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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Sundar Pichai

    • As part of Google's new policies to deal with sexual-harassment complaints at the company, CEO Sundar Pichai disclosed new rules for drinking at work.
    • Google says it will hold managers responsible for discouraging excessive drinking, not just in the office, but at any party or event where employees get together.
    • Pichai says that alcohol was frequently cited in incidents of reported sexual harassment and that, if things don't change, he may implement "more onerous actions."

    In response to a recent employee walkout protesting how Google has handled sexual-harassment cases, CEO Sundar Pichai released new policies for employees on Thursday. 

    Some of the new policies were items that the protesting workers had called for, like ending forced arbitration for employees who want to sue over harassment claims. But Google also included a new measure in its new list of policies that may catch some employees by surprise: a crackdown on alcohol at work and after-hours at all work-related functions.

    The policy says that leaders who do not take steps to limit drinking at events will be on the hook, citing a statistic that says in 20% of Google's reported sexual-harassment cases, alcohol played a role. 

    Read more: One of Google's new sexual harassment policies could be the key to changing all of Silicon Valley's bro culture

    The policy also warns that Google "will impose more onerous actions if problems persist."  We take that to mean that Pichai may attempt to ban alcohol altogether.

    Silicon Valley has a drinking culture, and Google is at least partially the reason why. In its early years, Google was a wild, childlike place to work, filled with people in their 20s. It was deliberately trying not to be your father's and mother's stuffy kind of corporation. The company would throw wild parties with lots of alcohol and other substances, early employees have described.

    But the seeds of that corporate culture have grown into a tree. And it may be time to prune it.

    Here is the alcohol policy Google disclosed on Thursday:

    Excessive alcohol: Harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse. But one of the most common factors among the harassment complaints made today at Google is that the perpetrator had been drinking (~20% of cases). Our policy is clear: Excessive consumption of alcohol is not permitted when you are at work, performing Google business, or attending a Google-related event, whether onsite or offsite.

    Going forward, all leaders at the company — Directors, VPs and SVPs — will be expected to create teams, events, offsites and environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is strongly discouraged. For example, many teams have already put two-drink limits in place for events. Others use drink ticket systems. The onus will be on leaders to take appropriate steps to restrict any excessive consumption among their teams, and we will impose more onerous actions if problems persist.

    SEE ALSO: A horrific video from 'Red Dead Redemption 2' has become a flash point for what's acceptable on YouTube

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: After using Samsung Galaxy phones for 5 years, I made the switch to the iPhone XS


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    dropbox

    • Dropbox posted $360.3 million in revenue in the third quarter.
    • That beat Wall Street's forecasts, but analysts' expectations were low.
    • Dropbox has been trying to break into the enterprise space, but investors and analysts see that as a big challenge, since its service was originally targeted at consumers.
    • The company's share price has been beaten up in recent months as its growth has slowed.

    Dropbox staved off its doubters on Thursday — at least for the time being.

    The file-hosting company reported third-quarter results that topped Wall Street's modest expectations and offered a better-than-expected forecast for the holiday period. It also reported that its average revenue per user rose a bit from last year, a possible indication that its effort to attract business customers might be paying off.

    "We delivered another quarter of strong execution," Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said in a statement. He continued: "We're shipping product features and updates our users love, based on a deep understanding of our customers and the tools they need to do their best work."

    Investors cheered the results. In recent after-hours trading following its report, the company's stock was up $2.01, or 8%, to $26.75.

    Wall Street remains skeptical of Dropbox

    But many investors and analysts remain skeptical about Dropbox's longer-term prospects. Analysts such as Nomura's Christopher Eberle are concerned about its ability to attract a significant number of enterprise clients, especially since the company started off as a consumer-oriented service. Such concerns, which are shared widely on Wall Street, have weighed down the company's stock, he said. Dropbox's shares are down 39% since peaking in June. 

    "It's very fundamentally difficult to transition to focusing on enterprise," Eberle told Business Insider. "There's security reasons why that's not possible."

    Here's what Dropbox reported:

    • Q3 Revenue: $360.3 million, which was up 26 percent from the same period last year. Analysts were expecting $352.57 million.
    • Q3 earnings per share (adjusted): 11 cents. Wall Street was looking for 6 cents a share.
    • Q4 revenue (forecast): $367 million to $370 million. Analysts had predicted $363.7 million.

    Read more: Dropbox CEO Drew Houston heard that going public was 'finding a way to live in hell without dying' — but after the IPO, he's seeing the light

    Dropbox exceeded the Street's revenue expectations thanks to gains in new paying users, it said. By the end of the third quarter, it had 12.3 million paid users, up from 10.4 million a year earlier.

    The company was also able to get more money out of each user. Its average revenue per user (ARPU) rose to $118.60 from $112.05 in the same period a year ago.

    Per-user revenue is growing slower than investors hoped

    Dropboxwent public in March and saw its stock price surge 36 percent in its trading debut. Investors were excited about the company's potential in the enterprise space, Eberle said. They thought its success in the area would translate into big gains in ARPU, he said. Some thought it could quickly rise as high as $125, but the company has since struggled to meet those expectations.

    The company's growth in paid users has also been slower than investors hoped, Eberle said. One other worry: the company stopped disclosing its growth in business users after the first quarter, he said.

