Side during the Great Depression.

2013: The building in the center remains largely untouched, but the UES has markedly transformed with cars, trees, and paved roads.

1942: From the steps of St. Bart’s Church, one could see the New York Central Building rise above the other structures on Park Avenue.

2013: Today the building is known as the Helmsley Building, and is dwarfed by Midtown’s skyscrapers.

1965: New York’s Racquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue was surrounded by skyscrapers 50 years ago.

2013: The buildings may be taller, but the Racquet and Tennis Club looks the same.

1968: Here’s a vintage glimpse of Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, with a view of the Manhattan Bridge.

2013: Today, Delancey Street is much cleaner and has more trees (though you can still see the Manhattan Bridge!).

1968: Orchard Street in downtown Manhattan was filled with people and stores.

2013: Those brick buildings are still there, but the street looks much quieter.

1968: The Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market was built in the 1930s to house street cart vendors.

2013: Now, the market is run by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and still houses a few dozen stalls.

1968: Here’s a look at lunch hour on Nassau Street in the Financial District, with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on the right.

2013: There are more cars than people, but the bank is still there.

1968: South Street Seaport market — specifically Schermerhorn Row — was in rough shape before it was taken over by the South Street Seaport museum.

2013: The buildings were renovated in 1983, but The New York Times said the changes made the block “into something flat and dull.”

1970: The Chapel of the Good Shepherd was erected on Roosevelt Island in 1888. At the time of this picture, residential complexes were just about to be built on the island.

2013: Today, Roosevelt Island is home to apartments, pharmacies, public parks, and more.

1982: This snapshot shows the Brooklyn Bridge, framed by the Watchtower building in Brooklyn Heights.

2013: Today, this area is thriving thanks to the popularity of tourist attractions like Brooklyn Bridge Park and Grimaldi’s Pizza.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-grid-new-york-city-then-and-now-2014-4?op=1#ixzz2yUHabUbD

Hello, my old China! Photographs from 1860s believed to be among earliest in existence offer a fascinating insight into life in the Far East

  • Images show everyday life in China and Japan during mid-19th century
  • They are taken from ‘China Magazine’, which ran from 1868 to 1870
  • Instead of emperors and military figures, the show everyday workers
  • Fruit sellers, weavers, gamblers and street barbers are all depicted
  • Today the collection sold for £12,500 – six times the auction guide price

By JOHN HALL

These incredible photographs are believed to be among the earliest of their kind in existence and offer an fascinating insight into life in the Far East during the 1860s.

The images, which form part of a captivating magazine, show life in China and Japan during the mid-19th century, and portray villagers going about their day-to-day tasks.

At an auction in Cirencester today, the photographs sold for more than six times their £2,000 guide price, with an anonymous buyer winning a bidding war to purchase them for £12,500.

Close shave: A street barber carefully cuts a client's hair in this image from China Magazine taken in the late 1860s. The photographs sold today for £12,000 - six times their guide price

Close shave: A street barber carefully cuts a client’s hair in this image from China Magazine taken in the late 1860s. The photographs sold today for £12,000 – six times their guide price

Posed: This image shows three young Chinese men sitting in their home in the late 1860s. As well as previously unpublished photographs, the collection also contains articles describing life in mid 19th century China

Posed: This image shows three young Chinese men sitting in their home in the late 1860s. As well as previously unpublished photographs, the collection also contains articles describing life in mid 19th century China

Spending: A group of gamblers are pictured betting in the street in this photograph. Auctioneers originally tipped the collection to sell for just £2,000, but a bidding war raised the price to £12,500

Spending: A group of gamblers are pictured betting in the street in this photograph. Auctioneers originally tipped the collection to sell for just £2,000, but a bidding war raised the price to £12,500

A military mandarin of the white button photographed for the China Magazine in the 1860's

A Japanese servant or Kerai photographed for the China Magazine in the 1860's

Service: A military mandarin – or bureaucrat scholar – is seen in the late 1860s, while the image on the right shows a Japanese servant, or Kerai, posing for a photograph

 

One of the most intriguing aspects of the photographs is that they do not show powerful emperors or important military figures, focusing instead on gamblers and weavers going about their business.

