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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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    jake paul logan paul

    • Forbes recently released its list of the highest-paid YouTube stars of 2018, based on data and interviews with industry insiders.
    • The list is exclusively male, and half of the top-earning YouTubers share a focus on video games.
    • Collectively, the 10 top-earning YouTubers take home more than $180 million a year.

    YouTube's impact on pop culture can't be ignored — the platform's top stars become the world's premier influencers, coveted by media outlets and advertisers for their ability to reach tens of millions of followers on a daily basis.

    As influencers become more valuable, many popular YouTubers have been able to turn their personal brands into million-dollar businesses. While the formula for YouTube success varies between channels, the most successful YouTubers have been able to find new sources of income beyond the ad revenue on their videos. For some, that means personal clothing lines and TV appearances, while others have capitalized on their success with sold-out live tours and custom toy brands.

    Forbes recently released its list of the highest-paid YouTubers, based on their earnings from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018.

    Here's how they rank:

    SEE ALSO: A 7-year-old boy is making $22 million a year on YouTube reviewing toys

    NOW READ: PewDiePie will lose his crown as YouTube's biggest star, thanks to India's obsession with Bollywood

    10. Logan Paul — $14.5 million

    Vlogger Logan Paul was YouTube's fourth-highest earner last year. But his personal brand took a tumble after he uploaded a video of a dead body he found in Japan's Aokigahara forest, a location that is notorious for suicides.

    As a result, YouTube removed Paul from the Google Preferred program, impacting his ad revenue. However, his channel continued to rack up subscribers, and he continues to earn income from his personal merchandise and celebrity appearances. Despite the scandal in Japan, Paul was able to increase his earnings by $2 million in the course of a year.

    One of Paul's most watched stunts this year was a pay-per-view boxing match against British YouTuber KSI held in London. The fight ended in a draw, and the internet stars are planning a rematch for next year.

    9. PewDiePie — $15.5 million

    In past years, Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg was, without question, the world's most successful YouTuber.

    But recent scandals accusing the video-game commenter of racism and anti-Semitism have led to a slight decline in his sponsorships. Still, like Logan Paul, PewDiePie managed to increase his overall earnings by about $3.5 million between June 2017 and June 2018.

    PewDiePie still has the most subscribers of any single account on YouTube with more than 73 million, but will likely be overtaken by Bollywood YouTube channel T-Series in early 2019.

    8. Jacksepticeye — $16 million

    Irish video-game streamer Sean "Jacksepticeye" McLoughlin was one of the first YouTubers to be a part of PewDiePie's Disney-sponsored Revelmode network, earning him a giant following.

    While Disney eventually dumped Revelmode, McLoughlin was eventually signed to create original programming for Disney XD, a TV channel marketed toward children and teens. McLoughlin also serves as a host and stage personality for a number of live events and tours in Europe and North America.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    holiday books_2018_001.JPG

    • As an avid reader, Bill Gates often shares his recommendations for the best titles of the year.
    • This year's list includes two books on meditation, a memoir, a cautionary Silicon Valley tale, and an exploration of autonomous weapons.
    • Gates said his 2018 recommendations are particularly gift-worthy, with a little something for everyone.

    For a man that's busy eradicating malaria and redesigning the world's toilets, Bill Gates has a pretty impressive reading schedule. The Microsoft founder-turned-billionaire-philanthropist is known to read one book a week, or around 50 books a year. 

    This year, he's whittled down the list to five favorites, all of which are nonfiction.

    Read more:28 books Bill Gates thinks everyone should read

    Though he's made numerousrecommendations in the past, Gates praised this year's titles as particularly gift-worthy. With subjects ranging from autonomous weapons to meditation, there's a little something for everyone among this year's picks.

    "If you're looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family," Gates wrote on his blog, "you can't go wrong with one of these."

    Here are his recommendations.

    "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 the Silicon Valley.

    Read more:How a $9 billion startup deceived 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 where autonomous weapons can be programmed to wipe out human targets, many anticipate a future of needless killings and civilian casualties. 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."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    luxury alaska chalet


    On a remote rock outcropping surrounded by glacial ice in Alaska sits Sheldon Chalet.

    The luxury chalet, which opened to guests in February 2018, is only reachable by helicopter. You can book it for $25,000 a night, which includes helicopter shuttle service, a private concierge, gourmet dining, and activities such as sledding, glacier trekking, and mountaineering.

    Sheldon Chalet was built in the Don Sheldon Amphitheater, a glacial valley named after the father of two of the chalet's owners, Robert and Kate Sheldon. Marne Sheldon, Robert's wife, is also an owner.

    Here's a look at the chalet's interior and jaw-dropping surroundings.

    SEE ALSO: The top 14 boutique hotels in the world, from a romantic retreat in South Africa to a private villa in Thailand

    DON'T MISS: This 140-day cruise for the '1% of the 1%' visits all 7 continents — here's a look inside the ship, where suites cost up to $240,000 per person

    Sheldon Chalet is an ultra-luxurious mountain lodge in Alaska that opened to guests in February 2018.

