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The latest news from Business Insider

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    LeBron James

    Thanks to the NBA's skyrocketing TV contracts and smaller rosters, a basketball career can be quite lucrative compared to other major sports.

    This is especially true for the stars of today and the athletes who played a large chunk of their careers between the late 1990s and the 2011 lockout. Those years led to some large contracts for players we might not consider among the all-time greats.

    Here is a look at the 25 players who have made at least $165 million, according to data collected from Spotrac and Basketball-Reference:

    25. Elton Brand — $165.9 million

    Seasons: 17

    Highest single-season salary: $17.1 million

    Championships: 0

    All-Star Games: 2

    NBA First-team All-NBA: 0



    24. Russell Westbrook ― $166.9 million

    Seasons: 11

    Highest single-season salary: $35.7 million

    Championships: 0

    All-Star Games: 7

    NBA First-team All-NBA: 2



    23. Jermaine O'Neal ― $167.6 million

    Seasons: 18

    Highest single-season salary: $23.0 million

    Championships: 0

    All-Star Games: 6

    NBA First-team All-NBA: 0



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The healthcare industry is in a state of disruption. Digital solutions are becoming a necessary part of the new global standard of care for patients and regulation is being fast-tracked to catch up to digital health innovation.

    Digital Health

    These rapid changes will have ripple effects across the entire healthcare system, impacting incumbents and new entrants alike.

    Based on our ongoing analysis, understanding of industry trends, and conversations with industry executives, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together The Top Five Trends Shaping The Future of Digital Health.

    To get your copy of this free report, click here.

    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.

    46516393_10156883199154837_5392548735408406528_n

    • With the holidays approaching and online retailers' shipping windows rapidly closing, you might be starting to worry about all those last-minute gifts you still need to buy
    • Luckily, for those situations where it looks like the standard shipping estimate is cutting it a little too close, there's the "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" option. 
    • This handy service provided by some of your favorite department stores and retailers lets you browse and purchase your gifts online, then pick them up in the physical store as early as the same day.

    Other than decreasing your stress over whether your gifts will ship in time, the "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" option is also useful for:

    • When you don't want to deal with other shoppers or long checkout lines
    • When you'd like to keep your gifts discrete  
    • When you live close to a local store and it's more convenient to just pick it up 

    While the basic premise of "Buy Online, Pick Up in Store" is similar across stores, they do differ in some ways that could affect the way you approach your holiday shopping strategy.

    For each store below, we've broken down the different pick-up options, what to do after you place your order, what you need at the store, what to do if you'd like someone else to pick up the order, and how long your order will be held at the store. 

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

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    DON'T MISS: 34 cool stocking stuffers you can get on Amazon for under $20

    Target

    Pick-up options: Look for "Free order pickup" when adding an item to your cart on Target's website. You can also shop from a list of Order Pickup eligible items by browsing any category and selecting "Free order pickup" from the availability drop down.

    What to do after you place your order: Wait until you receive a pickup notification email before you go to the Guest Services counter at the store to pick up your item.

    What you need at the store: A photo ID.

    If you'd like someone else to pick up the order: You can add or change an alternate pickup person on the order details page by editing the "Delivery" section. This new person needs to bring their own photo ID. 

    How long your order will be held at the store: Two days. If your order isn’t picked up after this time period, your order will be canceled and you won't be charged. You can extend your pickup window by one day by signing into your online account or visiting your order details page.

    Shop online and pick up in store at Target

    Shop 33 awesome under-$50 gifts you can find at Target



    Nordstrom

    Pick-up options: When you're looking at a category or search results, go to "Shop your store" and enter your zip code to filter the results accordingly. Then select the store at checkout. 

    The order is usually available for pick up within two hours, though it can take longer during busier times like the holidays. 

    What to do after you place your order: Wait until you receive a pickup notification email (usually within four hours of order) before you go to the store to pick up your item, or, in some locations, have an employee bring your order directly to your car. 

    What you need at the store: A photo ID and the credit card used at checkout.

    If you'd like someone else to pick up the order: Contact the store directly to update the pick up information about the new person. 

    How long your order will be held at the store: 14 days. If your order isn’t picked up after this time period, your order will be canceled and you'll be refunded your payment.

    Shop online and pick up in store at Nordstrom

    Shop 50 awesome gifts you can find at Nordstrom



    Macy's

    Pick-up options: Click the "Free pick up" tab in the search results page, then choose the pick up option at checkout. If you order by 12 p.m. local time, the items should be ready for pick up later that day. 

    What to do after you place your order: Wait until you receive a pickup notification email before you go to the designated location at the store to pick up your item.

    What you need at the store: A photo ID and a copy of the notification email. 

    If you'd like someone else to pick up the order: Forward the notification email to them to take to the store along with their photo ID.

    How long your order will be held at the store: Seven days. If your order isn’t picked up after this time period, your order will be canceled and you'll be refunded your payment.

    Shop online and pick up in store at Macy's

     

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Reality Winner

    • Reality Winner's mother wrote an op-ed in the Intercept describing the "maddening" experience of watching her daughter" languish" in prison while major figures connected to the Trump-Russia investigation receive what she calls preferential treatment.
    • The now 27-year-old former NSA contractor was sentenced to five years and three months in prison back in August for leaking an intelligence report.
    • Billie Winner-Davis compared the justice system's handling of her daughter's case to the treatment of Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen.

    The mother of former NSA contractor Reality Winner is taking aim at some of the biggest names in the Trump-Russia investigation.

    Billie Winner-Davis, who's now-27-year-old daughter was sentenced to five years and three months in prison for "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet," published a scathing op-ed in the Intercept on Sunday.

