VICEhttps://www.vice.com/en_asiaRSS feed for https://www.vice.comenThu, 15 Nov 2018 06:00:00 +0000<![CDATA[7 Secrets of an Indian Competitive Eating Champ]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/yw7djy/sanket-sankpal-india-eating-champThu, 15 Nov 2018 06:00:00 +0000How can you describe the act of someone spending 23.49 minutes on Ganesh Chaturthi gobbling up 101 modaks and in the process, consuming close to 18,000 calories? While most of us won’t understand why this strange gastrointestinal feat aka "speed/competitive eating" even exists, for many around the world, eating ridiculously large quantities of food in a minimum amount of time is considered a sport.

In India, 21-year-old Sanket Sankpal has been eating way too much food since last year, catapulting him and his YouTube channel, Wake ’N’ Bite, to viral fame (205k subscribers). The final year Civil Engineering student’s first video from June 2017 saw him and his friend eat a square pizza in under 30 minutes. No biggie, you’d think. But this video racked up 205k views, making the Mumbai boy take his serious fascination for American food reality show Man v. Food to another level. What sets him apart from world champs (more known for wolfing down hot dogs) is his desi choice of food: vada pav (an alleged world record of eating one in 13 seconds—care to beat it?), samosa (one in 16 seconds), 50 chicken lollipops, 400 pani puris between him and his brother, and 2.4-litre Maaza (in 20 seconds). He often invites friends and family to join him, with his Mom vs. Dad challenges doing particularly well—the one with them eating pani puris got 7 lakh-plus views.

“I first tried singing and then dancing but wasn’t too good at either,” he tells VICE. “I wanted to do something fun on YouTube and randomly put up the pizza-eating video. It did really well, and no one was doing this in India. India mein khaane wale log kitne hai; khaane mein mazza hi kuch aur hai (India has so many eaters; there’s a different fun altogether in eating). People ask me why I do what I do. But it’s a different high altogether.”

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As he preps to place a massive KFC order for a video later that day, we had to ask: What was the competitive eating game plan?

1) An eater actually requires training though there’s no manual.

Stomach capacity is the make-and-break deal keeping you from wolfing down a ridic amount of, say, cupcakes. An adult stomach can usually hold about one liter of food but competitive eaters train it to stretch far beyond—sometimes up to seven times its natural resting capacity. “If you keep having lots of water, you can stretch that capacity,” says Sankpal. While some monster eaters use low-calorie but filling food to expand the capacity, many use water for its zero calorie and easy-to-process properties. Plus, it’s kinda free.

When you OD on food, what usually kicks in is the satiety reflex. That’s the one telling your brain you are full/want to throw up all over the damn place. Pros have to work to overcome this very reflex. “I usually watch videos of other professionals, and listen to their tips. Apart from the physical training, this is also a mind game. In my case, because I am making a video of the eating, I have to make sure I remain excited and energetic even if the food is making me dull or not feel good.” Reminds you of the time when the munchies hit and you ate 12 Nutella waffles and then proceeded to barf all over your friend’s shoes, doesn’t it? Oh, that’s just me? (Sorry, Sneha).

2) Water is their BFF. Not to hydrate but to lubricate.

Most competitive eaters dunk their food in water or have sips of warm water between bites to soften and lubricate the food, allowing it to be swallowed more easily. “I remember this one time we were doing a challenge that involved eating butter chicken and naan. By the time we finished taking shots of the food and my introduction, the naan had become very hard. We ate the chicken but the naan was ridiculously tough. Ultimately, I dunked it in water for some seconds before eating it.” Gross much?

3) The best competitive eaters are in great shape.

Look at the top eaters around the world and you will realize that most are in great shape or real skinny. “If you have stomach fat, it can actually hinder your ability to eat,” says Sankalp, who is 5 feet 7 inches, and weighs 70 kgs. Sankalp religiously hits the gym, with the only exception being when exams are around the corner. What’s important is what to put in your system when you are not competing or making YouTube videos. “I keep my meals homemade, healthy and light. Plus, traveling for four hours to and from college means I am on my feet for considerable amounts of time.”

4) They do eat on competition days.

“On days I do my videos, I drink coffee and have a biscuit for breakfast. Lunch is very light, with just one roti and sabzi. If you stay hungry then your stomach doesn’t accept food.”

5) The possibility of death by chocolate (or any other food) is real.

Kids, do not try this at home. Choking is the fourth-leading cause of unintentional injury death—and it happens with disturbing frequency at competitive eating events. According to a 2007 study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine: “Professional speed eaters eventually may develop morbid obesity, profound gastroparesis, intractable nausea and vomiting, and even the need for a gastrectomy. Despite its growing popularity, competitive speed eating is a potentially self-destructive form of behavior.”

