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The latest news from 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.

    Bissel cordless vacuum

    • There's no beating your standard upright vacuum cleaner when it comes to suction power and dirt-holding capacity.
    • However, cordless handheld vacuums are indispensable when you want to get where upright units have trouble, such as stairs and cars.
    • The Bissell Cordless Hand and Car Vacuum excels because it can run for about 20 minutes on a single charge, has powerful suction, and is light enough that you can use it without tiring out your arm.
    • Though it's expensive (currently $127.49 on Amazon), it comes with several attachments and is backed by a limited two-year warranty.

    Most of the clean-up work around my house is carried out by robot vacuums.

    Unfortunately, there aren't any models on the market yet that can go up and down stairs or go out to my car and clean it up. This is where a good handheld vacuum comes in, well, handy.

    Bissell recently sent me its Lightweight Cordless Hand Vacuum and Car Vacuum (model 1985) for free to test. Here are my experiences with it.

    My first experiences with the Bissell Cordless Hand Vacuum

    The Bissell Cordless Hand Vacuum comes with four cleaning attachments:

    • Motorized brush roll— Within this attachment is a rotating brush that lifts and removes debris, such as pet hair, from a variety of surfaces, including carpets and upholstery.
    • Dusting brush — The soft bristles sweep up dust to be sucked up.
    • Extended dusting tool — This has the same soft bristles as the dusting brush but is extended for reaching cobwebs or other hard-to-reach places.
    • Crevice tool — Stored inside the handle, the crevice tool really gets into corners and between cushions.

    Additionally, there is an extendable hose built into the vacuum.

    The Bissell vacuum runs on a strong 22V lithium-ion battery that is designed to maintain a steady suction as long as it's running. Lithium-ion batteries can also sit for long periods of time without losing their charge. To charge the vac, you simply plug one end of the adapter into your wall and the other into the unit.

    Though I recommend reading the safety precautions in the manual, the vacuum is intuitive enough that I was able to start using it immediately after a short initial charge without any instruction.

    How the Bissell Cordless Hand Vacuum performed

    What I like most about the Bissell Cordless Hand Vacuum is that my 5-year-old, Bucky, can use it. The vacuum only weighs about 3.25 pounds so it's easy for him to hold. One time, Bucky spilled a bunch of dry Cheerios all over the floor. I got him to clean it up on his own by letting him use the vacuum. And his favorite chore now is vacuuming the stairs. He isn't able to empty the dust bin on his own, but that's the easy part.

    To empty the dustbin, you simply remove the dustbin from the unit, open the latch on the bottom over your trash can, and let everything drop out. To clean the filter, you gently wash it under warm water and let it dry out completely before replacing it.

    The motorized brush roll is another useful feature. I found it worked a lot better than the other attachments when it came to cleaning up just about anything. A couple of messes it handled particularly well were pet hair — we have two cats and a dog — and glitter, which is always a challenge. The two bright LEDs directed ahead of the suction head are also helpful for getting into dark corners and spots where other lighting doesn't reach.

    When you're cleaning your car, you don't want the vacuum to die on you. So, to test out the battery life of the Bissell 1985 Vacuum, I cleaned my Prius and a friend's minivan. I was able to complete the task on a single charge. The battery lasted over 20 minutes. You can then charge the battery for an hour for a short cleaning session or four hours to get it back to full juice.

    bissel vacuum

    Some concerns about the vacuum

    After using the vacuum for about two months, it made a bad sound while I was emptying it and simply stopped working. It wouldn't charge. I emailed Bissell about it, and they got back to me within 24 hours. They sent me a replacement for free and a return label to send back the dud. I didn't even have to flash my media credentials. That's excellent customer service.

    When we brought in the Christmas tree this season, we scattered quite a few pine needles all over. I figured it would be just another job for the Bissell to conquer. Unfortunately, the needles quickly clogged the tube, and the suction disappeared. I cleared the blockage and tried again but got the same results. I had to resort to an old-fashioned broom and dustpan.

    The Bissell Handheld Vacuum is loud. I placed my sound meter approximately 12 inches away from the unit while it was running, and it registered 95 decibels. So, you may not want to do any cleaning when people are sleeping in the next room.

    The bottom line

    Overall, the Bissell Cordless Hand Vacuum is an excellent cleaning tool to have at your disposal, especially if you have pets and accident-prone kids.

    The attachment selection makes it easy to reach a variety of areas, the battery life is long enough for most tasks, and the machine is light enough for people of all abilities to use for a prolonged period of time. The price is a bit much, but the vacuum is backed by a two-year limited warranty and exceptional customer service.

    Buy the Bissell Lightweight Cordless Hand Vacuum and Car Vacuum on Amazon for $127.49

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    autonomous trucking graphic

    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.

    Trucking is set to transform radically in the coming years, with innovative technologies enabling trucks to take over more and more driving responsibilities, saving time and money for operators and businesses that rely on shipping.

    Autonomous trucks are being tested on roads around the world, and systems from startups like Peloton and Embark could make their way into commercial trucks as soon as next year. Fleets will be able to leverage autonomous technologies to cut costs and gain a critical edge over competitors.

    But to start planning for, and to eventually implement, those technologies, companies need to know what sorts of systems will be ready and when, and what regulatory hurdles will need to be overcome to get autonomous trucks on the road. 

    In The Autonomous Trucking Report, Business Insider Intelligence provides an early glimpse into the emerging autonomous trucking market. First, we look at the trucking market as it stands today, offering a basic profile of the industry and highlighting a number of the challenges and issues it faces. Then, we go through the three waves of autonomous technology that are set to upend the industry — platooning, semi-autonomous systems, and fully autonomous trucks — looking at who is making strides in each of these areas, when the technology can be expected to start making an impact, and what companies can do to get ahead of the curve.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Advanced and autonomous technology will enable operators and shipping firms to eradicate some of the challenges that have long plagued them. Trucks will take over more and more driving responsibilities, saving time and money for operators and businesses that rely on shipping.
    • The impact of autonomous technologies on the trucking industry will come in three major waves: platooning or fuel-saving vehicle convoys, semi-autonomous highway control systems, and fully autonomous trucks.
    • Change to the trucking industry will be gradual but inexorable. Companies with foresight can start to make long-term plans to account for the ways that autonomous technologies will change how goods and products move from place to place.

    In full, the report:

    • Analyzes the development of autonomous trucking technology.
    • Explains the waves in which advanced and autonomous technologies will start to impact the trucking industry, providing detailed explanations of how a company can take advantage of the disruptive technology transforming logistics at each stage.
    • Profiles the efforts of the companies that are at the forefront of new technology in trucking, looking at what they're working on and when their efforts could start to impact the market.

    To get this report, subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 275 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

    Or, purchase & download The Autonomous Trucking Report directly from our research store

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    hacienda healthcare

    • A nursing home in Phoenix, Arizona is under investigation after a patient who has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade gave birth late last month.
    • INSIDER viewed a complaint filed against the Hacienda Skilled Nursing Facility from 2013, in which a staffer was accused of making "inappropriate, sexual statements" about patients.
    • The staffer in question, who is not named, was immediately fired when the comments were reported to administrators, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services report.

    A Phoenix, Arizona nursing home is at the center of a rape investigation after a patient who has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade gave birth at the facility last month.

    INSIDER has since learned that the Hacienda Skilled Nursing Facility was investigated in 2013 after a staffer was accused of making "inappropriate, sexual statements" about patients.

    The incident was detailed in an Arizona Department of Health Services complaint.

    According to the complaint, three workers overheard the staffer in question make a comment about one client, who has an intellectual disability, "being in a sexual position."

    The staffer also made comments after observing two other intellectually disabled patients "performing self-stimulation" during "private personal time," the complaint says.

    When the staffer noticed a fourth client, who has a psycho-motor disability, with a semi-erect penis one day, the complaint says the worker remarked that he was going to have a "happy morning."

    Once the staffer's comments came to light, he or she admitted to making the inappropriate statements and was immediately fired.

    cops outside hacienda healthcare

    The other staffers involved were also fired since they didn't make a report about the sexual comments until November 10, the complaint continues. Such incidents are supposed to immediately be reported to the clinic's administration, as state law mandates.

    Arizona DHS revisited the facility a month after the complaint and reported that the "deficiencies have been corrected."

    Read more:Police are investigating a sexual assault after a woman who has been in a vegetative state for over a decade gave birth

    INSIDER reached out to the facility's parent company for comment on Monday, but did not immediately receive a response.

    On Friday, INSIDER also discovered that the nursing facility was cited in 2017 for failing to treat one resident with "dignity, respect and consideration."

