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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Star Citizen

    • "Star Citizen," a video game created by Cloud Imperium Gaming, is the most successful crowdfunding project ever, having raised more than $200 million from excited fans.
    • Director Chris Roberts originally launched the Kickstarter campaign for Star Citizen in October 2012, with a $500,000 funding goal and a 2014 release date.
    • Star Citizen now boasts $212 million in crowdfunding with more than 2.2 million backers, and the game's single-player campaign, "Squadron 42," is scheduled for release in 2020.
    • Investors also put another $46 million into the game recently, putting its total cash raised over the $250 million mark.

    Millions of people have invested in the future of "Star Citizen," the wildly ambitious, crowdfunded video game project being developed by Cloud Imperium Games.

    Six years after launching its initial Kickstarter campaign, "Star Citizen" is now the most-supported crowdfunding project ever.

    In late November, Cloud Imperium announced that crowdfunding had exceeded $200 million for the immersive space exploration game. With another recent private investment bringing $46 million to the table last week, Cloud Imperium believes the game's single-player campaign "Squadron 42" will finally be ready to launch in 2020 for its community of more than 2 million backers.

    That money, combined with the crowdfunding proceeds, means that fans and investors combined have put some $256 million into the promise of "Star Citizen."

    Star Citizen

    In October 2012, the then-new Cloud Imperium Games launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $500,000 for "Star Citizen," a new space simulator and the follow-up to founder Chris Roberts' previous games, "Wing Commander" and "Freelancer." Like most crowdfunding campaigns, "Star Citizen" had a number of stretch goals in place, should the project exceed the $500,000 mark. However, the overwhelming number of backers led the development team to reconsider the scope of the project entirely.

    Cloud Imperium Games reports that the project now has more than 2,200,000 backers, and they've helped push the budget to $212,623,319, as of December 26, 2018. With a budget exceeding $200 million, "Star Citizen" is already on track to be one of the most expensive video games ever made, rivaling all-time best-sellers like "Grand Theft Auto V" and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

    Read more:See Why People Have Pledged More Than $200 Million For This Epic Space Game

    "Star Citizen" strives to be a complete sandbox set in space, allowing players to define the game for themselves. Gameplay will include flight simulation, first-person shooting, exploration, and roleplaying elements like quests and player progression.

    The game promises an interactive world with a scale that is unmatched by any video game released thus far, taking players between planets and space station hubs. As more funding has come in, the development team has been consistently adding new layers of depth to the game. Backers can participate in the game's alpha test, which regularly incorporates newly developed content and offers a preview of the full game.

    Cloud Imperium recently announced that South African billionaire Clive Calder and his son, "Blindspotting" director Keith Calder, had invested $46 million in exchange for a 10 percent share of the company. With the investment, Cloud Imperium itself is valued at $496 million, just under half a billion dollars.

    "We were impressed by the vision and passion that Chris and the formidable global team he has assembled have put into building Star Citizen, and we think that the direct and transparent relationship they have built with their players is a strong foundation for a next-generation gaming company," the Calders said in a statement at the time. 

    With "Star Citizen" in the works since 2011, Cloud Imperium has displayed an impressive amount of transparency regarding the funding and the game's development process. While the lengthy development time has become a running joke among some gamers, daily communication from the team behind the game has helped maintain trust with the game's community. 

    Mark Hamill Squadron 42 Star Citizen

    With this most recent investment, Cloud Imperium Games has announced that the single-player "Star Citizen" campaign, named "Squadron 42," is set to launch in 2020. "Squadron 42" has a star-studded cast that includes Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, and Andy Serkis, among others. In a post on Cloud Inperium's site, Roberts said the plan was to finish the campaign content in 2019, then use the first six months of 2020 as an alpha test to finish polishing the final project. After the alpha phase, "Squadron 42" would enter beta prior to official release.

    Cloud Imperium's road map for "Star Citizen" includes specific improvements scheduled through the second quarter of 2019. The full "Star Citizen" game is currently in alpha testing but has still has no scheduled release date.

    SEE ALSO: See Why People Have Pledged More Than $60 Million For This Epic Space Game

    SEE ALSO: Star Citizen teases a new alpha because finishing games is for suckers

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: China made an artificial star that's 6 times as hot as the sun, and it could be the future of energy

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    GettyImages 908570100

    • A bombshell report in Tablet depicts pervasive anti-Semitism among the Women's March leadership.
    • The national Women's March vehemently denies the allegations, but one of its PR partners made bizarre demands of journalists who shared the Tablet article on Twitter. 
    • Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez have challenged their former colleagues-turned-detractors to a public conversation, and accused them of lying. 
    • A growing number of local and state chapters have disassociated from the national organization.

    There's a problem in the leadership of the Women's March, and its leading to the splintering of the movement nationally. 

    A thoroughly-reported piece in Tablet last week depicted the Women's March as an organization whose very first official meeting included anti-Semitic tropes spoken by those still in the organization's leadership. Some of these had been widely propagated by Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, such as “Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade.”

    Several witnesses— including women of color— corroborated allegations that later meetings among the Women’s March leadership also included anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish women in the room. This included an accusation leveled at one Jewish organizer, Vanessa Wruble, that "your people hold all the wealth."

    The story, by Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel, details how Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, and Bob Bland solidified their roles as the collective public face of a movement that was actually far more decentralized than the public was led to believe at the time of the historic January 2017 marches across the country. At the historic march protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump, anywhere from 3.6 to 4.6 million people marched in cities across the US.

    But as the Women's March brand grew in stature and the organization brought in millions of dollars in donations, as well as a fortune from branded merchandise, the murky financial management of the organization has come under scrutiny. Also criticized is the relationship between the leadership — Mallory and Sarsour, in particular — with the Nation of Islam (NOI) and Farrakhan, whose long history of anti-Semitic and racist statements is well-documented. 

    Accusations of anti-Semitism among the leadership

    Mercy Morganfield, former president of the DC Women's March and daughter of blues legend Muddy Waters, has been vocal in her criticism of the Women's March leadership, noting that an organization that prides itself on intersectional activism left anti-Semitism out of its stated "unity principles" and has no Jewish women on its board.

    Morganfield also asserted that Bland had told her outright that the NOI provides security for the leadership. Bland denies saying any such thing to Morganfield. A May 2015 photograph posted to Linda Sarsour's Facebook page (which was well before the Women's March existed) features the caption "FOI [Fruit of Islam] Brothers, security of the movement." 

    Bland and Mallory also denied to Tablet that the Women's March contracts directly with the Fruit of Islam (NOI's security detail), but conceded "the likelihood" that the Women's March had used a private security firm that "employs some guards who are practicing members of the NOI." They added that they "denounce anti-Semitism, and there should be no confusion about that."

    But two other Women's March co-founders who have since left the organization — Evvie Harmon and Teresa Shook — also directly accused Mallory and Sarsour of making anti-Semitic statements during Women's March meetings. 

