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The latest news from Business Insider

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    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. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Blockchain is seemingly being explored by innovation teams in every corner of every industry. This includes the logistics industry, which, despite continuing on an impressive upward trajectory — the market is expected to reach $15.5 trillion by 2023, up from $8.1 trillion in 2015 — is filled with inefficiencies that the distributed ledger technology (DLT) is potentially well suited to fix.


    As a result, the DLT has become one of the most attractive investment opportunities for companies in the logistics space; in fact, the market for blockchain technology in supply chain management is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% from $41 million in 2017 to $667 million in 2024, according to Zion Market Research.

    This is leading some of the largest firms in the logistics industry to explore blockchain and its potential use cases. For example, in 2017, a group of technology, transportation, and supply chain executives formed the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) to create a forum for the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry. BiTA now has over 450 members, including global heavyweights UPS, FedEx, SAP, Google, Cisco, and Daimler.

     However, there are still major hurdles to overcome before the technology can become commonplace. Many companies, especially small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), are still unaware of what blockchain is, how it works, or what the benefits of the technology are. 

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence explores how blockchain can provide value to the global logistics industry. We break down some of the inefficiencies in the logistics industry that are leading firms to explore blockchain and explain how the technology can be used to solve these issues. Additionally, we examine some specific use cases along the supply chain and identify some of the hurdles to adoption. And finally, we take a look at what needs to occur in the logistics industry for blockchain to be deployed widely. 

    The companies mentioned in this report are: BiTA, FedEx, IBM, Maersk, Modum, SAP, Volt Technology, and Walmart.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • The logistics industry suffers from a number of inefficiencies caused by outdated processes that blockchain could solve. Some of the issues plaguing the space include a lack of transparency caused by siloed, disparate systems, high costs as a result of slow, manual processes, and difficulties related to the amount of time it takes to create and close a contract.
    • Firms that deploy blockchain-based solutions are likely to achieve a more streamlined experience through a reduced need for intermediaries, better planning capabilities as a result of improved visibility, and lower costs through the digitization of documentation.
    • Major companies are allocating resources toward developing a viable blockchain-based platform. Although few solutions have actually been fully developed, companies including IBM and Maersk, as well as retail heavyweight Walmart and FedEx, are making considerable strides in bringing their blockchain solutions to market.
    • However, use of the technology is still in its infancy within the logistics industry. Firms are still confused about the potential benefits of the technology — only 11% of respondents to an MHI Annual Industry survey believe they have a working knowledge of blockchain.
    • Having industry-specific case studies will show firms that are exploring the technology how they can go from testing to full deployment. These high-profile companies, which are some of the biggest and most influential in the world, will also be able to help shape a global standard for the use of blockchain and aid in the development of new legislation.

    In full, the report:

    • Sizes the potential market for blockchain in the management of the supply chain.
    • Explains how blockchain technology can be used to improve the inefficiencies that have long plagued the logistics industry. 
    • Details how specific companies are testing blockchain technology to enhance parts of the supply chain, including freight shipments and last-mile delivery. 
    • Discusses the potential barriers that will challenge the adoption of blockchain in logistics and how these hurdles can be overcome.
    • Pinpoints what will likely need to happen next for the mass adoption of blockchain to occur.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Zapier cofounders

    With 2018 rapidly winding down, Zapier has released its annual report of the year's fastest growing workplace apps.

    Zapier which rhymes with "happier"— connects apps through simple integrations that help users automate their work and be more productive. That means it gets good insight on the fastest-growing apps, just by watching which pieces of software its users are looking for. 

    Placing highly on the list is Facebook, oddly enough, as well as a tool for managing chatbots — something that some in Silicon Valley had written off as a fad, but is still finding an audience.

    This year's list points to some general trends in productivity tools. First of all, many of the trendiest tools allow users to customize the way they work. Many of the apps on the report allow users to customize their team's communication tools, their websites, and how they manage projects.

    "They really let you customize what you're doing," Zapier CEO Wade Foster told Business Insider. "I think that's interesting as you see early adopters get more comfortable with technology … We're going to see even more of that in 2019."

    Also spotted in the report are software suites that put lots of tools in one place. Finally, users are also relying on productivity tools that automate work routines, so that they get more done and can focus on tasks that only humans can do.

    Here are the top 10 fastest-growing apps of 2018, according to Zapier:

    10. Zoho Forms

    This tool, part of the Zoho cloud suite, lets users make web forms for users and customers to fill out — for instance, an order form for a catering gig, or feedback for a conference session. 

    9. Mailshake

    Mailshake is used for email marketing. It allows users to customize these emails using tools like templates, bulk email, auto follow ups, and tracking for clicks and replies.

    8. WPForms

    This is a plugin for the WordPress content management system that lets users make their own web forms. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    bii top 5 startups to watch in digital health

    The healthcare industry is facing disruption due to accelerating technological innovation and growing demand for improved delivery of healthcare and lower costs. Tech startups are leading the way by seizing opportunities in the areas of the industry that are most vulnerable to disruption, including genomics, pharmaceuticals, administration, clinical operations, and insurance.

    Venture funds and businesses are taking notice of these startups' potential. In the US, digital health funding reached $1.6 billion in Q1 2018, according to Rock Health — the largest first quarter on record, surpassing the $1.4 billion in venture funding seen in Q1 2016. These high-potential startups provide a glimpse into the future of the healthcare space and demonstrate how we’ll get there.

    In this report, a compilation of various notes, Business Insider Intelligence will look at the top startups disrupting US healthcare in four key areas: artificial intelligence (AI), digital therapeutics, health insurance, and genomics. Startups in this report were selected based on the funding they've received over the past year, notable investors, the products they offer, and leadership in their functional area.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Tech startups are entering the market by applying the “Silicon Valley” approach. They're targeting shortcomings and legacy systems that are no longer efficient.
    • AI is being applied across five areas of healthcare to improve clinical operation workflows, cut costs, and foster preventative medicine. These areas include administration, big data analysis, clinical decision support, remote patient monitoring, and care provision.
    • Health tech startups, insurers, and drug makers are rapidly exploring new ways to apply digital therapeutics to the broader healthcare market that replace or complement the existing treatment of a disease.
    • Health insurance startups are taking advantage of the consumerization of healthcare to threaten the status quo of legacy players. 
    • Genomics is becoming an increasingly common tool within the healthcare system as health organizations better understand how to extract the value from patients’ genetic data. 

