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The latest news from Business Insider

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    This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence Apps and Platforms Briefing subscribers hours before appearing on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here.

    The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially kicked off in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and devices with 5G connectivity are stealing the show.

    The annual conference, which is taking place January 8-11, showcases the latest mobile and connected technology from more than 4,500 exhibiting companies. CES is an important event for developers and manufacturers because it provides a peek at technological shifts.

    Consumers Are Interested in Subscriptions for Connected Devices

    Devices with 5G connectivity were the chief focus at the conference this year, with Qualcomm and Intel making announcements that are poised to transform various industries.

    • Qualcomm’s chipsets will spearhead the first wave of 5G smartphones. Qualcomm expects its new Snapdragon 855 mobile platform and X50 5G cellular modem to power more than 30 5G devices, mostly smartphones, in 2019. The addition of 5G connectivity will provide considerable improvements to handsets, from more secure fingerprint scanning to faster AI-driven tasks, encouraging more users to upgrade.
    • Car manufacturers demoed Qualcomm’s 9150 C-V2X chipset, which set the future for connected cars with 5G. Automakers including Audi, Ford, and Ducati staged how the chipset, which will run on 4G and 5G networks, can be leveraged to enable vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Ford, for instance, plans to use the tech in all US models starting in 2022. Qualcomm’s chipset presents cellular carriers with an opportunity to add connected car subscriptions, which consumers are highly interested in paying for despite their lack of widespread availability. For instance, just 30% of consumers own a connected car, but nearly half (49%) are interested in paying a monthly subscription for a connected car, according to Business Insider Intelligence's Telecom Competitive Edge report (enterprise only).
    • Intel will facilitate the shift to 5G-powered laptops. Intel lifted the lid on a new initiative, dubbed Project Athena, that aims to open the door to a new class of advanced laptops with 5G connectivity and AI capabilities. The company is developing a roadmap for PC makers including Microsoft, Google, Lenovo, Dell, and Samsung to bring Project Athena devices to market in the second half of this year. Integrated 5G connectivity will provide wireless carriers with an additional opportunity to diversify revenue streams and expand wireless subscriber bases.

    The developments in 5G connectivity will enable a host of new technologies to move into the mainstream, thanks to more efficient and capable networks. Emerging technologies require faster speeds and lower latency to function, and 4G LTE's capabilities are often insufficient to adequately power them.

    For instance, 5G will enable more VR and AR processing to be completed at the edge of the network, thereby reducing latency. The low latency of 5G networks will also power automated cars and enable them to react to situations in real time. And the efficiency and far-reaching abilities of 5G networks make them ideal to handle the trillions of IoT devices that will surface over the next 10 years.

    SEE ALSO: 5G in the IoT: How the next generation of wireless technology will transform the IoT

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    maturity of AI solutions

    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

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most commonly referenced terms by financial institutions (FIs) and payments firms when describing their vision for the future of financial services. 

    AI can be applied in almost every area of financial services, but the combination of its potential and complexity has made AI a buzzword, and led to its inclusion in many descriptions of new software, solutions, and systems.

    This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, cuts through the hype to offer an overview of different types of AI, and where they have potential applications within banking and payments. It also emphasizes which applications are most mature, provides recommendations of how FIs should approach using the technology, and offers examples of where FIs and payments firms are already leveraging AI. The report draws on executive interviews Business Insider Intelligence conducted with leading financial services providers, such as Bank of America, Capital One, and Mastercard, as well as top AI vendors like Feedzai, Expert System, and Kasisto.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • AI, or technologies that simulate human intelligence, is a trending topic in banking and payments circles. It comes in many different forms, and is lauded by many CEOs, CTOs, and strategy teams as their saving grace in a rapidly changing financial ecosystem.
    • Banks are using AI on the front end to secure customer identities, mimic bank employees, deepen digital interactions, and engage customers across channels.
    • Banks are also using AI on the back end to aid employees, automate processes, and preempt problems.
    • In payments, AI is being used in fraud prevention and detection, anti-money laundering (AML), and to grow conversational payments volume.

     In full, the report:

    • Offers an overview of different types of AI and their applications in payments and banking. 
    • Highlights which of these applications are most mature.
    • Offers examples where FIs and payments firms are already using the technology. 
    • Provides descriptions of vendors of different AI-based solutions that FIs may want to consider using.
    • Gives recommendations of how FIs and payments firms should approach using the technology.

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

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

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    This is a preview of The Podcast Report from Business Insider Intelligence. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    • The number of US podcast consumers has more than doubled in the past decade — and there's still a long runway for growth.
    • And the podcast listenership base continues to grow in the US amid declines in consumption of other premium ad environments.
    • Entertainers, music streaming platforms, and smart speakers will play a role in furthering podcast listenership growth throughout the next five years.

    Are your social circles and online feeds always buzzing with everyone’s latest podcast obsession? The number of US podcast consumers has more than doubled over the last decade. And by 2023, Business Insider Intelligence estimates there will be some 106 million regular podcast listeners in the US.

    Podcast Listener Base Growing

    People are getting hooked on audio from a young age, too. Over a quarter (26%) of US consumers over age 12 now listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, a jump from just 12% five years ago.

    And while the growing listener base is a huge draw for advertisers, it’s not the real reason they should be exploring podcast campaigns. After all, more than half of overall daily media consumption time in the US is now spent with video. Even so, podcasts have the upper hand.

