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- 11/30/18--15:49: _The US, Canada, and...
- 11/30/18--15:59: _Ariana Grande's 'Th...
- 11/30/18--16:02: _How advances in edg...
- 11/30/18--16:29: _Ariana Grande's new...
- 11/30/18--17:33: _3 killed after pick...
- 11/30/18--18:15: _North Korean soldie...
- 11/30/18--18:17: _Kansas City Chiefs ...
- 11/30/18--19:04: _Michael Cohen's ple...
- 11/30/18--20:54: _Former President Ge...
- 11/30/18--21:20: _14 of George H.W. B...
- 11/30/18--21:56: _Inside the 'storybo...
- 12/01/18--13:45: _Stunning new report...
- 12/01/18--13:45: _These are the best ...
- 12/01/18--13:50: _How big is 'Fortnit...
- 12/01/18--13:50: _The 3 biggest games...
- 12/01/18--13:51: _An investment direc...
- 12/01/18--13:51: _You can now buy a B...
- 12/01/18--13:51: _Nobel-winning econo...
- 12/01/18--13:51: _The FDA just approv...
- 12/01/18--13:51: _I tried a test that...
- The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the first major update of the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, was officially signed by the three countries' leaders on Friday.
- The new trade deal bears a lot of similarities to NAFTA, but there are major differences as well.
- Some of the key differences: increased dairy-market access for the US, a new sunset clause, and tougher auto rules.
- Review clause: The USMCA includes a 16-year expiration date and a provision that requires a review of the deal every six years, when it can be extended. It's less severe than the US' original demand for a sunset clause that would have forced each side to recertify the deal every five years to keep it in effect.
- Dispute settlement: NAFTA's dispute-settlement system, which allows member countries to bring grievances against other members over allegations of unfair trading practices, will remain the same, a key win for the Canadians. The investor-state dispute-settlement system, which allows investors to bring grievances against member-country governments, will be phased out for the US and Canada, while certain industries, such as energy, will be able to bring cases against Mexico.
- Dairy access: The US will be able to export the equivalent of 3.6% of Canada's dairy market, up from the existing level of about 1%. This is slightly above the 3.25% market access Canada would have given the US as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump pulled the US out of last year. In addition, Canada will get rid of the "Class 7" pricing system that was seen as disadvantaging US farmers.
- Access for other agricultural goods: Canada will give the US more access to its chicken, turkey, and egg markets, and British Columbia will allow the sale of US wines at its state-owned liquor stores. Mexico agreed to allow imports of certain US cheeses.
- Auto rules: Members must produce 75% of a car for it to pass through the countries duty-free, up from 62.5%. Additionally, 40% of each car must be produced by workers making $16 an hour or more to avoid duties.
- Tariff side deals: The US came to side agreements with Mexico and Canada that would largely protect the two countries from tariffs on imported autos and auto parts. Canada would be allowed to ship 2.6 million cars to the US without tariffs, well above the 1.8 million it sent last year, and send $32.4 billion worth of parts without getting hit by tariffs. Mexico's deal was similar, except the country can send $108 billion worth of parts.
- Commitment to not mess with currency levels: While the US, Mexico, and Canada do not actively intervene to strengthen or weaken their currencies, the pact to "achieve and maintain a market-determined exchange rate regime" could be a model for future agreements with countries that are more active in currency markets.
- Increased protections for intellectual property: The deal increases the copyright period in Canada to 70 years after the creator's death, up from 50 years, bringing the country in line with the US. Additionally, exclusivity for biologic drugs before generics can be produced will be increased to 10 years in Canada from eight years, a win for the pharma industry.
- Increase in the de minimis levels: The de minimis level is the amount of a good a person can take across the border without being hit with duties. Canada will increase the de minimis level for US goods to 40 Canadian dollars from 20 Canadian dollars; for cross-border shipments like e-commerce, the level will be boosted to 150 Canadian dollars. Mexico will also bump its de minimis level to $50 and duty-free shipments to $117.
- On Friday, Ariana Grande debuted the music video for her hit single, "Thank U, Next," directed by Hannah Lux Davis.
- The video pays homage to four iconic female-focused movies: "Mean Girls,""Legally Blonde, "13 Going on 30," and "Bring It On."
- In the video, Grande embodies a main character from each film, played by Rachel McAdams, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner, and Kirsten Dunst, respectively.
- Grande also enlisted a slew of her friends, former "Victorious" co-stars, fellow artists, and the films' original cast members to play other roles.
- Here are all the parallels and references you may have missed.
- Security issues. Edge computing can limit the exposure of critical data by minimizing how often it’s transmitted. Further, they pre-process data, so there’s less data to secure overall.
- Access issues. These systems help to provide live insights regardless of whether there’s a network connection available, greatly expanding where companies and organizations can use connected devices and the data they generate.
- Transmission efficiency. Edge computing solutions process data where it’s created so less needs to be sent to the cloud, leading to lower cloud storage requirements and reduced transmission cost.
- In healthcare, companies and organizations are using edge computing to improve telemedicine and remote monitoring capabilities.
- For telecommunications companies, edge computing is helping to reduce network congestion and enabling a shift toward the IoT platform market.
- And in the automotive space, edge computing systems are enabling companies to increase the capabilities of connected cars and trucks and approach autonomy.
- Explores the key advantages edge computing solutions can provide.
- Highlights the circumstances when companies should look into edge systems.
Identifies key vendors and partners in specific industries while showcasing case studies of successful edge computing programs.
- Ariana Grande's "thank u, next" music video was released on Friday.
- The video received 1 million views in its first 35 minutes of being released, which caused issues on YouTube, the company said.
- The company tweeted that Grande "broke the internet" and that comments on her video were showing up on a delay.
- The delayed comments don't seem to be slowing anyone down from actually watching the video, as it has already received over 6 million views.
- Three people were killed when a pickup truck suspected of smuggling 11 people across the US-Mexico border lost control and rolled over near San Diego.
- The truck reached up to 100 mph in the rain on Interstate 8.
- Border Patrol agents who pursued the vehicle deployed a controlled tire deflation device (CTDD) to flatten the truck's tires.
- The driver, a US citizen identified as 21-year-old Luis Alberto Virgen, was arrested and jailed.