Among the collection is a picture of two Chinese fruit sellers, while another shows men scrambling up a ladder and into a window.

Members of a town or village council are captured in one striking image, while in another a street barber carefully cuts a client’s hair.

A harbour scene in Hong Kong is also represented.

Auctioneers originally tipped the incredible bundle of pictures to sell for just £2,000, but a fierce bidding war among collectors raised the price to £12,500.

Important: Members of a town or village council are captured in this striking image. The men are some of the only establishment figures documented in the collection

Important: Members of a town or village council are captured in this striking image. The men are some of the only establishment figures documented in the collection

Chinese fruit sellers photographed in the 1860's by John Thomson for the China Magazine

Chinese villagers photographed in the 1860's by John Thomson for the China Magazine.

Going about their business: Among the collection is a picture of two Chinese fruit sellers (left), while another shows men scrambling up a ladder and into a window (right)

Real life: The image shows shops and houses in Tai Ping Shan Street in Hong Kong. In 1860 Chinese writer Wang Tao said the street was full of brothels with 'brightly painted doors and windows with fancy curtains'

Real life: The image shows shops and houses in Tai Ping Shan Street in Hong Kong. In 1860 Chinese writer Wang Tao said the street was full of brothels with ‘brightly painted doors and windows with fancy curtains’

The photographs are taken from the ‘China Magazine’, which began as a weekly publication on March 7 1868 and continued monthly until it reached its fourth and final volume in 1870.

The volume contains a total of 46 photos of varying sizes, but four of those are duplicates and one is a defective picture.

Apart from containing a number of photographs unpublished elsewhere, the magazine contains interesting feature articles which throw light on life in mid nineteenth-century China, with Hong Kong featuring prevalently.

Down to business: A Chinese letter writer is photographed in the late 1860's. One intriguing aspect of the images is that they show everyday people, instead of powerful emperors or important military figures

Down to business: A Chinese letter writer is photographed in the late 1860’s. One intriguing aspect of the images is that they show everyday people, instead of powerful emperors or important military figures

A Chinese woman photographed in the 1860's by John Thomson for the China Magazine

A village elder from Anam, China and his son photographed in the 1860's by John Thomson for the China Magazine

History: A Chinese woman mends clothing in the left image, while the picture on the right shows a village elder and his son photographed in the province of Annam, part of modern-day Vietnam

There is little doubt China Magazine was the inspiration for Scottish publisher John Reddie Black’s influential and far better known ‘Far East’ news magazine, which ran from 1870 until 1878.

Historian Terry Bennett, author of a History of Photography in China: Western Photographers, noted the extreme rarity of the photographs.

He added: ‘It may also be the first publication of any kind in the Far East to incorporate pasted-in photographs.’

Port: The photograph shows the sun setting on the famous Hong Kong harbour in the late 1860s. The volume contains a total of 46 photos of varying sizes, but four of those are duplicates and one is a defective picture

Port: The photograph shows the sun setting on the famous Hong Kong harbour in the late 1860s. The volume contains a total of 46 photos of varying sizes, but four of those are duplicates and one is a defective picture

HOW CHINA EXPERIENCED WAR AND POLITICAL TURMOIL DURING THE 1860S

During the late 1860s, China was ruled by the Tongzhi Emperor – a member of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan and the tenth emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

Although the Tongzhi Emperor was formally in charge of the country between 1861 and 1875, his reign was largely overshadowed by the rise of his mother Empress Dowager Cixi – a powerful and charismatic woman who effectively controlled China for 47 years, from 1861 to her death in 1908.

Internally, the Taiping Rebellion (1851–1864) – a quasi-Christian religious movement led by the so-called ‘Heavenly King’ Hong Xiuquan, raided roughly a third of Chinese territory for over a decade until they were finally crushed in the Third Battle of Nanking in 1864.