    Why should brands advertise on podcasts?

    US podcast ad spend is expected to grow over 110% through 2020 — up to $659 million. But consider for a moment that TV and radio ad spend are already at $69 billion and $18 billion respectively, and this figure suddenly feels tiny. The podcast ad market’s small size implies many brands don’t recognize the valuable advertising opportunity podcasts offer.

    When looking at factors beyond pure audience size, podcast listeners present several key benefits that make the medium ripe for success for advertising — and brands would be remiss to overlook them.

    Here’s why brands should take podcast listeners seriously:

    • The majority of regular podcast listeners complete all or most of the podcasts they start. Forty-four percent of monthly podcast listeners finish most of the podcast episodes they start, while 43% finish the entire episode, per Edison Research and Triton Digital.
    • Listeners are more receptive to ads on podcasts than ads on other mediums. Of US respondents over the age of 18, 55% say they always or sometimes pay attention to podcast ads versus radio (45%), TV (44%), music streaming services (41%), and online video (34%) ads.
    • Most podcast listeners don't skip past ads. Because most podcast ads are read by the host and baked into podcasts, it can be difficult for listeners to easily and accurately skip past podcast ads without missing podcast content, spurring many to listen through podcast ads entirely.

    Want to Learn More?

    The Podcast Report from Business Insider Intelligence explores the key drivers affecting podcast listenership growth, detailing the benefits of advertising on podcasts versus other media formats, and outlines the best practices for implementing a successful podcast ad campaign.

    In full, the report discusses the barriers that will inhibit future growth in listenership and ad spending, and how these hurdles can be overcome to implement a successful podcast ad campaign and attract more big-budget brands into the space.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    border wall map full border

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

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

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

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

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

    In an effort to make good on campaign promises to "build that wall," President Donald Trump has refused to back down on his demand that Congress allocate $5.7 billion for the project, plunging the government into a weeks-long shutdown after Senate Democrats refused to back a spending bill with the wall funding.

    Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, have long opposed Trump's wall and placed the blame for the shutdown on Trump.

    The shutdown comes amid controversy over US immigration and border policies, after two young migrant children died in Border Patrol custody last month. The deaths also come on the heels of outrage over the Trump administration's family separation policy over the summer, which split thousands of children from their parents.

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

    Source: GAO analysis of Customs and Border Protection data



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

    Source: USA Today



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    cauliflower rice bowl

    • Too much rice can mean too many carbs.
    • There are lots of alternatives that you can add to your next meal.
    • Registered dietitians share tips on what you can try instead of rice.

    Although carbohydrates are an important aspect of a balanced diet, too much of anything is a bad thing.

    The good news is that if you're looking to limit your carb intake, there's plenty of options for you — especially when it comes to replacing grains.

    While all of the alternatives won't have the exact same taste and texture of grains like rice, if you experiment with them you will definitely find something that makes you traditional dishes just as delicious.

    Here are 11 substitutes for grains that can help you keep your carb intake in check.

    Cauliflower is low-carb and has more nutritional value.

    Cauliflower rice is not only a great low-carb alternative to regular rice, but it also has "more nutritional mileage than rice," Dallas-based registered dietitian Louise Chen told the MyFitnessPal blog.  

    One cup of cauliflower contains 5 grams of carbohydrates compared to 45 grams that come in a cup of rice, according to MyFitnessPal.

    Cauliflower also contains a high amount of fiber, which promotes good gastrointestinal health.



    Broccoli is similar to cauliflower rice.

    Similar to cauliflower, broccoli also can serve as a tasty plant-based, low-carb alternative to rice. You can make riced broccoli using the florets and stems in the same way you do with cauliflower,in a food processor or with a box grater, according to the online food magazine Kitchn.



    Quinoa is a super-food.

    They don’t call quinoa a super-food for anything. This plant provides a wide range of benefits for anyone who consumes it, including not adding unnecessary carbs to a diet.

    White ricecontains almost 15 times the carbohydrates and half the protein that quinoa does, according to Everyday Health.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Macy's

    • JCPenney and Macy's kicked off the year with store closings. The two department-store chains are looking to trim down on expensive real estate to cut costs and boost growth. 
    • Embattled retailer Sears has also announced more than 260 store closings since it filed for bankruptcy in October. With a possible liquidation looming, it may be forced to shutter its entire fleet.

    Department stores are kicking off the new year with a string of store closings. 

    On Tuesday, JCPenney reported disappointing holiday sales numbers and announced that it would be closing three stores in the spring. More would follow, it said, adding that these would be announced in its upcoming quarterly earnings results in February.

    JCPenney isn't alone. Macy's plans to close eight more stores this year as part of planned closures, which were announced in August 2016. A spokesperson for Macy's told Business Insider that announcements are being made locally and have so far have included a store in Massachusetts, its last remaining store in Wyoming, and another in Indianapolis

    Since filing for bankruptcy in October, Sears has announced it would be closing over 260 stores. But with a possible liquidation now looming, its entire fleet is at risk. 

