Here’s where the royal family gets their money

queen elizabeth christmas 2008A little summary:

• It costs about $368 million a year to run the British monarchy.
• Some of that money comes from the queen’s private investments.
• But a substantial chunk — about $48 million last year — comes from the British government. 

Royal families don’t come cheap: The Telegraph reports that it costs about £300 million (that’s about $368 million USD at current conversion rates) to run the British monarchy each year. So how do Queen Elizabeth II and her brood acquire such a sum?

Their funding actually comes from a few different sources, both public and private. Here’s how it breaks down.

Every year, the Queen gets a chunk of cash called the Sovereign Grant.

It comes from the treasury and it’s funded by taxpayers, according to the BBC.

The basic agreement is that the Queen gets the grant in exchange for surrendering all profits from the Crown Estate — the Royal family’s massive portfolio of properties — to the government. Every year, the Queen is given an amount of money equivalent to 15% of the Crown Estate’s profits from two years ago.

For example: In 2013, the Crown Estate generated a profit of £267.1 million (about $325.8 million). That means, in 2015, the Queen’s Sovereign Grant was 15% of that total — that’s £40.1 million (or $48.9 million).Buckingham Palace London

The Sovereign Grant pays for the family’s travel, palace upkeep and utilities, and royal employee payroll, according to official royal family financial reports. But the Telegraph notes that at the grant doesn’t cover costs of security and royal ceremonies — that money comes from a few other places.

The Queen’s private income is called the Privy Purse.

That money comes from the Duchy of Lancaster — a portfolio of land and other assets that’s been in the royal family for hundreds of years. It includes 18,433 hectares of land and is made up of residential, commercial, and agricultural properties.

From 2015 to 2016, it generated £17.8 million (about $21.7 million). According to the royal family website, this sum helps with costs not covered by the Sovereign Grant — namely, it’s used to pay “expenses incurred by other members of the royal family.”

The Queen also has a personal fortune estimated to be about £340 million (about $414.7 million). She outright owns Balmoral and Sandringham Estates, which she inherited from her father, and also has a valuable artwork collection, CNN reports.

It’s nothing to sneeze at, but the Queen is by no means the richest person in Britain. For the past two years, she’s failed to make the Sunday Times’s list of the top 300 wealthiest Brits. kate and william christmas 2011

The Duchy of Cornwall— yet another suite of properties owned by the royal family — covers the expenses of the Prince of Wales (that’s the Queen’s oldest son, Charles) and his heirs. That means Harry, William and Kate, and George and Charlotte are all covered by the Duchy of Cornwall, too.

The total income of the Duchy for the 2015–2016 fiscal year was £33.5 million (about $40.8 million). No wonder Prince George has such a fluffy bathrobe!Image result for british royal family

Want to learn more about royal family finances? Check out their official website.


Bill Gates is apparently the world’s greatest Secret Santa

Bill Gates Reddit secret santaIt’s about time we crown business guru Bill Gates as Greatest Secret Santa of Them All.

Since at least 2013, the Microsoft founder has participated in Reddit’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange, and has made the holidays magical with honorary donations, a full-size Loki helmet, and camping and hiking equipment. But this year Gates has really outdone himself for one lucky redditor.

In a Reddit Gifts post, user Aerrix detailed the unboxing of Gates’ gift, which he overnighted to her. This is clearly not your office party’s gift exchange, either—just look at how ridiculously massive that entire shipment is compared to the receiver’s two pets.

After appropriately freaking out that she—out of more than 118,000 participants in this year’s exchange—had Gates as her secret Santa, Aerrix went to town on the box.

Aerrix walked away from the exchange with a significant haul. Take a minute or two of meditation before reading this list, however—it’s a doozy: two pairs of The Legend of Zelda mittens, one for her and one for her dog Claire; one Minecraft-edition Xbox One; three special-edition wireless Xbox One controllers; the Halo 5: Guardians and Rise of the Tomb Raider games for Xbox One; one year’s worth of Xbox Live gold membership cards; and a Zelda blanket.

“I love my Xbox and thought you might like one too -Bill,” Gates wrote on a sticky note attached to the Xbox One packaging. And that was that.

Haha, just kidding. There’s literally still half the list left: one pair of Harry Potter slippers; Kevin Belton’s Big Flavors of New Orleans cookbook; a life-size paper replica of the Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; DVDs of The Martian, The End of the Tour, and Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story; a Nintendo NES Classic edition; a donation in her name to, a computer science nonprofit for women and minority communities; and a Zelda-themed picture frame made of Perler beads, which contained an edited photo of Aerrix, her husband, her dog, and Gates, all wearing Santa hats.

