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14 ways you can control your home with your voice using Amazon's Echo and Alexa (AMZN)

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Amazon Echo

Merely owning an Amazon Echo could be the impetus you need to turn your regular home into a smart home. 

Indeed, it would almost be a waste to simply use it as a regular Bluetooth speaker or ask it about it tomorrow's weather. Apple's Siri can already do that. 

More and more smart-home and connected-device companies are adding support for Amazon's smart AI assistant, called Alexa, so you can control almost anything that uses electricity in your home using your voice. 

All you need to add Alexa and voice control to your home is Amazon's $45 Echo Dot. If you need a portable Bluetooth speaker, you can check out the $100 Amazon Tap, which comes with Alexa, and the original Echo is also $100, but it needs a wired connection to a power outlet. 

Check out all the things you can control with your voice with Amazon's Alexa:

SEE ALSO: I've owned an Amazon Echo for over a year now — here are my 19 favorite features

Smart Home hubs compatible with Alexa.

If you already own a smart hub for your smart home, it could be compatible with Amazon's Echo and Alexa.

Many smart home devices normally connect to a central hub device that lets you control what they do with an app or website.

Some of the biggest names in smart home hubs are compatible with Alexa in Amazon's Echo, which means you can control any device connected those hubs with your voice. Those names include:

- Vivint

- Lutron

- Samsung SmartThings

- Wink

- Insteon

- Nexia

- Securifi Almond



Smart light bulbs.

YouTube/At Home In The Future

You don't need to rewire your home to control your lights by voice with Alexa. You simply need to buy smart LED bulbs that can connect to WiFi or a smart hub that's compatible with Amazon's Echo.

With Alexa and your voice, you can turn the bulbs on or off. If your smart bulbs are dimmable, you can also use your voice to set their brightness, and even change their color if the bulbs you bought supports colors! 

You can find a bunch of smart light bulbs that will pair with Amazon's Echo and Alexa here. (Note: Some of the smart bulbs can work directly with Alexa, and others need a smart home hub to work with Alexa.)

 



The same goes for fixed lights.

For fixed lighting, like the ceiling lights above, you can get smart floodlight bulbs (or whatever type of bulb fits) that connect to your smart home hub or WiFi. 

You can find a bunch of smart light bulbs that will pair with Amazon's Echo and Alexa here.(Note: Some of the smart bulbs can work directly with Alexa, and others need a smart home hub to work with Alexa.)

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I'm a financial planner — here's what I tell my 30-something clients who are debating moving out of the city

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Pregnant woman couple

  • The cost of living in expensive cities causes some young adults to consider moving to the suburbs.
  • Although I work with clients weighing this decision in New York, the advice applies to urbanites anywhere.
  • Before trading your apartment for a home, carefully evaluate the costs associated with each option.

Just because the city is expensive doesn't mean it's cheaper to live in the suburbs.

As a financial planner in New York City, the debate over whether to move out of the city is common during client meetings — especially with clients who are newly married 30-somethings planning to start a family.

Perhaps you've had a similar conversation with your significant other, or discussed it with friends over brunch. The costs associated with living in the city can be stifling: Rents are high, drinks are overpriced, and groceries seem just as expensive as delivery food.

It's easy to focus on the high expenses, but living in the city also helps your finances in other areas: There are jobs nearby, transportation is easy and cheap, and lawn care is a non-issue. Depending on where you live, suburban property taxes can be a budget drain as well.

Still, you may reach a point where you need more space — or want more peace and quiet. For some, moving out of the city is unavoidable — buying a home in Manhattan, for example, is out of reach for most people.

But before making the decision to trade a tiny apartment for a two-story home, it's important to carefully weigh your options. Simply moving out of the city does not guarantee your expenses will drop. In some cases, you could end up spending even more, while commuting farther, and having more responsibility as a homeowner.

Below are examples of expenses that will change when you move out of the city. Ask yourself the following questions, and compare your answers closely to your budget today.

  • Homeownership: How much can you put toward a down payment while maintaining an emergency fund as well? Can you afford the mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, and homeowners association fees?
  • Transportation: Will you need to a buy a car (or two)? Will you have a car payment? How much will insurance and monthly gas cost? What about parking, tolls, and maintenance?
  • Taxes: What are the property taxes in the area? What about city and state income tax and local sales tax?
  • Childcare/Education: Do affordable childcare options exist in your area? Does the cost of sending your child(ren) to school change?
  • Furnishings: How much will you have to spend on furniture? Do you have enough cash in your bank account to cover the cost upfront?
  • Recreation/Entertainment: Will you have enough free or cheap activities to keep you and your family busy? Are there costs associated with local clubs you may want to join?
  • Income/Career: How will the move affect your commute? Is your job stable, and if not, will there be other opportunities closer to home once you move?

