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The latest news from Business Insider

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    gulf front looking east

    • Hurricane Michael obliterated nearly every structure along the coast of Mexico Beach, Florida — except for a few shoddy foundations and one pristine home.
    • The surviving home, known to its owners as Sand Palace, was built to withstand 250 mile-per-hour winds.
    • As state officials weigh the need for stricter building codes, Sand Palace could serve as a model.

    Hurricane Michael destroyed nearly every structure in the small town of Mexico Beach, Florida, turning homes,  restaurants, and gift shops into piles of rubble and debris.

    As the storm wreaked havoc along the Gulf Coast, the National Ocean Service began releasing satellite images of the damaged coastal communities. The photos show few surviving structures, other than the occasional scattered property that managed to hold on to its foundation.

    But to the right of the Mexico Beach Pier, one house remains relatively unscathed, while everything around it appears to be flattened.  

    With its two-tiered balcony, elevated pillars, and blazing white exterior, the house is a shining example of storm-proof construction. When its owners, Russell King and Lebron Lackey,built the property in 2017, they installed steel cables and 40-foot pillars designed to withstand flooding or heavy winds. The entire home is made of poured concrete — a common protective feature in South Florida's hurricane-prone communities. 

    Unlike many properties in the area, the five-bedroom, five-bathroom house — known to its owners as Sand Palace — was built to endure 250 mile-an-hour winds. The home's most notable feature are breakaway walls that fall off in the event of a hurricane without bringing down the rest of the structure.

    Screen Shot 2018 10 15 at 11.36.02 AM

    That's far more protective outfitting than mandated by the state building code.

    Since 2002, Florida has called for Panhandle properties to be built to withstand winds between 120 and 150 mph. By 2007, the state upped these requirements to include additional construction elements such as shatterproof windows, buttressed roofs, and stable concrete pillars. 

    But these requirements only apply to new construction within a mile of the shore, leaving many buildings ill-equipped to weather a major storm. Properties built prior to 1992, when Hurricane Andrew barreled through the region, are particularly vulnerable, since the state's older codes allowed builders to use shoddy materials like particle board and staples to construct roofs.

    Leading up to Hurricane Michael, officials guessed that the Panhandle's acres of trees would slow down wind speeds and protect the community from massive damage. Instead, the trees went flying through the air, destroying properties in their path. When Hurricane Michael's 155 mile-an-hour winds hit the area on October 10, not even the regulation buildings were able to survive.

    The devastation already has the state questioning its current regulations. 

    "After every event, you always go back and look what you can do better," Governor Rick Scott told reporters following the storm. "After Andrew, the codes changed dramatically in our state. Every time something like this happens, you have to say to yourself, 'Is there something we can do better?'"

    Sand Palace could offer some guidance for protecting future properties — at a steep price. The architect behind Sand Palace, Charles Gaskin, told The New York Times that hurricane-resistant features tend to double the cost of construction per square foot. 

    This makes the solution unviable for the Panhandle's many low-income residents, whose older properties and mobile homes were swept away by the storm.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why horseshoe crab blood is so expensive


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    Pocahontas

    • US President Donald Trump has repeatedly used the name "Pocahontas" to bash Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
    • "Pocahontas" was the nickname of a teenage girl who was abducted by English colonists in 1613 and died at about the age of 21.
    • Warren just released a DNA test that supports her claim of Native American ancestry.


    US President Donald Trump's favorite nickname for Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is "Pocahontas."

    "We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago," Trump said at a November 2017 event honoring Native American code talkers. "They call her 'Pocahontas.' But you know what, I like you, because you are special. You are special people. You are really incredible people."

    General secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes secretary John Norwood told NBC at the time that Trump's nickname "smacks of racism," adding that the president should "stop using our historical people of significance as a racial slur against one of his opponents."

    Trump's usage of the name links back to when Scott Brown, Warren's Republican opponent in the 2012 race for a Senate seat in Massachusetts, "accused her of faking her Native American ancestry after reports surfaced that she listed herself as a minority in a directory of law school professors," Business Insider's Jeremy Berke reported. CNN reported that Warren never listed herself as a minority in student applications.

    Warren just released a DNA test that supports her claim of Native American ancestry. Trump previously pledged to make a $1 million charitable donation if Warren produced evidence of her heritage, but he has since denied making such an offer, Business Insider reported.

    Even before Trump began using her name as an insult, Pocahontas has occupied a prominent place in American pop culture. But who was Pocahontas, and how did the American public come to be so fixated on her?

    First of all, she wasn't named Pocahontas. "Pocahontas" was a nickname that means something along the lines of "mischievous one." A colonist named William Strachey chronicled how 11-year-old Pocahontas would visit the settlers' fort at Jamestown and turn cartwheels with the English children, according to the book "Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea: Indian Women as Cultural Intermediaries and National Symbols."

    There's a reason we remember Pocahontas and not other members of her tribe and family. English colonist John Smith singles her out in his writings, which had a major role in shaping her legacy.

    In December 1607, a Powhatan leader named Opechancanough — who was also Pocahontas' uncle — captured Smith while he was exploring the Chickahominy River. Smith later claimed that Pocahontas disrupted his execution, throwing her body across his to protect him. In a 1616 letter to Queen Anne, he even wrote, "She hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine."

    Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Monican, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Rappahoannock and Upper Mattapoini Indians

    Numerous historians, however, have said the event most likely did not happen as Smith described it — if it even happened at all. He left his alleged encounter with Pocahontas out of his earliest writings, not mentioning it until 1624.

    And it wasn't the first time Smith had claimed to have been rescued by a young woman who intervened to save him from her male relatives. In "Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma," Camilla Townsend writes that Smith said a young Muslim woman had protected him in a similar manner while he was enslaved in Turkey.

    Chief Roy Crazy Horse, who was a longtime leader of the Powhatan Renape Nation, wrote that Smith's account helped propel Pocahontas to lasting fame.

    "Of all of Powhatan's children, only 'Pocahontas' is known, primarily because she became the hero of Euro-Americans as the 'good Indian,' one who saved the life of a white man,"he wrote.

    In 1613, a few years after Pocahontas was said to have saved Smith, an English captain named Samuel Argall lured Pocahontas onto his ship and took her hostage during the First Anglo-Powhatan War. Indian Country Today reported that the Mattaponi tribe's oral history says that she was raped in captivity and that her abduction separated her from her first husband and daughter.

