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- 12/07/18--21:59: _The head of BMW's i...
- 12/07/18--22:30: _The Disney Store wi...
- 12/07/18--22:37: _A company trying to...
- 12/07/18--23:01: _The important diffe...
- 12/08/18--00:00: _We tried Kano's Har...
- 12/08/18--00:00: _The 31 best places ...
- 12/08/18--00:34: _Apple buys Tesla an...
- 12/08/18--00:45: _Jeremy Corbyn fears...
- 12/08/18--01:00: _'Amazon will go ban...
- 12/08/18--02:41: _'F--- you leakers':...
- 12/08/18--03:05: _BANK OF AMERICA: A ...
- 12/08/18--12:01: _27 creative and une...
- 12/08/18--12:34: _How self-driving te...
- 12/08/18--12:59: _50 things you can b...
- 12/08/18--13:18: _WHERE ARE THEY NOW?...
- 12/08/18--13:23: _35 unique subscript...
- 12/08/18--13:23: _John Kelly is out —...
- 12/08/18--14:05: _IoT Report: How Int...
- 12/08/18--14:14: _2 gorgeous goals, 1...
- 12/08/18--14:20: _This Uniqlo jacket ...
- BMW and Mini have announced their fifth class of startups in their Urban-X lab in Brooklyn, New York.
- Esther Bahne, BMW Group's head of impact ventures, said the selection process is extremely competitive.
- It's all about taking risks on emerging companies, she said, rather than buying startups to eliminate competition or bolster their offerings.
- Mini is building an apartment building in Shanghai as it transitions into more lifestyle offerings.
- The Free Ride is an all-electric, short-range ride-sharing company providing city-goers with free, sustainable transportation.
- Borrow is bridging the gap between leasing, ownership, and on-demand ride-sharing by providing short-term electric-vehicle leasing.
- Thrilling is reducing carbon, waste, and water footprints by encouraging the reuse of clothing through vintage- and secondhand-store online marketplaces.
- Treau is building advanced climate-control systems to bring sustainable, comfortable, and efficient cooling and heating to buildings everywhere.
- GreenQ is creating truck-based waste-analytics systems to improve logistics, diversion, and recycling.
- Toggle is building an automated process that utilizes software and industrial robotics to reduce costs and increase productivity of rebar cages used in reinforced-steel projects.
- Gearbuddy uses the internet of things and machine learning to digitize every aspect of construction, including equipment-making, to make construction more efficient, more effective, and safer.
- The Disney Store is celebrating next year with a look back at some of Disney's beloved animated movies.
- The Disney Wisdom Collection will launch January 2019 in stores and online.
- Each month, one of 12 animated movies will be celebrated with a plush, mug, pins, and notebook themed around an iconic quote from that movie. This will be a limited release.
- "Dumbo" will kick off the collection on Saturday, January 19, 2019, while Mushu from "Mulan" and Baloo from "The Jungle Book" will follow in March. You will be able to purchase items in the collection online here.
- Venture firm Two Sigma and blockchain company ConsenSys have invested $8 million into digital-asset-custody provider Trustology.
- The startup tackles one of the key challenges in cryptocurrencies: safely holding digital assets in a way that protects them from thieves but also allows the rightful owner to get quick and easy access.
- The funds will be used to develop new products, move into additional asset classes, and expand internationally.
- This week, special counsel Robert Mueller's office released two sentencing memos related to the investigation into whether President Donald Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
- The Flynn and Cohen sentencing memos are different in terms of how much was revealed and what the special counsel's office recommends in terms of sentencing.
- Here's what's different about the two memos.
- 12/08/18--00:00: The 31 best places to work in the UK ranked by employees
- Glassdoor releases annual ranking of best companies in the UK to work for.
- The list is based on anonymous feedback of employers given by staff on the website.
- Britain's best employer is not a major international tech giant, or big bank, but a UK-based utility company.
- Saxo Bank annually publishes a list of outrageous predictions for the year ahead.
- This year's forecast features recessions in two economic heavyweights, and the possibility of solar-related chaos.
- The predictions include a surprise potential buyer to take Tesla private.
- Sources close to Jeremy Corbyn tell Business Insider that the party risks a damaging backlash if it opts to back a second Brexit referendum.
- The Labour party is under growing pressure at all levels of the party to back a so-called People's Vote.
- Corbyn's advisers are split on the issue with some urging him to join other senior Labour figures like Deputy Leader Tom Watson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan in explicitly backing a new vote.
- However, allies of Corbyn tell BI that private polling and focus groups conducted by the party suggest that doing so risks preventing Labour from winning the next general election.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has repeatedly talked about his company's inevitable demise.
- Bezos has said that big firms tend to live for only "decades."
- Bezos once said he hopes he dies before Amazon does.
- Jack Poulson, who quit Google in September over its search project in China, spoke about the company's culture of secrecy.
- He said managers are more concerned with stopping leaks than anything else.
- Poulson cited an engineer yelling "f--- you leakers" at an all-hands meeting as an example of the attitude to leaking.
- Court documents and concerned employees have previously given a picture of the extreme lengths to which Google goes to protect its secrets.
- A bubble in low volatility that expanded a great deal in 2017 is now bursting, according to derivatives strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
- According to them, this marks a regime change that will change the very nature of the market as we know it today.
- They offered evidence for why market turbulence is poised to become the norm, as well as an investing strategy to profit from it.
- 12/08/18--12:01: 27 creative and unexpected gifts for 'Star Wars' fans of all ages
- Advanced and autonomous technology will enable operators and shipping firms to eradicate some of the challenges that have long plagued them. Trucks will take over more and more driving responsibilities, saving time and money for operators and businesses that rely on shipping.
- The impact of autonomous technologies on the trucking industry will come in three major waves: platooning or fuel-saving vehicle convoys, semi-autonomous highway control systems, and fully autonomous trucks.
- Change to the trucking industry will be gradual but inexorable. Companies with foresight can start to make long-term plans to account for the ways that autonomous technologies will change how goods and products move from place to place.
- Analyzes the development of autonomous trucking technology.
- Explains the waves in which advanced and autonomous technologies will start to impact the trucking industry, providing detailed explanations of how a company can take advantage of the disruptive technology transforming logistics at each stage.
- Profiles the efforts of the companies that are at the forefront of new technology in trucking, looking at what they're working on and when their efforts could start to impact the market.
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- An estimated $400 million in FSA funds was forfeited last year.
- You can actually use the money you've contributed to your FSA to buy certain healthcare products the IRS has deemed eligible.