    "They really haven't talked about it since then," he said. "That's an area of our concern ... The enterprise side of this story has disappeared."

    Dropbox's revenue forecast for next quarter is relatively conservative and should be achievable, Eberle said. But if it wants to start growing rapidly — and see its stock price go up accordingly — it needs to find a way to catch on among enterprise customers, he said. And that's going to remain a challenge, he said.

    Dropbox is adding features to appeal to enterprise customers

    To be sure, Dropbox has been adding features that are targeted at just such an audience. This past quarter, it invested in its machine intelligence capabilities. It upgraded its search engine so users can personalize their searches and find files more efficiently. It also introduced an image search feature, allowing users to search for text within images.

    In addition, the company announced a feature to help business users manage their workflows and another to help with project management. It also added integrations for Zoom and Salesforce to its software.

    On Thursday, it announced a partnership with Google Cloud Identity and other companies to give Dropbox Business customers more advanced security features.

    SEE ALSO: $1.9 billion big data company Talend is acquiring a Philadelphia-based startup for $60 million to give it leverage in the cloud wars

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This mind-melting thought experiment of Einstein's reveals how to manipulate time


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    lion air

    • A Lion Air jet clipped a lamp post at an airport in Sumatra on Wednesday night.
    • The incident occurred before takeoff as the plane taxied to the runway.
    • This latest accident occurred fewer than two weeks after a Lion Air jet fell into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. It was Indonesia's worst air disaster in 20 years.

    A Lion Air passenger plane reportedly hit a lamp post, fewer than two weeks after Indonesia's discount carrier crashed a jet off the coast of Java, killing all 189 people on board.

    Late on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg, a Boeing 737-900ER operated by Lion Air subsidiary, PT Lion Mentari Airlines hit a pole causing significant structural damage to the wing.

    The plane was taxiing at Bengkulu Fatmawati Soekarno airport in the island of Sumatra. The accident left a significant hole in the left wing. Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry has said it will investigate the incident which happened around 6:30 p.m. local time.

    The loss of Lion Air flight JT610 on October 28, which fell into the ocean just 13 minutes after leaving Jakarta, was Indonesia’s worst air disaster in two decades. It was also Lion Air's first accident since 2004.

    The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday also issued an emergency airworthiness directive on about 250 Boeing 737 Max aircraft after Boeing issued a bulletin to customers of the 737 Max in the aftermath of the Lion Air tragedy.

    SEE ALSO: Boeing is said to be warning its 737 Max customers about erroneous cockpit readings that could make the passenger jet 'aggressively dive'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The economist that predicted the housing crisis warns the Fed is engaging in behavior that's almost always caused a recession


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    Pasted_image_at_2018 11 08__4_43_PM (1)

    • Mark Zuckerberg has joined a private Facebook group for Harvard-themed memes called "Harvard Memes for Elitist 1% Tweens." 
    • No one is quite sure why Zuckerberg joined, but group members love it thus far. 
    • The Facebook CEO even invited his fellow Harvard dropout, Bill Gates, to join. 

    On Thursday, the internet caught wind of something truly special — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined a Facebook Group called "Harvard Memes for Elitist 1% Tweens." 

    It's a private Facebook group, but there's no need to be an alumnus of the Ivy League school to be accepted. Memes just need to be Harvard-specific and "apply to any group of wealthy, pretentious pseudo-intellectuals." 

    No one is certain why Zuckerberg, who launched Facebook in his Harvard dorm room and then dropped out to focus full-time on the social network, joined the meme group. Perhaps he wanted to blow off some post-midterm elections steam. Maybe it was an attempt to make up for the last time he publicly tested one of his own products (see Facebook Live debacle here). Perhaps he, like Elon Musk, just really loves memes. 

    At any rate, here's a look at how Zuckerberg's introduction to the group has gone thus far, as captured in screenshots by Business Insider's own Kif Leswing.

    Screen Shot 2018 11 08 at 4.42.08 PM

    Zuckerberg came out with a bang for his first comment in the group, saying: "This group is wonderful." 

    DrgTVc3WoAAOp9U

    Then, when prompted to try and get Bill Gates to join the group to form a "dropout squad," Zuckerberg accepted. 

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    One group member posted a meme of Zuckerberg and was worried he'd be barred from Facebook altogether.

    Screen Shot 2018 11 08 at 4.45.21 PM

     

    The CEO assured him that no such thing would happen to which other group members applauded, calling it an "iconic moment." 

    DrgTSnjWkAApdVD

    Another member responded to the situation how any good member of a private-meme society would respond — with a meme. 

    image

    Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 

    Also, it's still to be determined whether Bill Gates will accept Zuckerberg's invitation to the group. 

    SEE ALSO: A horrific video from 'Red Dead Redemption 2' has become a flash point for what's acceptable on YouTube

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch Apple's October 2018 event in 8 minutes


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    Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the retail giant's cloud-computing business.

    • At a company meeting Thursday, Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, addressed employees' concerns about the company's practice of offering its facial-recognition software to immigration and law-enforcement agencies, according to BuzzFeed News.
    • Jassy largely dismissed those concerns, suggesting they weren't broadly shared in the company and arguing that the company's terms of service would prevent its software from being used for bad purposes, the report said.

