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The latest news from Life

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    pacific swim ben before the swim

    More than 1,200 miles from the coast of Japan, a 51-year-old Frenchman is swimming in the Pacific Ocean right now.

    Or he's eating.

    Those are pretty much the only two activities Benoît Lecomte does these days, as he attempts to become the first person to successfully swim across the Pacific Ocean.

    "I wake up throughout the night because I'm hungry," Lecomte told Business Insider by phone from the 20-meter sailboat, called Seeker, that's traveling with him. 

    Lecomte set out from Japan in June, and is making his way toward California. An eight-person crew is sailing along with him, collecting data about the health of both the ocean and Lecomte along the way.

    Their mission is far less concerned about crushing records than it is with breaking bad habits.

    "We're addicted to plastic," Lecomte said. "That's something we need to change."

    The original plan was to finish this awareness-raising swim in December, but the quest has faced some hiccups. The crew had to turn back in July and take a 20-day break when a series of strong typhoons hit the area. 

    Undeterred, Lecomte is back in the water now, and logging some of his longest daily swims thus far.

    He said the journey hasn't gotten easier over time, but he and the crew have developed a routine that guides their daily activity. Here's what it's like.

    SEE ALSO: A 51-year-old just began a 5,500-mile swim across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco

    Every day, Lecomte wakes up around 6 a.m. and prepares for another eight-hour day of swimming. He starts off with a hot bowl of oatmeal that's "loaded with nuts and dried fruit," he said.

    Oatmeal has a high fat content, which helps keep Lecomte full while he swims in the 78-degree waters of the Pacific.

    Before he gets in the water, he answers a few emails, does a bit of writing, rubs Vaseline on his skin to prevent chafing, and may work on some necessary repairs of his gear.

    Then he and a crew of two others get in a rubber dinghy and head back to the precise spot where he stopped swimming the day before. (They monitor Lecomte's progress using a GPS tracker.) The crew members point him in the correct direction, and he plops into the water. 

    Lecomte is a little over a fifth of the way through his journey.

    He tries to swim 30 miles each day, but sometimes he falls short of that goal.

    Swimming eight or nine hours per day makes Lecomte so hungry that he usually wakes up three or four times each night to nosh.

    "Sometimes it's just water," he said. But he also drinks protein shakes and eats pasta leftovers as midnight snacks.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    the private suite lax

    • A new terminal called The Private Suite opened at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in late 2017.
    • The Private Suite offers a $4,500-a-year base membership and costs $2,700 to use per domestic flight and $3,500 per international flight for up to four passengers.
    • Food and drinks, a private room and bathroom, an on-site spa, and a personal chauffeur directly to your plane are included.
    • I recently toured The Private Suite and found it accommodating and comfortable. The best part? No crowds.

    I didn't expect to leave The Private Suite feeling like a pampered billionaire.

    When I pulled into the driveway on an unusually gloomy Los Angeles morning, a man with a wide, toothy grin and a bulletproof vest emblazoned with "SECURITY" greeted me cheerily. The dichotomy caught me off guard; they'd been expecting me, he said, and the tall gates parted, revealing a modern-looking, one-story building facing the airport runway. 

    The Private Suite is a terminal built specifically for wealthy travelers flying in and out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). (I'm not a wealthy traveler by any means, but the folks at The Private Suite made an exception for this story. I get the feeling they treat their paying customers with the same dutiful enthusiasm.)

    The independently owned and operated terminal opened in October 2017 and offers a quiet, crowd-free, luxurious space to hang out before boarding a commercial flight.

    As you may expect, it's not cheap. But for celebrities routinely hounded by paparazzi in the public terminals at LAX and wealthy businesspeople and families seeking solitude, it's a safe haven offering the best privacy, security, and amenities money can buy.

    Here's what it's like inside The Private Suite.

    SEE ALSO: I've spent 6 months traveling the world on business, and I've found the perfect way to make airports less miserable

    DON'T MISS: I've been traveling the world for 6 months, and I've found real life doesn't always live up to the hype. These are the most disappointing places I've been.

    The Private Suite is owned and operated by security firm Gavin de Becker & Associates. It's located opposite the public LAX terminals, so there's no traffic to battle.

    The Private Suite accommodates travelers flying on one of the 70 commercial airlines operating at LAX.

    It's the first private terminal at a major US airport, but similar models exist at airports in London, Munich, Frankfurt, and Dubai. My first impression was that it's intimate and isolated, in the best way.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets

    Massive lottery jackpots continued to grow even larger after no winners were announced for the prizes in Friday and Saturday night drawings. Combined, the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots are now worth more than $2.2 billion combined.

    Powerball's $476.7 million jackpot was boosted to $620 million after no ticket matched the numbers drawn Saturday night: 16-54-57-62-69-23.

    The next drawing, which has an estimated cash value of $354.3 million, will be held on Wednesday, October 24.

    The Mega Millions jackpot has hit a staggering $1.6 billion — the largest lottery prize ever — after no ticket matched the six numbers drawn Friday night: 15-23-53-65-70, and Mega Ball 7.

    The odds of winning Friday's $1 billion jackpot, which was already the biggest ever, were one in 302.5 million, or 0.00000033%.

    "Mega Millions has already entered historic territory, but it's truly astounding to think that now the jackpot has reached an all-time world record," Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Group, told The Washington Post on Sunday. "It's hard to overstate how exciting this is — but now it's really getting fun."

    The next Mega Millions drawing is Tuesday, October 23. The estimated cash option for the $1.6 billion prize is nearly $905 million.

    The current record-holder for the largest lottery jackpot was a Powerball prize of $1.59 billion in 2016. The previous record for a Mega Millions prize was $656 million in 2012.

    Although it may be tempting to buy a lottery ticket with such massive prizes, it's actually not a very good investment. Business Insider's Andy Kiersz did the math to see if it's worth buying a Powerball and Mega Millions ticket. He found that the low odds of winning and the high probability of having to split the prize means you'd probably lose money buying a ticket.

    But if you do decide to try your luck and happen to win the lottery, you should keep the news to yourself at first, hire a lawyer and a financial planner, and in most cases, choose the annuity payments rather than taking the cash lump sum all at once.

    SEE ALSO: How to win the lottery, according to a Romanian-born mathematician who hacked the system, won 14 times, and retired on a remote tropical island

    DON'T MISS: What to do if you win the lottery

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What happens when you sleep in your contacts

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    Samaira Mehta at Google

    • 10-year-old Samaira Mehta has become a kid-coder-to-watch in Silicon Valley.
    • When she was just eight and she built a game called CoderBunnyz to help teach other kids how to code.
    • The game earned her national recognition and she began holding workshops for kids, many of them at Google.
    • Google was so impressed, it booked her as a keynote speaker for a local event, and told her she should consider working at Google when she grows up. 


    Samaira Mehta is a 10-year-old girl growing up in Silicon Valley who has quietly attracted an almost cult-like because of her work as a programmer.

    She's the founder and CEO of a company called CoderBunnyz that's earned national media recognition and landed her speaker roles at nearly a dozen Valley conferences (and counting). 

    It all started when she was just eight and created a game called CoderBunnyz to help teach other kids how to code. She'd been coding since she was six.

    A real life Powerpuff Girl

    After creating the board game, Mehta won the $2,500 second place prize from Think Tank Learning's Pitchfest in 2016. This caught the notice of some marketeers for Cartoon Network who were looking to profile inspiring young girls as real life "Powerpuff Girls." After she was featured in one of those videos, things took off from there. 

    Samaira Mehta at GoogleMehta was featured on some newscasts and started selling her game on Amazon.

    "We've sold 1,000 boxes, so over $35,000 and it's only been on the market for one year," the exuberant and adorable Mehta told Business Insider.

    It wasn't just happenstance promotion. When she launched CoderBunnyz she, with the help of her proud father Rakesh Mehta (an Intel engineer and Sun Microsystems/Oracle alum), also came up with a killer marketing plan. 

    Mehta uses the game to conduct coding workshops for school-aged kids, where everyone plays the game. And she thinks big. She launched an initiative called Yes, 1 Billion Kids Can Code which allows interested people to donate boxes of the game to schools. She then set up workshops to help kids at those schools learn how to master the game.

    At the start of this school year, 106 schools were using the game to teach kids to code, Mehta says.

    "In the world there are over 1 billion kids," she said. "There are people who are willing to donate Coder Bunnyz boxes to schools, and to people in need all over the world, who want to learn coding."