- The incident is under investigation. It is not yet known if agents saw passengers inside the truck's cargo bed, a Border Patrol press officer told INSIDER.
- 11/30/18--18:15: North Korean soldier defects to South Korea amid peace efforts
- A North Korean soldier reportedly defected to South Korea at around 7:56 a.m. local time on Saturday.
- The South Korean military spotted the suspected defector crossing the military demarcation line that separates the border.
- Authorities are investigating.
- Star running back Kareem Hunt has been released by the Kansas City Chiefs.
- The moves came after TMZ published a video that appeared to show Hunt shoving and kicking a woman during a late-night, offseason altercation.
- The Chiefs released a statement saying that Hunt had not been truthful with them during their investigation into the incident.
- Michael Cohen is quickly emerging as one of the most dangerous cooperators not only against President Donald Trump, but also his son, Donald Trump Jr.
- Cohen's plea deal with the special counsel Robert Mueller raises fresh questions about whether Trump Jr. misled congressional investigators about a now-defunct proposal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
- Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee said Cohen's plea deal indicates that "other witnesses were also untruthful before our committee."
- A knowledgeable congressional source told INSIDER Trump Jr. was one of the witnesses to whom Schiff was referring.
- 11/30/18--20:54: Former President George H.W. Bush dies at age 94
- Former President George H.W. Bush died Friday at the age of 94.
- Bush suffered from a form of Parkinson's disease and was hospitalized periodically in recent years for pneumonia.
- Bush is survived by his five children, 17 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and two siblings.
- 11/30/18--21:20: 14 of George H.W. Bush's most presidential quotes
- A report from the Miami Herald gives new insight into how federal prosecutors worked with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's legal team to downplay some of his serious sex crimes.
- The documents obtained by the Herald show that a cushy plea deal was cut after then-US Attorney Alexander Acosta (now President Donald Trump's labor secretary) met with one of his lawyers, a former colleague.
- Though investigators had found dozens of underage victims, Epstein only pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges and spent just 13 months in a county jail.
- In the wake of Toys R Us' liquidation, shoppers will need to turn elsewhere for their holiday toy shopping.
- To win over Toys R Us shoppers, stores like Walmart and Target have ramped up their toy categories for the holidays this year.
- Dollar stores, Party City, and even Best Buy are adding more toys to their selection this holiday season.
- "Fortnite" is stronger than ever, with more than 200 million registered players.
- That's a huge increase from June, when just 125 million players were registered.
- Additionally, "Fortnite" has more than 80 million monthly players.
- US stocks have put the rest of the world to shame over the past several years, with the S&P 500 vastly outpacing its counterparts in Europe and Japan.
- Ben Williams, investment director at GAM Investments and co-manager of the firm's Pacific Funds, warns that US companies are engaging in a risky practice that could spell the end of their dominant run.
- Williams breaks down where he thinks investors should be looking outside the US.
- You can now buy a Big Mouth Billy Bass that works with Amazon Alexa.
- The fish's lips will even sync up with what Alexa is saying.
- It costs $40 from Amazon.
- There's a "real amnesia going on in the political sphere" that threatens the global economy ahead of the next financial crisis, according to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.
- In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Krugman laid out what he thought was being overlooked and explained how those factors could come back to bite us in the next crisis.
- The FDA on Monday approved a new cancer treatment in an unconventional way: not by tumor type, but rather by the genetic mutation the drug targets.
- The drug, Vitrakvi, was developed by Loxo Oncology in partnership with pharma giant Bayer.
- It's only the second time the FDA has approved a cancer drug's use based on a certain mutation rather than a particular tumor type.
- A pill to treat peanut allergies is getting closer to reality — but a new study shows the drug can have some harsh side effects
- A biotech led by a 33-year-old CEO just raised $200 million and reached a $7 billion valuation, and it plans to use the money to give old drugs new life
- The president of the company headed for the biggest IPO in biotech history has a surprisingly large pay package
- I tried an at-home gut-microbiome test kit made by the Silicon Valley startup uBiome.
- Since being founded in 2012, uBiome has raised nearly $110 million and rocketed from a citizen science project to a key player on the life science venture scene.
- Having experienced minor digestive issues for years, I hoped to learn more about the gut bacteria thought to play a role in everything from our mental health to our ability to process fat and gluten.
- What I learned about my so-called forgotten organ shocked me.
Leaders from the US, Canada, and Mexico officially signed their new trade pact on Friday at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, marking a major step toward overhauling the three countries' economic relationship.
The signing ceremony comes after the US and Canada sealed the deal on a new trade agreement in September that, along with an earlier US-Mexico agreement, opened the door to a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
While the new deal, dubbed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, has been officially signed by the three leaders — President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto — it must also be approved by each country's legislature before it can come into effect.
Trump and other US officials have called NAFTA dead, saying the USMCA is a wholesale overhaul of the agreement.
"Just signed one of the most important, and largest, Trade Deals in U.S. and World History," Trump tweeted Friday. "The United States, Mexico and Canada worked so well together in crafting this great document. The terrible NAFTA will soon be gone. The USMCA will be fantastic for all!"
But despite Trump's declaration, the USMCA still maintains large swaths of the original deal and is more of an update to the existing deal than a full-on rewrite. But there are some key differences.
For instance, Canada scored wins with the preservation of NAFTA's state-to-state dispute-resolution system and cultural provisions that carve out a certain amount of the Canadian media market for domestically produced programming.
Other notable changes include increased dairy-market access, new auto rules, and a sunset clause.
Here's a rundown of some of the key changes in the deal:
The video opens with a parody of a scene from "Mean Girls."
In the 2004 film, written by Tina Fey, a montage of characters describe their impressions of the high school's queen bee, Regina George.
Each impression — from, "I hear she does car commercials in Japan," to, "One time she punched me in the face; it was awesome"— describes the character's vast influence on her peers.
Grande's version of this scene, which she released as a trailer on Wednesday, touches upon her real-life characteristics, recent life events, and rumors about the pop star.
The first person who speaks to the camera is Colleen Ballinger, famous for her online persona Miranda Sings.
"One time on Twitter, I heard Ariana was pregnant, so I got pregnant so we could be pregnant at the same time," Ballinger says. "Turns out it was just a rumor."
