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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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

    • 2018 has been a rough year for tech investors.
    • The sector got hit especially hard during the sell-off that occurred over the final few months of the year.
    • Big US tech names, including the FAANG stocks, fell out of favor with Wall Street.
    • Chinese tech and semiconductors were among the hardest hit during the selling.

    Over the past few years, betting on the tech sector and its most prominent companies was a winning strategy. But this year has been a different story.

    The stock market saw a brutal sell-off in February, and tech stocks were no exception. The sector suffered along with the broader market, seeing a loss of 8.6% — almost the same as the benchmark S&P 500. It later recovered and surged higher to a record high after President Donald Trump's tax-cut plan, which provided a boost through share buybacks.

    Then things took another turn for the worse. The Nasdaq put in its record high in August before a sell-off in early October hit tech names particularly hard. The Nasdaq tanked as much as 24% during the final four months of the year, tumbling into a bear market.

    The losses were widespread, and even the FAANG basket — Facebook,Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google parent Alphabet— wasn't spared. Apple (-12%) and Google (-5%) are down for the year, and Facebook (-27%) has fallen off a cliff. Meanwhile, Amazon (+18%) and Netflix (+21%) are still higher, but they're well off their highs.

    And while FAANG stocks have been hit hard, there are other names that have fared far worse. Two types of companies — Chinese tech and semiconductors — were among the hardest hit, as uncertainty around the US-China trade war and slowing global growth weighed on investor sentiment.

    Among the biggest losers this year in tech, four are Chinese companies, and three are semiconductors.

    Here are the 10 tech stocks in the Nasdaq 100 that tumbled the most in 2018, in ascending order of their year-to-date performance through Thursday.

    NetEase

    Ticker:NTES

    Business type: Entertainment group (in China)

    Year-to-date performance: -30%

     

    Source: Bloomberg data



    Skyworks

    Ticker:SWKS

    Business type: Semiconductor manufacturer 

    Year-to-date performance: -30%

     

    Source: Bloomberg data



    Baidu

    Ticker:BIDU

    Business type: Internet-related service provider (in China)

    Year-to-date performance: -32%

     

    Source: Bloomberg data



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    Halo Infinite

    • For the first time since 2013, Microsoft is expected to announce a brand-new Xbox console in 2019.
    • In addition to the upcoming consoles, we're likely to see major games from the "Halo" and "Gears of War" franchises, among others, in the coming year.
    • Here's everything we know — and a few educated guesses — about the next year for Microsoft's Xbox division.

    In 2019, the next Xbox consoles are likely to be announced.

    That's just the first major move of several expected from Microsoft's Xbox division in the coming year — and that's before we start talking about the major games, like "Gears 5" and "Halo Infinite," that are expected to arrive. 

    Here's a look into the known and the expected from Xbox in 2019:

    SEE ALSO: The 6 biggest things to expect from video games in 2019: New PlayStation and Xbox consoles, the first core 'Pokémon' game for Nintendo Switch, and much more

    DON'T MISS: The 5 biggest things to expect from PlayStation in 2019

    1. The next Xbox consoles.

    Indeed, it's that time once again: Both Microsoft and Sony are gearing up to announce new versions of the Xbox and PlayStation platforms.

    In the case of the next Xbox, things are a bit more clear — Xbox chief Phil Spencer has outright announced Microsoft's ongoing work on new Xbox consoles.

    "The same team that delivered unprecedented performance with Xbox One X is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to set the benchmark for console gaming," Spencer said on stage in Los Angeles on June 10.

    The latest rumors point to multiple tiers of Xbox consoles, similar to the current line-up with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles.

    Rumors also say the new Xbox will be compatible with all previous generations of Xbox; the code names are reportedly "Lockhart" (for the less powerful/less expensive version) and "Anaconda" (for the higher-end version).



    2. "Crackdown 3"

    "Crackdown 3" has been in the works for years at this point, having been delayed multiple times.

    As the name implies, it's the third game in the open-world, third-person action "Crackdown" series. But this time, apparently, it stars Terry Crews!

    The series is big on mobility — allowing you to go anywhere you want — and huge explosions. It looks like the third game in the series is no different in this respect.



    3. "Gears 5"

    Are you ready to chainsaw some more Locust? With "Gears 5" in the works, Microsoft's betting that the answer is a resounding "yes."

    The next entry in the gruff and grisly "Gears of War" third-person shooter series was announced by Microsoft in June 2018 during the company's annual E3 media briefing. A new character is at the forefront, introduced during a short trailer — her name is Kait, and she previously debuted as a supporting "Gears" character.

    Like previous games in the series, "Gears 5" features third-person shooting with a focus on movement and cover. It doesn't have a firm release date, but it's scheduled for launch sometime in 2019.



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    best no show socks

    • If you want to keep your feet comfortable, protected against blisters, and with added support, you need great socks.
    • If you want to do all that without your socks ruining an outfit, you need great no-show socks.
    • The Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light No Show Tab Socks are the best no-show socks you can buy, thanks to their fine fabric blend and bands of Lycra for compression and support.

    I lived in Los Angeles for 12 years, and during that time, no-show socks played a relatively minor role in my life. From mid-March through November, I wore sandals most of the time, and then during the LA "winter" I wore shoes with long socks under jeans. And usually a T-shirt — LA winters aren't all that intense, see?

    Now that I live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast, no-show socks have become much more of a thing in my life, and for multiple reasons. One is rain. When it's raining, sandals are a bad choice. But when it's raining and it's 90 degrees out, no way am I donning long pants with longs socks, and of course, I'll not be caught dead with long socks sticking up out of my shoes.

    Another reason is the fact that there are actual seasons here during which daily temperatures can change dramatically. While I might start a fall day wearing long pants and a jacket, I may have switched to shorts and a long sleeve shirt by early afternoon. And, thus, to no-show socks again.

    While it might seem funny to devote so much thought to choosing socks that, by their very nature, won't even be seen by anyone, when your shoddy pair of no-shows slips off your foot and balls up in your shoe, or when it turns out that your socks are very much showing, you'll wish you had invested just a bit more time into choosing the right pair.

    Also, you'll be amazed what a difference a great sock can make in offering support during running, hikes, or long walks. I know I was, at any rate, when I first started wearing great socks, many of which you would never even know I had on.

    Here are the best no-show socks you can buy:

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

    The best no-show socks overall

    Why you'll love them: Your feet will enjoy superb support thanks to the Lycra power bands stitched into every Feetures! Ultra Light No Show Tab Socks.

    Just to clear the air here, I own five or six pairs of Feetures! socks at present, and yes, my opinion about them is probably biased. But I've developed that bias based solely on the fact that the company makes superlative socks. The High Performance Ultra Light No Show Tab Socks are one of the most comfortable, supportive, and high-performing socks I've ever worn, and that goes for no-shows, crew socks, hiking socks, and on and on.

    First, let's talk about support. These socks are made out of a high-density knit blend of polyester, nylon, and spandex, so they are snug and resilient, conforming well to your feet with zero stretching out even during hours of use. A "power band" of added Lycra around the center of the sock offers excellent arch support and compression.

    Now for temperature regulation. Not only do the primarily polyester Feetures! No Show Tab Socks wick away plenty of sweat, but two large mesh panels along the top of each sock allows for excellent breathability and release of heat.

    These socks were designed for performance, and I do wear Feetures! socks while running at times, but I wear them more often just because they're comfortable.

