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Meet 7 of the world's richest power couples, who have a combined fortune of over $260 billion


Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen.

  • Power couples balance successful marriages with high-powered careers.
  • From entertainment to politics to tech, these happily married pairs span many industries.
  • They're not just powerful — they also have a combined fortune of over $260 billion.


Some people seem to have it all.

Juggling a successful career or marriage has its challenges, but doing both well can quickly launch you into power couple status.

Devoting time to the relationship may be harder for power couples. But across many industries, from entertainment to politics to tech, these duos have managed to stay happily married while building empires together.

Scroll through to see seven of the richest power couples in the world.

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg and his college-sweetheart wife, Priscilla Chan, are worth $74 billion — see their houses, cars, and travels

DON'T MISS: Inside the decade-long relationship of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who met at a networking lunch and once broke up because of religious differences

Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen

Combined net worth: $540 million

Both halves of this tanned and toned power couple, who have been married for eight years, are in the top earners of their respective industries. Supermodel Gisele Bündchen is the highest-paid model in the world, raking in $30.5 million in 2016, and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the third-highest paid player in NFL history. His endorsement deals earn him about $8 million annually.

Perhaps the most telling example of their wide-ranging influence is the viral news of their insane diet, which is composed of 80% vegetables and 20% lean meats.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

Combined net worth: Between $207 million and $762 million

The eldest daughter of President Donald Trump and unpaid adviser in the White House, Ivanka Trump just celebrated her eighth wedding anniversary with husband Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the president and owner of a real-estate empire.

Their estimated net worth was revealed earlier this year in public filings that document the couple's assets, including a $25 million art collection, and income from the Ivanka Trump lifestyle brand and various investments.

Kushner suggests the couple, who are parents to three children, have their roles figured out: "I would say she is definitely the CEO of our household, whereas I’m more on the board of directors."

Beyoncé and Jay-Z

Combined net worth: $1.16 billion

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are entertainment royalty. The couple — who has been married since 2008 and have three children — earn their wealth primarily from music producing credits, album sales, live performances, and worldwide tours, as well as stakes in streaming service Tidal, a private jet company, and a luxury champagne brand.

This summer, they bought an $88 million mansion in Los Angeles — for which they took out a $59 million mortgage — making it the sixth priciest home purchase in LA history. Not bad for the highest-paid celebrity couple in the world.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's why we should just scrap daylight-saving time already


Every fall more than 70 countries around the world turn their clocks back an hour ahead for daylight-saving time. If billions of people are literally shifting time twice a year, there must be a pretty good reason why we're doing it, right? Not necessarily. 

Studies have found that adjusting our clocks doesn't really save us anything on energy use. What we save on lighting is negated by increasing the use of heat and air conditioning. When it's light out longer we also tend to drive more, which means using more gas. Daylight-saving extensions haven't been driven by energy costs they've been driven by retailers who want to give consumers more daylight to shop, eat out, and play golf.

The entire continental US has a reasonable sunset time for a majority of the year, but many places only see reasonable sunrise times for less than half of the year. If we were to abolish daylight-saving time we would still have roughly the same number of days with acceptable sunsets, plus we have way more days for the appropriate sunrise times.

Produced by Alex Kuzoian

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published March 11, 2016.

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Reddit's cofounders sold the company at age 23 for a fraction of the $1.8 billion it's worth today — here's how the duo got back on top


reddit founders alexis ohanian steve huffman

  • The cofounders of Reddit sold the company at age of 22.
  • The site was plagued by internet trolls and protesting users in the years that followed. Meanwhile, the cofounders' relationship faltered outside the office.
  • The pair went to therapy, mended their friendship, and returned to Reddit.
  • Today, it's one of the most widely read sites on the internet.


Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman were 22 years old when they sold Reddit, a popular online community, to publishing house Condé Nast for between $10 million and $20 million.

They sold it within two years of starting the company.

The pair shared the experience and the drama that followed during a live podcast taping of "How I Built This" with NPR's Guy Raz in San Francisco in August.

"This was 16 months of work that was going to mean more money for me than my entire family — my mother and father — had made in their entire lives," Ohanian told Raz on stage.

Reddit, the so-called "front page of the internet," is now valued at $1.8 billion. But before it became the eighth most popular site on the internet, Reddit nearly met an early end.

In the years following the site's sale, the company was almost taken over by by internet trolls. Users protesting internal issues at Reddit tried to shut the site down, and a revolving door of CEOs did little to stabilize the startup's reputation. Ohanian and Huffman, who took a hiatus from Reddit, were absent during much of that time. Meanwhile, their relationship soured.

Here's how the duo bounced back to save Reddit. (Check out the podcast for the full story.)

Ohanian and Huffman were friends before they were cofounders

The pair met on the first day of college — their dorm rooms were located across the hall from each other at University of Virginia — and played countless hours of PlayStation 2 over the years. As juniors, they hatched an idea for an app (not Reddit) and went into business together.

After a fateful meeting with investor Paul Graham over their spring break, they joined the inaugural class of Y Combinator, a tech startup accelerator, and set out to create Reddit.

reddit founders alexis ohanian steve huffman

Reddit grew to become the 11th biggest site in the world with 70,000 unique visitors by 2006. When Ohanian and Huffman sold it that year to Condé Nast's parent company, Advance Publications, they joined the media giant as part of their contracts. For three years, they worked on a celebrity-gossip news aggregator, Lipstick.com, that used Reddit's underlying tech.

After eight years of living together, Huffman parted for San Francisco and Ohanian spent some time in Armenia, where his dad's family came from. Their friendship began to falter. They rarely spoke, about Reddit or their lives outside the office, they told NPR.

"When our contracts at Condé Nast expired, we kind of just said, 'Great, see you later," Ohanian said during the taping

"I didn't feel animosity, it was neglect," Huffman said.

They came together when Reddit needed them

In 2015, about five years since Ohanian and Huffman left Reddit, the company looked like it might go under. Internet trolls were spewing messages of hate across the site, and many moderators — users who supervise Reddit's thousands of forums — took their communities offline in protest of a key Reddit staffer's departure. The Southern Poverty Law Center pegged Reddit as an online bulletin board for the most violently racist content on the internet.

At the same time, Ohanian and Huffman started to repair their friendship.

"We never really exercised the muscles that founders have to exercise that best friends don't," Ohanian explained during the podcast. "It's great to be able to start a company with one of your best friends, but the conversations you have as cofounders are very different from the conversations you have as friends. We didn't have enough of the hard ones often enough."

The pair met for dinner in February 2015 and began to take inventory of the events and actions that caused their relationship to fall apart. They agreed at that first dinner to work on it.

"We actually saw my therapist [together]," Huffman told NPR.

reddit mascot

While they made strides in mending their friendship, operations at Reddit continued to unravel. Ellen Pao resigned as interim CEO in June 2015.

