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The latest news from Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    avocado slicer $9.99

    Outfitting your kitchen with all the necessary tools is no easy (or cheap) feat. Once you've finished buying quality cookware, appliances, and dinnerware, your wallet is pretty much drained.

    You might think you won't be able to make any major upgrades to your kitchen for a while, but there are actually plenty of small tools and accessories that make a big impact without costing hundreds of dollars. 

    For under $25, you can grab these gadgets that will make life in the kitchen a lot easier, whether you're chopping, baking, mixing, or cleaning. 

    Scissors to snip your herbs into perfectly sized pieces.

    Jenaluca Stainless Steel Herb Scissors, $14.87, available at Amazon



    An adjustable rolling pin that makes it easy to roll dough to your desired thickness.

    Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin with Removable Rings, $11.19, available at Amazon



    A masher to make great mashed potatoes and guacamole in no time.

    Watch how it works here.

    Dreamfarm Smood - One-Press Spring Coil Potato Masher with Silicone Pot Scraper, $14.99, available at Amazon



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    JUMP_Bikes_009

    • Jump, the bike and scooter rental company owned by Uber, appears to be preparing to launch throughout Europe, as well as in more US cities, according to new job postings.
    • The company is looking to flesh out operations teams in Amsterdam, London, Miami, Dallas, and more. 
    • CEO Ryan Rzepecki said to expect a "massive ramp-up in scale" next year during an interview with Business Insider earlier this month. 

    Jump, the bike and scooter rental company owned by Uber, appears to be gearing up for expansion into Europe and more American cities.

    New job postings on the company's website show an appetite for new markets in Europe, including Paris and London, as well as major US cities like New York, Miami and Dallas ahead of Uber's expected IPO next year.

    Jump's General Manager for Northwest Europe will oversee the company's operations and strategy in France, according to a role posted late Sunday. It follows a posting last week for a manager in London for the UK and Ireland. Currently, Jump is only active in Berlin in Europe, according to its website.

    In the United States, Jump is looking to hire a scooter operations manager in Sacramento, California, already a popular market for its bikes, according to a role posted Monday morning. In Miami and Dallas, meanwhile, Jump is looking for operations managers to grow the business it has been in talks to launch for months.

    Finally, in New York, where Jump bikes are already active in small, isolated areas of the Bronx and Staten Island, the company is looking to hire for two roles focused on expansions: an application specialist and a civic proposals manager. It's not clear if these jobs are focused on New York or on other cities — Jump maintains an office in the city, and the postings mention work in other expansion cities.

    A Jump spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

    Read more: Uber did little to downplay reports it wants to buy scooter firms Bird or Lime in a deal potentially worth billions

    Earlier this month, Jump's CEO Ryan Rzepecki said he hoped to leverage Uber's massive network of cities where it has launched car rides to help with getting bikes and scooters in more cities.

    "When you couple the hardware expertise and relationships with cities that the Jump team brought,"he said at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference,"and couple that with the operations we've got at Uber with the global teams on the business and policy side, it looks pretty exciting. You'll start to see a pretty massive ramp-up in scale over the next half."

    Do you work at Uber or Jump? Have a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp message at +1 (646) 376-6102 using a non-work phone, email at grapier@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @g_rapier.You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

    SEE ALSO: Uber did little to downplay reports it wants to buy scooter firms Bird or Lime in a deal potentially worth billions

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This LEGO Bugatti Chiron is drivable — here's what it can do


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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. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    esports audience 2 1

    Esports, which is short for electronic sports, refers to competitive video gaming watched by spectators. Esports are not as mainstream as traditional sports in the US, but the number of esports fans globally is still sizable. The worldwide esports audience reached 335 million in 2017, according to Newzoo. 

    And there’s still significant room for growth beyond that — we predict that 600 million consumers globally will watch esports in 2023, up 79% from 2017. 

    A growing number of brands are acting to capitalize on the growth of esports as the majority of professional gaming fans are millennials and open to brand sponsors. Sixty-two percent of US esports viewers are aged 18-34, according to Activate, while 58% have a positive attitude towards brand involvement in esports, per Nielsen.

    Meanwhile, Newzoo anticipates global esports sponsorship revenue to reach $359 million in 2018, up 53% year-over-year. The growing esports audience and brand activity helps explains why high-profile public figures are jumping in to capitalize on the action: In late October, basketball legend Michael Jordan and platinum-selling artist Drake both made investments into separate esports ventures, for example. 

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence will explain the growth of the esports audience and why it presents an attractive advertising opportunity for brands. We'll begin by exploring the key drivers and barriers affecting esports audience growth. Finally, we'll detail the benefits of advertising to esports fans and outline the best practices for implementing a successful esports ad campaign.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Arby's, Audi, Bud Light, Hyundai, Intel, Mastercard, McDonald's, Red Bull, Skillz, and Turner.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • The number of esports fans globally is anticipated to climb 59% over the next five years, but there’s still significant room for growth.
    • This expansion will be driven by many factors, including investment from traditional sports leagues, a higher number of broadcast deals, and the expansion of the mobile-based esports scene.
    • The majority of esports fans are millennials, while data suggests that Gen Zers are more receptive to nontraditional sports, like esports, than traditional sports.
    • Brands can sponsor esports leagues, competitions, and players as well as advertise on digital platforms like Twitch to reach the eyeballs of esports fans.
    • Whatever shape a brand's esports ad campaign eventually takes, displaying an authentic commitment to the gaming world is paramount.

     In full, the report:

    • Outlines the drivers and potential barriers to esports audience growth.
    • Details the various reasons esports fans are a compelling advertising opportunity for brands.
    • Discusses the different ways brands can invest spend to reach the eyeballs of esports fans.
    • Explains best practices brands advertising to esports fans should adopt in order to make inroads with the gaming community. 

     

    SEE ALSO: The eSports competitive video gaming market continues to grow revenues & attract investors

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    CAM

    • Film critics and audiences can have very different reactions to films.
    • Many 2018 movies were adored by reviewers but not loved by normal viewers.
    • These are some of the more divisive films of the year.

    Some films are adored by critics but don't get the same warm reception from regular viewers. What makes a great movie can vary greatly between professional film reviewers and the average moviegoer. No matter how many cinema hours you logged this year, you may have missed a few of these critically-acclaimed gems.

