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State Contracts Mount for Aurigo’s Capital Project Software

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road construction

With its population and federal deficit both steadily growing, the United States is lagging on infrastructure maintenance. In its most recent “report card” assessment in 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of D+. The assessment found that in order to improve this grade and maintain global competitiveness, Congress and the states would have to invest $206 billion a year more than they currently do, and failure to do so could cost the U.S. GDP up to $3.9 trillion by 2025.

One of the largest software providers for capital program management, Aurigo, based in Austin, Texas, has been working behind the scenes to help governments chip away at this problem by guiding them through major projects from planning to completion and maintenance, making them more viable and less risky. And it has a lot of practice.

Founded in 2003, Aurigo launched at a time when mobile technologies like personal digital assistants and palm devices were starting to allow for the digitization of paper inspections. The company has since transitioned through various mobile-first strategies to its current cloud SaaS model, expanding from a single on-premises product, for project inspections and management, to 17 offered subscriptions.

Talking to Government Technology last week, CEO Balaji Sreenivasan called Aurigo the “best-kept secret in capital program management software,” but the scale of its business tells a different story. The company has had a busy year, contracting with the city of Houston Public Works Department in October to manage $2.7 billion in planned capital projects in 2019. The company also picked up several contracts in recent months with state departments of transportation: Nevada in February, Iowa in April and Montana in May; along with local government contracts with San Bernardino County, Calif., in July and the city of Durham, N.C., in September.

“People wouldn’t use our software to build a mall or a store, but they would use our software to build an entire state highway network, or an airport, or urban infrastructure in cities or counties,” Sreenivasan said. “Anything that’s very, very large-dollar, capital-intensive assets that are publicly funded would be delivered using our software, and we manage the entire lifecycle of that.”

Sreenivasan said the company employs close to 360 people to serve about 160 agency customers, most of which are large state departments of transportation, cities, counties or water authorities. He said Aurigo’s software has been used to plan and deliver close to $300 billion worth of capital programs to date.

The sheer logistics and regulations involved with projects of that scale are key to the company’s value proposition. Sreenivasan pointed out that regulations for reporting how money is spent, and if projects meet certain standards with respect to civil rights and minorities, have gotten increasingly stringent in recent years. Handling this without software can be a “nightmare,” he said, and doing it wrong can cause massive delays.

Sreenivasan said the breadth of what their software does also distinguishes it from competitors. He likened project management tools from Smartsheet, Procore and Microsoft Project to “very intelligent spreadsheets,” for helping contractors of small orders to collaborate and manage their tasks. But he said they won’t help a government plan and fiscally constrain a five-year capital infrastructure budget and generate reports for the governor’s office, build forecasts of when entire capital programs will get delivered, handle project-level accounting, and track whether the funding meets civil rights goals.

This is usually not feasible, Aurigo said, because data sets across different phases of construction tend to live in different silos, from planning to design to project management and maintenance. But Aurigo’s platform puts them in one place.

“The whole world is driving toward an integrated data (delivery) model, where data can flow seamlessly from one phase to the other. What we have done at Aurigo is to try and address that for almost all of the phases,” he said. “For phases that we don’t, we have (integration) hooks ... into ESRI systems, ERP systems, et cetera, so the goal is to have all of your construction data from planning through inspection in one single spot, or an integrated platform.”

This ability to interface with other systems has helped make Aurigo’s software an integral part of infrastructure planning by the city of Lincoln, Neb. But it took time to get there.

Tim Pratt, IT manager for Lincoln Transportation and Utilities, said the city had been using SiteManager, a product of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, when it made the switch to Masterworks, Aurigo's flagship product, in 2006. The city was in the middle of its biggest public works project ever, the Antelope Valley project, and Pratt said the conversion required considerable work from Aurigo, but the result has been fruitful. More recently, he said Masterworks has been able to integrate with other software his department uses such as Accela’s permitting program, an asset management program, and OnBase, an enterprise content management system by Hyland Software.

“We use that software (Masterworks) basically to manage our construction contracts … When we go to pay on these contracts, the pay estimates are generated out of Masterworks. Simply put, let’s say it’s a paving project, and you find out you need to put a water main in. It’s not going to let you pay for it, because it’s not in the project, until you do a change order,” he said. “Masterworks gives us great control on spending. Our construction observers and project managers get frustrated from time to time, but we make sure they don’t overpay.”

Pratt estimated the city spends between $120 million and $200 million a year on projects, and they track all of it through Masterworks. He said the process is a far cry from what he saw in the department in 1999, when everything was done on spreadsheets, under a dozen project managers who all had their own way of doing things.

“It’s kind of the core of what we do,” he said.

For some government customers, the catch is that Masterworks can cost as much as millions of dollars per year in software subscription fees. Aurigo aimed to address this earlier this year with a new SaaS, Essentials, that pares Masterworks down to fundamental construction management tools and a subscription price starting at $15,000. Sreenivasan doesn’t anticipate business declining any time soon.

“Infrastructure is one of the biggest growth areas in this country at this stage, regardless of what the federal government does with it,” he said. “We’re going to be building America for a while. Using technology and the latest cloud software is imperative for this country to get built the right way.”

Editor's note: A quote from Sreenivasan regarding integrations has been trimmed to correct technical language.


          

How to Safely Shop Online This Holiday Season

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The moment Halloween ended, the nation entered an earlier-than-ever holiday shopping season online that has already begun and won’t end until early January, 2020.

Why begin the holiday shopping season so early this year?

Since the Thanksgiving holiday weekend arrives late in 2019, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are already arriving with retailers launching a blur of discounts to try and make up for the perceived lost shopping days - when compared to the early Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2018.

For example, CNET highlighted these Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that actually start on November 7. Others have already begun.

USA Today revealed deals from Bed Bath & Beyond as well as Kohls deals.

Forbes provided these deals from Walmart, Best Buy and more. While Fox News proclaimed: “Black Friday is 3 weeks away right? Nope, it's here now.”

As I was doing research for this article, I learned that Black Friday has become a global event, with big sales as far away as China. Indeed, the Google analytics show worldwide holiday shopping trends that are complex, unique by industry and country. Overall, big increases are expected in search traffic – with some industries doubling. In the US, retailers see an 80 percent increase in their search traffic throughout November.

And the sales forecast news is generally very good for retailers according to Inc. Magazine:

“Cyber Monday is expected to pull in $9.4 billion this year, a $1.5 billion increase from last year's online sales tally for the Monday after Thanksgiving. The real detail retailers need to know? Thirty percent of all sales made this Cyber Monday, which falls on December 2, will likely be made in the four-hour window of 7 to 11 p.m. Pacific time.

That's according to Adobe Analytics' Holiday Forecast 2019, which analyzed data on trillions of visits, products, and transaction data from U.S. retail websites. Adobe also surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers in October as a companion to its findings.

The report notes that retailer conversion rates, which measure the number of people who visit a website and then make a purchase, are predicted to double during the four-hour surge in sales. Adobe says these ‘golden hours of retail’ are due to ‘deal FOMO,’ or the fear of missing out on last-minute deals near the end of the day.”

Beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Wider Holiday Sales Trend?

And taking a big step back there are several significant trends developing as we head into the 2020s. While Black Friday sales within stores remain a robust and huge part of holiday shopping, a new cybermania is emerging which extends well beyond Cyber Monday. (We may even need a new name – any ideas?)

CNBC recently reported that Cyber Monday will excite shoppers more than Black Friday. Here are some highlights:

Deloitte finds 53 percent of people will rely on Cyber Monday for discounts, while 44 percent say they’re planning to snag promotions on Black Friday this year. Deloitte’s annual holiday study also finds shoppers are expected to spend $1,496 per household this holiday season. The bulk of spending, or $596, is going toward experiences like travel and dining out.

Business Insider offers this very helpful piece which answers the frequent question: Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday Better (for sales)? Here’s an excerpt:

“A good rule of thumb is that Black Friday is a better time to buy newer, big-ticket items. It's also the best day to shop in stores. Cyber Monday is a better day to shop for tech deals and smaller gifts. You'll also see slightly better discounts online.

For items you're likely to buy once a year or less, you'll probably find better discounts on Black Friday. Anything you'd buy as a gift will likely see better discounts on Cyber Monday.”  

Online Safety and Security First

But regardless of when you go online to do your Christmas shopping this holiday season, there remain some tips that can help you stay safe and secure - beyond the frequent calls to change your profile password (or not use the same password) at websites.

To begin, a bit of history. This topic is certainly not new, and many of the themes and basic questions are the same as a decade ago. You don’t want to get disciplined at work for violating policy, so be sure to know what’s allowed and what isn’t allowed.

I find it interesting to look back to where we have been, and compare behaviors to office life today with articles and blogs from a decade ago on Cyber Monday.  

Here are a few relevant examples from the past:

CSO Magazine: Encourage Cyber Monday or Grinch.exe? and Cyber Monday & Redefining Acceptable Use – Again

Government Technology Magazine: Web Sites Struggle on Black Friday: Cyber Monday is Next and Cyber Monday: Are you shopping from work?

Nevertheless, most organizations have loosened their holiday shopping policies and now permit employees (even government employees) to shop at appropriate times over the holiday season on work computers (usually during breaks).

So here are some of my favorite tips to help whether at home or work:

1. Moneycrashers.com:  Avoid Sites With Poor Security Practices –

“Don’t gamble with your identity. Stay away from retail sites with lackadaisical security practices. Two key practices stand out in particular: SSL certificates and Verisign domain protection.

SSL is an encryption protocol that renders it much more difficult (though not impossible) for bad actors to steal payment card information and other personal data during the payment process. Look for “https” at the beginning of the site’s URL. You should never enter payment card information on non-“https” pages, period.

Verisign provides site administrators with a modicum of protection against hacking attacks and malware. Like SSL, it’s not foolproof, but it helps. Sites without Verisign protection are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, spoofing, and other types of cybercrime.

If you don’t already, consider using a web browser that can identify potentially compromised websites. …”

2. Vitalchek.com – Offers ten basic safety tips for online and offline life. Here’s one that important:

“Use a credit card for your online purchases versus other payment methods. Almost all credit cards have fraud protection, meaning if there is a data breach and your card’s information is taken, you won’t be held responsible for any of the charges. If you are involved in a fraud situation, your credit card provider will handle this and send you a new credit card. The same courtesies may not be extended from other online payment methods like an electronic transfer from your bank account.”

3. State Farm – Offers tips for in the store, in your car and online. Here are their online tips:

Stick to retailers you know and preferably, have shopped with before. Research a business you haven’t purchased from before by checking customer reviews or complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Never commit to a deal that seems too good to be true. Refrain from using pubic Wi-Fi to make purchases, or use a VPN to avoid hackers intercepting your information. Check a webpage’s security by looking for the lock icon in the URL field, and making sure the URL starts with “https”, not just “http”. The “s” means the site is safer and more secure.

Final Thought

One thing to keep in mind is that many people have heard these tips before, but let their guard down over the holidays when rushing for an online deal that is about to expire. Also, people will go places they don’t normally go this time of year to save on presents or get the best deal.

So even if you think you know all of this, double-check to make sure that everyone in your family (and in your office) is following best practices.

Happy shopping.


          

Ripple, Coca-Cola, Huawei… 5 nouvelles blockchain

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Ripple, Coca-Cola, Huawei… 5 nouvelles blockchain 101
Source: iStock/Adrian Black
  • Selon une étude de la firme d’analyse Juniper Research, Ripple, Visa et IBM sont à la pointe de l'innovation en ce qui concerne les paiements transfrontaliers blockchain. Selon cette société, Ripple est en tête du marché depuis 2012; capitalisant sur l’avantage de ses débuts pour passer à plus de 200 institutions financières partenaires en 2019. "Cependant, Ripple fait face à une concurrence accrue de la part de Visa B2B Connect et IBM Blockchain World Wire, qui ont déjà accru leur présence dans 60 pays et ont des partenaires de premier plan dans l'écosystème financier ", ont déclaré les chercheurs. Ils estiment également que la valeur totale des paiements transfrontaliers B2B stockés immuablement sur la blockchain dépassera 4 400 milliards USD d'ici 2024 contre 171 milliards USD en 2019.
  • La TPBank (Banque commerciale de Tien Phong), basée au Vietnam, a rejoint le réseau de paiement de Ripple, RippleNet. Selon l’annonce RippleNet permettra aux clients de la banque de virer de l’argent du Japon vers un compte TPBank en quelques minutes, à comparer aux quelques heures qui étaient auparavant nécessaires pour effectuer ces opérations.
  • Coke One North America, la société de technologie qui gère les opérations informatiques des embouteilleurs travaillant avec Coca-Cola, utilise la technologie blockchain de SAP pour améliorer le processus de production selon Business Insider. Le programme pilote a commencé avec seulement deux embouteilleurs - Coca-Cola United et C.C. Clark et est maintenant étendu à toutes les franchises, selon l’article.
  • La banque centrale de Chine, la Banque populaire de Chine, a signé un accord de coopération blockchain avec Huawei. Aucun détail sur le type de projets sur lesquels les parties ont accepté de travailler n'a encore été publié. L’accord a été scellé par le gouverneur adjoint de la banque, Fan Yifei, qui s’est rendu en personne au siège de la société à Shenzhen.
  • La branche TI de Samsung , Samsung SDS, mettra à niveau sa plateforme blockchain Nexledger selon le journal New Daily. La société s’associera à Medium, le développeur d’une plateforme qui, selon elle, peut fonctionner à des vitesses supérieures à 100 000 transactions par seconde afin d’améliorer la vitesse de Nexledger. Samsung SDS espère étendre ses activités commerciales de chaînes de blocs dans les secteurs de la finance, de la logistique et de la fabrication, ainsi que dans le secteur public.
  • Microsoft a lancé une plateforme qui, selon la société, permettra aux entreprises de miner leurs propres jetons basés sur Ethereum. Selon Forbes, la solution s'appelle Azure Blockchain Tokens. Elle permettra aux développeurs d'utiliser des jetons sur la blockchain publique Ethereum ou sur des grands registres distribués créés par certains concurrents de Microsoft. Le média indique également que “les entreprises comme General Electric attendent pour créer leurs propres cryptos.

Lire aussi: MoneyTap et PayPay s’associent et utiliseront la technologie DLT de Ripple.


          

Coca-Cola s’appuie sur la blockchain pour sa chaîne d’approvisionnement

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Coca-Cola

Les embouteilleurs de Coca-Cola implémentent une technologie blockchain pour gérer leurs transactions entre les différentes entités liées à l’activité. La nouvelle a été communiquée par Business Insider le 5 novembre en précisant que l’entreprise concernée est en train de mettre en place une solution blockchain développée par la société allemande de logiciels SAP.

Une évolution nécessaire

Coke One North America (CONA), une entreprise qui regroupe 12 fournisseurs et des centaines de milliers de commandes, estime que la solution blockchain de SAP pourrait réduire le temps nécessaire au traitement des commandes et à leur organisation. Andrei Semenov, cadre supérieur de Coke One North America, a déclaré :

Il y a un certain nombre de transactions interentreprises et multipartites qui sont inefficaces, qui passent par des intermédiaires et qui sont très lentes. Et nous pensions que nous pouvions l’améliorer et économiser de l’argent.

Avec l’aide de la technologie blockchain, CONA estime que la durée de conciliation des commandes passera de 50 jours à quelques jours seulement. Un aperçu en temps réel et transparent des transactions effectuées par les différents embouteilleurs sur le réseau sera mis à disposition. Le groupe traite près de 160 000 commandes par jour et génère plus de 21 milliards de dollars de recettes par an.

Une solution qui plaît

Selon le rapport, CONA a commencé le programme pilote avec deux embouteilleurs, Coca-Cola United et C.C. Clark, et l’étend maintenant à toutes les franchises. Andrei Semenov a conclu en ajoutant que la mise en place de cette solution était le fruit d’une collaboration de tous :

Il y a eu une négociation et une discussion, nous sommes parvenus à un consensus sur les données que nous voulions partager. Nous avons commencé avec une énorme liste d’attributs de données, et nous avons réduit la liste à celles sur lesquelles tout le monde était d’accord.

L’année dernière, SAP a lancé deux consortiums de blockchains, l’un ciblant les industries pharmaceutiques et des biotechnologies, et l’autre l’agroalimentaire, les produits de consommation et la distribution. Plus tôt cette année, Bumble Bee Foods a été la première entreprise à adopter la technologie blockchain de SAP.

Le groupe Pepsi, le principal concurrent de Coca-Cola, a aussi procédé à des expérimentations autour de la technologie de la blockchain. Celles-ci auraient permis d’accroître l’efficacité globale du système de 28% selon l’entreprise. Cet essai baptisé « Project Proton » a été réalisé par l’intermédiaire de la plateforme blockchain de Zilliqa (ZIL).

RECEVEZ UN RÉCAPITULATIF DE L'ACTUALITÉ CRYPTO CHAQUE DIMANCHE

Clément

Achetant son premier Bitcoin en 2017, Clément se rend vite compte de son attirance pour le monde des cryptomonnaies. Il croit fermement en cette technologie et qu'elle révolutionne déjà de nombreux secteurs.

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Everything you need to know about when Black Friday deals and sales start and end in 2019

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Everything you need to know about when Black Friday deals and sales start and end in 2019Even though November 29, 2019 is the official start day for this year's Black Friday, many retailers will actually launch deals a few days earlier.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/T_v6LUP1KL4/when-is-black-friday


          

Alphabet's board has launched a probe into the company's handling of sexual misconduct charges, including those made against its top attorney (GOOG)

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Alphabet's board has launched a probe into the company's handling of sexual misconduct charges, including those made against its top attorney (GOOG)The investigation follows a lawsuit, a worldwide walkout by company employees, and a blog post accusing its chief legal officer of emotional abuse.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/WqmdG2v8ir0/alphabet-google-board-investigating-executive-misconduct-2019-11


          

I've been sleeping on these $20 AmazonBasics sheets that have more than 20,000 online reviews — here's how they feel

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I've been sleeping on these $20 AmazonBasics sheets that have more than 20,000 online reviews — here's how they feelIt's hard to come by a better bedding deal than this $20 sheet set. It's perfect for kids' bedrooms, dorms and college apartments, and guest rooms.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/fX8w3XQLwLo/amazonbasics-sheets-review


          

How to delete your Venmo account and get a copy of your transaction history beforehand

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How to delete your Venmo account and get a copy of your transaction history beforehandTo delete a Venmo account, you'll need access to a desktop web browser, since you can't delete your account from the Venmo app.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/UFH115mqwzE/how-to-delete-venmo-account


          

Fans said they had to 'turn off' ABC's 'The Little Mermaid Live!' and called it a 'bust'

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Fans said they had to 'turn off' ABC's 'The Little Mermaid Live!' and called it a 'bust'On Twitter, users criticized the costumes, the singing, and even the choice of puppets in the recent live-action version of the Disney film.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/99XzokdUdFQ/little-mermaid-live-abc-fan-reactions-2019-11


          

Here’s why 8.5 million users love Visual Studio Code, the free software that’s helping Microsoft win over programmers in the cloud wars with Amazon (MSFT)

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Here’s why 8.5 million users love Visual Studio Code, the free software that’s helping Microsoft win over programmers in the cloud wars with Amazon (MSFT)Microsoft Visual Studio Code is the top open source project on GitHub. Here's how it's helping Microsoft attract developers and take on AWS and Google.

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/5afY2zba8hs/microsoft-visual-studio-code-programmers-cloud-wars-amazon-2019-11


          

Airbnb updates safety policies following fatal California shooting in Airbnb rental home

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Airbnb updates safety policies following fatal California shooting in Airbnb rental home

Airbnb has announced major updates to its safety measures in the wake of an Oct. 31st shooting at a California Airbnb rental home. 

On Wednesday, the company’s CEO, Brian Chesky detailed four of these changes to an audience at The New York Times DealBook Conference.  

According to Business Insider, the changes are as follows:

-The company will now verify all listings.
-Airbnb will now have a guest guarantee in the scenario that guests arrive at a listing and it does not match photos and descriptions. 
-A 24/7 hotline with real people will be available to address issues that come up.
-Airbnb will review what it calls “high-risk” listings. 

The fatal shooting that led to the enhanced safety measures occurred at a Halloween party held in an Airbnb rental in Orinda, which is a wealthy San Francisco suburb. The incident took the lives of five people and left several others wounded.   

Earlier this week, Chesky said from now on the company will take steps to remove guests who fail to comply with policies banning parties at Airbnb rental homes. 


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I spent 96 hours on a train from Toronto to Vancouver, and crossing 4 time zones was more disorienting than I ever expected

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  • I took a train from Toronto to Vancouver and passed through four time zones along the way, which ended up being the most challenging part of the entire experience.
  • The train had no WiFi and very little cell service, so my iPhone couldn't always adjust to the local time. 
  • Before going on the trip, I totally underestimated how much of a struggle this would be.
  • Not only would I confuse the hours throughout the day, but my morning alarms weren't calibrated correctly, and I felt consistently disoriented.
  • For anyone traveling across time zones on the ground, I would recommend mapping out the route ahead of time and remaining vigilant about changing wristwatches and digital clocks. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

I'm an airplane person. Getting to and being in an airport stresses me out to a gut-wrenching extent, but I don't particularly have a fear of flying. It gets me to where I need to be in a timely fashion — usually — and requires little to no adjustments while in-transit. That's why, whenever I travel, I prefer to take a plane. 

But, I recently rode VIA Rail's The Canadian — an old-school yet partially-renovated sleeper train — across Canada on the company's Great Western Way route. I traveled across the country from east to west, boarding the train in Toronto and arriving four days later in Vancouver.

On the trip, I experienced a total of four different time zones, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, these time zone changes were way more disorienting than I could have ever expected.

The effects left me feeling confused and frustrated quite often, and knowing what I know now, I'd definitely prepare for the trip differently next time. 

It wasn't just about adjusting my watch

train bed the canadian

Some Canadian trains, like The Rocky Mountaineer, only move during the day. But The Canadian travels through the night, which means sometimes we crossed time zones while we were sleeping, and other times we crossed them in the middle of the day. I didn't know when the time changes were coming, and it was jarring every time they did.

Meals were served in the dining car on-board the train. Breakfast was from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., brunch from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and dinner seatings happened as early as 5:30 p.m. and as late as 7:30 p.m. All schedules were according to local time, so if we crossed a time zone at 4 p.m., and I didn't adjust my watch, I would be an hour off when it came to figuring out dinner time. 

Also, I wear a wristwatch, so I make the manual adjustment when traveling. Regardless of my watch, though, my iPhone will typically automatically adjust to display the accurate time for wherever I am — ah, technology. 

But what I didn't realize was that my iPhone requires a cellular connection in order to adjust its timing automatically — the train had no WiFi, and we had little to no cell service along the rural route. That meant my phone — which was set to automatically adjust to time zones — changed inconsistently. My computer didn't adjust at all because it wasn't set up to work offline with cellular data.

By the middle of the trip, I had absolutely no idea what time it was, and I felt like I was in this weird time warp with no bearings to grab hold of. It was hard to even use the sun as a guide because it was extremely cloudy. 

Unlike at a hotel, passengers on The Canadian couldn't request a wake-up call via concierge, so I was in charge of setting my own alarm. That typically wouldn't be an issue, but accounting for a mid-sleep time zone change and a non-adjusting phone clock caused a huge mess of math calculations and incorrect alarms. I was permanently disoriented and frustrated by the inconsistency. 

Our bodies crave consistency, and time change can mess with that

sleeping air canada

I've crossed multiple time zones in one trip before, but all while on a plane. That means time was kind of irrelevant as I passed through — flying from New York to California takes around six hours on a plane and spans four time zones, but I'd only change my watch upon landing. Even though I'm flying over multiple zones, I only have to adjust to one of them.

On the train, though, I had to adjust every day — sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the middle of the day — and that really threw me off. 

There were nights when I thought I was going to sleep at 1 a.m. but it was actually only 10 p.m., and mornings when I set an alarm for 6 a.m. but it actually went off at 4 a.m. It didn't ruin my experience on the train, but it did add to an already exhausting trip.

Jet lag is something casual travelers joke about and try to conquer using tips and tricks that are about as helpful as the ones suggested for getting rid of hiccups — sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. But adjusting properly to time zones is actually really important for our health. 

Insider reporter Jacob Shamsian broke down research showing that jet lag can actually trigger already-existing mental illness in travelers because of the way it messes with our circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm refers to the way our bodies and minds behave as they follow a daily schedule, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

While the direction of travel has different effects on our internal clocks and traveling east to west is more adjustment-friendly since we theoretically gain time, any change in time zone can affect travelers.

It's so important to prep for time changes that even Qantas is testing out ways to combat jet lag on its new flights from New York to Sydney, Australia. 

But you can beat the time warp

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A fellow traveler showed me how to take my phone off of the automatic setting — he walked me through setting up my clock manually for each time zone. But the issue there was that when we didn't have any cellular connection, I wasn't able to search for and connect to the local time zone. It seemed like a fix, but it didn't really work.

Knowing what I do now about how disorienting and confusing this part of the train experience was for me and other travelers I spoke with, I would definitely recommend planning ahead. 

If you're looking into an on-the-ground trip that crosses time zones, I would suggest you map out all of the time borders along the way. This way, you'll know exactly when and where to expect the change. I think it would be helpful to bring along a manual wristwatch, and I'd caution you to stay adamant about changing it every time you enter a new zone. 

map the canadian

Looking back on my own trip, I wish I had printed out a map ahead of time and set up my phone to not make any adjustments at all — this way I would have known that my device was always on Toronto time and I could just do the math if needed. I'd suggest this for anyone making the cross-country train journey.

Join the conversation about this story »


          

Airbnb's 'party house' problem could spoil its public listing. Here's why its new rules to stop the rowdy blowouts might not even work.

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Add one more "risk factor" to the upcoming prospectus Airbnb will release when it makes its stock market debut next year: Party houses.

The home-sharing service has built a booming business by making it easy for anyone to rent their homes to vacationers or business travelers looking for an alternative to a hotel. But the instant and easy access to homes has also caught the notice of teens and others looking for a place to throw wild parties. 

Last month, one of these party house rentals turned tragic when a shooting at an Orinda, Calif home left five people dead. As many as 100 people were at the house for a Halloween party, despite an explicit ban by the homeowner on renting the home for parties, according to the Associated Press.

The incident set off a furor and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has vowed to crack down on the problem, unveiling new verification and support policies Wednesday that he said would stop "bad actors" from abusing the trust the business has established with users.

But the policy changes are largely reactionary, coming after numerous problems at Airbnb party houses over the years. And many people that Business Insider spoke to were skeptical that the new rules would do much to actually stop Airbnb party houses.

"I think it's great that Airbnb is taking some action to rein in the most extreme cases of so-called party houses. But it should not have taken a multiple homicide incident for that to happen," University of Texas assistant professor Jake Wegmann told Business Insider. Wegmann's research focuses on the impact of short-term rentals on local real estate, and he published one of the landmark studies in 2016 that found the existence of Airbnb in San Francisco increased market rents. 

As Airbnb, which has been valued as high as $31 billion by private investors, moves closer to a public listing, its party problem has become a high-priority.

Verification, refunds, and high-risk reservations

The new rules laid out by Chesky involve four key changes:

  • Verification of all 7 million Airbnb listings to ensure the site listing is an accurate representation of the rental.
  • Rebooking or refunding guests who book locations that are not up to the new verification standards.
  • A 24/7 hotline and prominent customer support phone number for guests and neighbors near Airbnb listings.
  • Screening of reservations that are deemed "high-risk" to deter unauthorized parties.

In addition, Airbnb said it has hired two former law enforcement officials as advisors to help the company combat the range of abuses and problems that can occur with short-term home rentals. 

According to American Family Voices president Mike Lux, the home rental startup rewards absentee property owners that have limited interest in screening guests. American Family Voices sponsored the anti-Airbnb advocacy group Airbnb Watch, which chronicles Airbnb's negative impacts on local neighborhoods and real estate. 

"I don't exactly understand honestly what they are doing with that rule," Lux said. "They are making a lot of noise about it, but I don't know how they are going to enforce it."

A homeowner renting a basement out on the weekends is incentivized to screen potential guests, Lux explained, but a real estate "speculator" with multiple units is incentivized to get as many guests in each unit as possible to maximize profits. This is what leads to so-called party houses, and until hosts feel the pressure from Airbnb, they will continue to operate in their own interests, Lux said.

"I do know that ultimately the problem isn't solved unless you stop multi-unit operators," Lux said. "That's what will stop this wild party house problem. They need to monitor hosts and guests better, and they should take more responsibility when something goes wrong."

In the case of the Orinda house, it's unclear whether the new policies would have stopped the unauthorized party. According to the Associated Press, the unit had been rented by a woman who claimed her family members were concerned about health effects of the nearby wildfires in Sonoma County. The owner, Michael Wang, had received multiple citations from city officials for exceeding the home's capacity in the past according to The San Francisco Chronicle, but it's not clear whether Wang owned multiple rentals in California's Bay Area. 

According to Lux's group, there have been more than 30 news reports about violent incidents at Airbnb parties in recent months, including shootings at similar "party houses" in St. Paul, Minn., and Los Angeles, Calif. and other cities. 

Just weeks before the Orinda incident, a woman was shot in the arm in Arizona at an Airbnb house party, according to the Phoenix Fox television station. In May, an 18-year old was shot at a party in a Seattle home that had been rented on Airbnb, according to local media.

The Orinda Police Department couldn't comment on the specifics of the case as the search for the shooter is still ongoing. Airbnb has a contentious relationship with its hometown, inspiring legislation from San Francisco Supervisors Aaron Peskin and David Campos to fine the company $1,000 each day for unregistered listings. The company settled with the city in 2017 after a lengthy public fight to repeal the regulation.

"Three years ago, we said the law being passed, which was written by Airbnb, won't work because there was no skin in the game in terms of enforcement," Campos told the New York Times in 2017. of this city's relationship to Airbnb.

Going public in the face of local scrutiny

Airbnb has clashed with local governments before, and has continuously fought local legislation that sought to limit the company's influence or applied short-term rental restrictions and taxes at city or county levels. On Tuesday, the company suffered a stinging defeat in New Jersey as voters overwhelmingly approved stricter regulations for short-term rentals, legislation that Airbnb publicly opposed, according to the New York Times.

The company's relationship with local governments will be critical as Airbnb tries to sell itself to public investors. Airbnb has said it plans to list its shares on the stock market by 2020, either through a traditional IPO or direct listing.

At a time when other richly valued startups like Uber and Lyft have struggled in the public markets, Airbnb will face significant scrutiny around its business prospects and the various risks it faces.

"Surely this casts light on the need by potential investors to fully understand what, if any, liability issues this or any other 'bad behavior' on the part of renters raises for the company," IPO consultant and financial advisor Lise Buyer told Business Insider.

For Lux, the Airbnb critic, it comes down to the company taking responsibility. 

"If you put up a mega-platform like this that allows people to do business in this way, you absolutely have to take responsibility as a company," Lux told Business Insider. "You can't let pure libertarianism run amok. That can't be the way society operates."

SEE ALSO: A Silicon Valley VC is handing out 'Free Hong Kong' shirts at Golden State Warriors games and calling out other tech leaders for taking Chinese money while staying silent

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini


          

2 ex-Sequoia investors who ditched Silicon Valley for Ohio raised a $350 million fund to bring venture capital to America's heartland

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columbus ohio

  • Drive Capital, a venture-capital firm based in Columbus, Ohio, has raised a $350 million fund to invest in Midwestern startups.
  • The firm's founders came from the venture-capital powerhouse Sequoia Capital and moved to find new opportunities.
  • While most US venture-capital investment ends up in California, about three-quarters of Drive Capital's portfolio companies have headquarters in the Midwest.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Drive Capital, a venture-capital firm founded by Sequoia Capital alumni and focused on investing in the Midwest, has raised a third fund to inject millions into the heartland's unlikely startup hub.

Regulatory filings show the Columbus, Ohio, firm has closed $350 million for a third fund to put money into early-stage startups. It has raised another $284 million for a growth fund called OverDrive I. Crunchbase News and PitchBook first reported on the fundraise.

A spokesman for Drive Capital declined to comment on the record because the firm hasn't closed its later-stage fund.

The firm's founders are a pair of Silicon Valley transplants who went searching for the best companies in the last place most investors look. Drive Capital has backed three dozen startups, according to PitchBook data, and about three-quarters of them have Midwestern headquarters. By comparison, California startups received more than half of venture-capital spending in the US in 2018.

drive capital cofounders

Drive Capital's Ohio home highlights the spread of startups and tech investors beyond the confines of Silicon Valley, where the supply of engineering talent is tight and costs are high. The number of venture-capital firms in Austin, Texas, has grown in recent years, Business Insider recently reported, as a new crop of startups take root in the city.

Columbus, a 3 1/2 hour drive from Detroit, has also attracted a rising number of funds to the Ohio capital. It benefits from a large state college creating a highly educated workforce, an affordable cost of living, and a slew of large employers — mostly insurance companies — that have started investment funds to support entrepreneurs.

Nearly a decade ago, Mark Kvamme left a high-paying job at the venture-capital powerhouse Sequoia to take a cabinet position with his longtime friend and then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich. He resigned a year later but invited a Sequoia colleague, Chris Olsen, to join him in the Midwest and build the next great investment firm.

Its biggest bets include Root Insurance, which offers rates based on how well you drive; the language-learning app Duolingo; and Nowait, a restaurant-reservation app that was bought by Yelp for $40 million.

The firm's 19 employees all relocated from the coasts, according to its website. They've flown a collective 1 million miles to meet entrepreneurs wherever they are.

SEE ALSO: AOL founder Steve Case is making a bold bet on companies from the Midwest — and he says it's a lot like the early bet he made on the internet

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 80% of startup money goes to 3 states — here's what one visionary is doing to help spread the wealth


          

Companies like Google and Microsoft are making big investments in startups looking to disrupt healthcare. Here's where 5 top tech giants are placing their bets.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Tech giants like Google's parent company Alphabet and Microsoft have taken their time figuring out how to approach the massive $3.5 trillion US healthcare industry. 

But the big tech players haven't been shy about investing in companies looking to disrupt healthcare. Their investments hint at how the tech giants could ultimately succeed in healthcare. 

In October, CB Insights pulled together a report analyzing the investments tech companies had made in digital health startups looking at the last five years. In particular, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Chinese tech giant Tencent accounted for about 70% of the deals, the report found. 

Read more: Tech giants like Google and Amazon are beefing up their healthcare strategies. Here's how 7 tech titans plan to tackle the $3.5 trillion industry.

The report highlights that most of the deals have been in data management and analytics, with 40 deals in the space. That finding isn't surprising for He Wang, a healthcare analyst at CB Insights. 

"A common thread across all ten companies is data. Every tech company is leveraging some sort of data in all verticals they're going after, and that's no different in healthcare," Wang told Business Insider. "They're playing to their strengths and that's reflected in their investments." 

Here are the top 5 companies with the most investments in digital health and where they're placing their bets, from fewest investments to most, as determined by the CB Insights report. 

Samsung - 15 companies

Samsung is primarily focused on chronic disease management. 

The South Korean company, known for Galaxy phones and headsets, wants to expand into wearables and other tech monitoring systems that can track peoples' health. In total, it's invested in 15 companies. 

Samsung bought Neurologica, a medical imaging company and the US healthcare equipment maker, Nexus

"Samsung essentially wants to help people manage their health, using their wide adoption of hardware to distribute software that has healthcare applications," Wang said.  

 



Intel - 16 companies

A big area of focus for Intel is AI or machine learning in medical imaging, drug discovery and drug diagnostics, Wang said. In total, Intel has made investments in 16 digital health companies, according to the report. 

This can be seen with its investment of $30 million in startups working on cloud computing software innovation. The company, along with Microsoft, invested in CognitiveScale, a data analytics product for healthcare providers like hospital systems. 

Wang noted that Intel's healthcare investments align with the company's broader investments in AI across all verticals.  

"Intel is one of the most technologically advanced companies. They're still a worldwide provider of chips," Wang said. "So at the end of the day they're just trying to make a broader market place with chips." 



Tencent - 40 companies

Tencent has also been prolific in its dealmaking, investing in 40 companies. 

When delving into healthcare, the company is drawing on two main company strengths.

The first is Tencent's data on its users. The company has some of the most-used messaging apps and software, with over one billion active users on the company's WeChat platform alone. With this vast user base, Tencent is leveraging this asset to help it monetize and make investments, Wang said. 

The second asset is its investment in medical content marketing, allowing Tencent to analyze what users want in healthcare. An example of this an investment in SoYoung, the China-based medical aesthetic company which went public in the US earlier this year. 



Microsoft - 42 companies

As the second-most-active investor on the list, Microsoft made 42 investments in the space. But the company has a different approach than Google. Unlike Google, the majority of Microsoft's investments come from its accelerator and incubator programs.

These programs have actively worked with digital health companies at the earliest stage of investment, for startups like SWORD Health, Genoox, KenSci and SigTuple

"Microsoft is playing a little bit of a catch up in terms of services for cloud providers," Wang said. "They're using this incubator to build on this digital health startup ecosystem, to not only impact some of the most interesting companies out there but to also market or encourage people to use for their cloud computing capabilities." 

But Microsoft also has a long term strategy with its venture arm, M12, which invests in bigger startups, such as the chronic disease management company Livongo Health

The majority of its investments since 2016 have been in data management and analytics, and genomics companies. 

"Microsoft has made it very clear that cloud is the most important strategy they're going after," Wang said.  

 



Alphabet - 57 companies

Alphabet is the biggest and most active investor in the healthcare space. Google parent company Alphabet has backed 57 companies, making 70% of its health investments through corporate funds like Google Ventures, CapitalG, and Gradient Ventures. 

Google's accelerator and incubator programs have invested in 17 digital health companies primarily in genomics, clinical research, insurance and benefits. 

When it comes to genomics, Google's venture arm GV has invested in companies like 23andMe, Foundation Medicine, and Flatiron Health, while Alphabet's life sciences arm Verily has invested in Freenome.

The companies have collected clinical and genetic data, with the hope of finding new ways to use that information and keep people healthier. Google doesn't have access to the data these companies collect, but can draw insights from how the companies approach working with large amounts of information.

"They can use that data and tie it into advanced technology to drive better drug delivery, or diagnostics," Wang said. "Google is focused on healthcare data assets and how to use advanced technology to drive insights from there." 

Google has also invested in some of the biggest health insurance startups like Oscar Health and Clover Health, which collect information on how people use and navigate the healthcare system. 

 




          

An Indonesian politician who helped write strict Islamic anti-adultery laws was flogged 28 times after he was caught committing adultery

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Indonesian man flogged after adultery

  • An Indonesian cleric who helped write strict adultery laws recieved 28 lashes after he was caught committing adultery himself.
  • Mukhlis bin Muhammad, worked for the Aceh Ulema Council (MPU,) the Islamic lawmaking body in Aceh, a semi-autonomous region of Sumatra, Indonesia's largest island.
  • Bin Muhammad was caught by Aceh religious police in a car with a married woman near a tourist beach in September, the BBC reported.
  • The woman, who wasn't named, recieved 23 lashes at the public flogging ceremony on Thursday. 
  • Aceh's legal system is based on trenchant legal principles of Shariah law, a privilege it won after a decades-long dispute with the Indonesian government.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

An Indonesian lawmaker who helped write strict anti-adultery laws in a semi-autonomous region of the country recieved 28 lashes after he was caught committing adultery himself.

The man, Mukhlis bin Muhammad, worked for the Aceh Ulema Council (MPU,) the Islamic lawmaking body in Aceh, a semi-autonomous region of Sumatra, Indonesia's largest island.

The charlatan was busted by Aceh religious police in a car with a married woman near a tourist beach in September, BBC Indonesia reported.

He was flogged in public on Thursday, as was the woman, who was not named. The woman recieved 23 lashes.

man flogged aceh indonesia

"This is God's law. Anyone must be flogged if proven guilty, even if he is a member of the MPU," Husaini Wahab, the deputy mayor of Aceh Besar, told BBC Indonesia.

Aceh has used Shariah law, a strict interpretation of legal guidelines laid out in the Qu'ran, since 2005.

Homosexuality is illegal in Aceh, as is gambling, sex before marriage, adultery, and alcohol in any form.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from Vietnam


          

This timeline shows exactly what happened on board the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max that crashed in less than 13 minutes, killing 189 people

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Lion Air JT610

  • Lion Air flight JT 610, a Boeing 737 Max, crashed into the sea in October 2018. All 189 people on board died.
  • The official crash report, released by Indonesia last week, gives a definitive timeline of what happened on the doomed flight.
  • It shows that the pilots tried more than 20 times to stop the plane's computer forcing its nose down. But they could not bring it under control, and the plane crashed into the sea at 450mph.
  • This is the full timeline of the fatal flight, according to investigators.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Lion Air flight JT 610 took off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 6.20 a.m. on October 29, 2018. Less than 13 minutes later it smashed into the sea, killing everyone on board.

It was the first of two fatal crashes for Boeing's 737 Max. A second crashed over Ethiopia in March 2019, leading to the grounding of the plane, and plunging Boeing into an ongoing crisis.

The final report, released by investigators last week, pointed to flaws in Boeing's design of the plane, as well as mistakes by the airline and its staff.

The timeline it outlines shows the crew wrestling to control the plane as automatic anti-stall software, known as MCAS, overrode their instructions and pushed the nose down more than 20 times. It crashed into the Java Sea at around 450mph.

Here is what happened on board:

6.18 a.m.: JT 610 was given clearance to take off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. On board are 189 people: 181 passengers, 2 pilots, and 6 flight attendants.

It was bound for Pangkal Pinang on Indonesia's Bangka Island.

Before the plane took off, the crew noted that the weather conditions on the route were good.

 



6.20 a.m., 16 seconds: Unusual readings were recorded while still on the ground, less than 30 seconds before takeoff. Two displays in the cockpit recorded different wind speeds, while the plane's two angle of attack sensors, which measure its orientation in the air, disagreed by a substantial 21 degrees.



6.20 a.m., 32 seconds: The plane experienced a "control column stick shaker" warning, which physically shakes the plane's controls to alert the pilots of a potential stall. It continued for most of the flight.

This video shows the controls column stick shaker on flight simulator for the Boeing 737-800, a predecessor to the 737 Max.

Youtube Embed:
//www.youtube.com/embed/NtQqb7rstrQ
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Height: 315px

 



6.20 a.m., 37 seconds: The plane sounded a "takeoff configuration warning" — a generic alert which flags potential problems. The report says the captain queried the alert, but gives no further detail.



6.20 a.m, 40 seconds: Takeoff. The captain is flying. Problems begin to come thick and fast.



6.20 a.m., 44 seconds: Sensors started recording two different airspeeds. The first officer asked the captain what the problem is, and if they should turn back. He did not respond.

The plane's black box, recovered after the crash, said one indicator recorded a speed of 164 knots while the other recorded 173 knots.



6.21 a.m., 12 seconds: The first officer told the captain that on-board sensors were giving two different altitude readings, more than 200ft apart. The captain spoke with an air traffic controller in the terminal, who said to climb higher.

The altimeter on the captain's primary flight display indicated 340 feet, while the first officer's indicated 570 feet.



6.21 a.m., 28 seconds: The first officer asked the controller to confirm the altitude of the plane. The controller said it was 900ft. On the plane, one display said 790ft, the other said 1,040ft.



6.21 a.m., 37 seconds: The captain asked the first officer to run through a memorized checklist for what to do when the plane is giving unreliable airspeed readings. The first officer did not respond. The first officer suggested flying downwind, which the captain rejected.



6.21 a.m., 52 seconds: The first officer asked permission to move into a holding pattern, citing a "flight control problem." The controller did not respond to the holding pattern request, and later did not remember it being made.



6.22 a.m., 4 seconds: After a suggestion from the first officer, the captain adjusted the plane's flaps from the "Flaps 5" setting, to the more flat "Flaps 1" setting. He then asked the first officer to take over the controls.



6.22 a.m., 15 seconds: The controller noted that the plane's altitude was decreasing, from 1,700ft to 1,600ft. The plane's controls still showed two different speeds.



6.22 a.m., 24 seconds: The captain and controller agreed that the plane should climb to 5,000 feet. The plane still showed two different speeds.



6.22 a.m., 32 seconds: An alarm warned that the plane was flying at a steep angle. The black box showed the plane briefly banked to 35 degrees, as if to turn.



6.22 a.m., 44 seconds: The plane, which appears not to have made it to the planned 5,000ft, instead rapidly descends 600ft. It has been in the air just two minutes.



6.22 a.m., 48 seconds: Sensors on the plane radically disagree about its angle of attack. One says the plane is flying with its nose pointing 18 degrees up, the other says it is flying with the nose 3 degrees down.



