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The latest news from Life

older | 1 | .... | 1636 | 1637 | (Page 1638) | 1639 | 1640 | .... | 1689 | newer

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

    last minute prime gifts 11

    I almost always default to Amazon when I need last-minute, well, anything. Because I love procrastinating, I use it most frantically to buy gifts.

    Once you're on Amazon, you can breathe a little and remind yourself to calm down — it's impossible not to find a good gift that will arrive in time.

    Armed with a Prime membership and lightning-fast typing and scrolling skills, you can browse the huge collection of Prime-eligible products and emerge triumphant, having crossed off gifts for everyone on your list. 

    If time is catching up to you, we've created a cheat sheet to the best 32 gifts on Amazon that will also reliably arrive before Christmas. 

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

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    DON'T MISS: 55 creative and unexpected gifts for her that are all under $50

    A tribute to the illustrator behind the iconic worlds and characters of 'Star Wars'

    Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie, $168.99, available at Amazon

    Dive into the fascinating artistic process of creating the Star Wars universe. The never-before-seen-or-published illustrations and interviews paint a picture of the hard work of designer Ralph McQuarrie.



    A cool home decor piece for transit enthusiasts

    Umbra Subway Wall Hook, $30, available at Amazon

    Part art piece and part functional organizer, the subway-inspired wall hook reminds them of the joys (and terrors) of riding public transportation.

     



    A LEGO toy that gets them hooked on coding

    LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox Robot Building Set and Educational Coding Kit, $159.95, available at Amazon

    The 847-piece set can be transformed into five different moving models, from a robot cat to a playable guitar. It's best suited for kids ages 7 through 12, who will spend hours tinkering and learning how to build these robots. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    trump xi g20 2017

    • Trump administration officials held a call with their Chinese counterparts on Tuesday, formally kicking off the latest round of talks to end the US-China trade war.
    • China's repeated commitment to buying US products and lowering auto tariffs shows that Beijing is at least superficially committed to easing the trade tensions.
    • But the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and the Trump administration's actions to confront China in other areas could cast a shadow over the talks.

    Just over a week after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a temporary truce, the two sides are showing signs of progress in talks to end their trade war.

    "Very productive conversations going on with China!" Trump tweeted Tuesday. "Watch for some important announcements!"

    But while encouraging signs seem to show China's dedication to the détente, worrying signs remain that the trade war won't end anytime soon.

    "Nearly every factual data point since the G-20 has been a net-negative on the US-China conflict — except for the Tweets," said Chris Krueger, an analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group.

    Talks restart

    Capitalizing on the goodwill from Trump and Xi's dinner at the G20 summit earlier this month, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a call with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the country's top economic official, on Tuesday.

    According to a statement from China's Ministry of Commerce, the two sides discussed next steps for implementation of the agreement reached at the G20 summit. Topics included China's promised purchases of US agricultural goods and changes to the country's economic practices, according to reports.

    The call represented the first formal discussion since Trump announced a 90-day truce that would delay an increase of US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

    tRUMP xI G20 TRADE

    But most analysts consider it nearly impossible for the two sides to reach an agreement that includes the fundamental changes the US is seeking from China during such a short negotiating window.

    "We doubt that a comprehensive agreement can emerge in the next three months, which suggests that trade tensions will resurface in earnest early next year," Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at the research and trading firm Compass Point, wrote Monday.

    While Trump and Larry Kudlow — the staunchest free-trade advocate on Trump's team — suggested that window could be extended, the man in charge of the talks has shut down the suggestion. In an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Lighthizer called the 90-day window a "hard deadline."

    "When I talked to the president of the United States, he's not talking about going beyond March," he said. "He's talking about getting a deal. If there is a deal to be gotten, we want to get it in the next 90 days."

    Is China making moves?

    The Chinese are also trying to show their commitment to the talks by moving forward with some of the agreed-upon steps from the Trump-Xi meeting:

    • According to reports, China is preparing to start purchases of American agricultural and energy goods in the coming weeks.
    • In addition, China's cabinet will reportedly consider a proposal to lower tariffs on US-made autos to 15% — the rate paid on non-US car imports — from 40%.

    Read more:China is reportedly close to cutting its tariffs on US cars, a big trade-war concession to Trump

    But while the Chinese have talked up the desire to move forward with these procedures, it's unclear whether those intentions have translated into actual business for American farmers and firms. Major US farm groups have yet to see any purchases of their goods from China, and analysts say there is no data to show that Chinese purchases have resumed.

    Trying to keep Huawei, bigger economic concerns separate

    Complicating the talks is Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, at the direction of the US. While Meng's extradition is pending, investors and analysts were concerned that the arrest could throw the trade talks into flux.

    Since the arrest, US and Chinese officials have insisted that Meng's status will not interfere with the outcome of the talks.

    "It is totally separate from anything that I work on or anything that the trade policy people in the administration work on," Lighthizer told CBS. "So, for us, it's unrelated, it's criminal justice."

    Meng Wanzhou

    Chinese state media outlets have largely directed ire for the arrest at Canada and have also separated the trade talks from Meng's arrest.

    Read more:Chinese tech giant Huawei's CFO proves Trump's trade war is 'escalating to a new level'

    But casting another shadow is a reported administration-wide effort to call out China for stealing American technology and trade secrets. According to The Washington Post, multiple agencies across the US government will condemn China over such practices.

    The developments follow a concerted campaign from the Trump administration to confront China over allegations of intellectual-property theft, economic espionage, forced partnerships between US and Chinese firms, and other noncompetitive policies.

    But while officials are attempting to keep Meng's arrest and the broader US campaign to confront China out of the trade talks, the separation may prove difficult.

    Krueger said the US could cut a deal to stop pursuing the extradition of Meng while negotiations are productive — implicitly allowing the arrest to infiltrate the talks — or allow the current state of affairs to continue.