     In full, the report:

    • Details the areas of the US health industry that show the greatest potential for disruption.
    • Forecasts the industry adoption of bleeding edge technology and how it will transform how healthcare organizations operate.
    • Unveils the top five startups in AI, digital therapeutics, health insurance, and genomics, and how they're positioned to solve big issues that key players in healthcare face. 
    • Explores what's next for the leading startups, providing a glimpse into the future of the healthcare space and demonstrating how we’ll get there.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
    Learn More

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store


    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Vint Cerf, a Google vice president and its chief internet evangelist, as seen at San Jose's Fairmont hotel on Monday, December 10, 2018, during the

    • Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, this week defended Google's work on Project Maven — its controversial pilot program with the Pentagon. 
    • Employee objections to the work, which involved developing artificial-intelligence technologies for use by the Defense Department, were based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the work, said Cerf, who is Google's chief internet evangelist.
    • But the company could have been more transparent about what it was doing, he acknowledged.

    If you ask Vint Cerf, the protests at Google about its contract to help develop artificial-intelligence technologies for the military can be chalked up to a misunderstanding.

    Employees that objected to the company's work for the Defense Department didn't really understand the nature of the work or its benefits, Cerf, a vice president at the search giant and its chief internet evangelist, told Business Insider this week at the "Our People-Centered Digital Future" conference in San Jose.

    Although some Google employees expressed concern that the technology could be used by the military to kill people, that's not what the project was about, he said. 

    "People were leaping to conclusions about the purpose of those contracts and the objectives of the contracts that I don't think were justifiable," said Cerf, chairman of the People Centered Internet coalition, which helped organize the conference. PCI is an international group dedicated to ensuring "that the Internet continues to improve people's lives and livelihoods and that the Internet is a positive force for good." 

    A quiet contract led to mass protests

    sundar pichai google ceo congress hearingGoogle quietly signed a contract to provide its AI technology to the military as part of the latter's Project Maven effort in September 2017. Under the contract, the company was due to help the Defense Deparment use machine-learning algorithms to analyze drone footage.

    When employees learned of the effort in February, many of them were outraged. Many expressed concern that even if the technology wasn't initially developed for lethal purposes, it could eventually be used for that. More than 4,000 signed a letter demanding that the company cancel the contract and promise to never build "warfare technology." About a dozen also resigned from the company in protest over it. 

    The company announced in June that it wouldn't renew the contract when it expires next year, and company CEO Sundar Pichai announced a set of principles that would guide its AI development and applications. Among other things, he said the company wouldn't "design or deploy" AI that would be used for weapons or for illegitimate surveillance.

    Read this:Google just released a set of ethical principles about how it will use AI technology

    Cerf said the contract was about "situational awareness"

    To Cerf, though, the brouhaha was overblown. Employee concerns about the use of Google's AI technology by the military were generally unfounded, he said.

    As he understands it, the purpose of the contract was to develop technology to automatically detect things that might be harmful, such as people putting in place improvised explosive devices. It wasn't designed to automatically detect and target individuals, he said.

    "That particular project, as far as I know, was not to do that. It was a situational awareness application," said Cerf, who's widely considered to be one of the fathers of the internet, because he helped develop its underlying data transfer protocols. "How can I recognize what's going on around me in order to protect against [it] ... Can I automatically discover things going on in my environment that might be harmful?"

    But according to Gizmodo, which broke the initial report on Google's Project Maven contract, the company had hoped the effort would lead to much more work for it with the military and with US intelligence agencies. As part of the project, it was already developing a system for the military that could be used to surveil entire cities, Gizmodo reported. 

    The military does more than fight wars

    More broadly, Cerf said, employees misunderstood the breadth of the military's mission and technology efforts. The Defense Department does more than just fight wars, he noted. Among other things, the military has helped develop technologies that have proven to be invaluable in the private sector, he said, noting his own work in the 1970s and 1980s developing internet technology on behalf of the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency.

    "There is a lot of misunderstanding about the positive benefits of working with [and] in the public sector, the military being a part of that," he said. 

    Google declined to publicize its work on Project Maven and, when it came to light, downplayed its involvement, according to published reports. The company initially told Gizmodo that its work on the project only consisted of providing the military access to the same kind of open source machine-learning tools it provides to other corporate and institutional customers of its cloud services. But the company had actually assigned more than 10 employees to the project and was actively working to customize its AI technology for the military, according to Gizmodo.

    Cerf acknowledged Google may have some responsibility for the misapprehension of its employees.

    "There probably was not enough transparency" regarding its Project Maven work, he said.

    SEE ALSO: The best way to avoid killer robots and other dystopian uses for AI is to focus on all the good it can do for us, says tech guru Phil Libin

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why NASA blasts half a million gallons of water during rocket launches

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    Digital has transformed retail possibilities.Future of Retail 2018: Delivery & Fulfillment

    And with e-commerce sales growing at nearly five times the rate of brick-and-mortar sales, retailers need to find cheaper and more efficient ways to deliver e-commerce orders.

    But different age groups have different preferences for which delivery and fulfilment options are most important to them.

    Find out which delivery features are most important to consumers as well as what fulfillment options retailers should be using to meet consumer demands in this new FREE slide deck from Business Insider Intelligence’s three-part Future of Retail 2018 series.

    In this first installment of the series, Business Insider Intelligence explores delivery and fulfillment, including consumers’ delivery preferences, the challenges those demands pose to retailers, and the strategies retailers can use to meet consumers’ expectations of fulfillment without tanking their profitability.

    As an added bonus, you will also gain immediate access to our exclusive Business Insider Intelligence Daily newsletter.

