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    george hw bush

    • Former President George H.W. Bush, who died at 94 last Friday, was a one-term president with a consequential legacy both abroad and in the US.
    • As president from 1989 to 1993, Bush built a reputation as a gentle and charming leader with a penchant for wacky socks and endearing love letters.
    • He also led controversial invasions in Central America and the Middle East that left lasting impacts on the regions and oversaw a growing AIDS epidemic and a crack down on drugs in the US. 

    Former President George H.W. Bush, who died at 94 last Friday, was a one-term president with a consequential legacy both abroad and in the US.

    As president from 1989 to 1993, Bush built a reputation as a gentle and charming leader with a penchant for wacky socks and endearing love letters. A decorated Navy pilot, he played an outsized role in world affairs — leading a controversial invasion into Panama in 1989 and authorizing the Persian Gulf war in 1991. He also oversaw the heightening crisis of the AIDS epidemic and fought a War on Drugs and a steep increase in incarceration. 

    Here are 7 things you might not know about the 41st president's time in office: 

    SEE ALSO: Republicans are stripping power from incoming Democrats in Wisconsin and Michigan

    The notorious Willie Horton ads

    Bush's legacy is tainted in the view of many Americans by his association with a series of deeply controversial campaign ads that attempted to paint his Democratic opponent, then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, as soft on crime during the 1988 presidential election by blaming the governor for crimes committed by a black prisoner. 

    At the time, rising crime was at the forefront of American voter's minds, asdrug-related violence was a common occurrence in major American cities.

    Willie Horton was a convicted murderer serving a life sentence who was permitted to leave prison in June 1986 via a weekend furlough program in Massachusetts that Dukakis supported as governor. Horton absconded during his time out of prison and in April 1987 raped a white woman and stabbed her white fiancé, according to The Washington Post.

    Supporters of Bush seized on these sentiments by creating ads, produced by Bush's campaign manager Lee Atwater and Fox News founder Roger Ailes, that either alluded to or directly referenced Horton's story, while Bush regularly referred to Horton on the campaign trail. 

    John Haltiwanger contributed reporting.



    Vomiting on the Japanese Prime Minister

    During a 1992 state banquet in Tokyo, Bush became ill between courses of salmon, caviar, and grilled beef, and vomited into the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa before passing out and falling backwards. 

    First Lady Barbara Bush rushed over as did the president's Secret Service agents — one even leapt over the long dinner table. Bush was quickly revived, stood up, smiled, and shook Miyazawa's hand before excusing himself. 

    The incident was later mercilessly parodied on Saturday Night Live. 



    Cutting ties with the NRA

    Bush severed ties with the National Rifle Association in 1995 after the gun advocacy group's Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called law enforcement and Secret Service agents "jack-booted thugs" who were stripping Americans of their constitutional rights. 

    Bush condemned LaPierre's statement, which the organization did not retract after criticism, calling it a "broadside against Federal agents."

    "You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre's unwarranted attack," Bush wrote. "Therefore, I resign as a Life Member of NRA, said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    A U.S. Army AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopter, assigned to the 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, flies in front of a wall of fire during the South Carolina National Guard Air and Ground Expo at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, May 6, 2017.

    There's one big difference between a military attack helicopter and a military transport helicopter: one carries a lot of guns, and the other carries a lot of weight. 

    And the US Army AH-64 Apache and Russian Ka-52 Alligator are generally considered to be the two best military attack helicopters in the world (with the Russian Mi-28N arguably in a close third). 

    The Apache first flew in 1975, and has since been upgraded several times, with the newest variant being the AH-64E. 

    The Alligator, on the other hand, first flew in 1997 and is a successor to the Ka-50 Black Shark. 

    Here's how they match up. 

    SEE ALSO: The 9 best military attack helicopters in the world

    SEE ALSO: We climbed into an Apache helicopter's cockpit and saw why it's one of the most difficult aircraft to fly

    PERFORMANCE: The Ka-52 has a top speed of 196 mph, a maximum altitude of 18,044 feet and maximum range of 683 miles.

    Source: airforce-technology.com



    The Apache's newest variant has a top speed of 188 mph, a maximum altitude of 20,500 feet and maximum range of 299 miles.

    Source: US Army, Telegraph



    DESIGN: The Ka-52 has two three-blade counter-rotating rotors, making it extremely maneuverable. Russian media even claims it can pivot 90 degrees on the spot.

    Source: The National Interest



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    IP gift guide banner

    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.

    jl

    When picking out your daily outfit, socks are probably not top of mind. If you're anything like me, you've bought a multi-pack and left them buried deep in a drawer and in mismatched pairs — if they're even in pairs at all. You'll probably just grab whichever ones are at the front of the drawer.

    This makes the idea of giving or receiving socks as a gift seem a little lackluster, but socks don't have to be boring.

    More and more companies are beginning to sell socks made with high-quality materials and innovative features, and in really fun colors and patterns. Still, lots of people don't want to spend the money on these socks for themselves, which is why they make such a great gift.

    Also, can you ever really have enough socks?

    If you want to gift someone socks this holiday season, or are hoping to get them yourself, here are seven brands you should check out:

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

    Bombas

    Shop Bombas, starting at $12, here

    The brains behind Bombas spent two years obsessively researching, testing, and developing their product to create a sock that was rid of all common sock-related inconveniences. Bombas has thoughtful additions to make sure they're the most comfortable socks you'll wear. For example, their ankle socks are equipped with a tab to prevent blisters, and their calf socks use stay-up technology to make sure they stay put. The company even makes fun holiday packs for the family.