You might be surprised at the answers. Sometimes one option is clearly better — whether it's the city or the suburbs. Occasionally, both options are more or less equal financially. At that point, the decision becomes about prioritizing what's most important to you, and the type of lifestyle you envision building for yourself and your family.

Regardless of the option you choose, keeping housing costs low is one of the smartest ways to manage your expenses. Most Americans spend 37% of their budget on housing, but cutting back could be the difference between maxing out your retirement accounts— or not.

Sometimes, choosing another part of the city could be cheaper than moving to the suburbs, especially if it means you can commute easily without buying a car. The map below shows how much people who work in Manhattan pay to live in the vicinity and commute via underground train. Moving to a cheaper neighborhood within the city could end up being the best way to reduce your expenses.

How much it costs to live in New Jersey versus New York City

Ultimately, as with most financial planning decisions, there are no right answers. But, moving out of the city because you assume the suburbs will be cheaper isn't as smart as moving out (or staying put) because you know it is cheaper. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with as much information as possible.

SEE ALSO: New York vs New Jersey — we did the math on where it's cheapest for commuters to live

DON'T MISS: 5 things to do now so you don't have to think about money

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Warren Buffett lives in a modest house that's worth .001% of his total wealth — here's what it looks like

34 movies you have to see this fall — including 'Justice League,' 'It,' and 'Blade Runner 2049'

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Justice League Warner Bros 2 final

After a summer movie season that saw some hit movies but a lot of duds, Hollywood is looking for a rebound in the fall.

The fall season will have its share of blockbusters — from the anticipated “It” to "Thor: Ragnarok" and “Justice League” — but there will also be some titles mixed in that will compete for award season attention, like “Call Me By Your Name” and “Stronger.”

Here are 34 movies coming out this fall that you shouldn’t miss:

SEE ALSO: Every "Game of Thrones" romantic relationship, ranked from worst to best

"It" - September 8

The latest adaptation of Stephen King's classic novel looks to be the most chilling yet. In it, a group of bullied kids team up to take on a monster named Pennywise (that looks like a clown) that hunts kids.



"First They Killed My Father" - September 15

Netflix's next anticipated movie from a marquee name is Angelina Jolie's latest directing effort that looks back on the horrific upbringing in Cambodia of Loung Ung. Jolie cast hundreds of survivors and their children to recreate their stories. 



"mother!" - September 15

Darren Aronofsky's latest thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple whose lives are suddenly interrupted when guests arrive at their home. Aronofsky has always had a knack for completely messing with audience's heads, and this one looks to be no different. The movie also stars Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A close friend of Ivanka Trump is in the middle of what could be the most expensive divorce in history — see her fabulous life

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Dasha Zhukova attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2016-2017Earlier this month, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova announced their plans to separate after 10 years of marriage. Abramovich has an estimated net worth of $9.3 billion, which makes him the 139th richest person in the world, according to Forbes

More recently, Bloomberg reported details about Zhukova's 10-year friendship with Ivanka Trump, which came to light in security-clearance forms that Trump and Jared Kushner had filled out before becoming White House staff.

Abramovich and Zhukova have two children, joint businesses in Russia, an extensive art collection, and a mega-mansion on the Upper East Side, as well as other assets that could make this one of the most expensive splits in history. Ahead, take a look at Zhukova's life. 

SEE ALSO: The life and career of model-actress Louise Linton, who is married to Steve Mnuchin and just bashed a woman for paying fewer taxes than her

Zhukova was born in Moscow in 1981. In the early '90s, her mother, a molecular biologist, took a job at the University of California, Los Angeles. Zhukova would go on to study homeopathic medicine at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Source: The New York Times



Abramovich and Zhukova met in 2005 and kept their marriage a secret for many years. The couple was often referred to as boyfriend and girlfriend years after meeting, but in 2015, Zhukova revealed during a Wall Street Journal interview that the two had married "a few years" after meeting.

Source: Wall Street Journal



From 2000 to 2008, Abramovich served as the Governor of the Russian region of Chukotka. Bloomberg reported that his time serving was "widely viewed as a show of loyalty to the Kremlin."

Source: Bloomberg



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See how much time you're wasting on your phone with this hidden iOS trick

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looking at smartphone

We're all guilty of spending too much time glued to our phone screens. 

But how much time do we actually spend on our smartphones every day? 

Thanks to a secret feature in iOS, there's an easy way for iPhone users to find out. Best of all, you can discover which activities — whether it's texting friends or browsing Facebook— are taking up the most time. 

Scroll down and follow the simple steps below to learn your true screen time. But beware: the results might make you want to chuck your phone out of the nearest window.  