    "The default scenario now is a multi-month (or year?) extradition process in Canada with the Huawei CFO in limbo and the Chinese very angry and increasingly pressured to respond by domestic forces," Krueger wrote in a note to clients. "Of course in this case, it means the Huawei complaint is intimately intertwined with the politics and talks...regardless, an incredibly poor catalyst for the talks to open on."

    SEE ALSO: US companies forked over a record amount in tariffs in October — $6.2 billion! — because of Trump's trade war

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

    Chrissy Teigen Chase Ultimate Rewards

    • The best way to use your Chase points is for travel, either by using them to book travel through Chase, or transferring them to airline frequent flyer partners. 
    • While you won't necessarily get as good of a value, you can also redeem points for gift cards, and even for holiday shopping.
    • Chase also has a new program — Chase Offers — that can help you save money on holiday shopping.
    • You can earn more points when you apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or a Chase Sapphire Reserve— you'll get 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

    The most valuable way to use credit card points is by transferring them to airline partners (or hotels) and using them to book travel.

    However, sometimes people would rather use their points other ways, even if they know that they might not get the highest possible value for them.

    As the holidays season continues, one obvious way to use your points is for gifts, whether gift cards or merchandise.

    Not every credit card provider lets you use points this way, but one of the most popular rewards programs — Chase Ultimate Rewards — actually offers a decent value, all things considered.

    Read more: Here are all the amazing ways you can use the points from your Chase credit card

    Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards

    On the Ultimate Rewards page, scroll up to the top to select a category to browse. When you click "Gift Cards," you'll see nearly 200 brands available. Most gift cards can be purchased with points at a rate of 1¢/point, meaning that a $10 gift card would cost 1,000 points.

    However, Chase offers limited-time discounts on a handful of brands at a time, usually ranging from 10-15% off. For example, J.Crew gift cards are currently available at a 10% discount, so a $20 gift card only costs 1,800 points. That's a better 1.1¢/point value. You can filter by "Deals" in the left sidebar to see all the discounts available.

    Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points for products

    If you'd rather buy products instead of gift cards, you have two options.

    The first is to shop through Amazon. You can add a Chase card to your account's payment types, and you'll be able to enroll in "Shop with Points." When you check out, you'll see an option to apply points to the purchase.

    However, you'll only get about 0.8¢/point, so this is a pretty bad value that we would not recommend.

    The second option is to purchase products directly from Apple. From the Chase Ultimate Rewards homepage, choose Apple from the top menu. Click through, and you'll be able to browse the Apple Store and purchase anything, including computers, iPads, iPhones, and accessories.

    Currently, Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1¢ each at Apple. However, Chase lists that as a "special offer," so it's likely that this drops soon, possibly to the same 0.8¢/point value as Amazon.

    The third option is to simply exchange points for cash back at 1¢/point, then using that cash to make the purchase outright. That gets you more for your points at vendors like Amazon, and means you can shop wherever you like — you'll even earn additional points on the purchases.

    Saving money on holiday shopping

    If you'd rather save your points for travel in order to get a better value, Chase still has a new feature to help you save on holiday shopping.

    Last month, the issuer launched a new Chase Offers program. Similar to AmEx Offers, Chase Offers features a variety of deals at different retailers, ranging from extra points on purchases at certain stores, to potentially significant discounts when you use your card. Also like with Amex Offers, you'll have to opt in to each offer by adding it to your card.

    To see your available offers and activate them, log in using the Chase mobile app. Tap any of your credit or debit cards, and scroll down to the Chase Offers section at the bottom of the page.

    My list of available offers included a few that were useful for my everyday spending, like 10% back at Starbucks, Pret, or Staples, but also a few that would be great for holiday shopping. For instance, I can save 10% at J.Crew Factory, Cole Haan, or Sephora, and get 15% off 1-800-Flowers.

    Chase Offers are targeted for each person, and for each specific card, so chances are you'll see a different slate of offers than other people. Be sure to check the available offers for each of your cards to see where you can save.

    Ultimately, AmEx Offers seems a bit more varied, and often more valuable, but Chase Offers is nothing but a positive addition — it's also possible that the program will build out over time.

    Read more: 11 lucrative credit card deals you can get when opening a new card in December — including a 200,000-mile bonus

    Bottom line

    You will get the best value for your points by using them for travel. When you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can use points to book travel through Chase with a 25% bonus, meaning each point is worth 1.25¢; and if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, you'll get a 50% bonus, getting you a value of 1.5¢ per point. Plus, you can transfer points to airline frequent flyer partners to potentially get an even better value.

    If, however, you aren't planning on traveling anytime soon, or are sitting on more points than you could possibly use for flights, Chase offers a few ways to trade in your points for holiday gifts.

    Click here to learn about the Chase Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Click here to learn about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks in 2018

    DON'T MISS: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    steven john

    • There is no guidebook to life; life lessons are gained only through time and experience, and many of our beliefs and perceptions will change over the years.
    • Often the picture of a life we imagine for ourselves and the life we end up living are quite different, and in most cases that's just fine.
    • Here are 10 life lessons my 20-year-old self might not have wanted to hear, but that my actual adult self can confirm as fact.

     

    At the time of this writing, I'm 36 years old. I have two cute kids, a wonderful wife, a yard that needs raking, a fair amount of gray hair on the sides, and almost no free time.

    Does my life look exactly like I pictured it would when I was 20? Actually, in some ways, yes. But over the course of the last decade and a half, I've learned that much of what I expected from life would either never come, or would come in different ways than I thought.

    My first career, the thing for which I'd gone to school to prepare, never panned out. (Filmmaking, in case you're wondering.) I figured that as an adult I'd spend time with friends weekly if not daily, just like I always had, yet I've not seen some of my closest friends in months, and a few in years.