“The worst I’ve ever felt was after downing 1.3 kg honey in 1 minute 37 seconds,” says Sankpal. “I started saying rubbish after it because there was so much sugar in my system that it really hits you. I just went and slept for a bit.” Do you worry about your health, we ask him, or sign up for body check-ups to know about long-term damage? “Not yet,” he says. “I try keep really healthy rest of the year, and I know I need to check my sugar levels and generally get tested. But I’ve not seen my weight fluctuate, and apart from the few uncomfortable minutes after each video or feeling out of breath for a bit, I haven’t felt sick.”

6) You can actually make money stuffing your face.

“Competitive eating is still too new in India but over the past year, I have not only been able to stop taking pocket money from my parents, but also purchase the equipment I need for my videos (camera, background, lights, laptop) by myself, and save a little. If you put up 7-8 videos a month and have 1 lakh-plus views, you can easily make Rs 30,000-40,000 ($416-555 USD) a month. If your videos hit a million, the money can go up to even Rs 60,000 ($832 USD). If I get a good job after graduation, I will take it up and do this by the side. But if this does really well and I meet my goal of a million subscribers, I will do it full-time.”

For competitive eaters in the land of plenty (and plenty-wasting) America, earning big bucks is a bigger possibility. The mega popular Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest gets first-place winners $10,000 USD, and champions often end up making six figures a year.

7) You don’t get into this because you love food.

So, you claim that your love for good grub is real and infinite. If that’s the reason you want to get into speed eating, allow us to tell you that you will not enjoy your ration. A pizza might be fun for three, seven, ten slices. But after the 15th, you might not want to look at one for a long time to come. “Even if it’s something delicious I love, like pastry, I hate it by the end of it,” says Sankpal. “There is no chance that you will enjoy the food you will eat. This is not about taste at all. Don’t do this for the love of food. You don’t want to end up hating what you love.”

Follow Dhvani Solani on Instagram.

This article originally appeared on VICE IN.

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yw7djyDhvani SolaniRituparna Somcompetitive eatingFOODmadnessSportgluttonyshowbizKhaane Mein Kya Hai
<![CDATA[How Much of Drake's 'Scorpion' Did You Actually Listen To? ]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/qvq8d7/drake-scorpion-album-spotify-listenThu, 15 Nov 2018 05:00:00 +0000Drake didn’t release the longest rap album of 2018—hello Migos and Rae Sremmurd —but Scorpion is still long as hell. It’s 90 minutes, spread across two sides organized...thematically? Sonically? Whatever, it doesn’t matter, because apparently there aren’t that many people listening to it all the way through. Despite the reporting that suggests that bloated albums fare well in the streaming era, a new piece on Rolling Stone today seems to say, among other conclusions that people are listening to Scorpion in a very curious way.

According to the report, much of Scorpion's success came from lead singles "God's Plan," "Nice for What," and "In My Feelings." Those songs, along with three others—"Nonstop," "Don't Matter to Me," and "I'm Upset,"—completed the other portion of its streams. So basically, Drake made a long ass album and people only listened to six of the songs. The other 19 songs only account for 18 percent of the album's total streams. You do the math. But, how much of a 25-track album are you really expected to digest?


Watch: Drake May Be Responsible For 5% Of Toronto’s $8.8b Tourism Economy

If we're being honest, I haven't listened to side A since I gave Scorpion the first full listen. There isn't a part of me that wishes I would've given the complete album another chance because this is how Drake designed it. If you want If You're Reading This It's Too Late-era Drake, the first 12 tracks might be for you. But if you, like me, enjoy Drake when he's being less of this faux-macho guy side B was where you made yourself comfortable. That seems to be the point, that you can take whatever parts of Drake you like best and roll with that.

But the article's point that people gravitate to listening to radio hits doesn't seem to me to be entirely unique to the streaming era. Digital spaces are transforming every industry and the fact that people aren't budging on radio hits isn't new to the streaming era. Those of us who are old enough to remember what it was like to physically buy a CD may be guilty of only replaying the same songs that lured us to the store in the first place. The panic surrounding what streaming numbers feels alarmist and anxiety-ridden when you consider every artist's goal isn't to create the soundtrack to a viral dance.

Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Noisey.

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qvq8d7Kristin CorryColin JoyceHip-HoprapDrakestreamingScorpionNoisey Newsnonstopgod's plannice for whati'm upsetin my feelingsdon't matter to me
<![CDATA[Multiple Airline Pilots Report Seeing UFOs Off Irish Coast]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/a3mgyp/ufo-sighting-irish-coast-november-2018Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:15:00 +0000Multiple airline pilots reported a UFO off the southwestern coast of Ireland last Friday.

