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The latest news from Business Insider

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    PaymentsEcosystem_Teaser

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

    The digitization of daily life is making phones and connected devices the preferred payment tools for consumers — preferences that are causing digital payment volume to blossom worldwide.

    As noncash payment volume accelerates, the power dynamics of the payments industry are shifting further in favor of digital and omnichannel providers, attracting a wide swath of providers to the space and forcing firms to diversify, collaborate, or consolidate in order to capitalize on a growing revenue opportunity.

    More and more, consumers want fast and simple payments — that's opening up opportunities for providers. Rising e- and m-commerce, surges in mobile P2P, and increasing willingness among customers in developed countries to try new transaction channels, like mobile in-store payments, voice and chatbot payments, or connected device payments are all increasing transaction touchpoints for providers.

    This growing access is helping payments become seamless, in turn allowing firms to boost adoption, build and strengthen relationships, offer more services, and increase usage.

    But payment ubiquity and invisibility also comes with challenges. Gains in volume come with increases in per-transaction fee payouts, which is pushing consumer and merchant clients alike to seek out inexpensive solutions — a shift that limits revenue that providers use to fund critical programs and squeezes margins.

    Regulatory changes and geopolitical tensions are forcing players to reevaluate their approach to scale. And fraudsters are more aggressively exploiting vulnerabilities, making data breaches feel almost inevitable and pushing providers to improve their defenses and crisis response capabilities alike.

    In the latest annual edition of The Payments Ecosystem Report, Business Insider Intelligence unpacks the current digital payments ecosystem, and explores how changes will impact the industry in both the short- and long-term. The report begins by tracing the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement to clarify the role of key stakeholders and assess how the landscape has shifted.

    It also uses forecasts, case studies, and product developments from the past year to explain how digital transformation is impacting major industry segments and evaluate the pace of change. Finally, it highlights five trends that should shape payments in the year ahead, looking at how regulatory shifts, emerging technologies, and competition could impact the payments ecosystem.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Behind the scenes, payment processes and stakeholders remain similar. But providers are forced to make payments as frictionless as possible as online shopping surges: E-commerce is poised to exceed $1 trillion — nearly a fifth of total US retail — by 2023.
    • The channels and front-end methods that consumers use to make payments are evolving. Mobile in-store payments are huge in developing markets, but approaching an inflection point in developed regions where adoption has been laggy. And the ubiquity of mobile P2P services like Venmo and Square Cash will propel digital P2P to $574 billion by 2023.
    • The competitive landscape will shift as companies pursue joint ventures to grow abroad in response to geopolitical tensions, or consolidate to achieve rapid scale amid digitization.
    • Fees, bans, steering, or regulation could impact the way consumers pay, pushing them toward emerging methods that bypass card rails, and limit key revenue sources that providers use to fund rewards and marketing initiatives.
    • Tokenization will continue to mainstream as a key way providers are preventing and responding to the omnipresent data breach threat.

    The companies mentioned in the report are: CCEL, Adyen, Affirm, Afterpay, Amazon, American Express, Ant Financial, Apple, AribaPay, Authorize.Net, Bank of America, Barclays, Beem It, Billtrust, Braintree, Capital One, Cardtronics, Chase Paymentech, Citi, Discover, First Data, Flywire, Fraedom, Gemalto, GM, Google, Green Dot, Huifu, Hyundai, Ingenico, Jaguar, JPMorgan Chase, Klarna, Kroger, LianLian, Lydia, Macy’s, Mastercard, MICROS, MoneyGram, Monzo, NCR, Netflix, P97, PayPal, Paytm, Poynt, QuickBooks, Sainsbury’s, Samsung, Santander, Shell, Square, Starbucks, Stripe, Synchrony Financial, Target, TransferWise, TSYS, UnionPay, Venmo, Verifone, Visa, Vocalink, Walmart, WeChat/Tencent, Weebly, Wells Fargo, Western Union, Worldpay, WorldRemit, Xevo, Zelle, Zesty, and ZipRecruiter, among others

    In full, the report:

    • Explains the factors contributing to a swell in global noncash payments
    • Examines shifts in the roles of major industry stakeholders, including issuers, card networks, acquirer-processors, POS terminal vendors, and gateways
    • Presents forecasts and highlights major trends and industry events driving digital payments growth
    • Identifies five trends that will shape the payments ecosystem in the year ahead

    SEE ALSO: These are the four transformations payments providers must undergo to survive digitization

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    trump california

    • President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted that "raking" and better forest management can prevent more forest fires like those that devastated California in 2018.
    • But the government shutdown is preventing the Forest Service and other agencies from doing that.
    • Employees say that preventative activities such as prescribed burns and debris clean-ups have been stopped during the shutdown.

    President Donald Trump's government shutdown looks as if it's getting in the way of his solution to the California wildfires.

    Trump has long suggested that better forest management and "raking" are the primary solutions to the rash of devastating wildfires in California and the rest of the country. But according to federal employees working on land management, the ongoing shutdown is crippling the very activities Trump wants.

    During a visit to California in November, Trump suggested that raking the floors of forests could have prevented the devastating fires that ravaged the state in 2018.

    "I was with the president of Finland and he said, 'We're a forest nation,'" Trump said during a visit to the town of Paradise. "He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem."

    Trump has often cited the need for increased "forest management" in California to combat the worsening forest fires. In fact, Trump once again harped on the issue in a tweet Wednesday.

    "Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen," Trump said. "Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"

    While experts say that Trump's view of the issue is a bit simplistic — ignoring factors like climate change — the forest Service and other agencies do clean up "fuel"on forest floors that can act as kindling for wildfires.

    Read more:The effects of the shutdown are only going to get exponentially worse as the fight drags on»

    But the government shutdown has cut off funds for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the National Forest Service and the Department of the Interior. That means the employees that would be "raking" the debris on the forest floor, or conducting other forest management services like prescribed burns, are unable to do so.

    While the departments can respond to fires, employees have said that preventative activities have ceased.

    One National Forest Service wildland firefighter told the Washington Post that all work on clearing excess brush to help mitigate forest fires has ceased.

    "We’re not allowed,” the firefighter told the Post.

    In addition, the Forest Service is unable to hire or train new recruits during the shutdown — a critical function that helps get firefighters ready for the more active months.

    "This is the second year in a row we’ve had a shutdown right in the middle of the training season," Jim Whittington, a former US Bureau of Land Management employee, told McClatchy. "The last thing we want is for fires to break out, and not have the kind of crews we need to to field."

    The issues aren't just in California: Prescribed burns in the Pisgah National Forest— which covers a half a million acres in North Carolina — have not been carried out during the shutdown.

    According to the USDA's shutdown plan, just two-thirds of Forest Service employees are still on the job during the shutdown, while the rest — around 11,000 employees — are on furlough. Those employees remaining on the job are also doing so with no pay, but will receive back pay when the government reopens.