Ballinger — a comedian, singer, actress, and YouTube personality, best known for her character Miranda Sings — has been friends with Grande for many years. They were close before Grande found pop stardom and have documented their friendship online using Ballinger's YouTube channels.
Grande has previously lamented the constant speculation that she is pregnant. During her "Carpool Karaoke" segment with James Corden, she said: "People really want me to be pregnant... Every other week, there's like, a pregnancy thing."
The next person is Jonathan Bennett.
"Ariana Grande told me my hair looks sexy pushed back," Bennett says. "She's not wrong."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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.
Edge computing solutions are key tools that help companies grapple with rising data volumes across industries. These types of solutions are critical in allowing companies to gain more control over the data their IoT devices create and in reducing their reliance on (and the costs of) cloud computing.
These systems are becoming more sought-after — 40% of companies that provide IoT solutions reported that edge computing came up more in discussion with customers in 2017 than the year before, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey. But companies need to know whether they should look into edge computing solutions, and what in particular they can hope to gain from shifting data processing and analysis from the cloud to the edge.
There are three particular types of problems that edge computing solutions are helping to combat across industries:
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how edge computing is reducing companies' reliance on cloud computing in three key industries: healthcare, telecommunications, and the automotive space. We explore how these systems mitigate issues in each sector by helping to efficiently process growing troves of data, expanding the potential realms of IoT solutions a company can offer, and bringing enhanced computing capability to remote and mobile platforms.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
Ariana Grande's "thank u, next" music video has broken the internet, slightly.
Released on Friday, the music video — which features scenes reenacted from the films "Mean Girls,""Legally Blonde,""13 Going on 30," and "Bring It On"— received 1 million views on YouTube in its first 35 minutes of being released. According to Pop Crave, that makes "thank u, next" the fastest video to reach that mark, ever.
The surge caused some issues for YouTube, which tweeted that comments on Grande's video would be delayed amid the crushing onslaught of fans.
@ArianaGrande the thank u, next video was so good, it broke the internet (or at least delayed YouTube comments from posting for a bit).— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) November 30, 2018
Comments are still working on the video, they're just delayed! https://t.co/osq64npfpt
The delayed comments don't seem to be slowing down anyone from actually watching the video. As of 3:45 PM PST, Grande's "thank u, next" had over 6 million views.
A spokesperson for YouTube said the company is looking into the issue but did not provide a timeline as to when it will be fixed.
Watch the full "thank u, next" music video here:
NOW WATCH: 7 places you can't find on Google Maps
Three people were killed when a pickup truck suspected of smuggling 11 people across the US-Mexico border lost control and rolled over after Border Patrol agents deployed a "tire deflation device" on Thursday night.
At 4:10 p.m., Border Patrol agents discovered multiple tire tracks near the border that continued northbound into the US — a "typical sign" of smuggling activity, according to the Border Patrol. A piece of a vehicle was also discovered in the area.
Ten minutes later, agents discovered a Chevy Silverado that was missing a part identical to the part of the vehicle they found, the Border Patrol and the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Agents signaled for the truck to stop, but the driver fled, prompting a 100 mile-per-hour chase in the rain on Interstate 8.
Agents eventually used a controlled tire deflation device (CTDD) to flatten the truck's tires, causing the driver of the truck to lose control one minute later. As it approached the side of the highway, the truck crashed and rolled over, according to the Border Patrol.
Three of the 11 passengers were ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. Seven of the passengers were hospitalized.
The driver, a US citizen identified as 21-year-old Luis Alberto Virgen, was arrested and jailed.
The incident is being investigated. It is not yet known whether agents saw passengers inside the truck's cargo bed, a Border Patrol press officer told INSIDER.
The Border Patrol's policy allows certified agents to use the CTDD only "when the immediate or potential danger ... is less than the immediate or potential danger to the public" if the suspect vehicle continues driving.
"The CTDD shall be deployed in a manner that minimizes risk of injury to persons or damage to property," a 2014 Border Patrol guideline said.
A North Korean soldier reportedly defected to South Korea at around 7:56 a.m. local time on Saturday, according to South Korean news reports.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military detected the defector crossing the military demarcation line separating the border, according to Yonhap News.
"Related agencies plan to investigate him regarding the details of how he came to the South," the Joint Chiefs said in a message.
The Joint Chief's added that there were no "unusual" North Korean troops movements in the neighboring area following the incident.
The incident marks the first military defection from North Korea since the two countries agreed to take several steps to lower tensions. In October, both countries agreed to withdraw firearms, dismantle guard posts at the border, and share surveillance information.
President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in briefly met at the G20 summit in Argentina on Friday, where Trump reaffirmed his intention to hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Defections into South Korea have incensed North Korea, which typically rekindles tensions between the two countries and the UN Command. Although some defectors have difficulty in adjusting to life in South Korea, they are offered education, meals, and jobs from the government.
According to one estimate from South Korea's Ministry of Unification, the number of defections under Kim's rule have dropped — from 2,706 in 2011 to 1,127 in 2017. Over 30,000 North Koreans have defected since the Korean War armistice ended hostilities in 1953.
Another North Korean soldier defected to South Korea, under a hail of gunfire, across the military demarcation line in November 2017.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Friday evening that they have released star running back Kareem Hunt.
The move came after TMZ published a video earlier in the day showing a late-night altercation between Hunt and woman in which he appeared to shove and kick and the woman.
Here is the statement from the Chiefs in which they say he was "not truthful" when they originally investigated the incident:
"Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt. At that time, the National Football League and law enforcement initiated investigations into the issue. As part of our internal discussions with Kareem, several members of our management team spoke directly to him. Kareem was not truthful in those discussions. The video released today confirms that fact. We are releasing Kareem immediately."
When the FBI raided Michael Cohen's property earlier this year and it surfaced that he was the target of a federal criminal investigation, Justice Department veterans warned that if he were to flip, he could be the most dangerous cooperating witness against President Donald Trump and his family.
This week, the special counsel Robert Mueller's office revealed a slice of just how much dirt Cohen may have on Trump in a charging document laying out how Cohen misled congressional investigators last year about the Trump Organization's effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 election.