    Source: Sheldon Chalet

    It sits in a glacial valley in the middle of Denali National Park, which encompasses more than six million acres of wilderness.

    Source: National Park Service

    Sheldon Chalet is anchored into the iron, titanium, and granite of the Sheldon Nunatak at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. A nunatak is a rock formation completely surrounded by glacial ice.

    Source: Sheldon Chalet, Merriam Webster

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    millennium tower

    San Francisco's Millennium Tower has been sinking and tilting for years — but its homeowners may have finally found a solution. 

    On December 3, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Millennium Tower Homeowners Association will put forward a $100 million plan to address the tower's instability. 

    Since its opening in 2009, the 58-story skyscraper has sunk 17 inches and tilted another 14 inches to the northwest, generating concerns among residents that the building's foundation could jeopardize their safety.

    The structure's unsteady footing has given rise to a host of other controversies, including weakened home values, accusations of fraud, and years of legal battles. Residents have also complained of mysterious odors, bubbling floors, cracked walls, and a giant fissure in a window on the 36th floor.

    But developers have not determined the cause of the tilting and sinking. Though investigators insist the structure is sound, they face mounting apprehension about the building's future.

    Here's a history of everything that's gone wrong with the tower in the past decade.

    The $350 million development was proposed in 2002, and construction began three years later.

    The building's designer, Handel Architects, is responsible for the World Trade Center Memorial in Lower Manhattan.

    At the time of its construction, the tower was the first skyscraper to be built in downtown San Francisco in two decades.

    The tower opened to the public in April 2009.

    At 58 stories high, the tower is the tallest residential building in San Francisco. Owners of the building's multimillion-dollar luxury condos enjoy panoramic views of the Bay Area and easy access to the city's downtown.

    The high-rise is missing its 13th and 44th floors because of superstition among Chinese and American buyers.

    In less than five weeks of sales, the tower sold $100 million worth of condos, with units ranging from $1.6 million to $10 million.

    The tower's grand penthouse sold for $9.4 million in 2009.

    In exchange for a hefty price tag, homeowners gained access to a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse, a temperature-controlled wine locker, and concierge service, among other luxury amenities.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    ultimate gaming pc

    • Lewis Hilsenteger from the YouTube channel Unbox Therapy created up the craziest gaming rig we've ever seen.
    • With all the various components, the entire setup costs about $30,000.
    • You have to see it to believe it.

    Lewis Hilsenteger is always showing off the latest and coolest technologies over on his YouTube channel, Unbox Therapy.

    But Hilsenteger may have outdone himself with this particular setup, which he filmed earlier this year. He rigged up a $20,000 gaming computer to probably the craziest-looking game chair we've ever seen, added three monitors, and designated snack areas to create the "ultimate gaming PC setup." He even threw in a PlayStation 4 Pro, just for good measure.

    Check it out.

    SEE ALSO: This guy found a way to use Apple's Mac software on an iPad — and it works surprisingly well

    DON'T MISS: This company built the best-looking smartphone we've ever seen, even better than the iPhone — take a look

    This is it: the "ultimate" gaming experience, according to Hilsenteger.

    It's comprised of an elaborate gaming chair, a high-end gaming PC, a PlayStation 4 Pro, computer accessories from SteelSeries, a snack cart, a refrigerator, and three massive displays.

    Hilsenteger says this setup costs around $30,000.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    pokemon go trainer battles

    • After two and a half years, Pokémon Go players will finally get the ability to challenge other players to Pokémon battles. 
    • The update will literally change the game: It introduces a revamped battle system that lets Pokémon learn a third attack, introducing a whole new layer of strategy. 
    • The fights themselves will let trainers take a team of three Pokémon into battle, with otherwise hard-to-find items as a possible prize for the victor.
    • To start a battle, you'll generally need to be close enough to your would-be opponent to scan a QR code on their phone — a mechanic designed to encourage real-world interaction.
    • Here's how it all works.

    Last week, developer Niantic teased that Pokémon Go players will soon be able to battle their fellow Pokémon trainers — a feature that's been in hot demand since the game first launched in the summer of 2016. 

    On Tuesday, Niantic announced its first feature, including the key detail that trainers will take teams of three Pokémon into battle with them.

    It's not immediately clear when, exactly, this feature will start rolling out, though Niantic says that it's slated for launch before the end of the year. In the past, it's rarely taken Niantic long after the announcement to begin the rollout of new features, though it often brings the new features to high-level players first, before fully rolling out the changes.

    What is clear is that the addition of player-versus-player (PvP) battles is slated to completely change the game. And I mean that literally: Among many other things, the trainer battle update will add the ability for your Pokémon to learn a third attack, beyond the two that they already know. The game's battle system itself is getting tweaked slightly, such that you're rewarded for tapping rhythmically to charge up certain attacks in combat.

    Much of it builds on the game's new social features, which were introduced a few months ago alongside the also-much-requested Pokémon trading feature. While you can battle strangers, there are a few advantages to fighting your friends. 