    In that case, Arizona DHS public records revealed that a female certified nursing assistant came into a bathroom while a male patient was showering naked. The patient said this happened "on many occasions" and that it "made him feel uncomfortable."

    CBS affiliate Arizona's Family was the first to report the story of the woman in a vegetative state who gave birth to a baby on December 29.

    A source told the outlet that staffers at the clinic had no idea she was pregnant until she went into labor. The patient has lived at the facility for more than a decade, after a near-drowning incident left her in a vegetative state. Local police have launched a sexual assault investigation.

    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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    muse 2 headband

    • I tried Muse 2, a high-tech headband that pairs with a mobile app to provide guided meditation with real-time feedback on brain activity, heart rate, breathing, and more.
    • The devices translate this data into soundscapes that change based on your level of calmness. 
    • It was sometimes difficult to properly place the device on my head, but sessions did make me feel less stressed.

    I have long been intimidated by meditation. I'm terrible at letting go of thoughts that trouble me and my attention span is tragically short. Even the thought of sitting and doing nothing for a few minutes makes me restless. 

    But I know that I could probably benefit from a regular meditation practice. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that it has real benefits for the brain and body. Meditating appears to improve focus, decrease stress, and has been linked with lower blood pressure and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety, as Business Insider's Erin Brodwin has reported. 

    So when I was offered the chance to try Muse 2— a brain- and body-sensing headband that's meant to help demystify meditation — I saw it as an opportunity. 

    Muse 2 was released in October 2018, roughly four years after the launch of the original Muse, a headband that tracked electrical activity in the brain using electroencephalography (EEG) sensors.

    The new version still monitors brain activity, but it's also equipped with additional sensors that measure heart rate, breathing, and body movement. Now, using the headband and the companion mobile app, users can choose from four different types of meditation: Mind, heart, body, and breath. 

    In meditation sessions, Muse 2 and the app translate those bodily functions into real-time feedback, synthesizing soundscapes that let you know how calm (or not) you really are. 

    muse 2 meditation headband review

    "We'd always been focused very heavily on the mind, but if you can't calm your body, there is no way you're going to calm your mind,"Chris Aimone, Muse's co-founder and chief technology officer, told INSIDER in an interview in October 2018. "The main difference with this new version is we're now giving feedback on other things as well as the brain." 

    "Meditation is a holistic experience," he added. "Our goal with this new Muse is to try to honor that."

    Here's what happened when I tried Muse 2 as a meditation novice. 

    Muse meditations start by firing up the mobile app

    muse headband app

    To start using Muse, you first launch the mobile app (available for Apple and Android devices) and choose which kind of meditation you want: Mind, heart, body, or breath. From there, you can choose a time length for your session, from one minute all the way up to an hour.

    Some categories have additional customizable options. In mind sessions, for example, you can choose from an array of soundscapes to accompany your meditation, like rainforest, beach, and desert. (I was partial to the one called "City Park.")

    You can also choose from guided exercises, or opt to meditate with no instructions at all.

    Read more: Meditating every day has done wonders for my anxiety — here's why you should try it

    When you've locked in your options, you put on the headband, which connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth. Then you get started. 

    Each type of meditation is different.

    The goal of mind meditations is to calm the brain. You sit in a comfortable position, eyes closed, and attempt to let thoughts drift away. All the while, the app translates your brain activity into a soundscape. When your brain is calm, the sounds are peaceful, and when your brain is active, they're more chaotic — think rumbling traffic or heavy winds. (This dynamic takes some getting used to, especially since the chaotic sounds might trigger more thoughts or stress at first.)

    Heart meditations emphasize awareness of your heartbeat. The aim is to notice how it changes from moment to moment and, hopefully, keep it in a slow, calm range. In the app, your actual heartbeat is represented by a drum beat that speeds up and slows down in real time.

    Body meditations are all about staying still. If you move, the app produces the sound of wind chimes. 

    "The model is actually having a virtual set of wind chimes that encircle the body," Aimone said. "Whenever you adjust your posture or fidget, this causes a collision with these virtual wind chimes and causes the sound to happen."

    muse app meditation selection

    In breath meditations, the goal is to breathe rhythmically along with a guide. Ticking sounds signal that it's time to inhale, and a whooshing sound indicates an exhale. If your breaths match the guide, the app produces pleasant, harmonic tones. 

    Once each session ends, you can type a quick journal entry about how it went, use a frowny-to-smiley-face scale to document your mood, and look through data about your performance. 

    The in-app scoring system wasn't helpful for me, but others may find it useful for motivation

    Muse 2 doesn't just provide real-time feedback. Once a session ends, you're provided a deluge of data tracking your performance. 

    First, there are line graphs showing how your heartbeat, brain activity, movement, or breathing fluctuated throughout a session. Then, there are simple point totals based on how calm you were: Heart, body, and breathing meditations net "Muse Points," while mind meditations get you "Calm Points."

    heart meditation stats.PNG

    You receive stars for "recoveries"— moments when you're able to rein in a quickening heartbeat or calm an active brain, for example. You'll also see a measure for "birds." In some meditations, bird chirps represent an extended period of calm — they're a little like bonus points. 

    There are awards, too. During one mind meditation, I got the "Quiet Award," given for spending more than two minutes "in a state of restful focus."

    On one hand, metrics like these could be a useful way to motivate yourself or track progress. But I wondered if points and awards for meditating have the potential to be distracting. A blip in your thoughts or breathing could spark worries about how your score will be impacted, possibly thwarting a calm state. 

    Balancing these two perspectives has been a challenge for the Muse team, Aimone told INSIDER. 

    "In general we move further and further away from having quantified metrics, but it's a challenge because I would say the majority of people come to a product like this with the expectation [of metrics]," he said. "So there's the problem of both meeting their expectation but ultimately trying to lead people away from it being a goal-oriented activity ... We try to establish a balance where the score isn't [a place] where judgment begins. The journey has to be one where ultimately the score becomes less important."

    I acknowledge that other people may find this post-session data useful for tracking progress. But it didn't feel especially helpful to me, as the real-time, ever-shifting soundscapes during my meditations were enough on their own.

    The device is pricey and the sensors were sometimes fussy

    muse 2

    Muse 2's $249 price tag is high, especially when there are some meditation apps and guides available for less money or for free. But if you have the cash, and you think you'd be lost trying to meditate without some type of feedback, the headband could be a good investment. 

    My other major qualm: It was sometimes tough to properly place the device on my head.

    Before each meditation, the app confirms that the appropriate sensor is clearly reading the body signal it's supposed to track. In my experience, it was occasionally tricky to ensure that all seven EEG sensors were in the right place and tracking electrical activity in my brain. Sometimes it took several minutes of waiting or fiddling with headband placement before I could start. Once I had to restart the headband and app altogether. 

    I tried the earlier Muse headband a few years ago while working for a different publication, and had the same issue back then, so maybe it's something to do with my head shape or my skin. Still, waiting for the sensors to find their sweet spot was mildly frustrating. 

    But I loved the bevy of meditation options, and even short sessions made me feel calmer

    I meditated 10 times during a week in late 2018, with a few refresher sessions at the start of 2019. I tried all four types of meditation in sessions ranging from three to 10 minutes long. 

    While I can't speak to long-term changes in my mental state, the sessions did make me feel calmer and less stressed right after I finished them. I appreciated that perk since chronic stress is known to sap sleep quality, exacerbate skin problems like acne and eczema, and negatively affect other aspects of health.

    I particularly liked completing one or two sessions just before bed. I found closing my eyes and eliminating distractions, even for just three minutes, set a good foundation for falling asleep.

    muse 2 meditation headband

    My favorite session of all was a 10-minute body meditation. Staying still for that long allowed the muscles in shoulders, back, and arms to really relax; when time was up, my hands felt pleasantly heavy resting in my lap. 

    Read more: I woke up at 4 a.m. and spent 10 hours meditating for 10 days straight — here's why you should try it

    I also had some difficulties. The breathing sessions sometimes left me lightheaded. I struggled to keep my heart rate in the low, relaxed range determined by the app.

    The mind meditations were the most challenging. At first, when I heard those you're-not-calm noises filter into the soundscape, I felt like the session was a bust. Sometimes that thought launched a cycle of even more brain activity and I felt powerless to calm my mind. 

    I'm sure that my meditating abilities would improve with long-term practice. But in my brief time using Muse 2, I had the most success — not points-wise, just experience-wise — when I accepted those bouts of intense brain activity, rather than judging myself for them.

