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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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    philips hue

    • For a long time, the idea of smart lighting — that is, light bulbs and other fixtures you can control from your phone — seemed silly to me. 
    • Once I tried smart bulbs, though, I immediately understood their benefits.
    • After setting up smart bulbs from Philips Hue in my own apartment, I could never go back to a home without smart lights.
    • Smart lights might seem costly, but they're a worthy investment that actually makes home living significantly easier and better.

    I'll just come right out and say it: Everyone should have smart lights — light bulbs and other fixtures that you can control from your phone. 

    Whether you're actually trying to build a "smart home," or you just want to make a simple upgrade to your living space, smart lights are a worthy investment. And having tried the popular smart lights from Philips Hue, I can easily recommend them for just about anyone.

    Here's what it's like to set up and use Philips Hue's smart light bulbs.

    Most Philips Hue smart systems require three components: a Philips Hue bulb ...

    ... a Philips Hue Bridge, which hooks directly into your wireless router ...

    ... and the Philips Hue app, for either iOS or Android.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Youtube rewind 2018

    • YouTube last week released its annual "Rewind" video, which features more than 130 YouTube stars and celebrities.
    • Appearances included Will Smith, Marques Brownlee, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, John Oliver, and many more.
    • In the course of a week, YouTube Rewind 2018 has become the most disliked video in YouTube history. As of Thursday morning, it had over 120 million total views but over 10 million dislikes.
    • People are criticizing the video for not including many of YouTube's biggest and most influential stars, likely because many of them experienced some form of controversy in 2018.

    Last Thursday, YouTube released its annual "Rewind" video, which featured more than 100 YouTube stars and celebrities.

    But in the course of just one week, "YouTube Rewind 2018" has become the most disliked video in YouTube history.

    It's the fastest video to climb the list of "most dislikes on YouTube." And in the last 24 hours, it passed the previous record-holder of most YouTube dislikes: Justin Bieber's "Baby," a video that had eight years to accrue dislikes.

    YouTube issued a statement to The Verge on Thursday:

    “Honest feedback can suck, but we are listening and we appreciate how much people care. Trying to capture the magic of YouTube in one single video is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. We also learned that creating content can be really hard and this underscores our respect and admiration for YouTube creators doing it every day. Keep the feedback coming and maybe we’ll release a top 10 list of ‘Rewind dislike’ reaction videos.”

    So, why are people so upset about Rewind 2018?

    It all boils down to the video's intended audience.

    People expect YouTube's Rewind videos to be an homage to creators, but given the absence of so many YouTube stars that had "controversial" moments this year, the video appears to be focused on keeping advertisers happy.

    That's the only possible explanation for the absence of YouTube's most popular creators, like Felix "Pewdiepie" Kjellberg, Shane Dawson, David Dobrik, and so many others.

    When you search for "YouTube Rewind 2018," two of the top three results are negative responses to YouTube's actual video, made by popular YouTube creators.

    youtube rewind 2018

    The Paul brothers, in particular, were notable absentees from "Rewind 2018."

    Logan Paul is one of YouTube's most popular faces, but he got himself in hot water for filming a suicide victim in Japan earlier this year. Logan's little brother Jake is even more popular, but the live boxing match between Jake Paul and his YouTube rival KSI wasn't exactly a shining moment for the site's reputation — even if it brought in nearly 1 million live viewers to YouTube at the time.

    As The Verge's Julia Alexander put so well, "[YouTube Rewind 2018] feels disingenuous, like YouTube is hiding its uglier side under a carpet while showing guests around."

    "YouTube Rewind 2018" shows there is a clear schism between the expectations and reality of YouTube. Viewers and the community at large expected to see all of the people who made their names on YouTube this year, for better or worse. But YouTube only wants to share the people and parts of the site it feels comfortable sharing. That's why Will Smith kicks off the video, even though The Fresh Prince has a fraction of the subscribers that Pewdiepie has.

    All that said, not everyone hates YouTube Rewind 2018. The video still has over 2 million likes, and features hundreds of YouTube stars and celebrities from around the world who were filmed in four different locales: Los Angeles, London, Seoul, and Rio De Janeiro. If you're interested in seeing all of the people who did make the video, we spotted every single person so you don't have to.

    SEE ALSO: These were the top YouTube videos of 2018, according to Google

    1. Will Smith — actor and rapper

    2. Marques Brownlee — tech reviewer

    3. ItsFunneh — gaming videos

    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 finally have the ability to battle each other, thanks to a long-awaited new update.
    • The update literally changes 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 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.

    Developer Niantic has finally given Pokémon Go players the ability to battle their fellow Pokémon trainers — a feature that's been in hot demand since the game first launched in the summer of 2016. 

    Starting late Wednesday evening, the update started going out to Pokémon Go players. As is usually Niantic's way, it started going out to high-level players first, but it's spreading fast. So if you don't see the option right away, just give it a little bit and try again to see if it's reached you. 

    It's already clear 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 adds 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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    • Comparably, a website that rates companies across a number of different areas, released its 2018 Best Company Culture list.
    • Of the 50 businesses on that list, 29 were tech companies.
    • Below, we've compiled the list of 29 companies in tech with the best company culture below. 

    Good company culture is one of the most important aspects of any job. 

