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The latest news from Business Insider

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    traders chart screen

    • Rising interest rates have been a significant catalyst of the corrections in equities this year. 
    • According to one Wall Street strategist, they've moved past a threshold that was exceeded before the equity bear markets in 2000 and 2008.
    • He says this implies that even if the Federal Reserve stops raising rates, it may be too late for equity investors. 

    An issue that's top of many investors' minds right now is what happens to interest rates next year. 

    Fears that higher rates will make it harder for companies to borrow have been partly responsible for the ongoing volatility in stocks, as well as the correction in February.

    The Federal Reserve held interest rates near zero after the financial crisis to encourage lending and spending. After nearly a decade, it started raising interest rates in response to a booming labor market, and has continued amid signs that inflation is creeping back in.

    Investors are now watching for how quickly the Fed will return its benchmark rate to a point that coincides with the so-called neutral rate. At this estimated level, monetary policy is neither expanding nor contracting the economy. 

    There's no consensus, even among Fed officials, on just how close we are to neutral interest rates. Last month, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said policy was probably "a long way" from neutral. But on Thursday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, who also votes on policy decisions, said interest rates were "not too far" from neutral. 

    According to Barry Bannister, the chief equity strategist at Stifel, the Fed has in fact raised rates to a level that should in fact worry equity investors. The charts below show that the fed funds rate peaked above the neutral level before the meltdowns in 2000 and 2008.

    Screen Shot 2018 11 16 at 2.08.24 PM

    Economists believe that the neutral rate has fallen in the post-crisis period because productivity and labor-market growth are not as robust as they were before the recession. This, in turn, explains why the trendline for the bear market trigger point has declined over time. 

    "The maximum tolerable peak for the fed funds above the Laubach & Williams neutral rate has been associated with major equity market tops since the savings-fueled global debt boom began in the late-1990s," Bannister said in a recent client note.

    The implication is that even if the Fed decided to stop raising the range of the Fed funds rate, it may already be too late for equity investors, according to Bannister. 

    Any indication that the Fed is slowing down its path of rate hikes would be bullish for markets. However, Bannister expects that such a rally will be short-lived because investors would realize "the Fed's weak position."

    The central bank has two mandates from Congress: price stability and maximum employment. But it's often said that the Fed has a third, shadow mandate of keeping financial markets stable.

    Fed officials prefer to focus on their official mandate, and say they rely on economic data — not market gyrations — to guide their interest rate decisions. But where the stock market is concerned, it looks like the Fed has raised rates to the point where it cannot rescue investors with cuts even if it wanted to, according to Bannister. 

    Amid the stock market's slide from its September 20 high, he's watching for whether the index will fall at least 10% from that peak to below 2,650. 

    In that scenario, he recommends classic defensive sectors including consumer staples, healthcare, and utilities. 

    SEE ALSO: JPMorgan's global research chief breaks down 4 huge shifts that will make the next financial crisis unlike any in history — and explains why the best-known safeguards won't work

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 4 lottery winners who lost it all

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    brexit odds

    • The odds of Britain holding a second referendum just went sharply up and are now a near coin-toss, according to HSBC.
    • But Prime Minister Theresa May probably does have the majority she needs to get her deal through parliament, economist Elizabeth Martins believes.
    • We looked at the wafer-thin numbers.

    The odds of Britain holding a second referendum just went sharply up and are now above 40% — a near coin-toss — according to HSBC economist Elizabeth Martins.

    Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU, and it was met with multiple resignations from her own cabinet and some of her own MPs calling for her to resign. May's Conservative party has a wafer-thin technical majority in parliament and it will be very, very difficult for her to get her deal approved.

    HSBC sent a note to clients last week that said, "speculation was rising that the UK could be headed towards a ‘no deal Brexit’ or a second referendum ... if this deal fails to get through parliament."

    The media is largely assuming there is no parliamentary majority for May's deal, which keeps Britain inside Europe's customs union, pushes off a date for rearranging the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and keeps the country closely tied to the EU. The opposition Labour party officially opposes the deal, and even if only a few Conservatives also vote against it the bill will fall.

    But Martins' analysis says, surprisingly, that it is likely that May can cobble together enough MPs to support her plan. Yes, hardline Leavers on the Tory benches will defect against her. But enough moderate Labour MPs, fearing a disastrous "no deal" scenario, will join the government to get the deal done. Here are Martin's numbers (below). Only if there is a very high level of rebellion among both Labour and Conservative MPs will the deal fail, she argues:

    Scenario 1 - low level of rebellion

    • 20 Conservatives vote "no"
    • 35 Labour MPs vote "yes"
    • Majority: 39

    Scenario 2 - moderate level of rebellion

    • 30 Conservatives vote "no"
    • 40 Labour MPs vote "yes"
    • Majority: 9

    Scenario 3 - high level of rebellion

    • 45 Conservatives vote "no"
    • 45 Labour MPs vote "yes"
    • Majority: -11

    Scenario 4 - same as 3 but with high level of abstentions 

    • 45 Conservatives vote "no"
    • 45 Labour MPs vote "yes"
    • 15 MPs abstain or refuse to vote
    • Majority: 4

    SEE ALSO: How it will play out if MPs vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Trump once won a lawsuit against the NFL — but the result was an embarrassment

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    iPhone XS

    If you want to buy an iPhone right now, you have seven different options to choose from. 

    From the brand-new, futuristic iPhone XS to the old-but-good iPhone 7, the current iPhone lineup has a range of devices and price points. 

    At this point, I've tried all seven of Apple's current iPhones. And although the iPhone XS is gorgeous and powerful, it's not the phone I would recommend to most people. 

    It's worth noting that in September, Apple discontinued a bunch of its older phones, including the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, and iPhone X. If you're curious about any of those devices, you can still see how they ranked last year.

    Here's my ranking of all the iPhones you can buy today: 

    SEE ALSO: I spent a day taking photos with the iPhone XS Max — and it's hard not to be impressed with what this thing can do

    7. iPhone 8 Plus

    The iPhone 8 Plus is in a weird position. It's only a 1-year-old phone, but there's not much incentive to buy it. 

    The device has some solid features — wireless charging, Apple's year-old A11 chip, and a top-of-the-line camera — but it's certainly not a bargain, especially compared to the iPhone XR, which you can get for only $50 more.

    Price: Starts at $699

    6. iPhone XS Max

    The iPhone XS Max is an absolutely beautiful device, but it's cursed by two things: its giant size and its giant price tag. 

    The phone starts at $1,099, but can cost as much as $1,449 if you max out the capacity.

    And while the screen is the biggest on any iPhone, ever, that's not always a great thing. It's impossible to use one-handed — even with reachability enabled. 