Ohanian served as a board member of Reddit at the time. He called Huffman for back-up.

"I remember my friends being like, 'Why are you running into that burning building?' And it just felt like, at the time, I had no choice. I really, really loved Reddit," Huffman told NPR. He said the computer engineer in him — not the CEO — believed he could fix Reddit's code and reclaim the site from trolls. Huffman was installed as the new permanent CEO in July 2015.

The number of employees at Reddit doubled in the year that followed, which helped Huffman address the company's myriad issues. Reddit improved a feature to block users and debuted a quarantine for offensive content, making it harder for people to find.

The company also launched Android and iOS apps, and within one year, more than half of the site's users viewed Reddit on mobile devices. Monthly unique visitors ballooned to 243 million.

Ohanian and Huffman remain close friends.

SEE ALSO: Actor Jared Leto — who owns parts of Snapchat, Spotify, and Reddit — thinks a common business practice is a huge waste of time

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Turns out the McDonald’s secret menu is real — here’s what happens when you try to order off of it

Inside the relationship of power couple Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez — who met 12 years before they started dating and consider themselves 'twins'


Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez

• Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and retired Yankee Alex Rodriguez have been dating since February.

• The two celebrities told Vanity Fair they have a lot in common as two Latino New Yorkers who shot to fame at a very young age.

• "This is the first relationship I've been where I feel like we really make each other better," Lopez told HOLA! USA.

J-Lo and A-Rod are together — and they're very happy, according to their recent Vanity Fair cover story.

That's despite the fact fans sometimes mistake the retired Yankee for Lopez's security guard.

"When I was on the Yankees and we won the world championship you wear the pinstripes and you think you're pretty cool," Rodriguez told Jimmy Fallon. "But then you hang out with Jennifer and they confuse me for the security guard all the time."

People reported the singer and actress began seeing the former baseball star back in February.

Recently, the two stepped out together at the 2017 Met Gala hand-in-hand.

Here's a look inside their relationship:

SEE ALSO: A look inside the marriage of world's richest couple, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos — who met at work, were engaged in 3 months, and own more land than almost anyone else in America

Rodriguez and Lopez first met all the way back in 2005. Lopez's then-husband Marc Anthony threw out the first pitch at a Mets game.

Source: Vanity Fair

They reconnected last winter in Beverly Hills. Lopez was eating lunch after filming a promo for her TV show "Shades of Blue." She saw Rodriguez walk by the restaurant.

Source: Vanity Fair

"I almost yelled out 'Alex,' but I am the shyest person when it comes to things like that,” she told Vanity Fair. Still, Lopez ended up heading outside and tapping Rodriguez on the shoulder.

Source: Vanity Fair

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A lot of albums released by old folks in 2017 are completely awesome


rolling stones

If rock-n-roll or old-school blues rock and its derivatives are your thing, the pickings these days are slim.

Washy synthesizers and ornately produced rap dominate, which is fine. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about St. Vincent's "Masseduction," and one of my kids is bringing a lot of contemporary hip-hop into the house, which has actually given me an excuse to revisit the Public Enemy catalog.

But of course I was raised on rock on the 1970s, and at the moment, the authors of that art form are aging toward their final rewards. Presumably. Keith Richards might live forever.

The year 2017 was actually a great one for the dinosaurs. Numerous classic rock Rexes released new albums, and they were all quite good.

Here's a rundown of my favorites:

The Rolling Stones, "Blue & Lonesome"

This might be my favorite Rolling Stones album ever, and I'm a student of their vaunted run of records from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s that featured "Sticky Fingers," "Exile on Main Street," and "It's Only Rock 'n Roll."

"Blue & Lonesome" consists entirely of blues covers, so in a sense it's a true back-to-the-beginning effort from Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie. The Stones started out as a cover band, determined to preach the gospel of American blues, as Keith once put it. 

The Stones' core garage-band vibe matches up perfectly with heavy, rollicking blues numbers originally composed by Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, and Willie Dixon. Imagine the young, raw Stones of the early 1960s combined with decades of experience and modern production. The result is just great, but the revelation is Mick Jagger's skill as a harmonica player.

You don't really get a lot of high-profile harmonica albums these days, but the instrument is crucial to the authentic Chicago blues sound, and Mick is a master. As Richards said when recounting how the album — recorded in just a few days and released in December of 2016 (I've grandfathered it into my 2017 list) — came about, he and Ronnie Wood were working up a few blues cover to get the band back into a groove, and Mick's "harp" playing inspired them to keep going.

The goal was basically to get Mick playing more harp, Richards said. Was it ever worth it! (And for good measure, Eric Clapton joins in for a few tracks.)

Jeff Beck, "Loud Hailer"

Beck was one of the three former Yarbirds guitarists — the other two were Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page — to invent the British blues-rock sound of the 196os. But Beck didn't stick with vibe, while Clapton refined the form and Page went on to start Led Zeppelin.

Beck moved in a progressive direction and has been relentlessly and restlessly reinventing himself ever since. It's kept him young, and because he doesn't sing, he's open to new vocal talent. Which he found and then some on "Loud Hailer" in Rosie Bones of the eponymous UK group Bones.

Beck's tone is rich, gruff, scratchy, supple, energized, and virtuosic, usually all at the same time. He has power to burn, and combined with Bones' fierce, confrontational vocals, he unleashes the incandescence on proggy, punky gut-checks such as "Live in the Dark." 

This is a dark, futuristic album that sounds like the soundtrack to something bad. Beck is trying to get our attention. And at 73, he proves he can do it again and again.

This is the most in-your-face record I've listened to from anybody in years. When Beck isn't blowing your mind with the effects he can extract from a Stratocaster, he's captivating your imagination with beautiful phrasing and, huge, chunky riffs.

"Scared for the Children" is the ballad, if you could call it that. More like a warning. Heed it.


Robert Plant, "Carry Fire"

In his late sixties, Plant — with his group the Sensational Shape Shifters — has been exploring a kind of world-music-meets-The-Band semi-solo career.

Zep is ain't, but the yowling, yelping, shrieky vocals that made Plant such an icon in the 1970s aren't really suited to a musician of his stature, as he himself has said many times when asked about a Zep reunion.

Instead, on "Carry Fire," we get a rumbling, meditative Plant, backed by a versatile, crackerjack lineup. Almost all the songs feature rolling, drone-like structures, evocative of Middle-Eastern music and folk. It's hypnotic, and for fans of Plant's post-Zep record with Jimmy Page, an extension of a slightly bluesy take on those traditions, heavy and serious.

What it is, in the end, is classic rock for the thinking person. Standouts are the title track and "Bluebirds Over the Mountain," a simultaneously menacing and uplifting exercise in thrum and feedback that features a guest appearance by Chrissie Hynde.