    Aadit MehtaSales of the game have gone so well, that Mehta has just launched a sequel: a game for kids that teaches them how to code using artificial intelligence.

    The new game is called CoderMindz and she's billing it as the first ever AI board game.

    Like CoderBunnyz, kids will be learning basic AI principals, concepts like training an AI model, inference, adaptive learning. Eventually, they can use those skills to build robots.

    She developed it with the help of her little brother, Aadit. who is six, the age when her dad started teaching her to code.

    A young Valley star is born

    As the game took off, Mehta was booked with workshops. She's done over 60 of them in Silicon Valley, (over 2000 kids) so far, she says.

    The workshops included a series held at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. And that's where she met Stacy Sullivan, Google's Chief Culture Officer. 

    Samaira Mehta"After my back-to-back workshops at Google headquarters, we talked for an hour. She told me I was doing great and once I get out of college, I can come work for Google," Mehta said.

    The plucky young coder told Sullivan that she didn't know if she would want to work for Google. She likes being an entrepreneur. 

    Meanwhile, Sullivan and the folks at Google were so impressed with the kid coder that she was the keynote speaker at a Diversity in Tech conference held in August hosted at Google Launchpad, the company's startup accelerator in San Francisco. But she's done a bunch of speaking gigs including one at Microsoft and at the Girls' Festival sponsored by World Wide Women earlier this month.

    Samaira Mehta

    Since the debut of CoderBunnyz she's also met a lot of other big names. One of her proudest moments was receiving an encouraging letter from Michelle Obama in response to a letter she had written back when Obama was still the First Lady.

    She also met Mark Zuckerberg on Halloween when she was trick-or-treating in his neighborhood, and took the opportunity to chat him up about her coding work.

    She said there was "a super long line" at his house but "I finally got to meet him. He was handing out chocolates. I told him I was a young coder and he told me to keep going, you're doing great," she remembers.

    She's now launched her own interview series on her CoderBunnyz website where she talks with people in the robotics, game and education sectors.

    CoderBunnyz workshop

    While she's reinvesting all of the money from her young business into manufacturing more CoderBunnyz games, and creating the new AI game, she's already got a charity picked out for when she generates profits: PATH.

    "It ends homelessness and helps people rebuild skills and I care about homeless," she says.

    Until the day her company can make donations, she's putting her entrepreneurial know-how to work in other ways to raise money for it, including hosting a lemonade stand this summer that brought in $119.

    SEE ALSO: The extraordinary life of Microsoft's billionaire cofounder Paul Allen, who has died at the age of 65

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Apple's entire iPhone XS event in 8 minutes

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    • "Halloween," the new direct sequel to the 1978 classic original, took in an estimated $77.5 million over the weekend.
    • It's the biggest opening even in the franchise and for a movie produced by Blumhouse Productions.
    • "Halloween" is the second-biggest opening for a horror movie, behind 2017's "It" ($123.4 million).

    Michael Myers showed this weekend he can still get butts in the seats. Director David Gordon Green's sequel to John Carpenter's legendary original 1978 movie, which he penned with Danny McBride, brought in an estimated $77.5 million.

    That's the biggest opening ever for the "Halloween" franchise and the best for any Blumhouse movie. "Halloween" is also the second-biggest opening weekend ever for an October release (just below the $80.2 million earned by "Venom" three weeks ago), and second-biggest opening ever for a horror movie. The first being Warner Bros.' "It" in 2017 ($123.4 million).

    Audiences and critics alike loved this latest "Halloween" sequel, which took the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" formula of paying homage to many of the traits of the original movie.

    Excitement for the movie has been high since the project was announced in 2016, as the franchise creator John Carpenter confirmed his involvement as an executive producer, which marked the first time he'd be directly involved in a "Halloween" movie since 1982's "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" (for which he was a producer). Carpenter also created new music for the movie, adding to his already iconic score from the original.


    Also signed on to reprise the role of Michael Myers' obsession, Laurie Strode, was the franchise's star, Jamie Lee Curtis.

    And if that wasn't good enough, Jason Blum's Blumhouse Productions also came on board. The perennial horror production house has been providing studios with huge box office profits on its low budget thrillers for years.

    In fact, it did just that for Warner Bros./New Line in early September with the huge $53.8 million opening for "The Nun," which is the biggest opening ever for any of "The Conjuring" movies. "The Nun" has since earned over $360 million worldwide — a fantastic return on a $22 million budget.

    Universal/Blumhouse could be seeing an even bigger profit with "Halloween." The new Michael Myers horror was made for just $10 million.

    Industry projections had "Halloween" coming in around $60 million to $70 million over the weekend, but the news gradually got better and better that Universal would top the projections.

    On Thursday it took in $7.7 million, helping the movie to a $33.3 million Friday (second-best Friday for a horror, behind "It" with $50.4 million). On Saturday, the movie took in a healthy $27.3 million (it played on over 3,900 screens, domestically).

    Globally, the movie has brought in $91.8 million.

    Forty years after Carpenter's first "Halloween," it looks like the franchise has no signs of slowing down.

    SEE ALSO: The new "Halloween" movie was going to kill off a main character — then creator John Carpenter stepped in

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How actors fake fight in movies

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    clemson university apartment collapse

    • The floor collapsed at an apartment complex in South Carolina on Saturday night.
    • Dozens of party-goers plunged to the basement, and at least 30 people were injured.
    • The party was during Clemson University's homecoming weekend.

    When college students celebrated Clemson University's blowout homecoming win at a crowded apartment clubhouse on Saturday night, the floor gave way, and dozens plunged to the basement.

    At least 30 people were injured in the incident at The Woodlands of Clemson, a ritzy apartment complex about three miles from campus.

    Videos posted to social media captured the moment the floor collapsed (some images are disturbing, and language is NSFW):

    Clemson City Police said no one was trapped and none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

    Clemson sophomore Larissa Stone told the Independent Mail of Anderson that the room was "packed" and a popular song was playing when the floor collapsed.

    "So everyone was jumping. The beat was about to drop and literally the whole floor collapsed," she said. "It happened so quickly. I stood up, and everyone was trying to climb out. People are under other people. People are hurt. People are bleeding. I had blood on my sneakers. It was really bad."

    Partygoers screamed, and those who didn't fall stood on portions of the first floor that remained and gazed below in shock. Some people standing on the sidelines pulled out their cellphones to record the floor collapse.

    A witness who attended the party said people were jumping and then suddenly he heard "a boom."

    "All you seen was falling, everybody's hands up in the air," Franzie Pendergrass told WYFF News 4.

    Leroy Pearson said he went to try to help injured people and saw what he thought looked like broken ankles and legs.

    "It was crazy," Pearson said.

    Police said the event was a private party by a group that had leased the clubhouse at the Woodlands Apartments.

    Property manager Tal Slann told The Associated Press that the condominium complex was built in 2004-2005. He said he could not comment on whether there was a limit on the number of people who were supposed to use the clubhouse at one time.

    "I can tell you there was a party. I can tell you there was a floor collapse. There were injuries. They were not life-threatening. Nobody was trapped," he said.

    Police said they received a call at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday about the collapse. Ambulances were quickly called to the scene, and about 30 people were transported to local hospitals with injuries.

    The university tweeted that student affairs representatives went to the hospitals to support students and that counseling was available for anyone affected by the incident. University president Jim Clements said he was monitoring the situation, as well.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What happens when you sleep in your contacts

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    giorgio armani

    • Fashion designer Giorgio Armani is worth $8.8 billion, according to Forbes.
    • The 84-year-old has made his fortune not only in fashion, but also in accessories, perfumes, makeup, sportswear, interior design, real estate, restaurants, hotels, and even chocolate.
    • Armani owns a 213-foot luxury yacht and homes in Italy, the French Riviera, and the Caribbean island of Antigua.
    • Here's a look at how Armani makes and spends his billions.


    Giorgio Armani, the co-founder and sole owner of fashion house Armani, is worth $8.8 billion, according to Forbes

    His empire also spans industries that include accessories, perfume, makeup, interior design, real estate, restaurants, and hotels. The business mogul brought in $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, according to Bloomberg, which looked at filings with Italy's business register.

    The 84-year-old spends part of his fortune on multiple private homes all over the world, from Italy to the South of France to the Caribbean island of Antigua. He also owns a 213-foot luxury superyacht. 

    Here's a look at what nearly $9 billion buys.

    SEE ALSO: The 25 richest people in fashion

    Giorgio Armani is one of the richest people in the fashion industry, with a net worth of $8.8 billion.