Angle of attack sensors compare the angle of the wings to the direction of the plane, to establish the orientation of the plane in the sky. Angle of attack data is what triggers the MCAS system on a 737 Max — the faulty system which led to the crash.

This video explains the measurement:

Youtube Embed:
//www.youtube.com/embed/hopFE8B29Sg
Width: 560px
Height: 315px

Boeing has been criticized for how the Max design relied on information from only one angle of attack sensor, meaning that a single faulty reading could trigger MCAS.



6.23 a.m, 0 seconds: The plane warns of low speed. There are still contradictory readings of how fast it is actually going.

The controller said the ground speed of the aircraft, shown on the radar display, was 322 knots.

But the black box showed the captain's flight display indicated the speed was 306 knots, and the first officer's indicated 318 knots.



6.23 a.m., 4 seconds: The control column stick shaker again warned of a possible stall. The plane warns of both too much speed and not enough speed.



6.23 a.m., 9 seconds: The captain asked the first officer for a memorized checklist of what to do, but gets no reply.



6.23 a.m., 15 seconds: An automatic system on board the plane begins to force its nose down, activating for 11 of the next 17 seconds.

According to the timeline, this is not yet in response to the MCAS system which will ultimately force the plane to crash.



6.23 a.m., 39 seconds: The cockpit voice recorder picks up a sound of pages turning, suggesting the pilots looked at a manual. The captain turned the aircraft nose up.



6.23 a.m., 48 seconds: The first officer gave the warning "flight control low pressure" — which appears to refer to pressure in the hydraulic systems that control the plane. Separately, an altitude warning sounds.



6.24 a.m., 5 seconds: The captain again asked for a checklist of what to do when the plane's airspeed recorders can't be relied on, but the first officer said he could not find it. The cockpit voice recorder again picked up the sound of pages turning.



6.24 a.m., 52 seconds: The plane's flaps changed position, though the cockpit voice recorder did not any note any discussion about changing them. The controller gave instructions to change the plane's direction and altitude. The captain turned the plane's nose up.



6.25 a.m., 11 seconds: The plane's flaps changed position, again without discussion between the pilots.



6.25 a.m., 27 seconds: The plane's MCAS system begins to activate. In six and a half minutes time it will have crashed the plane. First. it pushes the nose down for two seconds. The captain interrupted it, pushing the nose up for six seconds.



MCAS and its failings are now well-known in the aviation world. But many 737 Max pilots say they had no idea it even existed until after the crashes. It probably took the two Lion Air pilots totally by surprise.

MCAS was meant to stop the 737 Max from stalling, counteracting a tendency for the nose to drift upwards by forcing it back down.

Boeing did not mention the MCAS system — what it is or how to manage any malfunctions — in the flight manual for pilots.



6.25 a.m., 40 seconds: MCAS activated six times in the next two minutes, pushing the plane's nose down until the captain interrupted it.



6.27 a.m., 3 seconds: The controller told the plane to change direction to avoid traffic in the air. The first officer, still reading the checklist for how to deal with bad airspeed readings, did not respond until the third time.

The cockpit voice recorder showed that the pilots frantically read through the manual for a solution as the plane went out of control.



6.27 a.m., 15 seconds: MCAS activated four more times in the next minute and was overridden by the captain again. The first officer said he would run a check based on the list he had been reading.



6.28 a.m., 18 seconds: The first officer called a flight attendant into the cockpit, and the captain then asked him to call for an airline engineer who was on board to come in. MCAS activated twice more, and the captain said: "Look what happened."



6.28 a.m., 43 seconds: The controller gave more instructions for the direction and altitude of the plane, while a conversation between flight attendants "discussed that there was a technical issue in the cockpit.". MCAS activated three more times in less than a minute.



6.29 a.m., 37 seconds: The controller told the crew that his radar screen showed the plane descending, and the first officer responded to say that they were having a flight control problem and were flying the plane manually. MCAS activated twice more.



6.30 a.m., 2 seconds: The first officer contacted a different air traffic controller, the one in charge of arrivals at Soekarno-Hatta airport. He said the plane was having a flight control problem. The controller told the plane to come back to the runway it took off from.



6.30 a.m., 6 seconds: MCAS activated three more times in less than a minute, with the captain overriding it.



6.30 a.m., 48 seconds: The captain asked the first officer to take control. The first officer pushed the plane's nose up, and said 5 seconds later: "I have control."



6.30 a.m., 57 seconds: The captain asked the arrival controller for permission to land the plane at a different location, away from the airport, because of the weather. The request was approved.



6.31 a.m., 8 seconds: The captain told the controller that he could not work out his altitude because the sensors were giving so many different readings. Seemingly flustered, he referred to the flight as number 650 instead of 610.



6.31 a.m., 15 seconds: The first officer repeatedly pointed the plane's nose up. MCAS activated twice in the next twelve seconds.



6.31 a.m., 19 seconds: The captain asked the controller to clear all planes from 3,000 feet above and below the plane to avoid any collisions.



6.33 a.m, 31 seconds: The first officer twice told the captain that the plane was flying downwards. The second time, the captain said "it's OK." The plane was descending relatively gently, at around 1,920 feet per minute. MCAS activated again.



6.31 a.m, 46 seconds: Only a few seconds later, the plane's rate of descent increases rapidly. Black box readings show it descending at more than 10,000ft per minute, giving them only seconds to avoid hitting the sea.



6.31 a.m., 51: Five seconds later, the plane warns of its rapid descent and the approaching sea. There is almost no time left.



6.31 a.m, 53 seconds: MCAS activated for a final time. One second later, the flight record and cockpit voice recorder stop working. Air traffic control tries six times to contact the pilots, to no response. Other planes in the area are asked to try to see what happened.



7.05 a.m.: Around half an hour later, a tugboat found debris that was later found to be part of the plane. The crash is confirmed. There are no survivors.




          

The 25-year-old who invented a way to clean plastic out of the ocean just debuted a barge that captures trash in rivers, before it gets to the sea

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Ocean Cleanup Interceptor

Around 8.8 million tons of plastic enter the world's oceans each year — the equivalent of a truckload of garbage every minute. Over time, this trash can accumulate in offshore garbage patches and linger there for decades

The largest of these vortexes, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is located in Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California. It's estimated to contain more than 1.8 trillion pieces of floating plastic — the equivalent of 250 pieces of debris for every person on Earth.

For the last six years, a nonprofit called The Ocean Cleanup has been developing a system to passively collect plastic from the garbage patch using the ocean's current. The product of those efforts — a floating, U-shaped device that traps plastic in its fold like a giant arm — has finally been working as planned for the last month.

But even that success doesn't stop any new plastic from entering the ocean.

To address that problem, The Ocean Cleanup recently designed a new device called "The Interceptor." It's essentially a catamaran that glides across the surface of rivers, channeling plastic toward a conveyor belt. The trash then gets deposited into attached dumpsters.

Since most marine plastic comes from rivers, the vessel could help address the waste problem before it reaches an ocean garbage patch. 

The Ocean Cleanup Malaysia

The organization's 25-year-old founder, Boyan Slat, unveiled the new device  at an event in the Netherlands on October 26. 

Plastic in rivers enters a conveyor belt then gets deposited into floating dumpsters

The Ocean Cleanup estimates that 1,000 rivers — around 1% of the global total — carry roughly 80% of the plastic that winds up in the ocean out to sea. The rivers responsible for the most marine pollution, they found, are small waterways in urban areas. 

So the organization created the Interceptor to collect plastic from these rivers.

The vessel moves with the water's current, so it doesn't need to be towed. Plastic on the water's surface gets pushed by the current toward a conveyor belt, then funneled into six dumpsters on a separate barge that floats underneath the vessel.

When the dumpsters get full, the system sends a message to operators on land. The operators can then dispatch a boat to tow the barge (and the plastic waste) to shore. The Ocean Cleanup estimates that one Interceptor can remove around 110 tons of plastic per day. 

The device's lights, sensors, and conveyor belt are 100% solar-powered.

Ocean Cleanup Interceptor

The Interceptor is designed to operate in almost any river, but it can be tailored to suit different types of conditions. For example, some rivers have a concentrated path of debris, so the conveyor belt can simply take in the trash that flows toward the vessel; in other cases, a guardrail can channel plastic toward the vessel's mouth.

Two vessels are already operating in Malaysia and Indonesia

The Ocean Cleanup has so far built four prototypes of the Interceptor and deployed two of them. 

The Ocean Cleanup River Device

The first prototype was dispatched in the Cengkareng Drain, a river that runs through Jakarta, Indonesia. It includes a guardrail to funnel plastic toward the conveyor belt. Instead of depositing trash into dumpsters, the belt dumps waste into giant garbage bags that are then towed to shore.

The second prototype was dispatched in the Klang River in Malaysia. The waterway abuts Port Klang — a well known dumping ground for plastic waste. On that vessel, the conveyor belts sends plastic directly into dumpsters on the floating barge. 

The organization plans to deploy one of the remaining prototypes in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, and the other in a river in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.

By the end of 2025, The Ocean Cleanup hopes to deploy their vessel in the 1,000 rivers worldwide that send the most plastic pollution into the ocean.

SEE ALSO: A 25-year-old's mission to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has yielded a new discovery — and it means the plastic problem is even worse than we thought

SEE ALSO: The massive plastic-cleaning device invented by a 25-year-old is finally catching trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This incredible animation shows what 80,000 tons of garbage in the ocean looks like


          

Gotham City Digest: Der Gropenführer edition

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(Where we vow to never grope your pecs from behind.)

     Donnie Dumbo wants to pull firefighting funding from California. Then again, this is a fucking moron who thinks that windmills cause cancer.

     I just sent a nice long email to the right wing shyster who wrote this, in which he claimed that Omar was wrong in quoting Trump as saying Neonazis are "very fine people." He most certainly did and I made sure to let this clown know that and a lot more. I'll post the results later in a full post. This fucking guy's unreal.

     "Aiming to win back public confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX, major US airliners are reportedly planning to hold demonstration flights with senior company officials, but not real passengers, on board to prove the model is safe. "
      I bet they'll be buying a shitload of life insurance.

      Since I move exclusively in adult circles, I have to say I haven't seen behavior like this on a daily basis since grade school.

      #somuchwinning #somuchborrowing

      Another Trump scam. Shocking, I know. Or maybe, no one wants to eat with him.

      The trouble with this, besides the obvious, is that you can't drag a pig into the mud when it's already in it. Trump is already up to his bizarre comb over in the mire. He is to sleaze what Bill Gates is to software. Seriously, Trump threatening to launch a smear campaign against Vindman, a Jewish officer, is like the Dreyfus Affair 2.0. And, speaking of whom...

       That's right. Some right winger called up CSPAN and compared Lt. Col. Vindman to the Nazi propagandist. This is what happens when you get 100% of your news from Trump's Twitter feed.

        Jay Sekulow's already vowed they would fight this all the way to the Supreme Court. The right wingers on the court will probably rule forcing Trump to turn over his tax returns would amount to a violation of his 4th Amendment rights or some silly shit like that.

        California? Fuck 'em. They're Commie pinkos out to hurt America! Russia First!

        Kurt Suzuki will never live down this moment as long as he lives, not with his wife, his kids, grandkids or the nursing home orderlies.

        At this point, I look at Never Trumper Republicans like useful idiots and, yes, I count George Will in that number. People such as Will are acting shocked as if Trump is the first bad Republican "president" to come down the pike. These fireflies of clarity that occasionally go off in Will's brain, as well as other idiots such as Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and George Conway also gave Bush full-throated praise even as he stole the presidency twice and got us into two wars in which we're STILL engaged, bankrupting the Treasury and borrowing trillions from the Chinese to pay off those and his ruinous tax cuts. They each stood by and did nothing even as we tortured human beings for useless information. So, no, I will not listen to these right wingers as if they're the new voices of moral clarity. We got war criminals like Bush in the White House because of their right wing snuffling about how evil Socialism and liberalism is. Fuck 'em all. So, please, keep doing damage to Donnie Dumbo's "presidential" legacy. The next time a more moderate Republican gets in the WH, they'll sneak back into the party and start preaching the usual right wing orthodoxy. You just wait and see. Then remember what I said here in 2019.

       Remember when Nixon called Walter Cronkite before deciding to fire Archibald Cox? Yeah, me neither.
       But this is how clueless our government is.The morons running Foggy Bottom are so stupid, they're leaving personnel decisions with grave geopolitical implications to Sean Hannity, a guy who once ran a failed dating site.

       This is the REAL Richard Spenser when he's not getting free air time from CNN. This is one of the assholes Trump calls "very fine people."

       Hey, if Donnie Dumbo wants to bankrupt someone else besides the American taxpayer for his sporting outings, it might as well be the RNC.

        Meme intermission.

     Among the many disturbing revelations in the full testimonies and depositions of Marie Yovanoviych and Michael McKinley that were released by the House Intelligence Committee today was Marie Yovanovitch fearing for her life if she didn't get out of Ukraine as a colleague warned her to do. Another was Gordon Sondland telling her to "get big or get out" and to go on Twitter and support the "president."

       Speaking of which, for anyone that cares to read them in full, here are the links to the released testimonies of Michael McKinley and Masha Yovanovitch.

        It's Tuesday afternoon so have lunch with Volbeat, some of the best Dad rock on the planet.

        Anti-choice pregnancy centers are sometimes the worst choice a mother can make.

       When you don't have the guts to break the law, go the Rand Paul route and demand others do it for you.

        Make ISIS Great Again.

       "Went there, bitch."

      This is how toxic the Republican brand is: They're so ashamed of running as Republicans, they try to deceive voters into thinking they're Democrats.

     More right wing rat-fuckery. Note these Republican scumbags aren't defending Trump so they resort to sophomoric horseshit like this to slow the impeachment process.

      If Trump isn't a good racist, it isn't for lack of relentless trying.

      Wouldn't it be something if South Carolina, of all states, had two black senators?

      I always hate seeing those lying right wing losers at Project Veritas made artificially relevant but this hot mic moment that O'Keefe caught shows another major tv network actively suppressing a sex scandal story. NBC did the same thing with Ronan Farrow and his story about Harvey Weinstein. And it appears Amy Robach ran into stiff resistance from ABC brass in getting her interview with Virginia Roberts about Jeffrey Epstein on the air. By way of mollifying her, they're doing a six part podcast next year that virtually no one will watch, over six months after Epstein's death. And the MSM wonder why they're no longer trusted. And finally...

      Now you know why the Tory scumbags want to privatize the NHS. Imagine how much these leeches would rake in for executive bonuses if THAT were to happen.

          

Kristen Stewart opened up about falling in love with Robert Pattinson: 'There was nothing I could do'

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  • Kristen Stewart opened up about falling in love with Robert Pattinson when they were cast in the "Twilight" movies.
  • She told Howard Stern that it was "weird" talking honestly about their relationship because she "was so self-conscious about seeming like an attention-seeker."
  • "We were together for years. That was, like, my first, you know," she continued, adding: "I was super in love with my high-school boyfriend. Super, super f---ing in love with him. But me and Rob were, like, a little older, and it was just like, 'gu-gung.'"
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Kristen Stewart opened up about falling in love with her "Twilight" costar Robert Pattinson — and the insecurity she still feels surrounding their high-profile relationship.

"It's so weird, like, actually being honest about this. It's been so heavily consumed," she said during a recent appearance on "The Howard Stern Show."

"I have this fear that people would assume that maybe I'm, like, you know — it's kind of attention-y, like, 'Oh, cool, you're still, like, pushing that narrative' or whatever," she continued. "It's like, no, I've actually never been allowed to just say what happened. Because I was so self-conscious about seeming like an attention-seeker."

Stern told Stewart that, in his opinion, falling in love on set is "the biggest mistake an actor can make."

"There was nothing I could do," she replied, laughing.

twilight

Stewart also shut down the theory that she and Pattinson were dating partly for publicity.

"We were together for years. That was, like, my first, you know," she said.

"Love," Stern interjected.

"Yeah, I mean, like, I was super in love with my high-school boyfriend. Super, super f---ing in love with him," she replied. "But me and Rob were, like, a little older, and it was just like, 'gu-gung.'"

Stewart had only positive things to say about Pattinson, agreeing when Stern called him "a charming guy."

"Yeah, he's the best," she said.

The actors met while filming the first "Twilight" movie, released in 2008, when Stewart was 18 and Pattinson was 22. They likely began dating sometime in 2009 but refused to disclose the details of their relationship.

"When me and Rob were together, we did not have an example to go by," Stewart recently told Harper's Bazaar UK. "So much was taken from us that, in trying to control one aspect, we were just like, 'No, we will never talk about it. Never. Because it's ours.'"

twilight portrait Robert Pattinson Kristen Stewart

The longtime couple split shortly before the final franchise installment, "Breaking Dawn — Part 2," was released in 2012. Stewart had been photographed kissing the married director of her film "Snow White and the Huntsman," Rupert Sanders, who was 41.

Stewart and Pattinson briefly rekindled their romance following the cheating scandal but split for good in 2013.

Stewart demurred when Stern asked whether she would've wanted to marry Pattinson, but did say that "every relationship I've ever been in, I thought that was it."

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Trump reportedly wanted AG Barr to hold a press conference defending the president's call with Ukraine. Barr said no.

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  • Attorney General William Barr reportedly declined a request by President Donald Trump to hold a press conference stating that his boss did not break any laws during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 
  • Sources told The Washington Post that Trump made the request in September, around the time that the White House released a summary of the call, in which Trump pressed Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
  • The call was the subject of an anonymous whistleblower complaint filed in August that has since sparked the House to open up an impeachment inquiry. 
  • Trump advisers told The Post that Trump has recently mentioned Barr's refusal to make a televised statement on the matter and wishes he would have done so.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Attorney General William Barr reportedly declined a request by President Donald Trump to hold a press conference defending Trump's incendiary call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which spurred the House to open up an impeachment inquiry. 

Sources told The Washington Post that Trump made the request in September, around the time that the White House released a summary of the July 25 call.

The call was the subject of an anonymous whistleblower complaint filed in August that accused Trump of "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election," in particular, asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden to aid Trump politically.

When the memo of the call was released, a Justice Department spokeswoman told The Post that officials had investigated the call, along with the whistleblower complaint, to see if laws had been broken and determined that "no further action was warranted."

During that time, the request from Trump that Barr hold a press conference on the matter was relayed to other White House officials before making its way to the Justice Department, according to The Post, though Barr ultimately declined the request from his boss. It is unclear how the request was delivered and why Barr declined.

Trump advisers told The Post that Trump has recently mentioned Barr's refusal to make a televised statement on the matter and wishes he would have done so. 

Despite their differences in opinion, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told The Post that Trump and Barr remain on good terms: "The President has nothing but respect for AG Barr and greatly appreciates the work he's done on behalf of the country — and no amount of shady sources with clear intent to divide, smear, and slander will change that." 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In the days leading up to the July 25 call, Trump ordered his administration to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. Among other things, House investigators are working to determine whether there was quid pro quo arrangement, in which Trump would release the aid money to Ukraine in exchange for political investigations.

The White House has vowed it will not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which was formalized last week with a vote in the House. Over a dozen witnesses have been interviewed in the inquiry so far.

Trump maintains that the call was "perfect" and has tweeted that people should "read the transcript," referring to the summary of the call. Last week, Trump told conservative outlet the Washington Examiner that he wanted to read aloud the summary of his call during a "fireside chat on live television."

"This is over a phone call that is a good call," Trump told the outlet. "At some point, I'm going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it's a straight call."

SEE ALSO: A White House national security aide will testify that he twice reported concerns about Trump's Ukraine dealings out of fear Trump would 'undermine US national security'

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Trump's obsession with buying Greenland may have complicated the release of military aid to Ukraine, US ambassador says

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  • Acting US ambassador Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat to Ukraine, testified that senior US officials could not advise President Donald Trump to release military aid to Ukraine because it was too difficult to schedule.
  • Taylor mentioned to lawmakers that scheduling a meeting between Trump and top officials was difficult because "getting the right people in the room at the same time" posed a challenge.
  • But Taylor also noted that "this was also about the time of the Greenland question," and that it "took up a lot of energy in the [National Security Council]."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Acting US ambassador Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat to Ukraine, testified that senior US officials could not advise President Donald Trump to release military aid to Ukraine because it was too difficult to schedule. 

According to a transcript of a closed-door testimony with House investigators for their impeachment inquiry, Taylor was asked why the security assistance for US-backed Ukraine was on hold. The immediate release of a $400 million military package, Taylor explained, was agreed upon unanimously "of every level of interagency discussion."

Taylor went on to tell House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff of California that a meeting to advise the president was "hard to schedule" because they were "on different trips at different times."

Taylor said senior US officials, including acting defense secretary Mark Esper and secretary of state Mike Pompeo needed to be present to bring the matter up with Trump, but "getting the right people in the room at the same time" posed a challenge, according to the transcript released on Wednesday morning.

But the career US diplomat added that he believed "this was also about the time of the Greenland question," and that it "took up a lot of energy in the [National Security Council]."

"That's disturbing for a whole different reason," Schiff remarked.

"Different story," Taylor replied.

Trump discussed his interest in the purchase of the world's largest island with others, according to a Wall Street Journal report in August. Trump later described the possibility as "strategically ... interesting," but added it was not on his list of priorities.

"It's just something we talking about," Trump told reporters in August. "Denmark essentially owns it. We're good allies with Denmark. We protected Denmark like we protect large portions of the world, so the concept came up."

Danish officials responded to Trump's statements and described it as "absurd."

"Greenland is not for sale," Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, according to Bloomberg. "By the way, Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic."

"It must be an April Fool's Day joke," former Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted. "But totally out of [season]!"

In his testimony, Taylor said Trump advocated for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly say that he would open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Taylor testified that he believed there was a "clear understanding" that the US military aid was predicated on Ukraine's commitment "to pursue the investigation" into Trump's political rivals.

SEE ALSO: Transcript of Bill Taylor’s testimony underscores extreme lengths Trump went to in urging Ukraine to investigate Bidens

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NOW WATCH: We can thank the US military for the smelliest weapon in the world


          

Airbnb's 'party house' problem could spoil its public listing. Here's why its new rules to stop the rowdy blowouts might not even work.

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Add one more "risk factor" to the upcoming prospectus Airbnb will release when it makes its stock market debut next year: Party houses.

The home-sharing service has built a booming business by making it easy for anyone to rent their homes to vacationers or business travelers looking for an alternative to a hotel. But the instant and easy access to homes has also caught the notice of teens and others looking for a place to throw wild parties. 

Last month, one of these party house rentals turned tragic when a shooting at an Orinda, Calif home left five people dead. As many as 100 people were at the house for a Halloween party, despite an explicit ban by the homeowner on renting the home for parties, according to the Associated Press.

The incident set off a furor and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has vowed to crack down on the problem, unveiling new verification and support policies Wednesday that he said would stop "bad actors" from abusing the trust the business has established with users.

But the policy changes are largely reactionary, coming after numerous problems at Airbnb party houses over the years. And many people that Business Insider spoke to were skeptical that the new rules would do much to actually stop Airbnb party houses.

"I think it's great that Airbnb is taking some action to rein in the most extreme cases of so-called party houses. But it should not have taken a multiple homicide incident for that to happen," University of Texas assistant professor Jake Wegmann told Business Insider. Wegmann's research focuses on the impact of short-term rentals on local real estate, and he published one of the landmark studies in 2016 that found the existence of Airbnb in San Francisco increased market rents. 

As Airbnb, which has been valued as high as $31 billion by private investors, moves closer to a public listing, its party problem has become a high-priority.

Verification, refunds, and high-risk reservations

The new rules laid out by Chesky involve four key changes:

  • Verification of all 7 million Airbnb listings to ensure the site listing is an accurate representation of the rental.
  • Rebooking or refunding guests who book locations that are not up to the new verification standards.
  • A 24/7 hotline and prominent customer support phone number for guests and neighbors near Airbnb listings.
  • Screening of reservations that are deemed "high-risk" to deter unauthorized parties.

In addition, Airbnb said it has hired two former law enforcement officials as advisors to help the company combat the range of abuses and problems that can occur with short-term home rentals. 

According to American Family Voices president Mike Lux, the home rental startup rewards absentee property owners that have limited interest in screening guests. American Family Voices sponsored the anti-Airbnb advocacy group Airbnb Watch, which chronicles Airbnb's negative impacts on local neighborhoods and real estate. 

"I don't exactly understand honestly what they are doing with that rule," Lux said. "They are making a lot of noise about it, but I don't know how they are going to enforce it."

A homeowner renting a basement out on the weekends is incentivized to screen potential guests, Lux explained, but a real estate "speculator" with multiple units is incentivized to get as many guests in each unit as possible to maximize profits. This is what leads to so-called party houses, and until hosts feel the pressure from Airbnb, they will continue to operate in their own interests, Lux said.

"I do know that ultimately the problem isn't solved unless you stop multi-unit operators," Lux said. "That's what will stop this wild party house problem. They need to monitor hosts and guests better, and they should take more responsibility when something goes wrong."

In the case of the Orinda house, it's unclear whether the new policies would have stopped the unauthorized party. According to the Associated Press, the unit had been rented by a woman who claimed her family members were concerned about health effects of the nearby wildfires in Sonoma County. The owner, Michael Wang, had received multiple citations from city officials for exceeding the home's capacity in the past according to The San Francisco Chronicle, but it's not clear whether Wang owned multiple rentals in California's Bay Area. 

According to Lux's group, there have been more than 30 news reports about violent incidents at Airbnb parties in recent months, including shootings at similar "party houses" in St. Paul, Minn., and Los Angeles, Calif. and other cities. 

Just weeks before the Orinda incident, a woman was shot in the arm in Arizona at an Airbnb house party, according to the Phoenix Fox television station. In May, an 18-year old was shot at a party in a Seattle home that had been rented on Airbnb, according to local media.

The Orinda Police Department couldn't comment on the specifics of the case as the search for the shooter is still ongoing. Airbnb has a contentious relationship with its hometown, inspiring legislation from San Francisco Supervisors Aaron Peskin and David Campos to fine the company $1,000 each day for unregistered listings. The company settled with the city in 2017 after a lengthy public fight to repeal the regulation.

"Three years ago, we said the law being passed, which was written by Airbnb, won't work because there was no skin in the game in terms of enforcement," Campos told the New York Times in 2017. of this city's relationship to Airbnb.

Going public in the face of local scrutiny

Airbnb has clashed with local governments before, and has continuously fought local legislation that sought to limit the company's influence or applied short-term rental restrictions and taxes at city or county levels. On Tuesday, the company suffered a stinging defeat in New Jersey as voters overwhelmingly approved stricter regulations for short-term rentals, legislation that Airbnb publicly opposed, according to the New York Times.

The company's relationship with local governments will be critical as Airbnb tries to sell itself to public investors. Airbnb has said it plans to list its shares on the stock market by 2020, either through a traditional IPO or direct listing.

At a time when other richly valued startups like Uber and Lyft have struggled in the public markets, Airbnb will face significant scrutiny around its business prospects and the various risks it faces.

"Surely this casts light on the need by potential investors to fully understand what, if any, liability issues this or any other 'bad behavior' on the part of renters raises for the company," IPO consultant and financial advisor Lise Buyer told Business Insider.

For Lux, the Airbnb critic, it comes down to the company taking responsibility. 

"If you put up a mega-platform like this that allows people to do business in this way, you absolutely have to take responsibility as a company," Lux told Business Insider. "You can't let pure libertarianism run amok. That can't be the way society operates."

SEE ALSO: A Silicon Valley VC is handing out 'Free Hong Kong' shirts at Golden State Warriors games and calling out other tech leaders for taking Chinese money while staying silent

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NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini


          

Alphabet's board has launched a probe into the company's handling of sexual misconduct charges, including those made against its top attorney (GOOG)

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US Internet giant Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond (C) listens flanked by panel members, Le Monde Editorial Director Sylvie Kauffmann (L), CEE Trust Former executive Director Lidia Kolucka-Zuk (2nd L) and San Pablo Universidad Professor Jose-Luis Pinar (R) during a meeting of the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten in Paris on September 25, 2014.

  • Google parent Alphabet's board is looking into the company's handling of sexual misconduct allegations, according to CNBC.
  • It's formed a special committee to look into the matter and has hired an outside law firm to help out with the investigation, according to the report.
  • Among other things, the investigation will look into charges made against David Drummond, Alphabet's chief legal officer, who had an affair and a child with a subordinate and is accused of having other affairs with women in his department.
  • The investigation follows a shareholder lawsuit that accuses the company of covering up sexual misconduct and a worldwide walkout by company employees over its handling of sexual harassment claims.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The board of directors at Alphabet, Google's parent company, has launched an investigation into the company's handling of sexual misconduct allegations, including those made against its chief legal officer David Drummond, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

The board has created a special committee to oversee the inquiry, according to the report. Its also hired an outside law firm to help with the investigation, CNBC reported, citing "materials" it had viewed.

In a statement, a Google representative confirmed the board inquiry, saying it had previously been disclosed in court filings.

"In early 2019, Alphabet's Board of Directors formed a special litigation committee to consider claims made by shareholders in various lawsuits relating to past workplace conduct," the representative said.

The representative declined to say whether the inquiry would scrutinize Drummond's conduct.

But according to CNBC, the investigation will indeed look at the actions of Drummond, who heads up Alphabet's legal department. In August, Jennifer Blakely, who formerly worked for Drummond as a part of Google's legal team, said she'd had an affair and a child with him while she reported to him. After the birth of her son, she said she was forced to leave her position in the legal department and was transferred to the sales department to a position for which she felt ill-suited.

Blakely accused Drummond of abandoning her and having multiple other affairs, including with women who had worked with him at Google. 

In a subsequent statement, Drummond acknowledged the relationship and said that he was "far from perfect," but denied he had ever "started a relationship" with anyone else at Google or Alphabet.

Alphabet has been dogged by criticism about its handling of sexual misconduct allegations for much of the last year. An article in The New York Times last fall detailed how the company had allegedly ignored sexual harassment allegations made against key executives and, in some cases, paid generous severance packages to those executives. The report led to a massive walkout by Google employees around the world to protest the company's handling of such matters. It also led to a shareholder suit that accused the board of covering up sexual misconduct. 

Earlier this week, Drummond saw a $27 million windfall from exercising some of his Alphabet options.

Got a tip about Alphabet or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Andy Rubin, the creator of Android who left Google after a sexual misconduct allegation, is tweeting again to tease a weird, new phone-like gadget

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Rudy Giuliani lawyers up as federal prosecutors investigate and the impeachment inquiry ramps up

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FILE PHOTO: Rudy Giuliani is seen ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump introducing his Supreme Court nominee in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

  • Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, has hired representation as federal prosecutors close in on him amid the broader impeachment into the president. 
  • Giuliani tweeted on Wednesday that he's "represented and assisted by Robert Costello and the Pierce Bainbridge firm in particular, Eric Creizman and Melissa Madrigal."
  • Giuliani was previously represented by Jon Sale, a law school classmate and Watergate prosecutor. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has new representation as he faces increasing pressure from the federal government related to his work in Ukraine. 

Giuliani on Wednesday tweeted that he's "represented and assisted by Robert Costello and the Pierce Bainbridge firm in particular, Eric Creizman and Melissa Madrigal."

Costello's name has come up before in relation to Trump, Giuliani, and the president's former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who is now in prison. Reports in March surfaced suggesting that Costello had indicated to Cohen that the president was considering the possibility of pardoning him, but Costello vehemently denied this at the time.

Costello and Pierce Bainbridge did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

Giuliani is at the center of a scandal that poses an existential threat to Trump's presidency and involves a whistleblower complaint from a US intelligence official that accuses the president of abusing the power of his office to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. 

The former New York mayor is mentioned dozens of times in the complaint, which has catalyzed an impeachment inquiry into Trump in the House. Testimony from witnesses in the impeachment inquiry also heavily implicate Giuliani, according to transcripts released by House investigators.  

Correspondingly, Giuliani is reportedly under criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York over the role he played in Marie Yovanovitch getting recalled under dubious circumstances as the US ambassador to Ukraine. The investigation focuses on whether Giuliani broke foreign lobbying laws as part of these efforts, The New York Times reported last month. 

On top of this, there's reportedly an FBI counterintelligence probe into whether a foreign influence operation sought to use Giuliani's financial interests in Ukraine as a means of gaining access to the White House. 

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NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope


          

Federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter employees with spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia (TWTR)

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  • Federal prosecutors have charged two former Twitter employees with spying on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government, The Washington Post first reported.
  • The criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday alleges that the former employees snooped on the accounts of people who were critical of Saudi Arabia.
  • The defendants allegedly spied on more than 6,000 Twitter accounts beginning in 2015 at Saudi Arabia's behest.
  • A Twitter spokesperson said the company is thankful for the Justice Department's investigation but declined to answer questions about what role the employees held in the company.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Two former employees of Twitter have been charged with spying on more than 6,000 users' accounts at the request of the Saudi Arabian government, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

The Justice Department complaint, first reported by The Washington Post, alleges that Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi Arabian citizen, and Ahmad Abouammo, a US citizen, both used their positions at Twitter to spy on users who were critical of Saudi Arabia. Abouammo was arrested Tuesday, according to the Post.

A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider that the company was grateful for the Justice Department's investigation, but declined to answer questions about what positions the two former employees held at the company, or whether Twitter was aware of any spying before prosecutors intervened.

"We would like to thank the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for their support with this investigation. We recognize the lengths bad actors will go to try and undermine our service. Our company limits access to sensitive account information to a limited group of trained and vetted employees," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson went on to say that Twitter "understand[s] the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable. We have tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work. We're committed to protecting those who use our service to advocate for equality, individual freedoms, and human rights."

According to the Post, one of the accounts that the employees snooped on belonged to Omar Abdulaziz, a prominent activist who was critical of Saudi Arabia and became close with Jama Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist killed by Saudi government officials last year.

"The criminal complaint unsealed today alleges that Saudi agents mined Twitter's internal systems for personal information about known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users," U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson told the Post. "We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S. technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law."

Abouammo worked as a media partnerships manager for Twitter, according to the criminal complaint. A LinkedIn profile that appears to belong to Abouammo says he was at the company from 2013-2015, and that he "spearheaded Twitter partnerships with media organizations (TV, sports, government, entertainment, music, and news)" in the Middle East and Africa.

SEE ALSO: Twitter has published its rules for world leaders, including what types of tweets won't be allowed

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'I'd wiped out half a family': F-16 pilot grapples with guilt after a bungled bombing mission in Iraq killed at least 4 civilians

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  • A former Dutch F-16 fighter pilot who bombed a civilian home in Iraq said he is grappling with his actions that led to the deaths of at least four civilians in 2015.
  • The pilot, who goes by the pseudonym "Stefan," recounted the events surrounding his bombing mission to two Netherlands-based journalists in the De Telegraaf.
  • "You think to yourself: 'It can't be, surely?' I felt nauseous when I heard the news," Stefan said. "I feel jointly responsible. I dropped that bomb and pressed the button. I ended the lives of people who had nothing to do with [our mission]. It was slap in the face. It went against everything we were there for."
  • Stefan said he viewed drone footage of the bombing on YouTube and struggled with the incident, which was researched by The New York Times. The Times's story included pictures of the civilian family members who were killed.
  • "One evening I was sat clicking on the internet. I saw the photo and thought: that's my target," Stefan said. "At that moment, I knew it would have been self-torture to look further — but I thought if I looked away at that point, that it would be cowardly."
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A Dutch F-16 fighter pilot who bombed a civilian home in Iraq thought to be an ISIS car bomb factory said he has been grappling with causing the deaths of at least four civilians on September 20, 2015.

The pilot, who goes by the pseudonym "Stefan," recounted the events surrounding his bombing mission to two Netherlands-based journalists, Olof Van Joolen and Silvan Schoonhoven, in the De Telegraaf.

"I was the mission commander, I'd done all the planning," he said in De Telegraaf. "Everything until the debriefing was successful."

It was weeks after the mission when he received word that his targets may have not been against Islamic State militants in Mosul, but civilians who were held captive under ISIS's rule in the city. The family members he had killed included the Mayada Razzo, according to an extensive New York Times investigation in 2017.

Videos taken by drones of the bombings were previously uploaded to US Central Command's YouTube channel with the caption "COALITION AIRSTRIKE DESTROYS A DAESH VBIED FACILITY NEAR MOSUL, IRAQ," referring to the acronym for improvised explosive devices fashioned from vehicles.

Basim Razzo, Mayada's husband who was a Huawei account manager who studied engineering at Western Michigan University, told The Times that he only needed to see the first few seconds to confirm he was looking at his family's homes. Razzo's wife, brother, 21-year-old daughter, and 18-year-old son were killed in the bombing that was initially believed to be a factory that produced weapons for ISIS militants.

Razzo eventually returned to the neighborhood, according to The Times: "I'm numb. I'm just numb," he said in 2017.

"You are murderers," Razzo said in a comment of CENTCOM's now-deleted YouTube video, according to The Times. "You kill innocents with cold blood and then start creating justification."

CENTCOM — the combatant command which overseas US operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and South Asia — still has videos of previous airstrikes in their YouTube channel, but have since disabled a feature allowing commenting on videos.

"I will NEVER forget my innocent and dear cousins who died in this pointless airstrike," a 16-year-old cousin of Razzo's daughter reportedly added in the comments.

'I felt nauseous'

Screen Shot 2019 11 06 at 9.40.23 AM

Three weeks after the bombing, Stefan said he received a call saying that the US was investigating the incident.

"After a few months it turned out that the target had indeed been incorrect," Stefan recounted to De Telegraaf. "Somewhere along the way, there was an error in the intelligence process."

"You think to yourself: 'It can't be, surely?' I felt nauseous when I heard the news," Stefan added. "I feel jointly responsible. I dropped that bomb and pressed the button. I ended the lives of people who had nothing to do with [our mission]. It was slap in the face. It went against everything we were there for. We were just there to help the Iraqi people."

A military report of the incident obtained by The Times indicated that the US-led coalition believed the homes were used as an ISIS command center. According to Razzo, the location was briefly used by ISIS forces, but was later abandoned after the militants took over the entire city. Despite finding "no overtly nefarious activity," the coalition deemed that a total of 95-minutes of drone footage of the neighborhood warranted a military strike.

Stefan said he viewed the drone footage of the bombing on YouTube and struggled with Razzo's story in The Times, which included pictures of his family members who were killed.

"One evening I was sat clicking on the internet. I saw the photo and thought: that's my target," Stefan said. "At that moment, I knew it would have been self-torture to look further — but I thought if I looked away at that point, that it would be cowardly."

"I'd wiped out half a family, to put it bluntly," he added. "There was one guy who had survived. Then I saw a name and a face and a picture of the children, taken a day before it had happened. A little later I put an end to that. I didn't sleep for two nights. Then life went on."

The pilot's account has sparked a rift in the Dutch military

F-16 netherlands

The pilot admitted civilian casualties were always a possibility in the fog of war, and that it was "frustrating" to find that delicate balance between decisive action and accounting for non-combatants in combat.

ISIS took control Mosul, one of the largest cities in Iraq, in 2014. For three years, roughly 600,000 civilians who resided in the city were forced to abide by ISIS's crude laws until being liberated by a joint Iraqi, Kurdish, and US military campaign.

"War isn't just dirty; it's also a rational game," Stefan reportedly said.

"We really didn't want Baghdad to fall," he added, referring to Iraq's capital. "More people would have died — civilians included. Doing nothing is even worse. War is a game that we play because all else has failed."

Stefan, who has since left the Royal Netherlands Air Force, said he considered reaching out to Razzo and his remaining family. But he says that he faces bureaucratic challenges.

"The Ministry of Defence doesn't want to link a pilot to the deployment. It's not allowed," he reportedly said, adding that he "sometimes [wants] to write a letter."

"Maybe they think I'm some kind of blunderer because I killed half a family," Stefan said. "Maybe it would help if they knew I'm really upset about it too."

In an interview with Business Insider, journalist Schoonhoven said Stefan's candid account has sparked a rift in the Dutch military. Despite possible reprisals from the military, Schoonhoven said the pilot was "quite open" about detailing his experience.

"For him, it's excruciating," Schoonhoven said. "He has to live with having killed the family members."

'This was a war situation'

Ank Bijleveld mattis

Schoonhoven said he and his colleague discovered Stefan's account while researching for their upcoming book, "Missie F-16," about the Dutch F-16's role during the various conflicts in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The aircraft is scheduled to be retired and replaced with the US-designed F-35 aircraft.

"We wanted to write a journalistic book, not a book about heroic stories," Schoonhoven said to Business Insider. "We wanted to present the dark side of flying war planes and dropping bombs."

The Dutch have been heavily active in countering ISIS. Unlike some hesitation in joining the US coalition in Afghanistan, nearly all parliamentary parties voted to participate in the campaign against ISIS. The country deployed military advisers, special forces teams, and F-16s that flew "almost daily" in Iraq and eastern Syria for the anti-ISIS campaign, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Schoonhoven and Van Joolen's research indicated that the F-16s flew over 3,000 sorties and dropped over 2,000 bombs.

Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld admitted on Tuesday that the military was responsible for the deaths of roughly 70 civilians in two bombing runs in the region, according to local media reports. Bijleveld, who claimed she was not informed of the civilian deaths by her predecessor, Jeanine Hennis, passed a no-confidence vote and offered her "sincere apologies."

"As Minister, I am responsible, also for the actions of my predecessor," she said, according to Netherlands-based NL Times.

"Our actions were aimed at preventing as much collateral damage as possible, and especially civilian casualties," she reportedly said in a letter to parliament. "However, this was a war situation where these risks can never be completely excluded."

SEE ALSO: Some US troops guarding oil fields in Syria are reportedly still waiting for military orders — including when and how they could attack the enemy

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Bill Gates addressed his multiple meetings with Jeffrey Epstein: 'I made a mistake in judgment'

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Bill Gates, Jeffrey Epstein

  • Bill Gates addressed his ties to Jeffrey Epstein on Wednesday, saying that he "made a mistake in judgement" by associating with the convicted sex offender.
  • It was the first time Gates has spoken publicly on his relationship to Epstein since a New York Times report last month revealed that the Microsoft cofounder met with Epstein multiple times despite his past.
  • Gates said he thought affiliating with Epstein would encourage the financier to commit money to global health initiatives, but that the money never materialized.
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Bill Gates apologized on Wednesday for his association with financier Jeffrey Epstein, making his first public statements since news surfaced that he had met with Epstein, a convicted sex offender, more often than previously believed.

"I made a mistake in judgment in thinking those discussions would go to global health ... that money never appeared," Gates said during a panel discussion hosted by The New York Times Dealbook series.

"And I gave him benefit of my association," Gates said.

The Microsoft cofounder has maintained that he believed meeting with Epstein would lead to investments in charities supported by Gates, who along with his wife, runs one of the world's largest philanthropic organizations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates had previously waffled on his association with Epstein. In September, he distanced himself from Epstein, telling The Wall Street Journal that he "didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him."

But a New York Times investigation published in October found that Gates met with Epstein multiple times after Epstein's conviction in 2011, including at least three meetings at Epstein's Manhattan townhouse. Following the publication of that story, a spokesperson for Gates said he regretted the association, but Gates himself hadn't publicly addressed it until Wednesday afternoon. 

Gates isn't the only tech mogul with ties to Epstein — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk each met with Epstein at least once, years after after Epstein was convicted.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, and Marissa Mayer reportedly attended an elite private dinner with Jeffrey Epstein just 2 years after he served a prison sentence for soliciting sex from a 14-year-old girl

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NOW WATCH: Inside the US government's top-secret bioweapons lab


          

Lindsey Graham's latest defense of Trump is that his policy is too 'incoherent' to do a quid pro quo with Ukraine

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Lindsey Graham

  • GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday suggested that President Donald Trump's policy toward Ukraine is so "incoherent" that he's "incapable" of engaging in a quid pro quo in his dealings with the country. 
  • "What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to; they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo," Graham told reporters on Wednesday.
  • Graham has shifted in his defense of the president several times as the impeachment inquiry has ramped up. 
  • In September, Graham said evidence of a quid pro quo involving the president and Ukraine did "not exist."
  • After evidence emerged that a quid pro quo did occur in Trump's relations with Ukraine, Graham on Tuesday refused to look at it.
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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham continues to find novel ways of defending President Donald Trump as the impeachment inquiry ramps up.

Graham's latest defense of Trump is that his policy toward Ukraine is so "incoherent" that he's "incapable" of orchestrating a quid pro quo in his relations with the country.

"What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to; they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo," Graham told reporters on Wednesday.

The South Carolina senator on Tuesday said he refused to read transcripts from the testimony of current and former diplomats that were released by House investigators.