    "I am writing now because I am outraged: While my daughter languishes in prison, those actually responsible for threatening our election continue to get off easy," Winner-Davis wrote.

    Winner was accused of leaking an intelligence report about Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election to the Intercept. Winner's sentence is, to date, the lengthiest ever given for such a federal crime. She was arrested June 3, 2017 and sentenced August 23, 2018.

    Read more: How federal authorities identified Reality Leigh Winner as suspect in NSA leak

    Winner-Davis singled out a number of figures implicated in the Trump-Russia investigation, writing that it was "maddening to watch my daughter in prison" while Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, and Michael Cohen received "drastically different" treatment from the justice system.

    She specifically blasted the fact that Manafort was permitted to remain outside of prison on bond before he was accused of witness tampering. She also singled Papadopoulos' 14-day prison sentence and highlighted indications that Flynn will not "receive a hefty sentence."

    "I would have thought that someone of his rank and position within our government, someone who lied about the lucrative work he had done for one foreign government and contacts with another, would be held to a much higher standard than a 25-year-old veteran airman," Reality-Davis wrote.

    Winner herself has spoken out from behind bars several times since her arrest. In August, she described watching the Russia investigation roll out from behind bars as "vindicating but also frustrating."

    But in her op-ed, Winner-Davis said that her daughter's sentencing is proof of that the justice system protects the powerful.

    "It sends the clear message that if you are poor and powerless in this system, you will be abused," Winner-Davis wrote. "I am outraged. I hope you are too."

    SEE ALSO: 'I felt really hopeless': NSA leak suspect Reality Winner explains why she smuggled a classified report

    DON'T MISS: Thousands of millennials straight out of high school work for the NSA with top secret information

    SEE ALSO: NSA contractor Reality Winner, who leaked classified US report on Russian hacking, thanks Trump for calling her actions 'small potatoes'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MITCH McCONNELL: Snowden 'did not perform a public service, he was a traitor'


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    • Voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana, are pegged to trigger a widespread transformation across the retail industry in the years to come.
    • The current interest in, and adoption of, voice assistants for commerce is being driven by recent technological breakthroughs, advantages of the tech over existing channels, and the development of voice apps.
    • As consumer demand for voice technology mounts, brands offering this functionality throughout the entire customer journey stand to gain in three key ways.

    Not too long ago, if your friend had a smart speaker like Amazon’s Alexa or Google's Assistant in their living room, it seemed like a rare novelty. Within a matter of months, however, smart speakers have started becominghousehold staples — and they’re still only at a fraction of their growth potential.

    US Consumers Use Voice Assistants Throughout the Entire Shopping Journey

    One of the biggest drivers of adoption has been increased functionality. Smart speakers aren’t just changing the music and turning on the lights; they’re helping consumers find new products and make purchases — and they’re quickly becoming a preferred method of shopping.

    In fact, nearly a quarter of consumers globally already prefer using a voice assistant over going to a company website or mobile app to shop. This share will jump to 40% by 2021, according to Capgemini.

    Consumers are on board with the prompt, convenient nature of shopping with smart speakers — and brands who join them stand to reap massive rewards. The Voice in Retail Report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, highlights the value voice brings to the shopping funnel and how retailers can implement it throughout the customer journey.

    Here are three ways brands can capture consumers with voice technology:

    • Driving product purchases: Voice assistants make spending faster and easier when consumers are unable to use their hands. The ability to make a purchase on any channel and the addition of personalized, intelligent elements to the shopping experience are simplifying the transition from product discovery to product purchase.
    • Heightening customer loyalty: Brands can leverage voice assistants in the post-purchase phase to track delivery status, automate part of the return process, interact with customer service, offer feedback, and collect consumer behavioral and transactional data.
    • Shifting consumers’ spending behaviors: Smart device ownership has a snowball effect, so as the smart device ecosystem reaches the mainstream, consumers will flock to connected cars, smart home devices and appliances, and connected virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) headsets.

    Want to Learn More?

    Shoppers are interested in using voice assistants for every stage of the customer journey, from initial product search and discovery to post-purchase customer service and delivery status. And retailers that take advantage of consumers’ desire to leverage voice will be in a stronger position to heighten customer engagement, increase conversion times, drive sales, and boost operational efficiency.

    The Voice in Retail Report from Business Insider Intelligence examines the trends driving the adoption of voice commerce, details the role of voice throughout the customer shopping journey, outlines how brands can benefit from implementing voice in their strategies, and explores what's ahead for the technology in retail.

     

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    chris christie

    • Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie compared President Donald Trump to a stubborn "72-year-old relative" who won't change his behavior.
    • "When people get older they become more and more convinced of the fact that what they’re doing is the right thing, and it becomes harder to convince them otherwise," he said.
    • He provided the comments as advice to Mick Mulvaney, the incoming White House chief of staff.

    Trump ally and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie compared the president to a stubborn elderly relative on ABC News Sunday, advising incoming chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to keep his expectations in check.

    "I want to ask everybody who's out in the audience today if they have a 72-year-old relative whose behavior they're attempting to change," he said. "When people get older they become more and more convinced of the fact that what they’re doing is the right thing, and it becomes harder to convince them otherwise."

    Trump is 72 years old and was the oldest person in history to be elected to a first term in office as president (Ronald Reagan was 73 when he began his second term). Christie made his comments as a way to illustrate the limits of the White House chief of staff role.

    "Manage the things you can manage. And if Mick does that, I think he'll be successful. If he doesn't, it'll be hard," Christie said.

    Read more:Donald Trump is the oldest president elected in US history

    Mulvaney is set to take over as acting Chief of Staff in 2019, after John Kelly leaves the position. He's currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget in Trump's cabinet, and served as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until earlier in December.