    Sure, beer in the fridge and holiday parties are nice. But having company culture runs deeper than the perks — no matter how over-the-top that holiday party may have been. 

    On Monday, Comparably — a website that rates companies across a number of different areas — released its 2018 Best Company Culture list. Of the 50 businesses on that list, 29 were tech companies. 

    Here are the 29 big companies in tech with the best company culture: 

    SEE ALSO: The 18 biggest tech scandals of 2018

    29. Akvelon

    Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington

    What it does: Business and technology consulting firm

    What employees say:"Akvelon is one of the best companies that I have worked for. The overall approach and the focus on having a good work-life balance and proactive engagement with their employees make them an extremely good and efficient organization to work with." 


    Headquarters: Austin, Texas

    What it does: Job search platform 

    What employees say:"The office encourages collaboration and teamwork, to ensure everyone is sharing ideas and working together towards the same mission. I've always felt like I can speak up and my thoughts/ideas are heard and addressed."

    27. Adobe

    Headquarters: San Jose, California

    What it does:Software development company best known for its design and photo-editing solutions

    What employees say:"Everybody generally works together and is united." 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    boat kalashnikov

    Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov, founded in 1807, supplied weapons to Russia's imperial tsars and still equips the Russian army today.

    Though it is most famous for the AK-47 rifle, the company — whose full name is Kalashnikov Concern — has expanded into a global arms manufacturer for 27 countries.

    But some of their latest prototypes appear downright bizarre and have been widely mocked by experts.

    There is no hard evidence to suggest that these prototypes are in use yet or fit for purpose. Leonid Bershidsky, a Bloomberg opinion writer, said most Kalashnikov prototypes are just for show.

    Take a look at 15 of the company's bizarre new prototypes below — from personal aircrafts to desert buggies with machine guns mounted on top.

    1. This manned UAV known as a "concept aircraft," which looks like a miniature Pod-Racer from "Star Wars." It's not clear what it's used for.



    Here's what it looks like without its protective shell. The aircraft looks like it is propelled by eight spinning blades around the pilot, who doesn't seem too bothered by health and safety issues.


    2. This armor-plated assault-boat for Russia's "Special Operations Forces."

    In this very dramatic, Hollywood-like demonstration video, the armor-plated boat takes mock heavy artillery fire, before beaching and deploying ground troops.

    Kalashnikov looks to have slapped on some fun special effects, just to increase the spectacle. 

    The company says the boat has a range of 400 nautical miles and comes with a UAV that hovers over the boat as extra surveillance.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    iPhone bed

    • I read on my iPhone at night all the time.
    • Sometimes, though, the iPhone's lowest brightness setting isn't dim enough for the environment, or my eyes.
    • There's a trick that can make your screen even dimmer than the brightness settings Apple provides, and it's perfect for nighttime.

    If you're like me, you spend your last waking minutes reading on your iPhone in bed until you're tired enough to fall asleep.

    But sometimes, your iPhone's screen can be too bright for you and your partner — even if it's on the lowest brightness setting.

    Thankfully, hidden away in your iPhone's settings is a way to make the screen super-dim. It's easy to set up and works really well — I use it all the time.

    SEE ALSO: Apple's new iPhone software is better than ever: Here are the 12 most useful features in iOS 12

    DON'T MISS: I've used the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR — here's which one I'd recommend buying

    First, go to your Settings app.

    Click General.

    Scroll down and click Accessibility.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Best tech CEOs 2018

    • This week, Comparably— a website that rates companies across a number of different areas — released its list of Best CEOs of 2018.
    • Of the 50 chief executives on that list, 29 were from tech companies.
    • Below, we've compiled the list of best tech CEOs of the year. 

    For tech, 2018 was a year full of scandal

    From Facebook's dealings with Cambridge Analytica, to Elon Musk smoking weed on-air, the tech industry had its share of controversy in 2018. 

    When tech executives weren't being questioned on Capitol Hill, however, some were being praised by employees for their leadership and the companies they've helped create. 

    This week, Comparablya website that rates companies across a number of different areas — released its 2018 list of Best CEOs. Of the 50 chief execs on that list, 29 were from tech companies.

    Here are the 29 best large tech company CEOs of the year: 

    SEE ALSO: The 29 tech companies with the best company culture in 2018

    29. Bill McDermott, SAP

    Headquarters: Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

    Year they became CEO: 2002

    What their company does: Enterprise software for business operations and customer management

    28. Scott Wagner, GoDaddy

    Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona

    Year they became CEO: 2018

    What their company does: Internet domain registry and website hosting 

    27. Daniel Schulman, PayPal

    Headquarters: San Jose, California

    Year they became CEO: 2014

    What their company does: Online payments 

    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 chew toys for heavy chewers

    • The best chew toy for heavy chewers should be made from durable materials with no filling or small parts that could become a choking hazard.
    • Made from ultra-strong rubber and available in five different sizes, the KONG Extreme Dog Toy is our top pick for the best chew toy for heavy chewers.

    Sharp teeth are no match for flimsy dog toys, but even the toughest toys can be torn to shreds by an aggressive chewer. Providing your dog with plenty of chew toys is important because it helps keep his teeth clean, provides him with mental stimulation, and it satisfies his natural desire to chew. Plus, it keeps him away from your shoes.