    Beyond the thoughtful innovations to their socks, Bombas is thoughtful about their mission — for every pair of socks sold, Bombas donates another pair to someone in need. They make a great gift for someone who wants something simple, but could use an upgrade.



    HappySocks

    Shop Happy Socks, starting at $10, here

    Take a look at its site and it's clear that HappySocks doesn't take itself too seriously. From smiley faces and polka dots, to hot dogs and four leaf clovers, HappySocks has a huge variety of socks covered in unique designs. HappySocks even has holiday themed socks and curated gift boxes. The company also frequently collaborates with other brands and icons for limited edition styles. Right now you can find limited edition styles inspired by Andy Warhol, The Beatles, Stutterheim, Wiz Khalifa, and Keith Haring. Anyone with eccentric style will love adding a pair of these to their wardrobe.



    United by Blue

    Shop United by Blue Socks, starting at $12, here

    United by Blue is an outdoor brand that makes giving back to the outdoors as much a part of its mission as making great products. As a certified B-Corp, they take pride in making goods that are durable and responsible. One of our favorite picks are the Ultimate Bison Socks ($38) that use a blend of merino wool and bison down. The bison down is one of the coziest materials our feet have felt and it keeps our toes toasty on freezing days, but the merino wool helps to regulate temperature so that our feet don't overheat — or get sweaty. If you're shopping for someone who lives in or will be travelling to a particularly cold climate, these socks make a thoughtful gift. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Puppies

    • Rover surveyed 1,500 pet owners to determine the top dog names for this year.
    • Using people names for dogs was a popular trend, with Max and Bella topping the list.
    • Celebrity and pop culture character names were also super popular, and the name Cardi rose 1,250%.

    For six years Rover, a dog walking and pet sitting network, has been tracking top names for dogs in the US. Their findings for 2018 are illuminating, as more and more people are giving their dogs "people" names or naming their dogs after celebrities or pop culture characters.

    According to Rover's survey of 1,500 dog owners, 36% of dog names are also human names, and 33% of pet owners named their dogs after a TV, movie, video game, or book character.

    This year's popular movie names came from films like "Black Panther" and "Avengers," whereas names from the TV show "Westworld" and the video game "Fortnite" were also high on the list.

    Need inspiration or just want to see if your pooch is on trend? Read on.

    The most popular male dog names include some top baby names.

    The top 10 boy names for dogs are Max, Charlie, Cooper, Buddy, Jack, Rocky, Duke, Bear, Tucker, and Oliver.

    Rover reported that half of those are also on Baby Center's top baby names for the year.



    Four of the most popular female dog names are also top baby names.

    The top 10 girl dog names are Bella, Lucy, Luna, Daisy, Lola, Sadie, Molly, Bailey, Maggie, and Stella.

    Stella, Lucy, Bella, and Luna are also in the 100 most popular names for baby girls.



    A ton of people named their dogs after celebrities.

    The top five celebrity dog names are Luna, Stella, Jack, Milo, and Leo.

    The popularity of Jack and Milo could come from the TV show "This Is Us," where Milo Ventimiglia plays the popular character Jack. Meanwhile, Stella McCartney's in good company with the many pooches given her moniker, as is Leonardo DiCaprio.

    Of course, these names could have been chosen for other reasons besides the celebrity in mind. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    donald melania trump air force one texas harvey

    • The prestigious title of president of the United States comes with benefits and perks that are just as luxurious.
    • US presidents earn a $400,000 salary while in office, but that's not the only financial perk.
    • Presidents also have access to a country home, a personal plane, a helicopter, and a post-presidency pension.

    Besides having the most prestigious title in the United States, presidents have several perks that lift a financial burden off their shoulders. 

    US law requires the president of the United States to be paid a salary while in office. According to Title 3 of the US code, a president earns a $400,000 salary and is still on government payroll after leaving office. The president is also granted a $50,000 annual expense account, $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.

    While sitting presidents and former presidents receive several perks that last beyond their time in office, like security and health insurance, wardrobe budgets are not included. Presidents and their families usually do not receive or accept clothing as a "gift" from designers, like celebrities on the red carpet. If a piece is accepted as a gift, it is immediately housed in the National Archives after being worn.

    Aside from a prestigious title and global recognition, take a look at the financial perks that come with being the most powerful person in the US.

    SEE ALSO: 14 rooms in the White House you probably never knew existed, including a music room, chocolate shop, and bowling alley

    DON'T MISS: Over 200 years, only 10 people have ever died inside the White House — here's the full list

    A six-figure salary

    Congress raised the presidential salary from $200,000 to $400,000 in 2001 (plus an extra expense allowance of $50,000 a year). For President Trump, that is a huge decrease from his usual income — he's worth $3.1 billion according to Forbes.

    The president also receives a travel budget of $100,000 and a $19,000 allowance for entertainment. While a presidential salary is taxable, the other bonus benefits are not, according to the US tax code



    A famous address

    The White House has housed US presidents since 1792. The estate has six floors and 132 rooms, including a bowling alley and chocolate store, Business Insider's Mark Abadi previously reported. One of the rooms is a fully equipped fitness center with a tennis court and swimming pool.



    Redecorating allowance

    Presidents and their families are given $100,000 to redecorate the White House to feel more at home. The Obamas did not accept the allowance to redecorate and used their own funds instead, according to Candace Keener on How Stuff Work's podcast "Stuff You Missed In History Class." 

    NBC News reported that Trump's administration spent $1.75 million on new furniture, wall coverings, and a desk, though it's unclear if Trump paid out-of-pocket.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Maple Syrup00023

    • We sampled seven brands of maple syrup to find out which one tastes the best.
    • The brands we tried were Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth's, Hungry Jack, Log Cabin, Super A, 365 Everyday Value, and Trader Joe's.
    • 365 Everyday Value, and Trader Joe's were the only two syrups that were actually maple syrup.
    • Hungry Jack won in the non-maple syrup category and 376 Everyday Value won in the maple syrup category.