    I thought there would be more free time to try new things, travel, have hobbies, and just to relax, yet with each passing year I have to pass on more opportunities, give up on personal projects, and go to bed instead of reading that book or watching that show.

    In short, my 20-year-old self thought life would be easier. Here are 10 hard truths I've learned that have proven that life can be pretty tough stuff.

    SEE ALSO: I just turned 50 — here are 10 life lessons I wish I'd learned a decade ago

    1. You will fail. Many times.

    I came out of college a cockeyed optimist, ready to dive in with both feet and sure to succeed. And quickly, at that. Flash forward a year and a half and I'm signing a severance letter after losing a job. Three years after that, I'm shopping a script all over LA, a script that still sits in a drawer today. It wasn't until I was nearly 30 that my writing finally started to pay the bills, and by then I had long since given up my youthful dream of making movies. And frankly, I'm glad I did, as I love writing. But my 20 year old film student self would be mortified to hear me say that.



    2. The money will probably come slowly.

    Unless you land a job with Google, on Wall Street, or you're lucky enough to make it on screen or pen a best-seller, you will gain wealth incrementally, and you probably won't save much for many years. The cost of living alone, especially if you have debts to pay off, is hard to cover with most salaries offered to junior level employees. Your 20s will likely be spent building up a career that will later be profitable, but don't count on a ballooning bank account any time soon.



    3. You will lose touch with friends.

    Friendships have always been important to me, and I was fortunate enough to have met a great group of people in high school, college, and in my early years of work. There was a time, though, that I could not have counted the people I thought of as genuinely close friends on my fingers and toes and then some. Now, I'd say it's down to fingers and maybe a foot. Which is still a good crew, to be sure, but I'm shocked to realize it has been more than five years since I've had any contact with some people I once saw all the time. And never through a falling out; it just happens.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    therapy dogs airport

    • Delta just barred emotional-support pets from flights longer than eight hours.
    • Some such animals have caused problems on flights by peeing, defecating, or mauling passengers.
    • Other airlines are also considering cracking down on support animals and issuing tighter regulations.
    • Unlike service dogs, "emotional support animals" are an unregulated group. There's little scientific evidence about what they really do for people.

    Emotional support peacocks. Emotional support snakes. Emotional support hamsters.

    People have brought all sorts of "support animals" into public places recently, arguing the creatures should be allowed to fly on planes or come into offices because they serve a mental-health purpose. 

    But the trend has led to a spike in in-flight problems for airlines. Animals have peed, defecated, bit, and in one case mauled people on Delta planes. So the company announced Monday that emotional support pets will no longer be allowed on any Delta flights longer than eight hours.

    When it comes to the science behind the concept of a support pet, "the research is quite inconsistent on whether the animals really do anything at all," Forensic psychologist Jeffrey Younggren from the University of Missouri told Business Insider.

    FILE PHOTO: A peacock spreading its feathers is seen at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple, in Pathum Thani province, Thailand March 10, 2017. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom/File Photo

    Younggren has spent years studying the trend of patients asking their therapists to sign letters certifying that they need an emotional support animal.

    Overall, he said, scientists don't know if such pets do anything "other than make somebody happy."

    But despite that lack of evidence, many therapists sign "ESP" letters for their patients, sometimes without even seeing the animals in action. 

    "How can you say the animal does something if you've never seen them with a patient?" Younggren said.

    New rules for Delta flights

    As such signed letters get more common, some pet owners are using the designation as a way to let their pets fly on planes with them for free. 

    As the holiday travel season approaches, Delta is cracking down, instituting some of the strictest support-animal rules of any US carrier to date. Support pets will no longer be allowed on eight-plus-hour flights if the ticket is purchased on or after December 18. The airline is also instituting a ban on "ESP"'s under four months of age. No exceptions will be granted after February 1, 2019.

    Delta said there has been an 84% increase in incidents involving unruly animals since 2016. 

    Earlier this year, the airline started requiring anyone flying with an emotional-support pet to sign a waiver stating that the animal can behave on a flight. The airline has also initiated other restrictions, including requiring proof of vaccination for the animals and only accepting certification letters from a doctor or mental health professional. (In the past, travelers could easy pay for such a letter online.)

    United has also made its policies more strict, as ABC News previously reported. 

    What is an emotional support animal?

    There's not much regulation about what constitutes an emotional support pet. People can buy their way into a designation pretty easily online for around $70.

    Researchers in California looked at more than a decade of records of registered "assistance" dogs and found that from 1999-2012, there was a huge uptick in the number of smaller dogs, older dogs, and dogs used for psychiatric and medical assistance in the state. Those researchers said the study revealed a growing trend of "misunderstanding" and "misuse" of support dogs. 

    Support pets are not the same as service animals. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal must be trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, be it physical or psychiatric. Disabilities can include being blind or deaf, using a wheelchair, relying on a dog to remind you to take meds, or having a dog around in case of an anxiety attack.

    Under federal law, only dogs and miniature horses weighing less than 100 pounds qualify for the "service animal" designation.

    These trained animals are on the job and allowed to accompany their humans anywhere that members of the general public can go (including businesses, hospitals, and just about anywhere that's not a sterile operating room).

    But the law is clear: "Service animals are working animals, not pets." The ADA even spells out that "dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."

    The Fair Housing Act, however, is a bit more lenient: It says that US tenants have a right to keep "assistance animals," including emotional support pets, in their homes even if a leaser has a strict no-pets policy. 

    Therapy dogs are a third category of animal, and they're trained to help calm patients down during therapy sessions, usually in clinical settings. 

    Animals can help people feel better, but they have to be trained

    People who train and certify dogs to work with patients are worried about the growing number of untrained pets flying on planes.

    dog and cat pets

    Alice Smith, a client services coordinator at the PAWS dog training center in Florida, told Business Insider that untrained pets are giving real service dogs a bad name.