 

 

SEE ALSO: Snapchat just launched a super easy way to jazz up your photos - here's how to do it

Head into your settings and open the battery tab.



This screen will appear underneath "battery life suggestions" and takes a few seconds to load. It will only show battery percentages at first so click the clock in the top corner to see your activity.



You can view usage in the past seven days or 24 hours. As you can see here, I've managed to spend a whopping 20 minutes texting in the past day and 12 minutes on Snapchat. The first number is how much time you've actually spent on the app, and the second is how much time the app has been been lurking in the background. The list is still sorted by battery usage, so make sure to scroll down for a complete list. If you dare, add it all up for a scary look at your own phones habits.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A burrito chain that's a better alternative to Chipotle is expanding to Chicago — here's what it's like to eat there

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Dos Toros 5

Chipotle has some competition — and the competition is growing. 

Dos Toros, founded in 2009 by brothers Leo and Oliver Kremer, is looking to carve out a chunk of the market as it prepares to open its first location in Chicago on Monday, August 28. 

The New York City-based chain is self-funded – no outside investors or nest eggs, just a business loan and help from family and friends.

With 13 locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan and their first outpost outside of NYC opening soon, Dos Toros seems unstoppable.

A few months ago, I decided to head to the nearest location to see why this local chain is exploding, and to find out if it can survive elsewhere in a pretty competitive Mexican fast-casual market.

SEE ALSO: The New York Times trashed the fast-casual concept from the makers of the best restaurant in the world — but here's why they're wrong

ALSO READ: Chick-fil-A combined two of its best menu items — but it didn't quite live up to the hype

It's a cool night — the perfect time to warm up with some Tex-Mex food at this Dos Toros on 23rd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan.



The interior feels cozy and rich, with vibrant red walls and natural wood everywhere.



I'm hungry, so I step right up for my order. I'll choose a chicken plato — their name for a burrito bowl — and a steak quesadilla.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The perfect books to listen to on every type of commute

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MTA NYC subway commuterWe tend to underestimate how miserable commuting can make us. Being squished in a crowded train car or stuck in gridlock traffic is probably even more awful than it sounds.

If moving closer to your office (or teleportation) isn't possible right now, we get it. Below, we've rounded up a series of audiobook recommendations from Audible that can transform your daily travels into a — dare we say it? — pleasant experience.

Below, you'll find nine audiobooks perfect for different length commutes, along with a clip and an abridged publisher's summary. The books — from popular novels to memoirs — were curated by Audible based on factors including customers' reviews and editors' recommendations.

By the time you get to work, you'll be smarter and more relaxed than everyone who spent their commute clenching their fists and wishing it were over.

You can also sign up for a free 30-day Audible trial membership here, if you so choose.

SEE ALSO: My commute time to work recently tripled — here's why I'm excited about it

15 to 30 minute commute: 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Eddie Redmayne

Length: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Publisher's summary:

A set textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander's masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the wizarding world.

Scamander's years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance. Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books — the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail ... others will surprise even the most ardent amateur Magizoologist.

Buy it here »



15 to 30 minute commute: 'The Dispatcher' by John Scalzi, narrated by Zachary Quinto

Length: 2 hours and 19 minutes

Publisher's summary:

One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone — 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.

Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher — a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death's crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.

It's a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it's too late ... before not even a Dispatcher can save him.

Buy it here »



15 to 30 minute commute: 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' by Truman Capote, narrated by Michael C. Hall

Publisher's summary:

Holly — a World War II-era society girl in her late teens — survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist, who eventually gets tossed away as her deepening character emerges.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's," Truman Capote's most beloved work of fiction, introduced an independent and complex character who challenged audiences, revived Audrey Hepburn's flagging career in the 1961 film version, and whose name and style has remained in the national idiom since publication. Hall uses his diligent attention to character to bring our unnamed narrator’s emotional vulnerability to the forefront of this American classic.

Buy it here »



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon just made shopping at Whole Foods cheaper — here's exactly how much you'll save on each item (AMZN)

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Whole Foods

Whole Foods just got less expensive.

On Monday, the day that Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of the grocer went through, prices on certain Whole Foods items immediately dropped.

"Starting Monday, Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices on a selection of best-selling staples across its stores, with much more to come," the companies said in a press release on Thursday.

In the release, Amazon and Whole Foods specifically mentioned certain items that would become less expensive when the acquisition was finalized.

On Friday, Business Insider visited a Whole Foods location in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and checked the prices on 15 items (including a few variations on similar items) mentioned by the companies. The total cost of the basket on Friday — pre-acquisition — was $97.76.

whole foods avocado

On Monday, we returned to the Gowanus Whole Foods and checked back in on the same items. This time, the total cost of the 15 items was $75.85. That's a nearly 23% drop in the total cost.