Cohen and Trump have known each other for years, and in addition to being Trump's personal lawyer, he was also his longtime fixer and served as the Trump Organization's lead attorney for a decade.
Prosecutors said Cohen, who pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress, misled lawmakers when he said negotiations for the Trump Tower Moscow deal ended in January 2016 and that he did not discuss it extensively with Trump Organization executives. They said Cohen did so "in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations."
These revelations don't just spell trouble for Trump. They've also cast the spotlight back on Donald Trump Jr., Trump's eldest son who is an executive vice president at the Trump Organization.
Trump Jr. misled the House Intelligence Committee, per source
When he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last September, Trump Jr. told the panel he "wasn't involved" in the Trump Tower Moscow project and was only "peripherally aware" of it in 2016.
He also said he was not aware Cohen had reached out to the Russian government about the deal and indicated that Cohen's work with the Russian-born businessman Felix Sater on the project ended in 2015.
But prosecutors wrote that Cohen "discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project" with Trump "on more than the three occasions Cohen claimed" to the Senate Intelligence Committee and that "he briefed family members" of Trump within the Trump Organization about it.
They also said Cohen admitted to pursuing the deal with Sater as late as June 2016, after Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
After Cohen's plea deal was announced, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that Cohen's plea "highlights concern over another issue – that we believe other witnesses were also untruthful before our committee."
A knowledgeable congressional source told INSIDER that Trump Jr. was one of the witnesses to whom Schiff was referring.
Trump Jr. 'ought to be alarmed'
Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, told INSIDER the president's son "ought to be alarmed" by Cohen's plea deal. "We know Trump Jr. was questioned on the same topics that Michael Cohen has now been convicted of lying about."
It's unclear exactly what Trump Jr. told the House Intelligence Committee about the scrapped deal, because his interview took place in a closed-door session.
"The decision of whether to charge Trump Jr. with perjury is really going to come down to a question of precision," Honig said. "How clear is it that he misstated the truth? Did he leave himself enough wiggle room, and is his version of facts squarely contradicted by documents, emails, or other evidence showing his level of involvement?"
Honig added the caveat that Trump Jr. likely did not have the same level of involvement in the project as Cohen did. But, he added, "it's clear he did have some involvement at some time. So the key question is going to be, how much was Trump Jr. involved in, and how does that square off with the specifics of his testimony?"
Cohen has been cooperating with investigators since August, when he pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations in a separate Manhattan US attorney's office investigation into his and Trump's financial dealings before the election. His most recent sit-down with Mueller was last week.
'You don't get a pass because your last name is Trump'
Cohen's is the first guilty plea Mueller has secured that is directly connected to Trump's business dealings in Russia. And he is the first person Mueller has prosecuted for lying to Congress.
But DOJ veterans say that doesn't mean he'll be the last.
"There are certainly others at the Trump Organization that knew about this Russian overture," Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor in Chicago, told INSIDER. "If they knew about it and lied, either to Mueller or to Congress, there's no reason to think they'd be treated differently than Cohen. You don't get a pass because your last name is Trump."
If it emerges that Trump Jr. knew more than he was letting on about the deal and gave false testimony about it to congressional committees, "he or any other individual is now staring at the same fate Cohen is," Cramer said. "It brings home to those in the company who may have lied about the deal that their time could be coming sooner rather than later."
This isn't the first time Trump Jr.'s congressional testimony has come under the microscope.
Lawmakers also questioned the president's son about his involvement in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top campaign officials and two Russian lobbyists offering dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign as "part of Russia and its government's support" for Trump's candidacy.
Trump and his lawyers have said he did not know about the meeting until after it was reported on last July. Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee the same, saying he did not inform his father of the meeting prior to its occurrence.
But CNN, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, reported in July that Cohen claims he was one of several people who were present when Trump Jr. informed Trump of the offer before the meeting. Cohen reportedly says that Trump greenlit the meeting after hearing about it from his son.
CNN and NBC News reported that Cohen does not have physical evidence — like a tape recording — to back up his claim but was willing to testify about it under oath to Mueller.
Former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died Friday at 94.
He is survived by his five children, 17 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and two siblings.
Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital in April after "contracting an infection that spread to his blood," according to a statement from Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath.
Bush suffered from a form of Parkinson's disease and had been hospitalized several times in recent years. The former commander-in-chief was treated for pneumonia and was temporarily placed on a ventilator in 2017.
Bush served as president from 1989 to 1993. Before that, he served as vice president under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989.
Bush's death follows the passing of his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died on April 17. Barbara, 92, suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure. The two had been married for 73 years.
Bush, a Massachusetts native, joined the US armed forces on his 18th birthday in 1938 and eventually became the youngest naval pilot at the time. He flew a total of 58 combat missions during World War II, including one where he was shot down by Japanese forces.
"George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for," former President and son George W. Bush said in a statement. "The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41's life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."
President Donald Trump also released a statement following news of Bush's death: "Melania and I join with a grieving Nation to mourn the loss of former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away last night."
"Our hearts ache with his loss, and we, with the American people, send our prayers to the entire Bush family, as we honor the life and legacy of 41," Trump added.
From the Ivy League to the oil business, and then public service
After graduating from Yale University and venturing into the oil business, Bush jumped into politics and eventually became a congressman, representing the 7th Congressional District in Texas. He made two unsuccessful runs for Senate, but would later serve in various political capacities — including as the US ambassador the United Nations, Republican National Committee chair, and CIA director.
Bush decided to run for president in 1980; however, failed to secure the Republican Party's nomination during the primaries. Reagan soon chose Bush as his running mate and vice presidential nominee.
He ran for president again with Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana as his running mate, and won, in 1988.
During his time in office, Bush oversaw major foreign-policy decisions that would have lasting effects on the global stage.
As one of his first major decisions, Bush decided to remove Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega — a former US ally turned international drug lord — from power. Around 23,000 US troops took part part in "Operation Just Cause" and invaded Panama. Noriega eventually surrendered to the US and although the operation was seen as a US victory, it was also viewed as a violation of international law.
As the sitting president during the demise of the Soviet Union, Bush held summits with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and advocated for the reduction of nuclear weapons while cultivating US-Soviet ties. When the Soviet Union finally fell, Bush heralded it as a "victory for democracy and freedom" but held back on implementing a US-centric policy on the confederation of nations that emerged.