    "There are people who just wanna be able to take their dogs with them everywhere, and they go online and buy a vest," Smith said. She added that if owners don't put in the six months to a year required to train an animal, the dog can end up barking and acting out in public. 

    However, Smith believes dogs can help for people dealing with anxiety and depression. As a pet owner herself, she said she has benefitted from having dogs around when she's upset. 

    "My dogs have just known it," she said. "They would come over to me, and get close to me, and as soon as I would pet them, I would calm down." 

    Smith said there are likely many other people who'd benefit from having a furry, well-behaved friend nearby. She said she even fielded calls from students in Florida who were scared about getting on the bus after the school shooting in Parkland and thought a support dog might help. Other kids call the training center because they're getting bullied and want an emotional support dog to help them get through the day safely. Dogs can also help guide their owners to exits in a panic, or just lean into a person to calm them down in a crowd.

    "They can feel that dog's pressure, and know the dog's there," Smith said.

    But Younggren pointed out that some people are afraid of dogs or allergic to them. For those individuals, a flight alongside an emotional support pet could be an anxiety- or illness-provoking experience.

    It boils down to a simple, well-known problem, he said: "People who love dogs think everybody loves dogs."

    SEE ALSO: Rare polar blue ice has come to the shores of the Great Lakes — and it's stunning photographers

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how dogs actually see the world


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    Zodiac_collection_tile

    For couples, the holidays are a particularly great gifting opportunity. You know what your partner loves, what small daily annoyances you can solve with a thoughtful gift, and how much they'll appreciate knowing the gesture came from you.

    Odds are you want to give them something wonderful — whatever your price range is. All you need is a little direction, and a few great options to choose from. 

    Below, you'll find 36 of the best gifts to give your girlfriend this year.

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

    SEE ALSO: 50 awesome gifts from Nordstrom — from $10 coasters to a $695 smartwatch

    DON'T MISS: 55 creative and unexpected gifts for her that are all under $50

    A customized map of her favorite place

    Custom Map Poster, available on Grafomap, from $49

    Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find the full Insider Picks review here.



    A monogrammed jewelry case from an up-and-coming leather startup

    Leather Jewelry Case, available on Cuyana, $115 (+ $15 for monogram)

    Keeping track of expensive, often tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — and jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. Especially if you've gotten her jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future, this is a thoughtful (and personalized) gift. It's made from premium leather, comes in six colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is also a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of. 



    A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have forever

    Diamond Bezel Necklace, available on AUrate, $320

    A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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

    KitchenAid Artisan Series

    For you and anyone else with holiday shopping to complete, Amazon's "12 Days of Deals" is not to be missed.

    Today, the company has slashed prices on a vast selection of kitchen appliances and cookware that consequently make great gifts.

    We weeded through the deals and found 9 that are well worth your time and money, from the perennially popular KitchenAid stand mixer to the cult-favorite Instant Pot. It's also a good idea to visit the main deals page in case you see something else that interests you that's not on our list.

    Remember, these are deals of the day, which means they're only available until midnight tonight. Check out our favorite tech deals from Amazon's "12 Days of Deals", and happy shopping!

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    A KitchenAid stand mixer for $250

    KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer and Spiralizer Attachment, $249.99 (originally $329.94) [You save $69.95]

    Get a 5-quart KitchenAid stand mixer and spiralizer attachment for $70 less on Amazon today.

     



    An 8-piece Cuisinart cookware set for $100

    Cuisinart Classic Stainless Set (8-Pieces), $99.99 (originally $180) [You save $80.01]

    This stainless steel cookware set has all of the pots and pans you need to cook well at home on a regular basis.



    An indoor herb garden for half off

    AeroGarden Harvest Grey, $79.95 (originally $149.95) [You save $80]

    The AeroGarden is a compact addition to your countertop, letting you grow up to six plants at a time with little effort. It comes with soil-free pods for curly parsley, dill, mint, thyme, and Thai and Genovese basil.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    REI

    REI is home to literally everything you need for an enjoyable adventure outdoors. With the holiday season just weeks away, REI is having a huge holiday clearance sale that's worth taking advantage of while completing your gift list — or even shopping for yourself.

    Now through December 16, you can get up to 50% off clearance items including outdoor apparel, gear, footwear, and accessories.

    The limited-time sale includes discounts on top brands like Patagonia, Columbia, The North Face, PrAna, Smartwool, and more.

    Whether you're loading up on gear for an upcoming cold-weather excursion, shopping for a warm jacket, or looking for a very specific item, you're likely to find it here. We rounded up some of the best deals, but since the sale is so massive, these product categories can help you find exactly what you need.

    Shop the REI Holiday sale now or keep reading for our picks, below:

    Men's Columbia Ramble Interchange 3-in-1 Down Jacket

    $109.83 (Originally $220) [You save 50%]



    Women's REI Co-op Magma 850 Down Hoodie

    $149.93, available in three colors (Originally $219) [You save 31%]



    Men's REI Co-op Flowcore Fleece Jacket

    $49.83, available in two colors (Originally $99.95) [You save 50%]



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    laptop couch

    • Zillow is part of a growing group of real-estate companies in the United States that buy homes directly from homeowners.
    • Through Zillow's service, which will be available in eight US markets by the end of 2019, homeowners receive a preliminary offer within two days and close the sale in as little as seven days from signing.
    • But these companies charge a higher fee than a real estate agent, typically ranging from 6% to 13% of the purchase price.
    • One research analyst told the LA Times that by 2021, i-buyers could account for 10% of the existing home sale market.

    Everything is easier online — even selling your house.