    Here's how Pokémon Go trainer battles will work:

    SEE ALSO: This is how Pokémon trading works in Pokémon Go

    The first thing you gotta know is that Pokémon Go battling is sorted into leagues. When you challenge another trainer, you decide ahead of time which league's rules you'll fight under.

    Different leagues have different caps on the strength of the Pokémon you can use to battle. The highest-level league, the Master League, takes off (almost) all the limits: You can use any Pokémon, at any level, including so-called Legendaries.

    The one caveat are that you can't use Ditto or Shedinja, two weird cases in the larger Pokémon canon, in any kind of player-versus-player battles, including Master League. 

    If you want to battle another trainer, you'll use your phone's camera to scan their unique QR code. You'll only be able to battle remotely with your Ultra Friends and Best Friends, as a perk for IRL besties.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Cindy Robbins

    • On Tuesday at Business Insider's IGNITION conference, Salesforce Chief People Officer Cindy Robbins shared the story of how her company became committed to equal pay for its employees.
    • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was initially surprised by Robbins' request, but ultimately he agreed. 
    • Over the last three years, Salesforce has paid around $8.7 million to close its gender pay gap.
    • "Unless you have flawless systems and flawless processes, you're going to have to run the audit every single year," Robbins explained. "This was not a one-and-done thing."
    • Robbins says Salesforce's effort around equal pay is a call to action for other companies to start doing the same.

    On Tuesday at Business Insider's IGNITION conference, Salesforce President and Chief People Officer Cindy Robbins shared the story of how the cloud software company became committed to equal pay for its employees. It's a story that she first brought to the public's attention on 60 minutes earlier this year

    Robbins said it started around 2014, when CEO Marc Benioff held his quarterly meeting with 60 to 70 top executives at Salesforce — and realized there were hardly any women in the room. Benioff knew there were strong female leaders within the company, and decided that moving forward. at least 30% of attendees to that meeting would be women. 

    "He gave us a seat at the table," Robbins remembers. "Our job was to stay invited to those meetings — which we did." 

    Read more:Match Group's CEO audited the company's payroll to make sure she was paying women equally and was surprised at the results

    Robbins rose the ranks at Salesforce and became the head of human relations — or officially, Chief People Officer. Soon after the promotion she starting thinking: "Why isn't easier for women to elevate at Salesforce?" 

    Here's the story of how Salesforce became a company committed to equal pay, as shared at Business Insider's IGNITION conference:

    Robbins (second from the right) teamed up with Leyla Seka (far right), an executive VP, and formed a list of how to help women grow in their careers at Salesforce. Equal pay was a concept they could not ignore. Robbins and Seka met with Benioff and — without any data — said they wanted to investigate whether Salesforce had a pay gap between men and women.

    Benioff was surprised at the request given the efforts he and his team had made to make Salesforce a place of equal opportunity and benefits. But ultimately he agreed and supported the initiative. 


    Since an audit like this had never been conducted at Salesforce, Robbins and Seka had first to assemble a team of internal and external experts and define their methodology. They then assessed all of Salesforce's some 30,000 employees and made the necessary adjustments to their compensation to close the gap.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

    • The UK Parliament published a trove of top-secret Facebook executive emails on Wednesday.
    • The hundreds of pages of documents provide an unprecedented window into Facebook leadership's approach to competition and growth.
    • Read the key takeaways from the documents below.

    Britain's Parliament has just given the world an unprecedented look at the ruthless tactics of Facebook's executive team.

    On Wednesday, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee published leaked emails from the Silicon Valley tech giant's leadership team that had been obtained by Six4Three, an app developer that's locked in a legal battle with Facebook after it blocked its bikini photo app. 

    There are hundreds of pages of documents and emails, mostly dating from between 2012 and 2015, that detail the way Facebook allowed third-party apps to access friend data through its platform.

    They provide a unique window into how Facebook's senior leaders privately discussed strategy and competition at a period of intense growth for the company, which has since been bogged down by numerous scandals and flatlining user numbers in key markets.

    Do you work at Facebook? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

    From Facebook's attempts to kneecap "strategic competitors" to CEO Mark Zuckerberg writing that his company's interests don't always match up with what's best for the world, here are some of the key takeaways from the documents.

    1. Facebook had a list of "strategic competitors" that it restricted access to.

    Zuckerberg personally oversaw a list of "strategic" competitors to the social network, and decided whether to restrict them from accessing valuable user data.

    One undated memo stated that companies considered to be "strategic competitors" to Facebook were even more restricted in what they could access. It added that Mark Zuckerberg personally reviewed the list of competitors, and either he or another senior executive had to personally sign off any further access to data these companies might want.

    On the eve of the publication of the documents, Facebook announced it was relaxing restrictions on competitors' apps in an apparent attempt to get ahead of the news.

    In an unattributed statement published on its website, Facebook said:

    "We built our developer platform years ago to pave the way for innovation in social apps and services. At that time we made the decision to restrict apps built on top of our platform that replicated our core functionality. These kind of restrictions are common across the tech industry with different platforms having their own variant including YouTube, Twitter, Snap and Apple."

