Posts tagged with "Forbes"

Naked in freezing water: Why ‘Viking swimming’ is trending in Europe

November 10, 2022

Although swimming naked in cold water during the hardest days of winter could seem like an activity only for the brave at heart, it’s a trend gaining momentum among Europeans over the age of 16, reports Forbes.

The main reasons for the popularity of what’s known as ‘Viking style swimming’—in addition to its daring nature and the simple thrill—are the mental and physical health benefits attached to immersing oneself into freezing water for one or two minutes at a time.

The benefits of polar plunges

An icy dip reportedly induces the release of adrenaline, serotonin, cortisol and dopamine which translates, among other benefits, into boosts of the immune system, improvement of blood circulation, increase of libido, burning of calories, and reduction of stress.

Add to that list an increase in the capacity to cope with stressful situations and the reduction both of inflammation and risk of depression.

A recent study in Scandinavia of young men who participate regularly in these polar plunges shows that winter swimming may allow the body to adapt better to extreme temperatures.

“Your body temperature drops fast and the body’s defenses go on high alert,” explains Visit North Jutland. “The blood vessels contracts and a cocktail of endorphins and adrenalin rushes through the body. This is the experience most winter swimmers have when they jump in the ocean on a cold winter morning.”

The site continues, “Winter swimming is not often associated with pleasure, it is very cold! In spite of this, more and more people are jumping into ice-cold sea, and there is a rise in memberships in the local winter swimmers clubs.”

A new old tradition

The hobby is not new. In Nordic countries, particularly Scandinavian, Eastern European and in Russia, it’s been practiced for centuries—partly as a cultural tradition (for example, at New Year’s, as well as in religious celebrations including the Epiphany and Christmas).

The number of winter and ice swimming competitions around the world sponsored by international organizations such as the International Ice Swimming Association and the International Winter Swimming Association have been growing—and more and more locations, particularly in Europe and North America, organize “bear plunges,” most commonly to celebrate New Year’s Day.

The oldest of such winter contests in the United States is the Coney Island Polar Bear Club founded in 1903, with swim events every Sunday from November until April.

In Swedish Lapland, there’s the annual Scandinavian Winter Swimming Championship, a gathering of brave souls who swim in 1°C cold water.

Lovers of extreme competition enjoy the Ice Zero Mile, abiding by International Ice Swimming Association rules, considered the toughest swimming test on the planet, a solo, mile-long competition performed in water temperature below 1ºC.

The naked winter swim

Among the best known and more “fun” competitions, organized every year in January, is the Skagen Winter Swimming Festival in Norway.

Skagen is the country’s northernmost city. Every year it attracts thousands of tourists to participate and to observe the swimming competition that takes place during a four-day festival.

Every morning at the Sønderstrand beach, participants shed their clothes and get into the freezing sea water. Activities start early in the morning for a proper warm-up and last until late in the afternoon.

According to Culture Trip, “Denmark’s Winter Swimming Festival is a haven for nudists,” although a swimsuit is optional.

“The Skagen Winter Swimming Festival is for those who aren’t afraid to push past their limits,” the organizers warn.

“Brrr. Why in the world would anyone want to go swimming in the sea in wintry Denmark?” VisitDenmark asks. “Up here in the north, winter swimming is seen as healthy for the body, good for the mind—and more than a little refreshing. It’s one of our top things to do in the winter. We have been throwing ourselves into cold water on dark days since the end of the 19th century, when the first winter bathing establishment was established in Copenhagen.”

Almost all Danish towns and small villages have their own winter swimming clubs.

Some advice

If you are among those tempted to submerge more than your toe in cold water this winter, consider this expert advice: Although winter swimming is a popular and healthy trend, there’s no reason to throw common sense overboard. The sea is not to be joked with—especially not in winter.

Never swim alone, familiarize yourself with current and wind conditions, and follow the general advice for winter swimming.

If you have heart problems or high blood pressure, avoid winter bathing. And always ask your doctor, if in doubt. And remember—there’s no shame in changing your mind at any point in the process.

If you’re serious about swimming Viking style, registrations are open for the Scandinavian Winter Swimming Championship. (Not naked but still extremely cold and including an ice-hole poetry competition.)

Research contact: @Forbes

Something you shouldn’t miss in the New York lawsuit against Donald Trump

September 26, 2022

Amid the 200-plus page lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Donald Trump on Wednesday, September 21, one allegation comes bursting through: The former president is simply not as rich as he has long said he is, reports Chris Cillizza for CNN.

