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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, takes a selfie with other members prior to the start of the 116th Congress on the floor of the US House of Representatives at the US Capitol.

    • Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York fired back at Republican lawmakers, who she claimed booed as she cast her vote for Rep. Nancy Pelosi to become the next House Speaker.
    • "Over 200 members voted for Nancy Pelosi today, yet the GOP only booed one: me," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. "Don't hate me cause you ain't me, fellas."
    • It was unclear from the video who made the noise in the room that included congress members' spouses and children.
    • Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic colleagues around her glanced over at its direction and shared a laugh.

    Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York fired back at Republican lawmakers, who she claimed booed as she cast her vote for Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California to become the next House speaker on Thursday.

    "Over 200 members voted for Nancy Pelosi today, yet the GOP only booed one: me," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. "Don't hate me cause you ain't me, fellas."

    The incident on Capitol Hill took place at around 1:30 p.m., as the House of Representatives, including the roughly 100 newly-elected lawmakers, voted for the next speaker. When Ocasio-Cortez verbally cast her vote, a noise that sounded like "boo" could be heard in the House chamber.

    It is unclear from the C-SPAN video of the event, who made the noise in the chamber that included congress members' spouses and children. However, Michael Barbaro, host of The New York Times' podcast "The Daily," said in a tweet that Republicans "gently and playfully" booed Ocasio-Cortez.

    After the noise was made, Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic colleagues around her glanced over at its direction and shared a laugh. Ocasio-Cortez's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday night.

    Ocasio-Cortez, who became the youngest woman elected to the House, has been perceived by many as a rising star in politics. Conservative personalities have since taken aim at her views as a democratic socialist — and she frequently responds with quips on social media.

    Democrats now have a majority in the House of Representatives and Pelosi was elected speaker in a 220-430 vote defeating Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. Fifteen Democrats broke from the party and chose not to vote for Pelosi.

    Pelosi's re-election briefly appeared to be in question following the midterm elections, after numerous House Democrats called for new leadership ahead of the new Congress. Ocasio-Cortez, who put pressure on Pelosi over cliamte change, said she would back Pelosi's bid if she "remains the most progressive candidate for speaker."

    Watch the video from C-SPAN here »

    SEE ALSO: Trump reportedly said Nancy Pelosi, as 'a good Catholic,' should support his border wall because the Vatican has walls too

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'


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    smoking cigarettes smokers

    • The international arm of China's gigantic state tobacco monopoly, China National Tobacco Corp., is planning on going public.
    • China Tobacco International the global-facing division of China's one-stop big tobacco shop, filed documents Wednesday to launch an IPO in Hong Kong, according to reports from Reuters and Bloomberg.

    The international branch of the China's giant tobacco monopoly plans to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Reuters reports.

    The global arm of the China National Tobacco Corporation, produces barely a puff of the massive revenues derived from the state-run behemoth that enjoys a near-total monopoly on cigarette smoking in the world's most-populous country.

    Any piece of the world's largest cigarette maker could be an attractive option for investors in a part of the world where smoking still looms large across social, geographic, and cultural strata.

    However, while China Tobacco International also enjoys a monopoly on all tobacco exports out of China, the market is a lot smaller than it sounds. Sources quoted by Reuters said the potential IPO could raise about $100 million.

    China Tobacco International says it plans to use the money raised to buy up brands and expand distribution channels into likely markets — that's Southeast Asia — through new campaigns.

    CICC and China Merchants Securities are joint sponsors for the IPO, Reuters said.

    Aside from a factory in Romania, CBI imports a lot of tobacco out of mainly Brazil and the US, but its monopoly running China's homemade cigarette exports is also its weakness.

    The elegant taste

    cigs europe.JPG

    Chinese outbound travelers are famous for spending big on luxury foreign brands, while mainland China's traveling smokers prefer to stick with homegrown brands. But globally, that is a small market catering exclusively to Chinese tourists in duty-free outlets across Asia.

    Outside of the mainland monopoly, Chinese cigarettes — super cheap as many are — do not have a global market.

    According to the South China Morning Post, China National Tobacco's international business earned booked sales of HK$5.1 billion ($651 million) in the nine months ending in September 2018. That's more than 20% down on the previous period from a year earlier.

    Casual efforts

    smokes china

    The difficulty for the ruling Communist Party when facing up to the significance of smoking in the world's most populous country is that, although it makes people ill over the long term, smoking yields somewhere between 7% and 11% of China's total tax revenue, according to Reuters.

    According to the State Administration of Taxation, China collected taxes amounting to 12.6 trillion yuan (about $1.8 trillion) in 2017.

    The division's listing comes at the same time Beijing seeks to reduce smoking, as concerns over its health risks, particularly high cancer rates, continue.

    Despite this, smoking remains a fairly integral part of modern Chinese culture. Cigarettes are branded with magnificent adornments and are still exchanged when strangers meet, or given as elegant gifts on important occasions.

    As reflected in this explainer of the role of branding in Chinese smoking culture from The China Daily:

    "Chunghwa (Zhonghua), as a symbol of a high-end cigarette brand in China, has very high sales in China. It was on a short allowance until 1988. Anyone who carries a Chunghwa cigarette between his or her fingers is regarded as upper-class or a wealthy man or woman. Panda, another prestigious cigarette brand, is also scrambled by people who like smoking. People believe cigarettes establish one's social class. If you are holding a low-end cigarette, you are probably a nobody."

    Then there is the generally low awareness of the consequent health risks associated with cigarette smoking that has minimized the casual efforts of authorities to reduce smoking rates.

    But the government is as addicted to the tax revenue as China is to the product.

    China National Tobacco is a giant, opaque, fantastically profitable state-run business in a country where there are more than 300 million smokers, nearly one-third of the world's total.

    One in every three cigarettes worldwide is smoked in China.

    According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is killing around one million people every year in China, which accounts for about one-in-six deaths worldwide.

    SEE ALSO: Hong Kong on track for global IPO crown but many new listings sag

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war


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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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    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks into the Capitol with her grandchildren.

    • Democrats swept into power in the House on Thursday after eight years in the minority, electing former House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as speaker.
    • The incoming House of Representatives has more women, people of color, openly LGBT members, and millennials than any other in history.

    Democrats swept into power in the House on Thursday after eight years in the minority, electing former House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as speaker, who will preside over the most-diverse Congress in US history.

    Ten new senators — three Democrats and seven Republicans — and 101 new House members, 67 of them Democrats, were sworn in.

    Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the newly-elected chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who has once again made history as the first woman to ever be House speaker, which is second in line to the presidency, after the vice president.

    Jeffries praised Pelosi as "a sophisticated strategist, a legendary legislator, a voice for the voiceless, a defender of the disenfranchised, a powerful, profound, prophetic, principled public servant."