    Christie himself was one contender for the role but pulled himself out of the running on December 14.

    "It's an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House chief-of-staff," Christie said in a statement. "However, I've told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment. As a result, I have asked not to be considered for this post."

    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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    A collection of Bitcoin (virtual currency) tokens are displayed in this picture illustration taken December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Illustration

    Bitcoin is everywhere.

    The cryptocurrency is seemingly in the news every day as investors and businesses try to understand the future of this digital finance.

    But what is Bitcoin all about?

    Why is it suddenly on every financial news program?

    And what does it mean to you?

    Find out the answers to these questions and more in Bitcoin 101, a brand new FREE report from Business Insider Intelligence.

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

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    james jim mattis 2003

    President Donald Trump just forced out Defense Secretary James Mattis two months early, after Mattis criticized Trump for betraying allies.

    Over the past two years, the relationship between Trump and Mattis has deteriorated. Mattis was once one of Trump's most highly decorated cabinet members. But Mattis ultimately resigned after Trump decided to pull American troops out of Syria.

    Upon Mattis's nomination in 2016, the Defense Secretary was highly regarded as a masterful leader and scholar of war. According to a number of those who served with him, he's a well-read history buff with a strategic mind, a senior man who is not above talking to even the most junior personnel, and a sometimes gruff, opinionated leader who isn't afraid to tell it like it is.

    Business Insider spoke with a number of people who served with Mattis, and gathered up other anecdotes, to understand what the former four-star general is really like when he's in charge.

    Here's what we learned.

    Jacob Shamsian contributed to this report.

    SEE ALSO: 19 unforgettable quotes from legendary Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis

    Mattis has often been praised by senior leaders at the Pentagon as both a strategic thinker with an encyclopedic knowledge of history, and an incredible leader.



    That reputation was earned over a 44-year career in the Marine Corps, where he rose to the highest rank of four-star general, eventually retiring as the top leader of US Central Command in 2013.



    Before he took that job, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates praised him as one of the most formidable "warrior-scholars" of his generation. "General Mattis is one of our military’s foremost strategic thinkers and combat leaders," he said.

    Source: Stripes



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    AI Drive Revenue

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

    Major logistics providers have long relied on analytics and research teams to make sense of the data they generate from their operations.

    But with volumes of data growing, and the insights that can be gleaned becoming increasingly varied and granular, these companies are starting to turn to artificial intelligence (AI) computing techniques, like machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing, to streamline and automate various processes. These techniques teach computers to parse data in a contextual manner to provide requested information, supply analysis, or trigger an event based on their findings. They are also uniquely well suited to rapidly analyzing huge data sets, and have a wide array of applications in different aspects of supply chain and logistics operations.

    AI’s ability to streamline so many supply chain and logistics functions is already delivering a competitive advantage for early adopters by cutting shipping times and costs. A cross-industry study on AI adoption conducted in early 2017 by McKinsey found that early adopters with a proactive AI strategy in the transportation and logistics sector enjoyed profit margins greater than 5%. Meanwhile, respondents in the sector that had not adopted AI were in the red.

    However, these crucial benefits have yet to drive widespread adoption. Only 21% of the transportation and logistics firms in McKinsey’s survey had moved beyond the initial testing phase to deploy AI solutions at scale or in a core part of their business. The challenges to AI adoption in the field of supply chain and logistics are numerous and require major capital investments and organizational changes to overcome.

    In a new report, BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores the vast impact that AI techniques like machine learning will have on the supply chain and logistics space. We detail the myriad applications for these computational techniques in the industry, and the adoption of those different applications. We also share some examples of companies that have demonstrated success with AI in their supply chain and logistics operations. Lastly, we break down the many factors that are holding organizations back from implementing AI projects and gaining the full benefits of this disruptive technology.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • The current interest in and early adoption of AI systems is being driven by several key factors, including increased demands from shippers, recent technological breakthroughs, and significant investments in data visibility by the industry’s largest players.
    • AI can deliver enormous benefits to supply chain and logistics operations, including cost reductions through reduced redundancies and risk mitigation, improved forecasting, faster deliveries through more optimized routes, improved customer service, and more.
    • Legacy players face many substantial obstacles to deploying and reaping the benefits of AI systems, though, including data accessibility and workforce challenges.
    • AI adoption in the logistics industry is strongly skewed toward the biggest players, because overcoming these major challenges requires costly investments in updating IT systems and breaking down data silos, as well as hiring expensive teams of data scientists.
    • Although AI implementations are unlikely to result in large-scale workforce reductions in the near term, companies still need to develop strategies to address how workers' roles will change as AI systems automate specific functions.

     In full, the report:

    • Details the factors driving adoption of AI systems in the supply chain and logistics field.
    • Examines the benefits that AI can deliver in reducing costs and shipping times for supply chain and logistics operations.
    • Explains the many challenges companies face in implementing AI in their supply chain and logistics operations to reap the benefits of this transformational technology.

    Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

    1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now
    2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    woman reading subway train book read

    • This year I read lots of self-help books.
    • I learned how to be more productive, how to be a better romantic partner, and how to advance at work.
    • Below, I've listed the top takeaways from the books I read. For example: Approach dating like dieting, and remember that your coworkers aren't your family.

    My friends often make fun of me for forgetting everything I read. I like to think that's because I read a lot, and not because my mind is a sieve.

    This year I read tons of books in the category commonly known as "self-help" (here at Business Insider, we prefer the term "self-improvement"). And while it's true I don't remember everything I learned, there are tips and insights that will stick with me for a long time.