    Given the prominence of the Women's March in US politics — Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York called the organization's leadership "the suffragists of our time" in a blurb for Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2017 — the muted response to the Tablet article is puzzling. But what's even stranger has been the Women's March's response.

    Last week, scores of journalists (myself included) who had tweeted the Tablet story received an email from a representative at Megaphone Strategies which stated that Tablet was "in the process of making several corrections to the story." Megaphone offered to share a list of fact-checks, but only if some bizarre parameters were met, including a promise to keep the fact-checks off the record unless Megaphone gave permission. But the email took an even stranger turn with the request, "You will let us know if you intend to delete your tweet pushing an article that includes sources/allegations, which were not vetted properly and in line with journalistic ethics?"

    The email was met with swift mockery and condemnation from many of the journalists on its receiving end.

    For its part, Tablet ended up publishing a total of four minor corrections to the over 10,000 word article, some of which actually strengthened the case of the article.

    Megaphone Strategies declined a request for comment from INSIDER, but the Women's March responded to emailed questions with a statement which read in part, "The Women’s March organization disagrees with these allegations. The organization and its leaders have dedicated themselves to liberating women from all forms of oppression, including anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism, white supremacy, xenophobia and Islamophobia."

    The Women's March also directed INSIDER to a March 2018 statement made after Mallory was widely criticized for attending a Nation of Islam rally in February where Farrakhan declared “the powerful Jews are my enemy” and “the Jews have control over agencies of those agencies of government," while also blaming Jews for “degenerate behavior in Hollywood turning men into women and women into men.”

    In that statement, the Women's March declared, "Minister Farrakhan’s statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles, which were created by women of color leaders and are grounded in Kingian Nonviolence ... Our external silence has been because we are holding these conversations and are trying to intentionally break the cycles that pit our communities against each other."

    In an updated statement to The New York Times earlier this week, Mallory said that since the group's first meeting, "we’ve all learned a lot about how while white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy, ALL Jews are targeted by it."

    Read more: How the photographers behind the Women's March are capturing and archiving history

    'These three women have lied on us'

    In a video posted to Tamika Mallory's Facebook page, Mallory — flanked by Sarsour and Perez — said that instead of wasting time by responding to reporters' queries, they want to have a "public conversation" with Wruble, Harmon, and Morganfield.

    "These three women have lied on us," Mallory said. "We want to have these conversations in public, not behind closed doors, but in public. So we challenge the three of --"— at which point the video abruptly cuts off. 

    Sarsour wrote a long post to her Facebook page which read in part, "The headlines, the character assassination, the undermining of leadership, discreditation campaigns are nothing new but in fact a bedrock of American society when the status quo is challenged." Sarsour added, "A million newspapers can write and for those of us who are Black and Brown and from communities under attack - we cannot let hurtful and unvetted words by those who have the luxury of speaking but not fighting to take us off our tracks." 

    In another video on Sarsour's Facebook page, the four Women's March leaders talked for nearly 30 minutes, at certain points arguing that activists of color are held to an unfair standard. At one point, Mallory alluded to the "dirty laundry" she could share regarding her former Women's March colleagues, but demurred, saying, "that's for another day."

    Morganfield addressed the challenge made to her by Mallory, Sarsour, and Perez in a message to Refinery29, characterizing the video as an intimidation tactic and adding, "The way you you respond to criticism shows more than the criticism itself."

    women's march on washington

    What's next for the Women's March?

    As noted in the Tablet article, a number of local and state Women's March chapters have disassociated from the national Women's March organization. Last week, Angie Beem, Washington State Women's March Board Director, released a statement which read in part, "I and my team can't sit idly by and ignore the antisemitism the four National Team co-chairs have supported and continue to support."

    But Planned Parenthood has notably chosen to stand by the national Women's March organization, releasing a statement to Refinery29 reading in part, "We will continue to work with the Women’s March to hold ourselves and each other accountable to the Unity Principles that are the basis of our partnership."

    The Women's March is moving ahead with its third march on Washington, DC, on January 19, 2019, with at least 130 marches also scheduled on that date across the US. 

    Chicago's previously scheduled Women's March, one of the nation's largest, was cancelled Wednesday. Its organizers blamed exceedingly high costs to stage a rally for hundreds of thousands in Grant Park, as well as too few available volunteers. The Chicago Tribune reports one member called the decision "disappointing" on the group's Facebook page but added, “Women continue fighting to be heard in this patronizing patriarchal society. We are not done.”

    SEE ALSO: 8 of the most influential millennial women in US politics

    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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    President Trump Melania visit troops Christmas Iraq selfie

    • President Trump visited a combat zone for the first time on Wednesday.
    • On the same day, a New York Times report raised questions about the bone-spur diagnosis that helped Trump avoid military service during the Vietnam War.
    • Bone spurs can be painful, but are often treated with pain-relievers like Advil or Tylenol. 

    President Trump just got his first glimpse of life in a combat zone.

    "President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted on Wednesday.

    This marks Trump's first-ever visit to a war zone. As President, he had not previously visited a combat zone for Christmas— a traditional presidential activity during the holidays.

    "He’s afraid of those situations," a former senior White House official recently told the Washington Post. "He’s afraid people want to kill him."

    The visit occurred on the same day that a New York Times report raised new questions about the bone-spur diagnosis that helped Trump avoid fighting in the Vietnam War.

    Trump, who graduated from the New York Military Academy boarding school, received four Vietnam War draft deferments for education during college. Then after he finished school, he received a medical exemption for bone spurs, which kept him from being eligible for the draft.

    "I had a minor medical deferment for feet, for a bone spur of the foot, which was minor," Trump told ABC News in 2015 during his presidential campaign. "I was fortunate, in a sense, because I was not a believer in the Vietnam War."

    According to the Times, the daughter of a man who may have served as Trump's foot doctor thinks the diagnosis was issued as a favor to Trump's father. Fred Trump owned the Queens building where the doctor's office was located.

    "I know it was a favor," Elysa Braunstein, the daughter of deceased podiatrist Larry Braunstein, told the Times. She said she wasn't sure whether Trump had bone spurs at all.

    "If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got," Braunstein said. 

    Read More: Donald Trump avoided the military draft five times, but it wasn't uncommon for young men from influential families to do so during the Vietnam War

    Bone spurs form in joints, often in places where two bones meet, as a result of joint damage. Heel spurs, similarly, are "little calcifications that start to form at the bottom of the heel bone," podiatric surgeon Jacqueline Sutera previously explained to Business Insider.

    The bony projections are similar to plantar fasciitis and can be especially painful first thing in the morning, when a person's feet hit the ground. 

    "When you're resting, the soft tissue just relaxes and there's a swelling there," Sutera said. "Then you go to stand up on it with all of your body weight, and it starts that inflammation all over again."

    In general, though, bone spurs are not a debilitating condition.

    "Most bone spurs cause no symptoms and can go undetected for years," the Mayo Clinic advises. "They might not require treatment."

    Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are both common pain-relievers to help with the swelling from bone spurs. Some people experience no pain from spurs at all, and may never even know they have them. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that one in 10 people have foot spurs, but only about 5% of those people ever experience foot pain.

    Those that do have painful spurs may opt to treat them with stretches, cortisone treatments, physical therapy, orthotics, or surgery. 

    SEE ALSO: President Trump said his uncle was a 'great professor at MIT for many years' — here’s what to know about John Trump

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

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    home sold

    • Buying a home is a rite of passage, a huge responsibility, and potentially a great investment, but it's also all too easy to make mistakes in the process.
    • Many millennials are reaching a point in their lives when they are finally ready to become first-time homebuyers, which means they soon could be making a number of home buying mistakes.
    • Here are five common mistakes millennial homebuyers make; the good news is that all of them are avoidable.


    When my wife and I bought our first home, we had a few points on which we were set and a few on which we were flexible. We loved the neighborhood of Glendale, California, in which we had rented an apartment for the five years and were only willing to look within a one or two mile radius, for example.

    But on the other hand, we were open to various types of architecture, yard size, and even square footage. We ended up lucking out, finding a gorgeous Spanish-style house built in 1928 with a big yard, good bones, but just enough need for renovation to have kept the price well in range for us.

    So we were all set then, right? We got our loan approved, formalized our offer, and signed the paperwork. OK, there were a few more steps, but everything went smoothly, so I won't bore you with the details.

    Then, on literally our first night in the house, the rotted pipes gave out, flooding water into the crawlspace and rendering it impossible to bathe, flush, run the sinks, or use any water at all, in fact. Our cut-rate inspector had missed major issues in the plumbing, but it was too late, and the responsibility was all ours. Within a few years, we'd also need to fully replace the roof. And put on an addition as we outgrew the home once our first kid was born. And so on.

    Frankly, we were pretty savvy homebuyers for a couple in their late 20s, but we still made plenty of mistakes. And so do many people, according to the nearly 1,000 first-time homebuyers who responded to a survey put together by the online home improvement company Porch.

    Drawing from Porch's survey and a few other sources, here are five common mistakes that many first-time homebuyers make:

    SEE ALSO: 5 signs you're probably not part of the middle class

    1. Not saving enough money before the purchase

    The number one issue most millennials reported to Porch after buying a first home was not having enough money on hand after the purchase. Being able to afford the down payment and being planned for the monthly mortgage bill is one thing; repairing the damage caused by a burst pipe or replacing rotting floorboards found under an old carpet is another.

    Until you are sure you have enough cash to cover what experts call the real cost of home buying, keep saving! 48% of a focus group surveyed said they did not plan for the costs of additional home maintenance needed in the first year of ownership, while 46% said ended up going over budget even for planned improvements.

    2. Not factoring in taxes

    A home's price tag and closing costs are one thing, but along with that monthly mortgage payment there will also be taxes due. Any homebuyer paying any attention to the process (and imbued with common sense) knows that, but what even savvy first time homebuyers often fail to realize is how often and how dramatically taxes can go up. This happens in two primary ways.

    First, the town, city, or county can simply raise property taxes in a given area. Second, a home's market price can be reassessed at a greater value, often through additions and upgrades made by the new owner. The tax burden may well rise with the added value of the improved home.

    3. Choosing the wrong neighborhood

    Fully 84% of respondents to a recent Trulia/Harris Interactive survey reported that finding the right neighborhood was as important or even more important than finding the exact right house. But what constitutes the right neighborhood for a millennial homebuyer one year might be quite different in the years to come.

    The home near bars and dining and shopping might be great for now, but with kids that mixed zoning neighborhood might be a terrible fit. Likewise a quaint, quiet neighborhood might seem the perfect place to settle, but might add an hour to the daily commute. Or you might find that it's too quiet.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    border wall map full border

    • The US government is currently shut down because President Donald Trump is demanding billions of dollars to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and Congress won't fund it.
    • Of the 1,933 miles along the border, 1,279 miles is unfenced.
    • Most of the barrier that currently exists, and that the Trump administration has built, isn't the high concrete wall Trump talked about on the campaign trail, and instead resembles a fence.

    From western California to eastern Texas, across four US states and 24 counties, the 1,933-mile US-Mexico border criss-crosses arid desert, rugged mountains, and winding rivers.

    For 654 of those miles, fencing separates the two countries from each other.

    The 7.3 million people who live in the border counties on each side of the line have watched for years as security grew tighter and illegal crossings tapered off.

    In just the last 12 years, the US government built the barriers, deployed troops, and started using advanced surveillance technology — all in an effort to tame and control some of the wildest and remotest land in the United States.

    Today, in an effort to make good on campaign promises to "build that wall," President Donald Trump has refused to back down on his demand that Congress allocate $5 billion for the project, plunging the government into a days-long shutdown after Senate Democrats refused to back a spending bill with the wall funding.

    Democrats, who take back the House of Representatives in January, have long opposed Trump's wall and placed the blame for the shutdown on Trump.

    The shutdown comes amid controversy over US immigration and border policies, after two young migrant children died in Border Patrol custody this month.

    The deaths also come on the heels of outrage over the Trump administration's family separation policy over the summer, which split thousands of children from their parents.

    With public outrage has growing toward the government's immigration policies, it's worth taking a look at the complexity of the borderlands to understand the daunting task of securing them.

    From the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east, here's what the entire US-Mexico border looks like.

    SEE ALSO: The 8-year-old migrant boy who died on Christmas Eve was held in US custody for nearly a week — against Border Patrol's own rules

    DON'T MISS: The Trump administration just released new photos of 'the president's border wall' — and it looks more like a fence

    California has stood more defiantly than any other state against Trump's immigration agenda and his long-promised wall. Yet the Golden State's southern boundary is one of the most thoroughly fortified along the entire US-Mexico border.

    Source: Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and OpenStreetMap contributors

    Roughly 105 miles of the 140-mile border California shares with Mexico are walled off by pedestrian fencing or vehicle barriers, beginning on the west coast with a tall, metal fence that juts into the Pacific Ocean.

    Source: GAO analysis of Customs and Border Protection data

    Though some Trump critics have seized upon his deployment of the National Guard in California, the San Diego coastline already hosts around 55 guardsman who assist in "counterdrug missions" and conduct surveillance support.

    Source: USA Today

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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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.


    After Christmas, many retailers have huge sales with close-to Black Friday pricing. Instead of heading to the brick-and-mortar locations in order to find deals, there are plenty available online — so you can stay curled up in your pajamas eating Christmas dinner leftovers.

    Below, you'll find a list of stores with the best post-holiday sales on the internet including sites like AmazonNordstrom, Target, and more.

    Whether you're looking for something to spend Christmas cash and gift cards on or you're shopping for a belated gift, this is where you'll want to look.