    While state agencies are still active, the shutdown is still cutting into critical time for forest managers and could lead to worse wildfire conditions.

    But as it stands, those agencies may not have a chance to resume activities anytime soon. The government shutdown is now in day 20, the second-longest of the modern budgeting era, and neither Trump nor Democrats sound ready to back down.

    SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

    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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    same sex couple bed

    • You might already know that sex is good for both your brain and body but it can also ease certain health problems. 
    • It's possible that regular sex can help you ward off colds and flu.
    • Sex can also act as an overall mood booster, making you happier and less stressed.

    A healthy sex life is good for the body and the brain because sex is a great way to blow off steam and relax while connecting with your body as well as your partner's. But any kind of sexual activity — even solo sex — has some serious health benefits that you probably didn’t even know about.

    INSIDER spoke with an OB/GYN, a urologist, and a professor of human sexuality, and they gave us the scoop on the health problems that sex can actually help ease, from sleepless nights to menstrual cramps.

    Our experts told us that sex and masturbation— even if you don't reach orgasm — can help with a host of physical and mental health issues … giving you several solid reasons to get busy on the regular.

    Regular sex can help you ward off colds and flu.

    If you're diligent about hand washing and taking other preventive measures during cold and flu season, our experts gave us one additional immune booster: sex.

    "Although it may sound like an obvious statement, sex does wonders for our bodies," explained board-certified urologist Judson Brandeis.

    Dr. Brandeis told us that "our bodies create an antibody called immunoglobin A (IgA) that helps ward off sickness. According to a 1999 study at Wikes University, people who have sex between one to two times a week increase their A (IgA) levels by 30 percent."

    "Anything that makes one more relaxed and happy can improve the immune system," added Dr. Felice Gersh, M.D., an OB-GYN and founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine in Irvine, CA and author of the upcoming "PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist's Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness." She told INSIDER that "even without an orgasm, just the human touch alone can be calming and improve immune function and reduce inflammation."



    These immune benefits can also help with infertility as well.

    The same antibodies that help fight off bacteria and viruses also can help with conception, according to Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, a professor of human sexuality at New York University and co-host of The Science of Sex podcast.

    She cited a 2015 study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility which showed that having regular sex — even outside the fertile period — can increase the chances of pregnancy due to the antibodies produced by white blood cells that are helping to protect the body from invaders and, thus, preparing for pregnancy.



    Sexual activity can help relieve stress and anxiety.

    "During orgasm, our brains release chemicals like oxytocin that help us feel better and more relaxed," explained Dr. Brandeis. "A 2006 study published in Biological Psychology discovered that people not having sex experienced higher levels of stress during activities like public speaking compared to those that had sex at least once over a two week period prior to their speaking engagement."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    broccoli

    • Vitamin C helps your immune system and skin health.
    • You can find vitamin C in foods like papaya, bell peppers, and strawberries.
    • Eat your fruit and vegetables raw.

    Vitamin C proves to be one of those essential daily vitamins we all need, as it’s very helpful in boosting your immune system, improving the quality of your skin, and for healing wounds effectively.

    And while it’s true that there are many vitamin C supplements available for purchase, it’s also good to know that certain foods can help bring this vitamin to your diet easily.

    To help rev up your defenses naturally this winter, we spoke to some nutritionists and dietitians about some of the best vitamin C-rich foods you can add to your daily meals. Below are some of the food choices they recommend keeping in mind if you are looking to up your intake.

    Cherries also have anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

    "Cherries possess anti-inflammatory antioxidants and vitamin C, which is needed for adequate collagen production," said nutritionist Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N.



    Potatoes are rich in vitamin C and potassium.

    "Potatoes are a rich source of vitamin C and potassium," explained registered dietitian Summer Yule, MS, RDN. However, vitamin C is lost with prolonged storage and long cooking times, she said, so it is very important to minimize cooking time if you want to retain the vitamin C in this food.



    Cauliflower is perfect for a low-carb diet.

    "Cauliflower is a great option to get vitamin C in on a low-carb diet," Yule told INSIDER. And unlike potatoes, she explained that cauliflower can be enjoyed raw, so less vitamin C is lost.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    starbucks bathroom

    • Starbucks is installing needle-disposal boxes in bathrooms at certain locations, following workers' reports of finding syringes, drugs, and blood, as well as concerns about dangerous needle pokes. 
    • The decision sparked backlash from those who felt that the boxes could encourage drug use. 
    • However, Starbucks ultimately is making the right decision to protect workers and help customers — including those who may need to dispose of syringes for reasons other than illegal drug use.

    Starbucks is making a controversial decision in an attempt to address the opioid epidemic and make coffee shops safer for workers. 

    On Wednesday, Business Insider reported that Starbucks is installing boxes for the safe disposal of syringes in the bathrooms of certain locations, after workers expressed concerns about discarded syringes and dangerous needle pokes. 

    Read more:Drugs and syringes have become such a problem in Starbucks bathrooms that the company is installing needle-disposal boxes in certain locations

    The decision immediately sparked backlash. Many peopleonsocialmedia asked whether the boxes would encouragemore people to use drugs in the bathrooms. Others said that the rise of drug use in the bathroom could be tied to Starbucks' open-door policy, which the chain rolled out earlier this year. Some people questioned whether people injecting drugs would even use the boxes. 

    Despite the criticism, Starbucks' decision helps protect both customers and the chain's employees. Here's why. 

    Workers have been asking for change

    starbucks needle

    As of Wednesday, when Business Insider first reported about the sharps boxes, more than 3,700 people had signed a petition on Coworker.org, calling for Starbucks to place needle-disposal boxes in high-risk bathrooms.

    "My coworkers and I had all experienced needles left behind in the bathroom, store, and even in our drive-thru," said one person who signed the petition after working at a Starbucks location in Lynnwood, Washington, for three years. 

    "My primary fear when I worked there would be taking out the bathroom garbages," the former employee, who quit in 2018, told Business Insider. "I was terrified that if I went to take the bag out, I would get poked by a needle I didn't know was there."

    On social media, workers shared similar experiences in which a lack of sharps boxes contributed to a dangerous work environment. 

    Store workers are often the most in-touch with what needs to change at massive restaurant-industry giants. In this case, many baristas were calling for Starbucks to install sharps boxes. 

    For Starbucks to ignore workers' demands would be to ignore a massive problem that could endanger employees. Employees said what needed to be done, and the company listened. 

    It isn't just for people injecting illegal drugs 

    While the opioid epidemic has certainly contributed to the rise of improperly disposed-of needles, some of the people celebrating the change are those who inject drugs for medical reasons. 

    Diabetics often have to carry used syringes, which are used to inject insulin, and lancets, which test their blood glucose, around until they return home or find a place to properly dispose of the sharps. 

