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1. POINT-OF-SALE TERMINALS: How evolving merchant demands are pushing POS terminal providers to up their game in an increasingly competitive environment00:01[−]

pos terminals graphicBI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The downfall of US brick-and-mortar commerce is overblown — despite sharp gains in e-commerce, which will nearly double between now and 2021, the lion’s share of purchasing continues to take place in-store. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, since the online environment can’t yet compensate for the reasons customers like brick-and-mortar shopping.

That means the point-of-sale (POS) terminal, which merchants use to accept payments of all types and to complete transactions, isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean it’s not changing. As merchants look to cut costs amidst shifts in consumer shopping habits, POS terminals, which were once predominantly hardware offerings used exclusively for payment acceptance, are evolving into full-service, comprehensive solutions. These new POS terminals are providing an array of business management solutions and connected offerings to complement payment services.

This is where the smart terminal, a new product that’s part-tablet, part-register, comes in. Merchants are increasingly seeking out these offerings, which afford them the connectivity, mobility, and interoperability to run their entire business. And that’s shaking up the space, since it’s not just legacy firms, but also mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) players and newer upstarts, that offer these products.

As merchants begin demanding a wide variety of payment solutions, terminal providers are scrambling to meet their needs in order to maintain existing customers and attract new ones. This is leading to rapid innovation and increased competition in both the POS terminal hardware and software spaces.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the shifts in this landscape, how leading players can meet them, and who’s doing it most effectively.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Evolving merchant needs are impacting POS terminal players’ strategies. Merchants select terminal providers based on four key areas: payment functionality, user experience (UX), over-the-top (OTT) offerings, and distribution/customer service. Terminal firms need to innovate in these areas, or risk falling behind.
  • Larger players need to double down on existing success. Smaller players can often be more nimble, which gives them the opportunity to innovate more quickly and build in-demand solutions. That’s a disadvantage to market leaders; however, they can, and should, leverage their massive distribution networks when upgrading or updating their offerings. Meanwhile, smaller players can win by focusing on niches instead.
  • It’s all about the platform. No single feature is likely to make or break a merchant’s decision to pursue a specific provider. Above all, they want a robust ecosystem that can evolve over time.

In full, the report:

  • Explains the current state of in-store retail and why terminal firms need to evolve to meet it.
  • Groups features that matter to merchants and explains why they’re important and what terminal providers stand to gain from focusing on them.
  • Determines the leading players in the space.
  • Assesses how the leading players stack up, and which offerings are the most comprehensive.
  • Issues recommendations about how to develop an attractive platform that best serves merchants' needs as the market continues to shift.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now
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2. Why China sees Myanmar's Rohingya crisis as an opportunity00:00[−]

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (L) and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping (R) wait for Myanmar delegates to arrive for a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, August 19, 2016. REUTERS/Rolex Dela Pena/PoolThomson Reuters

  • Myanmar's government has been embroiled in battle of rhetoric over its alleged ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, but unlike the west, China sees an opportunity amid the affair.
  • For China, Myanmar's crisis is a gateway for it to pursue similar economic and infrastructure strategies it has undertaken in Africa in order to extend its geopolitical reach.
  • Myanmar is part of a complex geopolitical maze in which China is but one player.

As the Myanmar government's violent policy towards its Rohingya Muslims drew increasing international condemnation in 2016, the country's sometime icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to speak out for the persecuted minority. And in her attempts to protect Myanmar from renewed isolation, she has continued to deepen its relationship with her most powerful authoritarian neighbour: China. It seems the common notion that newly democratic states have little time for autocratic partners is false.

Before the West started paying real attention to the Rohingya crisis, Myanmar's democratic transition was something of a cause celebre. But in reality, the country is still under military sway, and the democratic West is still less influential in Myanmar than China. Beijing's interests are still a decisive economic influence in the country, which is clearly a potentially crucial partner in China's gargantuan Belt and Road initiative.

To be sure, China is just one of Myanmar's heavyweight international protectors, which also include Russia and India. These three countries all share certain urgent concerns, among them the threat of militant radical Islamism. Connections have been drawn between Rohingya militants and Pakistani extremist groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed, this just as Beijing is increasing pressure on Pakistan to curb its support for fundamentalist groups that could threaten Chinese interests in Asia.

As it surveys this troubling map — which also includes an insurgency among the Uighur Muslims of China's own Xinjiang province — Beijing views Myanmar's crackdown not as a domestic problem for a junior partner, but as another front in a wider struggle for stability.

And just as Myanmar fits into that particular Chinese strategy, it also has a part to play in various others.

China's multi-faceted geopolitical push

This is a style of geopolitical influence China is pursuing the world over. Its current foreign policy in Asia follows a similar pattern to its policies in Africa, which revolve heavily around infrastructure and development assistance as well as commodity extraction. It is still open to question whether these policies will benefit African states in the long term, but what cannot be denied is that China has had a significant impact on the continent in a comparatively short period of time.

china africaREUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Many critics of China's African policies point to Beijing's support for authoritarian and violent regimes such as Sudan's, which it backed during much of the Darfur massacre in the 2000s. And even democratic shifts in government do not necessarily turn African states away from Chinese influence.

After sweeping into power on a wave of anti-Chinese populism in 2011, Zambia's late Michael Sata appeared to spell trouble for Chinese interests in his country. He even threatened to recognise Taiwan — a direct affront to Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a wayward province. But in the end, Sata did not act on his threats, instead endorsing his country's Chinese ties.

What does this tell us about China's approach to Myanmar and countries like it? As with the expectations of Myanmar's transition to democracy, it is not always certain that a more democratic regime will turn away from Beijing. It seems China has become too powerful for most countries to ignore on principle.

This is only helped by Chinese foreign policy's remarkable consistency. Besides pursuing the Belt and Road initiative, which extends across much of Asia and well into Europe, China is carefully cultivating cadres of friendly states in its "near abroad," whether in the post-Soviet sphere or Southeast Asia.

This also explains China's support for North Korea in the face of a war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. While that policy has often been held up as an example of Beijing's inability to control Pyongyang, it is equally an expression of China's relative strength: as things stand, any Western moves to counter North Korea would be impossible without Beijing's assistance.

more south china seaCSIS/AMTI/Digital Globe

Then there's the matter of the South China Sea. Once seen as an " American lake," China now lays claim to the sea almost in its entirety, and not just for its own sake; as political theorist John Mearsheimer once argued in The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, aspiring superpowers often seek to dominate in their sphere of influence before becoming a global power.

So as far as China is concerned, the ongoing Rohingya crisis is just one of many developments in Asia where it has key interests at stake. It will not allow the world's growing impatience and outrage at the Myanmar government's behaviour to undermine what's become a remarkably coherent foreign policy — not a mercenary venture, but a carefully planned great game.

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3. Critics slam lawmakers who complained that their private gym doesn't have towels because of the government shutdownСб., 20 янв.[−]

squats workoutShutterstock

  • The US government is partially shutdown, but members of Congress are still using their exclusive gym.
  • Some members of the House of Representatives complained to The Washington Post that there weren't enough towels stacked in the gym Saturday morning, and they wondered whether it was because of the shutdown.
  • People on Twitter criticized lawmakers for complaining about the relatively trivial matter amid the shutdown.

Congress is currently scrambling to re-open the government after the Senate failed to pass a funding bill late Friday night, forcing a partial shutdown.

But some on Capitol Hill are concerned about the private gyms that are available exclusively for lawmakers.

"Members also complaining to me that the House gym lacks enough towels this morning and they wonder if it's because of the shutdown," Robert Acosta, a Washington Post reporter, said in a tweet Saturday morning.

Although some federal programs and branches close during a shutdown, the exclusive House and Senate workout facilities appear to have remained open.

Acosta's tweet about the House members' complaints drew outrage on Twitter.

Justin Kanew, a Democratic congressional candidate for Tennessee's 7th district weighed in on the controversy, too.

During the 16-day government shutdown in 2013, the exclusive gyms stayed open, but towel service was unavailable, ThinkProgress reported at the time. The House gym features a pool, basketball courts, a sauna, steam room, and flat screen TVs. Taxpayers fund the cleaning and maintenance.

Deliberations between the Democratic and Republican party leadership over a funding bill are ongoing in an attempt to end the shutdown, but the two sides are also engaged in a nasty blame game. Republicans blame Democrats — particularly Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — for blocking a key vote Friday night that would've averted the shutdown. Democrats, meanwhile, blame President Donald Trump for reneging on a deal they reached prior to the vote.

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4. The government shutdown could ruin Trump and Congress' trip to the elite gathering in DavosСб., 20 янв.[−]

TIANJIN, CHINA - JUNE 27: Founder and executive chairman of the WEF Klaus Schwab listens as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gives a speech during the World Economic Forum on June 27, 2016 in Tianjin, China. The annual World Economic Forum New Champions meeting brings together business, economic and political leaders and former officeholders. (Photo by Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images)Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers were slated to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But the government shutdown has put that on hold unless a deal can be reached.
  • Multiple Democratic lawmakers have already canceled their plans to attend the annual summit.
  • President Donald Trump is taking his planned trip to Davos on a "day-by-day basis."

WASHINGTON — A trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland for a bipartisan group of lawmakers next week is in peril after the Senate failed to reach a deal to fund the government by midnight Saturday, resulting in a partial government shutdown.

Several members of Congress slated to attend the annual meeting of the world's elites have placed their trips on standby, hoping Congress can reach a deal before the event kicks off on Tuesday.

Both House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows are set to cancel the trip as the shutdown continues, their offices told Business Insider.

Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont is not planning to attend "as of right now," his chief of staff Bob Rogan told Business Insider.

Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, who previously served as the US ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein during the Obama administration, is waiting to see what happens over the next few days, but the situation looks grim.

"As of now we just don’t know. He has a different connection to Davos and WEF than other Reps because of his past experience as Ambassador, and I think he still wants to go," Beyer's spokesman said in an email. "It just doesn’t seem likely to us that he will be there, given the current situation."

New York Rep. Joe Crowley, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, already canceled his plans to attend the summit earlier in the week. Rep. Kathleen Rice, also from New York, canceled the trip on Friday ahead of the impending shutdown, her office confirmed.

The World Economic Forum draws top politicians and business leaders from around the globe. This year's event will feature speeches from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and others.

President Donald Trump was also scheduled to attend, meet with world leaders and deliver a big speech, but the administration has since backed off on the certainty of the trip.

"We're taking Davos, from the president's perspective and the Cabinet's perspective, on a day-by-day basis," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Saturday.

Whether the president, his cabinet, and members of Congress get to attend the World Economic Forum is up in the air, while Congress works on hammering out any potential deal to fund the government this coming week.

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5. I tried The North Face's new jacket that's supposed to regulate your body temperature through tiny, laser-cut ventsСб., 20 янв.[−]

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ventrix 1 640x427 cThe North Face

  • A common problem with outdoor gear is that what is a comfortable warmth at rest is not the same as when the wearer is active.
  • The North Face recently released the Ventrix collection, which uses laser-cut holes that open and close based on the movement of the wearer to auto-regulate temperature.
  • I got a chance to try out the jacket, and I found it surprisingly warm, comfortable, and breathable, too.

You get bundled up in layers to brave the cold outdoors, and you're thankful for every last one while standing still waiting for the bus or watching the January football game live. But, if you're planning on taking those layers out climbing, hiking, skiing, or any other activity that requires motion, you might end up frequently pausing to strip layers without ever reaching the ideal temperature. Forgo it, though, and you'll wind up sweaty and overheated. Wouldn't it be nice if the expensive jacket you're wearing did that regulating for you, so you could just enjoy the activity uninterrupted?

The North Face thought so, which is what lead them to create the much-hyped Ventrix collection.

Instead of just making the material air permeable, The North Face included a bunch of tiny, laser-cut slits that are supposed to remain closed while the wearer is at rest and open when the material is stretched (ie. when the wearer moves) to dump trapped heat and put temperature regulation on autopilot.

The company describes the Ventrix as designed for "highly aerobic activity in variable weather conditions." In other words: versatile. It also comes with or without a hood, depending on your budget or needs.

I had the chance to try out The North Face's Ventrix Hoodie ($220), and I was overall impressed by its warmth, water resistance, breathability, and comfortability above all else. It's worth saying, though, that while the breathability is nice, it likely won't entirely solve the need to adjust layers during aerobic activities like hiking.

ventrix 5 640x427 cThe North Face

Warmth: Though warmth is difficult to judge thanks to personal preferences (some people run hot, some run cold), weather conditions, activity levels, etc., I found the Ventrix to be surprisingly warm. I wore it walking around the city at temperatures as low as 30 degrees with a moderate layer and felt warm the entire time. If you added a base layer, especially something compact, you could probably take the jacket much colder, especially for aerobic activities.

Typically, if you wanted the absolute warmest for weight, you would buy down. However, synthetics have become increasingly popular thanks to their lower price and ability to insulate even while wet.

Breathability: An advantage of synthetic insulation is breathability, and The North Face uses their own thick and warm proprietary polyester with a few additional tweaks to make a good thing better. The Ventrix uses a laser to make "micro vents" in key places that are meant to remain closed while the wearer is at rest, and open when the material is stretched (i.e. the wearer is moving) to facilitate air movement. This auto-regulation of your body temperature is what makes Ventrix unique.

I couldn't feel the vents themselves actively adjusting while wearing the jacket, but I did wear it in "variable weather conditions" without feeling overheated, such as the outdoors in the wind and cold as well as around my temperature-regulated apartment. It was a feature I would have noticed even without advance notice, but ultimately think I'd likely still need to regulate my layers if I were to take it skiing or hiking.

Water resistance: I walked outside for an afternoon in a light-moderate rain without an umbrella and never once felt damp or cold. The synthetic insulation continued to do its job. For anything but tunneling through heavy snow or rain, this is a great option for an outer layer.

Comfort: This jacket is incredibly comfortable — enough so that it often stays on in my apartment long after I'm home. The inside is made of soft nylon that has great next-to-skin comfort and the exterior isn't obtrusive either in material or bulk.

Packability: There are trade-offs with anything. You won't get as compact of a jacket when you buy the Ventrix as you might with competitors that use down or down-like synthetics. You might pay less because of that, though, so if you can live with it you might find this a better investment.

Look: The Ventrix isn't the most packable synthetic jacket, but its silhouette is still nicely fitted. It comes in lots of different color schemes, but if you're looking for mostly urban wear, you might find yourself sticking to darker tones. The material can appear more functional than strictly stylish — which isn't really an issue, but does affect versatility.

The North Face Ventrix Detail 4 700x467The North Face

Added perks: The scuba-style hood (optional) offers a nicely snug fit. I didn't have to battle the wind to keep my hood on ever. If you're a climber, you'll like that the forearm panels are made from a tougher material to prevent rips and tears.

All in all, the Ventrix especially stood out in warmth, water resistance, comfort, and breathability even if it might not have completely solved the need to adjust layers. In terms of competitors, it's also competitively priced.

Shop The North Face Ventrix collection at REI here.

6. A minimalist explains how to simplify your life in 4 stepsСб., 20 янв.[−]

man woman yoga sceneryVCG/VCG via Getty Images

  • There is no quick-fix solution to simplifying your life, rather, it is a cycle that can be repeated over time.
  • As we embrace new passions and possessions in life, it is important that we also take stock of what is essential versus what is clutter.
  • Figure out which hobbies and objects are meaningful to you and get rid of everything that doesn't fall into that category.

Simplifying your life isn't a single project that you can finish and be done with — it's actually a cycle.

At least, that's what I've found in my decade plus of simple living … I've downsized numerous times, in all areas of my life, and I keep finding myself coming back to the process of simplifying.

The Simplicity Cycle goes something like this (it's a little different each time):

  1. Inspiration phase: You find something that sparks an interest, and you start exploring it (reading about a new topic, diving into learning a new subject, exploring a new activity or hobby, creating a new project or venture, etc.). This is the inspiration phase.
  2. Addition phase: This leads you to more complexity, as you explore, buy things, read more and more, find new inspirations and ideas. This is the addition phase.
  3. Contemplation phase: At some point, you might pause to consider the bigger picture of what you're doing. Is this the best way? Is this really important? If it is, what's the most essential part of it? Can you pare down? Many people skip this phase (and the next) and just keep doing the first two phases.
  4. Paring Down phase: If you decided that you want to pare down, this is where you start to let go of things. You figure out what's essential to what you have been doing and learning, and if you don't scrap the entire thing completely (which can happen), you might just keep a few key things. For example, if you start learning about chess, you might buy a set (or two) and a bunch of books and apps and go on a bunch of websites. But in the paring down phase, you might decide that chess isn't important enough to keep in your life, or if it is, you only need one chess set, two really key books, and one website or app. The rest you let go of. Again, many people skip this step.

If you're into simplifying and figuring out what's essential, you'll do the last two steps. If you're like most people, you'll just keep doing one and two, which leads to a growing amount of clutter and complexity.

What I've learned from the cycle

As you might guess, I find the last two phases really important. But I also think the first two are important, because they're about continual learning, curiosity, growth, exploration, creativity and more. I haven't been able to stop myself from doing the first two phases at least a few times each year. So I continue to repeat this Simplicity Cycle, several times a year.

The first two phases are where you get excited about something, where you get motivated and you're moved to find out as much as you can. This is an essential human drive, and I would never want to suppress it.

But here's what I've learned:

  • I have to hold myself back from acquiring in the Addition phase. I do this by reminding myself of how much I wasted in the last few Addition phases, when I bought too many things. It's really hard to hold back when you're excited. But it's important to remember that following your every urge isn't necessarily a helpful thing.
  • The Inspiration phase can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes it's just a fantasy that grips hold of us (like wanting to become a black belt at something) when we see a photo or read an inspiring story of someone doing something cool. There's nothing wrong with these photos or inspiring stories. There's nothing wrong with the fantasy that forms in our heads. But when it grips us, and brings us to the Addition phase, then it can lead us to spend too much time or money or effort on something that's not really that important — it's just a fantasy that's taken hold. The reality will be quite different once we dive into it — becoming a black belt will take years of hard work, and the payoff won't be exactly what you dream it will be. That's not to say we shouldn't go after it, but we should realize it will be very different than how we picture, and probably not as exciting.
  • Often the Inspiration phase is started when we think we really want something, even need it. But it's not a true need. We rarely explore how to get our true needs met without the Addition phase, and it's something worth considering as we think about the big picture of our lives. What are true needs? More on that in the next section.
  • The Contemplation phase can come at any time — maybe even before you start the Addition phase! Maybe right after you start it and you pause to think about whether this is something you should be doing. Basically, you take a step back and look at the big picture — why are you bothering to do this? Is it just a fantasy or is it meaningful to you? Is the reality going to be anywhere close to the fantasy? Is there a more purposeful way you might be living? What are your true needs here? What can you get rid of, and what's truly essential?
  • The Paring Down phase can be very liberating! Once you've had a realization that you want to simplify, it can be a huge burden to let go of things that you've been holding onto. At the same time, it can be difficult to let go if you're still holding on to hope. And there's the regret of buying too much or acquiring too much, the regret of being wasteful. But it's not wasteful if you got something out of it, if you learned something from it. So give thanks to whatever gave you something, learn from the experience, and let go.

In this whole process, I find the real learning is about true needs. It's hard to understand true needs until you've gone through this process a few times. Let's take a look.

Finding your true needs

Going through this cycle helps you see that you can let go of things you don't really need. They might actually be giving you a burden you don't want, and letting go is liberating. You free yourself of it, and you're even happier — you didn't need it in the first place!

Going through the cycle a second time, and then a third, is just more learning about figuring out what you don't need. And learning to let go of what you don't really need.

If you go through the cycle a bunch of times, with consciousness, you can start to figure out the kinds of things you crave for and that excite you that aren't really true needs. They seem cool, they're shiny, but they don't really satisfy anything deep within you.

I'll give you a few examples of things that didn't satisfy a real need for me:

  • Chess: I really enjoyed learning about chess, but the competitive aspect of chess, and the hundreds and thousands of hours you need to spend on practice to get anywhere near good were not anything I really cared about. And honestly, getting really good at chess didn't hold real meaning to me. The true need was learning, and I can do that for free in many areas of life.
  • Gourmet food: When I moved to San Francisco, I discovered some amazing restaurants, from neighborhood gems to Michelin-starred world-class gourmet spots. I went crazy for about a year, going to as many as I could afford. It caused me to gain weight, lose a lot of money, and get tired of that kind of rich food. I did the same kind of deep dive with pizza, coffee, wine and beer at different times. To be honest, it was all a waste, and I'm glad I'm over it! The true need was exploration, and I can do that without needing to get broke or overweight.
  • Lots of books: At different points in the last 10-15 years, I've gone overboard in buying books. I love books, to be honest. I love the hope that each one contains, but I can go overboard with that optimism, and buy more than I can possibly read. The true need was, again, learning. I am not against books, but I am now more honest with myself (not always) about how much I can actually read.
  • Survival gear, travel gear, tech gear, hiking gear: Every now and then, I really get into a topic and decide I want the best gear in that area. I bought cool survival and travel gear, and too much ultralight backpacking gear. I don't go overboard with tech gear, but sometimes I get a craving and cave in to that craving. None of it has really mattered to me in the long term — it's all short-term lusts. The true need is really to get outdoors and explore.

None of those areas met my true needs — they were all extraneous, even though I thought they were important at the time.

In the end, going through the process helped me to realize what I really needed. And to let go of the things I thought were needs.

Some things I now think are true needs:

  1. Food, water, clothing, heat, shelter, and basic safety, of course.
  2. Love and connection.
  3. Learning, exploration.
  4. Play, inspiration & creative outlets.
  5. Getting outdoors, being active, being present with nature.
  6. Stillness & peace.

There might be more. Beyond the basic needs of the items at the top of the list, the others are about love and nourishment in some way.

And when I remember these needs, I can remember that these needs can be met in a variety of ways. Not only in the way I'm fantasizing about. I can meet my needs by simply going outside and going for a walk. Talking with a loved one or an interesting stranger. Reading something online. Meditating and finding stillness.

Simple things, that cost nothing. Simple things, that nourish me, and require no additions to what I already have. Simple things, that allow me to let go of the rest.

Simple things, that are available all around us in beautiful abundance.

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7. Vikings breakout quarterback Case Keenum learned the team's offense 2 years faster than normal by taking thousands of reps on VRСб., 20 янв.[−]

case keenumPaul Sancya/AP

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had a career season in 2017, taking over the starting quarterback spot after beginning the season as a backup.
  • Keenum helped learn the Vikings' offense by taking thousands of repetitions with VR, according to ESPN.
  • Veteran quarterbacks said it used to take them three years to be fully comfortable in an offense while Keenum mastered it in just one season.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum had a career season in 2017 as he commanded the starting position once he got a chance, never relinquished it, and now has his team one step away from the Super Bowl.

Though Keenum was slated to be the backup, he took over when Sam Bradford got hurt, then played too well to turn the reins over to Teddy Bridgewater once he got healthy.

According to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, Keenum, who has played on three teams in five years, got a leg up on the competition by using VR to learn the Vikings' offense. According to Cronin, Keenum took over 2,600 reps via VR, helping him mentally run through all of the Vikings offensive plays off the field.

There seemed to have been a true mental advantage for Keenum, who in addition to practice and game experience, got used to seeing the same plays over and over, knowing what to expect. Cronin noted that Keenum's QBR under pressure was the best in the NFL season, a possible effect of all of the VR training.

STRIVR CEO Derek Belch said other quarterbacks said that Keenum mastered an offense quicker than they ever did.

"He's getting better, not getting worse, because he's putting more work in and getting more comfortable every week in their system,” Belch said. “Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, guys [STRIVR has worked with] in veteran systems, they were like, 'Man, I wish I had this when I was a rookie because it took me three years to get comfortable in the offense.' He's had less than one year to learn an entire offense and it's turned out really well."

Keenum completed 67% of his passes this season, throwing for over 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He went 11-3 as the Vikings starter and never experienced a regression that many people thought might come.

"A lot of guys who are starters don't think they need it anymore because they're getting reps on the field," Belch told Cronin. "[Keenum] said, 'No, I think this is something that would be even more valuable as a starter as a supplemental preparation tool.'"

Keenum's biggest test yet will come in the NFC title game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but from the sounds of it, Keenum will be mentally prepared for anything the Eagles throw at him.

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8. How Terry Crews went from sweeping floors after quitting the NFL to becoming a transcendent pitchman and huge TV starСб., 20 янв.[−]

BI Graphics_Stay Hungry_800x100_POST (1)Business Insider

Terry CrewsGetty Images

  • Terry Crews has built a career by doing everything from action movies ("The Expendables") and comedy series ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine"), to being a game-show host ("Who Wants to Be a Millionaire") and pitchman (Old Spice).
  • But at one point, after playing in the NFL, he was broke and had a job sweeping floors at a factory.
  • Now, he's one of the most recognizable faces on the planet — and even has a furniture line.

Terry Crews learned the hard way that you should never take an opportunity for granted.

He was 11 years old when a woman at his church, impressed by his drawing ability, offered to have him create a sign for her storefront. She would give him $25 for the work, which for a kid from a blue-collar family in Flint, Michigan was quite a pay day. He was told to complete the sign within a week.

“I thought, ‘This is going to be easy!’” Crews recalled to Business Insider in a recent interview. “So I spent the week watching cartoons, hanging out, playing around, and the day before it was due I started. But the paint wasn’t sticking to the canvas, everything was going wrong, it was awful. The woman showed up at the house and looked at it and was like, ‘I’ve never been more disappointed.’ I was crushed. I didn’t put any effort into it. I vowed to work hard after that. I never wanted anyone to have that disappointment in me again.”

And Crews’ career proves that he’s never forgotten that life lesson.

From being the face of Old Spice commercials to his memorable roles in movies ("Idiocracy," "The Expendables") and TV ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine"), thanks to his hulking size matched with his comedic talents, Crews, 49, has gone from being broke after a lackluster career in the NFL, to being an actor who seems to always have a new goal he’s chasing down.

And recently Crews also stood up and became part of the #MeToo movement — the viral wave on social media denouncing sexual misconduct in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Late last year, Crews said in a series of tweets that a Hollywood executive groped him at a party in 2016. This, and subsequent statements and interviews, led to Crews being included in Time magazine's Person of the Year: “ Silence Breakers.

For this piece, Crews took Business Insider through some of the landmark moments of his career to show that when it comes to his brand, as he puts it, “I’m happy, but I’m never satisfied.”

Broke and sweeping floors in a factory after quitting the NFL

Terry Crews Redskins@terrycrews

Terry Crews’ career in the NFL was not a memorable one. Basically a glorified tackling dummy in the league after being drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round in 1991, Crews also played for the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. He walked away from the game after being on the practice squad for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996. He played a total of 32 games over his 5-year career.

With no other career to fall back on, Crews tried to get into acting, but quickly realized having the NFL on his resume didn't equal instant success.

"It was a big shock to me," Crews said about not finding immediate fame in the entertainment world. "I moved to Los Angeles thinking that because I was a football player, I was going to get a lot of big opportunities. They didn't even have a football team then, nobody cared!"

Crews said he spent a year broke, and had to get a job sweeping floors at a factory to make ends meet.

"I realized I had to start all over again," he said. "I gotta sweep these floors and make sure they are clean but I also felt like I was doing something about the situation. It was a gut check."

Finding his big break in "Friday After Next"

Friday After Next New Line CinemaNew Line Cinema

With no acting experience but a lot of desire, Crews got himself into auditions thanks to his size and outgoing personality. It led to him being cast on the syndicated show "Battle Dome" in 1999 — think a combination of "American Gladiators" and pro wrestling — where he played the character "T-Money" for two seasons. He also got extra work on movies like "Training Day" and the Matthew Perry comedy "Serving Sara."

Then in 2002 he got his big break.

After working security on the set of 2000's "Next Friday," the sequel to the Ice Cube stoner comedy "Friday," Cube cast Crews in the third movie, "Friday After Next." Crews played Damon, an ex-con who basically was the intimidating presence in the movie (as Tommy "Tiny" Lister's Deebo character was in the first two movies).

But Crews took the character to a whole new level and became a standout in the movie. This was particularly because his Damon character is sexually attracted to another male character, Money Mike (Katt Williams), a storyline that at the time in black culture was very taboo.

"I remember talking to Katt and saying, 'If this is the last thing we ever do, they can love us or they can hate us, but we have to make sure they never forget us,'" Crews said. "That was our whole mantra. Do something that will just make everyone's eyes bug out."

And they did just that. Crews said he pushed the homosexual tendencies of the Damon character to the point that even on set fellow actors thought it was going too far.

However, despite the movie being a box-office bomb (it grossed only $33.3 million worldwide), Crews was one of the highlights.

"At the premiere, Ice Cube came up to Katt and me and he was like, 'That whole third act with you and Katt takes over the whole movie.'" Crews said. "And I was like, wow. I got respect from people in the industry because I was willing to go all in."

The Old Spice commercials

Old Spice YouTubeYouTube

Crews' "all in" approach led him to be a huge part of an advertising campaign that has influenced the way commercials are made today.

In 2010, he began doing commercials for Old Spice deodorant called "Odor Blockers," and the company's YouTube channel suddenly became one of the most addictive destinations on the site. Created by the Wieden+Kennedy ad agency and directed by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, of "Tim and Eric Awesome Show" fame, the videos instantly became viral thanks to Crews insanely yelling and screaming while doing bizarre things (with the help of CGI). Whether it was rolling his head down a bowling lane, popping his now-famous pecs, or suddenly appearing in another brand's commercials, Crews embodied the insanity that made the commercials — as well as Isaiah Mustafa's equally zany " Smell Like a Man, Man" Old Spice commercials — go on to win advertising awards and spawn countless imitators.

"I remember the first time we shot any of the Old Spice commercials we did three on the same day because we kept coming up with ideas," Crews said. "I had to sign contracts and fax them to Wieden+Kennedy on set because I was only signed to do one ad."

"I trusted these guys and it was a magical moment," Crews continued. "It's been eight years and I'm still doing them. I'm filming a new one on Thursday!"

?President Camacho from "Idiocracy"

idiocracy 2006 02 g20th Century Fox

Through the years Crews has played some entertaining characters, but his most memorable (so far) is President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho from the 2006 movie "Idiocracy."

Though hardly anyone saw the movie when it was released, it's found a second life on Blu-ray, cable, and streaming. And Crews' portrayal of the president in a future when corporations are king and everyone is stupid has gotten to cult icon status.

There was even talk of Crews portraying Camacho in some anti-Donald Trump ads that "Idiocracy" director Mike Judge was going to make during the 2016 presidential campaign. But Crews balked, saying he would only do it if all the candidates were made fun of.

Looking back now, Crews feels he's protective of the Camacho character because of how it can be shaped to any political agenda — none of which the actor wants to be a part of.

"People are way more complex than Republican and Democrat, and that's what I love about 'Idiocracy,' it just told the truth," Crews said. "That's the comedy I like to do. I still think there's room to do Camacho stuff, I would love to. But I want to also just tell the truth and then let it lay."

"Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

brooklyn nine nine foxFox

Recently, Crews' steadiest work has been playing Detective Sergeant Terence "Terry" Jeffords for five seasons on the Fox comedy series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."

And if you're wondering, no, it's not a coincidence Crews' character is named Terry on the show.

"We designed the role for Terry, we named the character 'Terry' just to tell him how much we wanted him to do it," Michael Schur, co-creator/executive producer of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," told Business Insider in an email. "Everything about Terry Crews is impressive — his talent, his work ethic, his courage, his activism, everything. In fact, his biceps are the least impressive thing about him, which is saying something."

There is no better place than TV for actors to work on their craft, and Crews is appreciative of the show for that — and for the incredible response he's received from the show's fans over the years.

"One woman told me she watches 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' because her son passed away and they enjoyed watching it together," Crews said. "So when she watches it now it brings her back to that time. You start to realize the influence. This is beyond me."

Furniture line

Terry Crews furniture Bernhardt DesignBernhardt Design

That's right, Terry Crews has furniture named after him.

Crews said he was helping a friend out on a furniture line when he was suddenly offered his own.

"On the [list of] things I want to accomplish, furniture wasn't on there but art was," Crews said. "I felt, wait, furniture is art, if you make it it's art!"

Crews dove into the project, coming up with sketches on his own. It was evident for those working with him that he wasn't just going to slap his name on anything placed in front of him.

"He had so many solid ideas that the difficult part was choosing which ones to pursue for his first collection," Jerry Helling, creative director of furniture maker Bernhardt Design — which is doing Crews' line — told Business Insider in an email. "His knowledge of design and his passion for the industry, combined with his artistic skills made him an ideal collaborator."

Crews' collection ranges from seating to tables, all inspired by ancient Egypt. A second collection will be coming out in the spring.

Using his art skills to make a TV show

Terry Crews Brett Farve@terrycrews

Before scoring a football scholarship to attend Western Michigan University, Crews got an art scholarship. He's also been a courtroom sketch artist (back in his hometown of Flint, Michigan), and even painted portraits of NFL players to earn some extra cash during his playing days (sometimes charging $5,000 a portrait).

Now Crews is trying to combine his passion and his celebrity status to make a show.

He's prepping a pitch to send around Hollywood of a talk show in which he'll interview a guest while also sketching them. The pilot has already been shot with his "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" costar Andy Samberg as the guest.

"The pilot looks great, we got a lot of pitch meetings lined up," Crews said. "Our biggest thing is will the show be 30 minutes, or 10 minutes, or even a couple of minutes? We can tailor to whoever wants it. So we're keeping it open to any format."

Time magazine Person of the Year: "Silence Breakers"

Terry Crews GMAABC

Recently, the biggest thing on Crews' mind has been an incident that happened to him at a party back in 2016, he said.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations this past October, Crews was one of the many who spoke out about sexual harassment.

Through a series of tweets, the actor said that a "high level Hollywood executive" groped him at a party he attended with his wife.

Crews later revealed that the exec he was talking about was Adam Venit, head of the motion picture department at the talent agency William Morris Endeavor. The same agency represented Crews (the actor has since left WME). After a one-month suspension, Venit went back to work at WME and was demoted.

Crews, who has since filed a report with the LAPD alleging Venit sexually assaulted him, was later named as one of the "Silence Breakers" in Time's Person of the Year issue.

Looking back on the past months, Crews said telling his story was "a good thing" because it revealed who really was in his corner.

"I found out who my friends really were through this thing," Crews said. "There were a lot of people that I thought were behind me and weren't. I didn't cry in my bed, 'Oh, I've been betrayed,' as a businessman the difficult times revealed who was there for me and who wasn't."

"I'm thankful," Crews continued, "because I would have gone for years thinking these people had my back. I would have just kept going. Sometimes you don't see until something weird happens, and it doesn't get weirder than what happened to me."

NOW WATCH: Terry Crews explains how intermittent fasting keeps him in shape

9. THE FUTURE OF LIFE INSURANCE: How insurtechs are tackling this notoriously tricky area of insuranceСб., 20 янв.[−]

Millennial spendingBI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Life insurance is a fundamentally hard product to sell, as it requires people to think about their deaths and promises no immediate rewards.

The way life insurance is sold makes it doubly unattractive, as consumers have to go through an paper-based, lengthy application process and a bothersome medical exam, with little guidance from their providers, and often at high cost. The problem is worsened by incumbent insurers' failure to innovate, even as personalized products and streamlined services proliferate in other areas of finance.

Now, though, a small yet growing niche of insurtech startups is now finding different ways to digitize life insurance to make it more appealing. Life insurance-focused startups are tackling a number of problems with the status quo, including a lack of consumer understanding of the product, inconvenient application processes, weak customer loyalty, and inefficient data management and processing. Some are focused on improving products for consumers, while others are helping insurers to modernize. These startups are giving incumbents a way to revamp this product, either by partnering these companies or using their technology.

But these life insurtechs are shaking up a strictly regulated and sensitive product, and their solutions carry regulatory and ethical risks. That means such companies, and any insurers using their solutions, must take measures to make sure these new services add value to the industry. Nevertheless, life insurtechs are likely to spearhead change in this space, with incumbents following suit. Such startups will set new industry standards and consumer expectations around this complex product. That, in turn, will serve as a catalyst for innovation among legacy insurers.

In a new report, BI Intelligence looks at the major players in the global life insurance industry, the problems (for consumers and providers) in the life insurance status quo, how insurtechs are revamping the life insurance space and giving the product a new lease of life, best practices for both startup and incumbent life insurance innovators, and what the future of the life insurance space will look like as fintech makes its presence felt in it.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The need for innovation in life insurance has never been clearer — life insurance sales on the whole are slowing, and policy ownership is hitting record lows. A lack of consumer understanding, inconvenient application procedures, low customer loyalty, and old IT systems are denting providers' returns.
  • Life insurtechs are looking to revamp the space in two key ways: Consumer-focused players focus on eliminating the pain points that put consumers off buying life insurance coverage, while insurer-focused startups offer ways to improve processes and operations for the providers that still dominate much of the market.
  • There are some risks attached to bringing technologies not typically used in insurance into this tightly-regulated space, but life insurers can adopt best practices to mitigate them and reap rewards, like: getting full customer approval to use their data, hiring tech-savvy compliance teams, and prioritize customer education about the product. Startups, meanwhile, should pick incumbent partners carefully.
  • Incumbents’ activity in life insurance innovation to date has been limited to implementing some shiny new technologies, largely on the front-end. If life insurance incumbents want to stay relevant, they'll have to invest in the core systems needed to give them the freedom to innovate and introduce changes on their own terms.

In full, the report:

  • Looks at the world's biggest and most innovative life insurance markets, and trends they're setting for the space.
  • Explains the major inefficiencies embedded in the life insurance status quo, and the problems they're causing providers and consumers.
  • Outlines the two main strategies life insurtechs are adopting to drive change in this market, for the benefit of buyers and sellers of life insurance.
  • Discusses the best practices life insurance incumbents and startups should adopt to steer clear of the risks still attached to applying emerging technologies to such a tightly regulated product.
  • Gives an overview of what the rise of life insurtechs has in store for the life insurance space going forward.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 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
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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10. 13 ways to help a friend who's grieving, beyond bringing a casseroleСб., 20 янв.[−]

cry crying upset woman sadAlexander Lyubavin/Flickr

  • While friends and relatives are quick to offer sympathy following the loss of a loved one, sticking around and showing continued support makes the greatest impact.
  • Small gestures, such as stocking up on toilet paper, stamps or even breath mints can make life a little easier for those in mourning.
  • A personal handwritten message goes a long way, and shows that you care.

The first weeks after losing my husband are a total blur. I sort of remember there was food and lots of hugging visitors. Unfortunately most of the faces and their gifts are swirled up in the tsunami that was my grief and I don't remember much of it. It was so primal those first weeks; there really wasn't much capacity for permanent recall.