    They also provided an opportunity for reflection. On nights when my mind-meditation soundscape sounded like a hurricane, I was prompted to think about the reasons why, then mull over concrete steps I might take to help myself feel calmer. 

    Plus, these struggles made me extra appreciative of Muse 2's multiple meditation options beyond the brain-based sessions. The body, heart, and breath meditations all allow more control and agency. Even if you're thinking in circles, you could probably manage to sit still for a few minutes or practice slow breathing. These options can help cut down on discouragement, Aimone explained.

    "Take, for example, the body meditation," he said. "If someone finds themselves fidgeting in their practice, it's not as frustrating an experience as having a busy mind and not being able to calm it."

    Plus, the variety kept me interested in coming back to the app. I think it's harder to get bored of a meditation habit when you can design a unique experience each day. 

    To purchase or learn more about Muse 2, visit the Muse website

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: New Yorkers are obsessed with this meditation dome


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    Urfer Park in Sarasota, Florida.

    • Heather Carpenter was arrested last month in Sarasota, Florida, and charged with third degree felony criminal mischief. 
    • Her arrest came after she was accused of spreading human feces over a Sarasota park's tables and grills ahead of a 7-year-old's birthday, police said. 
    • The 7-year-old was the daughter of the principal at the school where Carpenter worked as a substitute, police said. 
    • The principal said Carpenter was angry because she believed that a complaint she had filed was not being properly addressed. 

    A substitute teacher in Florida is accused of sabotaging a 7-year-old girl's birthday party by spreading human feces over park tables and grills, police said.

    Heather Carpenter

    Heather Carpenter, 42, was arrested and charged with third-degree felony criminal mischief last month in connection to the incident, WWSB reported on Monday.

    Police told WWSB that Carpenter was angry over a complaint with the school she was working at, Phillippi Shores Elementary, in Sarasota, Florida, and decided to sabotage the principal's daughter’s birthday on December 1.

    The principal, Allison Foster, had invited all of the children in her daughter's class to the party, police said.

    Read more:A woman sent more than 159,000 text messages to a man she's accused of stalking after going on a single date, according to police

    But ahead of the party, at 6:30 a.m., police said they received a call from a witness who had seen a woman in rubber gloves and a face mask putting fecal matter on seven tables and two grills at Urfer Park in Sarasota.

    Police learned Carpenter could be a suspect after speaking to Foster.

    Foster told police that Carpenter had filed a complaint that she did not feel was being addressed properly by the administration.

    She also confirmed that Carpenter was a substitute teacher at the school, and Carpenter's own child was in her daughter's class.

    It is unclear what the complaint Carpenter made was about. 

    Police said Carpenter admitted to putting the fecal matter on tables and grills and was arrested on December 7.

    The park had to replace the area's tables at a cost of $1,400. The $650 grills were replaced to ensure food safety.

    In total, with labor, refunds to Foster's family for the party, and the new tables and grills, the damage cost Sarasota County $2,310.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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

    esports audience 2 1

    Esports, which is short for electronic sports, refers to competitive video gaming watched by spectators. Esports are not as mainstream as traditional sports in the US, but the number of esports fans globally is still sizable. The worldwide esports audience reached 335 million in 2017, according to Newzoo. 

    And there’s still significant room for growth beyond that — we predict that 600 million consumers globally will watch esports in 2023, up 79% from 2017. 

    A growing number of brands are acting to capitalize on the growth of esports as the majority of professional gaming fans are millennials and open to brand sponsors. Sixty-two percent of US esports viewers are aged 18-34, according to Activate, while 58% have a positive attitude towards brand involvement in esports, per Nielsen.

    Meanwhile, Newzoo anticipates global esports sponsorship revenue to reach $359 million in 2018, up 53% year-over-year. The growing esports audience and brand activity helps explains why high-profile public figures are jumping in to capitalize on the action: In late October, basketball legend Michael Jordan and platinum-selling artist Drake both made investments into separate esports ventures, for example. 

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence will explain the growth of the esports audience and why it presents an attractive advertising opportunity for brands. We'll begin by exploring the key drivers and barriers affecting esports audience growth. Finally, we'll detail the benefits of advertising to esports fans and outline the best practices for implementing a successful esports ad campaign.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Arby's, Audi, Bud Light, Hyundai, Intel, Mastercard, McDonald's, Red Bull, Skillz, and Turner.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • The number of esports fans globally is anticipated to climb 59% over the next five years, but there’s still significant room for growth.
    • This expansion will be driven by many factors, including investment from traditional sports leagues, a higher number of broadcast deals, and the expansion of the mobile-based esports scene.
    • The majority of esports fans are millennials, while data suggests that Gen Zers are more receptive to nontraditional sports, like esports, than traditional sports.
    • Brands can sponsor esports leagues, competitions, and players as well as advertise on digital platforms like Twitch to reach the eyeballs of esports fans.
    • Whatever shape a brand's esports ad campaign eventually takes, displaying an authentic commitment to the gaming world is paramount.

     In full, the report:

    • Outlines the drivers and potential barriers to esports audience growth.
    • Details the various reasons esports fans are a compelling advertising opportunity for brands.
    • Discusses the different ways brands can invest spend to reach the eyeballs of esports fans.
    • Explains best practices brands advertising to esports fans should adopt in order to make inroads with the gaming community. 

     

    SEE ALSO: The eSports competitive video gaming market continues to grow revenues & attract investors

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    abbas family

    • A Michigan family of five was killed in a car accident in Kentucky early Sunday morning, according to the Lexington Police Department.
    • The family's SUV was struck by a pickup truck that was traveling the wrong way down I-75, according to the news release.
    • The Fayette County coroner believes the truck driver was under the influence at the time, per NBC News.
    • NBC News also reports that the family was driving home from a vacation in Florida.

    A Michigan family of five was killed in a car accident in Kentucky, early Sunday morning, according to the Lexington Police Department.

    The family's SUV was struck by a pickup truck that was traveling the wrong way down the northbound lane of I-75, according to the news release. Per the release, an investigation found that the cars caught fire upon collision, killing the family of five and the driver of the pickup truck, a 41-year-old man.

    According to NBC News the family of five — Dr. Rima Abbas, 38, her and husband Issam Abbas, 42, and their children Ali, 14; Isabella, 13; and Giselle, 7, — were traveling home to Michigan from a family vacation in Florida when the crash happened. 

    The Fayette County Coroner believes the truck driver was under the influence at the time, per NBC News.

    Read more: A police officer wrote a letter to an 18-year-old they pulled over for driving 100 miles per hour, and the powerful message has gone viral

    Online, people — including community officials and friends — are mourning the Abbas family.

    "Such a terrible and tragic loss, our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy and our thoughts and prayers are with those grieving the loss of Issam Abbas, Dr. Rima Abbas and their children Ali, Isabelle, and Giselle," the ACC Arab American and Chaldean Council said in a statement on Facebook.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How this 100-year-old butcher shop took over NYC's meat scene


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    tusimple

    • TuSimple says it will have the largest self-driving trucking fleet by June, bringing its autonomous truck total to 40.
    • The company, based in San Diego and Beijing, is beating Tesla, Waymo, and other big names in the race for driverless trucks. 
    • According to a Morgan Stanley report, the labor savings from implementing driverless trucks would save the industry $70 billion per year.

    The electric Tesla Semi has been, in part, ballyhooed for its semi-autonomous driving options; it can travel in a convoy where one semi leads other vehicles autonomously.

    Trucking executives see the autonomous feature as a way to cut labor costsAccording to a Morgan Stanley report, the labor savings from implementing driverless trucks would save the industry $70 billion per year. Productivity would be up 30% because driverless trucks would run 24/7.

    But while Tesla is getting significant attention when it comes to driverless technology, it's losing out in the race for scalable, commercial, autonomous trucking. TuSimple, founded in 2015, announced today that, by June 2019, it will expand its fleet from 12 to 40 autonomous trucks on the road. That will make it the largest self-driving truck solutions company in the world. 

    Based in Beijing and San Diego, California, TuSimple is operating three to five revenue-generating trucking routes in Arizona. This year, TuSimple will expand to Texas.

    Chuck Price, chief product officer at TuSimple, told Business Insider that the company can't reveal its 12 contracted customers, but they include international Fortune 100 companies and household names.

    "We are the only company that is operating multiple revenue-generating routes from depot to depot (warehouse to warehouse)," Price told Business Insider. 

    Read more:One of the biggest problems facing self-driving trucks has little to do with the technology

    The fact that TuSimple is actually making money is a key differentiator from others in the autonomous trucking race. Tesla Semi is only available for pre-ordering right now; Walmart, UPS, FedEx, and other major companies have already pre-ordered the electric big-rig.