    When it comes to dog toys for a tough chewer, there are certain things to look for. Durable materials like rubber and rope are the most likely to stand the tough-chewer test.

    Avoid things like squeakers, latex, and plush toys because not only will your dog tear through them in no time at all, but the materials pose a choking hazard. It’s also important to choose toys that are appropriate for your dog’s size.  

    While no dog toy is indestructible or completely chew-proof, we’ve assembled a collection of some of the toughest toys on the market for your heavy chewer. In addition to reading reviews from other pet parents, we’ve tested these toys ourselves  — well, our test dog has — so you can be confident in our choices.

    Here are the best chew toys you can buy:

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

    The best chew toy overall

    Why you'll love it: Available in five different sizes and made from ultra-durable rubber, the KONG Extreme Dog Toy is perfect for heavy chewers of all breeds and sizes.

    From Chihuahuas to Great Danes, heavy chewers come in all breeds and sizes, so the best chew toy overall is one that comes in plenty of sizes to match. It should also be made from tough materials and designed for long-lasting durability. The KONG Extreme Dog Toy is our top pick for the best chew toy for heavy chewers because it is virtually indestructible, comes in five different sizes, and can be filled with treats for added mental stimulation.

    KONG is one of the top dog toy brands on the market, known just as much for the versatility of its products as for their durability. We’ve tested several KONG toys, and they are all extremely durable and well-made. Our test puppy couldn’t get enough of the toy’s erratic bouncing action, and it stood up well to his sharp puppy teeth.

    The KONG Extreme Dog Toy takes the popular shape of the KONG Classic, but it is made from the brand’s most durable rubber materials. In addition to satisfying your dog’s need to chew, this toy also provides enrichment, exercise, and dental benefits.

    In its review, Rover names the KONG Extreme Dog Toy one of the most durable dog toys, and we have to agree. Though the classic shape was featured in the review, Rover comments that the KONG Extreme Collection includes a tire, a ball, and an assortment of other shapes. Woof Whiskers likes that it can be filled with treats or used to play fetch. 

    With more than 6,000 reviews on Amazon, the KONG Extreme Dog Toy is easily one of the most popular chew toys on the market. Dog owners love the durability and simple design, though there are some comments that the ball has a chemical smell at first and may leave black marks.

    Pros: Extremely durable materials, five different sizes, can be filled with treats, non-toxic materials, helps clean teeth

    Cons: May have a chemical smell at first, may leave black marks

    Buy the KONG Extreme Dog Toy on Amazon for $11.99 to $39.99

    The best dental chew toy

    Why you'll love it: The Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Chew is made from ultra-tough materials and covered with gently rounded nubs and bristles to scrape plaque and tartar off your dog’s teeth.

    According to VCA Animal Hospitals, roughly 80% of dogs over the age of three already have some degree of dental disease. Brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis is the best way to keep his teeth clean and healthy, but dental chew toys can help as well. The Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Chew is our top pick for the best dental chew toy.

    The Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Chew is designed to satisfy a dog’s natural desire to chew while also providing dental benefits. Available in three different dinosaur shapes and two different sizes, these chews stand the test of time. Covered with gently rounded nubs and bristles, this toy helps scrape plaque and tartar off the surface of your dog’s teeth as he chews, reducing his risk for periodontal disease.

    K9 of Mine names the Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Chew one of its top picks for the best “indestructible” dog toys for aggressive chewers, and we agree with that assessment. The reviewers do comment, however, that it is best for dogs up to 50 pounds. Canine Journal also reviews this toy favorably, noting that it comes in several naturally flavored options. Our test puppy enjoyed the toy for a while, and there were no problems with breakage.   

    The Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Chew comes in several different shapes, including a smaller puppy-friendly version of the T-rex shape. Some shapes have more than 2,000 reviews on Amazon with dog owners commenting on the durability of the toy, though some reviews mention that the materials are very hard without much give.

    Pros: Helps remove plaque and tartar from teeth, comes in several shapes, made in the USA, available in flavors

    Cons: Broken pieces may be sharp, materials don’t have much give, may not be a good fit for dogs over 50 pounds

    Buy the Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Chew on Amazon for $9

    The best ball chew toy

    Why you'll love it: Made from ultra-durable, non-toxic materials and designed to bounce and float, the Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Diamond Plate Dog Ball is our top pick for the best ball toy for heavy chewers.

    Some dogs live to chase down a tennis ball, but, once they get it, it doesn’t take long for the ball to be torn to shreds. If you have a super chewer in your life who also loves a good game of fetch, you’ll need a durable dog ball toy. Our top pick for the best ball toy for heavy chewers is the Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Diamond Plate Dog Ball.

    The Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Diamond Plate Dog Ball comes in an assortment of bright colors and is made from ultra-tough materials. These materials are non-toxic, BPA-free, and phthalate-free, plus the toy is made in the US. Our test puppy absolutely loves to play fetch, so this was one of his favorite toys in the lineup. The size was appropriate for a puppy, and he didn’t seem to mind the mint flavor.

    This ball is firm on the outside to withstand heavy chewing, but hollow inside so it still bounces and floats. It is infused with mint oil that will leave your dog’s breath smelling fresh, and it has just enough give to ensure that it isn’t too hard on your dog’s teeth and gums.