    Here are the top 10 end-of-year sales we're shopping:

    Looking for more deals? We've rounded up the best end-of-year deals online, below:

    To potentially save more, you can visit Business Insider Coupons to find up-to-date promo codes for a range of online stores.

    SEE ALSO: Nordstrom's huge Half Yearly Sale is officially on — here's what to buy


    • Save big on Amazon devices and tech from top brands like Bose, Sony, Sonos, and more. Shop

    Best Buy:

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    • Save up to 65% on digital download XBOX games. Shop


    • Now through January 7, save $15o on any Avocado Green Mattress or Avocado Vegan Mattress using the code "HOLIDAY150" at checkout. Verified military, educators, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, doctors, and nurses are all eligible to receive an additional discount of $50. Save $150 on reclaimed wood bed frames using the code "BED150" at checkout. Get two free pillows with a mattress purchase using the promo code "2FREEPILLOWS" at checkout. Shop


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    • Save $150 on a Leesa or $225 on a Sapira, plus get a free pillow ($75 value) for the New Year. BI readers can save an extra $10 with code “BUSINESSINSIDER”. Shop

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    • Save up to 70% off clothes, home goods, jewelry, and more. Plus take an extra 20% off select departments with the promo code “JOY” at checkout. Shop  


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    • Save an extra 10% on surplus items using the promo code "UNBOX10" at checkout. Shop

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    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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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.


    The new year is almost here, and if your resolution is to be more active, you'll need the right equipment. Fortunately, you can save up to 35% on outdoor apparel and accessories at Backcountry's "Happy New Gear Sale."

    The sale runs through January 1 and includes hundreds of deals on everything from winter coats that will keep warm on a hike, to three-person tents to pack for your next camping trip.

    To save you time, we looked through all the sale items and rounded up the 20 best deals we could find. Consider this cheat sheet a great jumping off point before exploring the parts of the sale that interest you the most.

    Shop Backcountry's "Happy New Gear Sale" here.

    SEE ALSO: 90+ of the best end-of-year sales on the internet — from fashion to electronics to bedding

    Marmot Minimalist Jacket (men's)

    $132.27 (originally $188.95) [You save $66.68]

    Columbia Bugaboo II Pant

    $69.76 (originally $98.99) [You save $29.23]

    Stoic Maroon Bells Flannel Shirt

    $19.97 (originally $39.95) [You save $19.98]

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    39th Annual Provincetown, Massachusetts, Carnival Gods and Goddess Parade

    • Small towns in the US have just as much culture as big cities. 
    • INSIDER examined the best small town in each state across the US. 
    • On the East Coast, Blowing Rock, North Carolina; Hanover, New Hampshire; and Provincetown, Massachusetts, are among the best. 
    • On the West Coast, Los Alamos, California; Port Townsend, Washington; and Depoe Bay, Oregon, made the list. 
    • In the South, Eufaula, Alabama; St. Francisville, Louisiana; and Corinth, Mississippi, rank at the top. 

    While cities are known for being culture hubs and centers of entertainment, small towns have just as much to offer. 

    All across America, small towns are becoming art havens, fine dining meccas, and top travel destinations. Researchers even found that people living in small towns are happier than those who live in more urban environments.

    INSIDER went state-by-state to find small towns with a plethora of activities for both locals and visitors. While some of the towns and villages are bustling tourist destinations, others are quiet suburban communities that are home to only a select few. 

    From the East Coast to the West Coast, these are the best small towns in the US (all populations according to the US Census Bureau).

    ALABAMA: Eufaula

    Population: 12,044

    The town of Eufaula is situated on the southeastern border of Alabama and Georgia. About 90 miles from Montgomery, the town has sweeping views of Lake Eufaula, which made it a major port for steamboats in the 19th century. Today Eufaula has a southern charm that can be seen in its antebellum homes and historic district. The best way to experience the charm of this town is during the spring when they welcome visitors for the annual Eufaula Pilgrimage, which is a tour of the town's oldest homes on the National Register. 

    ALASKA: Sitka

    Population: 8,689

    Sitka is located on Baranof Island, making it only accessible by plane or boat. It's nestled between mountains and the Pacific Ocean, giving residents magnificent views and even more incredible wildlife. Sitka is a lively and charming small town with restaurants, shops, and even art galleries. From whale watching to incredible hikes, Sitka has everything an adventure traveler needs within a small town setting. 

    ARIZONA: Bisbee

    Population: 5,192

    Bisbee sits about 90 miles southeast of Tucson in the Mule Mountains. Nestled in the valley of mountains, this artistic community exudes a free spirit and relaxed vibes. The artsy community also has a historic downtown that is a monument to the 20th century. Bisbee draws tourists who are interested in history, music, museums, antiques, and especially art. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Olsen twins mary kate and ashley olsen

    • Celebrities like James Van Der Beek, the Olsen twins, and Macaulay Culkin dominated the pop culture world in the 90s.
    • Some of these celebrities have since lived a more quiet life while others are making a comeback.
    • In the 20 years since in the 90s, here is how these celebrities have changed.

    One of the reasons 1990s nostalgia is so big is because there are so many great things to look back on. This decade gave us too many good TV shows and movies to count, along with a slew of pop stars that will always be iconic. It was truly a great time to be alive.

    With so much going on in Hollywood back in the '90s, it's no surprise that everyone had an endless amount of celebrities to pay attention to and sometimes become obsessed with. Many of these stars are still enjoying thoroughly successful careers, while others have stepped back a bit. Either way, it's always interesting to see how your favorite '90s celebrities have changed over the last 20 years:

    Jennifer Love Hewitt was the lead in many of your favorite teen movies.

    Back in the '90s, you probably knew Love Hewitt from her role as the female babe in classic teen films like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "Can't Hardly Wait." Today, she's still acting, but she does more television roles than anything else — you may have spotted her in series like "Criminal Minds" and "9-1-1." A few years ago, Love Hewitt married Brian Hallisay, her co-star from "The Client List," and the two have since had two children together.

    Ryan Phillippe was an actor and was also known for his relationship with Reese Witherspoon.

    You probably remember Phillippe from his roles in movies like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and the iconic "Cruel Intentions." Phillippe also married Witherspoon, his "Cruel Intentions" co-star, in the late '90s, and the couple had two kids together before announcing their separation.

    Since the '90s, Phillippe's career and personal life have both been a lot more quiet, although he has appeared in several small movies and done some stints on shows like "Damages" and "Secrets and Lies." He's currently the producer and lead in the show "Shooter."

    Julia Stiles was best known for her starring role in "10 Things I Hate About You."

    In the '90s, Stiles acted in a slew of popular teen movies, including "Save The Last Dance,""Down To You," and "Hamlet." Today, Stiles is still a successful actress with roles in movies like "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Jason Bourne." She earned Golden Globe and Emmy awards for her role in the TV series "Dexter" and is currently the lead in the web series "Blue." In 2017, Stiles gave her birth to her first child with her husband, camera assistant Preston J. Cook.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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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.


