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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Tesla battery fire, Rich Benoit

    • YouTube star mechanic Rich Benoit posted a video of modified Tesla battery modules catching on fire after being improperly used. 
    • Benoit said the start of the fire was entirely his fault. He said the modified battery wasn't charging or being cooled correctly when it caught on fire.
    • Once the fire had ignited it was intense and difficult to put out. 
    • "There are significant safety concerns when salvaged Teslas are repaired improperly or when Tesla parts are used outside of their original design intent, as these vehicles could pose a danger to both the mechanic and other drivers on the road," a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. 

    Massachusetts-based mechanic Rich Benoit has garnered almost 400,000 followers on YouTube with his show, Rich Rebuilds. Most of the time he fixes Teslas, but a few weeks ago he put one-eighth of a Tesla battery inside of a Disney Princess electric car — he and his friends named it Daisy.

    A few days later, Daisy caught on fire as she was charging in the garage and Benoit and his friends went through six fire extinguishers as hot plastic and copper were raining from the sky. The pieces of battery got so hot they started melting into asphalt once they hit the ground. The guys described the sound of all this as like "combat training," and when the firefighters arrived they asked if there was live ammunition in Daisy's trunk.

    "We can't put it out," they said as the flames kept reigniting.

    Benoit said that the start of this fire was his fault. He was not using a Tesla charger on the vehicle, and the battery didn't have a proper cooling system in place when it caught on fire either. A Tesla spokesperson told Business Insider that using Tesla parts improperly can be dangerous. 

    "There are significant safety concerns when salvaged Teslas are repaired improperly or when Tesla parts are used outside of their original design intent, as these vehicles could pose a danger to both the mechanic and other drivers on the road," the spokesperson said. 

    While Benoit said the cause of Daisy's fire was caused by improper use, the source of a recent Tesla battery fire has not yet been determined. 

    A California man's Tesla Model S caught fire twice in a matter of hours on Tuesday after it suffered a flat tire and was taken to a shop for repairs. The owner had bought the Tesla three months before, and driven it around 1,200 miles, according to reports. 

    A Tesla spokesperson told Business Insider that they were investigating the matter and are working with local first responders. The spokesperson also said that its vehicles are designed so that when there is a fire, it spreads slower than in a gas-powered car. This is so occupants will have more time to exit the vehicle.

    Still though, Tesla has come under some government scrutiny after authorities have struggled to extinguish battery-electric fires in its vehicles.  

    You can watch the video of  Benoit's fire below, and if you have any experience with Tesla battery fires give me a shout at llopez@businessinsider.com

     

    And for more from Benoit, check out an episode of Business Insider's podcast Household Name, where we ask him how he got his start fixing Teslas.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what you find when you take apart a Tesla

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This two-faced truck is made from two Chevy Silverados — here's what it looks like on the road


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    mia khalifa song music video

    • TikTok users are yelling the phrase "hit or miss" in public.
    • It acts as a sort of secret handshake: If there's another TikTok user around, they're supposed to respond with "I guess they never miss, huh?"
    • The lyrics come from a diss track from the Atlanta-based hip hop group iLOVEFRiDAY, responding to a fake tweet from the former adult film actress Mia Khalifa, according to a Twitter thread from comedian and web developer Reed Kavner.

    If you've heard someone randomly yell out the phrase "hit or miss" in public lately, you can blame TikTok.

    The social media platform, which specializes in sharing short-form lip-syncing videos, has inspired an IRL challenge, where people yell the phrase and wait for a response. 

    The origins of the meme, as the comedian and web developer Reed Kavner wrote on Twitter, come from an otherwise obscure diss track released by the Atlanta-based hip-hop group "iLOVEFRiDAY." But the verse from the song, released earlier this year, has invaded the real-life world and led to a spike in Google searches for the phrase "hit or miss."

    iLOVEFRiDAY's song, "Mia Khalifa," is a song attacking the Lebanese-American internet personality and former adult film star of the same name. It's a response to a fake tweet where Khalifa calls out iLOVEFRiDAY member Smoke Hijabi — who is Pakistani — for smoking while wearing a hijab. Khalifa herself has made adult film videos where she wears a hijab while having sex.

    smoke hijabi tweet mia khalifa

    But iLOVEFRiDAY apparently thought the tweet was real, and released a retaliatory diss track.

    The song, posted to YouTube in March, went viral in certain corners of the internet, and now has more than 36 million views on YouTube.

    The first major TikTok video that picked up on "Mia Khalifa,"according to Kavner, was posted by a TikTok user who goes by @nyannyancosplay, who now has more than 280,000 followers.

    She picked up one some of catchiest lyrics from the song: "Hit or miss/I guess they never miss, huh?/You got a boyfriend, I bet he doesn't kiss ya/He gon' find another girl and he won't miss ya/He gon' skrrt and hit the dab like Wiz Khalifa."

    Her TikTok spawned thousands of similar videos. There are nearly 274 million videos with the "#hitormiss" hashtag TikTok.

    Read more:16 celebrities who went viral and dominated the internet this year

    It became so popular that the lyrics became a calling card for other TikTok users. One user, Thomas Ridgewell, fro Boise, Idaho, decided to see if it could be seen as a "secret handshake" for the community, according to Kavner. He went to a Marshall's and yelled out "hit or miss." Someone responded with "I guess I'll never miss ya."

    The other guy got the lyrics wrong, but the video was still popular enough to spawn the #hitormiss challenge. There are tens of millions of videos with that tag, where people go to public places, yell out "hit or miss," and see if anyone responds with the song's next verse.

    Khalifa said she "stepped away" as an adult film actress in 2015 after reportedly receiving death threats from ISIS and now works as a social media personality, webcam model, and sports commentator. As for iLOVEFRiDAY, they've continued to make new music, sometimes collaborating with other viral stars. In May, they released a song with the influencer Woah Vicky.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday


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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.

    corkcicle $24.95

    When I'm browsing for gifts, Amazon is admittedly not the site where I expect to easily stumble across an option that I've never seen before or regard as cool. I tend to think that the new and interesting startups have a leg up in this regard. Since Amazon is so familiar to shop, however, an ideal situation would be for me to knock out all my holiday shopping at once there. 

    It may be a convenient place to shop for ordinary and practical needs like kitchen tools and organization products, but is it really the best place to find unique gifts for your friends and family? This guide of 24 unique gifts, all available on Amazon, presents a compelling case.

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    SEE ALSO: 25 creative and unexpected gifts for 'Star Wars' fans of all ages

    DON'T MISS: 75 unique gift ideas from startups that are worth having on your radar

    A hook system more reliable than the MTA

    Umbra Subway Wall Hook, $30, available at Amazon

    Part art piece and part functional organizer, the subway-inspired wall hook reminds them of the joys (and terrors) of riding public transportation. 