    Still, the iPhone XS Max is a powerful iPhone. It sports Apple's new A12 Bionic chip, an incredible camera, a beautiful OLED display, and a flashy new gold color.

    Price: Starts at $1,099

    5. iPhone 8

    The iPhone 8 has a slight advantage over the iPhone 8 Plus: its size. 

    The iPhone 8 is a standard-sized smartphone, and that combined with its all-glass body means it feels great in your hand — though the screen is certainly smaller than the iPhone XS, XR or 8 Plus. 

    The one other downside of the iPhone 8 versus the iPhone 8 Plus is the lack of a dual-lens camera, but for $100 less, I think most people can make do without. 

    Otherwise, the iPhone 8 has all the same features as its big sister: fast charging, wireless charging, water resistance, a great camera, the year-old A11 bionic chip, and 64 GB of starting storage space. 

    Price: Starts at $599

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    panic room jodie foster


    Forget penthouse views and rooftop pools. The ultra-wealthy are shelling out up to $500,000 for an unexpected amenity: luxurious panic rooms complete with flat-screen TVs, high-end décor, and even bars.

    "Panic rooms have become more popular, particularly in London, especially with international clients from the Middle East and Russia, where they are prevalent," Richard Westell, commercial sales manager for Safe and Bolt Co. and Opulent Safes, companies that make and install safes, vaults, and panic rooms, told Mansion Global. "These people want to replicate what they have in their other houses."

    In New York City, some members of the urban elite have built panic rooms into opulent homes such as an $88 million Upper East Side mansion that the New York Times called an "urban fortress." Internationally, Business Insider Australia reported in February 2018 that American billionaire Peter Thiel was building a panic room into his $4.8 million house in New Zealand.

    Of course, safety is still paramount in these fancy safe rooms, which are made of blast-proof and bulletproof material. But some have decorated their panic rooms to look like a 1920s speakeasy and or a Ralph Lauren catalog, as Chris Cosban, the owner of New York-based Covert Interiors, which makes luxury panic rooms for the elite of New York City and the Hamptons, told Mansion Global.

    These luxurious panic rooms cost between $50,000 and $550,000 for the basic armored room, and more for the furnishings and décor, according to Mansion Global.

    Interest in luxe panic rooms has spiked as mass shootings become more and more prevalent, said Chris Acevedo of Panic Room USA, a panic room firm based in Parkland, Florida.

    "The volume of our business increases commiserate to the increase in gun violence," he told the site.

    After decreasing for years, homicides and suicides that involve guns have been on the rise, according to recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    SEE ALSO: New York City has more penthouses available than it can fill — and it suggests a change in the way wealthy people are looking at luxury real estate

    DON'T MISS: Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich owns the second-largest yacht in the world and a customized airplane with a 30-person banquet hall — see how else he spends his fortune of at least $11 billion

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The author of 'Boy Erased' reveals what gay conversion therapy is really like — and how he survived it

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    Travis Kalanick

    • Travis Kalanick's net worth is $5.45 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
    • Kalanick keeps his personal life fairly under wraps, but it's clear he spends much of his fortune on real estate and travel.
    • He has no clear ventures into philanthropy. 


    Travis Kalanick co-founded Uber in 2009. But, after a series of scandals and a workplace culture where discrimination and sexual harassment were the norm, Kalanick resigned as CEO in 2017. 

    Though he's no longer leading the global ride-hailing company, Kalanick remains wealthy. He's worth $5.45 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    Here's how he spends his fortune:

    SEE ALSO: Tim Cook is worth $625 million and leads a $1 trillion company — but he reportedly buys discounted underwear and wants to give his money away after paying for his nephew's tuition

    Travis Kalanick presently has a reported net worth of $5.45 billion. Much of that is from holding 7% of Uber's stock, a company now valued at $76 billion.

    Source: Bloomberg

    As Business Insider previously reported, he was, up until recently, relatively "cash-poor for a billionaire." But his liquid assets saw a boost after he sold $1.4 billion in Uber shares to Japanese tech giant SoftBank.

    Source:Business Insider

    Kalanick grew up in the middle-income Los Angeles neighborhood of Northridge. He wanted to be a spy when he grew up.

    Source:Business Insider, LA Times

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    per se new york restaurant michelin

    • Five New York City restaurants earned the highest Michelin rating for 2019. 
    • The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa, and Per Se were all awarded three stars.
    • Two of those, Le Bernardin and Per Se, have consistently topped Michelin ratings for 13 years — every year since Michelin started ranking NYC restaurants in 2006.


    Five restaurants in New York City were recently awarded one of the highest honors in the industry: three coveted Michelin stars.

    The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa, and Per Se, all in Manhattan, topped the NYC guide for 2019. All five restaurants are on the pricier side, with meals falling in the $75 and higher category, according to the Michelin guide.

    Two of the restaurants, Le Bernardin and Per Se, have won the highest Michelin rating 14 times, every year since the restaurant guide was established in New York City in 2006.

    Le Bernardin, a seafood restaurant in Midtown West, was opened in 1986 by a sibling duo from Paris who had already established the restaurant there in 1972. It's now run by one of the siblings, Maguy Le Coze, and chef Eric Ripert.

    Read more: Michelin just announced its 2019 New York City restaurant list — and 16 restaurants made the list for the first time

    "When the definitive history of NYC's dining scene is written, Le Bernardin will have a chapter all to itself," reads Michelin's description of the restaurant. "...Seafood restaurants have no hiding place when it comes to cooking fish or crustaceans and this kitchen always hits its marks — whether that's poaching halibut, pan-roasting monkfish, baking striped bass or searing tuna."

    A glimpse from the pass: CAVIAR TARTARE Filet Mignon-Kampachi-Osetra Caviar Tartare; Lightly Smoked Dashi Gelée

    A post shared by Le Bernardin (@lebernardinny) on Apr 10, 2017 at 9:24am PDT on

    Per Se is a newer establishment, opened in 2004 by chef Thomas Keller

    "The kitchen's sourcing is legendary and will make you think again about ingredients you consider familiar," reads the Michelin guide. "For instance, the milk-poached poularde is so exceptionally succulent and flavorsome that any chicken you subsequently sample will seem a disappointment."

    Sixteen restaurants in the city earned Michelin stars for the first time, while five others saw their status elevated: Gabriel Kreuther, Kosaka, Le Coucou, Sushi Nakazawa, and Tuome. In total, 76 New York City restaurants received stars for 2019. 

    Michelin defines a three-star rating as "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." The stars are based on five criteria: the quality of ingredients used, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his cuisine, and value for money and consistency between visits.