    No pancake or waffle breakfast is complete without a hearty helping of maple syrup drizzled on top.

    While we've already provided you with a guide to the best boxed pancake mix, we're now helping you pick the tastiest syrup as part of an ongoing INSIDER taste test series.

    The brands we sampled were:

    • Aunt Jemima
    • Mrs. Butterworth's
    • Log Cabin
    • Hungry Jack
    • Super A
    • Trader Joe's
    • 365 Everyday Value

    Trader Joe's and 365 Everyday Value were the only syrups we tried that were actually maple syrup. The five others are labeled simply as syrup, something that we kept in mind during our tasting.

    Keep scrolling to read our thoughts.

    We bought all seven syrups at grocery stores in New York City, spending anywhere from $2.69 to $7.99 per bottle.



    To avoid sipping syrup straight from the bottle, we decided to sample the syrups with Eggo waffles — the ideal combo.



    We started with a classic: Aunt Jemima's. This syrup was fairly standard. It was sweet, but didn't have a strong maple flavor.

    Aunt Jemima's consistency fell squarely into the middle — it was neither overly thin nor thick.

    Price: $5.99



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    London UK

    Mastercard has released its annual Global Destination Cities Index, which measures the rise and fall of travel to and within 162 cities around the world.

    The ranking measures visitor volume and spend to forecast the growth in visits to those cities in 2018.

    This year saw Bangkok retain the top spot from last year, which is unlikely to change due to a strong projected growth of 9.6% this year.

    Meanwhile, Dubai came out on top in terms of visitor spending — the average visitor spends $537 a day in the Middle Eastern city.

    Scroll down to see the 20 most visited cities in 2018,, ranked in ascending order by the projected number of international visitors in 2018.

    SEE ALSO: These will be the 15 most popular cities for tourists by 2025

    20. Bali, Indonesia — 8.43 million international visitors.



    19. Osaka, Japan — 8.78 million international visitors.



    18. Barcelona, Spain — 9.06 million international visitors.



    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.

    best streaming service

    • After you cut the cord, you’ll have more than a dozen options for streaming services you can use, all with varying channel lineups, on-demand offerings, live TV programming, and price points.
    • Think about your favorite TV shows and channels, and then try to find the best streaming service — or two or three — that meet those needs, while staying in your budget.
    • We break down the best streaming services to help you choose. Our top picks include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Hulu TV, DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, HBO Now, Starz, and more.

    Depending on how much you love TV, cutting the cord may be a difficult choice. For example, if you have a Homer Simpson love of TV, the suggestion of cutting the cord would cause off-the-chart, red level panic … at least if there were no backup plan.

    Streaming TV is that backup plan. With streaming TV, you’ll still receive many of your favorite channels and programs, just without the big bills of cable and satellite TV. After all, the average monthly cable or satellite TV bill costs $85 to $100, according to USA Today.

    Think of a streaming TV service as a skinny version of traditional pay-TV services from cable and satellite providers. You won’t receive all of the channels and perks you receive with a cable or satellite subscription, but you’ll save some money on your overall bill, as long as you have all of the equipment you need.

    Streaming services also allow you to start and stop the service at any time, whereas not all live TV allows that. Some satellite and cable TV providers also still require you to sign a long-term service contract, and most streaming services don't force you into a contract. We’ve broken down the 15 best streaming services to help you make the right choice for your particular needs, but first, a word on how streaming services work.

    How do streaming services work?

    Whereas cable TV signals enter your home through a dedicated line and satellite TV signals enter it over the air, streaming TV services enter your home through your internet connection.

    You need reasonably fast internet speeds of at least 25 to 50 Mbps to use streaming services, and if your TV is not a smart TV, you need a streaming stick or box like the Roku Streaming Stick, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, or another streaming stick (You can read all about the best streaming sticks and boxes here).

    Streaming services typically costs less than a full TV subscription, even though they offer many of the same channels and on-demand video options. Some streaming services also offer live TV functions, though not all do.

    The New York Times says the best way to figure out whether streaming services are for you is to ask yourself which shows and channels you’re most interested in watching. List all of your favorites, and then look for a service that matches your list.

    What kinds of TV shows, movies, and videos do streaming services offer?

    Streaming services come in many forms. Some, like Netflix, offer only pre-recorded, on-demand shows and movies, while others, like YouTube TV, offer live TV programming. Others offer both live TV and on-demand shows.

    • Live TV: A live TV streaming service carries popular channels you’re already familiar with through your cable or satellite TV subscription. Live TV streaming services have current TV shows available as they air and they often offer some on-demand content, too. Examples include Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now.
    • On-demand: On-demand streaming services give you the option of watching old TV shows and movies that may have debuted anywhere from a few days before to a few decades ago. These services don’t give you access to specific channels, but access to specific shows. If your favorite show is on AMC at 9 p.m. on Sunday, you cannot watch it live with an on-demand streaming service. Examples include Netflix, Hulu (non-live version), and Amazon Prime Video.
    • Channels as streaming services: Just like you can add HBO, Showtime, Starz, and other premium channels to your cable or satellite TV service, so, too, can you add these channels to your streaming services. Their most popular content often isn't available on other streaming services, so these channel-specific services act like add-ons. Examples include HBO Now, Showtime, Starz, ESPN+, and CBS All Access.

    As content providers start running their own streaming services, they may pull their content from other services. If Company X starts its own streaming service, pulling a popular sports channel and a popular kids channel off all other streaming services, are you going to subscribe to Company X’s service, canceling your other subscription?

