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- 06/24/18--08:24: _16 of the biggest l...
- 06/24/18--08:31: _These are the bigge...
- 06/24/18--09:30: _Deadly violence in ...
- 06/24/18--09:46: _Trump tweets he wan...
- 06/24/18--10:27: _Andre Agassi's trou...
- 06/24/18--11:00: _Millions of Venezue...
- 06/24/18--11:13: _Jeanette Epps would...
- 06/24/18--11:20: _Fox picked the most...
- 06/24/18--11:35: _Lionel Messi is liv...
- 06/24/18--11:36: _I visited a Texas c...
- 06/24/18--11:41: _The inside story of...
- 06/24/18--11:42: _Monsanto had a deal...
- 06/24/18--11:44: _Here are the 26 top...
- 06/24/18--11:45: _The cofounder of Co...
- 06/24/18--11:59: _11 words you probab...
- 06/24/18--12:08: _Taylor's radical ne...
- 06/24/18--12:30: _Mexican officials a...
- 06/24/18--12:34: _Trump's former depu...
- 06/24/18--12:38: _Housing affordabili...
- 06/24/18--12:56: _One of the best air...
- Find work you love. When you believe in what you are doing, you can combine passion with contribution – and that is a true gift. Keep trying and you will find what you love to do… and once you do, you will crush it.
- Believe you can do anything. This is important for everyone and especially for women. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t have both a meaningful professional career and a fulfilling personal life. When you hear someone say you can't do something, know that you can and start figuring out how. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”
- There is no straight path to where you are going. If you try to draw that line you will not just get it wrong, but you will miss big opportunities. As Pattie Sellers of Fortune Magazine says, careers are not ladders but jungle gyms. You don't have to have it all figured out. I recommend adopting two concurrent goals.
- 06/24/18--08:31: These are the biggest fast-food chains in America
- Research firm Datafiniti recently released a list of the largest fast-food chains in the United States, based on how many locations each has in the country.
- The study found that Subway is the largest chain. Its locations account for 18.5% of all fast-food restaurants in the US.
- McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell are also among the largest fast-food chains in the US.
- President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the US should start deporting illegal immigrants with no legal process.
- He said those who "invade our Country" will be removed with "no Judges or Court Cases".
- Trump's proposed move would violate immigrants' rights to due process guaranteed by the US Constitution and clarified by the Supreme Court.
- The Showtime documentary "Love Means Zero" (airing Saturday) looks at the career of tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.
- But the main focus of director Jason Kohn's movie is the relationship Bollettieri had with his star student, Andre Agassi.
- Kohn talked to Business Insider about why he had to have a confrontational relationship with the coach to get the movie he wanted.
- Jeanette Epps was about to become the first African American to live at the International Space Station.
- But NASA announced in January it was replacing her with another astronaut. Epps said this week that she still doesn't know why.
- Appearing at a conference, Epps said she didn't want to speculate that the decision was racist or sexist, an accusation many critics made after the announcement.
- 06/24/18--11:20: Fox picked the most iconic moments in World Cup history
- Heading into the 2018 World Cup, no player had more pressure facing him than Argentina's Lionel Messi.
- For all the success Messi has had as one of the greatest players ever to take the pitch, international success has always eluded him.
- Two matches and two disappointing results into the group stage of this year's tournament, Messi is living through a waking nightmare.
- The most mesmerizing photos from the World Cup so far
- Argentine goalie commits embarrassing and costly blunder at the World Cup — and now the team is on the brink of disaster
- World Cup Power Ranking: Where every team stands after one week at Russia 2018
- Senegal scored one of the most controversial goals of the World Cup when a player ran back onto a wide-open field after an injury
- A Russian city reportedly ran out of beer because of Swedish fans celebrating their first World Cup win in 12 years
- Iceland's goalkeeper directed a Coca-Cola commercial for the World Cup and made brilliant use of the country's 'SKOL' rallying cry
- I attended a mass prosecution proceeding in McAllen, Texas, where dozens of immigrants pleaded guilty to crossing the US-Mexico border illegally.
- Under President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, everyone caught crossing the border illegally is charged with a federal crime, even if they're seeking asylum.
- The immigrants were cuffed at the hands and feet, and chained at the waist throughout the court hearing. It was a surreal and sobering experience.
- Rob Arnott, the chairman and chief executive of the Pimco subadviser Research Affiliates LLC, is one of the most influential minds in investing, having pioneered a technique that has grown into a $730 billion industry.
- In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Arnott describes the origin of his world-famous investment technique, which grew out of the ashes of the tech bubble.
- Monsanto had an under-the-radar venture-capital arm that fueled much of its innovation in the food tech space.
- But after Monsanto's $66 billion deal with the chemical giant Bayer, that group has disappeared, with all three of its staff members leaving the company within a month.
- The former managing director of the VC arm, known as Monsanto Growth Ventures, told Business Insider that he "took a page out of Google and Facebook's playbook" and bet big on small startups that showcased creative ideas.
- Dating apps can reveal meaningful differences in the way men and women date.
- According to data from dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, men prefer to see lots of potential matches, while women prefer to see a limited number. This applies to straight and gay users.
- In 2016, Coffee Meets Bagel introduced "#LadiesChoice," offering straight men and women different experiences.
- 06/24/18--11:59: 11 words you probably didn't know were acronyms
- We use acronyms all the time, and in some cases, we don't even realize we're using them.
- You may not know, for example, that Taser stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle."
- Other examples include "radar" and "snafu."
- Taylor Guitars has been in business since the early 1970s.
- It has always defined itself by a culture of innovation in a world where acoustic guitars are based on very old designs.
- It recently pushed the envelope with a new bracing system that's a big departure from what guitar makes have been doing for a century.
- On "Fox & Friends" Sunday morning, President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign manager David Bossie told Democratic strategist Joel Payne he was "out of his cotton-picking mind."
- The two were appearing on the show to discuss political rhetoric.
- Host Ed Henry apologized for Bossie's comment, saying he and the show "don't agree with that". Fox News also released a statement calling Bossie's comment "deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate." Bossie tweeted an apology Sunday afternoon.
- Housing affordability hit its worst level in nearly a decade during the first quarter, according to Attom Data Solutions.
- Attom measures affordability by comparing average wages to median home prices to determine the share of income people need to spend on housing.
- Prospective buyers needed to shell out more because mortgage rates rose. The pace of home-price growth actually slowed, according to Attom.
- Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, operating in 60+ destinations primarily in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
- Though the airline is only 16 years old, it has won a ton of awards. For the last six years, consumer aviation website Skytrax has given it a 4-star rating and named it the best airline in India/Central Asia.
- I decided to fly Air Astana Economy-class cabin on a flight, from Seoul, South Korea to Almaty, Kazakhstan and Almaty to Moscow, Russia, to see what the experience was like.
The people we've come to associate with the most successful technology companies were once relatively unknown names with big dreams. So if they could do it all over again, would they do it any differently?
The answer to this commonly-asked interview question tells us what we want to learn from the people who have, in our eyes, "made it." And leaders in the tech industry are successful because they created something — or saw potential in something — in a way that no one else did. The advice they would give their younger selves, then, is often informative and motivational.
Digital advertising company AdView compiled quotes from across the internet to create these inspirational posters for a series called "What Would You Tell Your Teenage Self?" We found our favorites and pulled a few others from various interviews over the years.