    SEE ALSO: Only 10 guests can eat at this Michelin-starred restaurant per night, where a meal costs $600 and the dining room is transformed by high-tech lights, sounds, and scents throughout the evening

    DON'T MISS: 19 Michelin-starred New York City restaurants where you can get lunch for $50 or less

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The author of 'Boy Erased' reveals what gay conversion therapy is really like — and how he survived it

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    woman think sad upset

    • The signs that someone is lying aren't always easy to decipher.
    • And, unfortunately, there's no way to determine whether or not someone's being honest with 100% certainty.
    • But there are some obvious signs that someone might be lying. Keep reading for a list of signs you can watch out for.

    How can you tell if someone is lying to you?

    Well, it's complicated.

    Research by Dr. Leanne ten Brinke, a forensic psychologist at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and her collaborators, suggests that our instincts for judging liars are actually fairly strong — but our conscious minds sometimes fail us.

    Luckily, there are signs we can look for when trying to detect a lie.

    Dr. Lillian Glass, behavioral analyst, body language expert, and "The Body Language of Liars" author, said when trying to figure out if someone is lying, you first need to understand how the person normally acts. Certain habits, like pointing or over-sharing, might be perfectly within character for an individual.

    Keep in mind that these signs are just possible indicators of dishonesty — not definite proof. Plus, some liars are so seasoned that they might get away with not exhibiting any of these signs.

    With that in mind, here are some signs that someone might be lying to you:

    SEE ALSO: 15 signs your coworker is a psychopath

    DON'T MISS: 4 signs your job isn't enough for you anymore

    SEE ALSO: There's a lesson for any manager or exec in how United handled its PR nightmare

    1. People who are lying tend to change their head position quickly

    If you see someone suddenly make a head movement when you ask them a direct question, they may be lying to you about something.

    "The head will be retracted or jerked back, bowed down, or cocked or tilted to the side," said Glass.

    This will often happen right before the person is expected to respond to a question.

    2. Their breathing may also change

    When someone is lying to you, they may begin to breathe heavily, Glass said. "It's a reflex action."

    When their breathing changes, their shoulders will rise and their voice may get shallow, she added. “In essence, they are out of breath because their heart rate and blood flow change. Your body experiences these types of changes when you’re nervous and feeling tense — when you lie.”

    3. They tend to stand very still

    It's common knowledge that people fidget when they get nervous, but Glass said that you should also watch out for people who are not moving at all.

    "This may be a sign of the primitive neurological 'fight,' rather than the 'flight,' response, as the body positions and readies itself for possible confrontation," said Glass. "When you speak and engage in normal conversation, it is natural to move your body around in subtle, relaxed, and, for the most part, unconscious movements. So if you observe a rigid, catatonic stance devoid of movement, it is often a huge warning sign that something is off."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    joyce chang

    • The world has undergone four paradigm shifts that make it difficult to use old playbooks to gauge the next financial crisis, according to Joyce Chang, the global head of research at JPMorgan.
    • The biggest of the four is a shift in market structure, which is setting up financial markets for what JPMorgan has already dubbed the "Great Liquidity Crisis."
    • In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Chang explained why geopolitical risk has also changed significantly, and the well-known hedges that would be ineffective for the next crisis.

    Joyce Chang has witnessed her fair share of financial crises during the nearly three decades she has worked in markets.

    Chang, the global head of research at JPMorgan, isn't applying any of the old playbooks to the next one, which she says is inevitable.

    The good news is that the next recession is not imminent, according to JPMorgan. The firm's internal probabilities place the odds of a recession in the US by 2020 at 50%.

    Chang says the world will be a completely different place from what it was during some of the worst crises in recent history, and argues that many of these changes have already taken place.

    To that end, she's outlined four "paradigm shifts" that investors should keep in mind when thinking about the triggers for the next financial crisis. They're discussed in detail below.

    "All these things make it very difficult to say that past cycles are necessarily the best gauge for what will happen next," Chang told Business Insider in an exclusive interview.

    1. A shift in market liquidity, structure, and function

    Chang describes this theme as the biggest change in financial markets.

    The market caps of assets in global bonds and exchange-traded funds have ballooned since 2008. However, liquidity, which Chang described as market cap as a share of trading volume, has fallen by as much as 70% over the same period. This helps explain many of the flash crashes that have occurred in the interim and how they seem to be happening over shorter time frames.

    She noted that the stock market's correction at the end of October was an example of the lack of market liquidity. It coincided with negative headlines on US-China trade, a spike in global bond yields, and fears about the end of this cycle.

    Older examples include the Chinese yuan devaluation scare, the Brexit-related sell-off, and the Italian referendum earlier this year.

    "This is my 29th year in the market," Chang said. "You used to have time for a recommendation to play out, and the time compression has really moved as the market has become more electronic."

    This paradigm shift further manifests itself in the high frequency with which investors need data. For example, JPMorgan constructed a trade war index based on over 7,000 earnings reports for an instant look at where the risks to stocks lie.

    "When I started in research, it was before the internet, so things were actually physically mailed to people, Chang said. "We would, for our top clients, actually FedEx it to them so they would get it more quickly."

    Obviously, those days are long gone.

    2. The global political system is shifting away from multilateralism and towards a multipolar order

    Simply put, this means there's less cooperation among countries and more inward-looking policies that prioritize citizens. The UK's decision to forge its future outside the European Union is an example of this shift. But perhaps the poster child of this approach is President Donald Trump with his America-first agenda, which has been used to justify the trade disputes with China and other allies.

    Where investors are concerned, Chang said such policies have raised the pass-through from geopolitical events to markets.

    "The conventional wisdom that it's more noise than trend is true," Chang said. "But if you look at causes of the recession, it often comes with an oil shock, which is triggered in part by geopolitical risk."

    She also observed that more companies are discussing the impact geopolitics is having on their earnings.

    JPMorgan found that geopolitical events had a strong negative impact on US, emerging-market, and global equity indexes. Chang recommended shorting equities as one of the best hedges for geopolitical risk, as well as going long on the dollar and volatility.

    However, contrary to popular belief, gold is not an effective hedge, as political shocks tend to impact all commodities negatively. The Japanese yen also provided little protection against losses.

    Ultimately, as geopolitical risks rise, investors will need to know the most effective hedges for their portfolios.

    3. The rise of populism

    From the US to Brazil and Mexico, antiestablishment candidates are coming out of the woodwork and winning presidential elections.

    It's a trend that stems from the rise of income inequality following the Great Recession, Chang said. But the crisis is not the only thing that has worsened income inequality. The deregulation of financial markets and increases in technology have also created winners and losers and crushed the middle class.

    For these reasons, populism is poised to become a feature of geopolitics rather than a bug, Chang said.