    As we outline the 15 best streaming services below, understand that these services are constantly changing. They are adding and losing programs and channels, changing prices, and offering different sign-up perks. So continue checking back for the latest information.

    Here are the best streaming services:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best streaming service for original shows

    Why you'll love it: Netflix delivers an enormous catalog of on-demand content — including a lot of your favorite TV shows and movies — ad-free.

    Netflix has come a long way from the service that would mail DVDs to your home. This popular streaming service hasn’t yet jumped on the live TV bandwagon, but with its success in delivering on-demand TV shows and movies, it probably doesn’t need to.

    Netflix has invested heavily in original programming, giving you new shows that you can’t find anywhere else, like "Stranger Things" and "Orange Is the New Black." Granted, not all of the original programming is as good as those two options, but there are a lot of genres covered. You can also find a god number of international shows on Netflix. 

    Netflix has a few different subscription tiers, including $7.99 for SD video on one screen, $10.99 for HD video on up to two screens simultaneously, and $13.99 per month for 4K video on up to four screens simultaneously. You get a free trial month to test Netflix before you have to pay.

    Pros: Good price point for all of the on-demand and original programming you’ll receive, great price if the entire family is using it across multiple screens

    Cons: No HD quality video on lowest tier, no live TV channels

    Get Netflix for $7.99 for SD video on one screen, $10.99 for HD video on up to two screens simultaneously, and $13.99 per month for 4K video on up to four screens simultaneously (1-month free trial)



    The best streaming service for Amazon Prime subscribers

    Why you'll love it: Amazon Prime Video carries quite a few popular on-demand shows, including some exclusive options like "Preacher" and "Vikings," as well as Prime simulcasted Thursday Night Football from the NFL. 

    Amazon delivers many original shows, such as "The Man in the High Castle" and "The Romanoffs." It also has many popular TV shows and movies that aren't on other services.

    Many shows are free with the subscription, but you also can rent movies and TV shows through Amazon Prime as an add-on to your monthly cost. You can also add premium channels like HBO, Starz, and Showtime to your Prime Video app with add-on subscriptions.

    Best of all, Amazon Prime subscribers get Prime Video as one of many perks, including two-day shipping on Amazon purchases, select music from Prime Music, unlimited photo storage, and more.

    We highly recommend that you sign up for an Amazon Prime membership to get access to Prime Video instead of subscribing to the service and paying for it separately, which costs more at $12.99 a month.

    Pros: Original content options, big library of on-demand movies and TV shows, multiple perks

    Cons: Very limited live TV options, some programs cost extra

    Sign up for Amazon Prime to get Prime Video, free 2-day shipping, and more (30-day free trial) — $119 per year

    Get Amazon Prime Video for $12.99 per month (30-day free trial)



    The best streaming service with originals and live TV

    Why you'll love it: Hulu has had a popular on-demand TV service for several years, providing access to archived TV shows, but it now has a live TV service, too.

    The new Hulu with Live TV provides access to the same Hulu on-demand TV shows and movies viewers already like, but you'll also get a series of live television channels.

    Hulu with Live TV has a nice collection of channels, including the Disney-owned channels, History, HGTV, FX, Bravo, A&E, and more. It is missing AMC, the Viacom channels, and Discovery, though.

    If you already love Hulu, you’ll probably want to give its live streaming service a shot. Because it is relatively new, this service may undergo quite a few changes over the next 12-18 months, so keep checking back for new features and channel additions.

    Here’s something else to watch with Hulu: Disney’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox will give Disney a 60% ownership stake in Hulu. This could mean big changes for Hulu going forward.

    Pros: Reasonable price for what you receive, includes the already existing on-demand Hulu service in the price

    Cons: Missing some key channels like AMC and Nickelodeon

    Get Hulu with Live TV for $39.99 per month (7-day free trial)

    Get Hulu without live TV for $5.99 per month for the first year an then $7.99 per month



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Zach Randolph and Stephen Curry

    For the second-straight season, Stephen Curry is the NBA's highest-paid player.

    But not all teams pay their top players the way the Golden State Warriors pay Curry or the way the Los Angeles Lakers pay LeBron James.

    In all, 11 players are making at least $30 million this season, and 26 teams have at least one player making at least $20 million. And then there are the Sacramento Kings who have nobody making $12 million.

    Below we take a look at this season's highest-paid players on every team and how their contracts break down, with data provided by Spotrac.

    30. Zach Randolph, Sacramento Kings — $11.7 million

    Position: Power Forward

    Contract:years, $24.0 million

    One thing to know: By the end of this season, Randolph will have made $197 million in his career. That is one of the 20 highest-paid players of all time.



    29. Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks — $18.1 million

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Contract:years, $70.0 million

    One thing to know: Bazemore is expected to pick up his player option for next season at $19.3 million. The rebuilding Hawks would like to move the contract but have been unsuccessful so far. The Rockets, Pelicans, and Bucks showed interest in trading for Bazemore during the offseason.



    28. Allen Crabbe, Brooklyn Nets — $18.5 million

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Contract:years, $74.8 million

    One thing to know: Crabbe has a player option for the 2019-20 season he will likely pick up. The Nets probably want to trade Crabbe, but will have a hard time finding somebody to take a player who is now scoring 8.1 points per game and has seen his eFG% drop from 57.2% to 42.4% in two seasons.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    girl reading a book

    • As 2018 comes to a close, the new year is looking exciting.
    • Your favorite authors are back, along with some new ones to pull you in.
    • INSIDER collected all the new book releases of 2019 for you to enjoy.