    Waymo is hauling freight in autonomous trucks, but only for the data centers of its parent company, Google. It hasn't announced commercial operations. 

    Volvo's latest self-driving truck model, which lacks a cabin, is still under development, and the company doesn't know when it will be available commercially. (Volvo does have a driverless truck operating in a highly controlled Norwegian mine.)

    And Uber shut down its self-driving truck program altogether this summer. 

    starsky robotics self driving trucks

    Other autonomous trucking companies have made headway into commercial operation. Starsky Robotics has been hauling freight with autonomous trucks since April 2017. Embark has also been moving goods with autonomous trucks since 2017.

    To be sure, these trucks aren't fully driverless. Price said each TuSimple truck has a systems engineer and a driver in them at all times when they're running. Their peers also have one or two people in the cabin still, and Starsky has drivers controlling the trucks from afar. 

    What sets TuSimple apart

    Price said the ultimate goal for TuSimple is full autonomy without any human driving intervention. Other models of driverless trucks suggest that it would be better to bring trucks to huge distribution centers right outside of key highways, then human drivers would take the loads to the final destinations at preexisting distribution centers and warehouses.

    "We would rather automate the process end to end," Price said. "We are demonstrating today in our testing and revenue runs full autonomy on these routes to deliver full depot-to-depot solutions. Our solution integrates seamlessly into existing fleet operations."

    That tactic is a bit more complicated as it requires local driving, which is less straight-forward than highway driving.

    tusimple1.JPG

    To convince their Fortune 100 clients to sign on as customers, Price said TuSimple brings potential customers into the truck and onto the open road, rather than create a highly controlled testing environment as his competitors do. 

    "We've been as transparent as we can be with these folks," Price said.

    He continued: 

    If you go to an autonomous vehicle company and say, 'I want do a demo,' most will give you a pretty controlled experience. They'll operate on a route that has controlled traffic or no traffic.

    We tend to not do that. We take them out in the worst traffic we can find and the worst conditions we can find. We let the demo operate in natural conditions. The truck handles it all and they see that. We're completely open with them and that's what gives us confidence.

    As for TuSimple's bigger-name competitors like Tesla or Waymo, Price said TuSimple simply has better technology than others. TuSimple's trucks have a vision range of up to 1,000 meters and a 360-degree camera.

    "We believe we have the most advanced system on the market," Price said.

    SEE ALSO: Driverless technology might actually add as many jobs as it destroys, but the new roles will be 'the worst trucking jobs around'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Craig Jackson of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company has one of the world's most expensive private garages — take a look inside


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    donald trump

    • The government shutdown is now in day 17 and shows no sign of ending.
    • The shutdown is already having an effect on government agencies, including closures and delays.
    • But as the shutdown drags on, the effects will only get worse.
    • Millions of Americans could start losing access to rent assistance and food stamps, airport security will get worse, and damage to national parks could increase.

    Despite daily negotiations between the two sides, neither President Donald Trump nor Democrats appear to be close to backing down in the battle over the government shutdown.

    The shutdown, which Trump kicked off by refusing a bipartisan, short-term funding extension before Christmas, appears poised to challenge the record for the longest federal funding lapse in the modern budgeting era.

    Already, the shutdown is starting to affect federal departments that are currently without funding. Everything from the National Zoo's panda cam to paychecks for hundred of thousands of federal workers have become affected.

    Read more:Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown»

    As the shutdown drags on, the fallout will only get worse. Many key programs are running on reserve funds during the month of January. When those wells run dry, everything from rent assistance to food stamps could be cut off.

    Here are a few examples of how a lengthy shutdown could get worse:

    • Federal workers and contractors are going to start missing paychecks: Paychecks for 800,000 federal workers covering the latter half of December went out at the start of January, but without a funding bill these workers will not get their next paycheck on January 15.
    • 40 million Americans could lose SNAP benefits: The US Deparment of Agriculture has said that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, has enough funding to get through January. The USDA also has a reserve fund of $3 billion for February, but the program costs around $4.7 billion a month. This means the more than 20 million households receiving assistance could start to go without aid next month. Other food programs including the USDA's Child Nutrition Programs will also run out of funding in February.
    • Americans depending on rent assistance could be evicted: The Department of Housing and Urban Development sent a letter to more than 1,500 landlords who have tenants that utilize rent assistance programs asking owners not to evict those tenants. According to The Washington Post, HUD officials didn't even realize the funding for those programs would lapse and were taken by surprise. Additionally, as NBC News reported, HUD has suspended health and safety inspections for low-income housing that receives funding from the agency.
    • Deteriorating airport security: Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers are currently working without pay during the shutdown. According to TSA union officials, some employees are starting to call in sick. The number of absent workers appears to already be taking a toll on wait times at some airports.
    • Air travel could get less safe: Federal Aviation Administration employees are working without pay, including air traffic controllers. Representatives for pilot unions have warned that the lack of oversight for critical safety equipment during the shutdown will also make flying riskier. 
    • A possible delay in tax refunds: While the Trump administration has said tax refunds will continue to go out during the shutdown, it is unclear if there is legal justification for the move. Depending on the legal standing for the administration's decision, millions of Americans filing their 2018 tax returns could see a delay in refunds.
    • National parks could get worse: At National Parks across the US, human waste is already piling up as many areas are understaffed or not monitored. The Interior Department has authorized parks to use money from entrance fees to cover cleaning expenses, a move that is legally questionable. There have also been multiple reports of damaged wildlife due to a lack of patrols, and parks have begun to close some areas due to safety concerns. These parks could also decide to close entirely, as many did during the 2013 shutdown, to prevent further degradation of the lands.

    SEE ALSO: The government shutdown is in its 17th day and there's no end in sight. Here's how Trump and Congress got into this mess.

    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 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.

    27581460_372588859882026_7794735158220816384_n

    • Whether you've seen its ads on social media or have admired its flats on your co-worker, San Francisco shoe startup Rothy's seems to be everywhere. 
    • Rothy's flats are more than just a pretty work shoe. Its rounded flats ($125), pointed flats ($145), and loafers ($165) are made from 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles and other recycled materials, are machine-washable, and feel light and flexible on your feet. 
    • Rothy's innovative approach results in a comfortable, stylish, and sustainable shoe that you'll love wearing. 

    Despite my mother's frequent pleas to wear heels more often ("They'll make your legs look longer!""They'll force you to stand up straighter!"), I've always been more of a flats girl. I've encountered few pairs of heels I can walk around in for more than an afternoon, but many pairs of flats I wouldn't mind living in. 

    Stephen "Hawthy" Hawthornwaite and Roth Martin realized such all-day comfort is important to women, but so is style, and increasingly, sustainability. Combining their names and these three priorities, they created Rothy's in 2016.

    In two short years, Rothy's flats have become the favorite work shoe for women in the exact two hubs that Allbirds, another San Francisco-based shoe startup known for innovations in comfort, style, and sustainability, has also seduced: the Bay Area and New York City. 

    Though both are trendy metropolitan areas, they're wildly different in pace of life and professional culture. That Rothy's is popular among both markets speaks to its quality, versatility, and understanding that geographic and cultural differences notwithstanding, women just want a pair of quality flats in their closet. 

    rothys red white and blue

    Rothy's makes three types of shoes: The Flat ($125), The Point ($145), and The Loafer ($165). These three classic silhouettes have a few modern twists, which speak directly to the conscious consumer who is more critical than ever of where her purchases come from and how they represent her personal style and values.

    The unique upper knits of the shoes are made from 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles, which are hot washed, sterilized, then fused into a fiber that is then knit into yarn. The company has repurposed 12 million water bottles (and counting) and joins the growing movement of brands also using recycled plastic to make sneakers, leggings, and even watch bands

    The use of sustainable materials doesn't stop there. The insoles contain recycled foam, while the rubber soles are carbon-free. The adhesives used are non-toxic and vegan. The packaging the shoes come in is made from post-consumer recycled materials and is biodegradable.

    marigold rothys

    Because of how they're made, Rothy's shoes have a distinctive feel and functional advantages that other flats don't. The seamless construction means there are no uncomfortably hard seams or edges (and is also less wasteful because this 3D process knits to the exact size of each pair and doesn't require any cutting), and the shoes are very light and flexible. They're moisture-wicking, fighting against sweat and rain, regardless of the season. They're also easy to maintain since they're machine-washable. 