One of the diplomats — US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — in revised testimony corroborated the existence of an explicit quid pro quo involving frozen US military aid to Ukraine and Trump's desire for certain investigations, including an inquiry into former Vice President Joe Biden.  

Graham on Tuesday dismissed Sondland's reversal, telling a CBS News reporter: "I've written this whole process off ... I think this is a bunch of BS."

The senator had previously said there was no evidence of a quid pro quo involving the president. 

On Wednesday, Graham continued to criticize the impeachment-inquiry process, which is being led by House Democrats, as he offered his new defense of Trump. 

 

"I find the whole process to be a sham, and I'm not going to legitimize it," Graham said on Wednesday, going on to call the whole process a "crock."

Graham added: "This whole theory of impeachment, the process is illegitimate, is outside the norm, this substance I find unpersuasive."

The Republican senator, who's the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also echoed controversial calls from Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and his colleague Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for the name of the whistleblower who filed the complaint that sparked the inquiry to be publicly released. 

"Yes, it should be made public," Graham said, according to CNN. "The whistleblower's claims cannot be used as a basis for criminal accusations, cannot be used the basis for impeachment based on anonymity."

Graham, who was one of Trump's sharpest critics during the 2016 campaign season, has developed a reputation as one of the president's closest allies in Congress. He rarely goes against Trump, though he did briefly break from this trend last month to excoriate the president's decision to abandon US-allied Kurdish forces in Syria.

Lindsey Graham said a month ago there was no evidence of a quid pro quo. Now he's refusing to look at the evidence that shows there was.

SEE ALSO: Lindsey Graham said a month ago there was no evidence of a quid pro quo. Now he's refusing to look at the evidence that shows there was.

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Trump-world is still determined to out the Ukraine whistleblower, but it’s too late for it to matter

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  • President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress continue to focus on outing the whistleblower who filed a complaint that led to the impeachment inquiry.
  • Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the alleged name of the whistleblower on Wednesday, and Sen. Rand Paul has said he will "probably" say the name publicly.
  • But the whistleblower's identity is not relevant. The impeachment inquiry has gathered evidence that corroborates the whistleblower complaint and goes well beyond it.
  • If Trump and other Republicans' hope is that they'll discredit the allegations against the president by revealing the whistleblower as a partisan actor, of which there's no evidence, they're too late.
  • "The whistleblower is not the story and the whistleblower's background is no longer relevant. All that matters is the full and complete record outlining the president's actions," a legal expert told Insider.
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President Donald Trump and his GOP allies have relentlessly sought to unmask the anonymous US intelligence official behind the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry, despite the fact that it's irrelevant at this point.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the alleged name of the whistleblower on Wednesday, and was excoriated by the whistleblower's legal representation as a consequence.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul last Thursday shared an article via Twitter with unconfirmed details about who the whistleblower is and called for the whistleblower to be subpoenaed to testify under oath about "Hunter Biden and corruption."

Paul hasn't stopped in these efforts in the days since, and alongside Trump at a campaign rally in Kentucky on Monday called on the media to print the alleged name of the anonymous whistleblower. On Tuesday, Paul told reporters he would "probably" out the whistleblower himself.

"I'm more than willing to and I probably will at some point," Paul said. "There is no law preventing anybody from saying the name."

But naming anyone as the whistleblower, whether true or not, could place that person in serious danger. And the public disclosure of the whistleblower's identity would not undermine the mounting slew of damning evidence against the president.

The whistleblower complaint has been corroborated by multiple witnesses in testimony to House lawmakers, and some of its details have been publicly confirmed by the president even as he's referred to the complaint as "fictitious." 

The House took a historic step last Thursday in passing a resolution that formalized the impeachment inquiry and signaled the process will begin to transition into a more public phase. Republicans have for weeks complained about the process and the closed-door interviews with witnesses, and they're now gradually shifting into focusing more on the whistleblower's identity as they struggle to defend the president against the substance of the inquiry

But if Trump and other Republicans' hope is that they'll discredit the allegations against the president by revealing the whistleblower as a partisan actor — they're too late.

'The reality is that the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant'

President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

With the trove of information that's been gathered as the Ukraine scandal has gained speed, the impeachment inquiry has gone well beyond the complaint that catalyzed it. At this point, the whistleblower's part in this escalating political drama has largely been played out. 

As the whistleblower's lawyers — Andrew P. Bakaj and Mark S. Zaid — put it in an op-ed for The Washington Post last week: "As each allegation in the complaint is substantiated by new witnesses, the president and his supporters remain fanatically devoted to bringing our client into the spotlight. But the reality is that the identity of the whistleblower is irrelevant."

Bakaj and Zaid added that much of what's been disclosed since the complaint was released in late September "actually exceeds the whistleblower's knowledge of what transpired at the time the complaint was submitted." The attorneys said their client has "no additional information" and therefore there's "no justification for exposing their identity and all the risks that would follow."

Bakaj and Zaid reiterated they've notified both the House and Senate intelligence committees that the whistleblower is willing to answer questions in writing and under oath.

The evidence against Trump is damning, but Republicans aren't done defending him

The whistleblower complaint centers around a July 25 phone call in which Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in relation to the latter's work for a Ukrainian natural gas company. There's no evidence of illegal activity on the part of either Biden.

Trump and his allies have dismissed the complaint as hearsay, given it was based off second-hand information. But a memo willingly released by the White House confirms that Trump pressured Zelensky in this way, and Trump has publicly admitted it. And a top national security aide who was on the July 25 call, Iraq War veteran Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, testified to House lawmakers that he was so alarmed by what transpired he repeatedly expressed concern with his superiors.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, center, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, to appear before a House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Committee on Oversight and Reform joint interview with the transcript to be part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Additionally, multiple witnesses have provided testimony to House lawmakers that's corroborated the existence of some form of a quid pro quo involving roughly $400 million in military aid in Trump's efforts to urge Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. These witnesses include current and former members of the Trump administration, as well as decorated US military veterans and career diplomats.

Evidence of a quid pro quo has also come via a trove of text messages provided to the House by Trump's former special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and public statements from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (though he later walked back on those remarks). 

But none of these factors have stopped Republicans from speculating about the identity of the whistleblower and pushing for public testimony.

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a close ally of Trump, last Tuesday indicated that he has questions about the whistleblower's motives. Jordan told reporters: "It's tough to determine someone's credibility if you can't put them under oath and ask them questions."

The same day, Trump once again tweeted: "Where's The Whistleblower?" The president has repeatedly tweeted about this, and on Monday demanded that the the whistleblower be "brought forward to testify."

Trump, who never did an in-person interview as part of the Russia investigation and only submitted written answers, also rejected the offer for written testimony from the whistleblower. 

'The whistleblower is not the story'

Bradley P. Moss, a national security lawyer and partner at Zaid's law firm, on Friday told Insider these efforts from Republicans are an "irresponsible political deflection" and "beneath the dignity of the offices these lawmakers hold."

Moss added: "The whistleblower is not the story and the whistleblower's background is no longer relevant. All that matters is the full and complete record outlining the president's actions, and specifically whether that conduct merits invocation of the constitutional remedy of impeachment or not."

Congressional Democrats have also raised alarm and slammed Republicans for seeking to out the whistleblower. 

Last week, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters: "We have a long-standing concern that the president and his allies in Congress aren't interested in the underlying act but are interested in risking the life of the whistleblower."

SEE ALSO: These are the key players you need to know to make sense of the Trump impeachment inquiry

DON'T MISS: Transcript of Bill Taylor’s testimony underscores extreme lengths Trump went to in urging Ukraine to investigate Bidens

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The defense secretary begged Trump not to pardon accused and convicted war criminals

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  • Pentagon officials were reportedly shocked by a "Fox & Friends" report Monday that President Donald Trump planned to intervene in three war crimes cases by Veteran's Day.
  • Secretary of Defense Mark Esper urged Trump Tuesday not to intervene.
  • Included in the information packet will be the details of each case, as well as arguments that in none of the cases were the accused troops acting out of patriotism, as Trump suggested.
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Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters he has urged President Donald Trump not to intervene in the cases of three members of the military accused or convicted of war crimes.

"I had a robust discussion with the president yesterday and I offered — as I do in all matters — the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations and we'll see how things play out," Esper told press Wednesday.

Three defense officials told CNN that the Pentagon would send an information package to the president explaining why he should not intervene in the cases of former Army Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, a Green Beret, and Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher. The officials told CNN that the information would be delivered as soon as possible; administration officials had told CNN that Esper planned to discuss his concerns with Trump before Veterans' Day on Nov. 11. 

Pentagon officials were reportedly shocked by a "Fox & Friends" report Monday that Trump planned to intervene in the cases. He has tweeted about the war crimes allegations, saying, "We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!" Gallagher was acquitted of premeditated murder charges, but found guilty of taking a photo with a slain ISIS fighter; Lorance is currently a 19-year sentence for murder; and Golsteyn is awaiting court-martial on murder charges.

Pentagon officials are concerned that Trump doesn't understand the gravity of the crimes Gallagher, Lorance, and Golsteyn were convicted or accused of, or the potential effects his intervention could have on military justice. 

Included in the information packet were the details of each case, as well as arguments that in none of the cases were the troops acting out of patriotism, as Trump appears to believe, and recommendations that Trump should follow the recommendations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — with the acknowledgement that the final decision is up to the president. Esper also told reporters on Wednesday that he has "full confidence in the military justice system."

'Undermining the authority of command'

Trump has been heavily involved in the case of  Gallagher, who was accused of killing a teenage ISIS captive, as well as shooting at Iraqi civilians, both war crimes. He was acquitted of those charges in a military court, after the prosecution impugned its own witness and surveilled the defense without a warrant. Another SEAL testified to killing the young ISIS fighter; Gallagher was found guilty of posing for a photo with his body and demoted. 

Trump has also gotten involved in the cases of Lorance and Golsteyn. He has ordered that charges against both be reviewed; Lorance is serving a 19-year sentence at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas for ordering an enlisted soldier in his platoon to fire at three Afghans on a motorcycle in 2012. Two of the men died, and Lorance was charged with murder, the Army Times reports. Lorance and his attorneys have maintained his innocence, arguing in an appeal that at least some of the men on the motorcycle had been linked to insurgent activity. 

Golsteyn's case has not yet gone to trial. He is accused of murdering an alleged Afghan bombmaker in 2010, and the Army maintains that, during a CIA polygraph test, he admitted to shooting the man, burying him, and later returning to burn the body. Golsteyn and his attorneys maintain his innocence, with one of his attorneys calling the alleged confession of Golsteyn killing an unarmed man "a fantasy." However, the Army Times reports Golsteyn did admit to a version of the events he allegedly told CIA interviewers during a Fox News interview. 

Golsteyn has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, has said that the death occurred during a mission that Golsteyn's superiors ordered. 

Should Trump intervene in the cases, the integrity of the UCMJ would be called into question, as well as the leadership of military authorities. Countries that host US troops could become more wary about the behavior of those troops, and of the military's ability to prosecute crimes, according to the officials CNN interviewed. 

"We all view this possibility as undermining the authority of command," one official told CNN.

Insider reached out to the White House and the Pentagon for comment, but did not receive a response from either by press time. 

SEE ALSO: Putin says the Russian Navy's newest ship will soon carry a new hypersonic missile that may be unstoppable

SEE ALSO: Mattis’s aide says the general ‘did not want me to write’ the memoir about his tense relationship with Trump

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NOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from Vietnam


          

Transcript of Bill Taylor's testimony underscores extreme lengths Trump went to in urging Ukraine to investigate Bidens

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Bill Taylor

  • House investigators released the transcript of the testimony of acting US Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor on Wednesday.
  • Taylor, a Vietnam War veteran and career diplomat with a distinguished record of service, provided one of the most damning testimonies against President Donald Trump.
  • The US diplomat testified that it was made clear to him there was an explicit quid pro quo involving about $400 million in military aid to Ukraine and a request from Trump for certain investigations. 
  • "That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation," Taylor said.
  • The career diplomat testified that freezing the aid was harmful to US national security, adding it was Rudy Giuliani's idea to have Ukraine's president publicly commit to an investigation into the Bidens.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The transcript of the testimony of the top US diplomat to Ukraine, Ambassador Bill Taylor, was released by House investigators leading the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. 

Upon the release of the document, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff tweeted: "Ambassador Taylor's testimony reveals how, through a shadow foreign policy channel, Trump withheld military assistance and a White House meeting from Ukraine until Ukrainian officials agreed to announce investigations to help Trump politically."

Taylor, a Vietnam War veteran and career diplomat with a distinguished record of service, provided one of the most damning testimonies against President Donald Trump yet.

His testimony corroborated many of the allegations in the whistleblower complaint from a US intelligence official that sparked the impeachment inquiry and also described an explicit quid pro quo involving about $400 million of US military aid to Ukraine.

Taylor testified that Trump wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce the opening of an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as an inquiry into a conspiracy theory linked to the 2016 election. He said it was made clear to him that Trump made the release of the military aid contingent on such a public declaration from Zelensky. 

Here is an exchange between Schiff and Taylor, in which he said his "clear understanding" was that the military assistance would not come until Zelensky "committed to pursue the investigation" into the Bidens:

SCHIFF: And when you say that, this was the first time I heard that the security assistance not just the White House meeting was conditioned on the investigation, when you talk about conditioned, did you mean that if they didn't do this, the investigations, they weren't going to get that, the meeting and the military assistance?

TAYLOR: That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President committed to pursue the investigation.

SCHIFF: So if they don't do this, they are not going to get that was your understanding

TAYLOR: Yes, sir.

SCHIFF: Are you aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that?

TAYLOR: I am.

Taylor testified it was Giuliani's idea to have Ukraine's president publicly announce an investigation into the Bidens

Taylor said he believed Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was behind the idea to get Zelensky to publicly announce an inquiry into the Bidens and Hunter Biden's work for a Ukrainian natural-gas company, Burisma Holdings, as well as a probe into the 2016 election.

"I think the origin of the idea to get President Zelensky to say out loud he's going to investigate Burisma and 2016 election, I think the originator, the person who came up with that was Mr. Giuliani," Taylor said, going on to say Giuliani was representing Trump's interests in doing so. 

Taylor, at another point, indicated that a meeting Zelensky desired with Trump was also conditioned on whether the Ukrainian leader would launch the investigations. 

Trump had put the congressionally approved military aid on hold several days before a July 25 phone call with Zelensky, in which he urged his Ukrainian counterpart to open investigations into the Bidens and conspiratorial allegations Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. 

The career diplomat testified that freezing the aid was harmful to US national security and that freezing security assistance to Kyiv, Ukraine, could embolden Russia to be even more aggressive toward Ukraine. 

Taylor's testimony also undercut earlier testimony from Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, and inspired him to offer revised testimony that corroborated the existence of a quid pro quo involving the military aid. The transcript of Sondland's testimony was released on Tuesday.

Taylor is set to testify in the first open or public hearing of the impeachment inquiry next Wednesday. 

SEE ALSO: The defense secretary is reportedly begging Trump not to pardon accused and convicted war criminals

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A Brazilian city is giving a third of its residents $33 per month — part of one of the largest basic-income programs in the world

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  • The Brazilian city of Marica recently launched a basic-income program that gives $33 monthly stipends to about one-third of its residents. 
  • Brazil already has a national policy that gives citizens around $10 per month if they vaccinate their children and send them to school. 
  • But Marica's program will allow researchers to study how basic income affects local employment — specifically, whether it encourages people to join the labor market. 
  • Visit Businessinsider.com for more stories.

Residents of a Brazilian city are about to get their first payments in a new basic-income program that begins this month. 

The policy, called Renda Basica de Cidadania (Citizens' Basic Income), launched in the middle-income city of Marica. Each month, about one-third of the city's residents will receive a stipend of 130 reais ($33 US dollars) to use as they like. 

"It is not a massively impoverished city, but it is definitely one with a lot of needy people," Michael Stynes, CEO of the nonprofit Jain Family Institute, told Business Insider. Stynes is working with the city to research the effects of the program, including how residents spend their money.

The results, he said, might inform how cities outside Brazil think about basic income.

"Marica does not exist in a vacuum," he said. "This will give some of the best evidence that we have for how universal basic income behaves when it is wide policy."

Marica's program is different than the national one in Brazil

Fifteen years ago, the former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, signed a law that established cash transfers for the country's neediest residents. Since then, the government has been delivering monthly payments to families; on average, households receive about 40 reais ($10 US dollars) per person per month. The money comes with a few conditions: To collect the stipends, families have to vaccinate their children and send them to school.

The program — known as Bolsa Familia, or "Family Allowance" — now transfers cash to more than 46 million people, or one out of every four families in Brazil. 

It's not quite a basic-income policy, which allows citizens to collect money just for being alive, but it has lifted incomes throughout the nation. (Minimum wage in Brazil is around 1,000 reais — about $250 US dollars — per month.) The World Bank estimates that income inequality would be up to 21% higher in Brazil without the program, and extreme poverty would be up to 50% higher.

The national program has also paved the way for local basic-income policies like the one in Marica.

Marica basic income credit card

Marica's payments don't come with any conditions. The program does, however, have a few eligibility requirements. To get the stipend, residents must have lived in Marica for at least three years. They also must be registered in a city database of people who earn up to three times the minimum monthly salary in Brazil.

The payments are being distributed in the form of the local currency, mumbuca, which is only accepted in Marica. The money comes pre-loaded onto a card or can be accessed through a cell-phone app. There's no option to take out cash. 

After the first round of participants — around 27,000 residents — receive their payments this month, residents will continue to be enrolled until the program reaches its cap of 52,000 people.

"A lot of people would benefit from program like this," Stynes said. "It will push a lot of families out of poverty."

Basic income and incentives to work 

Marica's program is one the largest basic-income initiatives in the world, but it's not the only one.

For the last nine months, the city of Stockton, California, has been distributing $500 a month to a group of 125 residents. The stipends are part of a pilot program designed to last 18 months. The Spanish city of Barcelona also recently completed a basic-income trial that delivered payments of between $110 and $1,900 per month. The program served around 1,000 households and lasted for two years. 

Marica's program, however, doesn't have an end date. Funding for the program comes from the municipal budget, which gets around 72% of its revenue from oil royalties. That means the program should be able to rely on a steady cashflow. 

Brazil mumbuca currency

It also means the researchers will get "a much more complete picture" of how basic income affects participants over time, Stynes said.

"With Stockton, there's good research coming out of there, but it is also small," he added. "The program in Marica is a full-blown policy." 

Stynes said he's particularly interested in how basic income will affect employment in Marica, where very few people are engaged in the formal economy.

"A secondary impetus for this program was to get people into the formal labor market," he said. 

Basic income proponents often argue that workers who receive a stipend to cover basic needs are more inclined to pursue work that interests them, as opposed to a low-skill, menial job.

That seems to be the case with the Bolsa Familia program so far. Bénédicte de la Brière, the World Bank economist who oversees that program,  reported that "some adults work harder" than they did before receiving their stipends, since the extra money "allows them to take a little more risk in their occupations."

Data from the Bolsa Família program has also shown that recipients spend the vast majority of their stipends on food. That's followed by school supplies, clothing, and shoes.

But critics of basic income argue that such payments reduce the incentive for people to find jobs and uses up government funds that could be better spent elsewhere. But Stynes said he many of the Marica participants to invest in their homes and businesses — not use the money as an excuse to "play video games and drink beer or do drugs."

"The funny thing about basic income is that it has to be one of the most tested welfare policies in history that hasn't in fact been implemented," Stynes said. "It's important for policymakers to see that it's viable."

SEE ALSO: A 29-year-old mayor gave his city's poorest residents $500 a month. Here's how they spent the money.

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NOW WATCH: 3 dietitians debunk 18 weight loss myths, from cutting carbs to fad diets


          

California's attorney general reveals he's investigating Facebook over privacy issues, and says it's not complying with subpoenas (FB)

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Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO

  • California has been quietly investigating Facebook over privacy issues and its business model for more than a year.
  • On Wednesday, the state's Attorney General Xavier Becerra went public with that investigation for the first time.
  • He did so because, he said, Facebook has failed to comply with subpoenas requesting information.
  • It's the latest headache for the Silicon Valley-based firm, which has lurched from scandal to scandal over the last two years.

California has quietly been investigating Facebook over potential privacy violations and Cambridge Analytica for more than a year. On Wednesday, it went public with that investigation — to announce that Facebook has been failing to comply with lawful subpoenas requesting information about its privacy practices.

In a court filing published Wednesday, California's top government lawyer, Xavier Becerra, said that the Silicon Valley-based social network was dragging its feet over his demands for data, failing to properly answer some questions and outright refusing other requests.

Becerra's office is currently engaged in an investigation into the business practices of Facebook and whether its approach to user privacy violates California law, the filing revealed. 

Facebook has failed to properly respond to a subpoenas relating to this, the court filing said: "Facebook has provided no answers for nineteen interrogatories and produced no documents in response to six document requests. Facebook has also wholly refused to search communications involving senior executives for responsive materials. Thus, Facebook is ... failing to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas and interrogatories."

Becerra's office is now asking the San Francisco Superior Court to take action to force Facebook to comply with its requests.

At a press conference, Becerra said that this was why his office is now going public with the news of the investigation. "We make our work public when there is a legal action to make public, otherwise we do not discuss our investigations," he said. "If Facebook had complied with our legitimate investigative requests, we would not be making this announcement today."

The issue represents a fresh headache for Facebook, which has lurched from scandal to scandal over the last two years — and may result in more of its sensitive internal documents and communications becoming public. Also on Wednesday, 4,000 pages of documentation relating to Facebook's approach to user data and privacy were made public, despite the social network fighting for months to keep them secret.

In an email, Facebook did not directly address whether it had failed to comply with any subpoenas. Will Castleberry, VP of state and local policy, said in a statement: "We have cooperated extensively with the State of California's investigation. To date we have provided thousands of pages of written responses and hundreds of thousands of documents."

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.)

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Comparing Forbes' lists of America's richest people from 1982 and 2019 shows how differently wealth is tracked today

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forbes 400 1982 vs 2019

  • For 37 years, Forbes has released an annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans.
  • Business Insider obtained a partial copy of the first Forbes 400 list published in 1982. Comparing it with the 2019 version shows key differences in how wealth was tracked and described then versus today.
  • On the 1982 list, the richest Americans' fortunes are described using vague wording like "probably exceeds $1 billion" and "above $2 billion."
  • Today, the numbers are much more precise — e.g. Jeff Bezos is worth $114 billion and Bill Gates is worth $106 billion.
  • The 1982 ranking was not numbered, but organized into categories like "$500 million and up," while today the individuals are clearly ranked No. 1 (Bezos), No. 2 (Gates), etc.
  • Unlike on the 1982 list, billionaires in 2019 were also ranked by their philanthropy score, based on how much they give to charity. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

For 37 years, Forbes has released an annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans.

Today, the Forbes 400 is topped by people like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, and represents hundreds of billions of dollars.

Business Insider obtained a partial copy of the first Forbes 400 list published in 1982. Comparing it with the 2019 version revealed several stark differences in how wealth was tracked and described then versus today.

The most obvious difference is the sheer quantity of wealth depicted on the Forbes 400 lists. The top five richest Americans today — Bezos, Gates, Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Ellison — are worth a collective $435.4 billion — more than 2% of America's GDP.

The top five richest Americans in 1982 had a combined fortune of roughly $11 billion. But the differences don't end there.

The Forbes 400 in 2019 gives a precise ranking of American billionaires and includes a 'philanthropy score'

In the 2019 list, the billionaires are organized by net worth in a numbered ranking. Other data points include each billionaire's age, home state, source of wealth, and whether or not the individual is an impact investor.

Each person also gets a philanthropy score on a scale of one to five, measuring how much they give to charity. 

The richest person on the list is Jeff Bezos, with an estimated net worth of $114 billion and a philanthropy score of two.

Forbes 400 2019

If you click on a person's name on the online version of the list, a box drops down with more details about the source of the person's wealth. Bezos, for example, has two bullet points:

  • "Jeff Bezos founded e-commerce colossus Amazon in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle. He remains CEO and owns a nearly 12% stake.
  • He divorced his wife MacKenzie in July 2019 after 25 years of marriage and transferred one quarter of his Amazon stake to her."

You can then click "See Full Profile" for a more in-depth description of each individual's life and fortune. 

The original Forbes 400 in 1982 was not explicitly ranked, used vague wording, and represented much less wealth

The original Forbes 400 published in 1982 looks quite different from today's.

For one, the richest person on the Forbes 400 in 1982 wouldn't even make the list today. The richest American in 1982 was Daniel Keith Ludwig with an estimated $2 billion net worth. In 2019, the minimum net worth to make the list was $2.1 billion.

Similar to today's bullet points, each individual got a short blurb noting their age, location, source of wealth, and in some cases, tidbits such as "in continual pain 50 years from back injury" and "principal hobby: sailing."

Forbes 400 1982

But in stark contrast to today's list, the richest Americans' fortunes in 1982 were described using vague wording like "probably exceeds $1 billion" and "above $2 billion." In 2019, those numbers are much more precise — e.g. Bezos is worth $114 billion and Gates is worth $106 billion — although they are still estimates. 

And unlike the 2019 list with its clear, numbered ranking, the 1982 richest Americans weren't numerically ranked.

"They were still ordered by net worth, there just wasn't a numbered ranking explicit on the pages," Christina Vega, Forbes' director of communications, told Business Insider. "They were also further divided into various sections, like '$1 billion and up,' '$500 million and up.'"

Vega told Business Insider that while the Forbes 400 methodology has evolved and improved over the years, "net worth numbers are all still estimates." 

While the Forbes 400 lists have evolved since 1982, two names have consistently appeared on the rich list since the very beginning: Philip Anschutz and William Herbert Hunt.

In 1982, Anschutz was ranked the seventh-richest American with an estimated net worth of "over $1 billion," made in industries including oil, railroads, telecom, real estate, and entertainment. Hunt was ranked the 10th-richest with a net worth "in excess of $1 billion," derived from the oil industry.

SEE ALSO: The richest American 37 years ago wouldn't even make it onto the Forbes billionaires list today

DON'T MISS: The 5 richest men in the US have a staggering combined wealth of $435.4 billion. That's more than 2% of America's GDP.

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NOW WATCH: Traditional Japanese swords can take over 18 months to create — here's what makes them so special


          

Leaked emails show how Facebook wielded its control over user data to hobble rivals like YouTube, Twitter, and Amazon (FB)

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Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Congress House of Representatives Committee

  • Facebook employees regularly discussed how to make special exceptions to the company's policies on data-sharing in order to hobble its competitors like Youtube, Amazon, Twitter, and Pinterest, leaked documents show.
  • Thousands of pages of confidential emails, messages, and documents from inside Facebook were made public Tuesday, shining unprecedented light on how the tech giant operates.
  • Facebook had set general policies on how other apps could access data like peoples' emails and friends lists. But internal emails show Facebook employees wanted to restrict competitors' data access, even when those use cases were already approved.
  • The leaked documents surfaced at a time when Facebook's current and past behavior is under intense scrutiny amid antitrust investigations and accusations it engaged in anti-competitive conduct.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

High-ranking Facebook employees strategized about how to use Facebook's vast control of user data in order to hobble specific companies it viewed as threats, according to internal messages that leaked Wednesday.

User data is a valuable currency for tech companies and sits at the heart of Facebook's business model. While it does not sell user data, Facebook shares some user data with other apps when people connect their Facebook account to those apps — for instance, apps that let users log in with Facebook can typically see users' email addresses and friends lists, allowing them to connect with their Facebook friends on the third-party app.

But on multiple occasions in the early 2010s, Facebook employees discussed plans to selectively restrict access to that valuable data for apps making competing products, like Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest, and YouTube — even in cases when those apps had already been approved to access Facebook user data.

Reached for comment by Business Insider, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: "These old documents have been taken out of context by someone with an agenda against Facebook, and have been distributed publicly with a total disregard for US law."

The leaked messages show how Facebook explored selectively blacklisting certain apps, using its dominance in the sphere of social media to stymie competitors' growth. This practice was the subject of an NBC News report published in April 2019, and the newly-leaked messages provide more details.

In one leaked email from June 2013, Facebook employee Jackie Chang describes a decision to restrict Amazon's access to Facebook user data because Amazon's wishlist was seen as a competitor to the Facebook Gifts app.

"Platform will be pushing a functional change ... which will limit Amazon's ability to read friend data (including birthdays) to only friends connected to that App. This should significantly stymie Amazon's ability to grow the gifting app beyond users immediately connected," Chang wrote.

Another leaked exchange from October 2011 shows high-ranking employees planning to blacklist Twitter from seeing users' friends lists, a measure that Facebook already enacted for YouTube. The conversation took place at a time when Facebook was aware it had leverage over Twitter, according to Computer Weekly — Twitter links represented 1% of outbound traffic on Facebook, while Facebook links made up 33% of outbound traffic on Twitter. 

"Can you check to make sure we restrict the Twitter API to block out friend lists?" one employee wrote.

"Youtube is not allowed to see users that don't already use the app, so a friend list would be returned, but it would be only friends that are already Youtube users. This was never enabled for Twitter," another employee responded.

Users' privacy appears to be an afterthought in these exchanges, but Facebook employees regularly referred to user trust as the public-facing reason the company would give for restricting what data it shares. In one instance, Facebook decided to increase the data it shared with Apple due to a special agreement, and an employee worried that people would be skeptical of Facebook's messaging on user trust.

"My concern is around the perception that we can't hold our story together. We're going all-in on the user trust message as our reasoning for doing the v4 shakeup and it'd be sad [journalists] clearly pointed out that there was an easy and obvious workaround on iOS," the employee wrote.

Facebook is the subject of a sweeping antitrust investigation based on allegations that it engaged in anti-competitive conduct

SEE ALSO: Facebook fought to keep a trove of thousands of explosive internal documents and emails secret. They were just published online in full.

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NOW WATCH: How autopilot on an airplane works


          

Forget Kentucky and Virginia, the worst election news for Republicans came out of suburban Pennsylvania

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Keep America Great Rally at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S., November 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

  • Republican losses on Tuesday in Kentucky and Virginia are making headlines, but President Donald Trump should be more worried about the election results in the suburbs of Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania is a key swing state that went for Trump in 2016 and will be a central battleground state in 2020.
  • Democrats flipped suburban Delaware County, which has been controlled by Republicans since the Civil War, among other key wins in the previously Republican-dominated suburbs.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There's been much discussion of the Republican Party's high-profile losses on Tuesday in Kentucky and Virginia, but historic GOP losses in Pennsylvania might be more concerning for the party in 2020.

The Democrat Andy Beshear, Kentucky's attorney general, beat the incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, and Virginia Democrats took control of both legislative chambers in the state.

Beshear's victory had much to do with Bevin's status as one of the most unpopular governors in the country (Republicans swept other Kentucky statewide races), and Virginia's blue wave was a long time coming. Neither state will be a battleground in 2020. 

But in Pennsylvania, Republicans suffered more surprising — and potentially consequential — losses.

Democrats flipped suburban Delaware County, which has been controlled by Republicans since the Civil War. The county's five-member council, which was filled entirely by Republicans a few years ago, will now be occupied entirely by Democrats.

In Chester County, Democrats took control of the Board of Commissioners and pushed out the Republican district attorney for the first time. Democrats also took the majority of the Bucks County Board of Commissioners.

And in Philadelphia, a third-party candidate from the Working Families Party, Kendra Brooks, won a seat on the City Council reserved for the minority party. It had been held by a Republican for the past 70 years.

"We broke the GOP," Brooks said at an election-night party, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. "We beat the Democratic establishment ... They said a black single mom from North Philly wasn't the right person, but we have shown them that we are bigger than them."

Pennsylvania is a key swing state that went for President Donald Trump in 2016 and will be a central battleground state in 2020. Trump won the state by less than 1 percentage point — or about 44,000 votes of the more than 6 million cast — handing him Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes.

Recent polling from The New York Times and Siena College found registered voters in Pennsylvania favoring former Vice President Joe Biden over Trump by 3 points, Sen. Bernie Sanders over Trump by 1 point, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren about even with the president. All the results, however, were within the poll's margin of error.

Democrats fear that Trump could again lose the popular vote by a significant margin but prevail in the Electoral College if an assortment of purple states swing in his favor in 2020.

The suburban vote is also a point of serious concern for the Republican Party. Democrats are looking to zero in on these voters, many of whom are women, moderates, and more affluent college-educated voters who went for Trump in 2016.

"Republican support in the suburbs has basically collapsed under Trump," Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "Somehow, we need to find a way to regain our suburban support over the next year."

The trend in Virginia, where Democrats have surged in the northern part of the state and in the Richmond suburbs, also bodes poorly for Republicans, even in right-leaning suburbs.

SEE ALSO: Trump's obsession with conspiracy theories is helping trap him in the impeachment investigation

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NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope


          

Newly released documents show the grueling life of an Uber self-driving car-tester who goes to bed at 5 a.m. each morning (UBER)

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uber arizona self driving car crash

On the day before Uber's self-driving car hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, the test driver went to sleep at 5 a.m.

The next day, March 18, Rafaela Vasquez arrived at Uber's autonomous driving headquarters in Mesa, Arizona, at 7:30 p.m., ready to begin an eight-hour shift behind the wheel collecting data and monitoring the car's software as it drove in repetitive loops.

But less than three hours later, the 44-year-old's shift would be cut short after the Volvo SUV hit and killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she walked her bicycle across the street.

That reconstructed schedule was revealed in documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday as part of the agency's investigation into the crash. They reveal previously undisclosed details about the inner workings of Uber's highly secretive "Advanced Technologies Group," which is building, testing, and deploying self-driving cars to eventually work within the Uber ride-hailing network.

Uber ATG shifts ArizonaIn Arizona, 254 drivers operated a fleet of 40 heavily-modified Volvo XC90 SUVs under the direction of a site manager and 16 flight managers or supervisors, NTSB documents say. The vehicle operators are divided into 10 team shifts, many of which are during the overnight hours.

Vasquez, the driver behind the wheel the night of Herzberg's death, usually worked the "Juliet" shift, from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. from Friday to Monday. According to her interview with investigators, she had previously worked as an Uber driver, as well as a mystery shopper and a content moderator.

However, the day of the crash, Vasquez had requested to start later in order to visit her father in Tucson, about an 80-minute drive away, she told investigators. In order to cope with long shifts and overnight hours, drivers are required to take a 20-40 minute break after a maximum of four hours driving, documents say, and the company also recommends breaks every two hours.

"Ms. Vasquez does not know why the vehicle did not respond to the pedestrian," the interviewer wrote. "When asked if the vehicle usually identifies and responds to pedestrians, the VO stated that usually, the vehicle was overly sensitive to pedestrians. Sometimes the vehicle would swerve towards a bicycle, but it would always react in some way."

Following the crash, Uber suspended all self-driving testing and only resumed in December in Pennsylvania with new software that featured more restrictions and safeguards.

In its preliminary report in March, the NTSB found that the driver was watching an episode of "The Voice" on an iPad, and that the crash was "entirely avoidable." Prosecutors said Uber was not criminally liable in the crash.

In a statement Tuesday, Uber said it's fully cooperating with the NTSB and looks forward to the agency's decision.

"We regret the March 2018 crash involving one of our self-driving vehicles that took Elaine Herzberg's life," a representative said. "In the wake of this tragedy, the team at Uber ATG has adopted critical program improvements to further prioritize safety. We deeply value the thoroughness of the NTSB's investigation into the crash and look forward to reviewing their recommendations once issued after the NTSB's board meeting later this month."

Other revelations from the trove of new documents show that Uber's cars were involved in 37 crashes in the 18 months prior to the fatal Arizona crash. The NTSB's findings may be used to assess the industry at large, including advice to regulators about how to best oversee the nascent technology.

An NTSB hearing is set for November 19 to determine the probable cause of the Arizona accident.

SEE ALSO: New documents show Uber self-driving cars were involved in 37 crashes before a fatal incident temporarily shut the program down last year

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NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini


          

Muslim women and refugees won historic victories across the US in Tuesday's elections

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Ghazala Hashmi

The 2018 midterm elections saw voters elect a record number of women to the House of Representatives, with a number of individual candidates achieving historic firsts with their victories.

That trend continued in many ways on Tuesday, as women and minorities — including Muslim women and refugees — won historic victories in state and local elections across the country. 

These victories come after a summer in which President Donald Trump repeatedly attacked women of color serving in Congress, including those who won historic victories last year. Trump's rhetoric toward Muslims and on racial issues has long been controversial and even ventured into outright racism.

  • Democrat Ghazala Hashmi became the first Muslim woman elected to the Virginia state Senate. She unseated Virginia state Sen. Glen Sturtevant. 
  • Democrat Abrar Omeish, 24, joined Hashmi as one of the first Muslim women to hold elected office in Virginia's history by winning her race for one of three vacant seats on the Fairfax County School Board. She's also the youngest woman in the state's history to hold elected office. 
  • Virginia's General Assembly also now has the highest number of women in the history of the state. Women will hold 41 out of 140 seats in Virginia's state legislature. 
  • Nadia Mohamad, 23, became the first Muslim woman and first Somali-American elected to the city council in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. She fled conflict in Somalia as a young girl. 
  • Democrat Safiya Khalid, 23, who came to the US as a refugee from Somalia, became the first Somali-American elected to the Lewiston City Council in Lewistown, Maine. 
  • Democrat Chol Majok became the first refugee elected to public office in Syracuse, New York. Majok, 34, ran unchallenged to win Syracuse's 3rd District Common Council seat.
  • Voters in Boston ushered in a historic level of diversity on Tuesday. Boston's city council will have a female majority for the first time in its history (eight out of 13 members), and more minorities than ever (seven out of thirteen members). 
  • Monique Owens became the first black person ever to be elected mayor of Eastpointe, Michigan.
  • Republican Daniel Cameron became the first black person to be elected as attorney general of Kentucky. He's a former legal counsel for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  

SEE ALSO: Diversity wins: All the people who made history in the 2018 midterm elections

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NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope


          

Wall Street billionaires have been attacking Elizabeth Warren. Here's a roundup of the finance titans who have called out the senator in recent weeks.

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Elizabeth Warren

  • From Wall Street CEOs to hedge fund billionaires, titans of the finance industry have been calling out Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. 
  • Warren's critics have mostly taken issue with her wealth tax policy and regulatory proposals.
  • Here's a list of what Wall Street big shots have said, from calling out the senator over her characterization of the wealthy, to warning of a sell-off in the stock market if she were elected.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Some of the finance industry's most influential figures have taken issue with Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's proposal to tax the ultra-rich.

Several of Warren's critics on Wall Street have said they have no problem with paying more in taxes, but that it's a flawed approach to structure it based on net worth.

The senator's policy would include a 2% tax on families with a net worth of $50 million to $1 billion and a 3% tax on households worth north of that. Taxes are typically deducted from net income, as opposed to net worth, which includes the total value of a person's assets. 

Warren has consistently called for the wealthy to contribute more in taxes to help fund government programs for health care and education. She's also called out several of her Wall Street critics on Twitter suggesting they should chip in more to help others. 

Analysts are also growing more concerned about how certain industries such as insurance and energy would fare under a Warren administration's regulatory policies. The presidential hopeful has called for greater advancements in federal health insurance and a ban on fracking. 

Here are the finance industry titans that are sounding the alarm on a Warren presidency: 

Leon Cooperman: "I feel she's taking the country down a very wrong path."

Omega Advisors Leon Cooperman has been engaged in an ongoing quarrel with Warren over her proposed wealth tax. Cooperman has called the policy "baloney" and a "bankrupt concept."

The spat culminated last week when Cooperman sent a five-page letter to the senator debating her policy positions. 

"I feel she's taking the country down a very wrong path," Cooperman said during an interview on CNBC Monday.  



Marc Lasry: 'If Warren is president, I think you are going to see a real slowdown.'

Marc Lasry, the founder of Avenue Capital and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, said at the Greenwich Economic Forum that if Warren becomes the nominee the best bet would be to short the market. 

"If Warren is president, I think you are going to see a real slowdown," Lasry said. "I think consumer spending will slowdown."

 



Paul Tudor Jones: "Our polls said if Elizabeth Warren was elected the S&P would trade around 2,250."

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones reiterated his earlier call on Tuesday at the Greenwich Economic Forum that he expects the S&P 500 would fall 25% if Warren wins the election. 

"Our polls said if Elizabeth was elected the S&P would trade around 2,250. Her policies would, assuming they were implemented, probably give you something like that," Jones said at the conference, according to CNBC.

The S&P 500 is currently trading at about 3,075, around a 26% premium from Jones's projection under a Warren presidency. 



Jamie Dimon: "Some would say she vilifies successful people. I don't like vilifying anybody."

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon addressed Warren's characterization of the wealthy in an interview with CNBC Tuesday.

"She uses some pretty harsh words," Dimon said. "Some would say she vilifies successful people. I don't like vilifying anybody. I think we should applaud successful people."




          

PanSALB has published and gazetted a South African Sign Language Charter for public comments

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SAfm — The Pan South African Language Board has published a draft charter on South African Sign Language that will become final next week if nobody objects to it. It creates obligations that will make sign language more commonly available in a range of situations, including anywhere front-line staff often deal with deaf people. It also requires all television programmes to carry sign language interpretation. For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za. The South African government and other employers could by next week be obliged to provide at least some training in South African Sign Language to large swathe of staff – and some classes of employees could be required to spend more than a month in advanced-level sign language classes. Guest: Dr Nomfundo Mali - Acting CEO of Pan South African Language Board
          

2019/11/07 うれしかったこと3つ

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○野君とは表立った諍いは無かった(と思いたい💦)😃ヤマト夜勤の帰りの京王線、寝過さずに済んだ💦とにかく生きてる😃
今日から始められる! よりハッピーな生活を送るための、7つの小さな習慣 | BUSINESS INSIDER JAPAN 日々の生活にちょっとした変化を加えるだけで、わたしたちはもっと幸せになれる。こうした変化には、自分の気持ちを文字にすることや夕食をテイクアウトする...
今日から始められる! よりハッピーな生活を送るための、7つの小さな習慣 | BUSINESS INSIDER JAPAN



          

Microsoft Japan switched to four-day workweek — sales skyrocketed 40%

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  • Microsoft Japan recently completed its experimental "Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019" program.
  • The program involved giving employees five consecutive Fridays off, cutting the duration of meetings, and encouraging online chats instead of face-to-face ones.
  • Some research echoes Microsoft Japan's recent report, suggesting that cutting the workweek can boost productivity.


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What's one way for a tech company to boost sales, increase employee satisfaction and cut overhead costs? Switch to a four-day workweek.

That's the takeaway of a new report from Microsoft Japan, which recently wrapped up its experimental "Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019." The experiment involved giving employees five consecutive Fridays off with pay, limiting meetings to 30 minutes or fewer, and encouraging online messaging as opposed to face-to-face chats.

In addition, some employees worked three-day weeks and were allowed to work remotely. The company also provided financial assistance to employees for "expenses related to self-development, family travel expenses, social contribution activities, etc."

In the new report, Microsoft Japan compared data on sales performance and other metrics from this summer to the same months last year. Compared to August 2018, the results showed:

  • Number of pages printed in August 2019: -58.7%
  • Rise in sales per employees in August 2019: +39.9%
  • Amount of "30 minute meetings" in August 2019: +46%

'Karoshi' and karojisatsu'


About 92 percent of employees said they liked switching to the four-day workweek. That's perhaps unsurprising for a company based in Japan, where the severe work culture requires many people to work overtime for little to no extra pay, leaving them dangerously exhausted. In fact, being overworked to death — by stroke, heart attack, etc. — is common enough that the Japanese have a word for it: karoshi. There's also a word for workers who commit suicide due to work-related stress: karojisatsu.

Stories of karoshi and karojisatsu — such as a 31-year-old journalist who logged 159 hours of overtime in the month before she died of heart failure — have helped to prompt Japan to pass laws promoting work-life balance, including caps on overtime hours. Still, critics of Japan's work culture argue the regulations — some of which allow employees to work 100 hours of overtime in a month — don't go far enough.

Work-life balance


But, like Microsoft Japan, some companies have taken matters into their own hands, passing strange policies to discourage overwork, such as making employees wear purple "embarrassment capes" if they work too late, or flying music-playing drones around the office to announce it's time to leave.

More broadly, research suggests that cutting the workweek and making schedules more flexible can boost productivity and employee satisfaction. The Harvard Business Review, for example, reported that a Chinese travel agency saw a 13-percent increase in productivity when it allowed call center employees to work remotely. In New Zealand, one company permanently switched to a four-day workweek in 2018, leading to a 24-percent productivity increase.