    Bustle includes the Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Diamond Plate Dog Ball in its list of the best dog toys for heavy chewers, commenting that the ball is great for playing fetch, even on the water. Terribly Terrier calls it the “toughest dog ball on the market.” 

    In addition to having more than 200 reviews on Amazon, the Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Diamond Plate Dog Ball also carries an Amazon’s Choice award. Dog owners love the safety and durability of the materials, though there are some comments that the ball may be too large for toy breeds.

    Pros: Durable non-toxic materials, dishwasher safe, floats on water, bounces, infused with mint oil, made in the USA, 100% guaranteed

    Cons: May be too large for toy breeds, some dogs dislike the mint flavor

    Buy the Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Diamond Plate Dog Ball on Amazon for $15.95

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Ed Yardeni

    • Veteran economist and president of Yardeni Research, Ed Yardeni, addressed President Donald Trump's economic advisers at a White House lunch this week. He told Business Insider what he said.
    • Yardeni said Trump did not attend the meeting, which was arranged by Larry Kudlow, director of the White House's National Economic Council.
    • Among the main themes the economist addressed were US-China trade tensions and volatility in the stock market.

    Veteran economist and strategist Ed Yardeni shared his perspective on the economy and the market with President Donald Trump's top economic advisers at the White House this week, and his biggest talking points included the US-China trade war and stock-market volatility.

    Trade uncertainty has rocked the stock market in recent months, with many economists citing the trade war as the biggest threat to the US economy next year. Stocks saw a boost this week on hopes of a resolution.

    Yardeni, who discussed the presentation in a phone interview with Business Insider on Thursday, said he was invited by Larry Kudlow, director of the president's National Economic Council. However, Kudlow was not in attendance for the lunch on Wednesday, Yardeni said, and neither was President Trump.

    He said that he and Jason Trennert, CEO and chief investment strategist of Strategas Research Partners, presented to a group of 10 people, among them "several of the president's top economic advisers." Yardeni went into the lunch with four key themes: trade between the US and China, monetary and fiscal policies, productivity and the supply side, and the stock market.

    He would not elaborate further on the attendees or on the advisers' reactions to his presentation, but said the group was a "bunch of Cool Hand Lukes" who "kept their cards close to the vest" and revealed little by way of reaction to Yardeni's points.

    "I don't have a clue whether it just simply corroborated things they're thinking, or I gave them new insights," he said.

    Yardeni is no stranger to the intersection of markets and policy. He spent decades on Wall Street in a variety of top positions like chief investment strategist of Deutsche Bank and chief economist of Prudential, and worked at the US Treasury and at the Federal Reserve in both Washington, DC, and New York.

    Here are the eight charts he ran through:

    Manufacturing production and capacity

    "President Trump won because he promised to bring good jobs back to the US," Yardeni wrote on his presentation.

    "Rapid technological change is both disrupting and energizing our economy. The first effect tends to dampen productivity, while the second tends to boost it."

    Real retail sales growth in China

    "China's one-child policy has created a demographic nightmare for the country," Yardeni wrote in his presentation, pointing to slowing retail sales growth as an indicator for the country's economic health.

    "Hiding in plain sight is that China is seeking to become a super-power before it turns into the world’s largest nursing home," he wrote, adding that the country is still heavily dependent on trading with the rest of the world.

    Price inflation vs. unemployment rate

    "There's no trade-off between price inflation and unemployment," Yardeni wrote, attempting to show that while unemployment in the US has fallen below 4%, inflation remains historically low.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Butterfinger has a new recipe rolling out in 2019. 
    • The new recipe uses a different type of peanut and more cocoa, and certain ingredients will be cut. 
    • We compared the new and old Butterfinger bars and found the revamped candy far exceeds its predecessor. 

    There's a new Butterfinger in town. 

    On Thursday, Butterfinger announced a radical revamp for the 95-year-old brand. Starting in 2019, the candy will have a new recipe and wrapper; the bars will use a different type of peanut and more cocoa, and certain ingredients will be cut. 

    "The priority is really bringing Butterfinger back into the spotlight as a modern-day icon, because it hadn't gotten the attention it warrants in recent years," Kristen Mandel, who oversees the brand's marketing, told Business Insider. "We're excited to have all the resources and investment to put behind it." 

    Business Insider had the chance to get our hands on the new Butterfinger bar early. We decided to try Butterfinger 2.0 alongside the candy as it is currently sold. 

     Here's how the old and the new compare: 

    SEE ALSO: Burger King is forcing customers to go to McDonald's for one-cent Whoppers. Here are 7 of the weirdest deals and ads in recent fast-food history.

    The difference between the two bars is clear from the packaging alone. While Butterfinger's wrapper has been getting more yellow, the new bar (on top) is a nearly neon shade, with a promise of an "improved recipe" in the corner.

    Upon unwrapping, the difference is more nuanced, but still apparent. The new bar is slightly shorter but wider.

    But, the revelation of the new Butterfinger — on the right — only becomes clear when you take a bite. Butterfinger's "crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery" core has always been key to the candy's charm, despite its saccharine taste and tendency to cement teeth together.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    american eagle 3385

    • American Eagle'sAerie brand has achieved explosive success in recent years.
    • On Tuesday, American Eagle reported a 32% increase in same-store sales at Aerie during the third quarter of 2018. This marked its 16th consecutive quarter of double-digit positive growth.
    • Here's why the brand has been so successful. 