Here's the advice these 16 leaders in the tech industry told interviewers they would tell their younger selves:
"Smartness is not single dimensional and not quite as important as I thought it was back then."
In Bill Gates' Reddit AMA last year, user UncomfortableChuckle asked "If you could give 19 year old Bill Gates some advice, what would it be?"
The second richest man in the world responded, "I would explain that smartness is not single dimensional and not quite as important as I thought it was back then. I would say you might explore the developing world before you get into your forties. I wasn't very good socially back then but I am not sure there is advice that would fix that - maybe I had to be awkward and just grow up...."
"Find work you love. Believe you can do anything. There is no straight path to where you are going."
The question was posed by a Quora user, and Sandberg took the time to lay out a detailed response, in the form of three pieces of advice instead of the one.
"A healthier lifestyle ultimately makes me more creative and allows me to think more cohesively."
That was Dorsey's simple response when Y Combinator interviewed Jack Dorsey in 2016.
"When I was young I didn’t understand the value of exercise or health and how that affected my intellect," he added. "I think it was useful for me to go to all the extremes to find the balance I have now, but I wish I focused more on being healthier in the past. A healthier lifestyle ultimately makes me more creative and allows me to think more cohesively."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
It's true: there are a lot of Subway restaurants in the United States.
Research firm Datafiniti recently looked into which fast-food chains have the most locations nationally, and how the size of each fast-food chain compares to the total number of fast-food establishments in the US. To see what percentage of all fast-food restaurants a particular chain makes up, Datafiniti divided the number of restaurants in each chain by the total number of fast-food restaurants in the US.
As it turns out, Subway restaurants account for 18.5% of all US fast-food restaurants, with McDonald's not too far behind at 11.3%. Together, the two restaurants dominate the fast-food industry — the nearest runner-up is Burger King, which accounts for only 5.7% of all fast-food restaurants in the US.
See where other fast-food chains fall among the ranks:
0.6% of fast-food chains
19. Five Guys
0.7% of fast-food chains
18. Carl's Jr.
1% of fast-food chains
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the US should deport immigrants who enter the US illegally with no legal process.
Trump said once "somebody comes in" the country, they should be removed with "no Judges or Court Cases"— a move that would violate the long-established legal precedent for immigrants' rights to due process.
We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2018
....Our Immigration policy, laughed at all over the world, is very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on line for years! Immigration must be based on merit - we need people who will help to Make America Great Again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2018
The US Constitution's Fifth Amendment guarantees no one can be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." In 1953, the Supreme Court clarified this right extended to non-US citizens.
In 2001, the Supreme Court doubled down in Zadvydas v. Davis, concluding: "the Due Process Clause applies to all persons within the United States, including aliens, whether their presence is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent."
Trump's tweets came amid a flurry of on-air talk on the Sunday political shows about upcoming immigration policy from Republican lawmakers.
Many of them were responding to the president's Friday tweet saying Republicans "should stop wasting their time" on immigration reform until they elect more lawmakers in a "Red Wave" this November.
Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2018
Republicans currently control both houses of Congress, and have been trying to pass immigration legislation. Lawmakers from both parties have been calling for solutions to fix the border crisis, which the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy has exacerbated.
Despite Trump urging against immigration reform in his comments Sunday and a Friday tweet, Texas GOP Rep. Michael McCaul said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump was "still 100% behind us" on passing legislation, based on a conversation he said he had with the White House Saturday.
In the 1990s, there was no bigger coach in tennis than Nick Bollettieri. A charismatic motivator with an oversized ego, he also had a gift for molding raw talent into champions.
At his lauded tennis academy, he launched the careers of tennis legends like Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Anna Kournikova. By his count, 180 grand slam titles would come out of players he coached.
But his crown jewel was Andre Agassi.
Coming to Bollettieri’s school as a teenager, Agassi instantly caught the coach’s eye because he was different. His attitude, his game, it all just shouted superstar. Bollettieri, yearning to be a star himself, put Agassi under his wing and the two became inseparable as his pupil became the hottest thing in the sport.
However, the good times didn’t last forever. Following two grand slam wins with Agassi, in 1993 Bollettieri shockingly left the player he said he loved like a son. And if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough for Agassi, Bollettieri didn’t give a passionate face-to-face goodbye but instead ended it all via a letter to his star. The two have not been on speaking terms since.
Now decades later, at the age of 86, Bollettieri agreed to sit down with documentary filmmaker Jason Kohn (“Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)”) to talk about it all. But “Love Means Zero” (airing on Showtime Saturday) is hardly a conventional sports documentary that looks back on the highlights of a legendary career. It’s hard hitting and full of confrontation — just like its subject.
Kohn admits he didn’t have major aspirations for the project. In many ways he saw it as an opportunity to practice storytelling. Unlike his debut feature film, 2007’s “Manda Bala (Send a Bullet),” a complex telling of corruption and kidnapping in Brazil (it won the documentary grand jury prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), Kohn could see from the start how to tell the story of Bollettieri: be as real as possible.
“The biggest learning opportunity was figuring out how do I make this into a real story,” Kohn told Business Insider. “How do I make this into a protagonist who has really clear specific goals and desires with very clear moments of conflict?”
And that was the initial challenge for Kohn: getting Bollettieri to come on board with his idea.
“I was extraordinarily concerned that if I wasn't able to get something real with Nick that this was just going to be a conventional sports documentary, and that was a genuine fear,” Kohn said. “Even though I knew what the story was I didn't mention to Nick that I knew exactly what the story was I wanted to tell. Rather than say, ‘I want to exclusively tell the story about his relationship with Andre,’ what I told him is I wanted to tell a family story and that I wanted to tell a story about surrogate fathers and sons and the relationships between his players. At that point Nick said to me, ‘Well, what about French Open 1989 when I chose [to coach] Andre [Agassi] over Jim [Courier]? They were both my boys.’ And I was like, ‘Nick, that's a wonderful idea!’ Meanwhile, that was the treatment that I had written.”
With Bollettieri on board with the story, the other challenge was figuring out if Agassi would participate in the movie. Initially, Kohn had the project set up as a “30 for 30” documentary at ESPN. But it became clear that the network was only interested in the movie if Agassi was involved. After a year of back-and-forth discussions with Agassi's manager, Kohn finally got the "no"— Agassi would not be in the movie (Showtime snatched it soon after).
What Kohn realized in that moment was he had been free of a major restriction: working with a temperamental superstar. He changed his story treatment from a 60-minute documentary to a 90-minute feature doc and began tracking down Bollettieri’s former students.
Kohn’s confidence in the project came from knowing how he wanted to structure the storytelling of Bollettieri and Agassi’s relationship — using the battle sequences from the Akira Kurosawa samurai classic “Ran” as a model for how to showcase three key Agassi matches — and capitalizing on the on-camera personality that Bollettieri would bring.
But the latter turned out to be more than what Kohn bargained for. In an attempt to get Bollettieri out of his usual soundbite speak, the result was constant arguments caught on camera between the two that aren't just entertaining to watch, but a refreshing subplot to the movie. As most sports documentaries are helmed by directors too busy gushing over their subjects to get them to be revealing, Kohn can be heard off camera pleading with Bollettieri to give him genuine answers to his questions.
Kohn said the key to the whole movie was that his producer Amanda Branson Gill had Bollettieri agree to sit down for two days of interviews. It was vital, because what Kohn realized was almost the entire first day was the famous coach doing the shtick he’d done for interviews for decades.