    Ultimately, she converted to Christianity and was baptized as Rebecca. On April 5, 1614, she married a settler named John Rolfe, who had lost his wife Sarah after some English colonists were shipwrecked on Bermuda. Pocahontas and Rolfe had one child together, a son named Thomas.

    The marriage established what became known as "the Peace of Pocahontas," a lull in the fighting between the English and the Powhatan. The cash-strapped Virginia Company hoped to establish the couple as a "symbol of peaceful relations,"according to Encyclopedia Virginia, so in 1616, Pocahontas, her husband, and her young son traveled to England for a publicity tour — on a ship captained by none other than Argall.

    She would never return to Virginia.

    In March 1617, the family boarded the ship that would take them back to North America, but Pocahontas and Thomas became suddenly ill as they sailed down the Thames River. He survived. She did not.

    Pocahontas, who was only about 21 years old, was buried in Gravesend, England, while Rolfe returned to Virginia. He died in 1622, possibly in an attack orchestrated by Opechancanough, according to "The Cultural Roots of the 1622 Indian Attack." In 1646, Thomas Rolfe became a lieutenant in the English military and fought against the Powhatan, his mother's people.

    SEE ALSO: The true story behind Thanksgiving is a bloody struggle that decimated the population and ended with a head on a stick

    DON'T MISS: 6 of the most spectacular business failures in history

    SEE ALSO: A congressman just called Mike Pence 'the greatest VP' since John Adams — here's why that's not really a compliment

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This woman captured the horror of Native Americans being forced to assimilate to white culture


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    Neil Patric Hariss how I Met your mother himy scared dog

    Before you run off to your nearest shelter to pick up the dog of your dreams, you need to make sure your home is prepared for your newly adopted pal.

    Adequately preparing your home for your new arrival allows you to focus on helping your new dog adjust when you first bring them home. Done properly, your new dog will adjust quickly into being a new part of your family.

    Many of our suggestions are common sense, but INSIDER also chatted with an expert to find some often overlooked aspects of preparing your home.

    Before you do anything, it's important to do some research.

    What kind of dog do you want to adopt? What kind of food will they need? What size dog toys are safe for them to chew? How much space does your new dog need to be happy? What dog foods have been recalled lately?

    These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you start prepping your home.



    You'll want to make sure you stock up on supplies and toys.

    Most new dog owners will need a few things. You'll need to invest in some high-quality food for your dog, a crate, treats, a collar, leash, toys, food bowls, and poop bags.

    Ryan Parker from The Humane Society of Ocean City told INSIDER, "Stay away from rawhide bones. The way that they're produced involves bleach and other chemicals. Rawhide bones don't actually digest in the stomach. They can block the digestive tract and cause the need for a few thousand dollar surgery. It can be easily avoided by opting for a chew alternative."



    Get wires out of the way.

    Ryan Parker from The Humane Society of Ocean City told INSIDER, "Wires tend to be ideal for chewing and pulling apart. You'll want to hide them away and invest in some outlet covers."

    In addition to keeping your new dog safe, hiding away wires will prevent you from having to replace that expensive stereo system.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Midwest Road Cornfields

    The American Midwest is known for its cornfields, cheese, and friendly folks. But if you're visiting the Midwest, you may hear some phrases you're unfamiliar with. 

    Here are 16 quintessential Midwestern sayings, from someone who grew up in the Midwest. 

    "Bubbler" is a word for what others call a "water fountain."

    What is known as a "water fountain" or "drinking fountain" most everywhere else in the US, in some parts of the Midwest, it's known as a "bubbler." So how did it get its name?

    Similar to how many people know tissues as Kleenex and inline skates as Roller Blades, "bubbler" came about due to good branding. According to Whoonew.com, the Bubbler was the name given to Kohler Water Works' 1889 water fountain. And although the original Bubbler designs are less common today, the name has stuck around.



    "Pop" is a word for what others call "soda."

    One of the most common words Midwesterners get teased for saying is their word for "soda." You may get strange looks for saying it elsewhere in the US, but a fizzy, flavored drink is called a "pop" in the Midwest.



    "Puppy chow" is a Midwestern staple.

    This is not referring to any sort of dog food, but actually a homemade Midwestern, sugary snack.

    The recipe for puppy chow is Chex cereal mixed with melted peanut butter and chocolate, all of which is then coated in powdered sugar. In other parts of the country, it's equivalent to "muddy buddies" or "monkey munch."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    donald trump paul ryan

    • The budget deficit for fiscal year 2018 hit $779 billion, according to the Treasury Department.
    • The deficit increased by 17% compared to 2017 and is the largest deficit since 2012.
    • The GOP tax bill and massive budget agreement helped to grow the deficit.
    • The increase in the deficit will only accelerate in years to come, the Congressional Budget Office warns.

    The US federal budget deficit jumped to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the highest level since 2012, according to the Treasury Department.

    As the GOP tax bill and massive spending agreement took hold, the deficit for fiscal year 2018, which ran from October 2017 through September 2018, was 17% wider than 2017's and totaled 3.9% of GDP.

    According to the Treasury, revenue grew by just 0.4% as spending grew by 3.2%.

    The increase in the deficit contradicts Trump and other officials promise that the GOP tax bill would "pay for itself."

    In a possible prelude of what's to come, corporate tax revenue dropped 31% in fiscal year 2018 while personal income tax revenues ticked up 6.1%.

    While corporations pay taxes on a quarterly basis, meaning businesses filed under the GOP tax law for three-quarters of the year, most American households won't file taxes under the new system until April 2019.

    The increase is the wrong direction if the president wants to eliminate all of the US's debt in eight years, as Trump promised he would do on the campaign trail.

    Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), recently promised Trump would release a plan to get the deficit under control. Hassett said the plan would focus on spending cuts, possibly including cuts to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

    According to official projections, the deficit is only going to grow form here on out. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the budget deficit for 2019 will be just a hair under $1 trillion and will eclipse $1 trillion in 2020, the first deficit of that size since the depths of the financial crisis.

    Much of the increase is pegged to recent legislation, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. A recent CRFB report found that legislation passed in the 2018 fiscal year will account for $445 billion worth of fiscal year 2019's $973 billion budget deficit, or 46% of the total.