You can put this one on an endless loop.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 30 most stunning and influential Instagram travel accounts on the planet


jack and gf

As the year gradually draws to a close, most of us will start to think of what 2018 will bring — specifically where our travels might take us.

If you're in need of some inspiration, Business Insider has teamed up with The Indie Traveller to bring you a comprehensive list of the most inspiring, wanderlust-inducing, and influential travel Instagram accounts on the planet.

In order to pinpoint the biggest travel personalities on the photo sharing app, Marek Bron — who is behind the blog — created an algorithm to analyse hundreds of accounts (filtering out any brands or group accounts.)

It measured the accounts on several metrics including follower count, follower ratio, account activity, and engagement rate.

The "Top 100" list shows the accounts that are not only popular among users, but also highly active, and get a lot of engagement from their followers. It includes some of the biggest names in the travel influencer world, but also some exciting rising stars.

Business Insider has compiled a list of the top 30 most influential accounts according to the algorithm.

From dreamy travel couples to professional photographers, influencers, and ambassadors to some of the world's biggest brands, scroll down to see the most beautiful and influential travel Instagram accounts on the planet, ranked in ascending order alongside their impressive follower counts.

30. @californiathroughmylens — 19.5K followers.

Instagram Embed:
Width: 658px

Josh McNair runs the California Through My Lens travel site with his wife, which is used by over six million people. The shot above is taken from the North Dome at dusk in Yosemite National Park.

29. @lebackpacker — 454K followers.

Instagram Embed:
Width: 658px

Belgian-born self-taught travel photographer Johan Lolos just returned home after a five-month summer road trip of across 17 countries, a project he called the "Peaks of Europe." He is also Toyota’s latest 4×4 ambassador. Check out his blog here.

Above, he's pictured in Elgol, in the Scottish Highlands.

28. @chloe_t — 251K followers.

Instagram Embed:
Width: 658px

Aussie-born Chloe Ting says she is a "Gymshark Athlete." In addition to her globetrotting on Instagram, you can follow her fat burning and fitness tips viaher YouTube channel.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I ate exactly like Tom Brady for a week and it made me feel better


tried the intense diet and fitness regimens that 40-year-old NFL quarterback Tom Brady touts in his new book "The TB 12 Method." Along with a diet that's heavy on vegetables and lean protein, Brady stays away from alcohol, caffeine, dairy, and sugar. 

This is what it was like to eat and train like Tom Brady for a week, including a taste test of the avocado ice cream Brady is known to enjoy. 
Following is a transcript of the video.

I just tried the Tom Brady diet for a week. So, Tom Brady's got this new book called "The TB12 Method." In the book, he outlines in detail the fitness regimens he undertakes and diet as well. Tom Brady's nutrition plan definitely made me tweak my already-okay diet. 

In terms of the food that I ate during the week, you're staying away from sugars and dairies and refined carbohydrates, etc. It's a lot of vegetables, lean white meats. We had ground turkey burgers over lots of greens, peppers, and carrots. We also had a grilled chicken breast, some Brussels sprouts, and then quinoa. Then during the day, I would eat an apple. I would eat almonds.

Tom Brady is all about the hydration and constantly drinking water. It's recommended that you take your total body weight, cut that in half, and then drink the corresponding amount of ounces of water that's half your body weight. Every day I would drink approximately 90 ounces of water. Three big Poland Spring bottles of water.

In terms of caffeine, I usually drink like four cups of coffee a day on average, which is a lot. It's too much. Tom Brady — he does not drink caffeine, but he recommended a maximum amount of 200 milligrams of caffeine a day,  and that equals two cups of coffee.

In terms of alcohol, Tom Brady, in the book, says that he does occasionally have a cocktail, but he says that, if you're going to drink alcohol, you need to match the ounce-amount of alcohol that you drink with water. So if you have a 12-ounce beer, you need to drink a 12-ounce glass of water.

One of the dishes that I tried was the avocado ice cream, which Tom Brady's been famous for making before. I wasn't a fan of the avocado ice cream. Sorry, Tom.

Overall, the Tom Brady "TB12" experience was a big improvement over my regular routine. I love always focusing on eating healthy and avoiding unhealthy, rich, sugary foods. I think this is definitely a positive tweak for me. I feel like it's already had a positive impact on me. 

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How a registered sex offender wound up living in an Airbnb hosting unsuspecting guests


Sex offender room with Carl

  • A concerned citizen tried to alert Airbnb that a known registered sex offender was living in a house being rented out on the platform.
  • But this offender, although registered, was not listed in the public sex offenders database.
  • The situation raises questions about the safety checks Airbnb – and other companies– can do.
  • It also serves as a warning that the public sex offender database is an imperfect source of information.

To most people, the term "registered sex offender" makes them think of a convicted rapist who has been released from prison, whose location is now visible in a database for all.

Each US state maintains this public database on the internet, sometimes referred to as the Megan's Law database.

But what most people don't know is that it's possible for someone to be a registered sex offender and not be found anywhere on it.

That means that the person won't show up when a concerned citizen is searching for sex offenders by zip code. They also won't show up if a search is done by the person's name or address, and they won't be visible when the database is used for a background check by a potential employer, experts say. 

And that's how an infamous registered sex offender in the upscale community of Carmel Valley, California, wound up living as a host in an Airbnb, regularly entertaining guests — even though Airbnb was notified about his history by at least one person who recognized him, according to documents seen by Business Insider.

The situation points to a frightening idea: that Airbnb may not always be aware of all the people living in the homes rented out on its platform, or the people who have access to them, and wouldn't have done its typical safety checks on them.

Shh, don't tell Airbnb

There were a lot of people who recognized this man. His name is Carl Bergstrom, a former wealthy "concierge" doctor in the area whose sensational and lurid 2009 rape trial in the sleepy community of Carmel, California, was closely covered by the local media.

Airbnb Monterey 1Although the community knew his history, it was very difficult for Airbnb to know it. For one thing, he wasn't listed as the Airbnb host.

The home was listed by the woman he lived with, "Sharon" a little over a year ago, and her host rating was high. And, like many people in Carmel, Sharon knew of Bergstrom's background.

"Carl is not on Megan's list or my Airbnb so someone must have pointed us out to you?" she told us when we asked if she had told Airbnb that Bergstrom was living there.

"People know Carl lives there, but the public doesn’t know," one person who lives in the area told us. "They [Airbnb] won’t allow you to rent if you are registered sex offender, but what if someone is living in your house? I don’t think people are aware that people can be a registered sex offender but not disclosed."

When Business Insider contacted Airbnb with questions about what it knew about Bergstrom living in the house, and how it knows to perform background checks on other adults in a house if the host doesn't disclose them, Airbnb didn't answer our questions directly.