    "House Democrats are down with N.D.P.," the Brooklyn Democrat joked, using Pelosi's initials to refer to a song by the hip-hop trio Naughty By Nature.

    Roll-call for the speaker vote began just before 1 p.m. and ended an hour later when Pelosi was elected with 220 votes. Each member was called on to name their choice for speaker and more than a dozen Democrats either chose a different candidate or did not vote. Eleven of those defectors were newly-elected Democrats.

    "I pledge that this Congress will be transparent, bipartisan, and unifying," Pelosi said during her speech on the House floor on Thursday afternoon.

    The 116th Congress is the most diverse in US history, even as 90% of House Republicans will be white men.

    The majority — 52% — of incoming Democratic freshmen are women, compared to just 4.5% of incoming Republicans. Overall, a record 103 women were elected to serve in the House — 22% more than those who served in the 115th House.

    Another five new women senators and 10 incumbent female senators, 131 women will serve in the 116th Congress.

    And 34% of incoming House Democrats identify as people of color, compared to just 2% of newly-elected Republicans.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, takes a selfie with other members prior to the start of the 116th Congress on the floor of the US House of Representatives at the US Capitol.

    Congress will also be younger. The average age of the 116th Congress is 47 — a 10-year drop from the 115th Congress.

    Pelosi celebrated that diversity in her speech, pointing out that this Congress will serve during the 100-year anniversary of women's suffrage.

    The Capitol was full of lawmakers' family members, tourists, and reporters.

    Grace Panetta contributed to this report.

    SEE ALSO: This graphic shows how much more diverse the House of Representatives is getting

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'


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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.

    Smart speakers in shoppingConsumers are finally starting to adopt smart home devices, with nearly 60% owning at least one device. This presents an opportunity for e-commerce companies to enter the smart home and encourage purchasing through the devices.

    The smart speaker has become the face of the smart home in many ways, attracting the lion’s share of attention as companies look for ways to take advantage of the growing platform. But there’s a problem: Consumers aren’t using the smart speaker to actually buy products very often.

    Instead, one of the clearest opportunities outside of the smart speaker is home goods and grocery replenishment through large appliances. Smart devices in the home — especially appliances — can take advantage of built-in sensors to either tell consumers when they need to buy more of a product, or make that purchase autonomously. This will create an opportunity for appliance manufacturers, e-commerce vendors, and product suppliers to ink supply agreements to meet consumers' needs.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines several areas of opportunity for e-commerce companies to leverage smart home technologies to provide new and better services to their customers. First, we explore how smart appliances, including connected dishwashers and laundry machines, are building on one-click purchasing systems to enable automated replenishment. We then discuss the smart fridge and detail how apps, cameras, and voice assistants are enabling takeout and grocery delivery through these appliances. Finally, we examine the role of the voice interface beyond smart speakers as it relates to purchasing products in the home, and how omnipresent voice will be used to organize and interact with automated services.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Blue Apron, Costo, GE, Google, Instacart, Keurig, KitchenAid, LG, Ocado, P&G, Plated, Reynolds, Samsung, Target, Walmart, Whirlpool.

     Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Companies have a clear opportunity to leverage sensors, cameras, and connectivity in a variety of home appliances to revolutionize the way consumers buy home goods.
    • Smart appliance manufacturers, e-tailers, and CPG companies will be able to collaborate and partner to develop new methods of resupplying consumers' homes.
    • The smart fridge will transform into the hub of the kitchen and become the autonomous organizing device that oversees grocery purchasing and food delivery.

    In full, the report:

    • Provides an overview of the key players and types of products in the smart appliance space.
    • Highlights the models that companies can adopt to take advantage of the developing sector.
    • Identifies the key services that will boost automated e-commerce engagement in the home.

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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

    Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.

    APAC CAGR

    For example, almost half of US households now have a Prime membership, diminishing Amazon's growth potential in the country. Meanwhile, in China, the world's largest e-commerce market, nearly half of the population is actively making online purchases, leaving little room for growth. 

    However, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America are worth keeping an eye on. E-commerce penetration rates in these areas hover between 2-6%, presenting a huge opportunity for future growth as online sales gain traction. Moreover, these regions are expected to grow at compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 31%, 32%, and 16%, respectively, through 2021.

    This report compiles several e-commerce snapshots, which together highlight the most notable emerging markets in various regions. Each provides an overview of the e-commerce industry in a particular country, discusses influential retailers, and provides insights into the opportunities and challenges for that specific domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.
    • India is the clear overall leader in e-commerce potential, but countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America are also worth keeping an eye on. Within Southeast Asia, Indonesia shows the most promise for retailers, as the government is loosening restrictions on foreign investments, and its massive population is gaining spending power and more access to internet. Meanwhile, Mexico is a retailer's best bet for expansion in Latin America, due to its stable economy and rising middle class, but Brazil may be gearing up to steal the top spot.
    • However, doing business in these regions can be difficult. In most of these emerging markets, infrastructure is underdeveloped and the population is largely unbanked, making digital payments a challenge.
    • If retailers can build a brand presence in these markets while online shopping is still in its nascent stages, they may become market leaders as e-commerce takes off in the regions. Moreover, these markets could provide new sources of growth for companies that would otherwise stagnate in more mature e-commerce markets.

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the e-commerce industry in India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
    • Highlights the leading country in each region, as well as key e-commerce players there. 
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each region faces.
    • Gives insight into how these emerging markets may shape the future of e-commerce.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    China uniform

    • Schools in China are dressing students in "smart uniforms" embedded with GPS trackers to allow parents and teachers to confirm their whereabouts and behavior in real time.
    • When a child enters the school, classroom, or dormitory a short video confirms a GPS recording of the time and date.
    • "It is hard to parent a teenager, and I need all the help I can get," one parent told the state-run newspaper China Daily.

    Schools in Guizhou province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region are using "smart uniforms" embedded with GPS trackers to make sure students do not skip class, and to assure parents of their children's attendance and safety, China Daily reported this week.

    Nine schools in Guizhou and two in Guangxi have introduced the tracking uniforms.

    Guangxi is a poorer province in China and faces higher rates of truancy.

    Chip developers Guizhou Guanyu Technology said in a statement that the time and date are recorded after students who are wearing the high-tech uniforms enter the school. The students' movements at that point are also capture on video, which parents can view on a connected mobile app.

    Facial-recognition technology is designed to prevent children from improperly swapping uniforms.

    For the willing truants, skipping classes triggers an alarm that notifies teachers and parents. If a student walked off the school grounds without permission, a voice alarm is activated.

    China is a world leader in developing and applying technology for surveillance.

    The Communist Party has been increasing surveillance efforts in the Xinjiang region as part of an ongoing crackdown on the Uighur Muslim population.

    And even in the big cities, most of the wealthy electric-car drivers aren't even aware that their vehicles could be collecting data and sending it back to "government-backed monitoring centers."