    At a company meeting Thursday, the head of Amazon's cloud-computing division largely dismissed employees' concerns about it marketing its facial-recognition technology to immigration and law-enforcement agencies, BuzzFeed News reported.

    Hundreds of Amazon employees have signed a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos asking that the company stop offering that software, dubbed Rekognition, to law enforcement officials. But at the meeting, Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, suggested that their concerns weren't shared universally within the company, according to the BuzzFeed News report. And Amazon's management is comfortable with continuing to offer the software to government agencies, he said.

    "With over 500,000 employees like we have at Amazon, I think we're going to have people who have opinions that are very wide-ranging, which is great," Jassy said, according to a transcript provided to BuzzFeed News. "But we feel really great and really strongly about the value that Amazon Rekognition is providing our customers of all sizes and all types of industries in law enforcement and out of law enforcement."

    In the letter, which has now been signed by some 450 Amazon workers, the employees voiced concern that the facial-recognition software would be used as a surveillance tool against citizens and would be used to harm marginalized groups and people. They were especially concerned that by aiding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Amazon was complicit in such policies as the widely decried practice — since stopped — of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents or other caregivers.

    Read more: Amazon employees are reportedly gearing up to confront CEO Jeff Bezos at an all-staff meeting this week about selling facial recognition software to law enforcement

    Any technology can be used for evil, Jassy said

    Amazon is among several big tech companies facing pushback from employees about the way their products are used. Employees at Google forced the company to forswear doing business with the military if its technology was going to be used in weapons. 

    But Amazon's Jassy pushed back on such ethical concerns. Any technology can be used for "evil" ends, he told employees, according to the report. Amazon has tried to prevent that from happening by requiring users of its Rekognition software and other AWS features to agree to its terms of service, which mandate that they're used "responsibly," he said.

    If customers violate "folks' constitutional rights," they won't be able to use the service, Jassy said, according to the report. And he said it was up to the government to set the guidelines for appropriate use of such technology.

    In addition to calling on Amazon to cease providing its facial-recognition software to ICE and law enforcement agencies, the letter also demanded that Amazon cancel Palantir's access to AWS' services. Palantir, the secretive data mining startup, has been a technology provider to ICE, according to published reports.

    Jassy apparently didn't address that demand.

    Now read:

    SEE ALSO: A new survey suggests Salesforce and SAP have an early lead over Amazon and Google in the next frontier in tech

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: After using Samsung Galaxy phones for 5 years, I made the switch to the iPhone XS


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    A burned car sits in a burned out business after the Camp Fire moved through the area on November 8, 2018 in Paradise, California.

    • A video shows a driver's harrowing escape from a wildfire burning in Northern California.
    • The so-called Camp Fire started around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday in Butte County, California, which is roughly 90 miles north of Sacramento.
    • So far, at least 18,000 acres have burned, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Thousands of residents were under evacuation orders as of Thursday evening.
    • California witnessed the worst wildfire in its history in July. The Mendocino Complex Fire, which also occurred in the northern part of the state, burned nearly 460,000 acres.

    Video posted on social media shows a driver trying to escape a wildfire in North California.

    The blaze, known as the Camp Fire, started in Butte County, California, on Thursday morning, about 90 miles north of Sacramento. As of Thursday evening, at least 18,000 acres were scorched and thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes.

    Read more: The Coast Guard is looking, but it really seems like Japan has lost an island

    At the height of its speed, The Camp Fire burned 80 acres per minute USA Today reports.

    The fire has destroyed several homes in the city of Paradise, which has been completely evacuated along with the nearby towns of Pulga and Concow, Cal Fire Public Information Officer Scott Mclean said at a press conference Thursday.

    Because of the pace of the fire, several residents in Paradise were forced to abandon their vehicles on the road and flee on foot, according to the Sacramento Bee.

    Others, like the man in this video in the nearby town of Concow, drove through what looked like a wall of fire and smoke to escape.

    California witnessed the worst wildfire in its history in July. The Mendocino Complex Fire, which also occured in the northern part of the state burned nearly 460,000 acres, according to California fire authorities.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The first woman in space almost didn't make it back to Earth and she had to keep it a secret for 30 years


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    Screen Shot 2018 11 08 at 4.50.07 PM

    • The mother of one of the 12 who died in a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, made an emotional plea for gun-control legislation on Thursday.
    • Susan Orfanos said her son, Telemachus Orfanos, survived the Las Vegas shooting in 2017 before being killed on Wednesday night.
    • "My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home," Susan said. "He didn't come home last night, and I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts."
    • "I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody sends me anymore prayers," Susan said. "I want gun control. No more guns!"

    The mother of Telemachus Orfanos, one of the 12 people who died in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, late Wednesday night, made an emotional plea for gun-control legislation during an interview with KABC-TV on Thursday.

    Susan Orfanos said her son survived the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, in which 58 people were killed and more than 850 were injured.

    "My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home," Susan said. "He didn't come home last night, and I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts."

    "I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody sends me anymore prayers," Susan added. "I want gun control. No more guns!"

    Twelve people were killed as 28-year-old Ian David Long opened fire on patrons at the Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday night. Police have not yet determined a motive.

    Survivors from previous shootings have had similar reactions to Susan's. Staff writers Selene San Felice and Phil Davis were at the scene of the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were killed in June.