    Read more: Sears is getting one last chance to save itself from oblivion

    These department-store chains have come under pressure as spending increasingly shifts online and foot traffic to stores slows. Retailers have filed for bankruptcy at record-high rates in recent years. 16 well-known retailers including Sears, Nine West, Toys R Us, and Mattress Firm all filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018

    SEE ALSO: We visited dozens of stores this year, and these were the messiest by far

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the Costco food court and it totally blew us away


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    Larry Fink

    • BlackRock's Mark Wiedman was promoted to a new role overseeing the international business and corporate strategy. The move positions him as Larry Fink's 'heir apparent,' said one BlackRock analyst. 
    • His promotion led to two other management changes for the firm's hot exchange-traded funds platform and its US wealth advisory business. 
    • In a memo obtained by Business Insider, Fink hinted at more changes later this year. 

    BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink stirred more speculation about his successor on Wednesday when he promoted Mark Wiedman, formerly head of one of the firm's fastest-growing businesses. 

    Wiedman, who ran the firm's $1.9 trillion exchanged-traded-funds business and index investments known as iShares, is now the head of international and of corporate strategy, Fink said in a Wednesday employee memo obtained by Business Insider. In his new role, Wiedman will focus on "high-growth markets" in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. He'll also oversee marketing, which is led by former BuzzFeed chief marketing officer Frank Cooper, who will report to both Wiedman and Fink. 

    See more:'Bite-size, usable, and shareable': BlackRock's CMO explains the $6.4 trillion giant's digital rebrand

    "The changes transforming our industry put a premium on strategy to drive growth, on unifying our focus on international markets, and on using our brand to drive our business," Fink wrote in the memo. 

    Wiedman has overseen explosive growth in ETF platform iShares, which saw a record $44 billion in new money last month. He left a previous role overseeing corporate strategy in 2011 to lead iShares, which has expanded its assets by 14.8% annually on average. 

    Fink has made no public statements about retiring, but Wiedman's promotion fueled talk of who could replace the BlackRock co-founder. Other potential successors include another two other Marks – head of active equities Mark Wiseman and head of Americas Mark McCombe – and two Robs, president Rob Kapito and chief operating officer Rob Goldstein. 

    Rich Kushel, who runs the multi-asset strategies and global fixed income groups, is another potential contender to replace Fink. 

    "If you think about the future – how they talk about the future of their company and where the growth is coming from, a lot of the technology initiatives they’ve been growing, like Aladdin for wealth [management] – it all seems to come back to iShares and how they sell it and use it in more creative ways," Patrick Davitt, an analyst at Autonomous Research, told Business Insider. "Through that lens, it feels like it makes sense to have the person who’s been building and running that business to be the heir apparent" to Fink. 

    Salim Ramji, the firm's head of US wealth advisory, is replacing Wiedman as head of iShares and index investments. Martin Small, the US head of iShares, is taking over Ramji's role. 

    In Wednesday's memo, Fink hinted at more changes "we'll make later this year" at the $6.4 trillion asset manager.  

    Wiedman's move, along with references of more to come, comes as Wall Street has grappled with how to replace founders and longtime leaders. Blackstone, for example, elevated former real estate head Jon Gray to president last year after grooming multiple leaders to run the world's largest private equity firm. Goldman Sachs had two co-presidents under CEO Lloyd Blankfein, before one retired this spring, leaving David Solomon to replace Blankfein this fall.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Julian Castro

    • Ahead of a potential presidential campaign announcement, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro visited voters in Iowa, where he talked about border policy and universal healthcare.
    • During his visit, Castro said he will disavow PAC money if he runs for president. 
    • Castro plans to reveal whether he plans on running for president on Saturday in San Antonio, his hometown. 

    In just a few days, America will know if former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro will run for president. 

    If he does, he has promised to disavow money from political action committees.  

    "The people are more powerful than the PAC," Castro said Wednesday, according to NBC. The Texas native's promise echoes that of another 2020 hopeful, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who will also not accept PAC funds. 

    Castro's comments came during a visit to Iowa, where he met with voters. The former secretary challenged other potential 2020 candidates to do the same as him and Warren. 

    According to NBC, Castro spoke to anxious Democratic voters in a cozy living room in Coralville, Iowa. He pitched to them a series of progressive promises he hopes to meet if he were to become president, including a push for universal healthcare and a so-called Green New Deal. 

    Castro plans on announcing Saturday whether he will run for the White House. 

    "Starting on Saturday," he said, according to NBC, he plans to "be talking about my vision for the future." 

    Read more: Potential 2020 Democratic hopeful Julian Castro sets New Hampshire stop

    Castro, who was thrown into the national spotlight during the 2016 campaign as a rumoured running mate for Hillary Clinton, has not been mysterious about his plan to run for president. In fact, his twin brother Joaquín already announced his intention to run during an interview with Stephen Colbert. 

    This week, the former secretary visited Nevada and Iowa and is planning on visiting New Hampshire on Monday. During his Iowa stop, Castro spoke about border security, which is the driving issue behind the current government shutdown.

    Castro said he agrees that the US needs stronger border security, but he thinks the best way to secure the border is through investing in technology and personnel, as well as in Latin America. 

    "I think that the United States needs to get serious about our relationship with Latin America and form alliances there the way we did with Europe after World War II to make sure that folks can do well in their home countries so that they don’t show up on the doorstep of the United States," he said. 

    SEE ALSO: Meet the 2020 presidential contenders who are poised to start campaigning right away in 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    jeff bezos mackenzie bezos

     

    MacKenzie Bezos could be poised to become the world's richest woman. 

    Her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is the richest person in the world, with a fortune of $137 billion, and she'll likely be walking away with a good chunk of that after their divorce, which they announced on Wednesday. 

