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1. Disney's feud with DeSantis is over — and it's donating to Republicans again18:25[-/+]
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Ron DeSantis and Mickey Mouse

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  • Disney is once again donating to politicians — just months after ending its feud with Ron DeSantis.
  • The Florida theme park is even donating to Republicans who voted for the state's so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill.
  • Disney executives' opposition of the bill sparked a yearslong conflict with DeSantis.

Since ending its feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Disney has wasted no time donating to Republicans again.

The Walt Disney Co. gave more than $87,000 worth of in-kind donations to political committees, including Republican lawmakers, in the months of April and May, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

That's an about-face for the House of Mouse, which had paused political donations as it brawled with DeSantis.

The yearslong feud first started in 2022 when Disney executives publicly opposed DeSantis' bill — which has since been signed into law — that restricts discussions of gender and sexual orientation in classrooms.

Critics called the legislation the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

In response to their opposition, DeSantis grabbed control of the board that oversees Disney World's special tax district, renaming it the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and replacing all of its board members with his own.

Disney, in turn, sued, arguing it was being politically targeted; DeSantis' board sued right back.

But the legal back-and-forth ended in March when DeSantis' hand-picked board agreed to settle the lawsuit brought by Disney.

Now, ironically, Disney is providing benefits to Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of the so-called "Don't Say Gay," bill, the Sentinel reported.

That includes an in-kind donation worth more than $16,000 to Florida Farmers and Ranchers United, a group associated with Republican Rep. Josie Tomkow, campaign finance records show. Tomkow voted for the bill officially called the Parental Rights in Education Act.

Disney also gave around $10,000 each to two committees affiliated with Republican state Sen. Jason Brodeur and Republican state Sen. Joe Gruters, campaign finance records show. Both state lawmakers also supported the controversial bill.

Though Disney has resumed in-kind donations, Florida Democratic Senator Geraldine Thompson has said Disney headquarters has not yet approved monetary donations, the Sentinel reported.

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2. The fashion industry needs better sourcing and waste practices — fast. Cloud computing could be a long-term fix.18:18[-/+]
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A phone scans a "save our planet" QR code tag on a blouse.
Analysts predict cloud computing could more than double in value between now and 2029.

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  • The fashion industry may soon face new legislation that requires sustainability transparency.
  • Cloud computing could allow fashion companies to share data and reduce production waste.
  • This article is part of "Build IT," a series about digital-tech trends disrupting industries.

Across the fashion industry, companies are steeling themselves for the potential passage of the EU Green Claims Directive, which could happen as early as next year.

The directive would require brands making sustainability claims to back them up with evidence and to label products accordingly. The GCD would have global implications, as it would extend to all businesses advertising to EU consumers.

The GCD still faces multiple hurdles, but if passed, it would force long-overdue change in the industry. Under the directive, consumers should be able to visit a website or scan a QR code to see proof of a garment's fabric composition or how it was created.

But before that can happen, brands need to be able to source and share sustainability data internally and with retail partners. Cloud computing could be key to doing this in a detailed and efficient way.

Cloud computing is gaining traction

Cloud computing offers on-demand services, from storage to software, over the internet. It's been billed as a major cost-cutting measure for companies because they can pay for the services they need, rather than rely on in-house servers. It's also a way to streamline processes by collecting data into one easily accessible hub.

The cloud-computing industry is growing rapidly, and analysts predict it could more than double in value between now and 2029. And the fashion industry has gradually been waking up to the potential of cloud computing. In recent years, heavyweights like Mulberry and Net-a-Porter have begun working with Eon, a cloud-powered tech company that specializes in Digital IDs, QR-code labels that can be scanned for detailed information, product authentication, and customer-focused extras, such as suggestions on how to style the looks. Meanwhile, DressX, which allows users to "wear" digital garments in photos and videos, uses Google Cloud.

Still, there's been little focus on cloud computing when it comes to sustainability data. Bharati Rathore, a management lecturer at the University of South Wales, is one expert who's spreading the word. In her report, "Fashion Transformation 4.0: Beyond Digitalization & Marketing in Fashion Industry," she said that the fashion industry must embrace new technologies in order to survive.

Rathore said cloud computing is a way to "store and manage large volumes of data efficiently — everything from customer preferences and purchasing behavior to inventory levels and supply chain details." She added that it offered a central place for data sharing, making it easier for workers around the world — design teams and retail managers, for example — to stay up-to-date with each other.

If harnessed properly, cloud computing is one of a handful of digital tools that could "revolutionize the way we design, produce, and consume fashion," Rathore said in her report.

Moving toward transparency

It's no secret that the fashion industry has historically shied away from transparency. This is slowly changing, thanks partly to companies like Fashion Cloud, an insights platform that works with over 700 fashion brands and 25,000 retailers.

Using cloud computing, Fashion Cloud collects data and insights, and then makes them easily accessible for all parties — from website designers, who upload and describe products onto brand websites, to retail managers, who handle shop-floor operations. The company works with brands from the mass-market online retailer Zalando, which averages around 50 million customers per quarter, to Studio Anneloes, a Dutch design house that features a "footprint" tab on every product that indicates its environmental impact.

"Fashion is a terribly old-fashioned industry," Alies ter Kuile, the cofounder of Fashion Cloud, said. "Every retailer has their own process, so nothing is standardized. What we do is ensure retailers are getting key product and sustainability data from brands, and we help brands on that journey, too."

The GCD is intended to be a crack down on greenwashing and vague, hard-to-substantiate claims of "eco-friendly" clothes, but it's a huge hurdle for brands accustomed to opacity. According to ter Kuile, only 50 of the brands that Fashion Cloud works with "share sustainability data in an automated way." Meanwhile, she added, "another 350 have the sustainability data, but they can't share it yet."

Communication is a core issue when it comes to letting customers know exactly where their clothes come from. "Brands and retailers are asking for the same information," ter Kuile said, referring to where the clothes were made and how many units have been sold. "But they're currently doing that in different spreadsheets. We're trying to automate these processes."

Simplicity is key, too. Ter Kuile said the average age of fashion buyers — retail reps who decide which pieces are stocked in department stores and online shops — is between 50 and 60. "Typically, the people using our tools are people who don't like software, so everything needs to be intuitive," she added. "You can't have five different brands with five passwords — forget about it! The process has to be the same, and it has to be simple."

Benefits for clothing retailers

Cloud computing also provides key benefits for retailers. "For fashion retailers, quick, data-driven decisions are essential for inventory management, store expansion, and market adaptation," Alan Holcroft, the UK manager of Cegid, a cloud-computing business, told Business Insider. Cegid supports over 85,000 retailers, including the French fashion retailer Cotelac.

Easy access to buying data means retailers are more likely to purchase only what they can realistically sell. For example, if a dress has moved only 10 units in one location in a month, it's wildly unrealistic to buy 500 and expect them to be sold. With cloud computing, retailers can avoid overbuying stock — a key driver of fashion's textile-waste problem. (It's no secret that brands would sometimes rather set fire to unsold stock than discount their prices.)

None of this is to say that cloud computing is inherently sustainable. Steven Gonzalez Monserrate, a cloud anthropologist, said in a 2022 research report that data storage has a "greater carbon footprint than the airline industry." Cloud computing is reliant on data centers, which require energy-intensive air conditioning to prevent servers from overheating. These centers also require irrigation, sometimes guzzling up water resources needed by local communities.

There are still many fashion brands that seem ill-equipped to address the GCD's requirements. Ter Kuile said part of the problem is that too many conversations in the fashion industry focus on abstractions rather than action.

Data-sharing through cloud computing — while by no means perfect — is a practical step that allows information to be tracked at every level of product creation and, crucially, shared with customers who need it.

"We don't need inspiration to be more sustainable and transparent," ter Kuile said. "We need processes that enable us to actually do it."

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3. Why a celebrity broker says some parts of the US could see a 10% home-price correction18:12[-/+]
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Home prices falling
Home prices are already falling in key cities, like in Florida and Texas, housing data shows.

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  • Home prices in the US could fall as much as 10% in some markets, according to Kirsten Jordan.
  • The "Million Dollar Listing" agent said the booming demand seen in some markets during the pandemic is fading.
  • Still, mortgage rates are likely to remain elevated for some time.

Prospective homebuyers may soon feel some relief as home prices are headed for a sharp correction in key areas of the US housing market, according to the "Million Dollar Listing" real-estate agent Kirsten Jordan.

"[I] really believe that right now we're going to see a slight correction in prices of homes. This is the opportunity for buyers to get into the market, Jordan said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Wednesday.

The celebrity realtor predicted home prices could fall 5%-10% in parts of the US that are finally starting to normalize after seeing inflated demand during the pandemic.

"It was people moving around the country for a little while when they can work remotely, [and] they had access to a lot of cheap money. I think that's where we're going to see this lagging correction adjustment that will come over the next several quarters," Jordan said.

Home prices are already beginning to drop in key metros like Florida and in Texas, Redfin said in a recent report. Cities in New York, Colorado, Oregon, and other states are also seeing price declines, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Homebuyers have been waiting for prices to come down for the last year, with prospective buyers being pushed out of the market amid the high housing costs and mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered near 7% the last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Housing affordability likely won't significantly improve until mortgage rates cool, which isn't likely soon. Mortgage costs are impacted by real interest rates in the economy, and the Federal Reserve has said it's in no rush to lower interest rates while inflation is above target and the economy is strong.

"We're seeing these rates that have come up, and they're probably going to be there longer than you'd think," Jordan said.

US home prices have climbed so far this year. The median sale price of a home rose to $439,716 in May, according to Redfin data, up 5% in a year.

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4. The 'Bridgerton' season 3 mirror scene is finally here — but it's not like what happens in the books at all18:11[-/+]
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Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton season 3
Part two of "Bridgerton" season three gets a whole lot sexier.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

  • "Bridgerton" season three teasers hinted at the famous "mirror scene" from the books.
  • Part two, released Thursday, finally delivers.
  • But the Polin mirror scene on the show is different from what happens in the books.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for "Bridgerton" season three, part two, and the book "Romancing Mister Bridgerton."

If you were paying attention to any of the "Bridgerton" season three marketing ahead of the May premiere, you might have been intrigued by what the book's fans dubbed the "mirror scene."

"Bridgerton" season three, part one, did not deliver on the mirror action, though it did give us the steamy "carriage scene" from the books. But fret not, gentle readers — we got 'em.

The much-hyped erotic sequence finally plays out in part two. Here's a breakdown of what happens, and how it differs from the book the season is based on.

Polin's mirror scene happens in 'Bridgerton' season 3, episode 5

Colin and Penelope in Bridgerton season 3
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan star in season three of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel / Netflix

After introducing Penelope to his family as his new fiancee — and confronting Lady Featherington over the validity of his proposal — Colin introduces her to their future home. Penelope thanks him for standing up to her mother, then Colin draws her in front of a mirror. And one thing has certainly changed about Mr. Colin Bridgerton after his travels — he is extremely good at dirty talk.

"You are the cleverest, bravest woman I have ever known," he tells her, leaning over her shoulder. "You make me feel seen in ways I have never felt seen before.

"And then there is… the way your hair cascades down your shoulder. The way your eyes shine when you look at me, like two blue pools. The firmness of your lips, parted just so. The softness of your skin," he continues.

"And then there are other parts I've been… I've been dreaming about," he says, before cupping her breast.

Penelope immediately turns toward him, kissing him and expressing her desire to go further. In turn, Colin undresses her in front of the mirror, baring her breasts and telling her to lie down on a nearby chaise as he undresses.

As you can imagine, they do end up having sex. And yes, it's pretty hot.

Netflix — and the actors — have actually been teasing the 'Bridgerton' mirror scene for years

Months before we got to see the scene play out on screen, a brief teaser Netflix released ahead of the premiere sent Polin fans into a frenzy.

That teaser was only half a minute long. But trust me — it was plenty. In it, Penelope looks at herself in a mirror, while Colin emerges to stand behind her before the two look at each other with enough sexual tension to knock you flat.

A look such as this from Mister Colin Bridgerton would surely make even the most perennial of wallflowers swoon, would it not?

— Bridgerton (@bridgerton) March 27, 2024

Fans were quick to link the teaser to the book's famous "mirror scene."


Another fan uploaded the clip to TikTok, writing, "FREAKING MIRROR SCENE!!!!!!! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH SKDHJFHDBEISNKS."

But "Bridgerton" and its stars have been teasing this for even longer. In 2022, Coughlan told Entertainment Tonight that "mirror" was a word she'd use to describe season three of the show. And a first-look image teaser for the new season back in December 2023 showed Penelope looking at herself in a hand mirror.

On the day that Netflix released the first proper trailer for season three back in April 2024, the official Netflix account posted an image of Penelope looking at herself and Colin in a mirror on Facebook with the caption, "Let us have a look in the mirror."

Interestingly, what the show delivers is way more explicit than the mirror sequence from the books.

Here's how the 'Bridgerton' mirror scene actually goes down in the book

colin bridgerton and penelope featherington, played by luke newton and nicola coughlan, standing together and smiling at each other in a floral market
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan star in season three of "Bridgerton."


In book four, "Romancing Mister Bridgerton," Penelope and Colin finally get engaged. Shortly after officially announcing their engagement (and some drama over the reveal of Penelope's secret identity as Lady Whistledown, which plays out very differently in the show), the pair have sex for the first time.

But before they really get into it, Colin drops a devastating line of dirty talk.

Here's the actual passage from Quinn's novel:

"I want to see you sitting up,'" he groaned, "so I can see them full and lovely and large. And then I want to crawl behind you and cup you." His lips found her ear and his voice dropped to a whisper. "And I want to do it in front of a mirror."
"Now?" she squeaked.
He seemed to consider that for a moment, then shook his head. "Later," he said, and then repeated it in a rather resolute tone. "Later."

We don't see any actual sex in front of a mirror play out in the book, though. So congrats to Show Colin for finally getting to play out his fantasy on screen.

All episodes of season three of "Bridgerton" are now streaming on Netflix.

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5. Taylor Swift fans say you can't put a price on the memories as The Eras Tour hits the UK, injecting a potential $1.2 billion into the economy18:03[-/+]
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The queues to get into The Eras Tour at Murrayfield Stadium, where Swift began her 15-show UK tour, began early on Friday morning.
The queues to get into The Eras Tour at Murrayfield Stadium, where Swift began her 15-show UK tour, began early on Friday morning.

Eve Crosbie/Business Insider

  • Taylor Swift kicked off the UK leg of The Eras Tour with three sold-out shows in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Planeloads of fans followed Swift to the UK and other European destinations to catch a concert.
  • This phenomenon, identified by Expedia as 'tour tourism' is becoming increasingly popular.

It's 7 a.m. and 48 degrees Fahrenheit in Edinburgh, but Callie, Corrie, and KJ say they're not feeling the cold.

Instead, the three friends who had flown from Gibraltar in southern Europe are running high off the knowledge that in just 12 hours, they will be so close to Taylor Swift that they'll be able to "see her pores," as KJ puts it.

Thanks to their early start — they got to the stadium when the sun was rising at 4 a.m. — they were among the first in the line to see Swift kick off The Eras Tour in the UK. When the doors opened, they hoped to secure a coveted spot along the guardrail surrounding the stage.

They faced what would be a marathon of a day with optimism.

"We've got blankets, and we'll order Uber Eats when we get hungry," Corrie said.

For the trio, seeing Swift was a long time coming. After the multi-Grammy-winning superstar announced the European leg of The Eras Tour in mid-2023, they started saving, knowing that they had to "travel for Taylor."

Corrie (left), KJ (center), and Callie (right) traveled from Gibraltar to Edinburgh to see The Eras Tour.
Corrie (left), KJ (center), and Callie (right) traveled from Gibraltar to Edinburgh to see The Eras Tour.

Eve Crosbie/Business Insider

That was true for many of the fans Business Insider spoke to outside Murrayfield Stadium.

Over 1.2 million people are expected to see Swift perform at the 15 shows she has scheduled in the UK this summer, which began on Friday with a sold-out show in Scotland's capital.

When Swift took to the stage for her almost three-and-a-half-hour set, the joyous screams of the more than 73,000 fans were heard nearly three miles away at Edinburgh Castle.

"The volume of the singing, the dancing, you guys are performing on another level. Like, I'm captivated," Swift said, marveling at her adoring fans.

With The Eras Tour set to light up Liverpool, Cardiff, and London in the coming weeks, Swift's presence is expected to boost the UK economy by GBP997 million ($1.26 billion), according to a report from Barclays.

The British bank estimates that attendees of UK shows spend an average of GBP848 ($1,077) per show, including accommodation, food, outfits, merch, and transportation. This is trailing behind the $1,300 that the average US concertgoer spent last year, per a study by QuestionPro.

Plenty of fans 'Taylorgated' and gathered outside Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium to listen to the concert.
Plenty of fans 'Taylorgated' and gathered outside Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium to listen to the concert.

Eve Crosbie/Business Insider

Part of this stems from the superfans' devotion to Swift, but even casual fans are willing to splash the cash to experience the tour because it has become a cultural juggernaut.

Amira, 23, a student from Italy who admitted she's "not even that big of a Swiftie" spent over $1,000 to make it to the first night of the UK tour.

"My friends told me, 'You have to come, you'll regret it if you don't.' I was like, 'Okay!' and then forgot about it for a year. But now we're here, I'm glad they convinced me."

For Americans, coming to Europe has presented a novel solution to beat the sky-high ticket prices in the US — and the opportunity to make memories.

Leah, 36, and Simone, 33, from Minneapolis, bought their tickets for the second night from a resale website, and visiting Edinburgh ticked two things off their bucket list.

"I probably would've come to Scotland at one point, but it was the concert that got me here," Leah said.

The women reflect the trend of prioritizing experiences and memories over dropping big money on homes, cars, and other commodities. In short, many millennials and Gen Z want to do things, not buy things.

"We said to ourselves, 'Let's just go and have an adventure," Simone said. "Tickets are outrageously expensive in the US, and this entire trip for both of us was cheaper than our friends back home paid."

They estimated that the total cost for their weeklong trip, accommodation, and Eras Tour tickets was just over $2,500 each. This is what they would normally spend on a vacation, but this one just so happens to culminate in the show of a lifetime.

Taylor Swift kicked off her 15-stop UK tour at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 7, 2024.
Taylor Swift kicked off her 15-stop UK tour at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 7, 2024.

Gareth Cattermole/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Tour tourism

Planeloads of US fans have followed Swift across the Atlantic. In Paris, where the singer kicked off the European leg of her tour in May with four back-to-back shows, 20% of tickets had been purchased by Americans, per The Associated Press.

It's what travel company Expedia dubbed 'tour tourism' in its report on 2024 travel trends. Blockbuster tours, such as Swift's and Beyonce's, have led people to build their vacations around live music.

"Superfans like to showcase their fandom to their peers," Daniel Finch, managing director of Expedia Brands, said in the report.

Some fans didn't want to disclose exactly how much they had spent in the pursuit of seeing their idol perform live.
Some fans didn't want to disclose exactly how much they had spent in the pursuit of seeing their idol perform live.

Eve Crosbie/Business Insider

"I have spent a lot. A lot," said Sammi, 18, a fan from England with a VIP ticket to Swift's final Edinburgh concert.

"And I've just brought some merch," she said with a self-deprecating eye roll. "But I just think it's such a special thing, and I didn't want to miss out, so I bought the tickets not really thinking about the extra costs of traveling and where I would need to stay."

For the high schooler who has been working part-time while studying, her earnings haven't caught up with her Swift-related spending, meaning she's currently overdrawn.

But she's at peace with the damage to her finances. "At the end of the day, money comes and goes, but my love for Taylor and my memories from tonight will be with me forever," she said.

The 'Swift lift'

"Swiftonomics" and "Swift lift" have been coined to define the global superstar's profound economic impact. It has already been felt in North America, South America, and Australia. It's no surprise that Singapore's exclusive deal, which meant the city-state was the "Anti-Hero" singer's only tour stop in Southeast Asia earlier this year, sparked concert envy from its neighbors.

Many of Edinburgh's hotels have sold out even though prices skyrocketed as soon as the tour dates were announced last July, with prices averaging GBP686 ($876) per night during Swift's residency, per local media.

Wilde Aparthotel, a hotel chain by StayCity that offers travelers compact, no-fuss studio apartments, was one of the few establishments still available on the nights of the concerts, albeit at an inflated price.

According to Ava, the hotel's front desk clerk, these rooms were freed up for people who had decided last minute to buy tickets or try 'Taylorgating' — gathering outside to experience the concert anyway.

Hotels such as Wilde Aparthotel are embracing the Swiftmania taking over the UK.
Hotels such as Wilde Aparthotel are embracing the Swiftmania taking over the UK.

Eve Crosbie/Business Insider

As Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, told BI last month, retail stores, bars, and restaurants have also been looking forward to the "ripple effect" from the shows.

Mimi's Bakehouse, which has five locations across Edinburgh, seized the opportunity to cater to Swift's fans.

At the family-run bakery's Leith branch, locals and tourists alike have been enjoying Eras-themed cakes and a new afternoon tea menu.

The menu includes "Mirrorball" cake pops and southern fried chicken sandwiches with "ketchup and seemingly ranch," a nod to a viral post about Swift's meal of choice at NFL games. A staffer with extensive knowledge of Swift and her fandom created the idea and deep-cut references, and it paid off.

"Truthfully, the whole hospitality sector has been struggling recently, but yesterday we made our daily target three times over," assistant manager Mariola told BI on Saturday morning, the day after Swift's Murrayfield Stadium debut.

Already filling up with fans again at 9 a.m., she was preparing for another busy day.

"We've got the whole team working this weekend, plus extra staff."

Meanwhile, Pie in the Sky, an independent store specializing in pop culture-inspired tchotchkes, jewelry, and clothing, also became the site of a Swiftie pilgrimage.

Pie in the Sky has unexpectedly found itself the site of a Swiftie pilgrimage thanks to its coveted unofficial merchandise.
Pie in the Sky has unexpectedly found itself the site of a Swiftie pilgrimage thanks to its coveted unofficial merchandise.

Eve Crosbie/Business Insider

In the week before Swift's arrival in Edinburgh, fans were queuing on the cobblestone street outside to buy necklaces emblazoned with the names of Swift's songs, as well as stickers, patches, and prints.

Erin, the store's director, appeared a little bemused by the store's sudden popularity but welcomed the surge in sales.

"This is shaping up to be our busiest weekend ever. We've not really promoted ourselves at all. It's all other people sharing videos and photos," she said.

Friendship bracelets have made Swifties instantly identifiable.
Friendship bracelets have made Swifties instantly identifiable.

Eve Crosbie/Business Insider

As the sun set in Edinburgh that night, Swift closed her show with a firework display, and fans headed for the tram service back into the city center as the last of the confetti floated down onto their shivering shoulders — but the energy remained sky-high as they broke into renditions of their favorite songs.

As KJ had said at the start of the day, seeing The Eras Tour isn't "just about the show and the music. It's the memories, it's the friendship bracelets, it's the community, it's the whole package experience."

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6. 'Bridgerton' just released its longest sex scene ever17:59[-/+]
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Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington.
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in season three, episode six of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

  • "Bridgerton" season three, part two has the longest sex scene of the franchise so far.
  • Colin and Penelope have an intimate scene that lasts more than 5 1/2 minutes.
  • The actors, Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton, have been teasing this scene for months.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for "Bridgerton" season three, episode five.

"Bridgerton" season three gets a whole lot sexier in part two.

For years, "Bridgerton" has been praised for its female-gaze-focused, explicit sex scenes. Season one and the "Queen Charlotte" spin-off were filled with raunchy romps that weren't usually seen in Regency-era series.

But Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington take this to a whole new level in season three, episode five.

A day after his sudden proposal — and that steamy carriage hookup — Colin (Luke Newton) takes his childhood friend Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) to see the Bridgerton property that would become their home after their marriage.

While alone, Colin tells Penelope he loves her and begins describing all the parts of her body he adores. As the pair look at each other in the mirror, Colin starts touching Penelope up and down her body and then strips her of her clothing.

Though there have been many shirtless scenes with male leads, this is the first scene in "Bridgerton" history in which a female lead character is fully nude in front of the camera.

Colin and Penelope then have an extended lovemaking scene on a chaise-lounge chair while a string cover of Ariana Grande's song "POV" plays in the background.

The scene is sensual, and Penelope, a virgin, is much more of an active participant in the sex scene compared with the previous lead couples' first times.

From the physical foreplay to the end, the scene lasts more than 5 1/2 minutes, which is the longest sex scene of the show, according to Business Insider's extremely scientific calculations.

Nicola Coughlan said they broke a piece of furniture while filming the scene.

Luke Newton and Nicole Coughlan at the premiere of "Bridgerton" season three.
Luke Newton and Nicole Coughlan at Netflix's "Bridgerton" season three world premiere in New York City in May.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Netflix

For months, Coughlan and Newton have been steadily building anticipation for this sex scene in numerous interviews, sending fans into a frenzy.

Coughlan told Entertainment Weekly in April that she and Newton broke "a piece of furniture" while filming one of the intimate scenes.

She wouldn't say what the furniture was at the time, but the chaise lounge in the episode-five scene fits Coughlan's description when she spoke about it again to CapitalFM in May.

"I would say it's like a piece of furniture that you would more see in the past than the present, but yeah, we did break it during a sexy scene because we were really going for it," Coughlan said.

After season three, part two was released, Coughlan confirmed that they broke the chaise lounge, sharing a picture of the broken chair on Instagram.

In May, Coughlan also told Stylist that she specifically asked to be "very naked on camera" during an explicit scene to clap back at people who'd commented on her body in the past.

"It just felt like the biggest 'fuck you' to all the conversation surrounding my body; it was amazingly empowering," Coughlan said, referring to people who'd body-shamed her on social media.

Netflix's marketing team also helped create buzz around season three's sex scene by releasing promotional material showing Colin and Penelope in front of a mirror. Fans of the books that "Bridgerton" is based on immediately saw this as a signal that the show was adapting the "mirror scene."

All these teases made "Bridgerton" fans believe they would see some very spicy scenes this season. Sure enough, season three, part two finally rewards their patience.

All episodes of season three of "Bridgerton" are now streaming on Netflix.

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7. Check out the pitch decks these advertising startups have used to raise millions to try to shake up the industry17:55[-/+]
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Mathieu Roche, CEO of ID5
Mathieu Roche, CEO of ID5.


  • A new wave of startups are trying to change the digital advertising industry.
  • They're pitching new tech for cookieless ads, streaming TV, and influencer marketing.
  • Here are 28 pitch decks that startups have used to attract investors.

After years of challenges securing funding, a new wave of advertising startups is raising millions.

These companies aim to solve the industry's big challenges, such as the death of third-party cookies, the shift from linear to streaming TV budgets, and helping advertisers run influencer marketing campaigns.

But unlike their predecessors, these new startups are significantly smaller and more focused than many of the early digital advertising companies that raised hundreds of millions of dollars, like MediaMath and Millennial Media.

Business Insider spoke with founders about how they convinced investors to buy into their companies.

For example, ID5 sells to brands and publishers an ID product that doesn't use third-party cookies. Companies like Vibe, Telly, and TVScientific aim to shake up how advertisers buy and measure TV ads. Other companies like FreshSound and Catch+Release are focused on helping marketers license media for use in their campaigns.

Here are 28 pitch decks that top execs and founders have used to sell investors on their companies.

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8. How Elon Musk's massive pay package stacks up against other CEOs17:52[-/+]
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Elon Musk s massive pay package was struck down by a Delaware judge this year. Now Tesla shareholders are getting their say.Steve Granitz/Getty Images The results of the Tesla shareholder vote on Elon Musk s pay package will be announced Thursday. Musk s 10-year pay package, tied to financial goals since 2018, is worth $46.8 billion. Here s how it stacks up to and outshines other CEO pay packages. The results of the Tesla shareholder vote on Elon Musk s pay package will be announced Thursday. A vote in favor of the multibillion-dollar sum would put the Technoking of Tesla, as he s called by the company, one step closer to pocketing 304 million shares compensation that a Delaware judge struck down as unfathomable earlier this year. At Tesla s stock price as of the market s close on Wednesday and considering the exercise price of $23.34 per share the 10-year pay package, which Musk earned in 12 tranches by hitting a series of financial goalposts since 2018, would be worth $46.8 billion, pre-tax. That s more than the GDP of dozens of countries, including Iceland and Paraguay, and the market cap of major corporations like Barclays and Kering. Furthermore, it s more than any CEO has ever made in a single pay package both in terms of the sheer amount of money and the amount of control it would give Musk, whose stake in the company would jump from 13% to more than 20%. (The package, announced in 2018, was also rare in terms of its riskiness: The targets Tesla had to hit were deemed moonshots at the time, and if he didn t reach them, he d make nothing.) There is certainly no comparable in level of pay, Jason Schloetzer, a professor at Georgetown University s McDonough School of Business, told Business Insider. Even if you divide it by 10, it s still a ginormous amount of money. If shareholders vote in favor of the package, that doesn t mean Musk will automatically get that ginormous amount of money; the Delaware judge who originally decided the case or the state s Supreme Court, which would hear any appeal of the case, will make the final decision. And if the pay package does eventually get approved, it s hard to know exactly how much it will be worth when Musk, who is worth $198 billion, per Bloomberg, actually exercises the options. (Because of the lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, he hasn t pocketed any of them yet.) Musk s pay package was worth $2.3 billion when it was granted to him in 2018, though its value has sky-rocketed as the stock ballooned and the various tranches of options vested. (Its value has actually fallen this year, though, in tandem with Tesla s share price, from about $56 billion when the January judgment was made.) That said, no matter how you slice it, it s an eye-popping amount. When you start seeing someone making a couple hundred million $250 million, $220 million it seems that s when questions and media coverage starts to happen, Schloetzer said. Any way of looking at it, it s an astronomical sum. To put Musk s pay package into perspective, we compared it to those of other CEOs. These compensation packages typically include cash and stock options, as well as the value of any perks. Here s a look at who has come close to approaching Musk in terms of annual compensation, in order of the size of the pay package at the date granted, according to data provided by Equilar, an executive compensation research firm, which has been tracking CEO pay packages since 2007. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!["datawrapper-height"]){var e=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var t in["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r

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9. Did Apple just outthink everyone in AI? A chat with tech analyst Ben Thompson17:41[-/+]
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Sam Altman and Tim Cook
OpenAI's Sam Altman and Apple's Tim Cook have a deal. Analyst Ben Thompson thinks Apple is the winner in this one.

Getty Images

  • Apple was not a pioneer in AI. But it may be winning the AI race, anyway.
  • Analyst Ben Thompson says that's because of Apple's leverage: All the AI companies want access to Apple's users.
  • And that means Apple's own AI efforts can be smaller.

The tech world has had a few days to digest Apple's big AI announcement, and there are still lots of questions unanswered. Like, for starters: How big a deal is it for Apple to get into AI? And how risky is it for Apple? And who has the power here — Apple, or its AI partner OpenAI?

When I try to get my head around big, complicated tech questions, I often rely on Ben Thompson, the influential tech analyst who writes the Stratechery newsletter. So I called him up to talk it through.

Thompson's main takeaway is that Apple is using its leverage as a phone maker to make AI companies — in this case, OpenAI — do much of the expensive and difficult work. And that Apple gets the upside of AI without incurring many of the costs and risks other tech players are taking on.

But it's worth reading Thompson's comments at length. The following is an edited excerpt of our conversation.

Peter Kafka: You seemed pretty enthusiastic about Apple's AI efforts before they announced them on Monday. You seem even more so after the fact. What do you like about what Apple showed off?

Ben Thompson: I think what's so compelling is actually how little they're doing.

This entire moment is about generative AI. And I'm not sure people quite realize that Apple's not really doing any generation.

They do have image generation, which is fairly tightly constrained. But [primarily] they are leveraging this capability to do interesting things that were not possible previously, like tying together different vertical apps.

I thought the most compelling demo was the presenter getting the message from her mom about her plane arriving, finding the dinner reservation that was in an email, getting information about real-time flight data, and incorporating that all together. It just resonates because that's a real problem that people have.

It felt like Apple at its best: We're not selling whiz-bang technology; we're selling thoughtful solutions that are super-obvious once you see them.

I thought that really came through. And it sidesteps a lot of the challenges around generative AI. Like hallucinations, like getting stuff wrong. They're basically just handing that off to OpenAI. And it's going to be branded OpenAI. And you're going to be [told] you're going to OpenAI. And if it screws up? Well, go talk to OpenAI.

The reason why this is compelling, and why I was optimistic even before the presentation, is that it speaks to their position in the value chain. They own the interface where people conduct their lives. And that gives them the luxury of solving problems only they can solve.

And then having an interface for the folks that want to spend billions of dollars to do these huge large language models, to plug in and sort of take it or leave it — it's Apple leveraging their position of being the trusted device in people's lives, and getting everyone to dance to their tune.

Peter Kafka: You mentioned hallucinations, which people understand comes with AI. The Washington Post asked Tim Cook about them, and he said he couldn't promise there wouldn't be any. But it sounds like you're saying the hallucination problems are going to be from the OpenAI queries. And they'll be OpenAI's problems.

Ben Thompson: I think the hallucination bit is maybe overrated. It's something that's very easy to sort of latch on to, like glue on pizza. It's very funny and kind of embarrassing.

But if you go to, you go into it knowing it might come up with something weird. And actually, 99% of the time, it doesn't.

And [OpenAI] is very confident, and I think it's reasonable to be confident it's going to continue to get better in that regard. And the fact of the matter is 100 million people or whatever it is, are still using it despite these dangers. Which speaks to the tremendous utility that does exist.

Apple announced Apple Intelligence at WWDC 2024.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced new AI features at this week's WWDC.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple doing what Apple does best

Peter Kafka: But back to the airport scenario. That sounds great, right? But what if — whether it's a hallucination or a more basic error — I rely on Apple to tell me when I'm picking mom up, where we're going, and they get it wrong? Isn't the risk there much, much higher than a garden-variety hallucination?

Ben Thompson: Yes. I would say this is the No. 1 risk facing Apple.

I think there are two risks Apple faces. One is some massive AI breakthrough, such that the phone becomes the commodity, as opposed to Apple making the AI the commodity. Like: Who's commoditizing who? That one is TBD and somewhat out of Apple's control. But it's worth mentioning.

The real risk is execution risk. Apple does have the luxury of coming to market later, and they benefited from a huge amount of research and improvements. Like shrinking down these models, giving them high efficiencies, so they can run on-device. They've had all those benefits.

What they are proposing to do — to actually orchestrate different apps and different bits of data — no one has done well, yet. Apple's bet is they can do it well because they have the data, because they are on the device. But there is a real execution risk.

There is so much of AI that demos well and dies down on the edge cases. And there's a gazillion edge cases. So to the extent this does not work out and does go badly, [the risk] is there.

Apple is not a fast follower here. They are a leader. And whether this is a place that they have the skills and capabilities to lead effectively is by far the biggest open question.

Peter Kafka: Do you take Apple at face value when they say this tech only works on our latest, greatest, highest-end machines?

Ben Thompson: 100%. The No. 1 constraint in running these models is memory. And every single device that supports this has eight gigabytes of RAM as a minimum. That's just the long and short of it.

I think this is evidence, honestly, about how Apple was late. To develop phones, the whole process runs over several years. I think if they could go back in time, they would have made the base iPhone 15 have eight gigabytes of RAM [so it could run the new AI features].

Will Apple spark more iPhone sales?

Peter Kafka: Do you think this spurs device sales? That's obviously the question Wall Street's wondering about.

Ben Thompson: I think so. And I think it doesn't just spur device sales. I think it potentially spurs higher ARPUs [average revenue per user]. I'm very curious if Apple's going to actually ever start talking about RAM. Because RAM is the key constraint here. If you got a phone with more RAM, you could theoretically run a better model. Are they going to talk about that such that you don't just upgrade your phone, but you actually spend more, to get a higher-end phone? There's definitely the opportunity to do that.

Peter Kafka: You've been speculating about whether Apple is paying OpenAI, or OpenAI is paying Apple. There's no real reporting out there about the arrangement between the two companies.

Does it matter in the end whether Apple is cutting a check for several billion dollars or getting a check for several billion?

Ben Thompson: I don't think it matters. I think it's more interesting as to what it says about the relative power in this value chain.

In my initial article, I assumed Apple would be paying OpenAI. After the keynote, and [seeing] the degree to which OpenAI was diminished — it's just a link, basically, and they're going to warn you every time you go there, and there was no Sam Altman onstage, and this was all Apple stuff — that made me feel like Apple could have done the exact same presentation without OpenAI. And just say if you want to do chatting, open an app.

Because of that, I think that they're in a stronger bargaining position. And my guess is there's just no money changing hands at all.

(Editor's note: Following my interview with Thompson, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg reported that, as Thompson suggested, neither company is paying the other, though they both imagine the deal could generate revenue by getting iPhone users to sign up for paid services sold by OpenAI.)

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10. Ukraine's big strike on Crimea shows how its older missiles can take out Russia's most advanced air defenses17:32[-/+]
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A Russian S-400 missile air defence systems passes through Red Square with a figure wearing military dress in the foreground with their back to the camera
Russian S-400 missile air-defense systems in Red Square during the general rehearsal of the Victory Day parade in Moscow in May 2022.


  • Ukraine appeared to take out a Russian S-400 system in Crimea with Western ATACMS missiles.
  • The S-400 air-defense system is more advanced than the older ATACMS.
  • Experts told BI that S-400s are Russia's best, but their performance in Ukraine has been mixed.

Ukraine's latest claimed strike on Crimea is likely another example of how its older, Western-supplied missiles can foil even Russia's most advanced air-defense systems.

Ukraine's General Staff said Ukrainian forces targeted two Russian S-400 antiaircraft missile units and an S-300 antiaircraft missile unit on the Russia-annexed peninsula overnight on Sunday into Monday, damaging at least two of the units significantly.

It did not say what type of missiles were used, but Washington DC-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War said it was "likely with ATACMS" — US-made tactical ballistic missiles.

Rybar, an influential Russian military blogger, said on Monday that Ukraine had attacked Crimea with at least 12 ATACMS missiles.

The S-400 is Russia's most advanced air defense system. It first became operational in 2007, more than two decades after the ATACMS, which have been in service since 1986.

Ukraine said none of its missiles were downed in the attack, while mocking Russia's descriptions of its own air defenses.

"None of our missiles fired were intercepted by the enemy's 'highly effective' air defense," Ukraine's General Staff said.

The S-400 is Russia's best

Rajan Menon, director of the Grand Strategy program at the US think tank Defense Priorities, described the S-400 to BI earlier this year as Russia's "top-of-the-line air defense system."

But he said its performance in Ukraine has been "mixed," with Ukraine able to take some out.

Ukraine's General Staff said on Wednesday that it destroyed another S-400 and another S-300 in Crimea, without detailing what it used in the attack.

A rocket launches from a S-400 missile system against a dark blue sky
A rocket launches from a S-400 missile system at the Ashuluk military base in Russia in September 2020.


The S-400 was developed as a rival to the US' Patriot system, and the head of Rosoboronexport, the Russian state-owned military company that oversees much of Russia's military exports, has called it the "best long-range air defense system in the world."

Experts told BI that the system is clearly very capable and feared by Ukraine.

But they said it has proved vulnerable in Russia's ongoing invasion, and credited Ukraine with using skilled and creative tactics to go after the weapons.

Last November, the UK Ministry of Defence said that Ukraine had likely destroyed at least four Russian long-range air-defense systems in a week, with Russian reports saying three of them were S-400s.

A Russian Telegram channel that claims to have sources in Russia's police and military agencies said at the time that ATACMS were used.

Ian Williams, the former deputy director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said last year that the S-400s "seem to have struggled against Storm Shadows," referring to missiles supplied to Ukraine by the UK and France, which were first used in 2003.

Fredrik Mertens, an analyst at the Hague Center for Strategic Studies, told BI that "we clearly know that Ukrainian missiles are getting through and at rates that they really pose a problem for the Russians."

S-400 Triumph systems in Moscow's Red Square
S-400 Triumph systems rehearse before the World War II anniversary in Moscow in 2017.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Meanwhile, George Barros, a Russia analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, told BI this week that the problem could actually become worse for Russia.

He said that new permissions given by some allies to allow Ukraine to use Western-donated weapons to strike military targets in Russia will put its S-400s and other air defenses — those once outside Ukraine's strike range — at risk.

Crimea at renewed risk

At the same time, Ukraine said last month that it used Western-supplied ATACMS to strike the Russian Kerch ferry crossing into Crimea.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, in a move that was condemned around the world. Most countries do not recognize the territory as part of Russia.

Ukraine has vowed to retake the region, which Russia uses to launch attacks on Ukraine.

Philip Karber, a military analyst with expertise on Ukraine, said in April that Ukraine is now in a position to use ATACMS to make Crimea "militarily worthless."

Correction — June 13, 2024: A previous version of the text misidentified what antiaircraft units Ukraine said were targeted overnight on Sunday. It was two Russian S-400s and one S-300, with at least two of the units reportedly damaged. In addition, the UK Ministry of Defence said in November that Ukraine had likely destroyed at least four Russian long-range air defense systems in a week, but it was Russian reports that identified three of them as being S-400s.

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11. The ocean is still largely unexplored. Underwater tech could help illuminate its mysteries.17:28[-/+]
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Underwater view from below of a central digital connectivity pillar, creating a network within the sea around it, cataloging the animals and landscape

Ariel Davis for BI

This article is part of "5G and Connectivity Playbook," a series exploring some of our time's most important tech innovations.

Nestled next to a park and tucked inside an inlet, Wahoo Bay boasts a half-acre of glistening, shallow water in Pompano Beach, Florida, home to tropical fish and endangered seagrass.

But below the surface, the mini marine sanctuary is also a test bed for underwater technology that may take researchers to literal new depths.

Seven years ago, Wahoo Bay started as a vision for a snorkel park, but COVID-19 delayed its development. That delay "was a bit of a silver lining for us because it got us thinking more about creating an educational environment," said Rob Wyre, the chairman of Shipwreck Park, the nonprofit behind the Wahoo Bay project. The Wahoo Bay team was introduced to scientists from different universities who saw the marine area as a place of the right size and depths and with the right protections to assess new underwater technologies.

IoT, or the Internet of Things, refers to a network of connected devices and the technology that allows them to collect and share data. On land, this could look like a home security system sending an alert to your phone or a fitness tracker synced with an app that gives you real-time insights into your health. In the ocean, Underwater IoT could look like floating sensors, swarms of crewless vehicles, or a tetherless, wireless robot. Interest in ocean IoT is increasing because of its potential scientific, military, commercial, and conservation applications.

While only about 5% of the ocean has been explored, experts anticipate that underwater IoT, which can collect and share data from uncharted waters, could expand our understanding of the unknown and unlock the future of ocean conservation.

Arial image of Wahoo Bay in Florida.
At Wahoo Bay, professors and students are developing new underwater technologies.

Florida Atlantic University

Underwater IoT can be tricky

Existing wireless technologies aren't much help underwater because of how they work. On land, IoT devices connect through communications technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi that use radio waves at specific frequencies to transfer information. But standard IoT technologies are ineffective in the ocean because radio signals weaken underwater. Ocean IoT often uses a different type of signal to communicate: acoustic signals or waves.

Waleed Akbar, a research assistant at the MIT Media Lab, said that while developing underwater IoT is challenging, it's necessary. "We know more about the far side of the moon than we know about the ocean," Akbar said.

Akbar said underwater IoT could do more than satisfy curiosity about what's below the water's surface. Because these devices can transmit data from unexplored areas, they could enable unprecedented environmental monitoring, such as measuring contaminants or observing coral reefs — providing information that's helpful in curbing the climate crisis.

Using acoustic energy to power new projects

Akbar is part of an MIT research group developing low-cost, low-power, batteryless IoT technologies to support underwater networks.

For example, the group invented a battery-free wireless underwater camera powered by acoustic energy — it converts mechanical energy from sound waves into electrical energy, and it uses sound waves to transmit data. The camera could support marine-life discovery, submarine surveillance, and underwater monitoring, among other endeavors.

"In the water, there's no central entity like a router you can connect to," Akbar said. "So what we have is a base station, and then sensors can communicate with that using acoustic signals."

But acoustic signaling has narrow bandwidth, long delays, and high costs. There's also the issue of energy consumption: Generally, preliminary underwater IoT devices have used batteries with limited capacity. Akbar told Business Insider that it's difficult to scale when technologies consume too much power.

"If you want to make sensors at a large scale, or you want to cover a large area like a chunk of the ocean, you want to make sure that these sensors are cost-effective," he said.

Researchers have been working on underwater acoustic communication technologies for over half a century. For example, in 1945, the US Navy developed an underwater phone that transmitted and received sound waves instead of radio waves.

More recently, scientists and engineers have started to leverage this technology to make underwater IoT a reality. Early projects include autonomous underwater vehicles that can spot ancient shipwrecks, sensors that can help with disaster forecasting, and sensor networks that can measure ocean temperatures.

Today's underwater technology is often hindered by limited battery life and tethers to ships on the surface. Dimitris Pados, a professor at Florida Atlantic University and the director of the Center for Connected Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence, said that to monitor and model the ocean with the granularity necessary to understand how climate change is influencing it, researchers need to access parts of the ocean that existing tech can't reach.

"It's a field that's catching people's attention," Akbar said. "The technology is developing, and there is a growing awareness that we need to know more about what is happening to the ocean."

A hotbed of ocean tech

In late May, Wahoo Bay hosted its inaugural field trip. Fourth graders, equipped with swim masks and pool noodles, splashed above bright-yellow porkfish and silver pinfish. For many, it was their first time snorkeling. Pados said he expects Wahoo Bay will be home to many firsts and innovations.

Through a partnership with Florida Atlantic University, professors, students, and others can bring new underwater technologies to the site — and more projects are in the works.

Underwater camera installed against a pole in the ocean floor
An underwater camera in Wahoo Bay.

Florida Atlantic University

Pados told BI the team had installed water- and weather-monitoring systems and was working on AI-assisted fish-identification software that relies on a self-cleaning 360-degree underwater camera.

More futuristic tech is in the pipeline, including an underwater GPS and a school of AI robotic fish. "You can imagine that, as long as they can connect with each other, it will be like having a moving network of underwater sensors you can direct to wherever you want," Pados said. "If everything goes well, they'll get outside the bay and into the ocean."

Pados said that while Wahoo Bay is a testing ground, he and his team want to give visitors — whether they're elementary-school students on a field trip or curious Pompano Beach residents on a stroll — a firsthand look at the developing technology.

Wyre said he hopes that when young people see the tech that Pados and his colleagues are working on, they'll walk away with new ideas.

"We've got to support the scientists of tomorrow," Wyre said. "We hope that when students see what's going on in the water of Wahoo Bay, they'll be inspired."