Empress Dowager Cixi was a powerful and charismatic woman who effectively controlled China for 47 years, from 1861 to her death in 1908

Empress Dowager Cixi was a powerful and charismatic woman who effectively controlled China for 47 years, from 1861 to her death in 1908

Arguably one of the largest wars in the 19th century in terms of troop involvement, there was massive loss of life, with a death toll of about 20 million.

Towards the end of the Taiping Rebellion came the Dungan Revolt (1862–77) – a largely chaotic uprising by China’s Muslim minorities on the western banks of the Yellow River.

Infighting and the lack of a common cause eventually led to the revolt collapsing, with tens of thousands of Muslims subsequently leaving the Yellow River area and moving to south eastern Russia, as well as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Another dominant feature of the period was the arrival and massive expansion of Western colonial missionaries attempting to spread Christianity following the end of the Second Opium War in 1860.

Over the following decades Christian missions were set up in every province and major city in China, with more than 2,500 evangelists working there by the turn of the century.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2601651/Hello-old-China-Photographs-1860s-believed-earliest-existence-offer-fascinating-insight-life-Far-East.html#ixzz2yaFO0sSW

How To Order Coffee Like A Local In 26 Countries

Chances are you order a plain coffee or latte in the morning. Maybe you switch it up with a red eye — a coffee with a shot of espresso — once in a while.

Lots of countries have far more interesting and elaborate coffee cultures, however. A new infographic from Cheapflights (first posted on the Daily Mail) illustrates 31 ways to drink coffee in places around the world, be it with ice cream, an egg yolk, or a slice of lemon.

The infographic is filled with cool facts about the 26 countries featured on the list, like how Italy has the largest number of coffee bars per capita and how Turkish law once permitted a wife to divorce her husband for failing to keep the family ibrik (coffeepot) filled.

Keep reading to see how people in Austria, Turkey, Malaysia, Ireland, and other countries take their morning coffee.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-order-coffee-around-the-world-2014-4#ixzz2yIcG50NK

Surreal Before And After Photos Of Post-Industrial Detroit

It’s one thing to imagine what the ruins that now litter parts of Detroit looked like in their heyday. It’s another thing to perfectly capture what all those places once were.

Photo project DetroitUrbex has paired photos showing derelict edifices with ones showing what those structures looked like when Detroit was bustling.

The results are haunting. We first saw this at Motor City Muckraker.

Check it out:

 

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DetroitUrbex

Packard Assembly Line, circa 1941.

 

 

 

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DetroitUrbex

Packard Assembly Line today.

 

 

 

packard 1

DetroitUrbex

Packard Plant South circa 1925.

 

packard 2

DetroitUrbex

Packard Plant South today.

 

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DetroitUrbex

Packard Motor Car Company building; Packard disbanded in 1958.

 

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DetroitUrbex

Packard Motor Car Company building today.

 

 

 

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DetroitUrbex

Chalmers Motor Company building, demolished 1991.

 

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DetroitUrbex

The site today.

 

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DetroitUrbex

The site today.

 

 

 

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DetroitUrbex

Highland Park Model T Plant, 1910, partially demolished in 1956.

 

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DetroitUrbex

The site today.

 

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DetroitUrbex

Hudson Motors Administration Building, demolished 1960.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/detroit-before-and-after-photos-2014-4#ixzz2yIbtyTre

25 Huge Trends That Will Make People Billions Of Dollars

 

Recently, investing gadfly James Altucher posted a “cheat sheet” for what you should be doing with your money that spotlighted a handful of “demographic trends” that investors could get behind.

We wanted to expand on that handful to a full-blown list of all the technologies out there that are poised to make people billions.

This may not make you a billion dollars. But it shows where things are going.