    Given that Jeff founded Amazon after they got married, MacKenzie could be entitled to half of her husband's Amazon-based fortune.

    Jeff and MacKenzie live in Washington state, one of nine US states where everything acquired throughout the marriage — from real estate to income — is considered joint property. That means their assets could be split 50/50, unlike in the other 41 states, where a marital estate is made up of assets acquired under each spouse's name and isn't considered joint property unless both names are on the deed, as Business Insider previously reported.

    Read more: MacKenzie Bezos played a big role in the founding of Amazon and drove across the country with Jeff to start it

    If MacKenzie walked away from the divorce settlement with exactly half of Jeff's fortune, that would make her worth an estimated $68.5 billion —and the richest woman in the world by nearly $23 billion.

    But Melisse G. Burstein, a Miami-based CPA who specializes in accounting in high stakes litigation, said it's not likely the billionaire couple will end up splitting assets 50/50.

    "Because much of Jeff Bezos' net worth is tied up in Amazon stock, it would be difficult to figure out how to get the wife 50%," Burstein told Business Insider. "I believe dividing the shares in the company could result in Jeff Bezos’ control of Amazon being diluted. This would be against MacKenzie Bezos' interest as it has the potential of devaluing the company and thus devaluing the amount the individual shares are worth."

    If the couple signed a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement, that would overrule state law, Michael Stutman, a New York-based divorce attorney, told Business Insider.

    Jeff Bezos + Mackenzie

    Given the couple's vast wealth and assets, it's likely they have some sort of marital financial agreement.

    The billionaire couple owns a nearly 29,000-square-foot estate outside of Seattle, Washington, as well as two neighboring Beverly Hills mansions, a Texas ranch, the largest house in Washington, DC, and a set of four condos in New York City.

    The richest woman in the world

    It's unknown whether Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos signed a postnup. But MacKenzie could walk away with significantly less than 50% of the $137 billion and still become the richest woman in the world. That title is currently held by Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who controls 33% of L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics maker, and who is worth $45.6 billion, according to Bloomberg.

    If MacKenzie comes away with even 33.4% of her husband's $137 billion fortune, she would still be worth a staggering $45.7 billion, edging out Bettencourt Meyers.

    However Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos end up dividing their assets, the business of two billionaires getting divorced is a complicated one. Super-wealthy couples often have to deal with complex and illiquid assets, company issues, and public perception, divorce attorneys say.

    For this particular couple, the question of Amazon shares complicates matters even further.

    The amount MacKenzie will walk away with will be "dependent on how the divorce terms are structured and whether it is feasible for Mackenzie to acquire Amazon shares without diluting Jeff's control of the company,"Burstein said.

    SEE ALSO: MacKenzie Bezos has been part of Amazon lore since before the company began, driving across the US with her husband Jeff as he wrote out his business plan in 1994

    DON'T MISS: Jeff Bezos and his family own at least 6 massive properties across the US. Here's a look at the homes, from a sprawling Seattle estate to a set of historic NYC condos

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Japanese lifestyle guru Marie Kondo explains how to organize your home once and never again


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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.

    classpass activities

    • You don't need a gym membership to get in shape this year. In fact, the inconvenience of one may be one reason your resolution to work out more isn't sticking.
    • Below you'll find six clever tricks to working up a sweat without the commitment and cost of a gym membership.

    Signing up for a gym in January is about as American as apple pie. Winter passes in a haze of puffy coats, comforting holiday foods, and gratuitous celebratory drinking. By the time January has rolled around, we're practically itching for a change. We feel gross, we research juicers online, and we sign up at the gym that's always packed at 6 p.m. 

    But you don't need a gym membership to be healthier, stronger, or more flexible. You can workout consistently — and, yes, be challenged — without the commitment, cost, crowds, and any other string of downsides that keep us from actually using said memberships. And you can do it without paying $30 for a boutique fitness class every time, too. 

    Below, you'll find six ways to get around signing up for a gym membership. You'll still get a great workout, but you won't be tied down to any fees, locations, or genres if you don't decide to be. 

    Here's how to get a great workout in without ever committing to a gym: 

    Aaptiv

    Start a 30-day trial of Aaptiv for iOS

    Start a 30-day trial of Aaptiv for Android

    Love working out with the help of a personal trainer but lack the time, money, or desire to go in person? Aaptiv is for you. 

    It's an app that gives you unlimited access to audio workouts led by professional certified trainers. It's cheap (a free 30-day trial and $15 per month after), travels with you, and lets you move at your own pace — plus, you never need to worry about classes filling up or being charged a no-show fee. 

    There are over 2,500 classes at every level ranging from running, cycling, HIIT, and elliptical workouts to stretching, yoga, and strength training. There are over 30 new classes added each week. You can even use it to train for a marathon (full, half, 10K, or 5K).

    Even if you just use it to learn the ins and outs of an exercise, it's worth it to maximize your time and prevent injury. Both Will Tso, co-founder of Routinely, and I have said it's a smarter way to keep yourself motivated in self-workouts, and great for consistency while traveling.

    It's also worth noting that while you'll hear the trainer's instructions, there's also typically popular music pairings, just like any other class. 



    ClassPass

    Start a free month of ClassPass

    If you're looking for a discount on pricey studio classes, variety, and little commitment, you should try ClassPass. 