Richard Branson's utopian vision of the workweek


To some business leaders, switching to a less intensive workweek is inevitable, as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson wrote in a 2018 blog post:

"The idea of working five days a week with two day weekends and a few weeks of holiday each year has become ingrained in society. But it wasn't always the case, and it won't be in the future. Could people eventually take three and even four day weekends? Certainly. Will job-sharing increase? I think so. People will need to be paid the same or even more for working less time, so they can afford more leisure time. That's going to be a difficult balancing act to get right, but it can be done. If it works for individuals and works for businesses, everyone would want to spend more time with their loved ones, more time exploring their passions, more time seeing the world outside of an office and more time getting healthy and fit."


          

UPS expects 1.9 million package returns in a single day — and it reveals a troubling reality for retailers about holiday shopping

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amazon package UPS worker

  • UPS said Monday that it's expecting a record-breaking surge in package returns this holiday season.
  • Return activity is expected to peak on January 2 with 1.9 million package returns, which is up 26% from last year's peak, the company said.
  • Overall, shoppers are expected to return about one million packages daily during the month of December.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

UPS is expecting a record-breaking surge in package returns this holiday season, signaling trouble ahead for retailers that bear the brunt of return costs. 

UPS said Monday that it expects shoppers to return about one million packages daily during the month of December, and about 1.6 million returns daily during the week before Christmas.

Return activity is expected to peak on January 2, with an eye-watering 1.9 million package returns, UPS said. That's up 26% from last year's peak in package returns. 

"As retailers start preparing for the busy holiday season, they should certainly be factoring returns into their business plans," UPS' chief marketing officer, Kevin Warren, said in a news release. "Gone are the days where returns were isolated to January — today's empowered consumers will be sending packages back to retailers all season long."

This is bad news for retailers, especially those that cover the costs of shipping and returns for shoppers.

Items returned through the mail cost retailers about twice as much as those returned to stores, according to an AlixPartners report. The returns process costs retailers $3 per package when items are returned to stores, or up to $6 per return when they are shipped to a distribution center, the report found.

Some retailers have started cracking down on excessive returns by  tracking shoppers' return activity. 

Business Insider reported last year that at least a dozen major retailers including AmazonBest BuyHome Depot and Victoria's Secret were discreetly tracking shoppers' returns and, in some cases, punishing people who were suspected of abusing return policies. 

A National Retail Federation survey found that retailers expected about 11% of sales to be returned during the holiday season last year. A separate study by Appriss Retail estimated that returns cost retailers about $369 billion in lost sales last year, or about 10% of total sales.

SEE ALSO: Amazon isn't alone in punishing shoppers for too many returns — these are all the companies that track your returns

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 9 items to avoid buying at Costco


          

Billie Eilish Ends Up With ‘Mullet’ After Botched Dye Job—Turns It Into New Look

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Image via Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

Billie Eilish rocked a new hairstyle at the 2019 LACMA Art + Gala, which she attended with her brother Finneas O’Connell. The Bad Guy singer had neon green roots with a freshly-chopped jet black haircut that resembled a mullet.

The 17-year-old was decked in full Gucci gear with matching bejeweled sneakers, a chunky necklace and oversized shades. Fans have lauded the singer for bringing back the 80s look once embodied by legendary icons such as Joan Jett and David Bowie.

Amusingly, Eilish was the last person to find out what her hairdo would look like. When asked by a reporter, “All your fans are loving the mullet, are you gonna start a trend now?” A surprised Eilish responded, “Mullet? What you mean, mullet?

The musician was completely confused, but laughed it off when she found out that her hairdo was being called a mullet. She then explained that her new hairstyle was a result of a bad dye job.

“Somebody dyed my hair and burned half of it,” she divulged. “So now it looks like a mullet.”

“That s**t is not on purpose though,” she added. The reporter, like many of her fans, encouraged the singer to keep the hairstyle but Eilish was quick to shut it down. “No, I’m growing that s**t out,” she said.

It won’t be long before Eilish changes up her hairstyle. So, before it’s gone, let’s appreciate her mullet while we still can. Check out her complete look during the LACMA Art + Gala below.

View this post on Instagram

THANK YOU @gucci FOR HAVING ME

A post shared by BILLIE EILISH (@billieeilish) on Nov 3, 2019 at 2:02pm PST





[via Business Insider, images via Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com]
          

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Snidely Ridicules Facebook For Rebranding As FACEBOOK

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Image via Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com

Facebook recently announced that it has updated its logo for its corporate parent company in order for it to go with other products and services.

The logo, which now reads as FACEBOOK in all-caps, has raised a couple of brows, with some social media users poking fun at the wordmark claiming that it reflects the baby boomer generation’s apparent tendency to “scream” in their posts.

Among those who laughed at the new logo was Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the new branding and, in a tweet on Tuesday, decided to mock Facebook’s all-caps design.

“Twitter from TWITTER,” Dorsey wrote.

His tweet has drawn over 20,000 likes and inspired many Twitter users to send out similar jabs of their own.

Twitter

from
TWITTER

— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) November 5, 2019


Add The Edit Button

from
EVERYONE

— Storm - Fortnite Leaks (@StormLeak) November 5, 2019


We made a new logo for you 💙 pic.twitter.com/v1gxHALZrU

— Product Hunt (@ProductHunt) November 5, 2019


pic.twitter.com/vqoOiKh8qd

— Alfredo Landed (@thoughsob) November 5, 2019


pic.twitter.com/D3avNFxu7B

— Brandon 🧐🎄 (@brandonfromYYZ) November 5, 2019


Ramp Capital LLC

from
RAMP CAPITAL LLC

— Ramp Capital (@RampCapitalLLC) November 5, 2019




[via Business Insider, opening image via Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com]
          

Apple User Fakes $999 iPhone 11 Pro From An Older iPhone With Convincing $2 Hack

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Image via NYC Russ / Shutterstock.com

Many Apple users buy the iPhone 11 Pro mainly for its camera. Some others make the upgrade to look good because of its perceived luxury.

For these status symbol seekers, Apple smartly tweaked the design of the iPhone 11 Pro so that they’ll covet it more. The Apple logo at the back, for instance, has been shifted to the center of the rear.

However, most people identify the model by glancing at the iPhone’s camera system. This year’s flagship Apple smartphone arrives with a triple configuration of wide angle, telephoto and ultra wide angle lenses; that’s one lens more than that of 2018’s iPhone XS.

If you’re currently saving up for the iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, there’s a cheap getaround to “owning” the new iPhone in the meantime. A viral hack by TikTok user digital_buyer shows the uploader applying a convincing sticker onto the rear of an older model, turning it into a pseudo iPhone 11 Pro in seconds.



The adhesive film mimics the square configuration of the phone’s rear camera, making the older iPhone appear just like Apple’s 2019 handset to unsuspecting onlookers.


Image via Amazon

Since the iPhone 11 Pro shares about the same dimensions as 2017’s iPhone X and 2018’s iPhone XS, the user then snaps a believable cover over the older phone, complete with the Apple logo right smack in the middle.

The “triple-lens” stickers are available online for cheap.

On Amazon, for example, the attachment can be purchased at just US$2.29, is compatible with iPhones X, XS and XS Max and is available in colors matching the iPhone’s black, gold and silver finishes.

This particular sticker is made from tempered glass and hard aluminum alloy to supposedly protect the area “from scratches or accidental drops,” and promises to make your older iPhone look like the iPhone 11 Pro “in one second.”

Just cross your fingers that your friends won’t ask to take pictures with your iPhone because they think its camera is superior.




Image via Amazon



[via Business Insider, videos via digital_buyer, cover image via NYC Russ / Shutterstock.com]
          

McDonald's new CEO had a global town hall about the future of the fast-food giant

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McDonald's new CEO had a global town hall about the future of the fast-food giant
          

15 products that are worth buying at Dollar Tree — and 15 more you should skip

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Dollar TreeBusiness Insider/Hayley Peterson

  • Dollar Tree is thriving in an era when many traditional retailers are faltering, with more than 15,000 stores in North America. 
  • We consulted a shopping expert and several blogs and online reviews to find the best and worst products at Dollar Tree. 
  • Here are 15 products to buy at Dollar Tree and 15 to consider skipping. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Thanks to its loyal customers and vast reach, Dollar Tree has been a glimmer of hope in a landscape of struggling big-box retailers. 

Today, Dollar Tree — which includes its namesake brand as well as Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Canada — has more than 15,000 stores in North America and consistently posts increasing sales. For the second quarter of 2019, the company reported that same-store sales grew by 2.4% at Dollar Tree stores.

According to shopping expert Michelle Madhok, Dollar Tree's best offerings are household items, ranging from cleaners and detergents to seasonal decor.  

"Overall, if you're not picky about brands, it's the way to go. For example, I don't really care about what brands of paper towels I'm using, and you can get a better deal than a store brand," she said. 

The benefit of Dollar Tree's bargain prices is that you can experiment with new items without breaking the bank, Madhok said. Plus, in addition to using Dollar Tree coupons, you can also use manufacturer's coupons to maximize discounts, she added. 

"It's a great place to make your dollar go further and stretch your budget," she said.

With such low prices, it can be tempting to want to buy everything at Dollar Tree. However, some products are better than others.

With that in mind, here are 15 items to buy at Dollar Tree and 15 items to skip. 

Buy: Party supplies

Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Money Talks News estimates that you'll pay about 70% less on party supplies at Dollar Tree than you would at discount stores like Party City. You can find everything from streamers and party hats to paper plates and utensils, all in one stop. 



Buy: Seasonal decor

Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

When it comes to holiday decor, Dollar Tree's got you covered. The store has a rotating selection of seasonal items at low prices, which Madhok said expanded in recent years to compete with off-price stores like TJ Maxx.  

 



Buy: Wrapping paper and gift bags

Thomas Kienzle/AP

Since the recipient of your gift is likely planning on pitching the torn wrapping paper or gift bag after opening, you might as well get it for a bargain. Dollar Tree carries a wide assortment of gift wrap in a variety of colors and patterns. 




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Dollar store brands are facing a reckoning after customers slam the industry for selling expired items and creating 'food deserts'


          

Masayoshi Son's latest SoftBank presentation shows wild optimism for WeWork's turnaround

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Masayoshi Son SoftBank turnaround chartKAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

  • SoftBank published its financials for the July to September quarter on Wednesday, posting a big loss thanks to the poor performance of its investments in WeWork and Uber.
  • CEO Masayoshi Son is known for giving idiosyncratic presentations filled with expressive images, wild graphs, and inspirational quotes.
  • He didn't disappoint during his financial presentation on Wednesday.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, the man overseeing the $100 billion Vision Fund, has something of a reputation for wild pitch decks. In 2010, he famously laid out a 300-year vision over a set of slides full of inspirational quotes and whimsical musings on the nature of love.

The Japanese magnate and investor hasn't disappointed with his latest set of slides.

In a financial presentation for SoftBank's July-to-September quarter on Wednesday, Son directly acknowledged the financial damage wrought by his firm's multi-billion dollar bet on office-sharing firm WeWork, describing it as the "WeWork problem."

SoftBank's financials indicated that its combined loss on the value of its WeWork shares came to $8.2 billion.

WeWork was headed to IPO and worth an estimated $47 billion, but experienced a disastrous few months after reporters scrutinized its governance, business model, and the behaviour of cofounder Adam Neumann. The firm cancelled its IPO, and Neumann stepped down as CEO. SoftBank took control of the firm in October in a $9.5 billion rescue package.

But Son, per his presentation, is optimistic SoftBank can turn the firm around.

Here are the key slides. You can see Son's full presentation here.

Masayoshi Son opened his presentation by acknowledging the WeWork fiasco. "We are actually in a rough sea," he said.

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

He showed a picture of a rough sea to make his point.

SoftBank

The rough sea is overlaid with headlines in Japanese about SoftBank and WeWork.

SoftBank

Son said: "There [is a lot of] media coverage here and there, especially in the past two months. 'SoftBank may go bankrupt. Vision Fund is a big negative. Uber is in terrible share price after the IPO. WeWork may go bankrupt. And SoftBank is actually putting further money into this company so that it can go bankrupt altogether so that all the aggressive investment activity has been failed.' Such coverage... In a sense, it may be true."




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These 4 European countries still have a wealth tax. Here's how it's working out for them.

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Yachts in SpainClara Margais/picture alliance via Getty Images)

  • The wealth tax has become the subject of fierce debate as progressive 2020 Democratic candidates champion it as a mechanism to redistribute wealth and curb the economic power of the wealthiest Americans.
  • Though it's a relatively new proposal in the US, many European nations adopted it decades ago.
  • The wealth tax is similar to a property tax. But instead of taxing real estate, it covers wealth in all forms: stocks, cash, jewelry, yachts, a Pablo Picasso painting — really any asset that could be appraised a monetary value.
  • Today, four European countries have a wealth tax: Spain, Norway, Switzerland, and Belgium. Here's how its working out for them.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The wealth tax has become the subject of fierce debate as progressive Democratic candidates in the 2020 election champion it as a mechanism to redistribute riches. They also see it as a way to curb the economic power of the wealthiest Americans. Sen. Elizabeth Warren first proposed it and Sen. Bernie Sanders later followed.

Warren is pushing for a 2% tax on households with net worths above $50 million, and tripled to 6% on fortunes over $1 billion. Sanders went farther with a more aggressive plan: He wants to levy a 2% wealth tax on households with net worths over $32 million and gradually increase it to 8% on those over $1 billion.

Though it's a relatively new proposal in the US, many European nations had already adopted it decades before. 

The wealth tax is similar to a property tax. But instead of taxing real estate, it covers wealth in all forms: stocks, cash, jewelry, yachts, a Pablo Picasso painting — really any asset that could be appraised a monetary value.

Back in 1990, around a dozen European countries had a wealth tax, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Today, only four European countries have it: Spain, Norway, Switzerland, and Belgium. 

Most European governments eliminated the tax because it was problematic in design and enforcement, and France was the latest to scrap it in 2017. They often hit people with plenty of assets but little cash on hand to pay the taxman.

"They can be really difficult to administer and ensure even a moderate compliance rate," Daniel Bunn, the director of Global Projects at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, told Business Insider.

He added that it became difficult for governments to justify the high administrative cost of enforcement as the rich were able to move assets and capital out of the country into lower-taxed jurisdictions, often within Europe.

Instead, Bunn said, European countries did away with it and doubled down on enforcing income taxes among others.

All together, European wealth taxes generally brought in around 0.2% of GDP in revenues, a study from the Cato Institute noted.

Still, four European governments are relying on wealth taxes to generate revenue. Here's how its working out for them.

Spain has a wealth tax levied on fortunes above €700,000, or just over $774,000, starting at a 0.2% rate.

Denis Doyle UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Spain first introduced a wealth tax (otherwise known as Patrimonio) in 1977, two years after the death of its authoritarian leader Francisco Franco. 

It kept the tax until 2008 when the global financial crisis threw the Spanish economy into a tailspin. The tax was temporarily reinstated three years later in 2011 to boost public finances, but the national government later decided to make it permanent again. 

Spain now taxes fortunes above €700,000 at 0.2%, which gradually increases to 2.5% on net worth above €10.7 million depending on the region. People living in the Spanish capital of Madrid are exempt from the tax.

Its never been a substantial generator of tax money for the Spanish government. Data from the OECD shows that a net wealth tax on individuals made up 0.55 percent of all tax revenues in 2017.



Norway collects a wealth tax both at the municipal and the national level, starting at 1.48 million krone, or $174,000.

Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Norway's wealth tax was first introduced in 1892. The central government levies a tax rate of 0.15% while municipalities impose a 0.7% rate, bringing the maximum to 0.85%.

Only wealth above 1.48 million krona, or roughly $174,000, is taxed. That figure is doubled for married couples.

A 2012 study from Norwegian researchers reported that average wealth per household totaled 1.6 million krona, or just over $166,000, indicating that most of the population paid some form of the tax.

The amount of revenue generated has largely been the same over the last two decades. The OECD reported the wealth tax constituted 1.1% of all wealth tax revenues in Norway in 2017.



Switzerland first implemented its wealth tax in 1840. The rate varies by canton, or state, as the central government does not collect the tax.

Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty Images

Switzerland first levied a wealth tax in 1840 and its been a pillar of their tax structure since. They're self-reported and paid annually, with no institutional tracking of wealth. Tax authorities can only access personal bank information if a person is suspected of a crime.

The country has a decentralized tax system, and the rate varies around its 26 cantons. But it ranges between 0.3% and 1% of taxpayers' net worth. They tend to be highest in the French-speaking regions of the west and lower in the German-speaking cantons of central Switzerland.

The tax-free threshold for a married couple without children is between 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,370) to 250,000 Swiss francs ($251,856). "The wealth tax thus affects much of the middle class in addition to the wealthiest families," one study on the Swiss wealth tax found.

Compared to the other three European countries, the Swiss wealth tax has generated consistent revenue so far in the 21st century and it brought the largest share. OECD data shows that wealth taxes made up 3.6% of all Swiss tax revenue in 2017, and it's been above 3% since 2000.




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SEE ALSO: Wealth tax explainer: Why Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and billionaires like George Soros alike are calling for a specialized tax on the ultra-wealthy


          

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area on just $50,000 a year — here's how I do it

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  • The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive urban areas in the US. But it's still possible to live here on a modest income.
  • My wife and I got priced out of San Francisco and moved to the East Bay to find an affordable place to live. 
  • When I quit a good-paying office job to become a freelancer, I had to make additional adjustments to my lifestyle to fit into a smaller budget.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When I first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1987, I was a grad student with no money. 

In the 1980s, San Francisco was expensive, but it wasn't crazy overpriced like it is today. I was able to live in San Francisco without a lot of money for many years, thanks to rent-controlled apartments. 

For my last 10 years in the city, my wife and I lived in a 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom flat that also had a garage of more than 300 square feet where I ran my art business. Our rent was $900 a month. 

In 2004, we felt ready to buy, even though we still had hardly any money. We couldn't afford San Francisco, but we were able to buy a condo in the East Bay, in the Triple Point neighborhood where Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville meet. The condo is much smaller than our old apartment. We have adjusted to living in less than 800 square feet with just one bedroom. The fixed expense of our mortgage and the fact that our home is small has helped us afford the Bay Area.

A few years ago, I quit my job to become a full-time freelance writer. That came with a steep pay cut, but we still manage to make it work.

Here's how I live in the Bay Area on $50,000 a year.

I share a small condo with my wife and my share of the mortgage is much less than I would pay to rent an apartment in the Bay Area. First-time homebuyer assistance makes it possible.

Laura McCamy

My monthly home expense is $1,000. That covers my half of the mortgage and property taxes. Over the years, we've been able to refinance to get a lower rate, so our mortgage payment is less than $1,500 a month. 

But what really made our little condo affordable was first-time homebuyer assistance. Our city had a program that gave us a silent second mortgage, which means that we don't have to pay it off until we sell.



I gave up my car about 10 years ago. That saves me more than $500 a month.

Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

When you include car payments, gas, insurance, repairs, and depreciation, it costs about $3,600 to own a car in the Bay Area, a local reporter found. Credit Karma reports that the average new car payment in 2019 is $554 per month and the average for a used car is $391. It would cost me between $690 and $850 per month to own a motor vehicle.

When I gave up my car, I assumed I would use a big chunk of the money I saved on car alternatives such as taxis, rentals, and car-sharing programs. I don't. It's too easy to get around by bike and public transit, and I'm usually too cheap to shell out $10 bucks for a taxi home. Going car-free is one of the things that made it possible to start my writing career.



Public transit costs me about $45 a month. I spend an additional $20 or so a month on rides with Lyft and Gig, a car-sharing program.

Laura McCamy

I spend a little more than $10 a week on public transit. If I need to get somewhere in a hurry, I will take an occasional Lyft ride or borrow a car with Gig, a local car-sharing program.

I also occasionally borrow a car from a neighbor. The cost for this: an occasional tank of gas, about $40 every couple of months.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: A deadly earthquake took place 30 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area — here's what it was like to live through it, according to someone who was there

DON'T MISS: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here are 10 things I wish people would understand about it.


          

Robinhood is in hot water after a glitch with its app allowed users to trade stocks with excess borrowed funds

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This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence Fintech Pro subscribers earlier this morning. To get this story plus others to your inbox each day, hours before they're published on Business Insider, click here. The US-based commission-free trading app experienced a glitch that allowed users to trade stocks with excess borrowed funds, according to TechCrunch as of Tuesday. Capital UK Consumers Are Willing To Deposit In Or Invest With A Fintech

Users of Robinhood Gold — the fintech's subscription service that lets customers trade on margin for a $5 monthly fee — were able to borrow more money than they should be able to from the startup to trade, essentially giving them "infinite leverage," per CNBC.

One user was able to take a $1 million position funded by a $4,000 deposit, for example. No fix had been found for the issue as of Tuesday evening, but a Robinhood spokesperson has stated that the fintech is aware of the problem and is speaking with customers directly. 

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How Harry's co-CEO turned his morning walks into a 'sacred' ritual that's helped him solve some of the grooming company's biggest challenges

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the productivity project bannerSamantha Lee/Business Insider

Jeff RaiderHollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • Jeff Raider, cofounder and co-CEO of the grooming company Harry's, told Business Insider that his daily walk to work is a "sacred" time to get big-picture thinking done.
  • Raider said he has made some of the most important decisions for his company's future during these walks, and research shows that the habit can stimulate creativity.
  • We named him one of our 100 People Transforming Business earlier this year for the way he has helped popularize and improve the direct-to-consumer online business model as a cofounder of Warby Parker through today.
  • The Productivity Project collects the techniques some of our "transformers" use to be efficient and successful.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

At one point in 2012, Jeff Raider was working three jobs: investing for a private equity firm, helping run eyeglasses startup Warby Parker, and developing the foundation for a shaving company called Harry's. The moment he knew that burnout was real was when he was with friends at an outdoor restaurant at Cape Cod, and he collapsed from exhaustion. "And I was like, 'OK, I finally hit my breaking point,'" Raider told Business Insider last year in an interview for our podcast "This Is Success."

Raider decided it was time to join his cofounder (and eventually co-CEO) Andy Katz-Mayfield on their side project full-time. They officially founded Harry's in 2013.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: The CEO of a tech company changing the way developers code explains how a simple writing habit has made him a better leader


          

Top leaders are leaving Walmart's Jet, and some employees are growing concerned about the site's future (WMT)

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Jet HQSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

  • Several top leaders have departed Walmart-owned Jet this year, including at least eight vice presidents and five senior directors, according to LinkedIn data.
  • Some employees say the departures are fueling concerns about the site's future.
  • "We're all sort of fighting through the chaos and trying to make sense of all of it as people are leaving," one senior Jet employee told Business Insider. "It's apparent big leaders are leaving every month... and there's a snowball effect in many ways."
  • A Walmart spokesperson said Jet remains an important part of the company's e-commerce business. "Jet continues to operate as an important brand within the Walmart e-commerce portfolio and serves a valuable and intentional purpose in serving urban consumers," the spokesperson said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Walmart-owned Jet is facing a stream of departures from top leaders, fueling concerns among some employees about the site's future.

At least eight vice presidents and five senior directors have exited Jet this year, seven of whom left over the course of two months this summer, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: We talked to Kevin Plank right before he stepped down as CEO of Under Armour, and he hinted at why the company may be ready for the change

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Walmart's $3.3 billion acquisition of Jet.com is still the foundation on which all of its e-commerce dreams are built


          

People have toyed with the idea of a 4-day workweek for over 80 years. Here's how the concept has evolved, from the Great Depression to Microsoft's latest successful experiment (MSFT)

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open officeGetty Images

  • Microsoft recently implemented a four-day workweek at a subsidiary in Japan, leading to a 40% productivity increase.
  • A four-day workweek can either mean that employees work a traditional 40 hour week over four days, or that they work four typical eight-hour days totalling 32 hours per week.
  • A 30 hour workweek was popular in the early 20th century, but support dropped off following the Great Depression. Now, some companies are experimenting with the idea again.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A 40-hour, five-day workweek from Monday to Friday has been considered the standard schedule in the US since at least the Great Depression, even though almost a third of US workers today don't work that way.

Throughout the 20th century, scholars and activists predicted a decrease in hours the average worker would be on the clock as productivity increased. In 1928, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted a 15-hour workweek within a century. In 1965, a Senate subcommittee predicted an even shorter 14-hour workweek by 2000, with seven weeks of vacation.

Some high-profile tech executives, like Google cofounder Larry Page, have praised the premise of a four-day workweek, and studies have shown that it could have benefits like decreasing burnout and lessening gender inequality.

However, a four-day workweek has yet to take hold on a large scale.  

Microsoft is the most recent example of a company experimenting with the idea. The Seattle-based tech giant recently implemented a four-day workweek in Japan, which led to a 40% jump in productivity. The company closed the office on Fridays in August and limited meetings, which made employees more productive than the previous August, despite working fewer hours.

Here's a history of how the four-day workweek began.

In the 1920s and 1930s, entrepreneurs like Henry Ford found that decreasing workweeks from 60-plus hours to 40 could actually increase productivity, according to Wharton professor Adam Grant.

Getty Images

Source: Quartz



In 1933, Congress nearly passed a 30-hour workweek bill to cut hours as an alternative to unemployment during the Depression, but it failed as opponents called it "communist."

Bettmann/Getty Images

Source: AlterNet



Other New Deal legislation was a way to keep 30-hour workweek activists happy, like the Works Progress Administration, and the Federal Labor Standards Act, which mandated overtime pay past 40 hours.

AP

Source: Eh.net




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A stalker who sent a pictures of underage girls and a photo of a coffin to an Italian footballer and his family has been jailed

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Fabio QuagliarellaGetty/Paolo Rattini

  • An Italian footballer's stalker has been jailed for more than four years.
  • Fabio Quagliarella, 36, and his family were reportedly tormented by Raffaele Piccolo after the forward's move to Napoli in 2009.
  • Piccolo, who posed as the forward's friend, tried to incriminate Quagliarella as a pedophile by sending him pictures of underage girls, according to Bleacher Report.
  • He also sent death threats, including a photo of the Italian's face nailed to a coffin, Bleacher Report says.
  • "I cried a lot. I am not embarrassed. I cried because I was suffering and because I could not understand who was doing it to me," the striker, now at Sampdoria, told Bleacher Report. "I was scared for my family."
  • Read more of our soccer stories here.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An Italian footballer's stalker has been jailed for four and a half years, according to the Daily Mail, Football Italia, and local reports in Capri, Italy.

Fabio Quagliarella, 36, and his family were reportedly tormented by Raffaele Piccolo after the forward's move to Napoli in 2009, according to Bleacher Report, who spoke with Quagliarella earlier this year.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Every service Hulu offers begins with a free trial — here's what you need to know to get started

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hulu premium 2Hulu/Facebook

  • Every service Hulu offers begins with a free trial, so you can see if it's right for you before you commit to the monthly spend.
  • Hulu's basic subscription ($5.99 a month) and its ad-free service ($11.99 a month) come with a 30-day free trial.
  • You'll get a week of Hulu + Live TV for free before you start getting billed for it.
  • Their premium channel add-ons like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz each come with a weeklong free trial.
Product Embed:
Product Name: Hulu Streaming Service
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French President Macron dunked on Trump for pulling out of Syria without telling his NATO allies

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trump macronChristophe Petit Tesson/Pool via AP

  • French President Emmanuel Macron gave a blistering interview to The Economist about his dissatisfaction with NATO and the European Union.
  • He slammed President Donald Trump for withdrawing from Syria without consulting NATO last month, saying that there was "no co-ordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making."
  • NATO countries including France, Germany, and the UK still have forces in Syria. Macron said the Syria withdrawal represented the "brain-death of NATO."
  • Trump has for years complained that about what he sees as the US' outsized financial role in NATO, and has threatened multiple times to pull out of the alliance.
  • Macron also said the European Union is "on the edge of a precipice," and partly blamed Trump for not having its back in the face of Russian and Chinese aggressions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

French President Emmanuel Macron has slammed US President Donald Trump for unilaterally withdrawing from Syria — a decision that has upended power structures in the Middle East — without even telling his NATO allies.

"You have no co-ordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None," Macron told The Economist in an article published Thursday, referring to Trump's troop withdrawal from Syria last month. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SoftBank's latest valuation of WeWork is lower than previously thought — at under $5 billion

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Masayoshi SonKoki Nagahama/Getty Images

  • SoftBank slashed its pre-bailout valuation of WeWork by 83% in three months to $4.9 billion, according to an investor presentation dated for release on Friday.
  • SoftBank Investment Advisors, which manages the Japanese conglomerate's $100 billion Vision Fund I, cut WeWork's valuation by 74% even after accounting for parts of SoftBank's rescue deal, from $29.6 billion on June 30 to $7.8 billion on September 30.
  • Vision Fund I posted an $8.8 billion investment loss last quarter.
  • Read more of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.

SoftBank slashed its pre-bailout valuation of WeWork by 83% in three months to $4.9 billion, according to an investor presentation dated for release on Friday.

SoftBank Investment Advisors — which manages the $100 billion Vision Fund I that counts Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth funds among its investors — cut the shared-workspace group's valuation by 74% even after accounting for parts of SoftBank's rescue deal, from $29.6 billion on June 30 to $7.8 billion on September 30.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Disney will report its last earnings results on Thursday before the launch of its streaming platform. Here's what 4 Wall Street analysts are talking about.

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star wars the rise of skywalkerLucasfilm

  • Disney's fourth-quarter earnings report Thursday will land just five days before the company releases its highly anticipated streaming platform Disney Plus. 
  • Wall Street has been evaluating the media conglomerate's billion-dollar effort to break into the direct-to-consumer video space much more closely in recent months. 
  • Investors and analysts will be looking for guidance on how many subscribers Disney expects to bring onto the services in the coming quarters. 
  • Here's what four Wall Street firms are talking about leading up to the report. 
  • Watch Disney trade live on Markets Insider.

Disney is set to report fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday after the closing bell — just five days before its long-awaited launch of Disney Plus. 

Investors and analysts will be eager to see what type of guidance the company provides around subscriber expectations for its trio of streaming platforms including Hulu and ESPN Plus. 

The company announced a partnership with Verizon in late October to offer the wireless carrier's customers a free year of Disney Plus. The effort is expected to help ramp up subscriber growth after the service launches on November 12. 

There will also likely be a focus on how much cash the company plans to invest in its direct-to-consumer video efforts and what sort of effect that will continue to have on earnings.

Wall Street is expecting Disney to post $1.56 billion in profit on $19 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, compared to about $2.32 billion in profit on $14.3 billion in sales during the same period last year. 

Disney had a bumpy third-quarter report, with shares falling about 4% after the company posted earnings and revenue below analyst estimates.

Revenue in Disney's movie studio division came in below expectations in the third quarter despite several box-office hits. The segment also saw higher expenses due to challenges integrating 21st Century Fox assets, which the company will likely provide an update on in its fourth-quarter results. 

Here's what four analysts are talking about ahead of Disney's latest earnings report: 

Morgan Stanley: "We are raising our Disney Plus estimates."

Marvel Studios

Price target: $160

Rating: Overweight

"We see Disney as unique among peers with the brands and scale to build a global, profitable streaming business. We are raising our Disney Plus estimates, although lowering near-term EPS. We see shares offering unique to a diversified portfolio of growth assets anchored by Disney IP," Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne wrote in a note to clients October 2. 

Swinburne added: "We now expect Disney Plus to reach 15-16mm subscribers by FYE20 and over 75mm by FYE24." 



Macquarie: "We expect a smoother F4Q report leading into the Disney+ launch."

Disney

Price target: $160

Rating: Outperform

"We expect a smoother F4Q report leading into the Disney+ launch. Disney is by far the best-positioned media company to transition to an OTT world," Macquarie analysts wrote in a note to clients on October 17. 

The analysts added: "We believe Disney set a low bar on expectations for F4Q, and hence we would not be surprised to see a good print from Disney, which could revive investor enthusiasm for the stock."



BMO Capital Markets: "We are eager to see if management will share an early read on Disney+ subscribers."

Marvel Studios

Price target: $170

Rating: Outperform 

"We are eager to see if management will share an early read on Disney+ subscribers based on pre-sales, or wait for post-launch for the first figure," BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon wrote in note to clients Wednesday. 

Salmon continued: "Disney is our only Outperform-rated stock in the Entertainment group and notwithstanding last quarter's bumps, we believe the stock can work through yearend, with visible catalysts including the launch of Disney+ on November 12."




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US media's reluctance to discuss an alleged identity for the Ukraine whistleblower is crumbling after a campaign by right-wing sites and Donald Trump Jr.

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Donald Trump Jr.AP Photo/Richard Drew

  • Donald Trump Jr, the eldest son of President Donald Trump, tweeted an article naming an official it is claimed is the whistleblower whose complaint against the president sparked an impeachment probe. 
  • Right-wing activists and websites have alleged a plot to keep the name of the official, who is afforded anonymity protections under federal law, out of the public eye. 
  • The whistleblower's legal team say that the official's life may be in danger if the person is unmasked. 
  • The whistleblower's account of the president's alleged wrongdoing has been borne out by a White House memo and the congressional testimony of senior government officials. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An alleged identity for the whistleblower whose complaint sparked impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump has been circling on social media and fringe websites for weeks.

However, the identity — which has not been confirmed — had largely been absent from reporting by the mainstream of the US media.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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China says it has a plan with the US to roll back trade-war tariffs — but one expert warns it may be 'more of the same kind of pump we see almost daily'

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Trump XiThomas Peter/Reuters

  • A Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said the US and China had agreed to roll back tariffs in phases as trade talks progressed. 
  • While the announcement signaled progress, Neil Wilson at Markets.com called it "more of the same kind of pump we see almost daily."
  • Still, US futures rallied on the news.
  • View Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

China says it has agreed with the US on a plan to roll back tariffs as trade talks progress.

"In the past two weeks, top negotiators had serious, constructive discussions and agreed to remove the additional tariffs in phases as progress is made on the agreement," a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said on Thursday, according to Bloomberg

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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New York just embraced a revolutionary voting system that if widely adopted would change American politics forever

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports ranked-choice voting.Jose Alvarado Jr./Reuters

  • On Tuesday, New Yorkers voted to implement ranked-choice voting in primary and special elections, allowing them to rank their top five candidates in order of preference. 
  • Under a ranked-choice system, voters can rank up to five candidates in order of preference.
  • Proponents of the system say it will eliminate the risks of "spoiler" candidates, discourage negative campaigning, and encourage more women and minority candidates to run, among other benefits. 
  • Critics say ranked-choice voting can cause confusion for voters and complicate vote tabulation, among other concerns.
  • The adoption of ranked-choice voting in the biggest city in the country is a signal the system could catch on across America in coming years.  
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

On Tuesday, New Yorkers passed a ballot measure implementing ranked-choice voting in primary and special elections — a dramatic shift that could have big implications for future elections.

Under a ranked-choice system, voters can rank up to five candidates in order of preference. If no single candidate wins a majority of the vote, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and the votes for that person are redistributed to the voters' next preferred candidate. That process of elimination continues until one candidate clinches a majority. Voters can rank anywhere between one and five candidates. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: Extremists turned a frog meme into a hate symbol, but Hong Kong protesters revived it as an emblem of hope

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How the retail industry will top $5.5 trillion by 2020 (TGT, WMT, AMZN)

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The future of retail is looking bright.The future of mobile commerce

So bright that Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects the industry to top $5.5 trillion by 2020!

While in-store and desktop purchases are certainly helping the retail industry boom, the biggest factor for this incredible growth is in your pocket.

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Your love of the 4-day workweek would exclude half the American workforce

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janitor cleaning garbage Urige ButaREUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

  • While shorter workdays or workweeks might boost productivity and work-life balance for some, low-wage hourly workers, as well as nurses and teachers, would not immediately benefit from these changes, experts tell Business Insider.
  • Because of low pay, hourly shift workers are actually looking for more hours to work. And nurses and teachers face challenges with too many patients and large class sizes.
  • Advocates say centering white-collar employees in the shorter workweek discussion hurts low-wage workers.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Long before Microsoft's four-day-workweek experiments, Colorado school districts shifted to the same schedule, in part to entice teachers with a better work-life balance.

There was just one problem, says elementary-school teacher Kallie Leyba: "Teachers can't afford to ski."

Colorado teachers like Leyba say they already work longer than 40 hours to get paperwork done, on top of receiving among the lowest statewide educator pay. Colorado's shorter workweek hasn't helped these major issues, says Leyba, who serves as president of the state's American Federation of Teachers branch.

As the conversation around fewer work hours gets more traction, experts say at least three segments of the workforce — low-wage workers, teachers, and nurses — could be excluded from the benefits that a shorter workweek provides.

Teachers and nurses represent 6 million people; workers earning less than $15 represent 65 million people. Together, that's nearly half the labor market.

"Very often when we think about life conflict and over work we have a vision of white-collar workers in mind," says Daniel Schneider, a researcher at the Shift Project at the University of California at Berkeley. "It's super important we bring in hourly workers into the conversation."

American workers — especially hourly ones — need better work-life balance.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As a whole, American workers have some of the worst work-life balance worldwide.

Workers in the US notoriously take less vacation and spend more time at work than employees in other developed countries, and the government doesn't mandate guaranteed time off.

The lack of work-life balance could be contributing to a mental-health crisis. Over half of employees say their job is negatively affecting their mental health.

But burnout looks different for different workers. Research finds people who work irregular hours or the night shift have a 33% greater risk of experiencing depression on average. That's why blue-collar workers, like construction workers and paramedics, have higher rates of suicide and depression than the general population.

Domestic workers — think house cleaners and nannies — typically work outside the 9-to-5 workday entirely, sometimes working 24/7, as in the case of live-in nannies. They get paid just $11 an hour, on average, meaning a shorter workweek "won't cut it for them," says Julie Kashen, senior policy adviser at the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

"It's hard to even think about [shorter workweeks] without thinking about the need to increase wages and improve working conditions," Kashen tells Business Insider.



In reality, low-wage workers want to work more hours — and have a better sense of their schedule.

Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Along with better work-life balance to prevent burnout, shorter workweeks might increase productivity.

Microsoft, for instance, found that reducing the workweek by one day led to a 40% boost in productivity. A buzzy Wall Street Journal article last month highlighted how employees at a German company got the same amount of work done after cutting three hours in a workday.

Yet the reality for low-wage workers is that they are already being worked to optimal productivity. Scheduling algorithms, such as Kronos, use AI to devise worker shifts around when to best meet a store's demand. Companies increased use in these scheduling algorithms in the past decade, according to Adrian Haro, CEO of The Workers Lab.

The issue, however, with scheduling technology is that it gives little forewarning to hourly workers on what their daily schedules will look like. As many as 60% of hourly workers get less than two weeks' notice of changes to their schedule, according to the University of California at Berkeley's Shift Project.

Schneider, a researcher at the Shift Project, says hourly employees want to work more hours outside of just what these algorithms decide for them.

"The problem is, we do see people working a less-than-40-hour week, but they don't like it. They want more hours because they're paid hourly and not very much," Schneider told Business Insider. "For these workers, there's a clear time-money trade-off."



For nearly half of workers, solutions for better work-life balance include higher pay, better staffing, and more fixed schedules — not a shorter workweek.

Associated Press

Leyba said that, as with teachers, nurses are often overworked. A recent report as many as half of nurses and doctors suffer from burnout.

Yet the burnout stems not from time on the job but the quality of work.

Many nurse advocates say working with too many patients is the root of the issue, and groups like Nurses Take DC and SEIU121RN have lobbied for safer nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. So far, only California caps the number of patients a nurse can have at once, despite research that suggests fewer patients lead to higher-quality patient care.

Similarly, the National Union of Teachers found teachers with larger class sizes work the longest hours. Many teachers have gone on strike over the last few years, most recently in Chicago, protesting increasing class sizes and dwindling pay.

In the case of low-wage, hourly workers, a bill to give people better notice of schedules just got reintroduced into Congress by presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday.

While most experts agree a discussion around shorter workweeks is a good start, as it suggests — but Kashen says non-white-collar workers must be at the center of this discussion.

"White-collar workers are able to have a different conversation because they have more agency in the workplace, and they also have more resources and higher wages," Kashen says. "If we can improve working conditions for the most vulnerable then that will really help everyone."



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4 reasons why your team never seems to speak up in meetings — and what you can do to fix it

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board meeting tv show superstoreTyler Golden/NBCU/Getty Images

  • If at the end of a meeting your team doesn't have anything to say, there could be four issues going on.
  • Your team could feel that the conclusions you've come to are set and don't require their input, or that no one else will share their opinion.
  • It's also possible that employees may not understand, or care about, what has happened in the meeting.
  • In any of these scenarios, it's the job of the leader to create a safe space where it's okay for employees not to understand and to ask questions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you've ever led a meeting, this has probably happened to you: You're wrapping up and you ask your team if they have any questions or anything to add. You wait while your team is silent. After a minute, you might be tempted to think that you've done such an amazing job covering everything that everyone understood perfectly and is on the same page.

In reality, however, that's almost never the case.

This is a problem because most of the time your team won't say anything, but that doesn't mean they don't have anything to say. Instead, your colleagues may be making one of these four assumptions, and it's your job to address them head on if you're ever going to get honest feedback.

Here are four reasons why your team doesn't speak up in meetings, and what you can do to fix it.

1. They think you have already decided

Getty Images

This is the simplest reason people don't say anything in your meetings. Often, your team simply figures that you've already made a decision and you're simply telling them what's happening — with or without their input. In that case, what would be the point of speaking up?

Instead, your job is to communicate that you value everyone's input and that you actually expect it. 



2. They don't care

Shutterstock / ESB Essentials

This is unfortunate, but sometimes it's the case. Often it's because there's some kind of disconnect between your team member, their role, and the agenda of the meeting. When people don't see how something connects to their job, it's hard for them to process it in a meaningful way. When that happens, they check out. The last thing they're going to do is speak up or ask questions, because, honestly, they just want the meeting to be over so they can move on to something more important (in their view).

By the way, when this happens, it's not usually their fault. Sure, sometimes it's because someone hasn't bought into the mission of your business or organization — and when that's the case, you have a bigger problem. Often, however, they simply don't see why it's relevant to them or their job, so they just don't care. It's your job, as a leader, to make them care by articulating the vision and how it affects them personally.



3. They don't understand

Shutterstock

You would think that if your team is confused or didn't understand something, they'd speak up. Except, they don't.

No one wants to speak up when they don't understand because they assume everyone else did and they don't want to look dumb. Especially when the boss is talking. Here's the thing: If one person doesn't understand, you haven't done your job as an effective leader. If you don't know that, you can't do a better job.

Your job is to create a safe space where it's okay to not understand and to ask questions. It's important that your team understands that there's no judgment for not understanding. In fact, the more you can move people to recognize that it's not actually their fault they don't understand something, the better. When that happens, your team is far more likely to challenge faulty assumptions and help make the final decision better.




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SEE ALSO: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's 3-rule method for running effective meetings


          

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

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trump xi shake handsReuters/Jonathan Ernst

Here is what you need to know. 

1. China says it and the US agreed to a path to roll back trade-war tariffs. "Top negotiators had serious, constructive discussions and agreed to remove the additional tariffs in phases," said Gao Feng, Chinese commerce ministry spokesperson.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Why the head of Procter & Gamble's startup studio rents out a movie theater for her team every quarter to spark innovation at the $299 billion retail giant

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Leigh Radford

  • Leigh Radford, who heads Procter & Gamble Ventures, tries to embody the Silicon Valley mentality within the startup studio. The unit, which sits within the sprawling consumer goods giant, is another example of the steps legacy firms are taking to compete against upstart, direct-to-consumer rivals. 
  • Many of those innovation efforts, however, still fail. In Radford's case, she convinced management to give her a direct line to the CEO and resources to hire top talent, among other demands. That set-up has helped P&G Ventures get at least one product on store shelves, with several others expected to hit the market soon. 
  • P&G Ventures relies on so-called speed teams, or cohorts that are able to bypass standard company procedures to more quickly secure funding to invest in startups, place media buys, or pay suppliers. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

"We got here from hard work, patience, and humility. So I want to tell you: Don't think the world owes you anything because it doesn't. The world doesn't owe you a thing."

That simple message was stated by actress Jennifer Lawrence in the movie "Joy," about a successful, self-made entrepreneur named Joy Mangano.

It resonated deeply with Leigh Radford, the head of Procter & Gamble Ventures, and the culture she was trying to build in the company's innovation arm. The movie is "about risk taking and just the can-do attitude to make the impossible happen," she told Business Insider. 

Now every quarter, Radford's team rents out a movie theater to watch to watch films like "Joy" and "Hidden Figures" that push entrepreneurial messages of breaking boundaries and taking risks. Afterwards, the group — which includes individuals from Procter & Gamble's research and development, supply chain, finance, and marketing departments — discusses how the main themes of the movie can be applied to work or personal lives.