“I was getting very frustrated,” Kohn said. “Nick is self-mythologizing and when you're taking to people who are good storytellers and who have told the same story over and over and over again the actual story becomes extraordinarily detached from what actually happened. It was pretty boring.”
With visions of a conventional sports doc flashing before his eyes, Kohn at the end of the first day finally began to get Bollettieri out of his interview speak by confronting his subject on camera. Kohn said at the end of filming the first day Bollettieri got out of his seat and said to the crew, “You see that? Jason and I are fighting, it's great!"
“I saw how well he responded to that so the second day of the interview I just went in with the idea that we're going to fight now,” Kohn said. "And that was great, I felt really liberated.”
The result is one of the most powerful sports documentaries you’ll see this year. Through the pressing by Kohn, Bollettieri opens up about the controversial decision to sit in Agassi’s box when he played fellow Bollettieri protégé Jim Courier at the 1989 French Open, why he sent Agassi the letter ending his time as his coach, and why his world-renowned academy ended up not making any money.
But where we find the macho coach’s most revealing moment is when Kohn asks Bollettieri to read a passage from Agassi’s autobiography, “Open,” in which the star writes an emotional letter directly to his old coach. It shows a rare vulnerable side of Bollettieri leading to him finally saying how he feels about his protégé: that he still cares deeply for Agassi.
Kohn said he offered Agassi a chance to see “Love Means Zero” at a private screening when it was completed, but the tennis legend declined. Though he would have liked to have known what Agassi thought of the movie, it was more important for Kohn to find out what Bollettieri thought. The director admitted showing the movie to his subject for the first time was a strenuous ordeal.
The small screening included some of Bollettieri’s friends, and at the end it seemed the coach liked it, as he then held court and told stories. Kohn snuck out feeling it all worked well. Then around 10:30 that evening, Bollettieri called Kohn.
“I’m thinking, s---, this is when Nick is going to pull his mafia persona," Kohn said. "And then he gave me a world class Coach Bollettieri ‘I’m proud of you’ speech and I was extraordinarily moved. The fact that I was moved was the most surprising thing to me because I wasn't looking for Nick's approval with this picture. I wasn't looking to make him happy. But that was the last thing about Nick's power as a coach and a motivator that I couldn't grasp until it happened to me. To give me the kind of speech I can only imagine he gave some of his players, I loved it.”
Jeanette Epps was preparing for a historic launch to the International Space Station in January when NASA suddenly pulled her off the mission without warning.
Epps is still waiting for an explanation, the Houston Chronicle reported.
In a January press release, NASA announced that Epps would not be part of the Expedition 56/57 crew as previously announced and that she would "return to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to assume duties in the Astronaut Office and be considered for assignment to future missions."
Rachel Becker of The Verge noted that although other African Americans had been to the International Space Station, Epps would have been the first to live and work there on a long-term basis.
On June 6, the six-month mission launched without Epps. NASA sent Serena Auñón-Chancellor in her place, making Auñón-Chancellor the first Hispanic woman to live on the ISS.
Speaking about the issue for the first time at the Tech Open Air Festival this week, Epps told Space.com reporter Megan Gannon that she did not have any of the health of family issues that are typical reasons for crew changes. Epps said crew members have been taken off missions before, "but not in the same fashion that this was done, partly because I was so close to launch."
Epps believes the decision originated at NASA and not with their Russian flying partners, who she said were supportive.
"I don't know where the decision came from and how it was made, in detail or at what level," she said. "I seriously do not believe it was the Russians, partly because I had been through the training with them and I was able to develop good working relationships with everyone there."
"There's no time to really be concerned about sexism and racism and things like that, because we have to perform," Epps told Gannon during the interview. "I can't speculate what people are thinking and doing unless I have a little bit more information."
Before becoming an astronaut in 2009, Epps, a native New Yorker, worked at Ford Motor Company and the CIA.
As the biggest sporting event in the world, and one that first began in 1930, the World Cup has surely delivered a multitude of iconic moments over the years.
But which ones stand out as the very best?
Fox Sports, the television host of this year's World Cup in the United States, decided to take on the challenge of figuring that out, and their choices should not be at all surprising.
10 — 2010 World Cup, South Africa.
Spain had never won a World Cup until 2010. The team built around the generational talents of players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta, utilized the Tiki-taka style of play built around short passing and ball possession to dazzle the soccer world and capture international immortality.
9 — 1998 World Cup, France
Led by Zinedine Zidane, one of the game's true maestros with a ball at his feet, France won its first ever World Cup on home soil, with a team representing a multi-cultural France, such as Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, and the Ghana-born Marcel Desailly.
8 — Tardelli's celebration, 1982 World Cup, Spain
After Marco Tardelli scored the second of Italy's three goals in the final, which Italy went on to win, he ran towards the Italian bench, screaming and pumping his fists in celebration. "After I scored, my whole life passed before me - the same feeling they say you have when you are about to die," he later said. "The joy of scoring in a World Cup final was immense, something I dreamed about as a kid, and my celebration was a release after realising that dream. I was born with that scream inside me, that was just the moment it came out."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Lionel Messi is living through a waking nightmare.
Messi and his countrymen came into the World Cup with high hopes, but after two disastrous results in the group stage, the 2014 runners-up are on the brink of elimination. And between Messi's absurd talents on the pitch, his tenuous relationship with his national team, and the weight of being among the most talented athletes in the world, it's impossible not to look to him with empathy and awe.
Messi has been, with little argument from even his greatest detractors, one of the top two footballers on the planet for the past decade (along with Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo). Through his wizardry on the field, he's brought countless trophies to FC Barcelona, scoring incessantly and building a highlight reel that other players would kill for even a fraction.
But even amid his dominance through La Liga and the Champions League and the Copa del Rey with Barcelona, success for his country has always eluded him. Aside from a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics — a competition football fans would be quick to dismiss — Messi's international career with Argentina has been filled with disappointment, his team coming close to glory time and again but always falling just short of reaching the mountaintop.
Messi carried his country to the final of the 2014 World Cup, only to fall to Germany in extra time. Four years before that, Argentina was blown out by the Germans, 4-0, in the quarterfinals. At Copa América, the tournament for South American countries, the results are even more heartbreaking — Argentina lost in the final in three of the past four times the tournament was played and fell to Uruguay, the eventual champion, on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the fourth.
It'd be tough for anyone to escape the shadow of Diego Maradona without a trophy for his country, no matter how great the talent.
Messi's complicated relationship with the Argentine national team goes beyond mere results. After being found to have a growth-hormone deficiency, Messi left his home country at just 13 years old to join Barcelona, which had agreed to pay for treatment. While his rise through the footballing world was meteoric, when Messi fell short for his country people would cite his life spent in Europe and claimed that he "isn't Argentine enough."
After the Copa América Centenario final in 2016, in which Argentina lost to Chile on penalty kicks with Messi missing his shot from the spot, he called it quits, announcing his retirement from international football. But after a few days to cool off from the disappointment, Messi reconsidered and suited up once again for Argentina to help the team qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
And now we're here, in Russia in 2018.
Four years removed from a second-place finish that could have easily changed the course of Messi's legacy, Argentina is on the brink of not even escaping the group stage after a disappointing draw against Iceland and a dismantling at the hands of Croatia.