    To get your copy of the first part of this FREE slide deck, simply click here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Facebook bomb threat

    • On Thursday, numerous reports emerged of people receiving extortion emails demanding recipients send $20,000 in Bitcoin to a particular Bitcoin address. 
    • The emails stated that failure to send the payment would result in that person's workplace being blown up by an explosive device. 
    • Police forces from cities in multiple countries have responded to the threats and have confirmed that no devices have been found in connection to the extortion emails. 
    • This story is developing, but for now, authorities say no actual threats have been discovered. 

    If you've received an email saying that your office will explode if you don't forward on $20,000 in Bitcoin, stay calm. 

    Law enforcement officials across the country responded on Thursday to a recent string of threats, sent to numerous people via a spam-like email campaign, and stated that no explosive devices have found in connection to the messages. 

    "Please be advised - there is an email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment," the NYPD tweeted around 3pm ET on Thursday. "While this email has been sent to numerous locations, searches have been conducted and NO DEVICES have been found." 

    Other police departments from across the country have provided similar updates. 

    The extortion emails demand that recipients send $20,000 in Bitcoin to particular a Bitcoin address. Failure to do so by the end of the working day, the emails stated, would result in that person's workplace being blown up by an explosive device. 

    Here's an example of one of the emails: 

    Universities, schools, media outlets, courthouses, and private businesses across the US reported receiving the extortion emails. Some were evacuated as a result. 

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Thursday: "We are aware of recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”

    Threats have also been reported outside the US in Canada and New Zealand

    Read more:Bitcoin slumps after bomb threats that were emailed across the US demanded it for ransom

    More information about the scam should emerge in the coming days, but if there's any good news to come out of Thursday's scare, it's that no actual devices have been reported.

    And, as ZDNet reports, no Bitcoin payments have been made in relation to the emails. 

    SEE ALSO: The 25 worst passwords of 2018 based on 5 million leaked passwords on the internet

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Amazon wants to open 3,000 cashier-less grocery stores — and they'll have a major advantage over their competitors

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    • Digital trust is the confidence people have in a platform to protect their information and provide a safe environment for them to create and engage with content.
    • Business Insider Intelligence surveyed over 1,300 global consumers to evaluate their perception of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
    • Consumers’ Digital Trust rankings differ across security, legitimacy, community, user experience, shareability, and relevance for the six major social networks.

    If you feel like “fake news” and spammy social media feeds dominate your Internet experience, you’re not alone. Digital trust, the confidence people have in platforms to protect their information and provide a safe environment to create and engage with content, is in jeopardy.

    Digital Trust Rankings 2018

    In fact, in a new Business Insider Intelligence survey of more than 1,300 global consumers, over half (54%) said that fake news and scams were "extremely impactful” or “very impactful” on their decision to engage with ads and sponsored content.

    For businesses, this distrust has financial ramifications. It’s no longer enough to craft a strong message; brands, marketers, and social platforms need to focus their energy on getting it to consumers in an environment where they are most receptive. When brands reach consumers on platforms that they trust, they enhance their credibility and increase the likelihood of receiving positive audience engagement.

    The Digital Trust Report 2018, the latest Enterprise Edge Report from Business Insider Intelligence, compiles this exclusive survey data to analyze consumer perceptions of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

    The survey breaks down consumers’ perceptions of social media across six pillars of trust: security, legitimacy, community, user experience, shareability, and relevance. The results? LinkedIn ran away with it.

    As the most trusted platform for the second year in a row – and an outlier in the overall survey results – LinkedIn took the top spot for nearly every pillar of trust — and there are a few reasons why:

    • LinkedIn continues to benefit from the professional nature of its community — users on the platform tend to be well behaved and have less personal information at risk, which makes for a more trusting environment.
    • LinkedIn users are likely more selective and mindful about engagement when interacting within their professional network, which may increase trust in its content.
    • Content on LinkedIn is typically published by career-minded individuals and organizations seeking to promote professional interests, and is therefore seen as higher quality than other platforms’. This bodes well for advertisers and publishers to be viewed as forthright, honest, persuasive, and trustworthy.

    Want to Learn More?

    Enterprise Edge Reports are the very best research Business Insider Intelligence has to offer in terms of actionable recommendations and proprietary data, and they are only available to Enterprise clients.

    The Digital Trust Report 2018 illustrates how social platforms have been on a roller coaster ride of data, user privacy, and brand safety scandals since our first installment of the report in 2017.

    In full, the report analyzes key changes in rankings from 2017, identifies trends in millennials' behavior on social media, and highlights where these platforms (as well as advertisers) have opportunities to capture their attention.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    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.

    Not that long ago, many home-appliance and consumer-electronics makers were gearing up for what they thought would soon be a rapidly growing market for smart home devices.

    The instant popularity of the Nest thermostat, introduced in 2011, seemed to confirm their hopes. But those expectations were dashed in the coming years as the market for connected home devices later stagnated. 

    Even with these challenges, many of the biggest consumer technology companies are now moving into the smart home market. For example, Apple, which recently released its self-installed smart home ecosystem, called the Apple Home, traditionally doesn't move into a market until it's very mature and only when it can release a perfected product. Further, Google this fall launched the Google Home and its companion ecosystem, hoping to jump into the voice-activated smart home speaker market, which Amazon currently dominates with its Echo product line. 

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence examines the demographics of the average smart home device owner and discuss why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies. The report also examines the plans of various tech giants in the smart home market and discuss their monetization strategies, and makes suggestions for how these companies can position themselves to make their products and devices more appealing to the mass market.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Tech companies primarily enter the market to enhance a core revenue stream or service, while device makers desire to collect data to improve their products and prevent costly recalls.
    • We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
    • These companies are also seeking to create an early-mover advantage for themselves, where they gain an advantage by this head start on adoption.
    • Major barriers to mass market adoption that still must overcome include technological fragmentation and persistently high device prices.

    In full, the report:

    • Details the market strategy of prominent tech companies and device makers, and analyzes why which ones are best poised to succeed once adoption ticks up.
    • Offers insight into current ownership through an exclusive survey from Business Insider Intelligence and analyzes what demographics will drive adoption moving forward.
    • Explains in detail which companies are poised to succeed in the market in the coming years as adoption increases and mass market consumers begin to purchase smart home devices.