    A programmable R2-D2

    R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid, from $74.95, available at Amazon

    Your favorite droid comes to life, with a little help from a corresponding app. It can drive around their home, change stances, and react to movie moments as it watches. 



    A garden aquarium that wastes no resources

    Back to the Roots Water Garden, $73.99, available at Amazon

    The two-in-one ecosystem is self-sustaining: the fish waste fertilizes the micro greens on top while the plants clean the fish's water. It requires less work and the greens should be ready in 10 days, plus it simply looks cool on their countertop. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    taco bell doritos locos tacos

    • In the last 10 years, countless inventions have been created to make life easier and more entertaining.
    • Before 2009, we didn't have Uber to hail rides from our phones or Venmo to send money to friends.
    • Major parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and monster mash-ups with classic novels such as "Pride and Prejudice" didn't really exist before 2008.

    Life moves fast, especially with constant technological advances and inventions coming out every year. In the last decade, using an app to hail a ride or send money to your friends has become commonplace and talking to smart speakers to turn on lights, play music, or read recipes seems normal. 

    The past few years have brought us numerous life-changing innovations, complex fictional worlds, new forms of storytelling, and fascinating food creations.

    Here are 13 things that hadn't been invented or launched 10 years ago.

    Tesla's first car was released in 2008.

    Even though Tesla was founded in 2003, the electric car manufacturer didn't release their first vehicle until 2008, when they released a completely electric Roadster.

    It was named the second best invention of 2008 byTIME magazine and was praised for making electric cars "sexy" for the first time. The sports car sold for $100,000 and could reach top speeds of 125 mph in 2008.

    Today, aTesla Roadster can reach up to 250 mph and it costs over $200,000.



    The complexities of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had only just begun in 2008.

    With the May 2008 release of "Iron Man," the earliest stages of theMarvel Cinematic Universe had begun.After "Iron Man" was introduced to the world, the "The Incredible Hulk" (2008), "Thor" (2011), and "Captain America" (2011) were released. And Marvel characters were brought together with other fellow Marvel characters in the first Avengers movie, which was released in 2012.  

    More Marvel films, TV series, and characters followed including "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,""Agent Carter," and "Inhumans" on ABC and "Daredevil,""Jessica Jones," and "Luke Cage" on Netflix.

    Although Marvel has been around for quite some time, it's only been a decade since the universe really kicked off — and now it's hard to imagine a world without the intricate and extensive stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    ReadMore: We made a timeline showing the entire history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe



    DNA tests began being sold retail about a decade ago.

    Consumer DNA testing company23andMe was awarded the best invention of the year byTIME Magazine in 2008.

    The company was founded in 2006 by Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey, and Paul Cusenza out of Mountain View, California, as a way to "help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome," according to theirwebsite.

    They launched their first product in 2007 for almost $1,000 and by 2008 the price was reduced to $399.

    Today, the company has 5,000,000 customers and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed studies in scientific journals. The health and ancestry DNA service now costs $139 and just the ancestry DNA service costs $69.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Finish the Wall

    • A GoFundMe campaign was set up by a veteran to raise funds to pay for the border wall.
    • The campaign has already raised more than $5 million in three days.
    • Brian Kolfage, a motivational speaker who speaks about being a triple amputee, is behind the campaign and promised the funds will be held until the campaign can ensure all the money goes toward paying for the border wall.

    It's been two years since Donald Trump won the presidential election after repeatedly promising to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. Since the wall still hasn't been built — and is apparently causing some trouble on Capitol Hill — some Americans are taking up the cause themselves.

    US Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage set up a GoFundMe campaign on Monday asking for supporters to pitch in to pay for the wall. In 72 hours, the campaign has already received more than $5 million in donations. More than 84,000 supporters have donated. At one point on Wednesday, the campaign was raising $1,000 each minute.

    "If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall," the campaign's GoFundMe page reads. "That equates to roughly 5Billion Dollars, even if we get half, that's half the wall. We can do this."

    In the campaign's description, Kolfage — who underwent three amputations after he was severely injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 — wrote that he feels "deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today." Kolfage also wrote on the page "too many illegals are taking advantage of  the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society." 

    Kolfage told the Washington Post that he started the campaign because “political games from both parties” have been holding back the construction of the wall. 

    “It’s time to stop playing games with voters,” Kolfage said. “If we are told we’re getting something, make it happen.”

    Read more: Mississippi congressman proposes crowdfunding border wall through 'border bonds'

    The campaign description also says the fundraising efforts are capped at $1 billion because that is GoFundMe's maximum fundraising limit. Kolfage said he's working with the company to change that.

    This is the latest effort by conservative Americans to find a way to raise money for the wall, for which Trump has been having a hard time securing funds. Just this week, Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo introduced a bill that would allow Americans to buy "border bonds" to raise the $5 billion Trump is asking for to build the wall. 

    Kolfage makes a reference to Palazzo's plan in his campaign's description, saying it is "one option" for the funds raised, adding that "there are others on the table being discussed." In the post, the veteran said that "every single penny" will be refunded if the campaign doesn't reach its goal. 

    The government has accepted private donations for infrastructure before. In 2012, a billionaire philanthropist donated $7.5 million to fix the Washington Monument. It is unclear still if the government has reached out to Kolfage about any potential donations. In the GoFundMe post, Kolfage said he is "working with a law firm on a legal document that will bind the government to using the funds for the border wall itself, nothing else."

    SEE ALSO: Congress is preparing to kick the fight over Trump's border wall down the road and narrowly avoid a shutdown mess

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    Steelers

    • Every week we pick each game of the NFL schedule against the spread.
    • Last week, we went a respectable 6-9-1 against the spread, with Packers and Seahawks falling just short of a cover.
    • This week, we like the Patriots to bounce back against the Bills, and the Cardinals to keep things close against the Rams.

    With just two weeks left in the NFL season, there's only so many chances left for us to bet on football.

    This week's slate is a delightful one, filled with intriguing matchups between teams with differing motivations. While some teams are playing for a playoff spot, others compete for pride, and knowing which side to bet on can be difficult to discern.

    We'll waste no time and get straight to the picks (* indicates home team).

    LAST WEEK: 6-9-1
    OVERALL: 91-126-7

    Washington Redskins (+10) over Tennessee Titans*

    After 10 years spent bouncing around the league, quarterback Josh Johnson got his first career win as a starter for the Redskins last Sunday. It's tough not to cheer for him.