    Here are the 15 most underrated movies of 2018 that film reviewers loved, based on comparing the critic and audience ratings reported onRotten Tomatoes.

    "The Old Man & The Gun" is a drama that critics loved more than audiences.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92% critics rating; 64% audience rating.

    Synopsis: The true story of Forrest Tucker, a man who escaped San Quentin prison at the age of 70 and went on to orchestrate a series of dramatic heists that captured the public's attention and baffled law enforcement.

    What critics said:"Loose-limbed, rascally and Texan to its bones, 'The Old Man & the Gun' is a throwback to an era when making beautifully understated crime comedies was the peak of Hollywood's ambition (before all the spandex took over)."— Time Out



    Cinematic drama "Sweet Country" definitely satisfied reviewers.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95% critics rating; 66% audience rating.

    Synopsis: An Aboriginal man from Australia's Northern Territory is accused of murder and flees his home after killing a white war veteran in self-defense. When a gang is assembled to hunt down the killer, new details come to light about the circumstances of the crime.

    What critics said:"Uncompromising, deliberate, and eerily beautiful, director Warwick Thornton's rugged Australian Western puts a new spin on an old story."— The Seattle Times



    "Madeline's Madeline" is an experimental drama that critics raved about.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87% critics rating; 54% audience rating.

    Synopsis: When a young girl joins a prestigious physical theater troupe, her troubled family life begins to bleed into her performance and causes tension with her mother.

    What critics said:"One of the best films of the year, if also one of the hardest to initially get your head around."— The Boston Globe



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Stephen Miller

    • White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller is on the front lines as President Donald Trump's administration butts heads with Democratic lawmakers over Trump's wishes for a $5-billion border wall.
    • Miller was previously identified as the driving force behind the Trump administration's controversial immigration policies. 
    • At 32 years old, he has been a rising star on the far right for years, making headlines because of his polarizing demeanor and statements long before his time in the administration. 

    White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has once again emerged on the front lines as President Donald Trump's administration butts heads with Democratic lawmakers over Trump's wishes for a $5-billion wall along the US-Mexico border.

    Miller was previously identified as the driving force behind the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that separated immigrant children from their families at the southern border.

    At 32 years old, he has been a rising star on the far right for years, often making headlines because of his polarizing demeanor and statements long before The New York Times reported June 16 that he was the origin of the controversial policy.

    One of the few remaining staffers from Trump's 2016 campaign, Miller also writes the president's biggest speeches, including Trump's first State of the Union address.

    His hard-line positions and knack for policy have made him a force to be reckoned with. But before Miller became a major figure in the Trump administration, he was an outspoken, conservative activist in high school and college who worked on congressional campaigns.

    Here's how Miller became Trump's right-hand policy man:

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Miller had to be escorted off CNN's set after his interview with Jake Tapper went off the rails

    DON'T MISS: A far-right darling in the White House was the one who convinced Trump the US should separate parents from their children at the border

    Stephen Miller was born in Santa Monica, California, on August 23, 1985, to a Jewish family whose ancestors fled persecution in what is now Belarus. His family was liberal-leaning, but Miller says he became a stalwart conservative at an early age.

    Source: The Hollywood Reporter



    In 2002, at age 16, Miller wrote in a letter to the editor that "Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School" because of the student body's anti-war attitude after 9/11. Soon enough, Miller began appearing on conservative talk radio in the Los Angeles area.

    Sources: The LookOutUnivision, Politico Magazine



    A video emerged in 2017 of his giving a student-government campaign speech at Santa Monica High in which he argued that students shouldn't have to pick up their own trash because there are "plenty of janitors who are paid to do it" for them. The audience quickly booed him off the stage.

    Sources: The Washington Post, Politico Magazine



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Vanity Fair Oprah Reese

    • Editing photos is commonplace today, with everyone from Kim Kardashian to regular people using photo editing apps to alter their appearance.
    • But where there's Photoshop there are Photoshop fails: from Instagram selfies to on the covers of famous magazines.
    • At least 11 photos caused a ruckus on the internet in 2018 for being alleged "Photoshop fails." In other words, the editing was a little too easy to spot.
    • You be the judge if these "mistakes" were just tricks of the light, or an attempt to change someone's appearance.


    Photoshop is ubiquitous today, whether you're aware of it or not.

    While by now it's a given that magazine covers and celebrities do some editing, it has seeped into popular culture in the form of editing apps on phones.

    But whether it's a big-name magazine, a famous celebrity, or a regular person fine-tuning their Instagram selfie, sometimes the editing goes a little too far.

    We've rounded up some of our favorite Photoshop fails— or alleged fails, because often the perpetrator won't admit to altering images.

    Keep scrolling to see who might be getting a little help from editing software.

    In September 2018, a French art school was caught Photoshopping their students to appear more diverse.

    This year, the Émile Cohl art school in Lyon, France, was caught editing their photos to make their student population seem more diverse ahead of a planned opening of a new American branch. Specifically, three students were edited to appear as people of color, and two black students were inserted into the photo.

    A former student posted both images on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet, which proceeded to go viral. The school was forced to issue an apology, with the school's assistant director Emmanuel Perrier telling CNN that an American communication company "decided on its own to darken the skin of some students to add diversity. The communication campaign was made from the US."



    Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were Photoshopped in promotional images for their upcoming movie "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

    Due to a mistake by Sony, the wrong promotional images for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" were uploaded to their publicity site in August — anyone who opened the photos in Photoshop were able to see their edit history. And that history revealed that the studio had tightened both Pitt and DiCaprio's chins, and nixed a few of 54-year-old Pitt's wrinkles.

    Sony claimed full responsibility and claimed that both actors had no knowledge of the edits — the correct images were quickly uploaded. But the snafu proves that not only women in Hollywood are held to unrealistic beauty standards.



    Kourtney Kardashian's arm all but disappeared in an ad for Calvin Klein, but the brand claimed it was just bad lighting.

    Kourtney's forearm appears superhumanly thin in this August 2018 ad for Calvin Klein.

    However, the brand disputed this in a statement to INSIDER: "As you'll see from the high-res version of the image, there are no issues with Kourtney's arm. However, the light is hitting it, which makes it slightly less defined. Unfortunately, when the image is posted to social media in a lower-resolution format, the shape of her arm loses its definition, creating the effect which social media users have commented on."