    "I'm not trying to make this political, all right," San Felice said during an interview with CNN. "But we need more than prayers. I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was under that desk. I want your prayers, but I want something else."

    "I was praying when he started reloading that shotgun that there weren't going to be more bodies," Davis added. "And you know what? If we're at a position in our society where all we offer each other is prayers, then where are we? Where are we as a society where people die and that's the end of that story?"

    You can watch the video here »

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The true story behind Boston gangster Whitey Bulger


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    victorias secret fashion show 2018

    After two years abroad, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show returned to New York City on Thursday.

    The high-profile event, which was filmed on November 8, will air December 2 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

    As usual, some of the world's most famous models — as well as 18 newcomers to the show — graced the lingerie brand's runway, showing off elaborate ensembles, designs by Mary Katrantzou, and a $1 million diamond-covered Fantasy Bra.

    Below, take a closer look at all the head-turning outfits and impressive wings featured in the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

    Adriana Lima stepped out in a moon-inspired ensemble.

    It was a different take on the more traditional shaped angel wings.



    Sui He walked in a sparkling structured ensemble.

    The ensemble featured spiky, sun-shaped embellishments.



    Cindy Bruna also showcased a star-themed design.

    The celestial outfit featured some sparkling thigh-high boots.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    eric reid

    • Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid was ejected for a late, head-first hit on Cam Newton.
    • Roethlisberger was sliding after making a play with his legs, when Reid came in head-first and made contact with Roethlisberger's head.
    • A scuffle ensued on the field as Steelers players went after Reid to defend Roethlisberger.

    Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid was ejected on Thursday for unnecessary roughness after making a head-on tackle on Ben Roethlisberger.

    Late in the third quarter, Roethlisberger took off running for a first down. As he slid to the ground, Reid came in late, diving head first and making contact with Roethlisberger's head.

    As Reid got up, with referees throwing flags, several Steelers rushed after Reid, shoving him for the late and dangerous hit on Roethlisberger.

    Referees discussed the play and tossed Reid for the tackle.

    Replays showed Reid came in late and low at Roethlisberger's head.

    Reid and Roethlisberger shook hands as Reid left the field.

     

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight


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    VA to continue dog experimentation

    • VA Secretary Robert Wilkie confirmed plans to continue the VA's controversial medical experimentation on dogs.
    • Wilkie made the announcement Friday to the National Press Club, where he said the practice helps advance medical research for veterans.
    • VA timelines show the experiments, which have come under fire from animal advocates, began in the 1960s.

    Speaking to the National Press Club, Veteran's Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said he will reauthorize dog experimentation at the VA.

    The VA started the controversial practice in the 1960s, and has come under fire in recent years from animal rights organizations.

    Some of the experiments, described by USA Today, include implanting pacemakers in dogs before inducing abnormal heart rhythms and removing parts of their brains to test neurons. The report also said that after the experiments, the dogs are euthanized.

    USA Today broke the news on November 1 that the VA would continue the experiments, citing obtained documents. Secretary Wilkie confirmed the VA's plans on Friday, saying they help "advance medical research for veterans."

    Wilkie's announcement is drawing sharp criticism from veterans, including Florida Republican Reps. Vern Buchanan and Brian Mast. Both have co-sponsored the PUPPERS Act, a bipartisan effort to end painful dog experiments at the VA.

    In a statement provided to Business Insider, Buchanan called the VA's research "gruesome" and said some of the procedures include severing a dog's spine.

    "The VA has become a canine house of horrors," he said.

    The bill argues that these experiments are not only cruel but also unnecessary. Marine veteran and AMVETS executive Sherman Gillum agreed, saying that the procedures have not produced any medical advancements in "decades."

    SEE ALSO: On the centennial of Armistice Day, the US still doesn't have a national memorial for World War I — but that is about to change

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    • NFL players are wearing a new helmet that's designed to better protect football players' heads.
    • The VICS ZERO1 morphs its shape to absorb more impact from hits than a typical hard-shelled helmet. 
    • Over 60 NFL players wore the helmet in 2017, including Russell Wilson, Alex Smith, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, and Lamar Miller.
    • Watch the video above to see how the helmet works.

    Following is a transcript of the video.

    This is not your typical football helmet. VICIS ZERO1 looks like a standard helmet on the outside. But when it hits something, it reacts much differently. Its innovative design is protecting football players' heads. Here's how it works. 

    When hit, hard-shelled helmets stay rigid. When ZERO1 is hit, it morphs its shape. This allows it to absorb more force from a blow. The secret?

    Lots of separate columns of padding inside the helmet. When pressure is applied, they deform and absorb the pressure. Multiple layers work together to slow impact forces. This keeps the head protected from multiple forces. The ZERO1 has a softer outer shell than a normal helmet. This slows impact forces before they reach the head and brain. ZERO1 also offers a wider field of view than traditional helmets. 

    The ZERO1 ranked first in the NFL/NFLPA 2017 helmet laboratory performance testing. The goal of the test was to "determine which helmet reduced head impact severity." The outer shell takes a collision like a car bumper. The helmet costs $950.