On August 2, 1990, Bush faced what was arguably his greatest test. Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait after accusing it of stealing oil and conspiring to influence oil prices. Bush formed a coalition of nations, including the Soviet Union, to denounce Hussein's actions and liberate Kuwait in "Operation Desert Shield" and eventually "Operation Desert Storm." Around 425,000 US troops and 118,000 coalition forces were mobilized for weeks of aerial strikes and a 100-hour ground battle.
Despite his achievements beyond the US border, Bush was less successful back home. He fell short in his bid for reelection in 1992, during a time of high unemployment rates and continued deficit spending. Bush pulled in only 168 electoral votes that year, compared to Bill Clinton — then the governor of Arkansas — who collected 370 electoral votes.
Following his presidency, the Bushes relocated to Houston, Texas, where they settled down and became active in the community.
Bush received several accolades after his presidency, including receiving a knighthood at Buckingham Palace, and having the US Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), named after him.
In 2017, several women accused Bush of sexual misconduct and telling lewd jokes. Bush's representatives released a statement at the time, saying that he occasionally "patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner."
Bush is survived by his sons, former President George W. Bush, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, and daughter Dorothy Bush Koch.
"Some see leadership as high drama and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that," Bush said during his inaugural address on January 20, 1989. "But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning."
Bush continued: "The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so, today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity, diversity, and generosity — shared, and written, together."
Former President George H.W. Bush died on Friday, November 30, at 11:10 p.m. ET, at age 94.
Statement by the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, on the passing of his father this evening at the age 94. pic.twitter.com/oTiDq1cE7h— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) December 1, 2018
In April, Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital for a blood infection. His hospitalization came nearly a week after his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, died at age 92.
To honor him, here are 14 of his most presidential quotes:
On the future:
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
They are survived by their five children, 17 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and two siblings.
Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital in April after "contracting an infection that spread to his blood," according to a statement from Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath. His health had been declining in recent years.
Barbara Bush had been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and congestive heart failure, and was hospitalized several times over the last year.
Bush, who resided in the White House for four years while her husband, served as Commander in Chief, had been married to the 41st president of the United States for 73 years.
Described as a true love story, here is an inside look at the longest marriage in US presidential history:
Barbara Pierce and George Bush met at a dance over Christmas vacation in 1942. She was 16 and he was 17, and Barbara claimed that George was the first boy she ever kissed.
Source: Associated Press
After dating for a year and a half, the two became engaged and planned to get married before George went off to serve in World War II as a Navy pilot. He famously named three of his Navy planes after her, and the two shared love letters while he was away.
On January 6, 1945, the couple married at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York while George was on leave from war. He was 20 and she was 19.
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A new Miami Herald report gives stunning details about how President Donald Trump's labor secretary went to great lengths to help downplay billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's sex crimes when he was the US attorney for Southern Florida.
According to the report, local and federal investigators had gathered enough evidence to put Epstein away for life in 2007 when then-US Attorney Alexander Acosta met with one of Epstein's lawyers, Jay Lefkowitz.
Acosta and Lefkowitz were former colleagues from their time at top-ranked law firm Kirkland & Ellis. At the meeting, the two reportedly hammered out a deal that would see Epstein serve just 13 months, in a private cell block at a county jail, instead of federal prison.
Long before #MeToo became the catalyst for a women's movement about sexual assault — and a decade before the fall of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and U.S. Olympic gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar — there was Jeffrey Edward Epstein. #PerversionofJusticepic.twitter.com/z3rIvzQWE9— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) November 28, 2018
Government documents obtained by the Herald show that in exchange for a lowered sentence, Epstein provided unspecified information on federal investigations.
It's unclear what kind of information Epstein provided to the feds, but his case came to light during the 2008 global financial collapse.
He went on to be a key witness in the criminal prosecution of two prominent executives with Bear Stearns who were accused of corporate securities fraud. Epstein, whose wealth is often estimated in the billions, was one of the largest investors in the hedge fund the two executives managed.
The two executives were later acquitted. It's unclear if Epstein's role testifying against the two executives was part of his plea deal.
While Epstein had to register as a sex offender and pay restitution to the dozens of victims that investigators identified, he only agreed to plead guilty to two prostitution charges.
The deal also kept the full extent of Epstein's crimes largely secret from the public. And emails obtained by the Herald show that prosecutors worked with his defense team to push the case through Miami court, so the victims, who were mostly located in Palm Beach, wouldn't know about his sentencing and try and get the agreement thrown out.
'It showed that someone with money can buy his way out of anything'
Lawyers for the victims and investigators said they were left gobsmacked by the deal.
The victims didn't learn about the sentencing until after it happened, and most were still unaware that the deal effectively shut down the FBI probe into Epstein's crimes.
"The conspiracy between the government and Epstein was really 'let's figure out a way to make the whole thing go away as quietly as possible,'" Bradley Edwards, a former state prosecutor who represents some of Epstein's victims, told the Herald. "In never consulting with the victims, and keeping it secret, it showed that someone with money can buy his way out of anything."
One of the alleged victims, 31-year-old Courtney Wild, said that as soon as the deal was signed "they silenced my voice and the voice of all of Jeffrey Epstein's other victims." Wild was 14 when she says she first met Epstein.
One of the most striking elements of the agreement was that it protected four of Epstein's accomplices from facing federal prosecution and granted immunity to "any potential co-conspirators," according to the Herald.
That line caused speculation that possibly high-profile people also had sex with Epstein's victims, according to the Herald. Epstein was well-connected at the time, counting friends such as former President Bill Clinton, Trump and Britain's Prince Andrew.
In a pending lawsuit, some of the victims have asserted that the government broke federal law in not notifying them that Epstein had struck a deal and was about to be sentenced.
The lead federal prosecutor, A. Marie Villafana, said in court papers the Herald reviewed that her team tried their "best efforts" to comply with the Crime Victims' Rights Act. But she said they exercised their "prosecutorial discretion" in choosing not to tell the victims about the deal.