Over time, I've regained a few of the brain cells no longer preoccupied with mere survival. I've found lists of what people brought and can now remember extraordinary ways people showed up to love us. I can't begin to name all the things, but there are a few rock star grief goodies that stand out. Helpful things people gave, said or did that were extra useful, even if I didn't realize it at the time. Most of these things came from people who have walked through their own hell.

Grief makes us amazing comforters and helpers if we let it. I could immediately tell who had experienced great loss in their lives by the things they did or said.

Their words and gifts helped in ways beyond the comfort of feeling loved. They were often ordinary and usually practical. And they were things I'd usually never considered before. Flower-givers, casserole-makers and card-senders are equally important, don't get me wrong, but I'm going to share some less than obvious ways you can help your grieving friends.

The tricky thing is, grieving people are so weird. It's such an individual thing?—?what we need, what we want, how we feel?—?all so different from one another and also likely to change in the blink of an eye. It can be really hard to know what to do, so people often tiptoe around, feeling helpless. They often say, "Let me know if there's anything I can do."

I've said it myself to grieving friends and family, but I will rephrase my condolences from now on, because now I know. The truth is, I wasn't able to think about what I needed from all of the helpers offering their assistance the first month. And by the time I had regained half a brain, most of the helpers were gone.

As it turns out, grief lasts longer than sympathy?—?way longer.

I feel bad for all the people who wanted to help right away because I didn't know what I needed. I don't blame them for moving on when I wasn't able to give them instructions. I mean how many times should they need to ask? I would've moved on too ... before. But now, because grief has changed me, I've learned a few things.

If you're a friend to someone who's experiencing loss and you're just not sure what to say or do, here's a list of 13 ideas:

1. Write something personal in the sympathy card

My favorites involved lovely, often funny stories about my husband. Sure, they made me cry, but the personal stories brought me comfort. Realizing people actually knew my husband and would miss him too was reassuring. Plus they provided more memories I could call upon later.

2. Gift cards to restaurants

It was almost three months before I could do more than prepare a bowl of cereal or toast for my family, and even that felt overwhelming. The freezer was bursting at the seams but defrosting things and turning on the oven? More than I could handle.

3. Paper goods

Toilet paper, paper plates, paper towels, Kleenex, napkins, food storage bags, etc. There's lots of people, and even more food when someone dies. There's no time for doing dishes and not enough Tupperware in the cupboard to handle it all. And also, who has time to run to the store for toilet paper when you're grieving? Plus, there are people at the store and they might ask how you're doing and no. Just NO to that for a while. Too much.

4. Breath mints

Do you know what happens when you cry a lot and are running on emotional fumes? Bad breath, that's what. I honestly don't even know if I brushed my teeth those first weeks, which is totally gross, but who knows? It's a grief mystery. All of the hugging and having to talk close-up makes this a gift that keeps on giving.

5. Postage stamps

I received a few sympathy cards containing stamps. Thank you! Because running out to buy a stamp was a tiny bit not even on my priority list. These same beautiful people usually wrote their name and address and what they gave inside the card (so I didn't have to!) and also gave me a free pass on sending them a thank you.

6. Less talk, more listen

Listening is probably the most underappreciated gift, yet one of the most valuable. It's especially an excellent choice when you're just not sure what to say. Don't feel bad, most people don't. It's just as awkward for you as it is for me.

7. Things to occupy the kids

Books, toys, craft kits, Legos, board games, movie theater gift cards?—?all of these types of things helped give my kids something to do while their Mom was distracted and unavailable. It's awkward for kids to have a bunch of adults invade their house when they're craving a sliver of "normal."

8. Things kids will actually eat

Granola bars, cereal, juice boxes, Lunchables, fruit, frozen waffles, etc. The truth is, kids just don't appreciate a green bean casserole. They did, however, eat up the kid-friendly food that was delivered. And that, in turn, helped me. When my son asked me one evening, "Mom, are you going to feed us tonight?" (don't judge?—?grief is hard), I had things I could feed them that didn't require thought.

9. Gift cards for retail therapy

Sometimes the greatest gifts aren't practical gifts. It took many, many weeks before this was fully appreciated, but it turns out when you're ready to take that first step forward out of grief, a new outfit really helps.

10. Rescuing the kids

If you're close enough to the family, rescuing the kids from grief-central is so kind and gives them something else to think about for a minute. Taking them for a walk, to a movie, playing with them somewhere other than where all the grief is happening is an amazing gift. It also eased my guilt about not spending time with them because I had to be on the phone handling post-death details.

11. Touch base regularly

I have one friend who set an alarm on her phone to remind her to check-in with me via text message every day. It's not as frequent now, but she's still checking in. Some days I had the energy to reply, some days I didn't, but every time I appreciated knowing someone was still thinking about me. It took less energy than a phone call too, which I appreciated. And for the love, please don't stop doing this after a few months have passed. Do it a year or two later too!

12. Extra grace

This should really be at the top of this list. I can't speak for other grievers, but the most inappropriate things flew out of my mouth the first month?—?especially at the funeral. I think I told everyone in the condolences line (is that what it's called?) that my husband's funeral was the best funeral EVER! (Seriously?!) Sorry about that?—?and also probably my bad breath.

There are so many more ways you can bless your grieving people. These are just some of the ways. The traditional ways are still beautiful, loving and helpful methods too, so don't feel badly if that's what you do. But don't we always wonder how we can help someone that's hurting in real, tangible and even more useful ways? The things I found ridiculously helpful may not resonate the same way with another person. Grief is so tricky, isn't it?! Just do your best. We grievers can give extra grace too. And if we don't, forgive us. We don't mean it.

13. Prayer

Prayer deserves a huge shout-out. Sometimes that's the best thing to say. "I'm so sorry and I'm praying for you." But mean it. Nothing is more powerful than prayer ... paired with a hug or shared cry ... and maybe some chocolate. Because after a few weeks, food doesn't taste like cardboard anymore and chocolate becomes necessary.

Showing up, in whatever way you can is what really matters most. If you know someone hurting after loss, just show up in the ways you're most equipped and realize it's going to be awkward. Awkward is OK?—?it's just part of it, so please don't let it stop you. There's a place for everyone at the grief table; the Kleenex givers, the huggers and the casserole makers.

NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

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11. The government shutdown will mean big changes for military members and veteransСб., 20 янв.[−]

veteran's day parade 2017Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • The federal government shut down at midnight on Saturday because Congress could not reach a funding deal.
  • The shutdown will have a large impact on the military.
  • Active duty personnel will remain on the job, but will not recieve pay until the shutdown ends.
  • In the event that a servicemember is killed in action during the shutdown, the family would not recieve their $100,000 bereavement benefit.
  • Retiree benefits, Veterans Affairs disability benefits, and Survivor's Benefit Plan funds would all still be paid.

The federal government shut down at midnight on Saturday as Congress failed to reach a funding bill by the deadline.

The effects of the shutdown will be wide-ranging, with as many as 850,000 of approximately 2.1 million federal employees being placed on furlough, which means they're placed on a leave of absence and receive no pay.

One of the biggest concerns for Congress and the White House is what the shutdown will do to the military. The Department of Defense released its shutdown contingency plan on Friday, listing what activities are deemed essential, and thus exempted from the shutdown, and which ones are nonessential.

While the shutdown means that several long-term projects will see their funding frozen, many activities needed for defense will remain open. Active duty military personnel will remain at work, but receive no pay, and operations overseas will be funded.

Here's full rundown of how the shutdown will impact different parts of the military:

  • Active duty pay: Pay for active duty military members will be frozen, but a paycheck will come until February 1. During the 2013 shutdown, a separate bill to fund military pay during the shutdown was passed, while an amendment to do the same that was advanced by Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • Active military operations: All military operations overseas, including operations in Afghanistan, are still funded.
  • In the event of an active duty military member being killed in action: The family of the deceased soldier would not receive their $100,000 bereavement benefit and would not have travel funded if they went to Dover Air Force Base to meet the body. Life insurance for service members would still be funded.
  • Retiree pay, Veteran's Affairs disability benefits, and Survivor's Benefits Plan benefits: These plans are funded through separate money from the annually appropriated funds, so beneficiaries will still receive checks.
  • Movements of military personnel: Moves to new positions will be limited to certain activities. Moves to a position that is expected from the shutdown will be allowed.
  • Contracted personnel: Any personnel working on a contract signed and appropriated prior to the shutdown will be allowed to continue. New contracts will not be executed.
  • On-base facilities: Most on-base facilities will remain open including on-base schools medical facilities, mess halls, gyms, and child care facilities would be open. Some commissaries could be closed as they were in 2013.
  • Healthcare: On-base healthcare will remain available and private sector care covered by TRICARE will be funded.

NOW WATCH: A reporter who met with the former spy behind the Trump-Russia dossier explains why it’s not 'fake news'

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12. Goldman Sachs's co-president allegedly had $1.2 million of wine stolen by his assistantСб., 20 янв.[−]

wine cellarReuters / Albert Gea

  • The former assistant of Goldman Sachs co-president David Solomon stands accused of stealing more than $1.2 million of wine from his employer.
  • The stolen wine most notably included seven bottles from the French estate Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, widely considered "among the best, most expensive and rarest wines in the world," according to the indictment.

Goldman Sachs co-president David Solomon has allegedly been bilked out of more than $1.2 million of wine by his own personal assistant, according to a report from Chris Dolmetsch of Bloomberg News.

Nicolas De-Meyer was named as the person accused of the theft in an indictment that was unsealed on Wednesday. It says that De-Meyer worked for an "individual who collects rare and expensive wine." Bloomberg reported that individual was Solomon.

De-Meyer is accused of stealing hundreds of bottles from Solomon's massive collection. Most notably, the heist included seven bottles from the French estate Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, widely considered "among the best, most expensive and rarest wines in the world," according to the indictment, which was reviewed by Bloomberg.

The alleged perpetrator worked for Solomon from 2008 to November 2016, and the thefts took place from 2014 to around October 2016, according to prosecutors.

De-Meyer, whose responsibilities included taking wine delivered to Solomon's Manhattan residence and transporting it to his cellar in East Hampton, is accused of using the alias "Mark Miller" to sell bottles to a wine dealer located in North Carolina.

Read the full story on Bloomberg here.

NOW WATCH: Fidelity sector expert: Buy stocks that are sensitive to the economy

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13. CHATBOTS EXPLAINED: Why businesses should be paying attention to the chatbot revolution (FB, AAPL, GOOG)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

bii chatbot ecosystembi intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes.

Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact. We outline the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, look at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer.

The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, we compare the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers.
  • Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates.
  • The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies.
  • Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.

In full, the report:

  • Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots.
  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 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
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

Learn more:

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14. A psychotherapist shares the 7 things successful people do every nightСб., 20 янв.[−]

man using phone in bedShutterstock

  • To ensure you have a great day tomorrow, follow a nightly routine.
  • Set a time to stop checking emails and thinking about work.
  • Plan the next day, unplug, and spend time with friends and family.
  • Remember to think positively — and prioritize sleep.

How you spend your night can have a huge impact on the day that follows.

Do you spend your time ruminating over issues? Or maybe you stress over something that didn't quite go right during the day. There's no doubt: How you think affects how you feel.

This is particularly important at night, as you try to unwind and prepare for rest. This sets you up for sleep, which serves many vital purposes.

When I look at my clients who achieve the most during their days and are happiest, they are the ones who have a healthy routine at night. They set themselves up for success the following day by thinking and acting in a particular way.

Here's what you can do at night to ensure a successful tomorrow:

1. Cut off work.

Make sure you actually end your workday rather than letting it extend into your night. Set a time to end your business day and know when to stop checking emails, responding to calls, and most importantly, thinking about work. Accept the notion that you can only do so much in one day and tomorrow is another opportunity for you to get things done. Although overachievers and those who pull all-nighters might accomplish tasks in the short term, they eventually burn out and diminish their chances for long-term success. Don't be that person.

2. Plan for your tomorrow.

Spend a few minutes thinking about what you need to do the next day but make sure you don't dwell on it. Simply set your schedule and write out your day. Albert Einstein once said, "Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think". We can certainly heed Einstein's advice here.

3. Forgive.

By letting go of grudges and conflicts you may have had during the day, you're freeing your mind of stress and distractions, allowing for better rest. Know that any such situations will lead to anxiety and not calm, while resting will provide clarity of mind for you to reevaluate any outstanding issues the following day.

4. Create friends and family time.

Use your time at night to connect with people you care about and enjoy spending time with. These relationships need to be nurtured, and doing so during the week will help you to create balance. It's also a good way to take your mind off of work.

5. Unplug.

I'm sure this comes as no surprise. There's no doubt, today, that there are more stimuli available to us than ever before. Twitter, Instagram, 24-hour news cycles, Snapchat, tablets in every room in our homes, watches with internet access, and more. Because of the abundance of devices and ease of staying connected, it may be even more challenging to disconnect. One sure way to make it happen is by making a conscious decision to do it. Successful people know when to cut off technology.

For example, if bedtime is at 11:00 p.m. then shut down devices by 10:00 p.m. or even earlier. Devices = stimuli, and this is entirely incompatible with what you're trying to achieve at night: winding down and resting. Similarly, don't do anything too stimulating. That means avoiding heated conversations, scary movies, and loud music. Dim the light and pull down the shades to create a calm atmosphere as you ready yourself for bed.

6. Think positively.

So many people stress out and feel anxious at night. They think of all the things that didn't quite work out for them during the day and worry about a multitude of things for the following day--all of which are entirely incompatible with rest. To counter this, reflect on the day you're leaving behind and look forward to the day ahead by doing the following brief exercise: Think of three positive things from your day.

For example, what are you happy about? What did you accomplish? Perhaps you had some friendly interactions with people. Next, think of three things you look forward to the next day. It could be a meeting that you feel well-prepared for or maybe it is simply your delicious cup of coffee in the morning.

7. Prioritize sleep.

Understand the importance of getting adequate sleep, including the major restorative functions it provides to the body and its rejuvenation of the mind.

Jonathan Alpert is a psychotherapist, columnist, performance coach and author in Manhattan.

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15. An unassuming office building in Finland could have the answers to fighting back Russia's efforts to destabilize the worldСб., 20 янв.[−]

russian soldiersREUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

  • Finland is leading the way on cyber defense.
  • But a new 1.5 million euro cybersecurity initiative is flailing as the nature of what it actually accomplishes remains ambiguous.
  • The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats is part of a larger effort by NATO and the EU to knit together their members' expertise and help them adapt quickly to the changing face of conflict.

HELSINKI — Located in an unassuming office building filled with boardrooms, lecture halls, and projectors in the Finnish capital, a new entity under the joint auspices of the European Union and NATO was founded with a herculean mission. Tasked with a 1.5 million euro budget, the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats was created to find new ways to defend against hybrid warfare: the blending of
diplomacy, politics, media, cyberspace, and military force to destabilize and undermine an opponent's government.

But four months after its prestigious launch in October 2017, the center is still striving to come close to the lofty expectations that have been set out for it. The nature of its activities remains ambiguous, raising questions about what it brings to the table as Western policymakers grasp with how to push back against a growing array of cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, military saber rattling, and economic pressure that blurs the lines between wartime and peacetime.

"One of the complicated issues for everyone when looking at our center is understanding what exactly hybrid threats are," Hanna Smith, the center's director of strategic planning and responses, told Foreign Policy during an interview at the center. "The challenge has been to try to explain it in a way that is easily understood."

One of the central tasks of the hybrid center is to articulate how different weaknesses — such as a poorly protected electrical grid or a vaguely written law — can be exploited in unforeseen ways by an adversary and then to share the best ways to defend against such attacks. In this vein, the hybrid center is more of an in-house think tank than a task force dedicated to debunking propaganda or tracking hackers in cyberspace.

The bulk of the center's work is largely an academic mission dedicated to producing white papers, conducting training courses, and providing workshops to policymakers and practitioners.

"Our job is to focus on the phenomenon itself," Jukka Savolainen, the director of a unit within the center dedicated to analyzing vulnerabilities, told FP. "We're not pinpointing individual targets or companies or actors. It's not about an individual case. It's about identifying the pattern."

The center is part of a larger effort by NATO and the EU to knit together their members' expertise and help them adapt quickly to the changing face of conflict. Amid growing reports of Kremlin-linked meddling across the West, from the " little green men" used in Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 to allegedly interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, Russia's evolving playbook has been propelled to the top of the security agenda. NATO has increased its presence along its eastern flank, and many of its members are increasing defense spending. But exactly how valuable the center's ivory tower approach can be remains to be seen.

"I'm not exactly sure what they're actually doing," Janne Riihelainen, a Finnish national security commentator, told FP. "Nobody really does."

An 'institution fit for our time'

Speaking at the center's inauguration event, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign-policy chief, hailed the initiative as part of Europe's response to Russia. Both officials also highlighted the symbolism of hosting the center in Finland, a non-NATO member of the EU, as evidence of an "unprecedented level" of cooperation between the two organizations.

Since then, the center has continued to receive top-level attention: Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has touted it as a key contribution to European security, and US Defense Secretary James Mattis offered praise during a November visit to Helsinki, calling it an "institution fit for our time."

While decision-makers in Europe see the changing security landscape, they are less sure how to respond to nontraditional threats — and this area is where the center hopes to shed new light. It remains unclear, however, how it will actually do this.


While much of its work is dedicated to Kremlin-linked efforts to sow discord across the West, the center is also looking at how terrorist groups such as the Islamic State use propaganda, legal loopholes, and other unlikely soft spots to their advantage. This wide mandate, as well as its small staff, has drawn some ire in the Finnish press, criticizing the center's bureaucratic approach to a nonbureaucratic problem.

For Riihelainen, the center's vague methods, coupled with the constraints of handling sensitive information that cannot be disclosed publicly, are likely to hamper its mission to connect the dots for policymakers and the general public.

"Deniability is a big part of hybrid threats," Riihelainen said. "And if [the center] wants to be effective, they need to have a visible presence, and I'm not sure they can really do that."

The center is still searching for its identity

Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a senior research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, shares similar concerns about the center's scope, mismanaged expectations, and its lack of resources.

"It's never going to be an operational entity that sends out a message that something taking place in a certain country is actually a hybrid attack, which is what some people want it to be," Salonius-Pasternak told FP. "It could still be valuable on an analytical level, but I'm not sure it has the resources to do that effectively."

In many ways, the center is still searching for its identity. Its staff say they have a unique ability to draw upon the experiences of countries such as the Baltic states and Finland, which have endured hybrid attacks in the past, and to come up with real policy proposals that can be implemented in other countries. The center's staff also say they can utilize the expertise of NATO and EU institutions.

"We're a bridge between all these different institutions. That's part of what we bring to the table," said Juha Mustonen, the center's director of international relations.

Jarno Limnell, a professor of cybersecurity at Aalto University who has consulted the Finnish government, told FP that he believes it's still too early to give a complete report card on the hybrid center's work but said its function as a type of think tank could still be valuable in helping the EU, NATO, and their member countries come up with new legislation and policies.

Similar centers of excellence in Estonia and Latvia that focus on cybersecurity and strategic communications have carved out valuable niches as go-to places for policy insights on their respective topics.

"Expectations are very high, and I'd even say that they are too high," Limnell said. "Some people are expecting them to solve the whole hybrid problem."

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16. 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT: Here's what the experts are predicting for all 32 first-round picksСб., 20 янв.[−]

Sam DarnoldRon Jenkins/Getty Images

We are still three months from the 2018 NFL Draft, but players and teams are already jockeying for position, and experts are starting to weigh in on their early predictions with mock drafts.

We surveyed eight NFL Draft experts who have released mock drafts recently to get a consensus prediction for which players teams might be considering with all 32 first-round picks. Under this format, it is possible for the same player to appear in multiple spots and for some players with first-round talent to not appear at all if there is no consensus on where they might land. As we get closer to the draft we will be able to add more experts and we will start to see more agreement on most of the picks.

The experts: ESPN's Mel Kiper, Walter Football, RJ White of CBSSports.com, USA Today's Luke Easterling, Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com, Eric Galko of Sporting News, Rotoworld's Josh Norris, and DraftTek.

1. Cleveland Browns — Sam Darnold, QB

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Experts: 5 out of 8

School: USC

Other notable possibilities: Josh Allen, Saquon Barkley

Key expert quote: Rang: "Like any young player, Darnold has his flaws, most notably an elongated windup, which contributes to both fumbles and interceptions. He is accurate (including on the move), athletic and tough. He also comes with a pro-caliber build, offense and media market, making the projection to the next level simpler than most of his competition. "

2. New York Giants — Josh Rosen, QB

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Experts: 6 out of 8

School: UCLA

Other notable possibilities: Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley

Key expert quote: Kiper: "Rosen is the top pure passer in this class. He looked better than Darnold when UCLA and USC played late in the season. Rosen, however, has dealt with injuries the past two seasons, and there already have been rumblings that he doesn't want to end up in Cleveland. There are some red flags. But some team is going to draft him high -- he has rare arm talent and has been much more secure with the ball than Darnold and Allen. The Giants could move into life after Eli Manning with a new franchise quarterback."

3. Indianapolis Colts — Saquon Barkley, RB or Bradley Chubb, DE

Christian Petersen/Getty Images; Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Experts: 3 each out of 8

School: Penn State (Barkley), North Carolina State (Chubb)

Other notable possibilities: Arden Key, Orlando Brown

Key expert quote: White: "Barkley is likely the top talent in the draft this year and a decent bet to go No. 1 overall despite the position he plays. The Colts will be looking for a new bell-cow back despite there being no proof that Frank Gore isn't a warlock who has defeated the slow march of time, and if Barkley is there at No. 3, he could be the top name on the board for the Colts. It wouldn't be too shocking to see them go pass-rusher or offensive lineman either. "

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

17. Goldman Sachs beats despite trading woes (GS)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid Thomson Reuters

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday released results from its fourth quarter, beating analyst expectations with adjusted earnings of $5.68 a share.

Wall Street analysts had been expecting adjusted earnings of $4.90 a share.

Like the other big banks, Goldman Sachs took a hit from the recently enacted tax law. The bank took a hit of $4.40 billion in the fourth quarter related to the tax legislation.

JPMorgan reported a $2.4 billion fourth-quarter loss because of the new tax law, and Citigroup reported a $22 billion loss. The CEOs of each firm nonetheless praised the potential long-term benefits of the law.

Here are the key numbers:

  • Revenue of $7.83 billion, ahead of $7.6 billion expected.
  • The bank hauled in $2.14 billion in investment-banking revenue in the fourth quarter, up 44% year-on-year and 19% quarter-on-quarter. The bank said its dealmaking backlog increased compared with that of the third quarter.
  • The Institutional Client Services group, which houses equity and fixed-income trading, posted $2.37 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, down more than a third year-over-year and 24% from the third quarter.
  • The bank said both the equities and fixed-income units "continued to operate in a challenging environment characterized by low levels of volatility and low client activity."
  • Both the investment and lending business and the asset-management business posted increases in revenue, with the two units delivering $1.66 billion in revenue each.
  • Nonadjusted net income showed a loss of $2.14 billion, a smaller loss than the $2.35 billion loss expected.

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18. One chart explains what's driving the stock market's record-breaking explosionСб., 20 янв.[−]

trader nyse pointGetty Images / Spencer Platt

  • Upward revisions to S&P 500 profit forecasts have provided crucial fuel for the stock market's ascent to new record highs.
  • US equities are surging so much, so quickly, that some Wall Street strategist year-end forecasts have already been surpassed.

It's no coincidence that the stock market's latest batch of record highs has come as corporate earnings season starts in earnest.

That's because upward revisions to profit forecasts have been one of the main drivers of those equity gains. After all, earnings growth has been the undeniable driving force of stock gains throughout much of the 8 1/2-year bull market, and those positively adjusted estimates have given bulls even more of a reason to buy.

At the root of this surge in earnings forecasts is the recently passed GOP tax bill, which Wall Street agrees will boost the bottom lines for many companies. Whether those firms are simply paying a lower tax rate than before, or because they're also getting a repatriation tax holiday, the consensus is that the tax plan will drive profit expansion.

This chart tells you everything you need to know about this dynamic. As S&P 500 forward 12-month earnings-per-share (EPS) forecasts have climbed, so has the level of the benchmark. They've been closely synced since 2015, and have been perhaps more closely linked than ever in recent months.

1 17 18 spx earnings COTDMorgan Stanley

"Tax reform has only recently started flowing through to consensus numbers," Mike Wilson, Morgan Stanley's chief US equity strategist, wrote in a client note. The chart "confirms this suspicion, showing the vertical jump in next-12-month EPS expectations that took place after December 15."

The stock market has been so red-hot, in fact, that it's already blown through many year-end forecasts made by strategists across Wall Street, despite it still being mid-January. That's caused those same market experts to adjust their estimates higher, a practice that's surely emboldening to bulls.

As of Wednesday, a group of 23 strategists are forecasting that the S&P 500 will finish 2018 at 2,950. That's 6% above current levels, and almost 5% higher than the median estimate just three weeks ago.

"Tax cuts provide the visibility on earnings that markets love," said Wilson. "Our 3,000 bull case looks more likely."

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 10.58.19 AMMarkets Insider

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19. This government shutdown is historic for one big reasonСб., 20 янв.[−]

donald trump mitch mcconnellEvan Vucci/AP Images

  • The federal government officially shut down at midnight on Saturday.
  • This is the first time in the history of the modern budget process that one party controls the government and employees are being furloughed during a shutdown.

The federal government entered the 18th partial shutdown of the modern budget era at midnight Saturday after the Senate failed to reach a deal on a funding bill.

The modern budget process began with the passage of the Budget Act of 1974. Since then, there have been a slew of different circumstances that prompted shutdowns, but this shutdown is unique for one reason.

This is the first time that one party has controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House during a shutdown in which federal employees are furloughed.

There have been shutdowns where one party has controlled all three parts of the government, all under President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s. But during those shutdowns, no government employees were sent home without pay, known as being on furlough.

There have been shutdowns in which employees have been furloughed, but those occurred under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama when they did not have control of at least on chamber of Congress.

Republicans point out that the bill to avoid a shutdown needed 60 votes, and at least 10 Democrats, in the Senate in order for it to pass. In the end, while five Democrats voted for it, four Republicans also voted against the measure.

Thus, it's the first time there has been one-party control of the government and employees are not being paid.

Welcome to history.

us government shutdownsAndy Kiersz/Business Insider

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20. TRUMP, BREXIT, AND CROSS-BORDER E-COMMERCE: Rising economic nationalism and the growth of digital retailСб., 20 янв.[−]

Retailers and BrexitBI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Cross-border e-commerce is widely expected to be a key growth engine for the global e-commerce industry in the coming years, thanks to a convergence of consumer and market trends.

Major retailers are already expanding their cross-border shipping options, and cross-border online purchases — those between consumers and merchants based in different countries — are set to grow twice as fast as domestic ones through 2020, according to a study released earlier this year by DHL.

BI Intelligence estimates that, with current policies in place, global cross-border e-commerce will generate more than $1 trillion in sales for retailers by 2021.

However, over the past year, two key global events — the presidential election in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK — have cast uncertainty over the cross-border e-commerce market in the form of protectionist trade policies that could restrict the flow of goods between different countries. Growing economic nationalism in Western democracies — a phenomenon brought on by negative perceptions of the trade liberalization and globalization that these countries have experienced since the end of the Cold War — fueled both of these political upheavals.

In a new report, BI Intelligence details the the potential impact of the rise of economic nationalism in Western democracies on the global cross-border e-commerce market. Brexit, NAFTA's renegotiation, and potential disruptions to US-China trade relations could dramatically impact cross-border e-commerce between the UK and EU, and the US and China, Mexico, and Canada. These cross-border e-commerce corridors together make up around 20% of global cross-border e-commerce, and generate tens of billions in online sales for merchants today.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Cross-border e-commerce — defined as any online purchase made from a business located in another country — will grow to more than $1 trillion by 2021 under current global trade policies.
  • However, protectionist trade policies could disrupt several major cross-border e-commerce corridors by placing tariffs and new customs restrictions on goods moving between countries, and, in some cases, severely limiting online retailers' ability to reach consumers in other markets.
  • Donald Trump's election in the US has raised the possibility of trade relations between the US and China deteriorating. This would threaten the most valuable cross-border e-commerce corridor in the world, as US retailers have found a massive market for their wares among China's online shoppers.
  • The renegotiation of NAFTA will begin later this year, with cross-border e-commerce between the US, Canada, and Mexico hanging in the balance. US online retailers already garner billions in sales from Canadian consumers every year, and are making more inroads to Mexico as well.
  • Brexit negotiations could impact tens of billions of dollars in e-commerce sales between UK consumers and EU merchants and vice versa. Though these merchants and consumers have long-standing ties, a "hard" Brexit would add new costs and complexities to transactions between them.

In full, the report:

  • Forecasts the growth of cross-border e-commerce globally, as well as growth in the specific corridors that could be impacted by Brexit, NAFTA renegotiations, and US-China trade relations.
  • Examines trends and challenges in cross-border e-commerce between the UK and EU, as well as between the US and Canada, Mexico, and China.
  • Analyzes the impact that different scenarios — including a "hard" vs. "soft" Brexit, or targeted tariffs imposed on US-China trade — could have on cross-border e-commerce between the countries involved.
  • Provides insight into the likelihood of these scenarios, helping online retailers adjust their plans for international expansion and sales.

To get the full report, subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now

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21. The 2 surprising quarterbacks on the brink of the Super Bowl had a bizarre and intertwined path to starting the NFC title gameСб., 20 янв.[−]

case keenumJamie Squire/Getty

  • Case Keenum and Nick Foles will square off at quarterback when the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles play in the NFC Championship on Sunday.
  • Keenum's and Foles' paths are bizarrely intertwined, beginning in 2015 when they played for the St. Louis Rams before going their separate ways.
  • Now, because of injuries, both players are the surprise starters for their teams and playing well.

At the start of the 2017 NFL season, few could have predicted that Case Keenum and Nick Foles would be starting for the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game.

When the two quarterbacks face off on Sunday, they may have a laugh at the respective paths that got them to the brink of a Super Bowl.

In 2015, the then- St. Louis Rams traded Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for Nick Foles, a second-round pick, and future fourth-round pick. While Foles became the Rams' starter, Case Keenum became the No. 2 quarterback after he was re-acquired in a trade with the Houston Texans, and ended up starting five games after Foles struggled.

Bradford struggled in Philadelphia, too, and before the 2016 draft, the Eagles made a big trade to acquire the second overall pick, which they used on Carson Wentz.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater badly injured his knee in training camp, prompting the Vikings to send a first-round pick to the Eagles for Bradford. Wentz became the starter in Philadelphia.

The Rams, meanwhile, used the No. 1 pick (which they acquired from the Tennessee Titans in a massive trade) on Jared Goff. Keenum started the first nine games of the season before eventually being benched for Goff.

Fast forward to 2017, and the Vikings re-signed Bradford while the Eagles signed Foles in free agency to be their backup. Keenum, a free agent, signed with the Vikings, becoming the No. 2 quarterback behind Bradford while Bridgewater continued to rehab from his knee injury.

Bradford ended up getting hurt after the Vikings' first game game, and only made one other start the rest of the season, turning the keys over to Keenum. Keenum played so well as the starter — thanks to the help of VR — that the Vikings didn't go back to Bridgewater when he was finally healthy. Keenum became their guy.

And in Philadelphia, Wentz tore his ACL in Week 14, making Foles the Eagles starter for the remainder of the season.

In the NFC divisional round this past weekend, Foles helped the Eagles scrape by the Atlanta Falcons in a defensive battle, while Keenum helped orchestrate a miracle touchdown in Minnesota to beat the New Orleans Saints.

While the circumstances that got both Keenum and Foles to the NFC championship are slightly different, both surprise quarterbacks need just one more good game to get to the Super Bowl.

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22. This LA startup is selling premium denim for under $100 — and it's inviting fans to be investorsСб., 20 янв.[−]

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


  • Direct-to-consumer business models mean startups like Everlane and Allbirds can sell luxury clothes at a fraction of the price found at big-name retailers.
  • DSTLD is the new startup to watch, offering premium denim for under $100 and essentials that nail LA cool and urban chic.
  • The startup is also the first fashion brand to offer its shoppers the opportunity to buy a stake in the company itself by an Online Public Offering.

Thanks largely to the internet, shoppers are living in what feels like a bit of a Golden Age for anybody with some money to spend and a computer within arms reach. By allowing companies to cut out the (newly) unessential costs of brick-and-mortar stores and middlemen, emerging labels are able to produce in the same factories as big-name designers — with the same materials — but sell their clothes at a fraction of the price.

It's a nice deal for the consumer.

Perhaps for most of us, that direct-to-consumer model is associated with wunderkind startups like Everlane and Allbirds with reliable, cult-like fan bases.

And for those more tuned into really nice denim, they might be thinking of LA startup DSTLD.

The company has a similar model — sell luxurious essentials people want at a third of the retail cost. And, like Everlane, they’re rising to meet the standards of their shoppers — using sustainable materials, natural dyes, and eco-friendly practices whenever they can, as well as imposing higher standards on labor conditions in their supply chain.

All in all, DSTLD is selling cool essentials at a price, and with a supply chain, that doesn’t have to make you feel bad.

While they’re known for their denim, I (and according to DSTLD press photos, a healthy number of celebrities) have loved their Blanket Maxi Coat. It’s not much more than I'd spend on something similar from a fast-fashion stop like Zara, but the quality and fit feel far superior — and I don't feel anxious taking a chance on the newer label thanks to its low-risk prices. And while the company was founded by two men and has a more expansive men's collection, DSTLD's women's line hits a rare balance between LA cool and a tailored, urban chic that I've found hard to find, especially at this price point.

And if you’re looking for a way to feel more involved in your purchases (or have an itch to invest) DSTLD is offering up something far more unusual than reasonably priced black skinny jeans. Last year, they became the first fashion brand to pursue an Online Public Offering.

The company cites the statistic that for the last 80-odd years, only the wealthiest 2% of Americans have been allowed to invest in startups in the US. But thanks to 2012 legislation, that's now possible for anyone. Like ethical production and lower, leaner pricing, this is just another way DSTLD is particularly tuned into the moment — and using new ways of doing business to promote their own growth. Instead of old-school venture capitalists being responsible for how much success the company experiences, there's something potentially satisfying about a "by the people, for the people" rise.

But even if you’re looking for essentials and premium denim for under $100 rather than an investment, you're likely still going to be happy you found DSTLD.

You can shop DSTLD directly here, or check out some of their best pieces for both men and women below.



Available in seven color and material variations.

Women's Leather Moto Jacket, $150 - $380


Available in seven colors and rip variations.

Women's High Waisted Skinny Jeans, $85 - $125


Available in both black and grey.

Women's Blanket Maxi Coat, $180

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

23. 6 gorgeous wine country hotels around the worldСб., 20 янв.[−]

JackalopeCourtesy of Jackalope

If there are two things a traveler should never go without, it’s a good hotel and great wine.

Get the best of both worlds at a stunning property in a classic vinicultural destination, where you’ll be wined and dined by world-class chefs and get to tour impressive vineyards and sample incredible terroir.

From Napa Valley to Mendoza, these wine country hot spots will make an oenophile out of any novice drinker.

1. Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal

Courtesy of Six Senses Douro Valley

Northern Portugal is famous for its Port wines, but in recent years, it’s the region's light clarets and rich, Burgundy-esque reds that have begun receiving the most recognition. Six Senses made its European debut here, transforming a 19th-century terracotta-colored quinta into a 57-room wellness retreat. Make the most of your time at Douro Valley by learning about local vintages in the wine library and sampling the terroir in nightly tastings, but make sure to leave time for some non-wine pursuits—namely, a hot-stone massage, a private forest circuit training class, and time in a meditation pod set high in the treetops above the snaking Duoro River.

2. Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort, California

Courtesy of Auberge Resorts

Napa Valley has no shortage of top-tier hotels, but when it comes to privacy, Calistoga Ranch —tucked into a secluded canyon on 157 acres overlooking the valley—is in a league of its own. Start your day with a yoga class on the outdoor deck, followed by tastings at nearby bucket-list vineyards including Caymus and Opus One, and a “land to table”-style dinner at the lakefront restaurant. (Order the standout beef filet with toasted barley, braised greens, mushrooms, and dates.) Afterwards, take a bottle of Cabernet out to the porch of your freestanding cottage and lounge by the fireplace as you drink in the sounds of birds chirping from ancient oaks.

3. The Vines of Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina

Courtesy of The Vines of Mendoza

Argentina’s Uco Valley is famed for its ability to produce quality wines at high altitudes. There’s nowhere better to taste the terroir than this 22-villa resort in the foothills of the Andes, two hours by car from the Mendoza airport. The Vines is part wine estate (it’s set on a 1,500 acre vineyard), part luxury resort (think floor-to-ceiling windows, fluffy duvets, electric fire pits, and spa-style bathrooms). The restaurant is headed up by none other than super-celebrity Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, whose pioneering open-flame cooking techniques lend hearty flavors to dishes like four-hours roasted lamb with Anna potatoes and watercress salad.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

24. Amazon just revealed the top 20 contenders for its new headquarters — here are their incredible proposals (AMZN)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

Dallas Texasf11photo/Shutterstock

  • Amazon has narrowed its search for the site of its next headquarters, dubbed HQ2, to 20 cities.
  • The list of candidates includes Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Denver.
  • The company said it will make a final decision this year.

Amazon has waded through 238 proposals from cities across North America that are eager to become the home of its new headquarters, HQ2.

On Thursday, the company announced that it has reduced the list to 20 finalists, which includes Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, DC, and New York City.

In the next few months, Amazon will be working with these locations to investigate the bids in more detail before making a decision. Late last year, the company outlined several requirements for cities, including access to an international airport, a population of more than one million, and a "stable and business-friendly environment."

For the new headquarters, Amazon said it plans to invest over $5 billion and accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs, making it one of the largest corporate-civic giveaways in modern American history.

Take a look at the winning proposals below.

Atlanta, Georgia

ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Possible sites: A 120-acre site that includes railroads and parking lots in Downtown Atlanta has been named as the city's primary site for HQ2, sources told The Atlantic Business Chronicle.

Population: 472,522

Nearest international airports: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Notable universities: Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College

Economic incentives: At a recent city event, the mayor of Atlanta said the state and city are offering incentives and infrastructure improvements that would total over $1 billion.

Why Amazon could choose the city: Moody's has placed Atlanta second in the running, scoring it high on human capital and affordability.

Austin, Texas


Possible sites: The city has not confirmed which sites have been proposed. However, the Austin Business Journal reported that a local real estate developer had been considering pitching the Broadmoor Campus, which is partly occupied by IBM in the north of Austin.

Population: 947,890

Nearest international airports: Austin–Bergstrom International Airport

Notable universities: Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin

Economic incentives: The city will not offer special tax breaks to Amazon.