It did, however, tell us that as a result of our inquiry, it had banned Sharon and her Carmel Valley home from its platform.

"Hosts need to be transparent about who has access to their home (so we can check) and not doing so can lead to removal like in this case. We removed this host and this listing from our community," said Nick Shapiro, Airbnb's Global Head of Trust & Risk Management.

Airbnb sex offender 1

The lurid rape trial of the concierge doctor

Before his arrest in 2009, Bergstrom was known in the community as a wealthy "concierge" doctor in the area whose patients paid to keep him on a full-time retainer.

On the night that landed him in prison, he met up with a woman at a bar, according to trial testimony.

Airbnb Montery 6They drank a lot and went back to his place where she passed out, she testified. She alleges that she woke up to him assaulting her. Bergstrom maintained his innocence at trial, saying that the sex was consensual.

The woman called 911 that night and the Carmel police found her on the curb outside his house at about 3 a.m. crying hysterically. 

At trial, prosecutors presented two other women who also accused him of other incidents, although neither had previously filed charges. Both women testified they thought they may have been drugged. Prosecutors also presented evidence that Bergstrom sold cocaine and Bergstrom admitted at trial that he had traded prescription drugs for cocaine.

The case delved into many lurid details about his lifestyle and sexual proclivities and captured the public's attention. A jury convicted him of the charge of felony "forcible sodomy" and sentenced him to six years in prison. 

After conviction, he gave up his license to practice medicine, just as governing bodies had taken steps to revoke it, according to news reports at the time.

While in prison, he appealed his case. The appellate court overturned the verdict, finding the judge had given poor jury instructions on how to decide Bergstrom's guilt. The appellate court didn't declare that he was innocent. It authorized a new trial.

But there were reasons why a second trial would be hard to pull off, including that the victim didn't want to go through the whole ordeal again, according to news reports. Instead, the district attorney struck a plea deal with Bergstrom. He agreed to plead no contest to a lessor charge of felony sexual battery, according to news reports and court records seen by Business Insider. He was ordered to pay fines and restitution and he was released from prison for time served.

As part of the plea, Bergstrom agreed to be a registered sex offender for life. Commander Johnathan Thornburg of the Monterey County Sheriff's department confirmed to Business Insider that "he is currently registered."

But here's the catch: his plea was for an offense allowed to be excluded from the public database.

Airbnb sex offender databaseWhen Business Insider contacted the Monterey County District Attorney office to ask about the exclusion, the assistant district attorney we spoke to seemed surprised.

The assistant DA told us he thought Bergstrom "should be" in the database, and actually checked it himself while we were on the phone. But he's not. Not by name. Not by address.

Although this attorney had prosecuted other sexual assault cases and said he was "familiar" with Bergstrom's case, he told us he didn't work on it himself. 

He told us that sometimes prosecutors strike plea deals and that he wasn't familiar enough with the sexual battery statues that covered this particular deal.

Business Insider asked Bergstrom to contact us and comment on this story through our communications with "Sharon" but he did not respond.

Registered but not revealed

All of this explains why Bergstrom's past may have gone unnoticed by Airbnb, even if people in the Carmel community alerted the company to his presence in the house.

Sex offender CarmelMost states have rules that allow some convicted offenders to be excluded from the public database, says Amber Widgery, Senior Policy Specialist for the Criminal Justice Program at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

For the most part, the people excluded are considered low risk to the public. They may have been convicted of a misdemeanor, for instance.

Or they may be excluded so as not to expose the address, and/or identity of the victim. One example is an offense committed against a child by a relative who still lives with the child, like a parent, sibling, aunt/uncle or grandparent, according to the application for exclusion, California Penal Code 290.46. That circumstance only applies to offenses that didn't involve a substantial incident with the child. 


Airbnb sex offender 9

Excluded by not invisible

The upshot is that there are registered sex offenders excluded from the public database for all sorts of reasons.

Airbnb Montery 2And this makes it harder, though not impossible, for community/sharing-economy startups such as Airbnb to detect them, even when they routinely do background checks.

In Airbnb's case, it remains unclear how the company discovers and checks on other adults living in a home besides the host if the host hasn't notified the company. 

Airbnb's publicly available policies about background checks do not discuss its requirements about roommates, spouses or others who have access to the house.

Airbnb's Shapiro did say the company uses technology to watch for "signals" that may indicate something unsafe is going on but he declined say if one of those signals would alert the company to additional adults who have moved in with a host and be in need of a background check.

On the other hand, it may be comforting to know that the public sex offenders database isn't the only source for a background check, even for sexual offenses.

If a person has been convicted of a felony offense, that information can still be uncovered by doing a more thorough, formal background check that includes a search of state criminal records.

Airbnb's Shapiro tells us that for all US residents who apply to be a host and who have been disclosed to Airbnb, the company does do such "background checks looking for prior felony convictions, sex offender registrations, or significant misdemeanors. We are working with additional governments around the world to identify where we can do more background checks."

He adds, "more than 200 million guests have had safe, positive experiences on Airbnb."

In the meantime, for concerned Airbnb users, it doesn't hurt to ask your next host about the other people who will be in the home with you, just as the Airbnb host has a right to ask you about the people you'll be bringing into their home.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We put the iPhone X's Face ID to the ultimate test with identical twins — and the results surprised us

How Vans went from a SoCal skater brand to a global icon that teens love



  • Vans sales are soaring. 
  • In just over a decade, Vans has grown from a mostly local brand to a global one.
  • Global President Doug Palladini says this is due to the emotional connection that fans have with the brand. 

Southern California culture has gone global with an assist from Vans. 

The brand, which is rooted in 1960s SoCal skate culture, has grown into a worldwide phenomenon under the stewardship of VF Corporation, which acquired it in 2004. In the years since the acquisition, Vans has gone from selling 90% of its products in California to growing its reach across the globe, making the leap to Asia and Europe.

"We are constantly blown away by the level of loyalty consumers have for our brand," Vans' global president, Doug Palladini, said to Business Insider.

Sales of Vans shoes are soaring


In its lastest earnings report, VF Corp reported a 26% increase in Vans sales year over year.

Teens in North America are increasingly flocking to the brand, and Vans landed its highest-ever spot on a semiannual survey of teen buying preferences by Piper Jaffray.

As teens shift from favoring athletic styles to street styles, Vans is apparently one of the first brands they pick up.

But, Palladini said that he sees a "multi-generational" appeal in Vans that makes it unique, adding that both parents and teens can wear it. 

"Vans has this incredible ability to be cool with everybody," Palladini said. 

Vans' popularity isn't sudden, Palladini said, but gradual. It has five iconic shoe styles, which take turns in the spotlight.