    4. A reshaping of the US-China relationship

    The brewing trade war between the countries is just one of the issues that will matter to investors as the next crisis approaches.

    China's ambitions to build infrastructure in other countries, its use of artificial intelligence, and its dispute over the South China Sea are some of the other possible triggers for geopolitical turmoil.

    SEE ALSO: BANK OF AMERICA: There's mounting evidence that the stock market will make an extreme move higher before the year ends — here's where to invest now

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 4 lottery winners who lost it all

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    Hotel President Wilson 1

    • Some luxury hotels avoid posting their most expensive and exclusive rooms online.
    • Many of the rooms are available only for well-connected clientele who have heard of the rooms via word of mouth — and have the funds to pay for them.
    • Hotels keep their rooms unlisted for a variety of reasons, including to protect their assets and to create buzz.

    How are you supposed to book a room that isn't listed on a hotel's website?

    Well, the point, as reported by Bloomberg, is that you probably can't, unless you're connected enough to have heard about it by word of mouth.

    That's often the case with ultra-luxurious rooms and suites that high-end hotels purposely omit from their listings. There are no photographs, no descriptions, and no prices available; to anyone who isn't in the know, it's as if they don't exist.

    Hotels keep such rooms secret for a variety of reasons, whether protecting the hotel's assets or protecting the guest's identity and privacy.

    Then, of course, there's the thrill of exclusivity. As The New York Times put it, hotels use these unlisted rooms "as a way to delight valued guests or generate buzz."

    Read more:A 5-star boutique in Switzerland with a world-famous infinity pool no longer has to pay for advertising, thanks to Instagram

    These rooms go by a variety of terms — owner's suites, partnership suites — but one thing they have in common is a hefty price tag.

    Take, for example, Blue Lagoon— one of Iceland's most recognizable tourist attractions. The Retreat is a luxury hotel with 62 suites that can be booked online, some of which offer direct access to the lagoon. But tucked away within The Retreat is The Blue Lagoon Suite. There's no mention of it on The Retreat's site, but, according to Bloomberg, it goes for $10,050 a night — and requires a minimum two-night stay.

    Booking details vary for these unlisted rooms. In some cases, an interested guest has to call ahead and specifically request the suite. Other hotels require that their penthouse suites be booked by email in advance, so that managers have time to vet the guest before making a decision.

    Even if booking an unlisted hotel room is a bit (or a lot) out of your budget, there are still ways to customize your five-star hotel experience with some semisecret perks. That can include free Champagne or chocolate-covered strawberries and even special decorations in your room.

    And hotels aren't the only businesses that build a name for some of their products — if not their entire brands — by choosing not to advertise them. Consider Goyard, a two-century-old Parisian brand.

    As Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower previously reported: "Goyard's prime press strategy is silence. It forgoes any advertising, e-commerce, and celebrity endorsements. It rarely grants interviews and very occasionally makes products available to the mass market."

    Clearly, in some cases, not talking about your luxury product is the best way to make people want it.

    SEE ALSO: The world's 10 most expensive hotel suites

    READ MORE: This futuristic hotel is going to be built at the base of a glacier in remote, northern Norway — and it looks like it's straight out of a sci-fi movie

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The author of 'Boy Erased' reveals what gay conversion therapy is really like — and how he survived it

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    BI Reviews_Bose Headphones_4x3

    At $350, Bose's comparatively expensive QC35II headphones aren't for everyone, especially if all you want is a simple, good pair of Bluetooth headphones.

    But Bose's Quiet Comfort headphones come with noise cancelling, and they're usually the best at drowning out unwanted ambient noise. If you're in the market for noise cancelling headphones, the QC35II should certainly be near the top of your shortlist. 

    They deliver premium audio quality, but they're not my favorite headphones for music, as I personally prefer a little bit more bass than they deliver for bass-heavy music. But their excellent noise cancellation and extreme comfort make the QC35II my go-to pair of headphones for every day use. 

    Check out the Bose QC35II headphones:

    SEE ALSO: I’d recommend these almost-perfect $150 Bluetooth headphones to everyone I know

    The QC35II are perfect for the office.

    The QC35II creates a sound proof bubble in the office. They totally remove the hum of the office air conditioners at BI, which can be incredibly loud. Other sounds like office chatter, doors closing, and footsteps are muffled, but they're still audible. Don't expect the kind of silence you get at a library, but these headphones absolutely make the office a less distracting place to work in. 

    It might not seem like they do a great job in a noisy environment, but they do.

    The QC35II muffle the sounds of commuting, like subways and noisy streets, but everything is still largely audible. I wasn't very impressed at first, but then I took the headphones off in the middle of a subway ride and realized just how much sound they were cancelling out.

    The same thing goes for walking around NYC. I initially thought the city was still pretty loud while using QC35II. But once I took them off, I wondered how people live without ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones. It's pretty amazing, and it makes commuting a lot more comfortable. 


    They're the next best thing after ear plugs for air travel.

    The headphones don't completely remove an airplane's hum, but they're close! It's the same experience as during my commute. You don't realize just how much noise the QC35II headphones cancel out until you take them off. I wondered the same thing as I did with my commute: How could anyone possibly go through a flight without ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones?

    The headphones also come with an aux cord that plugs into the headphone jack of any device that still has a headphone port, like an airplane's entertainment system.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    nick black headshot

    • Being different from everyone else in some capacity means you'll fare better in grad-school admissions, job hunts, and life in general.
    • That's according to Nick Black, the founder and CEO of GoodUnited.
    • "Life's about résumé piles," his dad advised him, meaning you want your résumé in a different pile than anyone else, because you have something that makes you stand out.
    • Black's military service and leadership experience have made him stand out for years, and now, when he hires, Black looks for people who stand out in some way.

    Nick Black, the founder and CEO of GoodUnited, recently posted on LinkedIn about the best advice he ever got from his father: "Life's about résumé piles."

    You can read the full post here, but the gist is that you want your résumé to sit in its own pile, apart from all the other candidates', because you have something that makes you stand out — and makes you irresistible.

    We called Black to get more detail on how this advice has shaped his career as a captain in the army, a business-school student, and the head of GoodUnited, which helps nonprofits use Facebook Fundraisers.

    When Black was 13 years old, his father gave him some tough love, telling him, "In the Black family, we're not good-looking, we're not smart, we're not athletic. But we never quit." That persistence, Black's father said, differentiated them from everyone else.

    Black took this message to heart. In high school, he was a football player, but his grades were mediocre. Still, he ended up getting into schools he "had no business applying to," presumably because he'd expressed interest in joining the army. Black was admitted to Johns Hopkins, where he participated in the school's Army ROTC and served as president of his fraternity.