    2. Zuckerberg personally approved Facebook's decision to cut off social network Vine's data.

    One of the Facebook competitors Mark Zuckerberg played a personal role in stamping on was video social network Vine.

    In an email dated January 24, 2013 (the day Vine launched on iOS) VP Justin Osofsky proposed shutting down the new app's access: "Twitter launched Vine today which lets you shoot multiple short video segments to make one single, 6-second video. As part of their NUX, you can find friends via FB. Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today. We've prepared reactive PR, and I will let Jana know our decision."

    Zuckerberg responded: "Yup, go for it."

    3. Facebook tried to figure out how to grab users' call data without asking permission.

    Ever-hungry for user data, Facebook in 2015 explored trying to access Android users' call logs and SMS history to use to feed into features like "People You May Know," while acknowledging the risk of user anger. "This is a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective nut it appears that the growth eam will charge ahead and do it," Michael LeBeau wrote.

    Yul Kwon also said Facebook was looking into ways to grab call log data without even asking users for permission: "Based on [the Growth team's] initial testing, it seems this would allow us to upgrade users without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialog at all," they wrote. 

    Facebook's statement said: "This specific feature allows people to opt in to giving Facebook access to their call and text messaging logs in Facebook Lite and Messenger on Android devices. We use this information to do things like make better suggestions for people to call in Messenger and rank contact lists in Messenger and Facebook Lite."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Screen Shot 2018 12 05 at 11.58.12 AM

    • PropertyShark just released its rankings of the 50 most expensive neighborhoods in New York City in 2018.
    • Manhattan neighborhoods dominated the list, with eight of the top 10 spots.
    • The median sale price among the 10 most expensive neighborhoods ranges from $1.31 million to $3.85 million.

    PropertyShark just released its rankings of the 50 most expensive neighborhoods in New York City, and, unsurprisingly, Manhattan dominates the list.

    All but two of the 10 most expensive New York City neighborhoods are in Manhattan; the two outliers are in Brooklyn.

    According to PropertyShark's analysis, the only two new entries to break into the top 10 are West Village and Greenwich Village.

    Read moreA $20 million penthouse may be about to shatter the record for the most expensive home sold in Brooklyn — here's a look inside

    TriBeCa topped the list with a median sale price that's nearly $1 million more than that of the second most expensive NYC neighborhood. Notably, this is the second consecutive year TriBeCa has taken the top spot.

    Some NYC neighborhoods are also among the most expensive zip codes in America: A previous PropertyShark analysis ranked three Manhattan zip codes (10013, 10007, 10282, respectively) in the top 25 most expensive US zips.

    Here are the 10 most expensive neighborhoods in New York City in ascending order, along with the median sale price in each. You can see the full ranking of the 50 most expensive neighborhoods on PropertyShark.

    SEE ALSO: Here's what the most expensive house for sale in every US state looks like

    10. Little Italy (Manhattan)

    Median sale price: $1.32 million

    9. Greenwich Village (Manhattan)

    Median sale price: 1.35 million

    8. Flatiron (Manhattan)

    Median sale price: $1.57 million

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    apps, countless apps

    • Apple announced its top iPhone and iPad apps of the year on Tuesday.
    • There are a lot of hidden gems on the lists, including Procreate Pocket, Donut County, and Froggipedia.
    • Download links are below.

    If you're looking for apps for your iPhone, Apple's year-end awards are a good place to start.

    Apple revealed its top apps of the year on Tuesday, including hand-picked suggestions for iPhone app of the year and iPhone game of the year.

    Apple also revealed year-end charts for the most downloaded apps on iPhones and iPads. The most downloaded app of 2018 was the Google-owned YouTube. In second place was Facebook's Instagram, and behind it was Snapchat.

    Here are the top iPhone and iPad apps of the year:

    Apple's iPhone app of the year is Procreate Pocket, a sketching and drawing app.

    Check out Procreate Pocket on the App Store. 

    Apple's iPhone game of the year is Donut County, a $5 puzzle came in which you play as a raccoon.

    Youtube Embed:
    Width: 560px
    Height: 315px

    Check out Donut County on the App Store.

    Apple's iPad app of the year is Froggipedia, a $4 augmented-reality app for studying amphibians and frogs.

    Youtube Embed:
    Width: 1280px
    Height: 960px

    Check out Froggipedia on the App Store.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    kmart nyc 7581

    • 2018 was a rough year for some retailers, and the state of their stores reflected that. 
    • Sears, JCPenney, and the now-defunct Toys R Us are among the retailers that struggled the most. They also had some pretty disorganized stores. 
    • These were the messiest stores we visited in 2018.

    2018 was a rough year for some retailers. 

    Toys R Us closed for good in the United States, Sears filed for bankruptcy, and countless other stores saw their sales numbers continue to decline. 

    There are a number of reasons that so many stores had a difficult year. Toys R Us was forced to liquidate because it was unable to sustain its debt load after a leveraged buyout in 2005. According to a filing with the bankruptcy court, Toys R Us had still been making $400 million payments on its debt every year. 