    With nearly 200 reviews posted on Amazon at the time of this writing, customers have given these socks a collective 4.4-star rating. One lady reported her "feet feeling energized after a four mile run" in Feetures! No Show Tab Socks, while another customer reported the socks keeping his feet "dry" and without "any rubbing at all" during training for a marathon.

    Pros: Excellent support, great breathability, durable construction

    Cons: Slightly pricey per pair

    Buy a pair of Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light No Show Tab Socks on Amazon for $13



    The best no-show socks for men's dress shoes

    Why you'll love them: With a pair of Thirty48 No Show Loafer Socks tucked under your loafers, boat shoes, or stylish sneakers, your feet will stay cool and dry whether you're sailing the high seas or swapping ideas at a lunchtime meeting.

    Certain types of shoes are tricky. Loafers, slip-ons, moccasins, and a few other types of men's shoes really only look good when worn without socks, and that's true whether you're wearing shorts or long pants. While some boat shoes or slip-on sneakers might feel fine without socks, others feel clammy or poke your feet or cause rubbing and blisters with any extended wear.

    Enter the Thirty48 No Show Loafer Socks. These extra low-riding now show socks come in a variety of colors that blend into most dressier shoes and that won't draw attention when worn with sneakers if anyone sees them at all.

    The Thirty48 No Show Loafer Socks have a very low rise at the back of the foot, just covering your heel and eliminating a common hotspot for blisters. They stay in place thanks to a silicone grip stitched into the sock at the heel, so even if you're quite active while wearing them, they rarely slip off and bunch up.

    On those hot days, these thin, minimalist socks help keep your feet cool thanks to patented CoolPlus fabric design that uses a capillary system to draw moisture and heat away from your feet.

    More than 1,500 people have left reviews and ratings for the Thirty48 No Show Loafer Socks, and they enjoy a fine 4.5-star rating overall. A gentleman Daniel speaks for many when he says these socks "fit well, the rubber heel ensures the sock stays on the foot, and the different colors are [well] matched to all [his] shoes."

    A writer from The Gear Hunt praised the Thirty48 No Show Loafer Sock's "moisture wicking" properties and appreciated that the sock "stays on your feet."

    Pros: Very low profile, silicone band holds sock in place, available in several muted colors

    Cons: Elastic wring around collar too tight for some feet

    Buy a six-pack of Thirty48 No Show Loafer Socks on Amazon for $20



    The best no-show socks for women's dress shoes

    Why you'll love it: The Eedor Thin Casual Boat Line Sock won't stick up above even a low-cut flat thanks to the low-rise back, which just covers the heel.

    Many women's shoes have a low cut to begin with, so many otherwise no-show socks will very much show when worn with flats, pumps, and other types of shoe. With a pair of Eedor Thin Casual Boat Line Socks on your feet, you can enjoy the blister protection afforded by socks without the faux pas of visible socks.

    While quite low cut, these socks stay in place thanks to a band of silicone affixed to the rear of the sock. The rest of your foot will be kept comfortable thanks to the snug feel created by an 80% cotton, 20% spandex fabric blend. That blend can keep your foot feeling clean and dry under most normal circumstances, but do note that if your feet sweat heavily or get wet due to rain or a puddle, these socks won't dry out any time soon — cotton holds water much more readily than synthetic fibers.

    The Eedor Thin Casual Boat Line Socks come in four different colors that are generally neutral and will blend in with the look of many shoes, further enhancing the no show of it all. Also, you can get eight pairs for well under 20 bucks, which is a fine deal indeed.

    With more than 3,000 reviews posted on Amazon, the Eedor Thin Casual Boat Line Socks enjoy a commendable 4.5-star rating. One customer loved that the are "very comfortable" and "stay in place all day." Another lady called them "perfect [for when you] don't want the look of socks creeping out of your shoes but you want your foot covered."

    Do note that many women reported the sizing running too small, so buy accordingly.

    Pros: Great low price, good color variety, stay in place reliably

    Cons: Sizing runs small

    Buy an eight-pack of Eedor Thin Casual Boat Line Socks on Amazon for $17



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    best dewormers for dogs

    • The best dewormer for dogs should treat all four of the most common intestinal parasites in dogs, and it should be easy to administer.
    • Guaranteed to treat multiple species of hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, and whipworm, Excel Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer is our top pick for the best dog dewormer overall.

    Worms. The word alone is enough to make any dog owner squirm but, unfortunately, these intestinal parasites are extremely common in dogs of all ages. There are four different types of worms that commonly affect dogs and puppies: roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Puppies are also prone to an intestinal parasite known as coccidia, but most adult dogs develop an immunity to these parasites.

    Some of the most common symptoms of worms in dogs including persistent scratching, bloated belly, increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, weakness, and bloody stool or diarrhea. In most cases, a physical exam and stool sample are enough to diagnose your dog with worms and treatment is made easy with over-the-counter dewormers for dogs.

    When choosing a dewormer for dogs, you need to know what type of worms your dog has. You can purchase a dewormer for specific types of worms, or you can choose a broad-spectrum product. Dewormers for dogs come in several forms including tablets, granules, powders, and liquids, so talk to your veterinarian about the option that is best for your dog. Once you know what kind of dewormer you need, take a look at our top picks for the best dewormer for dogs.

    Here are the best dog dewormers you can buy:

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

    The best dog dewormer overall

    Why you'll love it: Excel Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer provides broad-spectrum protection against all four types of intestinal parasites commonly seen in dogs for up to six months at a time.

    If you're looking for a quick and effective solution to intestinal parasites, a broad-spectrum dewormer may be the way to go. These dewormers contain active ingredients proven to kill all four types of worms, including multiple species, and generally come in an easy-to-administer form. For efficacy, convenience, and affordability, Excel Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer is our top pick for the best dewormer for dogs overall.

    Made with the active ingredient fenbendazole, Excel Dewormer is proven to kill all four types of intestinal parasites frequently seen in dogs. This dewormer protects against two species each of roundworm and hookworm as well as the most common species of tapeworm and whipworm.

    It comes in an easy-to-administer granule formulation which can be sprinkled on or mixed into your dog's food and is safe for puppies and dogs that are six weeks or older.

    My Pet Needs That likes the easy-to-administer formulation and the fact that it provides up to six months of protection against four types of intestinal parasite. K9 of Mine also gives this product its top rating, noting that the active ingredient fenbendazole is well-studied and widely regarded as safe.

    Generally recognized as the safest and most effective dewormer for dogs, Excel Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer has more than 1,800 reviews on Amazon with a solid 4.1-star rating. Dog owners love the easy-to-dose granule formulation, though there are some comments that large breeds may require two packages to meet the dosing recommendation.

    Pros: Kills all four common types of worm, easy-to-mix granule formulation, safe and effective, protects for up to six months, protects against two species of roundworm and hookworm

    Cons: Large dogs may require more than one package, only protects against one species of tapeworm and whipworm, not for puppies under 6 weeks of age

    Buy Safe-Guard 4 Canine Dewormer on Amazon for $4 to $11



    The best liquid dewormer for dogs

    Why you'll love it: Made with pyrantel pamoate as the powerful active ingredient, Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer is a safe and effective treatment for hookworms and roundworms in puppies and dogs as young as two weeks of age.

    Many dogs dislike taking tablets and even powdered dewormers can be difficult to disguise in your dog's food. If you're looking for an easy alternative, a liquid dewormer might be a good option. Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs is our top pick because it is FDA-approved and easy to administer.

    Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs comes in a 2-ounce bottle for less than $20, which makes it a cost-effective solution. Though it only treats roundworms and hookworms, the active ingredient pyrantel pamoate is highly effective and widely recognized as safe for puppies and dogs as young as two weeks of age. Simply administer one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight, adding the product to your dog's food or feeding it directly by mouth.

    Top Dog Tips names Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs the best liquid dog dewormer, commenting on the fact that it is easy to administer for puppies as young as two weeks old. Crittersitca includes this dewormer in their list of the six best dog dewormers, noting that it is FDA-approved and safe for use in puppies as well as female dogs that are pregnant. They also comment that it is a great option for dogs that don't like tablets.

    Not only does this Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs receive great reviews from pet experts, but it has been given an Amazon's Choice award and carries a 4.5-star rating with more than 260 reviews. The main downside that dog owners mention is the fact that it only treats roundworms and hookworms.

    Pros: Highly palatable, liquid formulation is easy to administer, safe for puppies as young as two weeks, FDA-approved, safe for pregnant females, good for dogs that don't like tablets

    Cons: Only treats roundworms and hookworms, large dogs may require a higher dosage

    Buy Nemex 2 Liquid Dewormer for Dogs on Amazon for $17 (originally $24.99)



    The best dewormer for puppies

    Why you'll love it: Made with three powerful active ingredients, Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets are a broad-spectrum dewormer safe for puppies and small dogs weighing at least two pounds.

    You may be surprised to learn that most puppies are born with worms. Fortunately, they are generally easy to treat, and the problem should be resolved within a few months. Puppies should be treated with a dewormer at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age, followed by additional treatments as needed. Our top pick for the best dewormer for puppies is Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets.

    Specifically designed for puppies and small dogs two pounds or more, Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets are a powerful dewormer. It features three active ingredients — praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, and febantel — to protect against all four types of worms commonly seen in dogs. A single dose is enough to kill common worms and it comes in a highly palatable beef-flavored tablet.

    Heavy includes this Bayer Dewormer in its list of the top 10 dog dewormer medications, commenting on the easy dosage and the fact that it treats all four types of worms. Dog Bark Stop also reviews this product favorably, commenting that it is a highly effective formula and reasonably priced.

    Not only do the Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets feature a 4.3-star rating on Amazon, but it has more than 175 reviews. Dog owners love how easy and effective it is, though there are comments that heavy infestations may require multiple treatments.

    Pros: Three powerful active ingredients, broad-spectrum dewormer, kills all four types of intestinal parasites, safe for puppies two pounds and over, palatable beef flavor

    Cons: Heavy infestations may require multiple treatments, dosing instructions may be a little unclear, some dogs dislike taking tablets

    Buy Bayer Quad Dewormer Chewable Tablets for Puppies and Small Dogs on Amazon for $19.99



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    Wawa Buc-ee's

    • Wawa is a beloved regional convenience-store chain, which immediately won our love and appreciation after we visited the first time. 
    • While we once believed Wawa to be the best road trip pit stop imaginable, Texans told us that there was one chain that could one-up Wawa: Buc-ee's.
    • We visited Buc-ee's and compared the two — and were forced to admit that the Texas chain beats out Wawa in every way. 

    In Pennsylvania, travelers worship at the altar of Wawa. 

    The chain of convenience stores has a near-mythical quality, with locals magnetically drawn to the promise of cheap gas, coffee, and an incredible array of delicious sandwiches.

    We visited the chain in 2017, eager to see what all the fuss is about. We left as Wawa converts, spreading the good word on the chain's superiority to its dreaded rival, Sheetz. 

    However, on a recent road trip, we heard murmurs that there may be another convenience-store chain that could measure up to the wonder of Wawa. Buc-ee's, Texans said, was a highway pit stop unlike any other in the world — including Wawa. 

    "Better than Wawa?" we scoffed. "Impossible." 

    Yet we couldn't shake the vision of a Southern answer to Wawa's glory. So, we stopped by the chain to see how Buc-ee's measured up. 

    Here's who comes out on top in a cutthroat battle of two of the most iconic regional pit stop chains in the US. 

    SEE ALSO: We visited convenience-store rivals Wawa and Sheetz to see which does it better — and the winner is clear

    We visited a Wawa in South Philipsburg, New Jersey, off Route 22 in early 2017. The gas pumps are plentiful and bustling with activity, but we were more interested in what was inside.



    Wawa, with more than 720 locations in six states on the East Coast, is renowned for its high-quality yet inexpensive food. Walking inside, we found the vibe to be clean and professional, yet unassuming. Muted yellows and browns were the key colors, leading to a relaxed but often bland visual landscape.



    It took us a few minutes to even comprehend the array of food options available at Wawa. The well-stocked prepackaged section was ambitious and diverse in scope. Even packaged food appeared to be fresh — not as though it has been abandoned on the shelf for untold lengths.



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    Costco shopper

    • Some customers like to take advantage of stores' return policies by making rather unusual returns.
    • Business Insider spoke to employees at Costco, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot about the oddest returns they've ever witnessed.
    • Employees described encountering shoppers who returned things like dirty toilets and mostly consumed pies.

    Some shoppers like to take advantage of major retailers' return policies.

    But then there are customers who take that impulse to a whole new level. The rise of "serial returners" is costing the industry a fortune and causing major logistical headaches.

    To get a sense of what this looks like at the store level, Business Insider spoke to employees at Walmart, Target, Costco, and Home Depot about the strangest, grossest, and most surprising returns they've seen on the job.

    Some of their responses were out there.

    "We can't say no to any members, so don't bring anything back that's 10 years old, such as a fake Christmas tree we got back that was sold in 2007," a California-based Costco employee previously told Business Insider. "We want to help, but that sets a bad example for everyone to bring anything back."

    Meanwhile, a Target team member based in California told Business Insider that they admired their colleagues working in returns, describing it as "a very tough position."

    Here are some of the most ridiculous returns that retail workers said they'd seen.

    SEE ALSO: 'Serial returners' are on the rise — and it's causing headaches for retailers like Walmart and Target

    DON'T MISS: Walmart is bucking a major holiday hiring trend, and it could be a brilliant move

    Shoppers sometimes opt to return huge or costly purchases.

    Buyer's remorse has been known to strike people who've just purchased high-ticket items.

    "Someone ordered an entire lawn set online and brought it in on a U-Haul to return it," a Target team member told Business Insider. "We had to use around 10 carts to bring it in."

    Two other Target employees said they had suspicions about the timing of certain shoppers' expensive returns.

    One Target team member of five years told Business Insider about a guest who took advantage of the store's 90-day return policy by "returning roughly $400 worth of Christmas decorations in late February."

    And a different Target team member said they had seen "multiple returns of thousands of dollars' worth of home merchandise made after the guests have staged their homes," adding, "It is so unethical."



    Other customers attempt to bamboozle workers with downright fraudulent returns.

    Not all returns are made in good faith.

    The National Retail Federation estimated that Americans returned $351 billion worth of goods last year, or 10% of all sales. Of those returns, it estimated that $22.8 billion worth qualified as fraudulent, equal to about 6.5% of total returns.

    A Home Depot employee told Business Insider about one customer who attempted to return a power tool in its case.

    "They re-taped the box, kept the tool, and returned the tool case filled with cans of spaghetti and ravioli to weigh it down," the employee said. "It was neatly packed and re-zipped to make us think it was the original purchase."