    In total, legislation enacted in the 2018 fiscal year will add $2.4 trillion in new debt by 2027.

    Maya MacGuineas, CRFB's president, said the new release was an important wake up call for Congress.

    "As expected, recent tax cuts and spending increases — all put on the national credit card — are making a bad problem even worse," MacGuineas said in a statement. "It's an unsustainable fiscal course that will lead us to debt overtaking the size of the entire economy in as soon as a decade, and not long after topping all-time highs as a share of the economy not seen since World War II."

    The White House didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

    SEE ALSO: Democrats are embracing a radical change to US healthcare, and it could be the defining political fight for years to come

    DON'T MISS: The US government's budget deficit is about to explode — and the Trump tax law and spending surge is to blame

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    indri madagascar

    • The Earth is undergoing a mass extinction, which is caused by human activity that destroys habitats and kills off species.
    • In a new study, Danish researchers concluded that so many mammal species will go extinct in the next 50 years that the planet's evolutionary diversity won't recover for at least 3 million years. 
    • The scientists said their findings could be used to help determine which endangered species are the biggest priorities for conservation efforts.

    Humans will cause so many mammal species to go extinct in the next 50 years that the planet's evolutionary diversity won't recover for 3 to 5 million years, a team of researchers has found.

    The Earth may be entering its sixth mass extinction: an era in which the planet's environments change so much that most animal and plant species die out. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature predicts that 99.9% of critically endangered species and 67% of endangered species will be lost within the next 100 years.

    The five other times a mass extinction has occurred over the past 450 million years, natural disasters were to blame. But now, human activity is killing mammal species.

    In a study published Monday in the journal PNAS, scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark calculated how fast extinctions are happening, and how long it would take for evolution to bring Earth back to the level of biodiversity it currently has.

    The scientists concluded that in a best-case scenario, nature will need 3-5 million years to get back to the level of biodiversity we have on Earth today. Returning to the state Earth's animal kingdom was in before modern humans evolved would take 5-7 million years.

    Evolution can't keep up

    Evolution is the planet's defense mechanism against the loss of biodiversity. As habitats and climates change, species that can't survive die, and new species slowly emerge. But it takes a long time for new species to fill the gaps — and that process is far slower than the rate at which humans are causing mammals to go extinct.

    For their calculations, the Aarhus University researchers used a database containing existing mammal species and mammals that already went extinct as humans spread across the planet. They combined that data with information about extinctions expected to come in the next 50 years, and used advanced simulations of evolution to predict how long recovery would take.

    Their estimates are based on an optimistic assumption that people will eventually stop ruining habitats and causing species to die out, and the extinction rate will go back down. But even in that best-case scenario, the timeline depends on how quickly mammals start recovering. If the extinction rate doesn't start falling for another 20-100 years, more species will likely disappear, causing greater diversity loss, the study said.

    Litopterns mammal extinction

    The researchers noted that in their model, certain species were given more importance than others. Matt Davis, a paleontologist at Aarhus University who led the study, cited the shrew as an example. There are hundreds of species of shrew, so if one or two go extinct, that would not kill off all shrews on Earth.

    But there were only four species of sabre-toothed tigers on the planet. So when they all went extinct, many years of evolutionary history disappeared with them. 

    "Large mammals, or megafauna, such as giant sloths and sabre-toothed tigers, which became extinct about 10,000 years ago, were highly evolutionarily distinct," Davis said in a press release. "Since they had few close relatives, their extinctions meant that entire branches of Earth's evolutionary tree were chopped off."

    The research could help conservationists  

    Today, other large animals like the black rhino are facing extinction. Asian elephants' chance of making it to the 22nd century is less than 33%, the study found. These elephants are one of only two remaining species from a group of mammals that once included mastodons and mammoths.

    "We now live in a world that is becoming increasingly impoverished of large wild mammalian species," Jens-Christian Svenning, an Aarhus University professor who researches megafauna, said in the press release. "The few remaining giants, such as rhinos and elephants, are in danger of being wiped out very rapidly."

    He noted that the planet no longer boasts giant beavers, giant deer, or giant armadillos.

    Though the researchers' findings are dire, the scientists said their work could be used to figure out which endangered species are evolutionarily unique, which might help conservationists decide where to focus their efforts to prevent the most devastating extinctions.

    SEE ALSO: 13 rare animals that are teetering on the brink of extinction

    SEE ALSO: Study reveals how 500 years of human exploitation has created a dangerous 'extinction vortex' in one of the world's most important forests

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Researchers want to try a cutting-edge technique to save rhinos from extinction


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    instacart shopper suv

    • Instacart's network crashed late Sunday, leaving customers waiting hours for food deliveries that never arrived. 
    • "I waited close to 6 hours for my order before canceling it," one customer tweeted. "The worst service ever."
    • Some customers said they were unable to cancel orders that were automatically rescheduled to the middle of the night or the following day. 
    • The network issue has since been resolved, and impacted customers can now cancel or reschedule their orders, according to someone with knowledge of the company's outage.

    Dozens of Instacart customers are furious after a network outage left them waiting all night for food deliveries that never arrived. 

    "Do NOT subscribe to Instacart," Mick Weidner wrote on Twitter. "They screwed up my order yesterday. I tried to contact them in multiple ways. I tried to cancel my subscription and was told I can't. So I resubmitted my order and it appears that the order didn't process. Terrible company!"

    Another customer tweeted: "I waited close to 6 hours for my order before canceling it. The worst service ever."

    Instacart confirmed the outage on Twitter, writing, "Our site is currently experiencing technical difficulties. We are actively working on the issue and apologize for the inconvenience."

    Dozens of people took to social media to complain that the company never directly notified customers of the outage. Several said they were unable to reach Instacart's customer service when their orders failed to arrive. Some said their orders were automatically rescheduled to the middle of the night or the next day.

    "I ordered Instacart today to be delivered in two hours," one customer tweeted. "They never showed up, didn't notify me or anything. I log in to check status and they postponed it to tomorrow from 9-11 am when I'll be at work. I’m furious. No response back to my complaint."

    On Monday morning, some customers said they still hadn't heard anything from Instacart about the outage or what would happen to their missing deliveries. 

    The outage also impacted Instacart employees who fill and deliver shoppers' orders.