    More Americans are turning to online real-estate companies like San Francisco-based startup Opendoor and Zillow to quickly sell their homes; no open houses, considering multiple bids, or waiting on a buyer to work out financing, the Los Angeles Times' Andrew Khouri reports

    Zillow Offers is already available in four US markets — Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Denver — and will soon be launching in Riverside, California, Zillow announced on Tuesday.

    The service radically simplifies the selling process for homeowners: They enter their address online, answer questions about the home, send in photos, and wait for Zillow to consult a local real estate agent and come up with a home value estimate. It takes only about two business days, Khouri wrote.

    Then Zillow sets up an in-person walkthrough before handing over a confirmed offer. If the homeowner accepts the offer, they choose a closing date between seven and 90 days from signing. Real estate agents are still a part of the process, but they're handled and paid by Zillow, not the homeowner.

    "We have closed on a house in as little as five days because we wanted to help the seller who was in a time crunch," Zillow spokeswoman Jordyn Lee told the LA Times. In Riverside, the company's newest market, Zillow says it's focusing on homes in the $200,000 to $600,000 price range, which it aims to resell within three months.

    Read more: We did the math to calculate how much money you need to save monthly to buy a home by 35

    But there's a catch for homeowners. A typical real estate agent may charge a commission fee of 5% to 6% of the purchase price, whereas Zillow commands 6% to 9%, Khouri wrote. Fortunately, that fee includes the cost of any repairs or necessary adjustments made to the home after closing.

    Likewise, Opendoor, which launched its direct-to-buyer service in 2014 and now operates in over a dozen markets, charges a fee between 6.7% to 13% of the purchase price, according to Reuters. The closing period for sales on Opendoor can range from 10 to 60 days, according to the website. Reuters reported in June 2018 that the company was valued at more than $2 billion and buys homes with an average price of $250,000.

    Read more: What a $250,000 home looks like in the biggest city in every state

    Brad Berning, a senior research analyst with Craig-Hallum Capital Group told the LA Times that i-buyers are here to stay. Berning estimates that by 2021, virtual buyers could account for 10% of the existing home-sale market.

    Chase Marsh, cofounder of Prevu, a New York-based real-estate startup, said in a contributor article in Forbes in June that the convenience of selling online to a company rather than dealing with people is a huge draw, but the high fees aren't worth it — at least not yet.

    "While iBuyers provide the convenience of selling quickly, matching expert investors against consumers isn't always the best thing for the consumer," Marsh wrote. "Choice is good, but a home is generally your largest asset, so you may want to consult an expert before 'iSelling.'"

    SEE ALSO: I'm a financial planner — here's why I won't buy a home

    DON'T MISS: How Trump's new tax law affects homeowners at every income level from $83,000 to $336,000 a year

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Tim Cook's estimated net worth is $625 million — here's how he makes and spends his money


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

    Takeya Actives 18oz Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with Insulated Spout Lid

    Everyone has a fitness goal whether it's to gain muscle, tone up their core, or increase their flexibility. No matter what goal they have for 2019, we've got a gift that'll help them get there. 

    From ugly Christmas sweater-inspired sneakers to grippy pilates socks and even ready-to-blend smoothies, there are plenty of gift ideas that work within your budget and their fitness level. And if their fitness level is nonexistent, there's a boutique gym membership to get them started too.

    Help them carry out their fitness goals for 2019 — or at least until the end of January — with these 22 picks.

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

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    DON'T MISS: 32 last-minute gifts that are Amazon Prime-eligible and guaranteed to arrive in time

    Grippy socks perfect for pilates, barre, or just walking around their apartment

    Gaiam Grippy Yoga Socks, from $4.95, available at Amazon

    These socks have durable grips along the bottom for stability during pilates or lounging around the apartment. No judgments here.



    A membership for delicious ready-to-blend smoothies

    Daily Harvest Subscription, $6.99-$7.99 per cup, available at Daily Harvest

    If they're not switching up their diet along with their workout regimen, all that cardio and weightlifting might just be going to waste. Encourage them to eat healthier with a membership to Daily Harvest for delicious smoothies, harvest bowls, chia bowls, and more.



    A cooling towel that'll feel so good after hot yoga

    Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel, $8.04, available at Amazon

    This cooling towel will be so appreciated after a serious hot yoga or cardio class. They can just rinse the towel in cold water, wring it out, and it'll stay cool for hours.



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    • President Donald Trump told House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi that Mexico would pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border through the updated North American Free Trade Agreement.
    • The deal does not include any provisions compelling Mexico to pay for a border wall.
    • Trump also argued that increased economic growth from the agreement would pay for the wall, but Democrats pushed back on that idea.

    President Donald Trump told House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that Mexico would pay for his proposed wall along the border, but the president made a head-scratching claim about how that would happen.

    According to sources with knowledge of private portions of Trump's contentious meeting with the Democratic leaders, Trump insisted that Mexico would eventually pay for the wall. He said that would happen via the newly updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now named the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

    One person familiar with the meeting told Business Insider that the president said the USMCA will bring so much money into the US that it would be almost as if Mexico paid for the wall.

    A Democratic aide told Business Insider that the idea, as put forth by Trump, has a lot of holes.

    "The proposal doesn’t make sense, and it's unclear how it would work," the aide said.

    In the public portion of the meeting, the president and the two Democratic leaders repeatedly clashed over the issue of funding the border wall as part of a package to keep the government open.

    If Congress does not pass a funding bill by December 21, or if Trump does not sign it, the federal government will enter a partial shutdown.

    The Democratic leaders were quick to push back on Trump's line of thinking. Pelosi later told Democrats at a meeting of the party's Steering and Policy Committee that she argued diverting money to fund a border wall would still mean Americans were losing out on the benefits, according to a person present for her remarks.

    "I said, 'You're going to take the money we made from the trade agreement. Well that's an opportunity cost, Mr. President, for American workers and our economy that's supposed to benefit from that. They did not know you are passing a bill so that you could pay for a wall and say Mexico paid for it with our profits from our workers and our businesses and the rest,'" Pelosi said, according to the person.