    When it comes to style, you have plenty of options to choose from. There are more than 20 styles each of The Flat and The Point and eight styles of The Loafer, from the simple Black Flat and casual weekend essential Taupe Heather Loafer to the made-for-summer Marigold and sophisticated Lapis Python Point

    We tried four different pairs ourselves to see if they lived up to the brand's promises. Though there are other flats we favor in terms of perfect comfort, we did love the look and eco-friendly construction and would overall recommend Rothy's to anyone looking to invest in a pair of stylish, reliable flats. 

    flax birdseed flats, @madireimer on Instagram

    Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor: The Point in Flax Birdseye, $145

    I am extremely picky about flats, mostly because it's hard to find ones that are the perfect storm of cute, affordable, and comfortable. This pair almost meets all three of those criteria, with the exception of the price being slightly over what I'd normally pay. That said, they are quickly becoming my go-to pair for work. I won't call them the most comfortable flats in the world (that title is reserved for the Everlane Day Glove), but they are exceptionally easy to commute in and I don't pray for the moment I can take them off every time I wear them. 

    The one thing I will say is that if you have wide feet, the pointy-toe style is not for you. I'd go for the loafers in that case. I don't have wide feet but they're not narrow either — and these fit perfectly for me. My pinky toe rubbed against the seam a little bit, but not enough to cause a blister, so I'd call that a win. 

    Overall, the lack of break-in period (for me, at least) and the little bit of stretch afforded by the knit upper are the two features I've loved most and I'd definitely recommend these to anyone looking for a stylish work flat. 

    emerald point

    Connie Chen, Insider Picks reporter: The Point in Emerald, $145

    I’ve noticed quite a few women wearing Rothy’s because of their signature blue stitching and sleek look, so I was excited to finally give them a try. I love pointed flats, especially because I have small feet for my height and the shape helps elongate my feet, so right off the bat I liked Rothy's well-designed take on the style. Work flats tend towards neutral colors, but I had plenty of pretty and jewel-toned options to choose from, including this deep Emerald green. 

    When I first slipped my foot in, it almost felt like the flats would be too big, but they turned out to hug my feet perfectly. Though they are designed to have a slight give, the company does recommend ordering half a size up if you have wide feet. As with many flats, there was a slight break-in period, but the plus is that they were very light on my feet the whole time, making the process a bit more comfortable. 

    Plastic water bottles don't initially sound like they would translate well into a good pair of flats, so I was impressed with how well Rothy's did pull it off. 

    lollipop loafers

    Malarie Gokey, Insider Picks guides editor: The Loafer in Lollipop, $165

    Rothy's Lollipop Loafers almost feel like slippers, but they look much nicer. I really like that they're made out of recycled plastic — it's something anyone who is eco-conscious will appreciate.

    I don't typically wear flats, but these are perfect for throwing on when I need to run errands around the neighborhood. They're comfortable, breathable, and flexible enough for wearing in the summer. Rothy's loafers aren't quite as supportive or comfortable as Everlane's Day Glove flats, so I wouldn't wear them if you're going on a really long walk — especially if you're in a city. However, I think they're perfect for office wear.

    Personally, I'd love the exact same pair of shoes with a 1 1/2- or 2-inch heel for a bit more impact absorption and height, but that's me. If you love flats and you don't plan to walk more than 3 miles any given day, Rothy's are a wonderful, eco-friendly, stylish choice.

    red camo point

    Ellen Hoffman, Insider Picks senior editor: The Point in Red Camo, $145

    Some women really love pointed-toed shoes, and others really really don’t. I fall in the former camp since they help elongate my 5'3" frame and since, aesthetically, I’m drawn to the silhouette. I was attracted to The Point flat in particular because the style looked sleek and professional for work, and importantly, promised seamless comfort and support in the form of a 3D knit upper and removable insole.

    The Point was feather-light and very breathable, so walking around Manhattan in 90-degree weather was never a hindrance. I was able to wear the shoe right out of the box with virtually no break-in period, although I suggest opting for The Flat or The Loafer if shoe width is concern since The Point did squish my right foot's toes together a bit too tightly for my liking.

    I got the "red camo” color for something different since I usually play it safe with black or another neutral, but there are 22 other colors to choose from should you want something not quite as bold. 

    Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter: The Point in Red Camo, $145

    I love Rothy’s sustainable ethos — and for the most part, I loved the shoe in reality, too. But I also live a bit more than a mile away from the subway station I take every morning and night, so my shoes need to be disproportionately comfortable. For this, the Rothy’s were a tad narrow for all-day comfort in my right foot, though this isn’t the first time that has been an issue. I have average to narrow feet, so if you have wide feet I could see this being an issue for The Point style.

    In terms of aesthetics, they’re some of my favorite flats; the red camo print is vibrant and unique, and the pointed toe elevates a blazer and jeans. And for other areas of comfort, the Rothy’s also deliver with machine-washability, removable insole, and a knit upper for seamless bending and breathability.

    All in all, I really liked the Rothy’s, and I’ll continue to wear them. But if you’re going to be power walking a couple miles in them daily, you might want to save these to change into once you get to the office. —Mara Leighton 

    Rothy's

    Ranging from $125 to $165 a pair, Rothy's are a step up from the average pair of flats, not only in price, but also in quality, style, and ethos. Shoppers are realizing they don't have to compromise on any of the criteria they care about, and Rothy's is a prime example of how to live up to those high expectations. 

    Shop flats and loafers at Rothy's here

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Sun Valley Seth Klarman

    • Iconic hedge-fund billionaire Seth Klarman's Baupost Group loaded up on 14,479,790 shares of PG&E, California's biggest utility provider, in the third quarter. 
    • The utility has been under pressure, sliding 60% since November, as it may be responsible for the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.
    • It's unclear if Baupost sold any PG&E shares in the fourth quarter. If the firm held on to its entire position, it could have lost $290 million in the final few months of 2018 on the bet.
    • On Monday, PG&E was down more than 22% after a report out late Friday said it was considering filing for bankruptcy protection.
    • Watch PG&E trade live.

    Iconic hedge-fund billionaire Seth Klarman could have taken a huge hit on an investment in PG&E — California's biggest utility provider — after the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

    PG&E shares have plunged 60% since November 8, when the wildfirebroke out. The utility said it was having trouble with its transmission lines when the blaze erupted, and that it may be responsible.

    Klarman's Baupost could be paying the price. Baupost loaded up 14,479,790 shares on PG&E in the third quarter, becoming the utility's sixth-largest shareholder with 18,979,790 shares, according to Bloomberg data.

    The 14.5 million shares were trading at around $45 in the third quarter, and closed the fourth quarter at $25 apiece. It's unclear if Baupost sold any PG&E shares in the fourth quarter. If the firm held its entire position through the end of the year, it could have lost $290 million in the final few months of 2018.

    Things have gone from bad to worse for PG&E entering the new year. On Monday, shares were down more than 22%, at $18.98 a share, after a report out late Friday said it was considering filing for bankruptcy protection as it fears a massive charge related to potential liabilities from the wildfire. 

    Baupost declined to comment on its investments. 

    Baupost is not the only investment firm that recently increased its stake in the California utility. BlueMountain Capital Management, which manages $21 billion, told investors in a recent letter obtained by Business Insider it has doubled down on its investment into the utility as it believes the market has overreacted to the impact of the deadly Camp Fire.

    Now read:

    PG&E

     

    SEE ALSO: $21 billion hedge fund BlueMountain Capital has upped its bet on PG&E, the utility that's crashed 60% since the California wildfires. Here's why.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    White House replica in China

    • China's economy is showing signs of extreme stress, and not just because of President Donald Trump's trade war.
    • Economic data is showing that China's debt problems are gobbling up cash faster than more Chinese people can become consumers.
    • To change this narrative and calm markets, China will have to make a deal with Trump by March 1.
    • The deal will likely be a sham.
    • But the best outcome for China is that Trump pretends it's good so that he can declare victory, and Wall Street and the rest of the world can pretend China's economy has a catalyst for recovery.

    China's best hope for stabilizing its economy is a massive, coordinated, global game of pretend.

    Here's what that would look like: On March 1, Trump's administration emerges victorious from its trade talks with Beijing. It strikes some sort of deal that fundamentally changes what China's leaders have been planning for and investing in their their economy for years, and helps US companies with issues like Chinese intellectual-property theft and forced joint ventures.

    Then, Wall Street deems it safe to go back into China's waters and foreign investment starts pouring in while domestic money stops heading out. 

    After that we can all pretend the Chinese economy doesn't have dangerous structural issues that threaten to pull parts of the world into recession — at least for a while.

    This is the best we can do.

    For the last week or so — since Apple warned about weakness in the Chinese economy affecting its revenue going forward — Wall Street and Washington have been debating whether or not China's economic troubles are mostly being caused by Trump's trade war.

