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Seven Places To Stay In Dubai (If You Stay In Dubai Seven Times)

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The city of Dubai is poised to become the millionaire playground of the 2010s, with its economy crafted to accommodate businesses and other tourism-specific developments. But Dubai could have all the ritziest clubs and hottest attractions the world over, and still no one would visit if its hotels were not the most decadent, over-the-top establishments imaginable. Luckily, Dubai has risen to the challenge.

Ski Dubai

If one has enough money to vacation in Dubai, it would only be natural to assume that said person can afford to jet off to the Alps for the weekend when the urge to ski comes up. But just in case this is too much of a trek, Ski Dubai has brought the mountains to the desert in the form of 3 football fields of indoor ski trails. Five different ski runs of varying difficulty provide options for everyone, along with tobogganing hills and a bobsled ride. If you get sick of riding the magic carpet shaped chairlifts, you can always head over to the Snow Park, which contains 32,000 feet of snow just for making snowmen or staging snowball fights. Ski Dubai is not a place to stay and so not quite right for this list, but the idea of skiing down to a window and looking out on blazing hot sand is too surreal to resist.

Madinat Jumeirah

Dubai2.jpgThe Madinat Jumeirah hotel is modeled after an ancient Arabic town, right down to the very last detail. The shopping center looks like the bazaar the title hero runs through in Aladdin, and quaint stone bridges crisscross from building to building over the resort's 2.3 miles of fake rivers that come complete with Arabian water taxis to chauffeur guests from their hotel rooms to whichever of the 45 restaurants and bars they choose. And for anyone concerned about office access all the way out there in the desert, fear not: you can bring your fellow desk warriors with you! The Madinat Conference Hall has a maximum capacity of 1,832 persons and has capabilities that would put those efficiency suites on the highway to shame.

BurjDubai.jpgBurj Dubai

One of several Dubai projects in the running for a record in the Guiness Book, the Burj Dubai aims to become the tallest skyscraper in the world. Its projected height is being kept a secret, but numbers being thrown around range anywhere from 2,297 to 2,684 feet tall "“ reaching more than 700 to 1,000 feet highest than the world's current tallest high-rise building, Taiwan's Taipei 101. The first 37 floors of this behemoth will become the Giorgio Armani Hotel, decorated by its namesake, and 56 of the world's fastest elevators will transport residents and guests to any of the four pools, the 15,000 square foot fitness complex, a cigar club, a library, and the world's highest publicly accessible observation deck. Sadly, if you're only just hearing about this now, you won't be able to become the proud owner of one of the 700 apartment suites being built "“ they sold out within 8 hours of becoming available. However, you could always throw down $15 million for your own private island in the shape of your favorite country"¦

The World

Dubai4.jpgRight off the coast of Dubai, 300 artificial islands are being constructed, clustered together to create the shapes of each of the seven continents. The islands, known as "The World," can only be accessed by boat or helicopter, and they range in price from $15 million to as much as $45. The islands are not only for personal use, however "“ the Ireland island is being transformed into an Irish themed resort, complete with a gym, Irish-style pub, spa, and a replica of the Giant's Causeway. If you do decide to snap up a little piece of Africa or Asia, you'll be rubbing elbows with the likes of Tommy Lee, proud owner of Greece, and Angelina Jolie, alleged proprietor of Ethiopia. As their website states, "The World can really revolve around you."

The Hydropolis

Hydropolis.jpgThe Hydropolis is under construction 60 feet below the surface of the Persian Gulf waters off the coast of Dubai, and it holds every imaginable amenity anyone could ever need. Estimates for how much it costs are anywhere between $500 and $600 million dollars, which probably does not include the rumored missile defense system budget. Two clear domes encompass a ballroom and a concert hall, but leaving your suite is not necessary to gaze out on the ocean floor, as all the rooms have clear glass surrounding the bedroom area. Underwater construction is a tall order, but the Hydropolis will not be outdone by other Dubai properties when it comes to amenities; I can't think of any other reason why one would include a cosmetic surgery clinic in plans for an underwater kingdom if the ultimate goal is not to be the most fabulous glitterati getaway in the world.