    Wang Ping, head of the labor union at Xiuwen High School in Guizhou, told state media that almost 1,000 first-graders have been wearing the tech-laden uniforms for over a month.

    Students have two summer uniforms and two for winter, each reportedly costs 320 yuan ($47) in total — about the same price as common uniforms, China Daily reports.

    Xiuwen High School parent Zhao Shengyong said he is happy with the uniform's monitoring function.

    "The school is a boarding school, so it is hard for me to parent my son at home. This uniform can put some pressure on him and let him know that I will be notified if he skips classes," he told China Daily.

    "It is hard to parent a teenager, and I need all the help I can get."

    A spokesman told China Daily that, aside from developing the technology, the company is committed to protecting privacy and only parents and teachers can access the information gathered.

    Reporting on the smart uniforms has been circulating in state media, reflecting the Communist Party's willingness to openly discuss, encourage, and normalize individual surveillance.

    Under the growing authority of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Communist-run state is quickly becoming a digital autocracy, with vast networks of surveillance intersecting with draconian means of control.

    In November, China rolled out surveillance software in Beijing and Shanghai which authorities say can identify people from their walking style, even with their backs turned and faces hidden.

    The growth of China's surveillance technology comes as the state rolls out an ambitious "social credit system" threatening to rank citizens through conformity and behavior, rewarding and punishing people in various ways, depending on their accumulative scores.

    SEE ALSO: China is building a vast civilian surveillance network — here are 10 ways it could be feeding its creepy 'social credit system'

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    Tesla Nav on Autopilot

    • Over the years, I've driven every car Tesla has ever produced.
    • They've all been good, but features of individual models have stood out.
    • Here's a rundown of what I love about the Tesla original Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X, and the Model 3.

    I wrote my first words about Tesla in January 2008. In the ten years since, the company has gone from selling one car to selling three, and from delivering a few thousand vehicles the early 2010s to 250,000 in 2018.

    As it turns out, I've driven every model the company has ever sold, starting with the now-discontinued original Roadster to the highest-spec version of the new Model 3 sedan.

    Read more: Tesla's $2,000 price cut doesn't mean it has a demand problem.

    Each of the vehicles has its particular charms, quirks, and appealing features. I found myself reflecting on them at the beginning of 2019 as we look forward to some new machines from Elon Musk's plucky automaker: the Model Y SUV, a new Roadster, and perhaps even a pickup truck.

    Here are all my favorite features on all the Teslas I've driven:

    FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

    SEE ALSO: Tesla's core business of selling Model S and Model X vehicles is holding up, but no one is paying attention

    1. Original Roadster. The first Tesla to hit the road, this straightforward electric sports car captured hearts and changed minds — an EV didn't have to be a glorified golf cart! Now discontinued, the original Roadster can still be picked up used.

    Read the review »



    It's still my favorite Tesla, although the Model 3 has me rethinking that position. I love its open-air style.



    But what I truly adore is the simple joy of driving it. The speed is electric lightning: 0-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds. And the feedback-heavy steering is point-and-shoot. Driving this car of the future is surprisingly old-school.



    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.

    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
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    Hermione Granger Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone

    • An old Pottermore article revealing the pre-18th century bathroom habits of wizards has resurfaced.
    • In a tweet, the "Harry Potter" site reminded fans that Hogwarts "didn't always have bathrooms."
    • "Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence," a tweet read.
    • We have questions.
    • Where does vanished excrement go? What do younger witches and wizards do? Do witches and wizards just leave their robes on? How does this work if the Chamber of Secrets was built in a bathroom centuries earlier?

     

    Pottermore, the digital site dedicated to articles and news from "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, resurfaced a trivia fact about the wizarding world that most people wish they could unlearn as quickly as possible. 

    "Hogwarts didn't always have bathrooms," the Pottermore tweet read. "Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence."

    If you, like us, read this tweet shortly after it was shared on Friday (and hadn't previously encountered this old Pottermore article), then you spend the better part of your day mulling over its implications. We did the extra work for you and have outlined every question this not-so-fun fact has raised, starting with the most philosophical quandary of all.

    Where does vanished excrement go?

    For those familiar with the books, you'll know that Professor McGonagall is asked this general question in Rowling's seventh novel, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." The Ravenclaw common room requires its would-be entrants to correctly answer a question before they can go inside. 

    "Where do Vanished objects go?" the door knocker asks McGonagall. 

    "Into non-being, which is to say, everything," she replies. 

    McGonagall harry potter

    So if you vanish away the contents of a toilet (well, in the case there's no toilet but you understand the hypothetical here) does that matter just go ... into everything? Like your food? Or eyes? Or Transfiguration homework? McGonagall's answer invokes a sort of molecular science, as if you vanish an object by breaking it into teeny minuscule pieces and scattering them into the universe.

    Applying pseudo-scientific theory to fictional magic might be silly but Pottermore has provided us with this hypothetical scenario and therefore logic has to follow. We didn't ask for this! 

    What do younger witches and wizards do?

    As a lot of folks on Twitter pointed out, the Vanishing spell isn't taught until fifth year. So what did the younger students do? Was there a prefect on bathroom duty in the hallways?

     

     

    And how about the youngsters still at home?

    Potty training seems bad enough for muggle parents with young toddlers, but to have magical kids "relieve themselves" wherever they stand and need to vanish it for them sounds like a Wizard-parents' nightmare. And again, the impracticality of this is staggering. What if they need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night? Or at school? Or while out in public? 

    Harry Potter gets his wand

    Do the witches and wizards just ... leave their robes on? 

    In the books, Hogwarts students wear school robes at all times. The Muggle clothing like jeans and sweaters was only adopted for the movies, since black wizard robes are a rather monotonous visual. 

    But we can't stop imagining teenage wizards just crouching down in the hallway and...going to the bathroom on the floor? The Pottermore tweet says "wherever they stood" but good gracious we don't want to think about people doing this while standing.

    Tangentially, why wouldn't they just vanish the contents of their bowels while said contents are still inside their body?

    How does this work if the Chamber of Secrets was built in a bathroom centuries earlier?

    Well this answer is actually where the trivia question originated. As Pottermore tweeted, the site's original Chamber of Secrets article says the hidden room was originally accessed by trap door. The "new" Hogwarts plumbing (again, this wasn't installed in the eighteenth century, long after outhouses were invented) "threatened" the entrance but another Slytherin wizard sorted it out.

    Here's that section in the Pottermore article:

    There is clear evidence that the Chamber was opened more than once between the death of Slytherin and the entrance of Tom Riddle in the twentieth century. When first created, the Chamber was accessed through a concealed trapdoor and a series of magical tunnels.

    However, when Hogwarts’ plumbing became more elaborate in the eighteenth century (this was a rare instance of wizards copying Muggles, because hitherto they simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence), the entrance to the Chamber was threatened, being located on the site of a proposed bathroom.