    A Target team member told Business Insider that stores have a $200 limit on returns made without a receipt and that customers who return items without a receipt receive store credit in lieu of money.

    The team member described witnessing a shopper attempt to exchange a razor without a receipt.

    "She had hit her $200 limit, meaning that she couldn't return it," the team member said. "She left 20 minutes later. A different woman came in with the exact same razor — in the same Walmart bag even — to return it with her license. Not surprisingly, she had also hit her limit."

    But other shoppers successfully exploit return policies.

    A different Target team member told Business Insider that one man returned several sets of bedsheets, claiming that his wife had bought too many.

    "They were $150 apiece," the Target team member said. "He had a limit on his ID. He didn't have the receipt. We exchanged it for a $450 camera. He bought those sheets from a secondhand store."



    Mostly devoured food isn't an unheard-of return in the retail business ...

    Costco is known for its generous return policy. According to employees, members can even get away with returning mostly eaten food.

    A Costco employee of 12 years told Business Insider that they wanted customers to "stop bringing half-eaten food and saying it was bad."

    They added that they'd seen shoppers return bones picked clean and explain that the "meat was no good" but that "they had to feed their family something."

    And a different employee of the warehouse chain described seeing members bring back "all-eaten pies or baked goods" and claim that they hadn't liked the food.



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    best lip balms

    • So many lip balms rely on the placebo effect — they feel nice, but don’t actually do much for your mouth.
    • Burt’s Bees Lip Balm is the best lip balm we've tried because it uses beeswax and fruit extract to heal and hydrate chapped lips — all for less than the price of your morning latte.

    I am a card-carrying (tube-carrying?) lip balm addict. There are two to five tubes of the stuff floating at the bottom of my purse and in various drawers throughout my house at all times. I’ve got daytime balms, nighttime balms, at-home balms, under-lipstick balms … a balm for any occasion, really.

    In case you haven’t guessed, I will put literally anything that bills itself as a lip balm on my mouth at least once. All that trial-and-error has made me something of a self-professed lip balm expert. I apply various balms anywhere from six to 10 times per day, so I think I know a thing or two about which ones really work.

    In my opinion, there are two different kinds of lip balms that are worth using: The ones that create a seal over your lips to lock in moisture and protect further flaking, and the ones that actually heal the cracks that you already have. The good news for your chapped lips? I have plenty of recommendations for you.

    Here are the best lip balms you can buy:

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

    The best lip balm overall

    Why you'll love it: Give your lips the gift of beeswax-based hydration with Burt's Bees Lip Balm. The best part? You can afford to collect them all.

    If you don't have a tube or 10 of Burt's Bees Lip Balm lying around,what are youdoing with your life? I always have so many of them in my house that I basically hand them out like Halloween candy.

    There's a lot to love about Burt's Bees. The brand's classic lip balm comes in a ton of different flavors, though my favorite is the original one formulated with vitamin E and peppermint oil  — the ingredient responsible for that energizing tingle when you apply it to your lips. Other popular variations include vanilla bean and pomegranate.

    Burt's Bees is a great lip balm to reach for during the day or when you're wearing other lip products because it's not very shiny or thick. I love to add this on top of lipstick if I'm feeling dry — so, like, always. The beeswax and fruit extracts in the formula subtly moisturize without making you look like you're wearing lip gloss. It's also 100% natural, made without parabens, SLS, or petroleum.

    The original formula is a universal favorite, beloved by beauty editors and shoppers. Burt's Bees Lip Balm has been featured in Allure, Rank and Style, Glamour, Gear Patrol, The Strategist, and countless others.  

    Pros: Affordable, petroleum-free, not shiny or sticky, 100% natural ingredients

    Cons: Texture varies slightly with some flavors

    Buy Burt’s Bees Lip Balm at Ulta for $3.29



    The best overnight lip balm

    Why you'll love it: The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is like a lip balm version of the brand's cult-favorite Water Sleeping Mask.

    I swear by the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask for giving my face a boost of hydration overnight, and I swear by the brand's Lip Sleeping Mask for soothing my angry chapped lips. Every night I apply a tiny amount of it in place of a regular lip balm and start the next day with minimal flaking.

    This is the only lip treatment I've found that noticeably diminishes the chapping I experience every single day. I use it nightly and wake up with a smooth canvas for lipstick and fewer bits of skin for my teeth to absentmindedly chew on while I'm distracted.

    Vitamin C, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid in the formula provide an effective salve to my always irritated lips. The product comes in a jar with a tiny spatula, but I usually just apply with my fingers.

    I suppose you could use this during the day, but the texture is very thick and glossy with a slight pink tint so I prefer to let it marinate while I'm sleeping. Sure, I still reach for other balms in my waking hours, but the effects of the Lip Sleeping Mask are long-lasting. A 0.7-ounce pot costs $20, but I've been using my first one for over a year and I only just dipped past the halfway mark.

    With 3,200+ 5-star reviews on Sephora and recommendations from experts at Allure, The Klog, and Racked, you really can't go wrong.   

    Pros: Extremely hydrating, a little goes a long way, no parabens or phthalates

    Cons: Jar packaging

    Buy the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask at Sephora for $20



    The best daytime lip balm

    Why you'll love it: Glossier Balm Dotcom comes in six fun scents, some of which are tinted, and is as effective as it is fun to apply.

    Before I tried Glossier Balm Dotcom for the first time I was convinced it was overrated. I love just about everything Glossier, but how special could a lip balm in a pink and white tube really be? Uh, the answer is really freaking special.

    I'll admit that this is more of a protective lip balm rather than a restorative one. It's not going to heal over your cracked lips like the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, but it will protect them from further damage, and do so very well, thanks to ingredients like castor seed oil and beeswax.

    The balm lasts a long time on your lips, withstanding several cups of coffee and even food without completely wearing off. My favorite iteration is the Birthday flavor, which was inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar's famous cake. It's sheer with a tiny bit of shimmer, perfect for days when I'm not wearing makeup. I even tap the excess on my fingertips into my cheekbones for a subtle highlighter effect.

    The Birthday balm is a bit glossy, but the others just deliver a slight sheen. My husband loves the Mint version, which smells like Breyer's mint chocolate chip ice cream and goes on clear — I even bought him a trio for his birthday last year so he'd stop swiping mine. Some of the other scents, like Rose and Cherry, have a very subtle tint. Guides editor Malarie Gokey uses the Rose one every day.

    I probably don't need to prove that people love Glossier, but in case you're not convinced, Balm Dotcom also comes recommended by Marie Claire, Elle, and Allure.   

    Pros: Long-lasting, hypoallergenic, paraben free

    Cons: Need to apply with fingers

    Buy Balm Dotcom at Glossier for $12



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    cheryl eisen

     

    Cheryl Eisen is unapologetically not a morning person.

    In sharp contrast to the many executives who wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m, Eisen starts her day slowly, waking up at 9 a.m. and enjoying a "caffeine cocktail" of Poland Spring water, espresso, Truvia, and Lactaid milk.

    "In all honesty, it takes until noon for my brain to fully wake up," she told Business Insider.

    Eisen, 50, is the CEO of Interior Marketing Group, or IMG, a New York City-based company of nearly 80 employees that does interior design, staging, and marketing for luxury homes that start at $5 million. Eisen has done the interior design for apartments in buildings belonging to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, an Airbnb rented by Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, and homes for Bethenny Frankel, Swedish real estate broker Fredrik Eklund, and Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. IMG also does projects in Miami, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and the Hamptons.