    This year might be coming to a close, but there's a lot to look forward to in the new year, especially when it comes to the literary world. If you've been searching for your next favorite book, you won't have to wait too much longer January and February are packed with new releases by some of your favorite authors and a few new writers you'll quickly fall in love with.

    From romance novels to more serious dramas that touch on our world's current political climate, there's going to be something for everyone to read in the new year.

    Here are some of the most highly-anticipated books coming out in 2019.

    "The Au Pair" by Emma Rous is out on January 8.

    If you can't get enough of a good thriller, you'll want to grab this book when it hits the shelves. It follows Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny as they try to solve the mystery of their mother's alleged suicide. Along the way, Seraphine discovers a photo of her mother taken on the day of their birth, but there's only one baby in it, leading to even more mystery.

    You can order the book on Amazon here.



    "An Anonymous Girl" by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is also out on January 8.

    Another psychological thriller worth reading is from the duo who wrote "The Wife Between Us." This one is about Jessica Farris, who volunteers for what she thinks is an innocent psychology study only it turns out to be a manipulative Q&A, leaving her paranoid and scared.

    You can order the book here.



    "The Dreamers" by Karen Thompson Walker will be out on January 15.

    You won't have to wait long to get your hands on Walker's latest novel (she previously wrote the bestselling book "The Age of Miracles"). This book is about a strange illness in a Southern California college town that causes its victims to fall into a deep sleep that they can't be woken up from, even though they still have intense dreams.

    You can buy the book here.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    christmas family

    • Christmas is one of the best times of year.
    • The holiday season is full of traditions, which is part of what makes Christmas so special.
    • For example, Christmas Day isn't complete without sipping hot chocolate in festive pajamas.
    • Watching holiday movies is another must-do Christmas activity. 

    Whether you're staying home or traveling for Christmas, there's no doubt that the holiday season is one of the best times of year.

    Christmastime is full of festive traditions, like decorating gingerbread houses and opening advent calendars. Whether or not you celebrate the religious aspect of the holiday, there are certain things you should always do to make sure you have the best season yet. 

    Frolic in the snow, no matter your age.

    Whether you go skiing or sledding or even just take a walk around your neighborhood, there's nothing quite like a white Christmas to make you appreciate winter.



    Get creative with your gift wrap.

    Sure, one of the main events of Christmas is opening gifts, but part of the fun beforehand is wrapping them. 



    Spend time with loved ones.

    Christmas is the perfect time to gather with friends and family to enjoy each other's company while you exchange gifts. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    productivity headphones man desk work

    • When it comes to being more productive, there are many time-saving skills you can adopt.
    • You can work in 30-minute increments, for example, or attempt to eliminate distractions for set periods of time.
    • Here, career experts share 15 ways to be more productive and manage your time better.

     

    There are countless ways to be more productive. Making "to-do" lists and working in 30-minute increments are two common approaches. However, some productivity methods work better than others and can save you time in the process.

    "These days, we feel like we have less time than ever and in some very real ways, we do,"Erica Keswin, a workplace strategist, former executive coach, and author of the book "Bring Your Human to Work," told Business Insider in an email. "Because of 24/7 technology and the barrage of ‘to-dos' that come at us via email and text, it's hard to keep our priorities straight."

    Keswin said the key is being more careful about what you want to pay attention to. "Otherwise, we're very likely to get sucked into the wrong — or most immediate — things," she said. "I always tell people to start by asking yourself this one important question: ‘Does your calendar reflect your values?'"

    Here, career experts share their 15 favorite tips on how to be more productive and manage your time better. (Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.)

    SEE ALSO: 13 ways you can be happier at work, according to career experts

    1. Plan the night before

    Before going to bed, I always take time to prepare for tomorrow. I look at my schedule and see what appointments I have or deadlines I need to meet. I prep the coffee maker and sometimes make my "to-do" list the night before. A little planning goes a long way.

    Marcos Jacober, CEO ofLife Hacks Wealth and expert on real estate investment



    2. Wake up earlier

    When you wake up early, you have more time to plan and get organized for the day ahead. Completing tasks on your "to-do" list early on frees up time later in your day. By the time I get to the office at 7:30 a.m., I've already looked at my schedule, grabbed Starbucks, and attended a fitness class.

    —Ben Gold, president of QuickBridge, a privately-held financial services firm



    3. Figure out your main goal or objective

    Decide what your main goal or objective is — think long-term. The main reason people lose track of their time and day is because they don't have a clear objective or goal. So if something comes across your desk that doesn't jive with your goals, it's a pretty firm and easy, "No,""Not right now," or "Someone else is better suited to handle this."

    Tom Murry, the retired CEO of Calvin Klein



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    Disney at Christmastime is the most magical place on earth.

    • Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.  
    • From enjoying the festive music and movies to donning ugly Christmas sweaters, there's no wrong way to celebrate the holiday.

    No matter how you slice it, Christmas lives up to its name as the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you're decorating your home with Christmas lights or visiting famous holiday decorations, there's no shortage of ways to celebrate. 

    Even if you don't love winter, there are plenty of holiday foods and traditions that will help keep you warm.

    Keep reading for 15 reasons why Christmas is the best time of year. 

    Your whole town gets *lit.*

    If the dreary winter weather has got you down, beautiful Christmas light displays will be sure to cheer you up. 

    From the elaborate department store holiday windows in New York City to outrageous light displays in small towns all over the country, there's nothing quite like festive decorations to get you in the holiday spirit. 



    You get to jazz up your entire home. From Christmas trees...

    Once you find the perfect Christmas tree, stringing up lights and decorating it with ornaments will instantly bring loads of holiday cheer to your home. Plus, it smells delightful.



