Dubai is hoping to launch a fully operational flying taxi service by 2026

An immersive virtual reality experience of an Urban Air Mobility aircraft of Joby Aviation and a view of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on November 21, 2022.

Joan Cros Garcia – Corbis/Getty Images // Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The city of Dubai hopes to create a flying taxi network by 2026. The network, built by Skyports, would take passengers to major city destinations via compact electric flying vehicles.Other flying taxi services are also looking to launch in major cities across the world.

Dubai hopes to be the city leading the flying taxi future by completing a fully operational flying taxi network by 2026.

The CEO of Skyports, which builds landing infrastructure for these aerial taxis, said Wednesday that he believed the city would be the first in the world to integrate a “fully-developed network” of flying taxis into its public transportation network, per the Khaleej Times, an English-language newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates.

Skyports first announced the plans to build the vertiports — launching pads for these airborne taxis — in February, per a press release on their site. Four landing sites are planned to be built near Dubai International Airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Downtown, and Dubai Marina.

“These initial locations will connect four of Dubai’s most popular – and populous – areas, providing high-speed, zero-emissions connectivity,” per Skyports’ press release.

Joby Aviation, a US startup that produces what is known as electric takeoff and landing vehicles, or eVTOLs, joined Skyports in promoting the initiative, per the release.

The flying car industry is predicted to be worth $150 billion by 2035, and startups are trying to sell companies and governments on the idea that the tech will cut down on traffic and pollution in major cities. The compact aerial vehicles use electric power, and their propellors are built to be quieter than regular helicopters.

A race among companies is underway to establish their own networks of short-term personal helicopter rides in places like New York, Los Angeles, and Paris.

Airlines, including Delta, American, and United are also investing in futuristic transportation to take passengers to and from the airport.

Skyports did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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The Problematic, Jizz-Soaked Legacy of ‘There’s Something About Mary’

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Everett Collection

These days, a bunch of guys lying to get the attention of a beautiful woman would be quickly condemned as catfishing, but in 1998, it was a recipe for box office gold.

Back then, comedy was on the cusp of a “gross-out” craze that was kickstarted, in part, by the success of There’s Something About Mary. The third film from Dumb and Dumber directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly followed Ted (Ben Stiller), an unlucky-in-love loser who hires sleazy private detective Pat (Matt Dillon) to find his long-lost high school crush Mary (Cameron Diaz).

It doesn’t take long for Pat to track her down, but things get weird when he falls for Ted’s all-grown-up prom date and decides to woo her for himself. He’s far from the only person to fall head over heels for Mary, either. Soon, this seemingly perfect woman is stealing hearts left, right, and center—all to the dismay of Ted, who falls behind in the romance race.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Best Nonfiction Adventures You Need to Read Right Now

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Who doesn’t enjoy a true armchair adventure? You can live in Alaska, hike Mount Everest, or survive a plane crash, all without leaving the comfort of your own home.

My love of adventure stories began at an early age. When I became an adult, that love motivated me to coauthor my father’s exploits in Tent for Seven: A Camping Adventure Gone South Out West. If you’re into close encounters with bears and near-death experiences, it’s a must-read.

I’ve managed to build a nice collection of nonfiction books over the years. Some are distinguished by The New York Times and USA Today, while others are less known but still as captivating, inspiring, shocking, and unbelievable as the bestsellers. Let me introduce a few that might be new to you.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Secret Women’s Club That Rocked the Porn World

Header Photo by Laura Lolya / Collage by Yunuen Bonaparte

On a chilly February afternoon in 1983, the baby shower guests made their way into Annie Sprinkle’s Lexington Avenue apartment in Manhattan. Inside, a couple dozen people mingled around the “Sprinkle Salon,” as Annie, an adult film star, called it. Her home was a sort of Andy Warhol factory of the porn and underground art worlds, a place where she’d hosted sex world luminaries alongside artists and celebrities like the singer Tiny Tim.

At the shower, scholars, lawyers and gynecologists noshed next to dominatrixes and phone sex operators, escorts, and porn stars. A hunky bodybuilder named Roger Koch, who was one of famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s favorite models, served cocktails and nipple cupcakes in a speedo and apron. A life-size cardboard cutout of a garter-and-stockings-clad Annie in a corset, licking her finger, stood in a corner of her apartment: promotional material for a recent film. The black-and-white glossies of porn stills on the walls were interspersed with blue and pink decorations in honor of the soon-to-be born child.