    Schumer also pushed back on the idea, arguing new money from a trade deal isn't the same thing as the Mexican government funding the construction of a wall. Studies have also shown that the USMCA is likely to do little to budge the US GDP needle.

    The Democrats are correct that increased economic activity because of the trade deal would not be the same thing as Mexico directly allocating funds for the wall.

    Pelosi also seemed to note that spending these revenues on a border wall, as opposed to some other government program, would represent an opportunity cost. The economic fallout from building a wall would likely outweigh the stimulus from its construction, according to the Brookings Institution.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'


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    dainty cuff, $540

    Fine jewelry — pieces made with high-quality materials like solid 14-karat gold or precious stones (or both) and a high-level of craftsmanship — costs a lot of money, understandably so when you consider the process. The high price tag on these products makes them reserved for special occasions, like the holidays. So, if there's someone in your life who you want to splurge on this season — be it your wife, mother, sister, or friend — a piece of jewelry is a thoughtful gift she'll be sure to appreciate. 

    Whether you're looking to dazzle her with diamonds, go for more minimal metals, or pick a statement piece covered in stones, we've got you covered. There are plenty of fine jewelry pieces you can get for $1,000 or less this season, and she'll love to add any of them to her collection. 

    Keep scrolling for 23 pieces of fine jewelry you can get her for $1,000 or less. 

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

    SEE ALSO: 25 beautiful and affordable fine jewelry gifts she'll love — all under $500

    DON'T MISS: 64 cool, unique gifts for her — for every budget

    A delicate circle bracelet

    Circle Bracelet, available at Vrai & Oro, $200

    A delicate circle bracelet has a timeless appeal. Whether worn on its own or layered with others on her wrist, this will become an everyday essential. 



    A unique black diamond ring

    Maleficent Ring, available at Catbird, $364

    Available in 14k yellow and rose gold

    A direct contrast to Catbird's brighter Sleeping Beauty Ring, this ring has a darker, more mysterious look, but the black diamond set between two white ones is particularly striking. 



    Earrings with a unique shape and stones

    WWAKE Opal Circle Earrings, available at Nordstrom, $534

    The sleek design of these 14k gold earrings is accentuated by the opal stones, which cast a beautiful glimmer in the light. 



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    • Google has unveiled its annual Year in Search for 2018.
    • The annual compilation includes the top worldwide Google searches of the year.  
    • This year's list includes several tragic deaths, the World Cup, and more. 

    As 2018 draws to a close, Google is looking back on the top searches of the year.

    Google narrows down the top-trending searches in the world over the past 12 months, terms that had the highest spike in traffic this year compared to 2017. These are not necessarily the terms that were searched the most often. 

    It's a year that's been rife with tragedy — we mourned the untimely deaths of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and several others. But 2018 also brought us the royal wedding and an exciting World Cup.

    Here are the top-trending Google searches of 2018: 

    SEE ALSO: Google just announced it's shutting down its Allo messaging app for good. Here are 18 other Google products that bombed, died, or disappeared

    10. Kate Spade

    In June, fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead at age 55 in her New York City apartment in an apparent suicide. 

    Spade launched her namesake brand in 1993, a year before she married her husband, Andy. Over the following years, the couple ran the business together out of their apartment in Tribeca, transforming it into a $27 million business by 1998.

    The couple eventually sold the business to Neiman Marcus in 2006, but their love of handbags didn't end there. Years later, after the birth of their daughter, they made a second foray into fashion, launching Frances Valentine, a handbag-and-shoe company, in 2015. 



    9. Stephen Hawking

    In March, Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76. 

    Hawking, a theoretical physicist, made several discoveries that transformed the way scientists viewed black holes and the universe. Though he had Lou Gehrig's disease — the neurodegenerative malady also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which impaired his motor functions — he went on to become a mathematics professor and eventually the director of research at the University of Cambridge's Center for Theoretical Cosmology.

    Hawking was also known to bridge the gap on complicated subjects by infusing humor and wit during his lectures. His character and personality produced several infamous anecdotes and references in pop culture, including appearances on various TV shows.



    8. XXXTentacion

    In June, rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead in his car after leaving a motorcycle dealer in South Florida. 

    At the time of his death, XXXTentacion — whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy — was awaiting trial for a 2016 domestic abuse case. He faced charges of aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering.

    Onfroy rose to fame off of his 2016 single "Look at Me!" His debut studio album, "17," reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and was certified gold in 2017. Onfroy's second studio album, "?," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart in March.

    By August, four suspects accused of killing Onfroy had been taken into custody.



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    Snowboarding at the 2018 Winter Olympics

    • Google took a look back on the people, topics, events, and places that trended the most on search as part of its 2018 "Year in Search" series.
    • We looked at the top results for the search, "Where is..."
    • The most trending queries involved natural disasters, world events, and unexpected people news.

    Just Google it.

    It's an impulse thought many have when it comes to finding the answer to something one doesn't know.

    As the year draws to a close, Google took a look back on the people, topics, events, and places that trended the most on search in 2018 as part of its 2018 "Year in Search" series.

    We looked at the top results for the search, "Where is..." to see what locations people were looking for during the past year. The results were certainly reflective of the news of 2018 — three of the searches regard natural disasters, two involved world events (the Olympics and the World Cup), while others were inquired based on a scandal, company announcement, and school shooting.

    Note that these items aren't the "most searched" — they're trending queries that increased the most from 2017 to 2018, according to Google.

    See below for the year's most trending "Where is" topics, ranked.

    SEE ALSO: Spotify's annual year in review playlists are out, and the internet has a lot of questions about their accuracy

    10. Where is Prince from?

    Musician Prince is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He died in 2016 from an accidental fentanyl overdose, which was brought into the news again in 2018 when his family moved the medical malpractice suit to the county where he died.