    Below, I've described the takeaways that really resonated with me and the delightful books they came from.

    SEE ALSO: I spent this year reading about relationships, productivity, and success — and 15 insights stuck with me more than any others

    Minimize the amount of choice in your diet to lose weight

    Economists don't often share weight-loss advice, but Rob Barnett and Christopher Payne do.

    "The Economists' Diet" is based on the authors' experiences losing significant amounts of weight (Payne lost 45 pounds in 18 months, while Barnett lost 75 pounds in the same amount of time) by applying fundamental economic principles.

    One of the most compelling principles is the use of meta rules, which eliminate the amount of choice you have in your daily diet. Examples of meta rules include: "Unless it's a special occasion, never have seconds" and "During the week, always have salad for lunch."

    The idea is that by eliminating choice entirely you effectively eliminate the opportunity to do something counterproductive, like eating more than you'd planned. Meta rules also make life less exhausting because you're not constantly having to choose whether to, say, have dessert or grab a vanilla latte.



    Your boss isn't responsible for (all) your work misery

    Stop blaming your boss. That's a key takeaway from Morten T. Hansen's "Great at Work."

    Hansen is a management professor at University of California at Berkeley. In the book, he describes the results of a five-year study he conducted on employee performance. One result is that employees who zero in on a few top priorities and focus all their efforts on those tasks perform best.

    Needless to say, most people in the study didn't do that. Why? Roughly one-quarter of all employees "blamed their inability to focus on their boss's lack of direction or a broader organizational complexity in their company."

    To some extent, they're probably right. But Hansen recommends saying "no" to at least some of the responsibilities your boss assigns you. For example, a junior management consultant in the study told a partner at his firm that he simply couldn't handle another project if the partner wanted excellent work. The partner agreed, and backed off.



    Set one priority every day

    The authors of "Make Time"— former Google employees, one of whom created the company's design sprint process — are proponents of prioritizing too.

    Their strategy starts with establishing a "highlight" every day, as in the most important thing you want to tackle in the next 24 hours. It could be a product update; it could be cooking dinner for your family. You're not only being realistic about how much you can get done, but also minimizing distractions from the really important stuff.

    Knapp and Zeratsky share some tips: "Consider what's most meaningful to you, not what is most urgent" and "Think about what needs the most effort or work." To be sure, this is easier said than done. But the main idea is not to start out with 10 highlights and wind up accomplishing nothing of substance.



    See the rest of the story at 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

    If we're living through a “retail apocalypse” that spells doom for brick-and-mortar retail, as many have suggested, why are e-commerce leaders like Amazon, Alibaba, and JD.com so focused on building their own brick-and-mortar networks?

    US Consumers Who Made an Impulse Buy Due to Personalization in the Past 90 Days

    It's because they want to revitalize physical stores by introducing features associated with online shopping like personalization — and a whopping 65% of consumers said personalization and promotions are most important to their shopping experiences, according to a report from Oracle cited by Chain Store Age.

    Brick-and-mortar retailers have the opportunity to reap the same benefits of personalization that e-tailers do, like repeat visits and impulse purchases, but they need to invest in the right technologies and techniques to do so because they currently don’t meet shoppers’ expectations. For example, 41% of consumers expect sales associates to know about their previous purchases, but just 19% have experienced this, according to a report from Segment.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence analyzes how physical retail’s personalization is being outperformed by e-commerce’s, and examines the value personalization holds for brick-and-mortar in particular. We also look at what techniques and technologies are available to help retailers identify and track consumers in-store, and how they can be used to bolster their personalization capabilities. Finally, we examine the different channels through which retailers can reach consumers with their personalized offerings in-store.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com, Intel, Mastercard, Target, Velocity Worldwide, RetailMeNot, b8ta, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sitecore, Oak Labs, Calabrio, and Alegion.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Consumers say that a personalized shopping experience can inspire loyalty and increases in spending.
    • But brick-and-mortar retailers aren't meeting consumers’ in-store personalization expectations.
    • The nature of online shopping gives e-commerce the upper hand when it comes to personalization.
    • Physical retailers can close the gap in personalization by identifying consumers when they enter, tracking them throughout their journey, and then using that information to inform individualized offerings.
    • To make the most of personalized offerings, retailers must consider how content is being presented to consumers in-store, and what the strengths of each channel are.
    • If physical retailers fail to improve their in-store personalization, they risk losing sales and market share to e-commerce companies, both online and in-store.

    In full, the report:

    • Identifies the values of personalization to physical retailers.
    • Details the reasons e-tailers currently offer better personalization than brick-and-mortar stores.
    • Outlines the technologies and processes that can bolster in-store personalization.
    • Discusses how retailers can best present personalized offerings in-store.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Dubai Burj Al Arab Most Luxurious Hotel (1 of 74)

    • One of the most decorated luxury hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, was recently named the "best hotel in the world" by the Ultratravel Awards. The Burj has frequently been called "the world's first seven-star hotel" and "the most luxurious hotel in the world" by travel writers and critics.
    • I recently stayed at the hotel on a trip to Dubai to see if the Burj Al Arab could possibly live up to the hype.
    • Adorned with more gold and marble than any reasonable person would choose, the Burj Al Arab impresses through the sheer force of its vision of luxury.
    • A guest's every whim is attended to, the architecture and design astounds with color, patterns, and vertigo, and extravagances like caviar and truffles find their way into numerous dishes at the hotel's restaurants. It's like living in the dream world of an Emirati royal or President Donald Trump.

    If you've ever wondered what it's like to vacation like a billionaire, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai is likely the closest we normies will ever get. 