    Join the conversation about this story »

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    spider man into the spider verse

    Warning: There are major spoilers below for "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse."

    "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is in theaters. If you head out to see it, make sure you stay until the very end.

    There's one end-credits scene you won't want to miss if you're a fan of the webslinger or internet culture. 

    Honestly, it's one of the best post-credits scenes we've ever watched. But if you left the theater early, INSIDER has you covered. 

    What Happens

    Spider Man Into the Spiderverse Sony Pictures Miles Morales

    A comic word bubble pops up on screen saying, "Meanwhile, in Nueva York."

    We then cut to, what appears to be, a lair. A young woman tells a shadowy figure, "You're a bit late." 

    Multiple screens show what transpired over the course of the "Spider-Verse" movie as the mystery figure appears in focus. It's yet another Spider-Man we haven't seen yet, voiced by none other than Oscar Isaac

    He wears a cool midnight blue and red futuristic suit.

    "I was gone for two hours, what did I miss?" says the mystery Spider-Man.

    He has a device which allows him to travel through the multiverse and visit other Spider-Men. He decides to go back to the very beginning to "Earth-67." When he arrives, he's dropped into CBS' 1967 animated Spider-Man series.

    The two Spider-Men start pointing at one another, in a recreation of a very popular internet meme. The two go back-and-forth for a little bit asking one another why they're pointing at each other and who pointed first. 

    spider man pointing cbs

    Finally, the futuristic Spider-Man says, "I'm Spider-Man. I need you to come with me." The scene ends.

    Who is THIS Spider-Man?

    Fans will instantly recognize this as Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099. 

    spider man 2099

    The character was first introduced in the comics in 1992 by writer Peter David and artist Rick Leonardi.

    He's the first latino Spider-Man and has a brother named Gabriel. O'Hara is from the future and gained his Spidey powers while employed at Alchemax. He tried an experiment to replicate Peter Parker's powers. Unsurprisingly, the experiment didn't go as planned. Miguel's DNA was rewritten, leaving him to be 50% spider.

    Unlike some of the other Spider-Men, he doesn't swing around on webs. Miguel's suit has, what I'm going to call, web wings. He flies around with anti-gravity material on his back. spider man miguel o hara

    The woman we see on screen is Lyla, Miguel's assistant. She's voiced in the movie by Greta Lee.

    If you want to read more about Miguel O'Hara and Spider-Man 2099, you can find comics around the character here.

    What did I just watch? 

    A lot of this is a fun gag scene. Anyone who has spent a lot of time on Twitter and Tumblr, and is familiar with memes, has probably come across this popular GIF of Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man. 

    Miguel O'Hara travels back in time to the 19th episode of the CBS cartoon called, "Double Identity." The episode (which you can watch here) contains a scene with two Spider-Men, one of which is a villain, pointing at one another. The cops are perplexed and can't identify the real Spider-Man from the fake.

    The scene started going viral starting in 2011, according to KnowYourMeme, getting shared around websites like Funnyjunk and 9Gag. It really started taking off after August 2016. You can make your own meme featuring the "Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man" meme here.

    What does this mean for future Spider-Men / Spider-Verse movies?

    spider man 2099 miguel o hara

    If you weren't doubled over in fits of laughter, you'll have noticed Miguel told the original Spider-Man he needed him to come with him. It sounds like Miguel is gathering together a group of his own Spider people from multiple universes for some important reason. 

    One guess? He may be trying to save a bunch of Spider-Men (and women) from an impending threat. In one Spider-Man 2099 comic from Peter David and Will Sliney's 2014 run, a group of supervillains called the Inheritors are out to kill every version of Spider-Man that exists. Among them is a character named Daemos who kills a number of Spider people.

    It's not clear whether or not this is the path Sony's "Spider-Verse" will go down, but it is one option. Before "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" was even released in theaters, Sony Pictures announced it's investing heavily in the animated franchise. According to Variety, Sony is already developing a sequel and spin-offs to the film. We're ready to see more of Miguel, Spider-Noir, and more Spider people who exist in the Spider-Verse.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    stan lee

    Warning: There are spoilers for "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" ahead.

    If you head out to see Sony Pictures Animation's well-reviewed"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" this weekend, prepare yourself for a Stan Lee cameo which may make you emotional. 

    The former president and chairman of Marvel Comics has made appearances in more than 50 Marvel titles ranging from "X-Men" to "Deadpool 2.""Spider-Verse" is Lee's first Marvel cameo after his death at the age of 95 in November

    Lee's animated appearance appears early in the December movie.

    After the death of the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker (voiced by Chris Pine), Miles Morales heads to a store to purchase a costume in his honor. Morales has just recently learned he also has powers similar to Spider-Man after getting bit by a radioactive spider. 

    miles morales spider man

    When he goes to purchase the costume, the cashier is none other than an animated Stan Lee. 

    It's the line he says that may make you choke up.

    "I'm going to miss him," Lee says to Miles. "We were friends."

    He's talking about Spider-Man, but he could just as easily be referring to how the audience feels about Lee knowing this will be one of the final times we'll see him in a Marvel cameo.

    Read more: Stan Lee has made 57 cameos in the Marvel universe — here they all are

    Miles asks him what happens if the costume doesn't fit. Lee then says it always fits before a sign on the wall is shown which reads, "No exchanges or refunds."

    The movie ends on a quote from Lee as well.

    "That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero."

    stan lee joan lee 2011

    A thank you to both Stan Lee and Steve Ditko appears underneath for "telling us we aren't the only ones."

    His cameo is extra special not only because it's his first Marvel cameo after his death, but because Lee created Spider-Man along with artist Steve Ditko.

    You can read our review of "Spider-Verse" here. It's one we definitely recommend seeing over the holidays.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The true story behind the name 'Black Friday' is much darker than you may have thought

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    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.

    Between housing costs, utilities, taxes, insurance, loans, and more, US adults paid an estimated $3.9 trillion in bills last year.

    Bill Pay MarketThat market is growing slowly, but it’s changing fast — more than ever before, customers are moving away from paying bills via check or cash and toward paying online, either through their banks, the billers themselves, or using a third-party app.