    Department stores, in particular, have been struggling because of declining foot traffic to malls and a disappearing middle class. Sears, JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, and Macy's have all closed stores in the past year, and in October, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Sears has been closing stores and selling off assets following years of crippling sales declines.

    The rise of e-commerce has also played a role in the downfall of some retailers that are struggling to keep up with the likes of Amazon. And while many stores have been working on improving their strategies to compete, it hasn't always been enough. Even on Black Friday, traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year, stores were relatively empty

    All of these factors have been causing brick-and-mortar stores to struggle. During our visits to stores this year, we found that some had empty shelves and no shoppers, some were so crowded with inventory that they were hard to navigate, and others were a complete mess.

    Of the dozens of stores we visited in 2018, these were in the worst shape:

    SEE ALSO: We shopped at Kohl's and Burlington to see which was a better store, and there was a clear winner

    A New York City JCPenney was cluttered and disorganized when we visited over the summer. In November, JCPenney reported that comparable sales had dropped 5.4% in the most recent quarter.

    Read more: We went shopping at Macy's and JCPenney to see which was a better department store, and the winner was clear

    The lines were very long, the lights were flickering, and sale signs were everywhere.

    Lord & Taylor recently closed its flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue after more than 100 years in business. When we visited the store before it closed, it was in sad shape.

    Read more: We went shopping at one of New York City's most famous department stores as it prepares to close for good. Here's what it was like.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    tunnock's teacakes

    • People all over the world have their favorite chocolate candies  — but, unfortunately, they're not always easy to find in the US.
    • From wafer-filled delights like Maltesers to Israel's Elite chocolate with pop rocks, candy makers get creative in every corner of the world.
    • The UK, specifically, has many chocolate confections to offer that aren't readily available in the US. 

    America has some good desserts, but when it comes to chocolatecandy, other countries are definitely giving the US a run for its money.

    From Aero to TUNNOCK'S Tea Cakes, read on to see the best chocolate candy we wish was available all over the US.

    Maltesers have been a UK favorite for decades.

    With a malted center covered in milk chocolate, Maltesers have been a UK favorite for more than 80 years, according to their parent company's website. Though the American Whoppers are similar, Maltesers have been around a few years longer (they were introduced in 1936).

    Aero bars also hail from the UK.

    First sold in 1935, Aero bars are a longtime favorite in the UK. These chocolate bars have a uniquely bubbly, airy texture, and are sold around the world including in Canada, Australia, South Africa and Japan.

    Plopp bars are Swedish in origin.

    Plopp chocolate bars have been sold in Sweden since 1949. They're made with Cloetta milk chocolate (chocolate from the oldest Nordic chocolate company) and have a soft caramel filling. 

    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 LED string lights

    • LED string lights aren't just for holiday decorations anymore — They can liven up your decor any time of the year.

    • The LED string lights from GE are our top pick because they are long-lasting, energy-safe, and stylish. They’re also available in a variety of lengths and colors.

    A strand of classic white string lights can upgrade just about any space, be it your dorm room or backyard gazebo. All you need is a working outlet or pack of batteries in order to light up the dark corners of your home.

    In addition to giving off that good old nostalgic glow, LED string lights are longer lasting, safer, and more eco-friendly than classic incandescent string lights. It’s true LED string lights are usually a bit more expensive up front, but since they last for thousands of hours and use very little energy, they are a more cost-effective option overall.

    Whether you’re looking for classic white, Christmas colors, indoor, outdoor, solar, or vintage bistro lights, we have a pick for you. We took longevity, cost, sturdiness, design appeal, and other features into consideration to come up with a guide to the best LED string lights on the market.

    Here are the best LED string lights you can buy:

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

    The best LED string lights overall

    Why you'll love them: These LED string lights from GE produce an old-fashioned glow without consuming a ton of energy.

    General Electric has been around for more than 125 years, and the company is still leading the electric lighting game in many ways. These LED string lights are energy efficient and should last up to 10 years. They also produce less heat than traditional bulbs, so there’s far less of a fire concern.

    GE’s Colorite LED string lights come in strands with 50 or 100 bulbs, in Christmas colors, and in classic white. Reviewers have plenty to say about their warm glow. Some LED lights can look too white or even a bit blue, instead of that warm, almost golden glow you get with traditional incandescents. However, that's not the case here. As one reviewer wrote on Amazon, “They aren't stark white, and they aren't weirdly yellow.”

    Expert reviewers also love these lights. The GE LED string lights have made it onto Wirecutter’s best-of list for five years in a row, making them a tried and true choice for string lights.

    The bulbs come only in a mini-size, but don’t let that deter you from trying them, even if you want to replicate the traditional string light look, because less is more in the world of LED lights. This version of string lights only comes on a green wire, which might be undesirable if you want to use them on a white wall. However, the green wire is obviously great for using with Christmas trees.

    These lights are labeled for both indoor and outdoor use, but a few reviewers on Amazon mentioned that the lights died sooner than expected when used outside. 