Back in 2004, any shoe with Vans' signature side strip had poor sales. Now, Palladini said, it's the best-selling category of Vans shoes, which includes the super-popular Old Skool model


"It's nice to have those cycles and it's nice to see things come back around," Palladini said.

Vans famous checkerboard models, which the company has incorporated as an iconic style, are also popular.

Vans' biggest moments happen organically

Take, for example, "Damn, Daniel," the 2016 viral Vine video of a Southern California high school student showing appreciation for his friend's white Vans shoes.

"I'd love to sit here and tell you that we're so smart we masterminded it," Palladini said, calling the viral Vine video "purely organic."

The brand did see a meaningful bump in sales after the video appeared online, and sales of white Vans Authentics shot up. But to Palladini, it's just another example of how Vans fans express their loyalty and admiration — and how much the brand has integrated into the fabric of the culture.

"This is absolutely how our fans show their appreciation for our brand. We see it all the time. It's incredibly humbling," Palladini said. 

He added: "'Damn Daniel' was just a perfect example of an organic expression of love."

SEE ALSO: I waited in a line to go to a mysterious cult skater store worth $1 billion to see why teens are so obsessed

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The most progressive candidate in a generation sued police 75 times — now, he’s poised to run law enforcement in one of the US's biggest cities


Philadelphia LarryKrasner (34 of 97)

  • Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner is the heavy front-runner to win the race to be Philadelphia's next district attorney, a powerful position in the heavily incarcerated city.
  • While he has never served in government, he has a long career of suing police for civil rights abuses and defending activists in court.
  • District attorneys' races have become the frontline in the battle to reform criminal justice and end "mass incarceration," with millions of dollars being poured into local races over the last year.

Civil rights attorney Larry Krasner has always been obsessed with what it takes to make change. At the age of 11, he got into a debate with his Sunday School teacher about whether it was right to break the law for the greater good. The two were arguing over the Civil Rights movement and protests over the Vietnam War — events that shaped his life and perspective.

Today, Krasner is running for district attorney of Philadelphia, a powerful position in a city with the highest rate of incarcerationthe highest poverty rate, and the third highest violent crime rate of the US's 10 most populated cities, though crime has dropped significantly in recent years. 

At 56, he is pursuing elected office for the first time after a 30-year career defending radical activist groups like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Philadelphia. He's also sued police for civil rights violations more than 75 times.

"I was born in '61. So in '68 when I'm watching TV … I'm seeing the Vietnam War and the protests and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago," Krasner told Business Insider.

"I remember all that and, even more importantly, I remember [Martin Luther] King. … It was a very visual time, and when you are a 7- or 8-year-old kid and you're watching this happen ... it's compelling. The war was compelling. It was all compelling. And then, they were getting killed. [Robert F. Kennedy] was speaking out against the war. And then he is dead. And then King is dead, and he's dead because of white supremacists."

Krasner, well-dressed in a sharply cut blue suit, tinted horn-rimmed glasses, and a well-kempt head of silvery hair, doesn't look the part of a political outsider.

Philadelphia LarryKrasner (71 of 97)

With his raspy but measured speech, he could pass for a senator in a liberal state. But make no mistake, Krasner may be the most progressive candidate for such a major office in years. The center of his campaign platform is ending "mass incarceration," the constellation of state and federal policies that have put more than 2 million Americans behind bars.

And though nearly all of the candidates in the seven-person Democratic primary he won in May promised reform, all it took was one look at their careers, he said, to convince him to run for office for the first time in his life.

Some of the candidates "were flagrantly authoritarian during their careers," Krasner said. "And yet all of a sudden I'm hearing about their 'Which way is the wind blowing now' virtues, and I just figured this is ridiculous."

"Somebody real has got to get into this, because these people aren't going to change anything."

SEE ALSO: Former white supremacist: Trump's post-Charlottesville statements aren't a 'dog whistle' — they're a 'bullhorn'

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Lawyers are usually 'technicians' for the movement, not the leaders

Krasner is widely expected to win the general election against his Republican opponent, Beth Grossman, due to Philadelphia's 7:1 Democratic registration advantage, but he isn't spending the final days of the campaign resting.

With the November election weeks away, Krasner is spending every day hitting the pavement courting voters — over the course of the weekend he would run from debate to community meeting to city forum.

Though he sounds excited, Krasner is also keenly aware of how winning will upend his life, his successful and lucrative criminal defense and civil rights practice, and his family. His wife, Lisa M. Rau, is a judge on the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia and has been unable to attend any campaign events out of ethical concerns.

If elected, Krasner wouldn't be the first progressive district attorney in a major US city, but he might be the most radical — though he is loathe to use the term. When I asked him whether he considered himself an activist after spending his career defending the rights of activists and suing police, he demurred.

"I don't think I deserve that much credit," he said. "I consider myself an activist's lawyer. I consider myself to be a movement lawyer." After a little pressing, Krasner launched into a story, as he often does. He referenced the relationship between William Kunstler, the famous civil rights lawyer and activist, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I think [Kunstler] used to refer to the lawyers as 'technicians' for the movement," he added.

That idea, of lawyer as a "technician" to a movement is central to Krasner's idea of himself. Though he is a charismatic figure, he seemed uncomfortable to suddenly be the face of Philadelphia's leading movement for change.

President Donald Trump's roaring victory in last year's election has cast a shadow over the DA's race ever since candidates began throwing their hats in the ring last September — almost as much as that of Seth Williams, the city's last elected DA.

Williams resigned in June after a year-long corruption scandal and was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence for, in the words of the judge, feeding "his face at the trough" of public money.

When Krasner announced his candidacy in February, in an 11-minute video surrounded by local activists, he joined a crowded Democratic field of former assistant district attorneys and a judge.

David Rudovsky, a civil rights professor at University of Pennsylvania's law school, told Business Insider they were all "trying to out-progressive each other" on everything from mass incarceration and racial injustice to the death penalty.

At a debate in April that Rudovsky moderated, he told the seven Democratic candidates, "It sounds like you all are running for public defender."

A PAC associated with George Soros put $1+ million behind Krasner's campaign

Over the last several years, the push for criminal justice reform has centered around electing progressive district attorneys, an acknowledgement that DAs make the day-to-day decisions of what cases to pursue, what charges to press, and who gets a second chance.

Much of that push has been led by billionaire financier George Soros, and his "Safety and Justice" PACs, which funneled more than $3 million into seven DA races in 2016. The PACs reportedly put more than $1 million behind the Krasner campaign, a fact detractors have repeatedly seized upon.

Krasner concedes that the "Soros money" — as it's been called locally — "amplified" his message and may have widened the margin of his primary victory, but it is clear he established himself long before it arrived.

Though Krasner began his campaign in February, months after the entrance of Joe Khan, the establishment front-runner, and others, he was widely seen as driving the primary conversation. 