    The presence in school at the time of a student called Corvinus Gaunt – direct descendant of Slytherin, and antecedent of Tom Riddle – explains how the simple trapdoor was secretly protected, so that those who knew how could still access the entrance to the Chamber even after newfangled plumbing had been placed on top of it.

    harry potter and the chamber of secrets

    Why did it take so long for Hogwarts to get on board with a private place for people to relieve themselves?

    "During the 11th-century castle-building boom, chamber pots were supplemented with toilets that were, for the first time, actually integrated into the architecture," a Smithsonian article on the history of toilets says.

    If you're a "Game of Thrones" fan, the article helpfully points out that the "bathroom" Tywin Lannister is in during the fourth season finale is a perfect example of this architecture. Surely the Hogwarts professors would have been able to retro-fit the castle with one of these?

    What about muggle-borns? What did they do when they got to Hogwarts?

    Even before the 18th century plumbing, muggle-born witches and wizards would have grown up with an alternative way of going to the bathroom. One reply to the Pottermore tweets shows a group of "Harry Potter" fans posturing this very good point. 

    Going from whatever method of bathroom you had to the ol' "relieve yourself in the hallway" gambit must have been tricky.

    Can we please delete this Pottermore fact and go back to not knowing this?

    In the decade since Rowling's last published "Harry Potter" book there have been many, many revelations about the wizarding world that fans wish had been left unsaid. Sometimes these facts have been sad but innocuous, like Hagrid being unable to ever produce a Patronus. But others, like Rowling's reveal that Dumbledore is gay (only to disappoint fans by withholding meaningful representation of his sexuality) are more serious.

    This is clearly an example of the former. Innocuous? Sure. But resulting in a lot of eyebrow-raising among fans? Definitely. If only we all had time-turners and could zoom back to the past when we didn't know this, much like the time Moaning Myrtle once zoomed into the Great Lake with the contents of a toilet.

     

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    larakollab canarymission

    • Dr. Lara Kollab, a former medical resident who was dismissed after her anti-Semitic tweets made several years ago were uncovered, released a statement apologizing for her remarks.
    • Kollab said she made the statements between 2011 to 2017, when she was in her teens and twenties. She now says she wants to "sincerely and unequivocally" apologize for what she called "offensive and hurtful language."
    • She stressed that she understood the timeline of her posts did not excuse her from "causing pain, anguish, and a public outcry," and said her past remarks are not reflective of her character today.

    Dr. Lara Kollab, a former medical resident who was dismissed after her anti-Semitic tweets made several years ago were uncovered, released a statement apologizing for her remarks.

    Kollab said she made the statements between 2011 to 2017, when she was in her teens and twenties. She now says she wants to "sincerely and unequivocally" apologize for what she called "offensive and hurtful language."

    "These posts were made years before I was accepted into medical school, when I was a naïve, and impressionable girl barely out of high school," Kollab said. "I matured into a young adult during the years I attended college and medical school, and adopted strong values of inclusion, tolerance, and humanity."

    Kollab stressed that she understood the timeline of her posts did not excuse her from "causing pain, anguish, and a public outcry," and said it was not reflective of her character today. The former resident, who said she visited Israel and the Palestine Territories numerous times in her teens, was moved by "the suffering of the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation."

    Cleveland_Clinic_Miller_Family_Pavilion

    "I had difficulty constructively expressing my intense feelings about what I witnessed in my ancestral land," Kollab said.

    "Like many young people lacking life experience, I expressed myself by making insensitive remarks and statements of passion devoid of thought, not realizing the harm and offense these words would cause."

    "I have learned from this experience and am sorry for the pain I have caused," Kollab added. "I pray that the Jewish community will understand and forgive me."

    Kollab's remarks were first reported on by Canary Mission, a group that exposes anti-Semitism stemming from college campuses in the US.

    Among her numerous tweets, Kollab claimed she "purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds" and described Touro College, the Jewish-founded college in New York she attended, as "annoying" because it was "in a city full of Jews," according to Canary Mission.

    The Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday confirmed in a statement that a "former employee" was no longer working at the Clinic after their comments on social media were discovered.

    "In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization," the hospital said in a statement. "We fully embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system."

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    Retailers and their logistics partners have been pushed to meet growing customer demands for increasingly speedy shipping. And the steady rise of e-commerce has caused the daily volume of parcel shipments to skyrocket — two trends that, for the foreseeable future, are only going to continue.

    With fulfillment giants like Amazon constantly nipping at their heels, e-tailers have to fight to figure out a way to offer same-day shipping at low prices. To do so, they’re experimenting with nontraditional logistics strategies and startup partners to see what sticks.

    Enter crowdsourced delivery — the Uber model for package fulfillment. In this article, we’ll take a look at what it is, why it’s growing, and the future of same-day shipping.

    crowdsourced delivery

    What is crowdsourced delivery?

    Crowdsourced delivery, also known as crowdsourced shipping, is an emerging method of fulfillment that leverages networks of local, non-professional couriers to deliver packages to customers’ doors. While most common in meal and grocery delivery, this model seems to be springing up everywhere as traditional retailers look for ways to cut costs and maximize supply chain efficiency.

    Why crowdsourced delivery?

    Crowdsourced delivery is beneficial for both retailers and their customers, with the primary advantage simply being that companies can get online orders to their customers faster — sometimes in less than an hour. And with the option of on-demand or scheduled delivery, companies can meet their customers’ demands for instant gratification (which is particularly prevalent among younger, digital-first consumers), while also ensuring that packages are delivered when someone is home — eliminating the additional time and costs involved with multiple delivery attempts.

    A secondary benefit of crowdsourced delivery is that it is tech-heavy and asset-light. Contracted couriers provide their own transportation to make deliveries, often from a retailer’s store location, and are typically paid per delivery or per shift. For companies, this means not worrying about warehouse operations, fleet management, or employee benefits — thereby offsetting some of the high costs and complex logistics associated with on-demand delivery.

    For customers, crowdsourced delivery provides greater control over the shopping experience; it satisfies their need for speed while offering more visibility into the delivery process. Customers can select a desired time slot to ensure they won’t miss a delivery and, perhaps most importantly, they can track their packages along the way. Instead of repeatedly checking a tracking code for a status update, customers can choose to receive SMS text alerts, push notifications, or even GPS tracking on their smartphones.

    Despite these benefits, the startup nature of many crowdsourced delivery services comes with inherent challenges, such as the high per-delivery costs of ad-hoc shipments, which are often absorbed by the retailer as customers become less and less willing to cover delivery fees.

    As with other startups tapping into the gig economy, other major challenges of crowdsourced delivery include workforce issues — more specifically, courier shortages and retention rates. Couriers are often signed up for multiple gigs, which can make localized labor hard to come by at times. When contractors toggle among delivery, ride hailing, and other on-demand service apps looking for the next available job, they can quickly cause churn for the company from burnout, particularly when regular wages and benefits are not guaranteed.