- However, there are certain things like bug spray and tampons that you can't buy pre-tax.
- 12/08/18--13:18: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The last 20 Heisman Trophy winners
- We project that there will be more than 55 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from about 9 billion in 2017.
- We forecast that there will be nearly $15 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2017 and 2025, with survey data showing that companies' plans to invest in IoT solutions are accelerating.
- The report highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; deployment and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans.
- Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem.
- Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward, and highlights areas of interest in the coming years.
- Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why.
- Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies that are implementing IoT solutions.
- Lionel Messi scored two goals, produced one assist, and produced another La Liga record in FC Barcelona's thumping 4-0 victory over Espanyol.
- Both of Messi's goals came from free kicks and there is an argument now that he is the greatest free kick taker of all time, on top of everything else he has going for him.
- Watch Messi's goals right here.
- Read all of Business Insider's coverage for the 2018-2019 European Soccer season here.
- Uniqlo's Ultra Light Down Seamless Parka is only $69.90 but delivers the warmth of a much more expensive product.
- This jacket is very thin, it weighs less than a pound, and it can be rolled into a compact pouch for easy storage while traveling.
- Fall weather requires a jacket that is warm without being too heavy, and this jacket delivers on that with its lightweight, flattering cut.
When BMW's subbrand Mini arrived in Brooklyn, New York, to establish a technology incubator and accelerator in 2017, it took a different approach to the Silicon Valley norm.
Today, its A/D/O (an acronym derived from Mini's original Amalgamated Drawing Office) space in Brooklyn's hip Greenpoint neighborhood isn't full of the company's branding, nor does it look much like the countless WeWork buildings or similar spaces that dot the area.
Speaking to a group of journalists in the sun-drenched building — which comprises a public space, a coffee shop, an art gallery, and a high-end restaurant — Esther Bahne, BMW Group's head of impact ventures and Mini's head of brand strategy, explained the company's approach to innovation.
"Obviously, we knew about the disruptions that were coming for the car industry, and we were in the middle of it," Bahne said. And while some of her team's recommendations, like making more electric Mini models and changing sales strategies, are similar to moves other old-guard automakers are making in order to stay relevant, the other arm of her team's mission involves zero cars whatsoever: making Mini into a lifestyle brand.
A brand beyond cars
Through its now five classes of startups, Mini is clearly thinking beyond the traditional notion of an automobile and its function in our lives. Executives are quick to boast that the selection process for the incubator is more competitive than the famous YCombinator, which accepts about 1.5% of applicants.
Seven companies have joined Urban-X, the accelerator located at A/D/O, for its newest cohort, the company announced Wednesday. The group spans a wide range of products and services, from The Free Ride, which offers rides in electric golf carts to and from events, to GreenQ, which uses digital analytics to improve trash collection, and Borrow, a peer-to-peer-vehicle-rental app.
"Our teams are with them in the trenches every day," Bahne said. "They have business support, they have financial advisers. I mean, we have to get them onto a stage on demo day in front of millions of dollars in a room, so they have to have their s--- down."
This is a key distinction for Mini, according to Bahne. Other automakers are snapping up small companies to make headlines, add to their product line, take competition off the market, or do all three.
Ford, for example, recently did this with its buyout of scooter startup Spin. Other automakers have purchased self-driving startups, mapping companies, and more for high prices in recent years.
Mini, in contrast, is making small, early-stage investments in companies that could very well fail when their products finally go to market.
"For what we want to do, it is not a smart idea to take them off the market," Bahne said. "It's a really smart idea to have them on the market and make exactly those connections, so we can understand where it's going and be there for the ride."
Mini wants to be a lifestyle brand — starting with apartments
Mini's plans for its diversification don't end with mobility — it wants to be in every part of your life, even your home.
Armed with an array of sampling data, the company saw three major trends that customers valued more than mobility. At the top of the list was living, followed by style and experiences.
So the team set out to create Mini Living — a high-flying, luxury apartment building in Shanghai that aims to take the design process Mini used to create its first car in as little space as possible beyond the commute.
"The idea is that you live on a small, personal footprint but have shared amenities, like a great kitchen and community lounge," Bahne said. "It's like a luxury flat share, but you can still close your door and still have your bathroom."
Mini hopes to set up coworking and design spaces similar to A/D/O in Shanghai and other, future Mini Living sites. Similar to the one in Brooklyn, these will also be a fusion of office space and public areas.
"The mobility space is just d--- exciting right now," Bahne said. "Yes, there are a lot of players out there, but I think we have a very good shot at coming up with quite a few that will work."
Here's the full list of Urban-X's 2018 cohort:
Disney is going to celebrate some of your beloved movies all of next year with themed stuffed animals, mugs, journals, and more.
Starting in January, the Disney Store will launch the Disney Wisdom Collection, which will celebrate the "timeless wisdom" in a dozen of the company's beloved movies. Each month will highlight an inspirational quote from an iconic Disney movie moment.
INSIDER can exclusively reveal the first three themes will center around "Dumbo,""Mulan," and "The Jungle Book" in January, February, and March, respectively.
This isn't the first time Disney has released a year-long collection. For Mickey's 90th birthday, Disney Store celebrated the mouse all of 2018 by revealing a new collection of Mickey-themed items from mugs to matching plushes each month.
Here's a closer look at what you can expect from the Disney Wisdom Collection in the first quarter of the new year.
The first theme is "Dumbo," ahead of the March 29 release of the live-action movie starring the little elephant who can fly.
The collection, out January 19, comes with a plush Dumbo stuffed animal ($26.95), collector's mug, journal, and pins that are centered around a quote from Dumbo's friend, Timothy Q. Mouse where he says, "The very things that held you down are going to lift you up, and up, and up."
Each iconic Disney quote will be written on the stuffed plush released.
Disney tells INSIDER inspiration for the quotes came from guest responses to the first release in the Mickey Mouse Memories collection where a Walt Disney quote appeared on the mouse's foot reading, "I only hope that we never lose site of one thing — that it was all started by a Mouse." According to Disney, guests liked seeing the quote incorporated on the plush.
Disney's stackable mug has Timothy's quote front and center. Dumbo and Timothy are translucent on the other side. The mug will be available for $18.95.
A journal will also have the "Dumbo" quote on its cover. The inside pages will feature Timothy and Dumbo in opposite corners in the spread. It will be available for $16.95.
Three limited-edition pins will feature Dumbo, Timothy, and the quote on its own. The three will be sold together for $16.95.