Why Amazon could choose the city: Austin is a well-known tech hub, but it has a lower cost of living than other tech cities like San Francisco and Seattle. Plus, Amazon would benefit from being close to one of its corporate offices as well as Whole Foods' headquarters.

Boston, Massachusetts

The City of Boston

Possible sites: The city published an in-depth proposal outlining all the sites it had pitched in Boston. Its first recommendation was the Suffolk Downs racetrack between East Boston and Revere. However, three other areas were also presented around Downtown Boston and the waterfront, the South End/Back Bay area, and the Allston/Brighton area.

Population: 673,184

Nearest international airports: Logan International Airport

Notable universities: Boston University, Boston College, Harvard University, MIT, and Northeastern University

Economic incentives: The city will not offer special tax breaks to Amazon.

Why Amazon could choose the city: There's a good public transportation infrastructure within the city, and it's well-connected to other major cities along the East Coast.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

25. Playing music in New York's subways can be a 'real-life Kickstarter' for musicians — here's what it's likeСб., 20 янв.[−]

SubwayMusicians Buskers 2Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

For New York City musicians, performing in the subway can provide extra pocket cash, a chance to practice their art, promotion until they stumble on the next opportunity, or even a modestly-paying career.

Performing for donations, also called busking, is legal ever since the constitutionality of a Depression-era ban was challenged in 1970 by poet Allen Ginsburg.

In 2013, we spoke to and photographed some of New York City's subway musicians.

Anyone can perform in the subways, so long as you don't use amplification on the platform. Amplification is allowed on mezzanine levels however. Spots are first come, first serve and there is an extensive etiquette to avoid treading on other performers' toes.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Manhattan-native Jacob G. Cohen is a cellist who has been busking full-time for over two years. He calls it a "real-life Kickstarter." The exposure he's gotten from busking helped fund a tour in Asia.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Hear his music here.

"I’m getting to play music all day, but not music where anyone has told me what to do. I have control over my whole life now, making more money, and meeting amazing people everyday," says Cohen.

Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

26. We taste-tested grilled-chicken sandwiches from all the major fast-food chains — and the winner is unmistakableСб., 20 янв.[−]

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches 19Hollis Johnson

Grilled chicken: the timid, humdrum sibling of fried chicken.

While nowhere near as glamorous or greasy as its crispy companion, grilled chicken is starting to increase in popularity as it rides the wave of health-conscious dining. Most major fast-food chains offer grilled-chicken options, from sandwiches to nuggets — even Shake Shack is in on the trend now.

But seared chicken isn't masked by a delicious fried coating, so it has to be good to pass muster.

We tried grilled-chicken sandwiches from eight major fast-food chains — Burger King, Bojangles', Chick-fil-A, Hardee's, McDonald's, Shake Shack, Wendy's, and Zaxby's — to find out which is best.

9. Burger King Tendergrill

Hollis Johnson

According to Burger King's menu, this chicken is marinated and seasoned with "pepper and herbs" — yet in reality, it tastes of utter nothing. The bun is weak, underwhelming, and prone to flattening. And with the sandwich coming in at 470 calories — the highest of any on this list by a long shot — its nutritional value is dubious at best.

Hollis Johnson

This is a chicken sandwich in the midst of an existential crisis. Is it meant to be an enjoyable, flavorful item or merely a bland vehicle for protein delivery? The chicken itself is dry, stringy, and tough. The lettuce and tomato are pallid, and the mayonnaise oversteps its boundaries in every bite. This sandwich leaves one in tangy despair.

8. Bojangles' Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Hollis Johnson

The grilled chicken from Bojangles' is, in a word: disappointing. The chicken breast is flavorless and dry, which makes little sense considering how over-laden with mayonnaise the sandwich is. The bun sops up both mayo and tomato, leaving it a mushy mess.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

27. GOLDMAN SACHS: The government shutdown will take a toll on the US economy, but the pain won't last longСб., 20 янв.[−]

government shutdown statue of libertyReuters / Andrew Kelly

  • Goldman Sachs says the government shutdown will result in a 0.2% reduction in first-quarter GDP for every week it persists.
  • However, it said the negative effect will be reversed in the second quarter, assuming the shutdown ends by then.
  • The firm notes that the impact on financial markets will be "very modest."

Expect the government shutdown to slowly drain the US economy, says Goldman Sachs.

Now that the federal government has failed to successfully negotiate a funding bill, first-quarter gross domestic product ( GDP) will slip by 0.2 percentage points for each week the shutdown persists, according to Goldman.

But the firm isn't particularly worried about any long-term damage, noting that any economic slowdown will be quickly reversed in the second quarter, assuming the shutdown is over by then. Goldman is also confident that the market's reaction will be muted.

"We expect any negative impact on financial markets from a shutdown to be very modest," Jan Hatzius, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a client note. "Markets have also tended to react mildly to shutdowns."

Since 1981, the S&P 500 has seen a median move of just -0.9% on the first day of trading after a government shutdown, according to Goldman data. And on the three occasions those stoppages have lasted for a lengthy period, the equity index hasn't declined more than 1.5% during the entire shutdown.

The firm's findings mirror those of Ryan Detrick, a senior market strategist at LPL Financial, who looked at stock performance during shutdowns dating back to 1976 and discovered that the S&P 500 has been largely unchanged, on a median basis.

And interestingly enough, Goldman says the damage to markets could've been far worse if the government had instead decided on an extension of federal spending authority. That would've increased the odds that the funding deadline winds up interacting with the debt limit, which Goldman says will need to be raised in March.

"Unlike government shutdowns, which financial markets tend to shrug off, markets could have a stronger negative reaction if the upcoming debt limit increase became entangled in the current set of issues," said Hatzius.

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Медиа: image/png

28. We crunched the numbers to find the one stock set to get the biggest boost from Trump tax reformСб., 20 янв.[−]

Trump MnuchinReuters

  • The corporate tax rate is being slashed to 21% from 35% under the US tax law that took effect this year.
  • Companies are also getting a repatriation holiday to bring cash from foreign entities back home.
  • The cuts are expected to boost US equities in 2018, but it's not immediately clear which specific stocks stand to benefit most.
  • Business Insider has conducted a proprietary five-part analysis to identify which stock is truly the king of tax reform.

If Wall Street strategists can agree on one thing as 2018 gets underway, it's that President Donald Trump's recently enacted tax law will boost the stock market.

The average year-end price target for the S&P 500 is 2,950, which is roughly 6% higher than current levels. And that's after the equity benchmark has already started 2018 on a blistering pace, climbing as much as 5% after rising in eight of the year's first 10 days.

That's all well and good, but for investors looking to put money in single stocks, it's getting increasingly difficult to identify outperformers with the broader market set to rally so much.

That's where we come in.

We've sorted through all of the guidance provided by Wall Street experts and developed a methodology that has helped us to arrive at the one stock that should emerge as the king of tax reform. What follows is a breakdown of our quest to crown this champion — one stock traders should be taking a long, hard look at this year.

And we'll give you a hint: It's a financial stock that is already up 40% in the past 12 months.

Step 1: Identify the stocks with the highest earnings reinvested overseas

Companies that get a large amount of their profits from overseas have long been expected to see one of the biggest windfalls from the GOP tax law. This is because of the one-time repatriation tax holiday included in the plan, which is designed to incentivize corporations to bring that cash back stateside.

It's a good starting point, because it's an area of the tax plan that is expected to yield a clear benefit for these companies — one many experts see outweighing the impact of a lower effective tax rate.

To get the ball rolling, we turned to a Goldman Sachs basket of 50 stocks with the highest earnings reinvested overseas. The index contains companies from eight of the 11 main S&P 500 sectors and features the likes of Microsoft, Apple, General Electric, Pfizer, Citigroup, and JPMorgan, which have the highest total out of the already-select group.

Companies remaining: McDonald's, Priceline, Nike, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Philip Morris, Mondelez, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Gilead Sciences, Amgen, Medtronic, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbott Laboratories, Danaher, Celgene, Thermo Fisher Scientific, General Electric, United Technologies, Honeywell, Eaton, Caterpillar, 3M, Ingersoll-Rand, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Cisco, Alphabet, Oracle, Intel, Qualcomm, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, TE Connectivity, HP, Western Digial, Corning, Praxair

With this 50-company universe established, it was time to overlay another variable: the earnings boost that's expected for the market's highest-taxed companies.

Step 2: Identify the companies in that universe that pay the most in taxes

This is the other part of tax reform's two-headed monster of corporate profit growth, and one that's important to view in tandem with the repatriation basket. Simply put, the companies paying the most in taxes have the most to gain from a cut.

Investors have been attempting to adjust for this in recent months, but Wall Street firms like JPMorgan think there's still ample room to run.

"Despite the trade's outperformance in the run-up to the passage of the tax legislation, we expect further upside as the equity impact of tax reform is not fully priced-in," Dubravko Lakos-Bujas, JPMorgan's head of US equity strategy, wrote in a recent note.

With this degree of upside expected, investors would be well-served to identify the most highly taxed companies of those featuring high earnings reinvested overseas.

For the purposes of this exercise, using data compiled by Bloomberg, we've whittled down the 50 stocks listed above to the 10 that pay the most in taxes (with the trailing 12-month effective tax rate in parentheses).

Companies remaining: Caterpillar (46%), McDonald's (32%), Walmart (32%), Citigroup (31%), Bank of America (29%), Corning (29%), Berkshire Hathaway (29%), Morgan Stanley (29%), Coca-Cola (28%), Praxair (28%)

Step 3: Identify the remaining companies that have the strongest analyst outlooks

This step is very straightforward: Which stocks do analysts think have the most upside?

To find this, we looked at the consensus 12-month price target for each of the above 10 stocks. We then calculated the percentage move the stock would have to see to achieve that level. That helped us narrow the group down to the final five (with the 12-month expected return in parentheses).

Companies remaining: Morgan Stanley (+8.3%), McDonald's (6.9%), Citigroup (+6.6%), Coca-Cola (+5.5%), Bank of America (+4.9%)

Note: Berkshire Hathaway was removed from contention at this point because it's covered by only a meager six analysts, which undercuts the meaningfulness of the stock's price target and, by extension, its expected return.

Step 4: Overlay sector forecasts from Wall Street strategists

While it's tempting to go ahead and pick Morgan Stanley as the king of tax reform, since it had the biggest share upside out of the five remaining stocks, our work is not done yet. The final step involves assessing 2018 outlooks published by various Wall Street equity strategists, whose job is to identify specific sectors and stocks that will outperform.

When comparing the two industries remaining — consumer and financials — there's one clear winner when it comes to strategist outlooks: large banks. Based on a wide range of comments, we conclude that the nation's biggest lenders are in an enviable position that will see profits climb along with interest rates. And with the Federal Reserve widely expected to continue tightening monetary policy, benchmark lending rates are poised to rise.

When you combine that interest-rate sensitivity with tax cuts and the prospect of scaled-back regulation, banks look very appealing in 2018 — which brings us to our final three.

Companies remaining: Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America

Step 5: Make sure the pick comes from the Goldman Sachs Conviction List

Before we unveil our winner, let it be known that you probably can't go wrong with any of our three finalists. But this is a single-stock exercise, and a champion must be crowned.

For our final screen, we look at Goldman Sachs' Conviction List for financial stocks. This is an elite group of companies that not only have the equivalent of the buy rating but are also emphasized by the firm to an even greater degree. And it contains only one of our three finalists.

That stock is Bank of America, which is hereby declared the Business Insider King of Tax Reform.

Now, a quick disclaimer and a call-out for your ideas. First, we're not financial analysts and so — no — we are not telling you to buy this stock. Do it, don't do it, discuss it with your financial adviser or someone, etc. Most important, though, let us know what you think of that pick by emailing moneygame@businessinsider.com.

Bank of AmericaREUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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29. Bartenders share the best ways to get their attention at the bar — and surefire ways you'll get snubbedСб., 20 янв.[−]

bar bartender payingReuters/Bernadett Szabo

  • There are right and wrong ways to get a bartenders attention.
  • To figure out just what they are, we asked bartenders from around the world to weigh in.
  • Among the many faux pas, don't ever yell, click your fingers — or even wave them. Bartenders hate that.

When the bar is packed and your bartender appears to be out of earshot, what do you do?

Do you wave your credit card in the air? Do you snap your fingers? Or maybe you reach over the bar and start pouring yourself a drink?

To find out the right and wrong ways to get a bartender's attention at the bar, we went directly to the source, and more than 30 bartenders from around the world weighed in with their opinions on the matter.

Below are some of worst things people do when they're trying to get a bartender's attention, as well as some better alternatives.

Clicking or snapping your fingers at them

Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

"Say excuse me, politely putting your hand up without waving it in the air. Just wait your turn. We see you, I promise. Never snap your fingers."

Yelling at bartenders to get a drink made right away

S2 B/Flickr

"You're not the only customer in the bar, so we'll get to you when we get to you, especially if it's busy."

"Don't yell at us if you have been waiting for more than a minute to be served. If you are looking like you're about to vent your frustrations on us, then we will ignore you until we are calm enough to handle your attitude."

Waving your finger


"The finger wave must have originated in the 7th circle of hell."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

30. 7 lessons I learned from tracking my net worth for 14 yearsСб., 20 янв.[−]

pouring pink champagne wealthyBryan Bedder / Stringer / Getty Images

  • Jim Wang has been tracking his net worth for more than 14 years.
  • In that time, he's learned a lot of lessons about how to save money, and what the point actually is.
  • He now knows to maintain long-term thinking, and has stopped checking stocks daily.
  • The point of building a high net worth isn't having more — it's about freedom, and how much you keep.

I've been tracking our net worth like a weirdo since I started working in 2003.

That's over 14 years of data. Sweet sweet data.

That first row is so simple. 2 bank accounts, 1 brokerage account, and what I considered an impressive net worth of $8,745.69.

Except I didn't do it right. I only recorded by positive balances!

$4,519.44 was my Roth IRA, accumulated during high school and college. The rest was a sizable signing & moving bonus from Northrop Grumman. My side hustle proceeds played a role too.

It didn't include $35,000 in student loans… which was my error.

What's most enlightening are the comments I left. They're little notes in some cells to help jog my memory on what happened that month. They're typically tentpole moments in my life, like moving, getting married, selling a business, or something similarly significant. Sometimes they're mundane, like making estimated tax payments.

After 14 years, a lot of my behavior has changed. There are things I used to do that I've stopped. Some of them were intentional changes, most of them weren't.

Here are all the lessons I learned in the last 14+ years of tracking our net worth:

1. Try to maintain long-term thinking

When I was younger, I was very impatient (still am probably). I didn't understand why older people took so long to make decisions and take action — my impatient brain wanted to go NOW.


As I've aged, I've slowed my decision-making process (my execution is still that impatient, go as fast as possible) because it pays to be more deliberate. Measure twice, cut once.

With 14+ years of data, I've realized that life is less a Formula 1 race and more like a cruise around the world. It takes time to turn a cruise ship so take a few extra moments to think about the course. You won't lose anything.

The (financial) decisions you make today won't have a big impact on your life tomorrow. Or the next day. But in ten years, they will.

I made my first Roth IRA contribution in high school, at the urging of my father. On less than $20,000 of contributions over the last 15 years (it's front-loaded), it's grown to nearly $50,000 with an annual rate of return of 17%.

Seeing rows and rows of data reinforces this longer-term view.

But long term is the right term. It stops you from freaking out in the short term.

Consider this — you won't be touching your 401(k) until you retire. 65.

How many years is that? 10? 20? 40?

Take a peek back at the stock market during any of those periods. There have been several huge shocks and recoveries. Past history is not indicative of future results, but over the long-term, the market moves up and to the right.

Check this chart of the S&P 500 index:

Screen Shot 2018 01 19 at 3.11.24 PMCourtesy of Wallet Hacks

  • The red line begins near the high of late 2007 before things went south.
  • October 2007: The S&P500 is ~1,560.
  • March 2009: The S&P 500 hits a low of 683.
  • April 2013: The S&P 500 is back to ~1,560.

One of the worst economic recessions (nothing great about the Great Recession!) and our stock market recovered from its low in four years. FOUR YEARS!

Personally, we've had months where our net worth battled six-figure increases and decreases (not often, but it has happened). We try to note the reasons behind them (it's almost always the stock market and sometimes quarterly estimated taxes on top of it) and then move on.

Mr. Market has a nasty temper but has never lost his way.

2. I stopped checking stocks daily

Like everyone else, I like checking stuff. You get that dopamine hit when something exciting happens.

Whether it's my email, blog earnings, or stock holdings on Google Finance… I was checking it multiple times a day. Right before the market opened, I looked at SSO — the ticker for the ProShares Ultra S&P500 (ETF). It's designed as a 2x of the S&P500 but it's traded pre-market.

When the market opened, I would look at my portfolio to see what was happening.

As soon as I typed "F," my browser would fill in the rest of finance.google.com! (now "F" goes to Facebook!)

Sometimes I look and there's an unexpected spike, so I get the dopamine hit. Sometimes I peek and there's an unexpected drop, so I get anxious.

I would read some of the news articles, I'd look at other stocks, I'd see how the broader market was doing… but that was it. I was doing that because I was bored at work and didn't want to find more work to do.

More importantly, it was unproductive. Checking doesn't spur action (nor should it!) so I worked towards stopping that behavior. It didn't cut it off cold turkey but I replaced it with more productive activity. I stopped looking at my stocks. Now that I work for myself, I replaced it with other, seemingly more productive, things (not Facebook!).

Also, checking is counterproductive because it places a higher priority on what happens in the short term. The movements of today will not be important in a year. It certainly won't be important in five. Definitely not in 10+. If you trust in the trend, that it goes up and to the right, then you might as well avoid the emotional swings in the near term.

I still check the news during important periods, like quarterly reports, because they can reveal changes in the business that affect my investment decisions.

3. Investments matter more than wage income

When I first started working, my net worth rose on payday and slowly slid down.

As I got older and was able to save more, my net worth stopped rising and falling significantly (percentage-wise) based on my pay. The tumultuous stock market, especially 2008, had a bigger impact. (5 of the largest point gains in the S&P were in 2008, 4 of the largest point losses were also in 2008).

I was escaping financial gravity.

There will come a time, and it'll feel strange when it does, that the stock market will have a greater impact on your net worth than your job's income.

business man work office planSebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

If you have $25,000 in your 401(k), a 1% move is $250. That's not a big move.

If you have $250,000 in your 401(k), a 1% move is $2,500. OK, that tickles.

If you have $750,000 in your 401(k), a 1% move is $7,500. Hmmm…

If you have $1.5 million in your 401(k), a 1% move is $15,000. OK, that's significant.

If the market moves 1% down and you make $15,000 a month, you might feel like you worked for free. (You didn't, but your monkey brain thinks that way.)

That takes getting used to but you will, over time, and there's really no way to force the adjustment.

4. The point isn't more

Our net worth is high.

When we look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, a relatively high net worth covers the bottom few levels. We're not worrying about food, shelter, etc. We're focused on relationships, connection, and self-actualization. The work we do has to matter to us and not chasing a paycheck has been an adjustment.

When I would interview for jobs in college, interviewers asked me why I wanted the job and my honest answer was "to make money."

I needed to eat!

The work had to be interesting but, to be frank, it had to pay well. I always gave a BS answer like "I enjoy programming because I like to solve interesting problems and the immediate gratification of seeing my code work is appealing."

I felt it was disingenuous because while it was a true reason (I do like solving interesting problems, I do like seeing my code work, so it wasn't a lie) — the #1 reason is $$$$$.

Once you've gotten to the escape velocity and no longer feel financial gravity, it's time to use that freedom.

You have to work jobs and projects that matter to you for reasons other than money. All work can be hard and you need that motivation to push through the difficult parts to succeed. I suffered through all kinds of hardship to earn money because I needed to. When you don't "need" it, in the moment, you have to draw on other motivations.

It's a hard transition… for 30+ years I learned a key lesson from my hard-working immigrant parents (immigrant being significant because it meant we had no local family as a safety net) — get a good paying job and keep it.

As you age and move towards a freer financial situation, it's time to work on other needs outside of accumulating more money.

5. Predictability is key

When I was younger and read about models and projects, I scoffed at them. Human beings are terrible at predictions but we still do it. Why?

It's better than nothing.

And keeping to a prediction is better than nothing. It's better to be slow, steady, and predictable than anything else. Doing too much is as bad as doing too little (perhaps you've taken on too much risk).

It's also why I read stories about Bitcoin and don't really care. I need massive gains in a speculative bet on Bitcoin like I need the little plastic ball to fall in a red slot in Roulette.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., January 5, 2018.  REUTERS/Lucas JacksonThomson Reuters

Over the long term, blockchain will be important. Smart contracts will be important. Bitcoin may not. Who knows and I don't care.

That said, I will never make a large enough bet that a win would be significant. If it's not significant, why bother betting? If I don't experience joy in a win and I still feel the loss when I lose, that's a bad bet! ( Loss aversion is something humans loathe.)

6. It's about how much you keep

One of the sheets in my Net Worth Record collects data from my tax return (I write down the Line number because I only do this once a year and don't want to search for it!):

  • Total Income — Line 22
  • Adjusted Gross Income — Line 37
  • Taxable Income — Line 43
  • Wages — Line 7
  • Interest — Line 8
  • Dividends — Line 9
  • Capital Gains — Line 13
  • Business Income — Line 17
  • Total Tax — Line 61/63
  • Effective Tax Rate — Total Tax / AGI

It's fascinating how our finances have changed over the years. In the beginning, the largest numbers were in the wage column. Wages are great but they don't come passively — you have to work to earn those wages.

One of the treasures coming out of the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) movement is that it has shown people that you can retire early if you save diligently. You can build an investment portfolio that generates income to replace your wage income. That stream of income is yours regardless of how many hours you work and that's a powerful idea.

Every year, we get our dividends and interest no matter what. I consider it our own form of basic income. The difference is that it comes from the money made from active work but it's completely passive (and, taxed favorably in the case of qualified dividends).

In my first three years of working, I had a hundred dollars or so of bank interest and $0 in dividends. In 2016, dividends were 40% of our adjusted gross income (granted, given the ebbs and flows of small business, our wage income is quite low). It's not free money, since it relies on savings in years past, but we don't have to work for it.

7. It's you vs. you, not you vs. anyone else

Lastly, and this is exasperated by social media, compare you vs. you from a year ago. Versus you from five or ten years ago. Don't compare you versus your current friends, your high school, and college friends, or your partner's ex.

Social media has given us everyone's highlights. The awesome trip they took, the amazing meal they had, the insane car they bought, the house they live in, the family they spawned, the whatever — it's Keeping Up With All The Joneses At Once and it'll drive you nuts.

When I look at the last 14 years, I see a growth that is often uneven but trending upwards. My goal isn't to beat someone else, it's to stay ahead of Yesterday Me.

It's like the stock market. Don't fall in love or compare yourself with the Bitcoins of the world, just fall in love with the onward and upward growth. Take one step each day and you'll get there. Focus on that and you will keep your sanity.

Try to keep up with others and you will run yourself ragged.

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31. DIGITAL DISRUPTION OF CREDIT SCORING: How developments in the credit scoring space are opening up new opportunities for incumbent lendersСб., 20 янв.[−]

Underserved US CustomersBII

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Traditional consumer lenders, like banks and credit unions, have historically served segments of the population they can conduct robust risk assessments on.

But the data they collect from these groups is limited and typically impossible to analyze in real time, preventing them from confirming the accuracy of their assessments. This restricts the demographic segments they can safely serve, and creates an inconvenient experience for potential borrowers.

This has hobbled legacy lenders at a time when alternative lending firms — which pride themselves on precision risk assessment and financial inclusion — are taking off. These rivals are starting to break into a huge untapped borrower market — some 64 million US consumers don’t have a conventional FICO score, and 10 million of those are prime or near-prime consumers.

Incumbents can get in on the game by tapping into new developments in the credit scoring space, like psychometric scoring, which use data besides borrowing history to measure creditworthiness, and by integrating new technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI), to improve the accuracy of conventional risk assessment methods. There are still risks attached to these cutting-edge methods and technologies, but if incumbent lenders are aware of them, and take steps to mitigate them, the payoff from implementing these new tools can be huge.

In a new report, BI Intelligence looks at the drivers encouraging incumbent lenders to consider adopting new credit scoring methods or innovative technologies that make the lending process more seamless. It also outlines what incumbents stand to gain from adopting alt scoring, the types of models on the market to choose from, the risks still appended to onboarding them, and recommendations on how to mitigate them to add real value to legacy lenders’ businesses.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Alternative lenders are disrupting the credit scoring space in two key ways: by using alternate credit scoring methods and integrating new technologies.
  • There's a range of methods and technologies incumbent lenders can choose to implement. But the solutions that are best suited for a particular lender will vary based on its specific business needs, the demographics it aims to attract, and its jurisdiction's regulatory landscape.
  • If executed correctly, the payoff can be huge for incumbent lenders. In addition to boosting financial inclusion and enabling lenders to tap into new demographic segments and markets, new methods and technologies can improve returns on existing demographics.
  • However, disruptions carry both short- and long-term risks that both fintechs and incumbent lenders must navigate. These include inbuilt biases, fraud, conflict with third-party data policies, and poor financial literacy among underserved demographics.

In full, the report:

  • Outlines the drivers behind incumbent lenders' growing awareness and adoption of credit scoring disruptions.
  • Looks at the current range of methods and technologies changing the face of credit scoring.
  • Explains what incumbent lenders stand to gain by adopting these disruptions.
  • Discusses the risks still attached to these disruptions, and how incumbents can manage them to reap the rewards.
  • Gives an overview of what the credit scoring landscape of the future will look like, and how incumbents can prepare themselves to stay relevant.

To get the full report, subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the report from our research store.

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32. 15 books world-famous CEOs think everyone should read in their lifetimeСб., 20 янв.[−]

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

reading book winter

There’s a reason the most successful people in our society are often the most voracious — or dogged — readers.

Think about how many new ideas you’re exposed to in the pages of a book, compared to days in a year of your life alone. Frequent readers are constantly engaged with new ways of thinking, alternate perspectives, and a habitual effort for self-betterment. None of these things are exactly hurdles to success.

In fact, when Warren Buffett was asked about the key to success, he pointed to a stack of books, saying "Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it."

And for those of you that will do it, here are the reading books those hyper successful people have recommended over the years, curated with quotes about why this pick exactly.

Bill Gates: "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City"


As Desmond puts it: "Eviction’s fallout is severe. Losing a home sends families to shelters, abandoned houses, and the street. It invites depression and illness, compels families to move into degrading housing in dangerous neighborhoods, uproots communities, and harms children. Eviction reveals people’s vulnerability and desperation, as well as their ingenuity and guts."

Melinda and I have been working for some time to learn more about how Americans move up the economic ladder (what experts call mobility from poverty). "Evicted" helped me understand one piece of that very complex question, and it made me want to learn more about the systemic problems that make housing unaffordable, as well as the various government programs designed to help. Read his full comments here.

Source: gatesnotes

Buy it here >>

Warren Buffett: "The Intelligent Investor"


By far, the best book on investing ever written. To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information, What’s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. This book precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework. You must provide the emotional discipline.

Source: Business Insider

Buy it here >>

Jeff Bezos: "The Remains of the Day"


If you read "The Remains of the Day," which is one of my favorite books, you can’t help but come away and think, I just spent 10 hours living an alternate life and I learned something about life and about regret.

Source: Newsweek

Buy it here >>

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

33. Betsy DeVos visited a charter school, praising it as a 'shining example' — now it's shutting downСб., 20 янв.[−]

betsy devosYuri Gripas/Reuters

  • Last year, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and first lady Melania Trump praised a public charter school. Now, D.C. officials are shutting that school down.
  • The school now joins the 200 to 300 charter schools that are shut down each year across the nation due to poor performance, financial shortcomings, and low enrollments.

When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and first lady Melania Trump visited Excel Academy Public Charter School last spring, DeVos praised the school as a " shining example of a school meeting the needs of its students, parents and community." Melania Trump called the charter school " an exceptional example of a school preparing young women both academically and personally so that they may succeed in a global community."

The visit made international headlines due to the fact that it also featured Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan. In terms of publicity, a school could not ask for a better platform.

Unfortunately, we now know the praise the school got during its brief time on the world stage did not match its poor performance.

On Jan. 11, the DC Public Charter School Board voted unanimously, 6-0, to shut down the Pre-K-8, all-girls school at the end of the current school year. The board action wasn’t because of some sudden turn of events after Secretary DeVos, Melania Trump and Queen Raina paid their visit. Instead, records show, it was because the "trend for student performance over the past several years has been negative, despite any benefits that may have occurred from learning in an all-girl setting."

Excel Academy charter school now joins the 200 to 300 charter schools that are shut down each year across the nation due to poor performance, financial shortcomings and low enrollments.

The Excel case magnifies how the cost of charter school failure is born by parents and their children, communities, educators and local residents. Indeed, many of the 700 or so girls who currently attend Excel must now scramble to find another school by next fall.

The closure of Excel represents a prime opportunity to focus on what we know about school choice and to move the discussion beyond ideological and partisan debates.

This is particularly crucial since between fall 2004 and fall 2014, overall public charter school enrollment increased from 900,000 to 2.7 million students. During this same period, the percentage of public school students who attended charter schools increased from 2 to 5 percent, and the percentage of all public schools that were charter schools increased from 4 to 7 percent. In addition to increasing in number, public charter schools have also generally increased in enrollment size over the last decade.

In 2017, the number of students enrolled in charter schools surpassed 3 million nationwide and the number of charter schools reached 6,900.

This past September, the US Department of Education awarded US$253 million in grantsthrough the Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program to states and nonprofit charter management organizations. This level of funding is consistent with the level of federal support for charter schools in previous years.

charter school melania trump betsy demos queen rania jordanAssociated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Given all these developments, there is no better time for an honest discussion about what the research shows about charter school performance.

As the author of several books on school choice and a researcher who is currently examining the impact of choice policies on families, schools and neighborhoods, there are five points I would highlight that are based on the research on charter schools.

1. The performance of charter schools as a whole varies widely. This is the most consistent finding across charter school evaluations. It serves to heighten the importance of continuous monitoring of how charters are authorized – and how they perform – as the number of charter schools continue to multiply across the nation.

2. Similarly, the impact of charter middle schools on student achievement is a mixed bag based on various factors. In other words, you can’t say charter middle schools are better or worse than traditional public schools. It all depends. One study examined student performance in 36 charter middle schools across 15 states, and found that charter schools were "neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement, behavior, and school progress." The study also found that "charter schools serving more low income or low achieving students had statistically significant positive effects on math test scores, while charter schools serving more advantaged students – those with higher income and prior achievement – had significant negative effects on math test scores."

3. The first three years of charter schools predict academic performance, financial viability and sustainability. In other words, it’s pretty much do or die for new charter schools. This finding underscores the need to be proactive. It suggests charter authorizers should work with new charter schools at the start – actually, well before the doors open. The proactive approach stands in stark contrast to a "wait to fail" posture where a school lingers and lurches toward the final days of operation. Is this educational malpractice? Maybe so.

4. The overall performance of charter schools has increased between 2009 and 2013. This increase was driven in part by the presence of more high-performing charters and the closure of low-performing charter schools. Thus, while the recent decision to close Excel may be unfortunate for its students, it might ultimately be good for the overall quality and performance of the public charter school sector as a whole.

5. Students who attend charter high schools are more likely to graduate than students who attend traditional public high schools. They are also more likely go to college and earn a higher income. "Maximum annual earnings were approximately $2,300 higher for 23- to 25-year-olds who attended charter high schools versus conventional public schools across the state of Florida," concluded one recent study conducted by Vanderbilt University, Mathematica and Georgia State University.

As new charter schools continue to open at a rapid pace while others are shut down, charter school operators and supporters should pay close attention to what took place at Excel, which first opened its doors in 2008. This is particularly true for new charter schools that may be struggling academically.

Darren Woodruff, chair of the DC Public Charter School Board, explained how many of the steps that Excel planned to take to turn things around were too little too late.

In a written statement, Woodruff said Excel’s recent changes – including the planned addition of a chief academic officer and a school turnaround plan – all represent "welcome steps that ideally would have been implemented when the first indications of decreased student performance became evident."

"However," Woodruff said, "without these steps more fully in place and clear data on their impact, this Board lacks convincing evidence that Excel represents the best opportunity for these young girls that we all care so much about."

The lesson for charter school leaders and advocates is that these kinds of things need to be in place on day one. This is especially important since the research shows the first three years of a charter school are so crucial.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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34. Larry Fink, CEO of $6.3 trillion manager BlackRock, just sent a warning letter to CEOs everywhere (BLK)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

larry finkREUTERS/Ruben Sprich

  • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink on Tuesday sent a letter to CEOs of public companies outlining his expectation that they start accounting for their effect on society.
  • BlackRock, a $6.3 trillion asset manager, is doubling the size of its investor-stewardship program, which aims to engage with companies rather than rely on proxy voting.
  • "Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose," Fink wrote.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink just sent a warning shot to CEOs across the world: start accounting for the societal impact of your companies, or risk disappointing the largest asset manager in the world.

In a letter to CEOs of public companies, Fink, whose firm manages $6.3 trillion in assets, said that companies needed to demonstrate a strategy for long-term value creation and financial performance, and that understanding a company's effect on the world was a key component.

Simply managing for short-term shareholder profit is not an acceptable management strategy, according to Fink.

"Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose," Fink wrote. "To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate."

Fink said BlackRock would ramp up its investor-stewardship initiative, started in 2011 to favor engaging with companies and their management over proxy voting. The stewardship team will double in size over the next three years under the new leadership of Barbara Novick, a vice chairman who helped found BlackRock, Fink said.

"BlackRock recognizes and embraces our responsibility to help drive this change," Fink wrote.

He continued: "The growth of our team will help foster even more effective engagement with your company by building a framework for deeper, more frequent, and more productive conversations."

Here are some more highlights from Fink's full letter (emphasis ours):

"In order to make engagement with shareholders as productive as possible, companies must be able to describe their strategy for long-term growth. I want to reiterate our request, outlined in past letters, that you publicly articulate your company's strategic framework for long-term value creation and explicitly affirm that it has been reviewed by your board of directors. This demonstrates to investors that your board is engaged with the strategic direction of the company. When we meet with directors, we also expect them to describe the board process for overseeing your strategy.

"The statement of long-term strategy is essential to understanding a company's actions and policies, its preparation for potential challenges, and the context of its shorter-term decisions. Your company's strategy must articulate a path to achieve financial performance. To sustain that performance, however, you must also understand the societal impact of your business as well as the ways that broad, structural trends — from slow wage growth to rising automation to climate change — affect your potential for growth ...

"Companies must ask themselves: What role do we play in the community? How are we managing our impact on the environment? Are we working to create a diverse workforce? Are we adapting to technological change? Are we providing the retraining and opportunities that our employees and our business will need to adjust to an increasingly automated world? Are we using behavioral finance and other tools to prepare workers for retirement, so that they invest in a way that that will help them achieve their goals?

"As we enter 2018, BlackRock is eager to participate in discussions about long-term value creation and work to build a better framework for serving all your stakeholders. Today, our clients — who are your company's owners — are asking you to demonstrate the leadership and clarity that will drive not only their own investment returns, but also the prosperity and security of their fellow citizens. We look forward to engaging with you on these issues."

NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist reveals exactly how long you need to work out to get in great shape

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35. Some parts of the federal government will remain open during a government shutdownСб., 20 янв.[−]

mcconnell cornynAlex Wong/Getty Images

  • As Washington faces a shutdown, "non-essential" services provided by information bureaus, national parks, as well as other employees across the federal government will close.
  • "Essential" operations pertaining to national security, law and order, and emergency life-and-death services that keep basic elements of the government operational will continue to function, as will agencies and services that are not funded through congressional appropriations.
  • These include the US Postal Service, immigration and border patrol, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller's office.
  • Even departments that will stay open like the State Department and Defense Department will have to determine which divisions and employees to put on leave during the shutdown. In 2013, a peak of 850,000 employees were on leave per day.

With the Senate at a standstill on the passage of a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open, the federal government entered into a partial shutdown at midnight Saturday.

As a result, various government services are set to come to a halt, including national parks, museums, and zoos, along with government bureaus like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the US Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But despite dramatic pronouncements from President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and others about the military being compromised and people dying as a result of the impasse, not all government agencies and departments will shut down — services that are deemed "essential" will continue to operate.

This includes any federal government work related to national security, law and order, and emergency life-and-death services. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for instance, will continue to operate. And although military personnel might have their paychecks delayed, they will still be required to show up for duty as usual.

"Essential" services also include Social Security and the Transportation Security Administration.

There are also employees or agencies whose work is not funded through Congress that will be largely unaffected by the shutdown.

Postal services are one example of this. Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference will also continue to operate under the shutdown for this very reason, despite Trump's personal concerns about its growing costs.

A matter of judgment

But aside from these cut-and-dry cases, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to which services are considered "essential." Even within agencies that will continue to operate, there may be employees who are put on leave, and the determination about which parts of the government to keep open is, at least in part, a subjective one.

FILE PHOTO - Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), speaks to employees of the agency in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua RobertsThomson Reuters

The Environmental Protection Agency is one agency that will likely see most of its employees furloughed — placed on temporary unpaid leave — judging by the Trump administration's dismissive approach toward the body during his first year in office, according to Vox.

In addition, while the State Department will continue to operate its "essential" and "non-excepted" divisions that are necessary to maintain national security, it too will have to furlough sizeable segments of its employees, according to the department's contingency plan.

In its own updated contingency plan, the Department of Housing and Urban Development stated that only 289 out of 7,797 employees would be considered "excepted" and would have to show up for work during the shutdown. The Federal Aviation Administration, while providing the "essential" duty of air traffic control, is going to furlough just 17,859 of its 45,668 employees, allowing the majority of the agency to function as normal.

While the number of government employees who are placed on furlough is not set in stone, in 2013 a peak of 850,000 people per day were on leave, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Looking at combined paydays, a total of 6.6 million days were lost during 2013's government shutdown due to employee furloughs.

These numbers are likely to be higher if the shutdown exceeds the 16 days during which the federal government was closed in 2013.

NOW WATCH: Here's how the map of the United States has changed in 200 years

36. Congress is scrambling to find a deal to end the government shutdown as both parties play the blame gameСб., 20 янв.[−]

mcconnell schumerGetty Images/Pool

  • After the Senate failed to pass a funding bill Friday night, the federal government is now in a partial shutdown.
  • The two parties in the Senate failed to reach an agreement on immigration, funding, healthcare, or the timing of a shutdown delay.
  • The Senate will reconvene at 12 p.m. ET to continue their work, while the House is on standby in case a bill passes that needs another vote.

The federal government is currently in a partial shutdown after the Senate failed to pass a funding bill late Friday night.