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12. I took a $195 luxury bus from the Hamptons to NYC, and the high-end freebies I got on board were worth more than my ticket17:20[-/+]
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exerior shot of the hamptons streamliner bus
Hamptons Streamliner is a new luxury bus offering.

Elizabeth Blasi

  • I rode the Hamptons Streamliner from the Hamptons to New York City for $195 one-way.
  • The seats were incredibly comfortable, and a bus attendant made sure I had everything I needed.
  • I had my choice of drinks and snacks, and I got a complimentary travel kit full of luxury products.

As of May, New Yorkers have a new luxurious way to travel to the Hamptons for the weekend: The Hamptons Streamliner.

The upscale bus service is a new collaboration between elite helicopter service Blade and luxury bus company The Jet.

The Streamliner offers a high-end travel experience that's a bit longer (but far cheaper) than Blade's $1,050 one-way helicopter rides.

I'd typically hop on the Long Island Railroad or the Jitney Bus to get home from the Hamptons, but I had the chance to experience the sophisticated alternative over Memorial Day weekend.

I ended up being the only passenger on an off-hour Friday return trip, but the Streamliner honored my ticket without hesitation.

Here's what my ride was like and why my $195 one-way ticket was worth every penny.

The seats were extremely comfortable — I didn't feel a single bump on the road.
seats on the luxury streamliner hamptons bus
The specially designed seats are supposed to be motion-canceling.

Elizabeth Blasi

The first thing I noticed on the bus was the luxurious chairs. They looked similar to the comfortable seats on The Jet, which I rode for the first time last year.

The memory-foam, motion-canceling Hoverseats were undoubtedly the highlight of the journey. The holiday weekend stop-and-go traffic was transformed into a smooth, almost gliding experience.

The reclining seats also had so much legroom — I could fully extend my legs and still not reach the seat in front of me. Combined with the built-in footrest and provided cashmere blanket, it rivaled the comfort of a first-class airplane seat.

I sipped and snacked in style.
hand holding up a plastic wine glass tumbler on fancy bus
I got a fancy glass of sparkling water.

Elizabeth Blasi

One of the joys of traveling on the Streamliner is the complimentary beverage service.

During my ride, I was offered three complimentary alcoholic drinks, including fun options like espresso martinis. There was also an assortment of teas, coffees, and other nonalcoholic drinks.

Even the sparkling water was luxurious since it was served in a stylish custom tumbler.

A selection of snacks (mainly bags of chips and cookies) was also available throughout my trip.

If I had been taking the trip from NYC to the Hamptons, I could've enjoyed PopUp Bagels (morning buses), Sweetgreen salads (afternoon/evening buses), and fresh chocolate-chip cookies (all buses).

I had attentive and personalized service from a bus concierge.
legs under a cashmere blanket stretched out in front of a comfy seat on a bus
I was extremely cozy under one of the bus' cashmere blankets.

Elizabeth Blasi

A dedicated bus attendant was at my service throughout the trip.

If I needed something or had a question about my seat, the attendant was quick to help and ensured my journey was as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Each bus has only 19 seats, so I imagine the attendant could still be attentive to each customer even if they're on a fully booked ride.

I didn't hesitate to use the bus bathrooms.
shot of the bathroom insider the streamliner hamptons bus
I could fully change and do my makeup in the bathrooms.

Elizabeth Blasi

Even the bathrooms on the Hamptons Streamliner are designed with luxury in mind.

I found all the necessary amenities, including ample toilet paper, soap, and hand sanitizer. The backlit vanity mirror was perfect for my makeup touch-ups, and the full-length mirror in the spacious room made it easy to change into comfy clothes for the ride.

I loved being able to work and play on the go.
shot of someone's legs sitting in a comfy bus seat with lots of legroom
I had enough space and WiFi to work remotely on the bus.

Elizabeth Blasi

The high-speed internet was exceptional — I could even use my design programs seamlessly while coasting along Long Island's busy highways.

The connectivity allowed me to remain productive and work from the bus. But it's also great if you're just looking to stay entertained throughout the ride.

I think the amenity kit alone was worth the ticket price.
shot of the luxury amenity kit from the streamliner hamptons bus
Getting free products from high-end brands is always a win.

Elizabeth Blasi

The journey came with a delightful surprise: an amenity kit filled with luxury products from the Streamliner's partners.

I received a claw clip along with wellness and beauty products from higher-end brands like Kiehl's, Replica, Saie, and Maison Margiela.

The 1-ounce bottle of Symbiome serum in the complimentary kit retails for $200 on its own. With the $40 perfume sample set, $22 lip oil, $40 box of vitamin-C packets, and more, I'd say I definitely got my money's worth — and then some.

It was a lovely gift that added to my overall enjoyment of the trip.

The Streamliner was an incredibly worthwhile investment for comfortable travel.
shot inside the streamliner luxury bus
I'd take the luxury bus again in a heartbeat.

Elizabeth Blasi

When it comes to Hamptons transportation options, the Streamliner makes the most sense for me — even with the high price tag.

Reliable internet access means I can work on board instead of wasting a day of PTO. Plus, the food, beverages, and amenity kit more than made up for the cost of the ticket.

Overall, the trip was worth the $195, and I'll be taking the Hamptons Streamliner for all future trips.

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13. A couple headed to Spain on vacation was instead flown 1,500 miles away to Eastern Europe17:20[-/+]
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A Ryanair plane
A Ryanair plane is pictured during landing.

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  • A British couple headed to Spain ended up in Lithuania due to an airport error.
  • The couple, with disabilities, booked special assistance and were put on the wrong plane.
  • They told BBC News that the incident left them "distraught" and "scared."

A British couple who booked a flight to Spain ended up in a different European country after airport staff escorted them onto the wrong plane.

Andrew and Victoria Gore, both 47, told BBC News that they had intended to board a flight to Barcelona with the budget airline Ryanair as part of a package vacation worth GBP1,500, or around $1,915, on Saturday, May 25.

They had booked the trip with their family to celebrate Andrew's birthday.

But Andrew, who is an amputee, and Victoria, who is autistic, ended up on a different flight to Lithuania after booking special assistance at Bristol Airport in England.

Passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility are legally entitled to special assistance without an additional charge when flying from the UK, the US, and many other countries.

Bristol Airport's website states that special assistance can be booked by passengers who have mobility issues or hidden disabilities to help with check-in, getting through security, and boarding the plane. It is facilitated through the airport's service partner, ABM, the website states.

"We have been away lots of times and always had special assistance, so this was nothing new to us," Victoria told the BBC.

"The minibus took us to the Ryanair plane and they checked our boarding pass and let us on the plane," she said.

The couple said their boarding passes were checked by airport staff multiple times, and they were also reassured that their family was already on board.

They didn't realize there had been a mix-up until they arrived at Kaunas Airport in Lithuania.

"When I woke up, it didn't look like Spain out the window, I turned my phone on and it said 'Welcome to Lithuania'," Andrew said.

"I was distraught, and scared. I didn't stop crying," Victoria said.

The couple said the airline provided them with overnight accommodation and transportation to Riga, the capital of neighboring Latvia, where they could board a flight the following day.

However, their bags didn't arrive in Barcelona until two days later.

Andrew and Victoria's experience follows a trend of travel nightmares that are sometimes experienced by airline passengers with disabilities.

A Department of Transportation report recorded a 108% increase in complaints from flyers with disabilities, from 76 in May 2019 to 158 in May 2022.

In a statement sent to Business Insider, a Ryanair spokesperson said special assistance is "provided by Bristol Airport's special assistance provider — not Ryanair."

"As these passengers did not board their flight to Barcelona, their bags were removed from the aircraft at Bristol Airport in line with standard safety procedures," part of the statement said.

"When it was realised that these passengers had been misrouted in error by Bristol Airport's special assistance provider, and rerouted to Barcelona, their bags were rushed from Bristol Airport to Barcelona to them.

"We sincerely apologise to these passengers for any inconvenience caused as a result of Bristol Airport's special assistance provider's error and have assured that they will be fully compensated by Bristol Airport," the statement concluded.

A spokesperson for Bristol Airport told BI that the situation is being investigated, and the couple will be contacted to "direct their complaint to the correct business partner for resolution."

Representatives for ABM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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14. I caught my employee secretly working a second remote job. Here's why I decided to fire them — and why I think overemployment is sometimes unethical.17:16[-/+]
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Patrick Synge
When Patrick Synge caught one of his employees working for another company during work hours, he fired him.

Patrick Synge

  • Patrick Synge fired one of his employees for secretly working a second remote job.
  • He shared how he caught the employee and why he decided to fire them.
  • He says overemployment is sometimes "unethical" and can hurt worker productivity.

This as-told-to essay is based on an email conversation with Patrick Synge, the cofounder and CCO of the business-process-outsourcing and remote-recruitment company Metrickal. The business is headquartered in Barcelona and has 10 full time, fully remote employees, in addition to more than 200 contractors worldwide. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I'm the cofounder and CCO of a business where every employee works fully remotely. In January, I caught one of them secretly working a second full-time remote job.

Here's how it all played out — and why I decided to fire them.

My business is headquartered in Barcelona, but one of my employees was based in Peru. He was hired in 2022, and in the beginning, he did his job very well. But then, I started to receive complaints from clients about missed assignments and deadlines. He had also become quite unresponsive. These complaints from clients started to become somewhat regular.

When this employee started refusing certain shifts he usually worked, I became suspicious. I had a feeling that he was doing something on the side, but because there was no proof, I didn't want to jump to any conclusions.

So instead, I had one-on-one meetings with him to discuss his job performance. When the same issues continued, I told him that if things didn't change, I'd have to let him go.

While he showed some signs of improvement, his overall performance didn't change much. This put a significant burden on the rest of the team, who had to cover his shifts and deal with missed deadlines.

How I ultimately caught him

In December, unrelated to this particular employee, my company rolled out the time-tracking software called DeskTime.

My long-term goal is to introduce a four-day workweek at my company, and I decided the first step in this process would be understanding how my employees spend their time and what could be optimized to boost productivity.

So our entire team of full-time employees and freelance contractors started using DeskTime. They each had to install the app on their computers, so everyone was well aware that this was being implemented.

After a few weeks, I looked through the tracking data of the struggling employee and noticed there was another company's name — a US business — that regularly appeared in the data. It became clear to me that this employee had worked on some other company's tasks.

I fired them the next day.

The DeskTime data showed that the employee was using software during the workday that was unrelated to his job tasks. It also included a screenshot feature that captured his computer screen — and showed him working on a platform where the other company's name was visible.

Based on the DeskTime data, I estimate that he had spent close to half of his work time working for this other company. It seems that he forgot about the tracking software since once it's downloaded, it doesn't require any manual switching on and off.

To be honest, all the other signs — missed deadlines, lack of flexibility, and unresponsiveness at certain times — had already made me quite certain that he was doing something else during working hours. I would have probably fired him anyway, but the tracked data was the missing hard proof.

I believe he was working for the other company full time because soon after I fired him, he updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect that he was working full time at the other company.

Why I think overemployment is sometimes unethical

I know some people may judge me, but I generally don't support the trend of overemployment. I think it's sometimes unethical and just wrong.

First of all, I don't think it's fair to the rest of the team who have to cover up for someone else's low performance. This is why keeping this employee of mine in the company wasn't an option. He wasn't fair and respectful to the team, and that's something I can't tolerate — his actions were just selfish.

Secondly, I don't believe a person can productively do two jobs at the same time, even if you use AI or other tools. Their attention will be scattered, so the quality of their work will suffer. As an entrepreneur, I have to think about my business and clients first. I can't afford to lose clients because someone wants to make extra money.

I really don't mind people having side hustles to earn extra income. But this should be something they do on their own time and that doesn't affect the quality of their day job.

Are you working multiple remote jobs at the same time and willing to provide details about your pay and schedule? Has a coworker or employee of yours done so? If so, reach out to this reporter at

Correction: June 13, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated Patrick Synge's role at Metrickal. He's the CCO, not the CEO.

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15. Tesla stock soars after Elon Musk says his pay package is likely to be approved and BlackRock and Vanguard reportedly vote in favor17:15[-/+]
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elon happy pay package investors

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic; Chelsea Jia Feng/BI

  • Tesla stock surged 7% after Elon Musk's pay package neared approval.
  • Elon Musk's compensation package is worth $46 billion based on Tesla's current stock price.
  • Dealbook reported that Vanguard and BlackRock voted in favor of Musk's package.

Tesla stock surged as much as 7% on Thursday after Elon Musk's pay package looked likely to be approved at the company's annual shareholder meeting.

The stock was trading at $188.31 shortly after the opening bell.

Musk said on X Wednesday evening that the company received enough votes to approve Musk's compensation package, which is worth $46 billion based on Tesla's current stock price.

The vote to reincorporate Tesla's business in Texas from Deleware also appears to have passed.

"Both Tesla shareholder resolutions are currently passing by wide margins!" Musk posted on X on Wednesday night.

The results are not certain until the annual shareholder meeting, as investors can change their votes at any time before its conclusion later on Thursday.

According to the New York Times' Dealbook, passive investors Vanguard and BlackRock voted in favor of the deal. The asset management titans own a combined 13% of the company's stock.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said the apparent shareholder approval of Musk's compensation package should remove an overhang on Tesla's stock price.

"This removes a $20-$25 overhang on the stock in our opinion that has weighed on shares since the head scratching Delaware ruling set this Twilight Zone soap opera on earlier this year," Ives said in a note on Thursday.

There had been concerns that is the vote is not approved, Musk would grow disinterested in Tesla and focus more on his other business ventures.

Ives Rates Tesla stock at "Outperform" with a $275 price target, representing potential upside of 45% from current levels.

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16. A weird legacy of the Falklands War could get Ukraine 5 fighter jets: report17:06[-/+]
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A Super Etendard fighter jet landing on France's flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf
A Super Etendard fighter jet landing on France's flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf on January 12, 2016.

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

  • Argentina is holding talks to send five fighter jets to Ukraine, Argentine media reported.
  • Its Super Etendard jets are inoperable due to a Falkland War-era embargo, local outlet Infobae said.
  • France could fit ejection seat cartridges as part of a weapons swap with Argentina, per the outlet.

An unusual legacy of the Falklands War could help Ukraine get a new set of fighter jets.

Argentine news outlet Infobae reported on Tuesday that the country is holding talks with NATO, the US, and France to provide Ukraine with five Super Etendard fighter jets.

The jets have been out of use and stored at an air-naval base since Argentina acquired them in 2019, due to a Falkland War-era embargo the UK imposed on Argentina, according to the outlet.

The Falklands War, a ten-week undeclared war between the UK and Argentina, took place in 1982 over control of the Falkland Islands.

Under existing UK sanctions, the South American country can't get cartridges needed to enable the pilot's seat to eject in case of emergency, the outlet reported, making the jets inoperable.

Argentina is now holding talks with France to swap the jets for other military gear, such as drones and helicopters, it said.

According to the outlet, the plan, approved by Argentina's President Javier Milei, would allow France to then fit the ejection seat cartridges and make them operable for use in Ukraine.

Argentina's foreign and defense ministries and the Elysee Palace in France didn't immediately respond to requests for comments.

According to the outlet, Argentina's foreign minister, Diana Elena Mondino, discussed the issue in a meeting held at NATO headquarters in Brussels with her French counterpart, Stephane Sejourne, and during an unannounced visit with US national security advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House.

It didn't specify when these talks took place or what role the US and NATO are playing.

Earlier this month, President Emmanuel Macron said France would send Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The jet — a multi-role fourth-generation fighter manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation — is a combat-proven aircraft like the F-16, having flown sorties in conflicts in the Middle East and the Balkans.

But its effectiveness is limited by its air-to-air missiles, Justin Bronk, an airpower and technology expert at the UK-based Royal United Services Institute think tank, told BI last week.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Ukrainian military source told Reuters in May that F-16s are expected to start arriving in Ukraine in either June or July.

They could play a vital role in helping Ukraine reclaim Crimea, Frederik Mertens, a strategic analyst at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, told BI last month.

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17. I'm a millennial and one of my best friends is a boomer. It's helped me gain perspective about aging.17:03[-/+]
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Age gap friendship women posing for photo
The author (right) and her friend have a 26-year age gap.

Courtesy of author

  • When I moved in 2019 I was excited to meet other parents.
  • Yet, the closest friend I've made is in an entirely different generation.
  • We bonded over workouts and time on the lake.

About a month ago, I was sitting in a cafe with my friend. I'm not one to fret about aging, but I was having some feelings about turning 35 that week. The number felt very much like approaching middle age and leaving the youthful chaos of my 20s and early 30s behind.

"Don't worry. If I could go back to any age, it would be my 40s," Dorian told me.

I knew this wasn't just a shallow platitude. Dorian is 26 years older than me, so if she was telling me that the best was yet to come, I believed her. It immediately made me feel better. Not for the first time, I was so happy to have a friend of an entirely different generation to give me the perspective I just can't get from my peers.

We met at the gym

I met Dorian back in 2021 when I joined a CrossFit-style gym. The world was opening up after quarantine, and I knew virtually no one in the town I'd moved to in 2019. I joined the gym largely for a social outlet.

The mid-morning group classes drew a mixed crowd. I was in my early 30s and usually the youngest person there. There were a few parents in their 40s, with kids similar ages to mine (who were 4 and 8 at the time), and people in their 50s and 60s. Out of everyone, I really clicked with Dorian.

I can't explain why — she was one of the quieter people in the class and we were never partners for exercises. Maybe it was her "Gym and Tonic" t-shirt that made me laugh or her "Zookeeper" vanity license plate that reminded me to embrace the wilder moments of life. Perhaps because we couldn't bond over the frustrations of parenting, we were nudged toward more meaningful topics.

When it was just us training together, we became close

If she were closer to my age, I would have suggested Dorian and I get a drink or do a lake day with the kids, but I felt funny moving our gym friendship into the real world because of our age gap. Looking back, I think I was worried she would think it was odd. Really, my hesitation was just a good old fear of rejection.

Luckily, fate intervened. In the summer of 2022, our gym suddenly changed its model. Many of the customers felt like the rug had been pulled out from under us, so we started a co-op-style training program at a different local gym. During the switch, the mid-morning class size dwindled. Often, it was only Dorian and I working out together.

That's when our friendship blossomed. Since we were a duo rather than a group, we really got to know each other. When my daughter's pony died unexpectedly, Dorian hugged me while I cried and made burial arrangements. When she was overwhelmed with helping plan her daughter's upcoming summer wedding, I let her vent and reminded her it would all turn out perfectly.

It was years until I realized Dorian was the same age as my mom

Despite seeing each other at least five times a week, we never mentioned our age gap. I figured Dorian was about 20 years older than me, but at this point, it didn't matter at all — we were buddies. I asked her about plants, and she tried to help me overcome my brown thumb. We shared recipes. We gossiped and giggled over small-town dramas.

Then, in 2023, I was talking about planning a surprise 60th birthday celebration for my mom. Dorian responded that she hoped to slip quietly out of her house on her upcoming 60th. Turns out, my new best friend was almost exactly the age of my mom. We also have the same age difference between me and my oldest daughter.

Yet, that difference doesn't matter at all. If anything, it enhances our friendship. We're not brought together just by shared circumstances or obligations. We've formed a connection just because we like each other. When we get coffee, go for a walk, or spend a day on the dock at Dorian's lake house, we can enjoy spending time together just because.

On the day of my 35th birthday, Dorian handed me a card. It had the silhouette of a powerlifter squatting on the front, and she'd drawn a ponytail to make the card look a bit more like me. I had recently made a longtime squat goal, so this was perfect. Seeing how well Dorian knew me made me, I so appreciated her friendship, and that we didn't let our age gap get in the way.

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18. 'Bridgerton' just made its boldest book change yet — but how will it play out on the show?17:02[-/+]
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francesca bridgerton and her mother violet bridgerton sitting on a blue settee. they're both wearing blue gowns, and francesca is holding a spool of thread while violet holds a cup of tea
Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) and Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) in season three of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

  • Francesca Bridgerton marries John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin, in "Bridgerton" season three.
  • But the show makes a major creative choice at the end of the season that will deeply affect her story.
  • It still remains to be seen how "Bridgerton" will handle it — but it will require some maneuvering.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for "Brigerton" season three and the book "When He Was Wicked."

"Bridgerton" season three wrapped up Penelope and Colin's love story — but its finale set up a revelatory future for Francesca Bridgerton that's a major divergence from the books.

For those who have been praying for one of the Bridgerton siblings to get a queer storyline, season three delivered. Benedict Bridgerton experienced his first kiss with a man via a threesome with his paramour, Lady Tilley Arnold. But perhaps more shockingly, the show has staged a queer romance for Francesca, one that promises a deviation from her novel "When He Was Wicked."

By the end of season three, Francesca has finally married John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin. At the end of the season, at a ball hosted by Penelope Featherington's sisters, she finally gets to meet another member of John's family — his cousin, Michaela Stirling, played by Masali Baduza.

Book readers will note this as a significant change: In Quinn's novels, Michaela is actually Michael, John's cousin and a close friend of Francesca's after their marriage. He's also Francesca's eventual love interest after John dies suddenly two years into his marriage with Francesca.

francesca bridgerton and john stirling kiss in the bridgerton sitting room, while members of their family watch from around the room
Francesca Bridgerton marries John Stirling in the season three finale of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

"Bridgerton" doesn't really mince glances in the finale. Francesca is immediately visibly attracted to Michaela, tripping over her words as they meet and even briefly forgetting her own name. Even if you haven't read the books, the implication is clear — Francesca is going to fall in love with this woman.

"Bridgerton" has made some significant changes to Quinn's novels in the past — most notably, it asserted Queen Charlotte's Blackness, and takes place in a version of Regency-era London where people of color can hold titles. But three seasons in, it has yet to meaningfully change any of the siblings' love stories, making a divergence of this level unprecedented.

Showrunner Jess Brownell told Glamour that Francesca's story, and feeling of otherness, resonated with her as a queer woman and lent itself to this kind of change.

"I felt like there was fertile ground thematically in her book to nod toward telling a queer story," Brownell said.

It's notable that 'Bridgerton' has seemingly committed to a queer romance

"Bridgerton" has previously dabbled in queer relationships, but only between men. In season one, Benedict befriends an artist named Henry Granville, who's engaged in a secret relationship with another man. Granville is married and tells Benedict that he and his wife have an understanding that allows him to pursue the relationship — though only behind closed doors.

More prominently, in "Queen Charlotte," the king and queen's footmen, Reynolds and Brimsley, are also in a secret relationship that appears to have dissolved by the time they reach adulthood.

Sam Clemmett and Freddie Dennis as young Brimsley and Young Reynolds.
Sam Clemmett and Freddie Dennis as young Brimsley and Young Reynolds.

Nick Wall / Netflix

"Because of the world they inhabited, it was still a hangable offense to be gay, and it was just not possible," Hugh Sachs, who plays older Brimsley, told Vulture.

The rules between men and women differed at the time: Sodomy was a capitol offense in England until 1861, per the Encyclopedia Britannica, while lesbian sex acts didn't fall under any legislation. Obviously, "Bridgerton" is far from historical text, but it seems unlikely that an open, romantic relationship between two women would fly even in the show's alternate history. The show won't be able to write a romance between Francesca and Michaela without actively engaging with what it means to pursue a relationship with another woman in high-society Regency London.

That doesn't preclude their happiness though, according to Brownell.

"There are also some elements of her story that allow us to make sure we can tell a pretty happy ending for Francesca and Michaela," Brownell told Glamour. "It was important for me in telling a main queer story for us to be able to give them a happily ever after, as we have with every other couple."