    You can only read so many books in your lifetime, and since you'd probably like to enjoy the time you spend reading, you don’t want to waste time on a bad book. 

    That’s why letting tens of thousands of voracious readers do the heavy lifting for you sounds so ideal. They read the thousands of pages, dissect the characters and plots, and then rank each title to determine which is most unforgettable. Then, they tell you. You buy it, and chances are, you love it. 

    Every year, that's basically what you'll find in Book of the Month's "Best of the Year" lists. Tens of thousands of avid readers choose from 20 spectacular titles — an already pared down list from those curated by experts and celebrity judges throughout the year — to crown one Best of the Year. It's the crowd favorite amongst bookworms, and its excellence wins it a $10,000 prize. 

    In 2018, that most unmissable book is "Circe" by Madeline Miller. If you're even tangentially interested in new splashes in the literary community, this won't surprise you. "Circe" is a fleshed-out, contemporary reimagination of a Greek myth, as told through one of the most infamous female figures in the "Odyssey".  It's fast-moving, deceptively complex, and crafted with the masterful storytelling for which Miller is making a name. It was also selected by two team members, including myself, as one of the best books the Insider Picks team read in 2018

    Book of the Month is a book club that's best-known for putting American literary classics like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" on the map. BOTM announces five book selections each month chosen by experts and celebrity guest judges passionate about books, and subscribers can choose which book they'd like to receive in hardcover that month. It's been around since 1926, and it has a particularly celebrated eye for cherry-picking promising debuts from the pack. "Circe" is not an exception.

    Plus, BOTM members get each monthly book for just $14.99 — and they can choose additional titles that month for just $9.99 each. Those prices are often lower than what you'd find in the bookstore or on Amazon.

    Below are the 20 nominees considered for Best Book of the Year:

    • "The Air You Breathe" by Frances de Pontes Peebles
    • "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones
    • "The Astonishing Color of After" by Emily X.R. Pan
    • "The Broken Girls" by Simone St. James
    • "Circe" by Madeline Miller
    • "The City of Brass" by S.A. Chakraborty
    • "The Clockmaker's Daughter" by Kate Morton
    • "Ghosted" by Rosie Walsh
    • "The Girl Who Smiled Beads" by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
    • "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah
    • "How to Walk Away" by Katherine Center
    • "The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang
    • "The Last Time I Lied" by Riley Sager
    • "The Mars Room" by Rachel Kushner
    • "Nine Perfect Strangers" by Liane Moriarty
    • "Small Country" by Gaël Faye
    • "Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik
    • "Then She Was Gone" by Lisa Jewell
    • "Unsheltered" by Barbara Kingsolver
    • "The Woman in the Window" by A.J. Finn

    Find more information on each of the nominees here, and sign up for your first month of Book of the Month to select your January books here

    SEE ALSO: The 29 best books we read in 2018

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    products us consumers want delivered by drone

    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.

    Drone technologies continue to improve at a rapid pace and are slowly pushing the unmanned aircraft toward the mainstream. Companies in a variety of industries are now looking to use drones to cut costs, boost efficiencies, and create new revenue streams and business values, such as last-mile retail deliveries.

    But regulatory roadblocks are still holding back widespread commercial drone use in most large, developed markets. Many countries still have laws on the books that regulate drones as other aircraft, such as planes or helicopters, and prevent unmanned aircraft from flying beyond a few miles from the operator. That makes laws and regulations arguably the chief determining factor in the development of the commercial drone industry worldwide. 

    This new report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, will give a high-level overview of commercial drone regulations around the world. We detail the major changes in global drone regulations over the past year, and show how regulators are working to stay ahead of the nascent, yet valuable devices. In addition, we show how regulatory changes will impact the industry and allow for new enterprise use cases in the next few years.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Regulations have helped the US, Europe, and China become the three largest potential markets in the world for commercial drone use.
    • In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governs all commercial and consumer drone use. Meanwhile, a slew of states have their own regulations that companies deploying drones have to navigate through.
    • In Europe, the lack of EU-wide drone regulations creates a patchwork of national regulations that resembles the state-level rules in the US.
    • In China, the military controls over half of the airspace, confining drones to a small area of the country relative to the US and other nations.
    • While on paper several of the regulations in Europe are the same as in the US, many European countries have been far more lenient in granting exemptions to their requirements.
    • Commercial drone laws in most of these countries are set to change to allow for more widespread use in the next couple years, helping operators fly their aircraft in new locations and for new use cases.

    In full, the report:

    • Offers an in-depth overview of the current regulatory landscapes at the national, transnational, and local levels, and discusses how they're shaping the development of the drone industry in several large markets.
    • Gives examples of how companies are working with and around these regulations to deploy drones in a manner that government officials find permissible.
    • Provides a look at what regulations will change in the coming years, and explains how that will impact companies operating drones.

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

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

    • A lot of great shows, both new and returning, are coming in 2019.
    • We put a list together of the shows we're looking forward to watching the most, from HBO's final season of "Game of Thrones" to Hulu's new original comedy "Shrill."

    2019 is a new year, and with it comes a handful of new and returning shows we look forward to watching. 

    With countless series heading to networks and streaming services coming up, INSIDER collected a list of the programming we're looking forward to the most. 

    From returning favorites, including "Jane the Virgin" and "Game of Thrones"" to highly-anticipated premieres, like "I Am the Night" and "Shrill," here's the shows you should add to your watch list in 2019. 

    New shows:

    From Netflix's "Carmen Sandiego" reboot to TNT's limited series "I Am the Night" starring Chris Pine, these are all the new series coming in 2019 that we're looking forward to watching. 

    "Sex Education"— Netflix

    Drops Friday, January 11

    This show, which follows an awkward high schooler who begins using what he's learned from his mother's work as a sex therapist to his advantage at school, stars Gillian Anderson of "The X-Files," who honestly belongs in everything. 

    "Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened"— Netflix

    Drops Friday, January 18. 

    The disastrous Fyre Festival was one of the most captivating news stories in years. This Netflix documentary follows the festival that was promised to be the most luxurious music experience filled with social media influencers on a posh island, but reality was far from what was promised. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    PlayStation Classic

    • The PlayStation Classic is a miniature version of the original 1996 console — Sony's response to the wildly successful NES Classic and Super NES Classic released by Nintendo.
    • Sony released the PlayStation Classic on December 3 for $99, with 20 built-in games included.
    • Less than a month later, the PlayStation Classic is already seeing discounts of 40% at major retailers, bringing its price down to $60, perhaps suggesting that the retro console has been less successful than anticipated at the original price point.
    • While the response to the PlayStation Classic has been underwhelming, retro-gaming fans have found interesting ways to put the console's hardware to use.

    The PlayStation Classic is considered one of the most underwhelming video-game releases of 2018, disappointing fans with a lackluster list of built-in games and subpar technology. Now, perhaps in an effort to goose sales, the PlayStation Classic seems to have already gotten a price drop at most major retailers — from $99 to $60. 