    Shaped like the sail of an Arabian dhow ship and built for $1 billion, the hotel is full of extravagances like a Rolls-Royce chauffeur, a 14-piece set of Hermès toiletries, personal butlers — Burj says the staff-to-guest ratio is 6:1 — and 24-karat gold everything. 

    Since the hotel opened nearly 20 years ago, the Burj Al Arab has won accolade after accolade for its bonkers approach to luxury.

    In just the last year, it was named the Best Hotel in the World by The Telegraph's ULTRA Awards and given a Five-Star Award by Forbes Travel Guide. When it first opened, a journalist was supposedly so enamored with the Burj that she exclaimed that it must be a seven-star hotel, a rating that does not exist.

    Gold-plated luxury usually makes me roll my eyes, making me think something along the lines of, This is what the richest people in the world waste their money on? 

    I certainly had that reaction when I stayed at the Burj Al Arab on a recent trip to Dubai, but I also found myself overwhelmed by the sheer audacity of the hotel's luxurious vision. 

    While I can't condone spending the $1,500 a night minimum it costs to stay there, I can say that staying the night inside the dreamworld of an Emirati royal is a very interesting trip.

    Keep reading to see what it was like:

    SEE ALSO: I stayed at Robert De Niro's ridiculously swanky new hotel in Ibiza — and it makes you feel like a celebrity, if you can afford it

    SEE ALSO: I stayed at New York’s most iconic luxury hotel that charges up to $50,000 a night and was once owned by Donald Trump

    The Burj's vision of luxury starts with its location. The hotel was built on a tiny man-made island a few hundred meters off the Dubai coastline. That means any would-be visitors must enter via guard-monitored bridge.



    Most people arrive via complimentary chauffeured Rolls-Royce pick up. Your other option is to arrive in a private helicopter — to a private helipad, of course.



    Compared to the rest of the Burj, the lobby is nothing to write home about, with low ceilings and a pared-back design. But that's by design. The lobby is mostly used to corral tourists coming to marvel at the structure, not guests.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Bill Gates book

    • We've rounded up Bill Gates' many book recommendations in 2018.
    • Over the past year, Gates gave his stamp of approval to more than 20 titles, including two books on meditation.
    • In addition to science and data-driven stories, the list features popular books like Trevor Noah’s memoir, "Born a Crime," and John Green's "Turtles All the Way Down."

    Bill Gates isn't shy about recommending books. As an avid reader, he's given his stamp of approval to hundreds of titles, including some unlikely beach reads.

    This year alone, he's highlighted more than 20 books that captured his attention or expanded his worldview.

    Read more:Bill Gates reveals his 5 favorite books he read in the past year

    In typical Gates fashion, the list features nonfiction titles about artificial intelligence and global inequality. But it also features some surprises, like two books on meditation and Trevor Noah’s memoir, "Born a Crime."

    Whether you're searching for a gift or simply want to add to your collection, here are the books Gates thinks you should read. 

    "Bad Blood" by John Carreyrou

    Business Insider readers will no doubt be familiar with"Bad Blood." It's the story of Theranos, a blood-testing startup that deceived its investors, patients, and business partners into thinking its technology actually worked.

    When Elizabeth Holmes founded the company at just 19 years old, it attracted huge investments and catapulted her to worldwide fame. ThenThe Wall Street Journal broke the story that the company was faking test results, leading to the closure of its labs and testing centers. Holmes and her former business partner, Sunny Balwani, are now facing jail time on fraud charges.

    The book's author, John Carreyrou, spoke with Business Insider earlier this year about how Theranos was able to pull off the scam.

    "I think Elizabeth lost sight of the fact that her company wasn't a computer-software company," he said.

    Gates called the story "a cautionary tale about the virtues of celebrity" and a lesson for Silicon Valley.



    "Army of None" by Paul Scharre

    Paul Scharre's book,"Army of None, explores a timely and important question: Why should we put computers in charge?

    In an age when autonomous weapons can be programmed to wipe out human targets, "Army of None" makes the case for combining artificial intelligence with our own judgment, so that no algorithm can make the final call on a human life.

    Gates said the book filled a void in his canon.

    "My first attempt to educate myself on autonomous weapons was a bust," he wrote. "I read a book that was dry and felt really outdated. Then a few months ago I picked up 'Army of None' ... It's the book I had been waiting for."



    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    Fans of the Netflix documentary "Wild Wild Country" will enjoy Tara Westover's memoir,"Educated," the story of a woman raised in a Mormon survivalist home. As a child, Westover grew up under the influence of her conspiracy-theorist father, who believed that doomsday was upon them.

    Despite Westover never stepping foot in a classroom until age 17, she was able to study enough to gain admission to Brigham Young University. From there, she earned a Gates Scholarship (a fact Gates himself discovered upon reading her book), which brought her to the University of Cambridge.

    Her tale is one of trauma, separation, and, ultimately, self-discovery. It also touches on the polarization in America between red and blue states, rural and urban areas, and college-educated citizens and those without higher degrees.

    When Gates spoke with Westover about this subject, she had this to share: "I worry that education is becoming a stick that some people use to beat other people into submission or becoming something that people feel arrogant about," she said. "I think of [it] as this great mechanism of connecting and equalizing."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    willow smith will smith baby it's cold outside

    • Willow Smith analyzed the lyrics of the 1944 song "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and explained to Will Smith why she thinks the song is questionable.
    • For years, people have argued over how to interpret the song, with many saying that the lyrics imply date rape. 
    • Others countered that the lyrics have been misunderstood amid the Me Too movement, and had a different meaning when the song was popularized in the '40s. 

     

    Willow Smith broke down the lyrics to "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and explained to Will Smith why the classic holiday song is problematic. 