    After college, Black served as a captain in the US Army, before deciding he wanted to apply to business school.

    He had his heart set on the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School. And while his GMAT score was low, Black told the admissions officers, "I'm going to make you look good" with his military experience. (By this point, Black had also lived all over the world.) The school accepted him, and he went on to launch his own company.

    Don't bother competing against people with the exact same résumé you have

    Today, as the CEO of GoodUnited, Black looks at what makes candidates unconventional.

    He's not just choosing people who went to the Wharton School of Business, he said. "What else do you got?" he wants to know. "What else do you bring to the table?" For example, Black recently hired someone who had started working for GoodUnited without compensation because the person was so committed to the mission.

    Read more:Starbucks' former HR exec says a job candidate's answer to a simple interview question predicts success better than their entire résumé

    Black's insights recall those of marketing and strategy consultant Dorie Clark. In her 2015 book "Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It," Clark wrote that you can differentiate yourself professionally by applying your knowledge and talents in a new context.

    Here's one of her favorite examples: If you're a lawyer who loves comic books, you might start a talent-management wing where you represent the legal interests of comic-book artists. "Becoming recognized in your niche is a pitched battle when you're up against others who have the exact same credentials you do," Clark writes.

    As for Black, he remembers his father telling him when he was younger, "If you just apply for one thing, and you play by the rules, and you're cookie cutter, you're not gonna win."

    SEE ALSO: The biggest threat to success isn't failure — it's something much harder to beat

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why most people refuse to sell their lottery tickets for twice what they paid

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    Mark Zuckerberg

    • The New York Times' exposé on Facebook's crisis management exposes a spectacular failure in leadership from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
    • The report suggests he was at best uninterested in some of the scandals that engulfed his company and at worst complicit in exacerbating them.
    • It's red meat to powerful investors who want to oust Zuckerberg as chairman.
    • Stepping down as chairman would allow him to acknowledge his failings, throw a bone to Facebook's critics, and still maintain control of the firm he built.

    If you haven't read The New York Times' blockbuster 6,000-word opus on how Facebook has dealt with a sequence of scandals, it's a worthwhile investment of your time.

    Based on interviews with 50 people, it is rich with devastating anecdotes and mini-scandals. In its own right, the black-ops mission to cast George Soros as the puppet master behind an anti-Facebook movement is startling and disturbing.

    But overall, the impression I took away was one of a spectacular failure in leadership. And in this sense, all roads lead to Facebook's CEO and chairman, Mark Zuckerberg.

    The Times portrays Zuckerberg as, at best, uninterested in some of the existential issues that have threatened Facebook over the past three years and, at worst, even complicit in exacerbating them.

    On the lack of interest, the report said Zuckerberg, and his right-hand woman, the chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, were "distracted by personal projects" as Facebook was dragged into danger.

    As evidence of Russian meddling mounted last year, the report said, Zuckerberg was on a "listening tour." It also said he preferred to focus on "broader technology issues," leaving the politics to Sandberg.

    sheryl sandberg facebook coo

    In Zuckerberg's defense, Facebook on Thursday said he and Sandberg were "deeply involved in the fight against false news and information operations on Facebook."

    And as far as making things worse, well there's an anecdote about his misjudging the anger against his social network in a clumsy conversation with Republican Rep. Greg Walden.

    But something else stood out, and it speaks volumes about the way Zuckerberg deals with crises. In the heat of the Cambridge Analytica data debacle, Facebook was criticized by Apple CEO Tim Cook. Instead of taking it on the chin, The Times said, Zuckerberg was riled.

    "Mr. Cook's criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones — arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple's," The Times said.

    It smacks of petulance at a time when Facebook needed reasoned responsibility. (Facebook said in response to the Times report that it had "long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android.")

    Zuckerberg's failures are red meat for furious investors

    All of this is red meat to the growing cabal of angry investors who want Zuckerberg gone as chairman.

    Business Insider has spoken several times with activist shareholders, with holdings worth more than $3 billion. They believe Zuckerberg's feet need to held to the flames by an independent chairman.

    Read more: These investors control $3 billion of Facebook stock — and they want to take Zuckerberg down

    "He is not accountable to anyone, not the board or the shareholders, which is a bad corporate-governance practice,"one told me. "He's his own boss, and it has clearly not been working."

    A proposal to oust him as chairman was put forward last year. Analysis has shown that it was supported by 51% of independent investors at the annual shareholder meeting. There is now a fresh proposal to split Zuckerberg's dual role that will be voted on at next year's shareholder meeting. It is already gathering support.

    Erskine Bowles

    Facebook has consistently brushed off these demands. It has said an independent chairman would create "uncertainty, confusion, and inefficiency." This is despite this governance mechanism functioning pretty smoothly at other tech companies, including Apple, Twitter, and Microsoft.

    And there's one element of The Times' story that underlines the value of independent oversight. It features the board member Erskine Bowles, the chair of Facebook's audit committee, conducting a foul-mouthed grilling of management on how the company allowed itself to become a tool for Russian interference.

    Zuckerberg and Sandberg were stunned into action.

    It's not as if Zuckerberg is blind to Facebook's failings. He accepts that the buck stops with him. "I designed the platform, so if someone’s going to get fired for this, it should be me,"he told Recode earlier this year.

    Stepping down as chairman would allow him to acknowledge his failings, throw a bone to angry shareholders and Facebook critics, and yet still keep control of the $40 billion company he created in his Harvard dorm room.

    It might also help achieve the ultimate aim of making Facebook a better, safer place for its 2 billion users.

    SEE ALSO: Activist Facebook shareholder draws up a new proposal to fire Mark Zuckerberg as chairman

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: NYU professor says Facebook should pay taxes for making us less productive

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    jo wallace

    • Jo Wallace of ad agency JWT said she wanted to "obliterate" her company's reputation as a haven for straight, white men.
    • Five men who asked the HR department what she meant by that lost their jobs shortly afterwards.
    • Wallace had previously written a column complaining there were too many "white, pale, stale males" in the business.
    • JWT denies it has done anything wrong, and layoffs were planned anyway.

    Five straight, white men have retained a lawyer to look at whether they can bring a discrimination claim against ad agency JWT, after a senior executive said in a meeting she wanted to “obliterate” JWT’s reputation for being populated by white, British, privileged, straight men, The Times reports.

    The men went to their HR department after hearing the remarks and lost their jobs days later, according to Campaign magazine and The Times.

    JWT denies it discriminated against them.

    The creative director of the agency, Jo Wallace, made the speech at an agency conference attended by JWT executive creative director Lucas Peon and James Whitehead, the chief executive. The context of her remarks was that JWT had been ranked near the bottom of its peers on a measure of how equally it paid men and women. JWT’s gender pay gap was 44.7%, The Times said.