    The ZERO1 was worn by over 60 NFL players in 2017. Including Russell Wilson, Alex Smith, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, and Lamar Miller. ZERO1 was also worn by players on over 20 NCAA programs in 2017. Teams included Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, and Texas A&M. Notre Dame has announced it will give its entire roster a ZERO1 helmet in the upcoming season. Time will tell if more players adopt the ZERO1.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published on February 5, 2018.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    iPhone XS Max

    Apple's newest crop of phones is here, which means you may be thinking about finally upgrading from your older iPhone. 

    During the past few years, it hasn't been easy to justify shelling out for a new phone if you're using an iPhone 5S, 6, or 6S. The design has been similar, the camera hasn't seen a major upgrade, and the battery life hasn't necessarily been such a major jump from older devices. 

    But now that the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max have arrived, it feels like time to consider a new phone, especially if you're on an iPhone 6S or earlier. 

    If you haven't bought an iPhone in the last year, however, you're going to be in for a few major changes, especially if you opt for the extra-large iPhone XS Max, which is a pretty big departure from iPhones of years past.

    Here are the six biggest things you'll notice when making the switch:

    SEE ALSO: Here's how the new $400 Apple Watch Series 4 compares to last year's model, the Apple Watch Series 3

    1. The screen

    The most notable thing about the iPhone XS Max is the screen — the big, beautiful screen. 

    First and foremost, the XS Max has an OLED display, which no older iPhones have, save for the iPhone X. Blacks look blacker, whites look whiter, and the whole display is just more gorgeous and immersive than what you're probably used to on an LCD screen. 

    Besides being a better display, it's also going to be much bigger than what you're used to. It's the largest display of any iPhone, ever, and goes nearly edge-to-edge (save for the notch at the top, and some thin bezels along all four sides). 



    2. The size and weight

    Beyond having a great big screen, the XS Max has a great big body, too. It's the biggest, heaviest iPhone Apple sells, and also the largest phone it's ever made. 

    Here are the specs:

    • Height: 6.20 inches (157.5 mm)
    • Width: 3.05 inches (77.4 mm)
    • Depth: 0.30 inch (7.7 mm)
    • Weight: 7.34 ounces (208 grams)

    Compare that to the iPhone 6, which is 5.44 inches by 2.64 inches and weighs just 4.55 ounces, and it's pretty striking. If you're used to your small, lightweight phone, you may be in for a bit of a shock. 



    3. The camera

    When I compared my iPhone 6S to the iPhone 8 Plus last year, I was taken aback by how little difference there was between the two cameras, which were two generations apart. While the 8 Plus won in a few situations, there wasn't enough of an improvement to warrant buying the new device for the camera alone. 

    One year later, that's no longer the case. 

    I've been using the XS Max for about a week, and every time I switch back to my own phone, I'm disappointed by how my photos look. The camera isn't as sharp, it doesn't perform half as well in low light, and the colors look dull. Plus, my old phone can't do things like portrait mode on both the front and rear cameras. 

    It's officially gotten to the point where the 6S (and, I imagine, the phones that came before it) feel outdated, camera-wise.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    East German citizens climb the Berlin wall at the Brandenburg Gate as they celebrate the opening of the East German border, November 10, 1989. REUTERS/File

    • The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 and separated East and West Berlin.
    • The wall divided families and took away basic human rights.
    • On November 9, 1989, people gathered at the wall to begin tearing it down after it was announced by the East German Communist Party that citizens of the German Democratic Republic could cross the border whenever they pleased.

     

    This week marks the 29th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall.  

    Built in 1961, the wall divided East and West Berlin. Constructed by the eastern, Soviet-ruled portion of the city, the wall was meant to keep Western "fascists" from invading the East — but it also served as a barricade to those Easterners attempting to migrate to the West, capitalist territory.

    The barbed-wire-topped wall divided families and took away basic human rights, keeping the population of East Berlin trapped inside Soviet territory. At 12 feet tall and 4 feet wide, the wall and its surrounding security systems were known as "The Death Strip," as nearly 100 people were killed in their attempt to cross its miles of trenches and trip-wire machine guns.

    On November 9, 1989, it was announced by the East German Communist Party that citizens of the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, mayhem ensued at the border. Many who lived in the East crossed freely to the West for the first time in nearly 30 years, and citizens even began chipping away at the wall.

    Ahead, see photos from that infamous night and the nights that followed.

    (Editor's Note: Sarah Jacobs contributed to the original version of this report)

    SEE ALSO: Stark photos show what street food is like in North Korea

    East German soldiers act as a barricade, blocking West Berliners waiting to welcome East Berlin citizens at the Allied guardhouse "Checkpoint Charlie" November 9, 1989.



    When the clock struck midnight, all the checkpoints along the wall were forced to open.



    Berliners carried hammers and chisels to begin chipping away at the wall.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Pomegranate mule

    Between all of the holidays and pseudo-holidays (hi, Friendsgiving), end-of-year gatherings tend to involve plenty of food, festive games, enthusiastic gift-giving, and tasty drinks. If you find yourself hosting a holiday party, coming up with a solid bar-cart game plan will save you time, money, and stress, allowing you to fully enjoy the event. One easy way to minimize your drink-related woes is to swap your loaded table of liquor and mixers for a large-format cocktail capable of serving the whole party.

    INSIDER consulted bartenders, beverage directors, and event experts from around the country to gather their favorite holiday-appropriate big-batch cocktails, and we're bringing you 13 recipes perfect for your November and December party life.