    A lack of sharps boxes hasn't stopped people from doing drugs in Starbucks' bathrooms

    starbucks drugs

    Concerns about installing sharps boxes ignore an actual, existing problem: People already are using drugs in the bathrooms and not disposing of needles in a safe manner. 

    In a study led by Brett Wolfson-Stofko for New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, 58% of the 86 New York City business managers surveyed said they had encountered drug use in their businesses' bathrooms. Another Center for Drug Use and HIV Research study of 15 service-industry workers found that a significant majority had encountered drug use, syringes, or both in bathrooms while on the job.

    According to Wolfson-Stofko, there has been minimal research into how Starbucks' policy to allow people to use bathrooms without paying for food or drinks may have impacted safety. More generally, he said that most bathroom policies — such as keeping doors locked or providing unlock codes on receipts — simply give workers an "illusion of control."

    "Even before Starbucks said anyone could use the bathroom, that was not deterring people who would inject drugs," Wolfson-Stofko said.

    Starbucks could have chosen to ignore workers' demands and try to avoid controversy. Instead, the coffee giant has a chance to force other chains to follow in its footsteps and make the restaurant industry safer for workers across America. 

    Are you a service-industry worker who wants to share your perspective on sharps boxes and bathroom clean up? Email ktaylor@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: Drugs and syringes have become such a problem in Starbucks bathrooms that the company is installing needle-disposal boxes in certain locations

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 11 things you probably didn't know about Walmart


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    razer laptop 15 ces 2015

    • Several laptop makers announced new models at CES 2019 that will come with OLED displays— the "holy grail" of display technology. 
    • OLED displays are better than traditional laptop LCD displays in several ways.
    • Despite being available on TVs for several years so far, OLED display adoption for laptops has been slow, most likely due to the high cost of OLED displays.

    LAS VEGAS — OLED displays on laptops made a big comeback at CES 2019, where several new models sporting the superior display technology were announced.

    OLED displays are superior to the regular LCD displays that most laptops use in several ways. For one, they produce a perfect black color that doesn't look gray, like most LCD displays. That's because parts of the screen — individual pixels — will actually turn off when displaying a scene with the color black, whereas an LCD display always has a backlight turned on behind the display itself.

    Since OLED displays don't have backlight behind the display, they're also more power efficient than LCD displays. That translates to better battery life, which is something we've seen with smartphones that come with OLED displays over LCD displays.

    OLED displays also produce beautiful contrast between light and dark areas of a scene, making for a striking picture. 

    razer blade 15 oled ces 2019

    One of the most notable laptops of CES 2019 was a prototype model of the new Razer Blade 15 that will come with a 15-inch OLED display. So far, the Razer Blade 15 with an OLED display is still in the works, but Razer said it's planning a 2019 release. There's no details surrounding its potential specs or price tag, either. 

    HP, Dell, and Lenovo also announced new laptops with OLED displays.

    HP's new Spectre X360 15 is expected to become available in March 2019, with pricing details to be announced closer to launch. 

    Dell is releasing three new laptops with OLED displays in March 2019, including a new XPS 15 model and two gaming models — the Alienware m15 and Dell G7.

    Lenovo's new Yoga C730 will also sport an OLED screen when it's also released in March 2019.

    lenovo c730 oled ces 2019 2

    Laptop makers have been reluctant to adopt OLED displays in the past, as they can easily drive up the cost of a laptop beyond what a buyer is willing to pay. Indeed, OLED displays are expensive for both the laptop maker and the buyer. Most TVs with OLED panels, for example, are significantly more expensive than those with traditional LCD displays. 

    But it appears at CES 2019 that the price of OLED technology has dropped to a manageable level. Still, while there's no pricing details for the models above, expect them to cost more than similarly-specced laptops with LCD displays. 

    SEE ALSO: The best computer we saw at CES 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: British Airways has a $13 million flight simulator that taught us how to take off, fly, and land an airplane


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

    Southwest Airlines, companion pass deal

    • When you open a new personal Southwest credit card, you can earn the best-ever sign-up bonus offered for the cards: 30,000 points and an unlimited Companion Pass, which is valid for travel through 2019.
    • The Companion Pass lets you book a free ticket for a companion whenever you travel — all you'll have to pay is taxes and fees (which are typically as low as $5.60 each way).
    • The offer applies to all three of Southwest's personal cards, but it ends on February 11.
    • Our pick for the best Southwest card to open is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card— however, read on to see which is best for you. 

    Southwest and Chase today announced that for a limited time, people who apply for any of their co-branded credit cards will be able to earn Southwest's coveted Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus.

    The new sign-up bonus is effectively the best deal ever offered on any of Southwest's credit cards. In addition to the Companion Pass, which will be valid through 2019, new cardholders can also earn 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. 

    To earn the sign-up bonus, new cardholders must spend $4,000 on the card within the first three months of opening it. The bonus is only available until February 11.

    The surprise promotion — coming just one day after a previous limited-time offer ended — represents what can arguably be described as the best-ever sign-up bonus offered by Southwest and Chase.

    The Southwest Companion pass is often seen as the "holy grail" of travel for points-and-miles aficionados and self-described "travel hackers." When you earn the Companion Pass, you can select a designated friend or family member to travel with you for free for as long as the pass is valid.

    Normally to earn the Companion Pass, one has to earn 110,000 qualifying points with Southwest within a calendar year. The pass will then be valid for the remainder of that calendar year, as well as the entirety of the following one.

    Typically, you may be able to earn some of those qualifying points by opening a credit card and earning the normal sign-up bonus, but as Chase has added restrictions on who is eligible — for instance, you can't just open two consumer card at once, earn the bonuses, and use those points to qualify — it's become harder to earn unless you're a very frequent business traveler.

    The ability to earn the Companion Pass purely as a sign-up bonus makes it significantly easy to acquire. Should new applicants hit the minimum spend requirement quickly, signing up for one credit card can equal 11 months of buy-one-get-one flights. Coupled with competitive fares on Southwest, the pass can be used for everything from longer vacations to easy, affordable weekends away. While taxes and fees are still charged on Companion tickets, these start at $5.60 for domestic flights, and rarely surpass $20-25.

    In order to receive the bonus, you can't currently hold a personal Southwest credit card, and you can't have earned a sign-up bonus from a Southwest card in the past 24 months. If you currently hold a card, but earned the bonus from it longer than 24 months ago (or never earned the bonus), you may be able to close that, wait a week or so, and apply for a new card.

    Southwest and Chase offer three personal credit cards. The Southwest Priority Card is the best option for most people because, even though it has the highest annual fee of the three cards — $149 — it offers annual credits and anniversary bonus points that are together worth at least $150, meaning the card pays for itself.