    If you're unfamiliar, ClassPass is pretty simple. You pay a monthly fee that's calculated based on where you live and how many classes per month you want to attend. For five to eight classes, you can expect to pay $49-$79 per month. That means you pay $6-$16 per class—far cheaper than drop-in rates for boutique classes, and likely cheaper than most nice gyms in the area. You can use your membership in 80+ participating cities, get class recommendations, see class reviews, and stream workouts from home for free.

    Right now, ClassPass is offering an entire month free. Their usual offer is two weeks. With the trial, you can go to up to six boutique fitness classes in January for $0.

    You can find out more about ClassPass and the deal here.

     



    POPiN (NYC specific)

    Download POPiN

    If you like working out in gyms but hate the commitment of an expensive membership, try POPiN.

    POPiN is an app that lets you drop in at gyms, boutique studios, and sometimes clubs, which you pay for by the minute. The clock starts ticking once you've checked in. Rates range from $0.14 to $0.35 per minute depending on the gym, which means you can spend as little as $8.40 per hour for your workout.

    POPiN doesn't have a contract, cancellation fee, or require you to plan ahead of time. Just walk in and workout at your own convenience by checking in at the site's front desk tablet. 

    This is a great option for the lowest amount of commitment possible — aside from a home gym. 

    Find out more about what POPiN is like in real life in the Insider Picks review.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    products us consumers want delivered by drone

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

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

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

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

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

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

    In full, the report:

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

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

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

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    wine toast glasses red wine

    • There are a lot of great wines to try from around the world.
    • Some come from South Africa, like Peter Max Pinot Noir.
    • Other surprising picks come from New York, like Nathan K. Wines Riesling.

    There's no fancier feeling than pouring yourself a glass of wine. Although you may be familiar with some top wine-producing regions, the most adored concoctions come from places like South Africa, Chile Napa Valley, and Tuscany.

    We asked sommeliers which wines were at the top of their recommendation list. Whether you're dealing with a bottle of Pinot Noir or Syrah, their overall advice was simple: keep an open mind and don't stay married to any one brand.

    Antoine Arena makes a Corsican wine from a grape that was at one point considered extinct.

    France is the world's second largest producer of wine, so it's not surprising to see a bottle listed here. Bianco Gentile, a grape used for making white wines, was indigenous to Corsica but considered extinct for a period of time until some vines were discovered and replanted.

    Kristie Petrullo Campbell, the founder of the Petrullo Wine Company, recommends trying a bottle of Antoine Arena Bianco Gentile Vin de France.

    "The richness of the wine is balanced by its acidity and minerality," she told INSIDER. This wine has notes of almond, citrus, and wildflowers, which is great for anyone looking for a slightly nutty flavor.



    Peter Max Pinot Noir is an example of how South Africa's cool climate can affect the taste of a product.

    Climate isn't a one-size-fits-all when it comes to wine. Some varieties, like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, ripen to perfection in cooler climates since they are able to stay on the vine longer.

    Those looking for an earthy, black tea taste should try Crystallum Peter Max Pinot Noir. It's a red wine that also packs a slight cherry punch to it. 



    A bottle of Louis Bovard Dezaley Grand Cru Medinette may be difficult to find if you don't live in Switzerland.

    The Dezaley wine region is located on a steep hillside along Lake Geneva, which allows it to take advantage of the sun's reflection coming off the lake. The wine is made from the Chasselas variety, which can have a mineral-y taste due to the wine's ability to take on the character of its soil.

    Petrullo notes that this wine has a more delicate taste, however, this one is harder to find since Switzerland only exports 2% of its wines.  



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Fortnite Cover

    • With more than 200 million registered players, "Fortnite" is the world's most popular video game.
    • Epic Games, the Cary, North Carolina-based company behind the game, makes hundreds of millions of dollars each month from "Fortnite" microtransactions.
    • North Carolina's Better Business Bureau has given the company an F for failing to respond to hundreds of customer complaints in the past year.

    "Fortnite" sparked a global phenomenon in 2018, capturing the hearts of millions of players and becoming the world's most popular video game in the process. But even as "Fortnite" continues to skyrocket in popularity around the globe, the company behind the game is facing criticism from a very local source, the Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau (BBB).

    As reported by WTVD in Cary, North Carolina, "Fortnite" creator Epic Games received an F-rating from the BBB following hundreds of complaints from upset customers. The BBB rating reflects how a company interacts with its customers, and Epic, which is based in Cary, received the failing grade for a perceived lack of response to customer complaints.

    The website for the Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau lists 271 complaints made against Epic in the last year, the vast majority of which were left unanswered. As a company with an international product played by millions of players each day, Epic does have their own private support desk for concerns complaints, but some frustrated customers looked to the BBB to help resolve their situation.

    Read more: How big is 'Fortnite'? With more than 200 million players, it's now equal to nearly two-thirds the US population

    Scrolling through the anonymous BBB complaints does show some recurring problems. Some players reported that their accounts had been hacked or stolen and Epic customer service had failed to restore them. Other customers complained about Epic failing to refund improper and accidental charges they received while playing, and more than a few parents reported account issues while trying to assist their children. A handful of players claimed that Epic had unjustly banned them for cheating with no proof.