    Source: Forbes

    Armani was born in the northern Italian town of Piacenza in 1934 and later attended medical school at Piacenza University for two years before leaving for his military service.

    Source: Bloomberg

    While on leave from the military, Armani got a job as a window dresser at Milan department store La Rinoscente, where he worked up to a buyer position, marking his first foray into fashion.

    Source: Bloomberg

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Great Wall Of China Photos Tour (1 of 1)

    • In March, I left New York to travel around the world as Business Insider's international correspondent. In more than six months, I have so far visited 12 countries.
    • Spending all this time traveling has hammered home one truth for me: forget about FOMO (fear of missing out). If there's an attraction, landmark, or museum that doesn't interest you, don't be afraid to skip it.
    • There are often too many things to see in whatever place you are visiting to waste your time on something that doesn't interest you — even if it's something as monumental as the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China.

    Perhaps you know the feeling. You're on that vacation you've been planning all year to some exotic location — let's say Tulum, Mexico — and you've got just two more days before heading back to the office and the nine-to-five grind.

    As you nap on the beach, you imagine a nightmare.

    Before you left, your buddy Chad at work talked your ear off about how amazing the Mayan ruins are in Yucatán. He visited Tulum last year and raved about how the pre-Columbian city of Chichen Itza was the most incredible place in the world. You have to go, he said.

    Now, sitting on the beach with two days left, you don't want to go. Historical sites don't particularly interest you. You travel to relax and to eat tasty local food. Spending a day on a hot bus so you can listen to a tour guide drone on about Mayan astronomy sounds terrible. You want to soak up as much sun and surf as humanly possible.

    But then FOMO — fear of missing out — starts to creep in. What if it is the most incredible place in the world? And you didn't go. In your mind, you see Chad in front of the water cooler doubled over with laughter: You didn't go to Chichen Itza? It's like you didn't even go to Mexico.

    Your life will be irrevocably ruined if you don't go, a little voice in your head says. Goooooooooooooo.

    I'm here to tell you: Your life won't be irrevocably ruined, and you don't need to go. Screw Chad. Do what you want.

    While spending the past six months traveling the world as Business Insider's international correspondent, I've been in variations of this scenario dozens of times. It may sound as though I have a lot of time to hit tourist attractions— "You travel for a living!" the internet shouts at me constantly — but with all the time I spend reporting and writing, I usually have only a couple of days to see what a place has to offer. I often have to make choices about my time: Do I spend my Beijing sightseeing day at 798 Art Zone, a district of modern art galleries? Or the Forbidden City?

    When I traveled before this job, I took backpacker-style one-week vacations each year. During them, I constantly fretted about missing out on some landmark, and I tried to cram everything I possibly could into a trip. It led to me wasting a lot of my time doing things I'd rather I didn't.

    In Bogotá, Colombia, I spent half a day in the Museo del Oro, a museum exclusively displaying pre-Columbian gold. In Europe, I visited ornate medieval church after ornate medieval church. In Stockholm, Sweden, I spent a day trudging through the stuffy rooms of the Royal Palace.

    I did all those things because I was afraid of the proverbial Chad saying something like: You didn't go to that? It's like you didn't even go to [insert destination here].

    That's not necessarily to say that any of those places aren't worth going to. If you love royal architecture, Stockholm's palace is a fine example of 18th-century Baroque architecture. But spending a day on that meant I had to spend one fewer day exploring Sweden's stunning natural beauty, which, in hindsight, I would've much preferred.

    That persistent sense of FOMO is one of the reasons I hate bucket lists. They are a constant pressure to see and do things that other people say you have to do, rather than what you actually want to do.

    These days, I do my best to ignore the little voice in my head screaming "FOMO! FOMO!" and instead try to follow my interests. It has made travel infinitely more fulfilling and engaging for me. I suggest you try it.

    And if you're wondering, I spent my day in Beijing at 798 Art Zone, because it felt more urgent to try to understand China's flourishing art scene and was more appealing than visiting one of China's top attractions during Chinese holidays.

    Life is too short to spend time doing stuff you don't want to do. YOLO.

    SEE ALSO: I've been traveling the world for 6 months, and I've found real life doesn't always live up to the hype. These are the most disappointing places I've been.

    DON'T MISS: I've been traveling the world for 6 months, and these are the best apps for each country I couldn't live without

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What happens when you sleep in your contacts

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    help hurricane michael

    • One of the feel-good stories to come out of Hurricane Michael was the woman who spotted her relatives' call for help thanks to interactive maps from NOAA.
    • Business Insider spoke with Mike Aslaksen, the man in charge of the division that produces these images, which helps track damage to the coastlines and land after natural disasters.
    • He said Amber Gee's story of spotting her trapped relatives shows the "multi-use of the data."

    Technology is changing the way that emergency responders conduct search-and-rescue operations after hurricanes.

    When Hurricane Michael ravaged the Florida Panhandle, Amber Gee turned to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps to see the damage inflicted on her grandmother's property in Youngstown, Florida.

    What she found was remarkable: a call for "HELP" written on the lawn in downed tree branches.

    Gee alerted rescuers, who found her uncle, aunt, and a family friend hunkering down at the property last Sunday, and brought them to safety.

    mike aslaksen.JPG

    It was a feel-good story for Mike Aslaksen, who leads the remote sensing division of the NOAA's National Geodetic Survey.

    "I'm happy that there was a happy ending to this," he told Business Insider on Tuesday. "It again really shows some of the multi-use of this data."

    The images Gee found came from NOAA researchers taking photos from survey planes that flew over the damaged areas once the hurricane had passed through. The images were then compiled into an interactive map that anyone can search and explore.

    Aslaksen remembers a similar story coming out of Hurricane Katrina, and is hopeful that the press surrounding Gee's story will lead to others using the tool in future natural disasters.

    A bird's eye view

    This technology is hardly new. Aslasksen says NOAA has been taking aerial photos after natural disasters since the 1930s.

    Typically, the agency sends a single surveying plane up after hurricanes to see what kind of damage the storm has done to the shorelines that might impact nautical travel. FEMA also gives Aslaksen's team special missions to collect images of the destruction inland.

    Aslaksen shared this image showing the routes the survey plane took after Hurricane Michael. The lines covered the shoreline and a large area north of Panama City, with one line stretching up into Georgia:

    noaa survey routes Michael

    The images taken from the plane are especially helpful at the beginning of the recovery effort, when search-and-rescue teams are reliant on these pictures to see which routes they can take to reach hard-hit areas or whether they need to be helicoptered in.

    Aslasken said he heard Florida officials used the Hurricane Michael images to determine the best places for helicopters to land in the devastated town of Mexico Beach in order to deliver much-needed food and water.

    Read more:25 photos show Hurricane Michael's destruction from the sky

    A new era of disaster imagery

    And it's not only hurricanes they're surveying from the sky.

    The team, which usually includes two pilots and a sensor operator, have also been sent to survey the damage after tornadoes, major floods, earthquakes, nor'easters, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and even man-made disasters like the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

    It was September 11th that proved a turning point for the division. Back then, they used film to take their pictures, which meant that it could take up to a week to process the data into a digital format.

    "When we interacted with the emergency response community, they really said we need it in 24 hours or we can't use it all," Aslaksen said. So his team focused their energies on digitizing their whole process to meet that 24-hour goal.

    great alaskan earthquake

    They met that goal and then some. In regards to Michael, the team flew their first mission Thursday morning and had their first sets of maps out by 8:30 p.m., just four hours after landing.

    "Comparatively, if we had to do that from the high-end work stations that we used to carry, that could be eight to 12 hours," he said.

    Aslaksen credits the quick turnaround to their camera, which does a lot of the processing while they are still in the air, and the cloud system that they upload their photos to, which can upload between 1,500 to 3,000 images in just a matter of hours.

    "Our biggest challenge in a lot of cases is just having a good internet connection to upload the data," he said.

    Record-breaking events

    st john

    After years of responding to natural disasters, Aslaksen said four stuck out in particular: Hurricane Katrina, the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado, the US Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma, and Michael.

    Aslaksen said it left him awestruck to see before images of the Virgin Islands, totally green, turned to brown after Irma completely stripped the vegetation.

    "This really shows you how the impact of these storms can be. When you're told to leave, you need to leave," he said.

    Aslaksen said the records show the events they've surveyed in the last year or two have been more severe.

    "We're flying a lot more than we used to," he said.