    Solving the last mile problem

    In traditional shipping, the last mile problem is the inefficiency of final delivery. The “last mile” of delivery refers to the final leg of shipment, when a package arrives at the customer’s doorstep. This step of the journey is the most expensive and the most time consuming, as there are typically multiple stops along a given route — slowed down by either long distances between stops in rural areas or heavy traffic in urban settings.

    Crowdsourced delivery attempts to skirt these bottlenecks by tasking someone local to both the package’s origin and customer’s door to expedite fulfillment and elevate customer satisfaction.

    Future of same-day shipping

    To date, crowdsourced delivery has been most commonly seen in meal delivery services in urban markets, with apps such as Postmates, Doordash, and Grubhub, but even giants like Walmart and Aldi have begun dabbling with this model for same-day grocery delivery.

    instacart groceries crowdsourced delivery

    Crowdsourced delivery is not limited to the food and restaurant industries either. A growing number of retailers is now experimenting with crowdsourcing as a solution to same-day shipping — an expectation of 56% of millennials, according to a survey from fraud prevention startup Trustev.

    And startups like Deliv have been answering their calls. Since 2014, the crowdsourced delivery startup has been processing same-day deliveries for Macy’s, using the retail titan’s existing ship-from-store program to pick and pack orders.

    These types of startups have been eliciting a response from traditional delivery providers such as DHL which launched a same-day scheduled delivery pilot for retail shipping in Germany, or FedEx, which has expanded same-day urban delivery in over 30 markets. Unlike emerging startups, these legacy providers have the advantage of leveraging their extensive logistics operations (traditionally used for non-retail deliveries), and shifting them to compete in the retail space.

    And as we continue to see advancements in drone technology and artificial intelligence, it’s likely that in the future, same-day delivery will no longer depend on local couriers, but rather automation.

    More to Learn

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has writtena detailed report on crowdsourced delivery that:

    • Details the factors driving investment and growth in crowdsourced delivery startups.
    • Examines the benefits and drawbacks of using crowdsourcing to deliver online orders.
    • Explains how crowdsourced delivery startups can improve their cost efficiencies to tackle greater delivery volumes
    • Explores the role that crowdsourcing will play in the future of delivery once automated delivery options, like drones and robots, arrive.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Retailers are looking for ways to deliver goods faster to consumers' doorsteps to stave off Amazon's threat and meet customer expectations.
    • To accomplish that, retailers and delivery providers are zeroing in on the "last mile" of fulfillment, the most expensive and time-consuming part of the delivery process, which is when a package reaches the customer's address.
    • Startups like Postmates, Instacart, and others are looking to disrupt the last mile delivery space by leveraging the "Uber model," and connecting businesses to non-professional couriers who can deliver goods instantly.
    • Crowdsourcing can drastically speed up deliveries in urban areas, where there is a high density of deliveries and potential couriers to be matched.
    • However, as delivery volumes increase, crowdsourced delivery startups will need to further optimize their deliveries to improve cost efficiencies.
    • Many of the deliveries these startups perform today will likely be automated in the future, raising the possibility that these startups may eventually look to incorporate new technologies like delivery drones or self-driving delivery vehicles.

       

     

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    • President Donald Trump announced that 80 US troops were deployed to Libreville, Gabon, in Africa, to provide security for Americans and "diplomatic facilities" in Congo.
    • Trump said in a statement to congressional leaders that he deployed the troops on Wednesday in the event "violent demonstrations" happen after Congo held its presidential election on December 30.
    • Congo is expected to release provisional results of the election early next week; however, some election monitors warned that the results may have been tainted.

    President Donald Trump announced that 80 US troops were deployed to Libreville, Gabon, in Africa, to provide security for Americans and "diplomatic facilities" in Congo.

    Trump said in a statement to congressional leaders that he deployed the troops on Wednesday in the event "violent demonstrations" happen after Congo held its presidential election on December 30.

    Trump said the troops "will remain in the region until the security situation ... becomes such that their presence is no longer needed," and that he may deploy additional forces to Gabon "if necessary."

    Congo is expected to release provisional results of the election early next week; however, some election monitors warned that the results may have been tainted. The international community has raised concerns that a disputed result could cause unrest, as was the case after the 2006 and 2011 elections.

    President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power for 18 years, promised to leave office, but said he would remain active in politics.

    The electoral commission accused the country's Catholic Church, which represents 40% of the country's 80 million people, of "preparing an insurrection" by saying it knows the winner of the presidential election. Representatives of the conference of the church's bishop said the votes revealed a clear winner — a move seen by some people as a warning against vote rigging by the government.

    On Thursday, the US State Department called on the electoral commission to ensure votes were accurately counted and threatened to impose sanctions against those who undermined the process or threatened the country's peace and stability.

    SEE ALSO: Retired US admiral slams Trump's views of the military in a stunning opinion column: Trump thinks his military generals are 'Rambos'

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    wealthy young celebrate

    • It's that time again: Wall Street bonus season.
    • Wall Street bankers make healthy base salaries, but the annual bonus is where the industry's best earn their fortunes.
    • Business Insider has provided an outline of when each bank is expected to announce bonuses.

    The most exciting, and potentially nerve-wracking, time of year on Wall Street is upon us again: Bonus season.

    While most employees at the big US banks command healthy six-figure base salaries, the annual bonus is where the best on Wall Street really earn the fortunes that fund their lavish vacation homes in the Hamptons and Nantucket.

    Compensation can vary significantly across teams and business lines, but a closely watched industry report anticipated healthy bonus increases for most of Wall Street.

    But that was before the markets went haywire in December.

    Volatility, which laid dormant in 2017 but resumed with a vengeance late last year, is usually good news for traders, especially those in equity derivatives, as it tends to generate more client activity.

    But that's not true across the board, and December's stock market wipeout — the worst December since the Great Depression— may have taken a hatchet to some bonus pools. 

    Business Insider spoke with people familiar with bonus schedules at the big banks. Bonus dates have been known to change at the last moment, but as of right now, here's when Wall Street's top banks are expected to announce bonuses:

    • Citigroup is expected to kick off bonus season, disclosing compensation after earnings are announced on January 14. They tend to pay out right at the end of the month.
    • JPMorgan Chase is set to announce in the middle of that week, starting January 16 and continuing the next couple of days. The bonuses get paid out at the end of January, depending on where the employee is located in the world. 
    • Goldman Sachswill announce on January 16th — the same day it reports earnings — to partners, and a day later to non-partners.
    • Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley hasn't yet set a formal date yet, but is expected to announce the week of earnings. It reports on January 17.
    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the last to go of the big US banks. It is planning to announce the following week, on January 22.

    The bonuses are typically paid out a week or two after they are announced, unless otherwise noted.