    However, if you're dead set against an annual fee in the three-digit range, the other cards are compelling options — especially with the Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus.

    Read on to learn more about the three personal Southwest cards.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

    The Rapid Rewards Plus is the base-level of the three Southwest cards. However, just because it's a bit less featured than its bigger siblings doesn't mean it's a bad option.

    The card earns 2x points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, and 1x point per dollar on everything else. You'll also get 3,000 bonus points each year on your card membership anniversary.

    That's essentially the gist of this card — there's not too much to it. There are, however, a couple of things worth noting.

    It has a $69 annual fee that isn't waived the first year. Of course, the sign-up bonus — the Companion Pass for 2019 and 30,000 points — goes a long way toward making up for that, while the anniversary points help each year after.

    All in all, while the Plus card has the lowest annual fee, it doesn't offer a ton of value after the first year. If you want to earn Southwest points on your credit card, but absolutely want to pay the lowest possible annual fee, then this card is probably the best option. However, if you're ok paying a higher annual fee, knowing that you'll get more value from the card than you'll pay in that fee, you're better off considering one of the other two.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Plus card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

    The Premier card is similar to the Plus, with a few enhancements.

    The sign-up bonus is the same, but it offers 6,000 anniversary points each year instead of 3,000.

    It also offers the ability to earn tier qualifying points, which count toward elite "A-list" status. You'll earn 1,500 tier points each time you spend $10,000 within a calendar year, up to $100,000 (or 15,000 tier points) per year.

    Otherwise, the biggest appeal of the Premier over the Plus is that it doesn't have foreign transaction fees, while the Plus does — if you use your Plus abroad, you'll be charged an extra 3% on every purchase.

    The Premier's annual fee is $99, compared to the $69 fee on the Plus, but the extra anniversary points should generally cover that increase.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Premier card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

    Generally, though, the Priority is the best option if you're a Southwest flyer.

    That's because even though it has the highest fee — $149 — it offers at least that much in value each year, effectively cancelling out the fee.

    The Priority offers 7,500 bonus anniversary points each year, as well as an annual $75 Southwest travel credit, which can be applied to purchases like flights. Assuming that Southwest points are worth 1¢ each — although you can usually get more value than that — that means that you're getting $150 of value each year just from these two benefits, which cancels out the annual fee.

    The card also has a few other benefits, including up to four Upgraded Boarding certificates each year, meaning you can board earlier and choose your seat. You'll also get 20% back on in-flight purchases, and the same ability to earn tier qualifying points as the Premier card.

    Ultimately, as long as you're willing to front the money for the annual fee, the Priority card pays for itself.

    However, if you're absolutely set against the higher fee, the Plus and the Priority can be good options as well.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Priority card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks of 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    421 broome street heath ledger apartment

    • A lavish, thoroughly updated SoHo loft just got a $5.5 million price cut
    • The previous asking price was $65 million, and now it's $59.5 million.
    • If sold for $59.5 million, it would still break the record for the most expensive single residential unit ever sold in downtown Manhattan.
    • The penthouse was renovated over four years and is filled with oversized windows and skylights.

    A rigorously renovated 8,000-square-foot loft in Manhattan's hip SoHo neighborhood, in the building where the actor Heath Ledger once lived before his death in 2008, got a $5.5 million price chop in November, bringing the asking price to $59.5 million, The Real Deal reported.

    It was previously listed for $65 million.

    If sold at its asking price, the penthouse would break the record for the most expensive single residential sale in downtown Manhattan, according to The New York Times. The record is held by a penthouse in Chelsea that sold in May 2018 for $59.06 million, according to The Times.

    The property, previously listed by Corcoran and CORE Real Estate, is now listed by Douglas Elliman.

    It was last sold in 2011 for $17 million, according to Curbed New York. The owners spent four years making gut renovations but ultimately decided it was too much space for them, Curbed reported.

    "The penthouse at 421 Broome is truly incomparable," J. Eric Becker, previously of Corcoran and now at Douglas Elliman, told Business Insider. "In all of my years in real estate, I have never seen such a stunning home, with incredible attention to detail and unmatched design sophistication."

    Here's a look inside the updated luxury penthouse.

    SEE ALSO: Nobody wants to buy 'Versailles in Manhattan,' a $19.75 million Upper East Side townhouse that has been on and off the market for 15 years

    READ MORE: This $85 million NYC condo comes with 2 tickets to outer space, a $1 million yacht, 2 Rolls-Royce Phantoms, and a Lamborghini

    The apartment is on Broome Street in New York City's SoHo neighborhood, which was once an industrial district.

    Source: Corcoran/CORE



    It's now a hip shopping area filled with designer boutiques.

    Source: NYC Go



    The owners spent four years renovating the luxurious four-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom penthouse, which is in a "landmarked cast-iron condominium dating back to 1873."

    Source: Corcoran/CORE



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Ford Chariot

    Chariot, an app that connects users and shuttle buses, will shutter in March, the San Francisco Examiner reported. The app was launched in 2014, then acquired by Ford Motor Company two years later in a cash deal totalling more than $65 million

    A Chariot spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the app will close in March. 

    January 25 is the last day Chariot will operate commuter routes in the UK. February 1 is the last day for US commuter operations. Other private and enterprise routes will cease in March. 

    "Following significant consideration, we have decided to close the Chariot operation," Dan Grossman, CEO of Chariot, said in a statement shared with Business Insider.

    Chariot staffers may be able to continue working for Ford. "We're looking to redeploy as many employees as we can," a Ford spokesperson told Business Insider.

    However, an employee told Crunchbase that Chariot workers were informed today that their positions were terminated. Some workers will receive 60 days worth of salary in a severance package. More than 600 employees work for Chariot nationwide. 

    Based in San Francisco, Chariot presently operates in 10 cities providing a service that's like Uber for busses. Nine of those cities are in the US, and Chariot expanded to London in 2018. It also develops enterprise routes for universities and businesses. 

    "Chariot was built on a commitment to help reduce congestion, ease the commute and improve quality of life in cities, and since our start, we have provided our customers with more than 3 million rides," Grossman wrote in the statement.

    Read more: Ford paid more than $65 million for shuttle-van startup Chariot 

    Chariot was the first acquisition made by Ford Smart Mobility, the company's future-of-transportation unit. After the startup raised $3 million in an investment round in 2015, Ford acquired the company in 2016 for $65 million.

    "(W)e helped Ford build their mobility business, and their experience with Chariot continues to inform their mobility efforts and design decisions for the future," Grossman wrote.

    The closure of Chariot is an about-face for automotive companies who have recently been investing hundreds of millions into mobility startups or developing their own mobility services.

    General Motors, for instance, allows users to drive GM cars through its car-sharing app Maven; it also invested $500 million in Lyft in 2016. BMW launched its own ride-hailing service, Ride, last summer, and Toyota invested $500 million in Uber last year.  