    "I am a shopper and was stuck at the grocery store from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. last night," Stephanie Abene tweeted. "Due to the outage, I was never able to checkout and deliver a very difficult and substitution heavy order to my customer. I want to be compensated for my time and the inconvenience."

    The network issue has since been resolved, and impacted customers can now cancel or reschedule their orders, according to someone with knowledge of the company's outage.

    Here's what customers are saying on Twitter about the incident:

     

     

     

    SEE ALSO: Sears is shuttering 142 stores, with liquidation sales starting immediately — here's the complete list of closing stores

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why vanilla is so expensive


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    laura deming

    • When Laura Deming launched the Longevity Fund seven years ago, there weren't many investments going into experimental treatments aimed at helping us live healthier and longer. 
    • But now, the anti-aging field about to take off, she says. She's backed five companies, which have gone on to raise hundreds of millions from investors. 
    • "We've seen what happens with no resources," Deming told Business Insider. "Now that we have resources what will happen?"

    Laura Deming isn't new to investing in aging.

    Since launching her Longevity Fund seven years ago, she's seen the industry go from one side of the spectrum — little to no funding, and in turn, little research happening — to today's explosion of interest from investors in funding work to get humans living healthier and longer. 

    Deming has backed five companies which have gone on to raise a combined $500 million in capital. One of her investments, Unity Biotechnology, went public in 2018 and entered human trials in June.

    On Wednesday, her first class of companies graduated from her fund's Age1 accelerator, aimed at helping younger companies advance their research. The six companies include one focused on hibernation and how humans could tap into animals' "superpowers" and a spin-out from a regenerative medicine lab that's focused on reversing arthritis. Others, like Spring Discovery, are aiming to speed up the process of discovering new aging therapies.

    Deming, who's now 24, recalls when she first tried to fundraise for her fund after moving to the Bay Area. When first talking to the biotech venture capital crowd, they were skeptical. 

    "To them it was a science fiction story," Deming said. For the most part, biotech investments had been flowing into cancer-focused biotechs, another area that's been exploding. In 2017 alone, $133 billion was spent on cancer treatments, and there were an estimated 700 companies have cancer drugs in development. 

    "I don't blame them, if I were in their shoes having spent the past two decades investing in cancer how would I process the idea of aging?" she said.

    The anti-aging field has seen its fair share of failures, as well. For example, Elixir Pharmaceuticals, a company founded in the early 2000s that was backed by ARCH Ventures, ultimately shut down.

    These days, Deming isn't alone in the space. Companies like Alphabet's Calico and drug giant Novartis have also taken up research on aging, while startups like Ambrosia Medical are embarking on controversial research, charging $8,000 to participate in a trial to see how blood transfusions from younger people. And analysts expect one type of anti-aging therapeutic, known as senolytics, to upend a $20 billion market.  

    Now, Deming has heard from investors looking for her help vetting potential investments in the space. Ideally, the more capital flowing into the space, the more the field can advance. To be sure, drug development is risky, and it's possible the field of aging will see failures in the future — potentially alongside successes. 

    "We've seen what happens with no resources," she said. "Now that we have resources what will happen?"

    See also:

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 3 surprising ways humans are still evolving


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    kevin systrom instagram

    • Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom has spoken out about why he left the company in September.
    • Speaking at a conference on Monday, the entrepreneur admitted that "no one ever leaves a job because everything is awesome."
    • There have been reports of tensions between Facebook CEO and Kevin Systrom (and fellow cofounder Mike Krieger) prior to his departure.

    Instagram's former CEO Kevin Systrom has spoken out about his exit from the company he cofounded, admitting that "no one ever leaves a job because everything is awesome."

    Appearing onstage at the Wired 25 conference in San Francisco on Monday, the social media exec made his first major public remarks since the news broke he was quitting Instagram in September. The 34-year-old entrepreneur cofounded Instagram with Mike Krieger in 2010, and remain at the company after it was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012.

    There have been multiple reports in the media that Systrom and Krieger's joint departure was at least in part due to tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and disagreements about the direction of the product.

    Systrom acknowledged there were some tensions — while playing down their impact and speaking more broadly about his future.

    "I think any time you leave anything it's sad, even if it's your decision," Systrom said. "But at the same time you can't evolve as an individual or a person unless you make big changes in your life. And no decision is either all good- or all bad-feeling, it's always a mix of the two, but that's not a reason not to do it."

    He added: "To be clear, when you leave something, sometimes it's because it's incompatible with what you wanna do, or things change or whatever, but in this case there are no hard feelings at all. I'm excited to do something new and I think Instagram's in a really, really good place."

    So what is the new thing Systrom is planning to do next? The exec declined to comment on any future business ventures, though said he has been taking flying lessons, spending time with his nine-year-old daughter, and providing some mentorship to companies he has previously made angel investments in.

    But his remarks suggested he was definitely considering starting a new business: "I'm 34, I think I have a few more Instagrams, time-wise, in me," he said. "I'm not sure that we'll ever do something nearly as impactful."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is a $1,000 phone that's actually worth it


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    flea versus bed bugBedbugs and fleas are two blood-sucking bugs that can be tough to deal with. And although they do have similarities, the differences between them are pretty distinct— and some of the biggest differences come down to their bites. 

    Here are some of the major similarities and differences between bedbugs and fleas if you aren't quite sure what bug you're dealing with. 

    Both bugs survive on their host's blood.

    Bedbugs and fleas survive on blood from a host, according to Terminix. This means that both bedbugs and fleas will try to bite humans and animals when necessary.

    Both insects only like the blood from mammals, and bedbugs prefer humans. Fleas typically prefer the blood of furry mammals, but they can jump onto humans and bite them as well.

     

     



    Fleas and bedbugs have some similarities.

    Both small, wingless insects, fleas and bedbugs are a reddish-brown color. Although both bugs are visible to the naked eye, they often come into your home without a trace.

     

     



    Bedbugs and fleas are nocturnal.

    Fleas and bedbugs can loosely be labeled as nocturnal, meaning they are usually more active at night. This makes it harder to spot them, especially if you don't have any itchy, red bites.

    Both bugs can live for quite a long time without blood from a host, fleas for up to 100 days and bedbugs for up to a few weeks

    Read More: Here's what to do when you find out you have bedbugs



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    You don't have to live far inland to avoid hurricanes. Just move to Europe. It rarely sees full-on hurricanes. But that may soon change. Following is a transcript of the video.