    Los Angeles Chargers* (-4.5) over Baltimore Ravens

    The Chargers have flown under the radar all season and have everything to play for here — jump the Chiefs in the standings, and they could snag a first-round bye. Their rushing defense should be good enough to contain Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.



    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) over Dallas Cowboys*

    According to the Action Network, the Buccaneers are getting just 31% of bets on this game, but a whopping 62% of the money. That indicates that sharp bettors see something they like in Tampa Bay getting a touchdown. When you don't have a read on the game yourself, follow the sharps.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • "Mary Poppins," the 1964 Disney film about a flying, magical nanny isn't just a beloved classic — it's a monumental movie in the history of filmmaking.
    • The film is regarded as Walt Disney's crowning live-action achievement, as the only Disney film to ever be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in his lifetime.
    • What's often overlooked is that the film was also that year's Oscar winner for Best Visual Effects.
    • To bring "Mary Poppins" to life, Disney hired the engineer and inventor, Petro Vlahos. His innovation eventually became the basis of the modern green screen.

    The scene you're about to watch is perhaps one of the most important and influential sequences in the history of cinema. Okay, this could use some explanation. This is a scene from "Mary Poppins," a 1964 classic directed by Robert Stevenson. It's a film often regarded as Walt Disney's crowning live-action achievement, being the only Disney film to ever be nominated for Best Picture in his lifetime. But there's something else that's often overlooked about this film. It was also that year's winner for Best Visual Effects. Now for a film featuring a magical flying nanny, you might not find that to be surprising at all. But it's this overlooked achievement that helped "Mary Poppins" change the course of film history forever.

    Like all forms of art, films have always relied heavily on bringing our imaginations to life. As films evolved, this posed a great challenge for early filmmakers. Imagination had no boundaries but film did. At the time at least. Early on, simple camera tricks were used to make the impossible look possible. George Méliès, one of the first pioneers in visual effects used a technique known as double exposure mattes to achieve this feat over a hundred years ago. A man with multiple heads. He did it by putting a glass panel in front of the camera and painting black marks over specific sections to block the light. He would then rewind the film, and set up an opposite matte to fill in these blanks individually. Then voila! Despite its many limitations, the double exposure mattes were used for many years, until something a little more familiar to us arrived on the scene.

    This is the blue screen, developed by Lawrence Butler and it looks and works similar to the green screen we use today. With the arrival of color films, Butler realized he could put a subject in front of a specific color, then remove that exact color to isolate a subject from its background. The isolated subjects would then be placed on top of a pre-shot background known as a plate to create a single seamless image. This is the start of what we now commonly know as chroma key. This method was first used in 1940 for the film "Thief of Baghdad" but it also came with many issues. The color blue was selected mainly because it was a color farthest from the skin tone. But this meant that any costumes or props with a blue hue would simply blend in and disappear with the background. And if the lighting wasn't perfect, it would end in these blue halos that you see around the actors.

    So when Walt Disney acquired the live-action film rights to "Mary Poppins," they wanted to take the opportunity to push the technology even further. Especially for one particular sequence, where live-action footage merges with Disney's classic hand-drawn animations for over 16 minutes. But instead of hiring a special effects artist for the job, Disney instead asked for help from the engineer and inventor Petro Vlahos.

    So, what did Vlahos do to begin? Well he got rid of the blue screen. Fully aware of its limitations, he sought for another color to replace it. His answer? Yellow! Well, more specifically, the yellow hue from sodium gas. The same light you see in street lamps. Vlahos knew that sodium gas produces light at a very exact wavelength, 589 nanometers. In comparison the blue used in blue screen ranges from 435 to 500 nanometers. By shrinking the range of wavelengths, Vlahos knew he could greatly improve the accuracy when isolating a subject. This already solved many problems from its predecessor. For one, things didn't have to be lit as perfectly. And there were no limitations on the colors of props or costumes. For example, Dick Van Dyke could wear this blue bow tie and socks, and because sodium gas emits a very specific hue of yellow, he was also able to wear a blazer with yellow stripes. To achieve the effect, the actors would stand in front of a white screen lit by a yellow hue from sodium vapor lights, hence its name, the sodium vapor process. Unlike the blue screen, which required tampering with actual film strips to achieve the effect, Vlahos' method was completely within the camera. He did this by creating a unique prism that was designed to isolate the 589 nanometer hue from the rest of the colors. This simplified the process of creating a more accurate matte, the silhouette image that's vital to the process. The result was astounding. Even by today's standards, it's difficult to find a fault. Isolating a more specific range of wavelength allowed for a crisper image, practically eliminating the halo effect of the blue screens. You need to look no further than this veil that Julie Andrews is wearing to see how impressive this technology really was. Up until then, isolating a material as fine as a veil was deemed impossible until Vlahos' new invention. And it was this technological marvel that earned Vlahos the Oscar for Visual Effects. There was an issue, however. Despite multiple attempts to replicate it, Vlahos could only create just one working prism which meant there was only one sodium vapor camera, in the entire world. After showing its capabilities in "Mary Poppins," other studios and filmmakers fought to use it. And this single technique would go on to be used for almost 40 years, in notable films like Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and the original "Pete's Dragon."

    After the success of "Mary Poppins," Vlahos would go on to further develop and improve the chroma key process. The result was what eventually became the basis of the modern green screen. For this reason, Vlahos is often regarded as the man who made the modern blockbuster possible. Without Disney's gamble and Vlahos' ingenuity and innovation, we might have never seen "Mary Poppins" on the silver screen, not to mention films like "Star Wars" or "Jurassic Park." With "Mary Poppins," Vlahos not only gifted generations of people with one of the most beloved classics of our time, but a legacy that can make all of our wildest imaginations come true.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    11458764034_ee5dd19941_b

    • The housing market in San Francisco is so expensive that it's commonly referred to as being in a crisis.
    • Restaurant workers are fleeing the city's unmanageable costs, The Guardian reported, and it's changing the way the industry is serving customers.
    • Some restaurants are having customers order at a counter instead of being waited on at a table and are simplifying their menus to decrease the size of their waitstaff.
    • The problem isn't unique to the Bay Area: Restaurants in cities like New York City and Washington have encountered similar staffing issues.

    Michelin recently released its 2019 San Francisco Guide— and awarded the city more stars than it's ever had before, including eight restaurants with the coveted three-star status.

    But there's a grimmer reality behind these numbers: Many restaurants in the city can no longer attract or maintain enough talent to keep operations running as they have been.

    Largely, that's because the San Francisco housing market is so expensive that it's driving people out in droves. In fact, as Business Insider's Melia Robinson reported, the city is so expensive — the median home sale price is $1.6 million— that 60% of tech workers say they can't afford homes.