    They are not. That is why all we have left is pretend.

    China consumption tax revenue

    It's the foundation

    Let's go back to what China has been saying it was going to do with its economy for years now, which is switch it from one based on investment to one based on consumption.  That would make China's economy more like the US — more able to support its own growth on the back of consumer buying power.

    It's not there yet. Not by a long shot.

    That means for the economy to keep growing, it still very much needs outside investment and consumption. Or it needs to keep handing out credit and letting debt build up. The latter is dangerous. The more debt that builds up in the system, the more money is spent paying it rather than doing more productive things.

    The more debt that builds up, the slower the economy goes until it grinds down to stall speed.

    And so a few years ago,Chinese leaders said they were going to slow credit creation and clamp down on shadow banking. Last year was supposed to be the year we saw the fruits of that labor. But it wasn't, the economy started sputtering in June. And according to Leland Miller, the founder of survey firm China Beige Book, only private firms ever slowed their borrowing, and not for long.

    "Halfway through 2017 private firms were already dialing back their hiring, borrowing, and investing, but not SOEs [state owned enterprises], they kept their pedal to the metal all the way into 2018," he told Business Insider. "So a 2018 slowdown was inevitable regardless of what was happening around the globe, or with Trump trade."

    If you pay attention to Chinese media, this is something entrepreneurs have been angry about. Many feel that they've had to take on all the burden of China's credit reforms even though state-owned enterprises hold most of the debt. According to the Chinese credit-rating agency Chengxin, 83% of the companies that have defaulted on debt payment since 2014 are private. They're the ones dealing with all the moral hazard.

    And so billionaire tycoons like Chen Hongtian, founder of Cheung Kei Group, are predicting "the difficulties will be larger than expected" going forward. That's what he told a gathering of The Harmony Club, a Shenzen-based group of 150 of China's richest businessmen.

    "The winter will be very cold," he said according to the South China Morning Post."I would like to remind again … it’s hard to predict and all that I can say is that difficulties [for private enterprises] are much bigger than people expected."

    So in China we have more and more good money chasing a growing pile of bad money. Policymakers have tried to enact measures targeted at private and smaller businesses to free up more good cash. Tax cuts, for example. But they haven't done anything to turn the economy around. Most recently, policymakers announced a cut in Chinese banks' reserve ratio requirement, but Miller says a lack of access to credit has never been the problem, so it won't be the solution.

    All Trump's trade war has done is make this even worse. For one thing, it has added a measure of uncertainty that has scared off China's much-needed foreign investors. Foreign direct investment plummeted to $25.2 billion in Q3 from $52.7 billion in Q2, and Citigroup estimates that about $26.2 billion left China over the same period. 

    "The current weakness is not due primarily to the trade war," Miller said. "It's a major pressure point, certainly, but much of the weakness we picked up this year — particularly in manufacturing — predates the imposition of large scale tariffs.

    "A March 1st US-China trade agreement would relieve a great deal of uncertainty from the rest of 2019, but it would only keep things from getting worse, not necessarily help the economy get better."

    Shanghai

    Come play with us

    So China's best near-term hope is that this trade war ends, and that —true or not— China bulls on Wall Street can sound the all clear to get back in the water.

    To achieve this, policymakers have three options:

    1. Cave to Trump's demands and significantly and transparently change the course of its economy. This would be a massive admission of defeat.
    2. Pretend to cave to Trump's demands and risk a return to war in the future if their game is found out. 
    3. Kick the can down the road and wait for another, kinder administration in the US. This risks freaking out financial markets as investors get doubtful of, or impatient with progress. In the meantime, the Chinese economy will suffer.

    It's not hard to see that pretending, if China can pull it off, is the best solution for the time being. So trade negotiators will be looking out for loopholes and hollow wins. The head of Trump's trade delegation, Robert Lighthizer, seems adamant that the president will not accept those as total victory.

    But Trump loves (at least to claim) victory, so maybe he'll decide to play along with China.

    And maybe, since Wall Street loves fast cash and stability, it'll take "the trade war is over" narrative and run with it, pouring much needed investment back into the country.

    That's the absolute best case here, and it's vapor.

    SEE ALSO: It's time to stop listening to Ray Dalio on China

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    Kansas Doke

    • Much to the chagrin of the undefeated No. 2 Michigan Wolverines and No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers, the Duke Blue Devils sit at the top of the AP Top 25 Poll for the third consecutive week.
    • The ACC leads all conferences with six teams in the rankings, followed closely by the Big 12 with five and the SEC and Big 10 with four teams apiece. The Pac-12, meanwhile, has no representation in the AP Top 25 Poll for the second consecutive week.
    • Here are the four biggest winners and losers of Week 9 of the college basketball season.

    Winners



    ▲ No. 5 Gonzaga Bulldogs — Up 2 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

    The No. 5 Gonzaga Bulldogs have been one of the elite teams throughout this college basketball season. They managed to take down Zion Williamson and the mighty Blue Devils at the Maui Invitational before suffering their first losses of the season back-to-back against the Tennessee Volunteers and North Carolina Tar Heels. Since then, the Bulldogs have been flying high, outscoring their last five opponents by a 43.6 point margin on average and climbing two spots in the AP Top 25 Poll this week. Even so, the most significant thing that happened for Gonzaga this week was the return of star big man Killian Tillie, who had been recovering from an ankle injury for the first half of the season. If the Bulldogs could compete — and even beat — the top teams in the nation without their leading returning scorer from last season, imagine what they will do with him back in the ranks.



    ▲ No. 20 Iowa State Cyclones — Enter AP Top 25 Poll

    Early season losses to the Arizona Wildcats and the Iowa Hawkeyes took the No. 20 Iowa State Cyclones out of the conversation with the top teams in the country, but Iowa State hasn't lost since. This week, they took down the then-No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks in dominant fashion, stretching a four-point halftime lead into a commanding 17-point gap by the final buzzer. Now the Cyclones find themselves in the top 20 of the AP Top 25 Poll with two more matchups against ranked opponents coming later in the month.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    colton bachelor

    • "The Bachelor" returns to television Monday night, January 7, on ABC.
    • The average age of a woman competing on "The Bachelor" is 26, while the average age of a guy competing for the heart of "The Bachelorette" star is 29. 
    • Women on "The Bachelor" are on average 4.8 years younger than the lead.
    • 85% of women on "The Bachelor" are younger than 30, compared to 60% of men on "The Bachelorette."

    The 23rd season of "The Bachelor" kicks off tonight on ABC, with 30 women vying for the heart of former football player Colton Underwood.

    For the overwhelming majority of those women, this ends badly: either in a curt farewell at a rose ceremony or some other telegenic end to their relationship with Colton. But it seems like every year, these contestants on "The Bachelor" get younger, right?

    They don't, the rest of us are just getting older. 

    We pulled the data on every participant on "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" for all the seasons recorded on the Bachelor Nation Wiki, the most extensive repository for "Bachelor" franchise data online. While information about a few early seasons is missing, we've got details on 481 women who competed on "The Bachelor" and 366 men who competed on "The Bachelorette." 

    Bachelorette Contestants

    Read more:Meet the 30 women who will be competing for Colton's heart on 'The Bachelor'

    Generally, women were way younger than the men. The average woman who appeared on "The Bachelor" was a little over 26, while the average man on "The Bachelorette" was 29.

    The age window for women on the show was considerably tighter, too: 79% of female contestants were aged 28 or younger, compared to 48% of men. Two-thirds of women who compete on "The Bachelor" are aged 23 to 27. For comparison, two-thirds of the men on the show are 28 or older.  

    Bachelor Contestants

    That age gap somehow expands even further when you compare the age of the contestants to the leads of the show. The average contestant on "The Bachelor" is 4.8 years younger than the male lead, while the average contestant on "The Bachelorette" is 1.3 years older than the female lead. 

    This actually ends up having a pretty significant effect! The age difference between "The Bachelorette" star and the winner on her season was on average 1.2 years, in line with the overall average age difference. But the stars of "The Bachelor" pick winners who are on average younger than the overall contestant: Across the 16 seasons where we have data, the woman who wins "The Bachelor" was on average 5.6 years younger than the lead. 

    Read more:A former 'Bachelorette' reveals why no one actually falls in love on 'The Bachelor'

    Leads

    According to the 2014 Current Population Survey, among heterosexual couples, the average age difference is 2.3 years

    So if it seems like the contestants get younger every year, there are shifts but the general trend is fairly flat. The average contestant age in each season stays pretty consistant, and the average age has never been more than 1.2 years off of the overall contestant age.