    Representatives from each of the banks declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

    Europe's largest banks report earnings after the US banks and start announcing bonuses afterward as well, usually in early February.

    If you have any insights into bonus season (comp numbers, expected dates, tips, advice, tales of success, excess, or horror stories), feel free to send an email to amorrell@businessinsider.com or dcampbell@businessinsider.com.

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    • The payments ecosystem is undergoing a period of digital transformation, which will spur tremendous growth in money moved around the globe in the next five years.
    • Consumers and businesses will make 841 billion noncash transactions worldwide in 2023, up from 577 billion in 2018.
    • The next five years will mark a pivotal transformation in how companies and consumers handle payments.

    The impact of payments’ digital transformation is rippling around the world, in both advanced economies and developing countries.

    Payments Forecast Book Cover

    Across major global regions, the total volume of e-commerce transactions is expected to rise 91% over the next five years to hit $5.7 trillion by 2023.

    With such impending immense growth, it’s crucial for any business that even touches the payments industry to understand what’s ahead.

    Take, for example, noncash transactions, which include debit card, credit card, direct debit, and credit transfer transactions that are conducted either online or offline. Consumers and businesses will make 841 billion noncash transactions globally in 2023, a 46% surge from 577 billion in 2018. The rise in global card and terminal penetration, coupled with increasing digital payments volume, will will be the key drivers in this growth.

    To successfully navigate this changing landscape, individuals and organizations must understand the full extent to which digital transformation will affect the payments industry, the key drivers of this growth, and how it all relates to the work they do every day.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has forecasted the future of the payments ecosystem in The Payments Forecast Book 2018— and the next five years will be critical for the following four areas:

    • Global Payments: Asia, North America, and Europe will be the three main growth regions in the next five years, and will make up 70% of all noncash transaction growth by 2023.
    • US Payments: In the US, P2P and retail payments combined will still be less than a quarter of the size of the B2B payments market by 2023 ($6.3 trillion vs. $27.3 trillion).
    • US E-Commerce:Total e-commerce spending in the U.S. will surpass $1 trillion by 2023, and the average consumer will spend $2,959 online.
    • US Emerging Payments: By 2023, 67% of US adults will have used BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In Store) at least once in the last 12 months.

    Want to Learn More?

    People, companies, and organizations all over the world are racing to adopt the latest payments solutions and prevent growing pains amidst a technological transformation. The Payments Forecast Book 2018 from Business Insider Intelligence is a detailed four-part slide deck outlining the most important trends impacting the payments ecosystem around the world — and the key drivers propelling each segment forward.

    Representing thousands of hours of exhaustive research, our multipart forecast books are considered must-reads by thousands of highly successful business professionals. These informative slide decks are packed with charts and statistics outlining the most influential trends on the leading edge of your industry. Keep them for reference or drop the most valuable data into your own presentations to share with your teams.

    Whether you’re newly interested in a topic or you already consider yourself a subject matter expert, The Payments Forecast Book 2018 can provide you with the actionable insights you need to make better decisions.

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    pos terminals graphicThis 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.

    The downfall of US brick-and-mortar commerce is overblown — despite sharp gains in e-commerce, which will nearly double between now and 2021, the lion’s share of purchasing continues to take place in-store. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, since the online environment can’t yet compensate for the reasons customers like brick-and-mortar shopping.

    That means the point-of-sale (POS) terminal, which merchants use to accept payments of all types and to complete transactions, isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean it’s not changing. As merchants look to cut costs amidst shifts in consumer shopping habits, POS terminals, which were once predominantly hardware offerings used exclusively for payment acceptance, are evolving into full-service, comprehensive solutions. These new POS terminals are providing an array of business management solutions and connected offerings to complement payment services. 

    This is where the smart terminal, a new product that’s part-tablet, part-register, comes in. Merchants are increasingly seeking out these offerings, which afford them the connectivity, mobility, and interoperability to run their entire business. And that’s shaking up the space, since it’s not just legacy firms, but also mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) players and newer upstarts, that offer these products. 

    As merchants begin demanding a wide variety of payment solutions, terminal providers are scrambling to meet their needs in order to maintain existing customers and attract new ones. This is leading to rapid innovation and increased competition in both the POS terminal hardware and software spaces.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the shifts in this landscape, how leading players can meet them, and who’s doing it most effectively.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Evolving merchant needs are impacting POS terminal players’ strategies. Merchants select terminal providers based on four key areas: payment functionality, user experience (UX), over-the-top (OTT) offerings, and distribution/customer service. Terminal firms need to innovate in these areas, or risk falling behind.
    • Larger players need to double down on existing success. Smaller players can often be more nimble, which gives them the opportunity to innovate more quickly and build in-demand solutions. That’s a disadvantage to market leaders; however, they can, and should, leverage their massive distribution networks when upgrading or updating their offerings. Meanwhile, smaller players can win by focusing on niches instead.
    • It’s all about the platform. No single feature is likely to make or break a merchant’s decision to pursue a specific provider. Above all, they want a robust ecosystem that can evolve over time. 

    In full, the report:

    • Explains the current state of in-store retail and why terminal firms need to evolve to meet it.
    • Groups features that matter to merchants and explains why they’re important and what terminal providers stand to gain from focusing on them.
    • Determines the leading players in the space.
    • Assesses how the leading players stack up, and which offerings are the most comprehensive.
    • Issues recommendations about how to develop an attractive platform that best serves merchants' needs as the market continues to shift. 

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

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    And more!
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    • The American Dialect Society named "tender-age shelter" the 2018 "Word of the Year."
    • The term was used by the US government to describe facilities designed to house babies and young children who have been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, due to changes in the Trump administration's immigration policy.
    • In related votes, "wall" was named "Political Word of the Year" and "techlash" the "Digital Word of the Year."

    One of the Trump administration's most-controversial policies has resulted in 2018's "Word of the Year."

    A group of almost 300 linguists and word experts chose "tender-age shelter" as 2018's word of the year at the American Dialect Society's annual conference on Friday.

    "The use of highly euphemistic language to paper over the human effects of family separation was indication of how words in 2018 could be weaponized for political necessity," Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society’s new words committee.

    The vote, held this year in New York City, aims to crown the word or phrase that defined the year and saw widespread or innovative usage.

    The Trump administration set up multiple "tender-age" facilities over the summer to detain thousands of babies and other young children separated from their families as a result of the Trump administration's immigration policy at the US-Mexico border. The family separation policy sparked widespread, bipartisan condemnation throughout the last half of 2018.

    Linguistically, experts latched onto the phrase "tender age" as a euphemism meant to downplay the harsh conditions of the facilities, in which the children were reported to be kept in cages and in some cases, subjected to abuse from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents. The Guardian's Stephen Poole wrote in June that the term "has the whiff of Orwell’s Big Brother."