    Are you affected by the closure of Chariot? Email the reporter at rpremack@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: A Ford-owned service that lets you catch shuttle bus rides via an app is launching in London

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to drive trains on London's Tube — one of the most complicated subway systems in the world


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    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That’s the strategy e-tailers will have to adopt if they want to compete with Amazon. To fight back against the e-commerce giant’s expanding dominance, other online retailers must understand exactly why and how customers are buying on Amazon — and which aspects of the Amazon shopping experience they can incorporate into their own strategic frameworks to win back customers.

    Why Amazon First

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has obtained exclusive survey data to give e-tailers the tools to figure out how to do just that with its latest Enterprise Edge Report: The Amazon Commerce Competitive Edge Report.

    Enterprise Edge Reports are the very best research Business Insider Intelligence has to offer in terms of actionable recommendations and proprietary data, and they are only available to Enterprise clients.

    Business Insider Intelligence fielded the Amazon study to members of its proprietary panel in March 2018, reaching over 1,000 US consumers – primarily hand-picked digital professionals and early-adopters – to gather their insights on Amazon’s role in the online shopping experience.

    In full, the study:

    • Uses exclusive survey data to analyze the factors behind Amazon’s success with consumers.
    • Segments three types of Amazon customers that e-tailers should be targeting.
    • Shares strategies on how e-tailers can attract shoppers at key moments.

    First, why is Amazon so popular?

    Amazon is ubiquitous. In fact, a whopping 94% of those surveyed said they’d made a purchase on the site in the last twelve months. And of those who did, the vast majority believed Amazon’s customer experience was simply better than its leading competitors’ — specifically eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target.

    The biggest contributor to Amazon’s superior experience? Free shipping, of course. According to Amazon’s 2017 annual report, the company actually spent $21.7 billion last year covering customers’ shipping costs, a number that’s been compounding over the past few years.

    Not only is free shipping included for all Prime members as part of their subscriptions but, of all e-tailers listed in the survey, Amazon also offers the lowest minimum order value for non-subscription members to qualify for the perk (just $25). The pervasiveness of free (and fast) shipping is steadily heightening customer expectations for the online shopping experience — and forcing competitors to offer similar programs and benefits.

    Who exactly is shopping on Amazon?

    The survey results showed that across generations for a large minority of respondents, Amazon is a standard part of their typical shopping process. Nearly a third (32%) of respondents said they begin their online shopping process on Amazon. Of those who do start their journeys elsewhere, 100% ended up purchasing something from Amazon at some point over the last 12 months.

    Based on the trends in responses, Business Insider Intelligence segmented out three different types of Amazon shoppers, each with unique implications for how competitors could evolve their strategies:

    • Amazon loyalists: This group of consumers is most committed to shopping on Amazon. E-tailers must understand what has made Amazon their default experience — and how they could be pried away.
    • Comparison shoppers: This consumer segment looks at other sites before ultimately completing a purchase with Amazon, which could allow e-tailers to find success at the bottom of the purchase funnel. E-tailers should focus on what they can do more of to steal sales away at the end of the purchasing process.
    • Open-search shoppers: These consumers start their online product search away from Amazon, often with specific reasons including what they’re looking for and why they’re not looking on Amazon. Other e-tailers have the opportunity to attract these shoppers from the beginning of the purchase funnel — keeping them from ever venturing to Amazon.

    Want to learn more?

    Business Insider Intelligence has compiled the complete survey findings into the four-part Amazon Commerce Competitive Edge Report, which dives deeper into each of these consumer segments to give e-tailers an intricate understanding of Amazon’s role in their purchasing processes.

    The report presents actionable strategies for retail strategists and executives to zero in on three individual consumer segments at critical shopping moments, and empower them to win sales in an Amazon-dominated world.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Trump Finish the Wall

    • Donations to the viral GoFundMe campaign set up by a veteran to raise funds to pay for the border wall have slowed to a trickle, but the campaign has so far raised $20 million.
    • During its first week, the campaign raised more than $16 million.
    • Brian Kolfage, a motivational speaker who speaks about being a triple amputee, is behind the campaign and promised the funds will be held until the campaign can ensure all the money goes toward financing the border wall.

    It's been two years since Donald Trump won the presidential election after repeatedly promising to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

    Since the wall still hasn't been built — causing a standstill in Congress and what is likely to become the longest government shutdown in US history — some Americans are taking up the cause themselves.

    Last month, US Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage set up a GoFundMe campaign asking for supporters to pitch in to pay for the wall. In its first 72 hours, the campaign received more than $5 million in donations.

    A week later, on December 24, 2018, the campaign had raised more than $16 million. More than 333,000 supporters have donated. On its first day online, the campaign was raising $1,000 each minute.

    "If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall," the campaign's GoFundMe page reads. "That equates to roughly 5Billion Dollars, even if we get half, that's half the wall. We can do this."

    In the campaign's description, Kolfage — who underwent three amputations after he was severely injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 — wrote that he feels "deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today."

    "Too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society," he wrote.

    Read more: Someone created a GoFundMe campaign to 'buy ladders' to counter the fundraiser created to pay for Trump's border wall

    trump border wall gofundme

    Kolfage told the Washington Post that he started the campaign because “political games from both parties” have been holding back the construction of the wall.

    "It's time to stop playing games with voters," Kolfage said. "If we are told we’re getting something, make it happen."

    Ever since the campaign's creation, Kolfage has repeatedly said the money will be refunded if it can't go directly to funding a wall. On January 10, Kolfage posted an update on the GoFundMe page, saying he "will be announcing our full scale plan in the next day or two; we hope tomorrow."

    Yet it's unclear how the money could go directly to any wall-building fund.

    Read more: How much of the GoFundMe donations will actually go toward building the wall remains unclear

    The campaign description originally said the fundraising efforts are capped at $1 billion because that is GoFundMe's maximum fundraising limit. Kolfage said he's working with the company to change that but so far the limit hasn't changed.

    At nearly $20 million, the campaign is barely 2% of its $1 billion goal and 0.35% of the $5.7 billion Trump is demanding from Congress.

    Trump border wall prototypes

    The fundraiser is one of the many efforts by conservative Americans to find a way to raise money for the wall, for which Trump has been having a hard time securing funds. In December, Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo introduced a bill that would allow Americans to buy "border bonds" to raise the $5 billion Trump is asking for to build the wall.

    Kolfage makes a reference to Palazzo's plan in his campaign's description, saying it is "one option" for the funds raised, adding that "there are others on the table being discussed." In the post, the veteran said "every single penny" will be refunded if the campaign doesn't reach its goal.

    The government has accepted private donations for infrastructure before. In 2012, a billionaire philanthropist donated $7.5 million to fix the Washington Monument.