Consider the following

  • Trump estimated that his triplex unit in Trump Tower was more than 30,000 square feet and was worth $327 million at one point. The apartment, according to James’ suit, was 11,000 square feet. And she noted that no apartment in the history of New York real estate has ever sold for that sort of sum.
  • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was valued as high as $739 million, but should have been, according to James, assessed more in the $75 million range.
  • Trump’s property on Park Avenue was assessed in 2010 as worth $72.5 million, but Trump’s company claimed in financial statements that it was worth $292 million, the lawsuit stated.

It goes on like that, says Cillizza, but you get the idea: Time and again, according to James’ lawsuit, Trump vastly exaggerated the value of his properties in order to gain favorable loan terms on other properties – many of which he then made a profit on.

This would fit into a pattern in Trump’s life. “I mean, part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich,” Trump told ABC way back in 2012. “So, if I need $600 million, I can put $600 million myself. That’s a huge advantage. I must tell you, that’s a huge advantage over the other candidates.”

Just before he started running for president, Trump released a “Statement of Financial Condition” from 2014 that said he was worth $5.8 billion. But when he announced his candidacy in 2015, he said that same statement put his net worth at $8.7 billion. “I’m really rich,” Trump said in his announcement speech. “I’m not doing that to brag. I’m doing that to show that’s the kind of thinking our country needs.”

A month after he entered the race, his campaign revised that estimate upward again. “Real estate values in New York City, San Francisco, Miami, and many other places where he owns property have gone up considerably during this period of time,” read a statement from his campaign. “His debt is a very small percentage of value, and at very low interest rates. As of this date, Mr. Trump’s net worth is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.”

It’s decidedly difficult to know exactly what Trump is worth because he has never released his tax returns or other detailed financial information that would allow us to make that determination.

Forbes, which closely tracks the wealth of the country’s richest people, said earlier this year that Trump is worth $3 billion—up from $2.4 billion during his final year as president.

As Forbes wrote in April:

“Donald Trump, master of reinvention, has a new title: tech entrepreneur. It’s a stretch for [Trump], who doesn’t even use email, preferring instead to scrawl notes in marker. But he doesn’t mind jumping into ventures in which he has little previous experience – and this gig should prove far more lucrative than the presidency. In fact, it has already boosted his net worth by $430 million.”

The reality is—and has always been—that Trump is very rich. But not nearly as rich as he has claimed to be. It is the prime example of the “truthful hyperbole” that Trump laid out way back in the late 80s in his book “The Art of the Deal.”

“People want to believe that something is the biggest, and the greatest, and the most spectacular,” he wrote. “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion.”

Research contact: @CNN

A ‘whiteout’ wedding: Antarctica nuptials are officially the coolest RSVP this year

August 4, 2022

This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, destination wedding: For couples who are really looking to up the ante, bespoke luxury travel company Red Savannah just announced a new $250,000 wedding package in Antarctica that’s easily the coolest RSVP this year, reports Forbes.

Invitation and event details are as follows:

Wedding parties of up to 12-guests are invited to fly out of Cape Town, South Africa and make five-hour flight over the Southern Ocean landing on Wolf’s Fang runway in Antarctica where they’re cordially invited to celebrate with a “White Wedding in a White Desert” party upon arrival.

The icy fête will begin with a celebratory wedding breakfast on ice and go on to include a cake-cutting ceremony and champagne in the snow lounge.

Guests who opt to spend more than one day on the continent are invited to stay at Echo, a brand-new Polar camp comprising six state-of-the-art pods with a futuristic floor-to-ceiling window design overlooking a vast expanse of snow and ice fields.

Each pod contains a central communal space and dining area where South African cuisine will be paired with award-winning wines. Couples who want to unwind after saying their “I-Dos,” may like the option to extend at Whichaway Camp, which includes a wellness space and sauna pod on the shores of the freshwater lake of the Schirmacher Oasis.

While all of the activities throughout the experience can be customized, optional activities range from a visit to see a colony of 28,000 emperor penguin’s to ice and mountain climbing, Arctic Truck safaris, Skidoo tours and a trip to the South Pole for a special champagne picnic.

Prices start at $250,000 and include return flights and transfers from Cape Town to Antarctica, accommodations, food, beverages, and activities. Guests don’t have to worry about buying the couple a gift, as $1,000 per-person will be pledged for conservation and sustainability initiatives that go to Antarctica.

Research contact: @Forbes

In Switzerland, an hotelier and two artists challenge the definition of luxurious hospitality

June 27, 2022

Dream of a night under the stars—but allergic to sleeping bags? This summer in Switzerland, an artistic/hospitality concept named  Null Stern—The Only Star Is You  may offer exactly what you need, reports Forbes magazine.