Some of the new discounts nearly cut prices in half. Bananas, for example, used to be sold for $0.79 a pound. Now they cost $0.49 a pound. The price of local grass-fed 85% lean ground beef went to $6.99 a pound from $10.99.

bananas whole foods

Whole Foods is labeling the price cuts as "New Lower Price," with the tag "Whole Foods + Amazon."

Here's how much money customers are now saving on these 15 items:

  • Whole Trade Banana: 30 cents (Price dropped to $0.49 a pound from $0.79)
  • 85% Lean Ground Beef: $2 (Price dropped to $4.99 a pound from $6.99)
  • Local Grass-Fed 85% Lean Ground Beef: $4 (Price dropped to $6.99 a pound from $10.99)
  • Four-pack of Organic Avocado: $0 (Price stayed at $6.99 for a pack of four)
  • Hass Avocados: $1.01 (Price dropped to $1.49 each from $2.50)
  • Organic Large Brown Eggs: 30 cents (Price dropped to $3.99 from $4.29 for a dozen )
  • Fresh Atlantic Salmon Fillet: $5 (Price dropped to $9.99 a pound from $14.99)
  • Frozen Atlantic Salmon Fillet: $0 (Price stayed at $10.49 a pound)
  • Fresh Tilapia Fillet: $4 (Price dropped to $7.99 a pound from $11.99)
  • Organic Baby Kale: 50 cents (Price dropped to $3.49 a pack from $3.99)
  • Organic Baby Lettuce: 50 cents (Price dropped to $3.49 a pack from $3.99)
  • 365 Brand Almond Butter: $1 (Price dropped to $6.99 a jar from $7.99)
  • Organic Fuji Apples: $1.50 (Price dropped to $1.99 a pound from $3.49)
  • Organic Gala Apples: $1 (Price dropped to $1.99 a pound from $2.99)
  • Organic 365 Brand Butter: 80 cents (Price dropped to $4.49 for four quarters from $5.29)

Here's a chart showing each item and the discounts:

Screen Shot 2017 08 28 at 10.28.08 AM

SEE ALSO: 'Psychologically scarred' millennials are killing countless industries with their strange habits — but here are the brands they actually like

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A look inside the last standing Kmart SuperCenter

A Japanese hotel run almost entirely by robots is expanding to 100 locations — here's what it's like to stay there

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japan robot hotelIn the southwestern city of Sasebo, Japan, a hotel run almost entirely by robots has been so successful in its two-year run that owners are now inspired to open 100 more locations around Japan.

Hideo Sawada has run the aptly named Weird Hotel as part of an amusement park since July 2015, but business has been so good that Sawada's travel agency H.I.S. Co. plans to expand to several more cities in the coming years and overseas within the next five.

"Having robots in charge of the reception and placing robots everywhere, we aim to make it the most efficient hotel in the world," Sawada told reporters in March, upon the opening of his second hotel, near Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.

Here's what it's like to stay there.

SEE ALSO: 11 Japanese customs that are shocking to foreigners

The original robot hotel sits in Sasebo, Japan, as part of the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park.



To check in, arriving guests can either talk with a humanoid robot who speaks Japanese or a dinosaur who speaks English.



While dashing, dinosaurs in bow ties can't make beds. Housekeeping staff at the Weird Hotel are still very much human.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How 'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin went from chess captain and journalism professor to a reported net worth of $15 million

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George R.R. Martin

• George R.R. Martin was already a successful author when he began to write "A Song of Ice and Fire" in 1991

• He has been writing stories since childhood

• Before his writing career took off, Martin was a chess tournament director and a journalism professor

In the summer of 1991, a startling scene popped into George R.R Martin's mind.

A boy watched a man get beheaded, and then found some dire wolf pups in the snow.

"It just came to me so strongly and vividly that I knew I had to write it," he told Rolling Stone.

So Martin began to write "Game of Thrones," the first installment in the series that would become "A Song of Ice and Fire." The book was published in 1996 and sales were "solid," according to the Guardian.

However, Martin's idea would ultimately snowball into a huge success. As of 2016, the Guardian reported that the books have sold 70 million copies. The series also launched HBO's smash hit "Game of Thrones" in 2011.

According to Forbes, Martin is now worth $15 million. But how exactly did this New Jersey native come to be one of the most talked about authors in the US?

Here's a look at the life of the man who Time once dubbed the "American Tolkien":

SEE ALSO: An inside look at how J.K. Rowling, one of the most influential people alive, turned rejection into unprecedented success

Martin was born September 20, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey, to longshoreman Raymond Collins Martin and his wife Margaret Brady Martin.

Source: GeorgeRRMartin.com



The "R.R." portion of his artistic name dates back to his upbringing. The first "R." stands for Raymond, his father's name and Martin's middle name. The second stands for Richard, his Confirmation name.