    It is unclear still if the government has reached out to Kolfage about any potential donations. In the GoFundMe post, Kolfage said he is "working with a law firm on a legal document that will bind the government to using the funds for the border wall itself, nothing else."

    SEE ALSO: Mississippi congressman proposes crowdfunding border wall through 'border bonds'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    Mike Pompeo

    • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday delivered a speech in Cairo, Egypt, in which he laid out the Trump administration's roadmap for the Middle East and ripped into former President Barack Obama. 
    • "The age of self-inflicted American shame is over," Pompeo declared to an audience at the American University in Cairo. 
    • Pompeo's speech was the antithesis of an address Obama gave in the Egyptian capital in 2009.
    • His speech came as the Trump administration faces broad criticism over its foreign policy, particularly in relation to the Middle East.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday delivered a speech in Cairo, Egypt, in which he laid out the Trump administration's roadmap for the Middle East and ripped into former President Barack Obama's foreign policy. 

    "The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering," Pompeo said to an audience at American University in Cairo. "The United States under President Trump has reasserted its traditional role as a force for good in this region, because we’ve learned from our mistakes."

    Pompeo's speech was the antithesis of an address Obama gave in the Egyptian capital in 2009, in which the former president pledged to work toward healing the wounds he said were created by the Bush administration's approach to counterterrorism. At the time, Obama called for "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world."

    Read more: America's 'war on terror' has cost the US nearly $6 trillion and killed roughly half a million people, and there's no end in sight

    In what was an obvious retort to Obama's Cairo address, Pompeo on Thursday declared that "now comes the real new beginning."

    Barack Obama

    'When America retreats, chaos often follows'

    Over the course of his speech, Pompeo accused Obama of breeding chaos in the Middle East by being too soft on extremism. Employing a tactic upon which Obama has often relied when rebuking President Donald Trump, the secretary of state did not mention Obama's name once.

    "It was here, here in this city, another American stood before you,” said Pompeo. "He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology. He told you 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East. He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed 'a new beginning.'"

    Obama refuses to use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism," for which Trump and other Republicans have criticized him.

    Read more: Trump inherited Obama's drone war and he's significantly expanded it in countries where the US is not technically at war

    "The results of these misjudgments were dire," Pompeo said. "In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid in asserting ourselves when the times – and our partners – demanded it."

    The secretary of state also outlined various ways in which he felt Trump's predecessor fell short as commander-in-chief: failing to confront Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, softening the US government's stance toward Iran, and allowing for the rise of the Islamic State group, or ISIS.

    "We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows," Pompeo said. "When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with our enemies, they advance."

    Pompeo warned of the consequences of American retreat, even as Trump seeks to withdraw the US from Syria and Afghanistan

    His speech came as the Trump administration faces broad criticism over its foreign policy, particularly in relation to the Middle East. 

    Trump in late December announced a plan to withdraw US troops from Syria, inaccurately claiming ISIS had been defeated in the process. Shortly thereafter, James Mattis resigned as secretary of defense. Mattis had disagreed with Trump on an array of issues, especially the president's treatment of US allies, and the Syria announcement seemed to be the last straw. 

    Read more: Mattis' resignation letter is a sharp rebuke of Trump's 'America First' philosophy

    Trump has also pushed for the US to withdraw from Afghanistan in addition to Syria, but has flip-flopped on the process surrounding these proposed withdrawals. His administration has failed to offer a timeline or much in the way of specifics.

    U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, attached to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response-Central Command, prepare to board an MV-22 Osprey on their way to a site near At-Tanf Garrison, Syria, Sept. 7, 2018.

    The Syria withdrawal announcement has prompted concerns Trump is essentially gifting the territory to Iran and Russia, and opening the door for Turkey to go after a the Kurds — fierce fighters who've played a vital role in combatting ISIS. Many are also concerned a US withdrawal would create a path for ISIS to make a comeback

    Pompeo commented, however, on the detrimental consequences of America retreating and the danger of "neglecting" friends. 

    The secretary of state's address also came exactly 100 days after the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a columnist for The Washington Post. The Trump administration has faced significant backlash over its response to the killing, and has been accused of aiding the Saudis in a cover-up.

    'Pompeo's speech showcases this administration’s twin obsessions: President Obama and Iran'

    Ned Price, a former CIA analyst who also served on the National Security Council under Obama, was unimpressed by Pompeo's speech. 

    "Pompeo's speech showcases this administration’s twin obsessions: President Obama and Iran," Price told INSIDER. "Nothing could be more on-brand for Pompeo and this administration than taking on a nearly decade-old speech, while completely missing its key lessons, all of which have stood the test of time despite the region’s intervening turmoil."

    Read more: Trump just radically upended US Syria policy despite repeated warnings that doing so could be disastrous

    "What Pompeo also failed to recognize is that Obama's speech was aimed at the region’s people; his own speech today was directed at its autocrats," Price added. "That's not to say that America shouldn't address the world's leaders. But Pompeo seems to have intentionally distorted the intent and audience of President Obama's Cairo address and ignored the strategically important initiatives it spawned." 

    Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also promptly reacted to Pompeo's speech, repudiating the secretary of state for his verbal attacks against Tehran. 

    Read more: Trump's plan to get out of Syria is collapsing already

    "Whenever/wherever US interferes, chaos, repression & resentment follow,"Zarif tweeted. "The day Iran mimics US clients & @SecPompeo's 'human rights models'–be it the Shah or current butchers–to become a 'normal' country is the day hell freezes over. Best for the US to just get over loss of Iran."

    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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    destiny 2

    • Video game publishing powerhouse Activision and blockbuster game development studio Bungie are splitting up.
    • The two companies agreed to a 10-year, multi-game deal tied to the "Destiny" franchise.
    • That deal has been dissolved, and it appears to be an amicable split.

    Video game publisher Activision and blockbuster video game development studio Bungie are parting ways, Bungie announced in a blog post on Thursday

    Activision is most well-known for its "Call of Duty" franchise, but has become just as well-known in recent years for its work on the "Destiny" franchise — published by Activision, and developed by Bungie.

    The two companies signed a 10-year contract in 2010, specifically aimed at turning "Destiny" into a major video game franchise. It's coming to an end one year early, and the terms appear to be amicable.

    "We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on 'Destiny,'" the blog post says. "Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for 'Destiny' to Bungie. With our remarkable 'Destiny' community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects."

    Halo: Reach

    The 10-year, $500 million contract between Bungie and Activision led to the creation of "Destiny" and "Destiny 2," as well as a variety of expansion packs and other additional content.

    Previous to "Destiny," Bungie was already an iconic game development studio: It was the studio that created the beloved "Halo" franchise. When Bungie left Microsoft in 2007, it left behind the "Halo" franchise as terms of the split.