    In a video shared by the "Bright" star, Will was dressed in Christmas attire, and trying to convince his family to sing the '40s track. Willow told her father that she'd prefer not to perform that song, then analyzed the lyrics.

    Willow said that the line, "I really can't stay," is the "first red flag" of the tune. According to the 18-year-old, the man's insistence that the woman stays with him is "suspicious."

    I have loved “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” my whole life! Nobody in my house would Sing it with me. I made Cue Cards & Everything. 📹: @westbrook

    A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Dec 23, 2018 at 9:39am PST on

    Will argued back, saying that the female was "contradicting herself," because she said that the evening was "so very nice."But when Willow said that the lyrics, "My mother will start to worry" and "My father will be pacing the floor" added to the song's controversy, Will admitted that he was starting to understand her perspective. 

    Willow concluded by pointing out the lyric that she thinks is most indicative — when the woman says, "Say what's in this drink?"

    In response, Will was speechless for a moment, then jokingly said that the man was referring to cinnamon being the extra ingredient in the beverage.

    People who commented on the post thought that the video was hilarious. But others debated over the meaning of the lyrics.

    Some users agreed with the "Whip My Hair" singer and said that "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is a "creepy" song that implies slipping a drug in the woman's drink. Others argued that the lyrics have taken on a different meaning in the Me Too era. Additional fans said that like Will, they enjoyed the song for years, but recently became aware of different interpretations. 

    In recent years, people have said that the song, which was written in 1944 by Frank Loesser for him and his wife to perform, is questionable. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was popularized by the film "Neptune's Daughter," and the male and female lines in the song were labeled as "the Wolf" and "the Mouse."

    People against the song said that the man's persistence and reluctance to accept the woman's refusal are telling. One article that appears on Tumblr and has gained traction was written by a jazz fan and former teacher. The person defended the song and said that it's "about a woman finding a way to exercise sexual agency in a patriarchal society designed to stop her from doing so."

    Read more: Miley Cyrus performed a revised 'Santa Baby,' and her version of the holiday song is way more empowering for women

    Moreover, the person argued that the line where the female questions the contents of her drink is a nod to "a stock joke at the time."

    "The punchline was invariably that there's actually pretty much nothing in the drink, not even a significant amount of alcohol," the person wrote. 

    They went on to say that the woman is hesitant to stay with the man, despite having a fun time, because she's concerned about her reputation and what others in the neighborhood will think of her. 

    "She is excusing her uncharacteristically bold behavior (either to the guy or to herself) by blaming it on the drink — unaware that the drink is actually really weak, maybe not even alcoholic at all," the writer said. "That's the joke."

    They added: "It is not a joke about how she's drunk and about to be raped. It's a joke about how she's perfectly sober and about to have awesome consensual sex and use the drink for plausible deniability because she's living in a society where women aren't supposed to have sexual agency."

    Susan Loesser, the daughter of the composer, spoke out and said that "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is "not a date rape song."

    "It's not about abuse of power,"she told "Inside Edition.""It's about flirtation, and that's how flirtation was in those days."

    The debate over the song is ongoing, and radio stations across the US and Canada have recently banned the song over the backlash. 

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.   

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Zion Williamson

    • Zion Williamson's superhuman athleticism and high-flying, rim-shaking dunks have left NBA coaches, fans, and scouts salivating.
    • Just 12 games into the 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward's freshman year with the Duke Blue Devils, many fans and pundits are already focused on where he will take his talents next.
    • Williamson is widely expected to be the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
    • Williamson recently revealed the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets fans as the most aggressive on social media in courting him to their NBA franchise.

    Just 12 games into Zion Williamson's freshman year, many fans and pundits are already focused on where the young phenom and social media sensation will take his talents next.

    The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward joined Duke as the second-ranked recruit in the country and has since averaged 19.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. However, it's his superhuman athleticism and high-flying, rim-shaking dunks that have left NBA coaches, fans, and scouts salivating.

    Read more: Zion Williamson has been surprising himself with how high he can jump ever since his first dunk in a game

    After Williamson posted 17 points and 13 rebounds in Duke's 69-58 win against previously undefeated Texas Tech, the Spartanburg, South Carolina, native — who is widely expected to be the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft — revealed which fans are most aggressive on social media in courting him to their NBA franchise.

    "I'm gonna say the ones I see the most," Williamson said. "I'm gonna say the [Atlanta] Hawks, [Charlotte] Hornets, [Chicago] Bulls, [New York] Knicks, and [Brooklyn] Nets. Those are the ones I see the most."

    Many have suggested that teams should "stop tryin' for Zion," better known as tanking for a better pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. But Williamson was not necessarily flattered by the prospect of teams throwing away their current seasons to try to acquire him next year.

    "It's love, don't get me wrong," Williamson said of NBA fans' calls of tanking. "I care about their opinions, but at the same time I truly care about the scouts', the managers', and the coaches' opinions from those teams."

    Zion Williamson dunk

    At this point in the NBA season, the teams expected to sit at the top of the draft order include some of the teams Williamson mentioned, including the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and Atlanta Hawks, but he notably failed to mention two of the teams most likely to bring him into their ranks.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers lost their star in LeBron James and dropped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The Cavaliers — who are 8-26 on the season — arguably need the talent and spark Williamson provides more than any other team in the league. Likewise, the perennially terrible Phoenix Suns — who are also 8-26 on the season — have been desperate for a franchise-changing player like Williamson for years.