    This political nature of this year's winning word continued a trend for the group of language experts. In 2017, the society chose "fake news" as the word of the year, citing Trump's redefinition of the term from merely "falsehoods presented as news" to "actual news that is claimed to be untrue."

    In a companion vote, "wall" was named the "Political Word of the Year," referring to Trump's proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. Other nominees in that category included "blue wave"— referring to the Democratic Party's gains in the 2018 midterm elections — and "lodestar"— a word used by a Trump official in an anonymous New York Times op-ed that sent the internet into a frenzy as people tried to guess its author.

    Meanwhile, "techlash," defined as "backlash against tech innovators," was named "Digital Word of the Year." And in the category of "Euphemism of the Year," the runaway winner was "racially charged," described by the language group as a "circumlocution of 'racist.'"

    The American Dialect Society has chosen the word of the year each year since 1990. Previous winners of the contest include "occupy" in 2011, "bailout" in 2008, and "metrosexual" in 2003.

    See all the 2018 words of the year below (winners in bold)

    WORD OF THE YEAR

    • (the) wall: proposed barrier along the US/Mexico border to prevent illegal crossings
    • yeet: indication of surprise or excitement
    • Individual 1: Legal code name used to identify President Donald Trump in court filings
    • tender-age camp/shelter/facility: government detention center for children of asylum seekers
    • white caller crime: white people calling police on black people for doing mundane things
    • "X Strong": Word used in hashtag to suggest resilience (Pittsburgh Strong, etc.)

    POLITICAL WORD OF THE YEAR

    • blue wave: major Democratic electoral gain
    • caravan: procession of Central American asylum seekers to US/Mexico border
    • lodestar: guiding principle (used in op/ed by anonymous White House staffer)
    • nationalist: displaying a staunch belief in one’s own nation (used by Trump and supporters)
    • (the) wall: proposed barrier along the US/Mexico border to prevent illegal crossings

    DIGITAL WORD OF THE YEAR

    • blackfishing: pretending to be black on social media by using makeup and hair products
    • deepfake: realistic digitally composed video used to misrepresent someone
    • demonetize: remove ads from a YouTube channel to deprive the creator of revenue
    • finsta: fake Instagram account
    • techlash: backlash against tech innovators

    SLANG/INFORMAL WORD OF THE YEAR

    • big d--- energy: calm, unassuming attitude
    • canceled: firmly rejected or dismissed
    • mood, big mood: strong emotion of agreement
    • weird flex but OK: rejoinder to improper boast
    • yeet: indication of surprise or excitement

    MOST USEFUL

    • himpathy: flow of sympathy away from female victims toward their male victimizers
    • orbiting: ending communication with someone while still monitoring them on social media
    • preferred pronoun: pronoun that a person opts to use for himself/herself/themself/etc.
    • situationship: undefined personal relationship
    • Voldemorting: avoiding mention of unpleasant person or topic by using a replacement term

    MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED

    • cli-fi: science fiction relating to climate change
    • climate grief: negative feelings caused by climate-change-related weather events
    • hothouse Earth: runaway global warming
    • single-use: to be used once and destroyed

    MOST CREATIVE

    • girther: person skeptical of the president’s reported weight and height
    • procrasti-: related to procrastination
    • today years old: indication that someone has just recently learned something
    • treasonweasel: epithet for a traitorous person
    • white caller crime: white people calling police on black people for doing mundane things

    EUPHEMISM OF THE YEAR

    • executive time: presidential down-time
    • Individual 1: pseudonym for Trump in documents from the Mueller investigation
    • racially charged: circumlocution for “racist”
    • tender-age camp/shelter/facility: government detention center for asylum-seekers’ children

    WTF WORD OF THE YEAR

    • emotional support peacock: therapy animal that airline passenger tried to bring on board
    • incel: involuntary celibate (online subculture)
    • s---hole countries: Trump’s epithet for places he does not want to accept immigrants from
    • soy boy: term for a man perceived as not conforming to male gender stereotypes
    • deleted family unit: bureaucratic term referring to asylum-seeking families whose children were removed

    HASHTAG OF THE YEAR

    • #neveragain: call for gun-control measures after the Parkland shooting
    • #nottheonion: reporting something true that seems like satire from The Onion
    • #thankunext: expressing gratitude and readiness to move on (from Ariana Grande)
    • #timesup: movement protesting sexual assault

    EMOJI OF THE YEAR

    • lobster (adopted by trans community)
    • nail polish (indicating air of nonchalance)
    • facepalm (indicating exasperation, disbelief)
    • thinking face (indicating bemused pondering)

    SEE ALSO: The 10 words people couldn't stop looking up in 2018, according to Merriam-Webster

    DON'T MISS: I'm a nationally ranked Scrabble player, and I have a simple trick that can take your game to new heights

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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.

    mobile banking features

    In recent years, we've seen a ballooning of activity in fintech — an expansive term applied to technology-driven disruptions in financial services. And 2018 has been no different, with fintechs' staggering influence on the market evidenced by record funding levels for the industry — by Q3 2018, overall funding was already up 82% from 2017’s total figure, according to CB Insights.

    Additionally, this year marked a watershed moment for the industry, with the once clear distinction between fintechs and financial services proper now blurred significantly. Virtually every incumbent financial institution (FI) is now looking inward and engaging in an innovation drive, spurred on by competition from fintechs. As such, incumbents are now actively investing in, acquiring, and collaborating with their fintech rivals.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence details recent developments in fintech funding and regulation that are defining the environment these startups operate in. We also examine the business model changes being employed among different categories of fintechs as they strive to embed themselves further in mainstream finance and prove sustainability. Finally, we consider which elements of the fintech industry are rapidly rubbing off on incumbent financial services providers, and what the future of fintech will look like.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Funding Circle, GreenSky, Transferwise, Ant Financial, Nubank, Cellulant, Oscar Health, Stripe, One97, UiPath, LianLian Pay, Wacai.com, Gusto, Toast, PingPong, Flywire, Deposit Solutions, Root, Robinhood, Atom, N26, Revolut, OneConnect, PolicyBazaar, WeCash, Zurich, OneDegree, Dinghy, Vouch Insurance, Laka, Cleo, Ernit, Monzo, Moneybox, Bud, Tandem, Starling, Varo Money, Square, ING, Chase, AmEx, Amazon, Monese, Betterment, Tiller Investments, West Hill Capital, Square, Ameritrade, JPMorgan, eToro, Lendy, OnDeck, Ripple, Quorom, Chain, Coinbase, Fidelity, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Bank of America, TransferGo, Klarna, Western Union, Veriff, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada, Facebook, ThreatMetrix, Relx, Entersekt, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Gemalto, Lloyd's of London, Kingdom Trust, Aviva, Symbility LINK, eTrade, Allianz, AXA, Broadridge, TD Bank, First Republic Bank, BBVA Compass, Capital One, Silicon Valley Bank, Credit Suisse, Ally, Goldman Sachs.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Fintech funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.
    • Some new regions, including South America and Africa, are emerging on the fintech scene.
    • We've seen considerable scaling in older corners of the fintech ecosystem, including among neobanks and alt lenders.
    • Some fintechs, including a number of insurtechs, have dipped into new markets to escape heightened competition.
    • Emergent areas like blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), as well as digital identity, are gaining traction.
    • Many incumbents are undertaking business transformations that aim to reimagine everything from products and services to front-end systems and back-end processes.