At the same time, Messi's lifelong rival Cristiano Ronaldo has single-handedly willed Portugal to important results in a style many wish and expect of Messi. Ronaldo, who exorcised his own demons of international failure with a win at Euro 2016, is scoring hat tricks with joy as he carries a nation on his shoulders. All Messi can do is watch and wonder whether his burden will ever lighten.
Sports exist as a ceaseless and straightforward metaphor. We watch to see the drama of existence play out on a stage with relatively little actually at stake, trading in the visceral reality of life and death for the relatively safe highs and lows of championships and elimination. And right now, Messi is living a Shakespearean tragedy so on the nose that Hollywood producers would demand a rewrite.
Attempting to carry a nation that struggles to embrace him as its own, a man of supernatural ability who has never faced a challenge he couldn't beat with his creativity, athleticism, and grace shows his mortality.
Anyone who has followed Argentina through this tournament knows it'd be wrong to put the blame squarely on Messi's shoulders. Despite its small population, Iceland has shown it can compete with the best teams in soccer before, and Argentina's breakdown against Croatia had more to do with goalkeeping and defensive mishaps than anything with the team captain.
Without Messi, it's likely that Argentina would have failed to even qualify for the World Cup — on the final day of Conmebol qualifying, it was Messi who scored a hat trick after his side conceded a 1-0 lead in the first minute of a must-win game to ensure his team made it into the World Cup field of 32.
But that's not how these stories are written. It is precisely those moments that make us believe Messi can pull his team from the brink to the point that we unfairly expect it of him. Even now, with his back against the wall and needing help from Nigeria to escape the group stage, there is a sense among those who embrace him that if anyone can do it, it's Messi.
No matter how it turns out, the drama will be intense, and impossible to look away from.
More World Cup coverage:
MCALLEN, TEXAS — I counted 62.
That's how many undocumented immigrants sat in the five wooden rows of the eighth-floor courtroom of the federal district courthouse in McAllen, Texas on Friday.
Charged with the misdemeanor crime of crossing the US border illegally, they were cuffed at the hands and feet and chained at the waist.
These mass prosecutions have become a daily routine under President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy, which mandates that every single person who crosses the border illegally is charged.
Customs and Border Protection is reportedly no longer referring parents for criminal prosecutions if they crossed the border with their children, and the public defender in the courtroom I visited confirmed that none of the immigrants being prosecuted were split from their children.
The immigrants sporadically fidgeted as they waited for the judge to enter and decide their fate. Their chains created a low, rattling noise in the background that punctuated the two-hour proceeding.
Their shoelaces had been removed and many of their shoe tongues were folded over where their laces should have been. Their clothes appeared dirty, likely the same ones they'd worn on their journey to the US.
I stood on the side, against the tan walls of the courtroom. The defendant closest to me was a young man who looked like he couldn't have been more than 21 or 22 years old.
He wore a purple collared shirt dotted with white stains tucked into his CAT blue jeans. His no-name sneakers were black and yellow. His eyes betrayed what seemed to me neither fear, hatred, nor confusion — just pure indifference with a slight twist of disdain.
"All rise!" the bailiff announced as the judge entered.
'Each of you did knowingly and unlawfully enter the US'
When the 62 defendants rose, their chains loudly crashed against the wooden benches they had been sitting on in unison.
They sat back down, and the loud crash of metal on wood repeated.
The stocky, white judge had gray hair and wore a black robe over a blue shirt and red tie, and stood throughout the proceeding in the courtroom's well, between the bench and the defendants.
He put the defendants under oath, telling them through a translator to rise again and raise their right hands as their chains crashed against the wooden benches.
The translator sat to the judge's right, softly translating the judge's words into Spanish that filtered into the defendants' headsets, which quietly echoed through the courtroom.
The 62 defendants' public defender sat beside the translator, and the prosecutors sat on the judge's left. Journalists and bailiffs lined the tan walls behind the defendants.
"You're here for illegal crossing," the judge told the defendants. "Your attorney has announced that you all want to enter a guilty plea and be prosecuted."
The judge asked the defendants if this was truly what they wanted, warning them that perjury was more serious than the "petty" offensive for which they were already charged.
In rapid fire, he went down the line, pointing and asking each defendant to answer "yes" or "no" to the question. Every defendant answered "si," and the judge's translator said "yes" each time.
The young man closest to me in the purple shirt said "si" forcefully.
The judge then went down the line again, certifying their name, age, and home country.
Altogether, 49 of the defendants were men, and 13 were women. Twenty-nine of them were from Mexico, nine were from Honduras, 14 were from Guatemala, and 10 were from El Salvador. Their ages ranged from 18 to 63, but the majority were under 35 years old.
Most of the older defendants were from Mexico, while the younger ones were from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — countries that have been ravaged by gang violence in recent years.
Each of you are aliens, and each of you did knowingly and unlawfully enter the US.
The young man in the purple shirt closest to me was from El Salvador. His last name was Ventura, and he was 24 years old.
Going down the line again, the judge asked all of the defendants if they were under any substances or medications that may affect their judgment. The defendants all said no.
Ventura said "no" emphatically.
The judge then explained the charges.
"Each of you are aliens, and each of you did knowingly and unlawfully enter the US," the judge said, adding that the maximum penalty is six months in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a $10 court assessment fee.
"Do you understand the charges?" the judge asked. They all said "yes" or "si."
Ventura said "yes," and would continue to switch back and forth between "si" and yes" throughout the rest of the judge's questions.
The judge calmly — and congenially — continued to explain the defendants' options, saying they could plead not guilty and go to trial. He asked if any of them had been forced or threatened to plead guilty, or had been promised any benefit for pleading guilty, and if they were pleading guilty voluntarily.
For each of these questions, he again down the line in quick succession, stopping periodically for a few of the defendant's malfunctioning headsets.
One woman didn't understand one of the questions, eventually saying she wanted to appeal her case. She was then taken out of the courtroom. There were now 61 defendants.
The judge asked them if they understood that once convicted, they could be deported and denied entry or citizenship in the future. They all said "si" or "yes."
When the judge asked a 20-year-old woman from Guatemala whose last name was Ramirez this question, she closed her eyes, pressed her lips, and looked down when she answered "si."
The judge went around again pointing and asking the defendants if they were guilty or not guilty before stating their alleged date of crossing illegally. Most of them had crossed on June 20 or June 21, which was just one or two days before their prosecution.
As the defendants individually answered "culpable," and the judge's translator ominously said "guilty," a security guard went over to Ventura and told him to sit up.
Apparently Ventura, holding two white and wrinkled, sealed envelopes, had been slouching.
Ramirez couldn't stop blinking and swallowing as she awaited her turn, and when the judge reached her, she said "culpable" before her eyes appeared to well up.
After all of the defendants said "culpable," the judge asked them how they had crossed the river. Most said they had taken a boat or raft across. Three said they had walked across, to which the judge asked how high the water was. The three defendants said chest high.
Ramirez said she had taken a raft. Ventura said he had taken a boat.
"I'll accept your guilty pleas," the judge eventually said after his series of questions before telling them more about their rights and that they could contact their country's consulate if they wished.
"Now I'm going to start sentencing you for this offense of illegal entry," the judge said, explaining that afterwards they would be turned over to immigration and be able to seek asylum if they wanted.
He added: "If some of you have been separated from your families, hopefully you will be reunited."
"When I call your name, please stand," the judge said. He called their names in groups, and their chains rattled as they stood.