    SEE ALSO: A Florida woman sent rescuers to save her family when she saw the word 'HELP' written on the lawn in aerial images after Hurricane Michael

    DON'T MISS: 25 photos show Hurricane Michael's destruction from the sky

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 3 surprising ways humans are still evolving

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    india gay law

    Gays and lesbians throughout India rejoiced last month when a landmark court ruling made homosexuality legal in the country.

    While the decision may seem like a long time coming for those in the LGBTQ community, gay sex is still illegal in nearly 40% of countries in the United Nations, according to statistics released last year by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

    To understand how gay rights vary around the world, Business Insider created a set of maps that visualize which countries have legalized gay marriage and the countries where gay people can still be put to death, among other questions.

    The results show that while homosexuality is no longer outlawed in the majority of the world, there's still a long way to go in terms of acceptance and equality for LGBTQ people.

    Religion is an un-ignorable factor in the maps. While the majority of the world has legalized homosexuality, the countries where it is still outlawed are concentrated in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa — areas with majority-Muslim nations.

    According to the Associated Press, "Islamic scholars overwhelmingly teach that same-gender sex is a sin."

    The Quran teaches that homosexuality should be punished but doesn't detail how. The Prophet Muhammad is alleged to have been more explicit that homosexuals should be killed in some of his teachings. That's why some countries that implement sharia law (rules based on Islamic teachings) make homosexuality a capital crime.

    Source: Associated Press

    In fact, nearly all of the countries where homosexuality is technically still a capital crime are majority Muslim.

    Nigeria is split between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. Homosexuality only carries the death penalty for some states in the north.

    Source: ILGA

    In some countries where homosexuality is legal, there are still several laws in place that make living openly difficult.

    In Russia for example, a federal law passed in 2013 makes it illegal to distribute "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." The country also makes it difficult for sexual orientation-related non-governmental organizations to operate in the country.

    Under the 2012 foreign agent law, all organizations that receive any sort of funding from abroad must register as a foreign agent or else be fined.

    Maximum, an organization that operates in the country to help the LGBT community, was fined about 300,000 rubles (about $4,500 USD) in 2015 for refusing to heed the law because they thought it undermined the work that their employees do.

    Sources: Wall Street Journal, IGLA

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • The fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist and prominent Saudi critic who died inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, wrote a touching tribute to him on Twitter.
    • "They took your bodily presence from my world. But your beautiful laugh will remain in my soul forever," Hatice Cengiz tweeted Saturday evening, along with a video showing Khashoggi laughing during a TV interview.
    • Cengiz, who is a Turkish national, last saw her fiancé after he entered into the consulate on October 2 to retrieve documents for their upcoming wedding. She says he never exited the building. 
    • She has been put under 24-hour police protection, Turkish state media said, hours after Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi had died inside its embassy.

    The fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist and prominent Saudi critic who died inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, wrote a touching tribute to him on Twitter.

    "They took your bodily presence from my world. But your beautiful laugh will remain in my soul forever. My darling #jkhashoggi," Hatice Cengiz tweeted Saturday evening.

    Cengiz attached a video of Khashoggi during an interview for a TV documentary. During filming, a cat jumped onto Khashoggi's lap, causing the journalist to erupt into laughter. 

    "You should leave this in the film," he tells the camera. 

    Cengiz, who is a Turkish national, last saw her fiancé after he entered into the consulate on October 2 to retrieve documents for their upcoming wedding. 

    Cengiz says she waited for Khashoggi outside the consulate for roughly 11 hours but he never came out. She was told to call Turan Kislakci, the head of the Turkish Arab Media Association, in the event he did not exit the embassy, CNN reported

    Cengiz has been active on Twitter and has repeatedly called on world leaders to wrap up their investigations and disclose details on Khashoggi's whereabouts.

    Cengiz has been put under 24-hour police protection, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu

    jamal khashoggi fiance hatice

    The order was made by Istanbul's governor's office, but didn't specify what prompted the decision to increase her security detail. 

    Saudi Arabia acknowledged on Saturday that Khashoggi had died inside their Turkish consulate, but claimed that the 59-year-old was killed in a "fistfight" that escalated. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Sunday denied that the nation's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the journalist's death, and reiterated claims that a "rogue operation" was responsible.

    But officials are skeptical of Saudi's explanation for the Khashoggi's death. Turkish officials have repeatedly touted claims that Khashoggi was brutally tortured and dismembered by what appeared to be a 15-person kill squad flown in from Saudi Arabia. 

    US President Donald Trump said Saturday he wasn't satisfied with Saudi Arabia's latest response, but said canceling a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia would hurt the US "far more than it hurts them."

    "Obviously there's been deception, and there's been lies," he told said during an interview with the Washington Post on Saturday. US officials have repeatedly called for Trump to order an investigation and trigger possible Magnitsky sanctions against those involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.

    For now, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are continuing their investigation into the incident before Trump or the US Senate decide to retaliate.

    SEE ALSO: Saudi foreign minister denies the crown prince had anything to do with Khashoggi's death as Trump says 'there's been lies' in Saudi Arabia's explanations

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    As the year flies by, the list of canceled TV shows piles up.

    While there's been somewhat of a quiet period since May, some networks have cut shows throughout the summer and fall.

    The most recent cancelations come from Comedy Central and Netflix. Comedy Central announced that "Nathan for You" is ending after four seasons. And Netflix recently canceled "Iron Fist" after two seasons, and announced that "Orange is the New Black" will end with its upcoming seventh season. 

    ABC canceled the previously renewed "Roseanne" revival in late May, after Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. However, ABC debuted a spin-off called "The Conners" without Barr.

    In other notable cancellations, USA's critically acclaimed "Mr. Robot" will end with its upcoming fourth season, and CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" is ending after 12 seasons. 

    We'll update this list as more are announced.

    Here are all the shows that have been canceled this year, including those from networks and Netflix:

    SEE ALSO: The worst TV show of every year since 2000, according to critics


    "Jean-Claude Van Johnson" — Amazon, one season

    "I Love Dick" — Amazon, one season

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Surveillance footage CNN published Monday appears to show a man dressed in the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's clothes leaving the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and walking around the city on the day Khashoggi disappeared.
    • The man, identified by Turkish officials as Mustafa al-Madani, apparently wore a fake beard and glasses that made him look more like the journalist.
    • He is one of 15 suspects Turkish investigators have said were dispatched from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul to confront Khashoggi.
    • The Saudi government now says the critic's death was a "rogue operation" gone wrong that operatives at the consulate tried to "cover up."

    Saudi agents suspected of orchestrating the journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death in Istanbul are believed to have stripped Khashoggi and had a body double wear his clothes around the city, CNN reported Monday, citing surveillance footage and an unnamed senior Turkish official.

    The apparent body double, identified by the official as Mustafa al-Madani, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul without a beard and wearing a white checked shirt a few hours before Khashoggi arrived on October 2, according to CNN.

    Madani was among the 15 suspects Turkish officials say were dispatched from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul to confront Khashoggi at the consulate.

    The surveillance footage forms part of Turkey's investigation into Khashoggi's death. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed recently to reveal the "naked truth" about the killing on Tuesday.

    Hours after Khashoggi entered the consulate, Madani and another man left by the consulate's back door, the footage reportedly showed. Madani was then apparently wearing Khashoggi's clothes — a gray shirt and a dark jacket — and had a beard and glasses, CNN reported.

    Leaving through the back door meant Madani would have gone unnoticed by Khashoggi's fiancée, who was waiting at the front entrance for at least 11 hours.

    CNN's source, the Turkish official, said Khashoggi's clothes "were probably still warm when Madani put them on."

    Reuters on Sunday also reported that Madani dressed in Khashoggi's clothes to look like the journalist had left the consulate, citing an unnamed senior Saudi official.

    The surveillance footage appears to show Madani and the other man taking a taxi to Istanbul's crowded Sultanahmet Square, where CNN said they then disappeared into a bathroom. When they emerged, CNN said, Madani was wearing his own clothes again and clutching a plastic bag, which they then threw away.

    Turkish officials believe that the bag contained Khashoggi's clothes, CNN reported.

    Watch CNN's full report, which includes the surveillance footage, here »

    Why use a body double?

    Jamal Khashoggi

    The use of a body double could have supported Riyadh's initial claims that Khashoggi left the consulate alive.

    The kingdom has since changed its narrative, however, acknowledging Friday— 17 days after the disappearance — that Khashoggi died inside the consulate. Saudi court officials have attributed the death to a physical confrontation gone wrong, saying Khashoggi died in a chokehold.