February's collection will revolve around 1998 animated movie, "Mulan," and the quote, "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all."
The Emperor of China says this line to General Li near the movie's end to describe Mulan. The quote is alluded to at the movie's start when Mulan's father places a flower in her hair.
Mulan's dragon friend and spiritual guardian Mushu will be available for purchase.
Expect to see the entire "Mulan" collection revealed January 19. It will go on sale Saturday, February 16, 2019.
March: "The Jungle Book"
Look for Baloo from Disney's 1967 animated musical this month. "The Jungle Book" theme will center around the lovable bear's iconic "Bare Necessities" song. "Forget about your worries and your strife" will appear written on Baloo's stomach.
Baloo and the rest of the "Jungle Book" collection will be released Saturday, March 16.
Future collections will be introduced into the Disney Wisdom Collection the third Saturday of every month. On that same day, the following month's theme will be revealed. The final collection of the year will be released on Saturday, December 7, 2019.
You can find the limited-edition Disney Wisdom Collection here.
A company looking to solve one of the biggest pain points in cryptocurrency just raised $8 million from two heavyweights.
London-based Trustology announced on Thursday that it had raised funds from Two Sigma Ventures, the early-stage investor tied to one of the world's largest hedge funds, and ConsenSys, the blockchain company led by ethereum founder Joseph Lubin.
Trustology tackles one of the key challenges in cryptocurrencies: safely holding digital assets in a way that protects them from thieves but also allows the rightful owner to get quick and easy access, say for purposes of intraday trading. With digital currencies, investors hold a so-called key that gives them access to their account.
Many firms have developed processes for "cold storage," effectively an offline wallet. But that can make it time-consuming to access holdings, making it less attractive for those who want to trade in and out of markets quickly.
On Wall Street, custody banks such as State Street and BNY Mellon safeguard large amounts of wealth for other institutions while abiding by strict regulatory requirements. But in crypto, custody firms are just emerging.
A number of notable crypto investors have said that solving custody is one of the last remaining challenges holding back an influx of institutional money. Galaxy Digital Ventures and Goldman Sachs recently made a $15 million investment in crypto custodian Bitgo Holdings. Fidelity Investments has even announced a crypto-custody solution that it expects to roll out next year.
Trustology's first product combines private-key protection with fast-execution capabilities by keeping the keys inside "tamper proof" hardware pods that are hosted in secure data centers, according to a statement. Encrypted backups are held in the cloud. A tag line on the firm's website sums it up: "Safer than cold storage at hot wallet speeds."
Trustology's founder, Alex Batlin, previously led blockchain innovation at UBS Group and Bank of New York Mellon.
"Trustology has developed breakthroughs in key management and is providing support services to clients seeking unparalleled safeguarding for digital assets," Lubin said in a statement. "By prioritizing security without the need to sacrifice accessibility, Trustology will serve current digital asset holders and attract new institutional and individual investors to the space."
Funds for Trustology will be used to develop new products, move into additional asset classes, and expand internationally, the statement said.
The funding comes despite a crash in the market for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, the largest, has fallen 80% since its December 2017 peak. Ethereum has slumped more than 90%.
It's a tale of two memos. This week, special counsel Robert Mueller's office released two sentencing-recommendation documents related to the investigation into whether President Donald Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 US election.
On Friday, Mueller's office also released its sentencing recommendations for Cohen.
The release was one of three documents predicted for this week. On Tuesday, Mueller's office released the sentencing memo for retired general Michael Flynn, who served as a campaign advisor and short-lived national security adviser.
On Friday evening, Mueller filed a document alleging that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, violated his plea agreement.
The Flynn and Cohen sentencing memos are quite different in terms of how much was revealed and what the special counsel's office recommends in terms of sentencing. Here's a look:
The alleged crime:Lying to the FBI about his contact with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition in late 2016, which Flynn was highly involved with.
Mueller's memo claims he lied about what he said to the Russian ambassador regarding sanctions: "When the FBI interviewed the defendant on January 24 about his interactions with the Russian ambassador, the defendant falsely stated that he did not ask the Russian ambassador to refrain from escalating the situation in response to the sanctions, and falsely disclaimed any memory of his subsequent conversation with the ambassador in which the ambassador stated that Russia had acceded to the defendant's request."
Flynn also made false statements to the Department of Justice about his contact with Turkey.
The memo: His sentencing recommendation memo was 13 pages in total, but a good portion of the memo (the addendum to the sentencing memo) was redacted.
The recommendation: Due to Flynn's early cooperation, which may have "affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the SCO and cooperate"— Mueller is recommending no prison time.
Date of his sentencing: December 18, 2018.
The alleged crime: Lying to Congress — the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — about the so-called "Moscow Project" or attempts to secure a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Specifically, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about how long he had been working on the deal (it turns out it was until June 2016, not January 2016) and to what extent he discussed it with other parties at the Trump Organization.
The memo:The memo was released shortly after another sentencing memo pertaining to Cohen— that one was from the Southern District of New York, where in 40 pages federal prosecutors detailed crimes and sentencing recommendations on charges of tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations.
The recommendation: Mueller recommends "that it would be appropriate to allow the defendant to serve any sentence imposed in this case concurrently with any sentence imposed in United States v. Cohen. In that latter case, federal prosecutors recommended 3.5 years of prison time.
Date of his sentencing: December 12, 2018.
The broader takeaways have less to do with Cohen or Flynn — and their respective sentences — and more to do with the investigation itself and what was learned from these two documents.
Flynn spoke to DOJ prosecutors or the Mueller investigation 19 times, and his cooperation was described as "substantial" in the memo. The six-page addendum that was highly redacted, suggests that there's more to come out of the investigation.
In Cohen's sentencing memo, it was revealed that in November 2015 — roughly five months into Trump's campaign for president — he was in contact with a Russian national who "repeatedly" proposed connecting "Individual 1" (thought to be Trump) with Russian Vladimir Putin. This Russian national also suggested that connecting would provide "political synergy" and would be advantageous both for politics and business. Cohen did "not follow up" on setting up the meeting.
Some are suggesting that this November 2015 meeting lines up with a BuzzFeed News report that Ivanka Trump introduced Cohen to Russian athlete Dmitry Kolkov to set up a meeting. Cohen, decided not to pursue the connection.
Cohen and Flynn's sentencing recommendations differed in part because of the other crimes that Cohen has pleaded guilty to in another case against being brought by federal prosecutors.