    You can snag it at Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart. Other retailers have similar deals, too. We've reached out to Sony to see if the price drop is permanent and will update if we hear back. 

    When Sony announced the PlayStation Classic in September 2018, it seemed to be an effort to catch onto the retro-console wave started by Nintendo's NES Classic in 2016. Nintendo repackaged the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super NES for nostalgic fans, and both miniature consoles were major retail hits. Like Nintendo's classic consoles, the PlayStation Classic was preloaded with 20 memorable, old-school games and two controllers, but it was slightly more expensive, at $99.

    PlayStation Classic

    However, there were some stark differences in how the final product functioned when compared with Nintendo's releases. First, fans were upset with the 20 games picked for the system, feeling that a number of can't-miss  PlayStation games were left off the final list. Later on, fans realized that different regions were getting different games; in Japan, the PlayStation Classic had seven games that were not on the American console, and vice versa. Then it was determined that several games on the American console were actually running the European version of the game — which, for technical reasons, means that they literally run slower than they should. 

    Read more:The 7 best and worst things about using Sony's $100 mini PlayStation 1, the PlayStation Classic

    Even more curiously, players eventually discovered that the PlayStation Classic was running a version of PCSC, a free emulator used to play PlayStation games on computers. Furthermore, the emulator menu could be pulled up using specific USB keyboards, allowing players to enter cheats and alter other hidden game settings. This was particularly confusing considering that, otherwise, the PlayStation Classic lacked many basic features as compared with the Super NES Classic.

    PlayStation Classic

    Finding value in a botched launch

    So now, after that lukewarm response to the launch, major retailers are offering the PlayStation Classic for 40% off. But even at the reduced price, the PlayStation Classic's shortcomings haven't changed. So why should you consider buying it at $60?

    The biggest benefit of buying the PlayStation Classic at a reduced price is the hardware. The PlayStation Classic's replica controllers are regular old USB devices and can easily be used for PC gaming, too. Wired controllers of similar quality cost at least $20 each and wouldn't be this perfect of a match for the original PlayStation pad. While the lack of analog sticks makes them less than ideal for everyday use, retro-gaming fans can probably get value from them.

    Additionally, since the PlayStation Classic has USB ports in the front, modders have already found ways to change the games that are installed on the console. If one has the patience to find and implement the right hacks, they can customize the PlayStation Classic game list to suit their own taste, as with the Super NES Classic before it.

    So, if you have your heart set on playing games from the original PlayStation, now will likely be the best time to buy the PlayStation Classic with a discount and get the full system for the price of a single game. Just remember, while nostalgia helps ease the memories, not every game from the late '90s was a classic.

    SEE ALSO: The 7 best and worst things about using Sony's $100 mini PlayStation 1, the PlayStation Classic

    SEE ALSO: A $100 mini version of the original PlayStation is on the way with 20 games packed in — here are the games included

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    NOW WATCH: We tested out $30 tiny spy cameras from Amazon by spying on our co-workers

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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.

    Edge computing solutions are key tools that help companies grapple with rising data volumes across industries. These types of solutions are critical in allowing companies to gain more control over the data their IoT devices create and in reducing their reliance on (and the costs of) cloud computing.

    edge popularity

    These systems are becoming more sought-after — 40% of companies that provide IoT solutions reported that edge computing came up more in discussion with customers in 2017 than the year before, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey. But companies need to know whether they should look into edge computing solutions, and what in particular they can hope to gain from shifting data processing and analysis from the cloud to the edge.

    There are three particular types of problems that edge computing solutions are helping to combat across industries:

    • Security issues. Edge computing can limit the exposure of critical data by minimizing how often it’s transmitted. Further, they pre-process data, so there’s less data to secure overall.
    • Access issues. These systems help to provide live insights regardless of whether there’s a network connection available, greatly expanding where companies and organizations can use connected devices and the data they generate.
    • Transmission efficiency. Edge computing solutions process data where it’s created so less needs to be sent to the cloud, leading to lower cloud storage requirements and reduced transmission cost.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how edge computing is reducing companies' reliance on cloud computing in three key industries: healthcare, telecommunications, and the automotive space. We explore how these systems mitigate issues in each sector by helping to efficiently process growing troves of data, expanding the potential realms of IoT solutions a company can offer, and bringing enhanced computing capability to remote and mobile platforms.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • In healthcare, companies and organizations are using edge computing to improve telemedicine and remote monitoring capabilities.
    • For telecommunications companies, edge computing is helping to reduce network congestion and enabling a shift toward the IoT platform market.
    • And in the automotive space, edge computing systems are enabling companies to increase the capabilities of connected cars and trucks and approach autonomy.

    In full, the report:

    • Explores the key advantages edge computing solutions can provide.
    • Highlights the circumstances when companies should look into edge systems.
    • Identifies key vendors and partners in specific industries while showcasing case studies of successful edge computing programs.

      Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

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

      Purchase & download the full report from our research store

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    fifty shades freed

    • The movie review website Rotten Tomatoes collects film reviews and creates a critics consensus based on "fresh" and "rotten" ratings.
    • Any movie on the website that has a rating below 60% is considered "rotten."
    • 2018 films like "Gotti" and "Breaking In" were rated as rotten for numerous reasons.
    • Sometimes critics and audiences disagreed on how good or bad a movie was. 

    With awards season fast approaching and speculation swirling about which films will be nominated at the Academy Awards, there are a number of films that will be left out of the awards circuit due to low ratings from critics.

    This year Rotten Tomatoes pulled reviews from countless film critics to create fresh and rotten ratings for newly released films.

    Here were the 25 worst reviewed movies of 2018, according to the movie review site.

    Reviewers loved Gabrielle Union but hated "Breaking In."

    Gabrielle Union ("The Birth of a Nation,""Love and Basketball") is the lead of the summer action flick "Breaking In." In the movie, Union plays a mother determined to save her two children from a dangerous hostage situation by breaking into her own house.

    Many critics called it campy and ill-plotted, giving it a rating of 26%. Even Louisa Moore of Screen Zealots, who gave it a fresh review, said it was a "good bad movie."

    Critics said that "Forever My Girl" had too much schmaltz for its own good.

    Accused by many as attempting to duplicate the success of Nicholas Sparks' romantic films, "Forever My Girl" is a romance based on a novel that stars Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe.

    Film critics mostly found the country romance superficial and overly sentimental, but the audience score is significantly higher than the critical rating; critics gave it 26% and filmgoers gave it a fresh rating of 83%.

    Critics adored Anna Faris but praised little else in "Overboard."

    A remake of the 1987 comedy of the same name, "Overboard" is a comedy starring Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris. In the original film, a rich woman (Goldie Hawn) falls off of a ship and gets amnesia, resulting in a comedy of errors when Kurt Russell convinces her that they are married.