Their sentences: no additional jail time and a $10 fee
Before asking if they wanted to address the court, which none of them did, he started handing down sentences.
Almost all of them got "time already served" and a $10 court assessment fee since they had no criminal history or previous deportations.
Bailiffs escorted the defendants out in groups, Ventura and Ramirez among them. Waddling like a chain gang, they returned their headsets as they exited.
The judge then sentenced smaller groups and individuals. Some got sentences ranging from 10 days to 135 days in jail given their past criminal history, such as assault, DWI, and other crimes.
Many of these defendants, when asked if they wanted to address the court, told the judge (or their public defender told the judge) that they just wanted to find work, have a better life, or find their family.
One man said in a shaky voice that he had crossed to find his wife and child, whom he hadn't seen or spoken to for nearly five months. They didn't have a cell phone, and he didn't know how to contact them, but he thought they were in Kansas. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail.
There was confusion over the last defendant's criminal past, and the judge asked to take a recess. He had apparently been previously convicted of domestic assault and pointing a gun at someone.
I had to leave before the court reconvened, but his fate didn't look good.
Michelle Mark contributed reporting from New York.
The tech bubble collapse that rocked global markets at the turn of the millennium inspired a great deal of soul-searching.
Investors were forced to rummage through the rubble, looking desperately for any insights around what went wrong with hopes of avoiding it the next time.
And while much of it was fruitless, one little-known interaction occurred that would end up permanently shaping the world of investing.
At the center of this tale is Rob Arnott, the chairman and chief executive of the Pimco subadviser Research Affiliates LLC, where he advises on more than $200 billion. Known for his efforts applying quantitative analysis to investing, Arnott had, up to that point, made a career out of challenging the status quo.
Considering that mandate, it should come as little surprise that Arnott's great investing epiphany came on the heels of a man-made market disaster that featured legions of investors piling into the same doomed trades.
The self-described "aha moment" hit Arnott while he was talking to a friend who served on the board of the New York state pension. The acquaintance was lamenting what he viewed as a flawed indexing system that allowed the benchmark S&P 500 to become too beholden to mega-cap technology companies at the peak of the bubble.
After all, the component weightings in gauges like the S&P 500 are traditionally decided by relative market capitalization. So as a company's value increases, its influence on the underlying index does as well.
"He was horrified that, in the tech bubble, more and more money was being indexed to the S&P 500," Arnott told Business Insider during a recent meeting. "That ensured that whatever was the most extravagantly priced stock had a big weight in your portfolio. And when the tech bubble crashed, in his view, cap weighting demolished a lot of wealth. He thought there had to be another way."
And with that, Arnott was off to the races.
A groundbreaking investment strategy is born
Arnott's conversation with his friend wasn't the first time he'd thought about the flawed nature of weighting indexes by market cap. But it was the catalyst that ultimately made him decide to pursue an alternative method.
"I'd thought for a long time that weighting by market cap had that Achilles' heel or structural flaw," he said. "Finance theory says never mind, if the market is efficient, then that's the right way to do things. But that's a huge if."
He started by instead weighting indexes according to revenue — and the results were jarring. With the help of Jason Hsu, his first employee at the newly launched Research Affiliates, Arnott found that the sales-weighting strategy had beaten its market-cap counterpart by 250 basis points going back 30 years.
Curious as ever, Arnott then started weighting by any number of factors, including dividend yield, cash flow, and number of employees. He was initially shocked when they all worked about equally but then quickly formed a theory around why that was the case.
Arnott poured his findings into a research paper titled "Fundamental Indexation," which, ironically, argued that performance had nothing to do with fundamentals. He surmised that the true key lay within the practice of contra-trading, which offers investors the same alpha no matter what their anchor is for rebalancing their portfolio.
That is, of course, only if you're abiding by the practice of fundamental indexing, which involves buying high and selling low and then using that rebalancing as a source of alpha. After that, any time the link between the price of a stock and its index weighting is broken, the strategy sells on strength and buys on weakness.
Before long, the firm Towers Watson had picked up on the technique and given it a catchy new moniker: smart beta. Armed with a name that essentially markets itself, the strategy has morphed into a whole new investing business, with more than $730 billion wrapped up in products worldwide.
So while smart beta started as a contrarian challenge to a deeply entrenched investment practice, it has taken on a new life of its own. And that has given rise to a new host of problems, such as investors who dabble but don't fully understand what they're buying.
"Most of the practitioners of smart beta still don't realize, to this day, that they're enjoying the benefits of a rebalancing alpha," Arnott said. "And if you don't realize that, you're going to be seduced into doing all sorts of stupid things to try and make your process better, which will probably make it worse."
He continued: "That was an aha moment when I realized that. You could use darts or the number of board members who like to wear bow ties when weighting a portfolio, as long as it doesn't include price. That was kind of what launched the smart-beta revolution."
The biggest all-cash company merger in history doesn't come without sacrifices.
For the agricultural behemoth Monsanto, which this month finalized its $66 billion deal with the chemical giant Bayer, one of those sacrifices is saying goodbye to a venture-capital team that kept the company on the cutting edge of food and farm tech.
By making quick investments in promising startups, inking deals with potential competitors, and prioritizing creative ideas over hard data, Monsanto Growth Ventures functioned more like a Silicon Valley tech company than a 116-year-old corporate colossus.
"Monsanto really took a page out of Google and Facebook's playbook,"John Hamer, MGV's former managing director, told Business Insider. "You acquire a company not just for the asset but for the talent that's in that company and the way that talent can shape what you're doing."
Whether it was investing $125 million in a gene-editing startup aiming to bring the first Crispr-edited produce to grocery stores or making a nearly $1 billion deal for a data-heavy weather-prediction company to brace for the uncertainties of climate change, Hamer's team made bets on startups that could keep Monsanto at the forefront of the nascent ag-tech landscape.
But in April, weeks after the Bayer merger was greenlit by the European Union, all three of MGV's leading employees — including Hamer — left the company, leaving the future of venture capital at Bayer uncertain.
Hamer spent five years molding MGV. During that time, he worked with Kiersten Stead, its former investment director, and Ryan Rakestraw, its former principal, to invest in more than two dozen companies, sell their stakes in seven, and acquire two, Hamer said.
"I think we figured out just the right way to do [corporate venture], with minimal bureaucracy tying us down," Hamer said. "We didn't have to get sign-off from a business unit to go invest."
'We want to see the enemy when they're babies, not when they're adults'
In contrast to the behavior you might expect from a company of Monsanto's size ($15 billion in revenue before the Bayer deal), age (116 years), and power (accounting for more than one-third of the global seed business), MGV was largely free to experiment.
"We had this thesis that whatever we're going to invest in has to make our farmers more successful," Hamer said. "That's it."
Hamer and his colleagues would travel frequently, pop up at agricultural and tech conferences, and set up meetings with startups considered too risky or too out there for other corporations to take seriously. No matter the size of the startup or the check, the goal for Hamer's team was always the same: to put Monsanto ahead of the curve.
This often meant investing in a company that looked like a potential competitor, severing ties with a startup that began to show signs of decay, or signing a deal based only on a bold idea.
"Generally speaking, at large companies you don't get rewarded for taking risks or going out on a limb," Stead told Business Insider. "And this feature gets amplified in places where you have committee-based decision-making. Monsanto didn't have that when it came to technology exploration. You could easily select people that were not fearful of adopting new technologies."