    Eisen said IMG's designs tend to be neutral and classic. They layer with textures rather than color, sticking with neutral tones that let the focus stay on the selling pieces of the home, whether that's high ceilings or jaw-dropping views. One of her favorite parts of the job is the big reveal when the client finally gets to see the finished space.

    "People cry," she said. "And I get it, because once you see something that you've been working on for months, you see it come to life and it can be overwhelming because a home is a very personal thing."

    Here's a peek into a typical day in her life, from her morning "caffeine cocktail" to rearranging furniture and choosing drapes for multimillion-dollar New York City penthouses.

    SEE ALSO: A day in the life of a Deutsche Bank managing director, who wakes up at 5:00 a.m., spends 10 days of the month traveling, and works out twice a day even while on business trips

    DON'T MISS: Luxury apartment buildings are offering more outrageous amenities than ever to attract tenants, from rooftop gyms and dog spas to outdoor movie theaters

    Cheryl Eisen is the CEO of Interior Marketing Group, which does interior design, staging, and marketing for luxury homes primarily in New York City, but also in Miami, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and the Hamptons.

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    Eisen says she is "unapologetically" not a morning person. She starts her day at 9:00 a.m. with a "caffeine cocktail," which she describes as "a carefully crafted combination of espresso, Poland Spring and Truvia: 3 parts Poland Spring, 2 parts espresso, a ton of Truvia, and Lactaid milk."



    By 10:00 a.m., she's out the door, drinking her coffee and answering emails in the car, which she calls her "mobile office." Eisen employs a full-time driver.



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    Dubai Burj Al Arab Most Luxurious Hotel (11 of 74)

    • One of the most decorated luxury hotels in the world, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai has frequently been called "the world's first seven-star hotel" and "the most luxurious hotel in the world" by travel writers and critics.
    • I recently visited the hotel on a trip to Dubai to try out the Burj Al Arab's flagship restaurant, Al Mahara, a seafood restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred British chef Nathan Outlaw.
    • Like the gold-and-marble covered hotel it is housed in, Al Mahara can be an over-the-top experience with extravagances like caviar and truffles finding their way into numerous dishes and checks that can easily top $400 or more for two people.
    • While the restaurant is no doubt delicious with fresh ingredients and a few inspired dishes, truthfully, I've had much better meals, with tasting menus, for less. At times, it feels like you are paying for the gold-covered locale. 
    If you've ever wondered what it's like to eat where the big shots do, Al Mahara might seem like a good place to start.

    Located in the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, a hotel frequently called "the most luxurious in the world" by travel writers and critics, Al Mahara is the hotel's flagship restaurant.

    Since 2016, Al Mahara has been helmed by Michelin-starred British Chef Nathan Outlaw. In addition to his restaurant at the Burj, Outlaw has four other highly regarded restaurants in the United Kingdom and has appeared on cooking shows.

    His main restaurant, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, has two Michelin stars and is considered one of the best restaurants in the world.

    On a recent trip to Dubai, I had plans to stay at the Burj Al Arab. Having never eaten at a Nathan Outlaw joint, I knew that I'd have to make a trip to Al Mahara.

    While Outlaw is known for a pared-back approach, Al Mahara appears to have a slightly more maximalist take on seafood. Head chef Pete Biggs, an Outlaw veteran, rises to the golden aura of the Burj.

    Keep reading to see what it was like:

    SEE ALSO: I didn't think the $1 billion hotel considered 'the most luxurious in the world' could possibly live up to the hype. I was very wrong.

    DON'T MISS: I stayed at Robert De Niro's ridiculously swanky new hotel in Ibiza — and it makes you feel like a celebrity, if you can afford it

    Shaped like the sail of an Arabian dhow ship and built for $1 billion, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai has frequently been called "the world's first seven-star hotel" and "the most luxurious hotel in the world" by travel writers and critics.



    In November, I visited the hotel for a night and decided to try out all that the luxurious place had to offer. And there's nothing rich people like to spend money more than food. This is what the atrium of the Burj looks like. Yes, it's all real gold.



    I had a dinner reservation at the Burj's flagship restaurant, Al Mahara. To get to the restaurant, you take this turquoise-and-gold elevator that looks like an Hermès enameled bangle. Every room in the hotel looks like a finely crafted piece of jewelry.



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    aladdin

    It was quite a rebound year for the movie business in 2018.

    After a year of big-budget duds and attendance hitting a 25-year low in 2017, seeing theaters full this entire year was a big morale boost for the industry.

    In fact, the domestic box office set a box office record with a $11.38 billion take (and still climbing). 

    But there were also big changes to the industry that will be felt in 2019 and beyond. The popularity of MoviePass has given a boost to movie ticket subscription plans (whether or not that company stays in business), and Disney buying 20th Century Fox proves that the movie studio system as we've known it for decades is disappearing.

    Here we look at 5 things to keep an eye out for in 2019:

    SEE ALSO: MoviePass got rid of a consultant accused on inappropriate behavior towards women after executives threatened to quit. His quiet return has shaken the company.

    1. Expect more movie ticket subscription options

    One of the big stories at the movies in 2018 was the rise (and colossal fall) of MoviePass. But what the company showed the industry is that theatergoers love a subscription model as much as they love one for their favorite streaming service. This opened the door for AMC Theaters to launch its A-List plan, which has also become extremely popular, with subscriptions exceeding the chain's projections. And there are other options like Sinemia and Cinemark's Movie Club

    More options are likely coming. Regal has been quiet when it comes to a movie subscription plan, but industry sources tell Business Insider they would be shocked if the company didn't unveil one in 2019. And Alamo Drafthouse could launch its subscription plan as well. Its Alamo Season Pass is currently in a beta version



    2. Another Disney/Fox-like studio merger isn't out of the question

    This year's news that Disney would acquire assets from 21st Century Fox, including its movie studio, likely caused other entertainment CEOs with existing studios salivating at the idea of nabbing a second. The question on everyone's mind is: Which studios will be next to team up? 

    As far as we hear, there are no serious talks yet. But the studios that always come up in conversation are Sony and Paramount. Both have been on the low side of studio earners in the last handful of years. However, with Sony finding a box office resurgence in its Spider-Man properties and Paramount signing a multi-picture deal with Netflix, you could see both companies as being on the rebound and attractive as acquisition targets.



    3. Will the new owner of the country's largest independent theater chain force a rethink on the theatrical window?

    In December, Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's Landmark Theatres, the largest independent theater chain in US with 252 screens in 27 markets, was sold to Charles S. Cohen's Cohen Media Group for an undisclosed amount. News of a sale was expected, as the chain had been rumored to be sold to everyone from Amazon to Netflix to Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios. Less discussed is how the Cohen Media Group could shift the theatrical window all on its own.

    Landmark is an outlier as a big chain in that it's willing to show Netflix movies theatrically, even though the streaming giant continues to show most of its titles in theaters and online at the same time. Cohen has already indicated that won't change on his watch. If the company wanted to, it could push for a shorter theatrical window (typically the 90-day period a movie shows in theaters before going to streaming or another ancillary market). Cohen Media Group is also an independent distribution and production company (it released past Oscar nominees "Faces Places" and "Frozen River"), which gives it control of both the making and release of movies. Another reason why a shorter window for a company that releases indies and foreign titles (which typically do better on streaming) may be more appealing.