It's just one way Radford pushes the Silicon Valley hustle mentality at Procter & Gamble Ventures, a startup studio within the sprawling consumer goods giant that has produced products like household insecticide Zevo and beauty wand Opté Precision Skincare. Home Depot and Target carried Zevo this past summer, while Opté will officially launch in 2020. 

Such "innovation arms" are increasingly common in corporate America. Models vary, but several top programs employ a combination of both internal teams focused on developing new products and an external venture arm that seeks to invest in or purchase promising startups. Procter & Gamble's is the latter, though it also has an incubator called Signal Accelerator and recently launched a partnership with venture firm M13. 

Despite the abundant resources large businesses have at their disposal, many internal innovation projects fail. The problems can be cultural, like not giving employees the protection to take risks.

In other instances, however, entrepreneurial-minded people may find corporate America slow and stifling. 

"That's one of the biggest fear entrepreneurs have is [that] they're going to get lost in the corporation and they're going to lose their agility and speed," said Radford.

Radford, who started P&G Ventures in 2015, recently outlined how her group overcame that challenge. Much of it started with creating a foundation that allowed the unit to operate independently from the rest of the company. 

4 demands for Proctor & Gamble's CEO

When Radford was initially approached by then-CEO A.G. Lafley about starting P&G Ventures, she was skeptical.

While she knew the company could offer invaluable advice when it came to building and scaling products, she was also aware how difficult it could be to innovate inside a giant. 

So Radford had four demands:

  • A direct report to the CEO and access to the board of directors;
  • Resources to hire and retain top talent;
  • The center needed to be highly visible within P&G, and;
  • The team needed flexibility from organizational constraints to stay out of the crosshairs of the other business units.

Once those were all agreed to, Radford went to work. To get up to speed quickly, she began to tap into her network for advice. She also figured out quickly what areas P&G Ventures would focus on.

To prevent competition, the team would seek out companies that had promising products that Procter & Gamble didn't sell, like caregiving and independent aging. That made conversations with other business units easier because it became all about "incremental topline growth."

"Our base businesses are doing a great job innovating on their own and finding ways to disrupt their own businesses, but we focus on something very different," Radford said.

The Speed Team

Based on Radford's initial outreach, one thing became abundantly clear: her team had to be able to move quickly.

She knew P&G was great at supporting billion-dollar business lines like Bounty and Dawn. But supporting newer ventures with valuations less than $100,000 would require a whole new set of processes.

"We've got to bring agility, we've got to bring speed; these entrepreneurs are not going to wait for us," she said.

First, Radford began tracking all the items that took longer than 24 hours to get resolved. Anything past that timeline and she'd personally roll up her sleeves to elevate it. Radford also formed cross-functional teams on key areas like payments, media buying, and supplier registration to figure out what pain points could prevent startups from working with P&G Ventures.

One critical barrier, for example, was getting funding approved and to the startups. It shouldn't be too surprising that a corporation the size of Procter & Gamble would want to do ample due diligence in the organizations it chose to invest in.

But Radford knew they couldn't afford to wait the standard 60 days it took to get payments processed. She worked with leadership and took the process down to just 11 days. "It's risk, but it's balanced risk and that allows us to be very responsive to the outside world which is critical to being credible," said Radford.

Another instance was media buying. The P&G Ventures team knew that for its startups to be successful, they needed to be able to market directly to consumers and do it quickly. Radford convinced management to let the team purchase media directly, instead of working through a buying agency — a process that can take upwards of two months.

'We kill things fast. We kill things early.'

Like any other business unit, P&G Ventures needed to produce results.

The team evaluates its investments on a 10-year basis, similar to how a standard venture fund determines the appropriate rate-of-return on its startup funds.

"We kill things fast. We kill things early," Radford said. "If we believe there is not a solution that is meaningful and differentiated in the market, we let go pretty quick.

SEE ALSO: 77% of internal-innovation efforts fail. Here's a 4-step checklist for ensuring that doesn't happen to your company.

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Virgin Media's deal with Vodafone highlights the opportunity 5G presents for MVNO deals

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UK communications company Virgin Media inked a five-year deal with Vodafone to transition its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service, called Virgin Mobile, onto Vodafone's wireless network, per a company release. Global Mobile Network Peak Usage Timeline

Currently, Virgin Mobile uses BT Enterprise's network for its mobile service, but that deal will end in 2021, at which point the MVNO's 3 million customers will transition to Vodafone's network. As part of the new partnership, Virgin Media additionally plans to launch a 5G service with Vodafone before 2021. 

As an MVNO, Virgin Mobile relies on another telecom's network infrastructure to provide connectivity by leasing bandwidth. MVNO deals allow telecoms to derive additional revenue from their networks by leasing out unused network capacity. And for MVNOs, the deals allow them to offer competitive, lower-cost data and voice rates than their traditional telecom counterparts because they avoid the costs of maintaining their own network infrastructure.

This low-cost approach ultimately lets MVNOs sell mobile services to customers priced out of other telecom's offerings or who simply wish to pay less for services. The major drawback of this strategy is that MVNOs are reliant on partners — who are also competitors — for service provision and continuity.

The commercialization of 5G gives telecoms an opportunity to win over new MVNO deals as they reconsider their options in light of the next-generation networks. MVNOs are continuously on the lookout for the best deal that allows them to offer the widest reaching network for the lowest price. For instance, MVNO Ting Mobile decided to switch its US service from T-Mobile to Verizon after T-Mobile faced delays in its merger with Sprint, failing to offer the promised benefits of a combined network.

As telecoms begin to offer 5G services, it presents a natural stopping point for MVNOs to reassess carrier offerings. Telecoms that aim to attract or retain MVNOs should look to establish widely available 5G services to differentiate their networks from rivals. For instance, Virgin Media likely took into account Vodafone's wide international 5G presence that allows for 5G roaming, in addition to a likely lower price when switching from BT Enterprise.

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I drove a $45,000 Audi Q3 to see if a revamping of this premium crossover would change my mind about the SUV — here's the verdict

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Audi Q3

  • The 2019 Audi Q3 has been revamped from the previous, aging model, which I enjoyed but was also confused by.
  • The new Audi Q3 has the BMW X1 in its sights.
  • Our test vehicle had a base price of $36,000, but options took the sticker up to almost $50,000.
  • The Q3 has but one engine option: a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, making 228 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel-drive.
  • I wasn't confused by the larger, snappier Audi Q3, which turned in a more Porsche-like performance than its predecessor.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

The Audi Q3 crossover used to be a vehicle that confused me. 

"The Q3 can come off as a larger luxury vehicle placed under a shrink ray," I wrote when I sampled the previous generation in 2015.

"Consequently, I vacillated between feeling like I was driving a full-on Audi and feeling like I was driving a squooshed-down Q5 or Q7. That's not exactly a novel observation. But my point is that I couldn't find a pleasing compromise with the Q3. One minute I felt great. The next, I felt as if I were encased in a well-executed example of wee luxe."

Given that reaction four years ago, I was looking forward to some seat time in the new Q3. I was also mindful that this is going to be, for many customers, the entry-level Audi. The world in which first-time buyers began their journey with the four-ringed marque with an A3 sedan has been vanquished by the advent of the SUV as the market's dominant vehicle type.

I wound up changing my tune, and quick. Here's how it went:

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My 2019 Audi Q3 S-Line with "Quattro" all-wheel-drive landed in the environs of our suburban New Jersey test center wearing a "Chronos Gray Metallic" paint job.



The base price was $36,000, but thousands of bucks in options raised the sticker to $44,990.



The new Audi Q3 was rolled out in 2018 and is built on the VW Group's MQB platform. The compact/subcompact crossover used to look like a turtle, to my eye. Now it looks like a turtle with better tailoring.

Those 20-inch, five-spokes are quite fetching, and they added $800 to price tag.



The Q3 isn't radically different from its predecessor, but overall it's taken on a sleeker and more aggressive appearance.



The LED headlights have an automatic high-beam assist feature, as well as LED daytime running lights. Yes, the quartet of linked rings form an unmistakable badge.



Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system is among the best in the world, developed in rally racing. The Q3 has what we might call "Quattro Lite," aimed less at off-roading and more at negotiating suburban snowstorms.



My Audi Q3 tester was at the Premium Plus S-Line trim, which combined luxury with sportiness.



My previous complaint about the Q3 was that Audi's vaunted design language didn't scale down very well. But the new Q3 changed my mind. I thought it presented itself as a proper Audi.



My change of heart might have something to do with the upsizing of the Q3 — it's now larger than the outgoing Q3, making the new SUV a bit of a compact/subcompact tweener, whereas the previous Q3 came off as a rather downsized Q5.



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and most folks don't think the rear ends of SUVs are very beautiful. But the Q3 presents one of the better hatch configurations in the industry. The dual exhaust pipes and the dagger-like tail lights certainly help.



Cargo space is nearly 19 cubic feet, expandable to 23 with the rear seats folded down. My tester came with a useful cargo net ...



... Which I used to secure a candidate ...



... For Halloween jack-o-lantern treatment.



Let's see what's under the hood.



It's a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, making 228 horsepower with 258 pound-feet of torque. That powerplant is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is respectable at 19 mpg city/27 highway/22 combined (one gives up some MPGs for AWD and performance).

The 0-60 mph sprint passes in the seven-seconds ballpark, which is quick without being alarmingly speedy. If Audi serves up an SQ3, then anyone who craves a bit more velocity should be placated.

The Q3 has a auto stop-start feature, intended to improve fuel-economy and cut down on emissions. It isn't seamless, however, and it can be sort of annoying.



The interior of my tester was a very Audi-esque, minimalist black. Front seats were heated, and the Q3 has dual-zone climate controls for driver and passenger.



Well, not completely minimalist. The S Line trim brought with it a $500 Sport interior package and $150 worth of orange Alcantara.



The back seat wasn't roomy by any stretch, but it could handle adults for short journeys.



The dual-pane panoramic moonroof was a welcome feature, as it filled the snug cabin with natural light.



The stitched, leather-wrapped steering wheel sported the usual array of multifunction buttons and thumbwheels, with paddle-shifters for spirited motoring.



But the real showstopper was the addition of Audi's MMI "Virtual Cockpit" infotainment system, which allows for customization of the digital instrument cluster.



The MMI system with Navigation Plus added $2,000, but it was worth it. The 10.1-inch central touchscreen is responsive and no aspect of the Q3's infotainment is difficult to use.

Bluetooth device-pairing was easy, as was USB-port integration. New owners get a three-month SiriusXM subscription, and the $850 Bang & Olufsen premium 3D audio setup sounded fantastic in the Q3's modest confines.



There was also wireless charging.



I could toggle through the Q3's drive modes — comfort, auto, dynamic, offroad, and individual — using the select button. I favored dynamic, but individual is also useful in that it allows the driver to mix settings.



The eight-speed was a brisk little mill in my testing — lots of fun between second and fifth gears, but with overdrive gears to assist with fuel economy



So what's the verdict?

In my hands, the new Q3 was much more Porsche-like than I expected (Porsche is an Audi stablemate in the VW Group). I don't know if that was intentional, but the sort of afterthought old Q3 now seems to have a new identity. 

The performance isn't mind-boggling, but the 228 ponies under the hood get along quite well with the eight-speed transmission, and the Quattro-lite AWD system makes the Q3 feel planted to stable despite its size.

The electric steering is vague at times, and the brakes aren't really racetrack ready, but for splitting your attention between grocery store runs and weaving in and out of traffic on suburban beltways, the Q3 is an appealing package. 

The previous-generation struck me as being rather Euro in personality — more hatchback than SUV — and I thought it made sense mainly for urbanites in need of a nice, premium ride from a suitably premium brand.

The new Q3, by contrast, seems as though it could make a go of it outside the metropolis, perhaps as a second car for a family that already has a Q5 or a Q7 — an alternative to the familiar Audi sedan-Audi SUV tandem in many driveways. But the Q3 also functions as a new entry point to the brand, and as such, its refreshed identity means that it provides an improved alternative to an A3 or A4.

The bottom line is that, like the last Q3 I drove, I enjoyed this vehicle. But this time around, I wasn't confused at all.




          

Check out SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son's wildly optimistic slides about turning WeWork profitable

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Masayoshi Son SoftBank turnaround chart

  • SoftBank published its financials for the July to September quarter on Wednesday, posting a big loss thanks to the poor performance of its investments in WeWork and Uber.
  • CEO Masayoshi Son is known for giving idiosyncratic presentations filled with expressive images, wild graphs, and inspirational quotes.
  • He didn't disappoint during his financial presentation on Wednesday.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, the man overseeing the $100 billion Vision Fund, has something of a reputation for wild pitch decks. In 2010, he famously laid out a 300-year vision over a set of slides full of inspirational quotes and whimsical musings on the nature of love.

The Japanese magnate and investor hasn't disappointed with his latest set of slides.

In a financial presentation for SoftBank's July-to-September quarter on Wednesday, Son directly acknowledged the financial damage wrought by his firm's multi-billion dollar bet on office-sharing firm WeWork, describing it as the "WeWork problem."

SoftBank's financials indicated that its combined loss on the value of its WeWork shares came to $8.2 billion.

WeWork was headed to IPO and worth an estimated $47 billion, but experienced a disastrous few months after reporters scrutinized its governance, business model, and the behaviour of cofounder Adam Neumann. The firm cancelled its IPO, and Neumann stepped down as CEO. SoftBank took control of the firm in October in a $9.5 billion rescue package.

But Son, per his presentation, is optimistic SoftBank can turn the firm around.

Here are the key slides. You can see Son's full presentation here.

Masayoshi Son opened his presentation by acknowledging the WeWork fiasco. "We are actually in a rough sea," he said.



He showed a picture of a rough sea to make his point.



The rough sea is overlaid with headlines in Japanese about SoftBank and WeWork.

Son said: "There [is a lot of] media coverage here and there, especially in the past two months. 'SoftBank may go bankrupt. Vision Fund is a big negative. Uber is in terrible share price after the IPO. WeWork may go bankrupt. And SoftBank is actually putting further money into this company so that it can go bankrupt altogether so that all the aggressive investment activity has been failed.' Such coverage... In a sense, it may be true."



Son took on the elephant in the room — SoftBank's bet on WeWork and how much it cost the company

"My judgment in investment was not right in many ways, so I regret [that] in many ways," he said.



He dug into how much SoftBank lost on WeWork

Its combined loss on its WeWork shares was $8.2 billion across the Vision Fund and SoftBank Group.



After questions about how highly WeWork was valued, Son showed this slide explaining the Vision Fund's valuation process

SoftBank's aggressive approach to valuations has raised eyebrows. WeWork, for example, was valued at $47 billion at its peak. And one of SoftBank's executives once said the office-sharing firm could be worth $100 billion.

According to SoftBank's financials, it's actually now worth around $8 billion.



Son acknowledged that WeWork is a massively loss-making business, pointing to its low gross profits and high operating costs...



...but he has a plan



But check out the small print. It reads: "There can be no assurance that the strategy of SBG set forth herein will be successful."



But if it is successful, here's how he thinks WeWork's profits will look

One Twitter user, described the slide thus: "Masa is a goddamn comic genius... this gold from from his latest deck."

 



...again, it comes with small print

It reads: "This hypothetical illustration is provided solely for illustrative purposes, reflects the current beliefs of SBG as of the date hereof, and is based on a variety of assumptions and estimates...

"Accordingly, actual results may differ materially from the hypothetical illustration presented herein. For the avoidance of doubt, this illustration does not reflect actual results or metrics from the company."



Once gross profit and those massive operating expenses are sorted out, Son anticipates profitability



Look at that hockey stick!



And after this turnaround plan, it will be back to calm seas



Son said: "We don't see any rough sea. It's just the gentle waves in the sea."




          

How Harry's co-CEO turned his morning walks into a 'sacred' ritual that's helped him solve some of the grooming company's biggest challenges

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Jeff Raider

  • Jeff Raider, cofounder and co-CEO of the grooming company Harry's, told Business Insider that his daily walk to work is a "sacred" time to get big-picture thinking done.
  • Raider said he has made some of the most important decisions for his company's future during these walks, and research shows that the habit can stimulate creativity.
  • We named him one of our 100 People Transforming Business earlier this year for the way he has helped popularize and improve the direct-to-consumer online business model as a cofounder of Warby Parker through today.
  • The Productivity Project collects the techniques some of our "transformers" use to be efficient and successful.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

At one point in 2012, Jeff Raider was working three jobs: investing for a private equity firm, helping run eyeglasses startup Warby Parker, and developing the foundation for a shaving company called Harry's. The moment he knew that burnout was real was when he was with friends at an outdoor restaurant at Cape Cod, and he collapsed from exhaustion. "And I was like, 'OK, I finally hit my breaking point,'" Raider told Business Insider last year in an interview for our podcast "This Is Success."

Raider decided it was time to join his cofounder (and eventually co-CEO) Andy Katz-Mayfield on their side project full-time. They officially founded Harry's in 2013.

As they built the company, Raider was more cognizant of maintaining his energy and focus. Business Insider caught up with him recently, and he told us that one of the habits he put in place to counter his old ones was a daily walk to work. If you have the convenience of walking to the office, this may not even sound like a productivity hack, but it's one Raider takes seriously.

"My daily walk is time that I hold sacred, and I find that it's really energizing and helps get me in the zone," he told us over email, noting that "the routine of it all helps keep me balanced." His daily walk has two main benefits, then: allowing him to process big picture thoughts on his own, and blocking off part of his morning to ease into his day.

"I'm someone who needs to spend some time each day reflecting on what went well the day before, what I could have done better, and getting my thoughts straight for the day ahead," he said, and the walk is the time to do so.

There's research that backs up his habit

While there are many anecdotal examples of the productivity benefits of walking — like the late Apple CEO Steve Job's famous walking meetings — a Stanford study from 2014 has provided the research to back them up.

"We're not saying walking can turn you into Michelangelo," co-author Marily Opezzo said at the time. "But it could help you at the beginning stages of creativity."

The researchers conducted four experiments with 176 participants, presenting them with tasks to measure their creative thinking in either sitting or walking sessions. In three similar experiments, participants had 60% higher creative input than when they were sitting. In the fourth experiment, 100% of participants gave at least one "high-quality, novel analogy" when asked a series of questions while walking, compared to 50% of those who were seated.

However, the researchers found that walking did not have a positive effect when questions they asked required focused thinking. They also did not determine if the act of walking itself was what benefited creative thinking, or if this was the result of mild exercise that stimulated the body and mind.

For Raider, though, his walks allow him to both brainstorm and synthesize information churning through his head.

"When we were getting ready to launch our women's body care brand, Flamingo, there were days when my schedule was a nine or ten-hour block of back-to-back meetings," he wrote to Business Insider. "Walking to work was sometimes the only time I had alone to collect my thoughts, and it was necessary for deeper decision making, like deciding between two candidates I thought were an equally great fit for a critical role."

The need for balance is more important than ever

Since that rough day in Cape Cod seven years ago, Raider and Katz-Mayfield have built Harry's from an online shaving subscription service into a full-scale men's grooming company (along with the above-mentioned Flamingo sister brand). And in May, Schick owner Edgewell announced it would buy Harry's for $1.37 billion in a deal expected to close by March of next year, and that the two cofounders would run Edgewell's operations.

As Raider's responsibilities accumulate, he has the benefit of a much larger team than he used to have, but there will always be the danger of taking on too much. By putting systems into place, he can maintain his priorities. And that's why he's not going to bump his morning walk out of his schedule.

"This action isn't necessarily a 'cure' for burnout – it's more of a small daily habit that prevents and manages stress over time – but it's helped me slow down and breathe through some of our biggest challenges over the past six years," he said.

SEE ALSO: The CEO of a tech company changing the way developers code explains how a simple writing habit has made him a better leader

Join the conversation about this story »


          

People have toyed with the idea of a 4-day workweek for over 80 years. Here's how the concept has evolved, from the Great Depression to Microsoft's latest successful experiment. (MSFT)

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open office

  • Microsoft recently implemented a four-day workweek at a subsidiary in Japan, leading to a 40% productivity increase.
  • A four-day workweek can either mean that employees work a traditional 40 hour week over four days, or that they work four typical eight-hour days totalling 32 hours per week.
  • A 30 hour workweek was popular in the early 20th century, but support dropped off following the Great Depression. Now, some companies are experimenting with the idea again.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A 40-hour, five-day workweek from Monday to Friday has been considered the standard schedule in the US since at least the Great Depression, even though almost a third of US workers today don't work that way.

Throughout the 20th century, scholars and activists predicted a decrease in hours the average worker would be on the clock as productivity increased. In 1928, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted a 15-hour workweek within a century. In 1965, a Senate subcommittee predicted an even shorter 14-hour workweek by 2000, with seven weeks of vacation.

Some high-profile tech executives, like Google cofounder Larry Page, have praised the premise of a four-day workweek, and studies have shown that it could have benefits like decreasing burnout and lessening gender inequality.

However, a four-day workweek has yet to take hold on a large scale.  

Microsoft is the most recent example of a company experimenting with the idea. The Seattle-based tech giant recently implemented a four-day workweek in Japan, which led to a 40% jump in productivity. The company closed the office on Fridays in August and limited meetings, which made employees more productive than the previous August, despite working fewer hours.

Here's a history of how the four-day workweek began.

SEE ALSO: A TikTok creator used a clever $5 hack to make an older iPhone look like the new $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro

In the 1920s and 1930s, entrepreneurs like Henry Ford found that decreasing workweeks from 60-plus hours to 40 could actually increase productivity, according to Wharton professor Adam Grant.

Source: Quartz



In 1933, Congress nearly passed a 30-hour workweek bill to cut hours as an alternative to unemployment during the Depression, but it failed as opponents called it "communist."

Source: AlterNet



Other New Deal legislation was a way to keep 30-hour workweek activists happy, like the Works Progress Administration, and the Federal Labor Standards Act, which mandated overtime pay past 40 hours.

Source: Eh.net



After the Depression ended, hours increased and averages hovered around 40 hours, according to Wake Forest economics professor Robert Whaples. The movement for shorter hours dwindled.

Source: eh.net



Kellogg's was a notable exception, and workers voted in favor of a six-hour workday in 1946. But the company slowly moved toward an eight-hour day, and in 1985, the last department shifted to those hours.

Source: The Week



Second- and third-wave feminism in the later half of the 20th century emphasized giving women access to paid work, and pressuring men to contribute more to unpaid domestic labor, rather than cutting overall paid working hours.

Source: Business Insider



Some environmentalists have suggested that working less could be useful to curbing climate change, as workers consume fewer resources during their commutes. In Microsoft's case, electricity use went down nearly 25%.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider



In the 21st century, rethinking the 9-to-5, Monday to Friday workday is popular as tech companies seek to disrupt all aspects of life.



Many organizations moved to this schedule to cut costs. Between 2008 and 2011, the Utah state government worked four 10-hour days per week.

Source: Governing



In 2018, New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian was so happy with results of a four-day workweek that it made the experiment permanent.

Source: The New York Times



According to a 2019 study, 40% of US workers would prefer a four-day week, and a development firm that analyzes these results says workers only get four hours of work done per day.

Source: USA Today



ZipRecruiter postings mentioning four-day weeks are reportedly up 67% this year, and have increased in similar numbers the past few years as companies compete to attract top hires.

Source: USA Today



The US remains an outlier compared to other countries. The average US worker works about 1,780 hours per year, compared to about 1,300 hours in Germany.

Source: People's Policy Project



While some employers are toying with the idea of a shorter workweek, people are generally working longer hours and available for work outside the office. As the Wall Street Journal said "the phrase 'nine to five' is becoming an anachronism."

Source: The Wall Street Journal



With Microsoft's results getting plenty of attention, maybe more companies will follow its lead.




          

An Amazon-focused tech firm has hired a vet of the e-commerce giant to build advertising tools for sellers

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Teikametrics Alasdair McLean-Foreman and Srini Guddanti

  • Amazon tech firm Teikametrics has hired ex-Amazon ad exec Srini Guddanti as its first chief product officer.
  • Teikametrics is one of a handful of tech firms that pitches Amazon sellers so-called deep data, like the cost of goods sold.
  • Teikametrics CEO Alasdair McLean-Foreman said Guddanti's insider expertise would help sellers grow their revenue on Amazon.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

As Amazon's ad business continues to grow, a cottage industry of tech firms have popped up that promise sellers proprietary data and insights into the platform that Amazon doesn't provide.

Boston-based Teikametrics is one such firm and has hired former Amazon Advertising exec Srini Guddanti as its first chief product officer. Teikametrics sells software that helps sellers and agencies manage their ad spend and listings. The company also helps sellers with branding and figuring out which platforms to sell on.

Guddanti worked at Amazon for 14 years, mostly in finance roles across Amazon's retail, Prime and advertising business. Since 2016, he worked in a director role on Amazon Advertising and oversaw Sponsored Ads, one of Amazon's bigger ad formats.

Guddanti said he left Amazon because he was interested in using his background to build something new. He will work on Teikametrics' data science and machine learning tools, create new products for Amazon's newer ad formats, and build out a reporting tool for Amazon's app.

Teikametrics CEO Alasdair McLean-Foreman said he met Guddanti three years ago and that he brings insider expertise that will help sellers grow their revenue on Amazon.

He said that Amazon sellers face challenges like handling logistics, pricing and advertising. For example, sellers need help figuring out how to distribute ad spend across formats, he said. Teikametrics says that its data includes seller-specific stats that Amazon does not have, like the cost of goods sold and data about business objectives. Its clients include Clarks, Razer, and Mark Cuban Companies.

"If you're a seller, a brand or even a bigger company, you are flying blind," he said. "In a closed loop, you need to understand inventory and performance to understand advertising, and that is something that Amazon cannot do themselves."

The e-commerce firm is growing as Amazon adds more sellers

For its part, Amazon has increasingly recognized advertisers' need for third parties to dig into data. In August, it launched an online directory tool listing about 60 vetted agencies and tools for advertisers to work with. Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest also have programs with advertising and marketing companies that allow third parties to sell ad space and develop strategies for advertisers.

For example, Sellics is another Amazon-specific firm that recently raised $10 million to grow its partnerships with agencies.

Seven-year-old Teikametrics has raised $10 million in Series A funding. McLean-Foreman said an estimated two million companies sell goods on Amazon. As that number grows, Teikametrics is opening a 10-person office in Seattle to be closer to Amazon's headquarters. The firm currently has 95 employees.

Amazon made $3.59 billion in "other revenue" during the third quarter, most of which is advertising. Research firm eMarketer projects Amazon to make $11.33 billion from advertising this year.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know


          

The average price of a sponsored YouTube video has increased 16x in 5 years. How’s how much influencers typically get on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and blogs.

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Emma Chamberlain

  • Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, according to Business Insider Intelligence research, and the average cost of sponsored content on social media continues to increase, a new report found.
  • For a recent report, IZEA, a company that connects marketers with influencers, looked at 13 years of prices paid for sponsored blog posts, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, Tweets, and YouTube videos.
  • The average price of a sponsored video on YouTube, which commands the highest rates, increased from $420 in 2014 to $6,700 in 2019, according to the report.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The influencer marketing industry is projected to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, and as influencers become more valuable to brands the average cost of sponsored content on social media continues to increase.

In a recent report, influencer marketing company IZEA, which connects marketers with content creators, looked at prices paid for sponsored blog posts, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, Tweets, and YouTube videos going back to 2006.

"Marketers continue to place more value on the content and distribution provided by influencers," said Ted Murphy, Founder and CEO of IZEA. "We believe content produced by influencers is competing with, and in many cases replacing, creative that was traditionally produced by agencies."

Keith Bielory, a digital agent at Abrams Artists Agency, which helps Instagram and YouTube influencers with business opportunities like brand sponsorships, said prices have increased as influencers get better educated about their value in the marketplace and hire representatives like him.

IZEA

The average cost per sponsored post has risen

IZEA studied negotiated rates between a marketer and creators from microinfluencers (generally considered to be someone with fewer than 100,000 followers) to celebrities, from 2014 to 2019, and found the average cost of sponsored content on the top social media platforms where host sponsored content exists (Facebook, blogs, YouTube and Instagram) has increased every year.

Here's the breakdown of average sponsored social media post price increases from 2014 to 2019, according to IZEA:

  • Facebook status update: from $8 to $395.
  • YouTube video: from $420 to $6,700. 
  • Twitter status update: from $29 to $422.
  • Instagram photo: from $134 to $1,643.
  • Blog post: from $407 to $1,442.

Sponsored content on YouTube is an important revenue stream for top creators and is the highest-priced form of sponsored content in 2019, according to IZEA.

Product promotion on YouTube has grown

The highest prices are commanded by YouTube, where rates have risen sharply. The average price of a sponsored YouTube video has increased from $420 in 2014 to $6,700 in 2019, per the IZEA report. YouTube creators earn money online by promoting products in videos through timed mentions (like 30- to 60- second mentions). 

Of course, rates vary widely. Second-year Harvard student Sienna Santer previously spoke to Business Insider about how she grew a popular YouTube channel by sharing videos on topics like how to get into the prestigious university and what a day in her life is like. Santer has 265,000 subscribers and started her channel in mid-2018. 

Santer said in a previous interview that she charges between $1,000 and $4,000 for a YouTube sponsorship, and her management group takes a 20% cut of all sponsorships they bring her.

Instagram prices have also soared

On Instagram, the average price of a sponsored photo has soared from $134.04 in 2014 to $1,642.77 in 2019, according to IZEA.

Several Instagram influencers interviewed by Business Insider said creators who are starting out typically charge brands $100 per 10,000 followers.

Instagram influencer Caitlin Patton, who has 24,900 followers, previously broke down how she determines her rates as a microinfluencers for Business Insider, and said on average she earns about $2,000 for a "sponsored bundle" on Instagram, and her rate starts at about $1,000. A bundle typically includes a blog post, Instagram post and a few Instagram Stories.


For more on the business of influencers, according to YouTube and Instagram stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts: 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Behind the scenes with Shepard Smith — the Fox News star who just announced his resignation from the network


          

Former MTV exec Andy Schuon says his new app solves the podcast discovery problem

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Andy Schuon

  • Ex-MTV exec Andy Schuon launched an app called Spkr on Thursday that he says solves the podcast discovery problem.
  • Spkr presents listeners with AI-picked podcast clips for them to test before committing to hearing an entire episode.
  • Schuon said this new approach would help big and small podcasts attract new listeners.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As the podcasting industry grows, listeners have become overwhelmed with choices and content creators struggle to make their shows stand out. Former MTV exec Andy Schuon has a new app called Spkr that sets out to solve podcasting's discovery problem.

Spkr, which is backed by investors, plays short clips from various podcasts when the user opens it. Users can swipe to skip past clips they're not interested in or listen to full episodes directly on the app.

The content is chosen by experts from companies like SiriusXM, so first-time users will hear their picks off the bat, but the app uses AI to learn what users like and personalize its clips over time. 

Spkr hit the App Store for iPhone users on Thursday and will eventually expand into Android, Schuon told Business Insider. It's free to download, but Schuon said as it grows, he sees the potential to sell advertising and sponsorships and to expand to original content, leading to other revenue opportunities.

Schuon, who was programming head for MTV, VH1, MTV2, and KROQ-FM, said he sees podcast episodes as albums, and Spkr breaks them down into singles. 

"We looked at the way music artists connect with audiences, and we wanted to create something that was as frictionless as radio and playlists are for music," he said. "We're really the first to present this content in short-form excerpts largely leading to longform consumption."

Spkr seeks to help grow listenership by cutting the search process

With shows from established media outlets and production companies like Wondery dominating podcast charts, it can be hard for lesser-known podcasts to grow their listenership. Spkr curators listen to independent podcasts to showcase such lesser-known options, Schuon said.

Spkr also wants to help new listeners daunted by the vast number of podcasts and confused about where to find them, Schuon said. Podcast genres are less defined than those of movies and TV, giving listeners another obstacle in sorting options.

"Listening is very different than watching," Schuon said. "All audio apps before Spkr have been built like Netflix, video-on-demand apps that start in silence, and they're like big warehouses of content that rely on algorithms and lists. We all know what a sitcom is. We all know what a drama is. We know what an action movie is. A lot of people don't know what health and wellness podcasts and true crime podcasts are."

Spkr's idea is that short clips can attract new listeners, as short-form content is on the rise across platforms. Startup Serial Box uses a short-form model to publish serialized segments of longer ebooks and audio books, and even streaming giants like Netflix are looking to invest more in shorter content.

While podcasting is on the rise, Schuon said there's still a large audience that hasn't yet been tapped into.

"There's two million people a day listening to 'The Daily,' but that means there's billions who aren't," he said of the popular news podcast from The New York Times. "We're really out to mainstream and accelerate the adoption of non-music audio on our platform."

SEE ALSO: Meet the startup creating audio-text hybrid series that has partnered with Marvel, 'Orphan Black,' and other big media franchises

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NOW WATCH: Behind the scenes with Shepard Smith — the Fox News star who just announced his resignation from the network


          

The direct-to-consumer economy shows no signs of slowing down. Fashion retailer Express is launching its own DTC brand to catch up.

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  • 40-year-old fashion retailer Express is jumping on the direct-to-consumer bandwagon with its own line of health and wellness products called UpWest.
  • The line includes clothing, sleep aids, CBD products and home products from other manufacturers.
  • UpWest hopes to stand out by building a community with branded content and events as direct brands Goop and Glossier have done in a big way.
  • Legacy companies launching their own direct brands may have a leg-up on the supply side but don't necessarily understand demand as well as DTC brands do, DTC investor Nik Sharma said.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The swift rise of direct-to-consumer upstarts has forced legacy brands to rethink their businesses. Among them is 40-year-old fashion retailer Express, which is launching a direct-to-consumer wellness brand called UpWest.

With UpWest, Express is trying to take a crack at the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry, said Jamie Schisler, UpWest CEO. The line includes clothing, sleep aids, CBD products, and home products like candles and bath salts from other manufacturers.

"Express is a legacy brand with a long history, but it needs to continue to grow," Schisler told Business Insider. "UpWest helps us get up to speed with the direct-to-consumer trend and changing consumer sentiment, offers us a new segment of consumers we can reach, and lets us grow shareholder value."

Express's net sales declined 2% to $2.1 billion in 2018.

UpWest is taking  a page out of DTC brands' playbooks

UpWest has a team of 11 and handles its own inventory, merchandising and design, and platform (Shopify), but uses Express for areas like supply chain, logistics, and HR. Like typical DTC brands, it will sell its products directly online, and doesn't plan to sell in Express stores, said Schisler.

UpWest hopes to stand out by building a community with branded content and events as direct brands Goop and Glossier have done in a big way. Its website will feature shopping recommendations and it is using meditation-themed events in Austin, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, and Nashville to promote the new line.

UpWest will donate 1% of sales up to $1 million annually to like-minded charities including Mental Health America, Freedom Dogs of America, and Random Acts.

"The world doesn't need another clothing brand," said Schisler. "But there has been a cultural shift within consumer's minds in terms of what they are looking for from brands. They're looking at brands to offer solutions, which means that brands need to be not just transactional, but transformational."

P&G, Verizon, Kellogg's and others have also incubated DTC brands

As the DTC economy grows, legacy companies are trying to catch up. P&G has acquired DTC companies, Coca-Cola has invested in buzzy startups, and others like Verizon and Kellogg's have built direct brands like Visible and Happy Inside, respectively.

Express decided to built its own DTC brand because they can help each other, Schisler said. Express can learn how to work faster from UpWest while the latter can tap Express for manufacturing and distribution.

"The capital structures of acquisition deals is often structured to satisfy current ownership," he said. "This made more sense for us."

Legacy companies launching their own direct brands may have a leg-up on the supply side, but they don't necessarily understand demand as well as independent DTC companies, said DTC investor Nik Sharma.

"Legacy companies only understand what SKUs sell, but they don't always understand the consumers and how they shop," he said.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from Vietnam


          

Here’s the pitch deck the founders of DEV used to raise $11.5 million to build the Facebook for software developers

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DEV founders Ben Halpern, Jess Lee, Peter Frank

  • DEV, a startup that is building a social network geared to software developers, has raised $11.5 million in a Series A round led by Mayfield.
  • CEO Peter Frank said he and his co-founders are building "the world's most inclusive and constructive platform for programmers of all backgrounds and experience levels."
  • Mayfield's managing director called the DEV platform a Facebook for software developers, and that there's big opportunity for social networks serving specific niches.
  • DEV currently has 5 million unique monthly visitors and expects to have 30 million by the end of 2021.  The startup eventually plan to generate revenue from other services, including hosting, support and consulting.
  • Here's the pitch deck the founders of DEV used to raise $11.5 million from VCs led by Mayfield.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Launching a new social network in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat sounds crazy. But the founders of the startup DEV believe there's room for a social platform that caters to an important audience: software developers.

DEV is a social network geared to software developers, a platform where they can share and test ideas, and engage with fellow programmers and engineers.

"What we're building is the world's most inclusive and constructive platform for programmers of all backgrounds and experience levels," DEV cofounder and CEO Peter Frank told Business Insider.

The New York City-based startup on Monday announced that it has raised $11.5 million from venture capital firms led by Mayfield.

Navin Chaddha, managing director of Mayfield, called DEV "an open, decentralized Facebook for developers."

"These guys have unique values and a big vision to transform the social network industry," Chaddha told Business Insider. "If you look at social networks like Facebook, these are too broad, too consumer-oriented. Now we want to see vertical networks that are going to get formed around specific professions."

He said DEV aims to serve the needs of 30 million to 40 million software developers who already use different platforms to work with and engage with one another — such as Stack Overflow, a popular question-and-answer site used by programmers, and GitHub, a popular software development platform.

Frank, the DEV CEO, developers also interact on other social platforms, but he said he and his co-founders -- Ben Halpern and Jess Lee -- wanted to build a more inclusive site, where developers of different backgrounds can feel more comfortable.

"There are definitely segments of existing social platforms that can be very unfriendly and unwelcoming and hostile to beginners or people that might as nearly fit into that all boys club of the stereotypical software developers of the 80s and 90s," he said. 

The DEV platform, which launched in 2017, currently has 5 million unique monthly visitors. The startup expects to have 15 million uniques by the end of next year, to have 30 million by the end of 2021.

Frank said that unlike other social media platforms, "our business model is not predicated on hoarding user data in order to serve increasingly targeted advertisements," he said — an apparent reference to Facebook and its ad-driven business model.

He said DEV, which currently has 13 employees, plans to generate revenue by offering services, including platform hosting, support and consulting. More specifically, it hopes to offer premium tools for those who want to use DEV's platform technology to launch and support other social networks of their own.

Chaddha of Mayfield said, "This is really a software company. This is not a media-model type of company."

The startup's platform expects to grow even faster with the rise of the "low-code, no-code" trend in the software industry in which professionals, such as product managers and designers, are able to use and even develop software tools even with very limited knowledge of  programming languages and computer science.

"Software developers really rely on the collective wisdom and expertise of fellow software developers to maintain productivity. We felt that what the internet was really missing was a modern, constructive social platform for programmers."

Here's the pitch deck DEV used to raise $11.5 in a Series A round:




















          

Huawei's billionaire CEO said Trump should meet him in China because he can afford only a paper airplane

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  • Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei on Wednesday said that he would be happy to meet with President Donald Trump but that Trump would have to come to China.
  • "He has private jets and he can come to China anytime, and I do not have private jet," Ren said. "My airplane is only made of paper — if it rains, it might fall."
  • Ren is estimated to be a billionaire as the CEO and founder of Huawei, which is the world's second-biggest phone maker behind Samsung and dominant in mobile network equipment.
  • Ren has given conflicting statements over whether he'd talk to the president after Trump's administration placed Huawei on a trade blacklist in May.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said during a panel discussion on Wednesday that if President Donald Trump wanted to talk, he'd have to come to China.

Ren was asked why he didn't visit Washington to lobby Trump directly after Huawei was blacklisted by the US in May. Huawei's new phones are also blocked from running Google's mobile services thanks to the restrictions.

"I don't have a channel of communication with Trump — I don't have his mobile phone number," Ren replied, though when asked whether he would speak with Trump given the chance he said, "Yes I would, certainly."

"He has private jets and he can come to China anytime, and I do not have private jet," he added. "My airplane is only made of paper — if it rains, it might fall."

Huawei is the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world and is dominant in mobile network equipment. Forbes places Ren's net worth at $1.4 billion.

The CEO has a history of confusing statements regarding Trump.

In January, after his daughter Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, was arrested in Canada at the behest of the US, Ren said Trump was a "great president."

Following the company's blacklisting, however, Ren said he would ignore a call from the president if it came in, and a month later he said he might be "too busy" to answer a call from Trump — adding that he didn't speak English.

Ren's comments on Wednesday came with the US and China closing in on sealing "phase one" of a trade deal, which may mean US suppliers will be able sell to Huawei once more.

"From the beginning I've never paid any attention to the trade war," Ren said, adding: "We have zero sales in the United States, so the trade war between the two countries bears no impact on Huawei."

It's true that Huawei mostly doesn't sell phones in the US; however, it has been affected by the US lobbying its allies to block the firm from providing equipment for new superfast 5G mobile networks.

And Ren acknowledged the blacklist had affected Huawei in that it was unable to license and preinstall Google's suite of apps on its new flagship Mate 30 phone. The ability to use Google's services is key for most Western consumers buying Android phones.

"The impact in the non-China region is bigger than the China region," Ren said.

Do you work at Huawei? Contact this reporter via email at ihamilton@businessinsider.com or iahamilton@protonmail.com. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Top Huawei exec Guo Ping says 5G will be 'the new electricity' when combined with AI and other technologies

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NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini


          

10 things in tech you need to know today

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Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

  1. Thousands of explosive internal Facebook documents were published online in full. Facebook has fought vigorously against the release of the documents, arguing that they presented an unbalanced picture of the company.
  2. California's attorney general revealed he's investigating Facebook, and says it's not complying with subpoenas. California has been quietly investigating Facebook over privacy issues and its business model for more than a year.
  3. Facebook admitted to another data leak, saying that up to 100 developers accessed people's data from Groups. In April 2018 Facebook implemented new rules restricting the amount of personal data third parties could access following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but some apps seem to have been unaffected by the new rules.
  4. Federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter employees with spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia. The criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday alleges that the former employees snooped on the accounts of people who were critical of Saudi Arabia.
  5. Alphabet's board has launched a probe into the company's handling of sexual misconduct charges, including those made against its top attorney. David Drummond, Alphabet's chief legal officer, had an affair and a child with a subordinate and is accused of having other affairs with women in his department.
  6. Bill Gates addressed his multiple meetings with Jeffrey Epstein, saying he "I made a mistake in judgment." Gates said he thought affiliating with Epstein would encourage the financier to commit money to global health initiatives, but that the money never materialized.
  7. Airbnb is rolling out major safety changes following five deaths at a Halloween party last week. Airbnb will now verify all listings and have a 24/7 help line available, among other changes.
  8. China's biggest ridehailing company Didi will bar female passengers from using its carpooling service after 8 p.m. after two women were murdered. The curfew is part of its relaunch of Hitch, a carpooling app which Didi suspended after the murder of a female passenger in August 2018.
  9. China will ban gamers under 18 from playing video games after 10 p.m. in order to curb a growing online addiction. Underage gamers will also be restricted to 90 minutes of gameplay on weekdays according to China's General Administration of Press and Publication.
  10. Airbnb lost a high-stakes vote in Jersey City that will put increased restrictions on short-term rentals. This was a major defeat for Airbnb, which spent more than $4 million campaigning against the increased regulation ahead of the vote and its upcoming IPO.

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China is barring gamers under 18 from playing video games after 10 p.m., a move meant to curb a growing addiction

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  • China's General Administration of Press and Publication on Tuesday introduced new gaming restrictions meant to tackle video game addiction among children.
  • According to the notice, users under 18 will be barred from playing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. and will be restricted to only 90 minutes of gaming on the weekdays.
  • A representative for the agency told the state news agency Xinhua that as the online gaming industry had boomed in the country in recent years, so had the prevalence of video game addiction.
  • Last year, the World Health Organization recognized video game addiction as a mental-health condition.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

China is tackling a growing problem of video game addiction by introducing a curfew for its younger players and capping their gameplay time.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication on Tuesday released the new set of six guidelines, referred to as the "Notice on Preventing Minors from Indulging in Online Games." According to the notice, users under 18 will be barred from playing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. and will be restricted to only 90 minutes of gaming on the weekdays.

On weekends and public holidays, that cap is raised to 180 minutes.

The notice also places a limit on the amount of money children can spend making in-game purchases. Children ages 8 to 16 can spend a maximum of 200 yuan, or $29, a month, while those ages 16 to 18 can spend double that amount.