Changing Michael to Michaela has other major plot implications

In "When He Was Wicked," Michael is forced to reluctantly assume John's title as Earl after Francesca miscarries, preventing it from passing on to one of John's sons. To make matters worse, he's also been in love with Francesca since they first met and does his best to conceal that through cultivating a rakish reputation. After John's death, he flees to India for four years, leaving Francesca to manage the Kilmartin estate.

"Bridgerton" has gone to great pains to remind us that women cannot inherit titles, especially in season three. Inquiries from the Crown leave the Featheringtons scrambling to produce a male heir (congrats to Penelope on winning that race), and the Mondrich family inherits the Kent estate after their young son miraculously turns out to be Lady Kent's closest male relative.

Emma Naomi as Alice Mondrich and Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich in "Bridgerton" season three.
Emma Naomi as Alice Mondrich and Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich in "Bridgerton" season three.

Liam Daniel / Netflix

Michaela won't be able to inherit John's Earldom, nor presumably be able to sequester herself in India for years at a time, after his death. And as a presumably unmarried woman herself, she'll likely be facing pressure to marry, or living life as a spinster.

That doesn't mean that "Bridgerton" can't make adjustments to clear a thoughtful path for Francesca and Michaela. In the books, Francesca decides to pursue a second marriage after John's death not out of a need for companionship, but rather because of her desire for children. In fact, she's rather secure in her position as a widow, afforded the rare freedom to live an independent life as a woman. Should she not miscarry and give birth to John's son in the show, she would retain that freedom without question of which man would assume the title.

Brownell told Glamour that despite the change from Michael to Michaela, she still plans to "honor" the book on television.

"Obviously, some changes will have to be made to the storyline, but there are ways to honor a lot of the book," Brownell said.

At this point, we can't be certain of how "Bridgerton" will manage Michaela's gender swap, and her eventual romance. But for this gentle writer, it's heartening to see "Bridgerton" take a big swing like this — and set up a sweeping queer love story for one of its main characters.

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19. Stock market today: US stocks climb as wholesale inflation data shows big cooldown in prices16:38[-/+]
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A smiling trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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  • Stocks rose Thursday after another encouraging inflation reading.
  • The producer price index slid 0.2% month over month against forecasts of a 0.1% decrease.
  • Tesla stock jumped as Elon Musk said on X his pay package was headed for approval.

US stocks continued their rally to record highs on Thursday after investors took in another cooler-than-expected inflation print.

Stocks capped off Wednesday's session at a record, with markets pointing toward fresh all-time highs as trading kicked off on Thursday.

In May, the producer price index slid 0.2% month over month against forecasts of a 0.1% decrease. According to Bloomberg, that marks the largest decline for the wholesale-inflation gauge since October. PPI rose 2.2% from a year ago.

"Thursday's weaker-than-expected PPI data is another sign of continued progress on inflation, and it keeps the prospect of a rate cut alive in 2024," Clark Bellin, Bellwether Wealth's chief investment officer, said.

The PPI report follows similar softness in Wednesday's report on the consumer price index for May, which prompted hope that the Federal Reserve has room to cut interest rates this year.

The 10-year Treasury yield continued its slide lower, dropping two basis points to 4.373% after a steep decline Wednesday following the cooler CPI reading.

Fed officials noted progress on inflation, though interest rates were left unchanged after this week's policy meeting, with one interest-rate cut penciled in. However, investors remain more optimistic, expecting two 25-basis-point cuts, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Tesla stock jumped more than 6% as Elon Musk said on X that his $56 billion compensation package was headed for shareholder approval. DealBook reported Thursday morning that Vanguard and BlackRock would vote in favor of the pay deal, giving Musk a boost from two of the world's biggest asset managers.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. opening bell on Thursday:

Here's what else is going on today:

In commodities, bonds, and crypto:

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil ticked down 0.24% to $78.09 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, inched up 0.16% to $82.73 a barrel.
  • Gold slid 0.20% to $2,318.42 an ounce.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield dropped two basis points to 4.373%.
  • Bitcoin fell 1.8% to $68,071.62.
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20. As the heat goes up this summer, so do cooling costs16:37[-/+]
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A man wipes his brow as he walks under misters, on July 13, 2023, in downtown Phoenix.
A man wipes his brow as he walks under misters, on July 13, 2023, in downtown Phoenix.

Matt York/AP

  • Average air conditioning costs in the US could reach a 10-year high this summer due to extreme heat.
  • Heat waves now happen six times a year on average, up from twice a year during the 1960s.
  • Advocates are calling for more funding to help low-income residents with their energy bills.

Many Americans are cranking up the air conditioning this summer to cope with scorching temperatures. And it's costing them.

The cost to keep homes cool between June and September could reach a 10-year high this summer, say two groups advocating for programs to help low-income residents pay their energy bills. The groups projected that the average cost across the country could be $719, a nearly 8% increase from the same period last year. In some regions that figure is higher; in Southern states like Texas, the average cost could hit $858.

"There's a price to ignoring climate change," said Mark Wolfe, the executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, which conducted the analysis with the Center for Energy Poverty and Climate. "The amount of electricity people use is going to go up, and it's a reaction to extreme heat."

The forecast comes as the Southwest swelters under a heat wave that's moving across the US this week. Federal data indicates heat waves happen six times a year on average, up from about twice a year during the 1960s. Meanwhile, climate scientists said May was the hottest month on record globally, continuing a 12-month streak where each one was warmer than the last.

The culprit is the climate crisis, and burning fossil fuels for electricity is the largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions trapping heat in the atmosphere. The US still relies on natural gas and coal to produce 60% of its power.

The forecast for summer cooling costs is based on federal data on regional electric prices, summer temperatures, and residential air conditioning, Wolfe said. His group's predictions are slightly higher than those by the US Energy Information Administration in June, which forecast average monthly bills of $173, or a 3% increase over last year.

"We are assuming a higher rate of temperature change, and recent heat waves are bearing this out," Wolfe said. "We also assumed a slightly higher rate for electricity."

Many factors affect electricity prices, including the costs of fuel, renewable energy, and power-grid maintenance. Wolfe said the cost projections would've been higher if natural-gas prices hadn't been falling since the global energy crisis in 2021. But he emphasized that burning more fossil fuels would worsen the already deadly and expensive heat waves causing Americans to use more energy.

Wolfe argued that federal, state, and local policymakers needed stronger policies and programs to protect vulnerable people during scorching summers. Cities with typically hot summers — including Phoenix; El Paso, Texas; and St. Louis — set up public cooling centers, but that isn't enough to help people stay safe, Wolfe said.

A 2020 survey from the US Energy Information Administration found that nearly 20% of families earning less than $20,000 had no air conditioning. Those who do may not turn it on in an effort to avoid higher bills, Wolfe said. Meanwhile, 33 states don't prevent utility companies from disconnecting residential power during extreme heat, putting children and older adults in particular at risk.

Wolfe argued that more states and cities should adopt shutoff protections and that Congress should boost funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which covers a portion of low-income families' utility bills. He estimated that about 1 million fewer households would get financial help this year because Congress approved less funding for the program than it did for fiscal 2023.

Homeowners could also install energy-efficient appliances, such as electric heat pumps, and take advantage of tax credits and rebates under the Inflation Reduction Act to make retrofits more affordable.

Some states are expected to this year start doling out rebates to homeowners with low and moderate incomes. The program is designed to offer point-of-sale discounts on heat pumps, electric stoves, insulation, new breaker boxes, and wiring — capped at $14,000 per household. Landlords who rent to people in low and moderate income brackets are also eligible. New York this month became the first state to open up applications.

"We need to change the way we think about helping families during the summer and how to upgrade their homes so they can stay cool while not increasing energy use and emissions," Wolfe said. "Now is the time to prepare for higher temperatures."

Are you struggling to pay your energy bill this summer or worried about power shutoffs? Contact

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21. We now know who holds the most power in Apple's deal with OpenAI16:27[-/+]
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Apple announced Apple Intelligence at WWDC 2024.
Tim Cook at Apple's WWDC 2024.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Apple is integrating ChatGPT into its operating systems as part of its big AI push.
  • It gets to do it without paying ChatGPT's creator, according to a new report.
  • That's because Apple's power lies in its vast reach.

When Apple officially announced its partnership with OpenAI at WWDC on Monday, a big question remained unanswered: on what terms?

When Apple has previously partnered with an outside company on a core product, the value it brings to the table has been pretty clear, with its long-standing partnership with Google on search a case in point.

Google operates the world's most popular search engine but has made it a point to pay Apple each year to keep it the default on Apple devices. It's no small amount, either. In 2022, Google paid Apple $20 billion for that privilege.

So what would the terms be that bring Apple and OpenAI together?

In recent months, Apple has made no noise about an AI model of its own that can rival the performance of OpenAI's GPT-4o, the new premium model to power ChatGPT. It's a sign that it simply lacks one that can measure up favorably.

So, a fair question has been whether Apple would pay to integrate OpenAI's technology into its operating systems to give users as powerful a chatbot experience as possible.

Though its ambitions are different, Microsoft —which has partnered with OpenAI since 2019 — decided to invest an additional $10 billion into the ChatGPT maker last year to not only "accelerate AI breakthroughs" but to weave the AI into its products like Office and Bing too.

However, new details suggest Apple will not be handing cash to OpenAI anytime soon.

That's according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman that said Apple was not paying OpenAI for the integration of its much-hyped chatbot into Siri.

Apple still holds the power

Apple WWDC 2024
Apple Intelligence at Apple WWDC 2024


In part, Apple might be getting away without paying OpenAI because it has its own AI models set to hum beneath the surface of its devices. Apple Intelligence — the company's take on generative AI — will involve plenty of in-house technology.

But Apple can also avoid paying OpenAI for ChatGPT integration because its distribution power remains king.

OpenAI stands to benefit from its powerful chatbot gaining further reach thanks to the huge install base Apple oversees, which includes more than two billion active devices.

As influential tech analyst and Stratechery founder Ben Thompson noted, OpenAI can accept not being paid as its distribution through Apple devices could serve as a "play to acquire users and mindshare, with the potential of upselling those users" to a premium ChatGPT subscription.

Apple Intelligence, Thompson added, is designed "to maximize the advantages that Apple has in terms of being the operating system provider on your phone" while allowing OpenAI to come in with a "general-purpose chatbot" only.

Investors seem to have recognized Apple's power here, briefly pushing its stock above Microsoft on Wednesday. Only $11 billion separated the two companies after the closing bell.

What happens in the longer term remains to be seen.

Upgrade cycle

Apple has been battling declining iPhone sales in recent months in key markets like China, which means it will be banking on its new suite of AI features to trigger a big upgrade cycle later this year among consumers enticed by the idea of Apple Intelligence.

Apple is doing its bit to spur this upgrade cycle by making Apple Intelligence available on only its most advanced devices, such as the iPhone 15 Pro models, M1 iPads, and M1 Macbooks.

However, there's no guarantee that consumers will bite, as Apple CEO Tim Cook has already conceded that Apple's new AI features are "not 100%" and may be prone to hallucination problems that have proven a headache for competitors like Google.

That could all come back to haunt Apple down the track, especially if generative AI struggles to match the hype surrounding it.

For now, though, generative AI is everything in Silicon Valley. Companies trying to put the technology in everyone's hands know they could do worse than turn to Apple for help.

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22. A British tourist and a local find the best doughnuts in Los Angeles16:18[-/+]
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"Food Wars" hosts Harry Kersh and Joe Avella travel across Los Angeles to find the best doughnuts in the city. They'll be visiting five locations in just one day to see what the city has to offer. This is "Food Tours."

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23. Elon Musk sure seems to be following Donald Trump's playbook16:11[-/+]
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Elon Musk and Donald Trump
Elon Musk and Donald Trump.

Lisa O'Connor/AFP/Getty Images and AP Photo/Chris Carlson

  • Elon Musk appears to be emulating Donald Trump's playbook.
  • The Tesla CEO also seems to be immune to scandals in a similar way to the former president.
  • Supporters of both Musk and Trump appear willing to overlook their sometimes questionable behavior.

Elon Musk seems to be taking a page out of Donald Trump's playbook.

The Tesla CEO once took a jab at the former president for being too old to run again for the White House, essentially suggesting he sail off into the sunset.

But now it appears Musk is looking to Trump more and more as an example of how to play the public relations game — from the way he prematurely declares victory, to the feuds he starts and the scandals he navigates.

The approach might be serving him well.

Take, for instance, the almost Trumplike way in which Musk, with no attribution, prematurely declared victory in securing his mammoth pay package many hours ahead of an official announcement from Tesla.

Musk decided to celebrate early on X, declaring that the vote was passing by "wide margins." If that is the case, it definitely is a win for the Tesla CEO.

Headaches ahead

Trump is of course now a convicted felon who still faces a brimming docket of pending court cases. Yet Musk also faces some headaches of his own.

Eight former SpaceX employees have filed a lawsuit against him, alleging they were wrongfully fired for speaking out against a hostile work environment in 2022.

Then there are new claims by The Wall Street Journal that Musk blurs lines with the women who work for him. That story also included a claim that Musk asked a SpaceX employee to have his babies, before denying her a promotion when she refused.

Immune to scandal

Musk also seems to be immune to scandals in a similar way to Trump.

Both have the backing of some prominent Silicon Valley figures. Reuters reported that tech venture capitalists David Sacks and Chamath Palihapitiya hosted a fundraiser in San Francisco earlier this month for the Republican presidential candidate.

And where Musk is concerned, no matter how salacious the scandals he can always rely on the support of his many fans on X.

Following Trump's playbook doesn't appear to have hurt his payday ambitions at all. If Musk has won shareholder approval, they've apparently overlooked some Trumpy tendencies — like feuding with plenty of his tech peers.

Zuck feud

One of Musk's long-running battles has been a near eight-year feud with Mark Zuckerberg that saw him challenge the Meta CEO to a cage fight.

Most recently, Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman, accusing the ChatGPT maker of violating its nonprofit mission by partnering with Microsoft — although that lawsuit was dropped on Tuesday for unknown reasons.

There's also the drug use. Musk admitted in his March interview with Don Lemon that he takes a "small amount" of ketamine every other week. When Lemon questioned him further, Musk seemed to imply that Wall Street didn't have a problem with it.

Supporters of both Musk and Trump appear very willing to overlook behavior that lesser public figures might not be allowed to get away with.

Representatives for Musk didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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24. Tim Cook says it's a 'significant possibility' people use their iPhones less because of AI16:11[-/+]
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Tim Cook WWDC portrait
Tim Cook has previously said that Apple doesn't strive to keep people on their phones all day.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

  • CEO Tim Cook said Apple Intelligence may reduce iPhone usage in an interview with Marques Brownlee.
  • Cook said he believes AI will help people complete previously time-consuming tasks in less time.
  • Apple unveiled a number of new AI features for iPhones, iPads, and Macs at its annual WWDC event.

There's a good chance Apple's new AI updates may result in you spending less time on your device.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said it's a "significant possibility" that people use their iPhones less with Apple Intelligence, according to an interview with tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee released Wednesday.

The CEO said as Apple Intelligence continues to get smarter, previously time-consuming tasks may take less time.

The tech giant announced it will integrate AI into its systems at Apple's WWDC event on Monday. The CEO and other executives detailed a number of AI features that will be available on Apple devices with its latest software.

Some of the updates include a new and improved Siri with better language understanding and text capabilities, integration across apps, systemwide Writing Tools, and a revamped Photos app that organizes photos into different categories.

Apple also announced its partnership with OpenAI, which will allow users to opt into a ChatGPT-powered Siri. The AI chatbot is known to help people be more productive and get tasks done quicker.

Cook added that Apple has never been motivated to have people spend their lives on their devices. The CEO has made similar comments before, saying that people need to focus more on the people in the room with them.

"Our model is not one that needs engagement to succeed," Cook said in the interview. "Our model is one that where we want to empower you to be able to do things that you couldn't do otherwise."

Apple has added several features to the iPhone that raise awareness of how much time consumers spend on their devices and which help make their usage more intentional.

Features like Screen Time track how much time you spend on your iPhone and put it "a bit in your face," Cook said. The CEO said last year in an interview with GQ that he monitors his Screen Time "religiously." The CEO also mentioned Focus settings, which allow consumers to silence their phones or only receive specific notifications.

Cook said Apple is homed in on giving consumers tools to do "incredible things" that they couldn't do otherwise.

"That's what motivates us," Cook said.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment ahead of publication.

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25. Sorry Grimace, McDonald's doesn't care about your birthday this year15:48[-/+]
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A closeup of Grimace, a McDonald's character.
McDonald's made a huge deal out of Grimace's birthday in 2023. This year, he didn't even get a cake.

PRNewswire/McDonald's USA LLC

  • McDonald's didn't care about Grimace's birthday this year.
  • Grimace didn't get a happy birthday post on the chain's Instagram or TikTok and his special purple shake hasn't returned to US menus.
  • Fans are sad. They want to slurp his shake and pretend to die again.

After spoiling him rotten last year, McDonald's has completely ignored Grimace's birthday in 2024.

The McDonald's mascot made a comeback in 2023 when the burger giant released a limited-edition Grimace Shake to celebrate his birthday on June 12.

The fuzzy purple blob, believed by some to be a taste bud or a milkshake, became an internet sensation as TikTokers posted videos of themselves pretending to be injured or even dying after drinking the shake.

The trend generated huge buzz for McDonald's, which sold the shake as part of the Grimace Birthday Meal. The mascot's 52nd birthday celebrations appeared in a number of social media posts by the chain in June and July, before McDonald's said that it was "time to say goodbye" on July 5.

Since then, Grimace has barely appeared on McDonald's social media. It was his birthday again on Wednesday, and the chain was completely silent.

The Grimace Shake is back on menus in Canada, but Americans have been left empty-handed.

Fans are confused and upset. They've been commenting on McDonald's latest Instagram post, which promotes its Grandma McFlurry, to ask whether the Grimace Shake is returning. On TikTok, dozens commented on McDonald's most recent video on Thursday to wish the mascot a happy birthday.

McDonald's reaped the success of Grimace's birthday promotion last year, with Gen Zs scrambling to get their hands on his birthday shake so they could join in the viral trend.

"It quickly became one of our most socially engaging campaigns of all time with millions of reactions on our social media posts, a true demonstration of how the power of our brand emerges in organic and creative ways in our fans," McDonald's CFO Ian Borden told investors last year. "It contributed to the strong double-digit comparable sales growth for the quarter in the US."

If McDonald's was hoping it could replicate the success of the Grimace Shake with this summer's Grandma McFlurry — which also plays on feelings of nostalgia — then it's got another thing coming.

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26. We finally have some evidence that California's new $20 fast food wage is hurting business15:45[-/+]
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A worker helps a customer at a Burger King restaurant on May 08, 2024 in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Foot traffic to fast-food chains in California fell in April and May, new data shows.
  • McDonald's and Burger King were among the chains to see visits fall.
  • These chains are among those to ahev raised prices to offset the new minimum wage in the state.

Foot traffic to McDonald's, Burger King, and In-N-Out Burger restaurants in California appeared to fall in the weeks after they raised prices to offset the state's new $20 minimum wage for workers at limited-service restaurants, new data shows.

Since April, year-over-year visit trends to fast-food chains in the Golden State have lagged behind national trends, suggesting that diners could be put off by the higher menu prices, per data from, which tracks foot traffic analytics.

"It's clear that the menu price increase is having an impact," R.J. Hottovy,'s head of analytical research, wrote in a report.

According to the data, the year-over-year change in the number of visits to fast-food chains in California across February and March was slightly higher than the national average.

"However, this abruptly shifted when the minimum wage increase went into effect," Hottovy wrote in the report, noting that traffic to fast-food chains in California had been weaker than the national average in seven of the eight weeks in April and May.

Restaurants raised prices to offset the new wage

California raised its minimum wage for workers at limited-service restaurants to $20 an hour on April 1.

The legislation applies to chains with at least 60 locations nationwide and has faced fierce opposition from the fast-food industry.

To offset their higher labor costs, restaurants have raised prices, turned to technology and automation like order kiosks, and considered reducing their opening hours. Some pizza restaurants have even laid off delivery workers.

Year-over-year visits to McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's restaurants in California trended well behind the chains' national averages in April and May, according to's data. Jack in the Box and In-N-Out also underperformed on foot traffic in California compared to their national averages, per the data.

A Jack in the Box spokesperson previously told Business Insider that at its company-owned locations in California, it had raised menu prices by between 6% and 8% in response to the minimum wage change. In-N-Out told KTVU that it had raised prices "incrementally" on April 1.

The data has to be taken with a pinch of salt, however.

After all, it only measures footfall, not delivery orders or the size of in-person orders. And there could be other factors, other than menu price increases, deterring diners.

But's research indicates that the legislation does appear to be having at least some impact on the number of customers visiting fast-food spots in the state, especially when restaurant chains are cagey about sharing their own data showing the effects of their price hikes.

The legislation was introduced to help workers cope with the state's rising living costs, though many fast-food franchisees have questioned why the wage only applies to their industry. Some fast-food executives, however, say it could make jobs in the industry more desirable and mean they have better-quality candidates.

Californian residents are divided: Some acknowledge that fast food is a tough gig and support the new minimum wage, while others say it will push prices up too much.

Are you a fast-food worker, franchisee, or restaurant manager in California? Email this reporter at

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27. Trump's Boeing 757 isn't the perfect private jet, but it's perfect for him15:43[-/+]
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Donald Trump's Boeing 757-200 private jet flying over the Pacific Airshow in Huntington Beach on Friday, September 29, 2023,
Donald Trump's Boeing 757-200 private jet.

MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images/Getty Images

  • The flagship of Donald Trump's private jet fleet is a Boeing 757-200.
  • Trump's Boeing 757 is a 30-year-old airliner converted for use as a private jet.
  • It's not the most efficient private jet, but it's the perfect flying billboard for the former president.

Whether you love or hate him, there is no arguing Donald Trump's taste in private jets is fantastic. That's because his current flagship is a Boeing 757-200 airliner converted for VIP use.

The 757 is an aircraft without equal. Since its launch in 1982, it's been one of the most capable, versatile, and respected aircraft in the skies.

However, Trump's retrofit of the airliner as a business jet has recently been questioned in an article that turned its nose up at the plane, calling it "crappy" and "dilapidated."

While the article did make some good points — purpose-built business jets have more comfortable cabin pressure and can operate out of smaller airports — the author's disdain for its owner, whom I'm ambivalent toward, bled over into an unnecessarily harsh characterization of the plane.

There's a common saying in the business aviation industry. The private jet isn't a luxury; it's a time machine. The point of a private jet is to save its occupant time and increase their productivity. Time is money, and the time saved by flying private instead of commercial is worth more than the extra cost.

From that perspective, the 757 is probably not the most cost-effective or efficient corporate jet for a globetrotting business mogul. The jet burned through $2.6 million in fuel from 2023 to 2024.

Bombardier Global 7500 Demonstration Aircraft — Dubai Airshow 2021
A Bombardier Global 7500 is more efficient and has better range than a Boeing 757.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

A purpose-built Gulfstream or Bombardier Global are certainly better options. Both are newer, more efficient, and have the range to reach pretty much any destination in the world.

But neither can match the sheer presence and drama of arriving at a destination in a VIP airliner. And they don't look nearly as good behind a campaign stage.

And for a consummate self-promoter like the Donald, there's no better private jet than a three-story tall, 155-foot long, flying billboard covered in the Trump logo.

The marketing and brand value created by the flying billboard trumps the added cost of operating a decades-old airliner, equipped with two bedrooms and a dining room, all lined in 24k gold.

In fact, Trump once said in a documentary that "the plane is very much an extension of the Trump brand," The New York Times reported in 2016.