    Apple Cider Mimosas are perfect for a holiday brunch.

    Got a holiday brunch in the works? Give your traditional mimosas a seasonal spin by swapping out the OJ for some apple cider, as chef, blogger, and Instagrammer Jason Goldstein of Chop Happy suggests in this delicious day-drinking specialty.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 Bottles of Prosecco (or Champagne), chilled
    • 2 Bottles of apple cider, chilled
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 4 tbsp pumpkin spice seasoning
    • 12 slices of apple to garnish

    Method:

    1. Mix the sugar and the pumpkin spice seasoning.
    2. Dip the top of each champagne flute in water and then into the sugar/pumpkin spice mixture to create a flavorful rim for each glass.
    3. Combine the Prosecco and apple cider in a punch bowl and mix well.
    4. Garnish each glass with an apple slice.

    Serves 12.



    The Waterbury Royale transitions watermelon from summer vibes to holiday vibes.

    Yeah, it's the holidays, but we don't need to do away with "summertime" cocktail flavors. Watermelon can be plenty festive, as proven by the Waterbury Royale, a refreshing vodka cocktail from Brooklyn bar/restaurant/party venue/coworking space Freehold. It's totally fine to serve this one in a regular punch bowl...but if you can get your hands on a swan-shaped one, that definitely won't hurt.

    Ingredients:

    • 16 oz vodka (Freehold recommends Absolut Elyx)
    • 10 1/2 oz watermelon juice
    • 8 oz lime juice
    • 8 oz simple syrup
    • 8-10 oz Champagne or sparkling wine
    • Fresh lime wedges and watermelon Sour Patch Kids

    Method:

    1. Combine vodka, watermelon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a punch bowl with ice and stir.
    2. Ladle into glasses and top with sparkling wine.
    3. Garnish with fresh lime wedges and 4-5 watermelon Sour Patch Kids per glass (optional).

    Serves 12.



    Bourbon Chai Punch is the perfect cozy, cold-weather drink.

    In the context of cool-weather cocktails, bourbon stands above other liquors as an absolute champion. It's smoky, woodsy, smooth, buttery- the ideal libation for eggnogs, hot toddies, and holiday punches. During this time of year, lead bartender John Henderson of The Happiest Hour in NYC likes to whip up a shareable bourbon-based cocktail with gentle spice and classic autumn flavors.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups strong chai tea, brewed
    • 2 cups apple cider
    • 3 cups bourbon (Henderson prefers Maker's Mark)
    • 1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
    • 1 ½ cups maple syrup
    • 2 cups hard dry cider
    • 4 dashes orange bitters (Henderson prefers Fee Brothers West Indies)
    • 4 cups sparkling water
    • Apple slices, for garnish
    • Lemon slices, for garnish
    • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

    Method:

    1. Combine chai tea, apple, and hard ciders, bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup, and bitters in a punch bowl and stir.
    2. Immediately before serving, top with sparkling water and add a few generous scoops of ice.
    3. Garnish glasses with apple slices, lemon slices, and cinnamon sticks.

    Serves 8-10.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    kim kanye caitlyn

    • California is currently dealing with several dangerous wildfires.
    • One fire has reached the Hidden Hills home of Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, according to TMZ.
    • Flames are reportedly on the property and threatening to destroy the Wests' mansion. The family members and their staff have been evacuated.
    • TMZ reports that Caitlyn Jenner's home in Malibu has already been destroyed.

    Multiple wildfires currently raging in California have now threatened multiple Kardashian-Jenner compounds.

    TMZ is reporting that flames can be seen on the Hidden Hills property owned by Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.

    The mansion is "in grave danger of being consumed by flames," according to the website. Kardashian West has since addressed the report on Twitter, but seems unsure of the exact nature of the situation.

    "I heard the flames have hit our property at our home in Hidden Hills but now are more contained and have stopped at the moment," she wrote. "It doesn’t seems like it is getting worse right now, I just pray the winds are in our favor."

    She also thanked the California firefighters.

    TMZ's sources say that the family's staff and security team have now been completely evacuated. Kardashian West, West, and their children evacuated early Friday morning.

    "Pray for Calabasas," Kardashian West wrote on her Instagram story. "Just landed back home and had one hour to pack up and evacuate our home. I pray everyone is safe."

    kim kardashian wildfires

    West assured fans on Twitter that his family is safe.

    TMZ has also reported that Caitlyn Jenner's home in Malibu has already been completely destroyed by flames.

    The mansion in Southern California "is the same area where the Woolsey fire is burning out of control," TMZ reports. "Our sources say the home went up in flames Friday as the fire burned toward Malibu."

    Officials issued a mandatory evacuation for all of Malibu on Friday.

    Jenner has not issued any updates about her home or her safety on social media.

    Representatives for Jenner, Kardashian West, and West didn't immediately return INSIDER's request for comment.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Trump Tech Tim Cook Satya Bezos

    • Crystal City, Virginia, is a likely contender for Amazon to build its second headquarters HQ2, and the fact that it's near Washington, DC, is "well-timed" as Amazon competes for a massive $10 billion cloud contract with the Pentagon, analysts say.
    • Still, both Amazon and Microsoft investors should be paying attention, as Microsoft also has a strong chance in winning the contract.
    • There's an estimated $20 billion in cloud spending up for grabs from the government, and whoever wins the contract will also likely become the biggest player in the cloud business.
    • "I don't think the timing of Amazon moving its headquarters near D.C. is coincidental," an analyst told Business Insider.