1) Mobile payments

WHY: Reuters’ Emma Thomasson says the mobile payment market is now “fiercely competitive and growing,” citing moves by Google, Apple, and PayPal to launch products. Big box retailers also recently announced a joint digital wallet service called the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX. And it’s not just dollars: Crypto-payment group Circle said it would soon launch its first consumer product that it’s calling the Skype of payments. Also for what it’s worth, we also recently explained why you shouldn’t be using cash.

2) Therapy

WHY: Many Americans are getting older and/or more stressed. As a result, physical and mental therapy took the majority of the fastest-growing job occupations in the U.S. As Altucher noted, a growing number of baby boomers will start filling up more “special facilities” as well as requiring more treatment.

3) Batteries

WHY: While the fate of Tesla’s Gigafactory is now somewhat up in the air, a recent report from Navigant argues worldwide revenue from lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles will grow from less than $6 billion in 2014 to $26.1 billion in 2023. “The shift to lithium ion represents a major endorsement of the ability of this chemistry to perform consistently in an automotive environment,” David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research says. “Most of the major automakers have introduced battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models in the last two years, almost all of which use lithium ion batteries for onboard energy storage.” If even Bill O’Reilly is getting behind the potential for lithium ion-powered automobiles, you know this one’s only going to move up and to the right.

4) Solar storage

WHY: “Grid defection” is the word many utilities have begun to fear as homeowners move to become near-fully autonomous energy providers. A report from NanoMarkets says the global market for solar storage systems alone will be worth $2 billion by 2018. The adoption of lithium ion batteries in cars will help drive the cost of solar storage systems, most of which are basically repackaged l.i. batteries, downward.

5) Farmland

WHY: Despite some temporary declines, wealthy farmers and non-farming investors continue to plunk down money on crops, Reuters says. That’s because there remains healthy demand for what comes out of America’s breadbasket, especially from China. Check out this chart from the USDA showing forecasts for Chinese imports of soybeans and corn, both of which the U.S. is the largest exporter of. Insane:

 

 

 

6) Employed millennials

WHY: Yes, the numbers have been grim of late. But data show the slack is slowly draining out of the 25-34 cohort not in the labor force. As Matt Busigin points out in his Most Important Charts In The World selection, the data suggest “there is a long uptrend in 25-34 employment coming.”

 

 

7) Robots

WHY: In their new book “The Second Machine Age,” MIT Sloan professors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolffson argue increasing automation of the labor force will be a permanent feature of the economy. Thus robot-makers like Kiva Systems, which built Amazon’s warehouse bots, stand to see receipts climb.

8) Personal drones

WHY: A sub-trend of the above. Drones largely remain legal for personal use, and the market is now large enough that products are getting reviewed in the Wall Street Journal.Guangdong-based DJI, which makes drones for cameras, is among the most successful.

 

 

9) App stores

WHY: Chris Dixon argues that people have basically stopped using the mobile Web and now exclusively use apps. This means that the owners of app stores — that is to say, for now, the mobile phone developers — wield tremendous power. ” What if AOL or some other central gatekeeper had controlled the Web, and developers had to ask permission to create Google, YouTube, eBay, PayPal, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, etc.? Sadly, this is where we’re headed on mobile.”

10) Personalized genetic testing

WHY: Shares in gene-testing companies like Myriad have seen some of the best performance of 2014. 23&me had seen strong consumer interest before the FDA temporarily halted sales of its testing kit. The company says it’s working with the agency to get its product back on the market.

11) Wearable tech

WHY: It’s getting to the point where you probably have a friend, or a friend of a friend, who owns a Nike FitBit, a Jawbone, or some other device tracking their personal health data.

12) Smart fabrics

WHY: There’s a company called SmartWeave whose product prevents sweat stains. There are also companies developing new smart uniforms for the military. The sector is constantly growing.

13) Uberification

WHY: Here’s a list of every company now offering on-demand personal services, via Steve Schlafman at RRS. There are more than 70. “The “uberification” of our economy signals a fundamental shift in the way that local services are discovered and fulfilled,” he writes.