    Europe hasn't had a hurricane reach its shore in over 50 years. Now don't get the wrong idea. Hurricane season still brings a hefty dose of wind and rain. But Europe has something that North America doesn't, when it comes to protection against hurricanes. Location.

    Hurricanes usually form off the coast of West Africa, where warm water near the Equator and high humidity create columns of rapidly rising rotating air. It's the perfect recipe for a storm. Now the more warm, moist air that the system picks up, the stronger it becomes. That's why a tropical storms can quickly grow into a full on hurricane as it marches across the Atlantic. Now normally hurricanes are propelled on a westward track by the trade winds, caused by the Earth's rotation. That's why Europe as well as the West Coast of the US, rarely experience full on hurricanes. But that's not the whole story.

    After all, since the year 2000, remnants of around 30 hurricanes have reached Europe. For comparison, Florida has seen 79 real hurricanes over the same time frame. By the time these remnants make landfall, they've went from a hurricane force, to a tropical storm or weaker. And that's where Europe's location comes into play. In order for a hurricane to head towards Europe, something crucial has to happen. It has to travel really far North by about 200 miles. Once a storm system reaches 30 degrees north, it encounters the subtropical jet stream. Which moves in the opposite direction of the trade winds. And therefore, blows the storm East But because the storm is now farther North, the waters underneath are colder by up to about five to 10 degrees Celsius. Which means less energy available to feed the storm. And as a result, it starts to die down by the time it's headed for Europe. Even though it's no longer a hurricane, it still packs a punch when it hits shore. In fact, most of these hurricane remnants will combine with other nearby cyclones and weather fronts, that create high winds and rain that mainly hit Ireland and Great Britain. But have been known to reach as far as Greece or even farther in Northern Russia. Typical damages include power outages, flooding, and occasionally casualties. Most recently the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia made landfall in Ireland and Scotland in 2017. About 50,000 households in Northern Ireland lost power. Three deaths were reported and downed trees closed many of the public roads and highways. This was the worst storm that Ireland had seen in 50 years. And it may be a sign of what's to come.

    As global surface temperatures rise, it will also increase the sea surface temperatures in the Northern Atlantic. Which researchers estimate could contribute to an increase in the number of hurricane force storms that reach Europe. Some experts predict that by the end of the 21st century, Europe could experience, on average, 13 powerful storms each year during hurricane season. Compared to the two per year it sees now.

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    Brian Moynihan

    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch's investment banking woes continue to mount.
    • While overall profits in the third-quarter soared 32% to $7.2 billion, investment banking fees in the firm's Global Banking division fell 20% to $643 million.
    • It was the continuation of a dismal year for the unit, which has lost market share to its top rivals and dropped in the league tables.
    • The bank has also experienced a wave of senior departures, with more managing director exits in investment banking since 2017 than any of its US competitors, according to a report.
    • "This is about renewing our focus and reenergizing our teams," CFO Paul Donofrio said on Monday.

    Investment banking was one of the few sore spots in an otherwise strong third-quarter earnings report for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

    While overall profits in the third-quarter soared 32% to $7.2 billion, investment banking fees in the firm's Global Banking division dropped 20% to $643 million. 

    It was the continuation of a dismal year for the unit, which for the first nine months of 2017 saw fees dip 20% from $2.7 billion to $2.1 billion. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported earnings Friday and saw smaller investment banking declines of 1% and 8%, respectively. 

    In earnings calls on Monday with the media and analysts, Bank of America top executives said the division isn't living up to its potential.

    "I know we can do better. I came from investment banking. I know they've built a great business, they have great bankers. We have one of the best platforms on the planet," CFO Paul Donofrio said. "This is about renewing our focus and reenergizing our teams."

    While investment banking comprises a much smaller slice of Bank of America's business than its powerhouse consumer retail division — which reported $3.1 billion in profits in the quarter — the firm is a perennial a top-three player on global dealmaking league tables. It has slipped to fourth thus far in 2018, losing market share while rivals have made significant gains, according to data from Dealogic.

    The firm's share in global investment banking fees dropped to 5.7% — down from 6% in 2016 and 2017 — while JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all posted gains. 

    The decline has happened amid a bumper year for mergers-and-acquisitions, with a record $3.1 trillion in announced deals in the first three quarters.

    There's no single explanation for the investment banking drop-off, though many cite a too-conservative approach, which grew even more risk averse following the $292 million loss on a margin loan involving South African retailer Steinhoff International in the fourth quarter of 2017. 

    The firm's leaders noted the episodic nature of dealmaking, and the misfortune of having huge deals fall through, as Bank of America did with the potential $34 billion Comcast-21st Century Fox deal, which crumbled in July after Disney swooped in with a higher bid. 

    Some have questioned leadership at the top. Outgoing corporate and investment banking chief Christian Meissner, and his lieutenant and head of investment banking Diego De Giorgi, have taken heat for allegedly creating factions and alienating some bankers. 

    It's unclear whether that's to blame for senior bankers jumping ship, but Bank of America has experienced more churn than its US competitors in investment banking.

    The bank lost 28 managing directors in investment banking to other banks in 2017 and the first half of 2018, according to data from a top Wall Street headhunting firm. Among those losses are Aaron Packles, co-head of US financial institutions banking, who left for Jefferies, and Bill Frauenhofer, head of global semiconductors banking, who left for Morgan Stanley.

    By contrast, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs lost 13 MDs during that span and Morgan Stanley lost 22, according to the report. 

    That tally doesn't include departures to the buy-side, corporations, or out of the industry, such as capital markets chief A.J. Murphy, who left in May to private-equity firm Silver Lake, or Anwar Zakkour, the global head of technology banking, who departed in January. 

    A Bank of America spokesman noted that the investment bank has hired 49 MDs since 2017. 

    Executives said Monday they were confident in their deal pipeline and that the business would rebound, a turnaround effort that will be spearheaded by Matthew Koder, the president of the firm's Asia-Pacific operations and Meissner's replacement.