Anyone else short of breath and slightly exhausted after reading off that list? No, just me?

Throughout her post Aerrix geeked out over these amazing gifts, but overall Gates’ ability to tailor his presents to her secret Santa list and letter. For example, Gates’ got her the cookbook, a hat tip to Aerrix’s Louisiana origins and her mention of her uncle’s Cajun Thanksgiving food.

“You guys, I am just, SPEECHLESS!” Aerrix wrote. “Merry Christmas to all y’all out there, and to Mr. Gates, who has the biggest heart and REALLY KNOWS HOW TO TREAT A GIRL TO SOME VIDEO GAMES (and video game paraphernalia)! I’m just blown away by his generosity.”

Christmas 2016 isn’t even here yet and we’re already curious as to how Gates will outdo himself next year. One thing is for sure, however: You’ve got to pity the fools who have pulled Gates for their Reddit gift exchange in the past.

Source: The Daily Dot

What happened to the boy in viral “Success Kid” meme — 9 years later

Famous face: Sammy is better known as the face of the 'Success Kid' meme. His mother snapped the photo - which actually shows him just moments before trying to put sand in his mouth - when he was 11 months

It’s been about nine years since Laney Griner took that viral snapshot of her 11-month-old son sitting on a beach with a furrowed brow and a fist-full of sand.

The mom from Jacksonville, Florida, never imagined that the photo she shared with friends on Flickr would become a viral sensation. But it did. And years later, the boy in the picture, known by meme makers as “Success Kid,” is using his internet fame for good.

“Everything to do with ‘Success Kid’ is positive,” Griner told CBS News. “I so rarely have heard anything negative directed toward us.”

The best part, Griner says, is that her now 10-year-old son, Sammy, really is a success story.

He was born six weeks premature and had to get brain surgery as a preemie due to hydrocephalus, an abnormal build-up of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain.

“He recovered fantastically, and he’s been great ever since,” Griner said.

Last year, his dad, Justin, suffered a major health complication of his own — kidney disease. He started dialysis in 2009, but Griner knew that couldn’t continue forever.

In order to get on the waiting list for a transplant, Griner said her husband had to show that he could pay for anti-rejection drugs. As Justin’s health declined drastically in 2015, she launched a GoFundMe campaign, writing, “[Justin’s] mother died from this disease, please help us write a different story for Justin and his son, Sam.”

A loyal group of “Success Kid” followers happened to see Griner’s plea for help and chipped in to help the family in their time of need. Within days, more than $100,000 was raised to cover the man’s medical expenses.

“There’s a lot of medicines and anti-rejection drugs one must take for life, some costing thousands of dollars a month,” Griner explained back in 2015. “Medicare pays for the first three months, and that’s it.”

It’s now been a year since Justin received a successful transplant, and he’s felt better than he has in years, Griner said.


Justin Griner, 40, and his son, Sammy, 10.

As for Sammy, even though the picture kind of annoys him as people constantly ask him to mimic the viral pose, he’s thankful that it happened to go viral. That meme may just be the reason his dad is alive today.

“He loves that. He’s so proud of that. And I love that for him,” Griner said. “The good that came out of it makes it all worth it. He’s incredibly thankful for that.”


Here Are the Most Popular Google Search Terms of 2016

Google Scrubbing Search ResultsPikachu had a really big year.

On 15/12, Google revealed the most popular searches in 2016, and the viral sensation Pokemon Go was the top search worldwide this year.

The game uses augmented reality to hunt down pocket monsters called Pokemon, leveraging a GPS map and the camera on your smartphone to simulate catching the creatures as if they exist in the real world.

Pokemon Go was a summer phenomenon, as players strolled across cities and landmarks in search of Pokemon. It set an Apple App Store record for the most downloads during its first week of availability.

Apple’s iPhone 7 was the second most popular global search in 2016, followed by President-elect Donald Trump, Prince — who died in April — and Powerball. In the U.S., Powerball was the most popular search, followed by Prince, Hurricane Matthew, Pokemon Go, and mobile game

Trump was the most-searched person globally on Google this year, followed by his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, soon-to-be First Lady Melania Trump and gold medal winning gymnast Simone Biles.

See below to check out the full list of search queries that made it into Google’s top 10 trending list.

1. Powerball
2. Prince
3. Hurricane Matthew
4. Pokémon Go
6. Olympics
7. David Bowie
8. Trump
9. Election
10. Hillary Clinton

10 things you didn’t know about Starbucks

StarbucksA little summary:

• Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world.
• There are 36,000 possible Frappuccino combinations.
• A grande coffee has more caffeine than four Red Bulls.