The rules also require video game users to register for online gaming accounts using their real names alongside valid identification, call for strengthening oversight in the gaming industry, suggest revisiting the game rating systems and better adjusting them to appropriate age groups, and propose better guidelines for parents on how to manage their children's online game consumption.

A representative for the agency told the state news agency Xinhua that as the online gaming industry had boomed in the country in recent years, so had the prevalence of video game addiction.

"These problems affect the physical and mental health and normal learning and life of minors," the person said.

The strict set of rules will apply to all online gaming companies and platforms that operate in the country, according to CNN.

According to the market-research firm Newzoo, China is the second-largest games market in the world behind the US, though the firm predicts China will claim first place in gaming market by revenue next year.

The prevalence of video gaming around the world led the World Health Organization in 2018 to recognize video game addiction as a mental-health condition.

In extreme cases, gaming has been blamed for several deaths.

In 2007, a 26-year-old man in northern China reportedly died after spending seven consecutive days playing video games. A 32-year old Taiwanese man was found dead in 2015 after playing video games for three days straight.

In 2018, a Chinese gamer was reportedly paralyzed after a 20-hour gaming marathon.

Last year, the country placed restrictions on gameplay, including limiting gaming time and imposing an age-appropriate rating system, in response to rising levels of nearsightedness among children, according to the BBC.

SEE ALSO: 'Gaming disorder' has been classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization — here's what that means

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NOW WATCH: Most maps of Louisiana aren't entirely right. Here's what the state really looks like.


          

The former head of Google Analytics just scored $20 million more for his startup Productiv, which is helping businesses manage the sheer number of software subscriptions they use

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  • Productiv, a startup founded by former head of Google Analytics Jody Shapiro, just raised $20 million in Series B funding, just 6 months after raising its Series A.
  • Productiv helps companies look at which cloud-based software and services their employees are using, and how they are using it.
  • "So much has changed in the industry overall, but especially in enterprise with this disruptive aspect that SaaS has had," Shapiro told Business Insider. "This was hugely disruptive, there were literally hundreds of applications in use at any given enterprise and real struggle by CIOs to understand what they had...but also to really understand the value they delivered." 
  • Rama Sekhar, a partner at investor Norwest Venture Partners, which led this latest round of funding, said Productiv is addressing a huge challenge that his firm saw in the market for cloud based software and subscription services by applying a Google Analytics model to enterprise software. 
  • Shapiro said the company is raising funding because of the demand they're seeing in the market, and how quickly they've been able to grow. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

With the spread of more and more software as a service tools, companies are being overwhelmed by the sheer amount cloud-based software and services their employees are using. It's that phenomenon that led former head of Google Analytics Jody Shapiro to start Productiv, his new startup.

Productiv helps companies look at what software and services their employees are using, and how they are using them — so they can decide which of the subscriptions and suites they're paying for are actually adding value, and which can be cut.

It's a strategy that's led to Productiv continuing to grow at a rapid clip: It just raised another $20 million in Series B venture funding, just 6 months after it raised $8 million in a Series A round. The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, with Okta Ventures and Accel participating. 

Shapiro saw a need for a service like Productiv's as the number of cloud based software tools — often called software as a service, or SaaS — in the world keeps increasing, making it harder for businesses to organize and make smart decisions.

A big part of that proliferation: Where before, only the IT department had the authority to buy new software, now anybody at a company can go online, punch in their credit card, and start using whatever tool they deem appropriate.

"So much has changed in the industry overall but especially in enterprise with this disruptive aspect that SaaS has had," Shapiro told Business Insider. "This was hugely disruptive, there were literally hundreds of applications in use at any given enterprise and real struggle by CIOs to understand what they had...but also to really understand the value they delivered." 

Three big things

Shapiro said he wanted to do three things with Productiv: give companies visibility into all the apps being used in its organization, look at what they're used for, and give advice into how to get maximum value out of these applications.  

Companies like Blue Diamond Growers, LiveRamp and Equinix currently use Productiv's product. 

Rama Sekhar, a partner at Norwest Venture Partners, which led this latest round of funding, said Productiv is addressing a huge challenge that his firm saw in the market for cloud based software and subscription services. 

"Often times you've got hundreds of subscriptions to SaaS products, cloud storage products...it creates this nightmare situation for CIOs to monitor and manage and that's exactly the problem that Productiv solves," Sekhar told Business Insider. 

Shapiro started the company in 2018, after heading up Google Analytics, the search giant's tool for tracking website performance, for nine years prior to that. He built up the Google Analytics enterprise business, and brought that experience with him to Productiv. 

Productiv Team

The company had its Series A funding round back in April, led by Accel, and raised $8 million. Shapiro said the company is raising funding again so soon because of the growth and demand it's seeing for the product.  

"The product has been coming along incredibly quickly, the customer reception has been incredible and so we're finding that our earlier hypothesis was spot on correct and enterprises were hungry for this kind of information," Shapiro said. 

The money from this new round will be used to continue building out the product and expanding the team — adding engineers and other employees, Shapiro said.

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at pzaveri@businessinsider.com or Signal at 925-364-4258. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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NOW WATCH: Most maps of Louisiana aren't entirely right. Here's what the state really looks like.


          

Airbnb's 'party house' problem could spoil its public listing. Here's why its new rules to stop the rowdy blowouts may not even work.

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Add one more "risk factor" to the coming prospectus Airbnb will release when it makes its stock market debut next year: party houses.

The home-sharing service has built a booming business by making it easy for anyone to rent their homes to vacationers or business travelers looking for an alternative to a hotel. But the instant and easy access to homes has also caught the notice of teens and others looking for a place to throw wild parties.

Last month, one of these party-house rentals turned tragic when a shooting at an Orinda, California, home left five people dead. As many as 100 people were at the house for a Halloween party, despite an explicit ban by the homeowner on renting the home for parties, according to the Associated Press.

The incident set off a furor, and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has vowed to crack down on the problem, unveiling new verification and support policies Wednesday that he said would stop "bad actors" from abusing the trust the business had established with users.

But the policy changes are largely reactionary, coming after numerous problems at Airbnb party houses over the years. And many people Business Insider spoke with were skeptical that the new rules would even do much to stop Airbnb party houses.

"I think it's great that Airbnb is taking some action to rein in the most extreme cases of so-called party houses," Jake Wegmann, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, told Business Insider. "But it should not have taken a multiple-homicide incident for that to happen."

Wegmann's research focuses on the impact of short-term rentals on local real estate, and he published one of the landmark studies in 2016 that found the existence of Airbnb in San Francisco increased market rents.

As Airbnb, which has been valued as high as $31 billion by private investors, moves closer to a public listing, addressing its party problem has become a high priority.

Verification, refunds, and high-risk reservations

The new rules laid out by Chesky involve four key changes:

  • Verification of all 7 million Airbnb listings to ensure the site listing is an accurate representation of the rental.
  • Rebooking or refunding guests who book locations that are not up to the new verification standards.
  • A 24/7 hotline and prominent customer-support phone number for guests and neighbors near Airbnb listings.
  • Screening of reservations that are deemed "high-risk" to deter unauthorized parties.

In addition, Airbnb said it had hired two former law-enforcement officials as advisers to help the company combat the range of abuses and problems that can occur with short-term home rentals.

American Family Voices' president, Mike Lux, says the home-rental startup rewards absentee property owners who have limited interest in screening guests. American Family Voices sponsored the anti-Airbnb advocacy group Airbnb Watch, which chronicles Airbnb's negative impacts on local neighborhoods and real estate.

"I don't exactly understand honestly what they are doing with that rule," Lux said. "They are making a lot of noise about it, but I don't know how they are going to enforce it."

A homeowner renting a basement out on the weekends is incentivized to screen potential guests, Lux said, but a real-estate speculator with multiple units is incentivized to get as many guests in each unit as possible to maximize profits. Unless hosts feel pressure from Airbnb, Lux said, they will continue to operate in their own interests.

"I do know that ultimately the problem isn't solved unless you stop multiunit operators," Lux said. "That's what will stop this wild party-house problem. They need to monitor hosts and guests better, and they should take more responsibility when something goes wrong."

In the case of the Orinda house, it's unclear whether the new policies would have stopped the unauthorized party. According to the Associated Press, the unit had been rented by a woman who told the owner, Michael Wang, that her family members were fleeing Sonoma County over concerns about health effects of the nearby wildfires. Wang had received multiple citations from city officials for exceeding the home's capacity in the past, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, but it's not clear whether Wang owned multiple rentals in California's Bay Area.

According to Lux's group, there have been more than 30 news reports about violent incidents at Airbnb parties in recent months, including shootings at "party houses" in Los Angeles and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Just weeks before the Orinda incident, a woman was shot in the arm in Arizona at an Airbnb house party, according to the Phoenix-area Fox station. In May, an 18-year-old was shot at a party in a Seattle home that had been rented on Airbnb, according to local media.

The Orinda Police Department couldn't comment on the specifics of the case as authorities were still searching for the shooter. Airbnb has a contentious relationship with its hometown, inspiring legislation from San Francisco Supervisors Aaron Peskin and David Campos to fine the company $1,000 a day for unregistered listings. The company settled with the city in 2017 after a lengthy public fight to repeal the regulation.

"Three years ago, we said the law being passed, which was written by Airbnb, won't work because there was no skin in the game in terms of enforcement," Campos told The New York Times in 2017 of the city's relationship to Airbnb.

Going public in the face of local scrutiny

Airbnb has clashed with local governments before, and it has continually fought local legislation seeking to limit the company's influence or apply short-term-rental restrictions and taxes at city or county levels. On Tuesday, the company suffered a stinging defeat in New Jersey as voters overwhelmingly approved stricter regulations for short-term rentals, legislation that Airbnb publicly opposed, according to The Times.

The company's relationship with local governments will be critical as Airbnb tries to sell itself to public investors. Airbnb has said it plans to list its shares on the stock market by 2020, through either a traditional initial public offering or a direct listing.

At a time when other richly valued startups like Uber and Lyft have struggled in the public markets, Airbnb will face significant scrutiny around its business prospects and the various risks it faces.

"Surely this casts light on the need by potential investors to fully understand what, if any, liability issues this or any other 'bad behavior' on the part of renters raises for the company," an IPO consultant and financial adviser, Lise Buyer, told Business Insider.

For Lux, the Airbnb critic, it comes down to the company taking responsibility.

"If you put up a mega-platform like this that allows people to do business in this way, you absolutely have to take responsibility as a company," Lux told Business Insider. "You can't let pure libertarianism run amok. That can't be the way society operates."

SEE ALSO: A Silicon Valley VC is handing out 'Free Hong Kong' shirts at Golden State Warriors games and calling out other tech leaders for taking Chinese money while staying silent

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch Elon Musk unveil his latest plan for conquering Mars


          

Everything you need to know about when Black Friday deals and sales start and end in 2019

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  • Black Friday is on November 29, 2019. 
  • Even though that's the official start day, many retailers will actually launch deals a few days earlier.
  • Black Friday deals often run through the weekend until Cyber Monday brings a fresh wave of deals.
  • The Insider Picks team will be reporting the best Black Friday deals in real-time from big-box retailers — like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and Nordstrom — and direct-to-consumer startups like Casper, Leesa, and Brooklinen.  
  • To potentially save more on Black Friday deals this year, visit Business Insider Coupons to find the most up-to-date coupons and promo codes.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and with it, Black Friday. Black Friday marks the beginning of the busiest shopping season of the year when shoppers pursue their gift-shopping list with increased urgency. 

When is Black Friday? 

Officially, Black Friday lands on Friday, November 29. 

But like many other retail holidays, Black "Friday" really starts a few days, or even earlier at some stores, before the real event. The high levels of anticipation for deals are enough to make retailers launch their sales early. 

That's probably better for shoppers anyway. It means they have extra time to shop the countless online sales at their leisure, rather than try to cram all their shopping into one hectic day. 

What time does Black Friday start? 

Here's when Black Friday starts at various retailers. While a handful will start their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, there are also many that won't be open on the holiday. We will share the start dates and times of more stores, like Walmart, when they're announced. 

Amazon: Device deals start online at 12 a.m. November 22. 

Best Buy: Store doors open at their regular operating time on Thanksgiving Day. Sales start online at 12 a.m. November 29. 

Kohl's: Store doors open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Sales start online at 12:01 CT November 29. 

Target: Store doors open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and close at 1 a.m. November 29. They reopen at 7 a.m. November 29. Target is hosting a Black Friday preview sale on November 8 and 9.

The Home Depot: Appliance Special Buys are live now in participating stores and online. 

What time does Black Friday end?

In stores, most Black Friday sales end after November 29. However, sales will continue online. 

Once we learn the exact Black Friday 2019 end dates and times of the most popular retailers, like AmazonBest Buy, Walmart, and Target, we will share them below. 

The Home Depot: Appliance Special Buys end at 11:59 p.m. December 5. 

How long do Black Friday sales last? 

Again, don't be fooled by the name that suggests it's a single day. Black Friday sales usually last at least a few days, whether they start early or continue on until Cyber Monday. 

What else can I learn about Black Friday? 

Here are some of the best Black Friday deals you can shop by store. 

Best Black Friday deals from Amazon

Learn more about Amazon's Black Friday deals



Best Black Friday deals from Best Buy

Learn more about Best Buy's Black Friday deals

 



Best Black Friday deals from Target

Learn more about Target's Black Friday deals



Best Black Friday deals from Walmart

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Alphabet's board has launched a probe into the company's handling of sexual-misconduct charges, including those made against its top attorney (GOOG)

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US Internet giant Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond (C) listens flanked by panel members, Le Monde Editorial Director Sylvie Kauffmann (L), CEE Trust Former executive Director Lidia Kolucka-Zuk (2nd L) and San Pablo Universidad Professor Jose-Luis Pinar (R) during a meeting of the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten in Paris on September 25, 2014.

  • The board of Google's parent company, Alphabet, is looking into the company's handling of sexual-misconduct allegations, according to CNBC.
  • It has formed a special committee to look into the matter and has hired an outside law firm to help with the investigation, according to the report.
  • Among other things, the investigation will look into the conduct of David Drummond, Alphabet's chief legal officer, who had an affair and a child with a subordinate and is accused of having other affairs with women in his department.
  • The investigation follows a shareholder lawsuit that accuses the company of covering up sexual misconduct and a worldwide walkout by company employees over its handling of sexual-harassment claims.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The board of directors at Alphabet, Google's parent company, has launched an investigation into the company's handling of sexual-misconduct allegations, including those made against its chief legal officer, David Drummond, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

The board has created a special committee to oversee the inquiry, according to the report. It has also hired an outside law firm to help with the investigation, CNBC reported, citing "materials" it had viewed.

In a statement, a Google representative confirmed the board inquiry, saying it had previously been disclosed in court filings.

"In early 2019, Alphabet's board of directors formed a special litigation committee to consider claims made by shareholders in various lawsuits relating to past workplace conduct," the representative said.

The representative declined to say whether the inquiry would scrutinize Drummond.

But according to CNBC, the investigation will indeed look at the actions of Drummond, who heads up Alphabet's legal department. In August, Jennifer Blakely, who formerly worked for Drummond as a part of Google's legal team, said she'd had an affair and a child with him while she reported to him. She said that after her son was born she was forced to leave her position in the legal department and was transferred to the sales department to a position for which she felt ill-suited.

Blakely accused Drummond of abandoning her and having multiple other affairs, including with women who had worked with him at Google.

In a subsequent statement, Drummond acknowledged the relationship with Blakely and said he was "far from perfect," but he denied having "started a relationship" with anyone else at Google or Alphabet.

Alphabet has been dogged by criticism about its handling of sexual-misconduct allegations for much of the past year. An article in The New York Times last fall detailed the company's responses to sexual-harassment allegations made against key executives, who in some cases were removed but paid generous severance packages. The report led to a massive walkout by Google employees around the world to protest the company's handling of such matters. It also led to a shareholder suit that accused the board of covering up sexual misconduct.

Earlier this week, Drummond saw a $27 million windfall from exercising some of his Alphabet options.

Got a tip about Alphabet or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Andy Rubin, the creator of Android who left Google after a sexual misconduct allegation, is tweeting again to tease a weird, new phone-like gadget

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NOW WATCH: Apple just revealed its AirPods Pro for $249, which feature noise cancellation. Here's everything that was wrong with the $159 pair of the wireless headphones.


          

How to factory reset your Chromebook computer, if you're selling it or a restart didn't solve your problem

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Man holding Chromebook

  • You can complete a factory reset on your Chromebook in a few simple steps.
  • A factory reset is a pretty drastic step, but sometimes that's necessary to get your computer working properly, or to protect your data if you plan on selling your computer.
  • Keep in mind that a factory reset will wipe out all of the information stored on your hard drive, including files and apps. So it's always a good idea to back up your data beforehand, if possible.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A factory reset can be a useful way to get your Chromebook back to a more functional state if something went wrong, like your profile or settings are messed up and a restart didn't fix the problem, or for providing security if you plan on selling your computer. 

Sometimes, you might even see a message telling you to reset your Chromebook. Here's what you'll need to do to get it done:

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ASUS Flip 14-inch Chromebook (From $569.99 at Best Buy)

How to factory reset a Chromebook computer

Before you get started, be aware that a factory reset will erase all of the information on your hard drive. That includes settings and apps as well as files.

So to make sure a factory reset is the right move, try restarting your computer, turning off your extensions, and resetting the hardware before moving on to a full factory reset. 

Backing up your data is also a good idea, if possible, before moving forward. If you're still having issues after troubleshooting, here's how to do a factory reset:

1. Sign out of your account by clicking open the menu in the bottom-right corner of the screen and clicking "Sign Out."

How to reset Chromebook

2. Press "Ctrl" "Alt" "Shift" and "R" on your keyboard, and then select "Restart" — a box will appear on the screen.

3. Select "Powerwash" and then "Continue."

4. Follow the prompts and sign back into your account, then follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Chromebook again.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best Chromebooks you can buy

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NOW WATCH: Apple just revealed its AirPods Pro for $249, which feature noise cancellation. Here's everything that was wrong with the $159 pair of the wireless headphones.


          

Federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter employees with spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia (TWTR)

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  • Federal prosecutors have charged two former Twitter employees with spying on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government, The Washington Post first reported.
  • The criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday alleges that the former employees snooped on the accounts of people who were critical of Saudi Arabia.
  • The defendants allegedly spied on more than 6,000 Twitter accounts beginning in 2015 at Saudi Arabia's behest.
  • A Twitter spokesperson said the company is thankful for the Justice Department's investigation but declined to answer questions about what role the employees held in the company.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Two former employees of Twitter have been charged with spying on more than 6,000 users' accounts at the request of the Saudi Arabian government, according to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

The Justice Department complaint, first reported by The Washington Post, alleges that Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi Arabian citizen, and Ahmad Abouammo, a US citizen, both used their positions at Twitter to spy on users who were critical of Saudi Arabia. Abouammo was arrested Tuesday, according to the Post.

A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider that the company was grateful for the Justice Department's investigation, but declined to answer questions about what positions the two former employees held at the company, or whether Twitter was aware of any spying before prosecutors intervened.

"We would like to thank the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for their support with this investigation. We recognize the lengths bad actors will go to try and undermine our service. Our company limits access to sensitive account information to a limited group of trained and vetted employees," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson went on to say that Twitter "understand[s] the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable. We have tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work. We're committed to protecting those who use our service to advocate for equality, individual freedoms, and human rights."

According to the Post, one of the accounts that the employees snooped on belonged to Omar Abdulaziz, a prominent activist who was critical of Saudi Arabia and became close with Jama Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist killed by Saudi government officials last year.

"The criminal complaint unsealed today alleges that Saudi agents mined Twitter's internal systems for personal information about known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users," U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson told the Post. "We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S. technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law."

Abouammo worked as a media partnerships manager for Twitter, according to the criminal complaint. A LinkedIn profile that appears to belong to Abouammo says he was at the company from 2013-2015, and that he "spearheaded Twitter partnerships with media organizations (TV, sports, government, entertainment, music, and news)" in the Middle East and Africa.

SEE ALSO: Twitter has published its rules for world leaders, including what types of tweets won't be allowed

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Apple just released iOS 13.2 with 60 new emoji and emoji variations. Here's how everyday people submit their own emoji.


          

Disney will report its last earnings results on Thursday before the launch of its highly anticipated streaming platform. Here's what 4 Wall Street analysts are talking about. | Markets – Business Insider

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Disney will report its last earnings results on Thursday before the launch of its highly anticipated streaming platform. Here’s what 4 Wall Street analysts are talking about. | Markets   Business…
          

Are You Falling for the Myth of “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”?

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You probably heard the business advice of “failing to plan is planning to fail.” That phrase is a misleading myth at best and actively dangerous at worst. Making plans is important, but our gut reaction is to plan for the best-case outcomes, ignoring the high likelihood that things will go wrong.

A much better phrase is “failing to plan for problems is planning to fail.” To address the very high likelihood that problems will crop up, you need to plan for contingencies.

When was the last time you saw a major planned project suffer from a cost overrun? It’s not as common as you might think for a project with a clear plan to come in at or under budget.

For instance, a 2002 study of major construction projects found that 86% went over budget. In turn, a 2014 study of large IT projects found that only 16.2% succeeded in meeting the original planned resource expenditure. Of the 83.8% of projects that did not, the average IT project suffered from a cost overrun of 189%.

Such cost overruns can seriously damage your bottom line. Imagine if a serious IT project such as implementing a new database at your organization goes even 50% over budget, which is much less than the average cost overrun. You might be facing many thousands or even millions of dollars in unplanned expenses, causing you to draw on funds assigned for other purposes.

Moreover, cost overruns often spiral out of control, resulting in even bigger disasters. Let’s say you draw the extra money from your cybersecurity budget. As a result, you’ve left yourself open to hackers, who successfully stole customer data, resulting in both bad PR and loss of customer trust.

What explains cost overruns? They largely stem from the planning fallacy, our intuitive belief that everything will go according to plan, whether in IT projects or in other areas of business and life. The planning fallacy is one of many dangerous judgment errors, which are mental blindspots resulting from how our brain is wired that scholars in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics call cognitive biases. We make these mistakes not only in work, but also in other life areas, for example in our shopping choices, as revealed by a series of studies done by a shopping comparison website.

Fortunately, recent research in these fields shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to address these dangerous judgment errors, whether in your professional life, your relationships, your shopping choices, or other life areas.

You need to evaluate where cognitive biases are hurting you and others in your team and organization. Then, you can use structured decision-making methods to make “good enough” daily decisions quickly; more thorough ones for moderately important choices; and an in-depth one for truly major decisions.

Such techniques will also help you implement your decisions well, and formulate truly effective long-term strategic plans. In addition, you can develop mental habits and skills to notice cognitive biases and prevent yourself from slipping into them.

For instance, we can address the planning fallacy by planning around it. Such planning involves anticipating what problems might come up and addressing them in advance by using the research-based technique of prospective hindsight, by envisioning yourself in the future looking back at potential challenges in the present. It also involves recognizing that you can’t anticipate all problems, and building in a buffer of at least 40% of the project’s budget in additional funds. If things go better than anticipated, you can always use the money for a different purpose later.

Besides this broad approach, my consulting clients have found three specific research-based techniques effective for addressing the planning fallacy.

First, break down each project into component parts. An IT firm struggled with a pattern of taking on projects that ended up losing money for the company. We evaluated the specific component parts of the projects that had cost overruns and found that the biggest unanticipated money drain came from permitting the client to make too many changes at the final stages of the project. As a result, the IT firm changed their process to minimize any changes at the tail end of the project.

Second, use your past experience with similar projects to inform your estimates for future projects. A heavy equipment manufacturer had a systemic struggle with underestimating project costs. In one example, a project that was estimated to cost $2 million ended up costing $3 million. We suggested making it a requirement for project managers to use past project costs to inform future projections. Doing so resulted in much more accurate project cost estimates.

Third, for projects with which you have little past experience, use an external perspective from a trusted and objective source. A financial services firm whose CEO I coached wanted to move its headquarters after it outgrew its current building. I connected the CEO with a couple of other CEO clients who recently moved and expressed a willingness to share their experience. This experience helped the financial services CEO anticipate contingencies he didn’t previously consider, ranging from additional marketing expenses to print new collateral with the updated address to lost employee productivity due to changing schedules as a result of a different commute.

If you take away one message from this article, remember that the key to addressing cost overruns is to remember that “failing to plan for problems is planning to fail.” Use this phrase as your guide to prevent cost overruns and avoid falling prey to the dangerous judgment error of planning fallacy.

Key Takeaway

 

Because we usually feel that everything is going to go according to plan, we don’t pay nearly enough attention to potential problems and fail to account for them in our plans. This problem is called a planning fallacy. Click To Tweet

 

Questions to Consider (please share your thoughts in the comments section)

  • Do you agree that “failing to plan is planning to fail” is misleading? If not, why not?
  • Where have you seen the planning fallacy lead to problems for your team and organization?
  • How might you help your team and organization address the planning fallacy? What are some next you can take to do so?

 

Image credit: Pixabay/Rawpixel

 

 

 — -

 

 

Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is on a mission to protect leaders from dangerous judgment errors known as cognitive biases. His expertise and passion is using pragmatic business experience and cutting-edge behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience to develop the most effective and profitable decision-making strategies. A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (2019), The Truth Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide (2017), and The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (2020). Dr. Tsipursky’s cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 400 articles and 350 interviews in Fast Company, CBS News, Time, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Inc. Magazine, and elsewhere.

His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training experience as the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts. Its hundreds of clients, mid-size and large companies and nonprofits, span North America, Europe, and Australia, and include Aflac, IBM, Honda, Wells Fargo, and the World Wildlife Fund. His expertise also stems from his research background as a behavioral economist and cognitive neuroscientist with over 15 years in academia, including 7 years as a professor at the Ohio State University. He published dozens of peer-reviewed articles in academic journals such as Behavior and Social Issues and Journal of Social and Political Psychology.

He lives in Columbus, OH, and to avoid disaster in his personal life makes sure to spend ample time with his wife. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook, YouTube, RSS, and LinkedIn. Most importantly, help yourself avoid disasters and maximize success, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace, by signing up for his free Wise Decision Maker Course.

Originally published at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com on October 27, 2019.


          

Irony of ironies

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Facebook cries about its privacy being violated by a massive dump of its internal documents:
An explosive trove of nearly 4,000 pages of confidential internal Facebook documents has been made public, shedding unprecedented light on the inner workings of the Silicon Valley social-networking giant.

On Wednesday, the investigative reporter Duncan Campbell released a vast swathe of internal emails, reports, and other sensitive documents from the early 2010s that detail Facebook’s internal approach to privacy and how it worked with app developers and handled their access to user data.

The documents were originally compiled as part of a lawsuit that the startup Six4Three brought against Facebook for cutting off its bikini-photo app’s access to the developer platform. The documents were supposed to remain under seal – but they were leaked....

Facebook has fought vigorously against the release of the documents, arguing that they do not paint a balanced picture of its activities. In an emailed statement, a company representative told Business Insider: “These old documents have been taken out of context by someone with an agenda against Facebook, and have been distributed publicly with a total disregard for US law.”
They don't paint a balanced picture? When has ANY Big Tech company been the least bit concerned with treating anyone fairly or painting a balanced picture of them.

Go cry to St. Efan.
          

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge: Hotel Review - Business Insider

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1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge: Hotel Review  Business Insider
          

Christian comedian John Crist apologized for his 'destructive and sinful' behavior after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct

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john crist

  • Christian comedian John Crist has issued an apology in response to numerous women accusing him of sexual misconduct in a recent report. 
  • "My behavior has been destructive and sinful. I've sinned against God, against women and the people I love the most," said Crist.
  • The comedian is accused of sexually harassing female fans and offering tickets to his shows in exchange for sexual favors. 
  • "I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness," the comic wrote in his apology, adding that he has been seeking treatment for his "sexual sin and addiction struggles." 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories

Christian comedian John Crist has apologized after numerous women accused him of sexual misconduct in a recent report.

"I have treated relationships with women far too casually, in some cases even recklessly. My behavior has been destructive and sinful," Crist wrote in his statement to Christian publication Charisma, after clarifying that he wasn't guilty of "everything [he's] been accused of." 

"I am sorry for the hurt and pain I have caused these women and will continue to seek their forgiveness," the comedian added. 

According to Crist, in recent years, he's "sought and received regular professional treatment" for "sexual sin and addiction struggles." 

And the comedian revealed that he was canceling all the remaining dates on his comedy tour, "in order to devote all my time and energy on getting healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically." 

"I'm ashamed of my behavior and I'm so sorry for hurting so many people," Crist concluded, saying he is "taking full ownership" for his actions. 

On Wednesday, Charisma published a report that outlined the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct currently being leveled against Crist.

Numerous women told the publication that Crist had used his platform as a semi-successful Christian comedian to coerce them into spending one-on-one time with him, which in some cases, resulted in unwanted sexual advances. 

Lol these girls came to the show today dressed AS ME from my @foxandfriends interview 😐😐😐 #toosoon

A post shared by John Crist (@johnbcrist) on May 4, 2019 at 11:48am PDT on

 

According to Charisma, Crist also had sexual relationships with women who were married or in committed, long-term relationships, frequently sexting them or calling them late at night while drunk. 

Sources quoted in the publication's report also alleged that Crist frequently offered free tickets to his events to women he met online in exchange for sexual favors after the show. 

And most of the women and sources interviewed in Charisma's article expressed their shock and disappointment that Crist, who was very vocal about his Christian religion, could engage in such manipulative and inappropriate behavior. 

"I've let myself believe that just because someone is a Christian means they won't do something intentionally bad," one woman, who says she was sexually harassed by Crist, is quoted as saying in the Charisma article.

"But the truth is, John [Crist] invited me to his apartment with the intention of sleeping with me after shaking hands with my boyfriend." 

"What a shame he not only takes advantage of young women but [also] God's church," she concluded.

Crist has gained popularity in recent years for his Christian-themed standup comedy routines. According to his website, he finds inspiration for his comedy in the local church and his experiences growing up as the son of a pastor in the deep south.

The comedian even has a Netflix standup comedy special set to premiere on November 28, which will see him riff on "modern faith, southern communities, clean eating, and more." 

Representatives for Crist and Netflix didn't immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Join the conversation about this story »

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How to retrieve deleted emails on iPhone in 2 ways, whether or not you recently deleted them

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iphone mail app notifications

The Mail app on iPhone is an easy way to see all your mailboxes in one place, right on the home screen of your phone. The app offers easy swiping methods to mark, archive, or delete emails. 

However, it's sometimes very easy to swipe or hit the wrong button by accident, and delete or archive an email you meant to keep. 

If you do this, don't worry — there are a couple of easy ways to get that email back. You can do it immediately, or if you did't realize that you made a mistake right away, you can do it later. 

Either way, here is how to retrieve deleted emails on your iPhone.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to retrieve a deleted email on your iPhone if you recently deleted it

1. With the Mail app open, shake your phone back and forth.

2. A box titled "Undo Trash" will appear. Tap "Undo." The email should reappear in your inbox.

How to retrieve deleted emails on iPhone

Note that this method will only work if deleting or archiving the email was the last action you took on the app. 

If you did something after that, like opened a new email, follow these instructions instead:

How to retrieve a deleted email on your iPhone if you did not recently delete it

1. On the Mail app, tap "Mailboxes" in the upper left-hand corner.

How to retrieve deleted emails on iPhone

2. Tap the sixth item on the list, "Trash," next to the trashcan icon.

How to retrieve deleted emails on iPhone

3. Open the email you wish to retrieve.

4. Tap the arrow symbol in the bottom right-hand corner.

How to retrieve deleted emails on iPhone

5. In the pop-up menu, tap "Move Message," at the bottom.

How to retrieve deleted emails on iPhone

6. In the new menu, tap "Inbox," at the top. The message will now reappear in your inbox.

How to retrieve deleted emails on iPhone

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

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Microsoft's latest 15-inch Surface Pro 3 laptop is a masterpiece for people who like big screens and are willing to pay more for a cutting-edge design

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Microsoft Surface 3 laptop

  • Microsoft's 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 is slim and light and a great choice for people who like big screens but don't want something big, chunky, and overpowered. 
  • It's among the best-looking Windows 10 laptops I've used. The screen, keyboard, and touchpad are great, and it handles my intense workload without issue. The battery life isn't anything to write home about, though.
  • While it handles what I do admirably, it's not the best option for those who demand raw power, like video editors.
  • There are cheaper 15-inch laptops out there with more power that pose better value, but they're typically not as slim and light as the Surface Laptop 3. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

For some reason, laptop makers think that people who like big laptop screens only want raw performance, and they add powerful processors and graphics chips that add weight and call for chunkier designs. 

To be honest, these companies are likely responding to the demand. But what if I want regular laptop performance in a portable laptop package that also happens to have a nice, big 15-inch screen? I often wish laptop makers would just make 15-inch versions of their slim and light 13-inch laptops, but they rarely do. 

Microsoft is one of the few companies that makes 15-inch laptops that remain slim and light and aren't overpowered. And the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 is a beautiful blend of portability, a large 15-inch screen, and enough power and performance to satisfy most people. 

I've seen several disappointed reviewers comment on the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3's performance not matching its price, which starts at a pricey minimum of $1,500. They're not wrong and certainly have a point. Other 15-inch laptops have way more power for lower prices. But they're often things you should keep on a desk rather than lugging around in a backpack. And slimmer, lighter, and prettier gadgets like the Surface Laptop 3 tend to be more expensive than chunkier, heavier ones.

The Surface Laptop 3's gets a lot of other things right — and some less right — too. Check it out:

SEE ALSO: Dell's $1,850 XPS 15 laptop may seem expensive, but it's a bargain compared another laptop with almost identical specs: Apple's MacBook Pro

The all-metal Surface Laptop 3 is clean, sleek, and minimalist. It's one of the best-looking Windows 10 laptop there is, in my opinion.

This thing is sleek. There's a smoothness and premium rigidity to the Surface Laptop 3's design that only magnesium can seemingly achieve, at least compared to aluminum, plastic, and even carbon fiber. 

It's slim and lightweight for a 15-inch laptop, too. Most 15-inchers come in at about 4 pounds or more. The Surface Laptop 3 weighs 3.4 pounds, and it's a hair slimmer than Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro. That means it's among the slimmest 15-inch laptops around. 

It's the most minimalist design on a laptop in recent memory, too. There are no speaker grills anywhere and no air gaps underneath or on the sides (they're on the very back). Except for the ports, touchpad, and keyboard, this thing is all "surface."



The battery life is nothing too stellar. It's good enough that I'm rarely surprised that I need to plug in to charge, and I don't feel like it hasn't lasted long enough on a single charge.



The screen is touch enabled, and can be used with Microsoft's Pen stylus. It's bright, crisp, and clear, giving you the sense that you're using a premium machine. It's more squarely shaped than regular laptop screens, which not everyone might like.



The touchpad is smooth and accurate, and the keyboard is fantastic. It's one of the best touchpad-keyboard combos I've used on a Windows 10 laptop. But the touchpad could have been a little larger.



The Surface Laptop 3 is pretty minimalist with ports, but it's arguably all you really need. And it's lacking one big feature that makes it less useful for certain people.

The Surface Laptop 3 has a USB-C port for connecting docking stations, where you can plug in a variety of USB accessories, power, and even other monitors. It also has a regular USB port, which is a huge plus when you're mobile and don't have access to a docking station or adapters.

The Surface Laptop 3 also comes with a charging cable that connects to the proprietary Surface Connect port, and you can also use the port with a Surface Dock to connect your accessories and peripherals. But it's wildly expensive at $200, and it doesn't offer significantly more, if anything, than a regular docking station that connects to a USB-C port. 

The one thing that's missing on the Surface Laptop 3 is Thunderbolt 3 support in its USB-C port. It's not a huge deal for most people, but if you ever did want to add more graphics power to the Surface Laptop 3 with an external GPU for things like video editing and rendering, you don't have that option. It's odd that Microsoft continues to omit Thunderbolt 3 from its laptops and devices.



One of the more interesting things about the Surface Laptop 3 is that it runs on a custom chip from AMD rather than Intel. It's been controversial for some reviewers, but it's the perfect chip for most people.

The custom AMD chip inside the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 is an all-in-one chip that includes a regular processor as well as a lightweight graphics chip for lighter graphical workloads. 

It may not be enough for a discerning professional — which is where an external GPU supported by Thunderbolt 3 would be great. At the same time, even though it's lightweight, it's actually more than most people need, at least those who typically run regular apps like web browsers, chat apps, and things like Microsoft Office. 

Still, being all-in-one, it doesn't necessarily add to the heft and size of the laptop. It affords a more portable design. 

The Surface Laptop 3 I've been using is the $1,700 mid-range model that runs on the AMD Ryzen 5 3580U and 16GB of RAM. For my workload, including lots of tabs in Chrome, Slack, and the occasional lightweight Photoshopping, the Surface Pro 3 has performed admirably. 

It's true that you can get a cheaper 15-inch laptop with similar performance in the base-line $1,050 Dell XPS 15 that comes with an Intel Core i5, and even better performance in the $1,350 that comes with an incredibly powerful Core i7 and an Nvidia graphics chip. In fact, the Surface Laptop 3 is technically poor value compared to the XPS 15 if you're comparing specs. 

But then again, the Surface Laptop 3 is thinner, lighter, and more portable, while the XPS 15 feels more like something you should keep on a desk rather than carry around. 



The only thing that prevents me from recommending the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 outright is its price tag. It depends on whether you value performance or portability more.

The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 feels like a portable laptop, whereas some other 15-inch laptops are so thick and heavy that they feel more comfortable on a desk. With portability often comes a trade-off — less performance for a higher price tag. 

So it all depends on what you value. For most people, the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 should be literally an attractive option for those who seek the screen real estate that a 15-inch laptop offers in a slim, beautiful package that'll handle pretty much anything you ask of it. For the fickle, especially when it comes to value and performance, the Surface Laptop 3 probably won't quite cut it. 




          

If you're deciding whether to pay off your mortgage early or invest, it boils down to one thing: interest rates

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If you have a mortgage and cash to spare, you've probably considered paying off your loan early.

To be unencumbered by debt feels good, but paying down a mortgage years before you need to may not be the best way to build wealth, if that's your goal. Brian Fry, a certified financial planner who founded Safe Landing Financial, says making the right decision boils down to interest rates.

"If you project a higher rate of return for your investments than your mortgage's interest rate, then you should invest the savings," Fry says. "If you project your mortgage's interest rate to outperform your investments, then you should pay the mortgage off aggressively." 

In essence, you want your money to earn more than it would cost you elsewhere. Fry ran a simulation for Business Insider comparing different scenarios for a hypothetical homeowner. The homeowner just got a raise that will net them an additional $24,000 a year after taxes. They are 15 years into their mortgage and have a remaining balance of $282,221 at an interest rate of 5.84%.

They have an established emergency fund and no other debt, and they're already maxing out their 401(k) and IRA. Their nest egg is diversified, and they are looking to make the best financial decision about how to use the extra income to maximize their wealth. This is important, as Fry doesn't recommend paying down a mortgage aggressively or investing more aggressively until the rest of your financial house is in order.

For the investment fund, Fry used the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, which has a long-term annual return of 5.38%, according to JPMorgan estimates. He said it's important to remember that the market doesn't go up by the same percentage every year: Some years offer better returns, while others may have negative returns.

In a simple comparison of interest rates, paying off the mortgage early wins. "A 5.84% interest rate on the loan is higher than the market's expected rate of return. If the homeowner is locked into a higher interest rate, it's best to pay off the debt first," Fry says.

However, that's not the best possible option. Since interest rates today are lower than the homeowner's current rate, the homeowner would benefit from refinancing their mortgage, he says.

Need advice on your personal situation? SmartAsset's free tool can help you find a financial planner to help »

Pay off mortgage early or invest: The best actions you can take

Fry says the homeowner can refinance to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage at an interest rate of 3.19% — over 2.6% lower than their current rate.

According to his calculations, if the homeowner refinances their mortgage and invests what they save on monthly payments plus $24,000 a year, in 15 years they will have paid off their loan and have an investment account balance of $623,701. Fry says this is the best option for the hypothetical homeowner, who already has an emergency fund and is maxing out their retirement accounts. If you don't have your savings in order, take care of that first.

But unfortunately, investing in the stock market is a gamble and returns aren't always consistent year after year. If the homeowner still refinances for the lower interest rate, but wants to act more conservatively, "they can pay off the mortgage and then invest and still come out OK," Fry says. Their investment account balance at the end of 15 years would be $599,662.

Pay off mortgage early or invest: The worst actions you can take

Fry says the worst financial decision the homeowner could make would be spending their extra income and not refinancing their mortgage or investing. Since the goal is to build wealth, spending cash won't move the needle.

The second worst option, according to Fry, would be ignoring the opportunity to refinance. Refinancing to lock in a lower interest rate can lower your monthly payments significantly, saving you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. As outlined above, whether you decide to pay off your mortgage more aggressively or invest aggressively, refinancing saves money.

Refinancing is best for people who aren't planning to move any time soon, in part because there are closing costs that run between 1.5% to 4% of the remaining mortgage balance.

Need advice on your personal situation? SmartAsset's free tool can find a financial planner to help »

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THE MONETIZATION OF OPEN BANKING: How legacy institutions can use open banking to develop new revenue streams, reach more customers, and avoid losing out to neobanks and fintechs

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UK Open Banking Ecosystem

Open banking has arrived, and it's transforming the UK's banking landscape — next up could be the world. Regulatory efforts in the UK are transforming retail banking, reshaping incumbents' relationships with customers, and easing entry for fintechs.

Regulators across every continent are responding with actions of their own. Underpinning open banking initiatives is the idea that ownership of transactional data belongs to consumers instead of incumbent financial institutions.

The implications of this change for established lenders in the UK are significant. For those that act, open banking presents substantial revenue-generating opportunities.

But the consequences of inaction are even more severe: Business Insider Intelligence estimates that by 2024, £6.5 billion ($8.4 billion) of UK incumbents' revenues will be under threat of being scooped up by forward-thinking companies like fintechs and neobanks. Yet even through the financial incentives to act are clear, many incumbents are struggling to determine the best path to monetization. In fact, some aren't even sure what their options are.

In The Monetization of Open Banking report, Business Insider Intelligence identifies monetization strategies incumbents have at their disposal, describes how they can determine the best approach for their specific needs, and outlines actionable steps they need to make their chosen open banking initiative successful.  

The companies mentioned in this report are: Allied Irish Bank (AIB), Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Danske Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS Group, and Santander, Monzo, Starling, ING, Yolt, Fidor, BBVA

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Driven by regulatory action, open banking is transforming the UK's banking landscape, but it's also gaining momentum globally.
  • For incumbents, open banking entails a significant threat to their entrenched position.
  • But for forward-looking banks, there are substantial opportunities for revenue generation, both directly and indirectly.
  • To seize these opportunities — and avoid losing revenue to fintechs and neobanks — it's critical that legacy players focus their efforts in the right direction, including identifying their strategic priorities.

 In full, the report:

  • Details the UK's Open Banking regulation in depth.
  • Forecasts the size of the UK's Open Banking-enabled banking industry over the next five years.
  • Discusses the types of monetization opportunities available for incumbents, as well as non-direct revenue-generation opportunities.  
  • Provides actionable steps on how banks can best determine the best strategic approach from the options available.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of fintech.

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Henry Golding used to interview celebrities on red carpets and was starstruck by Daniel Radcliffe during his 'Harry Potter' days

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henry golding daniel radcliffe

 

Henry Golding had a few odd jobs before landing starring roles in major films, and one gig included interviewing celebrities.  

"I used to be on that end of the interview," the 32-year-old actor said during an appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on Wednesday.

Golding continued: "I used to go to red carpet events and stand in line and wait for stars to come past and call their name and ask for interviews."

When asked about the most notable star he interviewed, Golding said: "I covered all of the 'Harry Potter' stuff, so Daniel Radcliffe when he was quite young at that time, I used to be infatuated with him. I remember shaking nervously asking these questions and waiting in those hot rooms and interviewing all of these amazing people."

harry potter daniel radcliffe young

The actor also added that he "never" thought he'd end up becoming the interviewee rather than the interviewer.

In addition to being a travel host, Golding was also a barber sweeper, shampoo boy, and hairstylist. He went on to move to Malaysia to pursue being a TV host. 

Golding became a breakout star when he got his first-ever role in 2018's "Crazy Rich Asians."

"They tracked me down, as much as I sort of tried not to audition for this, [director Jon M. Chu] pretty much sent the hounds on me," Golding explained during an appearance on the "Tonight Show" in 2018.