In 2015, Stead and Hamer's team contributed to a $17 million funding round for Blue River Technology, a robotics startup that has since been acquired by John Deere designed to make the boring, labor-intensive work of weeding and pesticide spraying easier and more precise. At the time, many of Hamer's coworkers were befuddled by the deal, suggesting that the company was a potential Monsanto competitor. But Hamer had a different take.
"People would say: 'Why are we invested in this company? Aren't they competing against us?' And we'd respond, 'We want to see the enemy when they're babies, not when they're adults,'" Hamer said.
Other times, Monsanto Growth Ventures would take a meeting with an early-stage startup simply because the team members liked the idea behind it.
"We'd make a decision with 60% of the information," Hamer said. "And of course there's a recognition that in some areas it's better to have closer to 95%. But in areas like innovation, by the time you wait, you will have missed an opportunity."
Hamer added: "The one thing people at Monsanto can't handle being told is to wait."
The small size of Hamer's team — just three full-time staff members — allowed it to move quickly. Nevertheless, he had ways of making it appear more robust to outsiders.
When he and his team would travel to Monsanto's offices in Europe or Brazil, they'd hand out stacks of business cards with the Monsanto Growth Ventures logo, effectively "deputizing" certain employees as venture partners and giving them a more involved role in the venture-capital process.
"People loved that," Hamer said. "And it made us look like we had this massive group when really we were tiny."
The future of venture capital at Bayer
Monsanto Growth Ventures was Hamer's pet project. From the time he started at Monsanto in 2012 to when he left in April, Hamer was shaping MGV.
It was Hamer who decided Monsanto should pursue startups from within, and Hamer who set up shop in San Francisco on a bustling corner of the SoMa neighborhood in what he called "the global center of it."
Now that he's gone, the path forward for venture capital at Bayer is unclear.
"Bayer and Monsanto continue to act as separate companies," Utz Klages, the head of external communications at Bayer, said in an email to Business Insider, adding that "currently, we do not have any insights and no decisions have been taken yet" regarding MGV.
That arrangement is likely to last only a few more months, however, as the companies suss out how they will move forward as one merged entity.
Historically, the two companies have taken divergent approaches to venture capital. Where Monsanto's VC arm was driven by speed, agility, and a willingness to spend smaller amounts of money on a handful of startups, Bayer has been more conservative, investing large amounts of money in a few better-established companies.
In Stead's view, that isn't venture capital.
"Bayer doesn't do venture," Stead said. "I think that's well known."
In a recent call with reporters, Liam Condon, the CEO of Bayer CropScience, called the structure of VC investment at the new company a "hotly debated" internal topic, adding that he thinks MGV was "a great model" and one "uniquely adapted to the need of venture capital" in agriculture.
For now, Bayer appears to be prioritizing larger investments through its Leaps by Bayer program. As part of that initiative, the company recently committed $100 million to a joint venture with Ginkgo Bioworks, a startup studying the use of naturally existing microbes to cut down on the need for heavily polluting fertilizer.
"Bayer is committed to investing in new products and technologies that can help farmers grow the food we need while using fewer of the earth's natural resources," Klages said. "The focus is on plant breeding technologies, chemical and biological crop protection/ag productivity innovations and data science."
Jason Kelly, Ginkgo Bioworks' CEO, told Business Insider that he saw the merger with Monsanto as "generally a great thing for us, since now we're part of something even bigger."
But it's not clear what will happen to MCV's smaller projects.
"As a venture capitalist, I've learned you cannot adjust the rules of venture capital — it works for a reason," Stead said. "Monsanto was willing to suspend disbelief with us and watch it work. If the Bayer transaction hadn't happened, I do believe they would have stuck with it long enough to see results."
Despite a scandal-ridden year in Silicon Valley, there are still some tech workers who love where they work — and who they work for.
Glassdoor, an employee review site, conducted its annual Employee's Choice Awards, part of which includes a report on the top 100 CEOs to work for, based entirely on voluntary and anonymous employee feedback in the last year. Of those hundred, 26 of the top CEOs are specifically in tech, with 17 based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
One thing to note before we jump into the list: even though last year's list included one woman — Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake — this year's list is all men. That's largely because the tech industry is male-dominated. It may also be related to how studies have shown that employees generally review women leaders more harshly.
Other absences from this year's list include Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Square and Twitter, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who made the list last year as the then-CEO of Expedia.
Out of Glassdoor's report of 100 Top CEOs of 2018, take a look to see where tech CEOs placed.
26. Workday — Aneel Bhusri
91% approval rating
#97 out of the top 100 CEOs
#26 among tech CEOs
Workday provides software for human resources and financial systems management.
25. Apple — Tim Cook
91% approval rating
#96 out of the top 100 CEOs
#25 among tech CEOs
Apple produces the iPhone, iPad, and Mac — some of the most successful consumer electronics products in the world.
Cook actually dropped 43 spots on the top 100 since last year, marking the single biggest drop of a tech CEO. Still, this is Cook's sixth consecutive appearance on the list.
24. VMware — Pat Gelsinger
92% approval rating
#78 out of the top 100 CEOs
#24 among tech CEOs
VMware, owned by Dell, provides cloud computing and virtualization software for developers.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
In 2016, dating app Coffee Meets Bagel introduced "#LadiesChoice," a new format that offered men and women distinct user experiences.
Men would receive up to 21 "bagels," or matches, every day at noon, and the app would then present women with a curated selection of the men who had liked them. Users who identify as LGBT would receive up to six matches a day.
According to Dawoon Kang, a Coffee Meets Bagel cofounder and the company's co-CEO, the company made this change because they'd seen stark differences in the way men and women — both gay and straight — date online.
As Kang wrote in a blog post when #LadiesChoice debuted, "men like selection." Coffee Meets Bagel asked men and women how many potential matches they'd like to see every day: Men preferred an average of 17 while women wanted an average of four.
"But they [women] wanted to make sure they were high quality Bagels who were serious about taking the next step," Kang wrote.
When I spoke with Kang over the phone in June, she told me: "The more bagels we give to men, the more engaged they are. They like it. They actually like going through profiles and checking out different women."
On the other hand, Kang said, "When we gave more bagels to women, the attention that they give drops significantly. They stop responding. They stop checking."
Coffee Meets Bagel's findings jibe with other research on the way men and women use Tinder differently.
In 2016, scientists at Queen Mary University of London, Sapienza University of Rome, and Royal Ottawa Health Care Group found that women on Tinder generally swipe right only for men they're seriously interested in, while men are less picky.
But when it comes to sending that first message, the researchers found that just 7% of male matches sent a message, compared to 21% of women.
Kang said that ultimately, Coffee Meets Bagel wants to give users different experiences based on their past behavior. She acknowledged that there are some people who don't act like typical members of their gender while dating online.
"But in the absence of us being able to do that right now," she said, "we have to generalize."
SEE ALSO: When the founders of dating app Coffee Meets Bagel turned down Mark Cuban's $30 million offer on 'Shark Tank' 3 years ago, they got dozens of emails calling them 'crazy,' 'greedy,' and 'stupid' — but they still aren't sorry
Acronyms show up everywhere in our everyday language, from ASAP to BYOB, JFK to ROY G. BIV.
But sometimes, an acronym is so natural-sounding that we forget it even stands for anything in the first place.
That's certainly the case for Taser — invented in 1974, Taser stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle," an homage to a fictional character from the early 1900s. The word caught on and eventually gave us the verb "tase," meaning to fire a Taser at someone.