Imagine a hotel room without a roof or walls, set directly under the sky within a magnificent Alpine landscape. For some, it may look like an optical illusion, but for the 6,500 travelers on the waiting list, a night at Null Stern (whether near Saillon in the Valais region, or at 6,463 feet above sea level in one of six locations in Eastern Switzerland) is very much a reality.

Surrounded by vineyards, the Saillon suites will be available from July 1 through September 18, 2022.

“The definition of luxury has evolved over the years from tangible to intangible,” said co-founder hotelier Daniel Charpentier. “Marble in the bathroom is now much less important than a guest’s emotional experience.”

Charpentier worked in hotels all over the world before he came back to settle in his native Switzerland. There, he met concept artists (and twin brothers) Frank and Patrik Riklin, known first for an art installation set inside a 1980s nuclear shelter hidden in the basement of an apartment building in St. Gallen.

They named it “Null Stern Hotel,” the no-star hotel. Since then, the Riklin brothers continue to imagine artwork and art installations that challenge people’s habits and thought processes. outside of museums and galleries, i

For Null Stern, the three partners search locations that offer both a dramatic backdrop and view. They build platforms on which they place a Queen size bed, two nightstands and light fixtures.

“We call them zero-real estate suites,” said Mr. Charpentier. “But they are within walking distance of bathrooms and also a back-up bedroom that’s reserved for these guests in case the weather turns.”

Each suite costs $295 per night and comes with its own butler, in charge of bringing out dinner and breakfast to guests in bed. But the Null Stern butler is its own invention too. The person who takes care of the guests will wear a white shirt, white gloves and a bowtie but will have complete freedom as to what else to wear. And while he will be responsible for traditional service tasks, he will also be freed to improvise in order to enhance the experience.

Inspired by the simple beauty of the Swiss landscape, the Riklin brothers are known for taking their art outside of museums and galleries, the typical boundaries. In fact, by giving human beings a place to rest within nature, they are showcasing the landscape as art.

Finally, a new suite named the “anti-idyllic” suite and created in partnership with the town of Saillon, challenges even the beauty of the landscape. Set between a gas station and a highway, it aims to provoke a “positive disruption.”

“There are so many problems in the world right now, how can we sleep?” asked Patrik Riklin. “Our new version is an incubator for reflection.”

The brothers’ goal is to make guests stop and think. Perhaps by continuously breaking with conventions, they will succeed in bringing people together to effect change.

“What is luxury? How can we be safe?” they ask.

“We all love nature, but we continue to destroy it,” he said. “The bedrooms of the future may very well not have walls or roofs anymore because we won’t have the resources to build them any other way.”

Whether you choose the “conventional” suites or the anti-idyllic one, Null Stern will challenge your thinking. Will we just go back to the way we used to travel before the pandemic? Art asks questions. The answers are up to us.

Research contact: @Forbes

Dartmouth College to eliminate undergraduate student loans, replace them with scholarships

June 22, 2022

Dartmouth College has announced that it will eliminate all federal and institutional loans from its undergraduate financial aid packages and replace them with scholarship grants. The new policy will first take effect beginning with the 2022 summer term, reports Forbes magazine.

The no-loan financial aid packages—revealed by Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon—will benefit both current and future students, but they will not be applied retroactively to loans that Dartmouth students may have received before the start of the summer term.

Just last year, Dartmouth had eliminated loans for incoming students from families earning less than $125,000 per year, says Forbes.

But now, because of the fundraising success of the College’s “The Call to Lead Campaign,” Dartmouth is eliminating that threshold and will be offering no-loan, need-based financial aid to all eligible students.

According to the  news release from Dartmouth, the policy will reduce the college-related debt by an average of $22,000 over four years for about 450 Dartmouth students and their families.

In addition, because Dartmouth has been able to raise $120 million in scholarship gifts and pledges for its endowment in the past year, it has made other significant enhancements to its financial aid. For example, it now offers need-blind admissions to international students, thanks to a record $40 million gift from an anonymous donor; and it also has eliminated the expected parent contribution when calculating financial aid awards for students from families earning less than $65,000 per year.

Two recent gifts helped Dartmouth reach its no-loan financial aid goal. In May, Anne Kubik, a 1987 Dartmouth alum, added $10 million to an earlier commitment of support she had made. And an anonymous donor committed $25 million—endowing one of the largest scholarship funds in Dartmouth history.

But many others contributed as well. According to Dartmouth, more than 65 families gave to the campaign to eliminate the loan component of the college’s financial aid, committing more than $80 million in gifts to the endowment. That included several families who recently donated $5 million to eliminate loans in the financial aid awards for current undergraduate students going forward.