It was a pivotal time for porn. The once completely taboo industry had begun to be treated as somewhat legitimate in the 1970s, when celebrities embraced “porno chic” and big-budget adult films came complete with red carpet premieres. It was a time when Jack Nicholson and Jackie Kennedy went to see Deep Throat. Porn was booming. Yet many states still had laws criminalizing pornography, and many political and religious leaders were on missions to stop the rise of porn in its tracks. Movie theater owners who screened porn still risked prosecution. The female actors who worked in the industry, where nearly all producers and directors were men, had little to no workplace regulations or safety protections—in an era when the AIDS epidemic was just starting to spiral out of control.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Congress reaches a last-minute funding deal to avoid a federal government shutdown

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Just hours before the government was set to shut down, lawmakers reached a funding deal.It includes billions of dollars to fund disaster relief and to keep federal programs afloat.This deal prevents thousands of federal workers from going without pay.

Lawmakers in Congress miraculously managed to avoid a government shutdown, just three hours before the 12:01 a.m. deadline.

On Saturday, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy managed to corral members of his party to vote for government funding legislation that would prevent the government from shutting down after September 30. For the entire past month, lawmakers had been squabbling over their desired approach to fund the government — conservative holdouts were demanding steep spending cuts and strengthened border security in a potential bill, something Democrats in the Senate were sure to oppose.

But it appears enough lawmakers were able to find some common ground… for now.

The stopgap plan, which will fund the government for another 45 days, contained $16 billion dollars for disaster relief and funds to pay service members and keep the Federal Aviation Administration and National Flood Insurance program operational.

Notably, the bill did not contain more funding for Ukraine, a key objection for some Republicans.

The Senate voted 88-9 on the bill, with all “Nos” coming from Republican lawmakers, including Senators Marsha Blackburn, Mike Braun, Ted Cruz, Bill Hagerty, Mike Lee, Roger Marshall, Rand Paul, Eric Schmitt, and JD Vance.

The consequences of a shutdown would have been drastic for thousands of federal workers, along with Americans who rely on a range of federal programs. While Social Security payments would continue to go out, for example, limited staff administering the program would result in delays in getting a new card, along with getting help with overpayment.

While the shutdown has been averted for now, it once again put McCarthy’s leadership to the test. GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, for example, said over the past month that McCarthy was risking his leadership spot by choosing to appease Democrats on a government funding bill, and not delivering on all of conservatives’ demands.

“The one thing I agree with my Democrat colleagues on is that for the last eight months, this House has been poorly led,” Gaetz said on the House floor on Tuesday. “And we own that, and we have to do something about it, and you know what? My Democratic colleagues will have an opportunity to do something about that too, and we will see if they bail out our failed Speaker.”

In the lead-up to the bill’s passage, Democrats repeatedly blasted Republicans for going back on the budget cut deal they struck to raise the debt ceiling.

“It’s time for House Republicans to stop breaking their promise and put their country – and American families and American troops – above selfish, divisive politics,” White House deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates wrote in a Thursday memo.

The House Democratic leaders released a joint statement Saturday before the Senate vote, saying that there is still more work to be done — namely “renewing support” for Ukraine. House Democrats said in the statement that they expect McCarthy to advance a bill to the House floor for an up-or-down vote on Ukraine funding.

The stopgap measure will immediately go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“Keeping the government up and running, funding the government, is one of the basic functions of Congress and they can do it well, they can do it poorly, but to not do it at all is just totally avoidable and totally uncalled for,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg previously told Insider.

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TikTok Has a New Obsession: The Final Number in ‘Pitch Perfect’

Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images and Universal Pictures

Don’t you…forget about Pitch Perfect.

More than a decade later, the 2012 musical comedy is experiencing new popularity on TikTok, where fans have started filming their own remixes to the Barden Bellas’ final number in the film. Now, thanks to them, songs by Sabrina Carpenter, Olivia Rodrigo, and Taylor Swift have been added to the Pitch Perfect Universe. Who’s next, Ice Spice?

It makes complete and total sense to see this performance, Pitch Perfect’s most unforgettable and final mashup, going viral all over again, because of how daring, inspired, wonky, and confusing the tune is. And of all places for the song to find renewed popularity, TikTok—a place where goofy noises reign supreme—is the perfect social media platform for Pitch Perfect to trend in a new fashion.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

It’s Bad News That So Many in the GOP Are Pissed About Averting a Shutdown

Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

With just hours to spare, House Republicans averted a catastrophe of their own making Saturday, passing a temporary extension of government funding and averting a shutdown with the help of House Democrats.

But Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) can’t exactly celebrate too much.

He has just 47 days to hammer out a full annual spending package, and come November, it’s likely he will face the same bind he did this past week.Given a recent shift among some of McCarthy’s most conservative members, the speaker will have to contend with a growing problem: some of them actually want a shutdown.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

British troops could be sent to Ukraine as the country ramps up on-the-ground training efforts, UK defense minister says

Ukrainian soldiers take part in the “Rapid Trident-2017” international military exercises at the Yavoriv shooting range not far from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on September 15, 2017

YURIY DYACHYSHYN/AFP via Getty Images

UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps said he plans to send British troops into Ukraine.
He told the Telegraph he aims to get military training “closer and actually into” the country.
Ukraine relies on international allies for training and equipment as Russia’s invasion drags on.