    Saudi Arabia has sought to distance its crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, from the killing by blaming the episode on a rogue operation conducted outside the knowledge of top Saudi leadership.

    On Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Fox News that "even the senior leadership of our intelligence service was not aware" of the operation.

    "This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had," he said. "They made a mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate, and they tried to cover up for it."

    But the unnamed Turkish official told CNN that the presence of Madani refuted the Saudis' claim that they only wanted to interrogate Khashoggi.

    "You don't need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation," the person said. "This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate."

    SEE ALSO: The Saudi crown prince reportedly couldn't understand the outrage over Khashoggi's killing

    READ MORE: These are the 15 Saudis suspected in the disappearance and alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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    You're four times as likely to be struck by lightning than to win the lottery.

    Those odds apparently don't apply to Stefan Mandel, a Romanian-Australian economist who's won the lottery 14 times, The Hustle reported in a feature story about the mathematician.

    Mandel's first two wins were in his native Romania, where he was trying to earn enough money to get his family out of the then communist country. His salary was just $88 a month.

    He moved to Israel before settling down in Australia, where he won the lottery an additional 12 times.

    Plenty of lottery winners end up blowing it all— spending it on huge houses and Porsches, gambling it away, or getting slammed with lawsuits. Robert Pagliarini, a certified financial planner, previously told Business Insider that to prevent that, lottery winners should assemble a "financial triad" to help plan for their financial future.

    "This includes an attorney, a tax person, and a financial adviser," Pagliarini said. "This financial dream team can help you make smart financial decisions and help you plan for the future. They can also help shield you from the media and from the onslaught of money requests from others."

    The key way to navigate a sudden windfall like winning the lottery, Pagliarini said, is to keep calm and focus on the long term with pragmatic financial planning.

    As for Mandel, he set his sights on hacking Virginia's lottery, but his stunts eventually landed him in an Israeli prison for 20 months. Now he lives a quiet life in Vanuatu, a South Pacific island country known for its volcanoes and waterfalls.

    While his scheme was legal at the time, new laws in the US and Australia render Mandel's scheme impossible nowadays. You can no longer buy lottery tickets in bulk and print your tickets at home — two key parts of Mandel's formula.

    Here's the 6-step formula for how Mandel managed to make serious cash from the lottery:

    1. Calculate the total number of possible combinations. (For a lottery that requires you to pick six numbers from 1 to 40, that means 3,838,380 combinations.)
    2. Find lotteries where the jackpot is three times or more the number of possible combinations.
    3. Raise enough cash to pay for each combination. (Mandel rounded up 2,524 investors for his push to win the Virginia lottery.)
    4. Print out millions of tickets with every combination. (This used to be legal. Now you would have to buy the tickets right from the store.)
    5. Deliver the tickets to authorized lottery dealers.
    6. Win the cash. And don't forget to pay your investors. (Mandel pocketed $97,000 after a $1.3 million win in 1987.)

    Read the entire feature about Mandel's feat in The Hustle.

    SEE ALSO: 20 lottery winners who lost every penny

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    • England and the US are generally presumed to be culturally similar.
    • But aside from sharing English as a predominant language, England and the US have more cultural differences than author Jennifer Still expected before she packed her bags and moved across the pond.
    • Here are 10 things about living in England as an American that Still wasn’t prepared for but learned to adapt to.

    When I emigrated to the UK in October 2016, I was excited to finally make my long-distance relationship something of the past and see what England had to offer.

    Having lived in the UK for two six-month stints previously, I thought I had a fairly good idea of what to expect when I obtained a spousal visa and moved there permanently.

    Yet I was surprised to encounter cultural differences in the UK that I didn’t expect before crossing the pond from America.

    I’ve since adapted to the terrible dollar-to-pound conversion and the reserved nature of British citizens (at least compared to Americans), though I still feel homesick every now and then.

    Here are 10 things about living in the UK as an American that I wasn’t prepared for:

    SEE ALSO: I've chosen to leave 5 jobs during my career — here's how I knew it was time

    1. British people are more reserved than Americans.

    While Americans have a reputation for being brash, direct, and not shy about sharing their feelings, the opposite can be said for the majority of Brits.

    Of course, you can’t apply generalizations to all inhabitants of any country. But I’ve found that many Brits value having a stiff upper lip, a finding mirrored by a BBC survey. My partner is a perfect example of this; she tends to bottle up her emotions rather than talking about them because she prefers to just get on with things without complaining.

    Rather than processing events in depth, many Brits would rather just brush things under the carpet and keep their opinions largely to themselves. Not following suit can be considered rude and obnoxious, two qualities I’ve heard Brits ascribe to Americans.

    That being said, I’ve found that many Brits appreciate American candor and find it charming — like most things, it depends on the person.

    2. Everyone wants to know your opinions on Trump.

    If you mention that you’re from the US, you will invariably be asked about President Trump and what you think of his policies and personality.

    The first few times, such questioning didn't bother me — it still doesn't, really — but it is a constant reminder of what I consider the sad state of affairs in my home country, which is more than a little depressing.

    3. You can pretty much say or do anything on TV after 9 p.m.

    In the UK, Ofcom, the UK’s broadcasting regulator, devised a set of rules called “the watershed,” which restricts TV and radio content deemed unsuitable for children until 9 p.m.

    After 9 p.m., the rule is lifted, and basically anything goes. From foul language to nudity, it’s all OK. In the US, “indecent content” is banned on broadcast channels between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but I’ve never witnessed half the things that air on UK television at any hour in the US.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • "Mid90s" is seeped in all things from the 1990s, from the way it's shot to the way the kids talk and the clothes they wear.
    • But the soundtrack is the standout, as Hill got songs from the biggest names of the decade.
    • Hill told Business Insider the process to get the memorable songs — and it wasn't from writing a big check.


    Jonah Hill doesn't just bring you back into the 1990s with the way he shot and wrote "Mid90s." He also brings you back with the music he hand-picked.

    Hill's directorial debut, which expands across the country on Friday, explores the life of 13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic) as he finds acceptance in the world by befriending a group of skateboarders. And through that journey Hill sprinkles needle drops from some of the best musicians of the decade — Nirvana, A Tribe Called Quest, and Wu-Tang Clan, to name a few.

    But it wasn't as easy as Hill writing a big check to get the songs he wanted. He basically cold called or wrote letters to the artists and convinced them to be involved.

    "We didn't have a big music budget," Hill told Business Insider. "I music supervised the movie, so every song in the movie, that song was written in specifically for that scene. And we got every song."

    Whether it's Stevie sneaking into his older brother's room and staring in awe at the posters of musicians on the wall, or a song playing in the background in a scene at a restaurant, Hill crafts a world through the music that is a mixture of nostalgia and authenticity (matched by the movie's score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). And to get what he wanted, Hill would even go beyond letters and phone calls.

    "I just showed people the film and really told them emotionally what it means to have that song at that moment in the movie," Hill said.

    And that included going to the most elusive in the business, like Morrissey and Herbie Hancock.

    "Morrissey was the first to say yes — I figured he would be the hardest, and he was lovely," Hill said. "Once I got Morrissey and Q-Tip, then I got Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to score it, people were aware that it was something of quality because I was lucky enough to get those cosigns. Then we went from there."

    So which, out of these legends, was the hardest to get an okay from?

    "The hardest, by far, was Herbie Hancock," Hill said. "He doesn't license his music for films, and I wrote him a letter about what that meant to me. He was so cool to give us that."

    "Mid90s" is currently playing in theaters.

    SEE ALSO: "Am I mature enough to lead a group of people?": Jonah Hill opens up about the anxieties and triumphs in his 4-year journey to make his acclaimed directorial debut, "Mid90s"

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    • The migrant caravan that trekked through the Northern Triangle and reached Mexico this weekend has swelled to an estimated 7,000 people, and is largely heading to the United States.
    • Most Central American immigrants that try to enter the US undocumented travel along the same dangerous route, known as El Tren de la Muerte ("The Train of Death").
    • Photographer Michelle Frankfurter spent years documenting immigrants traveling along the route.

    Earlier this month, a caravan of 160 migrants set out from Honduras, telling media outlets that they were fleeing their homes due to widespread poverty and violence. By this past weekend, the caravan had swelled to an estimated 7,000 people.

    Most are heading for the United States' southern border.

    They aren't the first Central American migrants to chart that path. Approximately 400,000 migrants made the journey in 2016, with most hailing from Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala. Most looking to enter the US undocumented follow the same route north.