    "I don't really care where I go," Williamson said. "Just the experience of being in the NBA… whoever wants me and whoever sees the most in me, that's where I want to be."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    hot chocolate

    • Hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up and celebrate the holidays.
    • Flavorful add-ins can transform simple hot cocoa into something special.
    • Sweet add-ins include marshmallows, whipped cream, caramel, flavored spreads, and maple syrup.
    • To transform cocoa into a cocktail, add flavored liqueurs or traditional spirits.
    • Other unique ways to liven up hot chocolate include adding coffee, spices, and extracts.

    There's no denying that a steaming cup of hot chocolate is classic, especially during the holidays.

    Whether you choose to whip up homemade hot chocolate with fresh milk and chopped chocolate pieces or prefer to stick with instant packets, there are so many delicious additions that can help jazz up any cup of cocoa.

    Marshmallows and whipped cream are classic hot chocolate add-ins for a reason.

    When it comes to hot chocolate add-ins, nothing beats traditional marshmallows or whipped cream. The lightness and creaminess created by melting marshmallows or whipped cream into hot cocoa to balance the thickness and richness of the chocolate perfectly.

    Not to mention, everyone loves using hot chocolate as an excuse to eat marshmallows straight out of the bag or whipped cream right from the can.



    Alcohol of all kinds can be added to hot cocoa to create a festive cocktail.

    Whether at a holiday party or just home with friends and family, hot chocolate cocktails are a wonderful way to get into the spirit and add a unique flavor to traditional cocoa.

    For traditionalists, bourbon, rum, Irish cream, and brandy are excellent additions. For alcohol that adds an extra burst of flavor, pour in flavored liqueurs such as peppermint, coffee, hazelnut, orange, cherry, and more.

    Surprisingly, red wine is another great way to spike hot chocolate. The flavors of wine and chocolate really compliment one another and the wine adds a unique depth to the drink.   



    For hot chocolate that will offer an energy boost, add in some coffee or espresso.

    You can easily amp up a hot chocolate by adding in coffee or espresso. Adding in a packet of hot chocolate can be an easy way to make a homemade mocha



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Donald Trump Steven Mnuchin

    • US stock markets plunged 2%, even more notable after their most brutal week since 2008. European markets also slumped. Many markets are either closed today or will shut early.
    • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's call with the heads of six major US lenders Sunday was a bizarre attempt to stem brutal recent losses in markets. It backfired.
    • Fears that the US government shutdown could continue into January, and Trump's suggestion that he aims to fire Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, have hit market confidence. 

    Investors are balking at chaos in the White House on Christmas Eve after the most brutal week for US markets in a decade, wading through thin trading and early exchange closures before signing off for the holiday. 

    • They're stunned by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's strange call to bank CEOs. Mnuchin just shocked the market by invoking alarming, crisis-era language in describing it. Mnuchin is slated to convene with a crises team of government banking and finance officials on Monday after a bloody month for US markets. Last week, the Dow fell by nearly 7 percent, showing the worst weekly average since 2008.
    • They're worried about the Fed. White house advisors including Mnuchin reportedly convinced President Donald Trump that he lacks the authority to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. In what would have been an astonishing break for an independent Fed, Trump had asked aides whether he could fire him, presumably in retaliation for raising rates for the fourth time under his leadership.
    • They're weighing the end of one of the most astonishing bull markets in history. Propped up by loose monetary policy, stock markets have soared. From the 2009 low to the September 2018 highs, US stocks have gained more than 280%. Slowing global growth, a trade war, and hawkish Fed policy is helping usher in what looks to be a new era for stock markets.
    • They're not even at their desks. The US stock market will close on Monday at 1 pm EST. Markets in the UK, Holland, France, Ireland and Spain will also close early on Monday. The following markets are closed all day: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Czechia, Hungary, and Poland. And the government is continuing what many politicians have projected to be a potentially lengthy partial shutdown. 

    It's painting a gloomy picture. "Markets still under pressure from last week’s more hawkish Fed update, exacerbating fears about slowing growth and more expensive refinancing following years of stimulus,"  said Michael van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, in a note. 

    Here's the roundup:

    US markets are falling, with the S&P 500, the Dow and Nasdaq each falling close to 2%. The S&P 500 is now heading for a 11% slump for the year, its worst since the financial crisis. 

    In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite closed up 0.4% while Australian markets closed up 0.5%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.5% to its lowest in seven weeks.

    In Europe, stocks slipped amid weak trading with a number of exchanges closed on Christmas Eve with most closing early. The FTSE 100 fell 0.6% and the French CAC 40 tumbled 1.5%. 

    The dollar fell 0.3% and gold rose while Brent Crude oil and WTI are both down at least 0.8%

    The US 2-year and 10-year Treasuries yield curve flattened to 14 basis points Friday, indicating bond market concerns about slowing global growth and highlighting greater recessionary fears in credit markets. 

    SEE ALSO: Treasury secretary Mnuchin calls top US bankers amid turmoil in markets and White House

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    nintendo 64 christmas morning video freakout

    • It's a great year to buy a video game console, with killer deals and prices lower than ever.
    • Before giving your loved one a game console this holiday, there's one crucial thing you should do: Connect it to the internet and update it!
    • Here's why — and how — to update each of the big three video game consoles.

    It's Christmas Day and you're the nicest person: You splurged on an expensive video game console as a gift. 

    As you sip on a hot cup of coffee, your loved one rips open the box and their face lights up with joy. A new game console! Everyone's very excited.

    Unfortunately, that excitement quickly fades as the setup process begins:

    1. First, there's the joy of unpacking the box. Look at all this shiny new stuff!
    2. Then there's the process of hooking up the game console to your TV. Less fun maybe, but a necessary step on the way to new video games!
    3. And finally, the console is hooked up. Time to play some new video games! Right? Right?! Nuh uh.