    "We know we can get our fair share out of that business," CEO Brian Moynihan said on the earnings call with analysts. "We can do better and we'll just keep pushing away at it."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ray Dalio says the economy looks like 1937 and a downturn is coming in about two years


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    Stephen Hawking

    • The Sunday Times published an excerpt from Stephen Hawking's posthumously-published book "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" in which the esteemed scientist warned that genetically-enhanced humans could become a dominant overclass.
    • This is a concept that has been explored in science fiction, and emerging technologies combined with rising inequality could lead to such a dystopian outcome.
    • Hawking doesn't write that the first humans to take advantage of genetic modification will be the ones who can afford it, but it's hardly a stretch to expect the ultra-rich to become the first super-humans.

    The Sunday Times published an excerpt from Stephen Hawking's posthumously-published book "Brief Answers to the Big Questions," to be released Tuesday, October 16.

    In it, Hawking wrote that humanity is "now entering a new phase of what might be called self-designed evolution, in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA." He predicted that, while it's likely that we would begin with medical interventions to cure or prevent genetic diseases, scientists would eventually discover how to modify more complex traits like intelligence and aggressiveness.

    Hawking warned that the power to change DNA could lead to the emergence of a genetically-enhanced elite that could eventually dominate or even wipe out the genetic have-nots of a future civilization:

    "But some people won't be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as size of memory, resistance to disease and length of life.

    "Once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won't be able to compete. Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate."

    So the ultra-elite of the future will be healthy, intelligent, and long-lived. They'll probably also be rich.

    Fast Company's Michael Grothaus pointed out that it's not unlikely the super humans will be ultra-rich. After all, who can afford the newest, ground-breaking technology? The people who can afford everything else.

    Looking at the current state of society, one can see how Hawking could extrapolate such a genetically polarized future, and how money would factor into it. Income and wealth inequality are high and rising, while intergenerational mobility is stagnant in many parts of the US, as The New York Times recently reported.

    Emerging technologies like fast genome sequencing and genetic modification using CRISPR, if accessible only to a small, wealthy elite, could lead to the kind of genetic class divide Hawking described.

    The idea of genetic enhancement leading to a dominant class of superhumans has been explored in science fiction, including the classic Star Trek episode "Space Seed" and the 1997 movie "Gattaca." As Professor Hawking warned, emerging technologies could make those dystopian visions come true.

    Read the full excerpt from "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" at the Sunday Times here.

    SEE ALSO: The economy of every state, ranked from worst to best

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    Gluten-free bread

    • Many people confuse the gluten-free diet for a weight-loss diet.
    • Some people need gluten-free diets because they are intolerant or sensitive to the protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley.
    • A gluten-free diet is not necessarily healthier than a normal diet, which is often why it's not linked with weight loss.

    You may have heard the term "gluten-free" lately, but are likely a little confused about what exactly gluten is.

    According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, gluten is a protein found in cereal grains like wheat, rye, and barley. Unfortunately, because "gluten-free" is often followed by the word "diet," many people have equated a gluten-free diet with a weight-loss diet, which it is not.

    People who live by a gluten-free diet do so because they have a gluten intolerance or sensitivity. A gluten-free diet simply means a diet that is free from gluten.

    The reason you're not losing weight on a gluten-free diet is that you're not supposed to, much in the same way that you wouldn't lose weight on a peanut-free diet because of a peanut allergy.

    Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of "Read It Before You Eat It - Taking You from Label to Table," explained to INSIDER that "you're not losing weight [because] gluten-free doesn't mean that it is low in fat or low in calories or low in sodium. It doesn't really mean that it's healthy just because it doesn't have gluten in it."

    Or as David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM and author of the book "The Truth about Food: Why Pandas Eat Bamboo and People Get Bamboozled" put it, "gluten-free, per se, tells you nothing about the overall nutritional quality."

    Many people confuse "diet" with "dietary restrictions"

    spanish restaurant bread

    Yes, it's called a "gluten-free diet," but more accurately, it is a dietary restriction. Because of the prevalence of gluten-free food in the news and celebrities who talk up their "gluten-free diets," many individuals mistakenly think that it's a new weight loss diet when it's not.

    "Gluten-free became so popular in the news," Dr. Taux-Dix explained, "and when something is in the headlines — especially for people that haven't been successful on other diets — they just want to be the hummingbird of diets and jump on this one too."

    Dr. Taub-Dix also added that people often mistakenly conflate "gluten-free diet" with "weight loss diet" because people falsely equate the word "free" with "low calories" and "diet" with "weight loss."

    In actuality, the only people who need a gluten-free diet are those with gluten intolerances (i.e. celiac disease) or those with a sensitivity to it (i.e. IBS, migraines, etc).

    Gluten-free is confused for a carb-free diet

    pizza hut gluten-free

    There have been many variations on the "carb-free" diet over the years — the Atkins diet, for example — many of which reportedly helped people lose weight, but gluten-free is not carb-free. Because gluten is in all bread products, people have conflated it with what they traditionally call "carbs."

    "[Gluten-free] does not mean that it's calorie free or even carb free," Dr. Taub-Dix stated.

    Going gluten-free is not healthier for you

    Gluten Free Bread

    If you don't have a gluten sensitivity, there is no real reason to avoid it — in fact, avoiding gluten when you have no reason to do so, can actually hurt your health.

    "There are many good and bad foods with and without gluten," according to Dr. Katz. "But that simply means that cutting gluten makes no sense unless you are sensitive to gluten. There are far better ways to improve your diet, because cutting gluten could very well lower the overall quality of the diet, by taking out whole grains, and replacing them with gluten-free junk."

    Whole grains are often the biggest missing piece in gluten-free diets, which provide b vitamins and fiber — something that most gluten-free "grain" substitutes cannot.

    Dr. Katz said, for example, that "whole wheat bread will be at least as nutritious, and often more so than any gluten-free counterpart." Plus, Dr. Katz added that when someone goes on a gluten-free diet, they consume less fiber overall, and fiber plays an important role in weight loss.

    In fact, most gluten-free bread varieties are made with a combination of potato and tapioca starches, xanthan gum, and other flour alternatives that contain very little nutritional value, whereas the whole grains found in "normal bread"are natural sources of fiber.

    There is so much gluten-free "junk food" available now

    gluten free cupcakes

    There are now so many gluten-free junk food substitutes that are just as unhealthy in large doses as the real thing "

    "Gluten-free doughnuts and gluten free candy and gluten free cookies are not exactly healthy foods just because they don't have gluten in it," said Dr. Taub-Dix.