Source: Adria's News



Martin caught the writing bug at a young age. According to his official website, as a kid he started "selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies, dramatic readings included."

Source: GeorgeRRMartin.com



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon-owned Whole Foods is starting to look a lot more like Walmart (AMZN, WMT)

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  • Whole Foods BananasWhole Foods is trying to win over budget shoppers following its acquisition by Amazon.
  • Its new marketing is reminiscent of another retailer: Walmart.
  • With low prices, budget-centric marketing, and new non-grocery items, Amazon seems to be taking some pages from Walmart's playbook as it plots Whole Foods' future.

On Monday, Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods formally went through. And, the e-commerce giant didn't waste any time in making changes.

Amazon immediately began working on Whole Foods' reputation as an expensive store where you quickly spend your "whole paycheck." Prices on staples like ground beef and avocados plummeted on Monday— and the retailer was eager to showcase the lower costs.

more to come whole foods

Every item that had its price cut because of the acquisition had an orange sign that said "new lower price" and contained the Whole Foods and Amazon logos. Some signs also said there was "more to come."

However, the signs trumpeting Amazon's role in bringing lower prices to the chain aren't the only way Whole Foods is trying to win over budget shoppers.

Numerous "low prices, great quality" signs now hang around the store. Yellow sale signs broadcast deals apparently unrelated to the acquisition. Even signs that highlight locally grown items have a similar vibe, with "local find" signage echoing the language of bargain hunters.

All in all, the location seems less like a gourmet, "whole paycheck" grocery store and more like another retailer: Walmart.

whole foods save big

Walmart is famous for its low prices. In 2016, the retailer made a multiyear, multimillion-dollar investment to lower prices even further.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods' shift into marketing strategies that seem straight out of Walmart's playbook predates the Amazon deal.

Last year, Whole Foods began stamping paper shopping bags with the tagline "great everyday low prices" — nearly identical to Walmart's "everyday low prices" motto that has been the focus of the retailer's marketing strategy for the past 50 years.

whole foods everyday low pricesThe Amazon deal gives Whole Foods some new ammunition.

Being acquired by a $474 billion company means Whole Foods doesn't need to worry as much about profit margins. It can cut prices if it means repairing Whole Foods' expensive reputation and persuading more people to visit the retailer.

Plus, Whole Foods now has a vast array of products that it can add to stores at any point. On Monday, Whole Foods locations began selling the Amazon Echo, something that pre-acquisition would seem like a ridiculous item to sell at any grocery chain.

Walmart is more than just a grocery store — it's a discount department chain. Whole Foods has never had a reason to expand its offerings beyond groceries.

Now Amazon can use the stores to sell whatever shoppers might want, whether that's the Echo or any of the other millions of items available on the e-commerce site. Amazon has already announced plans to add Amazon Lockers at select Whole Foods stores, meaning shoppers could pick up anything ordered through Amazon at those locations.

With low prices, budget-centric marketing, and the addition of new, non-grocery items, Whole Foods is evolving. And in that evolution, Amazon is creating a version of Whole Foods that looks a lot more like Walmart than before.

SEE ALSO: Amazon just made shopping at Whole Foods cheaper — here's exactly how much you'll save on each item

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Trump’s Caribbean estate got a massive price cut — take a look inside the $16.9 million residence

Mark Zuckerberg is taking paternity leave now that his second daughter has been born

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced the birth of their second daughter on Monday.

The couple revealed the girl's name — August — but didn't disclose any other details about her, such as what day she was born.

Zuckerberg recently said that he would take two months of paternity leave after his second child's birth — Facebook offers four months of maternity and paternity leave to all employees. He'll take the first month immediately and then he'll go on leave again for the entire month of December.

Zuckerberg and Chan's first daughter, Max, was born in 2015. The couple unveiled their philanthropic fund, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, on the same day they announced Max's birth. The fund, which is backed by Zuckerberg's Facebook fortune, hopes to cure the world's diseases by the end of this century.

Here's the letter Zuckerberg and Chan wrote to August, which Zuckerberg shared Monday on his Facebook page:

Dear August,

Welcome to the world! Your mom and I are so excited to see who you will become.

When your sister was born, we wrote a letter about the world we hoped she and now you will grow up in — a world with better education, fewer diseases, stronger communities, and greater equality. We wrote that with all the advances in science and technology, your generation should live dramatically better lives than ours, and we have a responsibility to do our part to make that happen. Even though headlines often focus on what's wrong, we still believe these positive trends will win out. We're optimists about your generation and the future.

But rather than write about growing up, we want to talk about childhood. The world can be a serious place. That's why it's important to make time to go outside and play.

