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The JungleAugust 18, 20187min0

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On the 58th day of the Summer of Sleaze, we at Esquire realized, between questioning Justin Bieber’s seasonal wardrobe choices and praising Shia LaBeouf’s culinary debauchery, that we were long overdue for an acknowledgement of a legend.

Enter Vanilla Ice, 1992 Golden Raspberry Award-Winner for Worst New Artist, photographed wearing an all-time-great combination of garbage garments—and looking cool as hell while he’s at it.

Yes, he’s got the oversized thrift store University of Miami Hurricanes tee. Yes, he’s showing off the lining of his obviously promotional NHL outerwear. YES, he’s rocking two chains decades before Tauheed Epps picked his second rap name and “pulled up to the scene with his ceiling missing.” It’s all absolutely peak sleaze before sleaze peaked!

But the obvious M.V.P. of the fit are his sweats (good lord, are they fucking velvet?), which feature not only the American flag, but a graffiti version of his own face. Folks, we’ve discussed a lot of sleazy sartorial choices over the course of the past week. We’ve talked about bowling shirts and wispy mustaches, visible designer underwear and clothing that literally says “filthy” on it. But damn, Ice. The audacity to put your own chiseled jawline on some loungewear and to then wear it in public is unprecedented. He even tucks them into a pair of Infrared Air Jordan VI’s. A fine choice for sleazeballs and soy boys alike.

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Oh, but wait. It does, indeed, get better. Not only did Ice sport his own mug on clothing—he did it on more than one occasion. Here he is again: This time extending his patriotism to some kind of flashy-as-hell nylon bomber and wearing a DIFFERENT UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI T-SHIRT. How many of these do you have, sir?

Vanilla Ice

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Wearing sunglasses indoors is a flex reserved for those who earn it, so to make sure you knew he’s the kind of scumbag who deserves to pull it off, Ice threw a white rose between his lateral incisors and threw his hands up as to say “I don’t give a fuck.”

That’s why we here at the Sleaze Academy feel he’s worthy of a Vanguard Award. Because as we’ve stated time and time again, sleazecore is rooted in rebellion. Ice is known for that. In August 1988, he was arrested for illegal drag racing. That alone puts him in the hall as far as I’m concerned.

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The JungleAugust 18, 201818min0

Quartz produces electricity when put under pressure, but when electricity is applied to quartz, it vibrates, it is these vibrations, similar to that of a mechanical balance wheel, which serve as a basis to use the crystal has a high precision oscillator. That said, contrary to popular belief, research into the timekeeping properties of quartz crystals began as early as 1880, when Pierre Curie (1859-1906), the husband of Marie Curie (discoverer of radioactivity), discovered piezoelectricity.

Better. Faster. Stronger

Omega Marine

Thanks to the Enlightenment view of watches as scientific instruments, the mechanical watch industry was making technological advances by leaps and bounds – the fusee and chain which changed leverage as the spring unwound was an equalising drive force bringing never-before-seen precision to time-keeping. The bimetallic balance spring was soon invented to solve the error in balance wheels due to changes of elasticity of the balance spring due to atmospheric temperatures. Jean-Antoine Lépine’s going barrel which provided a more consistent driving force over the watch’s running period made the fusee obsolete, but even as mechanisms improved exponentially, they were still not precise enough for anyone wanting to take serious time measurements.

By 1927, Canadian-born telecommunications engineer Warren Marrison used Curie’s pioneering work with piezoelectricity to develop a reliable frequency standard for Bell Labs. His creation, the quartz clock was much more accurate than existing mechanical clocks and while it became standard in laboratories across the world, the technology was too cumbersome and expensive for household use or portability. It would take another 40 years before quartz would become useful in the development of wristwatches.

Like the legendary foot races which inspired the first Greek Olympiads, this feat of progression and advancement was a result of man’s relentlesss drive to be better, faster and stronger. Though quartz technology has often been derided by mechanical watch aficionados, we decided to cast light on this divergent exploration of one of mankind’s most enabling technologies.