    Oftentimes, gluten-free individuals might feel deprived of the snacks they used to enjoy, so they overeat with gluten-free junk food. In fact, Dr. Katz says that the food industry knows that gluten-free individuals feel deprived and do everything to serve them the cookies, cakes, and crackers they used to love but in new gluten-free form.

    At the end of the day, Dr. Katz put it simply: "There is no reason to cut gluten for weight loss. None. Zero. Cutting gluten means no whole grain oats or wheat, two highly nutritious foods, good for both health and weight control."

    When you see a product in the store labeled "gluten-free," all that means is that there is no gluten in it, which is an indicator to individuals who are allergic or sensitive to it.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

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    Amazon

    • Amazon's wage hike will take effect in two weeks, and Morgan Stanley says its cost is "manageable." 
    • The compensation increase will lift the company's operating expenses by $2.75 billion, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak.
    • Meanwhile, Amazon's previous investment in warehouse's Kiva robots will increase its fulfillment efficiency and offset the wage increase, he added.
    • Watch Amazon trade in real time here.

    Amazon announced earlier this month that it is raising minimum wage for US and UK employees starting in November, and Morgan Stanley analysts say the cost is "manageable" as fulfillment efficiency improves from the company's Kiva robots. 

    "We think improved fulfillment efficiency is set to offset the aforementioned wage increase," a group of Morgan Stanley analysts led by Brian Nowak wrote in a note sent out to clients on Monday. 

    By the bank's calculation, the compensation increase will lift the company's operating expenses by $2.75 billion, or around 2.5% in fiscal year of 2019. The wage hike is "not small" but "manageable from a profit perspective," Nowak said.

    Since 2016, Amazon has been aggressively investing Kiva robotics integration in its warehouse. These investments have been lifting Amazon's fulfillment costs per unit in the past two years, but will start to show benefits since the second quarter of this year, according to Nowak.

    Amazon

    "We believe these new warehouses are handling the same capacity with around 30% fewer square feet," Nowak said. "As we refine our fulfillment cost per fulfilled unit analyses we lower pre-wage- increase fulfillment costs by 6% or $2.6 billion in 2019."

    Amazon

    Considering lower fulfillment costs boosted by the efficiency, the unit cost of fulfillment will be flat with the wage increases, Nowak added.

    And while the pay hike is manageable for Amazon, Nomura Instinet analyst Simeon Siegel recently said it comes at a cost for employees because Amazon is eliminating restricted stock options and monthly incentive bonuses for hourly workers. And so, if calculating stock and incentive benefits, these employees will actually "lose out" after the new wage change, Siegel said.

    Amazon is set to report its quarterly results on October 25. The e-commerce giant is expected to earn an adjusted $5.62 a share on revenue of $57.05 billion, according to Bloomberg data

    Morgan Stanley reiterated its "overweight" rating and $2,500 price target. 

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    Thread Team (Ben Phillips, Kieran O'Neill, Shaunie Brett)

    • Menswear startup Thread has raised $22 million (£16.7 million) to help men navigate clothes shopping.
    • Thread uses a mix of machine learning and real-life stylists to learn about its customers' fashion tastes, and recommend stylish clothing accordingly.
    • The company has well-known brands such as Hugo Boss and Barbour on board, and more than 1 million customers.
    • The company will use the money to cement itself as a household name and build up its technical capabilities.

    Thread, the startup that helps men who hate shopping buy clothes, has raised $22 million (£16.7 million) in venture capital backing to expand its technical capabilities and to cement itself as a household name.

    Thread has more than a million customers signed up to its service, which takes a few registration details about a user's fashion taste and budget, then uses that information to recommend new outfits.

    As customers buy more clothing through the app, Thread's algorithm learns more about what they like and makes new recommendations accordingly. It also learns from clothes customers click on but don't buy, what they scroll past, and what the weather's like.

    The idea is that men who hate rifling through racks of clothes in physical stores can still look smart and on-trend by buying through Thread. Well-known brands such as Barbour and Hugo Boss are available through the service.

    The startup employs 10 full-time stylists who curate outfits and write personalised messages to customers. But much of the recommendation load is handled by Thread's homegrown machine learning algorithm, much like Spotify's algorithm recommends music.

    A quarter of Thread's users buy all their clothes through the service

    Chief executive and serial entrepreneur Kieran O'Niell said a quarter of Thread's users buy all their clothing through the service. It's currently only available to male shoppers in the UK, but O'Niell said the plan was to introduce womenswear to the app some time in the future.

    It has, he said, taken almost four years to get the machine learning aspect right. "If you use off-the-shelf approaches, you get boring results," he said. "Like if you buy a black T-shirt, you would be recommended a grey T-shirt. So we had to create something that would understand what you like... and factor in individual preferences, plus what the weather is like, and stuff you already own."

    One thing the service could do better, he said, was adapt to customers' changing tastes. "What we're not good at is someone who did want [certain] stuff, has changed, and now wants more adventurous stuff. There's more we can do on that side."

    O'Neill added that most of Thread's customers were aged between 25 and 45. "I was surprised our customer base is as old as it is," he said. "I would have thought a younger guy would be more fashion-conscious, it turns out lots of guys between 25 and 45 want to dress well [and] don't like shopping."

    Thread's latest round was led by new investors Balderton, Forward Partners, Beringea and H&M's investment arm. The round included a small amount of debt financing from Triplepoint Capital. High-profile previous investors include DeepMind cofounders Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, and prestigious Silicon Valley bootcamp Y Combinator.

    O'Neill also plans to follow a startup trend set by the likes of Monzo and BrewDog: letting customers buy in. The company will open up to crowd investors via Crowdcube in November. The plan is to raise £500,000 to £1 million, though O'Neill said Thread may cap the round.

    "From the beginning we we always wanted to hold back part of it so customers can invest," he said. "The main reason we have succeeded is because of loyal customers, and it's just a way of offering them the chance to invest in the business. We're not doing it to raise lots of extra cash."

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    Growth Regtech Firms

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

    Regtech solutions seemed to offer the solution to financial institutions' (FIs) compliance woes when they first came to prominence around 24 months ago, gaining support from regulators and investors alike. 

    However, many of the companies offering these solutions haven't scaled as might have been expected from the initial hype, and have failed to follow the trajectory of firms in other segments of fintech.