    ...to gingerbread houses.

    Making a gingerbread house is super fun... and delicious.



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    Bill Gates book

    • We've rounded up Bill Gates' many book recommendations in 2018.
    • Over the past year, Gates gave his stamp of approval to more than 20 titles, including two books on meditation.
    • In addition to science and data-driven stories, the list features popular books like Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime, and John Green's Turtles All the Way Down.

    Bill Gates isn't shy about recommending a book. As an avid reader, he's given his stamp of approval to hundreds of titles, including some unlikely beach reads.

    This year alone, he's highlighted more than 20 books that captured his attention or expanded his worldview.

    Read more:Bill Gates reveals his 5 favorite books he read in the past year

    In typical Gates fashion, the list features non-fiction titles about artificial intelligence and global inequality. But it also features some surprises, like two books on meditation and Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime.

    Whether you're searching for a gift or simply want to add to your collection, here are the books Gates thinks you should read. 

    "Bad Blood" by John Carreyrou

    Business Insider readers will no doubt be familiar with Bad Blood. It's the story of Theranos, a blood-testing startup that deceived its investors, patients, and business partners into thinking its technology actually worked.

    When Elizabeth Holmes founded the company at just 19 years old, it attracted huge investments and catapulted her to worldwide fame. Then the Wall Street Journal broke the story that the company was faking test results, leading to the closure of its labs and testing centers. Holmes and her former business partner, Sunny Balwani, are now facing jail time on fraud charges.

    The book's author, John Carreyrou, spoke to Business Insider earlier this year about how Theranos was able to pull off the scam.

    "I think Elizabeth lost sight of the fact that her company wasn't a computer software company," he said.

    Gates called the story "a cautionary tale about the virtues of celebrity" and a lesson for Silicon Valley.



    "Army of None" by Paul Scharre

    Paul Scharre's book, Army of None, explores a timely and important question: Why should we put computers in charge?

    In an age when autonomous weapons can be programmed to wipe out human targets, Army of None makes the case for combining artificial intelligence with our own judgment, so that no algorithm can make the final call on a human life.

    Gates said the book filled a void in his canon.

    "My first attempt to educate myself on autonomous weapons was a bust," he wrote. "I read a book that was dry and felt really outdated. Then a few months ago I picked up Army of None...It's the book I had been waiting for."



    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    Fans of the Netflix documentary Wild, Wild Country will enjoy Tara Westover's memoir, Educated, the story of a woman raised in a Mormon survivalist home. As a child, Westover grew up under the influence of her conspiracy theorist father, who believed that doomsday was upon them.

    Despite never having stepped foot in a classroom until age 17, Westover was able to study enough to gain admission to Brigham Young University. From there, she earned a Gates Scholarship (a fact Gates himself discovered upon reading her book), which brought her to Cambridge University.

    Her tale is one of trauma, separation, and, ultimately, self-discovery. It also touches on the polarization in America between red and blue states, rural and urban areas, and college-educated citizens versus those without a higher degree.

    When Gates spoke with Westover about this subject, she had this to share: "I worry that education is becoming a stick that some people use to beat other people into submission or becoming something that people feel arrogant about," she said. "I think of [it] as this great mechanism of connecting and equalizing."



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    GettyImages 1068714490

    • A memorial service was held for President George H.W. Bush at Washington National Cathedral Wednesday morning. 
    • The event was attended by all living presidents and their wives, as well as politicians from both sides of the aisle and foreign dignitaries. 

    Politicians from both sides of the aisle, foreign dignitaries, and all living presidents descended on Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday for the funeral of President George H.W. Bush. 

    The 41st president died last Friday at the age of 94. The Wednesday service is the first presidential state funeral since Gerald Ford died in 2006. 

    With so many important people expected to attend the event, including President Trump, attendees had to get to the church early for security reasons, which left plenty of time for mingling and awkward run-ins, which were caught on camera. 

    There were also touching moments as the Bush family mourned together the loss of their patriarch with speeches and salutes. 

    Continue for more moving photos from the service. 

    SEE ALSO: Obama and Trump have a chilly but civil reunion at George HW Bush’s funeral

    DON'T MISS: 7 things you might not know about the George HW Bush administration

    Because attendees had to get to the church early, there was plenty of time for socializing.

    Joe and Jill Biden are seen speaking with Jared and Ivanka Trump before taking their seats.



    There were a good amount of across-the-aisle conversations as well, like this one between former CIA Director John Brennan, left, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, right.

    Brennan has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration.



    Vice President Mike Pence was seen rubbing elbows with the Obamas.



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    woman women thinking

    • Valuable life lessons come to you through the challenges of lived experience.
    • You might think you understand what adulthood is all about in your early twenties, but life still has many hard truths in store for you.
    • Here, author Christine Kopaczewski details seven life lessons she's learned over the course of her twenties.

     

    Let's face it — adulthood is challenging.

    Between juggling a real job, rent, and relationships, the post-college years can be a tough pill to swallow.

    I've been there, and as I'm writing this (in my late twenties) I'm still working through a new set of growing pains every week.

    But, if I could go back and shed a little light on hard-earned "adult"wisdom to my 20-year-old self, here's what I would say.

    SEE ALSO: 15 ways to be more productive and manage your time better, according to career experts

    Everyone is on their own timeline.

    You've probably heard that you shouldn't compare yourself to your siblings, cousins, friends, and etc. a million times before, but I'm going to reiterate this point because it's the one I still struggle with most. While I'm content with where I am right now, I still have to fight back the urge to compare myself to my colleagues and former classmates on a weekly basis.