    Thanks to rising customer familiarity with digital payments, an increase in purchasing power among younger consumers more interested in digital bill pay, and a rise in digital payment options, nearly three-quarters of bills will be paid digitally by 2022, representing a big opportunity for players across the space.

    In theory, banks should be in a great position to capitalize on this shift. Nearly all banks offer bill payment functionality, and it’s a popular feature. Issuers also boast an existing engaged digital user base, and make these payments secure. But that isn’t what’s happening — even as digital bill pay becomes more commonplace, banks are losing ground to billers and third-party players. And that’s not poised to change unless banks do, since issuer bill pay is least popular among the youngest customers, who will be the most important in the coming year.

    For banks, then, that makes innovation important. Taking steps to grow bill pay’s share can be a tough sell for digital strategists and executives leading money movement at banks, and done wrong, it can be costly, since it often requires robust technological investments. But, if banks do it right, bill pay marks a strong opportunity to add and engage customers, and in turn, grow overall lifetime value while shrinking attrition.

    Business Insider Intelligence has put together a detailed report that explains the US bill pay market, identifies the major inflection points for change and what’s driving it, and provides concrete strategies and recommendations for banks looking to improve their digital bill pay offerings.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • The bill pay market in the US, worth $3.9 trillion, is growing slowly. But digital bill payment volume is rising at a rapid clip — half of all bills are now digital, and that share will likely expand to over 75% by 2022. 
    • Customers find it easiest to pay their bills at their billers directly, either through one-off or recurring payments. Bank-based offerings are commonplace, but barebones, which means they fail to appeal to key demographics.
    • Issuers should work to reclaim bill payment share, since bill pay is an effective engagement tool that can increase customer stickiness, grow lifetime status, and boost primary bank status.  
    • Banks need to make their offerings as secure and convenient as biller direct, market bill pay across channels, and build bill pay into digital money management functionality.

    In full, the report:

    • Sizes the US bill pay market, and estimates where it’s poised to go next.
    • Evaluates the impact that digital will have on bill pay in the US and who is poised to capitalize on that shift.
    • Identifies three key areas in which issuers can improve their bill pay offerings to gain share and explains why issuers are losing ground in these categories.
    • Issues recommendations and defines concrete steps that banks can take as a means of gaining share back and reaping the benefits of digital bill pay engagement.

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    southwest airlines

    • A Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Dallas was diverted on Sunday, after officials discovered the airplane was accidentally transporting a human heart.
    • The heart was supposed to have been unloaded in Seattle and "delivered to a local hospital," according to a company statement.
    • After crewmembers on the flight alerted passengers of the development, people became receptive to the diversion and were "happy to save a life," one passenger said to The Seattle Times.
    • The flight was airborne for around three hours, and passengers experienced a five-hour delay after landing due to an unrelated mechanical problem.

    A Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Dallas was diverted on Sunday, after officials discovered the airplane was accidentally transporting a human heart.

    Southwest flight 3606, which was part of a connecting flight from Sacramento, was carrying the "life-critical cargo shipment" that was supposed to have been unloaded in Seattle and "delivered to a local hospital," according to a company statement provided to USA TODAY.

    "Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers and the safe delivery of the precious cargo we transport every day," Southwest spokesman Dan Landson said to The Seattle Times, which first reported on the incident.

    After crewmembers on the flight alerted passengers of the development, people became receptive to the diversion and were "happy to save a life," according to one passenger cited in The Times. The flight was airborne for around three hours, and passengers experienced a five-hour delay after landing back in Seattle, due to an unrelated mechanical problem.

    The organ originated from a company that ships "life critical" items, but Southwest reportedly declined to provide additional details.

    According to the New York Times, the heart was destined for LifeNet Health, located in the Seattle suburbs. The heart itself was not destined for a transplant, but rather tissue and valves were to be used in future surgeries, Deanna Santana from Sacramento-based Sierra Donor Services, told the New York Times. The heart needed to be delivered withing 48 hours of the donor's death, so despite nearly being transferred to Dallas, it still made it to its destination on time.

    Many airlines carry a range of different specialty cargo, including animals, dangerous goods, and human remains. Southwest transports these items for efficiency and the service accounts for less than 1% of the company's total revenue, according to a Dallas Business Journal report in 2017.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    dr pimple popper 12 pops of christmas cropped

    • Dr. Pimple Popper's holiday special "12 Pops of Christmas" aired Thursday night on TLC. 
    • Jean Marcus, one patient featured in the special, has familial multiple lipomatosis, an inherited condition that causes multiple benign fat lumps, or lipomas, to grow under the skin.
    • It's rare and usually painless, but the number and size of lipomas can negatively affect quality of life.
    • Lee removed 14 small lipomas from Jean Marcus in a single sitting. 
    • Warning: This post contains graphic images.


    Dr. Sandra Lee (better known by her alias Dr. Pimple Popper) has ended 2018 with a pop — actually, with 12. The California dermatologist's holiday special "12 Pops of Christmas" aired Thursday night on TLC.

    The special came roughly five months after Lee's debut TLC series (also called "Dr. Pimple Popper") concluded its first season. The series has already been renewed for a second season, which is set to start in January 2019

    The special followed Lee as she treated 12 patients with a variety of skin conditions, from cysts to a 55-year-old blackhead. One of the special's notable patients, however, was Jean Marcus, a man with a rare condition that causes multiple fatty lumps called lipomas to form under the skin. 

    Here's a closer look at his story and the condition. 

    Jean Marcus has a condition called familial multiple lipomatosis

    dr pimple popper jean marcus holiday

    Jean Marcus, identified only by his first name, explained during the special that he has had multiple lipomas on his arms and chest ever since the first one developed in middle school. 

    A lipoma is a benign, slow-growing fatty lump situated just under the skin, and the causes behind them aren't fully understood, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

    "My everyday life is starting to get affected by this," Jean Marcus said in an interview segment, revealing the noticeable bumps scattered across his forearms. "I feel self-conscious about them."