After an accountant recommended Golding, who she met five years prior in Malaysia, Chu contacted him and convinced him to audition. 

Golding went on to star alongside Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick in Paul Feig's 2018 drama called "A Simple Favor." He currently stars in the romantic comedy called "Last Christmas," in which he plays Emilia Clarke's love interest. The movie hits theaters on Friday.

Watch the video below (Golding talks about Radcliffe at the start of the video).

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NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know


          

Saudi Arabia allegedly recruited Twitter employees to spy on users. That's just one of many ways Saudi agents use tech tools to spy on critics.

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Mohammed bin Salman

  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reportedly uses hacks, social media surveillance, and spies to keep tabs on dissidents, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.
  • An alleged instance of this global spying operation surfaced earlier this week, when federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter employees with snooping on users on behalf of Saudi Arabia.
  • The Kingdom reportedly used surveillance tech to hack online accounts of dissidents, installed spyware on critics' phones, and steered online harassment campaigns against its adversaries.
  • The report of Saudi Arabia's alleged online spying and harassment comes at a time when the Kingdom is becoming a heavy-hitter in tech funding, pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into Silicon Valley startups.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly weaponizing big tech to carry out surveillance and smear campaigns against dissidents and critics.

New reports this week shed light on Saudi Arabia's alleged efforts to quash dissent using big tech. On Wednesday, Federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter employees with spying on users on behalf of the Saudi government. And earlier this week, Human Rights Watch published a report detailing the broader methods Saudi Arabia uses for surveillance and harassment online.

The reports build on previous allegations that Saudi Arabia has tracked down its critics online at the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A 2018 report by Citizen Lab found that a Saudi activist's phone was targeted with spyware, and other activists have come forward to report similar hacking.

Prince Mohammed's alleged vindictiveness towards critics has at times led to violence — the CIA determined that he likely ordered the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

But publicly, Saudi Arabia is a rising power-player in Silicon Valley, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into startups and venture capital funds like Softbank's Vision Fund, which funded WeWork, Slack, Wag, and Doordash. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that a Saudi-backed fund pumped $400 million into CloudKitchens, the new startup from Uber founder Travis Kalanick.

Here's a rundown of the ways Saudi Arabia is allegedly using big tech to surveil and retaliate against critics.

SEE ALSO: Federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter employees with spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia reportedly used "commercially available surveillance technologies" to install spyware on dissidents' phones.



According to a Citizen Lab study, Saudi Arabia used a spyware known as Pegasus, sold by the Israeli firm NSO group.

Source: Citizen Lab



Pegasus spyware essentially makes everything on a phone accessible.

"Once a phone is infected [with Pegasus spyware], the customer has full access to a victim's personal files, such as chats, emails, and photos. They can even surreptitiously use the phone's microphones and cameras to view and eavesdrop on their targets," according to Citizen Lab.



Multiple other Saudi dissidents say they've been targeted by Pegasus hacks .

Human rights activist Yahya Assiri and comedian Ghanim al-Masarir are among those targeted in recent years, according to Human Rights Watch.



Saudi officials also reportedly used their public Twitter accounts to harass dissidents using the hashtag "#The_Black_List."



The hashtag was started by Saud al-Qahtani, the Saudi government's former director of cybersecurity, using his official Twitter account.

The tweet was screenshotted by the news outlet Bellingcat.



Dissidents have previously speculated that the Saudi government is able to unmask anonymous accounts — a theory that's become more credible with the spying charges involving two former Twitter employees.



The alleged online spying and harassment ramped up following Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's rise to power, according to Human Rights Watch.



The Human Rights Watch report recommends that Twitter and other tech companies investigate possible spying and advocate for the release of dissidents detained for criticizing Saudi Arabia.




          

How to copy and paste on a Chromebook in 4 different ways

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Chromebooks on table office

When you buy a new computer that doesn't use the same operating system that you're used to, it takes time to learn how to use it as seamlessly as your old computer. 

Copy and paste is one of those basic but essential commands that can make a big difference in how you work. If you're new to the Chromebook, here's what you need to know to easily copy and paste.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

ASUS Flip 14-inch Chromebook (From $569.99 at Best Buy)

How to copy and paste on a Chromebook

One of the simplest ways to copy and paste on a Chromebook — especially if you're coming from a Mac background — is to use keyboard shortcuts. But there are other methods as well, in case you need them. Here are a few keyboard shortcuts you'll find useful:

  • Press and hold the control button (which is generally located in the left corner of your keyboard) and press "C" to copy or "V" to paste.
  • Press and hold "CTRL," as well as the shift key (typically located just above the control key) and press "V" to paste — this will paste text without any formatting.
  • You can also press control and the "A" key to highlight all of the text on a page, then use the first command listed here to copy all that text.

If you prefer, you can also use the right-click feature to copy and paste on a Chromebook. Here's how:

1. Highlight the text you want to copy or paste over.

1 HOW TO COPY PASTE ON CHROMEBOOK

2. Using two fingers, tap the trackpad.

3. Select "Copy" or "Paste," as desired.

2 HOW TO COPY PASTE ON CHROMEBOOK

If you're trying to copy a photo or video, you'll see other options like "Copy link address," and "Copy Image." In that case, select whichever option best suits your needs.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best speakers with Google Chromecast built-in you can buy

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NOW WATCH: Apple just released iOS 13.2 with 60 new emoji and emoji variations. Here's how everyday people submit their own emoji.


          

A stock-trading Reddit forum has minted a group of hall-of-famers who best exploited Robinhood's 'infinite leverage' glitch. Here's how much money each has amassed through the hack.

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wolf of wall street Paramount Pictures


Traders have been using a glitch in Robinhood's app to trade with an unlimited supply of borrowed cash — and one member of an online forum compiled a hall-of-fame list of the largest positions created through the bug.

A member of the WallStreetBets sub-reddit discovered the glitch in late October after using a $2,000 deposit to trade with $50,000 in buying power. Other forum members glorified the trade before executing similar trades. In a matter of days, users were one-upping each other to see who could amass the most borrowed cash.

The trade involves Robinhood Gold users selling call options with money borrowed through the platform, also known as "leverage." The app incorrectly added the value of the options sold to traders' cash pile, giving them more buying power with which to repeat the trade.

One WallStreetBets user described the trick as an "infinite money cheat code," though it's uncertain what action, if any, will be taken against the traders for their high-risk activity.

One forum member, curiously named SocioButt, posted a list highlighting members who gambled the most through the exploit. Here are the five hall-of-fame members, from the user who first found the glitch to one who turned a $3,000 deposit into a $1.7 million position.

The Reddit posts are sorted by Eastern Standard Time.

ControlTheNarrative

Deposit: $2,000

Leverage: $48,000

Gain/Loss: N/A

Post time: 11:04 a.m., October 31

Top comment: "Everyone should be forced to watch this video as soon as they join the [sub-reddit]."



Woodc93

Deposit: $15,000

Leverage: $1,300,000

Gain/Loss: -$180,000

Post time: 1:17 p.m., November 4

Top comment: "Update: account just got deactivated bc I tried to leverage more to buy more AMD puts."



MoonYachts

Deposit: $4,000

Leverage: $1,279,550

Gain/Loss: -$22,022.71

Post time: 6:31 p.m., November 4

Top comment: "The cash balance from the covered call gets added to your cash – increasing your buying power by the premium you took in. ***Also, DONT DO THIS****"



Tomatotowers

Deposit: $5,000

Leverage: $314,070

Gain/Loss: N/A

Post time: 9:40 p.m., November 4

Top comment: "How much leverage was too much? 💯 x?"



Call_Warrior

Deposit: $3,000

Leverage: $1,732,640

Gain/Loss: N/A

Post time: 11:13 p.m., November 5

Top comment: "We are actually about to witness an SEC raid of WSB and bankruptcy of Robinhood."



Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Square dumped food-delivery service Caviar earlier this year. Now it's boosted its profit forecast on the heels of strong earnings.

China is reportedly considering a $10 billion investment in Saudi Aramco's record-shattering IPO

Top leaders are leaving Walmart's Jet, and some employees are growing concerned about the site's future




          

Steve Carell says he 'gained credibility' with his kids when Billie Eilish sampled 'The Office'

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  • Steve Carell appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Thursday and said that he "got a lot of cred, especially with my daughter" after Billie Eilish asked to sample NBC's "The Office" on a song from her debut album. 
  • The track "My Strange Addiction" begins with dialogue from Carell's Michael Scott, taken from a season seven episode titled "Threat Level Midnight." Other lines from the episode also appear in the song.
  • Eilish, who's a big fan of "The Office," previously told MTV News that the beat of "My Strange Addiction" reminded her of a song from the episode. Because she's obsessed with the NBC sitcom, it made sense for her to sample parts of the episode. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

Steve Carell became more popular with his kids after Billie Eilish sampled "The Office" on her song "My Strange Addiction."

"There was some definite credibility I gained with my children," Carell, who starred as Michael Scott on the popular NBC sitcom, said during an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Thursday.

The "Morning Show" star said that he hasn't met the 17-year-old breakout singer yet, but she called to get his permission to include dialogue from one "Office" episode on her debut studio album titled "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?"

"I was not familiar with her music and I asked my daughter Annie, 'Billie Eilish, would this be cool?'" Carell continued. 

The actor said that she "instantly" told him: "Yeah, you have to do that. That's totally cool."

"So yeah, I got a lot of cred, especially with my daughter," he added.

Eilish's "My Strange Addiction" features lines taken from season seven, episode 17 of "The Office." On the episode, the Dunder Mifflin employees watch a film made by Michael Scott titled "Threat Level Midnight." In the movie, he plays a former secret agent named Michael Scarn and his coworkers appear as various characters. 

rainn wilson steve carell the office season seven episode 17

The start of Eilish's "My Strange Addiction" features Carell's character saying: "No Billie, I haven't done that dance since my wife died."

Then, Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) says, "There's a whole crowd of people out there who need to learn how to do the Scarn," referring to a dance called "the Scarn." 

The track also includes dialogue from Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling), and Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner).

Eilish has talked about her love for "The Office" in the past. In a video for Billboard, the pop singer was quizzed on her knowledge of the sitcom by star Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight Schrute. 

Eilish also revealed how the sample came about in an interview with MTV News.

"When we made the beat for 'My Strange Addiction,' it reminded me of the song they play when they do the Scarn dance," she said. "I thought that was really funny, so we literally just ripped the audio from Netflix and put it in the song, not at all thinking that they would say yes to it and we'd be able to put it out. Also, it's about strange addictions, and 'The Office' is mine."

Watch the video below (Carell talks about Eilish at 3:00).

Read more:

All of Steve Carell's movies, ranked

Jenna Fischer cried after her 'Office' co-star Steve Carell hid in a box and scared her

THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'The 40-year-old Virgin' 14 years later

Join the conversation about this story »

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The head of the largest flight-attendant union in the US explains why Delta's cabin crews might finally vote to unionize (DAL)

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Delta Flight Attendants

  • Delta flight attendants are organizing a drive to unionize with the AFA, the Association of Flight Attendants.
  • While flight attendants with competitors like United, American, and Southwest are represented by unions, Delta is the largest US airline with nonunion cabin crew employees.
  • Delta flight attendants voted against joining the union in 2002, 2008, and 2010. 
  • We spoke with Sara Nelson, president of the AFA, who explained why she thinks this time will be different.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Delta is the biggest airline in the US to have flight attendants who are nonunion. But that may be about to change.

The country's largest cabin crew union, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), announced that it is starting a membership drive in an effort to organize Delta's 25,000 flight attendants.

The drive comes as Delta has reported strong performance over multiple quarters, and as the airline says it plans to hire 12,000 new employees by 2020, including at least 1,000 flight attendants.

Delta flight attendants previously voted against unionizing in 2002, 2008, and 2010. But Sara Nelson, president of the AFA, says she believes the current economic and social landscape will lead to a different outcome this time.

"A lot has changed since 2010," she told Business Insider. "More than 40% of the flight attendant workforce has been newly hired since then."

Additionally, the context was different then. After the 2008 election, a rule under the Railway Labor Act that counted any uncast vote in a union election as a "no" was changed, so that the elections would only count votes that were actually cast.

The 2010 election, which took place after the rule change, occurred when Delta and legacy Northwest Airlines employees were kept separately, operating in different pools — Delta and Northwest merged in 2008. Now combined into one pool, legacy Northwest flight attendants, who had been unionized prior to the merger and 2010 vote, have voiced favorable views toward unionization to legacy Delta employees.

"They know what it's like to have a union contract, a voice at work, due process — all of those things," Nelson said.

"And now that they've been flying with the Delta flight attendants, they've been able to talk to people about what that's like."

"And that's at the same time that there's a new interest in unions by workers across the country," she added.

The data back up Nelson's claim. Recent Gallup polling has found union favorability nearing a 50-year high.

American workers have felt increasingly emboldened amidst a strong economy, as employees seek a greater share of robust corporate profits. In addition to organizing drives, this has manifested in employee strikes in varied industries like hospitality, supermarkets, and automotive manufacturing, as well as public service.

Federal law generally prohibits companies from openly discouraging union efforts or penalizing employees for organizing. Delta was criticized on social media this year when photos of antiunion posters began circulating, including one suggesting that employees should spend money on video games instead of union dues.

In a statement, the airline said that it respected the flight attendants' decision, but felt that a union could be a hindrance to its relationships with employees:

"This marks the AFA's fourth attempt to organize at Delta, after flight attendants rejected their efforts during three previous elections since 2002. While we respect our flight attendants' right to choose whether or not to support AFA representation, we feel that our direct partnership with Delta people plays a significant role in our award-winning culture and customer experience including our ability to respond and implement quickly to our flight attendants' ideas and feedback."

Delta pilots are unionized, but overall its workforce is less organized than at its competitors.

The airline has offered solid pay and benefits in the past, including more than $1 billion per year in profit-sharing with employees over the past five years.

However, Nelson suggested that a decade of profitability, leading Delta to be the most profitable US airline, would lend momentum to the current drive, particularly as employees realize that they could do even better, or have more security.

Contemporary issues also make unionization more appealing, Nelson said, including a recent spate of health issues that flight attendants have attributed to new uniforms issued by the airline in 2019.

"There's a large number of Delta flight attendants right now who are dealing with toxic uniforms who need the backing of a union to deal with this adequately," Nelson said. "People want to know that they have a strong voice, a strong union backing their health and safety on the job."

"The AFA has the resources to be able to deal with that. There's more to having union membership, than just the provisions in the contract," like salary and benefits, she added.

A Delta flight attendant Business Insider spoke with, who is not part of the union push, said that she was in favor of unionizing partly because of the uniform issues. She described the process of reporting health effects to the airline as arduous, and said that it's difficult to get assistance. A group of Delta employees filed a lawsuit against manufacturer Lands' End earlier this year.

Nelson said that the enthusiasm toward unionization she's seen on the ground makes her optimistic that the outcome will be different than in 2010.

"We're only doing this because thousands of Delta flight attendants on their own have been doing this on their own," she said. "We're coming in with the full resources of the union and what's great about it." 

Mark Matousek contributed reporting to this article.

SEE ALSO: I flew in Delta's extra-legroom seats to Iceland, and the flight was fine, but the extra space comes with a catch

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NOW WATCH: What it takes to be a first-class flight attendant for Emirates


          

The best tote bags of 2019

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  • Finding a tote bag that is not only stylish but also big enough to carry all your belongings can be tough.
  • Our top pick is the Everlane Day Market Tote because this sleek, Italian leather bag is affordable, roomy, and well crafted. 

Every working woman has lived the struggle of trying to fit everything she needs to get through the day into her handbag. Many of us even resort to carrying multiple bags full of stuff on our daily commutes.

After my last tote bag's straps ripped — thanks to me constantly cramming more items into it than the delicate bag could hold — I set out to find a durable bag that could fit everything I could possibly need, including a 15-inch laptop.

While there are plenty of tote bags out there, it was trickier than anticipated to find a bag that was as fashionable as it was functional. But after much research and testing by the Insider Picks team, we managed to find five sturdy totes that are large enough to store anything you could imagine.

Our picks were all selected keeping in mind that you'll probably want to be able to carry them both in and outside the office. Perhaps best of all, every single one of these tote bags costs less than $300.

Here are the best tote bags you can buy:

Updated on 10/29/2019 by Remi Rosmarin: Updated prices, formatting, and links. Added MZ Wallace, Caraa x Athleta, Mark & Graham, and L.L.Bean totes as new picks. 

SEE ALSO: 5 work bag startups every woman should know

The best tote bag overall

If you're looking for a durable and affordable bag that can hold more than just the essentials, the Everlane Day Market Tote is your best bet. 

The Everlane Day Market Tote is a covetable bag made from 100% Italian leather, that will keep you looking polished all day long. The versatile structured bag is crafted in Florence, Italy and made to be worn with both casual and formal attire. You can choose from red, black, brown, and tan color options. 

This is the bag that I actually purchased after my extensive search, and I couldn't be happier. I ended up on a waitlist for three months to get the Cognac color option because it sold out multiple times, but it was well worth the wait. The popularity of the tote is largely thanks to Meagan Markle, who carried it during her first appearance with Prince Harry.

I am able to fit everything I could possibly need inside of this tote. Besides the essentials like a wallet, phone, and keys, I can slip in my laptop, a sweater, and a change of shoes.

I'm not the only one who loves this tote. The Insider Picks team gave it an excellent review. It also has a 4.69-star rating on Everlane's website, with many reviewers saying they plan to purchase the bag in multiple colors. It's also quite affordable in comparison with the competition.

Pros: Durable, spacious, classic design, comes in multiple colors

Cons: Can be a waitlist for certain colors

Read our full review of the Everlane Tote on Insider Picks



The best tote bag for organization

The Dagne Dover Signature Tote looks sleek and stylish on the outside while keeping all your belongings organized on the inside.

If you are constantly losing things at the bottom of your handbag, the Dagne Dover Signature Tote (Legend) is for you. Designed for those long days that never seem to end, the tote features compartments for everything you could think of, so you don't waste time digging around.

The sleek and spacious bag has specially designed space for your laptop, wallet, phone, metro card, water bottle, sunglasses, and even lip balm. It also features a detachable key ring, making getting in and out of the house a breeze.

The innovative brand has been a long-time favorite of the Insider Picks team. We've tested the Allyn Tote, Dakota Backpack, and Classic Tote, and all the bags get high marks. 

There are multiple colors to choose from, including red, yellow, green, pink, and blue. The stylish design will make you want to carry it to not only the office but also after-work drinks.

Pros: Helps you stay organized, multiple compartments, variety of colors, well made

Cons: Not for people who like to throw everything in and go

Read our full review of the Dagne Dover Tote on Insider Picks



The best tote bag for commuting

If you want a tote bag that's large enough to hold all your belongings, but light enough to be packed down and folded up, you'll love the MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote

MZ Wallace was founded by two dynamic New York City women looking for a bag that could keep up with their lifestyles. When they couldn't find it, they designed it themselves. MZ Wallace now offers a large selection of quilted nylon bags that can take you from the gym to work to date night and everywhere in between.   

The Metro Tote is made from soft, lightweight nylon and weighs in at just under a pound. The bag has enough space for all of the belongings you could need throughout the day. The interior houses six pockets, a detachable pouch, a phone pocket, and a keyring strap. It's even spacious enough to fit a 13-inch laptop. 

The padded nylon handles are easy on your shoulders, though some reviewers say they slip off frequently. The zip-top closure keeps all of your belongings concealed, an important feature when commuting or traveling. Since the bag doesn't have much hardware and the nylon is super lightweight, it can be folded, rolled, and packed down to fit in a suitcase or in another bag. 

The quilted nylon bag comes in 26 colors and patterns, including trendy camos, color blocks, and even lacquer finishes. The nylon isn't waterproof, but it's weather-resistant, so it's durable enough to use rain or shine. 

Pros: Lightweight, tons of color options, thoughtful detailing 

Cons: Expensive, some say the strap falls off shoulder 



The best convertible tote bag

Mark & Graham's Bedford Convertible Backpack is a beautiful leather tote bag that can be worn three ways for ultimate versatility. 

Whether you're trying to pare down your bag collection or just can't commit to one style, a convertible bag is a great option. The Bedford Convertible Backpack from Mark & Graham is essentially three bags in one. You can wear it as a backpack, a handbag, or a shoulder bag, all you have to do is change the position of the straps

The bag is simple, yet stylish in a neutral, supple leather. There's an all-camel option, or a black bag with camel straps. 

The convertibility makes this bag super convenient, as does the spacious interior and smart pockets. True to the form of a tote, the bag has an open top, but the straps can be adjusted to help close the top a bit. On the outside of the bag, there's a cleverly hidden zipper pocket. This gives you easy access to small belongings, so you don't have to dig through a cluttered bag to find your keys, but still keeps your important items secure. 

Mark & Graham also offers free monogramming on this bag, which adds some nice personalization if that's what you're into.

Pros: Convertible, free monogram, quality leather

Cons: Not super secure for travel, not many color options



The best budget tote bag

If you're looking for an easy, everyday tote that won't break the bank, the L.L.Bean Hunter's Tote Bag is a great choice.

L.L.Bean's Hunter's Tote Bag is a versatile, all-purpose bag. As the name suggests, the tote was actually made for outdoor activities like dog training, waterfowling, and shooting. Don't let that deter you, though — this bag will serve you well no matter what's on your agenda. 

The bag is made of a thick, durable, 1,200-denier polyester. The bottom of the bag is reinforced with an extra layer of polyester to make it even sturdier. The seams are double-stitched with water-resistant nylon, so they won't get ruined or unravel from use, even in bad weather. Inside, the bag is coated with a water-resistant thermoplastic lining. This will keep your belongings dry and makes the bag easy to clean.

The open top lets you fill the bag to the brim, though it may not be the best for commuting or traveling if you want to keep your belongings concealed. If closure is important to you, we recommend opting for the zippered version of this tote. It's about $10 more expensive, but it comes with an additional shoulder strap to give you more carrying options. [Editor's note: I have both the medium zippered version and the large tote, and I carry both frequently — the straps could be a little longer for carrying them more comfortably over the shoulder, but other than that, I love these bags.]

The bag comes in medium, large, and extra-large sizes. They cost $35, $39, and $45, respectively, making the totes a really affordable option. 

The tote has a 4.8-star rating on L.L.Bean's website, with many reviewers commenting on the practicality and water-resistant qualities of the bag. It only comes in a few colors, though the black, olive green, and camouflage are neutral enough to go with everything. 

Whether you want to use it as an everyday carry-all or a beach bag, this tote works for just about anything. And, at less than $50, it's an easy choice. 

Pros: Affordable, water-resistant, durable 

Cons: Open top, not many color options, straps are too short to carry over the shoulder comfortably



Best oversized tote bag

The Cuyana Oversized Carryall Tote is a durable, extra-spacious tote that will fit a long day's worth of essentials.

Fashion brand Cuyana was founded with the mission to "create timeless collections for the modern woman through carefully selected fabrics, precise silhouettes, and attention to detail." All that focus on design shows in the Oversized Carryall Tote.

The versatile, extra-large tote is 21 inches wide at its widest point and 15.5 inches tall. In comparison, Everlane's tote is only 19 inches wide. It has a detachable strap so it can be worn as a shoulder bag or a handbag, and is made from pebbled Argentine leather. The bag features gold hardware including a full zipper closure to ensure your belongings never fall out.

Many of the brand's other bags have been tested and positively reviewed by the Insider Picks team, and this tote is equally great in terms of quality and style. It's a roomy, spacious tote that should hold all your essentials.

The tote comes in four different natural colors, and you can customize it with the addition of a monogram or embossed symbols like a heart, star, and four leaf clover.

Pros: Well made, zipper closure, roomy, can be personalized

Cons: The website warns darker clothing may rub off on the lighter color bags

Read our review of Cuyana bags on Insider Picks



The best gym tote bag

The Caraa x Athleta Everyday Vinyasa Tote looks like your regular tote, but is designed with smart compartments that solve all of your gym-bag problems. 

A good gym bag needs more than just room for all the workout essentials. For most of us, going to the gym is sandwiched somewhere between a 9-to-5 job, dinner plans, and a host of other commitments — so we need a gym bag that can keep up. 

The Caraa x Athleta Everyday Vinyasa Tote is made to keep up with your busy lifestyle. The bag comes from a collaboration with Athleta and popular athleisure brand Caraa, which is known for balancing practicality and style with its bags. This one is made from neoprene, which is durable and washable.

The bag has two handle options — you can hold it as a tote or shoulder bag, which is helpful if it's heavy. Inside there are plenty of small pockets made to fit your essentials, like a phone, wallet, and laptop. The sides of the bag zip down, leaving the perfect spot to hold your yoga mat. There's even a buckle to keep the mat secure. The bottom of the bag unzips into its own compartment, a great place to store sneakers or put dirty clothes post-workout. 

It doesn't have a zipper to close the bag, but there is a buckle that provides some semblance of closure.

While the bag is particularly great for yogis, it's a great bag for any type of gym-goer due to its smart design and features. Our editor actually carries this as her daily work tote, and says it's the best tote bag she's ever owned.

Pros: Smart compartments, easy to clean

Cons: Top doesn't zip all the way, on the heavier side




          

Business Insider wants your nominations for the next leaders of self-driving car tech

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Uber self-driving cars

  • Business Insider is working on a list of the generation of self-driving technology leaders. 
  • Let us know who is making waves in the autonomous field by November 22. 
  • The list will include everyone from engineers to designers, maps experts, AI, and more. 

Who are the rising stars in the world of autonomous driving?

Business Insider has already profiled visionary founders and rock-star executives, and now we want to know who the next generation of leaders are. 

Submit your nominations via this form by November 22. We'll aim to have the list out by the end of the year. Please include your contact information and as many details as possible on why your nominee deserves to be recognized. 

The only requirements are that the person be actively working in a field directly related to autonomous vehicles — and be less than 30 years old. That means more than engineers can — and will — be represented. We'll be considering the entire ecosystem, including mapping, computer vision, sensor hardware, automotive architecture, safety, legal and regulatory, and more. 

We're looking for the best and brightest young individuals who are killing it in the industry, making notable contributions or accomplishments ahead of their class in the field.

Business Insider reporters and editors will pick the top nominees for the list, which should be published before the end of the year, based on their contributions to the field thus far. 

Questions? Reach out to grapier@businessinsider.com

Some other examples of Business Insider's rising stars lists: 

SEE ALSO: 30 AND UNDER: Rising stars in Silicon Valley tech who find hot startup deals and manage millions of dollars

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How autopilot on an airplane works


          

Offices are displaying photos of Greta Thunberg's disapproving stare to guilt people into ditching disposable plastics

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  • Office workers in Israel are using photos of climate activist Greta Thunberg to make people reconsider using disposable plastics.
  • First reported by Haaretz's Allison Kaplan Sommer, photos of Thunberg's disapproving stare have been cropping up in office kitchens around Tel Aviv.
  • Yatir Kaaren, head of product design at Wix, told Insider that paper and plastic use "went down drastically" after the photos appeared.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Thinking about reaching for a disposable cup or plastic utensil? Greta Thunberg might make you reconsider.

Office workers in Tel Aviv, Israel, are displaying photos of the 16-year-old climate activist next to single-use plastics and paper goods in their communal kitchens.

First reported by Haaretz's Allison Kaplan Sommer, Thunberg's thoughtful, disapproving stare silently urges them to think carefully about the environmental impact of disposable products. According to the UN, the world produces 300 million tons of plastic waste every year — 60% of which ends up in landfills or in the environment itself as litter.

Yatir Kaaren, head of product design at Wix, told Insider that his Tel Aviv office's paper and plastic use "went down drastically" after the photos appeared. Some of the Wix kitchen's paper cups were also replaced with more sustainable glasses.

greta thunberg kitchens

It's unclear who first put the photos there, but Kaaren says that it could have been any number of environmentally conscious employees.

"We have a lot of those here," he said.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.


          

I have a big problem with Apple’s new AirPods Pro: They’re putting my other headphones to shame (AAPL)

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Most nights, before I go to bed, I boot up my PlayStation 4 for about an hour or two and play some video games before I wind down. For the past several years, I've donned these $150 wireless headphones from Plantronics so I can listen to games, and music, late into the night without disturbing my (usually sleeping) wife.

Those Plantronics headphones have been my go-to headphones for years, and I've never had any complaints — until now.

Last week, I picked up the new AirPods Pro, Apple's new-and-improved wireless earbuds that can handle noise-canceling and sweat for the first time. And after listening to those for awhile, my favored PlayStation 4 headphones that I've loved for years suddenly feel like they're missing something. Actually, they feel like they're missing a few things:

  • Sound quality. I was in love with the audio from my Plantronics, until I listened to AirPods Pro. Now, I can hear a clear difference. Part of it's because AirPods Pro support noise-canceling, but in general, audio just sounds louder and clearer.
  • Comfort. Over-ear headphones, like the Plantronics headset I own, are my favorite type of headphones. They don't sit on your ears, but wrap around them for maximum comfort. Thing is, though, I think AirPods Pro are actually more comfortable! You can pop them in and out with ease, and with those silicone ear tips, I feel like they disappear, and I can wear them for long periods of time without feeling hot. That's the only issue with over-ear designs: Sometimes they can make you feel warm. Not so with AirPods Pro.
  • Convenience. AirPods Pro instantly connect to my iPhone, and they can connect to any of my other devices — my laptop, desktop, or Apple TV — in moments. They also pause if you remove one or both earbuds, which my Plantronics headphones just can't do.

For these reasons, AirPods Pro have become the headphones I reach for now. But that's a problem for me, because suddenly I have all of these other old headphones lying around, and I don't want to use them!

apple airpods pro

To be clear, this isn't my first pair of noise-canceling headphones. I also own Sony's critically-acclaimed 1000MX2 headphones, as well as Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones, which are both excellent. Those headphones have gotten me through many long flights, and I don't plan on abandoning them anytime soon. But AirPods Pro are special because they're the best all-around headphones I've tried. They're more portable than any other headphones you can find, they're comfortable in any environment (except maybe if it's freezing outside, then over-ear designs would be the way to go), you can take them to the gym since they can handle sweat (the old AirPods can't do this, so don't take those to the gym), and most importantly, they make my music sound good. And I mean, really good.

My other headphones don't play so well with sweat, or let me easily switch between noise-canceling and "transparency" mode — on AirPods Pro, you just need to pinch the bottom stem of either earbud to either shut out the world, or be let in to have complete conversations. And I know it sounds a little gross, but AirPods Pro are also better than my other headphones because I can see if they're dirty, since their design is completely white. Some people might be disappointed by the lack of available colors for AirPods Pro, but white is beautiful and clean-looking, and it's easy to see if you leave behind any wax, dirt, or any other debris. Hopefully the white color incentivizes people to keep their headphones clean, but we know not everyone will do that, as evidenced by the previous-generation AirPods (which were also white).

AirPods Pro are not perfect — customizing the earbud stems to control volume would be a nice touch — but they are in many ways the complete package, and they put my other headphones to shame. I love them for that. I also hate them for that.

SEE ALSO: Beats' new $300 Solo Pro headphones are terrific, but there's one drawback I just can't ignore

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Apple just released iOS 13.2 with 60 new emoji and emoji variations. Here's how everyday people submit their own emoji.


          

The best bras of 2019

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  • The right bra can make a world of difference in comfort, support, and confidence. 
  • Our guide features bras that performed well in our tests, emphasize comfort, and have a good range of options across sizes, support levels, and styles.
  • ThirdLove is our top pick because of its intelligent fit finder quiz, half sizes, and carefully designed bras that are as sexy as they are comfortable.
  • You can also check out our guide to the best women's underwear you can buy, and the best sports bra.

Ladies, we've gotta take care of our ladies. Like us, they deserve the utmost respect and support, like us, they should never settle for second best. To that end, buying a bra that does your breasts proud is just about the best thing that you can do for yourself.

Alright, fine — That's probably something of an overstatement, but the sentiment rings true. Buying bras may not be the most fun experience, but that doesn't make it any less important. Luckily, there are a handful of companies that are looking to make the bra-purchasing process less of a hassle. But more importantly, the results are everything that you've ever wanted for your chest.

Your primary consideration when purchasing a bra should be comfort. After all, unless you're letting the girls run free all the livelong day (which is fine!), you're likely going to be wearing your bra for at least the eight-hour workday. That means that your underwire can't be digging into your rib cage, that your straps can be tangling uncomfortably against your shoulder, and that your clasp can't be scratching your back.

Then, you should also consider what style of bra you'd like. Are you looking to make an impression by pushing the ladies up, or are you looking to be a bit more inconspicuous with a classic t-shirt bra? There's no wrong answer, of course, but there are certainly different bras for different occasions.

Perhaps most importantly, you'll want to keep fit in mind. After all, an ill-fitting bra will be neither comfortable nor stylish (regardless of what you're trying to achieve), but sometimes, figuring out exactly what bra size you are can be a bit difficult. This is especially the case when you're doing your shopping online. Luckily, that's not the case with a number of our favorite bra purveyors, who have gone to great lengths to ensure that you and your bra get along.

Regardless of which of these bras you choose, we're confident that you (and the ladies) will be well satisfied.

Here the best bras you can buy:

Updated on 11/05/19 by Mara Leighton: Added True & Co. as the best lounge bra and a few relevant links.  

SEE ALSO: The best women's underwear you can buy

The best bra overall

At ThirdLove, it's all about the fit, and oh, how these bras fit, thanks to the intelligent Fit Finder quiz and optional half sizes (starting at $68).

Face it — Today's standard cup sizes aren't always exactly what your body needs. And luckily, at ThirdLove, no one is expecting you (or your breasts) to fit into a predetermined mold. In just 60 seconds, Thirdlove will help you find a bra that feels as though it was actually tailored to your body, all without your ever having to leave the couch.

It all starts with ThirdLove's Fit Finder tool, which as the name suggests, helps you find your actual right size. You'll input the cup size and band measurements you normally abide by, as well as the company from which you've historically purchased your bra. But then you'll also talk about where the shortcomings are — how much of a gap there is, how well the band actually sits against your back, and to what extent you find yourself adjusting the straps.

Most importantly, you'll tell ThirdLove about the shape of your breasts, because yes, that will impact what bra is ultimately recommended.

Once you're done with the full questionnaire, you'll input your email address, and you'll be shown what your bra size should be (it may be different than you previously imagined based on your answers), as well as a recommended bra. And best of all, if your bra size comes in a half cup (because yes, that's a thing), ThirdLove can send you a bra that comes in a half size.

While you may not think that a web-based survey could actually take you to a better fitting bra, think again. As soon as I put on my ThirdLove Classic T-Shirt Bra, I knew that I'd been wrong with just about every other bra I'd ever worn. This is easily one of the most comfortable and truly supportive pieces of lingerie I've ever worn, and whereas other bras seem to work only with certain outfits, I've managed to wear this particular bra under cocktail dresses and sweats alike.

Although the T-Shirt Bra is the classic choice, ThirdLove has plenty of other fantastic options for you to choose from as well, including a racerback, a lace racerback with a front closure (which is beautiful, by the way), and another personal favorite, the lace balconette (for special occasions).

Several other women on the Insider Picks team have tried ThirdLove's bras and love them. Since we're all a range of sizes and shapes, it's impressive that we all love these bras.

Reviewers at People called ThirdLove bras "the most comfortable...that [have] ever been on my body," while nearly 22,500 customers have given the Classic T-Shirt Bra a 4.5 out of 5 stars on the company's website.

Pros: Careful sizing guide, great fit, and comfortable material that doesn't irritate the skin even after a long day of wear

Cons: The Classic T-Shirt Bra isn't the sexiest bra in the world, but there are other options for that, too



The best budget bra

You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good bra, and Hanes is here to prove it (starting at $11).

High prices don't always correlate with high quality, and similarly, budget buys don't mean budget quality. No one knows this better than Hanes, the classic underwear brand that makes one of the best wire-free bras on the market.

Whether you want to call it a bralette or a wireless bra, you'll certainly call it supremely comfortable. The Comfort Wire-Free bra line by Hanes is one of the sturdier bras you can buy. Sure, it's not made of sexy lace, but as a result, it can withstand quite a bit of wear and tear. It doesn't lose its shape or stretch out in unattractive ways after several cycles in the washing machine, and because it doesn't have an underwire, it's incredibly lightweight and flexible.

But don't think that a lack of wire means a lack of support or structure. As folks over at Good Housekeeping noted, "I liked that this bra did not have an underwire, yet I felt fully supported. It was soft and comfortable…I almost forgot I was wearing a bra."

Because the Wire-Free bras are fully adjustable, they also stay put quite well. Over 2,000 folks on Amazon have given the Hanes bra 4.4 out of 5 stars. Reviewers note that the bra "holds everything where it needs to be without wires and without binding or squishing or pushing things higher than they need to go." 

Pros: Extremely affordable, wide range of colors, good support, and straps that stay in place

Cons: There are a limited selection of cup and band sizes, so chestier women may not be able to find a good fit  



The best bra for atypical breast shapes

If you're a fan of deep V-necks, the Natori Plunge Bra will keep you supported while staying out of sight (starting at $40).

There are few outfits for which the Natori Plunge isn't the perfect fit, and that makes this bra a staple in just about any wardrobe. As the name suggests, this bra takes a dramatic plunge down the middle, so if you're a fan of daring cuts and plunging necklines, this is certainly the bra for you.

Flirty and fun, Natori's signature Feathers lace adds the right touch of femininity to this pretty piece of lingerie. While aesthetics and functionality don't always go hand in hand when it comes to your underthings, Natori is certainly the exception to that rule. The comfortable T-shirt design is also plenty supportive.

Best of all, perhaps, is that the Plunge bra seems to be particularly useful for women with atypical bra sizes or breast shapes. As one happy customer noted on the Natori website, This is the first time I've worn a bra without padding and my boobs have never looked better!" Another reviewer echoed these sentiments, writing, "This bra is the most comfortable bra I have ever worn. It fits my barely-A, wide-set bust perfectly."

New York Magazine calls the Natori Plunge the "unicorn of undergarments," and the bra boasts a nearly five-star review from over 500 buyers on Amazon. The bra features a molded mesh outer cover with lace trim, as well as adjustable stretch straps that become wider as you size up. The Plunge is constructed of 84% nylon and 16% lycra and lace.

Pros: Great for plunging necklines, comfortable, flirty, and well-fitting for women with atypical bra sizes  

Cons: Cup size runs small, so be sure to order accordingly



The best convertible bra

If you need one bra to serve the purpose of two (or more) bras, then you'll want the Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra (starting at $68).

Strapless bras in and of themselves are always a bit of a struggle, what with constant slippage and the seemingly never-ending need to adjust and readjust their fit. But with the Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra, you can bid your fidgeting days adieu.

Part of the secret of this great bra is that it's not just strapless — it's actually convertible. The removable straps can help keep you supported, but so too can the gripper strips inside the top and bottom edges that make sure that the bra stays adhered to your chest, and doesn't begin wandering down. The back and side boning also helps the bra maintain its shape, while the mesh back keeps you comfortable.

Although most strapless bras don't do much for actually helping to shape your chest, the Wacoal is a different story, thanks to light foam padding, you'll enjoy "full figure natural shaping, support," and most importantly, no show-through. Because the straps are fully removable, you can choose how to wear them, whether that's halter style, crossed in the back, or traditional.

Folks at New York Magazine note that "this bra stays put no matter what," and more than 800 people on Nordstrom's website have given the Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra a resounding 4.7 out of 5-star seal of approval. Good Housekeeping also pointed out that the bra washed well without shrinkage, and that it was comfortable, supportive, and easy to put on.

Pros: Great for larger chested women, convertible, stays in place, comfortable  

Cons: Some customers have noted issues with fit



The best bra for sizes E (DD) to J

If you need a seriously supportive bra that won't dig into your shoulders or sides throughout the day, you need to try Trusst Lingerie's D to J bras.

If your cup size is over a D, you already know the difficulty of finding a bra that fits. Since many brick and mortar stores don't carry larger sizes, shopping online becomes a bit of a gamble where you often have to buy two bras of similar sizing at once just to see which one works best. But not so with Trusst, which offers a simple two-step sizing tool that allows you to find your fit without ever leaving home.

Grab a measuring tape to get the size of your bust and band, and then input the number of inches for each to determine what your bra size should be. Sizes range from a 32 to 46-inch band size with cups ranging from D to J in certain styles. But if the size shown isn't anywhere near your normal size, you can email your measurements, the size and style of the bra you measured yourself in, and the company's fit specialists will help to ensure a secure fit for you.

As if its focus sizing wasn't enough, Trusst's support is unlike anything I've tried before. In lieu of the annoying underwire that can dig into your sides or armpits and pop out at surprising moments, Trusst's bras come equipped with a 3D-printed bra core called Breast Advanced Support Technology (BAST) sewn right into the molded contour cup itself to redistribute breast weight and offer support without the poke.

Based on the engineering principles of a bridge truss, it uses the core of your body to really lift the breast and padded shoulder straps that reduce shoulder and back strain even after hours of wear. In fact, while I typically take off my bra as soon as I get home, I felt comfortable enough in the bra to keep it on until bedtime.

But if your cups tend to runneth over in a demi, the brand offers an array of sultry styles that might be better suited for you, including a t-shirt bra, a sexy, lacy plunge option, and a soft, full-coverage bra that's built for the daily grind. Plus, there are three underwear styles you can pair with your particular bra of choice for a full set.

Reviewers at The Lingerie Addict praised the brand for its unique construction as well as the accuracy of its sizing system. And the Suzanne has become one of the brand's best-sellers. — Valis Vicenty

Pros: Easy but accurate sizing, fabulous fit, and surprisingly comfortable support without the stab of an underwire. 

Cons: Some styles can run a little small, but they're indicated on the page so you can adjust your sizing before you add to cart



The best bralettes and wire-free bra

Lively's bras and bralettes only cost $35, but they offer the quality, support, and style of much more expensive ones.

If you're sick of spending $50 to $100 on each bra you buy, take a look at Lively. All of the startup's bras and bralettes cost just $35 a piece. You can choose from a wide range of styles, including numerous bralettes and a handful of different bra styles with and without underwire.

I've tried several Lively bras and each one has impressed me in a different way. The underwire push-up bra and the push-up bra without underwire are both incredibly comfortable. The padding is subtle and not excessive like the push-up bras from Victoria Secret and other brands. You get a slight lift without feeling like you're going to fall out of your bra.

The no-underwire version is surprisingly supportive, too. When I first laid eyes on it, I thought I'd need to return it immediately, but it's turned out to be one of my favorites. The wide band gives the support I need and the lack of wires make it super comfortable for all-day wear.

The All You Busty Bralette is very comfortable for lounging around home with its wide, thick straps, and super soft material. I'm not a bralette person for going out and about (having a DD cup will do that to you), but it's perfect for days when you have nowhere to go beyond the grocery store. As someone with a larger cup size, I really liked that there's a DD+ section with all the bras and bralettes that are made for larger busts.

Women with smaller busts will love the wide range of bralettes and how cute they look. Many of them are stylish enough to show off, too.

The only real downsides here are that Lively doesn't have sizes above DDD and the bras may not be as long-lasting as more expensive ones. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Wide range of styles, true to size, cute designs, comfortable, affordable

Cons: May not be as long-lasting as others, sizes max out at DDD



The best lounge bra

True & Co. makes comfortable, wire-free bras from a buttery soft material that lifts and supports.

True & Co.'s True Body Collection is full of soft, wire-free bras that are perfect for lounging.

Sizing ranges from 32A to 42DDD/F, and while it won't give you as much support as a traditional wire bra, it does promise up to an inch of lift. 

One of our favorite styles from the True Body collection is the V Neck Racerback. The bonded technology means no elastic or bulky, line-disrupting seams. The wire-free channel lends support like underwire without the wire, and the "super lift fabric" (a tightly knit blend) provides the noticeable lift and support. The molded cups prevent you from slipping out and getting the dreaded "underboob" that almost uniformly plagues these seamless, "comfort"-first bras.

I wear the V Neck Racerback around the house, but I also like to use it under T-shirts for a smooth silhouette and a more natural shape. For as much use as I get out of it, almost $60 isn't ideal but it certainly hasn't been regretted. 

The Mesh Scoop Neck Lift Bra is also one of the best pieces of loungewear that I own. It's basically the same as the other True Body bras by virtue of its identical smooth, buttery soft fabric, but it also has a mesh back so it's extra breathable. 