    In 2009, Michelle Frankfurter, a photojournalist and human rights worker who had spent years traveling in Mexico and Central America, set out to follow the route.

    Following the path described in Sonia Nazario's award-winning book "Enrique's Journey," Frankfurter headed to southern Mexico and followed the path north.

    In six journeys, she rode the treacherous El Tren de la Muerte ("The Train of Death"), came into contact with drug cartels, and befriended numerous migrant families, many of whom never made it to the US.

    Frankfurter has shared some of her photos with us here, but you can check out the rest at her website or in her book "Destino," available now.

    Here's what the treacherous route is like:

    SEE ALSO: A photographer who spent 5 years at Nevada's brothels found legal prostitution was nothing like what he thought

    The first step of the journey is crossing the Suchiate River on rafts made of tractor tires. The river carries migrants between the Guatemalan border town of Tecún Umán and the Mexican town of Hidalgo in the southern state of Chiapas.

    After crossing the river, migrants hike 150 miles on foot to avoid Mexican migration checkpoints and reach Arriaga, a city in Chiapas. Here, a Salvadoran woman feeds her 18-month-old son at a migrant shelter in Chiapas after making the trek.




    Frankfurter began the most significant part of her journey in Arriaga. Here, most migrants catch a freight train illegally to start their trek north.




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    trump doctor

    • Healthcare is emerging as one of the dominant issues in the 2018 midterm elections.
    • In particular, protections for people with preexisting conditions has become a key point of debate between Democrats and Republicans.
    • Democrats argue the GOP's attempts to repeal Obamacare would have undermined preexisting condition protections.
    • Republicans say they want to protect preexisting conditions while providing more choices for consumers.
    • Complicating the matter is a pending lawsuit against the ACA brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general.
    • Polls show that voters trust Democrats more on the issue.

    Healthcare is at or near the top of many Americans' lists of the most important issues in the 2018 midterm elections. 

    And the healthcare fight between the two parties seems to be coming down to one issue in particular: protections for people with preexisting conditions.

    Democrats are hammering their GOP opponents, arguing the Republican's repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act would have undermined protections for sicker Americans. The GOP argues that preexisting condition protections have always been a part of their healthcare platform. 

    President Donald Trump last week pledged that all Republicans believe — or would believe — in protecting people with preexisting conditions.

    "All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them," Trump tweeted Thursday. "I am in total support."

    Here's what the preexisting condition fight is about

    Prior to the Affordable Care Act becoming law, insurers were able to deny people coverage due to a preexisting condition in many states. And in most states, even if insurers did offer plans to sick people, the companies could drive up premiums for people with preexisting conditions.

    The ACA's preexisting condition protections mostly helped people in the individual health insurance market — Americans who did not receive coverage from a job or a government program like Medicaid.

    The ACA created two major preexisting condition protections that were created under the ACA:

    1. Guaranteed issue: This provision made it so insurers were compelled to offer insurance to people with preexisting conditions.
    2. Community rating: This prevents insurers from charging people with preexisting conditions much higher rates than healthy people and pricing those people out of the market.

    While Republicans called for the complete repeal of Obamacare, many eventually recognized the popularity of the preexisting condition protections.

    The GOP adopted guaranteed issue as part of their policy, but community rating got a bit trickier in the rollout of the American Health Care Act — the House GOP's proposed ACA replacement:

    • Under the AHCA, states could apply for waivers that would weaken the community rating provision and allow insurers to charge based on health status — such as a preexisting condition — if a person did not maintain continuous insurance coverage.
    • States that received waivers could apply for funding to help alleviate the increased costs for people with preexisting conditions.
    • But many health policy experts viewed the amount of funding set out under the AHCA as inadequate. They warned that increased cost to sick Americans would result in many people with preexisting conditions being priced out of the market altogether.
    • According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank, the AHCA could have left as many as 6 million people with preexisting conditions without coverage. 

    Democrats argued the inclusion of the waivers showed the GOP would unnecessarily weaken protections for people with preexisting conditions, while Republicans said the law was designed to protect sick Americans while also driving down costs for healthier people in the Obamacare marketplaces.

    The looming lawsuit

    Clouding the midterm fight is a pending lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general that could fully undo Obamacare's preexisting conditions protections.

    The Texas attorney general and 19 other Republican state attorneys general are arguing in federal court that since the GOP's tax law effectively repealed Obamacare's mandate that all people buy insurance, it is now unconstitutional. The AGs further argue that if the mandate is unconstitutional then all of Obamacare — including the popular protections — are also unlawful.

    The lawsuit has puts many Republican candidates in a bind as their states actively attempt to repeal the preexisting conditions in court while they try to convince voters of their desire to uphold those same protections.

    Screen Shot 2018 10 22 at 9.54.39 AM

    Two GOP senate candidates — Josh Hawley in Missouri and Patrick Morrisey in West Virginia — are the attorneys general in their states and are signed onto the lawsuit. Democrats Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin — the incumbents in Missouri and West Virginia, respectively — have hammered their counterparts on the issue and it could help them hold their seats in otherwise red states.

    Manchin even dramatically shot a copy of the lawsuit with a gun in a eye-catching campaign ad released in September.

    Republicans scramble to win over voters

    According to a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Friday, 58% of Americans say they more trust Democrats to continue preexisting condition protections, while just 26% of people say they more trust Republicans. Other polls have shown a similar trend.

    Given the discrepancy, Democrats are leaning into the issue:

    • 54.5% of all Democratic ads feature healthcare as the main issue, according to the Wesleyan Media Project.
    • Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi doubled down on the party's healthcare message in a joint statement Saturday. "Democrats are focused like a laser on health care and will not be diverted," the top Democrats said.

    But amid the flood of healthcare ads from Democrats, the GOP has attempted to fight back. Many candidates are pointing to their personal experiences with family members that have a preexisting condition and leaning on the AHCA's guaranteed-issue provision as proof that the party wants to provide coverage for people with preexisting conditions — while also providing choice.

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    • Olga Heijns, who manages high-profile dance music artists like Laidback Luke and Blasterjaxx, told Business Insider the death of Swedish DJ Avicii in April has "accelerated change" in the industry.
    • Avicii's death was by suicide. Two years prior, he had retired from touring after repeatedly warning that the lifestyle was going to kill him, but that he was being pressured to continue.
    • A number of other dance artists, including Laidback Luke, have publicly experienced "burnout" and have even quit the tour circuit because of it.
    • A 2016 study showed that 69% of musicians had experienced depression, while 71% have had panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety.
    • This is heightened in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) world, where artists get little sleep and play shows year-round.
    • Laidback Luke told Business Insider that in 2018 "we finally get to talk about it, you're finally not being judged."
    • However, he believes there should be guidelines on how many shows a DJ can play and how many flights they can take.
    • Heijns also stresses there's a "huge role" for managers, labels, and agents to let artists know it's OK to say no — and that they're not expected to be "always on."

    My memory of Avicii, the Swedish DJ and producer who was found dead in Oman in April, is a good one.

    During my final year at Western University in Ontario, Canada, I went to one of his shows with some friends, dressed in neon and wearing sunglasses at night like an idiot.

    The atmosphere — and the music — were euphoric, and his energy on stage was contagious.

    It was the one and only time in my life I experimented with drugs.

    I got home at around 4 a.m. covered in sweat, took a shower, and slept until what must have been mid-afternoon the next day.

    It was the type of night most people have once or maybe a handful of times before getting on with their life.

    But for EDM DJs, this lack of sleep, demand for energy, and even involvement in drugs and alcohol can happen every night.

    Olga Heijns, who looks after high-profile dance music artists through her management company Unmanageable Artists, knows this all too well.

    Heijns' career in music saw her work in promotion and for labels like Colombia Records before she entered the world of management in 2001.

    Over the years that followed, she developed a number of other businesses — including a booking agency, a publisher, and her own label, Mixmash Records — but is now focused mainly on artist management.

    Throughout her time in the industry, she has seen a number of her artists experience "burnout" from the lifestyle — including Dutch DJ and record producer duo Blasterjaxx and fellow Dutch DJ and music producer Laidback Luke, an artist she currently works with who was a close friend and mentor to Avicii, real name Tim Bergling.

    The pressures of the EDM world


    Berling's death was by suicide at the age of 28, with his family stating he "could not go on any longer" and "wanted to find peace."

    He had retired from touring in 2016, citing a series of health concerns that included acute pancreatitis, in part due to excessive drinking.