The jet, dubbed Trump Force One, has been a fixture at campaign stops ahead of the 2016 and 2024 presidential elections.

Trump Boeing 757
The aircraft is regularly the backdrop of Trump's rallies.

Gene J. Puska/AP

Trump acquired the 757, registration N757AF, from the late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen in 2010 to replace his older Boeing 727.

N757AF was originally delivered to the defunct Danish low-cost carrier Sterling Airlines in May 1991. It also briefly flew for the defunct Mexican airline TAESA before the tech billionaire picked it up in 1995.

Even though the aircraft is now well into its 30s, older, well-maintained planes can operate safely and effectively at that age. In fact, according to, plenty of 757s older than Taylor Swift, born in 1989, are in regular service with airlines and cargo operators like DHL, FedEx, and Delta.

Trump's 757 spent nearly a year in the hangar, receiving a full refurbishment and a new paint job before returning to service in late 2022.

The old and new paint jobs on Trump's Boeing 757 private jet.
The old (top) and new (bottom) paint jobs on Trump's Boeing 757 private jet.

John Minchillo/AP, James Devaney/GC Images

Trump isn't alone in his preference for the VIP airliner, and his 757 is far from the biggest or most over-the-top.

Rapper Drake flies around in an even larger VIP airliner, a 1996 Boeing 767-200 widebody.

The Qatari and Saudi Royal Families both operate private Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

As an airliner, the 757 was a true tweener in Boeing's lineup, a twin-engine, narrow-body airliner that's bigger than your run-of-the-mill 737 but smaller than a widebody like the 787 Dreamliner.

Trump onboard his Boeing 757 private jet.
Trump onboard his Boeing 757 private jet.

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images

In airline service, the 757-200 has the range and performance to easily brave the headwinds across the Atlantic on long-haul flights from Paris to New York. As a narrow body, it'll happily shuttle passengers on 45-minute flights to smaller airports that don't have the infrastructure to support a widebody.

But what stands out the most about the Boeing 757 is that it's the muscle car of the airline world.

With power from a pair of massively powerful Rolls-Royce RB211 (or Pratt & Whitney PW2000) turbofan engines, each producing upwards of 40,000 lbs of thrust, the Boeing 757 has developed a reputation among pilots for being an aircraft with the grunt to take off from airports in hot weather or at high elevation that would sideline many of its more modern rivals.

Trump's Boeing 757.
Trump's Boeing 757 before receiving a new livery in 2022.

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images

But the 757's power and versatility that helped it stand out from the crowd also doomed it. Even during its heyday in the 1980s and '90s, it was ahead of its time and was arguably much more airplane than most airlines needed.

By the early 2000s, a smaller and less capable Boeing 737 or Airbus A321 could handle most of the 757's duties at a lower price.

The availability of cheaper, more efficient alternatives, coupled with sky-high oil prices during the years following 9/11 and an airline industry on financial life support, meant the 757 was a non-starter for carriers.

After years without landing a new order for the plane, Boeing discontinued the 757 in 2004. In total, 1,050 Boeing 757s were produced over 22 years.

The final 757 rolled out of Boeing's Renton, WA factory in October 2004. The aircraft was delivered to Shanghai Airlines in April 2005 and now flies for Delta Air Lines as N823DX.

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28. Donald Trump and Hunter Biden's convictions may have damaged the reputation of the US for good15:43[-/+]
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A composite image of Joe and Hunter Biden and Donald Trump wearing a "make America great again" cap.
Joe and Hunter Biden on Tuesday and Donald Trump at a campaign event on Sunday.

REUTERS/Anna Rose Layden, REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

  • Hunter Biden and Donald Trump's convictions may have damaged the US's global brand.
  • Andrew Payne, a foreign-policy expert, says they undermine the US's status as a democratic system.
  • He says Joe Biden's non-pardon of his son may benefit his campaign, but US credibility has been hurt.

The US's reputation is in tatters, regardless of who takes the Oval Office in January, an expert in foreign policy says.

With criminal convictions on both sides of the election campaign, it's a lose-lose situation, says Andrew Payne, the author of "War on the Ballot: How the Election Cycle Shapes Presidential Decision-Making in War."

On Tuesday, Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden was found guilty of three federal charges related to the purchase of a gun while he was using illegal drugs.

His conviction came less than two weeks after Donald Trump was found guilty of 34 counts related to falsifying business records before the general election in 2016.

Hunter Biden was the first child of a sitting president to be criminally convicted, while Trump was the first US president to be criminally convicted.

Speaking to Business Insider, Payne said the historic convictions had "significantly damaged" the US's reputation on the world stage.

The election won't help save the US's reputation

The presidential candidates had contrasting reactions to each conviction. While Trump told reporters his trial was "rigged," Joe Biden said he'd accept the outcome of his son's legal woes.

Trump used the publicity from his trial to capitalize on fundraising opportunities. Shortly after his guilty verdict was announced, his donor website crashed, a spokesperson wrote on X.

Trump and Biden at a presidential debate.
Trump and Joe Biden at a presidential debate in 2020.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A person with knowledge of the Trump campaign who spoke to The New York Times said the campaign had hoped Hunter Biden would be acquitted during his trial, as it would prove the narrative that Trump was a victim of political persecution — and would probably raise millions of dollars from supporters.

John Zogby, a veteran pollster, told The Guardian that Hunter Biden's guilty verdict could be a "marginal political gain" for the president and that his decision not to pardon his son would be seen positively.

"It pulls the rug out from under that Republican argument that the justice system is rigged against Republicans to get Trump," Zogby said, adding, "A Biden did not get a pass."

Hunter Biden's conviction might be slightly beneficial to his father's campaign, Zogby said, though it wouldn't "move mountains."

Payne said that in contrast, it was likely to further damage the US's reputation, which took a significant hit when Trump was convicted.

"It is hardly a ringing endorsement of the health of democracy in the United States that allegations of the politicization of the judicial system or questions about candidates' commitment to the rule of law feature so prominently in the campaign," Payne said.

If Joe Biden were to be elected, he might attempt to rebuild the US as "an example of a country where no one is above the law," Payne said. But as the president's approval rating reached a record low this week, his future in The White House is unknown.

On Monday, FiveThirtyEight's weighted tracker recorded a 37.4% approval rating for Joe Biden, compared with 41.6% for Trump. Neither candidate is considered hugely popular, with an April Pew Research Centre survey suggesting that 49% of voters would replace both candidates if they could.

This makes the upcoming election particularly difficult to call.

"Even if Trump isn't elected, when you have one of the two major presidential candidates and someone who is a former president who carries a criminal conviction, it kind of undermines your case that the democratic system is superior," Payne said.

"So there's a big undermining of the US brand, irrespective of whoever is elected in November," he added.

Representatives for The White House and the respective Biden and Trump campaigns didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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29. Kanthony may return in 'Bridgerton' season 4. 3 clues suggest they could be around for a long time.15:21[-/+]
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Jonathan Bailey as Anthony and Simone Ashley as Kate on season three, episode one of "Bridgerton."
Jonathan Bailey as Anthony and Simone Ashley as Kate on season three, episode one of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

  • Kate and Anthony were the center of season two, but absent for half of "Bridgerton" season three.
  • Simone Ashley, who plays Kate, told reporters recently that she will return in season four.
  • Here are the other reasons we think Kanthony will return in future seasons.

Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for "Bridgerton" season three and the novel "The Viscount Who Loved Me."

"Bridgerton" fan-favorites Kate and Anthony may return after their sudden exit in season three, and certain clues suggest the characters could be around for a while yet.

After a turbulent love journey in season two, Kate (Simone Ashley) and Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) experience a blissful romance in season three, including a few steamy sex scenes.

However, the doting couple is still in their honeymoon era and keeps leaving London on sudden trips.

In season three, episode one, they go back on their honeymoon and do not appear in the remaining episodes of part one, upsetting many Kanthony fans.

Kate & Anthony only appearing in one episode of the first half of Bridgerton

— Lawg0d (parody) (@shoshpd) May 17, 2024

In part two, they return to London because Kate is pregnant. They stay for three episodes before deciding to leave again to go to Kate's home country, India, so she can give birth to their child. Kate wants to revisit her home, and Anthony wants their child to experience India.

After a discussion about leaving, they are not seen in the season three finale, and Francesca, one of Anthony's siblings, reveals they have already left for India.

For a moment, this seemed like an attempt to write off the characters so that Ashley and Bailey could leave the show.

But, on Wednesday, Ashley told reporter Josh Rom at the UK "Bridgerton" season three screening that she plans to return for season four.

"Kate Sharma is here to stay," she said.

Bailey has not commented yet if he will also return.

Representatives for Netflix did not immediately respond to a comment request from Business Insider.

Despite "Bridgerton" being one of the most-watched Netflix series and a launchpad for many aspiring British actors, the series has struggled to keep former leads.

Rege-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor, who played the leading couple of the first season, both left the series. Francesca Bridgerton also had to be recast ahead of season three after Ruby Stokes left to star in another Netflix series.

Though "Bridgerton" changes its lead characters each season, it is still an ensemble show, and fans are often curious about what happens to their favorite characters after they've married.

However, we think Kate and Anthony may be the few leads to stick around for future seasons. Here's why.

Anthony and Kate Bridgerton have four children in the book series.
Kate and Anthony in "Bridgerton" season three, episode one.
Kate (Simone Ashley) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) Bridgerton in "Bridgerton" season three, episode one.


In the book series that "Bridgerton" is based on, written by Julia Quinn, Kate and Anthony have four children after their marriage: Edmund, Miles, Charlotte, and Mary. According to a family tree on Quinn's website, Edmund, the first child, is born a year after their wedding.

In "Bridgerton" season three, part two, Kate is pregnant with her first child, but we never see her give birth or the baby.

But there's still hope — both actors want to see a Kanthony baby, too.

Bailey told the Wrap in 2022: "And I just can't wait for him to have a baby. Baby Edmund is the first that's to come, if it's according to the books. But maybe they'll have octuplets or something. Maybe they'll flip it on its head."

Meanwhile, Ashley told IMDB in 2022: "I'd love to see them have a baby, to put it simply. And maybe that'll happen. Maybe it won't, but hopefully it will."

Come on, Netflix. Give the people what they want.

Unlike Daphne and Simon, Kate and Anthony have a good reason to stick around.
daphne and simon dancing in bridgerton. daphne is wearing a sheer blue gown, her hair worn half up, and simon is wearing a shining waistcoast and black overcoat. they are looking intently into each others eyes
Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Rege-Jean Page) in "Bridgerton" season one.

Liam Daniel/Bridgerton

Kate and Anthony are now the Viscount and Viscountess of the Bridgerton family and will have to lead the family once they return from India.

This means Kate and Anthony have a bigger reason to stick around than the other characters who left. We can't leave out the couple that runs the Bridgertons in a show about the family.

Bailey told the Wrap that he'd also want to appear in the wedding scenes for the other Bridgerton actors.

"I'm going to be there for when I'm needed, but also, you know, there's no way I'm not going to be at the weddings of — from everyone from Claudia Jessie, and Luke Thompson, Luke Newts, down to Will Tilson and Florence Hunt," he said.

In season three, part two, Kate and Anthony did return for Colin Bridgerton's (Luke Newton) wedding but leave before Florence Bridgerton's (Hannah Dodd) wedding.

Kate and Anthony's departure seemed sudden, and it might have been because Bailey and Ashley were not able to be on set on the day the wedding was filmed.

Ashley also told IMDB: "I'm excited to see Kate become the viscountess and the head of the household. I think she has much to learn from Anthony, and there'll be two little partners doing it together."

Jonathan Bailey is very keen to continue playing Anthony Bridgerton despite getting other major roles.
The Bridgerton family (L-R): Gregory Bridgerton (Will Tilston), Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), Hyacinth Bridgerton (Florence Hunt), Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd), Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) and Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson).
The Bridgerton family.

Liam Daniel / Netflix

Since season two, Ashley and Bailey have been cast in new movies and TV series, which may complicate any return to "Bridgerton."

Bailey, especially, has had a busy year. He starred in the miniseries "Fellow Travelers," has a leading role in the upcoming two-part blockbuster musical "Wicked," made a cameo in "Heartstopper" season three, and was just cast as the lead in the next "Jurassic World" movie.

However, despite all this, Bailey found time to shoot scenes in "Bridgerton" season three. In November 2023, Bailey spoke on the SiriusXM show "Radio Andy" about how he filmed "Bridgerton" and "Fellow Travelers" simultaneously.

"I didn't have a day off, and it was that for 32 days," Bailey said, referring to flying between both sets to film the two series.

This may be more difficult as Bailey becomes a movie star, but the actor seems invested enough in "Bridgerton" to make an effort when he can.

We will likely have a better idea about Kate and Anthony's future when "Bridgerton" season four premieres. The season does not have a release date yet.

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30. Falling birth rates are freaking countries out and spawning dubious fixes like tax breaks, cheaper cars, and free surgery15:18[-/+]
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A graphic showing fertility rates on the decline.
Countries with declining fertility rates have experimented with novel solutions to try to get women to have more babies.

TanyaJoy/Getty Images

  • Countries are exploring innovative strategies to combat declining birth rates.
  • Cash incentives, medals, and even car subsidies are among the measures being adopted.
  • But experts say that no country seems to have found a workable solution.

As fertility rates decline across much of the world, countries are exploring innovative strategies to encourage women to have more babies.

Several demography experts told Business Insider that these involved lump sums of money, gold medals, and even tax breaks.

But none will be enough to solve the problem alone, they said.

Baby bonuses

Several countries have introduced so-called baby bonuses to combat declining fertility rates.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore offered one-time payments, and the "Baby Bonus Scheme" continues to provide cash incentives for Singaporean couples having children.

South Korea, which has the world's lowest fertility rate, runs an allowance system that gives parents with a newborn $750 a month until their baby turns 1 year old.

According to Bloomberg, the country is even considering a proposal to pay families about $70,000 to have children.

Local Chinese governments, meanwhile, offer one-time subsidies, often worth thousands of dollars, to encourage parents to have two or more children.

However, experts say that financial incentives alone are not a long-term solution.

Sarah Harper, a professor of gerontology and the director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, told BI that cash incentives encouraged a "mini baby boom, followed by a baby crash."

She added: "Those women who would have spread their childbearing across several years all go at the same time to get the cash bonus, and then there is a lull in childbearing."

Gold medals, tax breaks, and car subsidies

Other financial incentives include Kazakhstan's prize system for mothers with many children, inspired by the "mother heroine" honorary title from the Soviet era.

BBC WorkLife reported that mothers in the country received silver medals for six children, gold medals for seven or more, and a financial allowance for the rest of their lives.

In 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a similar program, offering a title and a lump sum of about $17,000 to Russian citizens with 10 or more children.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has also focused on boosting the fertility rate with financial perks.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a speech on a stage during Budapest's 2021 Demographic Summit.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.


Women in Hungary who become mothers under 30 or have four or more children receive a lifelong exemption from paying personal income tax.

Meanwhile, Hungarian families with three or more children receive subsidies for purchasing seven-seater cars, The Associated Press reported, and parents get loan deductions on their homes based on the number of children they have.

Trent MacNamara, a Texas A&M professor whose work has focused on fertility rates, told BI that the impact of financial incentives on fertility rates was uncertain and might lead to only modest gains.

"For example, if a government transferred new parents about 5% of the costs of raising a child, we could expect a roughly 5% bump in fertility," he said.

Generous leave and flexible working conditions

Financial incentives often have an underlying assumption that the cost of parenting is the main reason behind declining fertility rates.

However, Poh Lin Tan, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, told BI that "an amalgam of factors" pushes people to have fewer children.

In Singapore, these factors include people spending more time in education, changes to traditional family dynamics, and the conflict between building a family and a career, she said.

In 2023, Singapore attempted to address some underlying factors by doubling paid paternity leave to four weeks and increasing unpaid infant-care leave from six to 12 days annually for a child's first two years.

Scandinavian countries have gone even further.

Norway provides 49 weeks of parental leave with full pay, Finland offers seven months to each parent, and Sweden provides 240 days per parent of leave.

But Philip N. Cohen, a family demographer at the University of Maryland, told BI that these policies often have unintended effects.

He said that in some circumstances, parents don't end up having more kids; instead, they use generous leave provisions like paid time off and universal childcare to space out having fewer children so they benefit more.

Subsidized fertility treatments and vasectomy reversals

Cohen said that other strategies to increase fertility rates included countries like Israel offering free or heavily subsidized in vitro fertilization.

According to the American Economic Association, this may have also had an unintended consequence — leading Jewish Israeli women to delay getting married and having kids.

IVF process close-up
Some countries offer free or heavily subsidized treatments for in vitro fertilization.

Antonio Marquez lanza/Getty Images

Hungary also offers free IVF as part of its pronatalist policies, and Singapore and Japan offer significant subsidies.

However, a 2020 essay by Tan said the Japanese example showed that reproductive technologies were not a panacea for low fertility rates.

Japan has the world's highest percentage of babies born through IVF, yet it has one of the lowest fertility rates, she said.

South Korea also covers the costs of various reproductive-technology treatments, such as egg freezing.

More recently, Seoul's government made headlines with a proposal offering up to $730 each to 100 people to reverse their vasectomies or untie their tubes.

No magic bullet

Experts agreed that there's no easy solution to the fertility crisis.

"No government has discovered a policy that produces sustained bumps in fertility," MacNamara told BI, adding: "Plenty of bright people in wealthy countries have spent decades trying to figure this out without evident success."

He said that young people increasingly saw small families as the norm, which is a "really tough cycle to break."

Even if a "magic formula" were to be discovered, he added, it would need to be implemented carefully to avoid then promoting unsustainable population growth.

"Rapid growth would make it harder to scale back our present overconsumption of resources, including fossil fuels," he said.

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31. One of Russia's allies says it is quitting Putin's rival to NATO, in the latest snub to the Kremlin15:15[-/+]
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A head-and-shoulders view of Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, both in dark suits and looking in different directions, in Kazakhstan in October 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Kazakhstan in October 2022.

Dmitry Azarov/AP Photo

  • Armenia's prime minister said he's taking his country out of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
  • The CSTO, a military alliance of post-Soviet states, is considered Putin's answer to NATO.
  • But tensions have been growing, and this is only the latest clash among Russia's supposed allies.

A key Russian ally said it's quitting the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a group widely considered to be President Vladimir Putin's answer to NATO.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has repeatedly snubbed Russia, said in parliament Wednesday that he'd take his country out of the Moscow-led CSTO alliance, The Associated Press reported.

Pashinyan said his government would decide later when to make the move, according to the AP.

Experts previously told Business Insider that Putin founded the alliance — made up of Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan — as a rival to NATO and that he wanted to project power by leading a multinational body, despite most of the members not having notable militaries or large economies.

However, the plan seems to have backfired as tensions among the alliance have grown, especially since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Pashinyan's latest announcement is likely a huge blow to Putin.

The prime minister told lawmakers: "We will leave. We will decide when to leave. We won't come back. There is no other way."

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said Thursday that Russia "will continue to work with our Armenian friends" to clarify their position, the state-controlled Russian news agency TASS reported.

Peter Frankopan, an expert on Russian and Balkans history at Oxford University, told BI that while other CSTO countries would likely give a "shrug of the shoulders," Moscow would ultimately have a stronger response.

Moscow will likely see Armenia as trying "to be too big for small boots — so no doubt there will be repercussions in order to show the downsides of daring to stand up to Russia," he said, adding: "What those are, and when they play out, is a matter of guesswork."

In the immediate aftermath, Armenia's foreign minister denied Pashinyan said the country was withdrawing, in an apparent attempt to soften the diplomatic impact, the AP reported.

Tensions have heightened between Russia and Armenia since Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which Pashinyan has refused to endorse on multiple occasions.

Pashinyan said in June 2023 that his country was "not Russia's ally in the war with Ukraine" and that it felt trapped between Russia and the West.

Relations between Russia and other CSTO members have also become more strained since the invasion, with countries seeing how caught up Russia is in Ukraine — leaving some worried about how protected they are if attacked, experts previously told BI.

Pashinyan was also irked when Russian peacekeeping troops did not come to Armenia's aid last year when Azerbaijan attacked a separatist region that had been largely under the control of ethnic Armenians.

He had previously called the CSTO response to the conflict "depressing" and "hugely damaging to the CSTO's image both in our country and abroad."

Pashinyan raised that issue again on Wednesday, accusing unspecified CSTO countries of conspiring against Armenia in the conflict.

"It turned out that its members failed to fulfill their obligations under the treaty and planned the war against us alongside Azerbaijan," Pashinyan said, per the AP.

Frankopan said the latest development may not end with Armenia leaving the CSTO if negotiations take place.

"Talking about withdrawal can give a chance to course-correct for all sides, so it might be that we are seeing a round of shadowboxing, rather than something more definitive," he said.

But he added that an Armenian withdrawal would be "a long time coming," given the country's escalating complaints about Russia's leadership of the alliance.

Other recent Armenian snubs to Russia include the country joining the International Criminal Court in February, even though it has issued an arrest warrant for Putin.

Armenia froze its CSTO membership in February but until Wednesday had not clarified its position.

In June, at a meeting of CSTO member states' foreign ministers, Armenia was asked to clarify its membership status, with its foreign minister later saying only that he had "excellent personal relations" with the bloc's secretary-general.

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32. Everything to know about season 4 of 'Bridgerton' — including whose love story is up next15:14[-/+]
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The Bridgerton family (L-R): Gregory Bridgerton (Will Tilston), Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), Hyacinth Bridgerton (Florence Hunt), Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd), Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) and Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson).
The Bridgerton family.

Liam Daniel / Netflix

  • Season four of "Bridgerton" is in the works, and will likely arrive in 2026.
  • The next season will focus on Benedict Bridgerton's (Luke Thompson) love story.
  • Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan will reprise their roles as Colin and Penelope.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for season three of "Bridgerton."

"Bridgerton" fans have been patiently waiting, and Benedict Bridgerton's season is finally coming.

Season three of the Netflix series, centered on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington's (Nicola Coughlan) relationship, concluded with the release of part two on Thursday.

In giving Polin a happy ending, "Bridgerton" also heavily teased that Benedict, the second-eldest sibling, will get the main character treatment next season.

Here's everything we know about season four, so far.

Benedict's love story will be the focus of season 4

Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton on season three, episode one of "Bridgerton."
Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton on season three, episode one of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

On the season finale, as Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) prepares to head off to Scotland with Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd), John Stirling (Victor Alli), and Michaela (Masali Baduza), she tells Benedict that she'll only be gone until next year.

"Do you think Mama would ever let me miss her Masquerade Ball?" she says.

Benedict, still not ready to settle down, replies: "I will be there, hiding out behind a mask, avoiding eligible ladies like the plague."

That not-so-subtle moment was a nod to Benedict's novel "An Offer From a Gentleman," which is part of Julia Quinn's "Bridgerton" book series.

In the third, "Cinderella"-inspired book, Benedict meets a woman named Sophie Beckett at a masquerade ball. Unbeknownst to him, Sophie is a servant to a rude stepmother named Araminta Gunningworth. By the end of the book, they express their love for each other and get married.

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan will reprise their roles as Colin and Penelope Bridgerton in season 4

colin bridgerton and penelope featherington standing together at a ball, each holding goblets in their hands and wearing formal clothing
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan on season three of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Coughlan told TheWrap that she and Newton will return on season four, but they "don't know anything about it." Meanwhile, showrunner Jess Brownell told the publication that she'd like the pair to continue on the show beyond season four.

"We will definitely hope to bring them back in future seasons because I think there's more story there," she said.

Newton similarly told Teen Vogue that he's committed to being on the show indefinitely.