She reportedly explained that the deal included a clause ordering Epstein to pay restitution to the victims, which complicated the case if the deal fell through. If that happened, she said that Epstein's lawyers could have accused the victims of exaggerating the claims to try to milk Epstein's considerable fortune.
'A plea that guarantees someone goes to jail ... is a good thing'
Acosta has never provided an explanation for why he and prosecutors kept the case secret from the victims and their parents. When Trump nominated him to join his Cabinet in 2017, senators asked Acosta about the case during his confirmation hearings.
"At the end of the day, based on the evidence, professionals within a prosecutor's office decided that a plea that guarantees someone goes to jail, that guarantees he register [as a sex offender] generally, and guarantees other outcomes, is a good thing," Acosta told them.
The deal was so cushy for Epstein that the government was eventually forced to answer questions about its handling of the case.
Recent court filings the Herald reviewed show that the government admitted in 2013 that federal prosecutors had bowed under pressure to the demands set forth by Epstein's legal team, which included such high-powered attorneys as Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr (who investigated Clinton).
"The government admits that, at least in part as a result of objections lodged by Epstein's lawyers to victim notifications, the [United States Attorney's Office] reevaluated its obligations to provide notification to victims and Jane Doe #1 was thus not told that the USAO had entered into a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein until after it was signed," Assistant US Attorney Dexter Lee wrote in the filings.
The Miami Herald says Epstein did not respond to their repeated requests for comment.
A US Labor Department spokesman told INSIDER in a statement that "this matter has been publicly addressed previously."
"The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida has defended the actions in this case across three administrations, and the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida is the appropriate office for your inquiry," the spokesman for Acosta said.
In the wake of Toys R Us' bankruptcy and liquidation, shoppers will need to turn elsewhere for their holiday toy shopping this year.
Toys R Us filed a motion to liquidate its US business in March, initiating the closing or selling of all 735 of its US stores. They had all closed for good by the end of June.
To win over Toys R Us shoppers, stores like Walmart and Target have ramped up their toy categories, with Walmart announcing it would be expanding its toy selection by 40% online and making more room for toys in stores, and Target laying out plans to add 250,000 square feet of floor space spread throughout 500 stores.
Dollar stores, Party City, and even Best Buy are making a bigger push into toys this holiday season. Here are all of the best places to shop for toys:
Walmart announced in September that it would be expanding its assortment of toys before the holiday season. The store selection would include "more toys than we've ever carried before," Walmart's VP of toys, Anne Marie Kehoe, said at a press conference announcing the plans.
Walmart will be expanding its toy selection by 40% online, and 30% of the toys it's stocking in stores will be brand-new. Walmart will also make room for more toys in stores, and in some locations, it will even be adding more aisles to stock them
Walmart said it will have 1,000 toys exclusive to the retailer, 300 of which are brand-new.
Target announced a new initiative to increase both the space it allots to selling toys in stores and the assortment of toys it carries.
In a press release, the retailer touts that it will have "2,500 new and exclusive toys" with 250,000 additional square feet of floor space spread throughout 500 stores. These stores will also be getting a remodel with more space for items like outdoor play sets and ride-on toys. About 100 of those stores will have a new layout for the toy section with larger displays.
Online, a new "Toy Hub" seeks to help shoppers explore the expanded selection.
Amazon created a paper copy of its toy list to be mailed to customers and distributed in Whole Foods stores and other physical Amazon outlets ahead of the holiday season.
A recent consumer survey by Stifel Financial found that shoppers said they prefer to buy toys on Amazon.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The biggest game in the world — "Fortnite"— is showing no signs of slowing down.
That's clear from the latest statistic to come out of "Fortnite" creator Epic Games: More than 200 million players have registered accounts, Epic Games confirmed on Tuesday.
Between June 2018 and November 2018, 75 million new players registered, putting the total at more than 200 million.
That's a pretty remarkable number. It puts "Fortnite" registered player numbers in the same realm as the most popular games of all time — games like "Tetris" and "Minecraft" and "Grand Theft Auto 5."
That said, there's a big difference between "Fortnite" and those games: "Fortnite" is free, and available on pretty much anything that will play video games. It also doesn't hurt that the focus of "Fortnite" is an online-only multiplayer mode named "Battle Royale" that's endlessly re-playable.
It's that mix of attributes that's helped "Fortnite" become the most popular game in the world since the Battle Royale mode launched in September 2017.
It's been barely a year since "Fortnite" began its climb to the top, and already its victory dances have bled into professional sports.
It feels like months since Drake joined up with Tyler "Ninja" Blevins to stream the game on Twitch, thus boosting its visibility even more — but that's because it was months ago, way back in March. March!
And now, just one year after Battle Royale hit "Fortnite," more people are playing it monthly than there are people living in Drake's home country — by a factor of two! Way to make Canada look underpopulated, "Fortnite."
And if we're talking about registered players? At over 200 million, "Fortnite" has a player base that's nearly two-thirds of the entire US population.
Forget about "Fortnite"— a massive new Nintendo game with dozens of Nintendo's most iconic characters beating each other senseless is just over the horizon. And it's only available on Nintendo's Switch.
Though there are plenty of games on all three major game consoles this holiday, a few blockbusters are exclusive to each. Starting with "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," we've put together the three heavy-hitter exclusive games for Sony's PlayStation 4, Microsoft's Xbox One, and Nintendo's Switch console this holiday season.
1. "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" on the Nintendo Switch
The biggest Nintendo game of the year still hasn't arrived yet. "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is expected to launch on December 7 for the Nintendo Switch — the biggest entry yet in the decades-old "Super Smash Bros." fighting game franchise.
For those unfamiliar, "Smash Bros." is all about beating up some of video game history's most iconic characters. Want Mario to duke it out with Sonic the Hedgehog? Or Solid Snake to take on Mega Man? "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" is the game you've been waiting for.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Nintendo game without a twist: In the case of "Smash Bros.," that twist comes in the form of simultaneous multiplayer brawling. Fights aren't head-to-head unless you specifically choose them to be — up to eight players can battle for supremacy in a single round of the latest "Smash Bros."
Better still: The latest entry in the series is promising the largest roster of playable characters ever. In reality, that means over 70 playable characters.