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    Hotel TwentySeven amsterdam

    A hotel has the possibility to make or break your vacation — but, if it's one of the best boutique hotels in the world, chances are you'll be in very, very good hands.

    In 2018's Boutique Hotel Awards, fourteen hotels around the world took home top honors in a range of categories.

    The hotels were judged on "all aspects of the guest experience covering six categories: dining and entertainment, design, facilities, location and, most importantly, staff service and overall emotional impact," according to the news release.

    A hotel in Bali was named the best overall boutique hotel, while hotels in Portugal, South Africa, Greece, New Zealand, and other countries also won top spots. Categories include World's Best Beach or Coastal Hotel, Best Honeymoon Hideaway, Most Stunning Views, and more.

    Here are the top boutique hotels in the world, from a beachside retreat in the Maldives to a wellness resort in Austria.

    SEE ALSO: Disappointing photos show what 9 top luxury destinations look like in real life

    DON'T MISS: Inside the world's largest underwater restaurant, which has a 36-foot window that looks right out into the seabed so guests can watch marine life swim by as they eat

    World's Best Beach or Coastal Hotel: Reethi Faru Resort

    Location: Filaidhoo, Maldives
    Rates starting at: $171



    World's Best City Explorer: Corpo Santo Lisbon Historical Hotel

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal
    Rates starting at: $133



    World's Best Classic Elegance Hotel: Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage

    Location: Bruges, Belgium
    Rates starting at: $222



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    millennial worker reading

    • Kick off 2019 the right way by making your life, work, and money more productive.
    • We rounded up some of the best business and money books from 2018 to make 2019 your most productive year yet.
    • They're filled with insights on how to make the most of your time, build habits, and find success at work, from creating a culture to leading the right way.

    Make 2019 the year of productivity when it comes to life, work, and money. 

    There's no shortage of books to help guide you through your most productive year yet. To help you get started, we rounded up some of the most popular books on Amazon in business and money published in 2018.

    They're brimming with advice on how to utilize your time, focus on the things that matter, and build new habits. They're also full of secrets to success in business, from leading organizations and making the most of meetings to building a culture and overcoming obstacles — and how to scale up your business to be the next big thing.

    Read more:The best business books of 2018

    Because if you succeed in work and use your time effectively, your chances at building wealth will be more successful, too.

    Kick off the year on the right note with these books.

    SEE ALSO: 11 books to read in 2019 if you want to get rich

    DON'T MISS: 13 unforgettable insights from a year reading about relationships, time management, and getting ahead at work

    'Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones' by James Clear

    From Amazon:"If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights."

    Find it here »



    'The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success' by Albert-László Barabási

    From Amazon:"Too often, accomplishment does not equal success. We did the work but didn't get the promotion; we played hard but weren't recognized; we had the idea but didn't get the credit. We convince ourselves that talent combined with a strong work ethic is the key to getting ahead, but also realize that combination often fails to yield results, without any deeper understanding as to why.

    "Recognizing this striking disconnect, the author, along with a team of renowned researchers and some of the most advanced data-crunching systems on the planet, dedicated themselves to one goal: Uncovering that ever-elusive link between performance and success."

    Find it here »



    'Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.' by Brené Brown

    From Amazon:"Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe.

    "She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?"

    Find it here »

     



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    san jose california

    • America's cities tend to be more expensive than other parts of the country.
    • Using recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, we looked at the most and least expensive places to live in the US. 

    America's big coastal cities are really expensive.

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released data on personal income and the cost of living in 2016 for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan parts of states, including the relative cost of living in different parts of the country.

    Regional price parity is an index that sets the national average cost of goods and services at 100, with a particular region's RPP showing how the cost of living in that region compares with that average.

    For example, the New York metropolitan area had an RPP of 122 in 2016, meaning the city and its suburbs are about 22% more expensive than the national average.

    Meanwhile, Beckley, West Virginia, had an RPP of 78.8, meaning goods and services cost about four-fifths as much as the national average.

    Here's a map illustrating the RPP of the country's metropolitan areas and of the parts of states that fall outside of them. Regions in blue are less expensive than the national average, with darker areas indicating the lowest relative cost of living. Those in red are more expensive than average, with darker red showing a higher cost of living.

    most expensive places in america

    And here are the 10 most expensive (in red) and least expensive (in blue) metro areas in the US:

    most and least expensive metro areas chart

    Here are the 40 largest metro areas by 2016 population, ranked from most to least expensive, along with their overall regional price parities and RPPs for goods, rent, and non-rent services. Much, but not all, of the disparity in prices among cities comes from rent, rather than other goods and services:

    SEE ALSO: The 3 most commonly spoken languages in every New York City neighborhood

    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

    Overall regional price parity: 127.1

    Goods RPP: 110.4

    Rent RPP: 213.3

    Non-rent services RPP: 110.7



    San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

    Overall regional price parity: 124.7

    Goods RPP: 110.7

    Rent RPP: 190.9

    Non-rent services RPP: 111.0



    New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

    Overall regional price parity: 122.0

    Goods RPP: 109.9

    Rent RPP: 154.9

    Non-rent services RPP: 115.9



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    musk Flamethrower

    • From revelations about Amazon's warehouses to people buying "flamethrowers" from Elon Musk's Boring Company, it's been quite a year in tech. 
    • To look back on the past 12 months, we've compiled the most-read tech stories on Business Insider. 
    • Here are our 17 most popular stories of the year.

    As 2018 comes to a close, it's time to look back on the year in tech. 

    The past 12 months have brought hilarity in all forms, like Rep. Steve King confusing which company makes the iPhone, and people lighting stuff on fire with Elon Musk's Not-A-Flamethrower.

    But the year has also brought new revelations, like how late Apple CEO Steve Jobs treated his daughter, Lisa, and the conditions inside Amazon's warehouses. 

    As a way to look back on 2018, we've compiled the 17 most-read tech stories of the year on Business Insider.

    Here they are:

    SEE ALSO: The 17 tech gadgets on our wish lists this year

    17. "We used Google Flights and Kayak to see which is best for booking travel — here's the verdict" by Avery Hartmans

    We compared two of the major flight booking services, Kayak and Google Flights, to see which one was better.

    The services have a lot of features in common, the main one being that they both aggregate flights from major airlines and both take you off their sites to actually book your trip. But we were curious which had more standout features — and, of course, which could find cheaper flights.

    Read the full story here.



    16. "This 26-year-old makes $500,000 every month playing 'Fortnite' in his bedroom — here's how he does it" by Kaylee Fagan

    We profiled Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, the 26-year-old Twitch streamer who plays the popular game "Fortnite" with Drake and professional athletes and reportedly makes half a million dollars every month from his bedroom.

    Read the full story here.



    15. "People are already torching things they shouldn't with Elon Musk's flamethrowers" by Isobel Asher Hamilton

    Elon Musk's Boring Company got its $500 "Not-A-Flamethrower" into the hands of consumers for the first time in June.

    More than 1,000 people got hold of the devices at a Boring Company headquarters pickup party, where they torched marshmallows.

    Soon after, some people torched things at home and shared the images on social media.

    Read the full story here.



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    f35 pilots

    WASHINGTON — As the Air Force leaves 2018 behind and flies into into a new year, the service may face some big changes to its organization and aircraft inventory.