Deliberations between the Democratic and Republican party leaderships are ongoing in an attempt to re-open the government, but the two sides are also engaged in a nasty blame game over the funding fight.

It's unclear just how close the parties are to a deal, but both the House and Senate are scheduled to reconvene on Saturday to continue their work.

In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are left locked out of their jobs and unsure of when their next paycheck will arrive.

What happened last night

Shortly after midnight, the Office of Management and Budget sent a memo to federal agencies directing them to initiate contingency plans due to the failure of the Senate to pass a bill funding the government.

This officially kicked off the government shutdown, but was also the culmination of a wild day of negotiations.

Democrats held a significant number of the cards in the shutdown fight since the House-passed funding bill, called a continuing resolution (CR), needed 60 votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked throughout the day to try and come to an agreement on a range of issues and avoid the shutdown, but in the end a deal never came.

Schumer even went to the White House to negotiate a deal with President Donald Trump directly. According to Schumer, the two men agreed to a wide-ranging deal on everything from immigration to military funding.

The deal included funding for Trump's border wall, said Schumer, in exchange for the codification of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, which protects roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as minors from deportation, was the key sticking point for Democrats.

Trump announced that he would end the program in September, but gave Congress until March to codify it into law. Democrats attempted to force a vote on the DACA issue as part of a funding deal to increase its chances of passage.

Despite reaching a deal, Schumer said Trump and the GOP reneged on the offer soon after the Democrat returned to Congress, scuttling a grand bargain.

With the Trump-Schumer deal dead, Democrats and many Republicans scrambled to agree to a shorter-term CR than the one offered by the House. The House bill extended the shutdown deadline until February 16, and Democrats wanted a bill that kept the government open for five days in order to get a deal on DACA and more.

Republicans counter-offered with a delay until February 8, which Democrats rejected. In the end no deal was reached, most Democrats and a handful of Republicans rejected the House bill, and the shutdown began.

Moving forward

Work to re-open the government began almost as soon as the funding lapsed, with lawmakers from both parties conferring on the Senate floor about a deal until after 1 a.m. ET.

With no agreement yet in place, the Senate will reconvene at 12 p.m. ET, and a vote on the February 8 deadline proposal will occur shortly following the resumption of business.

Members from both parties seemed open to the February 8 deadline, and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham — who voted against the House-passed CR — was optimistic on Saturday morning.

"After extensive discussions with senators on both sides of the aisle, I believe such a proposal would pass if there was a commitment that after February 8th the Senate would move to an immigration debate with an open amendment process if no alternative agreement was reached with the White House and House of Representatives," Graham said in a statement.

Any deal that makes changes to the House-passed funding measure will require a new vote on changes by the House.

Anticipating a new deal, the House leaderships told their members to stay close for the weekend and the chamber will also be in session on Saturday.

Blame game

While the two sides are attempting to work toward a deal, leaders from each party are also hurling insults and blaming the other for the current predicament.

Trump took to his usual platform of Twitter on Saturday morning to sarcastically thank the Democrats for the shutdown.

"This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present," President Donald Trump tweeted, "#DemocratShutdown."

Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence and McConnell launched their own attacks on Saturday blaming the Democrats for shutting down the government over illegal immigration.

Democrats, on the other hand, pointed out that this will be the first time that a government shuts down and sends employees on furlough in the modern budget era when one party controls the House, Senate, and White House. Republicans pointed out that Democrats were needed to get the Senate bill over a filibuster.

Democrats also said that a larger deal could have been possible if not for Trump, whom Schumer blamed for the dysfunction.

"This will be called the Trump shutdown," Schumer said. "This will be called the Trump shutdown because there is no one, no one, who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in other than President Trump."

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37. The Lakers just set a new NBA record for shooting futility — and still managed to winСб., 20 янв.[−]

Julius Randle LakersAP Images / Kyusung Gong

  • The Los Angeles Lakers shot 2-for-14 (14.3%) from the free throw line on Friday against the Indiana Pacers, the worst single-game percentage in NBA history.
  • The Lakers were still able to beat the Pacers, who had some shooting woes of their own.

The Los Angeles Lakers made the wrong kind of history on Friday night.

The team collectively shot 2-for-14 — or 14.3% — from the free throw line against the Indiana Pacers, the worst single-game shooting percentage by any team in NBA history with a minimum of 10 attempts, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Perhaps even more shocking is that the Lakers were still able to pull out a 99-86 win, downing the Pacers for their 16th victory of the season.

Guard Jordan Clarkson, who sunk both free throws for the Lakers while five of his teammates went at least 0-for-2, couldn't believe it when told after the game.

"Man, that free throw line, it's like a virus or something," Clarkson told reporters. "What did we shoot?"

Upon being told of the 2-for-14 debacle, Clarkson didn't mince words: "Oh s---."

The free throw woes came alongside several notable absences in the Lakers lineup, including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Not to be outdone, the Pacers made some history of their own. They shot just 2-for-25 (8%) from the 3-point line, the lowest percentage in franchise history and the worst ever by any Lakers opponent, with a minimum of 20 attempts.

Despite their free throw struggles, the Lakers have won 5 of their last 7 games. Their next match-up is against the New York Knicks on Sunday.

NOW WATCH: Here's how LeBron James stays in incredible shape

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38. The housing market still can't keep up with millennial demand even after its best year in a decadeСб., 20 янв.[−]

hubhausMelia Robinson/Business Insider

  • New residential construction in the US rose to a 10-year high in 2017, the Census Bureau said in a report Thursday.
  • But the number of entry-level units still falls short of demand from millennials.
  • Homebuilders cite rising land and labor costs as barriers to new construction.

By some measures, the housing market just had its best year in a decade.

On Thursday, the Census Bureau released its final report on new residential construction, completions, and building permits in 2017. All three rose to the highest levels since 2007.

Construction was strongest in the market for single-family houses — the type that many young, first-time homebuyers want but can't find enough of in large cities. This shortage, combined with a strong jobs market that helped demand for homebuying, helped push home prices to record highs last year.

"The annual amount of completions necessary just to keep pace with growing millennial demand is estimated at around 1.5 million units — we are just falling short," said Mark Fleming, the chief economist at First American, in a note.

Completions totaled 1.15 million units in 2017.

"Clearly, new construction would have to pick up substantially this year to make much of a dent in our inventory woes," Fleming said.

1 18 18 housing COTDTrulia

The number of homes available for sale in the US fell in 2017 for a third straight year, Zillow said in a report also released on Thursday.

Homebuilders cite rising land and labor costs as barriers to new construction.

Many skilled construction workers fled the industry after the most recent housing crisis, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. This increased the value of those who stayed; a worker's average hourly wage last month was about $29, up from $23 in December 2007, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

The ongoing shortage of skilled workers could be complicated by policy changes as the federal government seeks to reform legal and illegal immigration, according to Nela Richardson, Redfin's chief economist.

"Residential construction growth in 2018 will depend heavily on immigration policy as 30 percent of US construction workers are foreign-born," Richardson said in a note on Thursday. "Immigration policy that restricts opportunities in construction for foreign workers will make a bad situation worse."

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says stocks will keep soaring in 2018

39. A career coach explains how to get a job without applying for itСб., 20 янв.[−]
A person who is already working for a competitor is seen as a prized candidate, as opposed to someone who is actively seeking employment. The secret lies in presenting yourself as a "passive candidate" — someone who is interested in a new professional opportunity but not currently seeking one. Keeping social media accounts such as LinkedIn up-to-date increases your chances of a potential offer. "2017 was a banner year for my firm," confided a recruiting firm owner to your author. "We made more placements, at higher salaries and commissions, than we've seen since before the Great Recession," he boasted. In today's economic environment, people with valuable skills in leadership roles are likely to be receiving more and more calls from recruiters. Even if you are happy with your current job, it is important not to blow recruiters off and to have a resume at the ready. You never know if the opportunity that will be presented will be more attractive than your current role. And, you can gain a boost of 15 percent or more in your compensation by being willing to make a change, likely far outpacing the raise you can expect in your current role. Recruiters are particularly zealous about seeking a prized "passive candidate" — someone who is open to new opportunities but not actively seeking them. Why? The psychology of hiring managers and recruiters often goes like this: If someone is good, they are already working for a competitor, and if they aren't employed or are submitting their resume actively, there is often some kind of problem. Alternatively, even if there isn't a problem, they can go all the way through a long and expensive hiring process only to find that the candidate has a competing job offer from another company. However, if they are dealing with a candidate who isn't looking elsewhere, that risk goes away. So, how do you take proactive steps to be seen as a passive candidate without tipping your hand to either your current boss or recruiters? Here are some things to do: Join appropriate professional organizations. Often, recruiters — or the people who source potential candidates for them — will obtain membership listings and start sorting through names based on positions, localities, et cetera. You might get calls asking you to "nominate" key leaders who do such and such for a search they are conducting. It's a recruiter's way of asking for you to respond: "I might be interested. Tell me more." And then you are off to the races! Attend professional conventions and meetings. Sometimes, all it takes is just showing up to get yourself on the radar screen. Recruiters frequent these events, and often will just strike up conversations hoping to keep themselves aware of "the field" and to build their own contact databases for current and future searches. Even if they don't attend, their researchers can utilize sophisticated Google Boolean search strings to locate attendee lists after the events. Then, they just start calling through them to figure out who is who, who knows and recommends others and networking their own way toward passive candidates. Don't neglect social media. Depending on what survey you consult, you'll find that the vast majority of candidates are initially found or contacted via LinkedIn. If you don't have a profile there, you just aren't in the game. LinkedIn offers many ways through which you can be found: a keyword search for job titles, your current or former companies, skills, degrees earned, colleges attended and more. The more complete and succinct your profile, the better your chances are of being found. Join LinkedIn Groups. In particular, look for groups of people clustered around your industry and skill sets. Take the time to write simple comments on other people's posts within the groups that will demonstrate your knowledge and add value to the discussions. You gain both visibility and credibility as a thought leader. Keep your certifications, skills and awards up to date. Recruiters often scan LinkedIn profiles to search for these things. Remember that you are rarely a recruiter's only candidate. Don't be lulled into complacency just because a recruiter finds you and recommends you to his or her client. Typically, recruiters will submit panels of five to 10 candidates to their client companies. Depending on whether it is a retained or contingent search, they will submit more or less detailed summary information or reports about each candidate. Employers are enabled to grade each person on a level playing field, as the same kinds of information will be provided regarding each individual. Whatever information you gain about an employer and its priorities from the recruiter will also be shared with your competition. In the end, the recruiter's loyalty is to the client company that pays them a hefty commission check when any of their candidates are hired. Being found and recommended by a recruiter can be a real boon to your career advancement prospects. But you still need to keep your interviewing skills sharp and do your own research to rise to the top of the pack. Happy hunting! NOW WATCH: Why you should never throw away these bags again

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40. The Amex Platinum is becoming even more useful for travelersСб., 20 янв.[−]

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

Centurion Lounge Entry Hong Kong AirportAmerican Express

  • One of the best perks that comes with the Platinum Card from American Express is that you can access a ton of airport lounges.
  • The best are Amex's own proprietary Centurion Lounges, available at nine major airports.
  • Today, American Express is announcing its 10th Centurion Lounge will open at JFK Airport by early 2019.

This morning, American Express is announcing an exciting expansion of one of the Platinum Card's best perks.

Although the Platinum Card from American Express has a higher annual fee than most other credit or charge cards, it carries enough perks, benefits, and rewards to more than make up for it. If you travel with any regularity — even just a few times a year — one of the most compelling perks is that the card gets you access to a ton of airport lounges.

Of the three types of lounges you can access as a cardholder, Amex's proprietary Centurion Lounges are widely considered the best. Only accessible to Platinum cardholders (and holders of the rare, invite-only "Black Card") and their guests, these lounges feature comfortable seating, complimentary cocktails and food created by award-winning mixologists and chefs, respectively, and other amenities like shower suites or spa treatment areas. These lounges generally surpass "comfortable" and fall into the category of downright luxurious.

There are locations at eight major airports in the US — and one in Hong Kong — and today, American Express announced an upcoming new location. Opening by early 2019, the new lounge will be in New York City's JFK International Airport, located past security in Terminal 4.

The new lounge will span more than 15,000 square feet and will have two levels, making it the biggest Centurion Lounge location. While details are still fairly scant, American Express is teasing "special new features" that will be announced closer to the lounge opening, as well as the amenities typical of Centurion Lounge, like a custom bar and premium food menu.

Something Amex emphasized in the announcement is that, in addition to being expansive, the new lounge will feature "spectacular views of the airfield" and tons of natural light. While the company hasn't shared many details about the layout or interior design of the lounge, it did share renderings of the exterior, which certainly do suggest some great views of the runway and sky.

Cent Lounge RenderAmerican Express

In addition to Centurion Lounges, Platinum Card members can access a number of other airport lounges, including Delta's Sky Clubs whenever flying with the airline. When flying on Delta with companions, cardholders can also purchase guest passes for a discounted $29 each.

Finally, cardholders receive a complimentary membership to Priority Pass, a network of more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world. With that membership, the cardholder and two guests can access any location (as long as there's room) to enjoy free snacks, drinks, newspapers and magazines, showers, and more, all separate from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal.

It will be interesting to learn more details about this new Centurion Lounge as it gets closer to completion. One of the busiest terminals in the United States, JFK's Terminal 4 sees more than 21 million annual passengers, according to JFKIAT, the company that owns the terminal. In fact, it accounts for one-third of all traffic at the airport.

Regardless of whether or not you're based in New York, the Platinum Card from American Express offers access to a huge network of lounges, as well as a wide range of other perks and benefits which more than outweigh the card's annual fee.

Click here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy

41. CREDIT SUISSE: There are 3 things that could drive the stock market crazy in 2018Сб., 20 янв.[−]

trader nyse stressed angry excitedGetty Images / Scott Olson

  • Stock market volatility was locked near record lows for much of 2017, and Credit Suisse says it has nowhere to go but up.
  • The firm highlights three things that could drive a surge in price swings this year.

Even as the S&P 500 turned in a monster 2017, it was a trade betting on a market standstill that offered the best opportunity for profit.

Exchange-traded products linked to the so-called short-volatility strategy surged almost 200% in the last year, smashing returns for even the hottest tech stocks. In turn, price swings in US stocks were virtually non-existent — a dynamic reflected by the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, which spent most of 2017 locked near record lows.

Fear not, says Credit Suisse, which sees more volatility just around the corner. The firm forecasts that the VIX will trade at a median of 12.5 in 2018, higher than the 10.9 level from last year.

Credit Suisse identified three things that could cause wild stock price swings and spiking volatility this year:

1) Sharply higher bond yields

Credit Suisse says that its 10-year Treasury yield "danger level" for stocks is 3.5%. Treasuries were trading near 2.55% as of Tuesday morning, meaning that the ongoing bond market selloff will have to continue in order for this threshold to be breached.

"In order to get such a rapid rise in yields, we would need to see a sharp acceleration in US wage inflation and a much more hawkish Fed," Credit Suisse equity derivatives strategist Mandy Xu wrote in a client note.

The firm notes that the only time there's been an empirical relationship between higher rates and a higher VIX is when yields rise sharply in response to surprise Federal Reserve tightening measures. For evidence of this, look no further than the so-called "taper tantrum" that transpired in May 2013 after then-Fed chair Ben Bernanke made surprising comments about slowing asset purchases:

Screen Shot 2018 01 16 at 10.57.32 AMCredit Suisse

2) A trade war

In the near term, Credit Suisse is looking at the March deadline for talks to modernize NAFTA, noting that there's been little progress up to this point.

The firm also sees mounting risk around a possible "full-scale trade war" with China as US trade penalties risk "tit-for-tat retaliation" from China.

Meanwhile, there's been speculation that the US may exit NAFTA entirely, something that Credit Suisse notes has been factored into the Mexican market. However, there's been no such comparable risk premium priced into US equities, either on a single-stock or whole market basis, the firm says.

Screen Shot 2018 01 16 at 11.10.22 AMCredit Suisse

3) Geopolitical risks

This is perhaps the most obvious possible negative catalyst for the US stock market, and also potentially the most dangerous. Credit Suisse highlights the following five areas as inspiring the most worry (all bullets verbatim):

  • North Korea: “fire and fury,” escalation of rhetoric/sanctions
  • Middle East: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia > upside risk for oil prices
  • United States: government shut down, Russia investigation
  • Europe: Italian elections, Catalonia independence, etc.
  • Cyberattacks: from state and non-state actors

NOW WATCH: How the sale of Qdoba will impact Chipotle's future

42. Nicolas Cage's movie at Sundance, 'Mandy,' uses his vintage, insane acting style to perfection and has all the makings of a cult classicСб., 20 янв.[−]

Mandy Sundance InstituteSundance Institute

  • "Mandy" is a cult classic in the making, as the director of "Beyond the Black Rainbow" gives us another stunning look inside madness.
  • It's topped by a Nicolas Cage performance that is pure "Cage Rage."

Nicolas Cage has always been fascinated by the performances that open up his darker side. And though Cage still has too many roles left to say what he does in “Mandy” is the ultimate example, it definitely is one of the toppers.

It’s hard to describe “Mandy” in words. You have to experience it. But here goes.

The movie comes from the mind of director Panos Cosmatos, whose only other directing credit is the now-cult classic, "Beyond the Black Rainbow."

Set in 1983 in the Shadow Mountains, Red (Cage) lives a tranquil existence with Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), who is the center of his universe. They stay up late at night chatting, they connect, and it's clear they've found their soul mates in one another. Things take a turn for the worse when the leader of a group of religious radicals notices Mandy and becomes obsessed with her.

He subsequently calls on a group of leather-clad supernatural bikers to snatch her up in the middle of the night and bring her to him. This leads Red to open up about the madness inside of him, resulting in a psychotic quest for revenge filled with bow-and-arrows, chainsaws, a makeshift axe, and lots of cocaine.

Like “Black Rainbow,” Cosmatos uses colors and lush cinematography to create a world that is beautiful but ominous. He also trades in the synthesized score for a rock-inspired number this time.

Then Cage takes it home. There are so many sequences in the final 40 minutes of this movie that are just vintage "Cage Rage," and I don't want to give them away.

But I'll give you one.

In a scene shot in a bathroom, Red walks in covered in his own blood after being tied up with barbwire. He grabs a full bottle of vodka from under the sink and begins chugging the bottle (as well as pouring the vodka all over his fresh wounds) while screaming between chugs. The scene gets more and more insane (and comical) as it plays out.

Like “Black Rainbow,” this movie may not be for everyone. Even the most dedicated fans of Sundance’s Midnight Movie section, which “Mandy” is a part of this year, walked out of the theater.

But I can't think of a higher recommendation.

“Mandy” is an acid trip that at times you’ll wish would just stop. But when you ride it out, gives you the payoff of a 100% insane Nicolas Cage performance.

“Mandy” is seeking distribution.

NOW WATCH: Celebrities flocked to these underground poker games where someone once lost $100 million in one night

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43. 35 big tech predictions for 2018Сб., 20 янв.[−]

35 big tech predictions for 2018BII

Technology is increasingly disrupting every part of our daily lives.

Smart speakers and voice assistants let us interact with our homes and with retailers in new and seamless ways.

Smartphones are taking over as the dominant shopping device.

Viewers continue to move away from traditional TV toward digital platforms.

And the list is growing.

Nearly every industry has been disrupted by digital technologies over the past 10 years. And in 2018, we expect to see more transformative developments affect our businesses, careers, and lives.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has put together a list of 35 Big Tech Predictions for 2018 across Apps and Platforms, Digital Media, Payments, Internet of Things, E-Commerce, Fintech, and Transportation & Logistics. Some of these major predictions include:

  • Cryptocurrencies will become more widely accepted
  • Google and Apple will challenge Amazon in the smart speaker space
  • The resurgence of the VR market
  • The real self-driving car race will begin
  • Drone regulations will relax
  • Alibaba’s international expansion
  • Gen Z will become a major focal point for media companies and advertisers
  • Payment security will become paramount
  • Smart home devices will take off

This comprehensive list of 35 predictions can be yours for free today. As an added bonus, you will gain immediate access to our exclusive free newsletter, BI Intelligence Daily.

To get your copy of this FREE report, simply click here.

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44. Hong Kong is so expensive that architects are building 100-square-foot ‘tube homes’ made from concrete water pipesСб., 20 янв.[−]

tube homes

For the past seven years, Hong Kong has held the title of the world's priciest city for home-buyers, according to the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

James Law, a Hong Kong-based architect, believes that his micro-homes could help alleviate the city's housing crisis. But his tiny home designs are anything but typical — they are concrete water pipes outfitted with all the amenities of a modern home.

Law explains more about his "tube home" design below.

Called the OPod, the "tube homes" measure 100 square feet. For perspective, a standard one-car garage spans about 200 square feet.

James Law Cybertecture

Law's firm, James Law Cybertecture, manufactured the "tube home" pictured below from a 8.2-foot-diameter water pipe.

James Law Cybertecture

It includes a sofa that folds out into a bed, shelves, a mini fridge, a microwave, and a bathroom with a shower.

James Law Cybertecture

Right now, the home design is only a prototype. But Law said he plans to start selling the homes soon. His team is currently seeking permits from the city to start building.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

45. Citi posts strong earnings, despite taking $22 billion hit from tax reform (C)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

Michael CorbatREUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Citigroup released fourth-quarter results Tuesday, beating the expectations of Wall Street analysts with adjusted earnings of $1.28 a share.

Analysts were expecting the bank to report adjusted earnings — which don’t include short-term impacts of the new tax law — of $1.19 a share.

It's expected to be a noisy quarter for bank earnings in general, thanks in part to the tax law, which has caused many banks to book losses on repatriated cash and deferred tax assets that declined in value.

Overall, Citi lost $18.3 billion, or $7.15 a share, for the quarter. That included a one-time, noncash charge of $22 billion, or $8.43 a share, on account of the new tax law.

CEO Michael Corbat nonetheless praised the tax law's long-term potential for the company.

"While our fourth-quarter results reflected the impact of a significant noncash charge due to tax reform, the impact on our regulatory capital was much less significant," Corbat said. "Tax reform does not change our capital-return goals as we remain committed to returning at least $60 billion of capital in the current and next two CCAR cycles, subject to regulatory approval. Tax reform not only leads to higher net income and increased returns but also serves to strengthen our capital-generation capabilities going forward."

Here are the other highlights:

  • Revenue of $17.3 billion, beating analyst estimates of $17.25 billion
  • Adjust net income of $3.7 billion
  • Returned $6.3 billion of capital to common shareholders in the fourth quarter and $17.1 billion in full-year 2017
  • Global Consumer Bank revenue increased 6% to $8.4 billion
  • Revenue from the Institutional Client Group, which includes the investment bank, decreased 1% to $8.1 billion, on account of a decline in markets revenue
  • Fixed-income trading, which struggled most of the year, fell 18% to $2.4 billion
  • Equities trading fell 23% to $530 million, though the firm said that was distorted by "an episodic loss in derivatives of approximately $130 million, related to a single client event."
  • That one client is most likely Steinhoff International, a South African retailer whose accounting scandal already sliced $273 million off of JPMorgan's earnings and is expected to similarly erode trading results at most of the big banks.
  • Investment-banking revenue increased 10% to $1.2 billion thanks to gains across debt and equity underwriting and mergers and acquisitions.

A giant tax hit

Why did Citi suffer such a huge loss related to the new tax law?

At least in the short term, the bank was expected to be the most affected by the new law, which lowered the corporate tax rate and introduced measures designed to encourage companies to bring overseas profits back to the US. In December before the tax bill was passed, the firm estimated it would most likely cost the firm $20 billion in the fourth quarter.

That's because of the massive losses Citi suffered during the financial crisis. The new tax law requires the firm to write down the value of its enormous cache of deferred tax assets, generated during that period of losses.

The bank had to chop the value of its tax assets by $19 billion. The bank had to book another $3 billion loss on repatriated earnings from its overseas subsidiaries.

Last week, JPMorgan reported a net $2.4 billion loss related to the tax law. Like Corbat, CEO Jamie Dimon also touted the law's long-term benefits.

The Steinhoff scandal wipes out $130 million in trading

Like JPMorgan, Citigroup was involved in a margin loan to an entity controlled by Christo Wiese, the former chairman of Steinhoff International, whose stock has been ravaged by an accounting scandal.

That's the likely culprit of the $130 million wipeout in Citi's equities-trading revenue attributed to a single client, as well as most of $267 million in credit losses in its Institutional Clients Group.

Citi, along with HSBC, Goldman Sachs, and Nomura, initially arranged the $1.8 billion loan, backed by some 628 million shares of Steinhoff's now-crippled stock. Those banks subsequently sold off parts of the loan to other banks.

JPMorgan reported a $273 million hit to its fourth-quarter earnings from the deal, and other banks are expected to have more exposure.

This post has been updated with new information.

NOW WATCH: Netflix is headed for a huge profit milestone in 2018

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46. There's a 'significant risk to markets' that's a bigger worry than where the economy is headed nextСб., 20 янв.[−]

wavesREUTERS/Philip Massie

  • The Treasury Department is set to increase its bond sales to support the government's funding needs.
  • According to Deutsche Bank's Torsten Slok, this incoming supply flood is a "significant risk to markets" that's worth more attention than the US economy's nuts and bolts.
  • Several central banks, among the biggest buyers of Treasurys and key sources of demand, are getting ready to slow their bond buying.

The Treasury Department's forthcoming increase in debt sales poses "a significant risk to markets," according to Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank's chief international economist.

Treasury plans to slowly increase its issuance of coupon-bearing securities to support the government's funding needs. This will be crucial as the gap between spending and income continues to widen. The US deficit jumped to a record $665.7 billion in the most recent fiscal year, and could hit $1 trillion in a decade, according to analyses of the new tax law.

One way the government plans to fund all that spending is by borrowing from the public. And this means that the Treasury's issuance of bonds is set to surge.

There just needs to be interested buyers.

"The bottom line is that investors should spend less time looking at US economic fundamentals and more time on where a doubling in demand for US fixed income can come from, in particular in a world where central banks at the same time stop doing QE," Slok said in a note on Tuesday.

He continued: "If demand for US fixed income doesn’t double over the coming years then US long rates will move higher, credit spreads will widen, the dollar will fall, and stocks will likely go down as foreigners move out of depreciating US assets. And this could happen even in a situation where US economic fundamentals remain solid."

1 16 18 treasury supply COTDDeutsche Bank

The Treasury Department is selling $62 billion in coupon-bearing bonds in the three months through February, when it's expected to announce an increase.

This comes at a time when one of the biggest sources of demand for Treasurys — central banks — appears to be retreating to the backseat.

After the financial crisis, central banks in the US, Japan, and Eurozone helped keep interest rates low by buying up several billions worth of Treasurys. When demand for the bonds rises and increases their prices, their yields fall.

But the global economy is now in recovery.

The Fed is already shrinking its balance sheet, partly by not reinvesting $6 billion of its maturing Treasurys every month.

Last week, the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan spooked investors with news that suggested they were slowing their bond purchases.

Also, senior Chinese government officials reportedly urged slowing or stopping their buying of Treasurys. All this news sent the benchmark 10-year yield to its highest level in 10 months.

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says stocks will keep soaring in 2018

47. Ag-tech startups are working on everything from apple-picking robots to machine learning — and they could radically transform how we grow our foodСб., 20 янв.[−]

greenhousesREUTERS/Ammar Awad

  • The agriculture-technology sector is booming.
  • Companies are working on everything from apple-picking robots to wearable technology that helps farmers grow produce more efficiently, and meet the demands of a rapidly-increasing global population.
  • The way food is grown will be radically transformed in the next few decades.

Feeding the planet's rapidly expanding population is one of the most critical challenges for humanity.

According to the UN, the world's population is approximately 7.3 billion people — and that number is expected to skyrocket to 9.7 billion by 2050. Some researchers expect global food demand to expand by up to 98% by the middle of this century. And ongoing issues related to rising temperatures, water scarcity, and desertification will negatively impact how much food farms are able to grow.

A number of agricultural technology startups — working on everything from apple-picking robots to augmented reality (AR) systems for greenhouses — are attempting to make food production more efficient and less impactful on the planet. By employing machine learning, drones, and hordes of sensors, these companies hope to radically transform how food is grown.

greenhousesREUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Ag-tech is exploding — and venture capitalists are diving in

The sector has exploded in the last few years. According to Pitchbook, venture capital firms, including heavyweights like GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Monsanto's VC arm, sank more than $1 billion into the industry in 2017, up from $823 million in 2016. Since 2014, VC's have dumped close to $3 billion into the sector, which is becoming increasingly present in the farming world.

"We're building bridges between Silicon Valley and Central Valley, where California grows most of its food," Seana Day, a partner at Better Food Ventures, an ag-tech focused investment firm, told Business Insider.

One of the industry's most celebrated startups, Plenty — which creates indoor, vertical farms near major cities — landed a $200 million Series B round led by Softbank. It's the most an ag-tech company has raised to date.

From big data...

There are a number of startups working on applying big data analytics and machine learning to help farmers grow crops more effectively.

Grownetics, a Boulder, Colorado-based startup that recently raised a $1 million seed round, bills itself as the future of agricultural artificial intelligence. The company installs sensors in greenhouses to collect data-points — tracking things like water use, and how quickly plants are growing — to help grow produce more efficiently, Eli Duffy, the CEO of Grownetics, told Business Insider.

"Take a 50,000 square foot greenhouse," Duffy said. "We can help that facility save $2 million per year through energy and water savings, and increase their yield."


Like Grownetics, Israeli startup Prospera uses artificial intelligence to help farmers understand the data they gather on their crops.

The company — which has clients around Europe and the US — is working on deploying its technology on outdoor farms, as well as greenhouses, Techcrunch reports.

And Granular, which has raised over $24 million to date, uses a software system that collects millions of data points around a farm to help farmers work more efficiently.

To augmented-reality wearables...

In 2016, Ryan Hooks founded Amsterdam-based startup Huxley to build a hands-free augmented reality system in greenhouses. He created what he calls "plant vision" — think of it as an operating system for a greenhouse. Being hands-free allows farmers to use the technology while they are actually out working with the crops, rather than having to constantly refer to monitors in a back office.

The system requires cameras and infrared sensors to be placed around a greenhouse or grow facility. Wearable technology like Vuzix glasses — which are wearable computers — can then provide a farmer with specific information about how plants in a greenhouse are faring, along with recommendations on whether to make adjustments to the water, humidity, or temperature.

"With Huxley, we can basically get more food with less water," Hooks said.

While he admits that Huxley is "probably a year-or-two" ahead of the wearables curve, he's hoping to first get the system into the hands of scientists and agronomists who study how greenhouses work, and then scale up from there.

apple harvestingREUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

To apple-picking robots...

A number of companies are working on hardware that does the time-intensive tasks humans used to have to do themselves — everything from planting seeds to watering plants and harvesting crops.

Crop harvesting often relies on cheap, seasonable labor — the availability of which is expected to decline in the coming decade. Researchers have pegged the decline of migrant workers in the US a t over 60% since the late 1990s, according to a 2016 study from the Institute for Research and Labor Employment.

Abundant Robotics, which just landed $10 million of funding, is developing the "world's first commercial apple-picking robot," Dan Steere, the company's CEO told Business Insider.

Steere says the technology, which is akin to a drone with apple picking abilities, is geared towards everything from small apple orchards to large-scale industrial operations.

"Migrant labor is declining, so the industry may not be globally viable in a few years without this," Steere said. To the question — which he says he gets a lot — of whether robots will take our jobs, Steere had a practiced answer: "The main lever for increasing the standard of living throughout history has been productivity, and automation."

Blue River Technologies, acquired by John Deere in September, has developed the Lettuce Bot, which automates the process of lettuce-thinning, a complicated and time-intensive task that allows heads of lettuce to grow more effectively. The company has also developed what it calls See and Spray technology, which draws on machine learning to identify crops and weeds and manage the plants' needs.

Iron Ox, founded by a former Googler and backed by Y Combinator, has developed greenhouses in California that employ robots to plant seeds, water, and care for each individual plant.

Arama Kukutai and Spencer Maughan, partners at the ag-tech focused VC firm Finistere Ventures, wrote in Forbes on Wednesday the first "unicorns" in the industry — that is, companies valued at over $1 billion — aren't far off.

With all the attention and capital flowing into the industry, the way we produce our food could be radically transformed in the coming decades.

NOW WATCH: Why you should never throw away these bags again

48. Why did Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu kill a bunch of alternative comedies?Сб., 20 янв.[−]

I Love Dick AmazonAmazon

  • This week, Amazon canceled three shows at once, all alternative comedies: "One Mississippi," "Jean-Claude Van Johnson," and "I Love Dick."
  • Over the past few months, streaming services including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix have been canceling shows, even critical hits like ""Lady Dynamite," "Difficult People" and "One Mississippi."
  • This is just the beginning, so now is probably a good time to get used to streaming services cancelling shows that you love.

It’s been a brutal couple of months for fans of quirky, lo-fi streaming comedies. In November, Hulu unexpectedly canceled one of its first breakthrough series, the Julie Klausner–created Difficult People. Netflix last week pulled the plug on Lady Dynamite, killing the almost universally acclaimed Maria Bamford half hour just weeks after its second season premiered. And Wednesday night, Amazon blew up most of what’s left of its comedy roster, handing out pink slips to One Mississippi, I Love Dick, and Jean-Claude Van Johnson. Shocking as some of these cancellations may be to fans of the shows — including many TV critics — they’re not entirely unexpected.

The streaming revolution, while still young, is no longer in its infancy. OG online networks Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix now have several years of programming experience under their belts, and, more importantly, reams of data about what works and doesn’t with their subscribers. It’s only natural they’d begin using the reams of data they collect from audiences to begin fine-tuning their offerings. What we’ve seen in recent months — shifting strategies, abrupt cancellations, and even the death of an entire platform (see-ya, SeeSo) — is part of the medium’s maturation process. “They’re starting to act more like traditional, mature programming services,” one veteran television exec told Vulture Thursday. “They’re canceling shows which clearly weren’t working for them.” Still, even if the big picture regarding what’s going on seems pretty clear — streamers are growing up — the culling we’ve seen in recent months offers a few other lessons about the immediate future of nonlinear television.

Streaming networks are not here to be your programming utopia.


During the early, heady pioneer days of streaming, outlets (particularly Netflix and Amazon) seemed to hand out automatic renewals to every show they produced. Seriously: Lilyhammer lasted for three seasons on Netflix. As our veteran TV exec notes, “At first, there seemed to be no rules; everything was a hit,” he said. “That’s bullshit. The law of averages says not everything will work.” As streamers were ramping up, there was good reason to be patient. First, they needed to make themselves attractive to potential series creators and TV studios who might have been hesitant about taking a chance on the new platform. House of Cards was hotly pursued by multiple networks, but it landed at Netflix because the streamer agreed to produce two full seasons without even seeing a pilot. Money was also obviously a factor, but for many creators, the lure of going to a Netflix or Hulu was not having to stress over ratings or worry about people finding their show within a few weeks.

And at first, streamers really didn’t care at all about audience numbers, since they knew people were still getting used to the idea of streaming shows. What’s more, as various online networks built their programming libraries, they had to be patient since they still only had a handful of originals to offer. But as those catalogues started growing, individual shows became much less important. Sure, die-hard fans of Lady Dynamite or The Get Down will deeply miss the shows, but it’s unlikely many will cancel their subscriptions as a result. While all Big Three streamers continue to up their overall content spends, they really don’t have unlimited budgets — particularly as they move into other genres, like talk shows (Netflix, Hulu) or live sports (Amazon). If a series isn’t clicking on some level — viewership, awards, pop-culture buzz — the fundamental rules of TV are going to kick in. “When something’s not working, you cut it off,” our TV veteran said. “At some point, they have to operate a business.”

Amazon does not want to be Netflix.

Amazon Studios

Even as all the major streamers have begun canceling shows in greater numbers of late, what’s been happening at Amazon represents a much more fundamental shift. Company CEO Jeff Bezos has made it very clear that, both in television and, apparently, feature films, he wants to evolve Amazon’s entertainment offerings. The art-house, critic-friendly fare championed by disgraced former Amazon Studios chief Roy Price (and TV head Joe Lewis) will be replaced by content designed to appeal to the masses, both in the United States and abroad. It’s a form of the tentpole strategy Disney has pursued in features under CEO Robert Iger, where smaller one-off movies made way for franchises like Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean. Toward that end, Amazon recently agreed to pay up to a quarter-billion (with a “b”) to develop a new The Lord of the Rings television universe. It’s not hard to see why a small indie-movie-like comedy such as I Love Dick didn’t have a chance under this new way of thinking.

The strategic shift further distinguishes Amazon Prime Video from Netflix. Even before Bezos changed course, it was always clear Amazon had no intent to try to race Netflix to become the dominant streaming network. And with good reason: While Netflix is fully focused on entertainment, TV and movies are a (relatively) small part of Amazon’s overall business plan. Shows like One Mississippi or movies like The Big Sick are just one of a dozen or so benefits of the annual Amazon Prime subscription; the prime benefit of Prime for most customers probably remains free two-day shipping of Amazon purchases. Exactly why Bezos thinks going big makes more sense than catering to smaller, yet passionate, bases of TV fans is unclear; he hasn’t really spoken much about his programming philosophy. It could be a sign he hopes to make Prime Video a stand-alone service, and big titles will be needed to get customers to sign up. Or maybe, as some in Hollywood think, Amazon might try to get into the linear TV business, buying an existing broadcast or cable network. If so, it would be smart to have programs with cross-platform appeal and the ability to attract advertisers. Whatever his thinking, Amazon Prime is likely never going to spend as much money on TV as Netflix, nor program as many genres. This week’s cancellations were probably inevitable given where Amazon is headed. (It’s also why fans of Catastrophe shouldn’t hold their breath for a season five of the show after season four premieres later this year.)

Cancellations in the streaming age will be more shocking.


In the world before streaming, fans and journalists often could tell when a show was not long for this world. Low ratings, time slot changes, episode count reductions: All were metrics which hinted a favorite show was on the bubble. That’s still the case today with linear TV. Even though it’s become harder to make predictions about a show’s fate as ratings become less important overall, there are usually signs something’s about to bite the dust. That’s not the case in the streaming world. Sure, the execs who run streamers have metrics — even more detailed data about who’s watching their shows, and how. The difference is, they’re not transparent about that information. Save for a handful of execs at individual outlets, most folks — even agents and producers — don’t know much about how programs are performing. Even when showrunners or agents do know some data, it’s hard to understand what it means since they only know how their own series are doing and not how they’re doing relative to other shows. As a result, decisions to kill a series often come out of the blue.