UK troops may deploy into Ukraine for the first time to train soldiers as on-the-ground training efforts ramp up between the war torn country and its international allies.

Grant Shapps, UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, said in an interview with The Telegraph he was discussing a plan to mobilize British troops with his military chiefs. 

“I was talking today about eventually getting the training brought closer and actually into Ukraine as well,” Shapps told the outlet. “Particularly in the west of the country, I think the opportunity now is to bring more things ‘in country’.”

The plan, as stated, marks a dramatic shift from the UK and other allies’ previous avoidance of implementing a formal military presence in the region to avoid direct conflict with Russia.

In addition to offering training on the ground in Ukraine, Shapps said British defense companies like BAE Systems are moving manufacturing into the country. It’s something he hopes to see more British companies do, as well.

“I’m keen to see other British companies do their bit as well by doing the same thing,” Shapps said, per The Telegraph. “So I think there will be a move to get more training and production in the country.”

Shapps also floated the idea of the British Navy aiding Ukraine in the Black Sea.

“We’ve seen in the last month or so, developments – really the first since 2014 in the Black Sea, in Crimea – and Britain is a naval nation so we can help and we can advise, particularly since the water is international water,” Shapps told The Telegraph, adding that he had discussed the plan with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this week.

He continued: “It’s important that we don’t allow a situation to establish by default that somehow international shipping isn’t allowed in that water. So I think there’s a lot of places where Britain can help advise.” 

Representatives for Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence and the office of Grant Shapps did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

While Ukraine has relied on its international allies for military training, equipment, and humanitarian aid as Russia’s invasion of the country drags into its 19th month, officials outside of Ukraine have been reluctant to deploy troops into the country for fear of escalating the existing conflict

The US has mobilized roughly 4,000 troops to defend the NATO states bordering Ukraine and has offered military training on US soil but has stopped short of directly deploying squadrons to fight in Ukraine, though a small number of special operations forces are stationed at the embassy in Kyiv to aid in intelligence missions, according to ABC News.

Earlier this month, NBC News reported Pentagon officials began debating whether or not to bring US troops stationed on Ukraine’s borders home or replace them with new soldiers.

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Emma Stone Will Blow Your Mind in ‘Poor Things’

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/Searchlight Pictures

Poor Things is a work about distortion, assemblage, and invention, and thus it’s apt that the film deforms and amalgamates to beget something thrillingly unique. Showing at this year’s New York Film Festival (ahead of its Dec. 8 theatrical debut), Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest is also a creation myth that heralds a new phase in the acclaimed director’s career, given that it’s his first feature to treat its characters not merely with bemusement and derision but, additionally, with respect and love.

A phantasmagoric and Bacchanalian odyssey of the mind, body and spirit, Poor Things—adapted from Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name—is, in certain respects, easily identifiable as a Lanthimos effort. For one, it stars his The Favourite leading lady Emma Stone. Moreover, it concerns, at least at first, an unusual family unit residing in a more or less hermetically sealed environment. And it boasts the director’s warped directorial signatures, highlighted by his fondness for fisheye-lensed cinematography (here courtesy of The Favourite’s Robbie Ryan) that turns interior and exterior spaces unnaturally wide, rounded and dreamlike. That Lanthimos complements that flourish with recurring iris shots, low, upturned-angle images, sleek pans and pressing zooms further contributes to the action’s aberrant grandeur.

Flip-flopping between stark Murnau-grade monochrome and lush Sirk-ian technicolor, Lanthimos and Ryan’s visuals twist shapes, figures and perspectives, and their settings are likewise fantastically abnormal. Poor Things takes place in a steampunk past marked by opulently decorated mansions, spiraling staircases, and hyperbolic attire, and Lanthimos’ camera winds and twirls about these structures and people with unhinged curly-cue nimbleness. The result is a film that, from an aesthetic standpoint, resembles a florid and mad hybrid of all manner of disparate sources, from Time Bandits, Black Narcissus and Babe: Pig in the City to Amélie, Eraserhead, Nosferatu, and Alice in Wonderland.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Kyiv May Be Accidentally Helping Russian Agents Penetrate Ukraine

Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

KYIV—The whole world has seen the impact of Russia’s brutal military onslaught against Ukraine via missiles, drones and artillery shells but another, insidious attack has gone largely unnoticed outside the country: a sprawling network of Russian agents is suspected to be embedded in all aspects of Ukrainian life from parliament to the television networks.

The former governor of Donetsk told The Daily Beast that President Zelensky is not doing enough to extricate pro-Russian political figures and fears that new efforts to empower and streamline intelligence gathering might lead to even more damaging penetration by Russia.

“Kyiv was shining with phosphorus marks that somebody put down for Russian helicopters during the early days of the war,” said Serhiy Taruta, who is now a lawmaker. He fears current Russian espionage is more subtle but just as dangerous.

Read more at The Daily Beast.