    In a documentary titled "Avicii: True Stories," released in October 2017, he repeatedly warned that the touring lifestyle was going to kill him, but that he was being pressured to continue.

    "There's a huge difference between [artists in the dance space] and artist in the pop/rock/hip hop scene," Heijns told me.

    For starters, she said that other artists are used to a more cyclical life.

    "If they're successful, they'll have a two year tour, come off the road, spend Christmas, holidays, and birthdays with family back home, take some time off, then go back into the studio," she said. "There's an end to it.

    "With DJs, it just goes on full year round. There's always a holiday somewhere, which means there's a dance party. There's summer or a festival around the world at all times."

    Because of this, she said a lot of dance artists have the idea that they can't miss out.

    "'This is the one show that will be super important, I can't afford to miss it,' they'll say. They're suffering from a pressure that's not comparable anywhere else. It's constant deadline upon deadline."

    'Everything is personal'

    Olga Heijns

    It often goes unsaid that it's not just the artist who experience the pressure, but also their teams and managers — like Heijns — too.

    "The professional team to a certain extent are suffering from strenuous demands," she agreed.

    However, she added that for an artitst, "everything is personal."

    "People will judge me, my appearance, the things I say. That adds up a little bit with the pressure of the world leaning on you."

    "There's very little difference between what an artist in dance music does and their personal sphere," she said. "When they get feedback on Instagram and criticism on Facebook, everything feels really personal. It's a little bit of a rabbit hole."

    She added: "Representing various artists, I can see criticism on a post, but it's not directed at me. There's a lot more distance between what they experience and what we experience."

    Speaking to me last week, 42-year-old Laidback Luke, born Lucas Cornelis van Scheppingen, agreed. "My manager works super hard, she's always online, you can always reach her, but the difference is that I'm in the public eye as well. People will judge me, my appearance, the things I say. That adds up a little bit with the pressure of the world leaning on you."

    The signs of burnout aren't always clear


    It's not always obvious when the pressure is becoming too much for an artist until it's too late, according to Heijns.

    She represented Blasterjaxx at the time when Idir Makhlaf from the duo made a public statment saying he was coming off the road due to panic and anxiety attacks.

    "I noticed that touring did not sit good with Idir at all, he was definitely showing all the signs of suffering from anxiety," she said, but added that he felt 'I'm not supposed to feel like this, I can't let my partner down, If I stop I basically sabotage him too.'"

    She said while there was an "overwhelming response" to his statement that he would no longer tour, certain people in the industry clearly didn't understand.

    "Certain promoters were saying 'If you make a goodbye gig I'll pay you X, Y, Z,' using it to try and negotiative something out of this," she said.

    Just last month, Dutch DJ Hardwell — or Robbert van de Corput — announced he would no longer be touring, citing that his career "leaves too little energy, love, creativity and attention for my life as a normal person to do so."

    Heijns said Hardwell  "seemed in great spirits" and had said he was working out and taking time off.

    "For us, there were zero signs for Robbert... It sounded like he was making all the right decisions, and still only a few weeks later it was the straw that broke the camel's back apparently."

    "The study also found that musicians may be up to three times more likely to experience depression than the general public."

    According to a study of 2,211 musicians published by UK charity Help Musicians in 2016, 69% of respondents had experienced depression, while 71% have had panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety.

    The study also found that musicians may be up to three times more likely to experience depression than the general public.

    A separate Help Musicians UK study of 500 participants found that the stressors that could impact a musician's mental health included lack of sleep, consistency, and proper diet, physical conditions, performance anxiety, fear of judgment, loneliness, discrimination, bullying, and familial problems.

    While it can be depression they experience, some have also cited what's known as "burnout."

    In a blog post for Psychology Today, Susan Biali Haas, M.D. wrote that the two conditions can overlap — but for a person to be diagnosed with burnout, three components need to be present.

    These are "emotional exhaustion" (feeling tired all the time, and even after time off), "cynicism/depersonalization," which she described as having "a growing sense of detachment from your work," and "reduced personal efficiency," or losing confidence in the ability to do your job. "You work harder and harder, but seem to accomplish less," she wrote. "Your productivity has dropped significantly, and your belief in yourself has fallen along with it."

    Having already suffered from two burnouts in his life, Laidback Luke — another artist I witnessed on stage during my university days — recently reached his threshold once again.

    "I was always the kid that would say burnouts are for sissies, that's not going to happen to me, [but] after half a year or a year of not sleeping... not eating well, I finally hit my threshold, [and] all I could do is lay in bed for two weeks feeling major anxiety," he told me.

    Laidback Luke

    He said that his symptons were different every time, from a change in sleeping and eating patterns the first time around and not being able to switch off to using alcohol to "run away from real life."

    His most recent burnout, however, started after the death of Avicii, to whom he was close.

    "I was at the playground with my daughter but it felt like 1,000 men were coming to get me."

    "All of a sudden I would be in regular environments, I would get chills or tinglings inside of my body... [They would keep] on building a little bit," he said.

    He began to have "huge panic attacks" as well.

    "My whole world was caving in," he said. "I was at the playground with my daughter but it felt like 1,000 men were coming to get me."

    Heijns added that she didn't see it coming.

    "He's not a new kid on the block, he guides other young talents, in reality he has all the tools. He knows we support a healthy and balanced lifestyle and still, it took him experiencing the passing of Avicii, and then also Hardwell announcing he was taking time off to look after himself, for it to have a serious impact on Luke, for him to realise 'my pace is still too fast.'"

    Laidback Luke predicted Avicii's death in 2016

    Laidback Luke:Avicii

    Avicii had joined a forum for young artists and producers set up by Luke, who Heijns called "a coach to all these kids," at a young age.

    Heijns added that the first gig Avicii ever played was for Luke at an event in Miami, and he went on to release under Luke's record label.

    "He gave me a very sincere but oh-so-tired smile when he saw me. Soon after, he was onstage playing his amazing music — and that's when it dawned on me. This wonderful and talented kid might not overcome his struggles."

    "It was a mentor/mentee relationship," she said. However, of Avicii's struggles, she added: "One of the biggest heartbreaks for Luke was that he could see it happening."

    In 2016, Luke wrote an op-ed for Billboard calling for fans to pay attention to what was going on in the industry after Avicii announced his retirement from live performances following health issues related to alcohol and exhaustion.

    "The first few years of heavy touring can have a major impact on a person's life, health, and sanity," he wrote. "DJs on tour average about four hours of sleep per night, and with drinking, ­afterparties, adulation and everything that comes with it, it's easy to lose oneself."

    He wrote that when he saw Bergling in August 2015, he "looked terrible."

    "He gave me a very sincere but oh-so-tired smile when he saw me. Soon after, he was onstage playing his amazing music — and that's when it dawned on me. This wonderful and talented kid might not overcome his struggles."

    It was at that moment he envisioned his friend, then 26, joining the infamous "27 club" of music and film stars who died at that age.

    "It sounds horrible but it's the truth, and I can't take back the ­overwhelming sense of frustration I felt," he wrote. "It was like ­watching Amy, the recent Amy Winehouse ­documentary, and suddenly realizing that you too were laughingly ­belting out her lyrics — 'They tried to make me go to rehab/I said no no no' — while we all watched the spectacle, seeing tragedy unfold and not doing a damn thing."

    In his Billboard piece, he called Avicii's choice to retire "a brave decision — to walk away from the light, in both figurative and literal senses" — but unfortunately it wasn't enough. Avicii may not have joined the "27 club," but he was found dead at the age of 28.

    avicii 2014

    "It's hearbreaking for [Luke]," Heijns said. "At the time he tried to reach out to Tim, but he was already so closed off to the rest of the world and Luke physically couldn't reach out to him any more. It was a big personal loss for him."

    Of Bergling's death, Luke told me: "It's been a massive shock. Avicii was one in the making for years, [but] all of us pretty much ignored that.

    "Mental health issues were only for crazy people, not guys who were making millions of dollars and were incredibly famous. This shook us awake heavily."

    Drug and alcohol abuse is just a symptom of the probem

    While she believes the industry's attitude towards substances have changed, Heijns said: "Let's not deny that dugs and alcohol are very much a part of nightlife."

    Last month, rapper Mac Miller died of an apparent overdose at the age of 26 following struggles with substance abuse — and he's the latest in a line of artists to do so.

    Speaking to THUMP, Vijaya Manicavasagar, Director of Psychological Services at the Black Dog Institute, a non-profit established to research and treat mental illness, said that artists are at "particular risk of mental health issues not only because the lack of sleep and unhealthy lifestyle make it hard to keep 'your moods and emotions at an even keel,' but also because partying hard can mask people's underlying troubles."