    Aerie is on fire. 

    On Tuesday, American Eagle reported a 32% increase in same-store sales for its underwear-turned-lifestyle brand, Aerie. This marked its 16th consecutive quarter of double-digit positive growth. Group CEO Jay Schottenstein described this as one of the company's best results ever in a call with investors after the earnings release.

    The company now plans to open between 60 and 70 new Aerie locations next year. 

    Meanwhile, its main competitor, Victoria's Secret, continues to come under pressure. Critics have said that the retailer's push-up bras and racy runway shows no longer resonate with the modern customer in the era of #MeToo. The brand came under fire last month after an executive from its parent company, L Brands, made controversial comments about transgender and plus-size models during an interview with Vogue.

    Same-store sales were down 6% at Victoria's Secret stores in the most recent quarter. They were down 2% when including online sales.

    Read more:These photos reveal why women are abandoning Victoria's Secret for American Eagle's Aerie underwear brand

    We visited an Aerie store in Midtown Manhattan and saw why it has been so successful while Victoria's Secret has floundered:

    SEE ALSO: These up-and-coming underwear labels are threatening to upend Victoria's Secret

    DON'T MISS: We shopped at American Eagle and saw why it's so popular with teens right now

    Aerie has been praised for being a more relatable brand. In 2014, it swapped its airbrushed ads for unretouched photos and launched a body-positive campaign known as #AerieReal.

    It is known for its ad campaigns using "real" women ...

    ... and it famously doesn't Photoshop any of the images in its ads.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Walmart has been on an online brands binge for several years now.
    • Bonobos, ModCloth, and are just a few of the brands the retail giant has snapped up since 2010.
    • Walmart's pivot toward digital-native companies likely indicates its outlook on the future of retail.

    Walmart has been devouring online retailer after online retailer for the past few years.

    So what's behind this banquet of brands? The fact that many of the acquired companies belong to the realm of e-commerce indicates that this is all part of Walmart's ongoing battle with Amazon.

    But it's also about appealing to the younger, more affluent generation of consumers that flocks to brands like Bonobos and ModCloth.

    Read more: Walmart wants to win over millennials, but it might have to acquire '40 to 50' brands to do so

    A Walmart spokesperson previously told Business Insider that "one of the drivers for customers to continue coming back to your brand is going to be finding products and experiences that they just can't get anywhere else."

    So the future isn't just about being online — it's also about having products that exude exclusivity and set you apart from the competition.

    Business Insider previously reported on a note from financial services firm Cowen and Company that said Walmart's e-commerce president and CEO Marc Lore believes the retail giant needs to acquire 40 to 50 "successful digitally native retailers" in order to "resonate with millennials."

    So despite the spate of acquisitions, Walmart still has a long way to go, at least by Cowen and Company's estimate.

    Here's a look at the slew of digitally oriented brands that Walmart has scooped up in recent years:

    SEE ALSO: After wrangling with Amazon, Bernie Sanders has set his sights on Walmart

    DON'T MISS: Walmart CEO reveals why Trump's trade war with China still has him worried over rising prices

    SEE ALSO: Furious Walmart shoppers are complaining that hot video game deals sold out seconds into Cyber Monday


    Walmart acquired streaming and media company Vudu back in 2010, most likely in a move to compete with Amazon.

    This fall, Walmart entered into a partnership with MGM Holdings and interactive video startup Eko, in the hopes of creating more original content for the site.


    Kosmix — the original name of what has since become Walmart Labs — is another one of Walmart's early digital acquisitions.

    The retailer scooped up the social media startup for a cool $300 million in 2011.

    The $3.3 billion acquisition of in August 2016 further propelled Walmart to a larger claim within the realm of online commerce. The purchase was largely seen as Walmart's bid to compete with Amazon in the e-commerce space.

    As an added bonus, Walmart acquired Omaha-based online retailer Hayneedle through its purchase of The Omaha World-Herald speculated that Hayneedle would help Walmart play "online catch-up" with Amazon.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    private ski resort

    • A new private club in Colorado may be one of the most exclusive ski resorts in the world.
    • Cimarron Mountain Club is only open to 13 members who pay at least $2.65 million plus annual fees of $62,000 for private access to the 1,750-acre wilderness area.
    • Members also get a 35-acre piece of land on which they can build a chalet — but no "mega-mansions" are allowed.
    • The membership will also include access to a lodge with dining areas, a bar, an outdoor spa, a fire pit, and a warming hut.


    At one of the world's most exclusive ski resorts, a lucky 13 members pay an initial fee of at least $2.65 million for private access to the 1,750-acre wilderness area — plus a spot to build a personal chalet.

    Cimarron Mountain Club in Colorado was founded by Jim Aronstein, a retired natural resources lawyer, and his wife, Patsy, with the goal of creating "a sanctuary for 13 families who want to ski untracked powder and preserve a beautiful wilderness setting for future generations to enjoy," a representative for the Club told Business Insider.