    Expect to see a lot of these questions answered with the release of the fiscal year 2020 budget, which officials have said will be released in early February.

    Neither outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis nor its acting head Patrick Shanahan has confirmed a topline budget for the department — the latest reports peg it at $750 billion, up from the $733 billion the Pentagon originally planned for and the $700 billion that President Donald Trump mandated afterward. However, much of this could be dependent on whether the Air Force sees a funding bump this year.

    SEE ALSO: The Air Force targeted its own personnel to see if they could 'recognize and thwart' cyberattacks

    What’s going on with that F-15X buy?

    Rumors have swirled for more than a year about whether the Air Force could buy additional F-15s, but it appears that the service will begin purchasing more of Boeing’s air superiority jet. On Dec. 21, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force will request 12 F-15Xs for about $1.2 billion as part of the FY20 budget request.

    The F-15X will be a new variant of the F-15 that includes a new electronic warfare suite, radar, cockpit and the ability to carry more missiles. Bloomberg reports that the decision to buy the new aircraft stems from top Pentagon leaders who want new F-15s to replace the aging models used by the Air National Guard — and pointedly not the Air Force, which has been resistant to buying new, fourth-generation planes.

    In September, when asked whether the service was considering the purchase of the F-15X, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said the service needed to use its purchasing power to buy more fifth-generation fighter jets like the F-35.

    "We are currently 80% fourth-gen aircraft and 20% fifth-generation aircraft,” she said. "In any of the fights that we have been asked to plan for, more fifth-gen aircraft make a huge difference, and we think that getting to 50-50 means not buying new fourth-gen aircraft, it means continuing to increase the fifth generation.”

    One thing to keep an eye on is how Wilson and her uniformed counterpart, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein, justify the purchase of new F-15s, and how they characterize their own levels of support for the initiative. A lack of enthusiasm could be seen as damning on Capitol Hill.

    The other big questions: Will the number for FY20 hold if there is more budget fluctuation following Mattis’ departure? And what does the Air Force’s five-year plan look like? That could provide a hint on just how big this investment ultimately may get.



    Does the Air Force buy light attack aircraft?

    The Air Force was supposed to put out a final request for proposals this year for new light attack aircraft. That has officially been pushed back until 2019, leaving two competitors in a state of purgatory.

    If the service moves forward with a competition, it will come down to Textron’s AT-6 and the A-29 Super Tucano made by Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corp. But industry sources are still unsure whether the Air Force will commit to a formal program of record.

    Another major question is just how big the program will be.

    If fewer than 100 planes are purchased, those will likely be deployed exclusively by Air Force Special Operations Command for low-intensity combat, Maj. Gen. Scott Pleus, Air Combat Command’s director of plans, programs, and requirements, told Air Force Magazine.

    A larger buy of hundreds of aircraft would allow the Air Force to spread its light attack planes more widely, through the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.



    How do Air Force space operations change with the addition of a Space Force?

    The Pentagon’s latest draft proposal would funnel the new military branch for space operations under the Department of the Air Force, a decision that would give the Air Force a continued voice on national security space pursuits.

    The service would be led by a Space Force chief of staff and an undersecretary of the Air Force for the Space Force, who would report to the Air Force secretary. This seemingly gives the service’s top civilian a considerable amount of authority over the Space Force.

    Still yet to be seen is whether that solution will satisfy Congress. Rep. Adam Smith, the incoming head of the House Armed Services Committee, remains skeptical about the need for a separate military branch for space, but other lawmakers may be more bullish about the Space Force’s need to remain separate from the Air Force.

    Another big question is what this means for the military’s current space organization. Does Air Force Space Command and the Space and Missile Systems Center transfer over to the Space Force? Do the Navy and Army keep their own portions of the military space enterprise? And who is going to get named as the undersecretary of the Air Force for the Space Force, anyway?



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    toy story

    • Animated Disney movies like "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story" have been received with critical acclaim. 
    • Disney has won 12 of the 17 Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature since 2001
    • Not all Disney films are a hit with critics, however. Films like "Oliver & Company" and "Robin Hood" have been widely criticized for a lack of originality.

    Disney's animated movies are like no other. Films like "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story" have continued to delight entire generations with their stunning visuals and original songs. Disney films have consistently been awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, securing 12 awards in the category's 17-year history.

    That said, it is hard to believe some Disney movies didn't quite make the mark. Films like "Oliver & Company" and "Cars 2" haven't been received overly well by critics.

    Here are 20 of the best and worst Disney movies, according to critics.

    "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" got a score that's 86 points lower than the original film's.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 11%

    "Cinderella II" followed the now-princess Cinderella into married life. The movie was written to follow the events that occurred in the original film, which scored a whopping 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

    What critics said: "If Disney's 'Cinderella' proved that 'a dream is a wish your heart makes,' then 'Cinderella II' proves that a nightmare is a wish a studio's wallet makes."— Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com

     



    "Planes" (2013) didn't impress most critics.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score:25%

    Although Disney saw success with the "Cars" franchise, critics felt the storyline didn't translate in this spin-off featuring Dane Cook as a "vertically-challenged" plane who wants to become a racer.

    What critics said: "'Planes' is for the most part content to imitate rather than innovate, presumably hoping to reap a respectable fraction of the box office numbers of 'Cars' and 'Cars 2,' which together made hundreds of millions of dollars."— Neil Genzlinger, New York Times



    "Brother Bear" (2003) was a flop with most critics.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 37%

    The film, featuring songs from Phil Collins, tells the story of a boy named Kenai who is transformed into a bear. He then becomes determined to become human again and he embarks on a journey to do so,b  finding friends and foes along the way. 

    What critics said: "'Brother Bear' is a very mild animated entry from Disney with a distinctly recycled feel." — Todd McCarthy, Variety



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    The Hangover

    • How you feeling today? Need an ibuprofen?
    • We asked Google to send us the rates that different metros searched for "hangover" on New Year's Day from 2014 to 2018.
    • Louisville, Kentucky isn't feeling super good right about now.

    Good morning! New Year's Eve is a time when many people consume more alcohol than they are otherwise accustomed to, and so it follows that New Year's Day is a day when many people experience a hangover more severe than they are otherwise accustomed to. 

    We reached out to the Trends team at Google News Lab to get the full figures for searches for the phrase "hangover" on January 1 in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

    We recieved data on how many searches there were for "hangover" in over 200 metropolitan areas. We then looked at the largest metros — the 62 where there were more than 500,000 inhabitants — to determine which were the least and the most hungover based on Google's metrics.

    Here they are, ranked from "most capable of entering sunlight" to "least likely to leave their bed."

    62. Birmingham, Alabama

    The Birmingham AL metro had 38% of the New Year's Day search volume for 'hangover' as Louisville, the top large metro.



    61. West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Florida

    The West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce FL metro had 40% of the New Year's Day search volume for 'hangover' as Louisville, the top large metro.



    60. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, North Carolina

    The Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem NC metro had 47% of the New Year's Day search volume for 'hangover' as Louisville, the top large metro.



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

    classpass thumb(1)

    We all know that exercising regularly offers countless physical and mental benefits, but that doesn't make it any easier to do. Over the years, I've discovered that I need someone else to push me when I'm working out. As much as I love to think of myself as a person who is very strong and motivated all the time, the reality is that when I workout at home or by myself at the gym, it's tempting and easy to give myself a break I don't actually need or just stop the workout early. Sometimes I don't even make it onto a mat or machine at all. 