At least for now, streamers probably aren’t risking all that much with their sometimes seemingly arbitrary axings. As noted earlier, Netflix in particular has so many shows targeting so many consumers, no one series is likely to result in a wave of canceled subscriptions. It also still renews far more shows than it cancels, and it’s proven responsive to fan outrage: It ordered a Sense8 wrap-up movie when stans of the show spoke up following its cancellation.

Long-term, however, some streamers could risk doing damage to their brands, both among average viewers and Hollywood creatives. Amazon’s relatively sudden strategy shift, for example, could make some top-tier showrunners think twice about setting up shop at the streamer, even if their ideas fit within the company’s new blockbuster mentality. If Amazon can shift gears so quickly and abandon so many well-regarded series at once, what’s to stop the company from one day just deciding, “Eh, we don’t need to make TV shows anymore”? Mad Men creator Matt Weiner, for one, has to be wondering just how much marketing and promotion Amazon will give to his anthology series The Romanoffs, which as of now seems more likely than not to end after one season.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

49. MORGAN STANLEY: Here are 2 alternative sources of income if you're trying to avoid 'lower-quality' stocks and bondsСб., 20 янв.[−]

oil rig workerAndrew Burton/Getty Images

  • Markets may not see a repeat of last year's strong returns on risky assets like stocks.
  • Meanwhile, the yields on high-quality assets like Treasurys are historically low.
  • For alternative sources of income, investors can use dividend growers and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), according to Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

2017 was a spectacular year for markets. But there's no guarantee that we'll be talking about an encore this time next year.

Morgan Stanley's Wealth Management unit recognizes this, and is adjusting accordingly.

"We are starting from a very different place than in 2017," a team led by Lisa Shalett said in a note on Tuesday. "Valuations for both equities and fixed income are elevated, while late-cycle risks — particularly in the US — are rising."

To that end, the team is advising two sources of income that are alternatives to "lower-quality bonds and equities:" stocks that have consistently grown their dividends, and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs).

"During periods of high equity valuations, stocks that have consistently grown their dividends have outperformed," Shalett wrote. "Furthermore, consistent dividend growers are not expensive relative to their own history, in sharp contrast to the broad equity market."

The team did not provide any specific individual stock ideas, although the myriad of exchange-traded funds that track dividend growers might be good starting points. Goldman Sachs' dividend-growth basket gained 24% last year, more than the S&P 500's 19% gain.

Publicly traded limited partnerships are another attractive source of income in this market environment, Shalett said.

Considered favorites after the financial crisis, these partnerships offered tax benefits together with high yields, and were a common business structure for many of America's oil pipelines. But the oil-price collapse that started in mid-2014 sunk MLPs because many of them had taken on too much debt.

Morgan Stanley is not counting them out just yet.

"Today, MLPs offer a yield of 750 basis points, nearly 200 bps above that of high yield bonds," Shalett wrote.

"While some of last year’s weakness was certainly driven by fundamentals, as a result of the industry moving toward self-funding, growing commodity prices and volumes, cheap valuations, underlying credit strength, and reduced tax uncertainty suggest 2018 may offer stronger price action."

One area the team is not so bullish on is so-called bond proxies: sectors like utilities and consumer staples known for paying consistent dividends and not closely linked to economic cycles. That's because they can underperform the market during periods of rising interest rates, Shalett said.

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 3.34.01 PMMorgan Stanley

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50. JPMorgan lost $273 million on a single client in the fourth quarter (JPM)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

James Dimon, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co, attends the Paris Europlace International Financial Forum in Paris, France, July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo FuentesThomson Reuters

  • In an already wonky quarter, JPMorgan reported taking a $143 million loss in its equities trading department from a single client.
  • The department had strong equities performance apart from that one loss.
  • The client was identified as Steinhoff International, a South African retailer embroiled in an accounting scandal.
  • Total losses related to Steinhoff could be as much as $273 million.

After accounting for effects from the new tax law, JPMorgan posted a solid quarter, announcing earnings of $1.69 share Friday.

But in an already wonky quarter, JPMorgan reported an unusual loss not related to the new law: Its equities team took a $143 million loss from a single client.

JPMorgan confirmed the loss was connected to the South African retailer Steinhoff International, which is embroiled in an accounting scandal.

"It is by far and away the largest loss in that business we've seen since the crisis," CFO Marianne Lake said in an analyst call.

Lake confirmed that the corporate and investment bank's $130 million provision for credit loss in the fourth quarter was also attributable to Steinhoff.

After accounting for the $130 million in additional credit losses, JPMorgan booked a total of $273 million in losses related to Steinhoff in the fourth quarter.

Here's what JPMorgan said about the peculiar loss in its earnings presentation (emphasis ours):

"Equity Markets revenue was flat compared to a strong prior year and included the impact of a mark-to market loss of $143 million on a margin loan to a single client. Excluding the mark-to-market loss, Equity Markets revenue was up 12%, driven by strength in Prime Services, Cash Equities and corporate derivatives ...

"The provision for credit losses was an expense of $130 million, driven by a reserve build for the same single client."

Other banks are expected to be affected by Steinhoff's accounting loss as well.

Citigroup, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, and Nomura initially extended a margin loan to an entity controlled by Christo Wiese, then Steinhoff's chairman, according to The Wall Street Journal, and the losses from the loan were expected to be spread among a broader group of banks.

The entity controlled by Wiese put up millions of shares in Steinhoff as collateral for the loan — shares that collapsed in value following the accounting scandal.

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51. MORGAN STANLEY: Here are the 6 internet stocks to bet on in 2018Сб., 20 янв.[−]

GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney (C) applauds after ringing the opening bell before the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York April 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucas JacksonThomson Reuters

  • Technology stocks have been a beacon of strength in the stock market for much of the 8 1/2-year equity bull market, and a big driver has been internet companies.
  • Morgan Stanley has picked six internet stocks that it says will make good investments in 2018.

In 2017, making money investing in tech stocks was an easy proposition.

The S&P 500 Information Technology Index surged 37%, outpacing the next-closest sector by 15 percentage points and nearly doubling the return for the benchmark. Of the 68 companies in the group, a whopping 61 posted a positive return for the year. It was a veritable bonanza of stock gains.

But what about 2018? With stock-picking conditions the ripest they've been since the tech bubble, there are still plenty of money-making opportunities in the industry.

The Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak has put together stock recommendations for the internet sector specifically, weighing a multitude of factors to arrive at six that he thinks could outperform in 2018.

Without further ado, here are those stocks, with an explanation of why Morgan Stanley likes them so much:


Markets Insider

Ticker: GRUB

Price target: $77

Stock upside: 13%

Morgan Stanley rationale: "We are OW on GRUB and see the announced acquisitions as smart moves to further solidify its #1 share in a growing online delivery marketplace. On a pro-forma basis, GRUB is 3.5x larger than its nearest competitor with 50% more supply, which we believe better positions GRUB to continue to drive the budding online food delivery industry. We do not expect competitive pressure (particularly from Amazon Restaurants and UberEats) to let up, but see GRUB's larger revenue base enabling it to scale faster with strong EBITDA and cash flow."


Markets Insider

Ticker: ZNGA

Price target: $4.50

Stock upside: 13%

Morgan Stanley rationale: "We are bullish on ZNGA and see them in the beginning of a multi-year turnaround driven by a live services strategy that started with Poker and should translate well with other Zynga IP. Combined with opex discipline with new games to be released in 2H18, we see strong margin expansion and profitable growth for ZNGA 2018 and 2019."

Activision Blizzard

Markets Insider

Ticker: ATVI

Price target: $75

Stock upside: 8%

Morgan Stanley rationale: "We are Overweight ATVI as we think the digital transformation is still early days and will lead to better than expected EPS growth over the next 3-5 years. After a 75% run in 2017, ATVI trades at 26x Consensus 2018 EPS. While not cheap, we note that we are 9% of the street on 2018 EPS and we see multiple drivers of upside in 2018/2019 given strong execution in 2017."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

52. It's bonus season on Wall Street — here's when each of the big banks is announcing how much people will get paidСб., 20 янв.[−]

man happy sunglasses champagneIan Rutherford/Getty Images

  • Wall Street bonus season, when bankers really make their money, is nearly upon us.
  • People familiar with the big banks' bonus schedules have provided an outline of when each bank is expected to announce bonuses.

While most of us experience a mix of excitement and apprehension in the weeks approaching Christmas, for bankers the feeling comes a month later.

2017 is officially in the books, and Wall Street is headed toward its favorite time of the year: bonus season.

Yes, bankers typically make healthy, six-figure base salaries, but the annual bonus is where the best on Wall Street really get rich.

Not everyone is sharing the same level of enthusiasm and seasonal spirit, however. Some parts of Wall Street are looking at much fatter paydays than others. Traders had a rough year in 2017, while investment bankers are looking at a rebound in compensation after a strong performance this past year.

The announcements are expected to start rolling in as soon as the end of this week.

Business Insider spoke with people familiar with bonus schedules at the big banks. Bonus dates have been known to change at the last moment, but based on the current thinking, here's when Wall Street's top banks are expected to announce bonuses:

  • Morgan Stanley is set to kick things off this Thursday. A person familiar with the matter said the bank would also announce managing-director promotions.
  • Citigroup is next up the following week. It is expected to announce just after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so January 16.
  • JPMorgan is expected to announce in the middle of that week, around January 17.
  • Goldman Sachs is expected to announce at the end of next week, so around January 19.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the last to go of the big US banks. It is planning to announce the following week, on January 23, according to a memo sent to staff Tuesday, people familiar with the matter told Business Insider.

The bonuses are typically paid out a week or two after they are announced.

Representatives from each of the banks declined to comment.

Europe's largest banks report earnings after the US banks and start announcing bonuses afterward as well, usually in early February.

If you have any insights into bonus season (comp numbers, expected dates, tips, advice, tales of success, excess, or horror stories), feel free to send an email to amorrell@businessinsider.com.

Frank Chaparro contributed to this report. This story has been updated with new information.

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53. National parks will be open during the government shutdown — but there's a catchСб., 20 янв.[−]

national parks government shutdownJoe Raedle/Getty Images

  • National parks will remain open during the government shutdown.
  • While the parks are open, many services like visitors centers and trash collection will not be open.
  • The bare bones staffing for the parks has some conservation groups concerned.

One of the most indelible images of the 2013 government shutdown was the signs posted outside major landmarks and parks announcing their closure.

From the Lincoln Memorial to Yellowstone National Park, the "CLOSED" signs became ammunition in a fight over government funding.

The shutdown that kicked off at midnight Saturday and will continue into the weekend will be a little different though, as the Trump administration announced that national parks will remain open during the lapse in federal funding.

During a press conference, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — whose office spearheads the shutdown plans for federal agencies — laid out the difference.

"Parks will be open this time, and they weren't before," Mulvaney said. "Let's go down the list. The parks will be open. The way it works is that the parks are open, but the — especially if the services are provided by third parties, but things like the trash won't get picked up."

According to the National Park Services' new contingency plan, the parks will remain open and emergency safety crews will be active, but many amenities will not be provided.

"Parks must notify visitors that the NPS will cease providing visitor services, including restrooms, trash collection, facilities and roads maintenance (including plowing), campground reservation and check-in/check-out services, backcountry and other permits, and public information," the plans said. "National and regional offices and support centers will be closed and secured, except where they are needed to support excepted personnel."

The only problem is that the shutdown procedure for each park will be wildly different, which the NPS acknowledged, because each is unique and needs a certain level of care in order to operate.

"Due to the dramatic differences in operations, size, visitation, location, and infrastructure represented in national park sites, the number of employees required to carry out the essential activities defined above will vary greatly from site to site," the plan said.

The shutdown of many basic activities, like trash collecting, also has many environmental and preservation groups concerned. The Sierra Club, a public lands conservation and environmental group, said that the move prevents embarrassing headlines but endangers the parks themselves.

"The reality is that our parks can’t operate without the Park Service," Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club's Associate Director of the Outdoors Campaign, said in a statement. "Keeping them open without staff is dangerous for both visitors and for the delicate ecosystems in our parks. Risking both visitors and important cultural sites to win political points is the height of irresponsibility."

Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, expressed similar concern in a statement Friday.

"There is no substitute for National Park Service staff and their expertise, and it is not wise to put the public or our park resources at risk by allowing for half-measures to keep them open," the statement said. "And yet, that’s exactly what the Department of Interior is asking park superintendents to do."

"Keeping parks open with virtually no staff is a risky situation, and the guidance park staff is being given is vague at best."

Congress is set to meet at 12 pm ET on Saturday to try and fund the government and end the shutdown.

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54. Why American men are getting less marriageableСб., 20 янв.[−]

wedding marriageUnsplash/Priscilla Du Preez

  • We're in the middle of a great marriage decline in the US.
  • This phenomenon is partially explained by economic forces that are making men less appealing partners.
  • Traditional gender roles are also to blame.

If it seems like the number of complaints from your female friends about not being able to find a man is growing, we may finally know why. Somewhere between 1979 and 2008, Americans decided it was much less worth it to get hitched: the share of 25 to 39-year-old women who were currently married fell 10 percent among those with college degrees, 15 percent for those with some college, and a full 20 percent for women with a high school education or less.

This great American marriage decline—a drop from 72 percent of U.S. adults being wed in 1960 to half in 2014—is usually chalked up to gains in women's rights, the normalization of divorce, and the like. But it also a lot to do with men. Namely, economic forces are making them less appealing partners, and it ties into everything from China to opioids.

The most revealing data comes from University of Zurich economist David Dorn. In a 2017 paper with an ominous title ("When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men"), Dorn and his colleagues crunched the numbers from 1990 to 2014. They found that employability and marriageability are deeply intertwined.

The flashpoint is a sector of the economy that politicians love to talk about: manufacturing. It used to be a huge slice of the employment pie: In 1990, 21.8 percent of employed men and 12.9 percent of employed women worked in manufacturing. By 2007, it had shrunk to 14.1 and 6.8 percent. These blue collar gigs were and are special: they pay more than comparable jobs at that education level in the service sector, and they deliver way more than just a paycheck. The jobs are often dangerous and physically demanding, giving a sense of solidarity with co-workers. Not coincidentally, these jobs are also incredibly male-dominated—becoming even more so between 1990 and 2010. But since 1980, a full third of all manufacturing jobs—five million since 2000—have evaporated, making guys less appealing as potential husbands in the process.

Dorn and his colleagues find that when towns and counties lose manufacturing jobs, fertility and marriage rates among young adults go down, too. Unmarried births and the share of children living in single-parent homes go up. Meanwhile, places with higher manufacturing employment have a bigger wage gap between men and women, and a higher marriage rate.

"On simple financial grounds, the males are more attractive partners in those locations because they benefit disproportionately from having those manufacturing jobs around," he tells Thrive Global.

It underscores how in the U.S., the norms around money, marriage, and gender remain—perhaps surprisingly—traditional. Marianne Bertrand, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, has found a "cliff" in relative income in American marriages at the 50-50 split mark. While there are lots of couples where he earns 55 percent of their combined income, there are relatively few where shemakes more than he does.

While the pay gap is certainly a factor here, Bertrand and her colleagues argue that the asymmetry owes more to traditionalist gender roles and remains a class issue. They reference recent results from the World Values Survey, where respondents were asked how much they agreed with the claim that, ‘‘If a woman earns more money than her husband, it's almost certain to cause problems.'' The results broke along socioeconomic lines: 28 percent of couples where both parties went to at least some college agreed, while 45 percent of couples where neither partner went beyond high school agreed. Spouses tend to be less happy, more likely to think the marriage is in trouble, and more likely to discuss separation if the wife outearns her husband, as well.

"Either men don't like their female partners earning more than they do," Dorn says, or women feel like "if the man doesn't bring in more money, then he's an underachiever."

As manufacturing jobs are lost, there are also increases to mortality in men aged 18 to 39, Dorn says, with more deaths from liver disease, indicative of alcohol abuse; more deaths from diabetes, related to obesity; and lung cancer, related to smoking—not to mention drug overdoses. (These "deaths of despair" have taken over a million American lives in the past decade.) Ofer Sharone, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts, has found that while Israelis blame the system when they can't find a job, Americans see themselves as flawed when they can't find work, which sounds a lot like perfectionism. And remarkably, half of unemployed men in the U.S. are on some sort of painkiller. Unremarkably, all that makes long-term monogamy less appealing. "This is consistent with the notion that males become less attractive partners because they have less money and start doing drugs," Dorn says.

The precarious situation that American men face has a lot to do with the nature of the jobs they're doing. Germany and Switzerland, which are bleeding manufacturing at a much slower rate, do more precision work (read: watches and cars), which is harder to ship overseas to hand over to robots and algorithms. Traditionally masculine, American blue collar jobs tend toward repetitive tasks, making them easier to replace. (One British estimate predicted that 35 percent of traditionally male jobs in the UK are at high risk of being automated, compared with 26 percent of traditionally female jobs.) There's a race to automate trucking, a traditionally male role, but not so much nursing.

And the working-class jobs that are being added tend toward what's traditionally taken to be "women's work." Care-oriented jobs like home-care aides continue to go up—a trend that's only going to continue as America gets older and boomers move into retirement. These are not trends that add to the marketability of guys. "The lack of good jobs for these men is making them less and less attractive to women in the marriage market, and women, with their greater earnings, can do fine remaining single," says Bertrand, the Chicago economist. "For gender identity reasons, these men may not want to enter into marriages with women who are dominating them economically, even if this would make economic sense to them."

So what's a man to do within change like this? Dorn recommends, if one is able, to specialize in areas that are harder to automate—jobs that require problem-solving and creativity. But those jobs also often require more education. Then comes the much woolier, complex issue of gender norms. There are individual choices to be made at a personal level for men to take on traditionally feminine work, or for heterosexual couples to settle on a situation where the wife brings home the bacon. But these individual choices don't happen in a vacuum—they're necessarily informed by the broader culture.

"Traditional masculinity is standing in the way of working-class men's employment," Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin said in an interview. "We have a cultural lag where our views of masculinity have not caught up to the change in the job market." (This was captured in a recent New York Times headline: "Men Don't Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree.") Parents and educators will play the biggest role in teaching more gender neutral attitudes regarding who belongs in the home and who belongs in the marketplace, Bertrand says. And eventually, she adds, gender norms "will adjust to the new realities" that are already present in the economy: women are getting better educations and are more employable, and the work opportunities that are growing are—for now—thought to be feminine.

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55. A mom in Florida is caring for 1,250 children of illegal immigrants in case their parents are deportedСб., 20 янв.[−]

immigrant momLynne Sladky/AP

  • Nora Sandigo cares for 1,250 children of undocumented immigrants who are at risk of being detained or deported.
  • Parents who are worried about what may happen to their children if they are detained sign a document known as a power of attorney that allows Sandigo to become the children's caretaker.
  • Sandigo is an immigrant herself. As a teen, she fled the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua and came to the US.

MIAMI (AP) — The 29-year-old Mexican farmworker was stressed and afraid. Her husband had just been detained by immigration authorities as he left a South Florida construction site and was about to be deported. She feared the same would soon happen to her. What would become of her two kids?

So she called Nora Sandigo, an immigration activist who has accepted responsibility for 1,250 children, becoming an essential part of emergency planning for people who are in the U.S. illegally and now face an increasing prospect of being caught amid a crackdown under President Donald Trump.

“Don’t worry,” Sandigo told her on a recent morning. “Come see me tomorrow.”

Hundreds of immigrant parents have signed a document known as a power of attorney that enables Sandigo to care for their children if they are detained, at which point it might be too late to make such an arrangement.

“People are desperate to do this to protect their kids,” she said after hanging up with the woman from Mexico. “Once they are detained there’s very little that can be done for them.”

The power of attorney allows Sandigo to sign documents on behalf of children at schools, hospitals and court. She can help the minors pursue legal residency if they are not citizens or travel abroad to be reunited with their families.

At least once a week, Sandigo, a 52-year-old mother of two daughters, drives south to the city of Homestead and drops off donated clothing and food for some of them, mostly people from Mexico and Central America who work on nearby farms.

Every two weeks, many of the families gather at her home on the rural southern fringe of Miami. Sometimes several hundred show up.

She hands out donated supplies to the adults while the kids play with a menagerie of animals on the five-acre property, including ponies, a goat, pigs and a peacock.

Most of the kids still live with at least one parent, and in the end she may never have to take care of most of them.

Sandigo, a deeply religious woman who makes frequent references to God and Jesus, gets more involved if the parents are detained or deported. In December, she accompanied an 8-year-old Mexican girl to the hospital because the child couldn’t sleep, eat or stop crying after her father was detained and went with another child to an asylum hearing in downtown Miami.

Two kids from Nicaragua whose parents were forced to leave the U.S. lived with her for two years. One now attends Georgetown University and the other lives with an uncle and plans to join the Army.

A 16-year-old who was born in the U.S. to parents from India has been living with her since September 2016, getting an education at a local public school that his parents felt he couldn’t get after they were deported to their homeland. Sandigo refers to the boy, Ritibh Kumar, as “my lovely son.”

Kumar, who is tall and athletic and has lived in the U.S. most of his life, said Sandigo checks his homework and watches him play tight end on his school’s football team. “She is my No. 1 fan,” he said. “This is my second home, my second mother.”

When Lucia Ambruno was forced to return to Colombia, she placed her two children in Sandigo’s care after hearing media reports about the foundation. The two teens lived with her in Kendall for several months until they were able to move in with family friends in another part of the U.S.

“She inspires a lot confidence, a lot of love,” the 42-year-old Ambruno said of Sandigo. “I trusted her with my little ones and she didn’t let me down.”

Nora SandigoWilfredo Lee/AP

Sandigo can relate to the immigrants she helps. She fled Nicaragua as a teen, leaving her own parents behind, after the socialist Sandinista government confiscated her family’s farm. During the 1980s, she provided the U.S.-backed Contra insurgents with clothes and other supplies and later spirited her brother out of the country at age 16 before he could be drafted into the military.

She became a U.S. citizen in 1996 and became active in immigration issues, helping fellow refugees from Nicaragua. Sandigo has since become well known for broader efforts, which include filing a lawsuit last week against the Trump administration on behalf of children with citizenship whose parents have been deported.

“Nora has proven that she has a deep, caring heart and is committed to giving many immigrant kids a good start in life,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a South Florida Republican.

The first time Sandigo signed a power of attorney to help someone being deported was in 2006, when a woman from Peru needed help getting a young child back to the South American country.

“I’m a mama warrior, ready to protect children and their parents,” she said.

Money for the effort comes from donations to the Nora Sandigo Children Foundation or from the businesses she runs with her husband, which include a plant nursery and an elderly care home. Some lawyers also offer voluntary help.

Sandigo has been setting up agreements with migrant parents for nearly a decade, but over the past 12 months the number of new ones has grown nearly 40 percent. She gets barraged with email, Facebook messages and phone calls from interested parents.

More than 110,500 immigrants were detained on suspicion of being in U.S. illegally in the first nine months under Trump, a 42 percent increase over a year earlier, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The administration has also ended programs that spared some categories of immigrants from deportation, including people from countries devastated by natural disaster such as Haiti and El Salvador.

The power of attorney forms don’t confer full legal guardianship or transfer parental rights. No court order is required. State and local officials don’t get involved unless there are allegations of fraud or abuse, in which case a judge can be asked to void the agreement. Similar arrangements are often used by elderly people who want someone to look out for their interests.

Others provide this service for immigrants around the U.S., though immigration experts say they know of no one who has done it to the extent of Sandigo.

For the Mexican woman who called Sandigo on a recent morning, it’s a way to make sure her kids have someone to call and take care of them if she is suddenly arrested, someone who could send them to her in San Luis Potosi.

The woman showed up at Sandigo’s house the following evening with her 2-year-old son after her eight-hour shift picking squash near Homestead, leaving her 11-year-old daughter with a neighbor. The woman, who asked that she be identified only by her first name, Lucia, said the drive was tense because she was afraid she would be pulled over and turned over to immigration.

Sandigo, who seems to always have a cup of coffee in her hand, embraced Lucia as if they had known each other for years. The boy headed off to play with a ball while they sat down to talk in the living room. Lucia said her husband crossed the border in 2006 and she followed the next year. Now, they fear their time in the U.S. is coming to an end. The husband was detained as he came back from a construction job near Miami.

She had heard of Sandigo through the immigrant grapevine. “She’s a good person and that’s why I’m going to her for help,” Lucia said, still in tears after talking about what happened to her husband.

Sandigo tries to offer comfort, but as the woman drives away into the night, Sandigo says there is only so much reassurance she can give. “People are afraid, knowing that at any moment there’s a possibility that their family can be destroyed,” she said.

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56. How drones will change the world in the next 5 yearsСб., 20 янв.[−]

drone hardware market 1BI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The fast-growing global drone industry has not sat back waiting for government policy to be hammered out before pouring investment and effort into opening up this all-new hardware and computing market.

A growing ecosystem of drone software and hardware vendors is already catering to a long list of clients in agriculture, land management, energy, and construction. Many of the vendors are smallish private companies and startups — although large defense-focused companies and industrial conglomerates are beginning to invest in drone technology, too.

In a report from BI Intelligence, we take a deep dive into the various levels of the growing global industry for commercial drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This report provides forecasts for the business opportunity in commercial drone technology, looks at advances and persistent barriers, highlights the top business-to-business markets in terms of applications and end users, and provides an exclusive list of dozens of notable companies already active in the space. Finally, it digs into the current state of US regulation of commercial drones, recently upended by the issuing of the Federal Aviation Administration's draft rules for commercial drone flights. Few people know that many companies are already authorized to fly small drones commercially under a US government "exemption" program.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • We project revenues form drones sales to top $12 billion in 2021, up form just over $8 billion last year.
  • Shipments of consumer drones will more than quadruple over the next five years, fueled by increasing price competition and new technologies that make flying drones easier for beginners.
  • Growth in the enterprise sector will outpace the consumer sector in both shipments and revenues as regulations open up new use cases in the US and EU, the two biggest potential markets for enterprise drones.
  • Technologies like geo-fencing and collision avoidance will make flying drones safer and make regulators feel more comfortable with larger numbers of drones taking to the skies.
  • Right now FAA regulations have limited commercial drones to a select few industries and applications like aerial surveying in the agriculture, mining, and oil and gas sectors.
  • The military sector will continue to lead all other sectors in drone spending during our forecast period thanks to the high cost of military drones and the growing number of countries seeking to acquire them.

In full, the report:

  • Compares drone adoption across the consumer, enterprise, and government sectors.
  • Breaks down drone regulations across several key markets and explains how they’ve impacted adoption.
  • Discusses popular use cases for drones in the enterprise sector, as well as nascent use case that are on the rise.
  • Analyzes how different drone manufacturers are trying to differentiate their offerings with better hardware and software components.
  • Explains how drone manufacturers are quickly enabling autonomous flight in their products that will be a major boon for drone adoption.

Simply put, The Drones Report is the only place you can get the full story on the rapidly-evolving world of drones.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
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57. One of the best nature documentaries of all time returns tonightСб., 20 янв.[−]

Blue Planet IIAMC Networks

  • "Blue Planet II" premieres in the US on Saturday, January 20 at 9 pm ET.
  • For the series, producers spent more than 6,000 hours underwater over four years, visiting 39 countries on 125 expeditions.
  • The footage they captured is breathtaking, heartbreaking, and stunning.

Earth's oceans make life possible. They're the reason that when the planet is viewed from space, we call it a "blue dot."

" Blue Planet II," a BBC Natural History Unit production that premieres in the US on Saturday, offers the most breathtaking look at the oceans yet.

The producers take viewers to the surprisingly full-of-life waters 3,280 feet deep in the Antarctic. The cameras show an octopus battling a shark in a struggle to stay alive. There's a journey to try and finally discover where whale sharks give birth, and a look at how orcas use their powerful tails to kill herring with shockwaves.

At one point, the show's production team even filmed life in the deepest parts of the ocean, seven miles down, where scientists didn't know anything could live. Creatures there are under pressure equivalent to 50 jumbo jets stacked on top of each other.

There are at least 12 scientific papers being published based on what the teams observed.

"As filmmakers, it has been unbelievably exciting to make these films in collaboration and true unity with the scientists who can unlock the secrets to this magical world," Orla Doherty, the producer of the new series' second and seventh episodes, told Business Insider. "I feel like we've pushed the boundary of what we know about the ocean just that little bit more."

Blue Planet IIAMC Networks

Our blue planet

The original "Blue Planet" series came out in 2001, and was one of the first nature documentaries narrated by David Attenborough that captivated the world with the mystery and beauty of Earth's seas. It was followed by other stunning series like "Planet Earth" and "Life," which each showed how remarkable our planet is from other new perspectives.

In "Blue Planet II," the producers take viewers further and deeper underwater to show how alien and otherworldly the ocean can be and remind humans of how connected we are to the sea.

"This place isn’t just beautiful, it isn’t just full of extraordinary animals doing really really incredible things," Doherty said. "Once you then stop and think, actually it’s a healthy, thriving, vibrant ocean that’s full of life and full of all the ecosystems doing their function, performing the services they do, that is what makes it okay for us to be living on this planet."

Blue Planet IIAMC Networks

True natural history

As huge and full of life as the ocean is, people have the ability to impact it. The many ways in which human activity is causing widespread harm to the ocean and the creatures in it are shown to heartbreaking effect in several episodes.

"We didn’t go out there as an environmental series at all but we went out there to film natural history and the natural history is that [the oceans are] changing," Doherty. "I went out to film deep sea corals, ancient animals that have been growing in the darkness of the deep, and what I found was a rubble field because a trawler had been through and had razed the corals to the ground. We came across these scenes over and over again, so it just became our obligation to include some of them because to show our audience an ocean and not show some of the ways we are changing it would have just been so untrue."

As hard to watch as some of those scenes are, they're powerful.

The show airs simultaneously on January 20 at 9 pm ET/8 pm Central on BBC America, AMC, IFC, WE TV, and Sundance TV. Check out the trailer below.

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NOW WATCH: How the ancient Greeks proved Earth was round over 2,000 years ago

58. ZILLOW: Here are the US cities where the housing shortage is at 'crisis levels' (Z)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

san jose california skylineAssociated Press/Jeff Chiu

America's housing shortage is at "crisis levels," according to Zillow.

The number of homes available for sale fell for a third straight year in 2017, the firm said in a report on Thursday. There were 10% fewer homes on the market in December 2017 compared with December 2016.

"Aging millennials and young families may be able to find more affordable new homes for sale this year, but they'll most likely be in further-flung suburbs with more grueling commutes to urban job centers," said Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist at Zillow.

He added that tax cuts would put more money in buyers' pockets, increasing demand at a time when builders continue to struggle with rising land and labor costs.

The shortage is worse in some markets where home prices are rising faster.

Here are the 15 metro areas that experienced the biggest year-over-year declines in inventory as of December.

15. Atlanta, Georgia

ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Year-over-year inventory change: -14.6%

Zillow Home Value Index: $186,300

Year-over-year index change: 7.7%

14. Cleveland, Ohio

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Year-over-year inventory change: -14.6%

Zillow Home Value Index: $137,000

Year-over-year index change: 5.3%

13. New York, New York

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Year-over-year inventory change: -15.4%

Zillow Home Value Index: $429,000

Year-over-year index change: 6.9%

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

59. From playing in trucks to putting 'America First': The 40 most memorable photos from Trump's wild first year in officeСб., 20 янв.[−]

trump toastsThomas Peter/AP

A lot has happened in President Donald Trump's first year in office.

He's faced hurricanes, wildfires, deadly mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, and terrorist attacks in New York City. He's met with world leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to strengthen relations with allies in the fight against a weakened ISIS and an increasingly nuclearized North Korea.

Back home, Trump continues to tout the low unemployment rate, higher-than-expected GDP growth, and a 17-year high consumer confidence index. He says these are indicators of a booming economy.

Trump also nominated Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice, instituted travel restrictions on citizens from mostly majority-Muslim countries, declared the opioid crisis a "public health emergency," rolled back Obama-era environmental regulations, pulled out of the Paris climate accord, called for a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, and passed the largest overhaul in the US tax code in a generation, among much more.

Meanwhile, the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election continues to plague the White House. Special counsel Robert Mueller has already indicted three of Trump's associates: former campaign manager Paul Manafort, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, and Manafort's protégé, Rick Gates.

As Trump prepares to enter his second year in office, let's take some time to reflect on some of the most memorable moments of his presidency, in photos:

January 20: Trump was inaugurated on a cold and rainy day in the Capitol. His defeated Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, attended the ceremony.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

January 22: Trump's relationship with former FBI Director James Comey started off well, but quickly soured as Comey's investigation into Trump's possible ties to Russia heated up. Trump fired Comey in May.


January 26: Trump has had a tumultuous relationship with the press, at times granting extensive access but also slamming the "fake news" media for critical coverage.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

60. A look inside the incredible life of Georgina Bloomberg, heiress to her father's $52 billion empire and an elite equestrian who bounced back after breaking her back twiceСб., 20 янв.[−]

Georgina BloombergEvan Agostini/AP Images

• Georgina Bloomberg is the second daughter of former New York City Mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg.

• She is an elite equestrian, who's raked in thousands of dollars in prize money and has bounced back from breaking her back twice.

Bloomberg is also a published novelist, with a degree from New York University.

Georgina Bloomberg was ranked one of Forbes' " most intriguing billionaire heiresses" back in 2007.

That's not surprising. The 34-year-old equestrian, novelist, and animal rights activist has pursued a number of careers over the years.

She's the daughter of one of the richest men in the world. Her father Michael Bloomberg is worth $52 billion, according to Forbes.

But she hasn't always expressed delight about her privileged upbringing. She even admitted that "having the last name Bloomberg sucks" in the 2003 documentary "Born Rich."

Years later, Bloomberg told Town and Country she'd never say that today.

"I've come to have a lot more respect for my parents and my last name and everything that my father has done and how hard he worked to provide a great life for us," she said. "It's a last name that now I'm proud of."

Here's a look at her incredible life:

Bloomberg was born on January 20, 1983 to billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg and his then-wife Susan. She has an older sister named Emma. Their parents divorced in 1993, but Emma told The New York Times in 2001 that they shared a friendly relationship.

Kathy Willens/AP Images

Source: Team USA, The New York Times, The New York Times, People, The New York Times, The Observer

Bloomberg began riding horses when she was four and entered her first competition at the age of six. As she began to win competition after completion, she bristled when people attributed her success to her famous father.

Diane Bondareff/Invision for Longines/AP Images

Source: The Washington Post

"It is a little frustrating when you work as hard as you possibly can and people only think you're successful because of your father, which just isn't true," Bloomberg told The Washington Post in 2010. "A lot of people who are that way are jealous."

Amy Sancetta/AP Images

Source: The Washington Post

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

61. The coolest and craziest concept cars revealed so far this yearСб., 20 янв.[−]

lexu f1-limitless

  • Automakers revealed a number of flashy concept cars at CES and the Detroit auto show in January.
  • While concept cars don't always become production models, they can give us a sense of what car companies are planning for the future.
  • This year's concept cars reveal the industry is still preparing for a future of electric and self-driving vehicles.

We haven't even reached February, and we've already seen a number of flashy concept cars revealed at CES and the Detroit auto show.

While concept cars don't always turn into production models, they can give consumers a sense of where the auto industry is heading. If this latest batch of concept cars is any indication, car companies are planning for a future of electric and self-driving cars.

Take a look at our favorite concepts released this year so far.

Byton all-electric SUV


The Chinese startup Byton revealed an all-electric SUV concept at CES. Though it won't be identical to the production version (Byton said the concept represents about 85% of it) that is scheduled for release in 2019, it gives us a pretty good sense of what the final product will look like.

Byton calls the SUV a "smart intuitive vehicle"


The car's features may include face recognition technology, cameras in place of side mirrors, voice and gesture controls, and self-driving capabilities.

Infiniti Q Inspiration


Nissan showed off the Q Inspiration concept for its Infiniti at the Detroit auto show. While there's no projected release date for the car, Nissan later said almost every Infiniti released after 2021 will be electrified.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

62. Tech doesn’t need to be less addictive — it just needs to be better (AAPL, GOOG, FB)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

texting smartphone cold scarfgarryknight/Flickr

  • The tech industry has been under increased scrutiny lately over the potential negative effects of its products.
  • Many critics are charging that smartphones, social networks, and other tech products and services are encouraging "addiction" — but that's likely overstating the case. Few people's interactions with their devices or services actually meet the definition of addiction.
  • The real problem with tech products is not that they encourage addiction, but that they're annoying and disruptive — and that's something tech companies need to fix.

The tech industry is experiencing a whole new wave of backlash and scrutiny.

This time, it's not about fake news or Nazis spreading venom on Twitter. Instead, the focus is on the harmful effects tech products have on users — and the charge that use of the gadgets and services is leading to addiction, perhaps intentionally.

Earlier this month, for example, a group of Apple shareholders expressed concern that kids were become addicted to their iPhones and urged the company to do something about it. Last fall, former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya charged that social networks were "destroying how society works." Meanwhile, Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, has been repeatedly beating the drum about tech addiction, telling The Guardian last year that "our minds can be hijacked" by our gadgets and apps.

And that's not to mention the growing numbers of tech executives and other industry figures who have started to raise alarms about the supposedly addictive nature of the industry's products.

These critiques generally boil down to the assertion that tech companies are purposefully and nefariously building products in ways that are designed to mess with users' minds. The more minutes Facebook or Twitter can keep your eyeballs glued to their services, the more attractive and valuable they are to the advertisers who are paying them for your attention.

So tech companies do whatever they can to keep you coming back, goes the charge, intentionally creating features such as "likes" and "replies" that are designed to tap into the dopamine effect — the chemically induced good feeling you get in response to positive stimuli.

But I think the critics are being a little too free and easy with the charge that tech products are causing addiction.

Yes, there are likely many people out there who have become so obsessed with their devices or apps or online services that their attachment to them is having negative effects on their lives. Those people should absolutely get help and find ways to wean themselves off of tech.

But the vast majority of tech users aren't in that boat.

"Addiction is a specific, compulsive behavior," said Nir Eyal, the author of " Hooked: How to Build Habit-forming Products."

Eyal, who advises tech companies on how to create ethical products that don't harm users, added: "For example, I'm not addicted to Facebook unless I can't stop even if I want to. Very few people are actually addicted to tech."

Instead of addiction, the problem most tech users face is their devices and services are annoying and disruptive. It's easy to feel stressed out or overloaded because of them.

In other words, the tech industry doesn't need to worry about making its products less addictive. It needs to focus on making them better.

Earlier this week, the New York Times' Farhad Manjoo offered some ideas for how Apple could " build a less addictive iPhone." Among his solutions were giving users a greater ability to tailor notifications and providing them with more data on how much they're using their devices.

Whether or not such changes will do much for the relative few who actually are addicted to their smartphones, the proposals would represent a great start for making devices work better for all of us.