    Notably, that doesn't appear to be the case here, as Bungie specifically says that the "Destiny" franchise publishing rights are transferring to Bungie.

    Activision issued the following statement regarding the split, via social media:

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    scrabble

    • Though the English language has many quirks, one of its most interesting is homographs: words that are spelled identically but have different meanings or definitions. 
    • There are at least 10 words with hundreds of definitions each, like "go" and "put."
    • "Run" is anticipated to have approximately 645 different meanings in the next Oxford English Dictionary, set for a 2037 release.

    The English language is, indeed, a quirky one: it's notoriously difficult to learn, and often words have more than one meaning. 

    Some of these words are called homographs. They're spelled identically but have vastly different definitions. "Go" has 368, for instance, and "set" has 430. The word "run" is anticipated to have approximately 645 different meanings in the next Oxford English Dictionary, set for a 2037 release.

    Keep scrolling to see which 10 words in the English language have the most definitions. 

    Run: 645 definitions

    Though there is some debate surrounding the first place position of "run," as one of the top homographs it has (an anticipated) 645 different definitions, according to a New York Times article from 2011.

    The word is widely used to describe various activities: a computer runs a program, a car runs on gas, a candidate runs for office, etc. Of course, as with the rest of the English language, the word continues to evolve. 



    Set: 430 definitions

    Referred to as the "old chestnut" in the same New York Times article, "set" previously held the top position for the English word with the most definitions.

    But "set""hasn’t undergone as much development in the 20th and 21st centuries as has 'run,'" Gilliver told the Times. Regardless, "set" holds strong at 430 definitions, per the 1989 O.E.D.

     



    Go: 368 definitions

    "Go" is one of the most ubiquitous everyday words in the English language. Like many others on this list, it can be a noun, adjective, and verb. It clocked in at 368 definitions in 1989's O.E.D.

    Its top meaning as a verb is "to move from one place to another; travel," but it can also be "said in various expressions when angrily or contemptuously dismissing someone." Used in a sentence: "Go and get lost!" 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

    Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse LAX Priority Pass

    • Airport lounges are comfortable, exclusive places within airport terminals where you can relax and enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks, plenty of seating, fast Wi-Fi, and more, all separate from the main part of the terminal.
    • The Priority Pass network includes access to more than 1,200 lounges around the world, as well as credits at a few restaurants.
    • It can be expensive to join Priority Pass, but two premium rewards credit cards come with a complimentary membership: the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card® from American Express.

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express are two of the best credit or charge cards available for anyone who travels. While there are a few differences between the cards, which you can read about here, they're also similar in many respects.

    One of the things that the cards have in common is that they both come with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is a network of airport lounges that members can access for free, as well as a number of restaurants and spa-type properties that offer substantial credits for Priority Pass members.

    Priority Pass recently announced that it has surpassed 1,200 locations around the world, having spent the past year bringing about 175 new lounge properties and other facilities into the network.

    As cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve have become more popular and common, there's been an increased demand on the Priority Pass network. By adding 141 traditional lounges and 34 restaurants, spas, and "relaxation experiences," Priority Pass has expanded offerings around the world.

    "We aim to continually improve and evolve the Priority Pass offering to our members with new and exciting experiences that meet their ever-changing needs," said Sheryl Pflaum, EVP of The Americas at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass.

    Personally, I love having lounge access. They're comfortable, relaxing, and generally include access to relatively private, comfortable seats, an internet connection, food and drinks (which are often complimentary), and sometimes other amenities. Lounges are the perfect oases where you can get away of the hustle and bustle of the main terminals — even when lounges are busy, they still beat the gate area by a wide margin.

    SEE ALSO: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum: Which premium credit card is right for you

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    amazon fire tv game package

    • Amazon is working on a video game streaming service, like Netflix but for video games, according to a new report in The Information.
    • Amazon's competition at Microsoft and Google are already openly preparing similar services.
    • And Sony is out ahead of everyone else: The company has been operating the PlayStation Now streaming service for years.

    Amazon's already a major video game retailer, and it operates the largest video game livestreaming service in the world with Twitch.

    The company's next move into gaming, though, is even more ambitious: Amazon is working on a Netflix-like service for playing games, according to a new report from The Information.

    Like Sony's PlayStation Now, the new service from Amazon will reportedly allow players to stream games rather than having to buy and download individual titles. The company is said to be discussing potential games for the new service with game publishers, but it sounds like plans are still early; the streaming service isn't expected to arrive until 2020 "at the earliest."

    PlayStation Now

    Amazon has yet to officially announce such a service, and a representative didn't return a request for comment as of publishing.

    But even without official confirmation or an announcement, multiple jobs listings spotted by The Verge point to Amazon building just such a service. One such listing even explicitly says, "This is a rare opportunity to take a technical leadership role to shape the foundation of an unannounced AAA games business." 

    Logic also points toward Amazon making such a service.

    Amazon is one of the few tech companies with a cloud computing infrastructure already in place, worldwide, to pull off such a challenging technological issue. It's called "Amazon Web Services" (AWS for short), and it's the type of infrastructure required to pull off video game streaming on a mainstream consumer scale.

    Sony's PlayStation Now largely obtained its infrastructure from two companies that Sony purchased: OnLive and Gaikai. In the case of Microsoft's Project xCloud, Microsoft is relying on its Azure cloud infrastructure. Google, similarly, has a cloud infrastructure built out for use with its Project Stream initiative.

    google project stream

    Both services promise high-end video game streaming on low-end tech, and that idea comes with a lot of potential: No more buying expensive game consoles. Instead, the heavy lifting would be offloaded to a cloud server somewhere and beamed into your home. 

    Though several services have attempted such a feat, none have upended the video game industry in the way that Netflix and other streaming services upended the film and TV business.

    Read the full report over at The Information.

    SEE ALSO: Microsoft's Project xCloud will let you stream Xbox games straight to your smartphone or tablet

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I cut Google out of my life for 2 weeks, but the alternatives prove why Google is so much better


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    This is a preview of a detailed slide deck from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.Click here to learn more. Current subscribers can view the deck here.

    Rising smartphone penetration, regulations pushing users away from cash, and globalization demanding faster and new ways to transact are leading to a swell in noncash payments, which Business Insider Intelligence expects to grow to 841 billion transactions by 2023.

    The Future of Payments 2018

    This shift has created a greenfield opportunity in the space. Legacy providers are working to leverage their scale as they update their infrastructure and adapt their business models. But at the same time, upstarts are using their strengths in user experience to try to disintermediate or beat out those at the forefront of the space — a dichotomy that’s creating crowding and competition.

    Digitization and crowding in the payments space will force companies that want to emerge atop the ecosystem to undergo four critical digital transformations: diversification, consolidation and collaboration, data protection, and automation. Those that do this effectively, and use these shifts as a means of achieving scale without eroding the user experience, will be in the best position to use ongoing digitization in their payments space to their advantage.