While one escaped a recommendation of prison time and the other was recommended jail time, in both sentencing memos the special counsel's office acknowledged the defendants' cooperation with the investigation.
Coding kit builder Kano released its Harry Potter coding wand in October.
The wand costs £99.99/$99.99, and is designed to get muggle kids into coding by letting them to code spells which they can then cast using the wand.
Business Insider got with the Kano coding wand to see how it holds up. Scroll on for our review.
The box sure is fancy.
First you have to assemble the wand.
Wand assembly is about as simple as it comes, you just slot the pieces together. Here's us placing the wand's printed circuit board in the wand.
The design is nice and sleek, but there's no off button.
To preserve battery life you need to pry open the case and physically remove the batteries, which is kind of a drag.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Recruitment website Glassdoor has released its annual list of the best companies in the UK to work for, based on anonymous employee reviews.
Glassdoor lets people anonymously leave ratings and feedback on their employers and Glassdoor has used that data to rank companies, giving them a rating out of 5. Companies had to have at least 30 reviews on the site and at least 1,000 employees to qualify.
Glassdoor gives all the company ratings to one decimal place, although companies which appear to be rated exactly the same can actually have slightly different ratings, and are ordered accordingly.
The list includes some of the world's largest and most recognizable companies, including Google and Apple. But it also features smaller, UK-focused firms.
"For employers, we know that a satisfied and engaged workforce helps drive financial performance," said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor's chief economist.
"Glassdoor Best Places to Work winners are strategically investing in company culture, career growth opportunities and more, which also serves as a major recruiting advantage."
Check out the top businesses below:
What it does: Alcoholic beverage production
What staff say:"Working here you'll experience a very friendly and engaging bunch of people, who are smart and passionate about their jobs."— Diageo Marketing Manager (London)
What it does: Banking
What staff say:"Good team culture, strong emphasis on quality and productivity, subsidized canteen/gym in the building."— JPMorgan Python Software Engineer (London)
What it does: Telecoms
What staff say:"Friendly, helpful colleagues, agile working, great work/life balance, engaged leadership team are just a few of the great advantages to working at O2."— O2 Head of Health, Safety and Certifications (Slough, Berkshire, South East England)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Saxo Bank's annual series of outrageous predictions is here with this year's theme covering a world that is increasingly saying "enough is enough."
The Danish firm has compiled 10 possibilities with a low chance of happening, but that challenge investors to think outside the box on risk within financial markets and the world more generally. While these predictions are not Saxo's official expectations for the year ahead, they point out some of the risks that have been unallocated by the market so far.
"This year’s edition has a unifying theme of 'enough is enough,' said Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank. "A world running on empty will have to wake up and start creating reforms, not because it wants to but because it has to."
"The signs are everywhere," he said. "2019 will mark a profound pivot away from this mentality as we are reaching the end of the road in piling on new debt and next year will see us all beginning to pay the piper for our errant ways."
Check out the compilation of Saxo's 10 outrageous predictions below.
1. EU announces a "debt jubilee"
Saxo said that unsustainable levels of public debt, a populist revolt, rising interest rates from European Central Bank (ECB), and sluggish growth could lead the EU to announce a debt jubilee in 2019, writing off large amounts of debt across the continent.
Possible eurozone contagion could lead to the ECB backing monetisation if the EU lurches into recession. Italy's budget crisis and Greece's ongoing issues could damage confidence while the yellow vest protests in France indicate that people are unhappy with the status quo.
2. Apple "secures funding" to buy Tesla at $520/share
Elon Musk's controversial tweet suggesting that Tesla had secured funding at $420 a share drew the ire of investors and later the SEC. Saxo playfully suggests that Apple, rather than Saudi Arabia, could be a new option for the electric vehicle maker.
Saxo points out that Apple is keen to move deeper into consumers lives and suggests that automobiles could be the next frontier as vehicles become increasingly connected to technology. A 40% premium on Tesla's share price could make another Musk "funding secured" tweet a possibility in 2019.
3. Trump tells Powell: "You’re fired"
Former Apprentice star and current US President Donald Trump has made no secret of his displeasure at the Federal Reserve in recent months and Saxo reckons Jerome Powell could hear the immortal words "you're fired" in 2019.
December's proposed rate hike could send equity markets off a cliff in Q1 2019, according to Saxo's outrageous predictions, giving Trump the opportunity to bring in the dovish Minnesota Fed President Neel Kashkari instead.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party is bracing itself for a major backlash from Labour voters if it backs a second Brexit referendum, senior aides to the Labour leader have told Business Insider.
The Labour leadership is under growing pressure from senior party figures and the membership to back a so-called People's Vote if Theresa May's Brexit deal is defeated in the House of Commons next week.
Corbyn is committed to the possibility of campaigning for another referendum if all other options — including its first preference of an early general election — fail to win enough parliamentary support.
The Labour for a People's Vote campaign told BI this week that they believe doing so would gift the party an additional 1.5 million votes and 70 seats at the next election.
However, some of those close to Corbyn are deeply sceptical about such predictions and fear that committing to a new vote would in reality trigger a wave of anger towards the Labour party and its leader, jeapordising its chances of winning the next general election.
"We would be badly hit," one adviser to Corbyn told BI. "Right now the political narrative is directed towards 'why aren't we backing a Peoples Vote? We need these two million votes' or whatever.
"But what happens if we back a People's Vote and then we get resignations from the shadow cabinet?"
"What happens if you get loads of Labour MPs in the North of England saying this is a betrayal of the working classes who are being told to vote again until they give the right answer?
"That would totally change the game and we would be up against this betrayal narrative."
Sources close to Corbyn told BI that the party had conducted private polling and focus groups in marginal seats which suggested there was no real appetite for a second vote.
"We've got polls showing that there are broadly 70% of the population who are bored by Brexit and just want politicians to get on with it. Theresa May has clearly got those same polls because she is saying the same thing," the aide said.
We've got polls showing that there are broadly 70% of the population who are bored by Brexit and just want politicians to get on with it.
The party has been conducting polling and focus groups of voters in marginal seats in the Midlands about which way the party should go.
"We've done some private focus groups of soft Remain and soft Leave voters in the Midlands where there are a lot of marginal seats," one aide told BI.
"And while Leave voters are all against a second referendum, Remain voters are also really sceptical as well. Those voters think it would be a cynical move, because people have already voted on this and they think 'well why hasn't this already been sorted out?"
Corbyn's allies believe the issue risks preventing Corbyn from reaching Number 10.