    In a conversation with Lee, Jean Marcus said that his father and sister also have multiple lipomas. Because of this family link, Lee determined that he has a condition called familial multiple lipomatosis (FML).

    "[It's] an inherited condition that you can see in family members over multiple generations," Lee said. "It is benign, usually painless, but oftentimes an eyesore."

    Read more: Dr. Pimple Popper treated a man who removed one of his own lipomas — and she was visibly disturbed

    FML runs in families, as its name implies, but the underlying genetic cause still isn't known, according to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). In the condition, the lipomas typically show up on the arms, legs, and torso. (You can see photo examples of a person with FML in this report published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2014.)

    Numerous or very large lipomas can negatively impact one's quality of life, even if they're painless, GARD added, and surgical removal of the lumps is sometimes required. 

    After an examination, Lee opted to remove a total of 14 lipomas from across Jean Marcus's forearms and chest.

    Lee removed 14 of Jean Marcus's lipomas in one sitting


    Lipomas are not a new challenge for Lee — they frequently appear in her YouTube videos and also cropped up in the first season of her TLC series. In the past, Lee has often removed singular, giant lipomas, including some as large as bowling balls

    But Jean Marcus's procedure was different.

    Lee squeezed out a total of 14 small lipomas from beneath Jean Marcus's skin during a fast-paced montage sequence complete with holiday music and subtle squelching sound effects. (By the way: Lee previously told INSIDER that those sound effects are intensely magnified but still very real.) Each one popped out in a neat, satisfying, single piece.

    dr pimple popper holiday lipomas removed

    Once the lipomas were removed and his skin was stitched up, Jean Marcus's forearms were noticeably smoother in shape.

    "I definitely feel like a new man," he said in the special. "I'm going to have these brand new arms and a new chest and I can just wear t-shirts again. This was the best Christmas gift I think I could have gotten for myself."

    Watch an action-packed promo clip for the special (included some footage of a lipoma popping out!) below. "12 Pops of Christmas" will also be available to watch on-demand via the TLCGo app (available for Apple and Android), and you can watch previous episodes of the "Dr. Pimple Popper" series on the app and at TLC's website.

    <iframe src="" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>

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    dr pimple popper 12 pops of christmas

    • Dr. Pimple Popper's holiday special "12 Pops of Christmas" aired Thursday night on TLC. 
    • During the special, Dr. Sandra Lee (the real-life dermatologist behind the famous nickname), saw a patient with a 55-year-old dilated pore of Winer.
    • A dilated pore of Winer is a blackhead that grows so large that it stretches the pore it's inhabiting.
    • Warning: This post contains graphic images.


    "12 Pops of Christmas," a 90-minute special starring Dr. Sandra Lee, a.k.a. Dr. Pimple Popper, aired Thursday night on TLC. 

    The special marked the end of a massive year for the California-based dermatologist. In addition to partnering with a toy company to release a pimple popping board game, Lee also made the leap from internet celebrity to TV star, translating the wild success of her YouTube channel into a TLC series. It was quickly renewed for a second season that will start in January 2019

    Thursday's holiday special followed Lee while she treated, popped, and excised skin growths on 12 different patients. It featured some jaw-dropping cases — including a man with at least 14 lipomas — but the episode's most memorable pop came courtesy of Doris, a woman with a 55-year-old blackhead. 

    Doris had a 55-year-old giant blackhead by her ear

    dr pimple popper 12 pops of christmas blackhead

    Doris, identified only by her first name, explained that she sought Lee's help for a giant blackhead situated by her right ear.

    "None of my grandchildren have ever seen me without this blackhead," Doris, who identified by her first name only, said during the special. "It's a ghost of Christmas that I need to get rid of."

    Once seated in an exam room with Lee, Doris explained that her sister used to try and squeeze out the blackhead, but stopped after an extraction attempt in 1975 that caused pain.

    The growth isn't just a normal blackhead, though. 

    "This looks like what we call 'the unicorn' here in dermatology," Lee said during the special. "It is pretty rare to have something this big. It's called  dilated pore of Winer and that is just a giant blackhead ... that has gotten so big it stretches out the pore."

    Last month, on Twitter, Lee shared a sneak peek of Doris's intact dilated pore of Winer (DPOW).

    DPOWs are benign, and while dermatologists don't know exactly why some people get them, they think that sun exposure and a history of cystic acne may be risk factors, Lee wrote last year on her blog, The Pretty Pimple. Men are also more tend to get them more often than women, she added.

    DPOWs are also among the most popular pops Lee's YouTube channel.  As of this writing, they are featured in four of Lee's 10 most-watched YouTube videos.

    Apparently they're popular with her staff, too. In the special, Lee showed a photo of Doris's DPOW to her two medical assistants, describing it as a "Christmas present" for them. 

    "We don't see them too much, but we're always looking for them," Lee said. 

    Read more: Dr. Pimple Popper reveals the deeper meaning behind all her viral popping videos

    Lee removed the growth with a gentle squeeze and some digging

    dr pimple popper 55 year old blackhead 12 pops of christmas

    Lee made an incision across the top of the DPOW, then used gentle pressure to squeeze out the its hard, black cap. 

    "It's like a petrified rock you got in there," Lee said to Doris during the procedure. "That thing's pretty hard ... that's your lump of coal." 

    DPOWs and blackheads get their dark coloring not from dirt, but from oxygen. When the contents of a blackhead (dead skin cells, bacteria, and skin oil) are exposed to air, they oxidize, turning dark in color

    Next, Lee used a spoon-like tool called a curette to dig out the remaining DPOW contents, then stitched up the skin where it had been so the hole it left behind would not refill. 

    "I haven't seen that side of my face without that blackhead for at least 55 years," Doris said once the procedure was completed. "And it feels really great."

    You can see more of the blackhead in the promo video from TLC below. "12 Pops of Christmas" will also be available to watch on-demand via the TLCGo app (available for Apple and Android), and you can watch previous episodes of the "Dr. Pimple Popper" series on the app and at TLC's website.

    <iframe src="" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>

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    • INSIDER spoke to seven dietitians about what they actually order at Chipotle.
    • None of the dietitians order burrito or tacos at Chipotle.
    • One tortilla can add over 300 calories to your meal.
    • Most of the dieticians load up on salsa. 