    Peon said at the meeting, "In the World Cup of sucking at pay gap numbers, we made the final."

    “Wallace, who introduced herself to the audience as a gay woman, said she was going to ‘obliterate’ JWT’s reputation as an agency full of white, British, privileged, straight men,” Campaign reported on November 12. The magazine gave no further context for what she meant by “obliterate.” There is another account of the meeting here.

    In 2017, however, Wallace wrote a column for The Drum, a marketing trade magazine, that said, “a hell of a lot of people are literally sleeping on the job when it comes to diversifying their creative department beyond white, pale, stale males.”

    “If you’re going to troll me as an angry, white, privileged man claiming that you’re now at a disadvantage, (yes, I’ve had several white, privileged men try to convince me of this ridiculous notion), please check your stats, and please #CheckYourPrivilege. If I may point out, you still account for at least 80% of senior creative roles. Even after a concerted effort in recent years, women still only represent 13% of creative directors and still, in 2017, only 8% of senior positions are held by someone who’s black or from a minority ethnicity. Statistics, history and the resulting bias in society demonstrates that you are in fact unfairly advantaged,” her column said.

    “If your department is full of white, straight men then there’s a very good chance you’re confusing talent with privilege and when that sentence comes out of your mouth you’re basically equating diversity to ‘talentless’,” Wallace wrote.

    The men reportedly went to HR to ask what Wallace’s statement meant for their careers and were let go shortly afterwards. JWT has been conducting a rolling series of layoffs across the company, according to multiple reports.

    In a press statement, JWT said, “It’s not appropriate for us to comment on individuals in an ongoing process. Any redundancies at J Walter Thompson London are handled fairly, lawfully and without any form of discrimination.”

    JWT’s potential liability in the case is exacerbated because of the discrimination angle, according to Campaign columnist Jeremy Lee. "The damages for unfair dismissal are capped at about £80,000; however, if the group of creatives can prove that they were discriminated against, there is no limit to the damages they could receive. Some believe that this could cost the agency millions,” he wrote.

    The advertising world has been roiled by claims of sexism at the management level for decades. In 2016, Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts was forced out of his job after he told Business Insider that “I don't think [the lack of women in leadership roles] is a problem.”

    JWT's former CEO, Gustovao Martinez, left the agency earlier this year after being accused of making sexist and racist comments.

    SEE ALSO: Apple pays its female staff up to 26% less than men in the UK

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A sleep expert explains what happens to your body and brain if you don't get enough sleep

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    amazon arlington

    When Amazon announced this week that it would locate half of its second headquarters (known as HQ2) in National Landing, Virginia, even locals were confounded by the name

    "Amazon is so stupid rich [and] powerful they literally just rebranded an entire city," one writer tweeted.

    Hours after the announcements came out, the website DCist was already brainstorming hilarious slogans, including "National Landing: Your Friends Still Won’t Visit You In Arlington," and "National Landing: Who Says You Can't Force A Nickname?"

    But what does that nickname actually refer to?

    According to the official page for Northern Virginia's HQ2 bid, National Landing consists of three "connected urban districts," including two in Arlington (Crystal City and Pentagon City) and one in Alexandria (Potomac Yard).

    It's essentially a new neighborhood carved out by Amazon, though many of its details remain unclear. 

    Much of the property in the area is currently held by local developer JBG Smith, which has given Amazon exclusive rights to purchase some of its land and lease space in several of its buildings. As development commences on a new headquarters, Amazon will rent out 500,000 square feet of office space for its incoming employees.

    In the wake of Amazon's announcement, JBG Smith has opted to kick-start many of its unfinished projects, including a shopping and entertainment district with a 49,000-square-foot theater. Take a look at what National Landing could eventually look like. 

    Amazon's National Landing headquarters will stretch 4.1 million square feet, with the goal of accommodating 25,000 new employees.

    The new headquarters will likely be located at Pen Place, a development site in Pentagon City.

    One of the centerpieces of National Landing will be a 130,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment space known as Central District Retail.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    pewdiepie looking at camera angry

    • YouTube's biggest star is still PewDiePie, who just reached 70 million subscribers.
    • Researchers have predicted that PewDiePie, aka Felix Kjellberg, would be dethroned by the Indian music channel T-Series, but that has yet to happen.
    • Kjellberg has still seen support from fans and popularity in the YouTube community despite a long history of disparaging racist and anti-Semitic remarks.

    The pundits predicted that a new content creator would be crowned YouTube's biggest star come November, but the title still belongs to the Swedish vlogger PewDiePie.

    PewDiePie became the first YouTuber to reach the 70-million subscriber mark, beating out the Indian music channel T-Series who has been quickly gaining ground. Research firms predicted that T-Series would overtake PewDiePie — who real name is Felix Kjellberg — by the end of October, but the content creator still led Monday by almost half a million subscribers.

    Kjellberg has managed to keep his spot atop YouTube despite a history of making offensive remarks in his videos. Most recently, Kjellberg landed in hot water this summer over a (since deleted) Twitter post. Following Demi Lovato's hospitalization for an apparent drug overdose, Kjellberg tweeted out a comic that depicted Lovato asking her mom for money to buy a burger, then instead using it to buy heroin.

    Although his subscriber base has remained loyal throughout his controversial past, YouTube itself has punished the creator for his actions. News surfaced in February 2017 that nine videos published on PewDiePie's channel featured Kjellberg making anti-Semitic comments, and the video platform responded by cancelling the second season of Kjellberg's original series on YouTube Premium.

    Read more:PewDiePie criticizes YouTube's 'inept' leadership, accuses the company of giving Logan Paul a lighter punishment for offensive video

    This sordid history hasn't stopped other YouTube influencers from calling on their fans to support Kjellberg in securing his spot atop YouTube. Tubefilter reports that fellow YouTube creator MrBeast campaigned heartily for Kjellberg through stints on local radio and purchases of advertisements on TV, websites, and billboards.

    It's worth nothing that this title of "YouTube's biggest star" is based on the number of subscribers. Based on viewership, PewDiePie sits down at No. 7 on a leaderboard from research firm Social Blade. T-Series, however, leads all of YouTube in terms of viewership with more than 53 billion all-time video views.

    As of Monday, Social Blade revised its estimates to predict that T-Series would overtake PewDiePie for the most subscribers on November 30.

    Meanwhile, PewDiePie posted on Twitter that he's already eyeing 100 million subscribers.