    This didn't stop the internet from having a field day.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    galaxy s10 render

    Samsung's next-generation Galaxy S10 could deliver significant updates in design and features to the South Korean smartphone manufacturer's flagship line of premium smartphones.

    At least, that's what the rumors are suggesting. Even Samsung's mobile-business leader, DJ Koh, has chimed in to hype up the next Galaxy S smartphone. 

    If the rumors are accurate, we should expect a pretty significant overhaul in the Galaxy S10 lineup that could see the adoption of new technologies, next-gen specs, and a more modern design. The rumors paint a futuristic vision of the Galaxy S10's looks.

    Check out the leaks and rumors about the Galaxy S10, with a little visual help from a video render made in collaboration with popular, and often spot-on, gadgets leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, known best as @OnLeaks on Twitter

    SEE ALSO: 5 new Google gadgets that leaked ahead of the company's big October event

    There will be three models of the Galaxy S10.

    Samsung is supposedly planning to offer three variants of the Galaxy S10, according to technology analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has accurately predicted elements of new Apple iPhones, as well as various subsequent leaks and rumors.

    Kuo believes one model will have a 5.8-inch display, another will have a 6.1-inch display, and the third will have a 6.4-inch display. 

    A recent Bloomberg report suggests that one of the models will be a more budget-friendly version of the Galaxy S10 that won't come with the curved edges, but rather a more traditional flat display. A rumor featured in Gizmodo suggests that the "budget" Galaxy S10 will be called the "Galaxy S10 Lite."

    There's talk of a fourth Galaxy S10 model in the premium category that was certified in Russia, but its only extra feature appears to be dual-sim support.



    One of the Galaxy S10 variants will support the new 5G network.

    The larger Galaxy S10 Plus model could come in two variations, one of which could have 5G support, XDA Developers reported, citing information it found in the code of an upcoming software update for the Galaxy S9 Plus.

    Bloomberg's report suggests the Galaxy S10 models will be compatible with Verizon's 5G network, but it isn't clear exactly which models it was referring to, whether it's the two higher-end models, or even all three variants.

    5G is a new wireless standard that promises extremely fast data speeds and potentially less congestion than today's 4G LTE standard. That means 5G data speeds could still be fast even during times of peak data traffic.

    So far, however, 5G availability is extremely limited and hasn't been fully deployed by most carriers. If a 5G model is released, it'll only fulfill its potential in a few cities where 5G is starting to roll out.



    Rumors are suggesting that the Galaxy S10 will have a front-facing fingerprint scanner underneath the display.

    A front-facing fingerprint scanner embedded underneath the display is perhaps the most hotly anticipated feature that could come to the Galaxy S10 — and the rumor mill says it's well on its way.

    So far, the OnePlus 6T is the only phone in the US that has an in-display fingerprint sensor. Elsewhere in Asia and Europe, some phones from Chinese manufacturers — including Vivo, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei — have in-display fingerprint sensors, too.

    One of the latest rumors is that embedded fingerprint sensors will come standard on two of the upcoming Galaxy S10 models, according to The Investor, as well as a more recent Bloomberg report. 

    It's also said that Samsung's in-display fingerprint sensor uses ultrasonic technology rather than the optical technology that the OnePlus 6T uses. Apparently, ultrasonic fingerprint sensors offer better reliability and accuracy. 

    Samsung is still deciding whether or not the lower-end Galaxy S10 model with a supposedly flat display will come with an in-display fingerprint sensor, according to Bloomberg. The Investor suggests it could have a regular fingerprint scanner on the side of the phone. The rumor lines up with Kuo's earlier predictions.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    iPhone teen

    • Google has won the K-12 education technology market.
    • Part of their motivation to move into that market is to get kids acclimated to Google products, like the Chromebook.
    • However, teenagers prefer to buy iPhones and MacBooks when they graduate high school.

     

    High school senior Kendra Lodewyk uses a Google Chromebook at school every day — and has since eighth grade. "Just today, I used one in first hour, third hour, and fifth hour," she told Business Insider.

    And when Lodewyk goes home, she logs into Google Classroom. It's the online tool where her teachers post homework, quizzes, essays, classroom activities, deadlines, readings, and so on. Google Docs and other Google productivity tools are available there as well. 

    The usage of Google products isn't unique to Lodewyk's public school in Bay City, Michigan. There are 80 million educators and students globally using G Suite for Education, which allows users to access Gmail, Google Cloud, Google Docs, and other productivity tools. In 2017, Chromebooks and other Google devices made up 58% of all devices purchased for US classrooms, according to Futuresource data.

    Lodewyk is a fan. "My peers and I benefit from both of these tools," she said. 

    Read more:Teachers love Google's education products but are suspicious. Why is a megacorporation giving them a perfect tool for free? 

    But Lodewyk is all about Apple when it comes to the devices she actually buys. Lodewyk said she has an iPhone 8 and plans to get a MacBook when she goes to college. 

    teen laptop

    That's like most Generation Zs — the generation born after 1997 that's on track to overtake millennials in population

    Google has become wildly popular in K-12 classrooms like Lodewyk's, even though Google doesn't make much money distributing that technology in the education sphere. Indeed, Jonathan Rochelle, a product management director for G Suite for Education, even told Business Insider that Google's push into education is partially "philanthropic."

    Analysts say Google's interest in schooling stems from a desire to get children and teenagers accustomed to the Google ecosystem.

    A bonus just for you: Click here to claim 30 days of access to Business Insider PRIME

    "It's pretty clear what motive Google has,"Gartner Research vice president Kelly Calhoun Williams, who focuses on K-12 education and was in public education for 25 years, told Business Insider. "This is not a product they're selling; this is not a commercial product. It's getting lots of people very used to working in a Google environment."

    So, if teens aren't falling in love with Chromebooks, why does Google keep pushing into the education market?

    Apple is losing the ed-tech market, but it's still won over the teens

    Even as Google dominates the classroom, teens are typically more likely to buy an iPhone and a MacBook than a Pixel and a Chromebook. 

    Investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray found that, in their semi-annual survey of around 6,000 American teenagers, 86% plan to buy an iPhone for their next cell phone. And Worth Ave. Group found that 40% of college students shopping for a new computer will buy a MacBook. HP, which 15% chose, was the second-best brand.  

    Ishan Goel, a 19-year-old creative marketing strategist who has worked with Mark Cuban Companies, Frito Lays, and other brands, told Business Insider that Apple is the top choice for most Gen Zs shopping for tech. 