    Crystal City, Virginia, has emerged as one of the top contenders for the site of Amazon's so-called HQ2 headquarters — and now that Amazon is competing for a $10 billion cloud contract with the Department of Defense, it's a "well-timed move," analysts say.

    The contract, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, is a 10-year deal that will be awarded to a single company to move the Pentagon's data onto a cloud. Bids for this massive contract closed in October, but now that bids are being reviewed, investors in Microsoft and Amazon should pay attention, say analysts at financial firm Wedbush Securities.

    "Let's just put it this way. I don't think the timing of Amazon moving its headquarters near DC is coincidental," Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told Business Insider.

    It's really a two-horse race for the contract, and while Amazon has been seen as the frontrunner, Microsoft has put in significant effort in the past year to narrow the race. And the implications go beyond the deal itself — it could completely transform the cloud industry, especially if Microsoft wins. An award is expected in April 2019.

    This is the biggest government cloud deal ever, but winning JEDI has a domino effect. Whoever wins this contract will be well-positioned to win future government contracts — analysts reckon that there's $20 billion in cloud spending up for grabs from the government.

    Plus, there's a stamp of credibility — it would be hard for enterprise customers to turn down a cloud company that was selected by the federal government itself.

    "Many investors have underappreciated the ripple effect of whoever gets JEDI," Ives said. "Whoever gets JEDI, it's not just about the $10 billion over the last decade. There would not be a better mark of credibility than to get this deal. Investors are trying to understand, is it just an Amazon, or does Microsoft have a shot to win JEDI from the grips of [Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos?"

    Don't expect Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump to go on vacation together

    That could be why Amazon is considering moving its headquarters to Virginia, analysts say. With a base of operations near Washington, DC, Amazon could boost its presence in federal circles.

    Microsoft has an office in Washington, DC, as well, but if Amazon builds HQ2 in Crystal City, its massive campus with 25,000 employees would easily dwarf Microsoft.

    "As Amazon looks to have their employees in the shadow of the Pentagon, JEDI is a big component of how they will build out their presence within the beltway," Ives said. "To have a headquarters in and around the beltway shows that Amazon is significantly focused on their federal presence."

    Read more: As bidding closes, Amazon's cloud is the favorite to win a $10 billion defense deal. Here's why everybody else is so mad about it

    Still, Microsoft has invested significant amounts of money, time and effort into its government cloud, certifications, and security for classified documents. If Microsoft wins, it would be a "crowning achievement" for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

    "It would have a significant ripple effect for cloud," Ives said.  "With DOD going to cloud with Microsoft, it's hard to argue with that sales pitch."

    Jeff Bezos Trump Tech meeting

    And politics could be a small factor, too. It's no secret that President Donald Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos aren't on the best terms, so in addition to investment in its Azure government cloud, this is where Microsoft could swoop in.

    And unlike the hesitation from Google to work with the military, Microsoft is all in, saying it will sell artificial-intelligence technologies to the Pentagon.

    "It's no secret about Trump and Bezos. I don't expect them to be going on vacation together," Ives said. "For Bezos and Amazon to own the cloud at DOD as the sole victor, within the beltway, there's a lot of views that would not like to see Amazon as the sole winner. There's definitely a complex political environment."

    Either way, cloud investors should keep an eye on the JEDI deal.

    "For any investor in the cloud space, it should be on their radar," Ives said. "It's the ripple effect it could have on the cloud landscape."

    SEE ALSO: Thoma Bravo, Apttus' new owner, turns to damage control with partners like Salesforce and faces questions over an exec's $26 million golden-parachute package

    Join the conversation about this story »

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

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

    APAC CAGR

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

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

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

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

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

     In full, the report:

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

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    Amazon

    • Amazon customers are complaining about package delivery delays.
    • Many of the delays could be due to a tornado that ripped through an Amazon sortation center in Baltimore last week. The storm caused a 50-foot wall to collapse, killing two workers.
    • The company has also been clarifying that its two-day shipping promise ensures that customers will get their package two days from the time it's handed over to the carrier, not two days from the time of ordering.

    Amazon is facing a surge of customer complaints over delayed deliveries.

    "Why is @amazonprimenow all of a sudden taking 10 days?" Michelle Hennessy tweeted on Friday. "I pay for the subscription for guaranteed 2 days. This sucks..."

    Another person tweeted Friday: "Is it me or is @amazon Prime starting to slip in this whole 2 day delivery guarantee?"

    Amazon tweeted that the delays could be tied to severe weather that hit one of its sortation centers in Baltimore a week ago. A tornado in the area caused a 50-foot wall in the 4-year-old building to collapse, killing two workers.  

    "Severe weather caused damage to a sortation center on Friday evening," the company tweeted in response to several customer complaints. "Deliveries associated with this facility are experiencing delays. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to quickly resolve this issue!"

    The company has also been clarifying its two-day shipping promise in response to unhappy customers.

    Many customers believe Prime's two-day shipping promise means they will get their delivery in two days from the time of ordering.

    But the two-day window doesn't begin until the package is handed to the shipping carrier, Amazon says.