    The fear of falling behind the pack or not being where you'd thought you'd be can be crippling and hard to escape with Instagram feeds reminding you every second of every day that someone's doing better. My advice? Put your blinders on, stay in your own lane, (maybe cut back on the IG?) and keep trekking ahead. You'll get to where you're meant to be in time.



    When it comes to friendships, choose quality over quantity.

    When I was younger I had a full-blown squad. You could find me with at least a dozen others at any given time. Those are fond memories, but as I get older I've realized that some friends are better than others, and that's okay. Instead of spreading myself too thin keeping tabs on a squad, I devote my time, energy and late night phone calls to my three best friends.

    As you get older and head in different directions, it quickly becomes clear which friends are going to be your "college friends" and which ones are going to be your "lifetime friends." Cherish both but don't beat yourself up for not keeping in touch.



    Being laid off isn't the end of the world.

    The 1980s ideal of landing a steady job post-graduation and working your way up the ladder until you become a boss doesn't exist. Sorry to burst that bubble. Companies face financial struggles, people get laid off, and you might end up unemployed for a little while.

    I was, and so have a number of my colleagues and friends. The key takeaway? Never let a job define who you are as a person. Jobs come and go but there's only one you. You can survive it all.



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    california cobb

    • The keto diet can be challenging to keep up with, but popular chain restaurants have some meals that are particularly keto-friendly.
    • Here, two registered dietitians take you through 10 of the best keto meal options at chain restaurants.

     

    Life on the keto diet can be challenging as you carefully track macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. But eating out isn’t something you have to completely eliminate.

    What follows is a list of keto-friendly meals at popular chain restaurants, vetted by Jonathan Valdez, registered dietitian and media spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Pegah Jalali, MS, CDN, and registered dietitian at Middleberg Nutrition.

    Jalali told Business Insider that keto, a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein diet, is not for everyone.

    "If someone is pursuing keto, they should work with a healthcare professional who understands the diet and can help keep patients safe and thriving," Jalali said. "Keto has many side effects, and if patients want to do it long-term, they need to be closely monitored."

    Though the following chain restaurant meals tick the boxes when looking at carbohydrate, fat, and protein content (the recommended ratios of which will differ from person to person), it's also important to note that it's probably best to limit how often you're consuming these items.

    "Food quality is really important, especially on keto when the diet is so high in fat as some fats can be very inflammatory," Jalali said. "Restaurant foods tend to be overly processed, not good quality, and high in preservatives which can increase the sodium load."

    That said, here are 10 of the best keto meal options at chain restaurants.

    SEE ALSO: 9 things about the keto diet I wish I'd known before starting it

    Garlic shrimp scampi at Red Lobster

    Nutrition facts: 440 calories; 35g fat; 4g net carbohydrates; 24g protein

    Valdez recommended adding four tablespoons of olive oil to achieve a more keto-friendly ratio, as the protein content of the base dish is high compared to the amount of fat. As another option, Valdez suggested the classic Caesar salad with half the amount of salmon plus one tablespoon of olive oil, or with half the amount of chicken plus three tablespoons of olive oil.



    Asian Caesar salad at P. F. Chang's

    Nutrition facts: 410 calories; 30g fat; 17g net carbohydrates; 15g protein

    Order this salad without the wonton croutons to cut the carb content, Valdez recommended, and add two tablespoons of dressing to get more calories from fat. As another option, order the Northern-style spare ribs.

    Jalali recommended eating a half portion here, while adding one tablespoon of olive oil and a half cup of iceberg lettuce for some added fiber. "One of the biggest side effects [of keto] is constipation, as the diet can be low in fiber and fluids, so choosing high-fiber, low-carb foods is very important," Jalali said. "So is drinking plenty of water."



    Chargrilled ribeye (12 oz) at Outback Steakhouse

    Nutrition facts: 890 calories; 68g fat; 0g net carbohydrates; 65g protein

    Modify this dish by eating half of the steak, adding two tablespoons of butter, olive oil, or canola oil (or a blend of these types of fat), and ordering a side of buttered or grilled low-carb, non-starchy vegetables, Valdez said.

    Valdez added that you should request meat servings of around two to three ounces to maintain ideal fat to protein ratios for keto. Jalali pointed to the grilled asparagus as a good vegetable option, and echoed Valdez’s suggestion of modifying protein servings for the steaks and seafood on the menu.



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    Google Glass.

    • Google has dozens of popular hardware and software products. 
    • But there are many Google innovations that have crashed and burned, or slowly petered out over time, like Google Glass and Google+.
    • Here are the 19 Google products that have disappeared for good. 

    Google is known for its collection of wildly popular products, from Search to Maps to Android. But not everything the company touches turns to gold.

    Google Glass was supposed to change the world, but it quickly became a punch line. And remember Google Buzz?

    Now, Google is killing off yet another messaging app, Google Allo. The smart chat app never gained the "traction" Google was hoping for, and it will be sunset in March 2019. 

    Of course, the best innovations are the ones that everybody thinks are doomed to fail, so it makes sense that Google has had its fair share of misses over the years. Still, we counted at least 19 products that have ended up in the Google graveyard (but there are probably more — let us know if we're missing anything).

    Here's a look at some of Google's biggest misses.

    SEE ALSO: What it's really like to work at Google, the best company to work for in the US

    Google Answers was the first project Google worked on and started as an idea from Larry Page. Answers lasted for more than four years but stopped accepting questions in 2006.

    Source: Google



    Lively, Google's virtual worlds, lasted a little over a year. Google said it created Lively because it "wanted users to be able to interact with their friends and express themselves online in new ways," but it just didn't catch on. Lively was shut down in 2008.