    "Apple built a product with a user interface and experience that embodies what Gen Z stands for — simplicity, connectability with other devices and programs, ease of access, and, most importantly, speed," Goel said. 

    This is despite Apple's decreased presence in the K-12 education technology market. Apple produced more than half of all education devices in the US in 2012, according to Futuresource. Just five years later, that market share has dropped to 19%.

    market share

    Of course, not all teens are gaga for Apple. The prices are too high to be the universal choice for Gen Zs.

    Madeline Topete, a 17-year-old who lives in Southern California, owns a Chromebook that she bought for $250 two years ago. She said it's held up well. 

    Still, Topete yearns for a MacBook. "The truth is, all of us prefer Apple technology because of its advanced features and more user-friendly layout, but not everyone can afford one," she said. "Those I know with a Mac got one from Mommy and Daddy, so to speak."

    Even if teens prefer iPhones, Google is still winning

    Students who use Chromebooks might not love the hardware, but they're getting acclimated to the Chrome browser, Google Search, and YouTube. All of those products can be used on non-Google devices.

    "There is some anchoring effect," Avi Greengart, the research director for consumer devices at GlobalData, told Business Insider. "If you're familiar and comfortable with one environment, you're more likely to stick to that atonement more than if you've never encountered it."

    And moreover, Google makes the lion's share of its income from Search and YouTube — not hardware sales. Alphabet generates $27.2 billion from advertising from Google searches and from YouTube; revenue from its cloud, device, and other sales comprise just $4.7 billion.

    selfie

    So, while MacBook-littered college campuses suggest the opposite, Greengart said Google has actually won in the education battle.

    That's because many Gen Zs use Google Search, YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, and so on with their non-Google devices. And Greengart said getting a new generation of users acclimated to sharing its data with Google is a win for the company's advertising-dominated bottom line. 

    Goel agreed that Google's cloud technology has kept its productivity tools popular for Gen Zs. "When I was in school, we would have a group Google Doc," Goel said. "We would all take notes in the same file together at the same time, which helped create a class review for midterms and finals."

    "I would argue that that shows Google's strategy for education has worked quite well even if you're not using (Google hardware) anymore," Greengart said. "There are long-term benefits for Google there."

    SEE ALSO: Teachers across America are obsessed with Google products — here's how Apple and Microsoft plan to win them back

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Meet the 24-year-old who's the youngest female broker in the New York Stock Exchange


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    facebook fake news advert

    • A new report prepared for the Senate highlights the thousands of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts created by the Russian firm Internet Research Agency, which has been charged with interference in the 2016 campaign. 
    • The report, which will be made public on Monday but was shared online by the Washington Post, found that the IRA had engaged with millions of American voters through millions of tweets and thousands of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube posts.   
    • The report found that the threat posed by the IRA persists. 

    SEE ALSO: Here's what we know about the 17 known investigations into Trump, his campaign, and Russia

    Blacktivist

    The report found that the IRA targeted African-Americans extensively. The IRA efforts "appear to have been focused on developing Black audiences and recruiting Black Americans as assets."

    One of these accounts, the popular "Blacktivist" Facebook page, gathered 1.4 million reactions from viewers. It was popular among African-American activists and used racial issues — particularly police violence — to stoke outrage among viewers. In some cases, it also encouraged African-American voters to stay home and not vote. 



    Being Patriotic

    "Being Patriotic" is another Facebook page found to belong to IRA. The page, which shared conservative memes and articles, gathered more than 6,312,000 likes. 

    While it was active, the page shared memes featuring the faces of many of the 2016 presidential candidates. It also encouraged armed insurrection at times, according to the report. 



    Stop A.I.

    "STOP A.I."— A.I. referring to Alien Invaders — was another of IRA's main Facebook accounts. The profile received 773,305 comments, the most out of all of the agency's 81 Facebook pages. It posted right-wing conservative articles and memes. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Russia Facebook Mark Zuckerberg AI election

    • Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms were used to specifically target black Americans as part of the massive online campaign out of Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
    • According to two new reportscreated for the Senate's intelligence committee, Russian-linked accounts and posts were used to spread content focused on racial tensions and suppress black voter turnout.
    • After the reports were released, the NAACP called for a week-long #LogOutFacebook campaign to protest the targeting of black voters that ran rampant on the platform.
    • Facebook "avoided mentioning" to the Senate the extent that its subsidiary, Instagram, was used for spreading disinformation, the report says.

    New reports on Russia's political disinformation campaigns across social media platforms concluded that black Americans were specifically targeted with posts on Facebook and Instagram.

    Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Russian-linked accounts and paid-for advertisements were strategically used to encourage black voters to "boycott the election and focus on other issues instead." Posts about Black Lives Matter, police shootings, and racial violence were shared prolifically by Russian social media accounts for the purpose of "recruiting Black Americans as assets," the reports said.

    The two reports released Monday — one from New Knowledge and the other from Graphika and University of Oxford researchers — provided further insight into the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm out of Russia previously charged in connection with its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Commissioned by the US Senate's intelligence select committee, these reports show just how many social media sites and millions of users the IRA's campaign was able to reach.

    Read more: A new report found that Russia's disinformation operation in the US picked up speed even after it was caught by Mueller

    The reports identified popular, influential IRA accounts on Facebook and Instagram that "cross-promoted authentic Black media to create an immersive influence ecosystem." The IRA operated a popular brand, BlackMattersUS.com, not only on Facebook and Instagram, but also Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Google+. One of the IRA's most influential accounts was @blackstagram_, which amassed hundreds of thousands of followers and thousands of likes on Instagram in 2017.

    New Knowledge concluded in its report:

    The greatest effort on Facebook and Instagram appears to have been focused on developing Black audiences. There was significant and extensive integration into the Black community, particularly on Facebook, via the creation of a dedicated media ecosystem, the sharing and cross-promotion of legitimate media content, and ongoing attempted development of human assets. 

    Researchers also revealed that Instagram was a "significant front" in the IRA's operation, and that its reach was even greater than Facebook following the 2016 election. The report noted that Facebook "avoided mentioning" Instagram's reach in its Congressional testimony in October 2017 related to Russian political propoganda efforts.