    Read more: It looks like the place everyone wants to go skiing this winter is in the middle of the desert

    "I was simply tired of the ski resort experience and dreamed for decades about creating the world's only, intimate and private wilderness club with skiable terrain to rival the best," Aronstein told Business Insider. "My wife and I identified more than a dozen potential sites, located in six Rocky Mountain states and provinces, and visited every one. In the end, just one met all the criteria."

    The Aronsteins bought the property in 2004 and the Club officially launched in July 2018, with six member families already signed up and seven remaining spots.

    "What has and continues to make CMC so special is our commitment to preserving the powder, protecting the wilderness, and sharing it all with just 13 member families and their friends," Aronstein added.

    Here's a look at the super-exclusive resort.

    SEE ALSO: This luxury resort on Maine's largest island costs up to $2,000 per night and is a gateway to one of the country's most stunning national parks

    DON'T MISS: Are 'luxpeditions' the new glamping?

    Cimarron Mountain Club sits in the San Juan Mountains, a rugged mountain range in southwestern Colorado that makes up part of the Rocky Mountains. It's about a 4.5-hour drive from the winter resort town of Aspen.

    Source: Cimarron Mountain Club, Colorado Encyclopedia, Google Maps

    So far, six families have paid $2.65 million for their memberships and cabin sites, leaving seven memberships up for grabs at $2.8 million each. The annual fees are between $62,000 and $67,000 and include 115 days of skiing per member family, Club labor, operations, and other fixed expenses.

    Source: Cimarron Mountain Club

    The current members are all "powder hounds," according to a resort representative. "Highly successful entrepreneurs or titans of industry. They all have kids and they all want CMC to be a place to impart lasting memories and values. Skiing has been a part of their families' lives for some time."

    Source: Cimarron Mountain Club

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hugh jackman peace sign

    • Some hand gestures that are innocent in the United States are offensive in other countries.
    • The thumbs up, the "OK" sign, and crossing your fingers are all examples of gestures that are vulgar in certain places outside the US.

    Not every hand gesture is universal.

    And sometimes, making what you think is an innocent gesture in one country can land you in hot water somewhere else.

    Just ask any traveler who's given a thumbs-up in Afghanistan. Or someone who's crossed their fingers in Vietnam or signaled "OK" in Brazil. All those gestures have offensive connotations away from American soil.

    Read on, or watch the video, to see the hand gestures you definitely don't want to make overseas.

    SEE ALSO: The 17 least safe cities in America

    DON'T MISS: The highest point in every US state

    The 'V' sign represents peace …

    The 'V' sign, made by holding up the index and middle fingers, initially was used to signal victory by Allied nations during World War II. Anti-war activists later adopted it as a symbol of peace, and today the gesture is known as "the peace sign."

    … but flip it around, and in some countries it's like giving someone the finger

    In certain Commonwealth countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, an outward-facing V sign is an obscene gesture equivalent to giving someone the middle finger.

    The gesture is often performed by flicking the V up from the wrist or elbow. 

    You might throw up the devil's horns at a rock show, but in some countries you're telling someone their wife is cheating on them

    Heavy metal fans are familiar with the so-called "sign of the horns" or "devil horns," made by extending the index finger and pinky.

    But in many European and South American countries, including Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, the gesture has a more obscene meaning.

    There, it's used to mock cuckolds — husbands whose wives are unfaithful. The connection is obvious to people from those countries: the word for "cuckold" in Italian, Spanish, and Greek is the same word for "horned."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    iPhone apps

    • Apps downloaded from the Apple App Store generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue this year.
    • Using data from Sensor Tower, we've compiled a list of the 10 apps downloaded from the App Store that brought in the most revenue in 2018.
    • Half of the apps that brought in the most revenue this year are from companies in China. 

    Apps for video streaming and social media made the most money this year on Apple devices, data shows.

    Business Insider has compiled a list of the apps on iPhone and iPad that brought in the most revenue in 2018, according to data provided by Sensor Tower, covering the period ending November 30th.

    It's possible you've never heard of some of these iOS apps — five of the top 10 apps are from China-based tech giants, including Baidu and Tencent Holdings.

    Here are the highest grossing iOS apps in 2018, and how much revenue each app brought in according to Sensor Tower data:

    10. Hulu — $132.6 million

    App description: Video streaming service

    Owned by: Joint venture of Comcast, Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox.

    9. QQ — $159.7 billion

    App description: Instant messaging platform

    Owned by: Tencent Holdings

    8. Youku — $192.9 million

    App description: Video streaming service

    Owned by: Alibaba Group

    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 charging cable

    • We've rounded up the best charging cables for all kinds of devices, including the iPhone, Android phones, USB-C laptops, and Micro-USB powered gadgets like headphones and Kindles.
    • Anker, Native Union, Nomad, and Fuse Chicken make the best charging cables hands down.

    There's nothing worse than having one charging cable and then losing it, so why not stock up on a bunch of cables so you're never without your power source?

    After all, the one that came with your phone, headphones, Kindle, or other gadgets may not be the best charging cable you can use. Some cables charge faster than others, offer more durability, or are simply longer than the cables that came in the box.

    I've tested thousands of charging cables over the past five to six years as a professional tech reviewer, so I've see just about every charging cable of note. I've rounded up my favorites of all time in this handy guide. Whether you want an affordable everyday cable, a super strong one, a universal cord that charges all your devices, or a nice long cable that has a lot of reach; we have a charging cable recommendation for you.