     In full, the report:

    • Details the funding and regulatory landscape in the US, Europe, and Asia.
    • Gives an overview into a number of fintech segments and how they've changed over the past year.
    • Discusses how incumbents are reacting to fintechs in order to stay relevant in the changing financial services sector.
    • Evaluates what the future of fintech will look like and what trends to look out for in the coming year.

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

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    SEE ALSO: How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most

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    donald trump

    • President Donald Trump met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on Friday to discuss the ongoing government shutdown.
    • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters afterward that Trump threatened to keep the government shut down for "months or even years."
    • Newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said the meeting was "contentious."

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Friday that President Donald Trump threatened to keep the federal government partially shut down for "months or even years," unless Democrats relent to the president's demands for US-Mexico border-wall funding.

    Speaking after a roughly two-hour meeting with Trump at the White House, Schumer said Democrats urged Trump to agree to a short-term funding extension that would reopen the government and allow the leaders to continue discussions over border security without leaving 800,000 federal workers in limbo.

    "We told the president we needed the government open. He resisted," Schumer said. "In fact he said he would keep it closed for a very long period of time — months or even years."

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who took over the House's top job on Thursday, also called the meeting "sometimes contentious."

    "But we recognize on the Democratic side that we really cannot resolve this until we open up government," Pelosi said. "We made that very clear to the president. Services are being withheld from the American people, and paychecks are being withheld from people who serve the needs of the American people. And our border security will suffer if we do not resolve this issue."

    Read more:The government shutdown is in its 14th day and there's no end in sight. Here's how Trump and Congress got into this mess.

    Trump spoke subsequently in the White House Rose Garden, sounding more upbeat about the meeting than Democrats.

    "I thought it was really a very, very good meeting. We're all on the same path in terms of wanting to get government open," Trump said. "We're going to be meeting — I've designated a group, and we're going to be meeting over the weekend, that group, to determine what we're going to do about the border."

    Trump also confirmed that he threatened a shutdown of "months or years" and rejected Pelosi and Schumer's calls to reopen the government before discussing border security.

    "We won't be opening until it is solved," the president said.

    At the same time, the president also reiterated his demands for a border wall, which Pelosi and Schumer have categorically rejected.

    House Democrats passed two bills on Friday that would reopen the government and extend funding into February for the agencies that are closed. Pelosi and the Democratic leadership said the measures would give the two sides time to come to an agreement.

    The Senate passed nearly identical bills before the Christmas break, but they were blocked by the then Republican House majority after Trump flip-flopped on his support for the extension because of blowback from conservative TV pundits and hardline lawmakers.

    With no solution reached, the government entered a partial shutdown on December 22.

    The shutdown has since been a political staring contest with both sides digging in on their positions and playing the blame game. Prior to the shutdown, Trump seemed happy to take ownership of the shutdown.

    "So I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down," Trump said. "I'm not going to blame you for it — the last time you shut it down, it didn't work. I will take the mantle of shutting it down."

    Read more: Trump says 'Democrats now own the shutdown' just 10 days after declaring he was 'proud to shut down the government'

    The shutdown is now in its 14th day, and, with no resolution in sight, there is a good chance the funding lapse will be the longest in modern history.

    The shutdown does not close the entire government, as Congress passed five of the 12 bills that fund various departments of the government. But many departments are still closed, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.

    Employees in those departments will go without pay for the duration of the shutdown, with a total of 800,000 federal employees affected.

    Of those workers, 420,000 are deemed essential, such as Coast Guard members and airport security, and are being forced to work with no pay. The other 380,000 employees are on furlough, meaning they do not receive pay and are not allowed to come in to work.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown

    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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    • The Internet of Things is fueling the data-based economy and bridging the divide between physical and digital worlds.
    • Consumers, companies, and governments will install more than 40 billion IoT devices worldwide through 2023.
    • The next five years will mark a pivotal transformation in how companies and jurisdictions operate, and how consumers live.

    Being successful in the digital age doesn’t just require knowing the latest buzzwords; it means identifying the transformational trends – and where they’re heading – before they ever heat up.

    IoT Forecast BookTake the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, which now receives not only daily tech news coverage with each new device launch, but also hefty investments from global organizations ushering in worldwide adoption. By 2023, consumers, companies, and governments will install more than 40 billion IoT devices globally. And it’s not just the ones you hear about all the time, like smart speakers and connected cars.

    To successfully navigate this changing landscape, individuals and organizations must understand the full extent and functionality of the “Things” included in this network, the key drivers of each market segment, and how it all relates to the work they do every day.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has forecasted the start of the IoT’s global proliferation in The IoT Forecast Book 2018— and the next five years will be transformational for consumers, enterprises, and governments.

    • Consumer IoT: In the US alone, the number of smart home devices is estimated to surpass 1 billion by 2023, with consumers dishing out about $725 per household — a total of over $90 billion in spending on IoT solutions.
    • Enterprise IoT: Comprising the most mature segment of the IoT, companies will continue pouring billions of dollars into connected devices and automation. By 2023, the total industrial robotic system installed base will approach 6 million worldwide, while annual spending on manufacturing IoT solutions will reach about $450 billion.
    • Government IoT: Governments globally are ushering in IoT devices to spur the development of smart cities, which would be equipped with innovations like connected cameras, smart street lights, and connected meters to provide a real-time view of traffic, utilities usage, crime, and environmental factors. Annual investment in this area is expected to reach nearly $900 billion by 2023.

    Want to Learn More?

    People, companies, and organizations all over the world are racing to adopt the latest IoT solutions and prevent growing pains amidst a technological transformation. The IoT Forecast Book 2018 from Business Insider Intelligence is a detailed three-part slide deck outlining the most important trends impacting consumer, enterprise, and government IoT — and the key drivers propelling each segment forward.

    Representing thousands of hours of exhaustive research, our multipart forecast books are considered must-reads by thousands of highly successful business professionals. These informative slide decks are packed with charts and statistics outlining the most influential trends on the leading edge of your industry. Keep them for reference or drop the most valuable data into your own presentations to share with your teams.

    Whether you’re newly interested in a topic or you already consider yourself a subject matter expert, The IoT Forecast Book 2018 can provide you with the actionable insights you need to make better decisions.

     

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