Most True Body bras come with removable pads, and range in colors from nudes to bright patterns. And after many less-than-careful loads of laundry, I haven't seen any noticeable change in performance or look. — Mara Leighton

Pros: Buttery smooth fabric, noticeable lift, versatility, extreme comfort, relatively affordable

Cons: Not as much support as a traditional bra, can find lounge bras for cheaper, less support for larger cup sizes




          

13 celebrities who say they've been pressured to lose weight in order to succeed in Hollywood

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  • Many celebrities have spoken about the pressure they've been under to lose weight and look a certain way while working in the entertainment industry. 
  • "Game of Thrones" star Sophie Turner said that therapy helped her cope with constant scrutiny she faced from TV studios regarding her weight.
  • Actor Sam Claflin said even though women have it worse, men are often put under a lot of pressure to lose weight, too. 
  • "Glee" star Amber Riley said that unrealistic body expectations have made Hollywood "a very hard place to be in."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Celebrities are often pressured to change how they look, and many big-names in Hollywood have opened up about how hurtful and damaging this can be.

From actors to models, here are stars who have opened up about being pressured to lose weight in order to succeed in their career.

Jennifer Lawrence said she was once told to lose 15 pounds in two weeks.

In 2017 at Elle's Women in Hollywood event, Jennifer Lawrence spoke out about the "humiliating" and "degrading" ways the film industry approaches body image.

"When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks," she said. "During this time a female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much thinner than me."

"We all stood side-by-side with only tape on covering our privates … the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet," she added. 

She went on to say that the experience made her feel "trapped" and that she now continuously reminds herself that she deserves to be treated with respect. 



Amber Riley said that unrealistic body expectations have made Hollywood "a very hard place to be in."

On an emotional episode of the 2012 MTV series "This Is How I Made It," actress Amber Riley explained that many industry professionals have told her she needed to "lose a little weight."

She added that many of the roles she has been offered were based on harmful, negative stereotypes related to her size, like "the girl who wanted to commit suicide 'cause she was fat" or the girl who sits and eats all day.

And for the "Glee" star, these situations and expectations have made Hollywood "a very hard place to be in" and she has never understood why casting directors can't just accept her for who she is.



Richard Madden said women aren't the only ones who are told to lose weight in Hollywood.

In an interview with British Vogue, "Game of Thrones" star Richard Madden said he has had his "fat rolls" pinched and has been put in corset-like costumes because studios wanted him to look slim.

"I've done numerous jobs where you're told to lose weight and get to the gym," Madden told the publication. "It doesn't just happen to women, it happens to men all the time as well."

He acknowledged that trying to look thin on TV and in films projects "a very unrealistic body image," but admitted that he and other actors continue to do it anyway. 



Amber Tamblyn said her agent didn't believe she'd become a star unless she lost weight.

Shortly after her success in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series, actress Amber Tamblyn said her agent told her she could only be a star if she lost some weight. 

"I think at that point I was 128 pounds and I'm 5'7". I remember my agent saying to me ... 'You have a real choice here. You can either be Nicole Kidman or you can be a character actress,'" Tamblyn recalled in a conversation with the New York Times.

She said the experience shaped her sense of self-worth for years and made her feel "violated," like she had to look a specific way or she was doomed for failure.



Sam Claflin said male actors are put under a lot of pressure to lose weight but it is "never talked about."

In 2017, actor Sam Claflin told The Sydney Morning Herald that he has really struggled with body image and self-confidence while working in the film industry. 

"I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going, 'You need to lose a bit of weight.' This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat," Claflin said. 

"I'm not saying it's anywhere near as bad as what women go through but I, as an actor approaching each job, am insecure — especially when I have to take my top off in it ... I get really worked up to the point where I spend hours and hours in the gym and not eating for weeks to achieve what I think they're going for," he added. 

He went on to say that this pressure to be muscular and trim presents an unrealistic body image that's "anything but normal." 



Jennifer Lopez said people tried to pressure her early on in her career.

In 2018, Jennifer Lopez told InStyle that, early in her career, a lot of people in the industry told her she should lose weight. But instead of trying to change her appearance, she embraced her body type.

"They didn't bother me at all but I got a lot of flak for it from people in the industry. They'd say, 'You should lose a few pounds,' or 'You should do this or do that.' It finally got to the point that I was like, 'This is who I am. I'm shaped like this,'" Lopez told the publication.

"Everybody I grew up with looked like that, and they were all beautiful to me. I didn't see anything wrong with it. I still don't," she added. 



Amy Schumer said she was once told to lose weight just to star in a film she had written.

Although she had a lot of creative control over her 2015 film "Trainwreck," Amy Schumer still had to deal with people telling her to lose weight for the lead role. 

In an interview on "The Jonathan Ross Show," Schumer jokingly described the experience by saying, " ... It was explained to me before I did that movie that if you weigh over 140 pounds as a woman in Hollywood, if you're on the screen it will hurt people's eyes." 

"So I lost some weight to do that, but never again," she added.



Supermodel Tyra Banks said she was once called "too big" to be on the runway.

Tyra Banks previously told Business Insider that she's faced a lot of difficulties related to body image and unrealistic weight expectations while working in the modeling industry.

In an interview, she recalled that when she a young model at the height of her high-fashion career, designers at Milan Fashion Week called her "too big."

"'Her butt is getting too big and you need to go tell her to lose some weight,'" they told her mother Carolyn London, per Banks. She said she also got a list of designers who no longer wanted to work with her. 

"I started crying and I was like, 'Mom, OK, what do I do. Should I diet? Should I work out twice a day? Should I just have salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?'" she told Business Insider.

But Banks recalled her mom shutting down those ideas immediately, saying she'd "be damned" if her child "starved" for the modeling industry. 

 



As an actress, Ashley Benson said she was often told she should lose weight.

In a 2016 interview with Health magazine, the "Pretty Little Liars" actress said that throughout her career she's been told to lose weight "all the time."

"I got that a month ago," Benson said. "It's just weird. With my stuff recently, it's been, 'You have to be skin and bones or you're not getting it.'"

She told the publication that she is still working on feeling confident in her body, but that she believes all sizes are healthy. 



Ashley Graham said an agent and her dad both suggested she lose weight in order to be a model.

In 2017, Ashley Graham told the Las Vegas Review Journal that she has always experienced fat-shaming and bullying — but she didn't realize how much this pressure to be thin impacted her until she began pursuing a modeling career.

In the interview, she looked back on a time when a talent agent at a mall suggested she lose some weight so she could become a model.

"The really hard moment was when my dad said, 'Honey, if an agent is telling you to lose weight, then maybe you should lose weight.' I was 15, standing in our living room having a moment I will never forget. I never had a parent tell me to lose weight and it hurt," she recalled. 

But Graham said she doesn't blame her father for his words — she blames the modeling industry's unrealistic standards. 

"He was thinking like a businessman," she said. "It's not that my father didn't love me. He wanted me to succeed." 



Jennifer Aniston said her agent once told her she was "too heavy" to get acting jobs.

In a 1996 interview with Rolling Stone, Jennifer Aniston said it was her agent who told her that she needed to slim down in order to make it in Hollywood. 

"My agent gave it to me straight," she said. "The disgusting thing of Hollywood [is] I wasn't getting lots of jobs 'cause I was too heavy."

Aniston went on to lose 30 pounds before auditioning for "Friends," adding that she doesn't think she would have gotten cast as Rachel if she hadn't lost the weight. 



David Harbour said he was told by a director that he was "too fat" to play The Blob.

In a 2017 interview with The Wrap, David Harbour said he got an audition to play the character The Blob in an upcoming "Wolverine" film after a casting director said he was perfect for the "big," "fat" character. 

"I was like 'Okay, wow, that's flattering,'" Harbour jokingly recalled. "And [the casting director] was like, 'No, no, it's not that you're fat, it's just that we need a big guy to wear the suit.'"

Harbour went to the audition anyway and jokingly showed his stomach to the director saying, "I've got your Blob right here." 

After the audition, Harbour said the director expressed "concerns" about his weight. 

"He was like, 'David, look, you're wonderful, we really think you're just a great actor, we're just concerned … we're really concerned … it's just, you lifted up your shirt and ... we're just a little worried about your health,'" Harbour told The Wrap. "I was like, 'Wait a minute. You are telling me I'm too fat to play The Blob?'"



Sophie Turner said that therapy helped her cope with the constant scrutiny she faced from TV studios.

Sophie Turner told Marie Claire Australia that when she gained weight while filming "Game of Thrones," TV studios put pressure on her to lose those extra pounds. 

"My metabolism suddenly decided to fall to the depths of the ocean and I started to get spotty and gain weight, and all of this was happening to me on camera," she recalled, adding that going to therapy helped her cope with the pressures she was facing. 

"People are constantly telling you you're not good enough and you don't look good enough," Turner said. "I think it's necessary to have someone to talk to and to help you through that."

Read More:




          

Lights Over the Water / Watched by the Unknown

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I recently found the following account:

A friend and I had gone for a drive out in the country/mountain area of our state (Oregon near Dorena, for reference). After a few hours of driving aimlessly we wound up parking at a dam. This particular dam was a gorgeous and secluded place during the day, we had a great vantage point where in front of us was a huge lake, behind us (and to our right) was a road, then on the far side of the road (to our right) was a hill with a sharp cliff (we were on the lower side of this cliff...if that makes sense?)

Anyways, we were hanging out, all cozy in the car, eating snacks, drinking juices, and talking. As the sun set we remarked about how calm and tranquil we felt being here. Then the darkness hit. At first everything still felt fine, calm, and tranquil. Being from this certain area of Oregon we are generally super comfortable with being out in the woods and the dark. About 30 minutes of sitting the car, in complete darkness, we both grew antsy. Something felt super off. At first neither of us mentioned feeling this way, but, it was obvious by the way our banter had changed that something was wrong. I started to notice that looking out the windows began to unsettle me and actually scare me. I told my friend this and how I felt like something was watching us and that this something wanted to hurt us. My friend said they felt the same way and didn’t want to say anything because they thought they were being irrational. We immediately decided to lock the doors.

That’s when we noticed the lights above the water. They were far enough out that we couldn’t make them out, but, not far enough that we couldn’t see them moving. My friend asked me if I could see what they saw. Obviously I could. We both started focusing on these lights, quietly and calmly trying to rationalize what we saw. After a few minutes of us trying to decide what these lights were my hair stood on end and I immediately went in to a panic. I told my friend that I felt something watching us from the back of the car, as though someone was literally standing a few feet away, and they said “I know. I feel it too” We were sitting the back seats of the car and agreed we needed to get the heck out of dodge. As we went to move, we could sense that what ever was out there was moving with us. Like, if I moved forward towards the front of the car, so did it. If I paused, so did it. Out of the corner of my eye I finally saw movement. Not enough to make me lose it but enough that I immediately bailed to the front passenger seat, my friend saw it too because, they were right in my heels. When we went to leave I could’ve sworn I saw a figure standing on the cliff/edge that I mentioned earlier. The panic and fear I felt was unreal. Needless to say we didn’t go back. S

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Arcane Radio is LIVE on the Paranormal King Radio Network or the direct link at Mixlr - Paranormal King

Facebook event announcement: Albert S. Rosales - Humanoid & UFO Researcher - Arcane Radio

Join me as I welcome humanoid & UFO researcher / author Albert S. Rosales to Arcane Radio. Albert was born in Cuba and migrated to the US in 1966. He witnessed several unusual incidents as a young man while living in Cuba, which continued throughout his life in the US. Albert became interested in unusual phenomena and UFOs at a young age, but soon directed his focus to the crux of the phenomena...the humanoids and otherworldly entities. He began collecting data on encounters from worldwide sources in the late 80's. His current database has over 20,000 entries, which is updated and corrected daily. Albert has published 16 titles, including 'UFOs Over Florida: Humanoid and other Strange Encounters in the Sunshine State.' This should be a very informative and entertaining show! Join us this Friday, November 8th at 9PM ET / 6PM PT on ParanormalKing.com or the direct link at Mixlr - Paranormal King - Meet us in the chat room...just click the banner or go to www.paranormal.olicentral.com. You are invited to join the Phantoms & Monsters chat & discussion portal at Phantoms & Monsters discussion & chat server, which will be active during the show

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Hey folks...I would just like to ask you to consider a donation to Phantoms & Monsters. Yes, I do receive some funds through books and advertising...but it is not always enough to cover expenses - which include my Google advertising costs, Arcane Radio fees, research access to private databases, etc. If you are interested in helping out, you can use the PayPal donation buttons on the blog and newsletter or go direct to PayPal.com and use my email lonstrickler@phantomsandmonsters.com as the recipient. Thanks for your continued support. Lon




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Hey folks...some of the team members at Phantoms & Monsters Fortean Research are in the process of scheduling personal / speaking appearances in south central Pennsylvania and north central Maryland. These events will be attended by at least 2 of our investigative team. It can be promoted events, paranormal group meetings, etc. We will NOT charge any appearance fees, but do request that our books and other items be available for sale at the event. I'm interested in your thoughts on this proposal? If you have an event for us to consider, please contact me at 410-241-5974 or my email lonstrickler@phantomsandmonsters.com


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TODAY'S TOP LINKS

Witness Reports Bizarre Occurrences Following Winged Humanoid Sighting in Rosemont, Illinois

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The Bizarre Canadian Humanoid Encounter Wave of 1968

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft beamed back unprecedented data from interstellar space. It indicates a mysterious extra layer outside our solar system.

Stolen Boulder 'Magically' Reappears

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PA Upright Canine/Dogman Witness Sightings Map

Phantoms & Monsters Fortean Research / Pennsylvania Lycan Investigations / Bigfoot & Sasquatch / Upright Canines & Dogman

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RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Monsters In Print: A Collection Of Curious Creatures Known Mostly From Newspapers

The Historical Bigfoot: Early Reports of Wild Men, Hairy Giants, and Wandering Gorillas in North America

Monster Diary: On the Road in Search of Strange and Sinister Creatures

UFOs and the ET Presence

Mack Maloney's Haunted Universe

Lon's Suggested Reading List - Books & Films / DVDs

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UNEXPLAINED ENCOUNTER OR SIGHTING?














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A bunch of people mysteriously received text messages in the middle of the night that were originally sent on Valentine's Day, and it caused a lot of confusion

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Texting

  • Many smartphone users in the United States received text messages overnight that the sender claims to have never sent, or were sent months ago.
  • The issue was the result of a maintenance update that occurred overnight and caused old messages to be re-sent for some customers, according to Sprint.
  • Many of the texts appeared to have originally been sent on February 14, Valentine's Day.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

On Thursday morning, I woke up to a text message from a close friend asking if I had any plans tomorrow night. That usually wouldn't seem out of the ordinary, but there were two reasons why it struck me as odd: the message was sent around 4 a.m., and my friend had no recollection of sending it because she originally sent it on Valentine's Day.

As it turns out, I'm not alone. Twitter was loaded with dozens of tweets from cellphone users who had experienced a similar phenomenon. Some people said that friends or family members received text messages from them in the middle of the night that they had never sent. Others had received old text messages that were from Valentine's Day.

The issue was the result of a maintenance update that occurred overnight and impacted the messaging platforms of multiple carriers, a Sprint spokesperson told Business Insider. The update caused some users to have old messages re-sent to their devices, and the problem was resolved shortly after it occurred.

T-Mobile also said that the issue was the result of a "third-party vendor issue" that affected multiple networks, adding that the problem has been resolved.

 

As Sprint ant T-Mobile have said, the issued seemingly impacted cellphone users across various carriers, regardless of whether or not they were using iOS or Android. That certainly resulted in some confusion, especially considering some of those texts were Valentine's Day-themed.

 

It's not the first time users have reported issues involving old messages being re-sent. Questions from customers pointing out similar issues can be found in carrier forums, with some queries dating back to 2011. But those complaints have usually been in reference to isolated incidents; a widespread problem like this seems to be rare. 

Business Insider has reached out to representatives from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile for additional information and will update this story accordingly.

SEE ALSO: How Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro compares to its biggest rival, Samsung's Galaxy S10

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How autopilot on an airplane works


          

You can't delete your Venmo history, but you can make all past and future transactions private — here's how to do it

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Venmo logo is seen on an Android mobile phone.

  • You can't delete your Venmo history, but you can make all of your transactions private. 
  • When you make your past transactions private, only the recipient and sender will be able to view it, effectively hiding it from the rest of your friends. 
  • You can also make individual past transactions private, or set all of your future Venmo activity on private in the app. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Venmo app is a great, easy way to transfer money between people without having to hand out cash or write checks. 

It has made shared payments like splitting bills easier for everyone, and it seems rare to run into somebody who doesn't have it. 

Venmo also has a sort of social media aspect, where you can add friends and see who's paid who for what. 

This can be fun, but if you're a more private person and would rather that information not be on display, there is a way to make it so that nobody else (beyond the sender and recipient) can see any of your past transactions.

Here's how to do it. 

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

You can't delete your Venmo history, but you can make it private    

1. Open the Venmo app on your iPhone or Android.

2. Tap the icon in the top left corner that looks like three bars.

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3. In the side menu that appears, tap Settings, the second option from the bottom.

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4. In the settings menu, tap Privacy, the option with a picture of a lock next to it, third from the top.

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5. In the Privacy menu, tap Past Transactions, the first item under the "More" section at the bottom of the screen.

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6. In the Past Transactions menu, tap Change All to Private. Tap the same thing again when the confirmation box pops up at the bottom of the screen.

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How to make all future Venmo activity private 

If you would also like to make all future Venmo transactions private, follow these additional steps. 

1. Return to the Privacy menu.

2. Under Default Privacy Setting, tap the third option, Private.

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3. A confirmation box will pop up. Tap Change Anyway.

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You can also hide specific Venmo transactions by going to the individual transaction and choosing to make it private.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini


          

How to cancel a Venmo payment if you paid an inactive account, or send a request if you paid the wrong person

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venmo

  • You can cancel a Venmo payment by using the "Take back" option in the app if you paid a person without an active account.
  • If you accidentally paid the wrong person, you can't cancel that Venmo payment — but you can send a request for that person to pay you back. 
  • Unfortunately, Venmo does not guarantee your money back if you paid the wrong person, but you can contact Venmo support and attempt to solve your issue if the payment is not returned. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Venmo has become so popular it is often used as a verb, allowing users to instantly transfer money from one person to another.

Many people find Venmo extremely useful for splitting meals and cab fares or even for paying rent. Last year, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the recurring issue that Venmo does not have an "undo" or "cancel" option to quickly reverse a payment mistake. 

While this option still does not exist today, there are a few ways to try to go about getting your money back.

The two most common ways are requesting the amount back if you accidentally paid the wrong person, or using the "Take back" option if you sent funds to a phone number or email address without an active Venmo account.

Here's how to do it.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

How to cancel a Venmo payment

One of the best ways to look up a person directly on Venmo is by phone number or email, which ensures you won't send it to the wrong person. 

However, if you thought your friend had a Venmo account and they don't, here's how to cancel the transaction.

1. Open the Venmo app on your iPhone or Android phone.

2. Tap the three bars in the upper left hand corner. There will be a small red dot if you have any notifications or incomplete payments.

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3. Tap "Incomplete" on the list of options. This is where you'll find unfinished payments you sent, indicated by a number in a red circle. ("Notifications" is where you'll find requests from friends asking you for money.)

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4. In the "Incomplete" section, you'll find two options: requests and payments. Tap "Payments."

5. You should see the payment you sent, including the phone number or email, your message, and the dollar amount. If you sent the money via phone number, the person will have received a text message from Venmo prompting them to create an account. A similar message applies if you sent money via email.

6. Regardless, if they have not created an account, you can tap "Take back" next to the payment.

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7. Once this is tapped, the payment will turn gray and display the message, "You canceled this request." When you click back to your Venmo homepage, or open the app again, the payment will have disappeared and the funds sent to the new user will not be taken out of your linked bank account.

How to send a Venmo request if you paid the wrong person

Another common mistake is sending the payment to the wrong person. This happens often, since many people have similar usernames — especially those automated by Venmo when setting up an account. 

Unfortunately, once you send a payment, the funds are automatically added to that user's account (they are then able to transfer that money to their linked bank account). In this case, the best option is to request the money back before contacting the Venmo support system directly. 

1. Open your Venmo app.

2. Click on the draft option (a pen and dollar sign icon) at the top right hand corner of the screen.

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3. Type the username of the person who you accidentally sent the payment to.

4. Enter the same dollar amount you accidentally sent.

5. Venmo suggests adding a note explaining how or why you accidentally sent a payment to the wrong person. 

6. Press "Request" instead of "Pay."

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7. You will be prompted with a green message at the bottom of the screen to confirm your request. Tap to confirm.

8. If you don't receive the money right away, you can first send a reminder to the person you requested it from.

9. To do so, tap the three bars in the upper left hand corner.

10. Tap "Incomplete."

11. In the "Requests" section, you'll find any unfulfilled requests. Tap the blue "Remind" button underneath the request. Once tapped, this will change to a gray message that says "Reminded."

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How to contact Venmo if your payment is not returned

If you still don't receive the money, you can then contact Venmo for support, though Venmo does not guarantee that your money will be returned.

1. To contact Venmo, tap the same three bars in the upper left hand corner.

2. Select "Get Help" from the list of options. It should be the choice on the bottom next to the question mark.

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3. Tap "Contact Us" and then select whether you want to email, chat, or call Venmo support.

Regardless of which contact option you choose, Venmo recommends having the payment information on hand to expedite the process, including the username, amount, and date of the payment you accidentally sent. 

Additionally, it's helpful to have the username, phone number, and email address of the person you meant to pay.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Inside the US government's top-secret bioweapons lab


          

How to make a 'Memories' slideshow on your iPhone using the Photos app

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  • You can make your own Memories slideshow with an iPhone using the Photos app. 
  • In the Memories tab of the Photos app, your iPhone groups together photos you've taken in similar time periods and places, and creates preset sideshows with those photos. 
  • Memories may not always generate a slideshow to your liking, and you can create your own Memories in just a few simple steps. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

You may have noticed that your iPhone's Photos app contains a Memories section, which groups your photos by time and place, and creates preset slideshows out of those groups. 

This can be fun if you want to look back on a vacation or an evening out with a song to set the mood. 

However, sometimes Apple's algorithms simply don't put together the photos you want it to. This doesn't mean you can't create your own Memories slideshow, though. 

Here's how to create your own Memories on an iPhone.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to make a Memories slideshow on your iPhone

1. Open the Photos app.

2. Go to the Albums tab on the bottom bar of your screen.

3. Tap the "+" symbol in the upper left-hand corner, then select New Album to create a new album.

4. Name the album – make this the name you want for your Memories slideshow.

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5. A tab of all your photos will pop up. Select the ones you wish to include in the slideshow. This can include videos with sound, as they will play in your Memories slideshow. When you are finished, select Done in the upper right hand corner.

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6. Your new album will now appear first in your Albums tab, after Recents and Favorites. Tap to open it, and make sure all the photos you want are in it.

7. You will notice a gray arrow or ">" symbol in the upper right corner, under "Select" and across from the album title. Tap it.

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8. Press the play button at the bottom left of the slideshow preview in order to view your Memories.

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9. Tap the screen once to bring up the settings. From there, you can select the music, customize the slideshow, and change its length. Don't worry too much about your choices, as you can always change them later.

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10. To add this to your Memories, tap Edit in the upper right-hand corner. This will bring up a prompt instructing you to add the movie to Memories before you can edit it. Select "OK."

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11. Make sure all the settings are to your liking, then tap Done in the upper right-hand corner. Your new Memories slideshow will now appear in the Memories tab of your Photos app.

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Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: People are still debating the pink or grey sneaker, 2 years after it went viral. Here's the real color explained.


          

How to set a timer on your iPhone camera, and take a picture after a brief countdown

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iphone xr camera

  • It's easy to set a timer on your iPhone camera and position the device to take a picture after a brief countdown. 
  • You can set the timer for either three seconds or 10 seconds, after which your iPhone camera will take a series of 10 burst photos that you can choose to keep or delete. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

We've all been there — there's nobody around to take a picture of your group of friends at a special location or event. 

Fortunately, Apple has developed a solution to this with a simple feature on the iPhone

The built-in self timer on your iPhone camera allows you to take photos without physically clicking the button. 

You can set a long or short countdown timer and your camera will snap 10 burst photos to give you the perfect shot. 

Here's how to do it. 

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to set the timer on your iPhone camera

1. Unlock your iPhone and launch the Camera app from the home screen. 

2. Set your iPhone up in the position of how you'd like the photo to be taken. 

3. Once you've placed your phone in the desired place, tap the clock icon at the top of the screen. 

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4. Next, select a countdown for the timer. You have two options: three or 10 seconds. 

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5. Select the shutter button to start the self timer. If you want to stop the timer at any point, tap the stop button. 

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6. Once your photo has been taken, go to the Photos app. Select the photo taken with the self timer. Here you will be given the option to select from 10 different burst images taken using the self timer. Scroll through the images, selecting the ones you prefer, and tap Done in the upper right-hand corner.

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How to limit screen time on your iPhone by locking addictive apps or using a 'Downtime' feature

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iphone limit screen time

We spend a lot of time looking at our screens, between our TV, computer, and phone. A lot

If you've ever wanted to limit the amount of time you spend on your iPhone, though, Apple's "Screen Time" function allows you to do just that, in two different ways. 

You can limit the time you spend on certain apps, or schedule a daily period of "downtime" where all apps (with the exception of essentials like Phone, Messages, and Maps) are blocked. 

Here's how to enable it.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to limit screen time on your iPhone

Using the Downtime feature 

1. Unlock your iPhone and launch the Settings app from your homescreen. 

2. In Settings, find the "Screen Time" tab and tap to select it. 

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3. If you've never used Screen Time before, Apple will ask you to set up a Screen Time password — this can be different from your lock screen password, and is four digits long. Tap "Use Screen Time Passcode" to set one.

4. Once you've set a password, in the Screen Time menu, find "Downtime" and tap it. 

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5. After you've entered your Screen Time password, make sure Downtime is turned on — you will know when the switch to the right of Downtime turns green. 

6. Next, select the time frame during which you want to have apps blocked on your iPhone

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7. To finish, make sure you've selected "Block at Downtime" — this will lock all your non-essential apps during the time period you selected. 

Apple will lock all of what it considers to be "non-essential" apps, a list that automatically excludes Phone, Messages, FaceTime and Maps — though you can block any app with the exception of the Phone app. 

You can add apps to your "Always Allowed" list by going to back to the main Screen Time menu and selecting "Always Allowed." Any app you add to the "Allowed Apps" section will be unblocked.

By locking certain apps 

1. Launch Settings and tap Screen Time. 

2. In the Screen Time menu, select "App Limits." 

3. Tap "Add Limit" at the bottom of the menu.

4. Here you can choose which apps you want to limit. They're sorted by various groupings like "Productivity" and "Social Networking" — tap a category to see what apps it includes. You can set limits on all apps by selecting "All Apps & Categories" and tapping "Next" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

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5. To finish, select how long to allow the apps to be used and then tap "Add" at the top of the screen. 

When you hit your limit while using that app, you'll be locked out.

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'How much is Apple TV+?': A guide to Apple's new video-streaming service with ad-free, original content

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apple tv plus

It seems like everyone has a streaming service nowadays. You can now add Apple to that list, with the launch of their own original video streaming app, Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ is available on nearly every streaming device around, including Roku, as well as online through a web browser, and in an app for iPhone and iPad.

Apple TV+ is competing for your attention with existing services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now, but is cheaper than any of them. 

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Apple TV 4K (From $199.99 at Best Buy)

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

iPod Touch (7th Generation) (From $199.99 at Best Buy)

iPad (From $329.99 at Best Buy)

Macbook Pro (From $1,299 at Best Buy)

Roku Streaming Stick (From $59.99 at Best Buy)

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (From $49.99 at Best Buy)

How much is Apple TV+

Apple TV+ costs $4.99 a month, after a seven-day trial. 

Apple has also announced that if you buy any new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, or Mac computer, you automatically get one year of the service for free. 

In addition, the Apple TV+ subscription can be shared among up to six family members (including yourself) at no additional cost. 

What you get in an Apple TV+ subscription

Apple TV+ is ad-free, all content is available for streaming on demand, and content can be downloaded locally so you can watch it offline if you know you'll be somewhere without internet access. 

Even after a one-week free trial, Apple TV+ is  significantly less expensive than Netflix (which offers a $9 per month plan, but the most popular tier is $13 per month). 

One reason Apple's streaming service is priced so affordably is that there's no back catalog — unlike Netflix, Apple has made no mention of licensing any TV shows or movies for its new service. It's all original content.

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Apple's already added shows and movies with star-studded talent, including Oprah Winfrey, Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and more. Additional shows and movies will be added regularly.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

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NOW WATCH: Why it's so hard for planes to land on water


          

A TikTok creator used a clever $5 hack to make an older iPhone look like the new $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro

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iphone 11 pro camera

When Apple announced new phones at its event in September, people were quick to mock the the three cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Memes appeared almost immediately, and some people said that the cameras triggered their trypophobia, or fear of clustered holes. 

But that distinctive three-camera look also makes it easy to tell if someone has the latest iPhone model, making it an immediate status symbol. 

If you're having iPhone envy, TikTok user @Digital_buyer posted videos of an easy workaround to make people think you have the newest iPhone. The best part? You'll only have to spend a few dollars.

Digital buyer puts the sticker over the phone's actual camera, then places a case over it. At a glance, the phone does pass for an iPhone 11 Pro, thanks to the square-shaped camera bump.

If you want to try it for yourself, the stickers sell on AliExpress for between $2 and $5, and ship from China.

SEE ALSO: It looks like Microsoft is finally ditching the Internet Explorer branding for good with a revamped logo that looks like a wave

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NOW WATCH: Apple just released iOS 13.2 with 60 new emoji and emoji variations. Here's how everyday people submit their own emoji.


          

These little-known iPhone shortcuts will make moving your apps around so much easier (AAPL)

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iPhone apps

  • IPhone apps can be a pain to rearrange and move around between screens, but some shortcuts have recently been publicized that make the action a whole lot easier.
  • A Twitter thread from a Mashable editor brought to light two gestures that make moving around the apps on your iPhone a faster and simpler experience.
  • Check out the videos and directions below for these easier, lesser-known ways for rearranging the app icons on your iPhone.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There are faster and easier ways to move your iPhone app icons between screens, and it's likely you had no idea the shortcuts even existed.

These shortcuts were brought to light to Business Insider thanks to Mashable editor Stan Schroeder, who recently shared on Twitter that he discovered an alternate way for moving around the apps on his iPhone from screen to screen. 

The most commonly known way of doing this is by pressing and holding an app, then dragging the icon you want to move to the edge of one screen, which then triggers your iPhone to shift to the adjacent screen. However, there's an easier way to move your apps between screens, and all it takes is a two-finger gesture.

Instead of dragging the icon with one finger, hold the icon in place with one finger and use a second finger to swipe to another screen on your iPhone. The app will move with you to the next screen in a gesture that makes moving around apps faster and simpler.

Here's a video Schroeder shared of him performing the action on his iPhone:

However, that's not the only app-moving shortcut recently discovered. A software engineer replied to Schroeder's Twitter thread with a video of another app-moving shortcut, which allows you to select multiple apps at once to shift between screens.

This shortcut involves a two-finger gesture as well. While holding one icon in place, tap with another finger on other apps on the screen that you also want to move. Doing so will group the app you tap with the first app you selected, and you'll be able to move them all at once onto a new screen, or into a folder altogether.

Take a look at what the app movement looks like:

It's important to note that these gestures only work once your apps are wiggling around already — that is, you've tapped and held onto an app, which allows you to delete and rearrange your apps as you'd like.

It remains to be seen whether there are more two-finger gestures like this out there, but hopefully these two shortcuts will make using your iPhone just a little bit easier.

SEE ALSO: These are the best tech-themed and internet-inspired Halloween costumes in 2019, from Elizabeth Holmes to AirPods

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There's a limit on your Venmo transactions — here's how much money you can send and receive with each account type

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Venmo logo is seen on an Android mobile phone.

  • Venmo places different limits on transactions depending on whether your account has gone through identity verification.
  • All sending and receiving limits are done on a rolling, weekly basis — in other words, if you hit your limit, you have to wait a week for any transaction to stop counting against you.
  • There are also separate limits on the Venmo Mastercard debit card.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Venmo, the money-sending app for iPhone and Android, can be a useful tool when it comes to sending and receiving money, but the app does have its limits. 

The limit for your Venmo transactions will vary depending on things like whether or not your identity has been verified. And both sending and receiving money counts against your total weekly limit.

Here's everything you should know about Venmo's transaction limits.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

Venmo transaction limits, explained

Before your identity has been verified, you're capped at $299.99 per week, for all transactions combined. 

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Once your identity has been verified, however, the general limit increases substantially, and is refreshed on a rolling, weekly basis. That means that if you meet your limit for the week, you'll have to wait until exactly one week after a transaction is posted for the amount of that transaction to stop counting against your limit.

Here's how the limits break down after you've verified your identity:

  • For all transactions combined: A limit of $4,999.99 per week on a rolling basis
  • Sending limits: Up to $2,999.99 per week on a rolling basis
  • Payments for goods or services with vendors that take Venmo: Up to $2,000 per purchase, and up to 30 transactions per day

If you have a Venmo Mastercard debit card, there are other transaction limits you should be aware of. For example, you can't make any individual purchase above $3,000, and for those who have reloads on their card, those are limited to $100 per week, on a rolling basis. 

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You can also only take out $400 per day via an ATM, over the counter withdrawal, or cash-back transaction.

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How to receive money on Venmo and transfer funds to a connected bank account

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venmo

  • You can receive money on Venmo after you connect a bank or card with your account. 
  • After you add a bank or card, you will receive money when someone sends a payment to your Venmo username. You do not have to formally accept the payment to receive money on Venmo
  • It's easy to transfer Venmo funds to your bank account after you receive money in the app.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Receiving money on Venmo is relatively simple, especially if you've already done the work of fully setting up your account by adding a bank account. 

You won't have to formally accept payments to your account (it should appear in your account after someone sends money to your username), but there are certain steps you'll have to take in order to get the funds deposited to your bank account once it's added to your account. 

Here's a breakdown of the necessary steps to receive money on Venmo

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

How to receive money on Venmo

Before you can receive money on Venmo, you'll have to add a bank account to your profile. Here's how:

1. Open the Venmo app on your iPhone or Android.

2. Tap the three lines in the top-left corner of the screen.

3. Select "Payment Methods."

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4. Select "Add a bank or card" and then tap "Bank."

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5. Add your bank details.

While it isn't required that you verify your bank account after adding it to your Venmo account, it is highly recommended. 

Once you've added your bank details, here's how to transfer your funds from your Venmo account to your bank account using the Venmo app.

How to transfer money from Venmo to your bank account

1. Open the Venmo app.

2. Tap the three stacked lines in the top-left corner of your screen.

3. Select "Transfer to Bank" or "Transfer Money" (you may have to first select "Manage Balance," depending on your device).

4. Add the amount you want to transfer to your bank account, and how you want to transfer it ("Instant" for a fee, or one to three business days, for free).

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5. Confirm your transfer information and select "Transfer."

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How to set parental controls on a Samsung Galaxy S10 with Google Family Link, and manage the apps your kids can use

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Galaxy S10 side by side

  • You can set up parental controls on a Samsung Galaxy S10 with a third-party app from the Google Play Store.
  • There are no parental control features built into a Samsung Galaxy S10 — unlike an iPhone and Apple devices — but it's easy to set these up on any Android phone with the Google Family Link app. 
  • The Google Family Link app lets you impose limits on screen time, remotely control the phone, and even check your child's GPS location.
  • To set up Family Link, you need to install the Family Link for children & teens app on your kid's phone and Family Link for parents on your own phone. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 don't come with parental controls built in — unlike on an iPhone and other Apple devices

But you can implement parental controls with third-party apps in the Google Play store. 

In fact, there are a lot of apps that offer parental control features. To see them, start the Google Play app and search for "parental controls."

Though you have a lot of options, we recommend an app from Google called Google Family Link

Family Link lets you view your kids' online activities, manage the apps that they are allowed to use, limit screen time, and lock their device remotely from another phone. It even lets you see where they are using GPS.

Here's how to set it up on a Galaxy S10

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Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

How to set up parental controls on a Samsung Galaxy S10

1. On the phone your child will be using, install Google Family Link for children & teens from the Google Play Store.

2. Start the Family Link for children & teens app. 

3. Tap "This device."

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4. Tap the Google account you want to supervise. If you have more than one account set up on the phone, the others will be removed, so that your child can't simply log in with a different account. You should now see a screen requesting a code from the Family Link for parents app.

5. On the phone you plan to supervise your child from, install the Google Family Link for parents app. 

6. On your phone, start the Google Family Link app and scroll through the introduction until the app displays a code. 

7. Enter that code into the other phone. 

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8. From here, setup is very straightforward. Follow the instructions to complete the setup of the child account, and choose which parental controls you want to implement on the account.

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NOW WATCH: Apple just revealed its AirPods Pro for $249, which feature noise cancellation. Here's everything that was wrong with the $159 pair of the wireless headphones.


          

You can use most credit cards on PayPal – here's how to add a card and link it with your account to make purchases

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paypal credit card

In addition to connecting your bank account to PayPal, you can also use credit cards with the online payment service. 

You can use most major credit cards on PayPal, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and more. 

If you prefer, you can also link debit cards with Visa or MasterCard logos to your PayPal account. You can add multiple cards to your account and use whichever one you prefer when making a purchase. 

Here's how to do it. 

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

How to add a credit card on PayPal in the mobile app

1. Start the PayPal app on your iPhone or Android phone.

2. Tap the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) in the upper right corner of the screen.

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3. Tap "Banks and Cards."

4. Tap the plus at the top right corner of the screen.

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5. Tap "Debit or credit card."

6. In the Link a card manually section, tap "Debit or credit card" and then follow the instructions to enter your credit card number.

How to add a credit card on PayPal using a web browser

1. Open the PayPal website in a browser and log in if necessary.

2. If you're not on the Wallet page, tap "Wallet" at the top of the screen.

3. Tap "Link a debit or credit card."

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4. In the "Link a card manually" section, tap "Debit or credit card" and then follow the instructions to enter your credit card number.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

SEE ALSO: The best rewards credit cards — updated for November 2019

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Both AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro are the perfect wireless earbuds for iPhone owners — here's how to decide between them (AAPL)

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Apple device owners in the market for a new pair of wireless headphones now have another compelling option at their disposal: AirPods Pro.

The company launched the new AirPods on October 30. They're a revamped version of its popular cord-free earbuds, and they offer noise cancellation and a refreshed design. The new AirPods Pro cost $250, making them roughly $90 more expensive than the company's standard AirPods and the same price as the Powerbeats Pro. 

Although the headphones are priced similarly and support iPhone-friendly features, like the ability to automatically connect to the phone once the case's lid is popped open, there are some important differences between the two headsets.

Here's a look at how they compare. 

SEE ALSO: Apple's latest earnings report proved the iPhone is more important than ever — even if it doesn't seem like it

The most important difference between the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro is their design and fit.

Take a look at both pairs of headphones, and you'll notice one immediate difference: the way they look.

The Powerbeats Pro have a wraparound design with ear hooks that hug your ear, a form factor that some may prefer since it makes the earbuds feel more securely fit to your ear.

The AirPods Pro, comparatively, look more like the company's regular AirPods, which is to say they consist of a small bud that fits in your ear with an elongated stem that protrudes outward. This design may be preferable for those who prioritize convenience and don't want to take the time to affix a hook around their ear each time they wear the earbuds.

It may sound like a small difference, but it's one that dictates the earbuds' comfort and fit. 

It's also worth noting that the Powerbeats Pro come in multiple color options unlike the AirPods, which are only available in white. The Powerbeats Pro, meanwhile, can be purchased in ivory, black, navy blue, and moss green. 



Apple's new AirPods Pro offer noise cancellation, while the Powerbeats Pro offer noise isolation.

Apple's AirPods Pro are better suited for tuning out nearby noise considering they support active noise cancellation, while the Powerbeats Pro only offer noise isolation.

The AirPods Pro come with silicone tips in three sizes to seal your ear and block out noise from your surroundings. But they use microphones to detect sounds and cancel them out accordingly, and the company says the earbuds adjust noise cancellation 200 times per second. You can also put the AirPods in transparency mode for times when you want to be more aware of your surroundings, which lets sound from your environment pass through.

The Powerbeats Pro come with noise isolation, which uses the buds' eartips as a barrier for blocking out external sounds. This allows the Powerbeats Pro to do a decent job at downplaying nearby noise, certainly moreso than earbuds that don't provide any seal, like Apple's regular AirPods. But the AirPods Pro are better equipped to make sounds from the world around you feel more muted and dull. Like the AirPods Pro, the Powerbeats Pro also come with ear tips in multiple sizes — but the Powerbeats offers four size options while the AirPods offer three. 



Both earbuds have touch controls that let you perform tasks without reaching for your phone, but the available options differ.

The AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro each have touch-sensitive controls located on the buds for times when you may not be able to reach your phone. 

The Powerbeats Pro, for example, include buttons on each earbud for adjusting the volume, while the Beats logo button on each bud can be used to play or pause content, skip to the next track, answer or end a call, activate Siri, or decline a call.

The AirPods Pro offer a similar set of options, although there isn't a touch shortcut on the buds for adjusting the volume. The stems of each earbud include a groove with a sensor that triggers certain actions when pressed. Such options include switching between transparency and active noise cancellation mode, playing and pausing content, fast-forwarding and rewinding audio, triggering Siri, and answering and ending phone calls. 



The both offer great sound quality, although I slightly preferred the AirPods Pro.

Both the Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro are capable of rich, crisp audio playback with plenty of bass to boot. However, I did feel like the AirPods Pro sounded a bit louder and more full-bodied than the Powerbeats Pro in most circumstances, and its active noise cancellation made the audio feel slightly more immersive than the Powerbeats Pro.

That being said, the Powerbeats Pro don't disappoint when it comes to audio quality.  



But the Powerbeats Pro have longer battery life.

The Powerbeats Pro should offer up to nine hours of listening time, while the AirPods Pro can provide 4.5 hours of listening time when using active noise cancellation or transparency mode. You'll get an extra half hour of playback time out of the AirPods Pro with those features turned off, resulting in five hours total. That means the Powerbeats Pro offer almost double the amount of battery life compared to the AirPods Pro when it comes to continuous listening. 

Both earbuds, however, also come with cases that charge the buds when they're not in use, and should enable more than 24 hours of listening time.

The charging case for the AirPods Pro also supports wireless charging, meaning you can simply rest the case on a charging pad to give it more juice rather than plugging it in with a Lightning cable. That might be an appealing perk for those who already use a wireless charger for their iPhone, although it's not a deal-breaker by any means. The Powerbeats Pro's case does not support wireless charging.  



There are also many similarities between the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro, especially when it comes to Apple-centric features.

The AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro both run on Apple's H1 chip, which means you can activate Apple's voice assistant hands-free just by saying "Hey Siri."

They're also both capable of connecting to your iPhone as soon as you flip open the case once you've paired them for the first time. With both the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro, you'll see a small dialogue box appear on your iPhone's home screen after opening the lid, confirming that the earbuds are paired with your device and displaying the remaining battery percentage.

The AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro also both have sensors that can detect when the buds are in your ear, so they can automatically pause music when you remove one or both earbuds.

And both pairs of earbuds are sweat- and water-resistant too, meaning you shouldn't have to worry about wearing them during a tough workout or outdoors in light rain. 



Which one is right for you?

Both the Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro offer high-quality audio and convenient features for roughly the same price. But deciding which one is right for you comes down to personal preference, especially when it comes to size and fit.

The Powerbeats Pro are ideal for those looking for more security in terms of how snug the earbuds remain in your ear. They also last for much longer on a single charge than Apple's new AirPods, which can be an important differentiator for those looking for earbuds they can wear for hours on end without running out of juice. Plus, with ear tips in four sizes and four different color choices, the Powerbeats Pro are probably better suited for those looking for more choice in terms of customization. 

But the AirPods Pro offer true active noise cancellation for the same price, which makes them  noticeably better at drowning out distractions. If noise cancellation is a must and you prefer earbuds with a more compact design that don't wrap around your ear, the AirPods Pro are likely the right fit for you. 




          

How to transfer money from PayPal to your bank account for free, in 2 different ways

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  • You can transfer money from PayPal to your bank account in just a few steps after you've linked your bank with PayPal
  • It's possible to transfer money from the Wallet page of the PayPal website or the main screen in the mobile app.
  • There are no PayPal fees for transferring money to a linked bank account — as long as your bank doesn't charge you, it should be totally free. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There are a couple of ways to get money out of your PayPal account, but some methods — like requesting a check to be sent to you through the mail — cost an additional fee. 

Transferring money from PayPal directly to your bank account is almost always free (unless your bank charges a transfer fee, which is unlikely). 

As long as you have linked your bank account to your PayPal account, you can transfer money using a web browser o