    One last note before you check out our picks: Most of our favorite charging cables come in lightning (for iPhone), Micro-USB (for older Android phones, headphones, Kindles, etc.), and USB-C (for new Android phones and some laptops) styles so you can choose the charging standard you need.

    Here are the best charging cables you can buy:

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

    The best charging cables overall

    Why you'll love them: The Anker PowerLine cables are the best cords for most people with their sturdy design, fast charging speed, and fair price point.

    Anker's charging cables are our top pick for the best charging cable in our lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C cable buying guides because they are simply the best.

    These cables are fast to charge your phone or sync data, they're durable, and they're affordable. You can get lightning cables for your iPhone, USB-C cables for your new Android phone or laptop, or Micro-USB cables for your older Android phone and other electronics. 

    The cable is strengthened with Kevlar and the stress points near the charger and the USB connector are reinforced for added durability. They're slightly wider than the connectors on other cables, but the Anker cables should fit most phone cases.

    Anker also makes different kinds of cables, including basic ones and slightly pricier Powerline+ cables that are covered in double-braided nylon for added strength. Either way, you're getting a great charging cable.

    To ensure that it's cables last, Anker bent the PowerLine cables more than 5,000 times in testing. The company also offers an 18-month warranty in case of any issues.

    Anker's PowerLine cables come with a Velcro tie to help you wrap up any extra cord length you don't need. You can get the cables in black, white, blue, red, or gray.

    Buyer reviews are very positive, and tech reviewers agree that Anker makes excellent cables for a very reasonable price. Digital Trends, Best Products, and The Wirecutter give Anker high marks.

    Pros: Made from durable aramid fiber, lots of lengths, 18-month warranty, fast charging, reinforced stress points, lightning cables are MFi certified by Apple, USB-C cables are safe

    Cons: None

    Shop all Anker Powerline charging cables for $6 to $30

    The best long charging cables

    Why you'll love them: The 10-foot Native Union Night cables give you a long reach, so it doesn't matter if the outlet is far away.

    If you've ever struggled with a short cord, you'll absolutely love Native Union's 10-foot-long Night Cable. It also has a weighted knot that keeps it from pulling your phone off the table while it's charging. Plus, it's durable and stylish. You can get the cable with lightning and USB-C endings in several colors.

    Native Union makes its cables out of braided nylon, which is strong and doesn't tangle. The cable is covered in braided nylon, a TPE rubber sleeve, a tinned copper braid, and a grounding layer for protection. Inside all those layers are wires that are also protected and reinforced, some with Kevlar fibers.

    To test for durability, Native Union puts is cables through a 10,000 bend test. The company also offers a limited lifetime warranty in case of any mishaps.

    I've used the Native Union Night cable for the past five years as my main charger, and it has never let me down. I've bent it all sorts of ways, and it hasn't frayed at all. I typically use the weight to keep my iPhone on my nightstand while I charge it, but it's easy to adjust when I need the weight anchoring the cord in another place. 

    The Night cable is also highly rated by users on Amazon and Native Union's website. Many tech publications also recommend Native Union's Night cable.

    Pros: It's 10-feet long, weighted so it doesn't fall, covered in sturdy woven fabric, 12-month warranty, lightning cable is MFi certified by Apple, it bends but doesn't break

    Cons: Expensive

    Buy the Native Union Night lightning and USB-C cables on Amazon for $39.99

    The best universal charging cables

    Why you'll love it: The Universal Cable by Nomad has lightning, Micro-USB, and USB-C endings, so you can charge any phone with it.

    If you've ever wished for a cable that could charge all your devices — including a USB-C laptop, a lightning iPhone, and a Micro-USB pair of wireless headphones — you're in luck: The Universal Cable from Nomad is the one cable to rule them all.

    It has lightning, Micro-USB, and USB-C ends to charge any phone and many other devices. The core cable is USB A to Micro USB, and it has conversion caps for charging lightning and USB-C devices.

    The cable measures 1.5 meters in length, so it's a decent length, and you can wrap up the excess cable with the included tie. You can also get shorter lengths.

    The cable is 10K Mil-spec flex tested and Apple MFi approved. Its braided ballistic nylon covering keeps it strong and prevents fraying even with intense use. Nomad guarantees that the cable will last at least five years.

    We tried out one of these cables and loved it. It's the only cable you'll ever need. No matter what devices you, your friends, and your family carry, this cable can charge them — no questions asked.

    Pros: Works with all phones, MFi certified, strong, five-year guarantee

    Cons: A bit pricey

    Buy the Universal Charging Cable at Nomad for $29.95 to $34.95

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    starbucks reserve roastary nyc 4721

    • Starbucks opened a Reserve Roastery in New York on Friday.
    • The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery is the fourth of its kind in the world and is completely unlike a typical Starbucks.
    • The Roasteries are meant to be upscale, and they feature cocktail bars, bakeries, and unique elements. 
    Starbucks just opened a Reserve Roastery in New York, and it's drastically different from any other Starbucks in the city.

    The Roasteries — seen as competitors of more upscale coffee shops like Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia — typically include a high-end Princi bakery, full liquor bar, and lounge areas with fireplaces in addition to a more traditional coffee bar.