    Pros: Long-lasting, energy smart lights with an old-fashioned glow

    Cons: Better for inside rather than outside, comes on green string

    Buy a two-pack of GE Energy Smart Colorite 100-Light LED Multicolor or White Miniature Lights on Amazon for $15.65

    The best outdoor LED string lights

    Why you'll love them: These Edison LED Outdoor String Lights provide vintage ambiance while being energy-efficient and sturdy.

    These classy Edison bulbs may look like they’re from the 19th century, but their efficiency is very modern indeed. You can bask under the glow of these stylish bistro lights for up to 10 years, all while saving on your power bill.

    Reviewers on Amazon mention that these lights really have that antique warm-white light that you want from bistro lights, and not the harsh light some people associate with older LED lights.

    These Fule string lights are meant for use outside, so you don’t need to worry about exposure to the elements, since they’re waterproof. Plus, the bulbs are made out of plastic, not glass, so they look vintage, but won’t shatter if something happens to them. If, for some reason, they do stop working, the lights come with a 24-month warranty.

    While more than 80% of reviewers on Amazon gave these Fule string lights five-out-of-five stars, some did mention that not all lights worked immediately out of the box. A few buyers had to unplug the string and tighten the socket-to-bulb connection by hand, which fixed the issue. However, the vast majority of reviewers still love the results, and rate these lovely ambiance boosting lights highly.

    Pros: Vintage glow with long-lasting, energy-smart quality

    Cons: $40 per strand isn’t cheap, but will help you save on energy costs over time

    Buy a 48-foot strand of Fule LED Outdoor String Lights with Edison Bulbs on Amazon for $39.99

    The best indoor LED string lights

    Why you'll love them: Koopower's LED lights turn on and off with the press of a button and they can be programmed, so you never have to unplug your lights again.

    I love these delicate, warm lights from Koopower, because they’re so adjustable and come with tons of features that you won’t always see with traditional incandescent lights.

    A programmable timer means you don’t have to worry about turning your lights off before you go to bed or plugging them back in the next day. If you want the lights to turn on right when it gets dark, all you have to do is set it and forget it.

    Because the lights come with a remote control, you don’t need to crouch down and crawl behind your Christmas tree or climb on a ladder up to your rafters when you want to change the lights' settings.

    Around 87% of Amazon reviewers give these Koopower lights a four or five-star rating. Buyers love that these lights are dimmable, so you can adjust for a bright white or gentle yellow glow. The lights also use a low-voltage plug for safety and have eight different settings: The lights can stay steadily on, blink, fade, wave, flash, twinkle, and more. 

    One of the only drawbacks to this set is that you need the remote control to turn them on and off. If you lose it, the only way to turn them off is to unplug them.

    Pros: Adjustable, remote-control, and low-voltage lights give users tons of energy-smart options

    Cons: They’re only operable via the remote control

    Buy a 69-foot strand of Koopower indoor LED string lights on Amazon for $24.59

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    shark tank tipsy elves gift

    One of our favorite shows to spot new products and enjoy some entertaining celebrity judge banter is "Shark Tank," which is soon returning for its tenth season.

    As we've seen over the years, some pitches do extremely well, while others aren't so lucky — but the fact remains that the show brings forward new and innovative ideas most of us have never considered.

    That's why the products from the show tend to make especially good gifts. They're far from generic and they usually solve a common problem or annoyance. Conveniently, most are also available on Amazon.

    If your recipient loves watching "Shark Tank," they'll recognize these 21 awesome gift options.  

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

    A fun outdoor game

    Spikeball 3 Ball Kit, $59.99, available at Amazon

    On a beautiful sunny day at any park in the city, you'll probably see at least one group playing this fun and active game. With rules similar to volleyball, it's easy to learn — so the whole family can get involved. The company even holds nationwide tournaments if your recipient gets really good at the game. 

    A balance bike

    KaZAM No Pedal Balance Bike, $64.95, available at Amazon

    Featuring a patented footrest design that helps young kids find their center of gravity, this bike builds the confidence needed to transition to riding a proper bike. The ergonomic, adjustable handles and seat will get kids comfortable and ready to ride right away. The bike weighs only eight pounds and the puncture-free tires never need air. 

    A Wi-Fi-compatible sous vide

    Nomiku Wi-Fi 1100 Watt Sous Vide, $199.99, available at Amazon

    Pair the sous vide immersion circulator with a quality piece of steak and your home cook is equipped to make a delicious dinner to remember. The sous vide can be controlled from their phone and produces precise results without fail. 

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    Iskander-m short-range ballistic missile

    Russia's Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile will be unmatched until at least 2025, Russian state-owned media TASS reported in March. 

    "According to designers, foreign states will be able to create its counterpart no earlier than in 2025," Russian Ground Forces Commander-in-Chief Col. Gen. Oleg Salyukov said.

    Salyukov's statement came just a few days after Russian troops successfully test fired the Iskander-M, which is reportedly similar to the new Kh-47M2 hypersonic missile, at the Kapustin Yar testing grounds in southern Russia.

    The missile hit its target about 62 miles away, according to RT, another Russian state-owned media outlet.