    In the remake, it is Derbez who falls overboard and Faris who tricks him. Despite an outpouring of support for Faris' performance, most critics found little redeemable in the rest of the movie, resulting in a score of 25%.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • After a shaky start, wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers have gained traction in healthcare, with US consumer use jumping from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018.
    • More than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data — and penetration should continue to climb.
    • The maturation of the wearable market will put more wearables in the hands of consumers and US businesses.

    The US healthcare industry as it exists today is not sustainable. An aging patient population and rising burden of chronic disease have caused healthcare costs to skyrocket and left providers struggling to keep up with demand for care. 

    FORECAST: Fitness Tracker and Health-Based Wearable Installed Base

    Meanwhile, digital technologies in nearly every consumer experience outside of healthcare have raised patients’ expectations for good service to be higher than ever.

    One of the key mechanisms through which healthcare providers can finally evolve their outdated practices and exceed these expectations is wearable technology.

    Presently, 33% of US consumers have adopted wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, to play a more active role in managing their health. In turn, insurers, providers, and employers are poised to become just as active leveraging these devices – and the data they capture – to abandon the traditional reimbursement model and improve patient outcomes with personalized, value-based care.

    Adoption is going to keep climbing, as more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data, according to Accenture — though they have reservations about who exactly should access it.

    A new report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, follows the growing adoption of wearables and breadth of functions they offer to outline how healthcare organizations and stakeholders can overcome this challenge and add greater value with wearable technology.

    For insurers, providers, and employers, wearables present three distinct opportunities:

    • Insurers can use wearable data to enhance risk assessments and drive customer lifetime value. One study shows that wearables can incentivize healthier behavior associated with a 30% reduction in risk of cardiovascular events and death.
    • Providers can use the remote patient monitoring capabilities of wearable technology to improve chronic disease management, lessen the burden of staff shortages, and navigate a changing reimbursement model. And since 90% of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with providers that don't deliver a satisfactory digital experience, wearables could help to attract and retain them.
    • Employers can combine wearables with cash incentives to lower insurance costs and improve employee productivity. For example, The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority yielded $5 million in healthcare cost savings through a wearable-based employee wellness program.

    Want to Learn More?

    The Wearables in US Healthcare Report details the current and future market landscape of wearables in the US healthcare sector. It explores the key drivers behind wearable usage by insurers, healthcare providers, and employers, and the opportunities wearables afford to each of these stakeholders. 

    By outlining a successful case study from each stakeholder, the report highlights best practices in implementing wearables to reduce healthcare claims, improve patient outcomes, and drive insurance cost savings, as well as how the evolution of the market will create new, untapped opportunities for businesses.



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    Ari Paul

    • BlockTower Capital, which manages more than $130 million in client assets, made a $1 million bet last year that bitcoin's price would rise above $50,000 by Friday.
    • On Friday, the call options expire, and the firm will lose $1 million unless the bitcoin jumps from its current price of roughly $3,700 to more than $50,000.
    • If the price gets that high, the crypto hedge fund will be able to buy 275 bitcoins at $50,000 apiece through the bitcoin-derivative platform known as LedgerX.
    • Watch bitcoin trade live.

    It was a shocking bet even when it was made during bitcoin's sharp rise last year: $1 million that by the end of 2018, bitcoin would be worth more than $50,000.

    The bet, made by the crypto hedge fund BlockTower Capital, would have given the manager the chance to buy 275 bitcoins at $50,000 apiece — any time before Friday, when the call options expire, a purchase that would have cost $13.8 million. The manager spent just under $1 million on those call options.

    Bitcoin is currently trading at less than $4,000 per coin — a drop of more than 80% from its peak of $19,783, when BlockTower made its bet.

    BlockTower — a Stamford, Connecticut-based manager that runs more than $130 million in client assets and has a minimum investment of $1 million — defended the purchase of the options at the time as a way to "risk a little to win a lot,"according to the manager's cofounder Ari Paul. In a CNBC interview a week after the firm bought the options, Paul said "it was not a bet that something will happen, but a bet that something could happen," and that he liked the odds and payout of the move.

    In an email to Business Insider earlier this month, Paul wrote that "we were not betting on or expecting" a bitcoin rally.

    "In contrast, the options were a way for us to maintain exposure to an extreme rally while reducing overall crypto exposure," he wrote.

    Paul declined to say if he had any other options out of bitcoin's future price.


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

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    cami samuels

    • Venrock partner Cami Samuels has a bold prediction for a biotech that had a record-breaking initial public offering in 2018.
    • Among other predictions for 2019, Samuels told Business Insider, "Moderna will exit at a $3 billion valuation next year."
    • Moderna debuted on the public markets after raising $600 million, which valued the company at $7.5 billion, more than double what Samuels is predicting Moderna will fall to.
    • Here's why she thinks that slump will happen.

    Venrock partner Cami Samuels has a bold prediction going into 2019: "Moderna will exit at a $3 billion valuation next year."

    Moderna debuted on the public market on December 7 after raising more than $600 million in the biggest initial public offering in biotech history. While the IPO valued Moderna at $7.5 billion, it's currently trading well below its IPO price with a market value of $5 billion.

    By the end of 2019, Samuels expects that to drop even further to a market value of $3 billion, less than half of its valuation at the IPO.

    "It's hard for me, looking at their pipeline, to figure out why they're valued five times, six times [as much as] other companies with the same pipeline," said Samuels, whose firm makes investments in technology and healthcare companies.

    Which isn't to say she's not interested in the science.

    Moderna is developing medical treatments based on messenger RNA, and the company is still in the early days of human trials for its treatments, which include cancer treatments as well as a vaccine for cytomegalovirus, or CMV. The idea is that by putting messenger RNA into the body, it can turn the body into a drug factory, pumping out the proteins needed to fight a particular disease.

    "Having said that, I do think that they're at the beginning of RNA and gene-editing RNA being emphasized almost as much as DNA gene-editing, based on all the startups I've been seeing," Samuels said.

    Read more:6 top VCs give their best 2019 predictions for healthcare, from a biotech correction to a 'shadow cash economy' stepping into the light

    Samuels joined Venrock in 2014 and is currently invested in Unity Biotechnology, a company developing treatments related to aging. She has a few other predictions as well for the coming year.

    For one, she's ready to get back to the basics in biotech.

    "I'm enthused by the correction," Samuels told Business Insider. Over the past five years, the Nasdaq biotech index is up 25%, though recently stocks have taken a tumble, putting them well into correction territory, a term that refers to a 10% or greater decline from a stock's most recent peak.

    In 2019, she said, she's anticipating a return to the basic biotech business model. That is, instead of a broad platform with six or more drugs in the works, a more straightforward focus on one or two lead programs that a company knows super well.

    The correction in turn will drive that because there will be less available capital pouring into early-stage companies, forcing them to have a more zoomed-in approach.

    "I remain an optimist on the fundamentals of biotech, but the industry has gotten so enthusiastic as to be undisciplined," Samuels said.