Rudovsky, the Penn Law professor, said Krasner's entrance drove candidates to the left, where Krasner stood out as someone who had long fought for the principles that all were espousing.

His detailed platform, released on day one of his campaign, calls for an end to cash bail imprisonment, reviewing convictions and freeing the wrongfully convicted, ending "stop and frisk" and civil asset forfeiture abuse, and standing up to police misconduct.

By Krasner's account, the detail in his platform far surpassed that of his opponents, who he says looked "like they were polling to figure out what they believed."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A Finnish-born journalist says Americans make a crucial mistake in how they look at life


sad mickey

  • Finnish-born journalist Anu Partnanen says Americans tend to compartmentalize various stages of life, while Nordic citizens take a more holistic view.
  • The downside to the US perspective is people must shoulder each stage themselves, Partanen claims.
  • Meanwhile, social services in Finland and other Nordic countries cover the bulk of these major life events because people see them all as connected.

In the US, life often gets divided into distinct buckets: childhood, education, parenting, healthcare, aging, and so on.

Not so in Finland and other Nordic countries, according to journalist Anu Partnanen, who was born in Finland, moved to the US in 2008, and became a naturalized citizen five years later.

According to Partnanen, the fractured American view may set people up for failure.

Living a good life requires social services working together

Partanen was speaking at this year's recent NationSwell Summit, held in New York City, on a panel focusing on "The Well-Lived Life." The contrast she drew between American and Nordic attitudes toward life related to many themes in her 2016 book, "The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life."

During the panel, Partanen expressed concern that America's compartmentalized view of life builds barriers between areas that ought to be linked.

"Because they arrange a lot of these essential social services that everybody really needs to grow up to be a productive individual," Partanen said, "Nordic countries perceive them more as [under] a big umbrella, and they all work together."

In Finland, for example, whenever a couple has a child the government sends them a small box, known as a "baby box," filled with clothes, toiletries, and other newborn essentials. The box itself doubles as a crib. And if recipients don't want it, they can opt for the cash value of the box.

Taxpayers also chip in for early-life benefits like subsidized daycare and generous paid parental leave. When Finns retire, generally at 65, they receive a pension that allows them to live independently for as long as possible.

grandparents with baby

Nordic countries still use taxes for self-serving purposes

For as much as Americans talk about valuing freedom, Partnanen said, the effect of having so many social services is that people feel far freer. Foreigners tend to view Nordic countries as "these socialist nanny states where everybody has a collectivist mindset," Partanen said. But "in fact a lot of these services really support everybody's independence."

In other words, even if Nordic people throw more of their earnings in to a collective pot than places like the US, their intentions are still self-serving.

"The choices Nordic countries have made have little to do with altruism or kinship," Partanen wrote for The Atlantic in 2016. "This is what Americans fail to understand: My taxes in Finland were used to pay for top-notch services for me."

As President Trump moves to push through major tax reform that makes sweeping cuts, Partanen suggested on her panel that giving families small boosts in take-home pay, might not be a substitute for collective financial security.

"Under Nordic thinking, a child's fate should not be dependent on who their parents happen to be," she said. "This kind of continues throughout people's lives."

SEE ALSO: 5 people from around the world share what it's like to have single-payer healthcare

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The startup behind chewable coffee is launching a performance-enhancing 'superhuman fuel' — we gave it a try


captain america civil war Marvel chris evans final

  • One of the world's first commercial ketone esters, a drink that could improve energy and athletic performance, is coming to market.
  • HVMN is a startup based in San Francisco that wants to usher in a new era of human enhancement through technologies like the ketone ester.
  • We tried the drink before its public launch.


About 13 years ago, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) asked the scientific community to create a food that soldiers could take onto the battlefield. The agency, which has been tasked with building breakthrough technologies for the US military, wanted to improve troops' physical and mental performance, turning war fighters into super-soldiers.

Researchers at University of Oxford and National Institutes of Health answered the call. With $10 million in funding from DARPA, a team of biochemists invented the ketone ester, a drink that generates energy from ketones — molecules formed by the breakdown of fat — rather than carbs, fat, or protein. It is, effectively, a fourth type of fuel for humans.

On November 6, HVMN, a startup out of San Francisco, revealed that it is bringing one of the first commercial ketone esters to market. HVMN Ketone is an FDA-reviewed drink that promises increased athletic ability, heightened focus, and energy. The company is leveraging more than a decade and $60 million-worth of research from Oxford through an exclusive partnership.

hvmn ketone ester

Starting today, anyone will be able to buy the product for $99 online. It ships in December.

HVMN, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup whose other products include chewable coffee and "smart drugs," will market the product to competitive athletes to start. (Most clinical trials on the drink studied its effects on elite athletes.) But the company expects "biohackers" — people interested in enhancing their body's performance — to be interested in ketone esters as well. 

Ketones offer a plan B fuel source

The nutrition label on a bottle of HVMN Ketone defies traditional explanation. A 2.2-oz shot of the drink contains 120 calories — roughly the equivalent of a hearty slice of bread — yet it has no fat, no protein, and no carbohydrates.

Those calories instead come from ketones, an ingredient that Geoff Woo, cofounder and CEO of HVMN, likes to call "the fourth macronutrient."

"It's not a fat, it's not a protein, it's not a carb, but your body gets fuel from it," Woo told Business Insider.

Unlike the other three macronutrients, the human body naturally makes ketones in the absence of food. When we're starving, our bodies dig into their fat stores to survive, releasing molecules called ketones in the process. A high-fat, low-carb diet (also known as a "ketogenic diet") is a shortcut to the same goal. Instead of going without food, someone on the diet tricks the body into believing it is starving by snatching away carbohydrates, its primary source of fuel.

Ingesting those ketones directly appears to super-charge the body, according to Kieran Clarke, a professor of physiological biochemistry at the University of Oxford and the scientist leading the charge to translate her work on ketones and human performance into HVMN Ketone.


Clarke's work in athletes suggests that drinking ketones alongside a carb-rich meal like a piece of pizza or a granola parfait provides a performance boost that's "unlike anything we've ever seen before," she told Business Insider.

This is an energy drink that supercharges the human body

In a small study published in July 2016 in the journal Cell Metabolism, Clarke gave an early version of HVMN's ketone drink to a group of elite cyclists (some of whom were former Olympians) and compared how they performed on a 30-minute cycling exercise to two other groups who were either given a carb-rich drink or a fat-rich drink.

The high-performing cyclists on the ketone drink went an average of 400 meters further than the best performers who'd had the carb or fat drink. They likely didn't even feel a difference, Clarke said.

"It's not like caffeine or anything, it's not a stimulant. If you're not watching what you're doing, you think, 'Oh I'm doing alright, everything feels normal,' but then you look down and all of a sudden you see, 'Oh, wow, I've gone a lot further than usual!' You’ll find on a rowing machine, for example, you're going a lot faster and you didn't even realize it," Clarke said. 