    In response to the reports, the NAACP announced Tuesday it was returning a donation recieved from Facebook. The civil rights group called on supporters to boycott Facebook and Instagram for one week, "to signify to Facebook that the data and privacy of its users of color matter more than its corporate interests." The #LogOutFacebook protest starts Tuesday.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been long criticized for ignoring warning signs that Russia was using the social media platform to spread disinformation about US politics. By the time Zuckerberg publicly acknowledged the role Facebook played, the social network revealed thatRussia-based trolls had published an estimated 80,000 posts seen by 126 million Americans in a two-year period.

    SEE ALSO: The 21 biggest data breaches of 2018

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic plan on taking you to space


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    yule log

    • Holiday baking doesn't have to be an insurmountable or expensive task.
    • Here, author Sarah Wells lists five tips that can help your holiday baking while saving you time and money.

     

    As December creeps to a close, you may suddenly find yourself inundated with holiday party invitations, work get-togethers, and family gatherings – usually all run potluck-style.

    Sure, you could bring a bottle of wine or pre-packaged cheese plate, but why not take the last chance of 2018 to whip out your baking skills?

    And if the mere thought of watching your yule log go uneaten on the communal table in favor of superior baked goods leaves you panicked, I can guarantee your treats will shine just as brightly as the rest with these few simple tips and tricks.

    1. Plan ahead

    Like any great plan of attack, a truly successful sweet table spread must be planned in advance. Before even choosing your recipes, one of the most important things to consider is how many treats you'll need to crank out.

    If you're serving a more intimate get together, then maybe something like a gingerbread cake or a yule log (which both serve roughly 10 to 12 people) would be a good option. But if you're serving a family reunion or an office-wide party, mixing up a recipe like sugar or gingerbread cookies (which usually make about 20 to 30 per recipe) might be a better option.

    An added benefit of high-yield cookie recipes is that they can stay chilled in your fridge for a few weeks – ready to defrost and roll out whenever you are.



    2. Doubled recipes are twice as nice

    Another time-saving tip is to consider how many different treats you can create from just one basic recipe. For example, you make one batch of sugar cookie dough, split it in two, and flavor one with chocolate and one with peppermint. Roll out flat both sheets, place one on top of the other and re-roll tightly into a log. When cut, you'll have delicious chocolate-peppermint pinwheels.

    For another multi-purpose recipe, try making a double batch of a basic spice cake. You can frost one half and save the other to turn into festive cake pops. All you'll need to do is crumble the cake, combine with a few generous spoonfuls of buttercream, shape the dough around lollipop sticks and place in the fridge to set. After that, the cake pops can be dipped in melted chocolate and decorated.



    3. Look for sales

    Around the holidays you're likely to see baking essentials like flour and both granulated and powdered sugar go on sale. If you know you'll be baking for a big group or that you'll need to make a lot of frosting for your creations, this is a great time to stock-up! Not only that but your stock pile might just come in handy when you get a sweet craving come mid-January.



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    Gifts for host

    The holidays are in full swing, which means you probably already have too ugly Christmas sweater parties and family gatherings to think about. While you're busy shopping for holiday gifts, you may want to consider getting something for all the hosts that'll be making you feel welcome in their homes this season. 

    At a bare minimum, a host gift is a small but generous way to say "Thank you for having me." At its full potential, it's a way to make someone feel valued and recognized for all the time and effort they've spent to give you a wonderful and warm place to be. These host gifts are ones they'll remember and enjoy even after the party is over — once they're over the stress of cleanup (for which your voluntary help is probably the best host gift of all).

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    SEE ALSO: 15 thoughtful gifts for book lovers to satisfy the bookworm on your list

    A trio of chai tea that made it onto Oprah's Favorite Things list

    Vahdam Chai Tea Trio, available on Amazon, $19.99

    This tea trio made Oprah's Favorite Things list for 2018, so if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for your host. We've actually tried some of Vahdam's teas and were particularly impressed by its beautiful packaging.



    A wine tote and a nice bottle to go with it

    Draper James X Crate & Barrel Cheers Wine Tote, available at Crate & Barrel or Draper James, $12.97

    Wine is a classic host gift, but sometimes it doesn't quite feel like enough. But wrap a bottle in this sweet tote from Reese Witherspoon's brand Draper James and Crate & Barrel and you've got a perfectly complete gift for your party host. 

    And if you're looking for an easy way to order wine online for the holidays, we've got you covered with this list.



    A never-fail candle from one of our favorite new startups

    Gilded Holiday Candles, available at Otherland, from $38

    Otherland's candles offer the most beautiful unboxing and gifting experience. They're both a joy to give and a joy to get. You can choose candles from the newest limited-edition collection called Gilded Holiday, or go for the company's five base candles that are carried year-round.

    Read our full review of Otherland candles here.



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    bii us telehealth lumascape

    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

    Telehealth — the use of mobile technology to deliver health-related services, such as remote doctor consultations and patient monitoring — is enabling healthcare providers and payers to address the US healthcare industry’s growing list of problems.

    The proliferation and rapid advancement of mobile technology are spurring telehealth adoption, and many believe that 2018 could be the tipping point for the telehealth market.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence defines the opaque US telehealth market, forecasts the market growth potential and value, outlines the key drivers behind usage and adoption, and evaluates the opportunity telehealth solutions will afford all stakeholders. We also identify key barriers to continued telehealth adoption, and discuss how providers, payers, and telehealth companies are working to overcome these hurdles.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Telehealth is enabling healthcare providers and payers to address the US healthcare industry’s growing list of problems, including rising healthcare costs, an aging population, and the transformation of healthcare from service-centric to consumer-centric, which is straining healthcare system resources and threatening to drive up payer costs.
    • Although telehealth solutions aren't suitable for all patients, right now, about 45% of the US population, or 147 million consumers, falls within the addressable market.
    • Despite low usage rates, most consumers are open to using telehealth solutions, according to the 2018 Business Insider Intelligence Insurance Technology Study. 
    • A range of companies are well-positioned to generate savings in terms of revenue and avoid potential pitfalls by deploying telehealth solutions.

     In full, the report:

    • Offers an overview of different types of telehealth services and their applications in the US healthcare ecosystem. 
    • Highlights the growth drivers and opportunities of these applications.
    • Includes exclusive data and insights from the 2018 Business Insider Intelligence Insurance Technology Study. 
    • Provides examples of key players in the telehealth market, including insurers, medical device makers, and health networks. 
    • Gives recommendations on how health networks and payers should approach using and deploying telehealth solutions.