    The news bodes even worse for many workers in the service industry. Despite a citywide wage hike implemented on July 1, 2018, that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, rent continues to be unaffordable for many. And it means that restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, once common sources of employment for people in the Bay Area, are struggling to hire enough staff to keep operations running.

    As The Guardian reported, the effect this is having on the restaurant industry is twofold: Restaurants are either closing down, or they are changing how they serve their customers.

    Read more: I've lived in the Bay Area for 30 years, and I'm convinced that tech companies have ruined it

    In an effort to stay open despite staffing shortages, restaurants that previously may have had extensive menus and waiters tending to each table are taking measures to cut back on the size of the staff that both prepares and serves the food.

    Instead of traditional service, The Guardian's Erin McCormick wrote, some restaurants "are having the customers do the work by standing in line to place their orders and picking up their own drinks. Meanwhile, new 'fine casual' establishments are serving scaled-down menus that can be easily prepared by fewer cooks."

    Looking beyond the Bay Area

    While San Francisco is notorious for its rising prices, the problem extends beyond the Bay Area.

    High rent in New York City has had a similar effect on the restaurant industry, The Guardian reported. And Washington, as The New York Times reported in April, is also experiencing staff shortages — but the problem there is that the expanding restaurant scene is simply outpacing the area's ability to staff these establishments.

    "The demand for highly skilled help is especially acute in Washington, where a boom in restaurants run by creative chefs is outstripping the region's labor force," The Times wrote.

    Ultimately, the shortage of restaurant staff creates a problem in which repercussions are felt by both the staff and by the diners.

    For guests, it means at the very least an altered dining experience with less human interaction from the waitstaff. At worst, as the Michelin Guide wrote, it manifests as "lackluster service and food or fewer opportunities to dine."

    And for management looking to fill out staff at these establishments, it means that hiring is an increasingly pressing challenge. As Business Insider's Kate Taylor reported, "Analysts are also calling a lack of employees one of the biggest problems in the restaurant industry today."

    Are you an industry professional who's been affected by staffing shortages or has a story to share? Email the author at lbatarags@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: Silicon Valley is so expensive that people who make $400,000 think they're middle-class — here's what the middle class actually is in the 25 largest US cities

    READ MORE: A Michelin-starred chef says restaurants should stop serving avocados because they're 'the blood diamonds of Mexico'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Only in San Francisco — inside the 232-square-foot micro apartment that sold for nearly $425,000


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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.

    AmazonBasics Memory Foam Mattress

    • If you're looking for a bed on a budget, the AmazonBasics Memory Foam Mattress provides plush comfort and an impressive level of quality at an unbeatable price. It starts at $130 for the 8-inch Twin size.
    • The construction of the mattress allows for breathability, and neither I nor my partner had any issues with sleeping too hot.
    • The mattress is backed by a one-year limited warranty, and is available in Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes.

    With the wide range of products Amazon offers, it's not much of a surprise that the company decided to produce its own private line of products under the label AmazonBasics.

    In keeping up with the competition of the online mattress market, Amazon added an AmazonBasics mattress to their product lineup, which also includes bed frames and sheets. This memory foam mattress is a remarkably affordable offering in the sea of online mattresses currently available. The 10-inch king-size mattress comes in at just under $300. The price alone makes this a mattress worth considering.

    While the price is nearly unbeatable, I put the AmazonBasics Mattress to the test to see if the quality and the comfort make it a worthwhile purchase. I slept on the queen-sized 10-inch mattress, but depths of 8 inches and 12 inches are also available, and sizes range from twin to California king.

    As with so many of the products featured on Amazon, you won't be without options.

    First impressions

    I came home to find the AmazonBasics propped on my back porch. While the cardboard exterior was a little worse for wear, the rest of the mattress was perfectly encased and vacuum sealed in a compact roll, resulting in a narrow box that easily fit through the door and up the stairs. There is no white glove delivery service available here, but at this price point I wouldn't expect that type of service. I would highly recommend two people to carry the box just to be safe, but my boyfriend did manage to get this up the stairs on his own — so if you're feeling particularly strong and can't snag a friend, or have a stubborn significant other who insists they don't need help — one can get the job done.

    As with most out-of-the-box mattresses, set up was easy. The mattress unrolled from the outer plastic wrapping onto our frame, and I used a pair of scissors to carefully cut through the vacuum-sealed wrapping. It immediately started to expand. Up to 72 hours are recommended for the mattress to come to its full size. I would say it took about a full 24 hours for the mattress to fully take its shape.

    There was some odor from the off gassing, and while unpleasant at first, the smell dissipated within 48 hours and hasn't lingered since.

    Construction

    The AmazonBasics Mattress is made of CertiPUR-US memory foam, and comprises three different layers for support and comfort. The top layer is the softest, providing a nice cushion that conforms to the body. While this mattress isn't without support, those looking for the feeling of resting on top of the mattress won't find that here — this is a softer mattress with more give than some of the firmer options out there. While this mattress does conform to the body more, it's still breathable thanks to the holes in the second layer of foam, and the wave-like shape of the third layer.

    All these layers fit together to form a mattress that provides a decent amount of support coupled with plush comfort. The mattress cover that surrounds these layers is removable, but spot cleaning is recommended. I personally haven't tried washing the cover myself, and the tag advises against it. However, I didn't find this to be an issue with the use of a fitted sheet.

    Comfort

    Overall, I found this mattress to be both comfortable and durable.

    From a support standpoint, I personally would have preferred a firmer feel, but this makes sense for me as I tend to sleep mostly on my stomach. If you're looking for a firmer mattress, but don't want to sacrifice affordability, I would recommend giving the Allswell Hybrid Mattress a try. On the other hand, my boyfriend is a back sleeper and experienced no discomfort or back issues during testing. This would also be an ideal mattress for side sleepers, as the plush memory foam cushions the common pressure points of the shoulders and hips, and helps keep everything in alignment.

    As mentioned above, the construction of the mattress allows for breathability, and neither one of us had any issues with sleeping too hot.

    As a light sleeper, I also appreciated how this mattress performs with motion transference. When my partner rolled over at night, it had a minimal effect on my side of the bed. However, I did notice that because my boyfriend and I are on different spectrums weight wise, I did tend to slide more toward the middle of the mattress during the night. More edge support would likely have helped with this. Overall though, this wasn't a deal breaker, especially considering the deal you get at such an affordable price point.

    Final thoughts

    Whether you don't have the means to drop a large sum of money on a mattress, or you're looking for affordable options for spaces like a guest room, I would definitely recommend the AmazonBasics Mattress.

    Comfort and quality aren't sacrificed here.