"Here we are with our best ever chance of electing a socialist prime minister and we're being dragged into something that will make it harder to achieve that," one ally of Corbyn told BI.
Here we are with our best ever chance of electing a socialist prime minister and we're being dragged into something that will make it harder to achieve that.
The Labour Leave campaign, which represents the party's small number of MPs who are enthusiastic supporters of Brexit, held a briefing this week warning that the party risked being "decimated" if it backs a second referendum.
"If Labour goes down the route of supporting another referendum, we will cease to be able to call ourselves the Labour Party, because the working class in this country do not support continued membership of the EU," Brendan Chilton, Labour councillor and supporter of Labour Leave, said on Thursday.
"We'll become the party of capital. We'll probably be decimated in our heartland seats. We have seats in the Midlands and the North with very slim majorities — they'd go.
"It would be a death sentence to the Labour Party outside of London and metropolitan areas."
Labour could drop opposition to a revised May Brexit deal
Inside the People's Vote campaign, senior figures are deeply sceptical that Labour will support their campaign.
This is despite senior Labour figures exerting pressure on Corbyn to back another referendum.
Watson, the party's deputy leader, has recently told leaders of other opposition parties that he expects Corbyn to eventually support a People's Vote, multiple sources familiar with those conversations have told BI.
However, there is a belief among some figures close to Corbyn that with parliamentary stalemate on the Brexit question likely, the party may ultimately have little choice but to back another referendum.
"We are not going to commit to a second referendum overnight. That is not going to happen," one aide said.
"But if there is a genuine gridlock then that might be the only way out. If there's no election and no majority for anything else then that may be where we end up."
Labour also fear that refusal to back a People's Vote would be used by Labour MPs who are most opposed to his leadership as a trigger to split away from the party, with Chuka Umunna at the top of the list of those they expect to try to force the issue.
The campaign for a People's Vote has been boosted in recent weeks by the resignations of two prominent Conservative ministers who resigned while backing calls for a new poll.
The resignations, with more rumoured to take place in the coming days, have led some to believe that a People's Vote could eventually win a majority in parliament.
However, as things stand this looks difficult, with those around Corbyn believing that the majority of Labour MPs would ultimately reject a new vote.
"In the political class we pay too much attention to what people are saying on Twitter and there's a sort of view in the media, particularly in the Guardian and the Observer, that all Labour MPs want a Peoples Vote and actually it's only about 30 or 40 of them that do and the rest don't," one aide to Corbyn told BI.
"Most Labour MPs — and its not a left-right, pro-Corbyn or anti-Corbyn thing — in Leave constituencies, which is most of our MPs, say just get on with it. There has been no change of opinion."
I could see a scenario where May comes back with a slightly softer deal and we say 'well that is the best we can do'.
There are still some in Corbyn's office who hope that the prime minister could opt for another snap general election if there is no way through Parliament for her controversial Withdrawal Agreement.
"There's quite a lot of intelligence suggesting that the Tories are doing a lot of election preparation on the ground," one Labour aide told BI. "It's impossible to know for sure, but we are planning for a snap election."
However, most Conservative MPs would likely vote against an early election, which betting markets suggest Labour would be favourites to win. This may mean that Labour ultimately has little choice but to abstain and allow some form of deal to go through Parliament, in order to avoid a chaotic no deal Brexit.
There is also a fear among Remain campaigners that Labour may ultimately decide to back a revised Brexit deal, such as one that committed to Labour's aim of forming a new customs union with the EU. Corbyn's allies accept this is possible.
"I could see a scenario where May comes back with a slightly softer deal and we say 'well that is the best we can do. That nearly meets our objectives' and then we will try to renegotiate in office," one aide told BI.
"I can see a scenario where that happens."
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994. It has since grown into a tech behemoth — momentarily the most valuable company in the world this week— and made him the richest man in modern history.
But the billionaire seems convinced that Amazon is doomed to die. Three times over the past five years Bezos has talked about the firm's inevitable demise.
Such chatter is strikingly unusual for a CEO of a major company. Media trained within an inch of their life and with demanding investors looking over their shoulders, senior executives are normally unflinchingly positive about their firm's prospects.
But it seems a fear of failure, and talking about that fear of failure, propels Bezos on. Here are some of the times he has talked about Amazon's inevitable demise:
2013: Bezos says big companies only live for a "few decades"
Bezos spoke to CBS show "60 Minutes" in 2013 to show off Amazon's burgeoning automated drone delivery service. "Companies have short lifespans... and Amazon will be disrupted one day," he said.
Asked whether that fact worried him, Bezos replied: "I don't worry about it because I know it's inevitable. Companies come and go, and the companies that are the shiniest and most important of any era — you wait a few decades and they're gone."
Bezos added that he would love for Amazon's final breath to come after he himself dies.
2017: Bezos ponders an "excruciating, painful decline" in a letter to shareholders
Bezos elaborated on his "Day One" philosophy in a 2017 letter to shareholders, in which he answered a question he'd got in an all-hands meeting about what "Day Two" looks like.
"Day Two is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day One," Bezos answered.
"An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come," he added. He then talked about how a company can "fend off" Day Two.
2018: "I predict one day Amazon will fail," he tells staff
In a recording of an all-hands meeting obtained by CNBC, Bezos was still just as convinced of Amazon's inescapable mortality.
"Amazon is not too big to fail ... In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail," Bezos said in reply to a staffer who asked about big businesses like Sears going bankrupt.
"Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years," he said.
Bezos went on to say that it was his job to delay that date by as long as possible. Amazon turned 24 years old in July, so it is fast approaching Bezos's 30-year benchmark.
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A senior former Google employee who quit over its controversial plans to launch a search engine in China painted a picture of a company whose upper echelons are obsessed with stopping leaks, to the exclusion of almost anything else.
Jack Poulson, a former researcher at the company, said that senior managers consider the prevention of leaks to be their "number one priority."
In comments reported on Saturday by The Times of London, Poulson cited as an example of the anti-leak culture an an unnamed senior engineer taking the microphone at an all-hands meeting to yell "F--- you leakers" at his colleagues.
He said that the campaign against leaking had become a way for Google to avoid tackling the reasons staff were leaking in the first place, including concerns over the Chinese search project, code-named Dragonfly, or work for the US military.
Poulson left Google in September over Dragonfly, and said he believed four other employees had done the same. Google declined to comment on his departure at the time.
He said, according to The Times: "The narrative is that leaking is bad and that the number one priority is to prevent any leaks."