    The New York store has all of these elements, plus an additional coffee bar, spread across three floors and 23,000 square feet of space. The Roastery showcases specialty, small-lot Starbucks Reserve coffee. 

    In comparison, a traditional Starbucks store averages around 1,800 square feet

    According to a company spokesperson, customers typically spend four times more in the company's Roastery locations than in a traditional Starbucks. When visiting the Roastery, it was clear why — the store had tons of food and coffee options, plus plenty of places to sit and stay for a while. 

    The new location in New York is one of four Reserve Roasteries in the world, along with locations in Milan, Shanghai and Seattle. Starbucks plans to open additional Roasteries in Tokyo and Chicago in 2019.

    We visited the new Roastery in New York and a typical Starbucks in the city's Financial District — here's how they compare:

    SEE ALSO: We compared the grocery-shopping experience at 6 major chains in 2018, and this one impressed us the most

    We got an early peek at the Reserve Roastery on Wednesday morning. It's located in the Meatpacking District.

    The store was overwhelming. To the left of the entrance was a big merchandise store.

    There were products for sale from a few different collections, including Starbucks' New York collection and its holiday collection.

    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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    chartwell estate los angeles


    A Los Angeles mansion is on the market for $245 million, making it the most expensive house for sale in the US — and about 960 times more expensive than the typical American home. 

    The median US home price was $255,000 as of the second quarter of 2018, according to data compiled by ATTOM Data Solutions.

    Sitting on nearly 11 acres, the main home of the Chartwell Estate was designed by Sumner Spaulding in 1930, according to the listing. In the 1980s, the mansion's interiors were renovated by designer Henri Samuel — but no recent photos have been released, keeping the inside of the home a mystery. 

    The expansive grounds of Chartwell include manicured gardens, a 75-foot pool, and views that span from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. There's also a car gallery that fits 40 vehicles, a five-bedroom guest house, a tennis court, and a 12,00-bottle wine cellar. Last year, the property was listed for $350 million.

    Chartwell is listed with several agents: Jeff Hyland, Drew Fenton, and Gary Gold of Hilton & Hyland (a Christie's International Real Estate affiliate), along with Jade Mills, Joyce Rey, and Alexandra Allen of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, and Drew Gitlin and Susan Gitlin of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.

    Here's a look at the sprawling estate's grounds.

    SEE ALSO: The iconic mansion from ‘The Godfather’ is on the market for $135 million — here's a look inside the 29-bedroom Beverly Hills estate

    The Chartwell Estate sits on 10.39 acres in Bel Air, Los Angeles, one of the most "prestigious residential communities in the city of Los Angeles," according to luxury real estate firm Hilton & Hyland.

    Source: Hilton & Hyland

    The 25,000-square-foot mansion has 11 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, and a ballroom.

    Source: Realtor

    The home was built in the 1930s for civil engineer Lynn Atkinson and later purchased by late Univision billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio.

    Source: Los Angeles Times

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Allbirds, one of the most popular online shoe companies right now, has released its best-selling sneakers in throwback colors. 
    • Though the startup sells a simple selection of silhouettes and styles, it keeps its loyal customers engaged and draws in new ones with periodic color updates. This limited-edition collection bringing back fan-favorite colors is no exception to the strategy. 
    • You can check out some of the throwback colors below, which include a speckled "Starry Night" navy and an eye-catching "Kotare Lemon" yellow
    • New colors often sell out, so if you want a style in your size, you should act quickly. 

    Ever the expert at generating renewed interest in its already-popular footwear, online shoe startup Allbirds released "throwback" colors today. This collection of popular past colors was brought back from the Allbirds archive to include bright corals, dusky pinks and purples, and a gray collaboration with fitness brand Outdoor Voices. 

    You can find these colors only in its signature Wool Runner. Since launching this popular, minimalist style, the company has expanded into Wool Loungers, Tree Runners, Tree Loungers, and Tree Skippers. These shoes have drawn acclaim from shoppers and media far and wide for their use of innovative materials (merino wool, eucalyptus, and sugar cane), all-day comfort, and simple yet instantly recognizable look. 

    While Allbirds' classic colors like black, white, and charcoal are excellent basics to own, they'll always be available to purchase. It's the limited-edition colors that you need to be on the lookout for because they can sell out quickly. 

    Whether you've always wanted to try the sneaker that everyone knows and talks about, or you (like us) already own multiple pairs and need to add to the collection, this "new" color collection is a great opportunity to do so. There are 24 colors in total, though not all are available in both Men's and Women's styles. 

    Here's a first look at the colors dropping today. 

    Shop men's Throwback colors at Allbirds here before they sell out

    Shop women's Throwback colors at Allbirds here before they sell out

    Dark Kea Red with Black Sole

    Men's Dark Kea Red (Black Sole) Wool Runners, $95


    Tuke Chili with Cream Sole

    Men's Tuke Chili (Cream Sole) Wool Runners, $95

    Women's Tuke Chili (Cream Sole) Wool Runners, $95

    Kea Red with Kea Red Sole

    Men's Kea Red (Kea Red Sole) Wool Runners, $95

    Women's Kea Red (Kea Red Sole) Wool Runners, $95

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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