    Sleep Sherpa says, "The biggest benefit of this mattress is the price. If you know you like the feel of memory foam, and want a mattress a little on the softer side, this would be a great choice." Amazon reviewers like Neil also praise the affordability. He says, "[I] haven't slept this well in a while, and given the cost it's well worth it."

    The AmazonBasics Mattress is backed by a one-year limited warranty, and is available in Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes.

    Buy the AmazonBasics Memory Foam Mattress starting at $130 for the 8-inch Twin size here.

    SEE ALSO: I tried a $240 Roomba alternative that automatically vacuums and mops floors — here's what using it was like

    DON'T MISS: I've slept on several different 'beds-in-a-box' — and this luxury hybrid mattress is by far the most comfortable

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    andrew left

    • Twitter is "toxic" for women, short-seller Andrew Left said Thursday. He called it "the Harvey Weinstein of social media."
    • Left cited a study from Amnesty International that claims Twitter fails to "effectively tackle violence and abuse on the platform," undermining women’s mobilization for equality and justice.
    • He says Twitter's stock will plunge more than 30% from current levels.
    • Watch Twitter trade live.

    Twitter will plunge more than 30% from its current price of about $30 a share because the social-media platform is
    "toxic" for advertisers and investors, the short-seller Andrew Left's Citron Research said Thursday.

    "Twitter has become the Harvey Weinstein of social media— new price target — $20," wrote Citron Research in a note out Thursday.  

    The New York Times was the first to report sexual-harassment allegations against Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul, in October 2017. The NYT report was followed up by a New Yorker story that detailed more allegations. In all, more than 60 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Because of his case, the actress Alyssa Milano encouraged victims of sexual harassment to tweet about it, triggering the #MeToo social-media movement that went viral globally.

    While Twitter played a huge role in the #MeToo movement, Citron, citing a study from Amnesty International, says the social-media platform has ironically become a place that is "toxic" for women, especially those of color.

    "Twitter's failure to effectively tackle violence and abuse on the platform has a chilling effect on freedom of expression online and undermines women’s mobilization for equality and justice – particularly groups of women who already face discrimination and marginalization," Amnesty International's study said. 

    "Overall, our findings paint a worrying picture that Twitter can be a toxic place for its female users. The company’s failure to meet its responsibilities regarding violence and abuse means that many women are no longer able to express themselves freely on the platform without fear of violence or abuse." 

    Because of this, Citron said Twitter was "uninvestable" and "'toxic' to investors and advertisers."

    Twitter did not immediately respond to request for comment.

    Although Left's firm is known for shorting stocks, it's not always betting against companies. It recently published bullish notes on the Canadian marijuana producer Aphria and the chipmaker Nvidia.

    Citron also likes the electric-vehicle industry. In November, it said it sees a more than 60% upside for Nio, widely seen as the Tesla of China. That announcement came weeks after the firm turned bullish on Tesla, saying the company is "destroying the competition.

    Twitter shares tanked more than 12% to an intraday low of $28.52 following Citron's note. The stock was up 22% this year.

    Twitter

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape


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    walmart black friday

    • Walmart.com analyzed the top-selling items across every state in the US and found some interesting patterns.
    • While some states focused on electronics, like California and the Nintendo Switch, other states like Montana, Minnesota, and South Dakota relied on Walmart.com for essentials like their Folgers morning java.

    Walmart.com is revealing the best sellers on its website throughout the year.

    The online retailing arm of the shopping giant analyzed the top-selling items across every state in the US and found some interesting patterns. To create the map, Walmart excluded some top-selling items that were popular across the country, like HDTVs and private-label Mainstays pillows.

    But digging in a bit more, there are some startling differences across the country.

    While Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia loved the whimsy of Crayola Crayons, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island were much more practical, with paper towels as their top-selling item.

    The top sellers were determined by data from sales on Walmart.com, but they don't include Walmart's online grocery service.

    walmart top selling products every state 2018 map

    Walmart's online sales had a good year in 2018, hitting a major milestone. The company leapfrogged Apple to become the third-biggest online retailer in America in 2018, according to eMarketer's latest forecast.

    Read more: Walmart has a new initiative that proves it still has a serious edge against Amazon in one key way

    According to eMarketer, by the end of this year Walmart will have 4% of all online retail sales in the United States, up from 3.3% last year. In terms of dollar value, those sales would total $20.91 billion. Ahead of Walmart is eBay, with 7.6% of US online sales, and Amazon, with a 48% share.

    Walmart also posted strong online growth numbers over the course of the year.

    SEE ALSO: Walmart is acquiring the world's largest online seller of art

    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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    Bananas in Grocery store

    • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that food companies will have until 2022 to label their GMO crops.
    • The decision follows a longtime battle between food companies and consumer groups, who argue that USDA regulations make it possible to mislead the public. 
    • Critics are also concerned that companies aren't required to label highly-refined ingredients that come from GMO crops such as cane sugar, corn syrup, and processed vegetable oil.

    The US Department of Agriculture has finally set a timeline for food companies to disclose their use of genetically engineered ingredients.

    After years of back-and-forth between manufacturers and consumer groups, the department announced that all US companies must label their GMO crops by 2022.

    But there's a catch: Companies will not be required to label highly-refined ingredients that come from GMO crops, as long as there's no evidence of genetically engineered material. That means things like cane sugar, corn syrup, and processed vegetable oil could escape the labeling process, or be labeled on a voluntary basis.  

    Read more:This Cornell scientist saved an $11-million industry — and ignited the GMO wars

    In a statement, the National Milk Producers Federation said they were "pleased" with the USDA's decision not to require labels for milk produced by animals that consume bioengineered feed.

    "NMPF told Congress that any regulation requiring the labeling of bioengineered products must be science-based," the group said. "This rule codifies our position."

    What's in a label?

    The USDA's announcement is music to the ears of many food companies and manufacturers, who lobbied for more time following a 2016 mandate for a nationwide GMO labeling system.

    The companies now have about three years to decide how to label their products. Under the 2016 law, companies have the option to use direct language or a digital code or symbol to reveal the presence of genetically-engineered ingredients. 

    woman grocery store apples

    Some consumer groups worry that a scanning system would make the information too inconspicuous to the public.

    Other groups, like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, are concerned that there's no rule to prevent items like water and orange juice from being labeled as non-GMO, when there are no GMO versions being sold on the market in the first place.

    What's so bad about a GMO product?

    For the most part, the scientific community considers GMOs to be safe for consumption.

    Three major scientific organizations — the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission— have all publicly stated that GMOs don't present a harm to human health.

    Even Bill Gates has referred to GMOs as a promising tool with the potential to reduce starvation and malnutrition. By fortifying crops with certain staple nutrients, countries could help ensure that citizens don't go hungry or fall prey to disease. 