You will be busy when you're older, so I hope you take time to smell all the flowers and put all the leaves you want in your bucket now. I hope you read your favorite Dr. Seuss books so many times you start inventing your own stories about the Vipper of Vipp. I hope you ride the carousel with Max until you've tamed every color horse. I hope you run as many laps around our living room and yard as you want. And then I hope you take a lot of naps. I hope you're a great sleeper. And I hope even in your dreams you can feel how much we love you.

Childhood is magical. You only get to be a child once, so don't spend it worrying too much about the future. You've got us for that, and we'll do everything we possibly can to make sure the world is a better place for you and all children in your generation.

August, we love you so much and we're so excited to go on this adventure with you. We wish you a life of joy, love and the same hope you give us.

Love,

Mom and Dad

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan will invest $3 billion into curing all diseases by the end of this century

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The fabulous life and career of 33-year-old Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the fifth richest person on earth

Burning Man has a temporary airport for the 1% who take luxury helicopter rides to the playa

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Screen Shot 2016 09 01 at 6.45.20 PM

Burning Man — the annual festival held in Nevada's Black Rock Desert — kicked off August 27. Though tens of thousands of people travel there by car, those who can afford it choose to touch down on the playa by private plane or helicopter.

Every year, volunteers build Black Rock City Airport from scratch on a dusty road a week before the festival starts. As USA Today notes, crews section off runways, make customs checkpoints, and direct planes and 'copters when they arrive. Neither the FAA nor the TSA is officially associated with the BRC airport, but they keep in close contact with airport's managers.

Not every Burner that uses the airport is ultra-rich, but most of the Burning Man's wealthiest attendees arrive there. Paris Hilton, for instance, flew into the playa by helicopter with a group of friends mid-way through the 2016 festival.

A photo posted by Paris Hilton (@parishilton) on

Helicopter companies also offer special charters just for Burning Man. Santa Monica-based company Burner Air, for example, is offering direct, private flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Reno to the playa. 

"Our flights land on the playa at Black Rock City Airport so you can be at your camp within minutes of landing," its website reads. "Burning Man flights start at $599 and are a great way for Theme Camps to fly to Burning Man. Avoid the traffic and travel in style."

Black Rock Helicopters is also advertising a ride between Reno, Nevada, and the Black Rock City Desert on a S76 jet. The company recently posted an Instagram of Will Smith, who presumably took a chopper to the playa.

The video below, which boasts that the helicopter has room for eight people and 600 pounds of cargo, makes it look pretty luxurious. White girls in the ad even wear fashionable lingerie and native-American–style headdresses, despite numerous other Burnersrecent pleas against the cultural appropriation.

Though Black Rock Helicopters doesn't post the price for its service, Burners often pay between $500 to $2,500 for other similar, luxury charters (depending on the plane and distance). Here's one from Santa Barbara Helicopters, which decorated the craft's interior with colorful pillows and rugs for Burners.

 In recent years, some Burners have spoken out about the exclusive nature of people flying in on jets. Larry Harveythe festival's founder, wrote in 2014 that wealthy Burners who throw their own exclusive ragers on the playa clash with the fundamental principles of Burning Man: self-reliance and community. In the recent years, billionaires like Google's Larry Page and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have also been spotted on the playa with the who's who of Silicon Valley.

But a fancy ride and luxe party sure do look good on Instagram.

SEE ALSO: Giant, laser-cut glass orbs will glow at Burning Man this year

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I visited Whole Foods on the day it was acquired by Amazon — and it's clear it'll never be the same (AMZN)

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Echo Whole Foods

Amazon now officially owns Whole Foods — and the grocery chain is already transforming. 

On Monday, Amazon's $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods formally went through.

It was immediately clear that this wasn't a gradual transfer of power and slow evolution. Instead, overnight, Whole Foods slashed prices. The price of grass-fed ground beef dropped to $6.99 a pound from $10.99, bananas went from 79 cents to just 49 cents. 

Amazon and Whole Foods announced plans to cut prices last Thursday, but didn't get into the nitty gritty of how the experience of shopping at the grocery chain would change.

So, on Monday, Business Insider visited a Whole Foods in Brooklyn, New York to see exactly how Amazon's acquisition was immediately impacting the grocery chain. 

SEE ALSO: Amazon just made shopping at Whole Foods cheaper — here's exactly how much you'll save on each item

The Whole Foods location, which opened in 2013, looked unchanged when I showed up at 7:59 a.m., prior to its 8 a.m. opening.



However, the moment I entered the store it was clear that Amazon had taken over.