Check out "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" in action right here:
2. "Forza Horizon 4" on the Xbox One/Xbox One X
Somewhere between racing giant trucks through a snowstorm and completing the "Forza Horizon 4" version of the end of the first "Halo" game, I realized how ridiculously versatile the series has become.
If you're interested in drag racing, "Horizon" has that. If you're interested in rally, or drifting, or street, "Horizon" also has all that. If you just want to smash the gas and the brakes in very pretty cars, "Horizon" is here for you.
"Forza Horizon 4" is the only racing game I've ever played that so brilliantly straddles the line between accessibility and depth. Whether you've never played a game or you've got a racing wheel setup, "Horizon" has you covered.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
US stocks have put their global peers to shame for the past several years. And it hasn't been particularly close.
The benchmark S&P 500 has climbed 35% since the start of 2016, more than triple the return for Japan's Topix index. Meanwhile, the Stoxx Europe 600 has been flat over the same period, a mere afterthought in the grand scheme of global equity markets.
This US outperformance has been at least partially driven by strong earnings growth. Rock-bottom interest rates and tax cuts have also provided companies with increased access to capital they've used to reinvest, make acquisitions, and buy back their own shares.
But a byproduct of this behavior has created a potentially unsustainable situation in the US market, according to Ben Williams, who personally oversees $275 million as an investment director at GAM Investments, where he serves as co-manager of the firm's Pacific Funds.
His argument is twofold. First, because debt financing has been so readily available to companies, they've become overly leveraged. Second, as those firms have used that money for mergers and acquisitions, it's created large balances of so-called intangible value.
That intangible value is created when one company buys another and absorbs nonphysical assets, such as name-brand recognition. In the event that the amount paid exceeds the target's book value, that leftover amount is slotted onto the balance sheet as an intangible asset called goodwill.
This can create problems because assets like brand recognition can be fickle. Williams cites Nokia and BlackBerry as once-formidable brands that lost the vast majority of their cachet over time.
As such, Williams argues that corporate balance sheets loaded with goodwill can be weaker than they appear, since there's always the possibility that intangible asset values will evaporate.
And, intangible assets are largely unique to the US, at least in terms of how widespread they are. This chart shows that US companies in the S&P 500 hold a wildly disproportionate amount of intangible assets as a portion of overall shareholder's equity, relative to the rest of the world.
"If you've taken a lot of debt to acquire a company and end up with just goodwill, you're running a much greater risk than if you'd have bought a company with no debt or intangible assets on its book," Williams told Business Insider by phone.
He continued: "We never know what the future holds, so companies with high debt and high intangible assets should typically be considered riskier than those who don't."
The case for investing outside the US
This brings Williams to his next point: that the troubling factors outlined above make investing in equities outside the US that much more appealing.
He's speaking specifically about Japanese companies, which he says are largely devoid of the massive debt burdens facing their US counterparts. They instead have been paying down debt, building up balance sheets with cash, and mostly refraining from M&A activity.
"US companies have been on an M&A spree for the last decade," he said. "Companies have undertaken M&A financed by debt, so a large chunk of their intangible assets are goodwill. Whereas, in Japan, you've had the exact opposite. That's the big difference."
Further, Williams points out that, despite all the fuss around US profit growth throughout the 10-year bull market, Japanese companies have fared just as well.
There are two other main reasons Williams is looking outside the US with a specific focus on Japanese and Pacific stocks. The first is that those foreign companies have more upside potential when it comes to share-price-enriching activities like M&A and buybacks, since they do them far more infrequently. It's essentially a switch that can be flipped.
The second reason is that, as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates and makes borrowing more expensive, the gig may soon be up for US companies that have enjoyed a prolonged period of easy money.
And it's not just Williams who has identified Japan as a potential hotbed for equity returns. He notes that private-equity firms like KKR, Blackstone, and Bain have started to set up "serious" offices there, because "they can see companies with good equity valuations and little debt."
"The US has done brilliantly, and part of the reason is because part of the returns have come from leverage," Williams said. "But leverage can only go a certain distance, and once it peaks you have to change your strategy."
He continued: "In which case, you might as well look at other markets that haven't played the leverage card. That's Pacific equities, as well as Japanese."
It's finally here.
On Tuesday, preorders opened for a Big Mouth Billy Bass that connects to Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa.
Once the plastic fish is hooked up to an Amazon Echo, it can respond to Alexa voice commands, dance to the beat of songs from Amazon Music, and it even syncs its fishy lips with Alexa's words.
Because it supports Alexa commands, you can ask the fish about the weather, news, or random facts. It's officially an "Alexa gadget," an Amazon certification.
It costs $40 on — where else — Amazon.com.
"This is not your father's Big Mouth Billy Bass," said Steven Harris, vice president of product development at Gemmy Industries, which is the Big Mouth Billy Bass parent company, in a statement.
The original Big Mouth Billy Bass was first sold in 1999 and plays short songs like "Don't Worry, Be Happy." It's been a kitschy favorite in dens and recreation rooms ever since. This version has the original "Fishin' Time" song built in, too.
Amazon announced the Alexa-compatible Big Mouth Billy Bass last year.
Paul Krugman does not know what exactly will cause the next financial crisis.
When the professor and Nobel Prize-winning economist surveys the global economy, nothing looks quite as compelling as the housing bubble that helped jump-start the Great Recession about a decade ago.
What does raise red flags, however, is an apparent forgetfulness of why the crisis struck in the first place. Krugman specifically pointed to the rise of shadow banking — or institutions that look like banks and function like them but are not regulated with the same scrutiny.
After the most recent financial crisis, other economists pinpointed the loosely regulated market for repurchase agreements (short-term loans offered to institutional investors) as one of the main triggers.
The topic arose again earlier this year when, before the 10th anniversary of the crisis, the Financial Stability Board — a regulatory watchdog for G20 countries — said its measure of shadow-banking activities rose 8% to $99 trillion. That made up about 30% of global financial assets and was the highest level since 2002.
"The case for basically revitalizing the system of bank regulation to cover this broader financial universe is really strong," Krugman told Business Insider in an exclusive interview.
"That's important because a lot of people are pushing really hard to take away the limited financial regulations that were in fact put in place ... It's this real amnesia going on in the political sphere."