    In the US, it's nearly impossible to avoid consuming GMOs. The Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that around 70% to 80% of the food we consume in America contains genetically engineered ingredients. 

    But environmental groups have expressed concern that GMO crops are more resistant to herbicides, which may or may not be carcinogenic

    A war over consumer rights 

    As the debate about food safety goes on, some consumer groups have adopted a simpler argument: Americans have a right to know what's in their food. 

    GMO crop

    In an online statement, the Environmental Working Group called the USDA's latest decision "unlawful" and "disappointing."

    "At a time when consumers are asking more and more questions about the use of genetic engineering, today's rule will further undermine the technology by sowing greater confusion among Americans," the organization wrote. 

    But some food companies said they could be trusted to disclose information on their own.

    In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, the general counsel for the Grocery Manufacturers Association called the USDA's announcement "a sound decision to empower industry to give [consumers] more information."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Harvard scientists think this interstellar object might be an alien spacecraft


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    Secretary of Defense James Mattis

    • Secretary of Defense James Mattis is stepping down, and his resignation letter released on Thursday offers some insight about what motivated his decision.
    • "Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," he continued.
    • Read the full letter below.

    December 20, 2018

    Dear Mr. President:

    I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

    I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong US. global influence.

    One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9/11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

    Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

    My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

    Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date of my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

    I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2,15 million Service Members and the 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department of all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

    I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

    SEE ALSO: 17 of the most legendary quotes from James Mattis, the four-star Marine general who just resigned as Trump's Defense Secretary

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago today — here's what his life is like in prison


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    ariana grande god is a woman

    In the past few years, music videos have experienced something of a renaissance.

    From Beyoncé's game-changing mini movie "Lemonade" to Kendrick Lamar's iconographic "Humble," musicians have recently re-embraced visual art as an important storytelling medium; in fact, Billboard called 2018 "the new golden age for music videos."

    Keep reading to see our 35 favorite music videos from this year, ranked in ascending order.

    35. "Colors" by Beck

    The striking visuals and choreography for "Colors" recall works by Keith Haring and Busby Berkeley. Beck's charming awkwardness is offset in this video by bubbly, expressive actress Alison Brie ("Glow").

    "Alison really rehearsed for probably 10 hours total, and just kind of came in and aced it, totally aced it," director Edgar Wright told Entertainment Weekly. "It was like a dream. I've always flirted with doing musical set-pieces and this one was a proper full-on dance number with 20 dancers."

    Watch "Colors" here.



    34. "Walk It Talk It (ft. Drake)" by Migos

    Drake and Migos' homage to "Soul Train"— complete with heart-shaped sunglasses, a Jamie Foxx cameo, and a comedic game show interlude — is simply delightful.

    Watch "Walk It Talk It" here.



    33. "Love It if We Made It" by The 1975

    "Love It if We Made It," a song that NME describes as "a state of the union address for a fractured planet," invokes a growing list of modern crises. Songwriter and lead singer Matty Healy directly quotes President Donald Trump ("I moved on her like a b----."), recalls the police murder of Eric Garner, and condemns the Syrian refugee crisis.

    It only makes sense that the song's visuals are equally honest and assaulting. Bright colors are juxtaposed with horrific imagery and briefly interrupted by an old-school, "Thriller"-like dance break to emphasize the hopeful chorus.

    Watch "Love It if We Made It" here.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mattis Ukraine

    • After nearly two years in the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced his resignation Thursday amid disagreements with President Donald Trump.
    • Mattis has become a US military legend throughout his 44 years of service, earning nicknames like "Mad Dog" and "Warrior Monk."
    • Known as a steady hand in a tumultous administration, Mattis preferred not to play politics, a quality that boosted admiration for the retired Marine general.

    Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has achieved a legendary status on par with the heroes of the US Military's past.

    Stories of his achievements and sayings are told in the same way that Patton, Pershing, Marshall, and MacArthur. He is widely viewed as above politics — a man dedicated to his job and his country.

    In his 44 years of service, Mattis rose through the ranks of the military to the very top. He has received numerous colorful nicknames — most notably "Mad Dog" and "Warrior Monk"— and made a number of memorable statements that will likely be quoted by service members for a long time to come.

    Mattis said he would resign Thursday amid disagreements with President Donald Trump's policies. He has spent nearly two years as Trump's defense secretary.

    Take a look at the life and career of the Warrior Monk.

    Ben Brimelow contributed to an earlier version of this story.

    SEE ALSO: Trump was asked about a Marine general's prediction that a 'big-ass fight' is coming and said 'maybe he knows something that I don't know'

    James Norman Mattis was born September 8, 1950, in Pullman, Washington.



    Mattis enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves when he was 18 years old in 1969. He was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from Central Washington University with a history degree in 1971.



    Mattis saw his first action as a lieutenant colonel in Operation Desert Shield in 1990.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    ARLINGTON, VA - NOVEMBER 09: U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis waits to welcome China State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe during a honor cordon ceremony at the Pentagon, on November 9, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. The two planned to discuss 'risk reduction' in an effort to limit the possibility of inadvertent clashes. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    • President Donald Trump announced the retirement of Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday.
    • Mattis' announced departure comes at a time when Republicans are increasingly furious with many of Trump's military-policy proposals, such as the withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
    • Mattis cited significant differences with the president as a reason for his resignation.

    Defense Secretary James Mattis will step down from his post in February, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday, bringing an end to yet another cabinet official's tenure since Trump took office two years ago.

    Mattis expressed considerable differences with Trump in his resignation letter to the president, writing that he is leaving "because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours."

    Read more: Republicans are furious over Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria

    The move sent shockwaves through Washington, coming at a time when Republicans have become increasingly frustrated with Trump's military policy decisions, which have ran counter to the advice of many of his top advisers and traditional GOP orthodoxy.

    "That’s what happens when you ignore sound military advice," Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, wrote on Twitter in his immediate reaction to Trump's announcement.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a statement he felt a "great sadness" upon learning of Mattis' resignation, saying he"is one of the great military leaders in American history" and should be proud of his service.

    "General Mattis is a combination of intellect and integrity," Graham added. "He has been in the fight against radical Islam for decades and provided sound and ethical military advice to President Trump. He is a role model for the concept of Duty, Honor, Country."

    Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a frequent critic of Trump, said in a statement that it is "a sad day."

    "General Mattis was giving advice POTUS needs to hear. Mattis rightly believes that Russia & China are adversaries, and that we are at war with jihadists across the globe who plot to kill Americans," he added, noting that an isolationist foreign policy would pose a grave threat to the United States.