A bottle of HVMN Ketone delivers 25 grams of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), one of the substances the body naturally produces during a fast or a period of starvation.

Within an hour of consuming it, the drink can raise ketone levels to a level similar to what you would see after at least seven days of fasting. That's based on two small studies published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology in which adults were given drinks containing either ketone ester or ketone salts, a supplement that combines ketones and sodium.

It's worth noting that most of the research supporting ketones in humans is exclusively in athletic performance — not cognition — so the benefits we noticed when trying HVMN's Ketone should be taken with a grain of salt. The placebo effect is a small but very real phenomenon.  

We felt great after trying it, with some caveats

We (Melia Robinson, an innovation reporter, and Erin Brodwin, a science correspondent) had a chance to try HVMN Ketone in October.

The drink comes in a bottle about the size of a 5-Hour Energy shot. It's clear and has no smell. The taste, however, burns like rubbing alcohol. It caused our eyes to tear. We gagged, loudly.

Clarke doesn't deny that the taste is the drink's worst quality. "At least it doesn't smell. It just tastes ghastly! But then it goes!" he said.

Still, after a few minutes, our stomachs ached. A flavor like nail polish remover lingered on our lips long after drinking and was only extinguished with ice water.

melia erin hvmn ketone

Erin noticed a curb in her appetite, while Melia felt jittery. Brianna Stubbs, lead researcher at HVMN and a postgraduate student at the University of Oxford who worked under Clarke, described the sensation as "you could run up a wall, but you don't want to."

We noticed it was easier to focus on work. We cranked away on writing, skipped our usual afternoon cups of coffee, and avoided snack binges over the next several hours. Both times we tried the drink, we noticed that its effects wore off after between four and six hours — faster during times of frequent physical activity and slower when we were sedentary.

Two people do not make for a sufficient sample size in a study of the drink's effects, but our personal experiences were positive overall.

While it's hard to separate our perception from any placebo effect, HVMN Ketone produced measurable physical results for us. Stubbs performed two tests — a blood-glucose test and a ketone test — three times during the course of our trial. Using a small digital meter, she pricked our fingers the first time before we drank the ester, again 30 minutes later, and one hour after drinking.

During the hour before and the hour after we drank the ester, Melia's ketone levels rose from 0.6 mmol/l, a low-level state of ketosis, to 6.0 mmol/l, a deep state of ketosis that can typically only be achieved through fasting. Erin's ketone levels rose from 1.2 mmol/l to 4.2 mmol/l. Most people maintain a non-existent level of ketosis of 0.1 mmol/l, but we started with higher levels because one of us happened to be eating a low-carb diet while the other was trying a fast.


It's not hard to imagine Silicon Valley tech workers buying a ketone ester from their local drug store, instead of a $9 coffee drink, to fuel them during marathon coding sessions. However, the $99 price tag for three bottles (or $396 for a 12-pack) will be prohibitive for most. 

In 2016, HVMN reported $1 million in sales over the previous year, with 17% growth month-over-month. Woo and his cofounder, Michael Brandt, appeared on "Shark Tank" to pitch their chewable coffee product, Go Cubes. They tried to raise money from the sharks with a $40 million valuation, which is more than any startup has ever asked for on the show, and left empty-handed.  

Woo said the company will continue to invest heavily in research and development, as well as clinical trials. HVMN wants to pave a path for biohacking products that's grounded in science. 

DON'T MISS: I tried the popular Silicon Valley diet credited with boosting energy and prolonging life — and I can see why people are obsessed

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Subway has scored 0 out of 5 for hygiene at two of its UK branches


Subway sandwich

In certain UK locations, popular fast food chain Subway has scored extremely low on hygiene — with some of its branches ranked as low as zero out of five, the worst possible score according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

A documentary on Channel 4 titled "Tricks of the Restaurant Trade" will air on Monday revealing the results of the channel's investigation into hygiene standards at high street restaurants, according to the Daily Mail.

Subway, which has over 2,000 branches in the UK, currently operates 45 restaurants where food hygiene standards were found to fall below level 2, according to the FSA, which considers a level 3 or above to be satisfactory. According to the FSA, though, the fast food outlet does score a level 5 at almost 1,500 of its locations.

33 of Subway's UK branches are categorised as level 2 in the hygiene stakes, while 10 are at level 1, and, shockingly, two — its Granby Street branch in Leicester and Roade Service Station in Northamptonshire — were ranked as zero out of five.

Subway responded to a request for comment from Business Insider with the following statement: "Ninety seven percent of Subway stores that have been rated received the Food Standards hygiene rating of very good (5 out of 5), good (4 out of 5), or satisfactory (3 out of 5). All Subway stores are held to high food handling and cleanliness standards, and are subject to monthly inspections to ensure that our strict standards are met."

Other offenders include Frankie & Benny’s, which has seven restaurants with sub-standard hygiene ratings — five of its branches are ranked at level 2 and two at level 1.

The show will also reveal that a branch of Marco's New York Italian, a bistro chain owned by celebrity British chef Marco Pierre White at the Mercure Hotel in central London, scored just two out of five.

You can check out the ratings of your local restaurants via the FSA website online here.

Frankie and Bennys

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Business Insider UK is hiring a Social Media and Partnerships Manager


millennials texting phones girls single partying

Business Insider UK is looking for a Social Media and Partnerships Manager to join our team.

The Social Media and Partnerships Manager understands the ever-evolving world of social networks and platforms, and will develop a long-term strategy to manage and grow existing accounts and expand to new platforms.

He or she will oversee day-to-day management of our FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and reddit accounts, which together have over 6 million followers.

In addition, this person will be in charge of developing and managing Business Insider's editorial partnerships for syndicated content. The role involves identifying potential partners, building relationships, framing stories for BI readers, and making sure those stories reach our diverse audience.

We’re looking for someone who has a voracious appetite for news and a deep understanding of the stories that people want to share.

The ideal candidate:

  • has 3-5 years experience in a newsroom, and a background in journalism
  • has a proven track record in managing and growing social media accounts for a reputable media company or publication
  • is a sharp writer with a proven talent for framing headlines
  • is a master networker who can negotiate and manage dozens of partnerships
  • will use analytics to create plans and collaborate to put them into action
  • has a solid grasp on SEO and experience of maximising Google traffic

This person has excellent communication skills and is genuinely excited about building Business Insider UK's social media presence. Familiarity with Google Analytics and graphic arts skills are a plus.

APPLY HERE if this sounds like your dream job. Please include a CV and cover letter describing what excites you about the Social Media and Partnerships manager position.

This job is full-time and based in our London office. Business Insider offers competitive compensation packages complete with benefits.