 

14) Politics

WHY: The Supreme Court continues to loosen rules targeted at limiting the amount of money that can be spent on a political campaign. The Koch-brothers-backed group Americans For Prosperity spent $1.4 million on ad buys in Arkansas against Democrat incumbent Senator Mark Pryor, and has spent $30 million nationally, according to The Washington Post. Meanwhile, most members of Congress are now millionaires. There is no guarantee that you can earn a living off being a campaign manager, but the field is diversifying.

15) Reinsurance

WHY: The companies that insure the insurers have adjusted well to climate change and the climbing toll of natural disasters. “In 2011, the costliest year ever for loss claims thanks to floods in Thailand and the earthquake that caused the Fukushima disaster, the 40 largest reinsurers made pretax profits of $5.4 billion (U.S.), according to Standard & Poor’s,” says the Toronto Globe and Mail.

 

 

16) Rents

WHY: Rents climbed 12% between 2009 and 2013 as the housing bubble pushed former homeowners into apartments. Seattle saw the largest YOY jump last year at 7.1% followed by San Francisco at 5.6%.

17) Online groceries

WHY: Online groceries generated more than $15 billion in sales last year. Amazon’s AmazonFresh is about to get expanded into Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and possibly a bunch more. Wal-Mart To Go has also already been up and running in the Bay Area, and just expanded to Denver.

18) Meal kits

WHY: You could have your groceries delivered to you — or you could have the ingredients for specific meals delivered in precise quantities and with detailed recipes. Blue Apron, the leading start-up in this field, now may be worth more than $500 million. Naturally, there are now at least a half-dozen other start-ups looking to edge their way into the space.

 

 

19) Cheap natural gas

WHY: Goldman Sachs recently ranked Cabot Oil and Gas as the most undervalued stock in the market, and cited a host of other energy companies as having an untapped upside. The forward curve on gas futures doesn’t climb above $5 any time soon.

 

gas curve

EIA

 

 

20) Blockchain technology

WHY: We recently explained why people keep investing in Bitcoin despite many recent headaches in the Bitcoin ecosystem: Its underlying technology — the Blockchain — is being called the next Internet. The companies incorporating blockchain remain in their infancy, but the most prominent one, Ripple, continues to raise millions of dollars from outside investors.

21) Meteorology

WHY: On Nov. 1, agriculture giant Monsanto bought a 7-year-old firm called Climate Corporation for about $1 billion. Founded by two former Google employees, Climate Corporation might be described as the expression of the “big data” movement in the farming sector: It takes figures from hundreds of monitoring stations and publishes real-time weather forecasts. We have also seen an increasing number of commodities futures move on weather forecast releases.

22) 3-D printed organs

WHY: Researchers in Kentucky are on the verge of printing out the first-ever human heart.Medicine in general is becoming the major growth area in the 3-D printing field, as a significant part of the printer market remains confined to hobbyists.

23) Online luxury

WHY: Online luxury sales are growing twice as fast as the overall market, according to a new report from McKinsey. “Last year, online shopping ‘directly generated more than 13% of offline luxury sales and influenced another 28% of sales.’ Consumers typically purchase big ticket items in-person, leading many luxury retailers to overlook e-commerce,” BII’s Cooper Smith writes.

24) Rockets

WHY: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are paving the way for the first true “space age,” The SpaceReview’s R.D. Boozer writes. “SpaceX estimates that if they are able reach a point where the whole Falcon 9 rocket is recovered and repeatedly reused in such a manner, they may achieve launch costs for around one hundredth of what they currently are. If they successfully meet this ultimate challenge, then we are on the verge of the first true Space Age, with all of the spaceflights that have occurred before amounting to an expensive, decades-long process of baby steps leading to this new capability.”

25) Music streaming

WHY: The profitability models are still being worked out, but there is no doubt this is where the future of music lies. The purchase of music data service The Echo Nest by Spotify for an undisclosed amount signals where this is all going.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/billion-dollar-trends-2014-4#ixzz2yUI0JZHt