This is one of the lessons Krugman hopes to impart — especially to people who aren't economists — in a recently launched online course on economics for Masterclass.
Another thing Krugman wants people to bear in mind is how certain swaths of the public reacted to the crisis. In his view, there were unfounded concerns that swirled around the stimulus measures that monetary authorities put in place to revive the economy, including the Federal Reserve's unprecedented bond purchases to suppress borrowing costs. This expansion will be the longest ever if it continues through July.
"I hope we'll have less harassment of the Fed and other players when they try to deal with the [next] crisis," Krugman said. "We had an amazing amount of trying to stop them from doing what they could, which was limited by all these years of totally unwarranted fears of inflation."
While the feared inflation did not materialize, there are other worries that now make the economy more vulnerable to the next crisis.
"We are poorly prepared to deal with the next shock," Krugman said. "Interest rates are still close to zero in the US and in most of the rest of the advanced world. The fiscal policy we did was badly handled in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, and there's no particular reason to think it will be better. In fact, there's good reason to think it will be worse."
That's not all. The trade war between the US and China persists, with investors eagerly awaiting the outcome of expected talks at the G20 meeting this week between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Krugman, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade, said the two countries were in danger of throwing away frameworks that successfully governed exchanges between countries for years.
"'If I sell to you, I win, and if I buy from you, I lose' is a really wrong way to look at things," he said.
Still, Krugman declined to pin the cause of the next crisis on trade disruptions, Fed policy, deregulation, or any other specific catalyst. He said that while most people — even those of his pedigree — were bad short-term forecasters, it shouldn't stop them from trying to understand and mitigate the inevitable next shock.
"The tragedy of all this is that we actually had the knowledge and we had the tools to make this a much less severe crisis than it actually turned out being," Krugman said.
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday took an unconventional approach to approving a new cancer drug.
The drug, Vitrakvi, was developed by Loxo Oncology. It's the company's first drug to get approved.
Loxo's approach is to develop drugs that act on cancerous genetic mutations rather than the type of cancer a person has. For example, Vitrakvi, has been tested in patients with lung, colon, breast and thyroid cancer among others.
The drug comes with a high price tag of $393,000 a year. Bayer said in a statement that there's between 2,500 and 3,000 new patients with this mutation a year. The company set a lower price of $132,000 a year for the liquid form used in pediatric cases. Bayer said it will offer financial assistance to help patients afford the drug, reducing the out-of-pocket cost to $20 a month for most patients.
"Today’s approval marks another step in an important shift toward treating cancers based on their tumor genetics rather than their site of origin in the body," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a news release Monday.
In 2017, the drugmaker struck a $1.5 billion deal with pharma giant Bayer to commercialize and develop two of Loxo's drugs, including Vitrakvi.
Targeting a genetic mutation instead of cancer type
Building a treatment that's specific to a genetic mutation is a new approach to treating cancer. Most companies develop treatments for specific types of cancer, like lung cancer or melanoma, and seek approval just for that one kind of tumor at first, before setting up more trials to see how the drug does in other types of cancer.
Scientists have seen genetic patterns across cancer types for years, but the topic started attracting more attention in 2013 after the discovery that endometrial cancer was genetically similar to forms of ovarian and breast cancer.
In May 2017, the FDA approved a drug based on genetics rather than tissue type for the first time, paving the way for others including Loxo.
Loxo's drug works in cancer patients with a mutation called a "TRK gene fusion."
The company had seen promising results in its human trials. In a recent presentation at the European Society for Medical Oncology, Loxo said that out of 109 patients, 81% had an overall response rate, meaning their tumors shrank. In 17% of the cases, the patients had a complete response, meaning their tumors went away entirely.
If you've ever taken a probiotic, eaten yogurt, or added pickles to your sandwich, you've taken a step toward nourishing the vital community of life in your gut collectively known as your microbiome.
In recent years, scientists have described the microbiome as the "forgotten organ," thanks to its emerging role in affecting everything from your mood to your risk of disease.
So when I recently got the chance to try a microbiome testing kit at home for free, I took it. Called the "Explorer," my kit was made by uBiome, a Silicon Valley startup. Since its founding in 2012, uBiome has raised nearly $110 million in funding and transformed from a citizen science project to a key player on the life science venture scene.
Investors call uBiome a game-changer. Before the company, we had virtually no central repository for data on the microbiome — data that could ultimately lead to new treatments for deadly diseases.
"We will look back and say, 'I can't believe we lived our lives without this knowledge,'"Bryan Johnson, the cofounder of a venture firm called OS Fund that led uBiome's latest funding round, told Business Insider.
My uBiome test results came with a significant surprise. Here's what the experience was like.
Jessica Richman founded uBiome as a citizen science project in 2012. Since then, her company has quietly risen to prominence. Investors think uBiome's data could be used to design new drugs for things like autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Richman created uBiome with crowdfunding nearly six years ago, in 2012, the same year that a huge government research initiative focused on the microbiome ended. The Human Microbiome Project's purpose was to study the diverse communities of microbes living in and on our bodies and learn what roles they play in health and disease.
But Richman didn't want to wait years to see those results turn into real products for people.
"I couldn't miss the opportunity to be a part of the beginning of the microbiome revolution," Richman told Y Combinator, a startup hub that backed uBiome, in 2014.
This September, her company raised $83 million in a funding round that transformed it into a key player on the life science venture scene. Hundreds of thousands of customers have since had their microbiomes sequenced by uBiome researchers, and the company hopes that data can offer the first concrete insights into how microbes affect our health.
"uBiome basically invented the category of the microbiome," Johnson said. "What if we could understand this thing that is such a big component of what makes us who we are?"
So far, uBiome has collected microbiome samples from 250,000 customers, Richman told Business Insider in September. She aims to reach 1 million samples by 2019, she said.
I got a free uBiome test kit at an event organized by the Silicon Valley venture firm Rock Health. At $89, the kit the most basic version of the three tests uBiome offers. The others require a physician to sign off.
Having experienced mild digestive issues for years, I was excited to learn more about how the bacteria in my gut were faring. Would I learn more about what was causing my occasional bloating, cramps, and indigestion? Or walk away from the test more confused than before?
See the rest of the story at Business Insider