Poulson said that Google was not alone in trying to suppress employee revolts, pointing to similar movements at Microsoft and Amazon. He said the back-and-forth between workers and executives is not "going to be a short battle."
Business Insider has reported previously on the culture of extreme secrecy at Google.
A lawsuit filed against the company in late 2016 alleged that employees have to sign a confidentiality agreement which even prevents them talking to a lawyer about what goes on at Google.
It describes an internal program, called "stopleaks", to which it says employees are encouraged to report their own leaks, and those of colleagues.
"Stopleaks" was referenced again in an internal email that was made public in May 2017 as part of the same lawsuit, this time in an email from the head of Google's internal investigations unit.
In September of this year, Business Insider reported that Google was tightening its security still further, clamping down on access to its weekly all-hands meeting, known as TGIF (Thank God It's Friday) for employees not physically at its Silicon Valley HQ.
It came after a video of employees lamenting the election of Donald Trump was leaked to the right-wing news site Breitbart, fuelling politically toxic accusations that the search engine is biased.
Business Insider has contacted Google for comment on Poulson's comments.
The dog days of low volatility in the stock market are over.
That's according to derivatives strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who are convinced that the sleepy days that prevailed in 2017 are long gone, and a major regime shift is underway. In fact, in their 2019 outlook note to clients, they go as far as describing the old status quo as the "low-volatility bubble."
This call not only hinges on the implosion of securities that were designed to produce the inverse returns of the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX. Notably, the Credit Suisse-backed VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN (XIV) blew up on the same day in February that the so-called fear gauge had its biggest spike on record.
The strategists observed several other underlying trends that survived that trainwreck but are now on the brink of their own reckoning.
"Looking at the world through the lens of volatility, we see markets that are unsustainably out of sync, fragile, and overall underpricing the risk of regime change," Benjamin Bowler, the head of global equity derivatives research, said in a note.
"History strongly suggests that the market we see today won't exist by the end of next year."
A number of significant changes are changing the nature of the market, with more to come.
First, investors' strategy of buying the dip — a safety net of sorts that reversed many sell-offs during this bull market — is no longer effective.
Bowler observed that in 2017, the speed at which the S&P 500 recovered from drawdowns climbed to 90-year highs. That explains why in the same year, the benchmark index recorded its longest streak ever without a 5% pullback, and elucidates why the VIX languished at a record low.
The detailed chart below shows some of the key moments when the strategy worked — and failed — during this bull market.
Secondly, the Federal Reserve's leadership handoff from Janet Yellen to Jerome Powell has been consequential for the stock market.
"Powell has not stepped in to protect markets," Bowler said.
Yellen, however, provided what Bowler describes as a backstop by delaying interest-rate hikes in September 2015. Fast forward to today, the Fed is widely expected to proceed with raising interest rates at its December 18-19 meeting amid the sell-off in stocks and concern about an economic slowdown, although a Wall Street Journal report Thursday said a wait-and-see approach in 2019 is on their radar.
Besides the Fed's leadership transition, there's a bigger policy shift underway, as the Fed moves further away from crisis-era strategies. Bowler said it was only a matter of time before the accommodative policy that created "the largest volatility depression in history" was removed and the bubble began to deflate.
For proof that the direction of Fed policy is poised to rock US markets, Bowler points elsewhere. Emerging-market stocks and currencies are most sensitive to Fed policy, and the volatility in both started to rise mid-2017, followed by the US equities correction in February.
The final piece of Bowler's evidence that the volatility bubble is bursting dates back to last year. He observed that during the market's unprecedented calm, sell-offs were smaller than rallies because investors were more scared of missing out on upside moves than losing money in wipeouts.
But a reversal has taken place this year; sell-offs are more brutal than rallies because investors are disproportionately worried about losing money in prolonged sell-offs. That's taken Bowler's gauge of average returns on S&P 500 down days versus up days to the highest level in over 30 years in 2017.
Market activity since late-September hasn't soothed their newfound worries, amid a long list of concerns from higher interest rates to Fed policy and tariffs. Moreover, most strategists at major Wall Street firms forecast that volatility to persist in the new year.
Bowler offered a trading recommendation to take advantage of the changing regime: own long-dated equity volatility:
"Trades: Accumulate longer-dated S&P 500 (SPX) and Russell 2000 (RTY) forward-starting variance, e.g., long SPX 12m24m (~Dec19/Dec20) or 18m24m (~Jun20/Dec20) forward variance + similar tenors in RTY.
Why? Longer-dated US equity vol can provide attractive risk-reward late cycle and has significantly lagged 2018's reset higher in the VIX. SPX 12m24m & 18m24m forward variance screen best with ~6x upside vs. downside. RTY forward variance is less liquid but is near 10yr+ lows despite fundamental risks faced by small caps."
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The Star Wars franchise has captivated and continues to captivate audiences of all ages around the world. Nearly everyone can identify at least one person in their lives who loves the epic space story and has watched each of the movies a dozen times.
Thanks to the franchise's long-lasting and universal popularity, there are more than enough Star Wars products to go around, from props and clothing to decor and books. Finding a Star Wars-related gift isn't the hard part — finding one that's creative and unexpected is.
You can surprise them this year with one of these 27 Star Wars gifts they don't already have. As you'll see, there is a wide range of ways to incorporate new and interesting galactic fun into their lives.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
A Darth Vader figurine that's also an alarm clock
What makes this alarm clock even more fun is that they can move the arms and legs to make Darth Vader sit or stand on their night stand. When they push down on his head to snooze the alarm or check the time, he lights up with a red glow.
Super comfortable underwear that also glows in the dark
One of MeUndies' many Adventurous prints is not only a fun group of Star Wars characters, but it also glows in the dark for extra quirkiness. We love its soft and stretchy micromodal underwear so much, we recommend MeUndies as some of the best underwear men and women can buy.
Mugs shaped like a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader
They'll feel like they can conquer the morning just like Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers after sipping their coffee from these ceramic mugs.
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This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.
Trucking is set to transform radically in the coming years, with innovative technologies enabling trucks to take over more and more driving responsibilities, saving time and money for operators and businesses that rely on shipping.
Autonomous trucks are being tested on roads around the world, and systems from startups like Peloton and Embark could make their way into commercial trucks as soon as next year. Fleets will be able to leverage autonomous technologies to cut costs and gain a critical edge over competitors.