    "Radical jihadists are still at war with us, and NO, MR PRESIDENT, ISIS is not gone," Sasse wrote on Twitter. "It's not true — and just proclaiming it doesn’t make it so."

    Democrats characterize Mattis' departure as a crisis

    Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said Mattis' resignation "more bad news for our national security" because he was "one of the most seasoned & capable advisors" Trump has had.

    "A Secretary of Defense quitting over a public disagreement with a President whose foreign policy he believes has gone off the rails is a national security crisis," Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said. "No way around it."

    Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said the resignation is "scary" because "Mattis has been an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration."

    "As we’ve seen with the President’s haphazard approach to Syria, our national defense is too important to be subjected to the President’s erratic whims," Warner added.

    The consternation over Mattis' resignation comes on the heels of Trump's decision to withdraw all US military personnel from Syria, a move that enraged conservatives and put much of his allies on edge.

    Republicans and Democrats both largely agreed that such a decision would embolden American adversaries like Russia and Iran, while giving new breathing room for the return of brutal terrorist groups like ISIS.

    SEE ALSO: Republicans are furious over Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'


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    winter sunrise

    • Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious depression that affects a small minority of the population.
    • But changing seasons and darker days affect most people's behavior, even down to our cell phone activity.
    • Psychologists say there are a few simple ways to help boost your mental health in the winter.


    The idea that our mood can darken in the dark winter days has been around for millennia. 

    The coldest months of the year were a terrible time for the Greek Gods: Persephone was banished to the underworld every winter, while Boreas ushered in the cool winter winds and his nasty temper. Later, Shakespeare wrote, "a sad tale’s best for winter."

    Well, bring on the sad tales, because the darkest day of the year is here. On December 21, people in New York will get just over 9 hours 15 minutes of sun, while in Anchorage, Alaska there’ll be fewer than 5.5 hours.

    Although there's medical debate around Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), most people feel a little down in the winter months — it's a time of year when depression rates spike (though suicides don’t).

    So here's what to know about the various types of winter blues, and how to counteract them.

    A correlation between lower latitudes and less seasonal sadness

    The idea that darker days could make a portion of the population susceptible to depression wasn’t picked up by modern clinicians until the 1980s, when South African psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal moved to the US and noticed a change in his mood during the New York winters.Snow In Central Park

    He wondered whether darker days explained why he felt more glum and low-energy.

    Rosenthal put the question to the masses in the Washington Post in 1981, saying he wanted to hear from anyone who felt sad in the wintertime and had "gone through enough cycles to know that this is going to happen again." 

    The results of his subsequent telephone surveys showed a clear correlation between lower latitudes and sunnier dispositions. Only about 1% of people living in Florida reported experiencing winter sadness, Rosenthal found, while nearly 10% of those in places like Alaska and New Hampshire said they were feeling down.

    Read More: These 4 short L-words can help reveal if you might be depressed

    Rosenthal also found that women between the ages of 20 and 40 were twice as likely to have seasonal blues compared to men. He hypothesized that may have to do with the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

    Rosenthal's new term for this seasonally-linked depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), was first included in the DSM — the go-to-guide for psychologists and mental health experts — in 1987.

    According to the DSM, people who have SAD are excessively fatigued, lose interest in their hobbies, tend to crave more starches and sweets, may gain seasonal weight, and have difficulty concentrating during darker months.

    If you suspect you have this type of depression, it's best to see a professional — don’t try to diagnose it on your own.

    But is SAD a real thing?

    Recently there's been some debate about whether SAD deserves its place among other disorders. Psychologist Steven LoBello published a study of nearly 35,000 Americans in 2016 that found no variation in their depression that could be explained by latitudes or seasonal changes.

    "The belief that winter is a cause of depression, sadness, 'the blues' is very widespread in western culture," LoBello told Business Insider. But just because we believe we have SAD, he said, doesn't mean we actually do.

    LoBello's study, however, didn't rule out the possibility that major depression with seasonal variation exists for a very small portion of the population.

    That’s an assessment other clinicians largely agree with. Kelly Rohan studies adult mood disorders and SAD therapies at the University of Vermont. She said estimates that suggest up to 10% of people in places like Alaska have SAD are likely due to overstated self-reports.

    The real number of people with SAD is probably between 1-2%, she said.

    "It's going to be a pretty pervasive mood state that is going to affect the person for four to five months of the year,” Rohan told Business Insider. “It’s not going to wax and wane depending on what’s going on at work.”

    What you can do about SAD

    There are at least three ways that people who’ve been diagnosed with SAD can combat the problem. 

    Light therapy boxes

    sad light box light therapy

    Artificially adding some bright light to the dark days via a light therapy box (some people call these "happy lamps" or phototherapy boxes) can help — when the tool is used regularly and as prescribed. The boxes are meant to mimic natural, outdoor light, and researchers believe they can cause some chemical shifts in a depressed brain. Most such devices emit more than 10,000 lux (for comparison, a typical house lamp emits around 50-80 lux, and office lights about 500 lux).

    Good light therapy boxes are designed to filter out damaging UV light; however, these are not FDA-regulated so it can be tricky to find a reliable one.  

    The bulbs, which are usually white florescent and may carry the full spectrum of light, can also come with other side effects like mild sunburns, eye strain, and migraines. On the more serious side, some research has suggested the lights can increase thoughts of suicide or trigger mania. 

    The Mayo Clinic says the lights should be used in the morning, and patients should spend around half an hour in front of their lights after waking up. But again, it's not a device that should be self-prescribed.  

    "Just because you can walk into Costco and buy one doesn’t mean that you should," Rohan said.

    Drugs

    Because SAD is a form of depression, antidepressants that increase serotonin in the brain and pharmaceuticals that treat major depressive disorders — particularly Bupropion, or Wellbutrin XL — have also been shown to work.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    CBT is a form of talk therapy that's meant to change a person's patterns of doing and thinking. Rohan said that with this approach,"we're working with a person to identify negative thought patterns and habits" and then break them. 

    For example: "If the person is having the repetitive thought of 'I hate winter,' we might change that to 'I prefer summer to winter,' which is more of a neutral thought," she said. 

    Unlike light therapy, which is palliative (meaning you have to keep doing it to reap the benefits), CBT can have a lasting effect, so the treatment is a more long-term solution, Rohan said. Startups in Silicon Valley are even working to bring this kind of talk therapy to the masses with inexpensive texting apps and chatbots.

    What to do about winter blues, even if you don't have SAD

    Some clinicians refer to the sub-syndromal type of winter blues as "S-SAD."Sunrise_Karkonosze_winter

    Regardless of the official designation, there’s little doubt that seasonal changes impact our routines. A November 2017 study looked at the cell phone use data from 1 million people who lived in densely packed, artificially lit European cities. The researchers found that people were up and on the phone well past 11 or 11:30 p.m. in the summer months, while in the winter, they stopped gabbing by 10:30.