    SEE ALSO: Jack Dorsey says Twitter needs to fully understand the 'use cases' of an edit button and can’t just 'rush it out'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Amazon wants to open 3,000 cashier-less grocery stores — and they'll have a major advantage over their competitors

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    linkedin phone job search

    • LinkedIn has become the social network to turn to for Donald Trump supporters who are being kicked off Facebook and Twitter for false and abusive posts, Buzzfeed News reports.
    • Buzzfeed talked to eight pro-Trump users who say that LinkedIn hasn't been as quick to heavily censor posts that include Obama birther memes, doctored images of Democrat politicians, and aggressive political rhetoric.
    • In response, LinkedIn told Business Insider that "while most of our members do not share political content, we do believe that high quality discourse ... has a place on our platform."

    Donald Trump supporters who have found their accounts suspended and content flagged on Facebook and Twitter have found a new home for their content to live — LinkedIn.

    Buzzfeed News wrote this week on the proliferation of pro-Trump political content shared on the professional networking platform. Buzzfeed interviewed eight LinkedIn users who said they had left Facebook and Twitter, and turned to LinkedIn, where they were actively sharing MAGA memes, misleading messages, and false political claims on LinkedIn.

    "Facebook banned me, they hate me. But that’s all good — I started posting on LinkedIn and everybody is following me," one of the pro-Trump LinkedIn users told Buzzfeed. "I think it’s going to be huge for the president."

    In the face of criticism that hate speech and political misinformation was too easily shared across social media without any policing, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have publicly shared their efforts to halt the spread of such content. Ahead of the midterm elections this week, Facebook had built a "war room" aimed at preventing election-meddling that was prolific on the platform leading for the 2016 presidential election.

    See more: A mysterious glitch on Facebook asked if every single post was 'hate speech'

    A search of "#MAGA" on LinkedIn by Business Insider found a slew of posts that included:

    • a meme that implied people who voted for Democrats should be shot.
    • a photoshopped image of Obama with the caption, "America's first non citizen, gay, Muslim, anti-America black thug president."
    • a post calling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "a woman whose IQ is lower than a salamander" and Ilhan Omar "an anti-Semitic America-hater who married her brother."
    • a doctored comic showing Charlie Brown saying, "these days a Democrat is a man who believes he's a woman, dressed up as a giant v----a screaming that Trump is not normal."

    Much of this content appears to be in violation of LinkedIn's professional community policies, which ask members "to behave professionally by not being dishonest or inappropriate," and bans hate speech that includes "attacking people because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious affiliations, or medical or physical condition." 

    Buzzfeed says that some of the posts it pointed out to LinkedIn were removed  — including a post with instructions for liberals on how to kills themselves — but that many others remained.

    LinkedIn's policies also states that members "need to be real people" with accurately provided information, but Buzzfeed found several accounts promoting pro-Trump content that had no profile photo and minimal personal information. One person told Buzzfeed they created a LinkedIn profile with fake information after their initial account was suspended.

    LinkedIn spokesperson Nicole Leverich told Business Insider in a statement that the platform does not allow for any type of abusive behavior, which includes "harassment of others or sharing of inaccurate or misleading content." She also added that conversation regarding politics is allowed on LinkedIn, but most members are on the site for "constructive conversations with other professionals."

    "While most of our members do not share political content, we do believe that high quality discourse that is relevant to our purpose, to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, has a place on our platform," Leverich wrote in a statement. "Our User Agreement and Professional Community Policies are clear on what is acceptable, what is inappropriate and when we may take action."

    Read the full Buzzfeed article. 

    SEE ALSO: You'll soon be able to delete a Facebook message up to 10 minutes after it's already been sent

    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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    tim cook

    The third quarter was a tough one in the tech business.

    Scandalsabounded. Many companies saw their sales growth slow or user numbers falter. Stocks that once seemed to defy gravity got knocked down. And the president of the United States made a sport out of publicly attacking many companies and executives in the industry.

    Whether at startups or public companies, tech executives were challenged to show their mettle. Some provided a steady hand at the wheel and reaped the rewards of a prescient plan of action; others reeled, took cover, or acted out. Some were hapless victims of circumstance; others suffered from self-inflicted damage.

    Here are some of the notable winners and loser in the third quarter:

    SEE ALSO: Amazon has spooked its investors — these 4 charts show why its growth is slowing

    DON'T MISS: AI could soon be all around us — here's how that could upend 8 different industries

    WINNER: Kelly Bennett, Netflix's chief marketing officer

    As the head of Netflix's marketing efforts, it's Kelly Bennett's responsibility to get consumers excited about the company's shows and movies and to convince more people to sign up. He seems to have done a spectacular job in the third quarter. Netflix added nearly 7 million subscribers in the period, which was about 2 million more than Wall Street was expecting.

    That surge helped the company post a profit that blew through analysts' projections, which boosted Netflix's shares as much as 15% immediately after the report.

    But Netflix saw the benefits of Bennett's marketing efforts elsewhere. Thanks in part to his promotions, the company earned 23 Emmy awards in September, tying HBO for the most of any network.

    LOSER: Luca Maestri, Apple's chief financial officer

    If another company had sold fewer of its products than Wall Street was expecting, the management team might talk about how it would increase marketing, cut prices, or revamp products to rekindle sales. Not Apple.

    After the company sold fewer iPhones than analysts had expected in its fiscal first quarter, chief financial officer Luca Maestri announced on Apple's earnings call that he would solve the problem by no longer releasing unit-sales numbers for its smartphones or any other products.

    Maestri rationalized the decision by saying that unit sales weren't really "representative" of the strength of Apple's business. But he didn't offer to replace that information with other data that might be more representative.

    The net effect: Apple shareholders will know less about their company. Investors — already unhappy with the disappointing sales numbers and a weaker-than-expected outlook for the fourth quarter — expressed their displeasure that Maestri was curtailing their information by sending Apple's shares even lower than they were before the announcement.

    WINNER: Bob Swan, Intel's interim CEO

    When Brian Krzanich was forced out suddenly in June as Intel's CEO, the company handed the reins — at least for the time being — to Bob Swan. In his first full quarter running the company, Swan, who also serves as the chipmaker's CFO, showed he could provide a steady hand.

    Intel's third-quarter revenue and profit both topped Wall Street's expectations, and it offered better-than-expected guidance for the fourth quarter to boot. Investors cheered, sending Intel's stock up 6% after the report. Not bad for an interim CEO.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Amazon announced on Tuesday that it will split its second headquarters project, which it calls HQ2, in two with locations in Queens, New York, and Arlington, Virginia.
    • Jeff Bezos bought a residential property in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC, for $23 million in 2016.
    • The two structures on the property have nearly 27,000 square feet of living space — it's the largest home in Washington, DC.
    • Bezos is said to be spending $12 million to renovate the homes and the surrounding property.
    • The new mansion will have a ballroom, a whiskey cellar, elevators, a garden room, 11 bedrooms, and 25 bathrooms. 