"I feel very invested in the show… like I said before, I just love the people," he said. "I love my job. I love my role in the show, so I can't see myself going anywhere. I just want to finish the stories off. I would say there's still stuff to get sorted in season four, so yeah, that's why I'm there."

Kanthony may also return in season 4

Simone Ashley as Kate and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony on the season three premiere of "Bridgerton."
Simone Ashley as Kate and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony on the season three premiere of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Kanthony fans have been wondering how long Kate (Simone Ashley) and Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) will stay in the show after season two.

Previous season leads have left after their story arc was done, but Anthony and Kate are the new heads of the Bridgerton household, which means they have to stick around.

In "Bridgerton" season three, Anthony and Kate show up in four episodes, often disappearing on trips around the world. The show writers likely did this to explain the characters' disappearance so Ashley and Bailey could take part in other projects.

In season three, episode seven, Anthony and Kate leave for a trip to India so Kate can visit her home and give birth to their first child. Though this looked like a convenient way to write the couple off the show, that may not be the case.

Ashley told reporter Josh Rom during a "Bridgerton" season three screening premiere on Wednesday that she will return for season four.

"Kate Sharma is here to stay," Ashley said.

It might be more tricky to bring back Bailey since he was just cast as the lead in the next "Jurassic World" movie. However, Bailey has not yet said he's leaving "Bridgerton."

'Bridgerton' season 4 won't come out until 2026.

Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton on season three, episode two of "Bridgerton."
Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton on season three, episode two of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

On Wednesday, "Bridgerton" showrunner Jess Brownell told The Hollywood Reporter that fans must wait two years for the next season.

"We are working to try and put the seasons out more quickly, but they do take eight months to film and then they have to be edited, and then they have to be dubbed into every language," Brownell said. "And the writing takes a very long time as well, so we're kind of on a two-year pace, we're trying to speed up but somewhere in that range."

Brownell added that the writers are nearly done with the season four scripts.

"I feel like it's some of my best work and my writers room's best work," Brownell said. "We've just really gelled our collaboration, and we're firing on all cylinders, so I can't wait for fans to see what we have."

In a season three finale post-mortem interview with Business Insider, Lady Danbury actor Adjoa Andoh said that filming for the new season is set to begin "sometime in the autumn."

This means that season four is likely to premiere at some point in 2026, but there is no confirmed release date yet.

All episodes of season three of "Bridgerton" are now streaming on Netflix.

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33. 'Bridgerton' star Adjoa Andoh is still hoping Lady Danbury finally gets her own love story in season 414:31[-/+]
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Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury and Daniel Francis as Lord Anderson on season three, episode six of "Bridgerton."
Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury and Daniel Francis as Lord Marcus Anderson on season three, episode six of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

  • "Bridgerton" star Adjoa Andoh said that she still hopes Lady Danbury finds love on the show.
  • Andoh said she'd be interested in seeing how a romance could challenge her character.
  • She also reacted to the season three finale's tease about which Bridgerton's love story will be told next.

Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for season three, part two of "Bridgerton."

Lady Agatha Danbury has an affinity for fresh gossip and a knack for molding society, but "Bridgerton" star Adjoa Andoh thinks it's about time for her character to have a love story of her own.

"Doesn't everybody want love in their life?" Andoh said in a recent interview with Business Insider. "When I talk to fans, a lot of fans are like, 'When is Lady Danbury going to get her moment in that sun?'"

Season three of "Bridgerton," which is focused on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington's (Nicola Coughlan) friends-to-lovers relationship, showcases a more vulnerable side of Andoh's powerful, witty, and commanding character.

The unexpected arrival of her brother, Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis), forces her to confront unresolved childhood grievances and grapple with his romantic interest in Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), one of her closest friends.

By the end of season three, Lady Danbury has mended her strained relationship with her sibling and voices her support for Lady Violet's exploration of her feelings for Marcus.

"But if he sours things between the two of you, I will pick you over him," Lady Danbury adds, emphasizing how much she values their friendship.

Daniel Francis as Lord Anderson, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, and Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton on season three, episode four of "Bridgerton."
Daniel Francis as Lord Anderson, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, and Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton on season three, episode four of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Andoh still wants a love story for Lady Danbury — and to interact with one particular actor more

Another season is already in the works, and Andoh said that filming will begin sometime in the fall. She also has some ideas in mind for her character's storyline.

The actor has been vocal in the past about wanting her character to experience some romance. With Lady Danbury's conflicts resolved, now would be a fitting time to explore the character navigating a new relationship after being single for so long.

"Here's someone who feels like they've got their life set in a certain way," Andoh said. "What happens if you put another personality into that? What happens if she suddenly is thinking about how she might accommodate another personality into that?"

"It's something that dynamic, self-contained women are challenged with all the time," she continued. "So I think it would be interesting to see."

"Anyway, that's above my pay grade," Andoh joked.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Bridgerton (nee Featherington) and Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury on the season three finale of "Bridgerton."
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Bridgerton (nee Featherington) and Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury on the season three finale of "Bridgerton."


Andoh also hopes that Lady Danbury and Penelope will have more screen time in the future, especially after sharing a rare and heartfelt scene during the finale. In Julia Quinn's "Bridgerton" book series, the two characters have a more prominent friendship, and Penelope even names her first child after Lady Danbury.

"I love Nic and I would love to have more interactions between the two of them because I do think they're both swimming in exactly the same pond, which is knowledge and how do you use knowledge to encourage yourself, protect yourself, make trades, make shifts in the general discourse, all of those things," Andoh said. "And she's a fabulous actor and a delight, so any moments that Danbury gets to hang out with Penelope will always be welcome."

Andoh is excited to see 'Bridgerton' season 4's lead step into the spotlight

Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton on season three, episode seven of "Bridgerton."
Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton on season three, episode seven of "Bridgerton."

Liam Daniel/Netflix

The season three finale teases that this show will bring Benedict Bridgerton's (Luke Thompson) love story to the forefront next, and Andoh couldn't be more thrilled.

"Lukey is a fabulous actor. In fact, I went up to see him Stratford-upon-Avon doing 'Love's Labour's Lost,' where he was marvelous," Andoh said. "And I think there's a mercurial quality to his Benedict, which is very Luke, and I love that. It's interesting, it's fascinating. It has its own song if you like, its own music. "

Given Lady Danbury's tendency to meddle in the lives of the town's young people, it's not a stretch to wonder if she'll be involved in the second-eldest Bridgerton's journey to find his wife.

"I'm really interested to see how that plays out in a romantic way because I think it will have its own particularity, which will be a very Benedict sort of style," Andoh said. "And anything that's mercurial is fascinating to Lady Danbury,"

"We know they have a little playful quality to their relationship," she continued. "I think there's a slight raised eyebrow with Benedict a lot of the time, and I think there is with Lady Danbury, and I think they could giggle across a room quite happily. So yeah, it's going to be good."

All episodes of season three of "Bridgerton" are now streaming on Netflix.

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34. Meet Gwynne Shotwell, the woman who really runs SpaceX for Elon Musk14:28[-/+]
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Gwynne Shotwell
Gwynne Shotwell is COO of SpaceX.

Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images

  • Gwynne Shotwell seems to run the show at Elon Musk's SpaceX.
  • She oversees most of the rocket company's central business, per an org chart from The Information.
  • Here's everything we know about the SpaceX president and COO.

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell appears to be calling the shots at Elon Musk's company.

While Musk is the CEO and public face of the aerospace company, Shotwell handles nearly every team internally, according to an org chart reviewed by The Information.

Shotwell has 21 direct reports to Musk's four and oversees most of SpaceX's central business, including the teams working on Starlink, Falcon, and Starship.

One former SpaceX employee, Vincent Peters, told Business Insider that Shotwell "is the singular most important person within SpaceX outside of Elon."

"She moves the needle for employee morale and customer confidence in SpaceX and serves as an azimuth within the company as priorities evolve," he added.

Shotwell was one of SpaceX's earliest employees. Here's everything we know about the powerful SpaceX president.

Early life

Shotwell was born in 1963 and raised in Illinois. She is the daughter of a brain surgeon and an artist and has two sisters, according to an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

An A-student in high school, she later gained an MSc in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from Northwestern University.

She told the LA Times she developed an early interest in machines. This evolved into a career in the automotive field before moving into the aerospace industry.

One of the first SpaceX employees

Shotwell was the 11th person hired by SpaceX.

She joined the company in 2002 as vice president of business development following a stint at spacecraft developer Microcosm.

Shotwell told the LA Times in 2013: "I knew early on if these guys [at SpaceX] couldn't make it in the space industry, nobody will. If we hadn't achieved success, I was willing to leave the aerospace industry altogether and go sell real estate or something. Fortunately, that didn't happen."

Over her 22 years at SpaceX, Shotwell has risen through the ranks to become COO and president, making her one of the most important figures.

SpaceX building in Florida
A SpaceX facility in Florida.

Eva Marie Uzcategui

Secret to SpaceX's success

Shotwell has long been rumored to pull the strings at SpaceX.

For much of her time at the company, she has overseen its operations and sales while Musk has focused on developing the technology. Investors have praised the pair's partnership and credit it with much of SpaceX's success.

Peters, founder of Inheritance AI, told BI that Shotwell was the "cornerstone of consistency and continuity at SpaceX" amid "Elon's involvement in his entities outside of SpaceX."

He said Shotwell's leadership style was "between transformational leadership and democratic leadership," adding she was extremely approachable to all employees.

SpaceX has about 13,000 employees in California, Texas, and Florida.

The COO has 21 direct reports, while Musk has only four. Shotwell also oversees most of SpaceX's central business, including the teams working on Starlink, Falcon, and Starship.

According to Forbes, Shotwell has an estimated stake in SpaceX of less than 1%.

It seems she enjoys getting hands-on at times:

Astronaut and personnel safety is SpaceX’s highest priority, which is why I had to personally test the new slide ?

— Gwynne Shotwell (@Gwynne_Shotwell) March 20, 2024

Relationship with Elon Musk

Shotwell has said she enjoys working for Musk and previously praised the billionaire's management style.

"I love working for Elon," she said in a 2018 TED Talk.

"He's funny, and fundamentally, without him saying anything, he drives you to do your best work. He doesn't have to say a word. You just want to do great work," she told the audience.

Elon Musk SpaceX
Elon Musk near a Falcon 9 rocket at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California in 2018.

David McNew/Getty Images

Shotwell has come to Musk's defense on numerous occasions, most recently over claims about his conduct with female SpaceX workers.

In response to some of the claims in a Wall Street Journal report, she said: "I continue to be amazed by what this extraordinary group of people are achieving every day, even amidst all the forces acting against us. And Elon is one of the best humans I know."

Shotwell was also mentioned in the Journal report after one employee claimed the COO had accused her of having an affair with her husband.

Representatives for SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

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35. Ariana Grande says Nickelodeon told child stars innuendos were 'cool' as she breaks silence on 'Quiet on Set'14:27[-/+]
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Ariana Grande at the 2024 Met Gala.
Ariana Grande at the 2024 Met Gala.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

  • Ariana Grande said Nickelodeon told the "Victorious" cast that inappropriate innuendos were "cool."
  • The singer and actor spoke on "Podcrushed" about her experiences as a child star on the show.
  • It's the first time Grande has opened up about Nickelodeon since the release of "Quiet on Set."

Ariana Grande said that Nickelodeon producers told the cast of "Victorious" that the innuendos they filmed as child actors were "cool."

It's the first time that the singer has opened up about her experiences on the series after the documentary "Quiet on Set" exposed some of the inappropriate behavior that went on at the kids' network in the 1990s and 2000s.

Most notably, "Drake and Josh" actor Drake Bell shared that he was sexually assaulted by Nickelodeon dialogue coach Brian Peck in the early 2000s.

Nickelodeon told Deadline in March: "Now that Drake Bell has disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward."

The documentary, which was released earlier this year, sent ripples through the entertainment industry, forcing audiences and actors alike to reevaluate whether certain scenes in kids' TV shows at the time were appropriate.

"Quiet on Set" highlighted how shows such as "Victorious" included scenes where child stars acted out scenes featuring sexual innuendos.

When speaking to Penn Badgley on Wednesday's "Podcrushed," Grande said that she was "reprocessing" her time on "Victorious."

Without referring to a particular scene or joke, Grande said: "Speaking specifically about our show, I think that was something that we were convinced was the cool thing about us. We pushed the envelope with our humor, and the innuendos were like… We were told and convinced that it was the cool differentiation.

"It just all happened so quickly, and now, looking back on some of the clips, I'm like, 'Damn, really? Oh shit.' I think about if I had a daughter."

She went on: "There's also a strange pattern that occurs where it's really taken advantage of how much it means to the young performer to get a laugh from video village," Grande said. "You're like, 'Oh shit. I'm doing something great. This is funny. This is good!'"

Grande then claimed that "so many adults" had to approve all the scenes in the show, which chimes with the wider issues Nickelodeon at the time that were explored in "Quiet on Set."

The singer also said that there's been a "cultural shift" in society in the last decade toward people feeling more able and empowered to come forward about negative workplace experiences, not just in the film and television industry.

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

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36. Tesla could come out on top after the EU cracks down on Chinese EVs14:22[-/+]
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Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

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  • Europe is cracking down on EVs coming from China, imposing new tariffs on imports.
  • Tesla is reportedly lobbying for a lower rate of tariffs.
  • The European Commission has confirmed it is exploring Tesla's request.

Elon Musk might be about to outmaneuver Tesla's Chinese EV rivals in Europe.

The European Commission confirmed Wednesday that Tesla — which manufactures EVs for the European market at its Shanghai gigafactory — may receive its own special rate of tariffs.

The Musk-run automaker had lobbied for a lower tariff rate than its Chinese rivals, according to Bloomberg, pointing out that it had received fewer state subsidies from the Chinese government than companies like BYD and Geely.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told CNBC looking at the subsidies Tesla has received in China "may lead indeed to different level of countervailing duties." It's unclear if Tesla would benefit overall as the tariffs will likely be relative to the subsidies it has received.

It comes as Tesla warns customers in Europe that it may have to hike prices of the Model 3, which is manufactured in China, as a result of the tariffs.

Business Insider contacted Tesla and the European Commission for further comment but didn't immediately hear back.

The EV giant does have a gigafactory in Germany, where it builds Model Ys, but it imports its Model 3 sedan into the EU from China.

Tesla imported more EVs into Europe than anyone else last year, shipping in 171,000 cars compared to Chinese rival SAIC Motor's 118,000, according to HSBC data reported by Bloomberg.

The EU announced a new barrage of taxes on China-made electric vehicles on Wednesday, after provisionally concluding that the amount of money China has poured into its EV industry gave China-based companies an unfair advantage.

Warren Buffett-backed BYD, which briefly overtook Tesla as the world's largest EV producer earlier this year, was hit with a 17.4% import tax, while Geely and SAIC Motor were hit with rates of 20% and 38.1%, respectively.

Other China-based firms cooperating with the EU's investigation will face a 21% duty, while those that refused, will be hit with a 38% tariff. These new tariffs are on top of the EU's existing 10% duty on imported EVs.

Tesla has been manufacturing in its Shanghai gigafactory since 2019, and has benefited from Chinese government subsidies meant to boost the country's EV market.

In 2022, it received the second highest amount of subsidies for the production of its EVs behind BYD, according to Bloomberg analysis of industry data.

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37. CD and Savings Rates Today: Supercharge Your Savings13:38[-/+]
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The offers and details on this page may have updated or changed since the time of publication. See our article on Business Insider for current information.

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us and terms apply to offers listed (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate banking products to write unbiased product reviews.

Banks are fighting for customer dollars right now, and people with cash to spare are well-positioned to benefit from a high rate environment. With rates rapidly changing, how can you feel confident that you're getting the best savings account or best CD?

We monitor rates from banks and credit unions daily to help you feel confident before you open a new account. Experts don't expect CD rates to go up in 2024, so now could be a great time to lock in a rate if you're ready. Here are the top rates for popular savings accounts and CDs on Thursday, June 13.

Featured Nationally Available Savings Rates

Account NameAPY (Annual Percentage Yield) Accurate as of 6/12/2024Minimum Account Opening Balance
Western Alliance Bank High-Yield Savings Premier5.36%$500
BrioDirect High-Yield Savings Account5.30%$5,000
Forbright Growth Savings5.30%$0
CIT Bank Platinum Savings5.00% (with $5,000 minimum balance)$100
Capital One 360 Performance Savings4.25%$0

Featured Nationally Available CD Rates

Account NameAPY (Annual Percentage Yield) Accurate as of 6/12/2024Minimum Account Opening Balance
Barclays 1 Year Online CD5.00%$0
Banc of California 3 Month CD, powered by Raisin5.34%$1
Barclays 6 Month Online CD4.85%$0
SkyOne Federal Credit Union 1 Year No Penalty CD4.75%$1
Discover 18 Month CD4.40%$2,500
Bread Savings 2 Year High-Yield CD4.65%$1,500
Quontic 5 Year CD4.30%$500

Savings Account Bonus

Alliant High-Rate Savings Account

Earn a $100 bonus when you deposit at least $100 a month for 12 consecutive months and have a balance of $1,200 or more at the end of the 12-calendar-month period (offer expires December 31, 2024).

See more savings account bonuses »

Leading Checking & Savings Combo Account Bonus

SoFi Checking and Savings

Earn up to $300 with qualifying direct deposit for eligible customers (offer expires 12/31/24). Earn up to 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) with direct deposit.

See more bank account bonuses »

About High-Yield Accounts

High-yield savings accounts aren't the only accounts paying favorable rates right now. You'll typically see the highest rates at online or lower-profile institutions rather than national brands with a significant brick-and-mortar presence. This is normal; online banks have lower overhead costs and are willing to pay high rates to attract new customers.

High-Yield Savings Accounts

The best high-yield savings accounts provide the security of a savings account with the added bonus of a high APY. Savings accounts are held at a bank or credit union — not invested through a brokerage account — and are best for saving cash in pursuit of shorter-term goals, like a vacation or big purchase.

High-Yield Checking Accounts

The best high-yield checking accounts tend to pay slightly lower rates than high-yield savings, but even they are strong in today's rate environment. A checking account is like a hub for your money: If your paycheck is direct deposited, it's typically to a checking account. If you transfer money to pay a bill, you typically do it from a checking account. Checking accounts are used for everyday spending and usually come with checks and/or debit cards to make that easy.

Money Market Accounts

The best money market accounts could be considered a middle ground between checking and savings: They are used for saving money but typically provide easy access to your account through checks or a debit card. They usually offer a tiered interest rate depending on your balance.

Cash Management Accounts

A cash management account is also like a savings/checking hybrid. You'll generally see them offered by online banks, and, unlike a checking account, they usually offer unlimited transfers. A savings account often limits the number of monthly transfers, while a checking account doesn't. Cash management accounts typically come with a debit card for easy access, but you may have to pay a fee if you want to deposit cash.

Certificates of Deposit

The best CD rates may outpace any of the other accounts we've described above. That's because a certificate of deposit requires you to "lock in" your money for a predetermined amount of time ranging from three months to five years. To retrieve it before then, you'll pay a penalty (unless you opt for one of the best no-penalty CDs). The longer you'll let the bank hold your money, the higher rate you'll get. CD rates aren't variable; the rate you get upon depositing your money is the rate you'll get for the length of your term.

About CD Terms

Locking your money into an account in exchange for a higher interest rate can be a big decision. Here's what you need to know about common CD terms.

No-Penalty CDs

Most CDs charge you a fee if you need to withdraw money from your account before the term ends. But with a no-penalty CD, you won't have to pay an early withdrawal penalty. The best no-penalty CDs will offer rates slightly higher than the best high-yield savings accounts, and can offer a substantially improved interest rate over traditional brick-and-mortar savings accounts.

6-Month CDs

The best 6-month CDs are offering interest rates in the mid-5% range. Six-month CDs are best for those who are looking for elevated rates on their savings for short-term gains, but are uncomfortable having limited access to their cash in the long term. These can be a good option for those who may just be getting started with saving, or who don't have a large emergency fund for unexpected expenses.

1-Year CDs

The best 1-year CDs tend to offer some of the top CD rates, and are a popular option for many investors. A 1-year term can be an attractive option for someone building a CD ladder, or for someone who has a reasonable cash safety net but is still concerned about long-term expenses.

2-Year CDs

The best 2-year CD rates will be slightly lower than 1-year and no-penalty CD rates. In exchange for a longer lock-in period, investors receive a long-term commitment for a specific rate. These are best used as part of a CD ladder strategy, or for those worried about a declining rate market in the foreseeable future.

3-Year CDs

The best 3-year CDs tend to have rates that are comparable to 2-year CDs. These are usually less popular for your average investor, but can be an important lever when diversifying investments and hedging against the risk of unfavorable rate markets in the long term.

5-Year CDs

The best 5-year CDs will offer lower rates than the other terms on our list, but are still popular options for investors. These CDs are best for those looking to lock in high rates for the long term. CDs are generally viewed as safe investment vehicles, and securing a favorable rate can yield considerable earnings in year three and beyond — even if rates fall elsewhere.

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38. South Africa's cash giveaway plan is not universal basic income, experts say13:24[-/+]
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south african rand
Nelson Mandela features on the 100 rand note.

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  • A South African policy proposal is being hailed as the first national universal basic income plan.
  • However, experts say it's promising but would pay too little to too few people to be a true UBI program.
  • UBI champions say that only helping the poor can lead to payments being seen as welfare checks.

South Africa's top political party has proposed a social safety net that's been called the first national universal basic income (UBI) program. Experts say that's a gross exaggeration.

The African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela in the 1990s, recently outlined its plan to expand South Africa's Social Relief of Distress program. The temporary grants were rolled out during the pandemic to help struggling citizens meet basic needs.

The ANC, now in coalition talks after winning just 40% of the vote in recent national elections, said it would boost the value of payouts and expand the program to more vulnerable people including caregivers, the unemployed, and the precariously employed. It promised to finalize the policy within two years of being elected.

The party also suggested it could fund the program by introducing progressive taxes such as a social security tax, and emphasized it wouldn't replace existing welfare programs or public services. It also signaled it would increase payments and expand eligibility over time.

Cleo Goodman, the basic income lead at think tank Autonomy, told Business Insider that the ANC's proposal followed years of basic income advocates making their case through "pilots, research and widespread campaigning."

South Africa's civil society is also eager to expand the Social Relief of Distress grants to redistribute wealth, reduce poverty, stimulate the job market, and help people cover the costs of finding work, she said.

Goodman said that what began as an emergency pandemic response has "instigated a serious move towards providing genuine economic security, through an unconditional cash transfer system that approaches universality."

Too little money for too few people

Yet the ANC's plan doesn't truly qualify as a UBI program, which usually provides recurring cash payments to all adults in a population regardless of their wealth or employment status, and with no restrictions on how the money is spent.

"Despite the name, this proposal falls far short of a basic income," Karl Widerquist, a philosophy professor at Georgetown University-Qatar and the author of several books about UBI, told BI.

"The payments are too small; they are means-tested; and they are means-tested in a way that makes it hard for some of the neediest, eligible people to get the funds they are entitled to," he continued.

Widerquist also flagged the potential for a "poverty trap" where people could lose the entire grant once their income rises above a certain threshold, discouraging them from earning too much and knocking them back when their earnings improve.

Alexander township near in Johannesburg, South Africa
Alexander township near in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The writer and academic said the ANC's plans to extend the program are promising, but the initial proposal is only a "small step in the right direction."

He added that the timing "could be good or bad," as the ANC's coalition partners could hold it accountable for passing the policy if they support it, but if they oppose it then it "could easily fall by the wayside over the next few years."