    9. Where is Paradise, California?

    Paradise, California, was located in northern California in Butte County. Home to 27,000 people, the town was completely destroyed by the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in the state's history.



    8. Where is Amazon based?

    Amazon is based in Seattle, Washington. In 2018, it announced the addition of two new headquarter locations: Queens, New York, and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia.



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    Montmartre in Paris, France

    • Google recently released its "Year in Search" for 2018, which highlights people, topics, events, and places that made up the year's top searches.
    • We looked at the top 10 results for the search query, "Trip to..." to see which travel destinations interested people most throughout the year.
    • Paris, New Orleans, and Iceland were some of the top trending places on Google.

     

    Google recently released its 2018 "Year in Search," which highlights people, topics, events, and places that made up the top trending searches of the year. 

    We looked at the top 10 results for the search query "Trip to..." to see which travel destinations interested people most throughout the year. The results include a mix of cities and countries.

    When people searched "Trip to..." in 2018, some of the top destinations they looked for were New Orleans, Iceland, and Bora Bora. For context, we also looked at how many tourists actually visited these locations, using numbers from 2017, as tourism data for 2018 isn't yet available for all locations.

    While these terms aren't necessarily the "most searched," they are trending queries that "had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2018 as compared to 2017," a Google publicist told Business Insider.

    Here are the top 10 destinations:

    SEE ALSO: This 140-day cruise for the '1% of the 1%' visits all 7 continents — here's a look inside the ship, where suites cost up to $240,000 per person

    DON'T MISS: Richard Branson's Necker Island is back in business a year after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc and new photos show the private island looking more luxurious than ever

    10. Spain

    Number of tourists in 2017: 82 million

    Source: The Local



    9. New Orleans

    Number of tourists in 2017: 17.74 million

    Source: New Orleans City Business



    8. New York

    Number of tourists in 2017: 243.8 million (New York State), 62.8 million (New York City)

    Sources: Empire State Development, NYC & Company



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    Lionel Messi private jet.JPG

    • Lionel Messi is flying high in European soccer, but he can now fly even higher in style thanks to a new custom private jet.
    • The plane has been refitted, made bespoke, and rented to Messi by an Argentine company.
    • It is a $15 million jet that has 16-seats, comes with a kitchen, and has personal touches like his jersey number (10) on the tail and the names of his family members on the steps.
    • Messi reportedly earns $630,000 every week, excluding sponsorship deals, so could presumably pay for the jet outright if he likes the look of it.
    • Read all of Business Insider's coverage for the 2018-2019 European soccer season right here.

    Lionel Messi is renting a $15 million, 16-seat customized private jet that has the number 10 on its tail.

    With nine assists and 17 goals from 16 starts in all competitions, including moments of magic one game and a telepathic understanding in the next, it is clear that the 31-year-old is flying high this season.

    But with this new jet he can fly even higher in style.

    The custom plane was refitted by an Argentine company, according to Goal.com, and "includes a kitchen, two bathrooms, and 16 seats that can be folded to make eight beds."

    Read more: Cristiano Ronaldo just challenged Lionel Messi to leave FC Barcelona and join him in Italy

    It even has signature touches like a number 10 — Messi's iconic jersey number for Barça and the Argentina national team — on its tail, and the names of his wife, Antonela, and his children written on the steps as you walk upstairs to board.

    Here's the plane's exterior:

    You can take a look inside right here:

    Reports indicate that Messi is only renting the plane, but the FC Barcelona forward is paid approximately $630,000 per week and could quite easily afford to buy it outright if he wanted to.

    Goal.com estimates that Messi is probably the fifth highest-paid player in world soccer, and the Argentine profits from a sponsorship deal with Adidas, as well as other contracts with Pepsi, Gillette, and Turkish Airlines.

    His net worth is in the $250 million to $285 million bracket, according to Goal.com.

    SEE ALSO: Cristiano Ronaldo just challenged Lionel Messi to leave FC Barcelona and join him in Italy

    DON'T MISS: 2 gorgeous goals, 1 telepathic assist, and another La Liga record: Lionel Messi toyed with Espanyol in thumping 4-0 win

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The world's largest cruise ship just landed in Miami — here's what it's like on board


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    • On Wednesday, Google released its "Year in Search" rankings.
    • Demi LovatoMeghan Markle, and Brett Kavanaugh were among the breakout people searches in 2018, according to Google
    • Here's a look at the top 10 celebrities, politicians, and public figures who also made the list.

     

    Every year, Google rounds up the top-trending searches for the year. 

    Google shared with Business Insider who the trending people searches were in 2018. Notably, this isn't a list of the "most-searched" people in 2018 — rather, it's who spiked in traffic this year, compared to last year. 

    Here's who everyone wanted to know more about in 2018:

    SEE ALSO: 

    10. Cardi B

    This year, Cardi B became the first female rapper with two Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s. "Bodak Yellow" topped the charts for three weeks in 2017, then "I Like It" reached top status over the summer of 2018.



    9. Rick Ross

    The rapper was hospitalized and placed on life support in March 2018. Ross was released from the hospital a few days later.



    8. Ariana Grande

    Ariana Grande's fourth studio album "Sweetener" received critical acclaim this year. The pop star also generated buzz with her (now broken) engagement with comedian Pete Davidson — as well as her speedy release of the breakup anthem "thank u, next."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    iron fist

    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.

    Comedy Central recently canceled "Detroiters" after two seasons, and "Another Period" after three seasons. 

    This fall, Netfix canceled all Marvel shows except "Jessica Jones," which means that "Iron Fist," "Luke Cage," and "Daredevil" are done for good. 