“Thanks to this extraordinary investment by our community, students can prepare for lives of impact with fewer constraints,” said President Hanlon. “Eliminating loans from financial aid packages will allow Dartmouth undergraduates to seek their purpose and passion in the broadest possible range of career possibilities.”

Dartmouth now joins several other leading, private institutions that have adopted a no-loan, need-based, financial aid policy. They include Williams College and Ivy League peers Brown University, Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

Research contact: @Forbes

Ready to roll: Airstream museum opens in Ohio

June 9, 2022

Ohio may not be at the top of your bucket list for summer travels, but if you own or love Airstreams—those shiny, silver travel trailers that are hallmarks of the American open road—then you might want to revise your plans. The company has just opened the Airstream Heritage Center, located inside its world headquarters in Jackson Center, Ohio, reports Forbes.

The Heritage Center brings Airstream’s history to life in a museum space that highlights over 90 years of globetrotting adventures. It celebrates both the company’s cutting-edge innovation and the thousands of people who have helped build Airstreams by hand since 1931.

There has long been a partnership between Airstream design and travel adventures. Design aficionados love their looks, while their distinctive shape still commands awe and respect on American highways, says Forbes.

A 1960 Airstream Bambi travel trailer has long been part of the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). You’d be hard-pressed to find a more passionate band of vehicle owners than those who own Airstreams, which have become true emblems of the American passion for driving and discovering.

There are more than 15 vintage Airstream models on display, including a 1938 Clipper, an example of the first riveted aluminum Airstream model. There’s also the Gold Airstream that company founder Wally Byam used to lead the Capetown to Cairo Caravan, a seven-month journey.

The Heritage Center uses Airstream’s collection of original films and photographs of caravanners traveling around the globe. It begins with the first Airstream Caravan in 1951 and the collection includes country flags flown during the Around the World Caravan and travel diaries from the Africa Caravan.

In 1956, Byam shipped 36 Airstreams and 87 caravanners across the Atlantic Ocean for the first Wally Byam Caravan to Europe. Throughout the course of the six-month trip, the caravanners visited 16 countries and traveled 16,000 miles. The trip was documented by National Geographic and the white Airstream Byam used to lead the group is in the Heritage Center.

For those more interested in the mechanics and design of Airstreams, there are selections from the Airstream Archives on display, some 90 years of company history, product testing films, brochures, engineering drawings, newspaper articles, and even plans for NASA’s Mobile Quarantine Facilities.

“For years we’ve been looking for the right way to celebrate our history, and our new Heritage Center is a testament to the products that inspired generations of travelers, and the people who built this brand into an American icon,” said Airstream President & CEO Bob Wheeler.

“The vintage models, mementos, journals, and films on display vividly illustrate how an Airstream is more than simply a recreational vehicle. It’s a vessel that holds the stories accumulated over years of travel and adventure.”

Research contact: @Forbes

Andy Warhol’s pop portrait of Queen Elizabeth to be displayed for her Platinum Jubilee

April 14, 2022

A rarely seen portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by pop artist Andy Warhol will go on display next month—alongside portraits of Britain’s other ruling queens—as part of a special Sotheby’s exhibit for the Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, which marks her 70th year on the throne, reports Forbes.

The special exhibit will feature portraits of each of Britain’s seven queens regnant—those who ruled in their own right, not as the wife of a king. The Andy Warhol portrait, completed in 1985, is on loan from a private collection. It was based on a photograph taken in 1977 to commemorate the queen’s Silver Jubilee.

 Another rare portrait that will be displayed is the world-famous Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I from the private Woburn Abbey Collection, commissioned to celebrate the 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada—and widely considered to be one of the finest portraits of the Tudor queen.

 Sotheby’s also will display a selection of aristocratic tiaras and jewelry, rare books, manuscripts and book bindings with royal provenance from both British royalty and from European ruling families, which includes a special copy of Elizabeth II’s Coronation Bible, which was used at her crowning ceremony at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

 The exhibit will run from May 28 to June at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries in London and will include programming including special talks, debates, and musical and drama performances.

Queen Elizabeth turns 96 next week on her birthday, April 21, although her official royal birthday is celebrated in June with the annual Trooping the Colour military parade. Elizabeth became the longest reigning monarch in 2015 when she beat out the previous record holder, her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, who ruled for 63 years and 7 months.

 Elizabeth is the first British ruler to mark 70 years on the throne. The year-long Platinum Jubilee celebration will culminate this spring and summer with a variety of events across the U.K., including other special exhibits and programs at cultural institutions like the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum in London, as well as concerts, parties, parades—and even a dessert contest.

