TripAdvisor Lists Top 25 Hotels in the World for 2015

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Business Insider -TripAdvisor recently announced the results of  its 2015 annual Travelers’ Choice awards, which ranks hotels from all around the world based on reviews from travelers.

The top 25 winning hotels offer exceptional service and amenities while also providing unforgettable experiences to travelers.

The hotel that TripAdvisor users picked as the ‘best in the world’ is a luxury bungalow retreat in the Maldives that implements a strict “no news, no shoes” policy to help guests relax while on vacation.

Read more at Business Insider

A New Kind of Breakfast

298_298_all-day-mental-energy-salmon-avocado-kale-scramble-rethinking-breakfast (Men’s Journal) We all know that breakfast is mission critical — everybody from your mother to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health says so. And we all know that a breakfast rich in protein will serve you better than a bunch of carbs, which set you up for late-morning blood-sugar crashes — the last thing you need when you’re at your desk, jamming on a deadline.

And yet the bagel and doughnut persist. The fact is, we’ve been conditioned to think that breakfast means carbs and sugars. And on a busy morning when you’re scrambling to get out the door, it’s easy to continue to pretend muffins aren’t cupcakes and brown sugar isn’t really sugar if you put it on oatmeal.

So we asked a panel of chefs to help us rethink the day’s most important meal. The result: a new approach to breakfast, based on vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, and slow-burning carbs, combined here in six delicious recipes designed for all those clutch moments when you need the right stuff to get the job done.

Read more and get the recipes at Men’s Journal

Welcome to Gattaca: Your Employer Has All Your Medical Records!

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(Bloomberg)- Documents stolen from Sony Corp. by hackers include detailed and identifiable health information on more than three dozen employees, their children or spouses — a sign of how much information employers have on their workers and how easily it can become public.

One memo by a human resources executive, addressed to the company’s benefits committee, disclosed details on an employee’s child with special needs, including the diagnosis and the type of treatment the child was receiving. The memo discussed the employee’s appeal of thousands of dollars in medical claims denied by the insurance company.

Another document leaked in the hack is a spreadsheet from a human resources folder on Sony’s servers that includes the birth dates, gender, health condition and medical costs for 34 Sony employees, their spouses and children who had very high medical bills. The conditions listed include premature births, cancer, kidney failure and alcoholic liver cirrhosis. The document doesn’t include employees’ names.

Read more at Bloomberg

A Glimpse Into the Nightmare Called the C–I–A

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(Daily Beast)- Interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death. The Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing its review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs. And it is brutal.

Here are some of the most gruesome moments of detainee abuse from a summary of the report, obtained by The Daily Beast:

‘Well Worn’ Waterboards

The CIA has previously said that only three detainees were ever waterboarded: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd Al Rahim al-Nashiri. But records uncovered by the Senate Intelligence Committee suggest there may have been more than three subjects. The Senate report describes a photograph of a “well worn” waterboard, surrounded by buckets of water, at a detention site where the CIA has claimed it never subjected a detainee to this procedure. In a meeting with the CIA in 2013, the agency was not able to explain the presence of this waterboard.

Near Drowning

Contrary to CIA’s description to the Department of Justice, the Senate report says that the waterboarding was physically harmful, leading to convulsions and vomiting. During one session, detainee Abu Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open full mouth.” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded at least 183 times, which the Senate report describes as escalating into a “series of near drownings.”

Read more at the Daily Beast

Uber Launches In Portland Despite Being Completely Illegal There

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(The Verge)- Uber has a remarkably rich history of upsetting local city transportation officials by setting up shop before laws and regulations have been ironed out. And that’s just what’s happening tonight in Portland, Oregon where Uber apparently surprised everyone by launching its ridesharing service without the approval of the city’s transportation bureau.

If caught, fines for both Uber and its drivers are steep, running $1,500 for the company (for the first offense) and up to $2,250 for the driver, with those fines going up to $5,000 for additional violations. And the city says it’s on the lookout. “They think they can just come in here and flagrantly violate the law?” Portland’s transportation commissioner Steve Novick told The Oregonian. “This is really amazing. Apparently, they believe they’re gods.” An Uber spokeswoman said the company plans to support drivers there “every step of the way.” It’s currently unclear if that means Uber plans to foot the bill for those fines.