For example, unless there's a real emergency going on, there's no reason after you've left the office that your phone should buzz incessantly with work-related alerts. Yet I find that happening all the time, thanks to Slack, the chat app we use at work. In its latest update, Slack reduced the amount of control users have over the types of notifications they receive.

Given just how distracting such notifications can be, the app's developers should have done a better job of thinking through the changes, because ultimately they're bad for the company itself. Slack doesn't benefit by turning users into harried workaholics. Instead, it benefits by helping them be better workers.

Tech gadgets and services are supposed to play useful roles in our lives — helping us work, entertaining us, assisting us in solving everyday problems. But too often these products go overboard demanding our attention — without giving us much ability to turn them off. The makers of tech products need to be putting more thought into their design to head off such problems.

The good news is some tech companies are already doing just that.

Last year, Apple introduced a new feature for the iPhone that blocks alerts while you're driving, even making the screen go completely dark until you get out of your car.

And just last week, Facebook announced that it's revamping the way its news feed works, giving more prominence to posts from people close to you and playing down posts from companies and publishers that are all too often little more than clickbait. Company officials acknowledged the change could reduce the amount of time users spend on its service — thus making it less attractive to advertisers — but argued the service will be better for users.

"No company wants users to regret using the product," Eyal said. "The market is taking care of the problem as we speak."

That's not to say the work is over. Far from it. In particular, more attention needs to be paid to products used by kids, as the Apple shareholders highlighted last week. Tech companies need to offer parents greater control over how their children use such products so they can teach good tech habits early.

Additionally, tech sites, gadgets, and services are constantly changing. As they do, we'll likely run into new problems.

But the focus on addiction is overblown and misguided. What we really need from the industry is for it to think through the potential downsides of its products and make them work better for all of us.

NOW WATCH: You've never seen a bridge like this before

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63. A dangerous trade that reminds experts of the 1987 market crash is riskier than everСб., 20 янв.[−]

Stock trades 1987 Black MondayAP/Peter Morgan

  • The net position of investment products that track the CBOE Volatility Index — or VIX — has slipped into short territory for just the second time in history.
  • Goldman Sachs is worried about what might happen to the market if a spike in volatility ever causes this trade to unwind.
  • The situation is arguably more dire than the last time traders were net short, because the stock market has gone that much longer without a major reckoning.

Despite repeated warnings of a painful reckoning, traders can't seem to wean themselves off one of the market's riskiest investment strategies.

The trade in question is the shorting of stock market volatility using exchange-traded products (ETPs), and the situation has reached an extreme only seen once before in history. The net position of ETPs that track the CBOE Volatility Index — or VIX — has become short for just the second time in their eight-year history, according to data compiled by the equity derivatives team at Goldman Sachs.

One possible interpretation of this is that investors are assuming too much risk. But Goldman is more worried about how exposed these positions will be if the VIX spikes unexpectedly — something that could cause traders to quickly reverse positions.

Regardless of how you look at it, this is a tenuous situation for markets. And it's one that's arguably more dire than the last time the ETPs were net short, simply because stocks have gone that much longer without the type of earth-shattering market event that could cause such an unwind.

In fact, the short-volatility trade has overtaken long bets on bitcoin and so-called FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) to become the most crowded wager amongst 213 fund managers overseeing $591 billion in assets, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released Tuesday.

The chart below shows the dynamic in action, with the line representing the vega outstanding on VIX futures, which is defined as an option's sensitivity to changes in price swings on the underlying asset. Simply summarized, the VIX ETP market currently has more net exposure to short volatility strategies than to long ones, and that's rare.

Screen Shot 2018 01 12 at 10.06.09 AMGoldman Sachs Global Investment Research

This rarity has accompanied a shift in how volatility is traded. Goldman notes that while VIX ETPs have historically served as hedging tools, they're being increasingly used to make directional short bets. It's a trend that's also caught the eyes of experts across Wall Street.

Perhaps the most outspoken critic of the trade has been Marko Kolanovic, the global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy at JPMorgan — a man so influential that his research reports have moved the market in the past. He said in late July that strategies suppressing price swings reminded him of the conditions leading up to the 1987 stock market crash, and he has since doubled down on the warning on multiple occasions.

More recently, Societe Generale's head of global asset allocation, Alain Bokobza, compared the continued VIX shorting by hedge funds to " dancing on the rim of a volcano." He warned that a "sudden eruption" of volatility could leave traders "badly burned." The comments echoed those made by Bokobza a couple of weeks prior, when he maligned the " dangerous volatility regimes" in the global marketplace.

Even one of the foremost pioneers of modern volatility has gotten in on the criticism — in an interview with Business Insider, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor emeritus Dan Galai described the capital being used to short the VIX as " stupid hot money," and he likened the trade to "a substitute for going to Vegas and betting on the roulette."

Worried yet? Fear not, because Goldman has a recommendation that could save you some pain further down the road. The firm says to apply short-dated VIX-based hedges to your portfolio, just in case the dreaded volatility spike does transpire. And in order to do so, a trader should buy February VIX calls — defined as bets the gauge will rise — while selling April VIX calls.

"With the price of VIX tail hedges so unusually high for a low-volatility environment, we prefer paired positions to outright options," Goldman equity derivatives strategist Rocky Fishman wrote in a client note. "Particularly as a volatility spike would likely be short-lived as long as economic and equity fundamentals remain strong."

Screen Shot 2018 01 12 at 2.50.40 PMMarkets Insider

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says a bitcoin crash won't infect the rest of the market

64. THE MOBILE BANKING COMPETITIVE EDGE REPORT: How banks rank on offering the features consumers say are critical for choosing a bankСб., 20 янв.[−]

Pacesetters updated

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. This report is exclusively available to enterprise subscribers. Check to see if your company has access.

Banks are going to new lengths to attract and retain customers with mobile features.

In BI Intelligence's Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study, 83% of respondents said they use mobile banking. And banks are investing in mobile banking capabilities at unprecedented levels: Bank of America tripled its 2015 mobile banking budget in 2016, and maintained it through 2017, for example. Cutting-edge banking services are “table-stakes to attract and retain customers,” according to Michelle Moore, Head of Digital at Bank of America.

BI Intelligence’s first Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Report identifies which mobile banking and emerging features are most important to consumers when choosing a bank. The study ranks the largest 15 banks and credit unions in the US by whether they offer the mobile features that customers say they care most about. The report helps channel strategists choose which features they should focus their attention on, and lets them see how they compare to rival banks in offering those features.

This study uses exclusive data from the BI Insiders Panel (BIIP), an exclusive online community of 17,000 of our readers from all over the world. Designed to be a leading-edge indicator of what’s next in digital, BIIP members tend to be affluent, tech-savvy early adopters. This means that the BIIP community is an especially sensitive indicator of what consumers will buy and adopt, as well as what behaviors, devices, and platforms will be the winners in digital disruption.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Wells Fargo leads the pack. The bank offers in-demand mobile transfer capabilities, along with competitive features related to security and mobile wallets. USAA follows closely behind in second. Bank of America and Citi are tied for third, and Capital One rounds out the top five.
  • Mobile transfers are the most in-demand mobile features. Transfers are the most important category of features to consumers when choosing a bank, according to our study. The most in-demand feature in this study, instant transfers, is in this category. Transfers also include bill pay, international transfers, and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments.
  • Post-Equifax, consumer interest in security tools is high. Security and control was the second most popular category in the study. Gen Xers value several features in this category — such as setting travel notifications and mobile access to ATMs — more than millennials.
  • Interest in advanced mobile banking account access is poised to jump. The account access section, the third most popular in this study, includes features like biometrics and account aggregation. With Face ID giving customers a new way to log in to banking, interest in the group of features will likely rise.
  • In spite of lagging adoption, interest in mobile wallets is still healthy. This category weighs not only whether banks support provisioning their cards in each of the popular wallets, but if they offer their own bank-branded wallets. Our study shows consumers rank support of third-party wallets as much more important than banking solutions.
  • Conversational features have the lowest demand in the study. The voice- or chatbot-based banking tools in the category are desired by only a small fraction of consumers. Instead of using the features to attract new customers, banks are exploring offloading costly transitional conversations with live support staff to AI.

In full, the report:

  • Shows how 32 mobile features stack up according to how important consumers say they are for choosing a new bank.
  • Ranks the top 15 banks on whether they offer each of those features.
  • Analyzes how demographics effect demand for different mobile features.
  • Provides strategies for banks to best attract and retain customers with mobile features.

The full report is available to BI Intelligence enterprise clients. To learn more about this report, email Senior Account Executive Chris Roth ( croth@businessinsider.com). BI Intelligence's Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study includes: Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Fifth Third, HSBC, Key Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, SunTrust, TD, US Bank, and USAA.

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65. The 20 best-selling cars and trucks in AmericaСб., 20 янв.[−]

Ford F150 King RanchFord

  • About 17.2 million cars and trucks were sold in the US last year, according to Kelly Blue Book.
  • The top-selling vehicle was Ford's F-Series.
  • The best-selling SUV was the Toyota Rav 4.
  • And the most popular sedan was the Toyota Camry, though its sales dropped from 2016.
  • Americans continue to favor SUVs and trucks over sedans.

The US auto market kept its momentum in 2017, thanks to strong SUV and pickup truck sales.

There were about 17.2 million cars and trucks sold last year, according to Kelly Blue Book. While that's slightly down from the 17.6 million vehicles sold in 2016, it still qualifies as a solid market. And just like in previous years, Americans continued to opt for larger vehicles over smaller passenger cars.

In fact, two of the most popular segments included compact and mid-size crossover SUVs, which combined accounted for about 40% of all car sales in 2017. Pickup trucks were also in demand, with full-size trucks making up about 15% of all vehicles sold.

Here's a look at the top 20 best-selling cars and trucks of 2017, according to data provided by KBB.

20. Hyundai Elantra: 198,210 sold during 2017. Down 4.9% over 2016.


19. Ford Fusion: 209,623. -21.1%.


18. Toyota Highlander: 215,775. +12.7%.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

66. A superstar Chinese hacker just won $112,000 from Google, its largest bug bounty everСб., 20 янв.[−]

Pixel 2

  • Google just awarded its largest bug bounty ever to a Chinese researcher named Guang Gong.
  • Gong discovered a security issue that affected Pixel phones and received a total payout of $112,500 from Google.
  • But Gong is a pro at hacking Pixel phones — his team gained control of a Pixel phone in 60 seconds at the annual computer-hacking contest Pwn2Own, resulting in a $120,000 prize.

A Chinese security researcher just received Google's largest bug bounty ever.

Google announced this week it awarded $112,500 to Guang Gong, a researcher who works for Chinese security giant Qihoo 360. It's the largest amount Google has awarded since increasing its top payouts for bug bounties in June.

In August, Gong submitted a working remote exploit chain, or remote attack, on Google's Pixel phone, which could be used to steal data or introduce malware onto a device. Google said on its developers blog that it patched the bug in a December update.

Google has been working to ensure that Pixel phones are secure, both on the hardware and software front. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have tamper-resistant hardware, and Google says it would be difficult for hackers to decrypt your data without knowing your password first.

But Gong and his team at Qihoo 360 are pros are hacking the Pixel by now. At Pwn2Own 2016, a prestigious annual hacking contest, the team cracked the first-generation Pixel in 60 seconds. The team won a cash prize of $120,000 for its efforts, eventually netting a total of $520,000 in prize money at the contest for breaching a variety of software services, including Adobe Flash.

NOW WATCH: We talked to Sophia — the first-ever robot citizen that once said it would 'destroy humans'

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67. The most expensive home for sale in every US stateСб., 20 янв.[−]

MassachusettsFrom listing on Trulia

There's nothing like America's over-the-top real estate to remind you that nearly one-third of the world's billionaires call the US home.

But luxury comes in many forms — and at varying price points — across the country. Our friends at Trulia helped us compile a list of the most expensive homes currently for sale in every state, plus Washington, DC.

From a $3 million private island in Alaska to a $180 million European-style estate in California, below are the most expensive homes on the market in every state.

ALABAMA: $11.9 million

From listing on Trulia

City: Jemison

Size: 7,500 sq. ft.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 5 beds/5.5 baths

ALASKA: $3 million

From listing on Trulia

City: Sitka

Size: 5,200 sq. ft.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 4 beds/5.5 baths

ARIZONA: $19.95 million

From listing on Trulia

City: Paradise Valley

Size: N/A sq. ft.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 8 beds/17 baths

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

68. 'Democrats wanted to give me a nice present': Trump and Pence attack Democrats over shutdownСб., 20 янв.[−]

donald trumpGetty Images/Pool

  • The federal government entered a partial shutdown at midnight after the Senate failed to pass a funding bill.
  • President Donald Trump went after Democrats in a tweetstorm on Saturday, the one year anniversary of his inauguration, calling the shutdown "a nice present."
  • Vice President also attacked Democrats in a statement while flying to Egypt to begin a trip around the Middle East.

The White House came out swinging against Democrats on Saturday, pointing the finger squarely at the opposition for the federal government's partial shutdown that began at midnight.

"This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present," President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday morning, "#DemocratShutdown."

Vice President Mike Pence also commented on the shutdown while flying to Cairo, Egypt to kick off a trip around the Middle East.

"Our administration worked in good faith to put a bipartisan deal on the table that would strengthen our borders, end chain migration, eliminate the visa lottery, and deal compassionately with DACA," Pence said in a statement. "But rather than solve problems, Democratic leadership preferred a shutdown that has dangerous consequences for our national defense. Their action tonight — or lack thereof — is unconscionable."

Trump's and Pence's statements closely match the messaging from congressional Republicans who, in a branding effort, are naming the shutdown after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: the Schumer Shutdown.

Meanwhile, Schumer laid the blame on Trump and the GOP. According to the Democratic leader, Trump agreed to the outline of a deal on immigration, healthcare, and funding during a one-on-one meeting at the White House just hours before the deadline. But when Schumer returned to Congress, he said Trump and the GOP reneged on the deal.

Given that unwillingness to stick to a deal, Democrat came up with a shutdown name of their own — which also became the top trending phrase on Twitter worldwide — the Trump Shutdown.

Trump also pushed back against a talking point from Democrats, who said the GOP controls both chambers of Congress and the White House and is therefore responsible for the shutdown.

"For those asking, the Republicans only have 51 votes in the Senate, and they need 60," Trump tweeted. "That is why we need to win more Republicans in 2018 Election! We can then be even tougher on Crime (and Border), and even better to our Military & Veterans!"

It is true that the short-term funding bill that advanced in the Senate, called a continuing resolution, needed 60 votes in order to avoid a filibuster. What Trump failed to mention is that there were four Republicans who voted against the measure on Friday and five Democrats who voted for it.

This is the first time in the modern budget era that the government shuts down, with employees furloughed, with one party in control of the government.

NOW WATCH: A Georgetown professor explains how Martin Luther King Jr. 'has been severely whitewashed'

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69. Microsoft's Cortana might be lagging behind Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant — but Microsoft says there's a master plan (MSFT, AMZN, GOOG, GOOGL)Сб., 20 янв.[−]


  • There's a lot of skepticism about Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It lags in apps, smart home support, and hardware integrations.
  • However, Microsoft says Cortana isn't cooked yet: It's going to come to more devices beyond just Windows 10 PCs, and you'll see Cortana make more use of Microsoft's data.
  • Some changes are coming to Cortana on the Windows 10 PC, too, with Microsoft signaling that it's going to bring Cortana into more parts of the operating system.
  • Microsoft says that its long-promised integration with Amazon Alexa is in the final stages of testing and coming soon.

While Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant dominated the conversation at last week's Consumer Electronics Show, it only served to make Microsoft's competing Cortana look severely lacking in comparison.

At CES, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant showed off new integrations with scores of gadgets, including new cars, smart home devices, and third-party headphones and speakers. Amazon even announced a deal with HP, Acer, and Asus to bring Alexa to the Windows 10 PC.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Cortana is only available on one non-Windows device — the good, but limited, Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker. And while Microsoft showed off some new smart home integrations for Cortana, and compatibility with popular automation tool IFTTT, the Cortana ecosystem simply isn't growing as fast as Amazon's or Google's.

Confidence in Cortana was further shook by an announcement that Microsoft was cancelling a key and much-hyped integration between the assistant and its Dynamics 365 sales product. Microsoft now says that the announcement was made in error, and that the integration is coming, but the damage had been done. Larry Dignan of ZDNet went so far as to say that CES was "Microsoft Cortana's funeral."

But Cortana is "not dead yet," Microsoft Corporate VP of Cortana Development Andrew Shuman tells Business Insider. He says that he still believes that Cortana can do things that no other tech company can do — things that take unique advantage of Microsoft technology, data, and the fact that it comes with every copy of Windows 10 and every Xbox One game console, plus apps for Android and iOS.

The big vision might take 5 to 10 years to fully come to fruition, says Shuman. "But we should get started," he says.

There's a lot that needs to be done. For starters, Shuman says you can expect that Cortana will come to more devices beyond just the Invoke, which launched late last year. And a long-promised integration between Alexa and Cortana, such that you can access one assistant via the other, is in the final stages of testing, he says.

"We got started in earnest last year getting Cortana out of Windows," says Shuman.

Shuman reiterated some of Microsoft's long-time talking points about Cortana: With access to LinkedIn data, Cortana could one day tell you where the person in your next meeting went to school and what their title is. With Office 365 integrations, Cortana can tell who you work with every day, so it can tell Bob, your boss, apart from Bob, your uncle.

microsoft windows cortana surface proMicrosoft

That's data only Microsoft has access to, and it's likely the tech titan's biggest edge in the personal assistant game.

"Cortana remains a strong contender because of its tight integration with enterprise and cloud applications, and especially the [cloud platform] Microsoft Azure," says Gartner Research Director Werner Goertz.

Shuman says that Cortana is designed to enable a "magic scenario" where an "ubiquitous digital assistant" knows who you are and how to help you. For example, an optional Cortana-powered feature in Windows 10 called Commitments scans your e-mail to tell you if you've promised to, say, stop at the store on the way home. With Cortana in more places, you can get that "magic" anywhere, he says.

"That's delight, right there," says Shuman.

The short term play

In a more immediate sense, Microsoft plans on bringing that "delight" back into Windows 10: As originally reported by Windows Central, Microsoft is currently testing changes to Cortana that would bring it deeper into the operating system.

The most obvious change is that Cortana will move from its position next to the Start menu, where it's lived since Windows 10 launched in 2015, and go to the other side of the screen, the "action center," next to the clock. While this is currently being tested among members of the Windows Insider early-access program, we're told by a person familiar with Microsoft's thinking that it's likely to make it into the next big update to Windows 10 later this year.

harman karman invokeMatt Weinberger/Business Insider

Under the hood, this change portends some rethinking in how Windows 10 and Cortana relate to each other, as Windows Central notes. Right now, Cortana is accessible from the Microsoft Edge browser, able to tell you instantly, say, a restaurant's hours as soon as you hit their webpage. More integrations with built-in Microsoft apps is likely to come next.

So, yes, Cortana is under some degree of pressure — Amazon and Google are building serious momentum, and Microsoft currently lags in some key areas. But Microsoft, and some of its boosters, believe that you shouldn't count Cortana out just yet.

Here's Microsoft's full statement on the state of Cortana, and the changes being tested in Windows 10:

Our vision is to put Cortana everywhere you need assistance to get things done—on your phone, PC, Xbox One, intelligent home speaker and even more in the future. Cortana is deeply integrated into Windows and by testing new engagement opportunities like adding Cortana to Action Center, we’re streamlining the user experience and providing easy access to all of Cortana’s features, like proactive reminders and email management, to help users stay organized and get things done. In 2018, you can expect Cortana to continue to grow across devices and platforms and deliver new skills and capabilities through our third-party partners.

NOW WATCH: The coolest gadgets we saw at CES 2018

70. Meghan Markle's whirlwind romance is the opposite of Kate Middleton's 10-year courtship — and it shows how different their marriages will beСб., 20 янв.[−]

Kate Middleton and Meghan MarkleAP/Getty

It's hard not to compare Meghan Markle — Prince Harry's new fianceé — to Prince William's wife Kate Middleton.

At least on the surface, the two royal courtships couldn't appear more different. Most notably, Markle and Prince Harry met in 2016, when they were both in their 30s. Just about a year later, they announced their engagement.

Middleton and Prince William, on the other hand, met in college. They didn't get engaged until 2010, five years after they graduated.

What's more, while Middleton is British, Prince Harry broke with tradition in some ways by choosing to spend his life with an American.

We asked two relationship experts to explain what these differences might mean for the two marriages, and for the two women's lives. Andrea Syrtash is the author of " He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing): How to Find Love Where You Least Expect It" and the founder of Pregnantish.com. Rachel Sussman is a relationship therapist in New York City.

There's no saying what will transpire over the course of either relationship. But as Sussman said, "When you're aware of potential pitfalls, you can really work on the relationship and try to make sure that those don't happen."

Prince William and Middleton have built a life together, having known each other since college. 'What's wonderful is that they have a history,' Syrtash said.

Middleton Family/Clarence House/Getty

'They know so much about each other,' Sussman said of couples who met when they were young. 'They have a lot of the same friends. They have shared cultural references and memories.'

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Harry and Markle, on the other hand, met in their 30s, meaning they brought more wisdom and self-knowledge to their relationship. In fact, Markle has been married before.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

71. THE PAYMENTS INDUSTRY EXPLAINED: The Trends Creating New Winners And Losers In The Card-Processing EcosystemСб., 20 янв.[−]

smart home voice assistant benefitsBI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Digital disruption is rocking the payments industry. But merchants, consumers, and the companies that help move money between them are all feeling its effects differently.

For banks, card networks, and processors, the digital revolution is bringing new opportunities — and new challenges. With new ways to pay emerging, incumbent firms can take advantage of solid brand recognition and large customer bases to woo new customers and keep those they already have.

And for consumers, the digital revolution is providing more choice and making their lives easier. Digital wallets are simplifying purchases, allowing users to pay online with only a username and password and in-store with just a swipe of their thumb.

In a new report, BI Intelligence explores the digital payments ecosystem today, its growth drivers, and where the industry is headed. It begins by tracing the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement across the key stakeholders. That process is central to understanding payments, and has changed slowly in the face of disruption. The report also forecasts growth and defines drivers for key digital payment types through 2021. Finally, it highlights five trends that are changing payments, looking at how disparate factors, such as surprise elections and fraud surges, are sparking change across the ecosystem.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Digital growth is accelerating the pace at which payments are becoming faster, cheaper, and more convenient. That benefits both nimble startups and legacy providers that invest in innovation.
  • Mobile payments are continuing to take off. On mobile devices, e-commerce, P2P payments, remittances, and in-store payments are each expected to rise as customer engagement shifts from more established channels.
  • Power is shifting to companies that control the customer experience. As the selling power of physical storefronts shifts to digital devices, the companies that control the apps and platforms that occupy users’ attentions are increasingly encroaching on payment providers’ territory.
  • Alternative technologies are moving from the idea stage to reality. Widespread investments in blockchain technology last year are beginning to result in services hitting the market, promising to further squeeze margins for payments providers.

In full, the report:

  • Traces the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement across the key stakeholders.
  • Forecasts growth and defines drivers for key digital payment types through 2021.
  • Highlights five trends that are changing payments, looking at how disparate factors, such as surprise elections and fraud surges, are sparking change across the ecosystem.

To get the full report, subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the report from our research store.

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72. There are problems with Apple’s iPhone battery explanation — and the company might end up paying the price in court (AAPL)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

Tim CookGetty

  • Apple is under fire for a software feature that slows down the speed of iPhone processors to prevent unexpected device shutdowns.
  • Congress, attorneys, and customers are criticizing Apple for not being clearer when the feature was introduced in early 2017.
  • Apple's CEO says that when Apple "did put it out, we did say what it was."
  • The feature was not mentioned in the release notes accompanying the update, but Apple quietly revised the notes to include a line about "power management" at some point after the update was released.

Apple is under fire for a software feature distributed to iPhones in 2017 that prevents shutdowns in devices with older batteries, in part by slowing down the clock speeds of their processors.

Congress, several international consumer protection agencies, and an estimated 45 class-action lawsuits are asking questions, and wondering if users should have been better informed that Apple was making a tradeoff between iPhone stability and speed.

Basically, many users feel that Apple should have let them know that a software update was going to slow down their phone, or given them a choice not to turn the update on. Apple says a phone with the feature active can take longer to launch apps and can display lower frame rates.

Here's how Apple's CEO explained the problem in an ABC interview earlier this week:

"About a year ago, we released some code, that essentially what it does, is all batteries age over time, and they become unhealthy in a point in time," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in his first public comments on the controversy. "An unhealthy battery has a probability that it will create an unexpected restart."

"When we did put it out, we did say what it was, but I don't think a lot of people were paying attention, and maybe we should have been clearer as well," he continued.

But even an Apple user who was paying attention would not have known about the feature had they downloaded the update shortly after it was available. Apple documents any major new features or improvements alongside new software updates in messages called "release notes." For people who don't read tech blogs, this is often the way they learn what's new in a software update.

There was no mention of the CPU throttling feature or "power management" included with the release notes that accompanied the software update on January 23.

However, release notes associated with the software update, quietly revised on Apple's website after the software's release, now mention "power management during peak workloads."

A month without mention

iOS 10.2.1 (1)Screenshot/Amit ChowdhryAccording to Apple's December 28 message to customers, the throttling feature was first included in the software update for iOS 10.2.1, which was released on January 23, 2017.

For minor updates, release notes can be as short as a sentence, but for major updates, like when a new iPhone comes out, they can be pages long.

On January 23, the update was called a "point update," signaling that Apple did not consider it a major software update.

The release notes only said it contained "bug fixes," and security patches, according to Forbes, which published a screenshot of the release notes from an iPhone, which is different from the notes now listed on Apple's website.

Blog posts from 9to5Mac and MacRumors at the time also say that the release notes were short and didn't mention power management.

Apple finally acknowledged the battery feature one month later after iOS 10.2.1 on February 23, in a press statement reported by TechCrunch, saying the feature was already on "over 50% of active iOS devices" and that its test data showed that it had reduced the occurrence of an annoying shutdown problem.

TechCrunch also published some high-level explanation of the bug on February 23 and why Apple addressed it. That was the first time Apple publicly disclosed the feature that is now drawing attention from Congress, and over half of iOS device users had already installed it with no warning or signal of any new power management feature.

There is now a line in the backwards-looking release notes on Apple's website that mentions the CPU throttling feature. The sentence was added before March 17, 2017, but after January 23, according to archive.org:

It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.

Revising release notes weeks after they were first published is unusual. But Apple had been avoiding questions about the shutdown issue for over six months.

In December, Apple said that it " extended" the CPU-throttling feature to the iPhone 7, which is a newer model of device than the iPhones that were experiencing the shutdown issue that Cook was talking about. However, the release notes for that update did not mention a power management feature, either.

'Maybe we should have been clearer'

Letter to Tim CookHouse.govWhether Apple should have more clearly communicated the changes has now attracted the attention and ire of US Congress, lawyers, and consumers, who all want more information from Apple on how it handles iPhone processor speeds.

"There should have been other things that Apple did to make clear to the public that the CPU performance was going to be throttled and they just didn't do that," said Scott Cole, an Oakland attorney who recently filed a complaint on behalf of aggrieved parties about the Apple battery slowdown.

"Prior to installation of an iOS software update, does Apple inform users of the potential for a reduction in processor performance associated with an update?" asks a letter from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent to Cook earlier this month.

Apple is also facing a slew of class-action lawsuit complaints, as many as 45, in various courts around the country, according to Cole.

"Our responsibility is to our own client and what's referred to as the 'putative class,' or all the people who purchased various iterations of the iPhone 6 and 7, that frankly were duped along the way in a couple of ways," Cole said. "First we intend to prove in the cases that Apple should have used a larger battery to begin with."

"But more importantly, Apple kept information from consumers for quite some time, didn't reveal the fact that the rollout of a new operating system was going to have the effect of dropping back phones," he continued, declining to comment on the specific timing or content of Apple's iOS release notes.

Apple didn't respond to multiple requests for comment. But answers to these questions will eventually emerge. The House letter to Apple requests a response by next Friday. And several international oversight agencies have opened their own investigations.

Cole also expects the class-action lawsuits to progress over the next year. The first step, likely happening over the next few months, could be a process called "multi-district litigation," where the defendant — in this case Apple — doesn't want to fight a number of different cases in different courts, so it petitions to have the suits combined into one case.

After that, the case could be settled in a matter of months, or a matter of years, depending on what the lawyers find. "These cases, they generally have a life of a couple of years," Cole said.

NOW WATCH: The 9 best memes of 2017

73. DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Amazon job posting raises more healthcare speculation — Change Healthcare acquires NDSC — Venture funds' interest in AI growsСб., 20 янв.[−]

Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, a new morning email providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by BI Intelligence.

Sign up and receive Digital Health Briefing free to your inbox.

Have feedback? We'd like to hear from you. Write me at: lbeaver@businessinsider.com

AN AMAZON JOB POSTING IS RAISING MORE HEALTHCARE SPECULATION: Amazon’s new job posting for a HIPAA Compliance Lead with IT experience and exposure to software development and auditing is adding fuel to speculation that the company is planning to move into the storage and use of personal health data, according to GeekWire. The exact implications of the new position are unclear, however, HIPAA laws regulate patient data privacy. Coupled with software development and auditing experience, the position could be related to the development of healthcare-related skills for Amazon’s intelligent voice assistant, Alexa.

Increasing Alexa’s healthcare footprint is a logical step for Amazon, as it continues to expand the scope of its voice assistant. Healthcare is one way the company could further entrench Alexa in consumers’ lives. Around 80% of internet users have searched for health-related issues online, according to a Pew study. One scenario might see Alexa reminding patients with chronic illnesses to take their medication or measuring vital signs. In the US, chronic diseases and the health risk behaviors that cause them account for most health care costs, according to the CDC. By 2025, US healthcare spending will account for nearly 25% of GDP.

Amazon could also be planning to deploy Alexa as a clinical decision support (CDS) resource for medical staff. The virtual assistant could be used to retrieve patient files and electronic health records for medical staff. This could save physicians and clinical staff time when they’re looking for specific patient files and information, such as allergies to medications, giving them more time to spend with the patient. Having a team lead who is fluent in HIPAA compliance would be an important step in this direction.

Amazon’s interest in the healthcare space has been heating up for some time and the company recently made inroads on three fronts.

  • The company bought licenses in several US states that allow it to ship medical equipment. It’s possible Amazon views shipping devices and supplies as the path of least resistance as it dips its toes in the lucrative, yet highly regulated, pharmaceutical industry.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud business, partnered with healthcare tech giant Cerna in November 2017 to help medical providers use their data to make effective health predictions.
  • Amazon also launched the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, which had third-party companies develop Alexa skills aimed at helping people with diabetes manage their condition.

CHANGE HEALTHCARE STRENGTHENS PORTFOLIO WITH NEW ACQUISITION: Change Healthcare, one of the largest independent healthcare technology companies in the US, has acquired National Decision Support Company (NDSC), a provider of cloud-based medical guideline solutions. As a result of this acquisition, Change will get access to a number of medical guideline tools under NDSC's CareSelect platform, which will help strengthen the firm's evidence-based medicine offerings. These tools include:

  • CareSelect Imaging: Through an exclusive digital distribution license with the American College of Radiology, CareSelect offers evidence-based clinical guidelines solutions for diagnostic imaging. The solution, which is integrated into a provider's electronic medical record (EMR), helps users meet the federal mandate requiring that clinicians consult Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for imaging by offering the most appropriate test options or clinical pathways.
  • CareSelect Choosing Wisely: Through the CareSelect Choosing Wisely offering, CareSelect delivers enterprise-wide clinical guidelines that have been authored by medical societies, as part of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (ABIM)’s Choosing Wisely initiative. These guidelines cover a variety of diagnostic tests and treatments, including procedures, blood test, and medications.
  • CareSelect Lab: Based on a partnership with the Mayo Clinic, the CareSelect Lab is a decision-support tool that integrates into electronic health records (EHR) and aggregates clinical knowledge around a menu of routine conditions to offer best-practice recommendations.

AI WAS A MAJOR FOCUS OF VENTURE HEALTH FUNDING IN 2017: Global venture funding for healthcare technology companies saw a significant increase in 2017, climbing 42% year-over-year (YoY) to reach $7.2 billion from $5.1 billion in 2016, according to Mercom Capital Group data cited by Healthcare IT News. Analytics, which includes AI and data analytics, led the way with $1.1 billion in funding, representative of industry trends. Healthcare providers have historically had access to troves of patient data, and with the introduction of new technologies such as fitness trackers and mobile health apps, this supply of data is only growing. However, up until recently parsing this data into meaningful and actionable insights has been time-consuming and expensive. Closing this disconnect is expected to lead to major advancements in improving patient care, strengthening operations, and reducing healthcare-related costs. As a result, companies are flocking to introduce their own analytics solutions and traditional firms are investing heavily.

Healthcare fundingBI Intelligence

SMART THERMOMETERS PROVIDE INSIGHT INTO FLU SEASON TRENDS: Smart thermometer company Kinsa is using data from connected thermometers to detect the prevalence of fevers in the US and track the spread of the flu around the country, according to the New York Times. Kinsa offers a variety of oral and ear thermometers that connect to a user’s smartphone and upload readings to a website or app, so they can track temperature readings. The company is able to monitor this data — after it’s anonymized to protect the privacy of users — to track spikes in the number of people with fevers in specific areas, which can indicate the spread of the flu. It's important to note, however, that Kinsa isn't able to differentiate between the flu and other illnesses that cause fevers. Kinsa is working with a number of experts who are analyzing the data collected since its thermometers launched in 2014 to gauge how effectively it’s capturing the spread of the flu virus. This type of connected home health technology could provide quick insight into the spread of illnesses and help public health officials allocate anti-influenza medications like Tamiflu, which are in limited supply, for example.

BI Intelligence research analyst Peter Newman contributed to this briefing.

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74. Internal documents reveal that Whole Foods is leaving some shelves empty on purposeСб., 20 янв.[−]

Whole FoodsBusiness Insider

  • Whole Foods' corporate office has started requiring stores to leave shelves empty when they run out of products as part of its new inventory management system called order-to-shelf, or OTS.
  • The company defends this practice in internal documents reviewed by Business Insider, saying it helps ensure out-of-stock items will get reordered.
  • Employees say it makes stores look sloppy and empty.
  • "The inefficiency was appalling, and the blow to our professionalism demoralizing," Julia Rogers, who left her post at Whole Foods in November, said of OTS.

Whole Foods stores across the country are suffering from product shortages that are leading to empty shelves.

In the past, if a Whole Foods store ran out of a specific product, employees would fill the hole on the shelf by putting another item — typically one of the store's top sellers — in its place. The grocery industry calls this practice a "face over" or "re-facing."

That way, even when stores are short on products, the shelves still appear well-stocked and organized.

But under an inventory system called order-to-shelf, or OTS, Whole Foods has banned that practice — leaving what one employee described as "gaping holes" on store shelves.

"Never 'face over' or cover holes," the company instructs employees in a 42-page internal manual reviewed by Business Insider. The document describes standard operating procedures for order-to-shelf. The system also bans the use of "temporarily out" tags, it says.

"Temporarily out tags are often inaccurate and clutters shelves," the manual states. Employees "can communicate with customers on status of product rather than a tag."

The manual explains why employees should leave holes empty, saying it "helps ensure that OOS [out-of-stock] items get reordered because hole is visible, increases the likelihood that OOS [out-of-stock] items will return to in-stock position when available, eliminates confusion for both customers and [employees]," and "makes stock position obvious to customers, [employees], and store leadership."

Employees say the system makes stores look sloppy and empty.

"OTS forbids employees from temporarily re-facing shelves to make out-of-stocks less visually glaring," said Julia Rogers, who cited OTS as the reason for leaving her job an employee at a Toronto Whole Foods in November. "Admittedly there is nothing to be done when an entire produce set — like the lettuce wall — is out of stock, but for smaller situations, re-facing would enhance the shopping experience, by calling attention to what is in stock as opposed to what is not."

Whole Foods did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story.

There are penalties for breaking the rules

Whole FoodsTwitter/@firstmate_kate

If department managers ignore the rules, they are penalized. Under OTS, store managers and regional supervisors regularly walk through store aisles with checklists that Whole Foods calls "scorecards" and they rate departments on their compliance with the system. If anything is out of place, the department's score is dinged. A failing score results in a write-up. After three write-ups, department managers can lose their jobs.

"Every item in our department has a designated spot that is labeled or marked on the floor," a Whole Foods employee of six years told Business Insider. "If that item is even an inch outside of its designated spot when not in use, we receive negative marks." This employee, and several others quoted in this article, asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Food shortages have gotten so bad under OTS — which was implemented across Whole Foods stores over the course of many months last year — that some department managers are risking penalties in order to make their departments look presentable to customers.

"If it looks bad enough, we just say we are going to take the hits to our points on our evaluation," a high-level employee of a Midwest Whole Foods store told Business Insider. "It's not worth the department looking like complete and total garbage for those points."

Whole Foods corporate is taking over store-level decisions

If items are out of stock for longer than two days, then the company's regional corporate offices will instruct stores on what to put in place of those items, the manual states.

In the past, store employees could make their own decisions on how to replace out-of-stocks, based on their store's top sellers.

Employees say the new approach, with mandates coming from regional corporate offices, is inefficient.

"The inefficiency was appalling, and the blow to our professionalism demoralizing," Rogers said, recalling her experience with OTS. "But, we were written up for disobeying the daily production plan, so we just did as instructed."

Another employee explained: "We know what sells well in our stores so what we would fill a hole with versus another store is completely different. We sell spinach and romaine hearts really well at our store, so we would fill holes with those items, whereas other stores might sell more spring mix and arugula."

Under the new system, if employees do make changes to how products are displayed, they have to report those changes on what's called a merchandising map. This creates a lot of extra paperwork, employees say.

Whole FoodsBusiness Insider

"Every single time you make a move you are creating an enormous trail of paperwork for yourself," the employee of the Midwest Whole Foods told Business Insider.

The new system is meant to help Whole Foods introduce more automation into its inventory management system by streamlining food buying and other store-level decisions, employees said.

But they say the methods are backfiring massively, resulting in out-of-stock problems nationwide and plummeting morale at the store level.

NOW WATCH: The 'L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise' is the hottest toy of 2017 — here's what it is and what's inside it

75. Trump doesn't support his own administration's foreign policyСб., 20 янв.[−]

Donald TrumpOlivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump's administration has pursued a foreign policy that is frequently at odds with his personal beliefs.
  • Several examples include his White House's approach to North Korea, China, and Afghanistan.
  • This means US foreign policy might become highly volatile in the years going forward.
  • But Trump's own America First, nationalist view of the world still does inform and affect global affairs.