    "My son was banned from using Fortnite and accused of cheating to gain an advantage," a complaint from November 2018 reads. "My son has spent quite a bit of money on the game and was abruptly banned with any warning or explanation or provided with any proof of wrongdoing. The claim that he cheated to gain an advantage is false. Not only will the company not provide any evidence that what they are saying is true but they refuse to answer or address the questions via email, they refuse to allow me to talk to a more senior staff who might be able to address my concerns either."

    All but a handful of the complaints were left unanswered, and they likely represent a small portion of the support requests Epic receives for "Fortnite' each day. Still, the lingering complaints reflect some ongoing concerns with the "Fortnite" business model, and the rating doesn't reflect well on Epic's customer service. However, the game continues to see growth on a massive scale, so it seems that Epic's good will hasn't run out just yet.

    SEE ALSO: How big is 'Fortnite'? With more than 200 million players, it's now equal to nearly two-thirds the US population

    SEE ALSO: A 'Fresh Prince' star is suing 'Fortnite' maker Epic Games, claiming his dance moves were stolen. Decide for yourself with these comparisons of every dance in the game

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    NOW WATCH: We put the 7 best smartphones of 2018 head-to-head and there was a clear winner for the best value


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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.

    L.L.Bean

    • L.L.Bean is having a massive winter clearance sale — one of it's biggest sales of the year.
    • Now through January 13, you can save up to 50% on sale styles.
    • The sale includes apparel, footwear, outdoor equipment, travel accessories, and home goods.

    The start of a new year is a great time to save on clothes, shoes, and outdoor gear as retailers work to clear out inventory in preparation for the next season. L.L.Bean's massive winter clearance sale is a prime example of that — and it's going on right now.

    Until January 13, you can save up to 50% on winter clearance apparel and footwear styles for men, women, and kids. The sale also includes bags and travel accessories, outdoor equipment, and home goods. Although you've got a few days to take advantage of the deals, you'll want to grab the best ones now before they're gone.

    Whether you're in need of items to wear right now or you're already planning your adventures for the next fall and winter seasons, there are plenty of worthwhile things to buy.

    To help you get to the best deals quickly, we rounded up 20 of our favorite products on sale. Check them out below or find plenty of other amazing deals on the site here

    Shop the L.L.Bean sale now.

    Men's L.L.Bean Fleece-Lined Flannel Shirt

    Fleece-Lined Flannel Shirt, $64.99 (Originally $74) [You save $9.01]



    Men's L.L.Bean Mountain Classic Colorblock Fleece Pullover

    Mountain Classic Colorblock Fleece Pullover, $59.99 (Originally $69) [You save $9.01]



    Men's L.L.Bean Ultralight 850 Stretch Down Hooded Jacket

    Ultralight 850 Stretch Down Hooded Jacket, available in four colors, $239-$249 (Originally $279) [You save up to $40]



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Passengers on an airplane

    • Fellow passengers can make flying a miserable experience. 
    • One Instagram account, @passengershaming, highlights all of the weird things people see others doing on the plane. 
    • There are plenty of passengers who put their feet up, wear no shirts, and even do their laundry while flying. 

    While delays, cancellations, and layovers are often considered the worst part of flying, many people forget how fellow passengers can make any flight miserable. In fact, people will do just about anything to get comfortable on a long flight at the expense of everyone else on board.

    One Instagram account, @passengershaming, curates some of the most horrifying — and sometimes unsettling — things people have seen others do on planes. 

    Take a look at some of the most terrifying finds. 

    The most common nuisance people experience on airplanes is phantom feet.

    That video is from Olympian Shaun White while he was flying first class. But he's not alone.

    Some people just can't keep their feet to themselves on the airplane. 

    How do feet even get this dirty?

    Peek-a-boo!

    For some, though, flying is the perfect time to pamper their feet. 

    There's nothing like treating yourself to a pedicure in the sky. 

    Sitting for long hours can be frustrating, so stretches are sometimes needed. 

    At least this person has a sock on. 

    Meanwhile, some passengers resort to more advanced stretches. 

    Just because you're on a cramped plane doesn't mean you can't find your zen. 

    Sometimes it's easier to just lay down.

    Any part of the plane can be first class if you try hard enough. 

    Some passengers turn to crafts to pass the time. 

    This may be where Picasso got his start. 

    Other kids turn to thievery. 

    Yeah, I wasn't going to eat that. 

    And when the airplane food doesn't cut it, you need to heat up your leftovers somehow. 

    This person may be a genius or just scrappy. 

    Meanwhile, others use the time to air dry their clothes. 

    Just because it's travel day doesn't mean you should skip laundry day. 

    One passenger even used the time to curl her hair. 

    One person's plane is another person's faux-beauty salon. 

    While other passengers let all their hair hang loose. 

    Hopefully, the unlucky passenger likes watching the musical "Hair."

    The misplaced ponytail can be seen on many flights. 

    It's a hair epidemic. 

    Some travelers use the time to reconnect with loved ones. 

    Love is in the air!

    Some see a side of their fellow passengers they wish they could unsee. 

    Who needs pants when you have an awesome thigh tattoo?

    Other passengers choose to fly without a shirt so they can really feel the breeze.

    The most important part of flying is making sure you're comfortable. 

    But the best part of any flight is the hidden gems that you find.  

    Yes, that's a used pregnancy test. 

    Yes, that's lube in the plane bathroom. 

    Yes, that is dirty underwear. 

    Happy flying!

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

     

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the Costco food court and it totally blew us away


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    Mike Bloomberg

    • Bloomberg LP has surpassed $10 billion in annual revenue for the first time.
    • Hitting this milestone means some employees will receive bonuses worth tens of thousands of dollars that are paid out in March.
    • Bloomberg, known for its terminals that are ubiquitous on Wall Street trading floors, has lately shifted its revenue mix to new sources like selling data. 

    Bloomberg LP, the financial data and information company, brought in record revenue in 2018, surpassing $10 billion for the first time, according to insiders who were informed by senior management. 

    While the milestone would be something in itself, it also means some employees are in line to receive an additional bonus thanks to an incentive plan set up years ago to entice staff to push for revenue gains. 

    Bloomberg employees who joined the company before 2013 will receive an added bonus paid out in March, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Staff who worked at the media company when it was first announced in 2008 are eligible for more than those who joined in the intervening years.

    Nearly half of the almost 20,000 employees are eligible for some payout and were told last week, the person said. 

    The payout could have been higher if Bloomberg had hit the $10 billion mark sooner. The NYPost reported in December 2010 that the firm told employees that the bonus, known as 10B, would equal 70% of their average pay (calculated over some time period) if it reached $10 billion in revenue by June 2014. Later than that, the bonus as a percentage of annual revenue gradually declined. At the time, 12-month trailing revenue was less than $7 billion.  

    But by 2012, expectations for reaching $10 billion in revenue had run into the reality of the financial crisis and job cuts across Wall Street, which limited pricey terminals installs that run north of $24,000 a year. In a memo late that year, according to Politico, Bloomberg told employees it would pay them an interim bonus in 2014, with the remainder paid out whenever the firm reached $10 billion in revenue.

    Bloomberg, known for its terminals that are ubiquitous on Wall Street trading floors, finally reached the milestone by diversifying away from those machines, Jennifer Milton, an analyst at Burton-Taylor International Consulting, wrote in a LinkedIn post earlier this week

    Growth in Bloomberg's non-terminal revenue such as data and research tools outpaced the terminal revenue in 2018, and now accounts for 23% of total revenue, she wrote. The post also mentioned the $10 billion revenue figure, saying it was an estimate.

    A Bloomberg spokesman declined to comment. 

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


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    Amazon

    • In room called One Amazon at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Amazon is holding invitational meetings.
    • The meetings are designed to convince companies who sell their products on Amazon to join a new coaching program called Amazon Growth.
    • The program costs $2,500 - $5,000 a month, and promises to help sellers with things like creating a business plan, or figuring out advertising keywords.
    • Some sellers have chatted on forums that they are baffled by the program and what they would actually receive for the money.

     

    Amazon is holding invitation-only meetings at CES in a room called One Amazon at the Venetian, reports CNBC's Eugene Kim. The topic: convincing people who sell their wares on Amazon's Marketplace to pay up to $5,000 a month to join a support program that would get them an Amazon account representative.

    Amazon Marketplace allows any small or mid-sized business to sell their wares through Amazon, giving them access to Amazon's hundreds of millions of customers, its warehouses, shipping/fulfillment services, even wrapping paper services. Marketplace accounts for about half of the company's total unit sales, the company says. 

    The CES meetings involved explaining a new program launched last year called Marketplace Growth. Growth assigns the seller an account representative. The rep can help them do things like create a business plan and offer them advice on keyword advertising, Amazon says. But it's pricey. For companies who sell less than $1 million in gross sales a year, Amazon requires the seller to commit to $2,500/month to join the program. For those who sell $1 million to $10 million, it charges $3,500/month and at over $10 million, it charges $5,000/month.

    Read: 44 enterprise startups to bet your career on in 2019

    This is on top of the fees sellers already pay Amazon, including a roughly $40 monthly fee to have a pro seller account. Sellers also pay Amazon a percentage of each sale ranging from 8% to 45% depending on the type of item being sold, with 15% being typical. Additional services, such as for warehouse space, also require an extra fee.

    Some sellers are skeptical

    Many Amazon sellers would welcome a premium level of customer service, with a rep on speed dial to quickly deal with fake reviews, counterfeit versions of their products and to help in instances when their own products have been unfairly targeted for removal. 

    But CNBC's Kim points out that some sellers on Amazon's forums are skeptical and, even baffled, by what benefits the new service will actually provide. 

    Although the program appears to give these sellers a person to contact to ask about support issues, Amazon's marketing materials don't promise speedier support than what's available through existing support channels. Amazon vaguely promises that it will give customers a support "consultation." Its marketing materials say "dedicated support and performance consultation can help you troubleshoot and resolve issues." 

    We asked Amazon for comment on the meetings at CES and about the types of things the $5,000/month account rep does, specifically if the rep helps sellers address fake reviews, counterfeits and other such support issues.

    An Amazon spokesperson didn't answer those questions directly. The spokesperson told us via an emailed statement, "The small and medium-sized businesses selling in our store are incredibly important to Amazon and our customers. More than half the items sold on Amazon come from these businesses and we work hard to support them through new features and services like Marketplace Growth."

    SEE ALSO: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announce they are divorcing

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    NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos is worth over $100 billion — here's how the world's richest man makes and spends his money


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

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

    edge popularity

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

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

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

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

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

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

    In full, the report:

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

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

      This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    trump pelosi

    • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday accused billionaire President Donald Trump of not understanding the financial burden of the government shutdown on federal workers. 
    • "He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money," Pelosi said. "But they can't."
    • Trump and Democratic leaders had yet another heated meeting regarding border security.
    • The president vowed to continue the government shutdown, which has now lasted over two weeks, after Pelosi refused to agree to funding for a border wall or steel fence. 