As detailed in a recording from the Shannon Airport air traffic control found by the Irish aviation blogger Trevor Buckley, a British Airline pilot making a transatlantic flight from Canada to the UK said she saw a light to the right of the plane that “rapidly veered to the north.”

“We saw a bright light and then it disappeared at a very high speed,” the pilot told air traffic control in the recording. “We don’t think it was on a collision course, but we were wondering what it could’ve been.”

Another pilot added to her account and said “it appeared to be multiple objects following the same trajectory” at an “astronomical speed” that appeared to be almost twice the speed of sound. (It’s worth noting that this is well within the capabilities of experimental military aircraft, the fastest of which top out at nearly ten times the speed of sound.)


Watch: This Alien Channeler Says He Speaks to Extraterrestrials


Shortly thereafter, a pilot for Virgin Airways called the Shannon air traffic control and said that they also saw “two bright lights.” An air traffic controller then told the pilots that “other aircraft in the air have also reported the same thing, so we’re going to have a look and see.”

According to the air traffic controller, no military exercises were occurring in the area at that time.

The Irish UFO may be extraterrestrial in origin, but it’s probably not aliens. First, it’s worth noting that the reported speed of the UFO is well within the capabilities of experimental military aircraft, the fastest of which top out at nearly ten times the speed of sound.

Apostolos Christou, an astronomer at the Armagh Observatory, told the BBC that what the pilots probably saw was a meteor. Indeed, a number of pilots have witnessed meteors burning up in Earth’s atmosphere before, and video of the phenomenon looks quite similar to what the pilots described.

Nevertheless, the Irish Aviation Authority said that it has opened up a confidential investigation into the matter.

“Following reports from a small number of aircraft of unusual air activity the IAA has filed a report,” the Irish Aviation Authority told the BBC. “This report will be investigated under the normal confidential occurrence investigation process.”

Motherboard has reached out to the IAA for further details and will update this post if we hear back.

This article originally appeared on Motherboard.

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a3mgypDaniel OberhausJordan PearsonIrelandUFOBritish AirwaysShannon airportIAAIrish Aviation AuthorityUnidentified Flying ObjectShannon ATCApostolos Christou
<![CDATA[Meet China's Elite Female Bodyguards]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/5353yx/chinas-elite-female-bodyguardsThu, 15 Nov 2018 03:00:00 +0000China's booming billionaire population has developed a penchant for personal bodyguards, who often serve as status symbols as well as muscle. Female guards, valued for their covert presence, precision, and elegance, are in particularly high demand at the moment.

VICE China visited Beijing's Yun Hai bodyguard training school to see how this fierce fighting force is trained.

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5353yxVICE StaffvideochinabodyguardsVICE InternationalFemale Bodyguards
<![CDATA[Internet Roasts Burger Chain for Inexplicably Covering Tables with Grass]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/yw7dpw/australia-burger-grass-gimmickThu, 15 Nov 2018 01:30:00 +0000As brands and restaurants compete ever more feverishly to be the buzziest (or most photographed, most on-trend, most Instagrammed, et cetera), things seem to devolve into the more and more ridiculous. That’s resulted in cornflakes becoming “Veganic Sprouted Ancient Grain Flakes;” chickpeas becoming pumpkin pie hummus; and plates being replaced with cans of Spam, egg cartons, boxes of popcorn, and all manner of monstrosities on r/WeWantPlates.

Now, the humble restaurant table has metamorphosed.

A Melbourne location of Australian burger joint Grill’d is getting roasted online after an image of one of its grass-covered tables got considerable attention on Instagram.

The picture shows an outdoor restaurant table covered with a sheet of sod. (I’m not sure if this makes it better or worse, but the grass, yellowing in patches as though it needs some Miracle-Gro, is obviously real.) On the grass is a pitcher of napkins and a small sign that says “Motherlovers choose freerange. #beamotherlover.” The rest of the grass covers the area where you place your plates, utensils, and drinks.

If you, like me, never lost the compulsive childhood urge to pull pieces of grass out of the ground whenever you’re sitting on it, this table covering will not bode well for the quality of your dinner. I much prefer lettuce as the roughage on my burgers, thank you very much.

Grill’d describes itself as “burgers from a better place,” listing on its website a big focus on sustainability, sourcing, and Mother Earth (i.e., the mother getting the loving). According to Grill’d, “motherloving”—a name that should maybe have gone through a few more focus groups first—entails “giving [Mother Earth] a fistbump” but also “eating from farm to fingers.”

When asked why they did it, a representative from Grill'd explained in an email to MUNCHIES, "The grass tables are just a healthy reminder of where our produce really comes from."