    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

    Amazon



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



    "I Love Dick" — Amazon, one season



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    71OPhjdXFUL._SL1500_

    There are a lot of daily inconveniences we all have grown so accustomed to that they fade into the background of our lives.

    What do you mean I actually don’t have to hang off my bed to charge my phone and use it at the same time? (Solution: 10 ft reinforced cord)

    What do you mean I don’t have to wake up with a crick in my neck because I fell asleep listening to an audiobook? (Solution: sleep headphones)

    And my shower curtain doesn't need to eventually look like it's gotten the plague? (Solution: 100% antibacterial curtain liner)

    The list goes on. You don't even need to get up to turn the lights off or on anymore (solution: WeMo Smart Plug, or Philips Hue light bulbs).

    Below are 20 simple (and inexpensive) upgrades that have the opportunity to improve your day-to-day life:

    SEE ALSO: 16 ways you're wasting resources and money every day without realizing it

    DON'T MISS: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018, in one place

    A reverse-open, wind-proof umbrella that won't collapse or drip on your floors.



    An antimicrobial silicone sponge that will last longer, clean better, and smell much better than traditional sponges.

    Antimicrobial Silicone Scrubber by Peachy Clean, 3-Pack, available at Amazon, $9.95



    An HDMI cord for connecting to your TV and other devices for the best and broadest viewing experience.



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    bitcoin machine

    • Google released its annual "Year in Search" lists on Wednesday.
    • One of the lists measured 2018's most trending topics that started with the words "How to," reflecting things Americans needed help with this year.
    • Two of the most popular topics of the year involved how to vote in the midterm elections and how to buy Bitcoin.

    As 2018 draws to a close, Google is looking back on all the biggest questions Americans had throughout the year.

    As part of its annual "Year in Search" series, the company released its list of the year's most trending search topics beginning with the words "How to," reminding us of all the things we needed help with in 2018.

    Topics that made the cut were the ones that saw a spike in search traffic compared to the year before, Google said.

    Questions about November's midterm elections took the top two spots on the list, reflecting the surge in voter turnout that changed the national balance of power. Other trending questions included ones about massive lottery jackpots and another about buying cryptocurrency.

    Read on for the full list of the year's most trending "how-to" topics:

    10. 'How to get boogie down emote'

    Fortnite Season 5_skins

    If you don't know what any of the above words mean, don't be alarmed. It comes from "Fortnite: Battle Royale," the wildly popular free video game that in just over a year has generated more than $1 billion in revenue. In "Fortnite," players can unlock "emotes," or special victory dances for their characters — you've probably seen kids "flossing" at some point. The coveted "boogie down" emote was especially popular, it seems.

    Read more:Fortnite — a free video game — is a billion-dollar money machine

    9. 'How to screen record'

    Apple doesn't include instructions on how to capture screen recordings on its products, so Internet users turned to Google for the answers. Here's our guide on how to screen record.

    Read more:How to screenshot and screen record on an iPhone, iPad, and Mac

    8. 'How to buy Bitcoin'

    bitcoin

    In January, the question on millions of Americans' minds was how to buy Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that skyrocketed to $19,843 apiece in December 2017. Unfortunately for Bitcoin investors, the momentum didn't hold, and the currency plummeted steadily throughout 2018. A year after it peaked, Bitcoin is worth a little over $3,000, and some experts fear it will never peak again.

    Read more:Bitcoin unlikely to ever hit another record high, Barclays says

    7. 'How to play Powerball'

    In late October, four days after someone won the $1.57 billion Mega Millions jackpot, two lucky Americans won a Powerball jackpot worth $750 million. The massive prize was the fourth-largest in US history.

    Read more:2 winning tickets were sold for the $750 million Powerball jackpot. Here are the winning numbers

    6. 'How to get the old Snapchat back'

    snapchat smashed screen

    In February, Snapchat released a controversial redesign that separated users' celebrity Snapchat stories from their friends' stories. The update triggered backlash from plenty of users, including celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen. Snapchat eventually tweaked its design in May to satisfy users' biggest complaints.

    Read more:Snapchat is changing its controversial redesign

    5. 'How to turn off automatic updates'

    Not many people like those pop-up notifications telling you it's time to update new software on your computer or phone. So it's no surprise people would flock to Google seeking how to turn those annoying updates off.

    Read more:How to stop Apple from automatically downloading new software for your Mac

    4. 'How to buy Ripple'

    When cryptocurrency mania hit its peak at the beginning of 2018, XRP, or Ripple, was one of the biggest beneficiaries. The digital coin was worth more than $120 billion at its January apex, with only Bitcoin proving more popular. Although the diehards are still holding on, the cryptocurrency is worth just 10% of its peak value today.

    Read more:Everything you need to know about Ripple and the company that created it

    3. 'How to play Mega Millions'

    mega millions lottery

    With more than $1.5 billion at stake, it's no surprise Americans were Googling how to play the Mega Millions lottery. In October, the Mega Millions jackpot reached a near-record $1.54 billion, with one lucky player from South Carolina claiming the entire prize.

    Read more:A single ticket holder in South Carolina won the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot, close to the all-time record

    2. 'How to register to vote'

    The 2018 midterm elections prompted millions of people to search for instructions on how to register to vote. More than 800,000 people registered to vote on September's National Voter Registration Day alone, setting the stage for a heavily contested election season.

    Read more: 'Thank God for Taylor Swift': Voter registration in Tennessee booms after pop star's Democratic endorsements

    1. 'How to vote'

    voting booth

    The most trending "how-to" search of the year was "how to vote," according to Google. That comes as no surprise, as the 2018 US midterm elections dominated political headlines for much of the year. The elections saw the highest level of voter turnout in more than 100 years.

    Read more:See the full House and Senate results of the 2018 midterm elections

    SEE ALSO: The 10 biggest news stories of 2018, according to Google Trends

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Singapore solved garbage disposal


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