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The latest news from Business Insider

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    mia khalifa song music video

    • TikTok users are yelling the phrase "hit or miss" in public.
    • It acts as a sort of secret handshake: If there's another TikTok user around, they're supposed to respond with "I guess they never miss, huh?"
    • The lyrics come from a diss track from the Atlanta-based hip hop group iLOVEFRiDAY, responding to a fake tweet from the former adult film actress Mia Khalifa, according to a Twitter thread from comedian and web developer Reed Kavner.

    If you've heard someone randomly yell out the phrase "hit or miss" in public lately, you can blame TikTok.

    The social media platform, which specializes in sharing short-form lip-syncing videos, has inspired an IRL challenge, where people yell the phrase and wait for a response. 

    The origins of the meme, as the comedian and web developer Reed Kavner wrote on Twitter, come from an otherwise obscure diss track released by the Atlanta-based hip-hop group "iLOVEFRiDAY." But the verse from the song, released earlier this year, has invaded the real-life world and led to a spike in Google searches for the phrase "hit or miss."

    iLOVEFRiDAY's song, "Mia Khalifa," is a song attacking the Lebanese-American internet personality and former adult film star of the same name. It's a response to a fake tweet where Khalifa calls out iLOVEFRiDAY member Smoke Hijabi — who is Pakistani — for smoking while wearing a hijab. Khalifa herself has made adult film videos where she wears a hijab while having sex.

    smoke hijabi tweet mia khalifa

    But iLOVEFRiDAY apparently thought the tweet was real, and released a retaliatory diss track.

    The song, posted to YouTube in March, went viral in certain corners of the internet, and now has more than 36 million views on YouTube.

    The first major TikTok video that picked up on "Mia Khalifa,"according to Kavner, was posted by a TikTok user who goes by @nyannyancosplay, who now has more than 280,000 followers.

    She picked up one some of catchiest lyrics from the song: "Hit or miss/I guess they never miss, huh?/You got a boyfriend, I bet he doesn't kiss ya/He gon' find another girl and he won't miss ya/He gon' skrrt and hit the dab like Wiz Khalifa."

    Her TikTok spawned thousands of similar videos. There are nearly 274 million videos with the "#hitormiss" hashtag TikTok.

    Read more:16 celebrities who went viral and dominated the internet this year

    It became so popular that the lyrics became a calling card for other TikTok users. One user, Thomas Ridgewell, fro Boise, Idaho, decided to see if it could be seen as a "secret handshake" for the community, according to Kavner. He went to a Marshall's and yelled out "hit or miss." Someone responded with "I guess I'll never miss ya."

    The other guy got the lyrics wrong, but the video was still popular enough to spawn the #hitormiss challenge. There are tens of millions of videos with that tag, where people go to public places, yell out "hit or miss," and see if anyone responds with the song's next verse.

    Khalifa said she "stepped away" as an adult film actress in 2015 after reportedly receiving death threats from ISIS and now works as a social media personality, webcam model, and sports commentator. As for iLOVEFRiDAY, they've continued to make new music, sometimes collaborating with other viral stars. In May, they released a song with the influencer Woah Vicky.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The true story behind the name 'Black Friday' is much darker than you may have thought


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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.

    corkcicle $24.95

    When I'm browsing for gifts, Amazon is admittedly not the site where I expect to easily stumble across an option that I've never seen before or regard as cool. I tend to think that the new and interesting startups have a leg up in this regard. Since Amazon is so familiar to shop, however, an ideal situation would be for me to knock out all my holiday shopping at once there. 

    It may be a convenient place to shop for ordinary and practical needs like kitchen tools and organization products, but is it really the best place to find unique gifts for your friends and family? This guide of 24 unique gifts, all available on Amazon, presents a compelling case.

    Most of these items are available with two-day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

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

    SEE ALSO: 25 creative and unexpected gifts for 'Star Wars' fans of all ages

    DON'T MISS: 75 unique gift ideas from startups that are worth having on your radar

    A hook system more reliable than the MTA

    Umbra Subway Wall Hook, $30, available at Amazon

    Part art piece and part functional organizer, the subway-inspired wall hook reminds them of the joys (and terrors) of riding public transportation. 



    A programmable R2-D2

    R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid, from $74.95, available at Amazon

    Your favorite droid comes to life, with a little help from a corresponding app. It can drive around their home, change stances, and react to movie moments as it watches. 



    A garden aquarium that wastes no resources

    Back to the Roots Water Garden, $73.99, available at Amazon

    The two-in-one ecosystem is self-sustaining: the fish waste fertilizes the micro greens on top while the plants clean the fish's water. It requires less work and the greens should be ready in 10 days, plus it simply looks cool on their countertop. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    elon musk

    • Tesla is known for its high rate of executive turnover, and this year has been no different.
    • During a year in which the automaker has faced production issues, investigations from the federal government, and questions about the decision-making of CEO Elon Musk, departures from senior employees have added yet another challenge. 
    • Ten senior employees appear to have left Tesla since the beginning of September.

     

    Tesla has seen a lot of senior employees leave this year. 

    During a year in which the automaker has faced production issues, investigations from the federal government, and questions about the decision-making of CEO Elon Musk, departures from senior employees have added yet another challenge. 

    Aaron Chew, a former Tesla investor relations director, left the automaker in December, he confirmed to Business Insider on Thursday. Chew joined Tesla in 2016 and reported to Martin Viecha, the automaker's head of investor relations. Chew's LinkedIn profile does not list his next position.

    A Tesla representative declined a request for comment.

    Read more: Watch mechanics go through 6 fire extinguishers trying to douse flaming Tesla battery modules rigged to a Disney Princess car as molten copper comes 'raining down' everywhere

    Ten senior employees appear to have left Tesla since the beginning of September: Chew; senior director of global sales, marketing, and delivery Dan Kim; head of global security Jeff Jones; senior director of production and quality Antoin Abou-Haydar; head of human resources Gabrielle Toledano; chief accountant Dave Morton; head of communications Sarah O'Brien (her departure was announced in August, but her final day at the company was September 7, according to Bloomberg); vice president of global supply management Liam O'Connor; vice president of worldwide finance and operations Justin McAnear; and legal vice president Phil Rothenberg.

    These are the key names who have left Tesla in 2018 or have announced their departure, when they left, and where they went next (according to their LinkedIn profile or company announcements):

    • January - Jason Mendez, director of manufacturing engineering: LinkedIn profile does not list next position
    • January - Will McColl, manager of equipment engineering: founded WaveForm Design
    • February - Jon McNeill, president of global sales and services: became COO of Lyft 
    • March - Eric Branderiz, chief accounting officer: became CFO of Enphase Energy 
    • March - Susan Repo, corporate treasurer and vice president of finance: became CFO of Topia (she left Topia in June, according to her LinkedIn page)
    • April - Jim Keller, head of Autopilot hardware engineering: became head of silicon engineering at Intel
    • April - Georg Ell, director of Western Europe operations: became CEO of Smoothwall
    • May - Matthew Schwall, director of field performance engineering: became heady of field safety at Waymo 
    • July - Ganesh Srivats, vice president overseeing retail, delivery, and marketing: became CEO of Moda Operandi 
    • September - Sarah O'Brien, vice president of communications: LinkedIn profile does not list next position
    • September - Gabrielle Toledano, chief people officer: LinkedIn profile does not list next position

    • September - Dave Morton, chief accounting officer: became CFO of Anaplan

    • September - Liam O'Connor, vice president of global supply management: LinkedIn profile does not list next position
    • September - Antoin Abou-Haydarsenior director of production and quality: became vice president of global quality for Byton
    • October - Justin McAnear, vice president of worldwide finance and operations: became CFO of 10X Genomics
    • November - Phil Rothenberg, vice president in the legal department: became general counsel of Sonder
    • November - Jeff Jones, head of global security: LinkedIn profile does not list next position
    • November - Dan Kim, senior director of global sales, marketing, and delivery: became director of Airbnb Plus at Airbnb
    • December - Aaron Chew, director of investor relations: LinkedIn profile does not list next position
    • January 2019 — Todd Maron, general counsel: LinkedIn profile does not list next position

    Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk said The Boring Company wants to prove it can send 4,000 vehicles traveling at 155 mph through its tunnels every hour

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Craig Jackson of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company has one of the world's most expensive private garages — take a look inside


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    Darren Laybourn, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft News, spoke to Business Insider's Graham Flanagan after speaking at IGNITION 2018. He discussed Microsoft News' scale, and how they avoid "fake news" while sorting through 170,000 pieces of content per day.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Santa Claus gun

    • Starting with Bill O'Reilly in the early 2000s, many figures on the American political right have argued that there is an ongoing war on Christmas.

    • Observers have questioned the reality of such a conflict, given the holiday's prominent place in US culture.

    • But throughout history, governments and societies — including certain Christian sects — have tried to do away with the festivities.



    Every December, Americans take part in a time-honored tradition: letting slip the dogs of the war on Christmas.

    Some folks assert that there's a concerted effort in American society to secularize or erase Christmas, while others call this belief ludicrous. Writing in Politico, Daniel Danvir estimates the most recent iteration of the clash began in 2004, with ousted Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly firing the opening salvo. Since then, "...the War Over Christmas has become tarted up, 24-houred and Twitterized — even as it has grown drearily routine, an annual pageant in which culture warriors line the trenches," Danvir wrote.

    The results? "Xmas" has gotten a bad rep in some circles. US President Donald Trump has shouted about bringing back "Merry Christmas" at rallies, while First Daughter Ivanka Trump stoked controversy by wishing people "Happy Holidays" on Twitter. The Yuletide tension between the First Family notwithstanding, this fearsome fight mostly occurs between pundits — Business Insider's Mark Abadi reports most people don't give two sugar plums about your choice of season's greetings.

    But that doesn't mean there haven't been so-called wars on Christmas in the past — sometimes waged by Christians themselves.

    Here's a look at historic instances during which Christmas was banned or twisted beyond recognition:

    SEE ALSO: What the biggest 'War on Christmas' controversy gets wrong about history

    DON'T MISS: Fake news is nothing new — here’s how it killed my ancestor over 300 years ago

    A group of radical Christians outlawed Christmas — and sparked riots — in 17th century England

    People weren't happy when England's Puritan Parliament banned outright Christmas in 1647.

    The Puritans had just seized the country from King Charles I. The sect's central quest was to purge the Church of England of all Catholic influences. They viewed Christmas as a mess of a holiday, full of vice and lacking in scriptural basis.

    To signal their disdain, the blog History Extra reports Puritans in London would open up shop, show up to Parliament, and shut down their churches on Christmas Day. They even blasted Yuletide delicacies like mince pies as "idolatry in crust," according to Gerry Bowler's "Christmas in the Crosshairs."

    But a lot of their fellow subjects didn't agree. In fact, according to "The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern English Literature and Religion," riots broke out in London, Ipswich, and Norwich and other cities. The pro-Christmas residents of Canterbury even took control of their city in defiance of the Puritan leadership.

    Christmas only returned to England in an official capacity when Charles II restored the monarchy in 1660.



    Many early American colonists hated Christmas, too

    The puritanical anti-Christmas vibe wasn't contained to England. It seeped over to the American colonies, too — especially New England. The pilgrims of Thanksgiving fame shunned the holiday in 1620 and did not observe it. Nor did the Puritans who arrived in later years. In fact, much to the dismay of the non-Puritans living in New England, observance of the holiday was banned in Boston until 1659.

    Even the early days of the United States, the holiday wasn't a terribly big deal. In urban areas, Christmas was oftentimes marred by violence — often against African Americans and Catholic immigrants — and vice.

    The Christmas spirit as we know it today only began to take hold in the mid-1800s. In 1870, President U.S. Grant declared Christmas Day a national holiday, TIME reported.



    French revolutionaries rebranded Christmas cakes and renamed the holiday 'Dog Day'

    The decadent aristocrats weren't the only ones in the French revolution's crosshairs. The increasingly anti-clerical movement also ultimately went after two unusual enemies of the revolution — Christmas and cake.

    According to "Christmas in the Crosshairs," Christmas was renamed "dog day" to mock the holiday, as the government shut down Catholic churches, drowned priests, and established a national, atheistic substitute: the Cult of Reason.

    The revolution even went after bakers who dubbed holiday cakes "galette des rois"— or king cakes — after the three magi. Those were rebranded "liberty cakes" or "equality cakes," while mothers who bore sons were permitted to celebrate "the Festival of Birth" around Christmastime.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    El Salvador police gangs

    After nearly two decades focused on fighting terrorists and insurgents, the US has again put its focus on battling uniformed militaries, especially those of its two foremost rivals: China and Russia.

    Those three countries field the world's most sophisticated and powerful militaries.

    While head-to-head comparisons of military strength can be highly subjective, Global Firepower's 2018 Military Strength Ranking tries to fill that void by drawing on more than 55 factors to assign a Power Index score to 136 countries — adding Ireland, Montenegro, and Liberia to last year's list.

    The ranking assesses the diversity of each country's weapons and their available manpower. Geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the status of local industry are also taken into account.

    While recognized nuclear powers receive a bonus, their nuclear stockpiles are not factored into the score. Landlocked countries are not docked for lacking a navy, but countries with navies are penalized if their fleets lack a mixture of ship classes that magnify a force's power. 

    Read more: These are the world's 20 most dangerous countries, and photos showing what life is like there

    In general, a country's current political and military leadership was not considered (though NATO members got a boost) but financial health and stability are.

    The top power index score is 0.0000, which is "realistically unattainable," according to Global Firepower. The closer a military is to this number, the more powerful it is.

    Here are the forces that came in at the bottom of the list — the world's weakest militaries.

    SEE ALSO: These are the 25 most powerful militaries in the world in 2018

    Nicaragua — overall rank: 122

    Power Index rating: 2.9577

    Total population: 6,025,951

    Total military personnel: 13,000

    Total aircraft strength: 20

    Fighter aircraft: 0

    Combat tanks: 84

    Total naval assets: 30

    Defense budget: $44.2 million



    Madagascar — overall rank: 123

    Power Index rating: 3.0136

    Total population: 25,054,161

    Total military personnel: 21,600

    Total aircraft strength: 2

    Fighter aircraft: 0

    Combat tanks: 12

    Total naval assets: 8

    Defense budget: $56 million



    Bosnia and Herzegovina — overall rank: 124

    Power Index rating: 3.0321

    Total population: 3,856,181

    Total military personnel: 12,750

    Total aircraft strength: 20

    Fighter aircraft: 0

    Combat tanks: 149

    Total naval assets: 0

    Defense budget: $250 million



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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

    vanleeuwen, $5.99+

    Being a New Yorker means a lot of things to a lot of different people — over eight million if you want to get technical. One thing most New Yorkers have in common though, is that they love their city. This holiday season, show your favorite New Yorker you love them, too, with one of these gifts just for them. From local food favorites to accessories for their commute, we covered lots of bases. Plus, since most of these gifts are from the city itself, you can be sure your city-dweller will receive them in time for Christmas. If they're from New York but live elsewhere, you may want to opt for a shipping upgrade.

    Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

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

    A bag of beans from their favorite local brewery

    Coffee Gift Subscription, from $24, available at Blue Bottle

    Like just about any other city, New York is blessed with an abundance of coffee shops. We love Blue Bottle — and if you know another New Yorker who does, too, they'll love the brand's coffee subscription. Choose from a three-month, 12-month, or custom subscription and the coffee lover in your life will receive a new bag of unique, whole bean coffee every other week. Blue Bottle is always changing the blends for their deliveries and each one comes with an origin story and flavor profile for those who want to dive a little deeper into their morning brew. 



    Earbuds that make their commute more bearable

    Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones, $119.99, available at Best Buy

    The New York City Subway is nothing to write home about — in fact, it's rather a necessary evil that brings all kinds of New Yorkers together with the shared frustration of delays, broken air conditioners, and overcrowded platforms. Whether their commute is long or short, a solid pair of wireless headphones will make the trip that much better. 



    A cookbook from a famed city bakery

    “All About Cake” by Christina Tosi, $23.79, available at Amazon

    Everyday, Milk Bar conjures up lines out the door. Trust me, I live next to one. But it's for good reason — Christina Tosi has thought up the most delicious, decadent treats that you've never heard of before, like a cereal milk ice soft serve sprinkled with corn flakes. Now, aspiring bakers can try their hand at her creative concoctions with this cookbook.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    weed grinder

    This week, a plant that's nearly identical to marijuana is set to become legal to grow in the US. 

    Thanks to the US Farm Bill, which President Trump signed into law on Thursday, American farmers will be able to plant and harvest hemp, a strain of the same plant species from which marijuana originates. The bill passed the House last week in a 369 to 47 vote; it passed the Senate the previous day in an 87 to 13 vote.

    Hemp legalization has been a longtime goal of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, who believes it can help replace tobacco as a key crop for his state's farmers. 

    The move alters the language of a major drug law that had previously remained unchanged for half a century and loosely defined hemp alongside marijuana as a controlled substance. The new bill exempts hemp from that law and defines it as an agricultural product. That means farmers and researchers of hemp now get some of the same benefits as farmers and researchers of other crops, like the ability to apply for insurance and federal grants.

    "The era of hemp prohibition is over,"Jonathan Miller, legal counsel for a lobbying coalition of over 60 hemp companies called the US Hemp Roundtable, told Business Insider.

    That's a key change for scientists, many of whom say previous drug laws deterred them from studying hemp because it was regulated like marijuana.

    The bill may also boost interest in a nascent but booming $1 billion industry based on a component of the cannabis plant called CBD, which has been touted for a variety of health and wellness claims. CBD is popping up in more and more products, from coffee and tea to supplements and beer

    But because CBD can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp plants, its legal status, set by the Drug Enforcement Administration, remains somewhat hazy. CBD from marijuana, just like marijuana as a whole, remains illegal. But now that hemp is legal, CBD from hemp may be legal, too.

    "The devil is in the details, and we don’t know yet how the DEA will act to implement the law,"Daniele Piomelli, the director of the University of California at Irvine Center for the Study of Cannabis and a professor of neuroscience and pharmacology, told Business Insider.

    The DEA, which controls the scheduling of substances, has not said how it will respond to the new bill. As it stands, so long as a CBD product is "intended for human consumption," it remains a Schedule 1 drug, DEA spokesperson Katherine Pfaff told Business Insider on Tuesday. She said she couldn't comment on how the bill might affect the DEA's approach.

    The difference between hemp and marijuana comes down to one word: strain

    MarijuanaMarijuana and hemp come from the same plant species, called cannabis sativa. Both contain THC and CBD. But each plant is its own unique strain of cannabis.

    Until recently, hemp was bred almost entirely for industrial uses like manufacturing. As a result, hemp plants today have very low amounts of THC, the psychoactive chemical responsible for marijuana's high. Instead, hemp plants are often higher in CBD, or cannabidiol, which is also found in marijuana. CBD is now thought to be responsible for several of cannabis' therapeutic effects.

    For example, marijuana-derived CBD is the active ingredient in Epidiolex, a syrup that is the first cannabis-based drug to gain US government approval for medical use. The government approved the drug over the summer. The drug treats two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

    One thing that is clear from the new bill is that commerce involving hemp is now in the clear. Federally insured banks, for example, have the green light for the first time to work with industrial hemp producers.

    Read more:A drug derived from marijuana has become the first to win federal approval, and experts predict an avalanche effect

    From A to CBD: cannabis is showing up in everything

    By Chloe CBD CREDIT Leslie Kirchhoff2

    Because CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp plants, it is unclear whether or not hemp-derived CBD products are now legal. Previously, thousands of manufacturers and entrepreneurs glommed onto the CBD wellness trend with the awareness that CBD products existed in a legal gray zone.

    Read more:Heineken is betting on a brew made with marijuana instead of alcohol, and it could help give a boost to the struggling beer industry

    Part of the reason for this was that there was no specific language in the DEA's main drug law, called the Controlled Substances Act, that used the word "hemp."

    Thanks to that fuzziness, you could find everything from CBD lattes in New York to CBD teas at grocery stores across the country.

    But now that hemp is legal, some experts expect the trend to really take off.

    "The passing of the farm bill will most certainly open up the marketplace for hemp products, specifically hemp extracts that are high in CBD,"Josh Hendrix, the director of domestic product business development for cannabis company CV Sciences, told Business Insider.

    "It will provide a higher comfort level for retailers and consumers and will lead to more investment and opportunity in the industry as it will continue to see rapid expansion."

    Still, other experts — particularly scientists — have expressed concern that while the bill itself is a step in the right direction, what remains to be seen is how the DEA will respond to it. Until the DEA decides to change the status of CBD, researchers can't expect too many changes to their current work.

    What CBD does — and may not do — for your health

    cbd oil product lineupIt's difficult to say what the real health benefits of CBD are right now. The drug does appear to have at least one well-vetted therapeutic benefit: staunching the symptoms of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy by way of the newly approved drug Epidiolex.

    There's another pressing issue facing the CBD industry, too: The products are poorly regulated, meaning there's wide variation in their content, safety, and price.

    For a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers tested 84 CBD products purchased from 31 different online retailers. Roughly seven out of 10 items had different levels of CBD than what was written on the label. Of all of the items tested, roughly half had more CBD than was indicated; a quarter had less. And 18 of the samples tested positive for THC, despite it not being listed on the label.

    "I've seen a lot of dirty CBD manufacturing facilities," Kelvin Harrylall, the CEO of a company called the CBD Palace that audits CBD companies and creates a list of vendors it deems safe for customers, told Business Insider in June.

    "It's tough to know what you're getting."

    The farm bill itself won't directly affect product safety. But experts believe that as these laws move toward legalization and an increased role for regulators, the companies that abide by strict manufacturing conditions will come out on top, while those who run fast and loose with rules will suffer.

    "I believe if you are a CBD manufacturer and you can say that you're making a quality product ... then you have nothing to worry about," Harrylall said. "But if you aren't sure [or] if you've cut corners, those CBD manufacturers are the ones that should be worried."

    SEE ALSO: A pair of high-profile Stanford scientists wants to use marijuana to treat an entire class of diseases where big pharma has fallen short

    DON'T MISS: The CEO behind the first prescription marijuana drug explains what cannabis-based drug he wants to get approved next

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What is CBD oil and how did it become a $1 billion industry?


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    Candace Owens

    • Candace Owens is confident Donald Trump will sway black voters away from Democrats. 
    • Owens, a self-declared conservative convert, believes she can lead a mass exodus of black voters from the Democratic Party. 
    • "The left hates America and Trump loves it," Owens said. "That's why people flocked to him."

    WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — Candace Owens, director of communications for the conservative advocacy group Turning Point USA, is confident Donald Trump will sway black voters away from Democrats. 

    "I'm telling you, Donald Trump is going to be the Republican president who's going to crack the black vote," Owens told INSIDER on Wednesday at Turning Point USA's annual Student Action Summit here.

    "You can put that in writing," she added. 

    'There's no bad blood between me and Kanye'

    In the past few months, Owens has made headlines over a movement she's dubbed "Blexit," especially in relation to her interactions with rapper Kanye West. Owens, a self-declared conservative convert, believes she can lead a mass exodus of black voters from the Democratic party. 

    Earlier this year, West was flirting with embracing the Blexit movement around the time of his infamous Oval Office meeting with Trump in the fall. A few months earlier, in April, Owens gained attention after West tweeted, "I love the way Candace Owens thinks."

    But after Owens was quoted by New York Post as claiming West designed T-shirts for Blexit, he disavowed the movement and said he was stepping away from politics altogether. 

    Donald Trump Kanye West

    Owens has denied claiming West designed the shirts, but still apologized for how things panned out

    She told INSIDER she's promised West not to talk about the situation given his professed desire to step away from politics. 

    "You're not allowed to put one foot into politics," Owens added regarding West. "If you're going to be into politics you have to fully embrace this is going to be every layer of your life. I think for him he took it as far as he possibly could before it started maybe perhaps affecting other areas of his life."

    Read more: Kanye West called himself a 'motherf---er' in the Oval Office and gave Trump a massive hug during his White House visit

    Owens said she thanks West "greatly" for his contribution and said there's no "bad blood" between them.

    "I think he did more for the conservative movement and for black causes than any person that's come out of Hollywood has ever done," Owens said. 

    Despite the complicated situation with West, she is confident black voters can be swayed away from the Democratic Party. 

    'Telling us the other person is racist is the only way they seize the black vote'

    "All I have to do is show black Americans the trend, of how it started from the very beginning. How every four years, [Democrats] don't talk to us about the issues in our community. ... They talk to us about issues they create in our community and tell us to hyperfocus on things they're never going to fix," Owens said.

    Owens claimed Democrats repeatedly win over black voters by emotionally manipulating them with discussions of police brutality, which she said is "not a major issue facing black Americans today," and other racially-charged topics. 

    She rejected the notion she's painted the vast majority of black voters as an irrational cohort, and said they're simply not being "taught the issues." 

    "It's the race issue in general," Owens said. "Race and scaring us in terms of race and telling us the other person is racist is the only way they seize the black vote."

    "And look, where are we at? Black Americans are doing worse off economically today than we were doing in the 1950s under Jim Crow. How is that possible? We've only been voting for one party since then," she added. 

    It's unclear what Owens was referring to in this regard. The black unemployment rate in 1954, the earliest year for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistent unemployment data by race, was 9.9%. Today, it's roughly 5.9%, according to the latest available data

    Owens also went on to say that Trump has already made things better for people of color, pointing to the low unemployment rate for black Americans. 

    But fact-checkers have repeatedly noted the black unemployment rate began to fall drastically under former President Barack Obama, noting the low rate under Trump is largely a continuation of that trend. 

    'The left hates America and Trump loves it'

    Owens believes Trump will win over black voters because he has a more positive, appealing message. 

    "The left hates America and Trump loves it," Owens said. "That's why people flocked to him."

    "They're destroying everything through this cultural Marxist ideology, and Trump is the opposite of that and that's going to catch because it feels better," Owens added. 

    Donald Trump

    She said the media's a big part of the problem as well and too often makes broad generalizations about Trump, especially when it comes to race. 

    "Show me where Trump is racist? If he is racist he's failing at it miserably," Owens said. 

    When asked whether she found it problematic that far-right groups have often praised Trump, such as when the Ku Klux Klan's official newspaper endorsed him for president in 2016, Owens went off. 

    'The KKK is one of those mirages you guys pretend is back and well'

    "The KKK is one of those mirages you guys pretend is back and well. If you want to talk about gangs that actually do have an impact let's talk about Antifa," Owens said. "I've never in any place that I have spoken ... seen KKK members show up in white hoods. This is what I'm talking when I say 'the politics of fear.' It's what you're doing right now. 'Shouldn't we talk about the far right, KKK?' No, they're nowhere."

    "I haven't seen a person in a white hood anywhere in my entire life. I see Antifa every single place that I go to speak," Owens added. "Let's talk about Antifa. Let's talk about people that are yelling at black police officers calling them race traitors. Let's talk about gangs ... where black people are speaking and are eating in restaurants and chasing us out of it. If you want to have a conversation let's have a realistic one." 

    Owens and the president and founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, in August were driven out of a Philadelphia restaurant by a group of demonstrators claiming to be part of Antifa — an amorphous anarcho-communist collective known for engaging in vigilante violence. At one point, the protesters poured water on Kirk. They both declined to press charges. 

    Antifa was nowhere to be seen in West Palm Beach. 

    'All of the violence this year primarily happened because of people on the left'

    Owens was also dismissive of recent reports showing hate crimes are on the rise and linked to the far right.

    "All of the violence this year primarily happened because of people on the left," Owens said. "There's nothing in the press about people beating and bludgeoning people who support Trump." 

    Read more: Right-wing violence has 'accelerated' in the US since Trump took office

    According to a November analysis from The Washington Post, researchers have found at least 20 people have died in 2018 so far in suspected right-wing attacks, while one person has died in an attack that may have been motivated by left-wing ideologies. 

    'I don't think Trump is a Republican'

    When the conversation shifted to 2020, Owens said that Trumpism would live on even if the president isn't reelected. She suggested this is because Trumpism, as a movement, is becoming bigger than the GOP. 

    "I don't think Trump is a Republican," Owens said. "He ran on a Republican ticket, but no, I think Trump represents his own sort of emergence of a more independent party that holds conservative beliefs."

    Candace Owens

    "There's something happening in this country where people are tired of the mainstream media lying," Owens said "People are tired of feeling used and feeling ashamed to be American."  

    Owens claimed the current education system is teaching Americans they're "terrible, horrible people" and that they should "feel guilty about everything," including being white, male, and straight. 

    "That's what the left is selling. It's not a good feeling," Owens added. "Donald Trump is returning to America when he says 'Make America Great Again' ... It's a sense of pride and of being proud to be American and we are a country that has done so much and there's nothing wrong with loving the country you live in."

    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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    jack whittaker lottery winner

    • Lottery players everywhere dream of hitting a multimillion-dollar jackpot with a winning ticket.
    • But there's a dark side to coming into a windfall of sudden wealth if you're not careful.
    • Here's what it's really like to win the lottery.

    Becoming substantially wealthier thanks to a tiny piece of paper would make your life so much better, right?

    In fact, recent research has suggested that lottery winners are more satisfied with life than those who lost the lottery and that this happiness is lasting, Business Insider previously reported.

    But winning a lottery jackpot can also have some unwanted side effects.

    Here's what it's really like to win the lottery.

    lottery winners

    Lottery players everywhere dream of hitting the jackpot:  in fact, the idea of striking it rich is enticing enough for the average American to spend $207 a year on lottery tickets.

    In reality, though, your chance of winning is pretty slim— you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than you do of winning a Mega Millions or Powerball contest.

    But eventually, someone — or some people — will win.

    lottery

    If the winning numbers are listed on your ticket, your next step is to turn it into the local lottery commission.

    Winning is understandably a life-changing moment that can cause stress or excitement, which can lead to rash decisions. But there are a bunch of precautions to take before you even turn in your ticket.

    celebration lottery winner

    Robert Pagliarini, a financial adviser, told Business Insider that taking "a very deep breath" should be the first thing you do if you win a large jackpot, followed by hiring an attorney, a tax specialist, and a financial adviser. "This financial dream team can help you make smart financial decisions and help you plan for the future," Pagliarini said.

    For example, they can help you decide whether you want to receive payouts over a certain number of years, or collect the prize up front as a lump sum, which is considerably lower than the official jackpot amount.

    Another thing to remember is that the jackpot's dollar amount and what you will actually pocket are two very different numbers, because lottery prize money is taxed — the IRS will collect 24% of it. For example, if you scored a $900 million Mega Millions jackpot, you'd have to give $216 million to Uncle Sam.

    Lottery winner

    Andrew Jackson Whittaker in West Virginia won a $315 million lottery in 2002, but he actually walked away with $114 million after taxes.

    And even when you do win in a draw, sometimes others do as well — meaning you have to split the prize. In September, 40 lottery players in New Zealand won a jackpot of 1 million New Zealand dollars (about $655,000). But since they were forced to split it 40 ways, each received only 25,000 New Zealand dollars (about $16,500).

    Other winners have landed themselves in hot water for not splitting the jackpot with colleagues or friends who contributed to the winning ticket purchase.

    A former construction worker, Americo Lopes, cashed in a $38.5 million lottery ticket in New Jersey without telling his coworkers who had pitched in to buy it. They took him to court, where Lopes was ordered to share the prize money.

    Many lottery winners experience what Pagliarini calls "the honeymoon stage of sudden wealth."He wrote in Forbes that winning such a large sum of money is an unsustainable high, and that winners should not let the prize money dictate how their lives change.

    lottery ticket winners

    Avoiding feeling lost "involves exploring what they want their new lives to look like and creating a strategy that uses the money to help them achieve this," Pagliarini said.

    Another thing lottery winners should be aware of is people taking advantage of them. Lottery winners have to be prepared for mooching friends who want to benefit from their newfound wealth.

    Sandra Hayes of Missouri split a $224 million Powerball prize with 11 people, but she soon found that certain acquaintances were more interested in her assets than her friendship. She said that when she dined out with her friends, they would belatedly announce that they didn't have enough money to foot the bill.

    "These are people who you've loved deep down, and they're turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me,"Hayes told The Associated Press.

    Stacey Lowry of Oregon dealt with a similar issue. She won $5 million but moved to a different town after her entire neighborhood turned against her, she said. People she trusted began asking for money or gifts, which she refused, and started bashing her name, she said. "The town went crazy,"Lowry's friend Melany Collins told TLC. "Lots of rumors."

    lottery ticket winner

    Your winning might also bring out the worst in family members too.

    When Denise Rossi won a $1.3 million jackpot in 1996 she abruptly decided to divorce her husband without telling him about the prize money in order to keep it all to herself. Her plot backfired three years later, though, when a court ordered her to transfer every penny of her winnings to her ex-husband.

    One Pennsylvania man, William Post, won $16.2 million in 1988, and was pursued by a hit man hired by his brother who hoped to inherit a share of the winnings.

    When people know you have that much money, you're also in greater danger of being robbed.

    Whittaker, the West Virginia lottery winner, was sitting in his car one day when he was robbed of $545,000, he said.

    Winners also have an increased risk of bankruptcy.

    home foreclosure

    With such a vast amount of credit available to them, winners sometimes opt to make purchases using credit rather than use cash and overspend.

    Coming into a substantial amount of money can also mean being thrust into the spotlight — some states require you to publicly announce your winnings.

    It's likely you might never enjoy anonymity again — which is partly why Pagliarini suggests hiring a financial team to help with the flood of media attention.

    And in addition to media attention, you might be bombarded with money requests from investors and scammers.

    jack whittaker lottery winner

    Whittaker spent at least $3 million fighting lawsuits, his attorney said. Whittaker told ABC News in 2007 that more than 400 legal claims had been made against him since he won the lottery five years earlier.

    And some winners lose big time after hitting the jackpot, even faring worse than they did before.

    One winner in Canada, Sharon Tirabassi, spent most of her $10 million jackpot on extravagant homes, cars, designer clothes, parties, vacations, and handouts to family and friends. Within a decade, she was riding the bus again to her part-time job and renting a house.

    A Texas man, Billy Bob Harrell Jr., won a $31 million jackpot in 1997. He spent it on things like vacations, homes, and cars, but he also obliged too many money requests.He eventually squandered all his money.

    Another winner, Michael Carroll, won a $15 million British jackpot in 2002, but lost it all within five years.

    These things might have been prevented had winners taken better financial precautions.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Tim Cook's estimated net worth is $625 million — here's how he makes and spends his money


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    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference on December 19, 2018 in New York City.

    • Stocks continued their steep decline Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve raised rates.
    • The Fed signaled it expects to hike rates twice in 2019. It previously had expected three rate hikes next year.
    • Watch the major US indexes trade in real time here.

    Wall Street extended sharp losses to hit new lows for the year Thursday as markets continued to digest the Federal Reserve's decision to raise rates.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged about 2%, or more than 450 points, to its lowest level in 14 months. The Nasdaq Composite shed 1.6% and briefly dipped into a bear market, defined as a fall of more than 20% from recent peaks, for the first time since the financial crisis. The S&P 500 fell 1.6%.

    Technology shares, which had led the latest bull run, were among the biggest losers, with Amazon, Apple, and Netflix falling at least 2% each. Google parent-company Alphabet was nearly 1% lower. After being called "toxic" by Citron Research, shares of Twitter sank more than 11%.  

    A bruising sell-off had started Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter percentage point and signaled it would take a tentative approach to setting monetary policy next year.

    "Yesterday, there is no doubt that markets were expecting a bailout from the Fed—and threw a tantrum when they didn’t get it," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer of Commonwealth Financial Network. "Powell put the markets on notice that the Fed will be much less willing to shape monetary policy in order to support asset prices."

    Concerns about the potential for a partial government shutdown this weekend also weighed on Wall Street, after President Donald Trump told congressional leaders he will not sign a government funding bill because of a dispute over his long-promised border wall.

    The VIX — a measure of expected volatility — jumped more than 14% to at 29.22, its highest level since February. Also known as Wall Street's "fear index," the Cboe Volatility Index tends to rise when stocks are down.

    Not helping the mood, oil prices fell to their lowest level in more than a year, even after the US reported a drawdown in inventories for a third straight week. West Texas Intermediate was trading just under $46 per barrel, and Brent around $54.70. Worries about oversupply have helped send prices deep into bear territory, down nearly 40% from their October highs.

    The dollar slid 0.75% against a basket of major peers. Against the Japanese yen, the greenback weakened 1.4%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note continued to edge lower, down 1.4 basis points to 2.762%.

    "The price action reflects the unwind of easy money and years of financing engineering, though the Fed's not sure how soon (or much) this spills into the real economy," Mark McCormick, an analyst at TD Securities, said in an email. "What's clear to us, however, is that this backdrop reinforces the steady climb down in the broad USD."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape


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

    Why Amazon First

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

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

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

    In full, the study:

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

    First, why is Amazon so popular?

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

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

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

    Who exactly is shopping on Amazon?

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

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

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

    Want to learn more?

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

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

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    bird box

    • Stephen King praised Netflix's new thriller, "Bird Box," on Thursday, and said he was "riveted" by the movie.
    • He also called out critics for having what he called "Netflix Prejudice," as the movie has a 63% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. 
    • Critics have given positive reviews to other Netflix movies this year, including "Cam,""Roma," and "Private Life."

     

    Stephen King praised Netflix's latest thriller, "Bird Box," on Thursday, but he had less kind things to say about critics reviewing the movie. 

    King tweeted, "I was absolutely riveted by BIRD BOX (Netflix). Don’t believe the lukewarm reviews, which may in part have been caused by reviewers’ ambivalence to the streaming platform, as opposed to theatrical releases."

    He added, "One might say movie reviewers suffer from the dread NP syndrome: Netflix Prejudice."

    READ MORE: Stephen King loved Netflix's new psychological thriller, 'Cam,' from Hollywood's hottest horror studio

    "Bird Box," which is available to stream on Friday, stars Sandra Bullock as a mother trying to protect her two children in the aftermath of a deadly force wiping out much of society. The catch: If you see it, you die. 

    King has praised other Netflix shows and movies this year, such as the hit horror series, "The Haunting of Hill House," which he called "close to a work of genius," and Blumhouse's psychological thriller movie, "Cam," which has a 93% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. 

    "Bird Box" has a less impressive 63% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, but besides "Cam," critics have been generous to other Netflix movies this year, as well. Alfonso Cuarón's Oscar hopeful "Roma" is one of the best reviewed films of the year with a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. "The Kindergarten Teacher" and "Private Life" have 89% and 94%, respectively.

    As it seeks to compete during awards season, Netflix gave an exclusive theatrical run to "Bird Box,""Roma," and the Coen Brothers' "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" earlier this year before they became available to stream. It was a rare move for Netflix, as the company's original film strategy is usually "day and date," meaning the movies become available to stream on the same day they are released to theaters.

    SEE ALSO: Movie-theater insiders explain why Netflix's strategy for Oscar frontrunner 'Roma' proves it still has a lot to learn about the industry

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago today — here's what his life is like in prison


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    Brian Salesky Argo AI small

    • The CEO of Argo AI Bryan Salesky said he thinks that self-driving companies must partner with major automakers.
    • Salesky said it's too hard to go it alone without an automaker's expertise and scale.
    • In 2017, Ford invested $1 billion in Argo AI.


    The past few years have been good for entrepreneurs who were early to the self-driving car game.

    In the aftermath of the financial crisis, markets were focused on the overall health of the auto industry after the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler. As far as new technology was concerned, electric cars were considered the future. 

    But under the radar, entrepreneurs were tackling the problem of getting vehicles to drive themselves. Google set up an autonomous skunkworks, but it was just the most prominent player. In the Bay Area, Cruise Automation was experimenting with a bolt-on, self-driving system. And in Pittsburgh, home to Carnegie Mellon University, a tiny startup called Argo AI was tinkering away.

    Read more:Ford CEO Jim Hackett talks about his plans for reinventing the 115-year-old car company

    By 2016, with the arrival of Uber, Lyft, and other app-based ride-hailing services, it became clear that putting smartphone and self-driving cars together could be a lucrative new business. The Google Car project, later renamed Waymo, was already well-funded. But it was a tech firm with little knowledge of how to manufacture automobiles.

    Enter the Detroit dinosaurs, fresh off their near-death experience in 2009, but now flush with cash after several years of record-setting sales in the US, rapid and profitable growth in China, and a resurgence of high-margin pickups and SUV amid low gas prices.

    GM bought Cruise for an all-in price, including future hiring plans, of $1 billion. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles partnered with Waymo. And in 2017, Ford invested its own $1 billion in Argo AI and CEO Bryan Salesky's team.

    "We looked at venture investment, but Ford was able to put up enough of a commitment," Salesky said in an interview with Business Insider.

    So why would experts in software and robotic look to a 115-year-old car company in Ford? 

    Simple: money and scale.

    "It's very capital intensive," Salesky said. "It's not just the self-driving car tech. We're talking about funding and deploying tens of thousands of vehicles. Going it alone without a carmaker would be too hard. Ford has scale and a strong brand."

    Salesky isn't alone in pointing this out. Cruise founder Kyle Vogt and Waymo CEO John Krafcik, the latter an auto-industry veteran, have also stressed the pluses of having big automaker on board.

    Who's going to pay for all this?

    Argo AI small

    Working at Google with Chris Urmson, another Carnegie Mellon/DARPA veteran, Salesky knew that the entire self-driving proposition was making impressive process. 

    "We shocked ourselves," he said of their result in 2006 and 2007. But they were also asking a critical question: Who's going to pay for all this?

    "We would bang our heads against the wall trying to come up with a business model," he said. Google was happy to invest heavily in the undertaking, but that was the only significantly funded self-driving project around. But then Uber happened, and suddenly a commercial prospect took shape. An expensive autonomous technology could be monetized on a per-mile basis, defraying the cost.

    Argo AI formed in 2016, and according to Salesky, planned to join with a major automaker from the beginning.

    "Bill Ford saw a lot of this before others did," Salesky said of the automaker's chairman, a longtime advocate of new-mobility ideas. "He knew it would be a gamechanger."

    A critical piece of Ford's approach to autonomous vehicles is to think carefully about how they'll be deployed. The company has cultivated a relationship with cities to ensure that unintended consequences don't hamper the rollouts of innovative transportation solutions. 

    Making the magic happen

    jim hackett ces 2018

    "We don’t want to create tech that doesn’t solve problems," Salesky said. "Communities don't want more cars on pavement, so we have to come up with ways to ensure that they're happy and excited."

    In this sense, Salesky and Argo aren't just taking advantage of Ford's ability to manufacture millions of cars every year, with the goal of launching safe, fully autonomous vehicles in 2021. They're also leveraging Ford CEO Jim Hackett's commitment to "design thinking"— looking at opportunities through the complex lenses of how they can best be pursued.

    A good example is some of the pilot, autonomous delivery services that Ford has been exploring with partners such as Domino's. For these applications, gas-electric hybrids might be better platforms than all-electric vehicles, given the demands of the business model.

    "Ford has whole city team," Salesky said of the company's City Solutions group. 

    It's all part of an ecosystem, and that's where the magic happens."

    FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

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    NOW WATCH: Ford has built a plug-in hybrid cop car


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    walmart black friday

    • Walmart has revealed its online best sellers for 2018.
    • The shopping giant analyzed the top-selling items in each state, excluding some top-selling items that were popular across the country, like HDTVs and private-label Mainstays pillows.
    • Some of the most popular items across several states included paper towels, Crayola crayons, and Ozark Trail 20-ounce tumblers. 

    Walmart has revealed its online best sellers for 2018.

    The online arm of the retail giant analyzed the top-selling items across every state in the US and found some interesting patterns. It excluded some top-selling items that were popular across the country, like HDTVs and private-label Mainstays pillows. 

    The top sellers were determined by data from sales on Walmart.com, but they don't include Walmart's online grocery service.

    2018 was a major year for Walmart's online sales — it became the third-biggest online retailer based on revenue, according to eMarketer, though it is still behind eBay and Amazon. According to eMarketer, Walmart will have 4% of all online retail sales in the US by the end of this year. 

    Some states were practical with their online shopping habits. Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all had paper towels as their top-selling item. Other states were more concerned with entertainment, with Connecticut stocking up on "Avengers: Infinity War" Blu-rays and California buying Nintendo Switch consoles.

    See what the top-selling items were in each state:

    SEE ALSO: Dollar Tree and Dollar General have a secret weapon for keeping their prices so low

    Alaska: Coconut Milk



    Alabama: Crayola Crayons



    Arkansas: Instant Pot



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Carlton Dance Fortnite

    • "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star Alfonso Ribeiro — along with rapper 2Milly and Russell "Backpack Kid" Horning — is suing Epic Games.
    • At the heart of the litigation are accusations that "Fortnite" stole dance moves from each of the three.
    • It sounds like the trio of lawsuits is just the beginning. "Every day we're getting calls about what's going on," David Hecht, the lawyer representing three celebrities in their suits against Epic Games, told Business Insider on Thursday. 

    A trio of celebrities are each suing "Fortnite" maker Epic Games for what they say is intellectual property theft.

    At the heart of the litigation is dance moves: Many of the in-game dances that have become a signature of "Fortnite" are based on existing dances. And the three people suing Epic Games claim to have created some of the dances that are in the game.

    Most iconic of all is Alfonso Ribeiro's dance from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"— often known as "The Carlton"— which shows up in "Fortnite" as "Fresh."

    And it sounds like Ribeiro, rapper 2Milly, and Instagram star Russell "Backpack Kid" Horning aren't the only three celebrities looking askance at "Fortnite" maker Epic Games, according to the lawyer representing all three.

    "Every day we're getting calls about what's going on," David Hecht of law firm Pierce Bainbridge told Business Insider in a phone interview on Thursday. "From artists, from other types of people — obviously from people whose likeness appears in the game ['Fortnite']."

    It's not clear who Hecht is referring to, but a quick look through the many dances in "Fortnite" offers a few potential examples.

    Rapper BlocBoy JB, whose dance moves in his video "Shoot" seemingly influenced the "Hype" emote, is openly considering litigation. 

    Whether celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus (whose famous dance appears to have inspired "Jubilation" in "Fortnite") and Psy (whose "Gangnam Style" dance bears a striking resemblance to "Ride the Pony") will pursue litigation with Epic Games remains to be seen, but Hecht says his firm is focusing primarily on two groups: "African-American talent, as well as Korean (K-pop) talent — those are the main groups."

    For now, with potential litigation still pending, Hecht isn't discussing potential clients. "We're evaluating many, many different claims. And it's been very interesting, because people feel very wronged."

    For its part, Epic Games isn't commenting on the ongoing litigation.

    SEE ALSO: A 'Fresh Prince' star is suing 'Fortnite' maker Epic Games, claiming his dance moves were stolen. Decide for yourself with these comparisons of every dance in the game

    DON'T MISS: 'Fresh Prince' actor Alfonso Ribeiro and Instagram's Backpack Kid are the latest artists to sue the creators of ‘Fortnite’ for allegedly copying dance moves to make money

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    NOW WATCH: Why it's so difficult to land a spacecraft on Mars


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

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

    The Future of Payments 2018

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

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

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

    Join the conversation about this story »


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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.

    vrai & oro $110

    If there's any time to treat your loved one to a beautiful and long-lasting piece of fine jewelry, it's the holidays. True fine jewelry made with materials like pure or 14-karat gold (not just gold vermeil, which is gold plated over sterling silver) costs a lot precisely because of its material composition and careful craftsmanship, so it's wise to budget accordingly. 

    Don't stress too much, though. You don't have to spend more than $500 for a durable and pretty bracelet, necklace, pair of earrings, or ring this holiday season. She'll want to wear any of the following pieces every day of the new year. 

    Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard about your last-minute shopping — just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.

    These 25 thoughtfully designed pieces of fine jewelry are sure to impress her — and they all cost $500 or less. 

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

    Mini Gold Letter Charm Pendant

    AUrate Mini Gold Letter Charm Pendant, $300, available at AUrate

    Available in 18k rose, white, and yellow gold 

    You can't go wrong with a subtle personal letter charm necklace. It's wearable at two lengths — collarbone and chest. 



    Duo Ring

    Mejuri Duo Ring, $299, available at Mejuri

    One smooth and one twisted, the complementary rings in this two-in-one piece are forever linked together. 



    Charming Hoops

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    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hair donation

    • I have donated my hair to charity four times.
    • The first two times I chose Locks of Love, the third time I chose Pantene Beautiful Lengths, and the fourth time I chose Children with Hair Loss.
    • Here's what you need to know about donating your hair, including how long it has to be and whether it can be colored.

    The scissors snip together slowly making that unmistakable crunching sound, and 10 inches of hair that I spent two years growing are now gone.

    But the strands didn't just fall to the ground to get swept up and thrown away.

    Instead, my hair is now on its way to Children with Hair Loss, a nonprofit based out of Michigan that gives wigs to children and young adults in the US who have medical hair loss.

    I have donated my hair to charity four times now.

    In my experience, donating your hair is a much more personal gift than sending a check. You're sending a piece of yourself to a kid or adult who has a disease that's caused them to lose their hair.

    The last time around, I still had some major questions about the process.

    Where does my hair go once it's cut off my head? Who gets the wigs? Who makes the wigs? Where do they make them? How many people can it help? Which organization is best?

    Before I made that final cut, I found the answers. Here's what I learned.

    Which organization should I choose?

    The first two times I donated my hair, I sent it to Locks of Love. But hearing they sell wigs to make a profit gave me pause.

    Locks of Love doesn't charge kids for the wigs — but they do sometimes sell the hair if it's too short or grey. Once I dug into why, though, it made sense.

    "Shorter hair will be separated from the ponytails and sold to offset the manufacturing costs. Although the shorter hair cannot be used in the hairpieces, it greatly helps to reduce costs,"the organization says on its website.

    Another FAQ answer reads: "We can accept donations of gray hair. Because we only provide hairpieces to children, we cannot use this hair in a hairpiece but will sell it to offset our manufacturing costs."

    becca hair donation

    The third time I donated my hair, I chose Pantene Beautiful Lengths, an organization that partnered with the American Cancer Society to distribute free wigs to cancer patients.

    But P&G spokeswoman Bilal Lakhani told me the program was shutting down at the end of 2018, after giving tens of thousands of wigs to patients over its 12-year existence.

    "Over the last several years, synthetic hair technology has vastly improved, giving synthetic hair wigs more of a 'real-hair feel', making them lighter, cooler to wear, and easier to style," she said in a statement.

    She continued: "Due to these advancements, patients have told the ACS that synthetic wigs are now their preferred wig choice. This change in patient needs has resulted in decreased demand for real-hair, and the time has come for us to wind down the Beautiful Lengths program."

    So this time around, I asked the ACS to recommend other organizations to donate to. Here's a breakdown of five hair donation nonprofits:

    hair donation charities compared table

    Deciding which organization to donate your hair to is a personal choice. I went with Children with Hair Loss this time because I had 10 inches of hair, I wanted to help kids nationally, and I liked that they don't charge anyone for wigs.

    Read more: I saw brain cancer erase someone I love — and it shows why healthcare coverage is so crucial

    Where does the hair go?

    Once you send your hair in, generally speaking, the organizations process it and send it to a wig manufacturer.

    A Pantene spokesperson told Business Insider in 2016 that once Beautiful Lengths has enough hair donations at its collection location, they would send a shipment to Hair U Wear, one of the largest wig manufacturers in the world.

    Hair U Wear made the wigs at its factory in Indonesia and then shipped them back to Pantene, which gave the well-traveled hair to the American Cancer Society to distribute at its wig banks across the US.

    Hair We Share has a ponytail tracking program where you can donate $125 to find out where your hair ends up. If the recipient is willing, you could even get a photo of them wearing the wig made from your hair.

    Who gets the wigs?

    In 2016, Jessica Melore, 34, described losing her hair as "an outward manifestation of being sick." It was a constant reminder that her body was fighting cancer — in the drain when she took a shower, on her pillow when she woke up.

    After finishing chemotherapy for her third bout with cancer, she said getting a wig was an important boost for her wellbeing, making her feel like herself again.

    "It's a little bit of sadness like, 'Oh there it goes, I'm on my way to being bald,'" Melore told Business Insider in 2016. "But you have that reassurance that the wig is there and you feel good about it."

    Before she lost her hair, Melore donated it and got a wig from the American Cancer Society all in the same day. She broadcast the experience on Facebook Live:

    Patti Allen, the senior director of mission delivery for the ACS of New York and New Jersey, told Business Insider in 2016 that while they have styles for both sexes, mostly women come in for wigs.

    Each ACS wig bank across the country has a salon where cancer patients can come pick out a wig and have it individually tailored by a professional stylist just like Melore did.

    "It's not one size fits all. My hair is not like somebody else's hair. We really try to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible," Allen said. "It's hard enough that they're going through treatment that has altered their lifestyle. The wig is the least thing that we can do to try to make them feel a little bit better about what they're going through."

    How can I donate?

    hair donation

    Each organization has slightly different donation requirements, which you can find on their websites, or in the graphic above.

    Hair We Share and Children with Hair Loss both accept colored or grey but not highlighted hair over 8 inches.

    Locks of Love and Pink Heart Funds both take hair colored or grey but not over-processed or bleached hair over 10 inches.

    Wigs for Kids will take grey, but not dyed, hair that is at least 12 inches long.

    You can stretch curly hair out to reach the minimum length, but the shortest layers have to meet that number or they probably won't be used.

    Make sure you put the hair in multiple ponytails or rubber bands before you cut it so it stays together when you send it in. It actually takes about 10 to 12 ponytails to make one wig.

    If you watch the first Facebook Live video embedded in this story, you can see how my stylist segmented the hair before he cut it.

    The hair has to be completely dry before you send it, too, so it doesn't get moldy. They have to throw hair away if it is.

    Ask your hair salon if they will give you a discount or even cut your hair for free if you're donating it. Wigs for Kids has a search function on their website to find a salon that works with them.

    How can I get a wig?

    While many of the 650,000 cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy every year in the US are able to grow their hair back after they complete treatment, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that can cause permanent hair loss.

    Over 6.8 million Americans have alopecia or will get it at some point in their lives, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, and it often begins in childhood.

    If you have cancer, alopecia, or another medical affliction that has caused you to lose your hair, reach out to the organizations to see if you can get a wig. Only some of them offer wigs for adults, so keep that in mind if you need one and are over 18 or 21.

    And if you're donating, no matter which organization you choose, your hair can help someone who no longer has theirs.

    "I had been familiar with the American Cancer Society through their fundraising activities and the research that they do," Melore said. "But [it was comforting] to know that there was this whole other side that is dedicated to supporting you and making you feel like yourself, which is I think part of the whole experience, too, because it ties in with your whole sense of wellbeing. This is such a wonderful service."

    This story was originally published in January 2016, when the author donated her hair for the third time. It has been updated with new information.

    SEE ALSO: From Time's Up to the Tree of Life Synagogue victims, these are the 10 GoFundMe campaigns that raised the most money in 2018

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