    Amazon announced on Tuesday that it will split its second headquarters project, which it calls HQ2, in two with locations in Queens, New York, and Arlington, Virginia.

    In 2016, Bezos paid $23 million in cash for a property in DC's exclusive Kalorama neighborhood, home to the Obamas as well as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. It's less than six miles from the future site of Amazon's offices.

    Bezos is said to be spending $12 million to renovate the homes and the surrounding property. 

    While the property doesn't appear to offer much privacy in the front — it was the site of the Textile Museum for about a century — it includes two separate structures with nearly 27,000 square feet of living space and a spacious backyard.

    The larger of the two homes, the Wood House, will be for entertaining guests, while the Pope House will serve as the family's living quarters when they're in town. The Bezos' home base is in Medina, Washington — a secluded, 5.3-acre compound on the shores of Lake Washington.

    The renovation plans were approved in September 2017 and are now underway. Below, check out the floor plan of Bezos' future mansion in Washington, DC.

    SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos is so rich that spending $1 to the average person is like $88,000 to him — here's what spending looks like when you're a billionaire

    DON'T MISS: Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, thinks it's possible to blow through his entire $131 billion fortune — and he has one big purchase he plans to spend it on

    The property comprises two buildings plus a garage with staff quarters, a garden pavilion, and an attached garden room.

    The Washingtonian got its hands on the blueprints for Bezos' home renovation earlier this year, and Business Insider used them to create these floor plans. The architecture firm overseeing the expansion, Barnes Vanze, specializes in historic restoration.

    The plans show that the lot size is 34,000 square feet and has two structures, which made up the former Textile Museum, connected by a second-story walkway. Both structures were built in the early 1900s and are part of the National Register of Historic Places.

    According to the plans, the existing driveway will be widened and restored, and the curb will be replaced with granite. "Privacy plantings" will be added to the perimeter of the property as well.

    In the backyard, a new terrace will be added off the back of the Wood House with a "garden room" linking the two. Behind the Pope House, a wooden pergola and existing fountain will be restored. At the back of the lot there's a new garden pavilion that will have a gas fireplace. A pathway leads to a one-bedroom house for the property's caretaker that sits above a two-car garage.

    The Pope House will be the family's private living quarters.

    The Pope House was designed by and named for John Russell Pope, the architect behind the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

    On the left side of the property and standing three stories tall, this home will be the Bezos' main living quarters, according to the Washingtonian. Plans were publicly available for only the lower level, so it's possible other floors aren't being renovated now.

    A huge lounge with a bar is the main event on the lower level, in addition to a whiskey cellar (complete with drying racks), an adjacent wine room, and a large kitchen.

    Upstairs, there appear to be multiple bedrooms, an exercise room, a TV room, and a kitchenette. The house has a total of 10 bathrooms.

    The Wood House will be used for entertaining.

    The Washingtonian said Bezos and his wife, Mackenzie, would most likely use the Wood House for "A-level socializing," describing it as the "party pad of epic proportions."

    A nearly 1,500-square-foot ballroom takes up one side of the main level and rises two stories. A new limestone fireplace, staff bar room, and promenade with a balcony overlooking the space add to the grandeur.

    On the other side, a spacious living room and a gallery lined with windows looking out to the front of the property are separated by another set of stairs. Visitors can also opt for the nearby elevator.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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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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    wine friends

    • Picking the right wine to bring to a holiday party can be tricky — you want it to complement the food being served and you want everyone to like it.
    • We talked to a sommelier and beverage expert for her picks on the best bottles of wine to bring to seven different types of holiday parties.
    • Our expert gave bottle suggestions at three different price points: under $20, $20 to $50, and $50 and up.

    'Tis the season for parties — and unlimited trips to the wine store.

    From Thanksgiving to Hanukkah to Christmas, it's not surprising that wine consumption spikes in October, November, and December, according to The Beverage Spot.

    Bringing the right bottle to any holiday party or dinner can be tricky — there's a lot of pressure to pick a bottle that complements the food you'll be eating and guests' palates, especially if you're on a budget. 

    We talked to Gretchen Thomas, sommelier and vice president at Del Frisco's Grille and Barcelona Wine Bar, to get her picks on the best wines to bring for eight different holiday occasions. The holidays can get expensive, so we included three different price points: under $20, $20 to $50, and $50 and up.

    From Friendsgiving to your best friend's Secret Santa party, here are the best wines to bring to your next holiday party.

    SEE ALSO: The 3 most important things to look for on a wine label, according to an expert

    DON'T MISS: 12 secrets to enjoying the perfect bottle of wine, according to wine experts

    Family Thanksgiving reunion: Pinot noir

    Under $20: Montinore Estate, Willamette Valley

    $20 to $50: Anthill Farms, Anderson Valley

    $50 and up: Domaine de la Cote, Santa Rita Hills

    According to Thomas, Thanksgiving needs a wine that can bridge different flavors and textures since sweet sides and sauces are often served with the meal.

    "The wine also needs to please many palates and work as a complement (not a scene stealer) to what is the most important dinner of the year for many American families," she said. "A fruity, medium to full-bodied west coast Pinot Noir works great for this."

    Friendsgiving feast: Sparkling wine

    Under $20: Juve y Camps Reserva de la Familia Brut Nature

    $20 to $50: Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut

    $50 and up: Billecart-Salmon Blanc des Blancs

    "Friendsgiving is my favorite annual holiday, and it's all about eating fall-inspired foods often more adventurous than what might be served at the traditional family Thanksgiving and celebrating life with your best friends," Thomas said. "Nothing works better for this than a great bottle of bubbles."

    A Hanukkah dinner: Sparkling wine, rosé, or a full-bodied red

    Kosher options/non-Kosher options:

    Under $20: LaMarca Prosecco / Gramona La Cuvee Gran Reserva Cava

    $20 to $50: Celler Capcanes Peraj Petita Rosat / Robert Sinskey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir

    $50 and up: Celler de Capcanes Peraj Ha'abib / Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Pinot Noir

    Traditional Hanukkah dishes offer an array of flavors, Thomas said, adding that some, like the sweetness of noodle kugel, are difficult for wine pairing, while others, like potato latkes and matzo ball soup, pair easily. 

    "Rather than suggesting one type of wine to cover the entire dinner, the kosher suggestions offer the perfect pairings for the dinner — beginning with a sparkling, [continuing] with a soft and fruit rosé, and finishing the dinner (brisket time!) with a full-bodied and rich red wine," she said.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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