Read on for 11 words most people have no idea actually stand for something.
Laser is an acronym describing how the technology works.
Laser stands for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation."
Lasers were invented in 1960, but the first use of the term came one year earlier, when physicist Gordon Gould coined it for a paper about the technology.
'Taser' comes from the name of a science-fiction book character.
Tasers sound like an invention taken from science fiction, and as it turns out, the name of the device actually was.
The weapon was invented in 1974 by NASA researcher Jack Cover, and when it was time to give his device a name, he found inspiration in Tom Swift, the title character from a series of adventure books about a teenage inventor from the early 1900s. In one of the books, Swift invented an "electric rifle" that could shoot bolts of electricity and was powerful enough to bring down an elephant.
Cover did have to employ some creativity with the word "Taser"— the books never actually reveal Tom Swift's middle name, but Cover added it to ease the pronunciation.
The 'BASE' in BASE jumping describes the objects people jump from.
For thrill-seekers, BASE jumping is one of the most adrenaline-filled activities out there.
"BASE"is an acronym describing the types of objects the risk-taking parachuters jump from: building, antenna, span (like a bridge or steel beam) and Earth (like a cliff).
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Electronic music is all the rage these days, but the most high-tech of America's Big Three guitar makers is proving that the acoustic guitar can keep up.
That's no small feat: the basic idea of a soundbox joined to a fretboard with plucked strings providing musical notes has been around since the 1500s. In the US, the premium acoustic-guitar market is ruled by three companies, each with its own approach to the instrument.
Pennsylvania-based C.F. Martin & Co. has been in business since the late 1800s. Nashville's Gibson, Martin's chief 20th-century rival, got started in 1902. And California's Taylor Guitars is the new kid on the block, founded in 1974.
Martin has long been beloved for the sheer exquisiteness of its acoustics and created the most popular acoustic shape, the dreadnought. Gibson's guitars have often been flashier and are often favored by rock, blues, and country players for their earthy, grittier tone and eye-catching looks (Keith Richards was a fan of the Hummingbird, and Pete Townshend likes the J-200 jumbo).
Taylor — named for co-founder Bob Taylor — has a reputation for a sparkling high-end and unrelenting innovation in the context of a 500-year-old instrument. I really like Gibsons and can't argue with Martins, but many times when I strum a Taylor, especially upscale, made-in-US versions, I'm blown away by the power of their guitars. Taylors are also popular with guitarists who often plug in and play amplified: the company's proprietary "Expression" system is stupendous.
The creation of "V-Class" bracing
This year, Taylor shook up the acoustic world with the introduction of a new internal-bracing system for its pricier acoustics. Called "V-Class" bracing, it was devised by Andy Powers, a master guitar maker who joined Taylor in 2011 and has been talked about as an heir to Bob Taylor's leadership.
I both sampled a V-Class guitar for a month and discussed the innovation with Taylor.
First, the axe: Taylor loaned me a 914ce guitar to review, a $5,000 instrument that reminded me how much better a crummy player such as myself can sound with a truly great guitar in hand. Clearly, this isn't a purchase that any player will take lightly — a guitar of this caliber is a lifetime investment.
The 914ce is a cutaway grand auditorium shape, which means that the instrument is a bit smaller than a traditional dreadnought; I increasingly favor this design, which is easier to play standing with a strap than a dread, as well as when sitting.
Taylor is using the V-Class bracing in a range of guitars, with the least expensive coming in a $3,000 and the most costly weighing in at $9,000. All are made in El Cajon, California, near San Diego.
The 914ce I checked out has a Sitka Spruce top, Indian rosewood back and sides, and a West African ebony fretboard. The details are glorious, with a graphite nut, Micarta saddle, very solid Gotoh 510 tuners in a sort of mellow brass, and the onboard Expression amp system, complete with a jack in the strap button. You can get lost studying the inlays on the headstock and the fretboard.
What does the design sound like?
Unplugged, playing the 914ce is like holding a piano in your lap: the dynamic range is miraculous. Plugged in (I ran the guitar through a Fender Pro Junior IV because I don't have an acoustic amp), the 914ce is bold and balanced.
There's a reason why musicians who play in churches and a lot of electric-centric folks adore Taylors: the amplified characteristics are stunning, replicating the natural sound of an acoustic even at higher volumes.
But most players are going to become addicted to the unplugged virtues of the 914ce. I certainly did, and I threw everything I had in standard tuning at it, with forays into my preferred alternative tunings, DADGAD and open-G.
At this level, acoustics don't have flaws — they simply have varying degrees of magnificent virtues. But the V-Class bracing lives up to its billing and then some. By nature of their legacy design, acoustic guitars are never really perfect, and almost everybody fights a bit to achieve what they want, no matter how skilled they are.
How V-Class works
In coming up with V-Class, Powers sought to solve an age-old problem with the so-called "flat top" design — what most players recognize as the steel-stringed acoustic guitar. (Watch him talk about it here.)
With flat tops, there are some limits on what a traditional guitar will allow," Powers said when we chatted on the phone. "There's a balance point between volume and sustain."
Volume is self-explanatory and is a function of how flexible a guitar's top is: More flexible equals more air moved equals louder, and if you have a bigger top, you have more volume. You can also make it louder with a super-flexible top, such as the drumhead on a banjo.
Sustain, however, is governed by stiffness. That's why notes last longer when played on a stiffer instrument. To return to the banjo example, those sharp, loud notes decay very rapidly.
Powers was certainly familiar with the industry standard X-bracing, given his pre-Taylor career as a custom builder and musician. But the constraints of the old ways frustrated him.
An unlikely insight came from his second home (outside the guitar workshop) — the Pacific Ocean, where he regularly surfs. Wave patterns in water suggested a new idea to him, and V-Class entered the experimental stage.
The results were quickly successful, but also intimidating.
"Oh my gosh, I've opened a Pandora's Box!" Powers recalled. "This guitar is actually gonna do what I want it do do. I was excited and scared at the same time."
A neverending learning experience for the guitar maker
Several years of development followed, during which Powers would concoct a design, test it, figure out if something was a fluke, and then get control of a feature so that it could be replicated.
Powers also had to contend with his own "Eureka!" feelings, not to mention feedback from his luthier compatriots.
"I thought, 'I'm an idiot for not seeing this sooner,'" he said. But the world of guitar makers is not large, and when Powers revealed his concept, they scratched their heads.
They didn't treat him quite as if he'd rolled out a square wheel. "We don't know all that much about the instrument," he said. "The more we learn, the less we know."
My time with the 914ce reminded me that if you're a casual guitarist and deeply amateur musician, you can certainly enjoy a fine instrument. But it also highlighted how much a good guitar can help a great player better express him or herself. In my experience, even some famous guitars, such as the Gibson J-45, don't much like to be played all over the neck.
Not so with the new Taylors — where the V-Class bracing, combined with the company's neck-to-body joining for which its already renowned, means that you can hit every single available note and savor the sustain and volume that Powers focused on while remaining deliciously in tune. And even if you don't like single-note playing and prefer strumming chords, the difference between a three- and four-finger G chord on the 914ce is a revelation.
My acid test for a guitar, when you get right down to it, is can I write a song on the instrument. The reason why is that there's no correlation between cost and results: I've written numerous songs on a $5 Yamaha that I bought at a yard sale.