The tag #beamotherlover, if combined with a picture of Grill’d burger, appears to enter participants in a contest to win ten free burger vouchers. The photos in the tag are endearingly cheesy, showing a pair of hands making a heart in front of a burger.

The rest of Instagram has proven to not be a kind audience for the grass table. The photo caption reads, in part, “Melbourne. What the fuck is wrong with you? We get it. You are the brains-trust capital of Australia for self-gratifying, capitalist ethics. Can you please stop trying to one up yourselves? When does it become the sustainability olympics?”

In the comments, a one user wrote, “Hahaha this kinda shit is another reason not to move to Melbs.”

In case you might have forgotten, Melbourne also birthed truly the most iconic terrible Instagram food: the avolatte. If that makes its way onto a grass table, I think my head will explode.

This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES.

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yw7dpwBettina MakalintalHilary PollackWTFmelbournegimmicksavolatteInstagrammable
<![CDATA[Juul Shut Down Its Facebook and Instagram]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/439v8q/juul-shutting-down-facebook-instagram-teen-vapingThu, 15 Nov 2018 01:00:00 +0000E-cigarette company Juul announced today that it is shutting down its social media accounts and will stop selling most of its flavored vape pods in advance stricter regulations on the types of e-cigarettes that can be sold and where they can be purchased.

Although they’re not supposed to be sold to minors, the vapes are wildly popular with teenagers and have spawned memes and parody accounts on social media. In recent months, JUUL has introduced lower-nicotine pods and has begun age-verifying its online sales. But the spread of Juul among teens has happened in part because of online virality.

In a company blog post on Tuesday, Kevin Burns, CEO of Juul Labs, announced the social media shutdown as part of an “action plan” to attempt to counteract teen juuling. Juul is shutting down its Instagram and Facebook accounts, and will confine its Twitter presence to “non-promotional communications only.” YouTube, which Juul has age-restricted to 21+, will be used for adult testimonials about quitting smoking.

“By deterring social media promotion of the JUUL system by exiting our accounts, we can better prevent teens and non-smokers from ever becoming interested in the device,” Burns wrote.


Watch: China's Vape Industry Is Just Getting Started


Not only is the company shutting down its own accounts, but it intends to monitor what other accounts say about Juul as well. “User-generated social media posts involving Juul products or our brand are proliferating across platforms and must be swiftly addressed,” Burns wrote. “There is no question that this user-generated social media content is linked to the appeal of vaping to underage users. This is why we have worked directly with social media platforms to remove tens of thousands of inappropriate posts.”

At this point, Juul has become so embedded in teen and high school culture that it’s unclear whether deplatforming its own brand will make the company any less popular with minors.

Last month, researchers found that at least a quarter of Juul’s Twitter followers appeared to be under the age of 18. "Juul representatives have said the company is not trying to target adolescents with their advertising or sales, but our research clearly indicates that a sizeable proportion of their Twitter audience is exactly this population," lead author Kar-Hai Chu, Ph.D. said in a press release for the study. "This is highly concerning because adolescents exposed to e-cigarette marketing are more likely to use e-cigarettes and, in turn, young adults who use e-cigarettes are four times as likely as their non-vaping peers to transition to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes."

This is the latest in an ongoing struggle between the Food and Drug Administration and vape companies. In April, the FDA sent warnings to retailers, informing them that they were violating laws that prohibit selling e-cigarettes to minors. And in September, the FDA deemed teenage vaping an “epidemic,” and launched the “largest coordinated enforcement effort in [its] history,” including sending warnings and fines to more than 1,300 retailers and five manufacturers it claimed violated existing minor sales laws.

This article originally appeared on Motherboard.

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439v8qSamantha ColeJason KoeblerNewsvapingjuulScitechjuul pods
<![CDATA[Entrepreneurs Told Us What They Learned from Their Worst Mistakes]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/d3bv8m/biggest-mistakes-you-make-as-entrepreneursWed, 14 Nov 2018 23:00:00 +0000Even the most successful entrepreneur has likely weathered at least one colossal fuckup. Because the reality is running a business is hard, and when you’re first starting out, mistakes are all but inevitable. The difference between someone who makes it, and someone who, say, ends up pleading guilty to fraud and being sentenced to six years in federal prison is the simple ability to learn from those mistakes. You know, more or less. (Tip: Make sure your business model isn't outright fraud.)

That in mind, we asked a few successful business owners to tell us about what they learned from their worst career blunders.

Spend your money wisely

I made a mistake that a lot of new entrepreneurs make—I believed the antiquated notion that I needed a brick and mortar office to satisfy clients. I poured nearly $20,000 USD into renovating and decorating the space only to outgrow it six months later. I had five to six people squeezed into this tiny 1,000 square foot space, and the worst part was most of my clients didn’t want to come into the office at all. They wanted 100-percent virtual (Zoom or Skype) meetings and wanted to electrically execute my contracts. They had zero interest in my physical office and what it looked like. Between the remodel, decoration and rent alone, I could have poured an additional $60K into my marketing budget just in those first two years alone had I started virtually.

My advice? Most clients don’t care about where you work. All they care about is the quality of your work, so save your money (and sanity) and don’t open an old school brick and mortar location for a professional services business. - Chelsea Lamie , Personal Injury Lawyer

Beware scammers

I own an online apparel company, and we heavily utilize social media to sell our product. I was approached by a very large Instagram influencer (3.6m followers) over email, who asked if we could send her products to promote. I was ecstatic, and immediately sent her a $100 USD gift card to get whatever she wanted. The next week, I checked to see if the gift card was used, and it was.

I wanted to see what she’d ordered, so I went to the order associated with the issued gift card, and noticed it was placed under a name very different than the influencer. I thought that was weird, but maybe it was an assistant who placed the order. Then I realized the order was not placed to L.A., where this influencer lives. It was placed to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I happen to live in Chattanooga, about ten blocks from the delivery address. I double checked the email address, and noticed she made a very subtle letter switch ("ea" instead of "ae" in the middle). I realized then it must be some random girl pretending to be an influencer to get free stuff.

I decided to drive over to her house and get my stuff back, and when I knocked on the door, her mom answered. I politely explained the situation, saying that her daughter is pretending to be a celebrity to get free stuff. Mom was fuming—made her apologize and give the clothes back. She was probably no older than 14! I was scammed by a 14-year-old!

The lesson I learned was this: When working with influencers, especially through email, BE SURE they are legit. Ask for verification of some kind. Don't get burned like I did. - Matt Schroeder, owner of Shelly Cove Apparel


Watch: Inside the College for Budding Weed Entrepreneurs


Who wants what you're building?

One big learning experience for me was the importance of creating products that customers actually want to use, not just what I thought they would want. For example, early on, I thought credit unions needed a product that compared interest rates across different credit unions. I spent six months building it and when I finished I called credit unions to partner, but no one was interested. I realized if I would have called six months ago I could have saved myself a lot of valuable time. This experience taught me that it’s critical I try to sell the product before building it to avoid spending precious time building something that the world may not even want. - Tim Chen, Founder and CEO of NerdWallet

Diversify your bonds

My PayPal account was frozen with more than $20,000 USD in it, which is a problem many entrepreneurs face when they first start. That $20,000 USD was all the money we had in our business account, but the payment processors didn’t trust us fully yet, as they hadn’t done all the due diligence on their side. They saw we had a large amount of transactions and it made them sound the alarms. It took more than eight months for the dispute to be solved and, in the meantime, we had to honor our contracts with clients and find alternatives to survive. My advice for new entrepreneurs is to ask their payment processors to conduct all necessary due diligence on them at the start; It would have saved us around $100,000 throughout the years as that first time was not the only time it happened. - Ignacio Perez, Co-Owner of Sai.Coach

Contracts: they're important

When I was first started my PR and digital media company, I was connected to an up and coming tech designer via a mutual friend. Because I was new to the game and focusing on proving myself, I agreed to a profit share system WITHOUT A CONTRACT. That's right—no contract. I felt that it was fine as we ran in the same groups and were friendly with each other and didn't want to make a big deal of it. We placed him everywhere, I mean: Mashable, TechCrunch, Fast Company, WWD, Perez Hilton. Fast forward six months after one of our campaigns is coming to a close and money is due and *POOF* he disappears with the $15,000 USD owed, which was a lot of money for us at the time. Lawyers were summoned, papers were drawn, but at the end of the day, the money we were owed was less than what it would have cost to fight him.

Lesson learned: always have a contract and don't skimp on getting it right the first time. I don't care if the agreement is with your sister. - Shirin Shafiee, Founder and President of POPCreative PR

SEO-no

Business was going well, until one morning in 2012 I woke up and we had zero orders. I thought it must be a fluke, but the next day, still nothing. Turns out, Google made an algorithm change that basically took us off the search map. The SEO (search engine optimization) company we’d been working with was, without our knowledge, using tactics like keyword stuffing and link buying. The algorithm change penalized those tactics, which meant we no longer showed up on the first page for business-related search terms. At the time, we knew next to nothing about SEO, and we trusted them when they said they knew what they were doing. We tried to fix it by hiring two more SEO companies and were burned again. After that, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I spent a lot of time researching SEO and realized that relinquishing control of something so important was a bad idea. We started from scratch, did our SEO in-house, and rebuilt the website. If you have an online business, it’s VERY important that you learn about SEO. No one cares about your business more than you, and you should understand the mechanics of why and how people are finding your site. - Audrey Craig, President and CEO of GB Design House

Follow Caroline Thompson on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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d3bv8mCaroline ThompsonBrian McManusmoneyBusinessLifeentrepreneursmistakessmall businessThe VICE Guide to Life
<![CDATA[What Does It Mean To ‘Smell Rich’? ]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/pa5bwz/kanye-west-rich-smellWed, 14 Nov 2018 15:00:00 +0000As F. Scott Fitzgerald famously didn’t say to Ernest Hemingway, “The rich are different from you and I,” to which Papa Ernest didn’t reply, “Yes. They have more money.” I would posit that the rich are different from the rest of us in another way, too: they smell better.