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday accused billionaire President Donald Trump of not understanding the financial burden of the government shutdown on federal workers. 

    "He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money," Pelosi said. "But they can't."

    This comment came after a heated meeting between Trump and Democratic leaders, in which the president allegedly slammed his hands on the table and stormed out of the room after Pelosi refused to agree to funding for a border wall or steel barrier. 

    In comments to reporters after the meeting, Vice President Mike Pence and other Republicans rejected the notion Trump threw what Democratic leaders characterized as a "tantrum."

    Trump's insistence on obtaining funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border has pushed the government into a partial shutdown that has lasted over two weeks. The president vowed to continue the shutdown after his meeting with Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. 

    "Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time," The president tweeted. "I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

    Read more: Trump storms out of government shutdown meeting after Democrats claim he 'slammed the table' over border wall

    Trump has in recent days suggested federal workers are OK with being furloughed because they're on his side on the matter. But there's no substantive evidence to support the notion federal workers are happy they're not at work and won't receive paychecks, or in come cases working without pay. Some have reported struggling financially as a consequence of the shutdown.

    Roughly 800,000 federal workers have been affected by the situation. 

    Read more:Some government contractors could go unpaid even after the shutdown ends

    In her post-meeting comments on Wednesday, Pelosi seemed to be alluding to the fact Trump inherited much of his wealth from his real estate mogul father Fred Trump. By the time Trump was eight-years-old, he was a millionaire, despite his claims of being self-made. 

    Trump once famously said he received only a "small loan of a million dollars" from his father when he was getting started out in the business.

    "My whole life really has been a 'no' and I fought through it," Trump said an NBC-sponsored town hall in 2015. "It has not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me. And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars."

    Subsequent investigations have shown Trump's father lent him closer to $60 million, far more than he publicly claimed. The president has long been mysterious about his finances, and has controversially broken precedent by refusing to release his tax returns. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    Worker holding fatberg UK

    • "Fatbergs"— a portmanteau that combines "fat"& "iceberg” — are giant masses of hardened fat, grease, and household garbage that clog sewer systems.

    Imagine holding a massive, squishy beach ball, except instead of colorful plastic, the ball is made of used condoms, wet wipes, crude oil, and congealed cooking fat from people's morning bacon.

    That's a fatberg, and it's what sewer workers in London encounter with regularity.

    In 2017, a 150-ton, 820-foot-long fatberg was discovered in the sewers beneath east London. A piece of that record-breaking fatberg was put on display in the Museum of London, where it then started growing toxic mold pustules and even hatched flies.

    The Thames Water Authority told the AFP in 2014 that it saw nearly 80,000 fatberg clogs annually, which cost $1.6 million per month to get rid of. Almost 7,000 water authority customers experienced flooding as a result of these blockages.

    Now, a 210-foot-long fatberg has been found blocking a sewer in Sidmouth, England, a small coastal town. The blockage is longer than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, stretching more than six buses would if lined up end to end.

    A team from South West Water, the company that provides drinking water and wastewater management throughout Devon, England, is now figuring out how to remove the blockage.

    Andrew Roantree, a worker with South West Water, told the Associated Press that it will take the crew "around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging working conditions." 

    The removal is scheduled to start February 4, but could be delayed due to heavy rain, according to a statement from South West Water. The statement also encouraged consumers to "stop the block by only flushing the 3Ps — pee, paper, and poo — and by not pouring fat, oil, and grease (FOG) down the drain."

    South West Water noted that the fatberg "has been discovered in good time," so didn't impact the quality of local tap water.

    Shoveling a fatberg

    Fatbergs are difficult and expensive to eliminate. When people pour leftover grease from cooking down the sink or flush wet wipes down the toilet, those waste products aggregate in wastewater and sewage systems. Workers then have to break them up using pickaxes or shovels, or blast them with high-pressure water jets. 

    The blockages aren’t limited to British soil. The fight against fatbergs is worldwide, with cities like Melbourne, Australia and Baltimore in the US uncovering big ones, too. New York City spent $18 million over five years fighting fatbergs, according to National Geographic.

    “The United States and United Kingdom report the most fatbergs,” engineer Thomas Wallace, an engineer at University College Dublin, told National Geographic. He noted that these countries produce an abundance of ingredients that create fatbergs — Forbes reported that Londoners produce between 32 and 44 million liters of used cooking oil a year. Aging sewers systems are also to blame, since they aren’t capable of dealing with a large population's trash habits.

    Fatbergs can't be left to languish, because the mess can stick to sewer walls and harden. When these blockages solidify, they effectively become balls of concrete that fill the pipes and no longer let sewage pass through. These obstructions sometimes cause sewage to ooze up through manholes or back up into drains in homes. The domestic back-flow can  contaminate household water supplies, which poses a risk to human health.

    The blockages can also cause flooding that damages property or contaminates nearby bodies of water with sewage, according to a 2017 study.

    South West Water said tackling sewer blockages in Devon "adds £4.5 million [$5.75 million] to bills every year."

    SEE ALSO: An oil and trash 'fatberg' from the sewers of London is going on display, and the curator says it's like nothing you've seen

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why you should never pour grease down the drain


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