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

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    Roku CEO Anthony Wood

    • The traditional television-advertising business is increasingly under threat as Americans shift their viewing habits, Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser said in a new report.
    • New data from Nielsen indicates that streaming-video services are making significant gains against ad-based broadcast and cable television networks.
    • TV-ad spending already is declining, but things could get worse, Wieser said.

    Streaming video could soon have a big impact on the TV-ad business — even bigger than it's already had.

    Americans are increasingly watching video on their televisions via streaming devices such as Roku's players instead of from traditional broadcast or cable services, Brian Wieser, a financial analyst with Pivotal Research Group, said in a new report. That's bad for the ad industry because the kinds of video that consumers are streaming are less likely to have advertisements in them than video from broadcast or cable.

    "Overall, the industry-level conditions remain negative for ad-supported national TV as a medium," Wieser said in the report.

    Wieser's report followed up on new data from Nielsen about November television viewing. Nielsen found that overall TV watching was basically flat in the month compared with November of last year. The average household spent about 0.2% more time watching television in the month compared with the year before, while the average viewer between the ages of 18 and 49 spent about 3.8% less time.

    Americans are watching more streaming video and less cable

    But Nielsen's data showed an ongoing and significant shift away from watching cable or broadcast television and toward watching video through electronic devices. Viewers aged 18 to 49 spent about 36.1% of their total TV time watching ad-supported cable-television shows in November, according to Nielsen data cited by Wieser. That was down from 38.9% in November last year and 41.3% in November 2016.

    Brian Roberts Sun Valley The portion of the total TV-watching time that viewers in that age group spent watching English-language broadcast TV saw a similar decline. It went from 21.5% of their TV time in November 2016 to 19.9% in November last year to 19.2% this year.

    By contrast, the amount of time viewers are spending watching TV through Roku's boxes or other internet-connected devices has grown rapidly. In November, viewers aged 18 to 49 devoted about 16.5% of their total TV time to watching shows through such gadgets. That was up from 11.9% last year and just 8.4% in November 2016.

    The amount of time viewers are spending watching video through streaming players has grown by about 40% on an annual basis throughout much of the last year, Wieser said.

    Video-game consoles are also seeing increasing usage as video-watching devices. Viewers in the same age group spent 10% of their TV time watching video streamed through their game machines. That was up from 9.5% in November 2017 and 8.6% in November 2016.

    "The fact that internet connected device-based viewing — whose viewing can include ad-supported content but more often does not — is sustaining ~40% growth rates is particularly negative" for the TV-ad business, Wieser said.

    TV-ad spending is already declining

    The TV-ad industry is already starting to take a hit because of shifting viewing habits. TV-ad spending in the US fell last year by 1.5% to $70.2 billion and will fall by 0.5% this year to $69.9 billion, according to eMarketer.

    Marketers have been increasingly shifting their spending to digital ad formats, buying spots on Facebook, Google, and elsewhere. Advertisers have also been moving some of their spending to ad-supported streaming-video services, including Hulu and the Roku Channel. Amazon may cash in on that trend too; it reportedly has its own ad-supported streaming channel in the works.

    Read more: Amazon's got its eyes set on yet another market — and one high-flying upstart should be worried

    EMarketer expects traditional TV-ad spending to rebound in 2020. But Wieser thinks things for the industry could get increasingly worse as viewership declines.

    "Budgets are generally unaffected by changes in ratings in the short-term," he said. "Unfortunately, sentiment towards the medium worsens as commonly reported or relied-upon measures such as adults 18-49 fall, especially by the significant levels observed recently. Negative sentiment ultimately leads to advertisers efforts to explore and encourage the use of alternative media vehicles."

    SEE ALSO: After a blockbuster earnings report, Roku's CEO explains why its advertising business is exploding

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic plan on taking you to space


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    amex rose gold new york 12

    • The new American Express® Gold Card features a new metallic design, in addition to competitive rewards on restaurants and supermarkets in the US, airfare, and more. 
    • You can request a limited-edition rose gold version of the card, but only until January 9, 2019.
    • New cardholders can also get a unique, limited-time welcome bonus if they apply before the same date.
    • Here's what you need to know about the AmEx Gold Card.

    When looking for a new credit card or charge card, aesthetics should not be your biggest concern. Your focus — assuming you pay your bills in time and don't carry credit card debt — should be on things like rewards.

    That said, it's nice when you're able to enjoy both.

    When American Express reintroduced its Gold Card this fall, the card got a fantastic set of improvements to its rewards earning scheme and suite of benefits.

    As part of the overhaul, AmEx unveiled a new chic, gold-colored metal version of the card, similar to the Platinum Card's design. AmEx also introduced a limited-edition rose gold variation of the card — it was so popular that AmEx encountered shipping delays of the rose gold product. Current and new users are able request it. However, that option goes away on January 9.

    That means that this is the last chance to get the rose gold version of the card.

    Also going away January 9: a unique limited-time bonus for new members. If you don't have the Gold Card and open one by then, AmEx will "pick up the tip" when you dine out. During the first three months, new card members will get 20% back on restaurant charges — in the form of a statement credit — up to $100 total.

    That's in addition to the standard welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Some people may be targeted for a higher bonus.

    The new Gold Card earns 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US restaurants, as well as on the first $25,000 spent each calendar year at US supermarkets (and 1x point after that). It also earns 3x points on flights booked directly through the airline, and 1x point on everything else.

    Learn more: AmEx Platinum cardholders can potentially get the $200 airline fee credit twice in their first year — here's how

    That makes it among the most competitive cards for restaurants and supermarkets in the US — since it's possible to get more than 1¢ of value for each Membership Rewards point, the value is more than 4% back.

    The Gold Card features several other benefits, too. Cardholders can get up to $120 in dining credits a year — split into $10 chunks each month — when they use their cards to order food through Grubhub or Seamless, or at The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. That's in addition to a $100 airline fee credit each calendar year.

    The card's annual fee is $250, but between the annual credits and the rewards, it should be easy to earn enough value to more than make up for that.