    On the policy side, Samuels said she expects to see the biopharma industry make a concession on drug pricing to appease the administration of President Donald Trump. That said, she doesn't expect it to have broad implications.

    Lastly, she sees exhaustion with financing cancer-drug makers sinking in, with interest picking up for other diseases that have been left at the wayside.

    Two of the scientific areas she's most interested in at the moment: mitochondrial RNA-based medicines (a similar area to the work Moderna's in) and antiaging biology, particularly an area she refers to as "inflamm-aging."

    Click here to read our conversations with 6 top biotech and healthcare VCs about their 2019 predictions.

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    trump impeachment protest

    • Markets driven by politics and hedge funds are already beginning to assess the risk of President Donald Trump getting impeached in 2019.
    • It's not the only risk on their radar, of course, and it's not the most likely. But investors are talking about it as a possibility.
    • At least three Wall Street hedge funds are trying to assess how an impeachment might affect the markets.

    Investors have a lot to worry about in 2019 — there's the trade war with China, Federal Reserve policy, and oil prices, to name a few.

    Recently, a new worry has cropped up: impeachment.

    At least three Wall Street hedge funds and asset managers have started talking about the possibility of the impeachment of President Donald Trump as a potential market catalyst in 2019, according to people familiar with their thinking.

    It's an unwelcome development for hedge-fund managers, who are finding it difficult to adjust their strategies to fit the increasingly uncertain political reality thanks to a soon-to-be-Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. They can handle normal macro factors like central bank activity and trade tensions, but they view impeachment as a wild card — and it's thrown a wrench into their best-laid plans.

    "That's something you really can't model for," said Larry Newhook, the CEO of Alpha Innovations, which runs a managed-account platform for institutions to access smaller strategies and funds.

    It's a relatively new market catalyst, coming after the midterms and ever-present turmoil in the administration. In betting markets, the odds that Trump will be booted from office next year are shortening. After the midterms, oddsmaker Bovada increased the likelihood of an impeachment, with a $100 bet on a Trump impeachment paying out only $125, compared to a $160 payout before November. Currently, the oddsmaker has a $100 impeachment bet paying out $150.

    It's now enough of a possibility to land on the radar of big investors.

    "Internally, we're talking about this because it's interesting, but if it gets more significant, we will talk about it more," said one London-based asset manager at a Wall Street firm. "I'm not sure it's a market positive, but it may not be a market negative. And it will take a long time."

    Markets can react sharply to big geopolitical and global-economic events, leading to big paydays for so-called "macro" investing strategies. A Trump impeachment would be behind other, more pressing macro risks next year, the asset manager said, such as, in order of magnitude: Fed policy, the US-China trade war, the "leveraged loan" boom, eurozone drama, emerging-market turmoil, and volatile oil prices. (The person added that Brexit is much higher on that list for UK-focused investors).

    Newhook said that even comparing it to Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998 wouldn't do much good because the market has changed so much in the years since.

    Correctly gauging price moves from geopolitical events can be incredibly profitable. Big macro funds like Jeffrey Talpins' Element Capital have posted stellar returns in a year when the average hedge fund through the end of November has declined 2%.

    But the last quarter of 2018 has been brutal for investors of all stripes — the average macro fund, according to data from Hedge Fund Research, lost 4.1% through November. Even one of the world's best macro traders, George Soros, is reportedly pulling back on the strategy. Soros Fund Management has cut its allocation to macro investments to $500 million, compared to $3 billion last year.

    "All you can do is say, 'Hey, do I want to be aggressive with my risk-taking or not?'" said Newhook, who was formerly the head of due diligence for hedge-fund giant Steve Cohen. "The one thing you don't want to be doing if you think impeachment is possible is be short volatility. The bottom line is that this is just another source of volatility."

    SEE ALSO: Goldman Sachs just dropped its annual Christmas crossword — see how many clues you can get

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    national parks government shutdown

    • Approximately 800,000 federal government employees have gone without pay since the third government shutdown of the year went into effect just after midnight on December 22.
    • A portion of these workers are employed as contractors, which means their payments come from a third party. If the government is not working with that third party, those workers may not be paid.

    Julie Burr, an administrative assistant at the US Department of Transportation in Kansas City, Missouri, was told in an email that she had to return her work computer to her office because the government was shutting down. As a contractor, she can't work until the shutdown ends.

    Burr, a single mother to a 14-year-old boy, panicked.

    "I want to get back to work as quickly as possible, not only because of the paycheck, but I love what I do," she told INSIDER.

    "I know that there's probably gonna be a lot of work waiting for me, and it's going to take some time to catch up when we get back."

    She is now one of thousands of federal government employees who are officially jobless as the third US government shutdown of 2018 continues. But unlike many workers who are employed directly by the government, Burr is a contractor, meaning her paycheck comes from a third-party business hired by the government. If the government stops doing business with the third-party company, the employees don't get paid.

    Unlike Burr, some of her coworkers at the transportation agency are direct employees, so they could get back pay, eventually. As a contractor, Burr does not have the same security.

    "My contracting company does not pay me for any days that are not worked," she said.

    To make up for the lost income, she has picked up extra shifts at her second job at her local Barnes & Noble book store. Reached by phone on Wednesday during a break from her shift, Burr said she was "really hoping" that Congress and President Donald Trump "would come to a conclusion" instead of shutting down the government.

    "I was getting my fingers crossed and then it didn't happen," she said. Now, she said, she can only hope Congress will reach an agreement soon and the shutdown won't last as long as the last one.

    "It needs to be resolved as soon as possible because there are a lot of people affected," she said. "Not just the people that might be affected by any sort of border security."

    "Everybody's going to have to compromise a little bit," Burr added.

    Read more: 'We don't know when his next check will come': Federal employees are sharing how the government shutdown over Christmas is affecting their families

    Like Burr, Bonita Williams was out of a job in Washington, DC, Monday. Williams, a grandmother who works as a janitor at the State Department, is employed by a government contractor. Her supervisor told her not to show up to work this week because of the shutdown.

    "I don't know how I'm gonna pay my rent, because I work four hours a day, and if I miss one hour from work then my rent is short, 'cause I make just enough money to pay my rent and that's it," she told INSIDER.

    This isn't the first time Williams has been unable to work because of a government shutdown. Earlier this year, during the first government shutdown of 2018, Williams said she was not paid for two weeks. She said she has been unable to find a full-time job since her hours as a janitor at the State Department were reduced from eight hours a day to four earlier this year.

    "So, I'm just like, stuck between a rock and a hard place because I just have to keep trying to do the best I can with the part-time job that I had and now that got threatened by Trump, so then I don't know what I'm gonna do," she said.

    Williams said the president keeps saying Americans agree with him about shutting down the government in order to secure funding for the border wall, but he actually doesn't understand the trouble some workers face now that they won't be getting a paycheck thanks to the shutdown.

    "He never talked to me or my coworkers, you don't know what we're going through," she said. "Now our rent's not going to be paid."

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