The smell of money itself is part of the celebrity scent, but it’s not the whole bouquet. Kim Kardashian recently told the Cut on Monday that Kanye West “smells rich,” but couldn’t qualify exactly what that meant, adding, “I can’t explain it, but like a rich person [laughs]. Like … money, I don’t know! He smells like what you think a really expensive, Saint Laurent fragrance campaign would be.”

The smell of wealth is money, but it’s more than money. It’s luxury perfume, but it’s more than luxury perfume. It’s weirdly ineffable, yet eminently recognizable to everyone who smells it. First, it’s worth noting that the scent of wealth isn’t necessarily the scent of fame. Sure, Oprah might “smell like diamonds,” but consider “musky” Russell Brand, or Brad Pitt, whose no-deodorant smell is “sheepdog-like” (according to Angelina Jolie, who would know.)

At the GARAGE office, we agreed that the idea of “smelling rich” was definitely “a thing,” but like Kardashian-West, we were hard-pressed to define it more precisely. A celebrated European fashion editor was described as smelling “sophisticated-sexual.” An editor’s friend’s friend, who works as a tailor for Carine Roitfeld, says her clothes smell “good in a way I can’t describe, but it definitely has something to do with cigarettes.” She said it was a luxe and beautiful smell, mingled with bad-girl energy. The natural smell of the art-world scion of a wealthy Hong Kong family was summed up as “cologne but not, as if his body were producing cologne all on its own.”

Indeed, the “rich smell” goes beyond fancy products, seeming to emanate directly from the rich person’s very biological being; once you’ve passed a certain threshold of wealth, is it possible that your innermost organs go through some sort of shift, realigning your hormones to emit a certain $$$ fragrance even after a 90-minute Pilates class? Even if the smell of wealth can partly be chalked up to biochemical alchemy, that doesn’t mean you can’t fake certain tips of the trade.


Watch: A Day with a Russian Billionaire


The Reddit thread “How to smell like a rich woman?” is particularly instructive on this topic, with users recommending everything from Hermes 24 Faubourg to Chanel No. 22 to plain old sandalwood oil. “You can also get free samples at high end department stores. Neiman Marcus and Barney’s are great for this,” counsels one Redditor. More revelatory: In 2009, Allure published a how-to on “How to Smell Discreetly Rich,” advising women to apply perfume on the backs of their necks: “When you let down your hair, it diffuses the scent in the air.” Doesn’t that just sound more luxe than the old spritz-in-the-air-then-walk-through-it move?

That attention to the olfactory experience may be what lies at the center of “smelling rich.” After all, a rich person’s daily existence is made up of so many moving parts—it's not just the products but the black car, the dutiful housekeeper, the team of professional stylists and makeup artists working in tandem—that are systemically scrubbed of unpleasant odors and replaced with the sweet smell of success in the form of professional laundry, Oribe hair products, Chanel mascara applied by a perfectly perfumed makeup artist, and never, ever getting on the subway. Perfume is just the cherry on the scent sundae.

So there you have it: I—a normal person in a Uniqlo coat—can daub on the season’s most luxurious eau de parfum, but it won’t cling to me the way it might to a Kardashian, and in a few short hours, the borrowed smell of wealth will dissipate, leaving me once again smelling like, well, me. After all, Kim said Kanye smells like a Saint Laurent fragrance campaign, not like Saint Laurent itself. Smelling good isn’t a choice; it’s a lifestyle.

This article originally appeared on GARAGE.

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<![CDATA[This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Fast Food a Lot]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/a3mw3z/what-happens-if-i-eat-a-lot-of-fast-foodWed, 14 Nov 2018 13:30:00 +0000Two weeks ago, a friend and I pulled into the drive-thru of a McDonald’s in Bennington, Vermont and indulged ourselves. We ordered a couple of value meals and a 10-piece nuggs for good measure. I estimated the meals to be around 1,400 calories each. We ate in near silence both staring through the windshield and off into the middle distance as if in a trance. As I finished off the remaining sweet and sour sauce, I resolved that I would put at least three months between this night and my next visit to the Golden Arches or indeed any other fast food establishment.