    Click here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: 11 lucrative credit card deals you can get when opening a new card in December — including a 200,000-mile bonus

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    obama sad frown

    • Judge Reed O'Connor's ruling declaring the entire Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was unconstitutional took many experts by surprise.
    • Many health policy experts questioned O'Connor's legal judgement and pointed to his long history of favoring conservative positions and attacking the ACA.
    • The experts also agreed that the ruling would likely be overturned.

    The shock decision by Judge Reed O'Connor on Friday that ruled the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, unconstitutional was made with a partisan tinge and likely will not stand, experts say.

    Health policy experts from across the political spectrum rejected O'Connor's reasoning for the decision and expected it would be overruled on appeal.

    O'Connor's decision determined that when Congress reduced the ACA's individual mandate — or penalty for not having health insurance — to $0, this effectively made the rest of the law unconstitutional. This is a broad view of Congress's intent, legal scholars said.

    "Congress amended one provision of a 2,000 page law and did not touch the rest of the law so it is implausible to believe that Congress intended the rest of the law not to exist," Abbe Gluck, a health law expert at Yale Law School, said following the ruling.

    Under O'Connor's decision, the entirety of the ACA would be thrown out, including popular provisions like preexisting condition protections. Given that such changes could throw the healthcare system into chaos and leave as many as 20 million people without insurance, it has caused an uproar among both politicians and healthcare advocates.

    In a Washington Post op-ed, Nicholas Bagley, a law professor with a focus on health policy at the University of Michigan, failed to make sense of O'Connor's legal case. He determined that the "logic of the ruling is as difficult to follow as it is to defend."

    "This case is different; it’s an exercise of raw judicial activism,"Bagley said. "Don’t for a moment mistake it for the rule of law."

    Indeed, O'Connor has been a favorite judge of conservative lawyers and has ruled against Obamacare on numerous occasions. 

    And even many Obamacare critics have spoken out against the ruling. Conservative lawyers that previously criticized the law took issue with the breadth of the ruling. Philip Klein, executive editor of the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner and author of a book on "overcoming" Obamacare, called it an "assault on the rule of law."

    "If Congress repealed all of Obamacare tomorrow, I'd throw a party. Despite my policy preferences, I'd say the latest decision from U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor of Texas declaring Obamacare unconstitutional is an assault on the rule of law," he wrote in an op-ed Monday.

    While most experts agree that O'Connor overstepped, the prevailing sense is that nothing will change for the time being.

    The judge issued what is known as a declaratory judgment — which, unlike an injunction, allows the law to continue unabated until the case is taken up by another court. Democratic states have pledged to appeal the ruling, so O'Connor's decision will likely not be the last word. Meantime, people who get access to healthcare through Obamacare's marketplaces or Medicaid expansion will continue to have coverage.

    Looking to the future, many health policy experts also believed a higher court — whether it's an appellate court or Supreme Court — will eventually reject O'Connor's huge scope.

    "This is insanity in print, and it will not stand up on appeal," Bagley tweeted on Friday.

    SEE ALSO: A federal judge's ruling declaring Obamacare unconstitutional leaves the GOP between a rock and a hard place

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'


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    Amazon echo show

    • Some of Amazon's Alexa-enabled speakers are out of stock, and customers are being warned that they might not arrive until after Christmas. 
    • The out-of-stock items include the second-generation Echo Show and the third generation of Amazon's popular Echo Dot.
    • The third-generation Echo Dot was the No. 1 bestselling product on Amazon across all manufacturers and categories worldwide on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

    If you're ordering an Amazon Echo speaker for a Christmas gift this week, make sure you read the small print.

    Several of Amazon's Alexa-enabled smart speakers are currently out of stock in the United States and won't be shipped until January, Bloomberg was first to report on Monday

    A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

    Amazon

    Amazon's third-generation Echo Dot will be back in stock before Christmas. However, there is a warning sign that says the item may not arrive to the customer in time for the holidays. 

    Amazon

    This particular speaker was the No. 1 best-selling item on Amazon across all manufacturers and categories worldwide on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

    SEE ALSO: Amazon reportedly wants to curb selling 'CRaP' items it can't profit on, like bottled water and snacks

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A wheel of parmesan can cost over $1,000 — here's why the cheese is so expensive


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    leslie moonves cbs

     

    Leslie Moonves, former CEO and Chairman of CBS Corporation who left the company in September after a wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations, will not receive any of his $120 million severance, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

    Investigators concluded that CBS had grounds to terminate Mr. Moonves for violating company policies and intentionally not cooperating with the investigation, the CBS board of directors said in a statement obtained by the Journal. 

    Lawyers for the network previously said Moonves should not receive his severance because he "destroyed evidence and misled investigators" as he faced multiple sexual misconduct allegations, according to the New York Times

    The departure of Moonves from the company came after a report by The New Yorker detailing accusations against the media executive from six women. This followed CBS hiring multiple law firms to launch an investigation against Moonves in August, after six other women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct or harassment. Moonves has denied the allegations against him.

    Moonves was one of the highest-paid CEOs in the US, thanks to a compensation package of cash, restricted shares and stock options worth $57 million in 2014, Forbes reported. He's worth an estimated $700 million.

    CNBC had previously reported that the board was considering giving him a $100 million exit package, but CBS said in a statement that any severance benefits would be pending the results of an independent investigation. 

    Here's how Moonves made his $700 fortune.

    SEE ALSO: Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, is out after 6 more women accused him of sexual harassment, assault

    Moonves worked as an actor in the 1970s, with small roles in TV series including "Gemini Man" in 1976 and "The Six Million Dollar Man" in 1977.

    Source: IMDb



    He went on to take over Lorimar Television in 1989, which then merged with Warner Bros. Television.

    Source: CNN Money



    In the early 1990s, Moonves developed hit TV shows including "ER" and "Friends" as president of Warner Bros.

    Source: Money



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    Girls Trip

    • There's nothing like a girls trip to strengthen even the strongest of friendships.
    • With so many beautiful cities in North America, there are several destinations easy on the eyes and the wallet.
    • Wine country in New York is a nice change of pace while Mexico's self-proclaimed surf town are among some of the most underrated cities for a girls getaway.

    Traveling with your family or significant other is great, but sometimes it takes more than a happy hour to bond with your girls. Enter girls trips. A much-needed getaway masked as a "bonding experience" for you and several of your closest partners in crime.