A New Dawn

Omega Marine

The introduction of the quartz watch in 1969 was a revolutionary improvement in time-keeping technology. In place of a balance wheel which oscillated at 5 beats per second, it used a quartz crystal resonator which vibrated at 8,192 Hz, driven by a battery-powered oscillator circuit. As a result of replacing the wheel train required to total beats into seconds, minutes and hours, the digital counters which replaced it made quartz movements incredibly thin. With low temperature coefficient, unprecedented high frequencies and the removal of all mechanical moving parts, these watches were more accurate, shock-resistance and more importantly, rendered the need for periodic servicing necessary, and though the Omega Marine Chronometer introduced in 1974 was the first wristwatch to hold Marine Chronometer certification and accuracy rates of 12 seconds per year, it was Longines, together with Asulab, who was pursuing a specialist approach to Quartz technology on par with the Japanese quartz tsunami which threatened Swiss watchmaking as a whole. On the Swiss frontlines, Longines was present, pioneering a range of highly accurate quartz watch prototypes by the early 80s and in 1984, they finally released the original VHP with thermocompensated movement, that is to say, a quartz movement which compensated for temperature variations (one of the biggest contributors to rate drift), was already outclassing anything its bigger cousin produced.

At this juncture, a cynic would probably level claims that Longines was merely reactionary. However, research shows that as early as 1912, the St. Imier manufacture (at the time) was already making in-roads into a then, extremely novel concept of “electronic time keeping” – it was the first system of electromechanical sports timing using a system of wires which when broken, respectively start or stop a watch; it made its debut at the Federal Gymnastics Festival in Basel.

Outside laboratories, the earliest consumer quartz clocks would finally be miniaturised and portable enough for use outside fixed locations was available in 1954, thanks to Longines once again, quickly chalking up new records for accuracy at the Neuchatel Observatory. Such was the vaunted precision of the Chronocinegines that when attached to a 16mm camera, it was the earliest use of tandem optical and measurement technology allowing sports officials to review a series of still images taken every hundredth of a second in order to judge extremely close calls as athletes crossed the finish lines.

By 1965, after some flirtation and experimentation with the hybrid electromechanical L400 calibre intended for observatory competitions, the fully quartz 800 calibre intended for on-board chronometers debuted; and it outclassed everything else available in the market in terms of chronometric precision. Within four years, Longines conceived of the Swiss watch industry’s counter-offensive against Japanese Quartz watches – Project Hourglass.

Project Hourglass and VHP (Very High Precision)

1969 was the turning point. Longines’ Project Hourglass conceived of the first cybernetic quartz calibre, the Ultra-Quartz L6512; and in ten years, St. Imier went from giving the Swiss watch industry a fighting chance to delivering the world’s thinnest quartz watch measuring only 1.98mm thin. It was this scholarship which eventually attracted the attention of the legendary Nicolas G. Hayek and their resulting incorporation into Societe Suisse de Microelectronique et d’Horlogerie (SMH), the precursor to what we know today as Swatch Group. As a result of integrated operations, the company was able to follow up with the 276 VHP calibre a scant five years later, pioneering a whole genre of high precision Quartz timekeeping. Yes, it’s true, a run-of-the-mill quartz calibre, by virtue of its 32,768 Hz frequency will run more precise than any watch with a mechanical oscillator. However, quartz has a very low coefficient of thermal expansion, this meant that temperature variations of any kind caused frequency variation in crystal oscillators. Thus, for any semblance of constant chronometry, the crystal needed to be kept at a constant temperature and the vaunted Longines VHP calibre was among the first of its kind to be equipped with thermo-compensating technology which neutralised the effects of temperature while a regular Quartz timepiece depended on a “dome” effect, constructing a watch in such a way that the warmth of your wrist could keep the vibrating crystal at a constant temperature.

Over the years, consumer willingness to pay for such levels of sublime timekeeping precision waned and as it became more and more of a niche business, Longines discontinued the VHP line and for the next 30 years, it remained a mythic tale. Then without warning, it was revived in 2017.

Today, the new Longines VHP carries the design spirit and technical ethos of St. Imier’s pioneering work in the field of high precision quartz mechanisms. Guaranteed to within ± 5 seconds per year, Longines new VHP calibres double the precision rates of most of its competing precision quartz movements which typically top out at ± 10 seconds per year. Available in a three-hand-and-date variation, including the special commemorative Commonwealth Games limited edition, the new Longines VHP calibre delivers significant improvements over its progenitor: Dubbed GPD or “gear position detection” system, the new VHP calibre allows the hands to be automatically re-aligned following accidental displacement by shock (up to 500Gs) or strong magnetic field, either immediately, or at 3am if the problem cannot be resolved immediately for some reason. This functionality also includes automatic correction at 3am every three days to ensure the precision.

In addition to its extraordinary five year battery life, the watch is capable of signalling the end of battery life by making one of its hands jump every five seconds. If the battery is not replaced during the E.O.L. ( end of life ) phase, the system goes into E.O.E (end of energy) mode by setting the watch hands to 12 o’clock. You have then 6 months to change the battery or risk battery leakage damaging the precision movement.

Interestingly, the new Longines VHP has a little known “energy saving” feature which further extends its power reserve – pulling out the crown stops the hands from moving, returning it to the 12 o’clock position but the timepiece continues to keep a running count of time until the moment her user returns the crown to a locked position, following which the watch adjusts itself to the correct date – though it’s more of a feature for distributors and retailers to use for logistics and transportation purposes, since this in essence serves as a time-reset to its Swiss time and date as it left the factory.

The smart crown of the new Longines VHP also allows to set the time minute by minute or hour by hour (quick setting), by turning the crown either slowly or vigorously. When changing the time (in summer/winter, for example), the movement automatically repositions the second and minute hands to the exact position of the previous time, therefore ensuring extra precision.

Finally, the addition of a perpetual calendar, makes the new VHP series all the more user friendly – the date mechanism keeps track of leap years and odd dates, thus there are no headaches when it comes to keeping track of date adjustments when the watch does it all for you. Should you make an errant adjustment unknowingly, the calibre is intelligent enough to not allow one to move the time forward or backward more than one day, in order to avoid disrupting the perpetual calendar. If the battery is exhausted ( or removed from the movement more than one day ), the timepiece will require total resynchronisation as all the functions are affected. If the battery is removed from the movement less than one day, only the hour needs to be re-adjusted.

Time and calendar only variants exist in 41 and 43  mm editions, while chronograph variants with a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock and a 60-second counter in the centre can be found in 42 and 44 mm dimensions.

Even with precision timekeeping available to all and sundry thanks to the satellite and internet technology beamed directly into smartphones and other consumer electronic devices, the dumbing down of this tech into mass brand fashion watches has re-ignited pursuit of the ultimate quartz watch. The proprietary quartz technology found in the Conquest VHP is part of a long tradition of advances in quartz chronometry stretching back all the way to the 1950s, specially developed for use to time sporting events. Given the immense provenance and technical know-how of Longines VHP, it would take the most cynical watch connoisseur to ignore what a milestone this timepiece represents.

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The JungleAugust 17, 20184min0

People march and rally to support Cannabis or Marijuana legalization Worldwide

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The cannabis industry just got its biggest investment to date: $4 billion, enough to make the legal weed market a booming global operation. The future of legalization is looking bright indeed, folks.

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That huge chunk of money was invested by Constellation Brands, which owns drinks like Corona, Modelo, and Svedka, into Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, which boats the largest legal cannabis footprint in the world, BBC reports. It’s a marriage of a booze giant to a weed giant.

Last year, Constellation invested $191 million in Canopy Growth to get to work on cannabis-infused drinks. (Cannabis-infused drinks don’t have THC, so they don’t get you high.) This new $4 billion investment is for even more growth, and specifically into 30 countries where federally approved medical marijuana is on the horizon. The money will also go towards products like edibles, as well as cannabis products used for medical treatment alternatives to anxiety, insomnia, and pain.

Canada approved a measure to legalize marijuana across the entire country that goes into effect in October. The United States is way behind, and Constellation says it won’t sell cannabis products on this side of the border until cannabis is legal at a federal level. But when Big Beer invests this much in weed, it’s a pretty good sign that the tide may be turning.

If you can’t wait for America to catch up, book a trip to Canada. They’re working on a cannabis beer with THC as we speak.

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The JungleAugust 17, 20186min0

YUKHOVICHI, Belarus (Reuters) – Tamara and Yuri Baikov knew it was time to move away from their village when one of their ducks wandered into a neighbor’s plot of land, only to return with a wire deliberately threaded through its beak.

The Nishcha River is seen near the village of Yukhovichi, Belarus, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Since then, the husband and wife have lived for more than a quarter of a century in a primitive hut in a forest in northeastern Belarus, close to the Russian border.

“There are no people – there is no conflict,” said Tamara Baikov, who says she loves weeding her vegetable patch and would rather plow a hectare of land than venture to a city.

Life is simple for the two 69-year-olds. There is no electricity, so they read by torchlight. They take the water they need from the river and cook with a wood-burning stove.

Their chickens and ducks provide them with meat and eggs. Their goats give them milk and cottage cheese. Manure is their only fertilizer for growing potatoes and vegetables.

Tamara Baikov, 69, looks into a stove inside her hut in a forest near the village of Yukhovichi, Belarus, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Daughter Veronika is their main contact with the outside world. She brings any additional supplies they might need from a store, and also sells their produce to generate some income.

“Our Veronika sells all this in neighboring Russia. Plus a pension, we have enough to live on,” Yuri said. “We cannot leave our animals and birds even for a day – and we don’t want to.”

They live on a small farm they built in 1992. The nearest Belarussian village, Yukhovichi, is 15 km (9 miles) away, while Russia is a few hundred meters across the river.

They used to live in Yukhovichi as farmers, keeping cows and poultry. But dwelling near other people did not suit them — the injured duck was one example.

In late 1991, the local authorities gave them a piece of land in the forest and one night in May 1992, they left together with Veronika, five cows, some groceries, tools and nails.

They spent the first few nights under a linden tree, covering themselves in plastic sheets for warmth.

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Veronika grew up and eventually moved beyond the river to a village in Russia called Davostsy. She now has a 16-year-old daughter of her own called Angelina.

Tamara and Yuri stayed in the cramped hut that was initially intended as a temporary shelter. They had planned to build a proper house, but a lack of money and bureaucratic hassles prevented them from doing so.

They like to listen to Russian radio stations to keep up with world news. But mostly they enjoy the solitude.

“Silence is very good – only grandma is not silent, she talks a lot,” Yuri joked, referring to his wife.

For a photo essay, click on: reut.rs/2OGbnuM

Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Alison Williams

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The JungleAugust 17, 201810min0

Designed by Australian-born Interior Designer Ashley Sutton, the Vana Nava Sky Bar is a dramatic rooftop venue and observation deck on Thailand’s Gulf coast perched on the 27th floor of the Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin. The rooftop bar offers panoramic views of the cityscape, where visitors may enjoy live music while dining out in the sky.

The Sky Jazz Brunch: Latin-inspired Cuisine With A Mediterranean Twist

“At Vana Nava Sky Bar, our mission is to elevate Hua Hin’s culinary scene to new heights. The launch of our new Sky Jazz Brunch is another way we are successfully standing out from the crowd,” – Ron Ramirez, General Manager of the Vana Nava Sky Bar

In partnership with the Hua Hin Jazz Festival, Vana Nava Sky Bar has launched a new Sky Jazz Brunch, a Latin take on the classic Sunday brunch. Diners are in for an eclectic curation of Latin American and Mediterranean dishes that include succulent grilled meats and a selection of tapas with creative cocktails to match.

The Sky Jazz Brunch will feature a selection of South American meats at the Pan-Latin Carvery, which include Peruvian suckling pig, Brazilian roast duck, Chilean roast beef and Columbian roast chicken. To switch up the taste, guests may also go for the wide variety of cold meats, cheeses, and fresh seafood on ice. For added theatrical experience, live cooking stations are available for guests to enjoy their food piping hot from the pans.

“In our dramatic setting, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, guests will be able to enjoy contemporary cuisine and cool cocktails that perfectly complement our stunning surroundings.” – Ron Ramirez, General Manager of the Vana Nava Sky Bar

Round up the gastronomical experience at the dessert bar, where the highlight is Vana Nava Sky Bar’s very own ice cream station. Guests may also indulge in a series of Latin-inspired cocktails specially created by the team of in-house expert international mixologists. Free-flow Caipirinas, Pisco Sours, Sangria Fountains and Summer Breezes will end the brunch on a high note.

To book a stay at Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin, or dine in the clouds at the Vana Nava Sky Bar, visit Holiday Inn Resorts.

 

Fly to Thailand via Thai Airways: Featuring the New Live Television Onboard

As the designated national carrier of Thailand, Thai Airways was founded in 1960 and currently operates on domestic, regional, and intercontinental routes to 77 destinations in 31 countries spanning three continents, including Europe, Asia, and Australia. The airline is committed to provide wholesome services to premium passengers, while maintaining a high level of service to leisure travelers. Passengers on all flight classes enjoy an access to a wide variety of updated and classic entertainment with over 1000 hours of movies, short films, games, music, news and information through a large personal seatback screen.

Used alongside Wi-Fi service onboard, the Panasonic Live Television service is now available on the seatback onboard all Thai Airways classes. Besides featuring worldwide channels such as BBC World News and CNN International, Panasonic also holds the exclusive inflight distribution rights of IMG’s premium sports channels, Sport24 and Sport24 Extra – the world’s only 24/7 live sports channel onboard supported flights. Thus, passengers may access the best sports leagues and events, such as the Premier League, NFL, FIFA, NHL, NBA, US Open, and Champions league. Never miss a World Cup match or Olympic finals – even while cruising in the air.

For more information and bookings, visit Thai Airways.

 

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The JungleAugust 17, 20185min0

CHONGQING, China (Reuters) – Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Cristiano Ronaldo are just a few of the famous faces that Chinese make-up artist He Yuhong can transform her features into, but now she’s turning to famous artworks.

A combination picture shows makeup artist He Yuhong, also known as “Yuya”, posing without her makeup and garments (L), and without her makeup (C) following her transformation (R) into the “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, the 17th century oil painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, at her house in Chongqing, China August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Suen

The 27-year-old has gone viral on Chinese social media for her videos of her make-up transformations, drawing a million followers on popular video and music platform TikTok.

“It’s more difficult to do this kind of make-up, because it’s more like drawing,” said He, who is based in the southwestern city of Chongqing.

Makeup artist He Yuhong, also known as “Yuya”, applies makeup during a recording of her transformation into the “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, the 17th century oil painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, at her house in Chongqing, China August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Suen

“I need to draw other people’s faces onto my own, with a lot of details added, and I need to change my facial features.”

He has even taken on characters from paintings, such as the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by 17th-century Dutchman Johannes Vermeer.

It took her more than six hours to recreate, carefully adding layers of foundation to her face to replicate shadows, and wearing a headscarf to match the one on the canvas.

In May, He kicked off her video series, unexpectedly bringing to life Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” in a recreation that captured attention on social media.

Slideshow (9 Images)

Before she became a blogger on the transformative use of make-up, she had her own studio, applying cosmetics in preparation for weddings and advertisement shoots.

Now she estimates her monthly spend on make-up is up to 10,000 yuan ($1,452). She is backed by corporate sponsors.

“I like to try new things,” He said, adding that characters from the “Lion King” and princesses in Disney animated films are next in her lineup for imitation.

($1=6.8873 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Thomas Suen; Writing by Karishma Singh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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The JungleAugust 17, 20183min0

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An 18th century gold coin featuring the likeness of first U.S. President George Washington sold for $1.7 million at auction on Thursday, with the net proceeds going to charity, the auction house said.

FILE PHOTO – The image of the first U.S. President George Washington on a dollar bill is seen in a photo illustration in Toronto October 15, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The 1792 Washington President gold eagle coin was never circulated as money but is instead thought to have been presented to Washington when post-Revolutionary War plans were being drawn up for the first U.S. Mint, according to Heritage Auctions.

“Numismatic researchers widely agree it is one of the most important coins in American history,” Heritage co-founder Jim Halperin said in statement announcing the sale.

Currency researchers believe that the Washington President coin, which has his profile on the front and an eagle on the back, was given to him as part of a sales promotion in a bid to obtain a contract to strike U.S coinage, and that Washington carried it as a personal memento.

The U.S. Mint was authorized in 1792 and the first coins for public use were issued a year later in copper and silver, with images of lady Liberty on the front and a bald eagle on the back.

The Washington President coin comes from the collection of the late Eric. P. Newman, who acquired it privately in 1942.

Newman died in 2017 at the age of 106 having amassed one of the most significant coin collections in the United States.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Paul Tait

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The JungleAugust 16, 20184min0

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian flower growers bested the summer’s blistering heat to lay out 500,000 blossoms on the central square of Brussels, in this year’s edition of the world famous flower carpet.

A 1,800 square meters flower carpet on the theme “Guanajuato, cultural pride of Mexico” and made with over 500,000 dahlias and begonias is seen at Brussels’ Grand Place, Belgium August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

As Europe endured one of its hottest summers on record, organizers worried that the heat would prevent the flowers from blooming.

“It has been extremely difficult. Until 10 days ago, people were afraid that we were not going to have enough flowers. Luckily, in the last two weeks the weather changed, producing new, fresh flowers,” said Troch Peters, a Belgium-based flower wholesaler.

Slideshow (10 Images)

Despite the concerns, organizers once again arranged an 1,800 square-meter flower carpet on the city’s landmark Renaissance town square, which this year drew inspiration from the Mexican region of Guanajuato.

In the carpet’s design a bird, commonly found in indigenous Mexican embroidery, is surrounded by illustrations of Mexican fauna and flora.

“It is absolutely beautiful! I have been coming here since I was a little girl. Every time I see it, I am even more and more taken aback at the detail,” said visitor Judith Daniels from Los Angeles.

The flower carpet dates back to 1971, when Brussels councillors were impressed by similar arrangements in the neighboring Flanders province and decided to bring it to the city. Since then, the carpet has been laid out every other year, attracting tens of thousands of visitors.

Reporting by Julia Echikson; Additional reporting by Christopher Stern and Christian Levaux; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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The JungleAugust 16, 20187min0

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The denim jacket may have roots in workwear, but nowadays it’s become a different beast entirely. It’s not just a classic, it’s remarkably versatile—if you know how to style it the right way. That’s where we come in. We’ve pulled together three different ways to wear one jean jacket, whether you’re breaking it out on the weekend or in the office (yes, the office.) Here’s how to dress it up, dress it down, and split the difference.

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The Office

Man need not wear a sport coat every single day. To dress up a denim jacket, though, you’ll want to treat it a lot like you treat that single-breasted two-button: Pair it with slim trousers, a crisp white shirt, and a stylish pair of Chelseas. Finish the whole thing off with a sleek watch—you’re trying to elevate the look, after all.

Faded denim jacket ($295) by Rag & Bone, mrporter.com; Selvedge Oxford shirt ($185) by Todd Snyder, toddsnyder.com; MK1 steel watch ($119) by Timex x Todd Snyder, toddsnyder.com; tapered chino ($50) by Topman, topman.com; High Line Chelsea boot ($100) by Steve Madden, nordstrom.com.

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Date Night

To relax things just a bit for a night out, ditch the dressy accoutrements for a more minimal, sportswear-inspired look. You’ll still want to keep things clean—note the minimal sneakers—but feel free to go with a simple sweater and a pair of jeans.

Faded denim jacket ($295) by Rag & Bone, mrporter.com; pique sweater ($60) by J.Crew, mrporter.com; slim fit jeans ($199) by Frame, nordstrom.com; hand-sewn low ($600) by Feit, feitdirect.com; leather cardholder ($215) by Off-White, mrporter.com.

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The Weekend

Embrace the jacket’s rock-and-roll heritage by wearing it with slim dark jeans, a pair of OG skate shoes, and a bold graphic tee. Simple and easy—just like a great casual look should be.

Faded denim jacket ($295) by Rag & Bone, mrporter.com; Radiohead Carbon Patch tee ($44) by Urban Outfitters, urbanoutfitters.com; selvedge denim jeans ($235) by Mr P, mrporter.com; Sk8-Hi ($75) by Vans, endclothing.com; Tina dad hat ($29) by Urban Outfitters, urbanoutfitters.com.

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The JungleAugust 16, 20186min0

ZURICH (Reuters) – With its quirky egg shape and minimalist interior, the bubble car was a symbol of cheap and cheerful mobility on European roads in the 1950s and 60s.

Chief Operating Officer Oliver (L) and his brother Chief Marketing Officer Merlin Ouboter of Swiss Microlino AG pose beside an electric-powered Microlino car in Kuesnacht, Switzerland July 13, 2018. Picture taken July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Today, two Swiss brothers are developing a new version of the two-seater, a full 56 years after BMW halted production of its famed Isetta after churning out more than 160,000 vehicles.

Oliver and Merlin Ouboter have more than 7,200 orders for their Microlino, a modern version of the Isetta which swaps the old single-cylinder petrol engine for a 20 horsepower electric motor but keeps the famous front-opening door.

The brothers, whose father Wim made millions from modernized kick-scooters, plan to launch the car in December.

Chief Marketing Officer Merlin Ouboter (L) of Swiss Microlino AG sits in an electric-powered Microlino car as he answers questions of tourists from the United States in Zurich, Switzerland August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

“The average modern car is way too big for normal use,” said Oliver, the project’s 24-year-old operations chief.

He cited statistics showing the average car journey involves 1.2 passengers driving less than 35 km.

They built two prototypes in China and displayed one at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, where enthusiasts received them warmly.

“We started a reservations list with 500 spots on it, and in three or four days it was filled up,” said Merlin, 22, the chief marketing officer.

The Microlino will be built by Italian manufacturer Tazzari, which has a 50 percent stake in the project and eventually plans to produce 5,000 of the vehicles per year.

Slideshow (5 Images)

With the car retailing for 12,000 euros, pre-existing components keeps costs down. The engine, for example, is a modified version of a fork-lift powerplant, and the door handles come from the Fiat 500.

The standard vehicle has a range of 120 km and a top speed of 90 km/h. It charges in four hours from a normal plug for roughly 1.50 euros. Its trunk holds up to 300 liters, while the instrumentation is bare bones.

“We have stripped a lot of the needless instruments out,” said Oliver. “In modern cars you have so many buttons I honestly don’t know what many of them are for.”

Only 2.4 meters long, it fits in a tiny parking space and its front-opening door means occupants won’t be boxed in.

After launching 100 units this year, the brothers from just outside Zurich plan to build 1,500 to 2,000 cars next year, eventually increasing that to 5,000 per year. If they are a hit, annual output could reach 10,000 vehicles.

“We hope this in some small way can contribute to more environmentally friendly mobility,” said Merlin, “but also do it in a fun and cool way.”

Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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