    "If they're feeling low or if they're feeling anxious, they might attribute it mistakenly to, 'oh well, I've just been partying very hard, I'm hungover, whatever', so they may not even realize that actually there is an underlying problem here," Manicavasagar said.

    laidback luke

    Luke told me that by age 31, he had incorporated drinking into his schedule more and more until he got his second burnout.

    "There was never time to have a hangover," he said. "I remember sitting on airplanes, standing in lines at airports either being drunk or hungover, coming home to my wife and two small kids, a grumpy and stressed out dad because of the hangovers.

    "It took me a few weeks to recover from that. I left the alcohol behind, which kept me going for another 10 years."

    Heijns added: "Usually people trying to escape the problem in their lives, excessive behaviour becomes part of that, which can be drugs, alcohol, sex, eating. Whatever takes you away from not having to face what the actual problem is."

    Accelerating change in the industry

    Heijns believes the industry has been changing since before Avicii's death — but his passing has "accelerated" the process.

    "I don't know what happened with Avicii...He had already been off the road for so long... But the fact that people are now talking more about this, that press are taking the time to shed a light on it, that is something that has come out of that."

    "The fact that people are now talking more about this, that press are taking the time to shed a light on it, that is something that has come out of that."

    She said the main difference is how people "immediately act" now when someone speaks out about their mental health.

    "In my beginning years, working with a certain artist, for sure he was having anxiety attacks, but at the time I thought he was being a diva," she said. "I was saying, 'Why are you not getting on this plane, we've put so much work in and there's so much at stake,'" she said. "But somebody in that situation can't explain it sometimes, can't find the words to explain what's going on."

    She added that having artists like Hardwell publically acknowlege what they're going through is "very helpful for all these other guys that might be going through the same thing, rather than what might have happened in the past — a silent exit or 'exhaustion,' whatever you could spin to not call it what it is."

    Since Avicii's death, Luke added that people in the industry have also been coming to him to talk about their mental health problems.

    "It's been good, I feel there's an overall sense of positivity and understanding in there, I think that will help all of us," he said. "I had my first burnout when I was 21. What I love about 2018 is that we finally get to talk about it — you're finally not being judged."

    Laidback Luke

    Still, there's a long way to go in changing behaviours when it comes to the "always on" attitude that exists in the music industry.

    "If you start where it's expected for you to be always on, that's a vicious cycle," Heijns said. "You can't always be on 24/7, for years on end. It's something you can do for a period of time if you're working towards something, but the way I approach it, your job should be structured in a way where you could do it in normal office hours.

    "You should have time off, you should be able to have a weekend off, and if you are working over the weekend, you should have other days off."

    She added that it's her responsbility to let her team know it's okay to say no — and to lead by example by personally trying to switch off.

    "There's a huge role for people in my position," she said. "That means managers, responsible people at the label, agents, to really sift through what is absolutely necessary, [and say] 'Is this the way that we need to get it done?'

    "Sometimes you say no even when the artist is inclined to say yes. Change the narrative."

    "Sometimes you say no even when the artist is inclined to say yes. Change the narrative."

    Still, she acknowledges that while she has years of real life experience, she shouldn't be the sole person providing mental health support.

    "I don't think there's enough people out there that make an artist feel comfortable enough to open themselves up to help... It doesn't sync up with what their reality is," she said.

    Luke also believes that artists need more formal support.

    "DJs need to have a union where people look after our schedules, time zones, travel," he said. When I interviewed him in 2017, he told me he was taking more than 200 flights a year. "There should actually be guidelines on what the maximum amount of flights are that a DJ should take, like 'you can only do four shows at a time.' Flight attendants or any other type of job have one."

    'We're being fooled by society'

    avicii on stage

    One way Luke is trying to slow down his pace is by cutting back on the time he spends on social media.

    "I used to say, whenever I'm on vacation, keep on emailing me, [but I] can't do it any more," he said, adding that he's also taking a day off from responding to Twitter and Instagram comments.

    "It's [people like Avicii] that give us the proof that we're being fooled by society to work as hard as you can to make the most money you can to be as famous as you can."

    "Social media has opened my eyes to how damaging it is for our mental health," he went on. "Something like Instagram, obviously people put up their best lives, and as a human you start comparing. You think your life and you are nothing, and everyone is great except for you."

    A study last year found that Instagram was the worst social media platform in terms of the impact it has on the mental wellbeing of young adults — and Luke said it has an effect on everyone, no matter who they are.

    "I get confronted with loads of things and comments, obviously alot of positivity as well, but it's easy to get ticked off by someone who has a bad day and feels like they need to make a comment at you," Luke said.

    He added that it's a mistake to see the life someone appears to be leading in the public eye and assume they must be happy.

    "It's easy if someone makes a tremendous amount of money and has all the success they've ever dreamed of, to say 'why are you complaining,' not acknowledging their struggles," he said.

    "I, for one, would love for people to understand life isn't about money and fame, it's [people like Avicii] that give us the proof that we're being fooled by society to work as hard as you can to make the most money you can to be as famous as you can.

    "Within that we forget to live, to enjoy life — we forget the little things which are big things, and just to take care of yourself."

    SEE ALSO: DJ and producer Avicii warned 'I'm going to die' in a documentary released 6 months before he was found dead at 28

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    woman sitting sad

    • Someone doesn't have to be left with bruises for behaviour to count as abuse.
    • Many people don't realise they are in emotionally or psychologically abusive relationships.
    • This is because they don't think their partner's behaviour is bad enough.
    • In fact, early signs of abuse can even be misconstrued as "romantic."
    • A study from Cosmopolitan and Women's Aid highlights how downplayed emotionally abusive situations can be.

    Abusive relationships are more common than you might think. Domestic abuse of some kind affects one in four women and one in six men in their lifetime.

    But there are misconceptions about what makes a relationship abusive. For example, some people believe if their partner has never laid a finger on them, they can't truly be harming them. This isn't true, and psychological abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse.

    A study from Women's Aid and Cosmopolitan back in May highlights just how downplayed psychological and emotional abuse in relationships can be.

    The survey of 122,000 women found that over a third (34.5%) said they had been in an abusive relationship at some point. But perhaps the most shocking part was that out of the 65.5% of respondents who said they had never been in an abusive relationship, almost two thirds had experienced problematic, toxic behaviour from a partner, which could potentially amount to abuse.

    Here are some of the ways they reported partners behaved:

    • Logged onto their social media accounts or looking at their phone without permission.
    • Criticised their social media use, followers, or likes.
    • Turned up unannounced to somewhere they weren't invited, because their location was shared on social media.
    • Tried to stop them socialising with friends.
    • Made them feel bad with nasty comments.
    • Pressured them into anything sexual they didn't want to do.
    • Intimidated them by being aggressive.

    One respondent who said she had never been in an abusive relationship said one previous partner had pressured her into sexual acts she wasn't comfortable with, including sending nude pictures.

    "[He] told me I'm worthless, fat, a failure and only good for sex," she said. Another said she had been verbally, physically and sexually abused but still answered "no" when asked "do you think you've ever been in an abusive relationship?"

    Katie Ghose, the CEO of Women's Aid, told Cosmopolitan that one of the biggest problems lies in the misconceptions we have about romance.

    "Checking your phone, turning up unannounced and telling you who you can or can't see is often misrepresented by your partner as showing that they care about you," she said. "But this is not romantic. It is controlling behaviour that can slowly erode your confidence and independence and, if part of a repeated pattern, is ultimately abusive."

    Even something like texting you all the time can be a red flag. It's fine if they just like talking to you, but if you feel it's bordering on stalking and checking up on you all the time, it could be a warning sign they are starting to control you.

    "As the shocking findings from our research show, many younger women may not recognise that their partner is abusive if there isn't physical violence and may even think that threatening, controlling, and intimidating behaviour is normal in relationships," Ghose said.

    Other findings from the survey were that half of respondents (55.8%) had experienced hurtful comments from their partner, 38.2% had been pressured into something sexual they didn't want to do, a third (33.4%) had been intimidated by their partner being physically aggressive, and 40.2% had experienced their partner isolating them from their friends or family.

    If you think your friend or anyone else is in danger, the MyPlan App from One Love Foundation, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, and Women's Aid are resources that can help.

    SEE ALSO: These are the signs your friend is in an emotionally abusive relationship — and what you should do about it

    Join the conversation about this story »

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