    I grew up swimming and playing basketball in my hometown's youth leagues, and in college my favorite things to do at the gym included the cardio kickboxing and core workout group classes, so it occurred to me that I didn't hate exercising, period. What I did dread was being bored out of my mind as I went through the same uninspired and un-challenging movements, without anyone by my side to keep me going. 

    If you're in a similar fitness rut, begging for the variety and motivation missing from at-home workouts or exercising at large fitness clubs, you're not alone.

    Participation at smaller fitness studios that offer more unique activities like spin, barre, and boxing is on the rise precisely because people like you and me are looking for change. These classes are led by trained professionals who will push you to no end, often with smiles on their faces. Sure, in the moment you'll hate the teachers for being so chipper, but you'll ultimately be grateful for the amount of coaching and motivation that's difficult to muster up on your own. Another benefit is the small group setting, which reminds you that you're not alone in your exercise endeavors. You might even make some friends, having bonded over these sweat-inducing, heart-pumping workouts.

    Despite the many clear advantages of boutique fitness studios, perhaps the greatest barrier to join is the steep cost of classes. Depending on the location and type, they can often put you back $20 to $30 per one-hour session. If you wanted to take these classes regularly, you'd better be ready to pay up. 

    That's why the introduction of ClassPass four years ago breathed new life into the fitness studio world, opening up fun and challenging fitness classes to a much larger group of participants who previously couldn't afford to buy into them. With ClassPass, you get to "shop" around and take classes across a variety of activities, for a much cheaper price. It's flexible, affordable, and trust me, much more interesting than hopping on the treadmill. 

    If you want to learn more about how ClassPass works and how it will shake up your fitness routine, keep reading. 

    Note: Right now, ClassPass is offering a free month-long trial to help you kick off your New Year's resolutions. Find the details here, or sign up for your own here.

    DON'T MISS: 26 smart workout accessories you can get for under $50

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    The fitness studio world is your oyster once you sign up for ClassPass.

    Enter your zip code here to see the studios available around you. You can use ClassPass in major cities nationwide. In the New York City area, there are more than a thousand eligible fitness studios, and hundreds in the near vicinity of the Business Insider office alone. You can sort by specific activities if you already know what you're looking for, or just see what's out there that will pique your interest.

    Activities include: Cycling, Pilates, Dance, Boxing, Running, Yoga, Barre, Strength Training, Martial Arts, and Rowing. I've never tried many of these activities, and chances are you haven't either.

    With ClassPass, you'll be exposed to new opportunities you might not have encountered or seriously considered otherwise. Because studios specialize in these activities, you know you'll be getting effective training and you won't just playing around. 



    Once you've determined that your area has classes that interest you, choose a plan that fits your unique needs and preferences.

    Pricing differs based on location and how many classes you want to take per month. 

    At first glance, the 8-12 class deal is obviously the most worth it, with each class coming out to $8.25-$13, but also take into consideration how likely you'll actually go to all 8-12 classes. Be realistic about factors like how busy your own schedule is or whether these classes are just a supplement to an existing fitness regime. In the end, ClassPass' $15 rate is still a better deal than paying full price at the studio. 



    Once you're signed up, your cycle will start immediately and you can start adding classes to your roster.

    Some studios will reserve certain classes for their own members, but you'll be able to access the full schedules for the majority of studios. Spots and classes are shown as they become available, so always refresh the search results page and reserve your spot quickly if you see something you like. 

    You won't be able to drop into classes without a reservation. However, with the mobile app, you can still make a reservation up to five minutes before the class starts, for those days when you get out of work early or just need a spontaneous fitness pick-me-up.



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    obama childrens book

    • President Barack Obama shared his 29 favorite books of 2018 on Friday.
    • The list includes his wife Michelle Obama's memoir "Becoming" and quite a few books on democracy and politics.

    As he does every year, President Obama has released a list of his favorite books of 2018.

    He shared the list of 29 books on his Instagram page Friday.

    The reads include national bestseller "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and New York Times bestseller "How Democracies Die" by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Here's the full list.

    SEE ALSO: Barack Obama shares his 12 favorite books from 2017

    "Becoming" by Michelle Obama

    "Obviously my favorite!" Obama wrote about his wife's bestselling memoir.

    In the book, Michelle Obama chronicles her life before and after becoming the first African-American first lady in US history.

    She invites readers to her childhood home in Chicago and walks them through her stories of academic success, family life, and personal struggles.

    In "Becoming," the former first lady opens up about her disappointments and triumphs and even shares some headline-making details about life in the White House.



    "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones

    Tayari Jones' novel tells the story of a newlywed couple, Roy and Celestial, living the American Dream — until they are ripped apart by a false conviction.

    Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison and though Celestial knows he's not guilty, she is unable to hold on to the love that first brought them together, finding solace instead in her childhood friend.

    "An American Marriage" has been highly acclaimed and was even named one of Oprah's 2018 Book Club selections.



    "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    "Americanah," a 2013 novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, tells the story of Ifemelu, a young Nigerian woman who moves to America for college.

    Ifemelu, bright and ambitious, leaves Nigeria and her teenage sweetheart Obinze behind in search of an education away from the country's military dictatorship.

    In the US, she struggles with racism and discovers what it means to be black in America. Ifemelu's experiences lead her to create a popular blog detailing her "Americanization."

    Ngozi Adichie has received wide praise for her tackling of different societies and tensions among populations — particularly her depiction of blackness across America, Britain, and Nigeria.



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    Michigan State Syracuse upset

    • Between the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, incredible postseason runs in all four major sports, and thrilling NCAA basketball and football championships, 2018 gave sports fans so much to celebrate.
    • On the other end of the spectrum, however, many teams fell well short of lofty expectations for the year.
    • Check out the 15 most disappointing sports teams of 2018 below.

    Between the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, an NBA Finals sweep, a stunning Super Bowl upset spearheaded by an unlikely hero, a historically dominant World Series champion, a Stanley Cup win for the best NHL player in a generation, and thrilling NCAA basketball and football championships, 2018 gave sports fans so much to celebrate.

    But on the other end of the spectrum, many teams fell short of lofty expectations for the year.

    The worst upset in March Madness history, top programs failing to qualify for the biggest competitions in their respective sports, and the fall from grace of some of last year's professional and college sports champions are just some of the disastrous outcomes some of the biggest names in sports have endured in 2018.

    Without further ado, here are the 15 most disappointing sports teams of 2018.

    15. USA Figure Skating

    Team USA has a rich history of success on the ice at the Olympic games, especially on the women's side. This year, however, falls from Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon, Bradie Tennell, and Mirai Nagasu prevented Team USA from medaling in men's and women's individual competition. Ultimately, the U.S. came away with just two bronze medals across all skating events in PyeongChang.



    14. Oakland Raiders

    The Oakland Raiders were an absolute disaster in 2017, but Jon Gruden's descent from the heavens (read: broadcasting booth) was supposed to bring the silver and black back into the limelight. Instead, the Raiders have officially been eliminated from playoff contention and boast a meager 3-10 record heading into Week 15.



    13. Michigan State Spartans

    The Michigan State Spartans were ranked in the top five of the AP Top 25 Poll for all but two weeks of the 2017-18 college basketball season, but their regular-season dominance did not translate to the big dance. Tom Izzo's squad fell to Jim Boeheim and the 11-seed Syracuse Orange in the second round of this year's tournament.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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