But to start planning for, and to eventually implement, those technologies, companies need to know what sorts of systems will be ready and when, and what regulatory hurdles will need to be overcome to get autonomous trucks on the road.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we provide an early glimpse into the emerging autonomous trucking market. First, we look at the trucking market as it stands today, offering a basic profile of the industry and highlighting a number of the challenges and issues it faces. Then, we go through the three waves of autonomous technology that are set to upend the industry — platooning, semi-autonomous systems, and fully autonomous trucks — looking at who is making strides in each of these areas, when the technology can be expected to start making an impact, and what companies can do to get ahead of the curve.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
In full, the report:
Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:
For 2018 employees were allowed to put up to $2,650 in their FSA account, according to the IRS. These funds are use-it-or-lose-it. The IRS has allowed some employers to give their employees the chance to participate in a carryover option, which allows the rollover of up to $500, or a grace period option, which gives users two and a half months to finish up their dollars — but not both.
If you're not at a company that lets you push the deadline, there's still time to use up what's left in your account on things you actually use and will probably buy anyway. Think bandages, sunscreen, and baby wipes. You can even use it to pay for your prescriptions. The IRS decides which items are eligible and which ones aren't based on what they're each used for.
Rather than joining millions of Americans who forfeit an estimated $400 million collectively, use your pre-tax money to stock up on things you need for the coming year. Here are 50 things under $40 the IRS says you can buy, and five surprising things you can't.
Lip balm with SPF $2.99 No prescription needed
Corn removers $3.79 Prescription required
Sunscreen for babies $4.29 No prescription needed
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Every year the Heisman Trophy is awarded to the best player in college football.
Despite the greatness of these players in college, winning the Heisman is not a guarantee of future success. While many past winners thrive in the NFL, there are also those that are out of the league just a few years after being on top of their sport.
Below we take a look at every Heisman winner dating back to 1998, checking in to see how their careers have gone and what they are up to now.
Ricky Williams ran away with the Heisman in 1998, rushing for 2,327 yards and 29 touchdowns for the Texas Longhorns.
Williams went on to have a successful if disjointed NFL career. After leading the league in rushing in 2002 with the Dolphins, Williams tested positive for marijuana several times and announced his retirement in 2004. He did return to Miami just two years later. Recently, he founded a brand of cannabis products, "Real Wellness," serves as a commentator on The Longhorn Network, and is one of the founding owners in a new pro football league, Freedom Football League.
Ron Dayne was awarded the 1999 Heisman, finishing his career as the all-time leading rusher in NCAA Division I FBS history with 7,125 yards for the Wisconsin Badgers.
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By now, the idea of a subscription box service is far from new. It remains, however, an excellent gift choice because there's one for pretty much every interest and hobby you can think of. It's also easy to purchase online and send — no pesky gift-wrapping necessary.
The best subscription services provide unique discovery opportunities, curate high-quality brands, and automate everyday routines to make life easier. We think the following subscriptions fit the bill and should be on your gifting list this year.
With some, you can buy a gift card to apply toward a plan of their choice, while with others you can designate the subscription duration and details yourself.
Find a subscription service gift they'll love, below.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
Harry's: the razors and accessories needed for a close and comfortable shave
The gift of a clean, smooth shave is more cherished than you might think. Harry's full line of shaving products work together seamlessly, and you can customize this combination of blades, creams, foaming gels, and post-shave balms to send to your recipient.
Hint: delicious, healthy waters that kick their soda habit
Fans of this flavored water stock it in their pantries by the caseful. The calorie-, sugar-, and GMO-free water comes in refreshing flavors like mango-grapefruit and blood orange, which they can rotate through with this drink subscription. Anyone who's bored with regular water but wants to stay hydrated and healthy will look forward to each month's delivery.
Causebox: products for the socially and environmentally conscious
Causebox curates ethically made, vegan, and charitable products from the top socially conscious brands in beauty, fashion, wellness, home, and art. Each quarterly box has a retail value of more than $200 but only costs $49.95 and has the added benefit of doing good — for artisans, the environment, and your body.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
President Donald Trump announced to reporters on Dec. 8 that his chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job the end of the year, following months of news reports describing heightened tensions and conflict between Trump and Kelly.
The administration has been rocked by high-profile departures — including Reince Priebus as chief of staff and James Comey as FBI director — since Trump took office in January 2017.
Here are all the top-level people who've either been fired or resigned from the administration, and why they left.
President Donald Trump announced to reporters on Dec. 8 that his chief of staff John Kelly will leave "at the end of the year" and he plans to name his replacement in the next day or two.
Tensions brewed between Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, and Trump for months, with CNN reporting the day before Trump's announcement that their relationship had deteriorated to the point where they stopped speaking altogether.
Kelly's replacement is rumored to be Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's current chief of staff and a longtime Republican operative.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation on November 7 after nearly two years in the position, with Trump announcing that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions' Chief of Staff, would serve as acting attorney general until he nominates a permanent replacement.
Trump frequently criticized Sessions in harsh terms over Sessions' recusal from overseeing the special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
"You know, the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty," Trump told Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt in an August interview. "He was an original supporter." Trump lamented that he "put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department."
White House counsel Don McGahn left the Trump administration on Wednesday after a tumultuous 21-month tenure, a source close to the administration told Business Insider on October 17.
McGahn was said to be on his way out of the White House, which was likely to happen after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how companies and consumers go about their days around the world. The technology that underlies this whole segment is evolving quickly, whether it’s the rapid rise of the Amazon Echo and voice assistants upending the consumer space, or growth of AI-powered analytics platforms for the enterprise market.
And Business Insider Intelligence is keeping its finger on the pulse of this ongoing revolution by conducting our second annual Global IoT Executive Survey, which provides us with critical insights on new developments within the IoT and explains how top-level perspectives are changing year-to-year. Our survey includes more than 400 responses from key executives around the world, including C-suite and director-level respondents.
Through this exclusive study and in-depth research into the field, Business Insider Intelligence details the components that make up the IoT ecosystem. We size the IoT market and use exclusive data to identify key trends in device installations and investment. And we profile the enterprise and consumer IoT segments individually, drilling down into the drivers and characteristics that are shaping each market.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
FC Barcelona filmed yet another episode of the marvellous Lionel Messi show on Saturday as the club captain ran rampant over the team's La Liga opponent Espanyol.
Messi alone was responsible for two gorgeous long-range goals, one telepathic assist, and ball wizardry that seemingly confounded defenders all night long.
The soccer statistics website Whoscored.com gave Messi a perfect 10 for his two goals from five shots, one assist from five key chances provided, and seven successful dribbles.