    Source: Google



    Google first unveiled Glass in dramatic fashion in 2012, but the device never made it to the masses. Glass came with a high price tag, software issues, potential privacy problems, and it generally looked too nerdy. Google ended consumer sales of Glass in January 2015, but it continues to sell the device to businesses and is working on a new version.

    Source: Business Insider



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    Bride Groom Wedding Dance

    • There's a lot that goes into wedding planning, and getting great wedding photos can be difficult
    • INSIDER spoke to some experts to find out how you can make sure your wedding photos look amazing
    • It's important that you find someone that you trust

    There are so many things that go into planning a wedding and for many brides and grooms, wedding photos are high on that list. Your wedding photos are what you'll look at to remember your big day for the rest of your life.

    Getting great wedding photos, however, can be easier said than done. Hiring the wrong photographer can quickly turn into a disaster, and going into the event with absolutely no preparation could end in disappointment.

    INSIDER spoke with some experts in the industry to find out how you can make sure you get some great shots of your day.

    Figure out what your vision is for your photos.

    The first step to getting excellent photos is to hire a photographer with a style you like, not just someone you know or someone who is affordable. Zola's director of brand Jennifer Spector suggested doing a "deep dive" into a photographer's profile before making any decisions.

    Spector said, "Every photographer's style is different. Some shoot brighter photos, some darker, some are into portrait style; while others focus more on group shots." Get some wedding inspiration, figure out the look you're going for, and go from there.



    Try to meet with your photographer in person before hiring them.

    A photographer isn't the same as every other vendor as Spector said, "You don't have to love your florist, DJ or caterer on a personal level, but you should really like your photographer." Why? Spector explained, "Your photos will turn out more natural if you feel comfortable with the person behind the lens."

    Try meeting with the photographer in person to go over details before signing contracts. If that's not possible, Spector told INSIDER, "definitely ask for references and read reviews online and look at their entire Instagram and Pinterest feed. Social media is a great way to investigate wedding vendors."



    Plan an engagement session before the wedding.

    A lot of couples dismiss the idea of doing an engagement session before a wedding either to save money or to save time, but doing one with your photographer is actually really important. It's also usually included in packages now, so it shouldn't be more money.

    Wedding photographer Kelsey Combe, of Kelsey Combe Photography, spoke told INSIDER that this is a great way to feel out a level of comfort.

    "It's totally worth it because it helps you learn their shooting style, and helps you get comfortable in front of the camera," she said. "Photoshoots are hard most brides and grooms have never done a professional photoshoot before, and it's nerve-wracking being in front of the lens. So an engagement session is a great way to loosen up, get comfy, and calm anxieties prior to the big day."



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    cystic acne

    • Isotretinoin is the prescription acne medication better known as Accutane
    • It can cause some side effects that seem totally unrelated to your skin, like dry eyes, nosebleeds, or thinning hair.
    • Most people tolerate isotretinoin very well, a dermatologist told INSIDER. 
    • If you're struggling with side effects, your doctor can adjust your dose. 

     

    Isotretinoin — the prescription acne pill better known by the now-defunct brand name Accutane — is well-known for its ability to clear severe, treatment-resistant acne. Many patients who take the medicine, typically for a four- to five-month course, experience a prolonged (sometimes permanent) disappearance of their blemishes

    Just like any medication, though, isotretinoin can cause side effects, including some that you might not expect — like muscle pain and dry eyes — given that it's a medicine for the skin. 

    The presence of side effects doesn't mean isotretinoin isn't worth taking. Just about every acne treatment has benefits and drawbacks, and for a lot of acne patients, isotretinoin's side effects are worth the results. 

    Read more: 10 of your most burning questions about Accutane, answered by dermatologists

    "It's very well tolerated, and in many cases is going to be the only treatment that's going to put patients' acne into remission," dermatologist Dr. Kathleen Suozzi, assistant professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, told INSIDER. 

    Still, side effects are a reality of undergoing the powerful therapy. Here are nine that are possible while taking the drug.

    (Note: This isn't an exhaustive list of possible side effects. You can find a more complete list at the US National Library of Medicine website.)

    1. Dry skin and chapped lips

    Sebum, the oily substance secreted by small glands attached to your hair follicles, keeps skin from drying. But an excess of sebum contributes to acne by making dead skin cells stick together inside pores, promoting to the clogs that lead to zits, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. 

    One of the ways the isotretinoin fights acne is by dramatically reducing the amount of sebum the skin produces, Suozzi explained to INSIDER. 

    This means that dry skin and chapped lips are "almost a guaranteed side effect," of the drug, she said. So it's important for isotretinoin patients to slather their skin and lips in moisturizers and emollients. Some cases, however, may require extra intervention.

    "If [chapped lips] are severe, I will sometimes prescribe an ointment that contains hydrocortisone," Suozzi said. "That will help decrease the discomfort."

     



    2. Dry eyes

    Suozzi explained that isotretinoin can affect the Meibomian glands— tiny glands along the eyelid that secrete an oily, lubricating substance. That's why the medicine may cause dry eyes, too. 

    "Some patients that are on isotretinoin might find that their eyes are too dry to even use contact lenses because they don't have that proper lubrication," she said. 



    3. Nosebleeds

    Isotretinoin can also have a drying effect on your nasal mucosa— a.k.a. the tissue that lines your nasal cavity. That dryness may result in nosebleeds. 

    "Your mucosal skin is just like your regular skin, it's just slightly different in its structure," Suozzi said. "[Isotretinoin] affects the thickness of the skin and how it matures. And so the barrier is thinned a bit, which can also contribute to its fragility. The reason you get nosebleeds is because of that dry nasal mucosa."



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