Uber’s entrance to the city is complicated due to Portland’s proximity to neighboring cities where Uber is allowed, including right across the bridge to Vancouver, Washington. Drivers in those places can pick people up and take them into Portland within minutes, meaning whatever return trip to those areas requires riding without a paid passenger on the way back.

Read more at The Verge

Eric Garner’s Death Shows How Stupid Laws Help Get People Killed

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(Reason)- After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict a police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, I sent out a (slightly) hyperbolic tweet that wondered why Americans would want to entrust their free speech and health care to an institution that will kill you over failure to pay a cigarette tax.

Since then, I’ve seen numerous tweets arguing that bringing up the tax is preposterous. It’s something akin to blaming jaywalking for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), touched on the issue in an interview with MSNBC yesterday and was, unsurprisingly, ridiculed for it by liberals—because mentioning the circumstances of a violent act is preposterous, apparently.

Though it certainly isn’t close to being the most important lesson of this inexplicable case, it’s not something that should be dismissed so flippantly.

Read more at Reason.com

Jim McElwain, Welcome to the Swamp!

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USA Today – McElwain, 52, went 22-16 in three seasons at Colorado State but quickly turned around a program that had struggled for most of the last decade. The Rams went 10-2 this season.

Florida had zeroed in on McElwain, who won two national titles as Alabama’s offensive coordinator under Nick Saban, earlier this week with athletics director Jeremy Foley flying out to Fort Collins to hammer out the deal.

Florida announced that McElwain will have a six-year contract paying $3.5 million per year.

“Coach McElwain was someone we targeted from the beginning of the search,’’ Foley said. “The more we worked through the process and did our due diligence, coupled with our meeting and conversations with him and those around him, it was obvious he is the right person to lead the Florida Gator football program.”… Read more @ USA Today

How Jake Got Jacked

how-jake-gyllenhaal-fell-in-love-with-boxing(Men’s Journal) – In an image reversal that’s increasingly common today on the big screen, Jake Gyllenhaal has transformed himself from the creepy cameraman Louis Bloom in Nightcrawler to a fierce welterweight boxer in Southpaw. His secret to the rapid change? To truly become boxer-fit.

“I lived in [the competitive fighting] world for six months,” he says. Leading up to filming he took in a number of HBO fights, along with director Antoine Fuqua, paying visits to Vegas and Madison Square Garden in New York for the Miguel Cotto versus Sergio Martinez fight. (He says Cotto is his favorite fighter.) He also trained daily, like a fighter, for months, including some time at the [Floyd] Mayweather Boxing Club in Vegas, at at the Church Gym in New York.

The movie is now in the can and being edited, but Gyllenhaal doesn’t plan to put down the mitts any time soon. “I will box for the rest of my life,” he says. “It’s an impossible form to master because it’s like a language and every day you find new ways to use what you have. I’m nowhere close to mastering it,” he says. “I could talk for hours about it. It’s so wonderful for the mind and especially for youth, to understand how to express your physical power. I think especially, talking as a man, to know you are capable of a certain power and to know that you don’t have to use it.”

Charles Thorp

Read more @ Men’s Journal

“I designed a better lightsaber than J.J. Abrams while I was in line for coffee this morning”

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(This article originally appears on theverge.com and was written by T.C. Sottek)

(The Verge)  Today I finally realized why there are so many Star Wars fanboys: there’s a lot of shady pseudoscience behind everything in the Star Wars universe, and it’s pretty fun to argue about.

Today’s preeminent fanboy argument is over the crazy new lightsaber in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. In the darkest vignette from the trailer, we’re shown a cloaked figure who stumbles down a snowy slope in a dark forest. The figure reaches the bottom, enters a defensive stance, and whips out a lightsaber that looks like a medieval claymore: a two-handed longsword with a crossguard.

Read more…

California’s Prop 47: A Step in Bringing “Justice” to Our Criminal Justice System

25percent-worlds-prison-pop-poster(The Guardian)- Russell Griffith, a deputy public defender in the Los Angeles crucible known as Compton, had strong words to describe the criminal justice system: “inhumane”, “stupid”, “insane”, and “completely screwed up”.

Seated on the eighth floor of Compton’s courthouse, his view obstructed by bulletproof glass, the veteran attorney let rip in an outspoken interview this week, denouncing a system in which he has worked for 25 years.

Griffith cast California’s network of police, courts and jails, the embodiment of the rule of law, as a cross between Kafka and Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, which he lauded as an accurate depiction of judicial dysfunction.

Read more…