    You've solidified the crew and decided on a date, but now comes the hardest part — figuring out a place that's not only cost-effective but also bustling with endless attractions and trendy restaurants. Las Vegas, Miami and yes, San Diego, are fine. However, there boasts a bevy of underrated cities across North America that not only cater to large crowds of ladies looking to let loose but also don't make a huge dent in one's wallet.

    Here are 10 of the most underrated places for a girl's trip.

    Oregon's Columbia River Gorge is the perfect place for active ladies who enjoy the outdoors.

    Whether you fancy a dip in a hidden waterfall or a scenic hike up Dog Mountain, the Columbia River Gorge region in Oregon is a low-key yet breathtaking place for a girl's trip. With plenty of wide open road one can cruise on via bicycle or car, the scenery lends itself for plenty of Instagram-worthy shots.

    While you're there, take in the craft beer scene of the Pacific Northwest. Not a beer fan? Thankfully, the Willamette Valley located just an hour south boasts over 400 wineries and known for its famous pinot noir. Start planning your trip here.



    Squaw Valley, California is home to the largest ski resort in the United States.

    If hitting the slopes sounds more fun than laying on the beach, then Squaw Valley Ski Resort is the ideal place for a girls getaway. It's rare to find so much snow in California, and the developers of this venue have made great use of this asset. There are condo-style suites so everyone stays in one room and some budget-friendly rooms. 

    Everything you will need is on the property, including nearly 20 shops to fuel some retail therapy. Between The North Face to gourmet chocolate, the stores are diverse.



    Sedona, Arizona is for the army of ladies looking to benefit from a relaxing time.

    Located near Flagstaff, Sedona is a haven for ladies interested in escaping their day jobs for some rest and recreation. Aptly nicknamed "Red Rock Country," lodging in Sedona ranges from resorts and cabins to bed and breakfasts.

    Sedona is well-known for its spiritual vortexes, which their site describes as "swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration."

    People apparently leave feeling inspired, recharged, or uplifted after visiting a vortex. Sound like something fit for you and your girl? Start planning.



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    dr. andrew ng

    • Dr. Andrew Ng, one of the most famous computer scientists in the world, revealed his "playbook" for helping all businesses adopt AI. 
    • Ng is best-known for his time at Google and his stint as chief scientist at Chinese tech giant Baidu, though he's also affiliated with Stanford and cofounded Coursera.
    • He says the best thing to do is to start with a small project before you even think about trying to form a grand strategy.
    • He also says that a lot of companies make a crucial mistake — they hoard lots and lots of data, to be used in AI systems. But that data is often useless, Ng says, as it's impossible to separate signal from noise.

    Dr. Andrew Ng has one of the most enviable resumes that a computer scientist could work for.

    He's probably best-known in America for his time at Google, where he cofounded the Google Brain artificial intelligence project with famed engineer Jeff Dean. From there, he served as chief scientist at Chinese tech giant Baidu, where he grew its AI organization into the thousands. For a time, too, he was director of Stanford's AI Lab. Oh, and he cofounded online learning company Coursera. 

    Nowadays, Ng is the chief executive at Landing AI, a consultancy that helps the largest businesses pursue their own strategies for artificial intelligence, which stands to revolutionize everything from warehouse labor, to retail, to writing your own e-mails. Indeed, he says that the AI trend to watch nowadays is the adoption of the technology by non-tech companies, from fashion brands to factories to farms. 

    To that end, Ng released last week his "AI Transformation Playbook," a five-step plan for businesses to follow if they want to dip their toes into the water, all drawn from his experiences at Google and Baidu. We spoke to Ng earlier in December to get his perspective on the playbook, and his further advice for companies chasing AI. 

    First thing's first, Ng says, is not to worry so much about the hand-wringing in Silicon Valley about Facebook, Google, and other giants hoovering up all the AI talent, calling those concerns "overhyped." If you can pay well, he suggests, and you're working on interesting projects, you won't have any trouble finding AI engineers. 

    And besides, he says, there are lots of engineers out there doing work that might be considered AI (or, at least, AI-adjacent), insofar as they're parsing large amounts of data to help the system make smarter recommendations. Whatever they don't know, he says, they often pick up on the fly as the project demands. 

    "All education is self-education, because what's the alternative?" quips Ng. 

    "I see CEOs go big too often"

    Once you're ready to get going, Ng says that it's a common mistake to start by forming a broad strategy. This is tempting, but it's usually a mistake, he says: You don't know what your company is capable of, AI-wise, let alone what it's good at. Rather than rush into timetables and grand designs you later have to alter, start small, he says.

    The really crucial first step, he says, is picking a project that's not so big that you get discouraged, but also, not so small that "even if you succeed, no one cares."

    "I see CEOs go big too often, then I see them go too small," Ng says. "Try to do something you can get done in a year." 

    In that sense, it's usually good to start with something core to the business — starting with something behind-the-scenes like HR or payroll could be doable, but it also might be hard to get the team jazzed about it, he says. This is also good, he says, because it forces you to think about how AI can actually be put into use in your business, rather than an abstract cure-all. 

    "AI doesn't magically solve your problems," says Ng. 

    From there, it's time to invest in people. For large companies, he says, it's worth the time and effort to formally train your people, even as you hire outside experts. The major cloud platforms, like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, offer a smorgasbord of AI-powered services for developers. Still, Ng says, those are pretty generalized tools; every company faces their own problems, and you want your own team building your own solutions. 

    "They're just fine, but you need to build on top of them," says Ng. "You want to be good at AI, you need your own team," he later added. 

    Don't be a hoarder

    Then, once your team is on board and fully trained up on your own particular problems, then you can think about your AI strategy — a way to apply what you've learned to actually make a difference. 

    Finally, Ng says that there's one big mistake that he sees lots of companies make. Over the last several years, companies have been hoarding all of their data, from all parts of their business, with the expectation that it will some how, in some way, form the cornerstone of an AI or data analysis strategy. 

    Not so, says Ng, who routinely sees clients sitting on vast warehouses of irrelevant or otherwise useless data, where the signal is indistinguishable from the noise. Ultimately, Ng says that when you're training an AI model, it's better to have a few hundred high-quality data points than it is to try to use all of that extant data. 

    "To this day, I don't think their engineers know what to do with this supposedly valuable data," says Ng. 

    SEE ALSO: Microsoft's CTO lays out the 2 tech trends he believes will change the world: 'People haven't wrapped their heads around this yet'

    Join the conversation about this story »

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