It is rare for a player to return a flawless performance, but Messi has now managed it four times already— and the season has yet to reach its halfway point.
Messi mastered the game long ago. He's soccer's hero, playing with a casual majesty and an effortless strut, rendering defenders as useless as traffic cones on a training ground. He's that good, has been for well over a decade, and he shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
His latest masterclass began in the 17th minute when he hovered over a dead ball, as Espanyol mobilized to defend a free kick.
Really, they needn't have bothered, as Messi whipped in a shot that evaded each and every one of them, picking out the top right-hand corner from range.
Watch the free kick goal right here:
Eight minutes later, three Espanyol defenders attempted to crowd Messi out of the penalty box but he played like the ball was glued to his boots as he twinkle-toed his way out of trouble and found his teammate Ousmane Dembele with a telepathic cross-box assist.
Demebele took three touches, curled a deft shot around the Espanyol goalkeeper Pau Lopez, and gave Barcelona an easy 2-0 lead.
Watch Messi's assist here:
| GOAL! |— Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) December 8, 2018
That Lionel Messi assist 😳
That Ousmane Dembele finish 🤯
Barcelona are turning on the style against Espanyol, they lead 2-0! pic.twitter.com/WRzURxUrix
Luis Suarez capitalized on a Dembele pass to make it 3-0 just before half time, and though Messi had no direct involvement, he closed the show in formidable fashion in the 65th minute.
From 27 meters out, Messi lined up another free kick and once again beat Lopez with his laser of a left foot.
Watch it right here:
| GOAL! |— Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) December 8, 2018
He's done it again! 🤯
Lionel Messi has scored another free-kick, he is not human. 👽 pic.twitter.com/JZxyI6CCXJ
Goal.com chief correspondent Peter Staunton tweeted: "It's time we stopped overlooking the fact that Messi is the greatest freekick taker of all time, on top of everything else."
It's time we stopped overlooking the fact that Messi is the greatest freekick taker of all time on top of everything else.— Peter Staunton (@petermstaunton) December 8, 2018
The night wasn't just another typical Lionel Messi show, of which there have been many this season, as his exploits saw him surpass the 10+ goal mark in the 2018-2019 La Liga campaign.
This means he has now scored over ten La Liga goals in each and every season for the last 13 years, and is the only player to ever do so in La Liga history.
Still only 31, it's clear he will continue to break his own record in the years to come.
I spent my college years in upstate New York, an area known for its frigid winter temperatures. Naturally, weeks before my first year began my mom insisted on taking me shopping for winter essentials — think heavy jackets, snow boots, and fleece gloves.
Shopping for winter jackets in the summer can be quite trying, especially when you're a teenager who wants nothing less than their mom telling them what to do. So, when my mom insisted I buy this Uniqlo jacket after a draining day of trying on too much down and wool, I said fine, packed it in my bag, and brought it to school with me. Shortly after, I ended up losing it at a party without much thought.
Fast forward two years, I was about to head off to study abroad in Spain. With limited packing space for four months abroad, I needed a jacket that would keep me warm for my travels throughout Europe without taking up too much space in my suitcase. I thought back to the Uniqlo Ultra Light Down jacket I had lost two years ago, yes the one my mom insisted I buy but I could have cared less about, and realized it was just what I needed. There began my love story with this jacket — and I have never worn it to a party, or let it get lost, since.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty winter coat, one that can withstand below freezing temperatures, this is not it. What this jacket is, though, is a thin down layer that is deceptively warm and very affordable at about $70.
While there are a few styles, I have the Ultra Light Down Seamless Parka. It's hard to imagine that this coat could provide any substantial warmth from just looking at it. The jacket itself weighs less than a pound; Uniqlo compares the weight of the jacket to the weight of three eggs. But, surprisingly, this super thin jacket is pretty warm.
The shell is 100% nylon and it's filled with 90% down, with a fill power of over 640. Fill power refers to the quality of the down used and a higher fill power correlates with a greater ability to retain heat. So, even though this jacket is very light, the high fill power means it provides a substantial amount of warmth for its weight.
The jacket comes in many colors and a simple, fitted cut that will complement anyone. This can be credited to the vertical quilting Uniqlo uses to achieve a more flattering look. Of course, I think this jacket is better used for function than fashion, but the fact that it's nice looking is a plus.
I tend to size up in down jackets, as I like having the ability to layer as much as I want underneath my coat in order to stay warm. In wanting to keep with the fitted look of this one, I stayed with my regular size and I still am able to fit a few layers beneath the coat comfortably.
What sets this jacket apart for me is that it can be rolled into a small pouch for easy storage and portability.
Each jacket in the collection is accompanied by a drawstring nylon pouch which, when used, transforms your jacket into a light, compact little cylinder. It easily fits in a backpack, larger pocket, or even a purse. When I traveled abroad, this feature became especially useful as I usually only travelled with a small carry on bag, even for longer trips. In attempting to pack smarter, some items had to go, but this small jacket always had a place in my luggage. For the warmth it gives, I would have given up even more of my suitcase space to keep it with me, but luckily it barely takes up any room at all.
It should also be noted that his jacket has a water-repellent coating, but is not weatherproof. It is enough to withstand light rain and snow, but can't promise to keep you dry in a monsoon. I have got caught in heavy rain in this jacket before, and while it doesn't compare to a slick windbreaker, it does a decent job of keeping out the water. The jacket itself absorbs most of the water, making it wetter and heavier, but for the most part your body and any layers of clothing you are wearing underneath won't be sopping wet. When you zip the jacket all the way up and put on the hood, the hood does a good job of covering your face, which I feel is one of its best features for more severe weather conditions like wind and snow. Again, though, this isn't a rain jacket or ski jacket and it isn't trying to be.
This jacket sits in my closet sandwiched somewhere between my heavy-duty winter parka, which provides tons of warmth and insulation, and my denim jackets, which provide barely any. This jacket is a happy medium perfect for brisk fall days, when the average temperature is somewhere around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When it gets colder, this jacket can easily be worn over a heavier sweater or under a larger coat. I go with the former combination often, layering a T-shirt and sweater under this coat for added warmth.
It's hard to now imagine my resistance to buying this piece those five years ago, but I am so glad I made the choice to re-purchase. For fall, winter, and spring, this jacket is now a staple of mine. It's not the warmest jacket I own, or the best-looking, but at only $69.90 it's the best value I've found and a product that now has a forever hanger in my closet.