    The liklier reality is that the rest of us are getting older, and gradually aging out of the age demo of the contestants pool. This graph will show you where you'd stand among the hundreds of hopefuls who fought for that final rose: 

    Could you be on the Bachelor

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    bii us telehealth lumascape

    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

    Telehealth — the use of mobile technology to deliver health-related services, such as remote doctor consultations and patient monitoring — is enabling healthcare providers and payers to address the US healthcare industry’s growing list of problems.

    The proliferation and rapid advancement of mobile technology are spurring telehealth adoption, and many believe that 2018 could be the tipping point for the telehealth market.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence defines the opaque US telehealth market, forecasts the market growth potential and value, outlines the key drivers behind usage and adoption, and evaluates the opportunity telehealth solutions will afford all stakeholders. We also identify key barriers to continued telehealth adoption, and discuss how providers, payers, and telehealth companies are working to overcome these hurdles.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Telehealth is enabling healthcare providers and payers to address the US healthcare industry’s growing list of problems, including rising healthcare costs, an aging population, and the transformation of healthcare from service-centric to consumer-centric, which is straining healthcare system resources and threatening to drive up payer costs.
    • Although telehealth solutions aren't suitable for all patients, right now, about 45% of the US population, or 147 million consumers, falls within the addressable market.
    • Despite low usage rates, most consumers are open to using telehealth solutions, according to the 2018 Business Insider Intelligence Insurance Technology Study. 
    • A range of companies are well-positioned to generate savings in terms of revenue and avoid potential pitfalls by deploying telehealth solutions.

     In full, the report:

    • Offers an overview of different types of telehealth services and their applications in the US healthcare ecosystem. 
    • Highlights the growth drivers and opportunities of these applications.
    • Includes exclusive data and insights from the 2018 Business Insider Intelligence Insurance Technology Study. 
    • Provides examples of key players in the telehealth market, including insurers, medical device makers, and health networks. 
    • Gives recommendations on how health networks and payers should approach using and deploying telehealth solutions.

    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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    samsung notebook 9 pro

    • Samsung announced new laptops at CES 2019 that finally look as good as those from rivals like Apple or Dell. 
    • If you've never thought about Samsung laptops as an option before, the new Notebook 9 Pro might change your opinion. 
    • The new Notebook Flash is inexpensive at $350, but it looks better than anything else you can get for under $500. 

    If Samsung's latest laptops were just a simple power upgrade over previous models, I wouldn't even bother to give them a second glance. 

    But the new Samsung PC models, announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, come with fresh new designs that finally earns them a place next to the modern and beautiful machines from makers like Apple, Dell, Lenovo, or HP.

    Indeed, there are plenty of laptops that can rock a powerful Intel Core i7 processor — Samsung seems to have finally realized that aesthetics matter as much as specs when it comes to standing apart from the competition. 

    Check out Samsung's latest laptops announced at CES 2019, the Notebook 9 Pro and the Notebook Flash:

    SEE ALSO: Samsung's new screen that clamps to your desk is incredibly simple — and it's the best thing to happen to computer monitors in years

    Samsung's Notebook Pro 9 is a tidy little powerhouse designed for power users looking for portability and great design.

    The new Notebook 9 Pro I saw at CES 2019 has a 13-inch FHD display, a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Those are pretty standard specs for the high-end that pretty much any laptop from any company could sport — and many do. 

    It also comes standard with Samsung's Active Pen stylus, which is handy for taking notes or annotating and signing documents. It's good that Samsung includes the Active Pen with the Notebook 9 Pro — Microsoft sells its Surface Pen stylus separately. A laptop stylus is the kind of thing that's handy, but not usually useful enough to buy separately.

    The Notebook 9 Pro weighs in at a lightweight 2.84 pounds, which is a hair heavier than the 2018 MacBook Air. It's also 0.55 inches thick, which is actually thinner than the 2018 MacBook Air, which measures in at 0.61 inches at the thickest point. 

     

     



    Any laptop can have great specs, so Samsung improved the one area where it has the most control — design

    Any laptop can have great specs. It's become clear over the last few years that design is becoming more and more important — it's one of the few areas where laptop makers have the most control when differentiating their devices from others. This year, Samsung seized control of the design of its own laptops.

    With narrow bezels, sleek black borders, sharper and more modern edges, and a solid aluminum exterior, Samsung's latest Notebook 9 Pro has caught up with modern laptop design, where its previous models always felt laggard in terms of looks. 

    It also has three "diamond-cut" strips around the edges that gives it a little extra flair over its competitors. There's a slight retro vibe around the strips that I'm actually quite fond of. 



    There's no price tag as of yet, but the Notebook 9 Pro will be available in 'early 2019.'



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mark Zuckerberg

    • The billing practices of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are under fire after a Vox article detailed how some privately insured patients have been surprised to receive a bill as high as five figures.
    • The public hospital was named after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, after the couple made a $75 million donation in 2015 to build a trauma center. 
    • Some people are now criticizing Zuckerberg himself on social media, despite the fact that he has no impact on the day-to-day operations of the hospital.

    People are criticizing Mark Zuckerberg for the billing practices of a San Francisco-based hospital named after him that has reportedly left some privately insured patients with five-figure debts.

    Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, formerly called San Francisco General Hospital, was named after the Facebook founder in 2015 after he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, made a $75 million donation. However, Zuckerberg himself has no impact on the day-to-day operations, though it is largely associated with his likeness.

    Emergency room bills reviewed by Vox detailed how the hospital is considered "out-of-network" for those with private insurance. This means it doesn't accept the kind of health-insurance coverage that most people get through their jobs, which can leave people with large bills if they visit the hospital for care — for example, one woman ended up with a $31,250 bill for a broken ankle.

    On social media, some people have been criticizing the Facebook founder for the hotel's policies, showing just how sticky it can be to have a hospital with your name on it. 

    But the crucial context is that Zuckerberg is not currently involved in implementing policy at the hospital. The public hospital, in its own words, is there to serve those who are "underserved" by only accepting public health coverage (i.e. Medicaid, Medicare, and all the programs that fall underneath), according to the Vox report. 

    Yes, "the less sexy reality," as one Googler put it, is far more nuanced. But with his name front and center on the hospital, the Facebook CEO has found himself in this position before. Take for example just last month, when a San Francisco politician asked the city attorney to remove Zuckerberg's name from the hospital amid Facebook's latest privacy scandal.

    Though, the fact remains: denying all private insurance is quite rare and, frankly, frowned upon by many healthcare advocates.

    The Vox report examines how when someone is involved in a traumatic accident near Zuckerberg Hospital, they are most likely going to be taken there — potentially without recollection or the ability to search for an in-network provider — making it more likely they will be surprised when the bill comes in the mail.

    It's a valid concern, and some politicians are already looking into how to combat these "surprise" ER bills, but that's a different discussion than as to whether Zuckerberg is to blame for patient experiences at the hospital he donated to.

    And finally, in case the answer to that sarcastic question wasn't clear —  no, Zuckerberg doesn't control what gets billed and how much.

    Sarah Kliff, writer of the Vox piece, explains in her reporting how she found the city of San Francisco, or more pointedly, the city's Board of Supervisors, is the one setting the prices

     

     

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I'm a diehard iPhone user who switched to Android for a week — here's what I loved and hated about the Google Pixel 3 XL


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    US Coast Guard cutter Eagle

    • The Coast Guard was able to secure enough money for payroll on December 31, despite the government shutdown.
    • But officials say they won't be able to repeat that maneuver for the next payday, January 15, potentially making them the only uniformed military service to go without pay during the shutdown.
    • There's a bill in the Senate to pay the Coast Guard, but their salaries are still at the mercy of political wrangling.

    A surprise maneuver at the end of December ensured Coast Guardsmen got their final paychecks of 2018, despite the government shutdown that began on December 22.

    But the shutdown has dragged on, and the income for some 50,000 personnel, including 42,000 deemed essential personnel and required to work during the shutdown, remains in doubt as the first payday of 2019 approaches.

    Read more: The Coast Guard turned down a request for an Arctic exercise out of concern the US's only heavy icebreaker would break down and Russia would have to rescue it

    Salaries for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are covered by the Defense Department, which got its full funding the for the fiscal year in the fall. But while the Coast Guard is a military branch, it is part of the Department of Homeland Security, funding for which had not been approved by the time the shutdown began.

    Coast Guard operations have continued, however.

    US Coast Guard Connecticut National Guard buoy

    On December 23, Coast Guard crews on training exercises in Hawaii were diverted twice, first to medevac a snorkeler who was having a medical emergency and then to rescue passengers from a capsized vessel. This month, Coast Guard crews in the Pacific have been involved in searches for crew members from two different vessels.