    This unexpected inertia in the regtech industry is likely to resolve over the next 12-18 months as other factors come into play that shift FIs' approach to regtech solutions, and as the companies offering them evolve. External factors driving this change include regulatory support of regtech solutions, and consultancies offering more help to FIs wanting to sift through solutions. Startups offering regtech solutions will also play a part by partnering with each other, forming industry organizations, and taking advantage of new opportunities.

    This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, provides a brief overview of the current global financial regulatory compliance landscape, and the regtech industry's position within it. It then details the major drivers that will shift the dial on FIs' adoption of regtech over the next 12-18 months, as well as those that will propel startups offering regtech solutions to new heights. Finally, it outlines what impact these drivers will have, and gives insight into what the global regtech industry will look like by 2020.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Regulatory compliance is still a significant issue faced by global FIs. In 2018 alone, EU regulations MiFID II and PSD2 have come into effect, bringing with them huge handbooks and gigantic reporting requirements. 
    • Regtech startups boast solutions that can ease FIs' compliance burden — but they are struggling to scale. 
    • Some changes expected to drive greater adoption of these solutions in the next 12 to 18 months are: the ongoing evolution of startups' business models, increasing numbers of partnerships, regulators' promotion of regtech, changing attitudes to the segment among FIs, and consultancies helping to facilitate adoption.
    • FIs will actively be using solutions from regtech startups by 2020, and startups will be collaborating in an organized fashion with each other and with FIs. Global regulators will have adopted regtech themselves, while continuing to act as advocates for the industry.

    In full, the report:

    • Reviews the major changes expected to hit the regtech segment in the next 12 to 18 months.
    • Examines the drivers behind these changes, and how the proliferation of regtech will improve compliance for FIs.
    • Provides our view on what the future of the regtech industry looks like through 2020.

       

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    SendGrid IPO

    • Twilio, which makes communication tools for websites, is acquiring SendGrid.
    • SendGrid, an email marketing platform, went public in November 2017. 
    • Twilio's acquisition, which is all-stock, values SendGrid around $2 billion.
    • That's a premium over the $1.43 billion at which SendGrid was valued at the closing bell.

    Twilio, the $7.4 billion company that helps apps and websites send texts and make calls, is acquiring SendGrid in an all stock deal valued around $2 billion. The transaction, which was announced Monday, is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

    SendGrid, which is based in Denver, sells an email marketing platform that enables its customers to send newsletters, marketing and email confirmations en masse. As of late last year, it sent around 36 billion emails a month on behalf of customers like Uber and Spotify. Indeed, SendGrid is a Twilio partner, helping their mutual customers keep in touch with users.

    The company went public in November 2017 and closed its first day of trading with a valuation around just $725 million. At the closing bell on Monday, SendGrid was valued at $1.43 billion.

    In a letter to staff filed publicly on Monday, SendGrid CEO Sameer Dholakia confirmed that he will stay in his role,  and that SendGrid will function as its own autonomous division of Twilio.

    "Joining Twilio will allow us to accelerate our journey toward a shared vision of offering one trusted platform to fuel the future of customer communications," Dholakia said. "Today’s announcement will enhance our brand among developers, give us immediate scale, and expand opportunities to cross sell and invest."

    Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson highlighted the importance of email tools like SendGrid in Twilio's growth plan.

    “Increasingly, our customers are asking us to solve all of their strategic communications challenges - regardless of channel," Lawson said in a statement. 

    "The two companies share the same vision, the same model, and the same values," he said. "We believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together the two leading developer-focused communications platforms to create the unquestioned platform of choice for all companies looking to transform their customer engagement.”

    SEE ALSO: Square insiders and investors were blindsided by the departure of their 'beloved' CFO — and no one can agree on how bad it is for the $28 billion company's future

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    Google Pixel 3XL

    I've tested and played with an impressive crop of high-end Android devices this Fall. But after spending a week with Google's new Pixel 3XL I was quickly reminded why, when it comes to choosing my day-to-day device, my SIM cards tend to stay in Pixel phones. 

    My appreciation for Pixel phones has never been about the design, but that's changed a little bit with the Pixel 3XL. Still, if I was basing my buying decision on purely design, I probably wouldn't land on the Pixel 3XL, despite the improvements.

    The real beauty of Pixel phones has always been a mixture of getting an unadulterated Android experience, which would have been great on its own, as well as knowing that every photo I take is better on the Pixel 3XL than it is on any other phone.

    Check out the Pixel 3XL, which goes on sale October 18:

    SEE ALSO: Samsung's latest smartphone has more cameras than any premium phone from Apple, Google, or LG — but that doesn't mean it's better

    The Pixel 3XL has the foundation that makes great smartphones "great."

    The Pixel 3XL has everything that other top Android phones have:

    • An excellent, sharp display
    • Fast and responsive performance
    • Good battery life
    • Water resistance
    • Wireless charging
    • A fast and responsive fingerprint sensor
    • A great camera (more on this later)

    These are more-or-less standard expectations form a high-end Android phone these days, and the Pixel 3XL ticks every box. 



    Google's Pixel 3XL shines in a meaningful way that most other Android phones don't.

    There's just something about using a device where everything is made "in-house": The Pixel 3XL is a marriage of Google's hardware and Google's software. It's the Google experience rather than the "Samsung and Google experience" or the "LG and Googl experience." While some other Android devices can suffer from conflicts with performance and updates, the Pixel runs like a tight, well-oiled machine. 

    Android 9.0 "Pie" on the Pixel 3XL feels up to date, optimized, clean, responsive, fluid, and reliable. Other Android smartphones that aren't made by Google check some of those boxes, but not all of them.

    Some exceptions are OnePlus phones and the Essential Phone, both of which run the cleanest versions of Android outside of Google's own Pixel devices. To note the Essential Phone has been getting Android updates at the same time as Pixel phones, and it's the only non-Google phone to do so.

    What do I mean by clean and why is it so important? It means no bloatware and a "less is more" approach to features that makes it easier to use than a phone with lots of features. 

     



    The notch isn't great, but it doesn't ruin the experience.

    After using the Pixel 3XL for a week, I've come to completely ignore its massive notch. It doesn't detract from the experience of using the phone at all.

    If you write off the Pixel 3XL because of its notch, you'll be doing yourself a disservice for the sake of looks. You'll be missing out on everything that's great about the Pixel 3XL, including the great software and the absurdly good camera, which I'm coming to next. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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