There have been a great many odd things about the first year of Donald Trump's presidency, but one of the oddest is the vast distance that has opened up between the president and his own policies. Presidents never fully get their way on the entire range of foreign policy issues their administrations confront, although they do tend to get their way on the issues they care most about.

But as I discuss in my new book, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump, this president's core geopolitical beliefs and the foreign policy executed in his name have in several cases seemed 180 degrees apart.

The president clearly loathes NATO and believes that protecting the European allies is a fool's errand, yet his administration has continued and even expanded efforts to reinforce deterrence along NATO's eastern flank. He has repeatedly called for a new relationship with Russia, but his administration has now decided to sell lethal defensive weaponry to Ukraine, and is taking initial steps to develop a land-based, intermediate-range nuclear delivery system to counter Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Likewise, the president himself has never shown much interest in confronting China over its behavior in the South China Sea, and he has berated US allies in the Asia-Pacific, such as Australia. But the administration has already carried out a more intensive regimen of freedom of navigation operations than the Obama administration did, and it has worked to revive the so-called quad — a four-way dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States — by strengthening cooperation with these countries.

With respect to North Korea, Trump has repeatedly derided the value of diplomacy, even as his administration (building on an effort begun under Obama) has carried out an intensive campaign to isolate and sanction that regime, perhaps as a prelude to negotiations.

Not least of all, Trump has acknowledged that he was immensely skeptical of continuing, let alone increasing, the US military mission in Afghanistan, but this is just what he decided to do in August after several months of debate. In these and other cases, Trump says or appears to think one thing, and US policy does another.

The conflict has trickled down into specific policies

Two examples from the past month further illustrate this tendency. In December 2017, the administration released a National Security Strategy that had Trumpian flourishes but was not that far removed from what most Republican administrations might have written — only for Trump to give a rabble-rousing, “America first”-themed speech that bashed US allies, touted cooperation with adversaries, and raised questions as to whether the president had actually read or even been fully briefed on his own strategy statement.

And just before Christmas, as fellow Shadow Government contributor Rob Berschinski wrote, the administration unveiled and used a powerful new set of Global Magnitsky Act sanctions to punish suspected human rights violators — despite the fact that Trump is an indisputably pro-authoritarian president who has consistently exhibited scorn for the idea that America should seek to advance human rights and democracy abroad.

The list of such issues goes on, and may well grow in the coming year. The key questions are: Why have such glaring contradictions emerged between the president's worldview and his policies? And how we should evaluate this situation?

How is this happening?

Donald Trump Benjamin NetanyahuREUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The first question is easier to answer than the second. Once Trump surrounded himself largely with advisers who did not share his narrowly nationalistic agenda — as was probably inevitable, given just how few foreign policy hands subscribed to that agenda — it was assured that presidential preferences and US policy were going to diverge on some issues. Given Trump's lack of knowledge and his tendency to delegate decision-making downward, this dynamic was sure to be even more pronounced.

To be sure, there have been cases in which Trump has reportedly overruled a united front of his national security advisers — recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, for instance. But few presidents can do this over and over again.

So on issues where his advisers have been united in opposing the president's preferences, or on issues that just don't rise to Trump's attention, it is hardly surprising that US policy has often looked more traditional than Trump might have preferred. Add in the external constraints — mostly from Congress — that Trump faces on issues such as Russia and US alliances, and this outcome becomes even less surprising.

The second question, then, is whether to be reassured or concerned by this situation. On the one hand, dues-paying members of the blob can only be heartened by the gaps between rhetoric and policy. For this indicates that Trump's advisers have indeed proven capable of pulling him back toward the mainstream on some key issues, and it means that the changes in US foreign policy under the present administration have not been as severe as some observers initially feared. To put it bluntly, the situation we have now is very weird — but it is far better than if American statecraft was actually a fully faithful reflection of Trump's incendiary critiques and disastrously bad ideas.

Of course, some of the policies that Trump's administration has pursued have been controversial in their own right — beginning research on an INF-range missile and deciding to arm Ukraine being just two examples. But give credit where credit is due: The administration has done a number of things that would have been welcomed by many members of the foreign policy establishment, had they been carried out by another president.

The long-term impacts

On the other hand, there are also reasons to be less sanguine about the current situation. For one thing, policy has faithfully reflected Trump's worldview on a number of key issues — trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, announcing the US intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, and others — and the impact on America's global position has been quite negative. Moreover, even if Trump's ideas and words are not always translated directly into policy, they can still be immensely damaging to American statecraft.

trans pacific partnershipCongressional Research Service

When the president of the United States advocates for a xenophobic, zero-sum type of nationalism, when he disdains democracy and human rights, when he bashes and abuses allies, he unavoidably has an effect on how American is perceived and reacted to in the world.

The recent global reaction to shitholegate — which reminds us how Trump seems to specialize in bringing down the scorn of the world on the White House — indicates as much. It is not enough to say, as some Republican observershave, that the country should simply pay attention to policy and ignore the atmospherics, because the atmospherics are critical when we are talking about the president of the United States.

There is also a final reason to be concerned about the gap between president and policy: It means that American statecraft is likely to be quite volatile in the years to come. There will be continual vicissitudes as the president's views pull US policy one way and the counsel of his advisers pulls another.

Just witness the way in which the struggle between the president and the so-called adults in his administration have led to continually shifting narratives about whether the America-first agenda is ascendant or not. More significantly still, no policy can be particularly stable or credible so long as there are questions as to whether the US president actually supports it.

The White House can issue a relatively normal National Security Strategy, for instance, but it is hard for American allies and partners overseas to take it seriously, because Trump seems determined to undercut it. Likewise, Trump's administration is working to strengthen deterrence in the Baltics, but can any European nation really be confident about the behavior in a crisis of a president who has derided NATO and even threatened to leave exposed allies to their own devices?

The answer is probably no. Over the past year, in fact, European officials have repeatedly told me different versions of the same thing: that 80 percent of the time their relationship with Washington seems more or less normal, but the other 20 percent of the time Trump does something that makes them question how committed and reliable America really is.

This is deeply problematic because the US role in the world hinges on America being seen as a basically reliable, even predictable actor. The international system rests on the credibility of US commitments and its partners having some minimum level of confidence that they don't have to guess how, much less whether, America will respond if their security is threatened. A situation in which the president hardly seems to believe in his own foreign policy is thus rife with problems. We should certainly be thankful that Trump's policies have often diverged from his dangerous preferences — but we should also recognize that this divergence is fraught with dangers of its own.

NOW WATCH: A sleep expert explains what happens to your body and brain if you don't get sleep

76. Stock investors don't seem to care about government shutdowns — but this one comes right in the middle of earnings seasonСб., 20 янв.[−]

Stock market NYSE floor sweepMario Tama/Getty Images

  • The federal government shuts down Friday night, and it means financial regulatory agencies will be working with a skeleton crew in the middle of a busy earnings season.
  • Despite this, stocks have fared well in recent government shutdowns, data show.

After Republicans, who control both the House and Senate, were unable to pass a spending bill by midnight Friday, the US government has entered a partial shutdown, with all nonessential services going into a freeze.

Historical data suggests that a big market move shaking stocks is unlikely, but a shutdown would still be concerning to investors.

"Although a government shutdown sounds scary, the reality is it has been a non-event historically for equities,” Ryan Detrick, a senior market strategist at LPL Financial, said in an email. “Going back nearly 40 years, the median return during shutdowns has been exactly flat. Not to mention the last shutdown in 2013 saw an impressive 3.1% gain in the S&P 500."

According to the firm’s analysis of S&P 500 performance during government shutdowns dating all the way back to President Gerald Ford in 1976, stocks have seen an average decline of just 0.6% during federal freezes, with 44% of them resulting in gains.

The S&P 500 gained 3.1% during the most recent government shutdown in 2013 under President Obama, and was also positive during the two that happened during the Clinton administration.

historical government shutdowns tableLPL Financial

Still, the stock market depends on several federal agencies, most importantly the Securities and Exchange Commission, to function healthily.

"In the event that the federal government shuts down, the Commission will have only an extremely limited number of staff members available to respond to emergency situations involving the safety of human life or the protection of property, including law enforcement,” the agency’s shutdown operations plan says. Only about 300 of the agency’s 4,588 employees will be retained during a shutdown.

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission has similar contingency plans in place, furloughing all employees responsible for monitoring financial markets and only retaining law enforcement or protection personnel.

It’s not clear if the lack of staff for anything but security or law enforcement will have any effect on the deluge of corporate earnings scheduled for next week, as the possible shutdown comes right in the middle of earnings season.

The Departments of Labor and Commerce would also shut down. Investors depend on their economic data releases for important insights about how the US economy is functioning.

There is a glimmer of hope for bond traders, however. The Federal Reserve system is funded mainly from interest on US government securities traded on the open market, according to its website. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Credit Union Administration are also independently funded and will remain functioning.

Despite anxiety around a possible government shutdown, the Cboe Volatility Index, a common ‘fear-gauge’ of investor sentiment, was down 6% on Friday, but still above the record lows hit last year.

NOW WATCH: The chief global strategist at Charles Schwab says stocks will keep soaring in 2018

77. How addressable TV will shape the future of mediaСб., 20 янв.[−]

Addressable TVBII

People are watching less TV, and subscribers are cutting the cord.

But TV is not dead yet.

Viewers are consuming television in different ways, and the advertising dollars are still there. But TV ads need to change with the times.

Learn all about this part of the future of TV with this brand new slide deck from BI Intelligence called Addressable TV.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • TV is no longer just "mass market"
  • Better analytics are crucial
  • Addressable TV will smooth the transition to digital
  • And much more

To get your copy of this FREE slide deck, simply click here.

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78. The billionaire producer behind 'Godzilla' and 'Jurassic World' just listed his LA mansion, complete with a Himalayan salt room and organic farm, for $85 millionСб., 20 янв.[−]

Screen Shot 2018 01 19 at 2.40.58 PMcourtesy of Jordan Cohen, RE/MAX

  • Thomas Tull, the billionaire producer of blockbuster films "Godzilla" and "Jurassic World," just listed his Los Angeles mansion for $85 million.
  • The 33-acre compound has a lake and an organic farm.
  • Indoor amenities include a wine cellar, movie theater, photo studio, and Himalayan salt therapy room.


That's the name of the entertainment company Thomas Tull founded in 2000 and the only word to describe the Los Angeles mansion he's selling.

The billionaire film producer is relocating to his hometown in western Pennsylvania, where he already owns several properties, according to The Pittsburgh Gazette. But first, he'll need to find a buyer willing to shell out $85 million for his California compound.

The 33-acre estate comprises seven separate structures, plus a lake, working organic farm, and glass greenhouse. Tull — whose net worth is estimated by Forbes to be about $1.1 billion — started building the estate seven years ago and eventually privatized the cul-de-sac where it sits, reports the LA Times.

The listing is held by Jordan Cohen of RE/MAX.

Below, check out some of the coolest amenities of the $85 million estate:

The mansion is located in Thousand Oaks, California, a Ventura County community northwest of Los Angeles.

courtesy of Jordan Cohen, RE/MAX

The property was modeled after the Giverny gardens of impressionist painter Claude Monet, the architect told the LA Times.

Courtesy of Jordan Cohen, RE/MAX

There's 32,000 square feet of living space in the main house — and another 11,000 square feet in the guest house.

courtesy of Jordan Cohen, RE/MAX

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

79. The eSports competitive video gaming market continues to grow revenues & attract investorsСб., 20 янв.[−]

eSports Advertising and SponsorshipsBII

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

What is eSports? History & Rise of Video Game Tournaments

Years ago, eSports was a community of video gamers who would gather at conventions to play Counter Strike, Call of Duty, or League of Legends.

These multiplayer video game competitions would determine League of Legends champions, the greatest shooters in Call of Duty, the cream of the crop of Street Fighter players, the elite Dota 2 competitors, and more.

But today, as the history of eSports continue to unfold, media giants such as ESPN and Turner are broadcasting eSports tournaments and competitions. And in 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch, the live streaming video platform that has been and continues to be the leader in online gaming broadcasts. And YouTube also wanted to jump on the live streaming gaming community with the creation of YouTube Gaming.

eSports Market Growth Booming

To put in perspective how big eSports is becoming, a Google search for "lol" does not produce "laughing out loud" as the top result. Instead, it points to League of Legends, one of the most popular competitive games in existence. The game has spawned a worldwide community called the League of Legends Championship Series, more commonly known as LCS or LOL eSports.

What started as friends gathering in each other's homes to host LAN parties and play into the night has become an official network of pro gaming tournaments and leagues with legitimate teams, some of which are even sponsored and have international reach. Organizations such as Denial, AHQ, and MLG have multiple eSports leagues.

And to really understand the scope of all this, consider that the prize pool for the latest Dota 2 tournament was more than $20 million.

Websites even exist for eSports live scores to let people track the competitions in real time if they are unable to watch. There are even fantasy eSports leagues similar to fantasy football, along with the large and growing scene of eSports betting and gambling.

So it's understandable why traditional media companies would want to capitalize on this growing trend just before it floods into the mainstream. Approximately 300 million people worldwide tune in to eSports today, and that number is growing rapidly. By 2020, that number will be closer to 500 million.

eSports Industry Analysis - The Future of the Competitive Gaming Market

Financial institutions are starting to take notice. Goldman Sachs valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and expects the market will grow at 22% annually compounded over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity.

And industry statistics are already backing this valuation and demonstrating the potential for massive earnings. To illustrate the market value, market growth, and potential earnings for eSports, consider Swedish media company Modern Times Group's $87 million acquisition of Turtle Entertainment, the holding company for ESL. YouTube has made its biggest eSports investment to date by signing a multiyear broadcasting deal with Faceit to stream the latter's Esports Championship Series. And the NBA will launch its own eSports league in 2018.

Of course, as with any growing phenomenon, the question becomes: How do advertisers capitalize? This is especially tricky for eSports because of its audience demographics, which is young, passionate, male-dominated, and digital-first. They live online and on social media, are avid ad-blockers, and don't watch traditional TV or respond to conventional advertising.

So what will the future of eSports look like? How high can it climb? Could it reach the mainstream popularity of baseball or football? How will advertisers be able to reach an audience that does its best to shield itself from advertising?

Robert Elder, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled an unparalleled report on the eSports ecosystem that dissects the growing market for competitive gaming. This comprehensive, industry-defining report contains more than 30 charts and figures that forecast audience growth, average revenue per user, and revenue growth.

Companies and organizations mentioned in the report include: NFL, NBA, English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, NHL, Paris Saint-Germain, Ligue 1, Ligue de Football, Twitch, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, Electronic Arts, EA Sports, Valve, Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, ESL, Turtle Entertainment, Dreamhack, Modern Times Group, Turner Broadcasting, TBS Network, Vivendi, Canal Plus, Dailymotion, Disney, BAMTech, Intel, Coca Cola, Red Bull, HTC, Mikonet

Here are some eSports industry facts and statistics from the report:

  • eSports is a still nascent industry filled with commercial opportunity.
  • There are a variety of revenue streams that companies can tap into.
  • The market is presently undervalued and has significant room to grow.
  • The dynamism of this market distinguishes it from traditional sports.
  • The audience is high-value and global, and its numbers are rising.
  • Brands can prosper in eSports by following the appropriate game plan.
  • Game publishers approach their Esport ecosystems in different ways.
  • Successful esport games are comprised of the same basic ingredients.
  • Digital streaming platforms are spearheading the popularity of eSports.
  • Legacy media are investing into eSports, and seeing encouraging results.
  • Traditional sports franchises have a clear opportunity to seize in eSports.
  • Virtual and augmented reality firms also stand to benefit from eSports.

In full, the report illuminates the business of eSports from four angles:

  • The gaming nucleus of eSports, including an overview of popular esport genres and games; the influence of game publishers, and the spectrum of strategies they adopt toward their respective esport scenes; the role of eSports event producers and the tournaments they operate.
  • The eSports audience profile, its size, global reach, and demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes; the underlying factors driving its growth; why they are an attractive target for brands and broadcasters; and the significant audience and commercial crossover with traditional sports.
  • eSports media broadcasters, including digital avant-garde like Twitch and YouTube, newer digital entrants like Facebook and traditional media outlets like Turner’s TBS Network, ESPN, and Canal Plus; their strategies and successes in this space; and the virtual reality opportunity.
  • eSports market economics, with a market sizing, growth forecasts, and regional analyses; an evaluation of the eSports spectacle and its revenue generators, some of which are idiosyncratic to this industry; strategic planning for brand marketers, with case studies; and an exploration of the infinite dynamism and immense potential of the eSports economy.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 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. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
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80. There is no reason for Pence to travel to the Middle East this weekend — and the possible downsides are significantСб., 20 янв.[−]

Mike PenceChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • Vice President Mike Pence is set to travel to the Middle East. He should cancel the trip.
  • After President Donald Trump announced last month that the US would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, protests erupted across the region.
  • Instead of waiting patiently for the Palestinians to cool off, the administration is throwing gasoline on the fire by moving forward with Pence's visit.

On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence is set to depart on a trip to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel, to support the Trump administration's efforts in pursuit of an " ultimate deal" to bring about Middle East peace. In the long history of foreign trips by senior US officials, I am hard pressed to find one that is likely to be more counterproductive than this visit. Pence should cancel.

After President Donald Trump's decision early last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, White House officials acknowledged that the Palestinians would need a "cooling off period" before they could return to constructive discussions. But instead of waiting patiently for the Palestinians to cool off, the administration is throwing gasoline on the fire instead.

Pence's planned visit is just the latest in a series of escalatory steps. First, Pence announced that he would be visiting more than a month ago, leading Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare that he would not meet with the vice president. Pence's office responded with a combative statement accusing the Palestinians of missing another opportunity to pursue peace.

Since then, the Trump administration has continued to pour it on. Trump tweeted out a threat to cut off aid to the Palestinians if they did not re-engage in negotiations. Nicki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, is holding up American contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides support for all kinds of programs for Palestinian refugees, unless the Palestinians agree to resume negotiations.

The Palestinian reaction has not been good. Earlier this week, Abbas gave an unhinged speech denying any Jewish connect to Israel and making clear he will not negotiate with Trump.

It is now quite clear that no negotiations are happening anytime soon, and possibly never again with Abbas. Meanwhile, right-wingers in Israel see this as an opportunity to put a nail in the coffin of the two-state solution by pushing for legislation to annex parts of the West Bank or creating political hurdles that will make it impossible for any future government to negotiate on the final status of Jerusalem.

In the past, such initiatives have been restrained because Israeli politicians understood they could lead to unnecessary tensions with the United States. But in this environment there is a view in Israel that the United States is willing to offer a blank check of support for even the most provocative actions, so long as Abbas and Trump remain so publicly estranged.

'Unnecessarily provocative'

trump palestine protestsIbraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Into this environment steps Pence — the worst of all Trump administration officials to send to Israel at such a time. Pence is the official most associated with Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, because the move was largely viewed as a nod to Trump's evangelical base, which cares deeply about this issue.

Pence is very close to this community and is often seen as its chief advocate in the Trump administration. Indeed, Pence was the only other official on screen when Trump announced the Jerusalem move, standing quietly behind the president. It is not surprising that Palestinians are refusing to meet with him.

To make matters worse, Pence is planning to go to the Western Wall — the holiest site in Judaism, but also one that is very important to Muslims and highly contested.

Choosing to go to the single most sensitive spot in Jerusalem, little more than a month after Trump ignited a firestorm over the city's status, is unnecessarily provocative. Fortunately, thus far, the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital has not led to a violent explosion. But why risk it with such a high-profile visit?

And Pence will also be speaking at Israel's parliament — the Knesset where he is likely to make the type of statements that only further feed and encourage the politicians who are already pushing for legislative action that will eliminate the possibility of the two-state solution.

The visual of him giving a speech to the Knesset even as he meets with no Palestinian officials will not play well in the Arab world or pretty much anywhere outside of Israel.

'Simply no pressing reason'

Mike PenceAP Photo/Alex BrandonThe visit will also be problematic in other ways. One of Pence's top priorities on this trip had been to engage with Christian communities in the Middle East. But key Christian leaders in Egypt will not meet with him because of their opposition to the Jerusalem announcement.

And Pence's request to visit Bethlehem and tour the Church of the Nativity has also been denied by religious leaders. How embarrassing for the vice president of the United States. It is hard to remember a similar precedent.

The visit will also put President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt and King Abdullah II of Jordan in a delicate spot. Pence is going to those countries first.

Their leaders will not know precisely what he plans to say and do in Israel and they certainly do not want to spurn the vice president. But they also will not want to be publicly associated with Pence only days before a highly controversial trip to Israel and a major diplomatic confrontation with the Palestinians.

This is especially true of Abdullah, given that an estimated 70 percent of Jordan's population is Palestinian. So, most likely we will see only muted joint media appearances and photo opportunities with very short statements, or possibly even no statements at all. Do not expect the usual red carpet treatment that would typically befit a vice presidential visit.

The bottom line is that there is simply no pressing reason for Pence to travel to the Middle East this weekend. The possible downsides are significant and there is little positive that he can accomplish outside of further inflaming an already bad situation. He should stay home.

NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist explains what everyone gets wrong about stretching

81. THE AI DISRUPTION BUNDLE: The guide to understanding how artificial intelligence is impacting the world (AMZN, AAPL, GOOGL)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

global ai commerce financing trend

This is a preview of a research report bundle from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn't a part of the future of technology. AI is the future of technology.

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have even publicly debated whether or not that will turn out to be a good thing.

Voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa have become more and more prominent in our lives, and that will only increase as they learn more skills.

These voice assistants are set to explode as more devices powered by AI enter the market. Most of the major technology players have some sort of smart home hub, usually in the form of a smart speaker. These speakers, like the Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod, are capable of communicating with a majority of WiFi-enabled devices throughout the home.

While AI is having an enormous impact on individuals and the smart home, perhaps its largest impact can be felt in the e-commerce space. In the increasingly cluttered e-commerce space, personalization is one of the key differentiators retailers can turn towards to stand out to consumers. In fact, retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, at a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group.

This can be accomplished by leveraging machine learning technology to sift through customer data to present the relevant information in front of that consumer as soon as they hit the page.

With hundreds of hours of research condensed into three in-depth reports, BI Intelligence is here to help get you caught up on what you need to know on how AI is disrupting your business or your life.

Below you can find more details on the three reports that make up the AI Disruption Bundle, including proprietary insights from the 16,000-member BI Insiders Panel:

AI in E-Commerce Report

ai ecommerceBI Intelligence

One of retailers' top priorities is to figure out how to gain an edge over Amazon. To do this, many retailers are attempting to differentiate themselves by creating highly curated experiences that combine the personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals.

These personalized online experiences are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). This is the technology that enables e-commerce websites to recommend products uniquely suited to shoppers, and enables people to search for products using conversational language, or just images, as though they were interacting with a person.

Using AI to personalize the customer journey could be a huge value-add to retailers. Retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It could also boost profitability rates 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by 2035, according to Accenture.

This report illustrates the various applications of AI in retail and use case studies to show how this technology has benefited retailers. It assesses the challenges that retailers may face as they implement AI, specifically focusing on technical and organizational challenges. Finally, the report weighs the pros and cons of strategies retailers can take to successfully execute AI technologies in their organization.

The Smart Speaker Report

smart speaker reportBI Intelligence

Smart speakers — Amazon's Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user's voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user's home, among other things.

The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon's recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple's HomePod.

This report, which leverages BI Intelligence's proprietary data, analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, we evaluate each device's potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. And we draw some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

The Voice Assistant Landscape Report

Voice assistant landscapeBI IntelligenceAdvancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer's life.

Increasingly sophisticated voice assistants and the growing potential use cases they can assist in are driving consumers to adopt them in greater droves — 65% of US smartphone owners were employing voice assistants in 2015, up significantly from 30% just two years prior. Consumers are also eagerly adopting speaker-based voice assistants, with shipments of Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers expected to climb more than threefold to 24.5 million in 2017, according to a report from VoiceLabs.

However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist.

This report explains what's driving the recent upsurge in adoption of digital voice assistants. It explores the recent technology advancements that have catalyzed this growth, while presenting the technological shortcomings preventing voice assistants from hitting their true potential. This report also examines the voice assistant landscape, and discusses the leading voice assistants and the devices through which consumers interact with them. Finally, it identifies the major barriers to mass adoption, and the impact voice assistants could have in numerous industries once they cross that threshold.


Access the three in-depth reports referenced above today when you claim our exclusive AI Disruption Bundle. By purchasing the full bundle today you will SAVE 33% 0ff list price! But act now, as this is a limited-time offer.
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82. We asked 3 top biotech VCs what kinds of companies they’d like to fund, and they all had the same answerСб., 20 янв.[−]

brainGetty Images/Dan Kitwood

  • We asked venture capitalists what startups they wish they could fund.
  • Many had an interest in finding companies that could tackle neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, though not much has caught their eyes so far.
  • "The problem is we don't know enough about how the disease works to really invest in one drug or another," Alexis Borisy, a partner at Third Rock Ventures told Business Insider.
  • VCs are also interested in finding ways to treat cancer that come with fewer side effects, as well as more targeted forms of cancer immunotherapy.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, we asked venture capitalists what biotech startups they wish they could fund.

Overwhelmingly, the response had to do with degenerative brain conditions, especially treatments for Alzheimer's.

"I would love to see a technology where you could really tackle Alzheimer's," Tom Heyman, president of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JJDC told Business Insider. Heyman's inspired by the progress that's gone on when it comes to treating cancer. "When I talk to people I tell them, by 2030, I believe that most cancers will be chronic diseases. Alzheimer’s, we’re nowhere, just nowhere."

Carol Gallagher, a partner at New Enterprise Associates agreed, but expanded her interest to neurodegenerative diseases as a whole, including Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

"I think that is the next frontier that we are trying to understand, but I think that it is a really tough area," Gallagher said.

One of the challenging things is that there's a lot we don't know about how the brain works, including what causes Alzheimer's. Until we do, it's going to be difficult to find a treatment that works — practically all Alzheimer's drugs fail in clinical trials, and there are only four approved treatments for the condition.

"The problem is we don't know enough about how the disease works to really invest in one drug or another," Alexis Borisy, a partner at Third Rock Ventures told Business Insider. "We need to have that understanding at a molecular, mechanistic basis."

Fine-tuning cancer treatments

As cancer becomes more of a chronic disease people can live with for years and even decades after being diagnosed, Gallagher said, it'll be important to find treatments with less dangerous side effects. For example, some of the cell therapies that harness the body's immune system to treat cancer can send patients into remission, but the side effects can be deadly.

"We should all as an industry be keeping an eye on how we keep making therapies less toxic," she said.

Borisy also said his hope is to find companies that will help make immunotherapy-based cancer treatments more precise. Right now, certain immunotherapies work well, but only in a limited percentage of people. Researchers are trying to figure out why some respond and others don't.

Ideally, Borisy said, we could one day figure out why the treatments aren't working for some and instead give a treatment that the patient might be predisposed to respond to better.

NOW WATCH: Expect Amazon to make a surprising acquisition in 2018, says CFRA

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83. 14 predictions for the future of mediaСб., 20 янв.[−]

henry blodget ignition 2017BII

The media landscape is almost shifting more quickly than consumers can keep up.

But certain trends have emerged that will carry the media industry into the future.

For the past eight years, IGNITION, Business Insider’s flagship conference, has collected the best minds in media and technology to share what they see as the future. Through unscripted interviews, cutting-edge demos, and insights from industry pioneers, attendees learn what key trends to be aware of and what they need to do to stay ahead.

Henry Blodget opened the latest sold-out IGNITION conference with a presentation entitled 14 Things You’ll Want to Know About The Future of Media. And he should know...Blodget is co-founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Business Insider, one of the most-read business and tech news sites in the world with more than 80 million visitors a month worldwide.

The presentation was put together with the help of the team at BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • We're nearing "peak media" in the U.S.
  • This phenomenon will spread to the rest of the world as four billion more people come online
  • Digital ad spending is still growing
  • Video is not the be-all, end-all of media
  • And much more

To get your copy of this FREE slide deck, simply click here.

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84. Mustafa Suleyman: The liberal activist who cofounded Google's ?400 million artificial intelligence lab (GOOG)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

Mustafa Suleyman 1831_preview (1)DeepMind

  • Mustafa Suleyman is a 33-year-old entrepreneur and activist.
  • He sold his artificial intelligence company DeepMind to Google for £400 million in 2014.
  • Suleyman dropped out of university and worked as an activist before getting involved in artificial intelligence.

Mustafa Suleyman is one of the three cofounders of DeepMind, an artificial intelligence (AI) lab in London that was acquired by Google in 2014 for a reported £400 million — the search giant's largest acquisition in Europe to date.

Listen to a few of Suleyman's talks on YouTube and you'll quickly realise that he's a left-leaning activist who wants to make the world a better place for everyone as opposed to an elite few. He differs from many of today's tech founders in that he genuinely seems to care about the welfare of everyone on the planet.

The 33 year old — affectionately known as "Moose" internally at DeepMind and amongst his friends — lives in Peckham, South London, with his artist fiancée. He can often be seen on Twitter making his thoughts known on issues like homelessness, diversity, and inequality, and also once retweeted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

DeepMind may be owned by one of the largest companies in the world but Suleyman strongly believes capitalism is failing society in a number of areas. He explained this during a talk at a Google event last May.

"We believe today that in some sense, capitalism in many ways has delivered so much for us over the last couple of centuries," Suleyman said at a Google ZeitgeistMinds event in London. "We've delivered so much progress. No other construct or idea has been able to distribute benefits so broadly and so rapidly. And yet in many areas, capitalism is currently failing us. We actually need a new kind of set of incentives to tackle some of the most pressing and urgent social problems and we need a new kind of tool, a new kind of intelligence, that is distributed, that is scaled, that is accessible, to try and make sense of some of the complexity that is overwhelming us."

DeepMind's not-so-simple mission is to solve intelligence and then to use that to solve everything else. The company is building complex algorithms that can learn for themselves using techniques similar to those seen in the human brain. Ultimately, it hopes to end up with something that works like an artificial hippocampus — the part of the brain that is mainly associated with memory, and long-term memory in particular.

Since its incorporation in 2011, DeepMind has been aggressively hiring some of the smartest computer scientists, neuroscientists, mathematicians, and physicists around the world. Today it employs around 700 people across offices in the UK (London), Canada (Edmonton and Montreal), and the US (Mountain View). The vast majority of DeepMind's staff (over 500 people) are currently located across two floors in Google's main office in London's King's Cross.

Unlike his cofounders, Suleyman does not have a background in science. As a result, he is more focused on the business side of the company and today he is trying to find applications for DeepMind's technology both inside and outside of Google while also ensuring that the company's work in AI remains safe and ethical.

Suleyman grew up in North London and developed a passion for philosophy

The CallyFlickr/Matt Brown

Suleyman grew up just off Caledonian Road in North London where he lived with his parents and his two younger brothers. His father was a Syrian-born taxi driver and his mother was an English nurse in the NHS.

Suleyman went to Thornhill Primary School (a state school in Islington) followed by the free, but selective, Queen Elizabeth boys school in Barnet.

Suleyman read widely as a child, according to a Wired feature on DeepMind from June 2015, developing an early love for philosophy. He also had a passion for business and entrepreneurship from an early age and he wasn't afraid to try to hustle his fellow students on the school playground.

When I started secondary school at 11, me and my best friend started selling sweets in the playground.

"Ever since I was a kid I was always starting small businesses and dreaming they would one day grow like crazy," Suleyman told Business Insider.

"When I started secondary school at 11, me and my best friend started selling sweets in the playground. We would go to the wholesaler and buy in bulk and rent people’s lockers to store them in. We started hiring other kids out at break-times to sell for us. It got pretty big before the teachers shut it down."

Suleyman moved from selling sweets in the playground to exploring how he could help the disabled in his spare time.

"A few years later, a team of us got together and spent a summer visiting restaurants and attractions across London in a wheelchair we borrowed to review their accessibility for disabled people," he said. "Based on that, we published an 80-page guide to London for young disabled people.

"It's part of the reason why I believe so strongly that if we rewrite the incentives for businesses today to include social responsibility in addition to fiduciary duties, plenty of leaders will jump at the chance to redirect their energies toward building a better, fairer world."

As a straight A student, Suleyman could afford to be fairly selective about where he went to university. He chose to go to Oxford — one of the top (and most elite) universities in the world — to read philosophy and theology. Interestingly, Suleyman joined Oxford's Mansfield College, which is leading the charge on anti-elitism at the university; nine in 10 of the students it admitted in 2017 came from state schools.

"Philosophy and theology is an interesting course and I thought it was a nice combination," Suleyman said. "Mansfield is an amazing place to study theology, and my tutor was one of the leaders in the field."

Oxford Uni bridge of sighspettifoggist/Flickr

But Suleyman realised that he didn't want to focus on education in his late teenage years.

Young and eager to get out into the world and use his intelligence to have an impact, he dropped out of the centuries-old institution at 19 because he didn't feel like his degree was practical enough.

"Throughout my life, I've always been focused on maximizing social impact with everything I do," said Suleyman. "At the time, I was enjoying studying philosophy and theology but it felt so abstract and impractical to me.

"Like many teenage activists I guess I was restless and angry at what I saw as such widespread injustice and inequality. And I felt compelled to do something to help people directly in the wider world."

Suleyman dropped out of Oxford to set up a counselling service for young Muslims

After dropping out, Suleyman and his university friend Mohammed Mamdani set up a telephone counselling service called the Muslim Youth Helpline which went on to become one of the largest mental health support services of its kind in the UK.

"I wanted to broaden my scope to tackle social challenges affecting all of society, not just a specific subgroup," Suleyman said. "At the Helpline I realised that the problems many of our service users were facing were actually rooted in the wider systemic inequalities and prejudices present in broader society."

At 22, Suleyman left Muslim Youth Helpline after realising non-profit organisations are held back by multiple factors.

"After three or four years, I realised in some sense the fundamental limitations of charities," Suleyman told The Financial Times. "It was really difficult to scale the organisation and to raise funds in a sustainable way."

Ken Livingstone

He went on to work for former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

"When I got an offer to work for Mayor Ken Livingstone on human rights policy, it seemed like a brilliant opportunity to to fight the systemic injustices that create so much of the suffering I saw first hand at the Helpline."

He left City Hall when he realised that government wasn't the vehicle to promote radical systemic change either. "It was pretty challenging and despite all of the high-minded principles it was actually really difficult to get practical things done on a day-to-day basis," Suleyman told the FT.

Suleyman worked with the UN, the US government, and Shell

Following his stint in politics, Suleyman helped to cofound a consultancy called Reos Partners, which aims to help drive change on global issues like food production, waste, and diversity.

"[Through Reos Partners] I ended up working for a whole bunch of different organisations including the UN, the US government, the Dutch government, WWF, Shell," he told the FT. His work for Shell was on sustainability-related projects. "We worked all over the world, ended up growing [Reos Partners], which is still going today, to about five or six offices around the world — specialising in large scale conflict resolution and negotiation."

Suleyman left Reos Partners in 2010 after a year-long piece of facilitation work at the Copenhagen climate negotiations left him feeling frustrated. "There was a very natural alignment back in late 2009, early 2010 when I had just sort of finished the climate negotiations, which of course were at the time a massive disaster and everybody was really broken hearted" he told the FT.

He added: "Traditional vehicles for addressing climate change — the various meetings and minds, grassroots campaigning, high level political negotiations, waiting for spontaneous market driven outcomes — were, to put it bluntly, just not working fast enough. Time and again we found ourselves failing to come to grips with a dizzyingly complex world, with groups of the smartest experts struggling to make sense of the relationship between cause and effect.

"Of course climate change is just one of many strands of a complex, interdependent, and dynamic set of problems that we currently face as a species. If we don't tackle these problems, the future of humanity and the planet is at best uncertain. At worst, it's an extremely grim prognosis."

DeepMind was born in London in 2009

Realising the potential that technology and AI have to benefit the world, Suleyman set up DeepMind around the end of 2009 with his childhood friend Demis Hassabis and a New Zealander called Shane Legg.

DeepMind foundersDeepMind

Before incorporating DeepMind, Suleyman and Hassabis (who were friends through Hassabis's younger brother) had many deep discussions and debates about how to improve the world. They typically approached the matter from different angles but they both say they're fundamentally motivated by the opportunity to alleviate human suffering at scale, and they've talked about how best to do that endlessly.

"Demis and I grew up in the same neighborhood and his younger brother and I were — and still are — best friends," said Suleyman. "We often had conversations about how to improve and impact the world — from solving inequality to malnutrition. He felt the solutions would come through simulations that could model the complex dynamics in the world causing these problems, while I would always emphasize more near-term practical change efforts.

"Building and applying general purpose learning systems combined our two different approaches. And after working in many different arenas — from government to think tanks and the charity sector — trying to tackle our most intractable social challenges, it was clear to me that we needed new institutions, creativity and knowledge in order to navigate the growing complexity of our social systems. Reapplying existing human knowledge was not going to be enough. Starting a new kind of organisation with the single purpose of building AI and using it to solve the world's toughest problems was our best shot at having a transformative, large scale impact on society’s most pressing challenges."

Suleyman is well-liked across DeepMind and the UK tech sector. Many people said they liked the fact that he's humble and down to Earth, and they respect the fact that he's willing to talk about difficult issues like equal pay and capitalism in a way that many other tech leaders aren't. He's seen by some as a revolutionary and whether he realises it or not, may people are more than willing to sign up to his mission and his way of thinking.

In the company's early days, Suleyman made several trips to Silicon Valley and successfully convinced billionaires like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk to invest in DeepMind, telling them that he and his cofounders planned to hoover up as much brain power in Europe as they could and get these smart young people working on the most advanced AI systems on the planet.

Frank Meehan, an early investor in DeepMind and a former board member on virtual assistant startup Siri, which was acquired by Apple in 2010, said he first met Suleyman when DeepMind employed about six or seven people and was based out of a tiny office in London's Russell Square.

"Mustafa is a key part of the whole thing," Meehan told Business Insider. "He's confident, he's energetic, and he stays on top of things," said Meehan. "He's focused and he gets things done."

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), former head of the No 10 Policy Unit, and an independent reviewer of DeepMind Health, described Suleyman as an "open" and "rounded" leader, adding that he respects his willingness to talk about the big issues facing the world's tech giants.

"Everyone thinks if Mustafa is running the world it would be a pretty amazing place, to be honest," Taylor told Business Insider.

Taylor said that if he were to take a cynical view of DeepMind, "the question is whether or not he is someone inside the system genuinely transforming the culture of Google, or, if you were cynical, is he the kind of acceptable face for an industry that knows it has its issues but is actually going to plough on regardless?"

But he later clarified on Twitter that he has a "very positive" view of Suleyman and the company.