    Here are some things that can help if the darkness makes you feel down.

    Go for a walk first thing in the morning, just after the sunrise.

    “Light therapy is based on the theory that the biological clock becomes sluggish in the wintertime due to later dawns,” Rohan said.

    With a morning walk, you’re getting aerobic exercise (always helpful for mental health) while the natural light helps jump-start your circadian clock.

    cold

    Don’t shift your routine to the couch.

    The fact that it's dark and cold at the end of a work day isn't a good reason to ditch your gym routine. Keep staying active, and if you enjoy winter sports, bundle up and get out there.

    Make an effort not to change your activity level too much.

    During the darker months, continue seeing people, making dates with friends, and keeping appointments. You could even take a cue from the Swedes, who deal with their 24-hour dark days by celebrating 'mys': an annual winter tradition of getting cozy, relaxing with friends, and eating delicious food. 

    SEE ALSO: Some people have a strong urge to snack in the winter — but you probably won’t gain as much weight as you think

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A psychologist reveals how to get rid of negative thoughts


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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
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    And more!
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    Trump admin 2x1

    • The Trump administration has seen an unprecedented level of turnover.
    • President Donald Trump's White House saw more firings, resignations, and reassignments of top staffers than any other young administration in modern history during its first year. 
    • This trend continued into 2018 and nearly a dozen people in top positions were fired, resigned, or shifted to another job. 

    President Donald Trump's White House saw more firings, resignations, and reassignments of top staffers than any other young administration in modern history during its first year.

    This trend continued into 2018, and Trump's White House once again looks decidedly different than it did 12 months ago. 

    Trump has claimed he only hires the "best people," but his track record suggests otherwise. 

    Read more: 21 scandals that rocked the Trump administration in 2018

    In the past 12 months alone, the Trump administration has seen a dozen top officials be dismissed, resign, or change positions: Hope Hicks resigned as White House communications director amid multiple controversies in February, Rex Tillerson was fired as secretary of state in March, Mike Pompeo shifted from being CIA director to becoming secretary of state in April, VA secretary David Shulkin was fired in March, H.R. McMaster was ousted as national security adviser in April, scandal-plagued EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in July, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley abruptly resigned in October, White House counsel Don McGahn left his position in a frustrated hurry this past October, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the request of the president in November, John Kelly's departure as White House chief of staff was announced in December (with no replacement named), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke stepped down in December amid multiple investigations, and Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in December as well over apparent disagreements with Trump on foreign policy. 

    Read more: John Kelly is out — here are all the casualties of the Trump administration so far

    The graphic below shows how much the Trump administration has changed between the end of 2017 and the end of 2019. 

     

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    Alexander Garfield Popdog

    • Popdog is a new company focused on building partnerships within the video gaming, live streaming and esports industries.
    • The company is led by CEO Alexander Garfield, the former owner of GoodGame, one of the most successful esports companies in the industry's brief history.
    • Popdog will consolidate top gaming influencer brand Loaded, the eSports division of Catalyst Sports & Media, and Twitch analytics platform NoScope.
    • Popdog is launching with a $9 million Series A funding round led by Makers Fund, with participation by Korea Investment Partners.

    Three premiere esports entities have combined to form Popdog, a new company focused to build custom technology that suit the complex needs of the esports and live streaming industries.

    The company is led by founder and CEO Alexander Garfield — best known for building two esports teams, Evil Geniuses and Alliance, into global powerhouses. Both teams were subsidiaries of Garfield's Good Game Agency, and helped him earn more prize money than any other individual owner in esports history. Garfield is making his return to esports after selling Good Game Agency to Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon, in 2014.

    In a letter on Popdog's website shared this week Garfield shared his reasoning for departing Twitch and founding Popdog. After working with Twitch for 18 months, Garfield says that he found himself unable to tackle the biggest issues that plagued the video game streaming space.

    ben lupo drlupo

    "So much about esports and live streaming has changed in the past four years, but so much still remains the same," Garfield said. "We're finally getting the attention we deserve, with record-breaking viewership numbers, countless societal figures participating and making investments, and more money flowing through the space than ever. And yet, despite this growth, our core problems persist. Industry businesses haven't found themselves yet, and still struggle to find focus in a world where the ground is shifting beneath their feet."

    Popdog is launching with a $9 million Series A funding round led by Makers Fund, with participation by Korea Investment Partners.

    Popdog

    “Makers Fund believes gaming influencers will usher a new era of growth and engagement in live, interactive entertainment,” Jay Chi, Founding Partner of Makers Fund, said in a statement. “Popdog is well positioned to pioneer new methods of engaging users and creating value for influencers and ecosystem stakeholders across the globe.”

    This is the first institutional round of funding for Popdog. The funds will be used to support a number of key areas for Popdog, including new hires in technology, services, and product development, helping the company continue to innovate and expand its team and technology offerings for the gaming and entertainment industries.


    Read more:See how much the top eSports teams, athletes, and their organizations make


    Who is PopDog?

    Ultimately, PopDog is a consultancy to help esports teams, companies, and influencers adopt new technology and make more money

    The company features three key components at the outset: Loaded – a sales, creative and merchandising services brand representing popular players like Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and Guy "Dr. DisRespect" Beahm, and NoScope – an enterprise Twitch discovery and analytics solution team, are both now part of the Popdog ecosystem. Additionally, the esports division of advisory firm Catalyst Sports & Media is now also a part of Popdog.

    The company co-founders and leadership team include several more esports industry experts and influencers.

    Among them: Andreas Thorstensson, Popdog’s CTO and CPO, is a former Counter-Strike world champion who cofounded SK Gaming and SoGamed, a massively successful esports organization and social platform. Niles Heron, Popdog’s CSO, is a serial entrepreneur and startup consultant who has taught and mentored at startup accelerators likeTechStars, Gener8tor and Detroit’s TechTown. Colin DeShong, Popdog’s CCO and Garfield’s long-time business partner, is the former COO of GoodGame, Evil Geniuses, and Alliance. 

    Ninja Tyler Blevins in Studio

    “We’re building our company around the core belief that esports and gaming video content, born more from technology than any other sports or entertainment verticals we’ve seen, need better technology in order to be properly understood, monetized, and optimized," Garfield said in a statement.

    "The industry needs a backend, and our mission is to be that backend by supporting the ecosystem as a whole with a comprehensive offering of technology and services."

    SEE ALSO: See how much the top eSports teams, athletes, and their organizations make

    Join the conversation about this story »

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