    Officials said on December 28 that the Homeland Security Department had found a way to supply about $75 million needed to cover pay for the December 31 pay period, but they said they would be unable to repeat it for the January 15 payday.

    Read more: We got aboard a Coast Guard chopper to see how they bust smugglers and save boaters in the crowded waters around Miami

    There is some money within the Homeland Security Department that has moved around to keep things going, but some activities, like issuing licenses, has been curtailed. Funding for other services, like child-care subsidies, is also running out, further complicating life for service members and their families.

    During the first week of January, the Pay Our Coast Guard Act was introduced to the Senate by Republican Sen. John Thune, cosponsored by Republican Sens. Roger Wicker, Susan Collins, Cindy Hyde Smith, and Democratic Sens. Marla Cantwell, Richard Blumenthal, Doug Jones, and Brian Schatz.

    US Coast Guard Jane Coastie Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space museum New York City

    The bill would pay active, retired, and civilian Coast Guard personnel despite the shutdown. It would also fund benefits for retired members, death gratuities, and other payouts.

    Thune's measure was first introduced in 2015 but died after being referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. After a grassroots effort generated 141,015 letters to congressmembers asking for its reintroduced, the bill was resubmitted on January 3, the first day of the 116th Congress.

    Read more: An ISIS-inspired tactic is raising concerns in US ports

    "All we know so far, is that if this isn't resolved by the 10th they will not get paid on the 15th," Coast Guard spouse Stephanie Lisle told ConnectingVets.com. "Hopefully the bill gets passed."

    trump coast guard

    The bill garnered support from more than a dozen veterans groups, but it would also have to pass the House of Representatives, which is now controlled by Democrats, and be signed by President Donald Trump.

    Last week, Trump said he was prepared to keep the government shut down for "months or even years" after he and Democratic leaders again failed to resolve his demand for billions in funding for a border wall.

    "We won’t be opening until it’s solved," Trump said on January 4. "I don’t call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do for the benefit and the safety of our country."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Coast Guard's 8-week boot camp where recruits go through extreme physical tests and brutal 'smoke sessions'


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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.

    AmazonShipping_CostSavings

    Outside of the US Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS have dominated the domestic logistics industry — and in particular, the last-mile of the delivery — for decades. On a quarterly earnings call in 2016, FedEx estimated that itself, UPS, and USPS executed a whopping 95% of all e-commerce orders.

    But rapidly rising volumes have put the pair of legacy shippers in a bind. E-commerce sales have risen over 50% and are projected to continue their ascent into the next decade. High volumes are already straining shippers' networks — UPS struggled to bring consumers their parcels on time due to higher-than-anticipated package volume, which upset some big-name retail partners, including Macy's, Walmart, and Amazon. As online sales surge further, package volumes will outstrip legacy shippers' capacities, creating space for new entrants. 

    Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to dethrone UPS and FedEx's duopoly. It's built up a strong logistics infrastructure, counting hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery trucks.

    Further, as the leading online retailer in the US, it has a wealth of data on consumers that it can use to craft a personalized delivery experience that's superior to UPS and FedEx's offerings. Amazon must act soon, however, as UPS and FedEx are hard at work fortifying their own networks to handle the expected surge in parcel volume.

    The longer the Seattle-based e-tailer delays the launch of a delivery service, the more it runs the risk that these legacy players will be able to defend their territory. 

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explains how the age of e-commerce is opening up cracks in UPS and FedEx's duopoly. We then outline how Amazon's logistics ambitions began as an effort to more quickly get parcels out the door and fulfill its famous 2-day shipping process and how it'll be a key building block for the company if it builds out a last-mile service. Lastly, we offer concrete steps that the firm must take to maximize the dent it makes in UPS and FedEx's duopoly.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • While UPS and FedEx have dominated the US last-mile delivery market for the last few decades, the surge in e-commerce is creating more volume than shipping companies can handle.
    • Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to put a dent in UPS and FedEx's duopoly due to its strategic position as the leading online retailer in the US.
    • Amazon can carry its trust amongst the public, a wealth of consumer data, and its ability to craft a more personalized delivery experience to the last-mile delivery space to ultimately dethrone UPS and FedEx.
    • The top priority for Amazon in taking on UPS and FedEx needs to be offering substantially lower shipping rates — one-third of US retailers say they'll switch to an Amazon shipping service if it's at least 20% cheaper than UPS and FedEx. 

    In full, the report:

    • Outlines Amazon's current shipping and logistics footprint and strengths that it would bring to the last-mile delivery space in the US.
    • Lays out concrete steps that Amazon must take if it wants to launch a standalone last-mile delivery service, including how it can offer a more memorable, higher-quality delivery experience than UPS and FedEx.
    • Illustrates how Amazon can minimize operating costs for a delivery service to ultimately undercut UPS and FedEx's shipping rates in the last-mile space.

     

    SEE ALSO: Amazon and Walmart are building out delivery capabilities

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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.

    kettlebell kitchen review 3

    • No one ever said healthy eating was easy, but meal planning and delivery service Kettlebell Kitchen could be the closest thing to it. 
    • Since meal planning is confusing and time-intensive, Kettlebell Kitchen takes care of it for you, taking your fitness goals, dietary restrictions, and delivery frequency preferences into account. 
    • Each delicious meal is made with fresh, healthy ingredients and will run you $10 to $12. The meals can be delivered to your door or picked up at a participating gym in your area. 

    We've all heard that abs are made in the kitchen and that the best way to supplement your fitness goals through food is meal planning. Sounds simple enough, but if you've ever tried it yourself, you know it's not: you spend a lot of time comparing contradictory nutrition tips, devising recipes you pray you won't get bored of, and cooking meals in bulk. 

    Looking to eat well without the hassle of traditional meal planning, brothers and Army vets Joe and Andrew Lopez-Gallego teamed up with chef Greg Grossman (a young culinary talent who was once invited to cook at three Michelin-starred Alinea at the tender age of 13) to start healthy meal delivery service Kettlebell Kitchen in 2013. 

    Tell Kettlebell Kitchen about your exercise habits, dietary preferences, and fitness goals, and it'll create a custom meal plan of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for you and deliver them to your home or a participating gym near you.

    They don't contain any artificial ingredients or sweeteners, gluten, soy, dairy, or inflammatory oils, and they do contain fresh vegetables, grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, gluten-free grains, dairy-free milk, and limited amounts of sugar. 

    kettlebell kitchen review 2

    The number and diversity of dishes offered ensures you'll actually look forward to eating your next meal instead of forcing it down out of necessity. I tried a few of the dishes, including its Popcorn Chicken meal and Lemon Cookie. They were easy to transport, were ready in minutes in the microwave, and tasted delicious. The idea that healthy foods don't taste good is clearly stuck in a less creative past, as I experienced previously with another service called Veestro, and now with Kettlebell Kitchen

    There are new specials offered every week, and they'll differ based on your location. Specialized options include keto meals (e.g. Spicy Chicken & Pork Meatballs with Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash Noodles), vegetarian meals (e.g. Bamboo Rice Bibimbap), and "KBK Core" meals (e.g. Wild Salmon Cakes, Grass-Fed Steak, and Yucca). Your chosen plan will include these meals in various combinations, but you can also shop them a la carte. 

    Depending on the meal delivery frequency you choose, the cost comes out to $10 to $12 a meal, and the meals are delivered twice a week. 

    kettlebell kitchen review 4

    Kettlebell Kitchen currently offers 10 different meal plans. Some, like Whole30 and Pure Paleo, are ingredients-guided, while others, like Endure (for endurance-based sports like biking and swimming) and Build (to help you gain lean muscle mass) support specific types of physical activity and training. Once you choose a plan type and fill out your profile of body statistics, exercise habits, and dietary restrictions, the service takes seconds to make your plan. If you count calories, have a specific calorie target, or track macros, it will also take those preferences into account when designing your meal plan. 

    On the dashboard, you'll still have the freedom to switch out meals and when you want to eat certain meals, so you're not completely tied to whatever Kettlebell Kitchen designs. However, if you're the type to keep things simple or you're just starting out on your fitness and health journey, you can trust that its nutritionists know what they're doing.

    A small shipping fee applies if you want to receive deliveries at your home or office, but there's also the option to pick them up at one of the company's many nationwide gym partners. Since you're likely to be working out at or near that gym anyway, it's a cheaper and convenient way to pick up your fuel for the week. 

    Learn more and get started with Kettlebell Kitchen's healthy meal plans here

    Join the conversation about this story »


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