    INSIDER spoke to seven dietitians who all agreed that Chipotle is one of the better fast food options if you want to eat relatively healthy at a fast and affordable spot. All seven dietitians polled order a burrito bowl or a salad and are big fans of the fajita vegetables.

    Here's how seven dietitians order when they dine at Chipotle.

    This Whole30 Certified Coach always asks for extra lettuce.

    Whitney Stuart, MCN RDN, registered dietitian-nutritionist and Whole30 certified coach, orders a chicken salad with fajita vegetables, tomato green chili salsa, guacamole, and extra lettuce on top.

    Stuart told INSIDER that the tomato green chili salsa has the least amount of sodium out of all the salsas, plus this entire meal will get you plenty of vitamin C.

    This bestselling author always springs for guacamole, because it’s a healthy monounsaturated fat.

    Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, and NY Times bestselling author of the new book "Radical Metabolism: A Powerful New Plan to Blast Fat and Reignite Your Energy in Just 21 Days" orders a burrito bowl with beef, rice, beans, fajita vegetables, tomatillo-green chili salsa, and guacamole with bottled water.

    Gittleman likes that chipotle uses local and often organic vegetables, rice, beans, and meats from naturally raised animals. She also springs for guacamole because it provides a dose of healthy monounsaturated fat.

    This registered dietitians gets a burrito bowl with extra fajita vegetables.

    Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN, and the Media Representative for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics orders a burrito bowl with chicken, brown rice, black beans, guacamole, mild tomato salsa, fajita vegetables, romaine lettuce, and a dollop of sour cream.

    Malinowski called this the "lower carb version of a burrito," but said to always ask for extra fajita vegetables. She chooses chicken, over steak, because it's a leaner form of protein.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    girl eating burger cheeseburger

    • There are ways to navigate the McDonald's menu and enjoy some healthy options.
    • Take advantage of McDonald's Nutrition Calculator.
    • Seven dietitians told INSIDER what they eat themselves when they dine at the fast-food joint.

    It can be hard to navigate eating at fast-food restaurants while trying to maintain a healthy diet, but there are actually many great options recommended by experts

    INSIDER talked to seven dietitians about what they eat and what they advise others to eat when dining at McDonald's.

    Whitney Stuart orders her grilled chicken sandwiches open faced.

    Whitney Stuart, MCN RDN, registered dietitian-nutritionist and Whole30 certified coach, orders the Egg White Delight McMuffin served open-faced with half the bun removed for breakfast.

    Then for lunch, she orders the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich also served open-faced, plus a side salad.

    "This is the least saturated fat and carb heavy option that seemed feasible," Stuard told INSIDER. She also said to use McDonald’s Nutrition Calculator to customize and check the nutrition facts for your entire meal, paying close attention to the sodium levels. "Most Americans need less than 1,800 milligrams per day and these meals quickly approach that limit," she added.

    Dr. Caroline Apovian prefers a salad with just a touch of dressing.

    Dr. Caroline Apovian, MD, a nutrition and weight-loss physician and professor of medicine at Boston University, order a Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad for her lunch.

    "I get my protein, no grease, and I dole out the dressing carefully not to get too much fat," Dr. Apovian told INSIDER.

    Joelle Malinowski likes the Sausage Burrito at breakfast because it’s packed with veggies.

    Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN, and the media representative for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, orders aSausage Burrito for breakfast. At lunch, she orders the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.

    Malinowski explained that the Sausage Burrito includes vegetables, which she said makes it preferable to the say, the Sausage McMuffin. "I always find ways to get my vegetables in all meals," she told INSIDER. As for the salad, she opts for the grilled chicken over the breaded option.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    taco bell power menu burrito

    • INSIDER spoke to seven dietitians about what they actually order at Taco Bell.
    • Taco Bell's Power Menu was a favorite amongst the dietitians we spoke to, as were simple crunchy tacos.
    • One dietitian said ordering items "fresco style" is a great way to cut down on calories.
    •  Overall, dietitians cut back on extras like sour cream and sauces.

    Although Taco Bell is a fast-food chain, there are plenty of protein-packed options that even those trying to eat a bit on the healthy side can enjoy.

    INSIDER spoke to seven dietitians who told us their best tips for ordering at Taco Bell and what exactly their go-to order is. 

    This Whole30 Certified Coach likes the Power Menu bowl without cheese.

    Who: Whitney Stuart, MCN RDN, registered dietitian-nutritionist and Whole30 certified coach

    What she orders: A customized Power Menu Bowl with chicken, extra lettuce, extra tomato, pico de gallo, black beans, and guacamole — no cheese and no avocado ranch sauce

    Stuart said the power bowl is high in fat, but cutting out cheese and avocado ranch sauce (which is made of soybean oil) helps lower the sodium and cholesterol in the dish.

    This certified nutrition specialist also opts for the Power Menu Bowl and is sure to splurge for guac.

    Who: Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS, and NY Times bestselling author of the new book "Radical Metabolism: A Powerful New Plan to Blast Fat and Reignite Your Energy in Just 21 Days"

    What she orders: Power Menu Bowl with chicken and a bottled water

    Gittleman likes the power bowl for its protein, fiber content, and zero trans-fat status. She said she adds extra guacamole because it "provides healthy monounsaturated fat that keeps you feeling full longer and can even help with weight loss."


    This registered dietitian likes the Power Menu Burrito but skips the sour cream.

    Who:  Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN, and the Media Representative for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    What she orders:The Power Menu Burrito

    Malinowski typically opts for the Power Menu Burrito, but she's a fan of anything on Taco Bell's Power Menu. She said it's a great menu because of its variety of "low carb, veggie, and protein-packed options." She does, however, "go light" on the dressing and sour cream to lower the fat content.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Theresa May Jean-Claude Juncker

    • "You called me nebulous," UK Prime minister Theresa May tells European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a rare display of public anger.
    • May arrived grim-faced at a meeting of European leaders in Brussels on Friday.
    • The EU has rejected her calls for the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to be tweaked.
    • May later described the exchange as a "robust discussion."