The 914ce yielded a slightly fast-playing number with a little riff at the beginning, a benefit of the neck, which is slick and swift.
The pros were stunned
According to Powers, more talented musicians see larger vistas when they first sample a V-Class guitar.
"Some of them get really quiet," he said. "Quite a few start swearing. And few chords in, it's almost as if the guitar has turned into their voice."
The V-Class innovation comes along at a good time or the acoustic guitar. Musicians such as Taylor Swift— a Taylor player, naturally — have spurred interest among new, female customers to pick up a humble thing made of wood and string to see if they can make it sound cool.
With Gibson's recent bankruptcy declaration and the general shift in pop away from anything that resembles guitar heroes, there's been no shortage of eulogies for an instrument that's defined music since the 1950s. But Powers isn't buying it.
"I've heard all kinds of gloom and doom about the future of the guitar," he said. "But I don't think it's going to disappear. We have an inherent need to tell stories and make music. We might just not have the exactly same instrument that we had decades ago."
David Bossie, President Donald Trump's former deputy campaign manager, told Democratic strategist Joel Payne on Fox News Sunday morning that he was "out of his cotton-picking mind."
The two were appearing on "Fox & Friends" to discuss current rhetoric in political commentating, specifically around the Trump administration's recent consideration and establishment of a zero-tolerance immigration policy.
"You guys, you, the Democratic party, are so angry and hate-filled towards the border patrol agents, towards police officers, towards ICE agents," Bossie said, beginning the discussion by replying to remarks from an MSNBC host that compared Trump's immigration policy to Nazi Germany.
"I just love to let people watch," Payne replied. "This is the president’s deputy campaign manager. This is the type of hate-filled screed that you saw in 2016."
The segment continued as Payne replied to host Ed Henry asking Payne to comment on the language Democrats have used.
"You started the segment saying progressive and Democrats and the left are attacking the president, calling him a racist. No. They're just calling him out," Payne continued. "You don't have to be a Golden Retriever to hear all the dog whistles coming out of the White House these days."
Payne then pushed back on Bossie's reference to former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden's tweet last week that included a picture of a Nazi concentration camp, which Bossie talked over, saying "you're out of your cotton-picking mind."
"Let me tell you something, I got some relatives who picked cotton and I'm not going to sit here and allow you to attack me like that on TV," Payne replied. "You better watch your mouth."
On Fox News, David Bossie, former Trump Deputy Campaign Manager, telling a black panelist that he's "out of his cotton-picking mind."pic.twitter.com/wpoqHKbINw— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 24, 2018
Henry later apologized for the "fiery" debate after the commercial break. "I want to make clear: Fox News and this show, myself, we don't agree with that particular phrase," he said on-air. "It was obviously offensive, and these debates get fiery. That's unfortunate."
"David Bossie's comments today were deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate," a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. "His remarks do not reflect the sentiments of FOX News and we do not in any way condone them."
Bossie tweeted an apology for the "offensive phrase" Sunday afternoon.
During a heated segment on Fox & Friends today, I should have chosen my words more carefully and never used the offensive phrase that I did. I apologize to Joel Payne, Fox News and its viewers.— David Bossie (@David_Bossie) June 24, 2018
Bossie is the second Trump associate to land in hot water for on-air comments this week. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski mocked a commentator who spoke about an immigrant girl with Down Syndrome being separated from her mother. Lewandowski replied "womp womp." He later tweeted a defense.
Housing in the US has not been this unaffordable since property values were in free fall 10 years ago.
In the first quarter, affordability as measured by the average share of income needed to buy a median-priced house was at its worst since the third quarter of 2008, according to Attom Data Solutions. The firm's affordability index fell to 95, the lowest since it read at 86 nearly a decade ago.
This was not just because home prices were too high. In fact, the rate of appreciation slowed in the first quarter, according to Attom.
What really tipped the scale was the rise in mortgage rates, said Daren Blomquist, the senior vice president at Attom, in a report. Mortgage rates hit their highest level in seven years last month, and the national average 30-year fixed rate is now above 4.4%, according to Bankrate.com. A year ago, it was 3.8%.
And so, mortgage rates are up along with prices. Wages are rising, too, but not yet quickly enough to move the needle on affordability.
"Home-price appreciation continued to outpace wage growth, speeding up the affordability treadmill for prospective homebuyers even without the rise in mortgage rates," Blomquist said.
The recovery in home prices has been great for homeowners who lost value in the financial crisis. But unlike prices, homebuilding hasn't yet returned to precrisis levels, leading to a limited inventory of affordable houses. In some major cities including New York, developers have overbuilt in the luxury end of the market where it's more lucrative.
The median-priced home was unaffordable for people earning the average wage in 75% of US counties, Attom said. In San Francisco's Marin County, where affordability was worst, the average wage earner would have needed 133% of his or her income to buy a median-priced home. In Michigan's Wayne County, which includes Detroit, it was 14%.
The reason affordability worsened so much — higher mortgage rates — is a mixed bag in terms of what it means for the housing market.
That's because the decision to buy a home is not influenced solely by the level of interest rates. Buying a home is about more than just making an investment — for some it can be about fulfilling a lifelong dream, putting down roots, and leaving something tangible for future generations. And so, a few hundred dollars extra every month is unlikely to deter many first-time shoppers who have found their dream home.
Data compiled by Ellie Mae confirms this. The mortgage-software provider's most recent numbers, for May, showed that the share of loans taken out for buying homes (not for mortgage refinancing) hit a high not seen since record keeping began in 2011. Refinancing, however, has been on the decline, falling to a 17-year low in May as borrowing costs increased.
"While inventories remain tight, we're seeing an increasing percentage of purchase loans," said Jonathan Corr, the president and CEO of Ellie Mae.
Chances are, unless you're an airline junkie, you've probably never heard of Air Astana.
Only launched in 2002, Kazakhstan's flag carrier is relatively unknown to most Americans and Europeans, unless they happen to have taken a trip to Russia. But that may soon change.
In just 16 years, Air Astana has built a reputation for friendly staff, new, well-kept planes, and great service. For the last six years, consumer aviation website Skytrax has given it a 4-star rating and named it the best airline in India/Central Asia. In 2014, Business Insider named it the 12th best airline in the world.
The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said in 2012 that Air Astana had "performed better in its first decade than just about any other start-up carrier."
Add in the fact that the list of best airlines these days is dominated by flag carriers like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and Etihad Airways, and I was very excited to give Air Astana a try.
I got my chance recently when booking a long-haul trip from Seoul to Moscow for the World Cup. I am pleased to say that Air Astana did not disappoint.
Read on to see what I thought of my flight on Air Astana, departing from Almaty International Airport to Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, operated on a 767-300ER.
For a recent flight from Seoul to Russia, I decided to book Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan. I was little bit nervous because the flight required a connection in Almaty, the former capital of the country. The first flight went off without a hitch and I landed at Almaty International Airport. It was a bit dinky.
To get on my second flight from Almaty to Moscow, I had to go through the transit desk in Almaty. Everyone on my flight was transferring to Moscow, as we were all heading to the World Cup. Because Almaty requires passengers to pass through security at the transit desk, I had to wait in line for an hour during my layover.
My flight was on time. After checking our passports at a small gate inside the airport, we boarded a bus that drove us to the plane on the tarmac. There's something about boarding a plane from the airstair rather than the gate that makes me feel like a celebrity.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider