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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Blackout)

    For the first time in years, the new "Call of Duty" has something truly new: a Battle Royale mode, along the lines of "Fortnite" and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds."

    It's still got traditional multiplayer modes like Control and Deathmatch, and the fan-favorite "Zombies" mode, but the big addition in "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" is the Battle Royale mode: Blackout.

    In a surprising twist, the "Call of Duty" version of the insanely popular Battle Royale game type is a fresh, innovative take on Battle Royale— rather than the copycat mode that many were expecting. It's so good, in fact, that "Fortnite" and the rest of the Battle Royale competition could take a few cues from Blackout. 

    SEE ALSO: The new 'Call of Duty' has a surprisingly fantastic Battle Royale mode aimed directly at 'Fortnite'

    1. The Blackout map is still huge, but it's small enough to easily traverse the entire thing in a match.

    The vast stretches of open world you'll find in games like "Fortnite" and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" ("PUBG") don't really exist in the "Call of Duty" Blackout mode.

    Instead, it's pretty easy to run from major area to major area while stopping on the way for supplies in various abandoned houses and gas stations. 

    Blackout's one map is a collage of major "Call of Duty" multiplayer maps, all stitched together:

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Blackout)

    The speed at which you can run from one area to the other means less time spent running in terror in the wide open, hoping against the odds that no one's spotted you through the lens of a sniper rifle.

    2. The vehicles, especially the ATV, are far better and easier to drive than in any other Battle Royale game.

    There are two main land-based vehicles in "Blackout": the ATV seen above, and a large-ish flatbed truck. Both are delightful in their own ways.

    The ATV is incredibly fast and versatile. Sure, you're out in the open, but you're going to so fast (and able to hop off just as quickly) that the risk if well worth the reward. And if you're playing in duos? Your buddy can hop on the back and fire at fools while careening over yet another hill.

    In the case of the truck, it's like driving a mobile bunker. Pull up to a house, hop out of the driver's seat and into the flatbed: Voila! Instant cover! 

    In both cases, vehicles are able to traverse vast swaths of the map. No gas required (like "PUBG") and no wonky driving physics (also like "PUBG"); no friend required to push the shopping cart (like "Fortnite").

    3. The "Quick Equip" function is a game changer for Battle Royale on consoles.

    One of the worst things about "Fortnite" is how needlessly complicated its controls are. Just swapping between weapons is needlessly complex, to say nothing of learning how to drop items and build.

    Blackout smartly streamlines those systems into a simple "Quick Equip" menu.

    At any time, simply tap up on the d-pad and you'll see a quick and easy way to access your entire inventory. From here, you can quickly add attachments to weapons, switch consumable items out for other consumable items, and use perks (I'll get those in a moment). 

    And, given that we're talking about a Battle Royale game, inventory rapidly expands throughout each match — thus, having the Quick Equip function is a real game changer. You don't have to be a pro to quickly swap grenade types! Hooray!

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Houston Texas

    • Renting is the most popular it’s been in the last 50 years in the United States.
    • Apartment List reports the median cost of rent for a two-bedroom apartment every month in the largest cities in the United States.
    • In October, a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is almost double what it costs for a two-bedroom in Los Angeles.

    Renting is the most popular it’s been in the last 50 years in the United States. About 37% of American households are renters, according to Pew Research statistics.

    Apartment List reports the median cost of rent for a two-bedroom apartment every month in the largest cities in the United States. Six cities in Texas made the list. 

    According to the October report, the national rent index fell by 0.1% month-over-month and rent growth is cooling off after the summer months. However, Orlando, Florida, is seeing the fastest rent growth with a 4.6% increase in the last year. 

    Below, see how much it costs to rent a two-bedroom in the 25 biggest US cities in October 2018, ranked from least to most expensive.

    SEE ALSO: The salary you need to comfortably afford a 2-bedroom apartment in the 25 biggest US cities

    DON'T MISS: Forget New York — millennials are better off in these 30 US cities, where they're paid well and can afford to buy a home

    25. Memphis, Tennessee

    Median rent: $825

    Month-over-month change: -0.10%

    24. El Paso, Texas

    Median rent: $826

    Month-over-month change: -0.10%

    23. Louisville, Kentucky

    Median rent: $845

    Month-over-month change: 0.20%

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Cpl. Sunsette Winsler

    (This story was originally published in June 2017)

    A US Marine Corps photographer recently took some portraits of Marines assigned to the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

    The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group "support[s] maritime security operations, provide[s] crisis response capability, and increase[s] theater security cooperation while providing a forward naval presence in Europe and the Middle East,"according to the Navy. 

    The photographer, Sgt. Matthew Callahan, took portraits of Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Kuwait and in Romania, as well as the Marines' Romanian counterparts with whom they were training. 

    Check out his photos below: 

    SEE ALSO: NATO snipers have been performing high-angle shooting way up in the Austrian Alps — and the images are stunning

    Pfc. Ken Sicard, a rifleman assigned to Lima Co., 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, poses at Camp Beuhring, Kuwait. He said his uncle, who has since passed away, worked to put his three kids to college. In honor of his uncle, Sicard said he puts a portion of every paycheck in a savings account for his cousins.

    US Marine Cpl. Rachel Warford is part of the Female Engagement Team, which is deployed with male infantry units and tasked to help communicate with local families and women.

    Cpl. Sunsette Winsler, a military working dog handler assigned to 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, poses at Camp Beuhring, Kuwait. "I knew I was going to be a Marine when I was 12 years old," she said, despite what her mom imagined. "I didn’t tell [her] for about two months," after enlisting.

    Winsler and her military dog, Bella, have been together “since day one,” she said. “I got to train with Bella for six weeks, certify her, bring her to the fleet and stay on her. I am her first handler and she’s my first dog. I have to rely on her for my life and she has to rely on me for everything else.”

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    prince harry meghan markle official tour

    On Tuesday, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry kicked off their 16-day royal tour through Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand.

    Throughout the next two weeks, the couple will focus on youth leadership, as well as environmental and conservation efforts, during their official visits to cities like Sydney and Auckland.

    The duke and duchess' trip also lines up with the upcoming Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded and recovering veterans and active servicepeople.

    Created by Prince Harry, the games have been held annually since 2014. This year's event will begin on Saturday and end with a closing ceremony on October 27.

    Below, see all the standout moments from Harry and Markle's royal tour so far.

    On Tuesday, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry started their tour with an official visit to Sydney, Australia.

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were welcomed at Admiralty House by the governor-general of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and his wife, Lady Lynne.

    Their official visit to Sydney came one day after Kensington Palace announced that the two are expecting their first child together.

    For the occasion, Markle chose a chic white dress by Australian brand, Karen Gee, and beige Stuart Weitzman heels — one of the first looks at her maternity style.

    The duchess is reportedly about 12 weeks along in her pregnancy, according to People, and is due to give birth in spring 2019.

    The couple then attended the launch of the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning.

    The duke and duchess were there for the official opening of the facility, a living lab for conservation education and research.

    The couple met a koala at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.

    The pair spent some time with Rubi, the mother of two koalas who were named after the duke and duchess.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Nintendo Switch

    Up until recently, I was on the fence about the Nintendo Switch.

    Apart from the great games, getting a nice little discount on a used unit that's been refurbished by Nintendo itself helped push me over the edge.

    I found Nintendo's own refurbished standard Switch consoles on eBay for $265, which makes for a $35 discount off the $300 price tag of a brand-new unit. 

    After taxes, I paid $281 for the refurbished Switch, versus the $317 I would have paid after taxes on Amazon. That's a tidy little $36 discount. Those in the US know that taxes can vary, so my particular example might not apply to those outside of Connecticut where I bought the Switch. 

    It doesn't seem like much, but it's an extra $36 to spend on games or a microSD card to expand on the Switch's paltry 32GB of onboard storage. I could get this $35 200GB microSD card for tons more games, for example.

    All in all, I'm happy I didn't spend the extra $36 to buy a new Nintendo Switch, which would have felt like $36 wasted after knowing how good the refurbished units are — especially since you get Nintendo's factory one-year warranty with refurbished units, too. 

    And much like my experience with a used MacBook Pro I bought refurbished from Apple itself, it felt like I got my used Nintendo Switch from Nintendo rather than the previous owner. 

    Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Nintendo seems to have raised the price of a refurbished Switch from $265 to $275 on eBay. Still, I'd say it's worth the discount over buying a brand new model. It really doesn't seem necessary to buy a brand new model when refurbished units are so good. 

    Check out the used Nintendo Switch I bought that was refurbished by Nintendo itself:

    SEE ALSO: Buying a MacBook Pro from Apple's Refurbished Mac store was the best decision I made when getting a new computer

    The console came in a brown packaging box, which contained a white refurbished Nintendo Switch box.

    Inside the box, everything was properly packaged and wrapped in plastic. It looks like the packaging of a brand-new device. On the box, it says the unit was cleaned, tested, and inspected. 

    It included everything that comes with a new Nintendo Switch, including the Switch console itself, the dock, two controllers, a controller adapter, an HDMI cable, a USB-C power brick, and the strap accessories for the remote. 

    The Switch console itself came in perfect condition.

    There were no signs of scratches, blemishes, or that the console had been used at all.

    refurb switch back

    The controllers also arrived in perfect condition.

    There was no indication that anyone had used these controllers before, at all. If they aren't new, they could easily pass as brand-new. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Svart Hotel in Norway

    • Svart Hotel Norway is getting attention for its groundbreaking combination of design and environmentalism.
    • The hotel is set to open in 2021 and will be the world's first energy-positive hotel above the Arctic Circle, meaning it will generate more energy than it uses.
    • Renderings show that the design is a complete circle, and it's set at the base of a glacier.

    Luxury will meet adventure in a remote Norwegian hotel set right at the edge of a glacier.

    If the eye-catching design is not enough, consider its eco-friendly origins — and its broader location: Svart Hotel is set to be the world's first energy-positive hotel above the Arctic circle.

    In fact, according to a press release from the hotel, the hotel, which is a collaboration between Arctic Adventure of Norway, architecture firm Snohøetta, and Powerhouse, will use 85% less energy than a traditional hotel in addition to producing its own energy.

    The hotel will be in northern Norway, in the Meløy municipality at the foot of the Svartisen glacier. For frame of reference, that's about 800 miles north of Oslo, the capital of Norway.

    The location also served as inspiration for the project in more ways than one.

    "Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier," Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner at Snøhetta, said in the hotel's press release.

    Though the hotel isn't set to open until 2021, the zoning plan was approved by the municipality ofMeløy in October, and, judging by its sleek design, it's likely to quickly lodge itself onto lists of hotels everyone has to visit in their lifetimes.

    Here's a look at the project:

    SEE ALSO: This 116-year-old luxury resort may look like a European castle, but it's actually tucked away in the mountains of New Hampshire

    DON'T MISS: I visited a micro-hotel in NYC, where a one-night stay costs more than $300, rooms are half the size of the average hotel, and you have to walk through the bathroom to get to the bed — and it felt way more spacious than I ever expected

    The circular frame of the hotel will extend from the shoreline and into the Holandsfjorden fjord in northern Norway.

    Source: Svart Hotel

    The distinctive shape of the hotel was designed to give guests panoramic views of the fjord.

    Source: Svart Hotel

    The name of the hotel itself is a nod to its surroundings: "Svart" means "black" in Norwegian, which is a tribute to the dark color of the Svartisen glacier's ice.

    Instagram Embed:
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    Source: Svart Hotel

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jesse Owens

    • Sporting events are always going to be a central part of the American experience.
    • American sports bleed into American life, and vice-versa.
    • From college amateurs taking on the world's greatest hockey team to Jesse Owens infuriating Hitler, these are the 10 most patriotic moments in American sports.

    Sporting events are always going to be a central part of the American experience. In the fall, Americans tune in to watch their favorite sports, be it the NFL, MLB, NHL, and even the NBA.

    Every two years, we come together as a nation to support Team USA in the Winter or Summer Olympics. We even sometimes come together to see the USA compete in World Cup play.

    American sports bleed into American life — and vice-versa. From the yellow ribbon tied around the Superdome during Super Bowl XV to remember hostages taken in Iran to chants of "USA" when a crowd in Philadelphia learned about the death of Osama bin Laden, American sports fans and players wear their American hearts on their sleeves.

    SEE ALSO: Here are the 7 times the US has ever held national military parades

    SEE ALSO: The US Coast Guard plays a big role in preventing drug trafficking — here's what happens when they make a bust

    SEE ALSO: Meet the US pilot who hunted Pancho Villa, fought in 2 world wars, and helped kill King Kong

    10. Team USA carries the WTC flag to the Olympics

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    Rarely does a flag presentation at the Olympic Games happen to a quiet crowd. But as eight members of Team USA, flanked by members of the NYPD and New York Fire Department, marched the flag of the host country into the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, you could hear a pin drop.

    The flag they carried was found in the rubble of ground zero and had flown atop the World Trade Center in New York when the buildings were attacked on September 11, 2001. It was under the debris for three days before being found and given to the National Guard.


    9. Rulon Gardner defeats the undefeated

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    For a decade, Aleksandr Karelin was the world's dominant super heavyweight wrestler. By the time the 2000 Olympics rolled around, Karelin (aka The Russian Bear, aka Aleksandr the Great) hadn't been defeated in a match since Russia was still called the Soviet Union — even then, that was his only loss. Then, he faced off with a dairy farmer from Wyoming.

    8. Mary Lou Retton wins a gymnastic first

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    A little girl from West Virginia dealt a stunning blow to the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Before Retton, Team USA was never able to wrest Olympic Gold from Eastern Europe in the Individual, All-Around Gymnastics event. She came into the event trailing Romania's Ecaterina Szabo.

    In Retton's own words, she believes her performance showed that American-born and trained athletes can do anything — no matter what the odds are.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    spring place nyc


    My first thought upon walking into Spring Place was that I didn't feel cool enough to be there. 

    Tucked away on a secluded side street in New York City's trendy Tribeca neighborhood, the hip members-only club opened in May 2016 and has since become a popular destination for fashion influencers, celebrities, and other creatives. Guests at its opening party included Leonardo DiCaprio and Victoria's Secret models, according to The Daily Beast.

    Spring Place doesn't share how many members they have, but they did share with Business Insider that the largest percentage of those members — 18.6% — work in fashion. Another 17.8% work in media and communications, and 10.9% of members work in luxury and consumer goods. Other industries represented include tech, finance, film, art, music, philanthropy, and more.

    Spring Place is set to open their second location in Beverly Hills at the end of October 2018.

    A spokesperson for the club described it as "a collaborative workspace and membership club connecting work, leisure, and entertainment for the community of global professionals and entrepreneurs in the business of shaping contemporary culture. Members are talented professionals looking for a flexible working environment with a unique service offering a strong network to expand their business."

    I took a tour of Spring Place — here's what it's like.

    SEE ALSO: What it's like inside the ultra-exclusive club that counts Roger Goodell, Anthony Scaramucci, and Wall Street billionaires as members

    I had trouble finding Spring Place because it's tucked away on St. Johns Lane, a tiny side street in Tribeca between Varick Street and 6th Avenue. Google Maps did not seem to want to direct me to the right spot.

    Source: Spring Place

    After a few minutes of wandering around, I found the entrance, which struck me as unassuming yet sophisticated.

    Source: Spring Place

    The entryway was sleek and shiny, all black and gray tones. I was greeted by my tour guides, who showed me how to check in on an iPad, and then whisked me away to the elevator.

    Source: Spring Place

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    soyuz ms 10 rocket launch flight photographers expedition 57 crew nasa reuters 2018 10 11T091619Z_1854069770_RC17A46851B0_RTRMADP_3_SPACE STATION LAUNCH.JPG

    • With volatility back in the stock market, investors will be well-served to identify stocks that have the potential to outperform, while hedging their downside risk.
    • Analysts at Goldman Sachs looked into options contracts to glean which stocks traders are making the most bullish bets on.   

    If the past few days have demonstrated anything, it's that volatility is back in the stock market and could remain through the end of 2018.

    This makes it important for investors to gain exposure to stocks that could experience an end-of-year surge, coupled with strong hedges

    The options market is ideal for doing that, and analysts at Goldman Sachs have examined contracts expiring in January 2019 to glean what traders are making big bets on for the rest of this year.

    They compiled a list of stocks that are among the cheapest to hedge on the market, as measured by three-month skew — or the difference between the premium options traders are paying to protect against price declines over the next three months relative to bets on increases.

    "Very low levels of skew in options suggest investors are buying upside calls [options contracts betting on rallies] into year-end, or are less worried about downside risks," a team of analysts led by Katherine Fogertey said in a recent note to clients. 

    "As an example, options for Humana (Buy-rated) now reflect 3m normalized (put-call) skew is at its lowest level in a year. While shares are up 36% year to date, option investors appear to be positioning for the potential that recent outperformance can continue."

    The list below shows stocks that options investors are betting will see huge gains by the end of the year. It's ranked in descending order of their three-month-skew percentile. As Fogertey noted, low skew means traders are less worried about risks, which implies greater upside.

    SEE ALSO: Global investors haven't been this bearish on the economy since the financial crisis — and Bank of America says there's only one way to play it

    Navistar International


    Year-to-date total return: -13%

    3-month skew: 0.07

    Percentile: 6

    Source: Goldman Sachs

    14. Ford


    Year-to-date total return: -24%

    3-month skew: 0.06

    Percentile: 6

    Source: Goldman Sachs

    13. Ralph Lauren


    Year-to-date total return: 25%

    3-month skew: 0.09

    Percentile: 6

    Source: Goldman Sachs

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    apartment for rent san francisco

    Renting is getting less expensive for people living in the largest US metropolitan areas.

    In September, rents declined on an annual basis in more than half of the nation's 35 largest markets, the first time in six years, according to data from Zillow. Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington saw the biggest drops at 2.7% and 2.2% respectively. 

    "For renters, slower rent growth is welcome news and will put more spending money in their already stretched pockets," Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas said.

    He added: "Rents remain high by historic standards, but September's modest annual decline in rents should ease some of the pressure pushing higher-income renters to buy."

    Zillow's conclusion is based on its Zillow Rent Index, which tracks monthly median rent in particular geographical regions based on a consistent stock of inventory.

    The list below, based on the Zillow Rent Index, highlights the 11 cities in America where rents fell the fastest in September, ranking from the least to the most.

    San Antonio, Texas

    September rent change YoY: -1.1%

    September Zillow Rent Index: $1,330

    Source: Zillow

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    September rent change YoY: -1.2%

    September Zillow Rent Index: $1,195

    Source: Zillow

    St. Louis, Missouri

    September rent change YoY: -1.2%

    September Zillow Rent Index: $1,139

    Source: Zillow

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    lord & taylor 1074

    • Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, announcing it would be closing 142 Sears and Kmart stores and beginning liquidation sales at those locations immediately. 
    • Sears isn't the only department store that has struggled recently. Macy's and JCPenney have also had to close stores in recent years.
    • There are a number of reasons why department stores are struggling, including that consumer habits are shifting towards online shopping as mall foot traffic declines. 

    Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, announcing it would be closing 142 Sears and Kmart stores and beginning liquidation sales at those locations immediately. 

    The bankruptcy filing comes after years of crippling sales declines. 

    "Over the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our business and unlock the value of our assets," Sears' then-CEO, Eddie Lampert, said in a statement. "While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired, and addressing the Company's immediate liquidity needs has impacted our efforts to become a profitable and more competitive retailer."

    Lampert stepped down as CEO on Monday but will stay on as chairman of the company's board. 

    Sears isn't the only department store that has struggled recently. In early 2018, both Macy's and JC Penney announced that they would be closing a number of struggling stores, and Lord & Taylor announced that it would be closing up to 10 stores, including its iconic flagship on New York's Fifth Avenue. 

    There are a number of reasons why department stores are struggling, including that consumer habits are shifting towards online shopping as mall foot traffic declines.

    Here's a closer look at why department stores have been floundering:

    SEE ALSO: We visited a Sears store on the day the company filed for bankruptcy, and it felt like a ghost town. Here's what it was like shopping there.

    DON'T MISS: We visited a Kmart store the day after Sears filed for bankruptcy, and it was a mess. Here's what it was like shopping there.

    The rise of e-commerce has played a major role in the decline of department stores.

    Department stores are being forced to face up against giants like Amazon and Walmart, and many are coming up short in their e-commerce offerings.

    Source: Business Insider

    Macy's, JC Penney, Sears, and Lord & Taylor are all closing stores.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    shop rite 1215

    • ShopRite and Stop & Shop are two grocery chains with a large presence on the East Coast. 
    • ShopRite has just under 300 stores and is owned by a private company, Wakefern Food Corp. 
    • Stop & Shop has more than 400 stores and is owned by Ahold Delhaize, which also operates Giant, Hannaford, and Food Lion. 
    • Both stores offer online ordering and grocery delivery services. But after shopping at both stores, we found that one offers much better deals than the other. 

    ShopRite and Stop & Shop are two grocery chains with a large presence on the East Coast. 

    ShopRite, with just under 300 stores in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, is owned by Wakefern Food Corp. According to Wakefern, which is a privately owned company that doesn't release sales information, most ShopRite stores are family-operated stores. 

    Stop & Shop operates more than 400 stores throughout New York, New Jersey, and New England, and it is owned by Ahold Delhaize, the Dutch company that also operates Giant, Hannaford, and Food Lion. In its second-quarter earnings release, Ahold Delhaize CEO Frans Muller said, "In the United States, comparable sales growth excluding gasoline was -0.1%, or 1.0% adjusted for the timing of Easter. Volumes at Hannaford and Food Lion remained positive but were challenged at the other US brands." 

    ShopRite and Stop & Shop both offer online ordering and grocery delivery, through the ShopRite from Home and Peapod delivery programs, respectively. 

    When we visited both stores, we found that although one was more difficult to shop at, it actually offered better deals.

    See which grocery store we thought was better: 

    SEE ALSO: We visited Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Joann to see which was a better arts-and-crafts store, and there was a clear winner

    The first store I visited was a ShopRite location in Scarsdale, New York.

    Produce was at the front of the store.

    There were apples for $1.29 ...

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    People walk past debris in Arhab, north of Sanaa, Yemen in January 2013 after a Houthi bomb was dropped during a fight against Sunni tribesmen.

    Planning for safe travel usually includes leaving contact information and knowing whether it is safe to drink the water — but for some countries, the US State Department suggests more dramatic measures be taken. 

    For some countries, travelers may want to consider drafting a will and designating beneficiaries. And for the most dangerous destinations, State even suggests leaving a DNA sample with a medical provider — just in case.

    Drum-Cussac, a risk assessment and management company, recently published its 2019 World Risk Map, which compiles data in five categories to assess travel risks. 

    The main factors include political, security, medical, infrastructural, and environmental risks. Within these categories, countries are assessed for threats such as terrorism, access to medical care and clean water, violence and crime, and political stability. 

    The map provides an overall assessment for every country in the world; here's a look at the top ten.

    10: Burundi

    Sharing its borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania, Burundi is considered politically unstable and vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

    The CIA has noted the nation's "non-democratic transfers of power," pointing to a history marred with assassinations, a brutal 12-year civil war, and controversial 2015 election that included a failed coup. 

    Travelers to Burundi face risks of malaria and cholera with limited access to healthcare and the threat of petty crime, according to Drum-Cussac. The US State Department urges travelers to reconsider Burundi as a destination, noting "crime and armed conflict."

    9: Democratic Republic of Congo

    Democratic Republic of Congo ranks as Drum-Cussac's most environmentally risky travel destination.

    Armed groups have littered the nation with landmines and unexploded ordnance, and the country suffers from flooding and landslides during its rainy season.

    The US State Department also warns travelers to reconsider traveling to DRC due to "crime and civil unrest."

    8: Iraq

    The US State Department recommends not to travel to Iraq due to "terrorism and armed conflict."

    Drum-Cussac also points out the country's crumbling infrastructure, a devastating result of decades of war and sanctions.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused competitor to Google Search that doesn’t collect or share your search history or clicks. 
    • I switched to DuckDuckGo for one week, and learned to appreciate some aspects like fewer advertisements, comparable search results, and an easy-to-navigate settings page. 
    • I did miss Google's layout — especially the "Top Stories" thumbnails that appear at the top of the search results page— and I often wondered if I was actually getting the best possible results with DuckDuckGo. 
    • Ultimately, I didn't find the privacy features of DuckDuckGo compelling enough to permanently make the switch from Google.

    Back in the day, there were options when it came to search.

    Choosing between AOL, Yahoo, or Alta Vista kind of just depended on your mood that day. And then came Google, and a clear search engine king was crowned. 

    The ubiquity of Google search today is astounding. In September, Google powered over 86% of desktop searches worldwide, according to Statista. 

    However, with personal privacy becoming more of a concern — especially the Google+ fiasco that led the company to shut down its less-than-beloved social network — perhaps search is headed for a shakeup. 

    If any privacy-focused search engine is going to rival Google Search, it might be DuckDuckGo. With 800 million daily direct queries as of this September (up 33% from last year), the search engine named after the children's game appears to be gaining some real traction. In fact, it's a profitable business.

    Beyond not tracking my every move (DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or share your search history or clicks), there were some other aspects I learned to appreciate like less advertisements, comparable search results and an easy-to-navigate settings page that allowed me to freely switch between themes.

    I tested DuckDuckGo for one week, completely locking myself out of Google search to see if I could survive on this more privacy-focused alternative.

    Here's what I found. 




    Privacy is the main selling point for DuckDuckGo. The Google search alternative doesn’t track your search history, the time or location of your search, or your Internet address — a stark contrast

    However, I didn’t feel the privacy features at work a ton in my day-to-day usage of the product. Typically, privacy isn’t an issue until it’s an issue; it's not something you care about when you're just trying to find information and get stuff done.

    One cool privacy feature was the ability to see the number of ad trackers blocked on each website I visited. On the, for instance, DuckDuckGo was able to block 13 trackers for me.

    After checking out this feature a couple of times, though, I forgot it was there and wasn't thinking about how many trackers were being blocked for every website I visited. 

    There were fewer ads on DuckDuckGo, providing a cleaner (and less creepy) experience. Fewer ads also made the platform feel more secure. Although when searching for ad-bait terms like “cheap flights,” DuckDuckGo still returns a number of ads as top search results. Hey, they have to make money somehow.

    As TechJunkie reports, though, having “true” privacy online is almost impossible. Even though search engines like DuckDuckGo help keep things private on your computer, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can still access your search history.

    If complete privacy is of utmost importance to your browsing on the web, TechJunkie suggests the Tor browser.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Canon EOS-R

    DSLR cameras have been at the forefront of photo technology for two decades now.

    But a newer kind of photo gadget is starting to challenge DSLRs for the lead — mirrorless cameras.

    You might not know exactly what they are, but you've probably heard of them, because they're hot in the photo world right now. Whether you should buy one or not, though, depends on your needs as a photographer or videographer. 

    Here's how mirrorless cameras compare to traditional DSLRs: 

    SEE ALSO: Google's new Pixel 3 smartphone has an upgraded camera system that can take better night photos, automatically pick your best shots, and maybe even replace your selfie stick

    How is a mirrorless camera different from a DSLR?

    The big difference between a mirrorless camera and a DSLR comes from how their image sensors and viewfinders work.

    Image sensors are the chips inside cameras that capture the photograph by detecting and recording the light coming into the camera. Viewfinders, meanwhile, are the part of the camera that you look through to compose a shot; they typically include a small optical lens are are placed at the top of the camera.

    DSLRs use a mirror system, which bounces the light coming through the main camera lens up to the viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the camera flips the mirror out of the way and the image sensor is exposed to light. The advantage of the mirrors is that they allow you to see frame a shot precisely the way the image sensor will record it.

    As their name suggests, mirrorless cameras don't have a mirror. Instead, their image sensors are continuously exposed to light. Because they lack mirrors, mirrorless systems tend to be significantly smaller than DSLRs.

    Most digital cameras, such as point-and-shoot ones, are technically mirrorless, so they generally don't look like DSLRs. But many of the mirrorless cameras that have the latest advances perform, operate, and resemble DSLRs.

    How do you compose a shot on a mirrorless camera?

    Many mirrorless cameras feature a digital viewfinder, which displays what the image sensor is seeing. This works a lot like an optical viewfinder on a DSLR, but you're looking at a small screen instead of a reflected image.

    The digital viewfinder works similarly to the live-view feature found on many contemporary DSLRs. That feature uses a rear LCD screen to display what the sensor is seeing in real time.

    Like DSLRs, many mirrorless cameras have a large LCD screen in addition to their viewfinders. So when you compose a shot, you have your choice of screens.

    One advantage of digital viewfinders over the optical ones on DSLRs is that they will give you a pretty good idea of what the final shot will look like before you shoot it, taking into account your exposure settings in real time. An optical viewfinder, by contrast, will only show what the scene looks like to your eye.

    Mirrorless systems have a big drawback due to their digital viewfinders.

    The one big downside of a digital viewfinder is it weighs heavily on battery life. It takes a significant amount of energy to power the viewfinder's display, something you don't have to worry about with the optical viewfinder on a DSLR. As a result, the battery in a mirrorless system will typically drain faster than in its DSLR counterparts, at least when shooting still images.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Woman disgusted by laptop

    Facebook revealed last week that hackers got access to the sensitive personal information of as many as 30 million users, causing many to rush to delete their accounts and protect it from any further breaches. 

    But Facebook is definitely not the only website on the Internet that has a chock-full of data stored on you.

    Even if you were one of the lucky Facebook accounts to be spared (you can check if you were affected here), it's possible that any of the other major websites, apps, and services — Amazon, Apple, Google, even Snapchat — could be next.

    The only way to ensure your sensitive data can't be compromised is by removing your information from the Internet entirely. In other words, if you're really worried about protecting your data from any future is the time to delete your account.

    Here's how to delete your accounts for many of the major websites, apps, and services:


    By deleting your account, you will remove everything you've ever put on Facebook— profile information, photos, status updates, timeline posts — but it doesn't include messages sent via Facebook Messenger.

    However, it will take 30 days for your account to actually be deleted. This "grace period" used to be 14 days, but Business Insider reported in early October that Facebook raised it to a month to give users an opportunity to reactivate their account if they get cold feet.

    If you don't want to lose everything you've put on Facebook, there is an option to download a copy of all your information. But you have to request this archive before deleting your account, and you'll have it sent to you via email — if you delete your account before requesting the archive, you're out of luck.


    Twitter maintains a 30-day "grace period" similar to that of Facebook. You have to first deactivate your account, and then wait a month to completely delete your account and all its information. 

    The option to deactivate is found at the bottom of the "account" page in Settings. Like Facebook, you can also download all your data before deleting your account.


    Although Snapchat is a phone app, you'll need to visit Snapchat's website on an Internet browser to completely delete your account. Simply removing the app from your phone will not delete your information.

    On Snapchat's website you can access the accounts portal, where you can then log into your account to delete it. Snapchat will also first deactivate your account for 30 days in case you change your mind, and also offers you the opportunity to download your data before you delete your account.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Halloween Makeup

    Dressing up on Halloween isn't for everybody. 

    Some people have to go to work and can't wear a costume, while others simply don't have the time to create an intricate outfit. But if you still want to be festive on the holiday, you can try wearing a bold makeup look instead.

    For example, you can go all out and draw a mask of your favorite superhero using face paint, or you can go a little more subtle and stick with graphic eye makeup. To help you decide what to wear, we've rounded up 13 Halloween makeup looks that you can wear instead of a costume.

    Relive your favorite '90s memories with this beauty look.

    Created by makeup artist Nia Mulan, this makeup look will give you the perfect excuse to sing your favorite '90s songs all Halloween night.

    To recreate it at home, stock up on some neon eye shadow, bright lipstick, and black liquid liner. To create the classic '90s shapes across your cheeks, use highly pigmented eyeliner pencils to draw squiggles, triangles, and any other geometric shapes.

    You can dress as a clown without the full costume.

    Makeup enthusiast Kaitlyn Belin created a look that puts a pink glam twist on the traditional clown look. To wear this style, simply brush pink eye shadow on your forehead down to your cheeks in a C-motion.

    Use that same shadow to coat your eyelids, and draw triangles above and under each eye with a purple eyeliner pencil. You can create the rest of the look with drugstore face paint.

    Scare all your friends this Halloween by drawing giant spiders on your face.

    Makeup artist Emma Gooding cleverly used a classic smoky eye to create spiders on each side of her face.

    If you'd like to try this look at home, use an eyeliner pencil in any color to draw eight legs stemming from each eye. To make it extra bold, pair a dark lip liner with a lighter lipstick to create an ombré effect.

    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.

    limited edition october main

    Limited-edition products and collaborative collections are the way to a loyal customer's heart.

    Whether they want to celebrate a particular time of the year or reach new audiences by linking up with another company, brands hope to create hype and stay top-of-mind for customers with these exclusive releases. It can be as simple as introducing a new color option, or as involved as enlisting the influence of a celebrity and creating an entire collection around them. 

    We love seeing how brands get creative throughout the year, so we've rounded up the best limited-edition products and collections worth shopping every month. 

    In October, we're seeing a lot of cold weather-inspired scents and colors, nostalgia-driven designs, and pop culture references that everyone will get.

    These 14 limited-edition products won't be in stock for long, so act quickly and grab them while you can:

    Goby gold electric toothbrush

    Gold Electric Toothbrush, $80 (with subscription) or $95, available at Goby

    This luxe gold toothbrush isn't just pretty to look at. Goby's toothbrushes feature a gentle oscillating brush head with soft bristles, a built-in two-minute timer, and a long-lasting battery that only requires two charges a month. You can receive new brush heads periodically for only $6 each. 

    Otherland Manor House Weekend candles

    Manor House Weekend Candle, from $36, available at Otherland

    There's no better time than fall and winter to light up a candle. All three of Otherland's newest limited-edition candles will set the appropriate mood. Sun Suede is light and leathery, Cardamom Milk is warm and spicy, and Tapestry is dark and smoky. 

    Allbirds fall and winter sneaker colors

    Men's Limited Edition Sneakers, $95, available at Allbirds

    Women's Limited Edition Sneakers, $95, available at Allbirds

    The newest colors to add to your Wool and Tree sneaker collection include French Fry, Kauri Marine Blue, and Fiddle Leaf. Limited-edition colors at this popular startup typically go fast — make your fall fashion update sooner rather than later. 


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kim Kardashian mermaid costume

    The Kardashian-Jenner family is known to go all-out when it comes to their fashion, and this is especially true when it comes to Halloween

    While the whole family tends to pull out all of the stops, Kim Kardashian West really outdid herself in October 2017 when she wore a whopping five costumes inspired by musical icons like Cher and Selena.

    For Halloween the year before that, in 2016, Kylie Jenner made a splash with her Christina Aguilera-inspired outfit, while sisters Kendall, Kourtney Kardashian, and Khloe have also sported elaborate, accurate looks for the holiday over the years.

    Here are 16 of their best Halloween looks to date.

    In 2008, Khloe dressed up as a cop while Kim wore a flapper-style outfit.

    The two went for totally different costumes, yet still managed to coordinate.

    In 2010, Kim put her spin on the classic Little Red Riding Hood costume.

    She wore the costume to Heidi Klum's Halloween party, where the supermodel is known to wear some intricate costumes.

    Also in 2010, Kim took a selfie wearing a semi-sheer, leopard-print bodysuit.

    She wore a headband to match.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Apple Watch Series 4

    The Apple Watch packs a surprising amount of tools into a tiny package.

    From messaging to productivity to advanced fitness tracking, the Apple Watch has something for everyone.

    But not every Apple Watch feature is obvious from the get-go. Apple has filled the watch — which is now on its fifth iteration, the Apple Watch Series 4— with neat tricks and helpful tools to make using the watch a lot easier. And now that the latest version of Apple's smartwatch operating system, WatchOS 5, has arrived, there are even more cool tricks (as long as you have an Apple Watch Series 1 or newer). 

    So whether you're new to Apple Watch or a longtime user, here are 23 tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Apple Watch. 

    SEE ALSO: 11 reasons you should buy an Apple Watch instead of Fitbit's new $200 smartwatch

    1. You can use your Apple Watch to find your iPhone if it gets lost.

    The Apple Watch can send out a pinging noise to help you find your iPhone if you misplace it. To access that feature, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the button that looks like a ringing phone. 

    If you need a little extra help finding your device, press and hold the button to make your phone's flash go off. 

    2. You can customize your Apple Watch's face.

    Apple makes it easy to customize your watch face. Once you find a face you like, press and hold in the center of it — Apple calls this Force Touch. You should then see a button that says "Customize."

    You'll then be able to change the color of the face, or add different widgets like weather, your calendar, music, or workouts. 

    3. You can set your watch to turn off Do Not Disturb when you leave a specific location.

    If you have to head to an important meeting and don't want to be annoyed by your wrist constantly buzzing, Apple's "Do Not Disturb" feature is incredibly handy.

    In WatchOS 5, Apple did you one better: You can now set your watch to turn off "Do Not Disturb" as soon as it sense you've left a specific location. 

    To do this, swipe up from the bottom to access the Control Center. Then, scroll down until you see the crescent moon that signifies the "Do Not Disturb" feature. Tap on that, and scroll down until you see the option for "On until I leave." 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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