    Here's what the test fire looked like and what the ballistic missile can do:

    SEE ALSO: 15 photos of the MiG-31, the Russian fighter jet that can fire the new Kinzhal hypersonic missile and has chased away SR-71 Blackbirds

    SEE ALSO: Russia says its Su-57 stealth fighter will be armed with deadly hypersonic missiles that can defeat all US defenses

    The Iskander is a mobile short-range ballistic missile that became operational in 2007.

    It's also known as the SS-26, Stone, Tender, 9M720, 9M723, or "Son of Scud," because it replaced the Scud B. 

    Source: CSIS

    It has three different variants: the Iskander-M, the Tender, and the Iskander-E, which is the export version.

    Source: CSIS

    It's about 24 feet long, about three feet wide, and has a launch weight of about 8,378-8,863 pounds.

    Source: CSIS

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    cooking eggs

    • Although it's obvious that you should recycle your water bottles, it's less obvious eyeglasses and other obscure items are recyclable
    • Toothbrushes and lightly used bras can be recycled. 
    • You can recycle your phone, laptop, and most other electronic devices.

    When the word "recycling" comes to mind, most people think of soda cans, water bottles, and cardboard boxes. But what about cell phones, eyeglasses, and toilets? Perhaps to your surprise, these items are also considered recyclable along with a number of objects you probably have thrown in the garbage can.

    To help you sort through some of the things you've been tossing, we compiled a list of items commonly misplaced in the trash can.

    SEE ALSO: The American recycling system is on the verge of breaking down, and it could mean higher costs for homeowners

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    Give your old toilet a new life.

    People are often surprised to find out you can recycle your old toilet. Recycling facilities can use the porcelain andturn it into concrete for roads or sidewalks.

    In order to recycle your toilet or any porcelain fixture, you'll need to find a local recycling center that accepts porcelain. If not,try contacting a local charity such as Habitat for Humanity that accepts used, working building materials.

    Cigarette waste can be made into plastic.

    This one may also be hard to believe, but cigarette waste can actually be repurposed, according to Megan Walton, programs associate atDelta Institute. There are several companies that collect certain parts of cigarette packaging and the cigarettes themselves.

    One free mail-in collection program calledTerraCycle transforms the waste into plastic, Walton told INSIDER. Cigarettes and packaging are separated and then melted into hard plastic that can be remolded into plastic pellets, which can be used to create a variety of plastic products.

    Mail your toothbrushes in to be made into school supplies.

    The standard toothbrush cannot be tossed into your recycling bin. It'smade of hard plastic, nylon bristles, and packaged in plastic, most of which are not biodegradable. But in an effort to change the fate of many toothbrushes, Colgate and Sam's Club have partnered with TerraCycle to recycle them.

    You can ship your Colgate toothbrushes in for free and they will be upcycled into useful items like school supplies.

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    book of the month, $44.99+

    She's your confidante, rock, mentor, and built-in best friend. She's been there through it all and this holiday season she deserves something really special. Yet, mom can be one of the hardest people to shop for on your list. After all, what do you give someone who literally gave you life?

    The good news is that the perfect gift for your mom is out there, and it doesn't have to be expensive to make her smile. When it comes to gifts for mom, whether you want to go with something big or small, thoughtfulness is key. That's why we scoured the web and collected 50 really special gifts that show your mom you care, all under $50.

    Pick a gift that embraces nostalgia, her favorite hobbies, or some quality time with you — whatever you give, mom will love it. 

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

    A bath caddy with room for everything she might need

    Royal Craft Wood Luxury Bathtub Caddy, $39.99, available at Amazon

    The only thing that could make a bath more relaxing than some luxurious bubbles is this bathtub caddy. It can hold a device so she can watch her favorite show, a glass full of her favorite drink, and even a candle she can light for ambiance. 

    A Blue Apron meal kit for convenient, healthy meals

    Blue Apron Meal Kit, two-person plan starting at $47.95, available at Blue Apron

    Whether she loves to cook or is looking to improve her skills, she'll appreciate the convenience of this meal kit. Each meal kit comes with pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes for seriously delicious home cooked meals that can be made on busy weeknights. 

    An air plant that shows your appreciation

    You Are My Rock Air Plant, starting at $26, available at Etsy

    She's your rock, so let her know. This air plant, which comes in a pretty rose quartz planter, will make a cute piece of decor — and the packaging box will remind her how important she is to you. 

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    falcon heavy launch spacex

    • Scientists managed to make some pretty awesome breakthroughs and discoveries in 2018, from space travel, to medicine, nutrition, and Earth sciences.
    • These are 30 of the most impressive and stunning scientific accomplishments of the year. 

    In 2018, scientists succeeded in some impressive feats: engineers at SpaceX sent a sports car flying past Mars, Chinese researchers cloned a pair of monkeys, and in Egypt, people found some cheese manufactured over 3,000 years ago. (Pro tip: don't eat it.)

    Over the last year, scientists also figured out how to "touch" the sun, use tiny robots to kill cancer, and stop some painful migraines.

    These and other accomplishments were an encouraging reminder that every day, scientists across the globe are learning more about how life and the universe work.