It's not surprising to see the ANC propose a targeted poverty-alleviation program instead of a full UBI scheme. The former is cheaper, less radical, and likely to be more palatable to voters than handing cash to the wealthy — even if new taxes would make them net contributors.

But UBI proponents say that giving too little money to too few people doesn't effectively combat poverty, and can stigmatize the grants as welfare checks. A compromise scheme also fails to provide a safety net that allows people to take time to find the right job if they get laid off, and may not fully recognize the value of domestic labor such as child and elderly care either.

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39. Scientists share one easy swap you can start doing today that could help you live longer13:23[-/+]
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A man, sitting on a couch with a dog, points a remote control at a TV.
A new study suggested the more TV you watch, the worse your health in older age.

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  • People who watch lots of TV are more likely to be unhealthy as they age, a study found.
  • But swapping just an hour of TV for a walk could help you age better, the scientists said.
  • By 2050, 20% of the world's population is projected to be over 65, making healthy aging important.

Watching less TV might help you live longer, new research suggests.

Researchers from the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health investigated how sedentary behavior and light physical activity affected people's chances of aging healthily.

By 2050, 20% of the world's population is projected to be over 65, the researchers said. With this in mind, they wanted to identify lifestyle factors that could help people avoid problems associated with aging, such as chronic illnesses, cognitive decline, and physical limitations. The researchers defined healthy aging as being free of chronic diseases and problems with physical function, memory, or mental health at age 70.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Network Open on Tuesday. It used data collected across 20 years from 45,176 female participants of the Nurses' Health Study, an investigation into the risk factors of chronic diseases in women. Researchers compared the time participants spent watching TV and doing physical activity in an average week.

The team found that those who spent more time watching TV were less likely to age healthily. For every two hours participants spent watching TV, their odds of healthy aging decreased by 12%.

But the more time participants spent doing physical activity, the higher their odds of aging healthily. Every two hours of walking or standing they did each day was linked to a 12% higher chance of aging healthily. And the more intense the physical activity, the more their odds increased.

Even just replacing one hour of being sedentary while watching TV with one hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity — such as walking at a normal pace — each day was associated with 28% higher odds of healthy aging.

Watching less TV and walking more could help you live longer

From the study's findings, researchers identified four lifestyle factors that could help people become healthy: watching less than three hours of TV a day, walking or standing for at least three hours a day, doing at least 30 minutes a day of more intense activity like walking at a normal pace, and not being overweight.

They also found that participants who slept for fewer than seven hours each night could improve their odds of healthy aging by replacing TV time with sleep.

It's important to note that the findings of this study are not causal, meaning that researchers can't say for sure that watching TV causes unhealthy aging. But the researchers pointed out that sitting for long periods has been linked to reduced insulin sensitivity, increased inflammation, and reduced blood flow to the brain, while sitting in front of the TV specifically has been associated with unhealthy eating patterns, including overeating, which increases the risk of disease.

Since the study was done on a cohort of US nurses, the findings may not be the same for other demographics, the researchers added.

Professor Dan Belsky, an epidemiologist at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, told Business Insider that this study "contributes additional data" to findings that have been known for a long time, that "people who report being more active also report better health outcomes."

He said: "What is needed now are studies to identify community- and society-level strategies that enable more people to be more active."

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40. I put off having kids until my mid-30s because of my career and had 9 miscarriages. No one tells you how hard it is.13:22[-/+]
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Mother and son
Harriet Kelsall had her first child in her mid 30s after spending her 20s focused on her career.

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  • Harriet Kelsall spent her 20s and early 30s focused on building a successful jewellery business.
  • She started trying for kids at 34 after overcoming her fears about childcare options.
  • Kelsall has two healthy children, but experienced miscarriages and exhaustion as an older parent.

I've never been someone who was always thinking about kids, but I assumed I might want them someday.

I got married at 28. By 30, I was ready for kids, but I was also running my own business, Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, which I started at 27 in 1998.

My business grew quickly, and I had staff relying on me to pay their wages. When I thought about having kids in my late 20s, it didn't seem possible while running a business.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was 12. My friends and family with young kids were all stay-at-home moms and had the kind of jobs you could put down for a year and come back to.

I would need childcare from day one and couldn't understand what that would look like, so I kept putting kids off. I wondered if eventually I'd have to choose between my career and children.

We started trying for kids in our mid-30s

When I was 34, my husband and I decided to try for a baby. I was getting older. Speaking to a work friend who had juggled having kids and her full-on job made me realize I could handle it, too. I also started researching nannies and realized that was a feasible option.

I got pregnant quickly, but I had a miscarriage at four months. I thought maybe I'd left it too late and that I wouldn't be a mom. But I got pregnant again a few months later and had my first child when I was nearly 35.

I started working a week after my son was born

I started working again about a week after my son was born. At that point, there were certain things that only I could do for the business. I remember people coming to my house so that I could price gemstones and work on commissions. I had a screaming baby in one ear, and I was trying to hold it together while I worked. It was difficult, but I managed.

18 months after our son was born, we tried for another baby. We needed start trying before I got too much older, especially already experiencing one miscarriage. I also didn't want a huge age gap between my kids.

When I had my son, two colleagues stepped up in a way I hadn't anticipated. That made me feel more confident that my business could would work when I had a second child.

I started trying for a second child within two years

I kept getting pregnant and then losing the baby. I had eight miscarriages over three years. It was really hard and physically draining. Each time, I lost a lot of blood. Once, I had to have a transfusion of four units of blood.

It was tough juggling my business while going through a lot of emotional and physical pain. I didn't feel I could tell my staff about my miscarriages or lean on them for help. I had this false notion that as a female leader, I couldn't show weakness. I felt very lonely.

During that time, I had to find a lot of strength inside myself carry on. Even though I wanted my son to have a sibling, I remember thinking: "I have this amazing baby, and some people don't even have one, so I'm very lucky."

I didn't have time to wallow in the reality of what I was going through. My sister was also very supportive.

Having so many miscarriages meant that trying for a baby was getting scarier and scarier. At one point I thought "This is the last time we should try."

Thankfully, I then got pregnant with my second child, and she was born when I was 39.

It's physically more draining to have kids in your 30s

Getting pregnant and having two healthy kids when you're over the age of 35 is hard. Many people manage it, so it doesn't sound difficult, but unfortunately, not everybody can have kids later. You don't know if that will be you until you try.

I've also found that having kids in your mid- and late 30s is a real physical challenge. Even if you keep fit, the reality can be quite different.

Childbirth is draining on your body, and it takes a while to recover. Once you have a baby, you're tired all the time. In those early days, I felt like I'd done four hours of exercise each day.

My business might be bigger if I didn't have kids, but it's made me a better leader

If I hadn't had kids or so many miscarriages, it's possible my business might be further on. But I think parenthood can bring a lot to your work. It makes you a better leader and better at juggling things.

It bugs me people think when a woman goes on maternity leave, they're going to fall behind. Every woman I know who is brilliant comes back to work even more brilliant.

Making the leap

The unknown is scary so make a plan for how you're going to juggle your work when you have kids. Talk to your partner and research childcare options – finding a nanny, looking into costs to see if I could afford it, and finding out what hours they could do helped to reassure me.

My advice to others who are thinking about having children would be to make sure that your work is in a sustainable position. Think through all the ideal scenarios and what you'd want to avoid as a working parent — things like your location and working hours, and if what you need is possible.

I don't regret my choices. I love my amazing children and running my business.

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41. What it's like to live with just $23 a month in SNAP benefits: 'It barely covers one meal.'13:03[-/+]
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Millions of low-income families are on SNAP but struggle to afford the full cost of groceries.SDI Productions / Getty Images The average American household spends at least $475 a month on groceries. 40 million Americans are food insecure and SNAP benefits often don t provide enough financial help. With only $23 a month from SNAP, Mary Dacus is often reliant on food pantries. Mary Dacus, 69, fills her basket at Ruler Foods with the essentials. Three cans of SpaghettiOs for $1 each, a dozen eggs for $2.99, a half gallon of milk for $2.59. She adds bread, soup, potatoes, chili mix, graham crackers, cereal bars, clementines, toilet paper, some frozen vegetables, and canned chicken the fresh stuff is expensive. It comes to $83.02. Dacus goes shopping near her home in Robinson, Illinois a city 200 miles south of Chicago on the fourth Wednesday of every month after her husband Stephen cashes his Social Security check. She hopes the food will last them a full 30 days, but she inevitably has to stop at Walmart a few times to fill in the gaps. Granola for $5.34, bell peppers for $2.88, two bottles of butter pecan coffee creamer for $7.94, and a new vacuum bag for $8.77. That s an additional $53.39. Dacus and her husband have to stick to a tight budget: their household only receives $23 a month from SNAP. They must rely on their combined $2,140 Social Security income for the rest and any other expenses they have since they re both retired. The average American household spends $475 a month on groceries plus $303 on restaurants and takeout, according to the latest available US Bureau of Labor Statistics report on consumer expenditures in 2022. There are over 40 million Americans experiencing food insecurity. SNAP provides relief for many households living paycheck to paycheck. But some struggling families, like Dacus , don t receive enough help, or their income is considered too high to receive any help at all. ALICEs people who are asset-limited, income-constrained, employed feel especially left behind by food assistance programs. According to the Pew Research Center, about 13% of Americans, or 22 million households, are enrolled in government food benefits. Anything helps, Dacus said, but her SNAP allocation barely covers one meal. The man called me and told me, Oh, we re going to get you $23 a month. And I laughed, she said. That s pitiful. That s really pitiful. With limited SNAP dollars, Dacus relies on food pantries Dacus is a good cook she used to love making pot roast when she could afford it and can usually make a meal out of whatever miscellaneous ingredients she and Stephen have in their cupboard. She typically makes crockpot meals, casseroles, or other dishes that she can stretch for more than one meal. But $23 a month in food benefits isn t even close to affording what they need to eat. Often, Dacus said a full month of food and household products can run them about $200, plus an additional $30 to $50 a week when they run out of things. They struggle with their other household bills, are in nearly $10,000 in credit card debt, and have drained their savings in order to pay for food and healthcare. We ve used our credit cards within the last three and a half years to buy groceries and things that we needed, she said, adding that she and Stephen s low credit score has now made it difficult to qualify for housing and car payments. To avoid going hungry, Dacus said she has to rely on local food pantries. They pick up canned goods and packaged food. But there aren t many food pantries near her house, and the ones in driving distance are open for limited hours. Even when they can go to the pantry, Dacus said the food is unhealthy and sometimes spoiled. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!["datawrapper-height"]){var e=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var t in["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r

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42. There's a 'stealth erosion' in global US dollar reserves, but there's no dominant replacement yet13:02[-/+]
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dollar dominance

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  • The US dollar's share in global forex reserves dropped to 55% from over 70% in 2000, per IMF data.
  • Non-traditional reserve currencies such as the Australian dollar and Canadian dollar are gaining ground.
  • The world's central banks have been cutting the share of US dollars in their foreign reserves for the last two decades.

The US dollar is in a state of "stealth erosion," the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, wrote in a report on Tuesday.

While the dollar is still by far the most dominant currency in the forex reserves of the world's central banks, the greenback's share in these reserves — after exchange-rate and interest-rate adjustments — declined from over 70% in 2000 to about 55% in the last quarter of 2023, according to IMF's data.

The dollar has been strengthening against most currencies in recent years — indicating that private investors have moved into dollar-based assets. This effect masked the shift of central banks and governments out of dollar reserves.

The Dollar Index, which measures the value of the greenback against a basket of foreign currencies, has gained 4% this year to date and about 7% since March 2022, when the US Federal Reserve started its last interest-rate hike cycle.

Central banks have been 'shifting gradually' away from the USD

The dollar's share hasn't been overtaken by the world's other three major currencies — the euro, the Japanese yen, or the UK pound sterling.

Instead, the shares of "non-traditional reserve currencies" have risen, according to the IMF. These include the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Chinese renminbi, South Korean won, Singaporean dollar, and Nordic currencies.

The IMF's findings are consistent with its previous report in 2022 when it found that the dollar's dominance was waning and getting replaced with alternative currencies.

"These nontraditional reserve currencies are attractive to reserve managers because they provide diversification and relatively attractive yields, and because they have become increasingly easy to buy, sell and hold with the development of new digital financial technologies," wrote IMF's economists in their latest report, which is based on data from 149 reporting economies that collectively account for 93% of global forex reserves.

The dollar's decline in FX reserves doesn't appear to be about sanctions

The IMF's report comes amid ongoing discussions about de-dollarization.

With the use of sanctions, the West effectively shut Russia out of the global, greenback-based financial system after Moscow started the war in Ukraine.

Other countries are now concerned that they, too, could be locked out of the US dollar-based financial system.

However, the slow waning of the dollar's dominance in global forex reserves appears to be less about trade restrictions than diversification — because its decline has not accelerated in recent years despite the US' intensifying use of financial sanctions.

Even so, there are other concerns that may erode confidence in the greenback, analysts have said recently.

On Monday, two American think tank analysts wrote in the Financial Times that "American dysfunction" — political and fiscal — is the real threat to dollar dominance. This sentiment was also echoed by Jared Cohen, the president of global affairs at Goldman Sachs, in Foreign Policy.

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43. Mortgage Interest Rates Today, June 13, 2024 | Rates Inch Down Thanks to Cooler CPI13:00[-/+]
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The offers and details on this page may have updated or changed since the time of publication. See our article on Business Insider for current information.

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate mortgages to write unbiased product reviews.

Inflation slowed last month, raising hopes that mortgage rates might still trend down later this year. Average 30-year mortgage rates inched down following the release of the latest Consumer Price Index data on Wednesday, which showed that inflation rose 3.3% in May, a slowdown from the previous month's reading.

As inflation decelerates, mortgage rates are expected to come down. But because inflation has been taking longer than expected to come down, in spite of last month's cooling, borrowers may need to wait until later in 2025 for mortgage rates to drop substantially.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced it is keeping the federal funds rate steady for now, and projections from policymakers suggest we may only get one rate cut this year. This could keep mortgage rates high for longer than expected. But if inflation continues to show signs of slowing, that forecast could change.

Current Mortgage Rates

Current Refinance Rates

Mortgage Calculator

Use our free mortgage calculator to see how today's mortgage rates would impact your monthly payments. By plugging in different rates and term lengths, you'll also understand how much you'll pay over the entire length of your mortgage.

Click "More details" for tips on how to save money on your mortgage in the long run.

30-year Fixed Mortgage Rates

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.99% last week, according to Freddie Mac. This is a four-basis-point decrease from the previous week.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the most common type of home loan. With this type of mortgage, you'll pay back what you borrowed over 30 years, and your interest rate won't change for the life of the loan.

The lengthy 30-year term allows you to spread out your payments over a long period of time, meaning you can keep your monthly payments lower and more manageable. The trade-off is that you'll have a higher rate than you would with shorter terms or adjustable rates.

15-year Fixed Mortgage Rates

Last week, average 15-year mortgage rates were 6.29%, a seven-basis-point decrease from the previous week, according to Freddie Mac data.

If you want the predictability that comes with a fixed rate but are looking to spend less on interest over the life of your loan, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage might be a good fit for you. Because these terms are shorter and have lower rates than 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, you could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. However, you'll have a higher monthly payment than you would with a longer term.

When Will Mortgage Rates Go Down?

Mortgage rates started ticking up from historic lows in the second half of 2021 and increased over three percentage points in 2022. Rates also increased dramatically last year, though they trended back down toward the end of 2023.

As inflation comes down, mortgage rates will recede as well. Most major forecasts expect rates to go down later in 2024.

For homeowners looking to leverage their home's value to cover a big purchase — such as a home renovation — a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be a good option while we wait for mortgage rates to ease. Check out some of our best HELOC lenders to start your search for the right loan for you.

A HELOC is a line of credit that lets you borrow against the equity in your home. It works similarly to a credit card in that you borrow what you need rather than getting the full amount you're borrowing in a lump sum. It also lets you tap into the money you have in your home without replacing your entire mortgage, like you'd do with a cash-out refinance.

Current HELOC rates are relatively low compared to other loan options, including credit cards and personal loans.

How Do Fed Rate Hikes Affect Mortgages?

The Federal Reserve increased the federal funds rate a lot last year to try to slow economic growth and get inflation under control. Inflation has come down a lot in response to this, though it's still a little bit above the Fed's target rate of 2%.

Mortgage rates aren't directly impacted by changes to the federal funds rate, but they often trend up or down ahead of Fed policy moves. This is because mortgage rates change based on investor demand for mortgage-backed securities, and this demand is often impacted by how investors expect Fed hikes to affect the broader economy.

Fed hikes have pushed mortgage rates up over the last two years. But the Fed has indicated that it's likely done hiking rates and could start cutting in 2024. Once the Fed cuts rates, mortgage rates should fall even further.

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44. I have an introverted daughter and an extroverted daughter. We give them each space to be who they are.12:59[-/+]
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Mom holding her two daughters
The author's oldest daughter is an introvert, while the youngest is an extrovert.

Courtesy of the author

  • I'm a mom of two girls ages 4 and 1.
  • My oldest is an introvert, while my youngest is an extrovert.
  • I can related to both and give them space to be who they are.

"I want to go home!" my 4-year-old screamed as I held her in my lap.

We were at a birthday party for her best friend. To be more specific, this little girl is also our next-door neighbor, and we were in their backyard — the one she plays in almost every day. In contrast, my 1-year-old laughed and clapped as she sat with a group of kids playing with bubbles.

This isn't a new situation for me — my older daughter wilts around big groups of people while my younger daughter lights up in the presence of others. I'm sure I'm not the only parent with one introverted child and another extroverted one, but in those panicky moments where I have to cater to both of their social needs, it feels like taking one wrong step will end in disaster — also known as an epic tantrum.

Fortunately, I relate to my daughters. I'm what they call an extroverted introvert — someone who enjoys socializing but still needs time to recharge afterward. And because I understand both sides of the extrovert/introvert personality, I've developed ways to embrace their specific needs.

We build in introvert and extrovert time during the week

Weekdays are easier for us to schedule activities catered to each of our kids. While my introvert is at preschool, my extrovert is signed up for a gym and music class. If we have a day without a class, I take her to the playground or another busy spot to fuel her up.

For my introvert, after her day at school, I know she has to reset. So we opt for 1:1 playdates, art projects at home, or activities that don't have too much stimulation, like going for a bike ride or gardening.

Weekends are family time

On the weekends, we make an effort to spend time together as a family. Instead of running them to extracurriculars or playdates, we try to prioritize the importance of our family unit.

This can definitely include parts of the day spent with their friends or ours, but ultimately, we all recharge on the weekend. Part of this is so that we instill in them that time with us is important, and another is so that my husband (total introvert) and I (extroverted introvert) don't get burned out either.

When we're going to be somewhere new, we have options

Of course I'd love to be able to control every situation so my kids feel nothing but bliss but, well, that's not realistic.

There are weekends where we all have to go to a big event — like the neighbor's birthday party — or where it's pouring rain (the LA equivalent of the end of days) and we're stuck indoors. We've learned that when possible, having options for each kid makes a huge difference.

So when my introvert needed to leave the birthday party, I took her back to the house while my husband stayed at the party with my extrovert. When my extrovert needs some stimulation, I'll take her out for an adventure at the zoo while my husband has a 1:1 movie date with our introvert.

My hope is that my daughters know they are loved and respected for their personalities and don't feel forced to try to be something they aren't. And sometimes the girls surprise us — my introvert will rally and want to do a big activity, or my extrovert will hang back and just want to cuddle up close with us. But knowing we can pull them out of a situation that doesn't serve them well eases the pressure on us as their parents.

Erin La Rosa is the author of "The Backtrack, Plot Twist," and "For Butter or Worse." She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four daughters (two humans, two felines).

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45. A financially independent couple with 2 kids shares how they both retired by 35 and haven't returned to the office since12:56[-/+]
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Sam Dogen
Sam Dogen and his wife both retired at 35.

Sam Dogen

  • Sam Dogen retired at 34 in San Francisco with over $3 million after 13 years of saving and investing.
  • His wife retired at 35, and both haven't held a 9-to-5 job since the mid-2010s.
  • He and his wife followed the FIRE movement, focusing on passive income and minimal expenses.

Sam Dogen went from starting his career 25 years ago making $40,000 a year in New York City to retiring in San Francisco 13 years later with a net worth of over $3 million. His wife retired three years after him at age 35.

For years, the two saved most of their income, poured money into passive investments, and worked long hours to achieve financial independence — the point at which they wouldn't need to work to cover their long-term expenses.

"It's really a journey of balancing your finances, figuring out passive incomes, covering your expenses, buying the things that you want that'll improve quality life like a house, and then also being willing to go back to work in either part-time or full-time capacity once you have that void to fill," Dogen said.

Dogen and his wife are FIREs — financial independence, retire early — who make it work with two kids in one of the US's most expensive cities. He said it's uncommon for both people in a couple to reach FIRE at around the same time. Raising their kids has been a full-time job for both of them, but both have found peace in pursuing — and monetizing — their passions while relying on passive income to fund their vacations and entertainment.

In a way, both have rejected the "RE" in the FIRE acronym, though neither plans to return to an office job.

Discovering FIRE

In 1999, Dogen got his first job in investment banking in New York City, making $40,000 and splitting a studio apartment with a roommate to save money. He said he would work late to get free cafeteria food, which he saved for the next day, meaning he rarely spent on groceries.

"I figured if I could save 100% of every other paycheck, that would be saving 50% of my salary, and every year I saved 50% of my salary was one year of living," Dogen said. "I took it a step further: I saved every other paycheck, and I saved and invested 90% of any discretionary year-end bonus. I did that essentially for 13 years in a row."

He moved to San Francisco for another position and rose through the ranks throughout the 2000s. In 2003, he bought a two-bedroom condominium, which allowed him to fix his living expenses for the next few years. He said this was one of the keys to achieving financial independence.

However, in 2009, he estimates he lost 35% to 40% of his net worth in six months. That year, he started his blog, Financial Samurai, chronicling his journey to financial independence while continuing at his company and rebuilding some of his net worth. But, after surviving seven rounds of layoffs, he realized he had enough in the bank to quit his $250,000-a-year job without rushing to another job.

"I realized that after 10 years, I wasn't having any fun anymore," Dogen said. "It's very stressful, and I wanted out, but I didn't know how to get out because I just didn't plan that far."

He negotiated a severance package in 2012, which allowed him to keep his deferred stock and cash compensation. At the time, his net worth was $3 million, and he had saved between 75% and 80% of his income over the previous few years.

"I never let lifestyle inflation get to me, and I was driving old cars, living in very humble homes," he said.

Transitioning into early retirement

Though he had a large nest egg and passive investments, he wondered for a few years if he had made the right choice. His wife made $120,000 a year, but he was unsure if his retirement would only be temporary. Still, his health improved shortly after quitting, and he realized how much pressure he had been under that was lifted off his shoulders.

"I was like, what am I doing? I'm only 35 years old, leaving a well-paid job behind, losing so much money," Dogen said. "But as the months went by, I felt more calm because I had way more freedom, and I was happier. The chronic back pain and sciatica and teeth grinding went away within six months."

Early in his career, he knew he wanted to achieve financial independence and retire early, but he didn't want to leave the city. He said it's rare for people who reach FIRE to live in expensive coastal cities, noting many move to suburbs or more rural areas where the cost of living is lower. He knows couples making well into the six figures who struggle to save between housing and raising children.

"If you plan to stay in a high-cost-of-living area and you want to FIRE, you have to focus on ways to build wealth that outstrip the cost of living," Dogen said.