In an era when consumers’ tastes are becoming increasingly fickle, Starbucks has been a constant. It’s the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with more than 24,000 locations in 70 countries, nearly half of those in the United States. But even if no day is complete without a grande iced white chocolate mocha, we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about this mega-chain.

Starbucks was founded in 1971 by three friends who met at the University of San Francisco, and the first location, in Seattle, only sold whole roasted coffee beans, not brewed coffee. The company grew in popularity over the next several years, introducing brewed coffee and espresso, and by the time former employee Howard Schultz bought it in 1987, there were already six locations. Schultz implemented a rapid expansion program, and when the company went public in 1992, there were 140 outlets, with revenues of $73.5 million (as opposed to $1.3 million in 1987). In 2014, total revenues were $16.45 billion.

As the company continued to take over the world, management decided that the time was ripe to branch out from just coffee and introduce some food items. While only one in three Starbucks transactions includes food, the company is working hard to make Starbucks just as valid a culinary option as a coffee option. In 2012, they purchased the La Boulange bakery chain for $100 million and have completely overhauled the menu within the past few years. Because there are no kitchens in Starbucks, they’ve shifted to a frozen-food model, with hot items being reheated on the spot.

On the beverage side, the brand continues to look beyond coffee. The company purchased Tazo Tea in 1999 and Teavana in 2012, and they’re also now selling Fizzio sodas, Evolution Fresh cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and Starbucks Refreshers, which contain green coffee extract.

It seems as if Starbucks is in the news every week for one reason or another, whether it’s because they’re rolling out almond milk, testing out biodegradable coffee cups, partnering with an Italian bakery to improve their food, or adding to their seemingly endless array of Frappuccinos. The company is on a constant mission to improve and innovate, working hard to stay ahead of the curve. Read on to learn 20 things you might not have known about this nearly ubiquitous chain.

McDonald’s has a secret gold card for celebrities and billionaires


Go go gold! (Photo: YouTube)


A little summary

• McDonald’s has something called the McGold card.
• Card owners get free McDonald’s anytime.
• Card owners are generally celebrities or people with connections to big-time franchisees.

• Cards usually have a time limit, but in some rare cases the card is for life.

You might brag about your Starbucks gold card, but when it comes to chain restaurant membership perks, nothing beats the secret McDonald’s gold card. The McGold — which allows the recipient free McDonald’s anytime — can’t easily be bought, and is usually given to high-profile celebrities or people with connections to big-time franchisees.

Warren Buffet had a gold card that allowed him to order any McDonald’s food anytime at a McDonald’s location in Omaha, according to CNBC. Comedian Rob Lowe got a gold card from a friend whose father, David Peterson, invented the Egg McMuffin.

Peterson’s son actually wields the power to give out gold cards to anyone he wants. He usually gifts them to friends, celebrities, and everyday people who did heroic deeds, like Charles Ramsey, the man who dropped his Big Mac to rescue three kidnapped woman in 2013.

In most instances, these gold cards have a time limit, only granting the recipient a year or six months of free food. But in some rare cases, the card is for life. Mitt Romney has often told the story that his father had a “little pink card” that awarded him free McDonald’s, given by owner Ray Croc himself.


Read the original article on The Daily Meal. Copyright 2016. Follow The Daily Meal on Twitter.

Top 10 facts about taxis

Taxis have been much in the news recently, with the rise of Uber and the demise of Karhoo, but today is the tenth birthday of London’s original green car service, greentomatocars (

Taxi driving through town

Taxi was originally an abbreviation of ‘taximeter’

1. Taxi was originally an abbreviation of ‘taximeter’ (or taxametre), which was the name of the device indicating the fare due.

2. Taxameter entered the language in 1894; taxicab and taxi followed in 1907.

3. Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, people with the plague may not travel in taxis or other public conveyances…

4. …Nor may people with other notifiable diseases such as rabies, anthrax, cholera or tuberculosis.

5. In 1995, the British Medical Journal mentioned taxi rank malaria as a means of spreading the disease.

6. One per cent of London taxi-drivers are women.

Taxi-drivers have the tenth most dangerous job in the US

7. Technically it is illegal to shout “Taxi!” to hail a taxi as it may distract the driver.

8. According to a recent survey, taxi-drivers have the tenth most dangerous job in the US.

9. The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers became the City of London’s 104th Livery Company in February 2004. 

10. Two of greentomatocars’ fleet are hydrogen fuelled and emit only water from the tailpipe.

Source: Express