Commenting on his relationship with Suleyman, Hassabis said: "Mustafa is a fantastic cofounder — we were family friends growing up together in North London and we share a deep belief in the potential of scientific and technical advances for positive social change. He brilliantly leads our applied and commercial efforts including spearheading our work in healthcare and energy, as well as being a respected thought leader on the ethical and societal impact of AI."

Suleyman is leading DeepMind's health projects

DeepMind's algorithms have been used by Google to reduce the amount of energy used in its vast fleet of enormous data centres by 15%. "Anything that we can do to reduce the amount of energy required to deliver the same service is fantastic for the planet and has a very significant dollar impact at the bottom line, which is also good," Suleyman said in July 2016. Google has also used DeepMind's WaveNet neural network to generate the Google Assistant voices for US English and Japanese.

DeepMind StreamsGoogle DeepMind

Looking outside Google, Suleyman, who oversees a growing DeepMind Health team, has convinced several NHS trusts to work with DeepMind on projects including a patient monitoring app for clinicians and an AI system that can learn to spot early signs of cancer.

DeepMind's work with the NHS didn't get off to the best start and Suleyman found himself under the spotlight when a freedom of information request from New Scientist revealed the extent of a data sharing agreement with the Royal Free Trust in North London, which was DeepMind's first NHS deal.

The deal — which was later deemed illegal by the Information Commissioner's Office, the UK's top data regulator — gave DeepMind access to 1.6 million NHS patient records to help it build a kidney monitoring app called Streams.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement at the time: "There's no doubt the huge potential that creative use of data could have on patient care and clinical improvements, but the price of innovation does not need to be the erosion of fundamental privacy rights. Our investigation found a number of shortcomings in the way patient records were shared for this trial. Patients would not have reasonably expected their information to have been used in this way, and the Trust could and should have been far more transparent with patients as to what was happening."

But that's the only major setback that the company has had since it was acquired by Google.

Looking ahead, DeepMind is keen to work with the National Grid to see how it can cut energy consumption across the UK in the same way that it's helped Google in its data centres.

Beyond that, Suleyman is also one of the founding members of the Partnership on AI — an organisation set up in September 2016 to ensure that AI is developed safely, ethically, and transparently — along with Facebook's AI head Yann LeCun, Microsoft Research director Eric Horvitz, and several others.

Suleyman accepts there are very real concerns about the future of AI

While AI clearly has great potential, academics, philosophers, and technologists have warned that AI may be humanity's biggest downfall if it is programmed incorrectly or harnessed for wrong doing.

Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon last November: "Success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. Or the worst. We just don't know. So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it."

When it comes to DeepMind's research, Suleyman and his cofounders realise that there are two sides to the coin.

The DeepMind leaders allowed their startup to be acquired by Google on the condition that Google set up an internal AI ethics board to oversee AI developments across the entire organisation.

Little is known about the mysterious ethics board but Suleyman said at a Bloomberg conference in 2015 that he wanted Google to disclose the board members. He's been asked about the board several times since then but remained tight lipped.

"Getting these things right is not purely a matter of having good intentions," Suleyman wrote in Wired this month. "We need to do the hard, practical and messy work of finding out what ethical AI really means. If we manage to get AI to work for people and the planet, then the effects could be transformational. Right now, there's everything to play for."


  • Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society," a penetrating commentary on the shortcomings of institutionalised education. Illich accomplishes that most difficult of feats, complementing his critique with a set of practical and creative proposals for alternative approaches.
  • "Inventing the Future" by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams tackles the likely ramifications of intensified automation for the future of work, and the prospects for policies like UBI. The book distinguishes itself by taking absolutely seriously the difficult and contentious political dimensions to this debate.
  • "Transparency and the Open Society" by Roger Taylor and Tim Kelsey is a timely and detailed inquiry into the complexities that surround greater openness, together with a framework for thinking through transparency as effective policy.

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85. THE BLOCKCHAIN IN BANKING REPORT: The future of blockchain solutions and technologiesСб., 20 янв.[−]

Why Firms Use Blockchain 2x1BII

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Nearly every global bank is experimenting with blockchain technology as they try to unleash the cost savings and operational efficiencies it promises to deliver.

Banks are exploring the technology in a number of ways, including through partnerships with fintechs, membership in global consortia, and via the building of their own in-house solutions.

In this report, BI Intelligence outlines why and in what ways banks are exploring blockchain technology, provides details on three major banks' blockchain efforts based on in-depth interviews, and highlights other notable blockchain-based experiments underway by global banks. It also discusses the likely trends that will emerge in the technology over the next several years, and the factors that will be critical to the success of banks implementing blockchain-based solutions.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Most banks are exploring the use of blockchain technology in order to streamline processes and cut costs. However, they are also looking to leverage additional advantages, including increased competitiveness with fintechs, and the ability to use the technology to create new business models.
  • Banks are starting to narrow their focus, and are increasingly honing in on tangible use cases for blockchain technology that solve real problems faced by their businesses.
  • Regulators are taking an increased interest in blockchain technology, and they're working alongside major banks to develop regulatory frameworks.
  • Blockchain-based solutions will start to emerge in different areas of financial services. The most successful solutions will solve specific problems for banks and attract a large enough network to create widespread benefits.

In full, the report:

  • Outlines banks' experiments with blockchain technology.
  • Details blockchain projects at three major banks — UBS, Credit Suisse, and Banco Santander — based on in-depth interviews.
  • Discusses the likely trends that will emerge in the technology over the next several years.
  • Highlights the factors that will be critical to the success of banks implementing blockchain-based solutions.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 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
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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86. Here's what happens during a government shutdownСб., 20 янв.[−]

government shutdown lincoln memorialMark Wilson/Getty Images

  • A federal government shutdown began early Saturday morning after Congress failed to pass a bill to temporarily fund the government at current levels.
  • Essential operations will remain functional while nonessential services come to a halt.
  • Employees for non-essential services would be out on furlough, meaning they are locked out of work and receive no pay.

The federal government officially ran out of funding appropriations early Saturday morning, signaling the beginning of a partial government shutdown.

While Congress had days to avoid this fate, the negotiations over a funding bill failed late Friday night.

The midnight deadline did not technically begin the shutdown, but rather a lapse in appropriations, or funding, for the government. The trigger, however, came soon after from a memo sent by the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

This memo instructed federal agencies to begin to execute their contingency plans in the event of a lapse in funding, thus kicking off the shutdown.

So what exactly does that mean? Here's a rundown of all the biggest changes that happen during a government shutdown.

What it means for federal programs

All essential government services remain open. This means services like Social Security checks still go out and public-safety operations continue.

Other nonessential federal programs and branches do close during th shutdown and services like the issuance of new Social Security cards can cease.

These closures have serious consequences. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFRB), during the 2013 shutdown the closure of national parks cost them an estimated $500 million in revenue. During the 1996 shutdown, as many as 10,000 possible Medicare recipients were turned away every day because the Department of Health and Human Services was not accepting new applicants. It appears HHS will take new applicants this time around.

Other programs that were affected, according to the CFRB, are:

  • Site inspections by the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration. These inspections are done for "sites that included hazardous waste, drinking water, and chemical facilities."
  • The Internal Revenue Service can't do Social Security number or income verifications, possibly delaying things like loan applications. Additionally, any tax refunds outstanding would be delayed. Given the IRS's scramble to manage the new GOP tax law, the shutdown could be especially damaging.
  • The National Institutes of Health stops funding grants for research and the Department of Health and Human Services stops sending welfare assistance to states.

What it means for federal employees

In many branches of government, most employees will still show up since they work for essential services.

For instance, in its 2015 shutdown preparation plan, the Department of Homeland Security said that 42,593 of the Coast Guard's 49,304 on-board employees would remain on the job. For the Secret Service, 5,785 of the agency's 6,507 employees were exempt from the shutdown that year.

Those employees who are affected are sent on what is called furlough — essentially a temporary lock-out from their jobs. During that time, employees do not receive paychecks and are not allowed to do any work. According to the CFRB, during the 2013 shutdown, around 850,000 of the 2.1 million federal employees that are not postal workers were placed on furlough.

Additionally, these employees are not technically entitled to back pay to make up for the work they are forced to miss. Typically, though, Congress passes legislation to fund back pay.

Here's a quick rundown of how many employees at major departments will be furloughed during the shutdown:

  • Commerce: 41,600 out of 47,900 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Defense (only applies to civilian workforce): 370,000 out of 740,000 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Education: 3,700 out of 3,900 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Environmental Protection Agency: 13,700 out of 14,400 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Health and Human Services: 41,000 out of 81,900 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Homeland Security: 31,200 out of 241,400 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Housing and Urban Development: 7,500 out of 7,800 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Interior: 56,600 out of 70,400 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Justice: 19,500 out of 114,600 total employees will be put on furlough
    • Of note, Robert Mueller's investigation will continue during the shutdown, as all employees in the Special Counsel's Office are in "excepted positions" and their funding does not come from an annual appropriation.
  • Labor: 12,800 out of 15,400 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Transportation: 20,500 out of 55,200 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Treasury Department: 48,500 out of 88,000 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Social Security Administration: 10,400 out of 63,200 total employees will be put on furlough
  • Veteran's Affairs: 15,900 out of 377,000 total employees will be put on furlough

Historical precedent

It is not the first time the government entered a shutdown — but the current one could have some unique characteristics.

Since the budget process was overhauled in 1974, there have been 18 government shutdowns. Most of these shutdowns were short-lived. Of the eight shutdowns during Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s, none lasted more than three days.

The longest shutdowns were the past two — a 21-day shutdown from December 1995 to January 1996 and an 18-day shutdown from September to October 2013.

Employees being placed on furlough is also a less-common occurrence, with only seven of the 18 shutdowns resulting in furloughs. This was a more common practice in recent times, during all four shutdowns since 1990.

But one thing that is unique to the current shutdown is the party control of Congress and the White House. Republicans hold both chambers of the legislative branch as well as the presidency, which typically helps the government avoid a shutdown.

This is the first time that the government shut down under one-party control since the 1979 shutdown under President Jimmy Carter.

What's different this time around is that the government shutdown will include the employee furlough and disrupt many more operations than the funding lapses in the 1970s. In fact, it is the first shutdown under single-party control to have employees threatened with furlough.

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87. THE EVOLUTION OF ROBO-ADVISING REPORT: How automated investment products are disrupting and enhancing the wealth management industryСб., 20 янв.[−]

major startup robo advisors JUNEBI Intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Startups with robo-advisor products are failing to live up to their initial promise.

As solutions proliferate and consumer adoption remains slower than expected, many firms are re-examining and updating their strategies to survive.

In a new report, BI Intelligence scopes the current market for robo-advisors, providing an updated forecast through 2022. In addition, we explain the different types of robo-advisors emerging, detail how startups and incumbents are working to ensure the success of their products, and outline what will happen to the market over the next 12 months.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • BI Intelligence forecasts that robo-advisors — investment products that include any element of automation — will manage around $1 trillion by 2020, and around $4.6 trillion by 2022.
  • Startups offering robo-advisors are struggling to acquire AUM due to overcrowding in the global robo-advisory market and lower than expected customer uptake.
  • Incumbents are rolling out their own robo-advisor products, a trend we expect to pick up in the period to 2022.
  • North America remains the leading robo-advisory market, but we expect Asia to catch up and outpace the region in terms of AUM managed by robo-advisors in the period to 2022.
  • There will be a winnowing of the startup robo-advisory market as only a few firms remain stand-alone, while incumbents looking to launch their own products will profit from purchasing the technology of startups that have fallen by the wayside, at low cost.

In full, the report:

  • Provides a forecast for the volume of assets robo-advisors will manage by 2022.
  • Outlines the current robo-advisory landscape.
  • Explains how startups with robo-advisor products are evolving their business strategies.
  • Provides an outlook for the future of the robo-advising industry.

To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI 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

You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.

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88. Trump reportedly knew he'd be blamed for a government shutdownСб., 20 янв.[−]

Donald TrumpAP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • President Donald Trump reportedly said he knew he was going to be blamed for the federal government shutdown.
  • Democratic leaders and the White House blamed each other for the failed Senate vote that helped trigger the shutdown on Friday night.

President Donald Trump reportedly told aides that he believed he was going to be blamed for the federal government shutdown, according to a New York Times report published Friday night.

At midnight on Friday, the federal government began it's partial shutdown, the first in more than four years, after the Senate failed to pass a vote on a short-term funding bill.

Although Trump met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York to discuss the bill earlier Friday — at one point even appearing to reach an agreement — Schumer and the Oval Office ultimately failed to reach a consensus and that negotiation fell apart, the Times said.

Trump reportedly expressed to his aides that regardless of how the wheeling and dealing in Congress played out, he knew he'd likely get the blame.

Speaking on the Senate floor after midnight, Schumer did just that.

"It's almost as if you were rooting for a shutdown," Schumer said, referring to Trump. "And now we'll have one. And the blame should crash entirely on President Trump's shoulders."

"This will be called the 'Trump shutdown,'" Schumer continued. "This will be called the 'Trump shutdown' because there is no one, no one, who deserves the blame for the position we find ourselves in more than President Trump."

All but five Democrats voted to block the short-term bill that would have sustained federal funding at current levels, called a continuing resolution (CR). Most cited the fact that the measure did not include a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.

Moments before the deadline, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to mitigate the fallout with a statement she shared on Twitter, calling the government's funding lapse the "Schumer Shutdown."

"This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators," Sanders said in the statement. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform."

Schumer continued to admonish Trump on the Senate floor: "Tomorrow marks a year to the day President Trump took the oath of office on the Capitol steps. Unfortunately, a Trump shutdown would be a perfect encapsulation of the chaos he has unleashed on our government."

Bob Bryan contributed reporting.

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89. SCHUMER: I put 'the wall' on the table in my meeting with Trump, but he backed out of the dealСб., 20 янв.[−]

Chuck SchumerREUTERS/Yuri Gripas

  • The federal government entered a partial shutdown at midnight.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Donald Trump agreed to a deal on immigration, healthcare, and spending levels during a White House meeting Friday but went back on the deal later in the day.
  • According to Schumer, Democrats offered to give Trump funding for his long-promised wall along the Mexican border in a deal including a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • Schumer said Trump rejected the deal.

Senate Minority Chuck Schumer said Friday that he offered to include funding for President Donald Trump's wall along the Mexican border as part of a deal to avoid a government shutdown.

During a speech on the Senate floor after the government officially hit a funding lapse, Schumer told members that a deal he offered to Trump would have given the president some funding for the long-promised wall in exchange for codification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.

The president rejected the offer, according to Schumer.

"In exchange for strong DACA protections, I reluctantly put the border wall on the table for discussion," Schumer said. "Even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal."

Schumer said the meeting with Trump concluded with a rough outline of a deal on immigration, healthcare, and government funding. Multiple reports also indicated that Schumer offered not just wall funding, but the full amount of funding requested by the White House for defense spending.

That was not enough, Schumer said. Later in the day, he said, Trump and Republicans reneged on the deal. Schumer blamed Trump for "backing down" on the immigration agreement.

"Republican leadership can't get to yes because President Trump refuses to," Schumer said. "Mr. President, President Trump, if you are listening, I am urging you, please take yes for an answer."

While Schumer placed the blame at Trump's feet, the White House fired back and pinned the shutdown on the Democrats.

"Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown. Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

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90. THE INSURTECH REPORT: How financial technology firms are helping — and disrupting — the nearly $5 trillion insurance industryСб., 20 янв.[−]

bii insurtech financing trend 2BI Intelligence

The global insurance industry is worth nearly $5 trillion, and insurance companies are at risk of losing a share of this valuable market to new entrants. That's because these legacy players have been even slower to modernize than their counterparts in other financial services industries.

This has created an opportunity for a group of firms known as insurtechs. These startups are leveraging new technology and a better understanding of consumer expectations to increase efficiencies in the insurance industry. Some are helping incumbents deliver better end products, while others are directly competing with legacy players.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we look at the drivers behind the increasing number of insurtech companies, how they are helping or disrupting legacy players in the insurance industry, and where legacy players are innovating off their own backs.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • The opportunity is currently biggest in the US and Europe. That's because these regions have large, very mature insurance industries.
  • Insurtechs' products and services mostly target retail customers. This includes small businesses and consumers.
  • Most insurtechs are acting as enablers. This means that they offer products and services that help insurers and reinsurers improve their processes and better serve customers.
  • Of the main players in the insurance industry, brokers are most at risk of disruption. This is because insurtechs can easily replicate their services and are solving historical industry problems faster than legacy players.
  • Legacy players are also innovating. In particular, insurers and reinsurers are investing in insurtechs and fintechs working with relevant technologies. At the same time, they are improving their own direct-to-consumer digital interfaces, increasing their disruptive threat to brokers.

In full, the report:Insurtech Report CoverBI Intelligence

  • Explains the structure and current state of the insurance market.
  • Highlights areas where insurtechs can help legacy players modernize.
  • Describes where insurtechs are competing with incumbents and how their models compare.
  • Provides case studies of insurtechs.
  • Outlines the legacy response.
  • And much more.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 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
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91. BANK OF AMERICA: There's one clear way companies should use their mountain of tax reform cashСб., 20 янв.[−]

trader surprised shockedReuters / Lucas Jackson

  • Bank of America breaks down what could be the most effective use of the additional capital that corporations get from the GOP tax plan.
  • The firm says that mergers and acquisitions is an ideal use, and could hit a record in 2018, while downplaying the positive effect of share buybacks and capital expenditures.

At this point, everyone knows that the GOP tax plan is going to give corporations a huge windfall of cash to use. The real question now is how they'll use that money.

The equity strategy team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch boosted its 2018 profit growth forecast by 10% in anticipation of this influx of capital, and it has a few ideas about what might be the best use for it. And interestingly enough, BAML's recommendation doesn't match up with what many amateur observers expect.

One of the most popular — and controversial — expected uses of tax proceeds is the practice of companies buying back their own shares. It's a method that can spur stock price appreciation by simply reducing the number of shares outstanding, but it's also something many skeptics have criticized for failing to boost the economy.

In BAML's mind, that debate is beside the point. They note in the chart below that buybacks haven't been helping shares to the degree they once did. In fact, the cumulative relative performance of the companies that repurchase the most stock has declined since November 2013.

Screen Shot 2018 01 19 at 11.39.42 AMBank of America Merrill Lynch

OK, but what if those companies reinvested that money into their core businesses? It's another option being bandied about by speculators, but BAML warns that it too could underwhelm in the end.

Also known as capital expenditures (capex), this practice of reinvestment is one favored by investors. BAML conducted a survey asking fund managers what they'd most like to see, and found capex spending to be the resounding winner.

Screen Shot 2018 01 19 at 11.49.11 AMBank of America Merrill Lynch

But BAML is quick to point out that this sentiment may be misguided. The firm finds that, since 1986, the companies with the highest ratio of capex to sales have underperformed the market by 2.2 percentage points per year.

"Investors have been clamoring for capex for the past five years, but companies tend to build when accelerating demand butts up against capacity constraints," Savita Subramanian, BAML's head of US equity and derivatives strategy, wrote in a client note. "Capex has more to do with growth, capacity and credit than it does tax policy."

That all leads BAML to identify what it thinks will be the best use of tax reform proceeds: M&A. Its stance stems from what they describe as "disruptive forces" that will force large companies to consolidate. That consolidation will also be driven by an ongoing cyclical recovery that isn't anywhere near finished, at least from a sales concentration standpoint, the firm says.

So how strong will M&A be in 2018? BAML says it could reach record-breaking levels.

"A strong bull market, accelerating GDP growth and rising confidence have historically suggested strong and improving M&A trends," said Subramanian. "This may be especially true with the spread between return on capital and the cost of capital at a record high for the S&P 500."

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92. Former CIA officer suspected of passing intel to China may have also jeopardized US assets in RussiaСб., 20 янв.[−]

CIA sealCarolyn Kaster/AP

  • Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a former CIA officer, was arrested on charges of illegally possessing classified information.
  • Current and former intelligence officials believe that Lee may have passed information to Chinese intelligence officers, during a period when CIA assets in China were executed.
  • Officials also believe that that information may have been passed on to Russia.

A former CIA case officer who was arrested on Tuesday on a single count of illegally possessing classified information — real names and phone numbers of covert CIA sources, locations of covert facilities, and meeting locations — may have compromised US assets in Russia, according to current and former US officials cited in a NBC News report published Friday.

A secret task force involving the FBI and CIA suspected that 53-year-old ex-CIA officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, could have been spying for China, during a period when at least 20 CIA informants in China were executed. FBI agents were said to have received information that Lee, who left the CIA in 2007, was cooperating with Chinese intelligence officers while working in Hong Kong, according to sources cited in the report.

In 2012, agents reportedly searched his hotel room and discovered notebooks with the names and phone numbers of CIA sources.

US intelligence officials, who suspected that China had infiltrated their covert communications following the executions of their sources in the country, believed that Chinese intelligence officers shared the US's method of covert communications with Russian intelligence officers during a joint training session. After the training session, Russian officers reportedly "came back saying we got good info on [covert communications]," a former official said to NBC News.

US assets in Russia reportedly began disappearing, prompting a change in operational procedures for communications.

The former officials noted that the information Lee possessed was not all-inclusive, and that not all of those who were sought by Chinese officials were linked to his notebook: "No single officer had access to all of them," one official said to NBC News.

The former officials also noted that the CIA's method for sharing messages with agents could have been easily accessed by the Chinese due to its simplicity: "All they had to do was get one agent's laptop, and they could figure it out," and official said.

Lee reportedly flew to back to the US in 2012 with his family on the promise of a job offer, which turned out to be a plan by authorities to lure him back to the US. Photographs taken of items in Lee's hotel room at the time indicated he possessed a 49-page datebook and a 21-page address book filled with sensitive information.

Lee was arrested after flying into John F. Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong.

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93. Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdownСб., 20 янв.[−]

social securitySpencer Platt/Getty Images

  • The federal government entered into a partial shutdown at midnight Saturday.
  • In the event of a shutdown, Social Security and disability checks still go out.
  • While core functions would not be affected, some Social Security Administration employees would be placed on furlough and minor services would be frozen.

The federal government entered into a partial shutdown at midnight Saturday, which could cause widespread adjustments for a slew of government programs.

All essential services will continue during a shutdown, such as public safety operations and Medicare payments.

Additionally, the shutdown should have little effect on Social Security checks. According to the Social Security Administration's shutdown contingency plan, released in December, most core programs and benefits would continue in the event of a shutdown.

"Funding for the programs under Titles II, XVI, and XVIII of the Social Security Act will continue, even in the event of a lapse in appropriations," the plan says.

A shutdown only affects funds annually appropriated by Congress, not funding that is sustained long-term. The Social Security trust fund is paid for through a combination of taxes and long-term investments.

Other core functions like disability claims or appeals over benefits would continue to function.

For the military and veterans, VA disability payments, Surivior Benefits Plan payments, and retiree payments would all be made becuase those funds also come from non-annual approriations.

While checks still go out, some aspects of the Social Security Administration would get hit during a shutdown. Many employees would be placed on furlough, meaning they couldn't work and would not receive pay for the duration of the shutdown. (In past shutdowns, Congress has passed legislation to back-pay employees placed on furlough.)

Additionally, some functions like benefit verification and issuing Social Security cards would cease.

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94. Here's where the future of retail is headed in 2018 (TGT, WMT, AMZN)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

The Future of Retail 2018BII

The future of retail is looking bright.

So bright that BI 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.

Find out why the smartphone will be crucial for retailers in 2018 and beyond with the first part of a brand new slide deck from BI Intelligence called The Future of Retail 2018.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • US retail is growing $200 billion year-over-year
  • In-store retail is still dwarfing e-commerce
  • But e-commerce is growing almost 4x faster than in-store
  • Mobile commerce is driving most of that growth
  • And much more

To get your copy of the first part of this FREE slide deck, simply click here.

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95. THE POINT-OF-SALE APP MARKETPLACES REPORT: How payments firms are upgrading their service offerings to meet evolving merchant demandsСб., 20 янв.[−]

The App MarketplaceBII

In an increasingly digitized world, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing immense pressure to understand and accommodate their customers’ changing needs, including at the point of sale (POS).

More than two years after the EMV liability shift in October 2015, most large merchants globally have upgraded their payment systems. And beyond upgrading to meet new standards, many major retailers are adopting full-feature, “smart” devices — and supplementing them with valuable tools and services — to help them better engage customers and build loyalty.

But POS solutions aren’t “one size fits all.” Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don't usually have the same capabilities as larger merchants, which often have the resources and funds to adopt robust solutions or develop them in-house. That's where app marketplaces come in: POS app marketplaces are platforms, typically deployed by POS providers, where developers can host third-party business apps that offer back-office services, like accounting and inventory, and customer-retention tools, like loyalty programs and coupons.

SMBs' growing needs present a huge opportunity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers. The US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses. Until now, constraints such as time and budget have made it difficult for SMBs to implement value-added services that meet their unique needs. But app marketplaces enable providers to cater to SMBs with specialized solutions.

App marketplaces also alleviate some of the issues associated with the overcrowded payments space. Relatively new players that have effectively leveraged the rise of the digital economy, like mPOS firm Square, are increasingly encroaching on the payments industry, putting pricing pressure on payment hardware and service giants. This has diminished client loyalty as merchants seek out the most affordable solution, and it's resulted in lost revenue for providers. However, app marketplaces can be used as tools not only to build client loyalty, but also as a revenue booster — Verifone, for instance, charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.

In this report, BI Intelligence looks at the drivers of POS app marketplaces and the legacy and challenger firms that are supplying them. The report also highlights the strategies these providers are employing, and the ways that they can capitalize on the emergence of this new market. Finally, it looks to the future of POS app marketplaces, and how they may evolve moving forward.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • SMBs are a massive force in the US, which makes understanding their needs a necessity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers — the US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses.
  • The entrance of new challengers into the payment space has put pricing pressure on the entire industry, forcing all of the players in the industry to find new solutions to keep customers loyal while also gaining a new revenue source.
  • Major firms in the industry, like Verifone and Ingenico, have turned to value-added services, specifically app marketplaces, to not only build loyalty but also giving them a new revenue source — Verifone charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.
  • According to a recent survey by Intuit, 68% of SMBs stated that they use an average of four apps to run their businesses. As developers flock to the space to grab a piece of the pie, it's likely that increased competition will lead to robust, revenue-generating marketplaces.
  • And there are plenty of opportunities to build out app marketplace capabilities, such as in-person training, to further engage with users — 66% of app users would hire someone to train and educate them on which apps are right for their businesses.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the factors that have changed how SMBs are choosing payment providers.
  • Discusses why firms in the payments industry have started to introduce app marketplaces over the last four years.
  • Analyzes some of the most popular app marketplaces in the industry and identifies the strengths of each.
  • Breaks down the concerns merchants have relating to app marketplaces, and discusses how providers can solve these issues.
  • Explores what app marketplace providers will have to do going forward in order to avoid being outperformed in an industry that's becoming increasingly saturated.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 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
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96. Government shutdown predicted to increase weapons costs for the PentagonСб., 20 янв.[−]

Navy Railgun TestUS Navy/AP

  • A US government shutdown is predicted to stall defense contracts and ultimately increase weapons costs.
  • The potential shutdown could cost hundreds of millions of dollars for the Defense Department, or even billions government-wide in terms of legal disputes over contracts.
  • The Defense Department has the biggest portion of discretionary spending.

A U.S. government shutdown will stall new defense department contracts and ultimately increase the costs of weapons, creating even more budgetary headaches as lawmakers grapple with a government funding crisis.

Defense companies and Pentagon officials lamented the potential federal spending woes, saying it will hurt small suppliers who feed into weapons production while hitting bigger firms when the contract process is put on hold.

Congress has been struggling for months to agree on long-term government funding levels that may also include protections from deportation for 700,000 young undocumented immigrants. The federal government is operating on a third temporary funding measure since the new fiscal year began in October.

While the impact of the shutdown will be felt across the government, the Pentagon has the biggest portion of discretionary spending in the federal budget and is closely watched given its role in national security.

Since weapons makers can pass along some costs from a government shutdown on to the Department of Defense, according to the Secretary of the Navy, the prospect for higher procurements costs over the long term is very real.

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told Reuters a shutdown sends the "signal that we're going to interrupt cash flow, that's devastating to industry. That does us no good whatsoever." He added that the increased costs "come back to us in the form of more expensive equipment."

The Pentagon's largest supplier, Lockheed Martin Corp, told Reuters in a statement that "a government shutdown could result in costly schedule delays and breaks in production that will increase overall program costs and interrupt the delivery of critical equipment to our customers."

Depending on the length of the shutdown it could cost hundreds of millions of dollars for the Pentagon, or even billions government-wide in terms of legal disputes over contracts, procurement delays and downstream litigation costs said Franklin Turner, a partner in the government contracts and export control practice at McCarter & English LLP.

While the Navy's biggest shipbuilder, Huntington Ingalls Industries, said the near-term impact would be "minimal", its nearly 5,000-strong supply chain would likely feel the most impact because the lack of a federal budget creates uncertainty. That in turn inhibits their ability to hire and make capital investments.

During a 16-day shutdown in 2013, small business contracts with the Department of Defense dropped by almost one-third and spending dropped 40 percent, according to Office of Management and Budget.

The Pentagon's former chief weapons buyer Frank Kendall said "Industry may bear some of these costs, but will pass as much of those costs to the taxpayers as possible." Kendall, who is currently an advisor with Renaissance Strategic Advisors, worked through the 2013 shutdown.

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Chris Sanders and James Dalgleish)

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97. Here's why everyone at Sundance is talking about the emotionally charged movie 'Blindspotting'Сб., 20 янв.[−]

blindspottingSundance Institute

  • "Blindspotting" is a powerful look at a race and class.
  • It stands out because of its well done use of comedy, drama, and rap.

The Sundance Film Festival is where movies that challenge the audience get their fair shake, and "Blindspotting," the debut feature of director Carlos López Estrada, is exactly that.

The movie is a racially-charged powder keg that uses comedy, drama, and rap to give the audience a journey through the complicated lives of two friends living in West Oakland.

Colin (Daveed Diggs) is days away from completing his probation and is trying to stay on the straight-and-narrow. However, his lifelong friend Miles (Rafael Casal) is not the best influence on him as he walks around carrying a gun and always seems to get Colin involved in things that he doesn't want to do.

The movie's foundation is built on contrasts. Colin is black and Miles is white. West Oakland has a fan base of rowdy Oakland Raiders fans and stylish Golden State Warrior fans. The city is growing more and more gentrified. Even on the marquee of the local theater it has a unique lineup coming soon: rapper Too Short and rock band Third Eye Blind.

And it's through these differences that Estrada lays down the struggle Colin is going through in his life. He isn't just shackled by the label of "convicted felon," but also the fear of the police — after he witnesses a police officer shooting an unarmed black man running from him. Then there's his on-again-off-again girlfriend Val (Janina Gavankar), who he's trying to show he's changed since getting out of prison but can still see she can't let go why he was put there. The only comfort is with his best friend Miles, who sports a gold grill and tattoos.

A lot of the movie is a fun buddy comedy with the two dealing with entertaining situations, like an Uber driver with lots of guns, trying to sell hot-irons at a beauty salon, as they navigate through Oakland.

But there's an unspoken uneasiness about them as well, especially since Colin has gotten out of prison, that finally comes to ahead by the end of the movie. Whenever you think you've figured out this movie, something happens that pulls the rug right from you.

The strengths of "Blindspotting" is its commentary on race and class through the use of comedy and use of rapping in two powerful scenes (the movie was written by Diggs and Casal). Where it falls short at times is when it becomes too dramatic. When the message is lost through raw anger.

But perhaps that was Estrada's intention all along. To give the audience raw emotion because that's what most of us live through every day.

"Blindspotting" is seeking distribution.

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98. Trump went to Pittsburgh to fire his initial salvo in the most important political race so far in 2018Сб., 20 янв.[−]

Donald TrumpAP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • President Donald Trump visited Pennsylvania on Thursday ahead of a major special congressional election.
  • He touted the Republican candidate repeatedly.
  • It was his opening salvo in the important race.

President Donald Trump fired his opening salvo on Thursday in what amounts to the biggest political race of early 2018 — a special congressional election in a heavily Republican southwestern Pennsylvania district.

The race between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb is being viewed by many as a bellwether of what's to come later this fall in the midterms. The only major election on the calendar before the fall has Saccone and Lamb fighting to replace former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned late last year following revelations that he had an affair and allegedly urged a woman to have an abortion.

In 2016, Trump won the district by 20 points. But in light of Republicans' recent loss in a special election in Alabama and Trump's low popularity ratings, Trump has been approaching the Pennsylvania race much more proactively than other recent contests as Republicans worry about holding onto their majorities in the House and Senate — even though the White House billed the Pittsburgh stop as an official event and not a campaign rally.

Making a stop at H&K Equipment just a few miles south of Pittsburgh, Trump said he thought Saccone was "going to do really well."

"He's a great guy — loves this area, loves this country," Trump said. "He just met me at the plane and he's here someplace. But actually, this is about tax cuts. This is about economic reform. But Rick is a great guy. He's a special person."

Saccone has called himself "Trump before Trump was Trump" and is a longtime supporter of the president.

Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted that he was headed to the Pittsburgh area to "give my total support to RICK SACCONE, running for Congress in a Special Election (March 13)."

"Rick is a great guy," he continued. "We need more Republicans to continue our already successful agenda!"

His press team quickly sought to clear up that the event was not for Saccone, but to tout the president's recently passed tax legislation and a strong economy.

"The President is supportive of Saccone's candidacy, but this is an official event," deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah told reporters aboard Air Force One. "His message is going to be focused on the tax cut bill, on the economy."

Ahead of the speech, Trump promised to return to Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District and campaign for Saccone ahead of the March 13 election. The president even said he would "fill out the stadium" for the Republican candidate.

The speech itself focused much more on the economy than Saccone, with Trump sticking to the messaging.

"It's the economy, stupid," Trump said. "Did you ever hear that one?"

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99. THE CHATBOT MONETIZATION REPORT: Sizing the market, key strategies, and how to navigate the chatbot opportunity (FB, AAPL, GOOG)Сб., 20 янв.[−]

bii chatbots_usersbi intelligence

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Improving artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the proliferation of messaging apps — which enable users and businesses to interact through a variety of mediums, including text, voice, image, video, and file sharing — are fueling the popularity of chatbots.

These software programs use messaging as an interface through which to carry out various tasks, like checking the weather or scheduling a meeting. Bots are still nascent and monetization models have yet to be established for the tech, but there are a number of existing strategies — like "as-a-service" or affiliate marketing — that will likely prove successful for bots used as a tool within messaging apps.

Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds — services that don't directly generate revenue, but help increase the ability of brands and businesses to better target and serve customers, and increase productivity. These include bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service.

A new report from BI Intelligence investigates how brands can monetize their chatbots by tailoring existing models. It also explores various ways chatbots can be used to cut businesses' operational costs. And finally, it highlights the slew of barriers that brands need to overcome in order to tap into the potentially lucrative market.

Here are some of the key takeaways: Screen Shot 2016 11 22 at 5.26.40 pmbi intelligence

  • Chatbot adoption has already taken off in the US with more than half of US users between the ages of 18 and 55 having used them, according to exclusive BI Intelligence survey data.
  • Chatbots boast a number of distinct features that make them a perfect vehicle for brands to reach consumers. These include a global presence, high retention rates, and an ability to appeal to a younger demographic.
  • Businesses and brands are looking to capitalize on the potential to monetize the software. BI Intelligence identifies four existing models that can be successfully tailored for chatbots. These models include Bots-as-a-Service, native content, affiliate marketing, and retail sales.
  • Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds, or services that don't directly generate revenue. Bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service can cut down on companies' operational costs.
  • There are several benchmarks chatbots must reach, and barriers they must overcome, before becoming successful revenue generators.

In full, the report:

  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Breaks down the pros and cons of each chatbot monetization model.
  • Identifies the additional value chatbots can provide businesses outside of direct monetization.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots and therefore their earning potential.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 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
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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100. SHUT DOWN: Federal government enters a shutdown after key Senate vote failsСб., 20 янв.[−]

donald trump mitch mcconnellEvan Vucci/AP Images

  • A key vote on a short-term government funding bill failed in the Senate.
  • The vote's failure led the federal government into a partial shutdown early Saturday morning, the first in more than four years.
  • Democrats opposed the bill because it did not codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • Some Republicans voted against the bill because it did not provide enough certainty to the military.

The federal government slipped into its first partial shutdown in more than four years early Saturday morning, as the Senate voted against a key procedural step to pass a short-term funding bill Friday night.

The cloture vote, which allows a bill to proceed without a filibuster, failed to get the 60 votes needed for passage. The vote closed with a final vote of 50 to 49. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the measure so that he could reconsider the motion.

While the vote remained open, the funding for the government ran out at midnight. A shutdown was triggered when the Office of Management and Budget released a memo directing agencies to enact contingency plans they have already prepared for such a scenario.

All but five Democrats voted to block the short-term bill that would have sustained federal funding at current levels, called a continuing resolution (CR). Most cited the fact that the measure did not include a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program.

Four Democrats who voted for the bill — Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin, Claire McCaskill, and Heidi Heitkamp — are all from states that President Donald Trump won and are up for reelection in 2018. New senator Doug Jones of Alabama, a deep-red state, was the only other defection.

Trump announced he would end the DACA program in September, but he gave Congress six months to codify it into law. With the March deadline approaching, Democrats demanded that a DACA fix be included in the CR.

According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump agreed to a deal that included protections for DACA and even some funding for a border wall.

"In exchange for strong DACA protections, I reluctantly put the border wall on the table for discussion," Schumer said. "Even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal."

In addition to the Democratic wall, a handful of Republican senators voted against the bill. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee voted against due to concerns about the adequacy of another CR in funding the government. The bill would have only funded the government through February 16. Sen. Rand Paul also voted against the bill because of its addition to the national debt. Jeff Flake also voted no.

The White House decried the vote's failure in a statement from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

"Senate Democrats own the Schumer Shutdown," Sanders said. "Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans. We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators."

McConnell told members during a speech after the shutdown kicked in that an amendment would be offered to push the deadline to February 8 instead of February 16 as in the House bill. This would require the House to revote on the bill, but is closer to the Democrats' request for a shorter CR to finish off negotiations.

According to Senate rules, the vote on that amendment could not come until later on Saturday at the earliest.

Based on public comments, it appears no one deal currently has the support of enough members to pass the 60-vote threshold. But members were upbeat.

GOP Sen. Bob Corker told reporters that the two sides were closing in on a deal and it was "a date in early February, a few days apart."

The failure of the bill is the culmination of a day of wrangling in which Schumer met with Trump in an attempt to get a compromise which did not come.

House Republicans attempted to sweeten the bill by attaching funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the next six years, but it was not enough to win over Democrats.

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