Nestled next to the local veggies was a "pick of the season" of a different kind: the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. According to Amazon, the popular voice controlled speaker system will be available at select Whole Foods locations.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 10 best college dining halls in America

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UCLA dining hall

College dining halls are usually large, cafeteria-style establishments that feed thousands of students quickly three times a day. That is to say, they're not typically seen as producing restaurant-caliber food.

But at some college dining halls, the food is a step above the rest.

Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, published a ranking of the 2017 Best College Food in America.

Niche reviewed 1,384 four-year colleges and universities and compiled its ranking by looking to student surveys about the quality of the campus food, and by comparing the average cost of meal plans.

Read below to see the 10 best dining halls in America.

SEE ALSO: The University of Southern California dropped $700 million on a student 'village' that includes a Trader Joe's and a Target

10. University of Georgia

Average student rating: 4.2 out of 5 

Average meal plan cost: $3,956/year

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9. James Madison University

Average student rating: 4.3 out of 5 

Average meal plan cost: $4,748/year

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8. California Baptist University

Average student rating: 4.4 out of 5 

Average meal plan cost: $4,760/year

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This forgotten news clip shows the insanity of Burning Man in the '90s

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Today, we know Burning Man as an oasis in the Nevada desert where the tech elite and modern-day hippies gather in the shadow of some pretty crazy art installations.

But not too long ago, the annual festival looked a bit more like "Mad Max" set on the playa.

A video clip from 1997 has resurfaced that shows a news crew from ABC's "Nightline" discovering Burning Man for the first time. 

This was Burning Man before it became a survivalist-themed summer camp for adults — before the likes of Paris Hilton and Katy Perry turned out.

The reporter in the video described the event as "a loosely organized, frenetic explosion of community, creativity, and chaos," while footage played showing attendees dance and riot around a burning human effigy (a long-standing Burning Man tradition). There are no luxury camps in sight, or electronic dance music DJs throwing it down before a crowd high on drugs.

A young man explained to the camera that he used to be shy and reserved.

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"I thought if I came out here — in such an open atmosphere — I could really be myself," he said.

"It sounded like it was the last cool thing to do," another attendee, dressed in monk's robes and sunglasses, said.

The reporter said that the event is so remote, festival-goers must bring their own food, supplies, and lodging. Most so-called burners still rough it on the desert floor, but a growing number of attendees drop into for-profit, luxury accommodations, known as "plug-and-play" camps.

burning man parking

Often at these sites, hired help assist the camp with production and concierge services around the cafeteria and lounge spaces. C-suiters shell out as much as $10,000 for a reservation.

Entrance to Burning Man in 1997 cost just $75. In 2017, it was $425.

The sea of costumes and nudity was just as shocking two decades ago. People shown in the ABC news report wore Native American-inspired garb, tuxedos with masks made from tree branches, and pleather— lots of pleather. An occasional nude bicyclist rides across the frame.

Oh, yeah, and this happened:

burning man car

If you've seen "Mad Max: Fury Road," you might think that instrument-wielding burner looks familiar. The flame-throwing guitarist on wheels from the movie became a cult favorite.

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Watch the full news report below:

SEE ALSO: Photos of tech workers having the time of their lives at Burning Man

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GARY SHILLING: If you don't like your job, you're 'wasting precious time'

All the important 'Game of Thrones' deaths, ranked from least tragic to most tragic

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When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. It's violent, vicious, and not for the faint of heart.

Over the past seven seasons, a lot of people on "Game of Thrones" have died. It's a game of survival, and you're lucky if you've made it this far. 

Some of these characters came back from the dead. We barely knew some of them, and we knew a lot of them so well that we shed a tear or two (or two-hundred) when we watched them die. And others? We couldn't wait for them to die, and when they did, we were cheering.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with some exceptions), we ranked 100 notable deaths (and semi-deaths) from the series — basically, the deaths of characters who had names, had more than a few lines, and/or had some kind of impact on a major plot point or a major character. Hopefully it gives fans closure while they wait for the next season to arrive.

Here are 100 "Game of Thrones" deaths ranked from the least sad to the most sad:

Note: The Hound is exempt from this list. He was presumed dead and that was very sad for all of us, but turns out he never actually died. Direwolves are also exempt.

SEE ALSO: The 12 biggest questions we have after the 'Game of Thrones' season 7 finale

100. Ramsay Bolton

Ramsay Bolton was Roose Bolton's bastard son who had a penchant for extreme violence against innocent human beings. He was briefly married to Sansa Stark, and tortured Theon Greyjoy for several seasons. He also killed his dad, his stepmom, and his baby brother. And Rickon Stark. And Osha. And a lot of other people.

Time of death:  Season 6, episode 9, "Battle of the Bastards"

Cause of death: Sansa leaves him to be eaten by his own hounds.

Sadness ranking: -25. Ramsay's death is probably the most satisfying one on this whole show. His violence was gratuitous and he had zero redeeming qualities. Nobody loved him, not even his dad. 