    It's 2018, so it's actually time to update your system with the latest firmware.

    Xbox One firmware update

    And then video games, right?

    Nope! You'll need to install each game individually if you bought them on disc, and then they'll almost certainly require some form of downloaded update. 

    And then video games? Maybe? Please?

    Maybe, if you don't have to update the software that runs your gamepad. On Xbox One controllers from before June 2015, that process requires plugging in each controller individually and updating it. Seriously! If it's from after June 2015, it may still need an update — but you can do it wirelessly, at least.

    (NOTE: Follow Microsoft's instructions right here for how to update your gamepad.)

    Long gone are the days of plug-and-play game consoles.

    Nintendo Switch (software update)

    Even Nintendo's latest console, the Switch, requires an update when you first hook it up.

    The processes vary a bit from Xbox One to PlayStation 4 to Switch, but they're all essentially forcing you to do the same thing: Plug in your system and download software from the internet that enables the game console to do basically anything, from play games to watch Netflix.

    And that's why you, intrepid gift giver, should go above and beyond and set up that console with new firmware before gifting it. 

    This is blessedly simple across all three game consoles: simply plug the system in as if it were yours and follow setup instructions. The consoles are all designed to be straightforward and simple to setup.

    In case this is your first time, here are explicit instructions from each console maker directly:

    You may have to create a temporary login, but they're easily deletable; the person who gets the game console will thank you. Or maybe they won't! But at very least you'll feel pretty good when they can simply turn the system on and enjoy it for what it is — a game console — rather than what it isn't: an expensive paperweight that needs an hour or more to talk to the internet before it can do anything.

    And if you want to go all the way crazy, you can download firmware updates for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to a thumb drive so that whoever gets the console can update it themselves — and relatively quickly at that — while everyone else is waiting for system updates over the internet. And you know who else is going to be downloading system updates over the internet? Literally millions of people! Look at you, thinking ahead!

    Happy holidays!

    SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 10 best Super Mario games of all time

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    smiling laughing happy

    • Small changes to your daily routine can make you happy— or happier.
    • Those changes include journaling, practicing gratitude, and even ordering takeout dinner.
    • We collected a list of 10-minute tweaks you can make starting today, and explained why they're helpful.

    You don't need to conduct a major life overhaul to be happy in 2019.

    Small changes to your daily routine can go a long way. Think capturing the most beautiful photo of a flower garden on your way to work, or hugging a friend you haven't seen in a while.

    Below, Business Insider has listed seven tweaks to your daily routine — all of which take 10 minutes or less — that can make you happier, healthier, and more productive. Read on for ideas you can implement starting today.

    SEE ALSO: The age when people feel the most — and least — happy with life, in one chart

    Jot down your thoughts and feelings

    Author and investor Tim Ferris recommends jotting down your thoughts in a journal every morning.

    Ferris uses "The Artist's Way Morning Pages Journal" by Julia Cameron, and emphasizes that the process of writing matters more than the final product. What's more, journaling allows you to get fears and worries out of your head so you can stop fixating on them.

    Another journal option is the "Five Minute Journal," which comes with inspirational quotations and thought-provoking questions.

    You can switch things up and journal in the evening if that's more convenient.



    Chat with a fellow commuter

    A 2014 study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that people are much happier during their commutes when they engage another passenger in conversation.

    Still, most people surveyed said they expected their commute to be less positive and productive if they talked to a stranger.

    If you can get over the fear that you'd be bothering someone else, you might be doing them — and yourself — a favor.



    Take one beautiful photo on your way to work

    That's a tip from Mo Gawdat, who is an executive at Alphabet's moonshot lab, X, and the author of "Solve for Happy." Every day during his walk to the office, Gawdat searches for something beautiful and snaps its photo.

    The idea behind searching for one perfect photo is that it prevents Gawdat from thinking distressing thoughts, since he's fully engaged in searching for beauty. He calls it a form of meditation: Instead of focusing on his breath, or a spot on the wall in front of him, he's focusing on the world around him.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Yoga class

    • Mindbody, a software company that provides technology platforms for fitness and wellness studios, is being acquired by a private-equity firm and going private after three years as a public company, it announced Monday. 
    • Vista Equity Partners will acquire all of the company's stock for $1.9 billion.
    • Mindbody was recently valued by the public markets at $1.8 billion

    A software company that's likely responsible for all of your yoga and pilates bookings is being acquired for $1.9 billion.

    Mindbody, which provides technology for companies in the fitness and wellness industries, announced on Monday that it is going private after three years as a public company. Vista Equity Partners, a private-equity firm that specializes in software and tech companies, is acquiring all of Mindbody's stock for $1.9 billion. 

    "MindBody's purpose is to help people lead healthier, happier lives by connecting the world to fitness, beauty and wellness," Rick Stollmeyer, cofounder and CEO of the company, said in a press statement on Monday.

    He continued: "We are thrilled to provide immediate liquidity to our shareholders at a significant premium to market prices and to leverage Vista's resources and deep expertise to accelerate our growth while achieving that purpose more effectively than ever before."

    Read more:A former Navy officer built this $1.8 billion company to help book hair and yoga appointments — and Wall Street thinks it’s about to get big.

    Mindbody shareholders will receive $36.50 in cash per share, which works out as a 68% premium on its closing price recorded on December 21, according to the press release.

    Mindbody was launched in 2001 by Stollmeyer and his former high school best friend Blake Beltram. The company was recently valued by the public markets at $1.8 billion. 

    The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

    SEE ALSO: ClassPass is tweaking its subscription system and some subscribers aren't happy

    Join the conversation about this story »

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