    LONDON — An angry-looking Theresa May confronted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday after EU leaders rejected her latest Brexit proposals and he publicly chastised her approach to negotiations.

    Arriving at a meeting of European leaders in Brussels this morning, May was filmed approaching Juncker and having what looked like a frosty exchange with the EU chief, in which she appeared to say: "You called me nebulous." Juncker responded by putting his hand on May's arm, as if to calm her down.

    May described the exchange as a "robust discussion" in a press conference later on Friday.

    Here's the clip.

    On Thursday evening, Juncker accused the UK prime minister of being "nebulous and imprecise" in Brexit talks after the EU refused to make changes to the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement. 

    May arrived in Brussels for the European Council summit wanting the EU to make legally binding reassurances that the "backstop" for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland will be temporary. 

    The backstop — which will come into effect in December 2020 if a new trade deal that protects the invisible Irish border isn't ready — would keep the UK in the EU's customs union and Northern Ireland in parts of the single market.

    Brexiteers in Westminster are concerned that if activated, the backstop would keep the UK trapped in the EU's customs union indefinitely — or even forever — stuck with EU rules and a limited ability to sign new trade deals.

    The Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May's government, also hates the current terms of the backstop because it would create new border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

    EU leaders have insisted that the deal could not be renegotiated.

    The prime minister looked sombre when she arrived at the European Council on Friday morning, after failing to win changes to the deal which she had promised to hostile Brexiteers in Westminster. 

    Arlene Foster — leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up the Conservative government — said that while the EU's reaction was "unsurprising" it was up to May whether she would "stand up to them or whether she will roll over as has happened previously."

    SEE ALSO: Theresa May's Brexit deal in peril after EU leaders reject demands for changes

    Join the conversation about this story »

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

    gifts for photographers

    • Photography can be an expensive hobby or profession, but there are plenty of necessities and toys that don't cost an arm and a leg.
    • Whether you're shopping for a full-time pro or a brand-new enthusiast, this gift guide has the perfect option.

    Photography is a fantastic hobby or profession, and despite many changes to the scene as smartphone cameras have proliferated, there is still plenty of useful gear out there.

    If you're shopping for a photographer on your list, whether a professional, an enthusiast, or someone who's looking to get started, this list has the perfect gift. From entry-level cameras to novelty gifts, and from advanced photo drones to inspirational ideas, you're sure to find something perfect.

    Still shopping for more gifts? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    SEE ALSO: 34 cool stocking stuffers you can get on Amazon for under $20

    DON'T MISS: 32 gifts anyone who just moved into a new apartment will appreciate not having to buy themselves

    A top-of-the-line entry-level advanced camera

    Nikon D3500, available at B&H, $396.95 (also available at Amazon)

    The Nikon D3500 is the perfect camera for someone getting started with photography and looking to advance past iPhone photos. It shoots great photos on automatic mode, and offers full manual control and advanced features. The less-expensive model comes with an 18-55mm kit lens, but it's also worth considering the two-lens bundle, which includes a 70-300mm lens for just $100 more.

    A stylish pair of cufflinks

    Camera Mode Dial Cufflinks, available at Amazon, $54.95

    These iconic cufflinks look just like an actual camera dial.

    An entry-level drone that can fly and take photos and shoot video outdoors

    DJI Spark Drone and Remote Combo, available at Amazon, $359

    The DJI Spark is one of the best all-purpose devices for someone getting into drone photography. It has a stabilized camera capable of taking 12 MP photos and 1080p video.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Meghan Markle

    • Meghan Markle reportedly finds it "frustrating" not being able to respond to any rumors that are made about her.
    • A source at US Weekly said Markle missed the ability to "clap back" on social media. All her channels have been shut down since she became a royal.
    • The royals don't respond to rumors or claims that are made about them, and the official palace communication staff rarely respond to reports either.
    • The British press has been writing about an alleged rift between Markle and Kate Middleton, and that Markle has been "difficult" when dealing with some palace staff.

    Meghan Markle reportedly finds it "frustrating" to live with one of the first rules of being a top member of the royal family: never responding publicly to rumors in the media.

    A source told US Weekly that Markle was frustrated with having to maintain a diplomatic silence amid rumors about tensions between her and others in Kensington Palace.

    "It’s just been frustrating and stressful to have no voice," the source said.

    "She’s always relied on her own voice to stand up for others, and for herself.

    charles 70th birthday

    "So not being able to say anything is a debilitating feeling. She’s always been so independent, her entire life, and that’s all been taken away from her."

    "She’s always been able to clap back on social media and now she can’t."

    An increasing number of reports have emerged in the British press about disputes between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Prince William and Kate Middleton.

    They include claims that Markle made Middleton cry in the run-up to the royal wedding in May, that Harry and William argued about Markle joining the family, and that the Queen had to step in to calm things down.

    Some of these reports have been denied by unnamed palace staff to outlets, but no public rebuttal has been issued. INSIDER's requests for comment about any rift have been met with silence.

    There have also been reports that Markle is difficult when dealing with palace staff.

    Read More:A bitter rift is opening in the royal family with Harry and Meghan on one side and Kate and William on the other, according to more and more reports

    Royals have long pursued a decades-long policy of not responding to claims about their private lives.

    Washington Post, and Newsweek, which both noted that the palace and the individual royals do not typically comment on their personal lives; a stark difference from Markle's previous life, where she ran social media accounts and her own website.

    On rare occasions, the royals do respond to the press, but only to the most serious stories. Prince William took the rare decision to sue a French magazine for publishing topless photos of Middleton in 2012.

    And in 2016 Prince Harry's team issued an extraordinary statement urging the press to stop their "harassment" of Markle. It was the first time the palace acknowledged that the pair was dating.

    Markle deleted her social media accounts in January 2018 before she got married. Her site, The Tig, was shut down in early 2017.

    Read More:Meghan Markle gave a nod to Prince Charles with her jewelry that was so subtle you probably didn't notice

    Now updates on her life come from Kensington Palace's accounts on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

    Vanity Fair reported in December that Markle had been coping with the negative stories by trying not to read them. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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