99. Joffrey Baratheon

Starting with the execution of Ned Stark, Joffrey proved that he was completely out of control and wouldn't listen to anybody. He was a terrible king, and also a terrible person. 

Time of death: Season 4, episode 2, "The Lion and the Rose"

Cause of death: Poisoned by Petyr Baelish and Olenna Tyrell at his wedding to Margery Tyrell. 

Sadness ranking: -10. The only sad thing about Joffrey's death is that we don't get to hate him anymore. Joffrey was responsible for the untimely deaths of a lot of people who didn't deserve it.



98. Walder Frey

Walder Frey was the Lord of the Crossing at the Twins, and for a brief period, the Lord of Riverrun. He had over 100 descendants, and so many daughters that he didn't even know some of their names. He never had a good reputation in Westeros, and was often called the "Late Walder Frey" after delaying his assistance in Robert's Rebellion until it was already won. 

Time of death: Season 6, episode 10, "The Winds of Winter"

Cause of death: Arya Stark slits his throat after feeding him a pie made out of his own sons.

Sadness ranking: -8. He's responsible for the Red Wedding, plus he's really gross. Not sad, not even a little bit. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Domino's is testing a self-driving car to deliver pizza — but there's a catch (DPZ, F)

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Soon, your Domino's pizza may be delivered via self-driving car, but it won't be coming right to your door.  

On Tuesday, Domino's and Ford Motor Company announced that they are testing out self-driving cars as pizza delivery vehicles. 

In the coming weeks, Domino's will offer randomly selected customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the option to receive their pizza delivery from a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle.

A Ford engineer will still be manually driving the car, which will also be staffed with researchers eager to crack the code of how to deliver pizza without a driver — as well as observe how customers will react to the futuristic delivery service. 

"As delivery experts, we've been watching the development of self-driving vehicles with great interest as we believe transportation is undergoing fundamental, dramatic change," Patrick Doyle, Domino's president and CEO, said in a statement. 

Right now, the companies' biggest challenge isn't getting a car to drive itself — it's getting the pizza from the curb to the door.

In the Ann Arbor test, customers have to walk out to the parked car and retrieve their pizza from the vehicle's "Heatwave Compartment" themselves. 

domino's"The majority of our questions are about the last 50 feet of the delivery experience," Russell Weiner, president of Domino's USA, said in a statement. "For instance, how will customers react to coming outside to get their food? ... All of our testing research is focused on our goal to someday make deliveries with self-driving vehicles as seamless and customer-friendly as possible."

dominos pizza delivery robotFord plans to begin production of self-driving vehicles in 2021. Tests with restaurant chains, such as Domino's, help create opportunities for companies to purchase the vehicles down the road, especially as the average American remains unsure about the idea of self-driving vehicles. 

This isn't Domino's first foray into trying to deliver pizza without a driver.

In 2016, the pizza chain debuted "Domino's Robotic Unit" in New Zealand. The pint-sized robot — which is essentially an oven-refrigerator hybrid on wheels — was the "world's first autonomous pizza delivery vehicle," according to Domino's. 

SEE ALSO: I visited Whole Foods on the day it was acquired by Amazon — and it's clear it'll never be the same

Join the conversation about this story »

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Burger King is giving away free burgers to people who have been fired — here's how to get one (QSR)

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Whopper Severance

Burger King is giving away free burgers — but you have to own up to being fired to get one. 

On Tuesday, the burger chain announced its new "Whopper Severance" deal, in which you can get a free Burger King gift card in exchange for a public acknowledgement that you were fired. 

All you have to do is go to LinkedIn and post the message: "I got fired. I want a free Whopper. #WhopperSeverance." 

Burger King will then send you a link to register for the delivery of a "Whopper Severance package," which will include a Burger King gift card. The chain is planning to give away up to 2,500 free Whoppers through the deal. 

It seems unlikely that Burger King will attempt to vet LinkedIn users to see if they've actually been fired. And, it will also be difficult for the chain to disqualify individuals who were fired for more serious workplace violations, such as sexual harassment, violent behavior, or otherwise breaking the law.

Whopper severance

A Burger King representative told Business Insider that it is anticipating that most people who participate will be fans of the brand who understand the "light-hearted nature of the idea."

"For over 63 years, Burger King restaurants have used fire to flame grill," the chain said in a statement. "While getting fired sucks, for Burger King restaurants fire-grilling is a good thing."

If you're willing to deal with all of your LinkedIn friends knowing, or at least believing, that you've lost your job, you can claim your Whopper Severance package starting Tuesday and ending Friday. 

SEE ALSO: Burger King has launched its own digital currency called 'WhopperCoin'

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