    This is a commonly misunderstood tenet of Amazon Prime's two-day shipping offer. 

    "Prime Two-Day Shipping refers to the transit time, in business days, once the item has shipped," the company tweeted Friday to several customers. 

     

    SEE ALSO: Amazon is launching a new delivery program and hiring thousands of drivers, with a warning against 'peeing in bottles'

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    camp fire paradise home burned to ground nov 8 18


    The Camp Fire in northern California has spread so fast that five people were killed in their cars as flames overtook the vehicles. The blaze destroyed the entire town of Paradise, California, and has burned 70,000 acres in less than two days. As of Friday morning, it was just 5% contained.

    In the southern part of the state, meanwhile, areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties have been ordered to evacuate as flames from two fires threaten homes in Malibu, parts of Topanga, and Thousand Oaks (the same city where a gunman killed 12 people on Wednesday).

    malibu firefighter woolsey nov 9

    The blazes add to the immense tally of destruction in what was already a record-breaking year of fires in California. In July and August, the Mendocino Complex Fire burned nearly 460,000 acres, making it the state's biggest wildfire ever.

    According to an analysis from the nonprofit Climate Nexus, all of these large blazes are part of an unmistakable trend: 12 of the 15 biggest fires in California's history have occurred since the year 2000.

    california fires chart update november 9

    Between 1930 and 1999, there were only six fires that burned over 100,000 acres in California, according to Climate Nexus.

    The chart above ranks fires by acres burned, but when comparing the costs of wildfires, California's October 2017 fires rank at the top. Those blazes scorched grapevines across the state's wine country and triggered over $9 billion in losses.

    Larger blazes also mean an increase in fire-related expenditures. Climate Nexus calculated that in the 2017 fiscal year (which ended in October), California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spent a total of $505 million fighting fires. Twenty years ago, in 1997, the state spent only $47 million.

    Climate change is partially to blame for this trend — which means it will continue

    Because of rising temperatures and more drought, the average wildfire season now lasts at least 2 1/2 months longer than it did in the early 1970s. The amount of land that has burned in the western US since 1984 is double what would have been expected without the effects of climate change.

    Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown called the wildfires a "new normal" for California.

    "This could be something that happens every year or every few years," Brown said, per the Los Angeles Times.

    Carr Fire

    Indeed, California's 2018 Climate Change Assessment report estimates that the average area burned in wildfires will increase 77% by 2100 in a business-as-usual scenario (as in, if nothing is done to dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions).

    Although wildfires in the states used to be considered a seasonal risk — due to the state's rain-less summer and fall and strong Santa Anna winds — that is no longer the case.

    "Fire season is now year-round," Los Angeles County's official website says.

    SEE ALSO: An explosive wildfire is moving through a California city, and it's showing no signs of stopping — see photos from the scene

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Image from iOS

    • On Friday, Facebook released a direct competitor to TikTok, called Lasso. 
    • Lasso is a social video app that caps posts to 15-seconds and lets creators add their favorite songs to play in the background. 
    • The features and design of Lasso are almost identical to TikTok. 
    • Facebook's new, standalone app is a direct target at the growing user base of TikTok, which in September was the most downloaded social app in the US. 

    Facebook has cloned another popular social app. And it's called Lasso. 

    The world's largest social network is essentially re-creating its own version of TikTok, the 15-second video app that's become increasingly popular in the US. In September, TikTok was the most downloaded social app in the US. 

    Read more: A viral video app you've probably never heard of had more downloads in September than Facebook, YouTube, or Snapchat

    Facebook's Lasso functions almost exactly the same as TikTok. Videos are capped at 15 seconds, and users can add their favorite tunes to play in the background. Facebook told Business Insider that users will be able to choose from millions of songs in its licensed catalog. 

    New videos are seemingly endless — just swipe up for more content to be served your way. As The Atlantic's Tayor Lorenz pointed out on Twitter, it appears that Facebook seeded content on Lasso with videos that were already on TikTok. 

    Reports of Lasso's creation were leaked by TechCrunch two weeks ago. 

    “It’s basically TikTok/Musically,"a source told TechCrunch in the report. "It’s full-screen, built for teens, fun and funny and focused on creation.”

    The rollout of Lasso on Friday was quiet, with no official statement from the company on its website. When asked about the new release by Business Insider, a Facebook spokesperson said: "We're excited about the potential here, and we'll be gathering feedback from people and creators.”

    Though Facebook seems to be playing it cool with the Lasso release, the company knows what's at stake. TikTok's fun layout and interactions have attracted the attention of a young demographic and as of June, the company said it had 500 million users worldwide. 

    Facebook is no stranger to cloning an app to kick out an incumbent. 

    Instagram Stories notoriously copied the ephemeral nature of Snapchat, and by June of this year, it had twice as many users (400 million). Interestingly, Facebook had launched its original Snapchat killer a standalone app called Slingshot — in June of 2014. By December 2015, however, Slingshot was no longer available in the App Store. 

    With the release of Lasso, the short-form video space is heating up. Just yesterday, Vine founder, Dom Hofmann, announced that his new 6.5-second looping video platform, byte, will launch in spring 2019. 

    SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg joined a private Facebook group for Harvard memes and group members are loving it

    Join the conversation about this story »

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