Burj Al Arab

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burjalarab2.jpgPerhaps the Burj Al Arab has been overshadowed recently by the enormous projects popping up all over Dubai, but we can't leave out a hotel whose 1,000 foot high helipad can be converted into a tennis court, recently used for a friendly match between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer. Every gold-colored surface in the iconic sail-shaped building is 24 karat, and there are a lot of them. A grand will get you the cheapest room for a night, complete with Hermes toiletries, pillow and bath menus, butler service, 24-hour private dining, a complete office setup, and a huge plasma television. And these are not your average ultra-elite suites "“ every guest room in the hotel extends over two floors, so those who want to party can carry on at the bar area downstairs while the children sleep. But if this doesn't seem quite up to par, there's always the Royal Suite, which goes for $28,000 a night and contains an elevator, a rotating four-poster bed, and a private cinema.

Dubailand

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But don't book your plane tickets just yet "“ the gem of Dubai, Dubailand, is still very much under construction, and although it will open in 2010, the resort won't be completely finished until 2018. The $20 billion dollar project will contain Dubai's second indoor ski resort, a water park, an observatory wheel larger than the London Eye, and several theme parks. Two spa resorts, a sport complex with four stadiums, a planetarium, and a Tiger Woods golf resort are under construction, as well as the Falcon City of Wonders, which will include replicas of various landmark structures from around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal. Each of the 31 hotels under construction will have a different theme, like Camelot or Wild West, and the number of hotel rooms will amount to a grand total of 30,000. Dubailand will also contain the Mall of Arabia, on track to become the world's largest mall at 10 million square feet. And by the time construction is completed Dubailand will stretch for 107 square miles, twice the size of all the Disney parks put together. Follow the progress through this photo gallery.

So, have any of you ever been to Dubai? Where'd you stay? What'd you think?

Cassandra Galante is an occasional contributor to mentalfloss.com.

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entertainment
10 Surprising Facts About The Babadook
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IFC Films

In 2014, The Babadook came out of nowhere and scared audiences across the globe. Written and directed by Aussie Jennifer Kent, and based on her short film Monster, The Babadook is about a widow named Amelia (played by Kent’s drama schoolmate Essie Davis) who has trouble controlling her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who thinks there’s a monster living in their house. Amelia reads Samuel a pop-up book, Mister Babadook, and Samuel manifests the creature into a real-life monster. The Babadook may be the villain, but the film explores the pitfalls of parenting and grief in an emotional way. 

“I never approached this as a straight horror film,” Kent told Complex. “I always was drawn to the idea of grief, and the suppression of that grief, and the question of, how would that affect a person? ... But at the core of it, it’s about the mother and child, and their relationship.”

Shot on a $2 million budget, the film grossed more than $10.3 million worldwide and gained an even wider audience via streaming networks. Instead of creating Babadook out of CGI, a team generated the images in-camera, inspired by the silent films of Georges Méliès and Lon Chaney. Here are 10 things you might not have known about The Babadook (dook, dook).

1. THE NAME “BABADOOK” WAS EASY FOR A CHILD TO INVENT.

Jennifer Kent told Complex that some people thought the creature’s name sounded “silly,” which she agreed with. “I wanted it to be like something a child could make up, like ‘jabberwocky’ or some other nonsensical name,” she explained. “I wanted to create a new myth that was just solely of this film and didn’t exist anywhere else.”

2. JENNIFER KENT WAS WORRIED PEOPLE WOULD JUDGE THE MOTHER.

Amelia isn’t the best mother in the world—but that’s the point. “I’m not a parent,” Kent told Rolling Stone, “but I’m surrounded by friends and family who are, and I see it from the outside … how parenting seems hard and never-ending.” She thought Amelia would receive “a lot of flak” for her flawed parenting, but the opposite happened. “I think it’s given a lot of women a sense of reassurance to see a real human being up there,” Kent said. “We don’t get to see characters like her that often.”

3. KENT AND ESSIE DAVIS TONED DOWN THE CONTENT FOR THE KID.

Noah Wiseman was six years old when he played Samuel. Kent and Davis made sure he wasn’t present for the more horrific scenes, like when Amelia tells Samuel she wishes he was the one who died, not her husband. “During the reverse shots, where Amelia was abusing Sam verbally, we had Essie yell at an adult stand-in on his knees,” Kent told Film Journal. “I didn’t want to destroy a childhood to make this film—that wouldn’t be fair.”

Kent explained a “kiddie version” of the plot to Wiseman. “I said, ‘Basically, Sam is trying to save his mother and it’s a film about the power of love.’”

4. THE FILM IS ALSO ABOUT “FACING OUR SHADOW SIDE.”

IFC Films

Kent told Film Journal that “The Babadook is a film about a woman waking up from a long, metaphorical sleep and finding that she has the power to protect herself and her son.” She noted that everybody has darkness to face. “Beyond genre and beyond being scary, that’s the most important thing in the film—facing our shadow side.”

5. THE FILM SCARED THE HELL OUT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE EXORCIST.

In an interview with Uproxx, William Friedkin—director of The Exorcist—said The Babadook was one of the best and scariest horror films he’d ever seen. He especially liked the emotional aspect of the film. “It’s not only the simplicity of the filmmaking and the excellence of the acting not only by the two leads, but it’s the way the film works slowly but inevitably on your emotions,” he said.

6. AN ART DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SCORED THE ROLE AS THE BABADOOK.

Tim Purcell worked in the film’s art department but then got talked into playing the titular character after he acted as the creature for some camera tests. “They realized they could save some money, and have me just be the Babadook, and hence I became the Babadook,” Purcell told New York Magazine. “In terms of direction, it was ‘be still a lot,’” he said.

7. THE MOVIE BOMBED IN ITS NATIVE AUSTRALIA.

Even though Kent shot the film in Adelaide, Australians didn’t flock to the theaters; it grossed just $258,000 in its native country. “Australians have this [built-in] aversion to seeing Australian films,” Kent told The Cut. “They hardly ever get excited about their own stuff. We only tend to love things once everyone else confirms they’re good … Australian creatives have always had to go overseas to get recognition. I hope one day we can make a film or work of art and Australians can think it’s good regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.”

8. YOU CAN OWN A MISTER BABADOOK BOOK (BUT IT WILL COST YOU). 

IFC Films

In 2015, Insight Editions published 6200 pop-up books of Mister Babadook. Kent worked with the film’s illustrator, Alexander Juhasz, who created the book for the movie. He and paper engineer Simon Arizpe brought the pages to life for the published version. All copies sold out but you can find some Kent-signed ones on eBay, going for as much as $500.

9. THE BABADOOK IS A GAY ICON.

It started at the end of 2016, when a Tumblr user started a jokey thread about how he thought the Babadook was gay. “It started picking up steam within a few weeks,” Ian, the Tumblr user, told New York Magazine, “because individuals who I presume are heterosexual kind of freaked out over the assertion that a horror movie villain would identify as queer—which I think was the actual humor of the post, as opposed to just the outright statement that the Babadook is gay.” In June, the Babadook became a symbol for Gay Pride month. Images of the character appeared everywhere at this year's Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles.

10. DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR A SEQUEL.

Kent, who owns the rights to The Babadook, told IGN that, despite the original film's popularity, she's not planning on making any sequels. “The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it’s not that kind of film,” she said. “I don’t care how much I’m offered, it’s just not going to happen.”

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Space
NASA Is Posting Hundreds of Retro Flight Research Videos on YouTube
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If you’re interested in taking a tour through NASA history, head over to the YouTube page of the Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, in southern California. According to Motherboard, the agency is in the middle of posting hundreds of rare aircraft videos dating back to the 1940s.

In an effort to open more of its archives to the public, NASA plans to upload 500 historic films to YouTube over the next few months. More than 300 videos have been published so far, and they range from footage of a D-558 Skystreak jet being assembled in 1947 to a clip of the first test flight of an inflatable-winged plane in 2001. Other highlights include the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight over Los Angeles and a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 jet.

The research footage was available to the public prior to the mass upload, but viewers had to go through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection on the research center’s website to see them. The current catalogue on YouTube is much easier to browse through, with clear playlist categories like supersonic aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. You can get a taste of what to expect from the page in the sample videos below.

[h/t Motherboard]

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