In addition to the income he earned from his blog, he poured money into stocks and real estate. He also followed various budgeting guidelines like spending no more than 10% of gross income on cars. He follows a 30% rule for homebuying as well.

"I feel like there's this whole world out there who just kind of wing it when it comes to their personal finances, and then they wake up 10 years later and wonder where all their money went because there aren't disciplines or ratios or guidelines that they follow," Dogen said.

When he retired, he told his wife that if she could stay in her job for three more years until she turned 35, both could retire early and still make enough in passive income to live comfortably. They upped their savings rate and tried to maximize passive income during those years.

"One of the interesting phenomena you'll see in the FIRE space is how a man will proclaim he's retired early, but he'll have a working wife," Dogen said. "It's a head-scratcher because I don't know a single stay-at-home mom who says she's retired early. She just says she's a stay-at-home mom because it's a full-time job. It's crazy how much work it is."

In 2015, his wife also negotiated a generous severance package after her company tried to keep her working part-time. She returned to the company after a few months, making more in a part-time position than she did working full-time. She stopped in 2016, shortly before having their first child.

"It's really methodically saving and investing as much as possible for as long as possible," Dogen said. "Too many people get in credit card debt, buying things they don't need, expensive vacations."

Are you part of the FIRE movement or living by some of its principles? Reach out to this reporter at

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46. A real-estate investor accused of running an Airbnb was fined $180,000. He says his tenant is to blame for renting it out.12:37[-/+]
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Rows of identical homes with uniform driveways and streets stretch towards the desert
A Las Vegas homeowner accused of running an unauthorized Airbnb for years says his renter is to blame.

James Marshall/Getty Images

  • A real-estate investor was fined $180,000 by the city of Las Vegas over an illegal Airbnb.
  • Xin Tao, an Oregon engineer, said he bought the house as an investment property to rent out longer term.
  • Tao said his tenant rented it out on Airbnb, and the city didn't tell him daily fines were adding up.

In November, the city of Las Vegas issued a $180,000 fine against a homeowner who officials say ran an unauthorized Airbnb near the Las Vegas strip.

The homeowner, however, told Business Insider he believed he was the victim of a scam run by the tenant renting his house at the time.

In June 2021, Xin Tao purchased a five-bedroom, two-bathroom property in Las Vegas for $378,000.

Tao, an engineer who lives in Oregon full time, said he bought the house as an investment property. While he did initially consider listing it on Airbnb, he added, he abandoned that plan when he signed a lease with a long-term tenant in September 2021. (BI viewed a copy of the lease.)

Shortly after, multiple neighbors called the city with complaints about the property, complaining about an overflow of cars parked in the driveway and that activity at the house "regularly disturbs" neighbors, according to enforcement logs from the city of Las Vegas.

On two separate occasions in October 2021 and February 2022, Las Vegas city officials knocked on the door, according to government logs. The people who answered said they were renting the property through Airbnb, the logs say.

Tao was issued $2,132 in fines from the February 2022 incident — $500 a day for the four days the alleged Airbnb guest said they were staying in the home, plus additional fees, according to city records.

Tao said he believed that, after the February 2022 incident, his tenant had stopped renting out his property on Airbnb and that the issue was resolved. He said he was unable to confront the tenant directly because he was managing the property remotely from Oregon.

The tenant vacated the property in September 2023, and a cleaner was sent to the premises to tidy up, Tao said. Stuck to the window was a notice of a $180,000 fine.

"I was shocked. I didn't know what was going on. I thought it might be fraud," Tao told Business Insider. "How do we go from $2,000 to $180,000?"

Las Vegas is cracking down on Airbnb hosts

In January, Tao asked the Las Vegas City Council to reconsider the fine, but lawmakers unanimously upheld the decision by a vote of 7-0, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

In 2019, Las Vegas instituted sweeping regulations of short-term rentals, including banning out-of-state investors from owning Airbnbs, amid outcry from local residents who complained of an influx of "parties, prostitution, and drugs into residential communities," the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Some Sin City residents are still frustrated by short-term rentals in their neighborhoods.

"I am constantly getting texts, emails, calls, pulled aside in the grocery store about short-term rentals," Councilman Brian Knudsen told the local outlet Fox 5 in January. "If we continue to erode laws by not enforcing the fees and fines associated with them, we continue to lose the dignity of our neighborhoods."

The city arrived at the $180,000 fine based on a $500-a-night penalty for each of hundreds of nights it tracked as booked at Tao's property, according to documents submitted to the City Council.

Tao told BI he'd continue to fight the fine, saying that was partly because the city didn't notify him properly that charges continued to accrue after February 2022.

He added that the current fine would have devastating effects on his family.

"We have a mortgage and car payments," he said. "One hundred eighty thousand dollars is definitely something I cannot afford."

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47. Amazon 'dropped the ball' with Alexa, former employee says12:36[-/+]
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Blue Alexa logo is shown on a black phone screen
Amazon's Alexa app.

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  • A former Amazon employee criticized the company's handling of its Alexa voice assistant.
  • Mihail Eric said on X that technical and bureaucratic issues hindered Alexa's development.
  • He said Amazon had the resources to become the "unequivocal" leader in conversational AI, but failed.

A former employee said Amazon "dropped the ball" with its voice assistant Alexa.

Mihail Eric, a former senior machine learning scientist at Alexa AI, wrote in a lengthy X post about how he felt Amazon missed its opportunity to turn Alexa into a leading product as competitors make headway with their own AI-infused voice assistants.

"We had all the resources, talent, and momentum to become the unequivocal market leader in conversational AI," Eric wrote on Tuesday.

He added: "But most of that tech never saw the light of day and never received any noteworthy press. Why? The reality is Alexa AI was riddled with technical and bureaucratic problems."

Eric, who left Amazon in 2021 according to his LinkedIn profile, said Amazon might have fumbled its chance to dominate the conversational AI space due to a "bad technical process," "fragmented org," and "product-science misalignment."

In his view, Amazon's infrastructure was "agonizingly painful" for its developers because of guardrails put in place to protect user data. He added that computing resources to carry out experiments were limited.

Eric also claimed that progress on Alexa was hindered by a organizational structure that resulted in overlaps between teams that sometimes worked on similar challenges.

"This introduced an almost Darwinian flavor to org dynamics where teams scrambled to get their work done to avoid getting reorged and subsumed into a competing team," he wrote.

According to Eric, the Alexa team had to "constantly justify" its existence to senior leaders, and there was a conflict between the product and science teams in weekly meetings. He said this led to a churn of managers every few months and the sunsetting of its efforts to make Alexa a multimodal agent in Amazon customers' homes.

Eric also said that after OpenAI unveiled its multimodal GPT-4o model, which has a voice assistant called Sky, he received a message from a former Alexa colleague, who he says told him: "You'd think voice assistants would have been our forte at Alexa."

Amazon and Eric didn't immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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48. The old-school secret to a relaxing vacation12:31[-/+]
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Photo illustration of a white glove holding up a vacation tray.
Travel agents are pitching overwhelmed millennials and Gen Zers a stress-free vacation.

Edmon de Haro for BI

I had just turned 9 when I discovered Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations." It wasn't like the other Travel Channel shows. Sure, the premise was straightforward: Bourdain traveled around the world to meet up with locals and try their cuisine. But instead of focusing on tourist hot spots and flashy, curated experiences, "No Reservations" was about traveling by the seat of your pants and getting as close to the local culture as any outsider could be allowed. I was an immediate disciple.

Travel shouldn't be about checking off items on a bucket list by sticking to sanitized excursions marketed to foreigners; it should introduce you to someone else's slice of life. On family trips to New York City, I cringed when my mother pulled out a paper map. "Everyone is going to know we aren't from here," I thought.

Though I grew less self-conscious over the years, that mentality remained. Others in my generation — I'm on the cusp between Gen Z and millennial — were on the same page, determined to seek out "authentic experiences." For years, people explored the world with the help of travel agents. But those services — sending you to places curated just for tourists — seemed to fly in the face of the Bourdainian ethos. Travel agents felt like vestiges of the preinternet world, like video-store clerks or pay phones, and I couldn't imagine ever needing them. What could they tell me that Reddit couldn't? Isn't it simpler to just book my own flights? Doing everything myself felt easier.

As of late, though, my attitude has changed.

Ever since the pandemic-era travel restrictions subsided, travel has boomed. Everyone is jetting off to Italy, Japan, and Costa Rica. Money spent on travel and entertainment surged 30% in 2023, fueled largely by young people. We're all desperate to make up for lost time, but there's a catch: Many of us 20- and 30-somethings are tired. It turns out that aspiring to be a DIY traveler takes a lot of energy — energy that we've already exhausted on careers, relationships, and day-to-day responsibilities. When we do finally have the time to venture away from home, we're burning ourselves out trying to coordinate all the details of our trip. Meanwhile, the sense of precarity we all felt during the pandemic hasn't left. Flight delays and cancellations from weather, short staffing, technical issues, and random bad luck are more common than before. The odds that something could go wrong feel higher.

That's precisely why some are turning back to travel agents. In 2014, the number of travel agents was half of what it was at the industry's mid-'90s peak, with many expecting it to become obsolete. But by 2021, 76% of advisors were seeing more customers than before the pandemic. And in a 2023 survey of 2,000 American travelers, 38% of Gen Z and millennial respondents said they preferred a traditional travel agent over online booking. Only 12% of Gen Xers and 2% of boomers said the same. Whether we're bopping around the Mediterranean or just posting up at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for a week, a lot of us are deciding we'd rather put the planning in someone else's hands.

Matt James, a 29-year-old software engineer in New York City, was initially excited to plan his summer trip to Vietnam himself. Like many his age, he's primarily interested in sightseeing in cities. "I found myself going down hourslong internet rabbit holes trying to hone in on a perfect itinerary," he said, "Googling 'best neighborhoods in Hanoi Reddit,' 'two-week Vietnam itinerary Reddit,' etc."

After a while, though, he said it was hard to find the time and energy to plan. Doing his own research was mentally exhausting. He decided to give up the hunt and hand the work over to a travel advisor who was also a family friend. "He was able to take care of booking visas, flights, hotels, and a few excursions," James said. "It was very tempting to have him take care of it all in one email thread for a couple-hundred-dollar fee." Now, he said, all that's left is deciding what to see and eat at each location — something that lets him satisfy his urge to rabbit-hole.

A flight to Mexico City and five nights at a boutique hotel in Coyoacan, however, feels a little more firmly within our grasp.

In a Business Insider survey, in collaboration with YouGov, millennials cited travel as one of their most important goals for the next five years, more important than having fulfilling romantic relationships, owning a home, advancing their career, or starting a family. In fact, the only two goals millennials considered more important than traveling were being financially stable and improving their health. Amid rising costs for housing, childcare, and everything else, key milestones get pushed further down the road. A flight to Mexico City and five nights at a boutique hotel in Coyoacan, however, feels a little more firmly within our grasp. In a 2023 Morning Consult survey, both millennials and Gen Zers were more likely than older generations to travel frequently, with half of each cohort saying they took three or more leisure trips a year. Gen Zers were also more likely to go overseas than their older peers.

For as little as $100 — or nothing at all, given that some agents work on commission from the hotels and other travel companies they work with — overwhelmed young travelers can have someone take all the pressure off the experience. There are travel agents specializing in just about every type of travel imaginable, from multicountry group tours to luxury all-inclusive trips. And different types of agents can offer different perks.

For complex overseas trips, where a million things could go wrong, it makes sense to hire an agent to not only ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible but also handle the rebookings in the event of a hiccup. When something goes awry, it's someone else's problem.

While James decided to have his agent handle just the basics of his Vietnam vacation, many agents can help curate the experiences in between, promising to find their clients the coolest markets to shop at or the most-recommended museums. On a different trip, to Oktoberfest in Germany, James' travel agent — a native German speaker — was able to secure all sorts of reservations that James would never have been able to land on his own.

Increasingly, travel agents are luring people in through social media, where they can speak straight to the millennial and Gen Z desire for a unique experience and a relaxing trip. "We can give you the special slice-of-life experience you want," they pitch, "just without the hassle." Companies like Fora, for example, use TikTok and Instagram to seed sleek ads for package trips to the Croatian coast or boutique hotels in the Florida Keys, with extra attention given to "sustainability" and travelers' specific "aesthetic" desires.

Agents elsewhere on TikTok tout all-inclusive trips where the point is to just lie on the beach and chill the hell out for a second. Searches for topics like "best all-inclusives Cancun" heavily feature travel agents promoting their services, ranking their favorite resorts and highlighting the perks they can offer clients who book with them. One of their main selling points: Their services are free. And many agents also claim that their customers can receive better deals thanks to the special pricing and perks available to agents.

"We can give you the special slice-of-life experience you want," they pitch, "just without the hassle."

"Many of my Gen Z clients are in entry-level careers, graduate programs, or saving for other big expenses, so they're often looking for destinations that allow them to relax while making the most of their limited vacation days and budget," said Kayla Smith, a travel advisor for Sojourney Travel, a company specializing in beach vacations, cruises, and theme-park trips.

Smith is a Gen Zer and said that over half her clients are Gen Z. "Going from school to the workforce is already a huge life transition, and when you add on a pandemic and varying career expectations, you're bound to see a generation who is experiencing burnout at a rapid rate," she said.

For that reason, resort groups like Sandals are seeing an influx of Gen Zers and millennials. Ashley Kooker, a senior business-development manager for Unique Vacations, a sales and marketing affiliate of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, said that these properties had been attracting younger customers in part by blending the all-inclusive format with the opportunity for more exploration. At Sandals Royal Curacao and Sandals Royal Bahamian, guests can opt to go off-resort and visit local restaurants as part of their all-inclusive plan — allowing experience-minded vacationers to have their cake and eat it, too.

Exhaustion aside, many of us 20-somethings still yearn for these hard-to-get-to, out-of-the-box journeys — the trips that make us feel like travelers rather than tourists. William Lee, a travel agent at Chima Travel, a family-owned agency in Ohio that's been operating for over 100 years, told me he often gets requests for obscure destinations young clients see on social media. "We had a client come in and ask us about Oeschinen Lake in Switzerland," he said. "They saw the lake on TikTok and wanted to go there. I had to let them know that to do so would require hiking into the Swiss Alps and going a bit off the beaten path."

I recently wrapped up a 10-day trip to Peru, where I hiked for three days through the Lares District, ate quinoa soup in the San Pedro Market in Cusco, and bar-hopped in Lima. It was a trip packed with experiences — the kind that my generation is always talking about prioritizing — but I don't think I relaxed for a moment. And that's despite leaving all the planning to my friends.

I'm already plotting my next big, multiweek international trip — I'm looking at Vietnam, myself — but before then, I need to book a few days somewhere where I can be by a pool with a margarita in hand. Where will I go? I'm not sure. That's for a travel agent to decide.

Magdalene Taylor is a writer covering sex and culture. She lives in New York City and publishes the newsletter Many Such Cases.

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49. 'Hot Priest' actor, TikTok are drawing Gen Z to this audio erotica app12:11[-/+]
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Caroline Spiegel wearing Quinn-branded pink headphones.
Caroline Spiegel is the founder and CEO of Quinn, an audio-erotica app where creators can post scripted scenarios.

Courtesy of Quinn

  • Quinn is an audio-erotica app that Gen Z is loving right now.
  • CEO Caroline Spiegel founded Quinn in 2019 during her senior year at Stanford University.
  • Celebrity collaborations and viral TikToks have fueled Quinn's 440% year-over-year revenue growth.

The founder and CEO of Quinn, Caroline Spiegel, knows she's supplying a niche demand, but she likes it that way.

And it's working. Quinn, an app that lets subscribers listen to scripted erotic scenarios, is seeing listeners tune in for about 24 million minutes every month.

"It sort of takes the best elements of romance novels and condenses it into a 15 or 20-minute audio experience," Spiegel said.

Quinn is a hit with Gen Z. According to metrics, about 56% of its user base are adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Its popularity on TikTok — also the home of BookTok, which has been instrumental in fueling a boom in "romantasy" fiction, which usually features a lot of "spice," or erotic scenes — may have something to do with that. Many of the categories listed on its website match "tropes" regularly seen in romance novels, such as "enemies to friends" or "co-workers."

Subscribers pay $4.99 a month or $47.99 annually to have access to erotic audio clips from voice actors. Quinn says its revenue has grown 440% year over year for the past two years.

Celebrity collaborations no doubt also help.

One specific corner of the internet went feral in May when they found out actor Andrew Scott would voice a series for Quinn. The "Fleabag" star has already got an admiring fan base after his role as the so-called "hot priest" in the series, and as of Wednesday, the official account where the announcement was posted has more than 460,000 followers.


Replying to @Lorel Rea Now introducing… Andrew Scott as Robb the Protector. The Queen’s Guard, a Quinn Original series, hits the Quinn app on May 16, 2024.

? original sound - Quinn

"I've never downloaded an app this quickly in my life," one of the top comments on Scott's video for Quinn reads.

Audio clips on Quinn offer something for everyone's taste. Scott, for example, is the voice of "The Queen's Guard," a historical fantasy with some explicit scenes.

Spiegel, the younger sister of the Snap cofounder Evan Spiegel, said she began working on Quinn in 2019 while recovering from an eating disorder and experiencing sexual dysfunction (an issue that often isn't addressed in women).

"I felt like the way that I experienced desire wasn't really reflected in the options that were out there," she told Business Insider.

Spiegel found solace in audio erotica on Reddit and Tumblr and wanted to bring the unique format to the masses, so she dropped out of Stanford University and launched Quinn in 2021, Forbes reported.

Today, women make up 77% of Quinn's entire base.

Quinn could be compared to OnlyFans, albeit without visuals, in that it's a platform for creators to get their content in front of a paying audience. But according to Spiegel, it's more like Peloton in that its creators are sort of like the fitness company's instructors, and "people have their favorites that they go really hard for."

To become a Quinn creator, applicants can answer a brief questionnaire and submit an audio recording sample similar to those already on the app.

Quinn's other original celebrity collaborations — including the "You" actor Victoria Pedretti and Jesse Williams from "Grey's Anatomy" — have clearly appealed to Gen Z, and Spiegel teased that there were at least two more big names coming to the app in 2024.

"I feel like the biggest clue is that one is a woman and one's a man," she said.

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50. I've applied for nearly 200 jobs and can't get hired. I always thought I could fall back on a 'bridge job' stocking shelves — I was wrong.12:05[-/+]
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A person on the edge of a bridge with money on the other side
"Bridge jobs" are in-person roles in the service industry, many of which pay very low wages.

simonkr/Getty, Tyler Le/BI

  • Giovanna Ventola was laid off for the third time in three years in November 2023.
  • After struggling to find another corporate job, she tried to land a "bridge job" in the meantime.
  • She always thought she could fall back on a bridge job but has been met with rejection or silence.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Giovanna Ventola, a 34-year-old job seeker in South Carolina. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I was laid off three times in three years in the real-estate industry, most recently in November 2023.

Since then, I've applied to around 180 corporate jobs and have only gotten six interviews, none of which have led to getting hired.

I've also applied for 18 "bridge jobs" — in-person roles in the service industry, many of which pay minimum wage or very low wages. I went through two rounds of interviews for one before being rejected for what felt like an arbitrary reason.

Failing to land a bridge job completely changed my outlook on the job market. I knew it would be difficult to land a high-paying corporate job with benefits, a 401(k) plan, and stock options, but not being able to get a job pouring coffee or stocking shelves has made me lose faith.

I've held service industry jobs before

I started my career as a professional dancer in Chicago. To supplement my income, I also worked as a personal trainer, bartender, server, dance teacher, and babysitter.

I got into real estate after one of my personal training clients recommended that I interview for an open role at the real estate development firm he worked for.

I got hired and became the executive assistant to the CEO. I learned the business over the course of the first year, got my broker's license, and became a leasing manager. I worked there for almost five years.

After 2 layoffs, the third came after only 90 days on the job

In October 2019, I left the firm for a better opportunity with a bigger developer. I thought this would be my career path for at least 10 years, but when COVID-19 hit, my job switched from growing the brand to just surviving.

I was only there for a year before getting laid off in October 2020. That was the first time I'd ever been let go.

I was unemployed for seven months before joining WeWork as a leasing manager. I worked for WeWork for two years, but in March 2023, I was laid off again.

Four months later, I got a new job but was only there for around 90 days before they laid me off in November 2023.

I've since applied for over 180 corporate jobs

I applied to 11 jobs in December, 30 in January, around 60 in both February and March, and 20 in April.

I applied for jobs I was qualified for in Chicago and elsewhere and to any and all types of roles — in-person, remote, and hybrid. I even applied for jobs I'm overqualified for, with much lower salaries than I wanted.

I was networking and doing everything you're "supposed" to do, but I couldn't get any traction on anything.

I moved on to applying for bridge jobs

In March, I started looking for bridge jobs. I applied to about 18 bridge jobs, like barista, grocery-store shelf stocker, and store manager. I heard nothing back besides some auto-rejections.

Many of these bridge jobs also required cover letters. I explained that I'd lost my corporate job and wanted to change industries. I talked about wanting to learn something new from the bottom and why I was interested in the job. I still got zero responses.

I started wondering, are they not hiring me because my resume is too corporate? Bridge jobs may not want to hire people they think will leave. I understand that, but I don't know what they can expect if they pay minimum wage.

I moved back in with my parents

In April, I had to leave my life in Chicago and move back in with my parents in South Carolina.

I applied for a guest itinerary designer role at a luxury resort down the street. There were a lot of requirements, but it paid $18 an hour plus potential commission, and I thought it'd be a great bridge job.

I connected with the interviewer and landed a second interview, which also went great. I was excited for the third interview, sent my availability, and promptly stopped hearing back.

After multiple follow-up emails and calls, I was told they couldn't hire me because I lived too close to the business, and they didn't want to hire anyone living in the neighborhood. I still don't understand why that's their policy.

Being rejected from minimum wage bridge jobs makes me feel even worse than my other job rejections

I'm pretty strong and confident, and I feel very lucky to have an amazing, supportive network of people. Yet, being unemployed has caused me to feel a lot of self-doubt, insecurity, and isolation.

I got my first bartending job years ago because I was watching a football game at a dive bar and mentioned to the manager that I needed a job. It was slammed, and he said, "Yeah, come in on Monday." Now, I have to answer 10 questions about my personality and tell the hiring manager something fun about myself in 120 characters, and I still don't hear back.

One of my friends recommended I share my experience on TikTok. I quickly realized that my For You page was all other people who had been laid off.

When I saw how many people were in the same boat, I started a Slack networking community that now has over 1,500 members. The people who have joined are so smart — there are molecular biologists and people with PhDs. If even they can't get a job, I'm screwed.

It feels like I've gone backward

It feels like everything I've learned and the knowledge I've gained from my amazing mentors is obsolete because nobody will give me a chance.

I'm 34. I've built a career, am educated and smart, and have accomplished many things.

I don't want to work somewhere for minimum wage — I've scrambled and worked five jobs before, and now it feels like I'm taking a hundred steps backward to when I was 22. I don't want to work at a bar until 4 a.m. anymore.

Freelance work is tiding me over

I started an hourly freelance social media job for a construction company, which I heard about through a friend. I'd be willing to take on a second job, but what happened to being able to have one stable job with benefits?

I'm still applying for jobs. I've never worked this hard trying to figure out what to do. I feel like I'll never stop looking for jobs because I'm afraid that any job I get won't last. I'll never approach the job market the same again.

If you have struggled to find a bridge job and want to share your story, email Jane Zhang at

Read the original article on Business Insider

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