    As the new year approaches, take a look back at some of the most marvelous, life-altering, and astonishing scientific discoveries and feats from 2018.

    SEE ALSO: The wildest scientific discoveries of 2017

    In February, SpaceX nailed an impressive feat: the company launched its re-usable, 27-engine Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time. It's the company's most powerful yet.

    After Falcon Heavy launched on February 6, 2018, two of the rocket's three reusable boosters landed safely on the ground in Florida. 

    The core booster, however, missed its landing pad on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. 

    "Apparently it hit the water at 300 miles an hour and took out two of the engines on the drone ship," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said. That loss was relatively minor in the context of the launch's overall success, though.

    The payload on that Falcon Heavy rocket was Musk's red Tesla Roadster, complete with a dummy driver and a note on the dash: "DON'T PANIC!"

    The car is still cruising the solar system today. In November, SpaceX announced it had sailed past Mars.

    In March, scientists at NASA revealed new findings about how living in space can mess with your eyes and immune system.

    When NASA astronaut Scott Kelly left his identical twin brother Mark on Earth and spent a year in space, scientists seized on the opportunity to learn more about out how life away from our home planet can change a person. 

    Researchers found that up to 7% of Scott's gene expression hasn't returned to its Earthly "normal" state since he came back. Those changes may be part of the body's response to the stress of living in space, and they could lead to lasting consequences for Kelly's immune system and retinas. 


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    Coast Guard Air Station Miami pilot HC-144 Ocean Sentry

    AIR STATION MIAMI, Florida — On a busy day, the sea and sky around Miami Beach are filled with everything from small, center-console fishing boats and Cessna airplanes to giant container ships and passenger airliners.

    What may go unnoticed are the orange and white aircraft and boats of the Coast Guard — that is, until they're needed.

    Surface vessels operating from Coast Guard Sector Miami's stations and aircraft from Air Station Miami in Opa-Locka scour southern Florida and the water that surrounds it, helping residents and visitors, ensuring the safe passage of shipping, and enforcing the law.

    Below, you can get a taste of what the Coast Guard encounters in the sky and sea around South Florida.

    SEE ALSO: Coast Guard crews are capturing record amounts of cocaine — here's how they chase down high-seas smugglers

    Air Station Miami opened in 1932 at Dinner Key, south of the city. It moved to Opa-Locka in 1965. Since then it has been involved in major operations throughout the region, including aiding Cubans during the 1980 Mariel boat lift and responding to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

    Air Station Miami's crew now includes 70 officers, 210 enlisted personnel, and civilians and auxiliary personnel operating five MH-65D Dolphin helicopters and five HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft.

    Pilots Lt. Drake Thornton and Lt. Nathan White and aviation maintenance technician 1st class Colin Hunt are three crew members charged with flying the station's MH-65 helicopters, which have room for two pilots, one flight mechanic, and a rescue diver.

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    Gradeur Cruise Ship

    • Going on a cruise is supposed to be relaxing and rewarding, but sometimes things go wrong. 
    • According to a Cruise Industry Overview published by The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), 27.2 million people were forecasted to sail the seas in 2018 on FCCA and Cruise Lines International Associate (CLIA) member cruise lines. 
    • With that many people boarding cruise ships over a 12-month period, it's reasonable to expect a few things to go awry. 

    • Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises were two companies that experienced newsworthy stories this year. 

    Going on a cruise is supposed to be relaxing and rewarding, but that's not always what happens. 

    According to a Cruise Industry Overview published by The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), 27.2 million people were forecasted to sail the oceans in 2018 on FCCA and Cruise Lines International Associate (CLIA) member cruise lines. 

    With that many people boarding cruise ships over a 12-month period, it's reasonable to expect a few things to go awry. 

    Read More:Carnival's newest ship is its biggest ever — take a closer look at the giant cruise liner

    Here are 10 of the craziest cruise ship stories of the year presented in chronological order. 

    SEE ALSO: A couple aboard a Carnival Cruise ship found a hidden camera in their cabin pointing at their bed

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    10. 500 passengers got sick on Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

    Between December 2017 and January 2018, over 500 people reportedly became ill on a different Royal Caribbean cruise ship lines. Royal Caribbean did not know what caused the outbreak of illness.

    (Source: Business Insider

    9. A Carnival Cruise ship briefly flooded.

    In May 2018, the Carnival Dream cruise ship experienced a flooding episode that was captured on video by passengers.  

    According to Carnival, the flooding was caused by a water line break in the ship's fire suppression system and impacted around 50 staterooms.  The cruise line offered affected passengers a full refund, a 50% future cruise credit, and the option to disembark early.

    (Source: Insider)

    8. A Norwegian Cruise Ship crew member falls overboard and was found alive 22 hours later.

    In July, a Carnival Cruise ship rescued a Norwegian Cruise Line crew member who fell overboard off the coast of Cuba. The man had managed to keep himself afloat in the water for 22 hours, which Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, called "nothing short of miraculous."

    CNN reports the Coast Guard said it searched more than 1,630 square miles of ocean. 

    (Source: CNN

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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