 Research contact: @Forbes

A tease preview from the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

April 5, 2022

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards—”most probably the world’s funniest photography competition,” according to the organizers—has released a series of funny images to kick off its 2022 competition, reports Forbes.

Co-founded in 2015 by professional photographers Paul Joynson Hicks and Tom Sullam, inspired by their passion for wildlife and decades of experience living and working in East Africa, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards focus on the lighter side of wildlife photography to help promote conservation through humor.

The competition is free to enter and open to wildlife photography novices, amateurs, and professionals, alike, who want to celebrate the hilarity of the natural world while highlighting the need to protect it.

Each year, the competition supports a sustainable conservation organization and in 2022 is collaborating with the Whitley Fund for Nature, a British charity that helps conservation leaders working in their home countries across the global South. Over 29 years, it has channeled £19 million (about US$25 million) to more than 200 conservationists in 80 countries.

Photographers can enter up to ten images across six categories: Creatures of the Air, Creatures of the Land, Underwater Category, Video Category, Junior Category and Portfolio Category.

Closing date for entries is September 1. The main prize is a safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya with Alex Walker’s Serian—a charismatic collection of exclusive and intimate safari camps in the prime wildernesses of Kenya and Tanzania.

Research contact: @Forbes

Ukraine launches NFT sale to fund fight against Russia

March 28, 2022

Ukraine is selling nonfungible tokens (NFTs) inspired by Russia’s invasion, with the proceeds going toward the support of the nation’s army and civilians, Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov  announced on Friday, March 25, reports Forbes.

The project, part of the Meta Museum History of War, aims to memorialize the invasion, “spread truthful information” online and to collect donations for Ukraine, according to the website.

The 54 NFTs that make up the collection so far explore the events of the Russian invasion chronologically, with pieces inspired by landmarks in the conflict—starting with the February 24 announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin of what he called a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Buyers will be able to purchase the NFTs with ether, and all proceeds will go directly to the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation.

The sale’s format and prices will be announced in the coming days, a representative told Forbes, saying they hope the project raises millions of dollars for Ukraine.

More NFTs are in the works, the representative told Forbes, and the museum plans to create digital collectibles to “continue depicting … history until this awful war will end.”

To date, Ukraine has received $65.9 million in cryptocurrency to help fund its war efforts. Earlier this month, an NFT of the Ukrainian flag sold for roughly $6.75 million, with proceeds going to Come Back Alive, a group that supports the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukraine, which in 2019 established its Ministry of Digital Transformation, has used the internet and crypto to help wage a “digital battle” against Russia. Federov has used his Twitter account to shame companies still operating in Russia, as many choose to suspend business there amid the invasion.

The ministry also has  directed  hackers—who are volunteers and not officially affiliated with the Ukrainian government—to temporarily take down websites for the Moscow Exchange and other Russian institutions.

“We are the first in the world to introduce this new warfare. And it’s powerful, yet simple at the same time,” Oleksandr Bornyakov, Ukraine’s deputy minister of digital transformation, told Politico earlier this month. “It’s impossible to disrupt it or break it down.”

Research contact: @Forbes

Derek Jeter steps down as Miami Marlins CEO; sells stake in the team

March 1, 2022

Derek Jeter is stepping down as chief executive of the Miami Marlins and selling his stake in the Major League Baseball franchise, the Hall of Famer announced on Monday, February 28, reports CNBC.

The reason? In a statement announcing the move, Jeter, 47, said the “vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead,” when he took over the Marlins.

“We had a vision five years ago to turn the Marlins franchise around, and as CEO, I have been proud to put my name and reputation on the line to make our plan a reality,” Jeter said. “Through hard work, trust and accountability, we transformed every aspect of the franchise, reshaping the workforce, and developing a long-term strategic plan for success.”

Jeter, the New York Yankees icon, took over the team’s top C-suite role in 2017. The Marlins finished in fourth place in the National League East division last year. The team made the postseason once during Jeter’s tenure, a wild card spot in 2020.

The Marlins are worth $990 million, according to Forbes.

Marlins chairman and principal owner Bruce Sherman said the club would work as a committee to run business and baseball operations while searching for Jeter’s replacement.

Sherman also said the team is “committed to keep investing in the future of the franchise—Marlins fans and the local community.”

The news came on a big deadline day for MLB. Owners gave the players union until Monday to agree to a new labor deal—or Opening Day and potentially other games would be canceled.

Research contact: @CNBC