It wasn’t the sudden influx of calories alone that gave me pause, but a visceral and undeniable feeling that I was engaging in something like self-harm. When Super Size Me came out in 2004, it had very little effect on my fast food consumption. I was 27 then and seemingly indestructible. In the 14 years since then, the evidence linking regular fast food consumption with a litany of undesirable outcomes has become overwhelming. Here are just some of the ways that regular fast food consumption (say, a couple of times a week) is going to fuck with you if you let it.

Memory and cognitive function will decline

Every time I tuck into a meal at my favorite fast food joint, the condescending little voice in my head says something about how my decision-making processes are impaired. Well, that voice could be onto something. “It’s been long established that saturated fats can negatively impact the heart, but there’s also research that suggests high saturated fat intake may negatively impact brain function and memory,” says Atlanta-based nutritionist Marisa Moore.

Saturated fat is not necessarily the devil, but large amounts of it can create a dangerously unbalanced diet, especially if you’re supplementing it with sugar instead of good fats, carbs, and protein. One 2015 study from Oregon State University demonstrated that a diet high in both fat and sugar, caused changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of "cognitive flexibility," or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.


Watch: The Guy who Survived on Pizza for 25 Years


You might increase your risk of depression

The Happy Meal may be one of the most paradoxically named products ever to hit the market. People who regularly consume fast food are 51 percent more likely to experience depression, and more likely to be single, work long hours, eat fewer fruits and veggies, and smoke, according to a 2012 study. And while talk therapy and meds are going to be your best options to battle depression, New York-based nutritionist Amy Shapiro tells me that nutrients such as B vitamins and Omega 3s have been associated (in some preliminary research) with lower instances of depression. These—as you can imagine—are not found in fast food items as abundantly, if at all.

You’ll up your chances of becoming obese

If you stray from a balanced diet of whole foods to one of fast food, the most obvious difference you’d register would be the enormous uptick in largely empty calories you’d consume at every meal. Within short order, this would begin to have a marked effect on your body composition and your overall health. “Fast food consists of high calorie foods that contain high amounts of carbohydrates and sugar with little to no fiber,” says Virginia Beach-based dietician Jim White. White explains that frequent consumption of these foods lead to insulin resistance, thus contributing greatly to weight gain. A recent study looked at the link between fast food and obesity and hypertension in children and painted an unsurprisingly grim picture.

You’ll also starve

Well, nutritionally speaking at least. See, the high calories in fast food are accompanied by low nutritional density. An excess of burgers and fries will mean a lack of the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly. “Your body is temporarily full with empty foods that don’t provide nourishment, so even though you may have eaten a lot of calories, you won’t be satisfied for long,” Shapiro says.

You could increase your chance of getting cancer

A study by the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services says 2-methylimidazole causes cancer in lab rats. That’s bad because 2-methylimidazole is an ingredient in a caramel coloring which is used in most dark-colored sauces and sodas. It gets worse. Another of this coloring agent’s ingredients is 4-methylimidazole. Researchers tested the effects of 4-methylimidazole on rodents as well and concluded that there was “clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of 4-methylimidazole in male and female B6C3F mice.”

Shapiro says that high smoke points and fried foods can contain carcinogens—a result of the heat of the cooking oil being too high or the charring of meats. “Possible pesticide use, antibiotics, and hormones found in poor quality meats may also be contributing to higher cancer rates,” she says, adding that without the intake of fruits and veggies which are high in antioxidants, fast food aficionados are missing nutritional help to offset the carcinogenic effect of their meals.

You’ll also be more at risk for heart disease

Fats commonly found in fast food are made up of saturated fatty acids. Those are fats that are solid at room temperature, often derived from animals and some plant oils. You’ll find it abundant in, say, a cheeseburger. Jim White warns that these fats can raise the blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It turns out that just living near where this food is available has a discernible effect on heart health. A Dutch study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology that found that adults living within a half-mile of fast food outlets were more likely to develop heart disease than those living further away.

You’ll be constipated

Dietary fiber (commonly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds) plays a dominant role in the digestive system. Fiber helps keep your digestive tract working properly as it ushers wastes out of the body. It can help lower cholesterol and keep blood-sugar levels normal. “Unfortunately, most fast foods don’t contain high dietary fiber contents,” White says. Indeed, the National Institutes of Health calls out fast food as something to avoid should you need to get things moving.

This article originally appeared on Tonic.