    In The Future Of Payments 2018, Business Insider Intelligence takes a look at some of the biggest problems digitization and crowding are causing for payments firms, outlines the key transformations players can make going forward to resolve them, and explores areas where firms have already begun to use these transformations to their advantage.

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    donald trump

    • President Donald Trump compared his border wall to the invention of the wheel on Thursday, arguing that wheels are effective and still commonly used in modern times.
    • He said even the "really expensive" cars that the Secret Service uses have wheels.
    • Trump made the remarks at a roundtable with lawmakers and local officials in McAllen, Texas, amid a government shutdown over funding for the border wall.

    President Donald Trump drew a bizarre analogy during his trip to the border in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday, likening a border wall to the ancient invention of the wheel and noting that wheels are effective and still commonly used in modern times.

    "They say a wall is medieval. Well, a wheel is older than a wall,"Trump said, though the earliest known border wall is actually thousands of years older than the wheel. "And I looked, and every single car out there, even the really expensive ones that the Secret Service uses — and believe me they are expensive — I said, 'Do they all have wheels?' 'Yes.' 'Oh. I thought it was medieval.'"

    He continued: "The wheel is older than the wall. You know that? There are some things that work. A wheel works and a wall works."

    Trump made the trip down to the border amid a weeks-long government shutdown that shows few signs of stopping anytime soon. The shutdown was caused by a dispute over $5.7 billion in funding that Trump has demanded to construct more than 200 miles of border wall, which Democrats have refused to approve.

    In McAllen, Trump participated in a roundtable with lawmakers and local officials who commended him for calling the situation along the border a "crisis" and holding firm on his demands that Congress supply billions for the wall.

    Read more: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BORDER CRISIS: Experts say there is no security crisis, but there is a simple way to fix immigration — and it's not a wall

    donald trump

    During Trump's opening remarks, he lambasted Congressional Democrats for refusing to cave on his demands, and said they would lose the fight because a wall is "common sense."

    "The government is shut down because democrats will not fund border security," he said. "Their open-borders agenda threatens all American families, including millions of legal immigrants throughout our nation."

    But Trump has faced criticism in recent weeks for continually calling the state of the border a "crisis" that threatens the lives of Americans.

    In a rebuttal to Trump's televised Oval Office address on Tuesday, top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer denounced Trump for stoking fear about the migrants who cross the US-Mexico border, many of whom are families with young children seeking asylum.

    "Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice," Pelosi said. "The President has chosen fear."

    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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    Tim Tebow and Demi Leigh Nel Peters

    • Tim Tebow and former Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters got engaged at the former NFL player's family ranch in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday. 
    • Tebow proposed to Nel-Peters, who he has been dating since July, with a 7.25-carat solitaire ring. 
    • He also had South African singer Matthew Mole to perform"The Wedding Song" after Nel-Peters, who is also South African, said yes. 

    Tim Tebow is engaged to former Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the couple announced on Thursday.

    Tebow, 31, asked Nel-Peters, 23, to marry him on Wednesday at his family's farm outside Jacksonville, Florida, PEOPLE reported. 

    The former NFL player proposed to Nel-Peters, who he has been dating since July, with a 7.25-carat solitaire ring and organized for South African singer Matthew Mole to perform"The Wedding Song" after he got down on one knee.

    And to Nel-Peters' surprise, her family and friends had flown in from South Africa to witness the proposal.

    The group, along with Tebow's family and friends, watched from a distance and later surprised the couple with an engagement party.

    "I actually wasn't really nervous," the former football quarterback turned baseball outfielder told PEOPLE. "I was excited. I wanted everything to be perfect and to go smoothly. But I wasn't nervous to actually ask her."

    Read more:There are pros and cons to public proposals — here's how to know if it's a good idea

    The pair shared photos of their engagement on Instagram, with Tebow writing: "Thank you for saying YES and making me the happiest man in the world. You’re the love of my life, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you."

    Happy Birthday Timmy ❤️ You are such a bright light in so many people’s lives. Have the best day ever!

    A post shared by Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (@demileighnp) on Aug 14, 2018 at 6:53am PDT on

    Nel-Peters, a former Miss South Africa, shared the same set of photos with the caption: "Any dreams I've ever had, you've exceeded them all! I love you and I can’t wait to spend forever with you!"

    At their engagement party, Tebow's father encouraged everyone to "make a circle" around the couple to pray for their new life.

    Tebow announced he was dating Nel-Peters back in July, when he told ESPN that she was a "really special girl."

    The pair became Instagram official this past summer, when Nel-Peters posted a birthday tribute to Tebow in August.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang

    • AMD on Wednesday unveiled Radeon VII, the first 7-nanometer gaming graphics card available to consumers.
    • Right after AMD's announcement, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang reportedly slammed the new chip, saying its "performance is lousy."
    • Nvidia recently unveiled GeForce RTX 2060, the company's cheapest graphics card that can provide ray tracing.
    • AMD CEO Lisa Su fired back, saying AMD isn’t all in on ray tracing just yet simply because other parts of the ecosystem are not ready.

    Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang slammed rival AMD's first 7-nanometer gaming graphics card right after it was unveiled.

    Huang described the performance of AMD’s latest Radeon VII graphics processing unit as "lousy," according to Gizmodo, which was at the roundtable attended by media outlets. AMD says the new chip can provide up to 36% higher performance than its previous top-of-the-line graphics cards.

    Huang described the announcement as "underwhelming" and said Nvidia's RTX 2080 would "crush" the Radeon VII in benchmarks. 

    On Sunday, Nvidia said it was bringing its RTX 2080 graphics processing unit to gaming laptops and also introduced the GeForce RTX 2060, its cheapest graphics card that can provide ray tracing, a niche technology that it has been touting in its GPUs. Ray tracing allows for more cinematic and realistic visuals.

    AMD's latest GPUs do not support ray tracing, and will cost $699 when they're available February 7. For comparison, Nvidia's RTX 2060 sports a starting price of $346. Its top GPUs cost at least $1,000.

    AMD CEO Lisa Su responded to Huang's comments, suggesting he probably hasn't seen the new GPU before revealing why AMD isn't all in on ray tracing just yet.

    "The consumer doesn't see a lot of benefit today because the other parts of the ecosystem are not ready," She said, according to Gizmodo. "I think by the time we talk more about ray tracing the consumer's gonna see the benefit."

    And analysts have also noted Nvidia's struggles with its transition to ray-tracing chips.

    "When you turn on the ray tracing, it affects the overall performance of the GPU pretty substantially," Christopher Rolland, a semiconductor analyst at Susquehanna International Group recently told Markets Insider.

    "Nvidia promises people real-time ray tracing, but you practically can't use it. That's definitely a disappointment."

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