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<![CDATA[A Man Just Married an Anime Hologram in Japan. Now Here's the Rest of the Story ]]>https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/nepbgx/japanese-man-married-hatsune-miku-hologram-animeWed, 14 Nov 2018 13:00:00 +0000There's a reason "weird Japan" is its own genre of news story. Maybe it's the world's obsession with Japan's penchant for over-the-top pop culture. Or maybe it's a sorta problematic way to boil an entire country down to the strangest stuff it produces. But one thing's for sure, when a man marries a fucking hologram, it's sure to make headlines worldwide.

That's exactly what happened this week, when a man named Akihiko Kondo "married" a desktop hologram of an anime character called "Hatsune Miku." Miku isn't real. She's a cartoon character who's 16 years old and has hair the color of cotton candy. She's also a pretty big pop star in her own right who can sell out concerts in her native Japan, as well as in New York and Los Angeles, despite the fact that she doesn't really exist. Are you still with me? OK, good.

So how does a flesh-and-blood man fall in love with a hologram? It has a lot to do with these desktop holograms made by Gatebox, a company making a mint off the sexual predilections of lonely heart otaku. These glass boxes project a holographic version of popular anime characters that you can actually interact with—albeit it in a far more limited way than you could talk to a real-life woman. Our colleagues at VICE News spoke with Gatebox about this thing, and you can see what it actually looks like in the video below.


Watch: This Holographic Anime Character Could Be Your Next Girlfriend (HBO)


Now, back to the "wedding." Kondo, the man who married Miku, told AFP that he wasn't in love with Miku the pop star, per se. No, it was the Miku who lives on his desk at home he was really in love with.

“I’m in love with the whole concept of Hatsune Miku but I got married to the Miku of my house,” he told AFP in a weird bit of logical wordplay that only makes sense in 2018. There is no one real Miku here, only a concept and a bunch of private Mikus you can buy for $2,800 USD.

Now, his Miku is more than just a hologram that talks. Aside from telling him goodbye when he heads off to work each morning, he can also send Miku a message from his cell phone when he's on his way home and she'll turn on the lights. She even tells him not to stay up too late and, presumably, can wake him up as well, which is nice and all until you realize that everything Miku does for her new "husband" is the same stuff an Amazon Echo could do. It makes you wonder if Amazon would get a bunch of marriage proposals if Alexa looked like a pre-pubescent cartoon with chipmunk eyes instead of a futuristic coffee can.

Gatebox, in a sign that it knows its audience way too well, offers customers a "marriage certificate" for their Miku. It calls these unions "cross-dimension" marriages and has sent out more than 3,700 of them to date, according to the report by AFP.

But what about the stuff a hologram can't do, like sleep in bed with you or take a trip to the alter? Well, Kondo told AFP that he sleeps with a waifu dakimakura, or a body pillow of his girlfriend Miku, each night. And on their wedding day, he carried a tiny stuffed version of Miku, about the size of a puppy, with him to the alter. You can see a photo of the happy couple here.

An audience of 40 people or so attended his $17,500 USD wedding ceremony. But, sadly, Kondo's mom, as well as the rest of his family, declined the invitation.

“For Mother, it wasn’t something to celebrate,” Kondo told AFP.

Yeah, OK, so all of this is definitely weird. Just like it was weird nine years ago when a different Japanese man married a character from a popular dating sim that lived in his Nintendo DS. Or when a man in South Korea married a waifu dakimakura with an image of Fate Testarossa, an anime "magical girl," on it in an actual ceremony.

But it's also indicative of an actual problem in Japan—a demographic shift that some economists are now calling a "time bomb." Here's the short of it: Japan, as a nation, is getting older. Way older than its neighbors. The average age in Japan is 46.1 years old. In China, it's 36.7. In Indonesia, it's 29.2. The Philippines is even younger at 22.4.

This aging-up of Japan comes with consequences. There are more people leaving the workforce because of their old age than are being born to replace them. This is why economists are calling it a time bomb, the idea being that, eventually, this will have a very real and dramatic effect on the national economy.

There's now an epidemic of old people dying alone in sad apartment complexes completely devoid of young people. And there's so few new workers to take care of these elderly people that a recent survey found that 80 percent of people in Japan feel pretty positive about leaving the care of the aging up to robots. (Never mind that, to bring this full circle, there's actually an anime about this very thing going way wrong.)

So why is all of this happening? A declining birth rate. Japan's birth rate is 1.41, way below the rate of 2.2 that most experts believe is needed to keep a country's population healthy and economically viable. And it's not because Japanese people don't want to have sex, despite what some stories may tell you. It's because most of them can't afford to have a child.

Japan has one of the most-overworked workforces in the world, so much so that it's actually killing people. Add that with a serious glass ceiling issue for women and you have a work culture that prioritizes staying childless for as long as humanly possible. Can you blame people for feeling a little lonely?

So when a man marries a hologram, maybe it's weird Japan. Or maybe it's just late capitalism.

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