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Here's how much your plane ticket actually costs


How much does your plane ticket actually cost?

Like almost anything you buy in stores, plane tickets come with a base cost plus taxes and fees. These airline taxes and fees can get extremely pricey.

Here's a breakdown of a sample $300 round-trip from Peoria, IL to Raleigh, NC sold on Jan. 1, 2017.

Taxes and fees account for 21.1% of the total cost. That equates to $63.35 you pay on top of the baseline price. Breaking that $63.35 down further, there's a standard 7.5% tax on the baseline ticket price.

Then, there's a $4.50 facility charge for each airport you land in. This flight had a layover in Chicago which means, you pay that $4.50 charge four different times for the round-trip.

Next, you have a "segment tax" for takeoff and landing. You'll pay this $4.10 tax four times round-trip: Twice out and twice back.

Last but not least, is the federal security surcharge or better known as the Sept. 11 Security Fee. Standing in those security lines costs you $5.60 per flight.

Before taxes and fees, the baseline ticket price is $236.65. Most of that money goes toward fuel and airline salaries.

Turns out that ticket isn't as pricey as you might think. It's all those extra costs that can drive up the price.

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Walmart says these will be the 25 toys every kid wants this holiday (WMT)


walmart holiday

The holidays are right around the corner.

In September, Walmart, the largest toy retailer in the US, did research to identify the top 25 toys of the holiday.

The company enlisted hundreds of kids from 18 months to 12-years-old to act as testers so the store could see what resonated.

Walmart will have 1,000 new toys this holiday season, and a quarter of them will be exclusive to the retailer, according to Anne Marie Kehoe, Walmart's vice president of toys. This year, Kehoe said the retailer is focused on buying enough product so that it will have the most popular toys in stock throughout the season.

If you're planning on shopping for toys at Walmart this Black Friday, these could be worth looking out for. 

SEE ALSO: America is facing a 'retail refugee crisis' as thousands of stores shut down and millions of people become the 'blacksmiths of their era'

Dusty the Super Duper Garbage Truck


Disney Frozen 12-Volt Ride-On Sleigh


Walmart exclusive

Monster Jam Grave Digger 24-Volt Battery Powered Ride-On


Walmart exclusive

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A crucial line in Trump's new tax plan will make it a lot harder to buy a $1 million home


Donald Trump

  • President Donald Trump and the House GOP unveiled a massive tax-reform bill on Thursday.
  • It proposes a new limit — $500,000 from the current $1 million — for home-mortgage-interest deductions.
  • Millennials and buyers in expensive markets would be most affected by the disappearing homeownership incentives.


President Donald Trump's new tax plan just dealt a blow to many would-be homeowners.

The 429-page GOP tax plan, called the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" was revealed on Thursday and is being billed as a boon for hard-working middle class Americans.

But Republicans have proposed paring down popular homeownership incentives, which would likely affect millennials and millions of people living in high-cost housing markets.

The tax plan cuts the $1 million limit for the home-mortgage-interest deduction in half. The deduction allows homeowners to write off the interest they pay on home loans, effectively reducing their taxable income. The bill would apply to new home purchases and make it so homeowners can only deduct interest payments on up to $500,000 worth of home loans.

In previous generations, that may have been a typical mortgage amount for a first-time homebuyer, but today's young people are different. Millennials are "skipping starter homes," Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said, and moving straight to the $1 million range when its time to buy their first house.

The mortgage size on a $1 million home would be $800,000 — assuming the homebuyer makes a down payment of 20% of the purchase price, though some are putting down payments as low as 10%. Under the proposed bill, the homeowner could only deduct interest on the first $500,000 of the loan, leaving them to shoulder the rest of the principal and interest payments without the benefit of a tax deduction.

"Eliminating or nullifying the tax incentives for homeownership puts home values and middle-class homeowners at risk, and from a cursory examination, this legislation appears to do just that," William E. Brown, president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), said in a statement.

What's more, home prices — and thus, loan amounts — are much higher in pricey coastal markets like New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. Millennial populations in these cities are only increasing.

Two powerful trade associations slammed the GOP's tax plan on Thursday, reports Business Insider's Akin Oyedele, saying the reduction of a key benefit for homeowners could hurt the market.

Jerry Howard, the CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, estimated that 7 million homes would be excluded from the mortgage-interest deduction, amounting to about a third of the homes in California.

"You're talking about potentially causing housing recessions in some of the biggest markets in the country, and those kinds of recessions tend to have spillovers," Howard said. "We're worried about a national housing recession."

SEE ALSO: The GOP tax plan doesn't touch your 401(k) — and that's a huge opportunity to build wealth

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Sexual harassment isn't an industry, workplace, or company issue — in fact, it affects nearly everyone


Harvey Weinstein

  • Sexual harassment doesn't just affect the Hollywood elite or major tech companies.
  • Allegations of sexual harassment have impacted most industries.
  • A new poll from MSN shows just how far-reaching the issue is.

Sexual harassment in the workplace isn't an industry issue. Nor is it a toxic workplace issue. It's an issue that affects literally everyone. 

number of industries have been implicated in the wake of producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct, including Hollywood, politics, and sports. Before that, sexual harassment at work made headlines with tech's "bro-culture" problem. Before that, it was the media industry with Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly's oustings. And the list goes on.

When pretty much every industry out there is involved, it's naive to simply point the finger at these institutions and damn them for perpetuating a systemic issue.

To be sure, toxic workplace cultures are partially to blame — companies with these values are far more susceptible to sexual harassment.

But don't let these characterizations lull you into a false sense of security. Sexual harassment is a problem that affects everyone — not just those in high-profile positions or industries.

sexual harassment boss office

Sexual harassment is more rampant than you want to think

Overall, about one in three people (31%) in the US admit to having been sexually harassed at work, according to a poll from Business Insider's partner, MSN.

MSN polls its readers and then uses machine learning to model how a representative sample of the US would have responded, using big data, such as the Census. It's as accurate as a traditional, scientific survey.

For women, the situation is drastically more dire.

Overall, 45% of women polled said they have been sexually harassed at work. This translates to about 33.6 million women in the US.

The group that experienced the most harassment were women between the ages 30 and 44 — almost half (49%) said they had been sexually harassed at work. Not far behind, 47% of women ages 45 to 64 said they were sexually harassed at work, followed by 41% of women ages 18 to 20, and finally 40% of women 65 or older.

Sexual harassment at work doesn't just affect women.

While 15% of men said they had been sexually harassed at work, a higher proportion of men between the ages of 30 and 44 said they had been sexually harassed in the workplace: 22%.

gretchen carlson roger ailes fox news sexual harassment getty images

Speaking up rarely ends well for the victim 

Former Fox News Channel host Gretchen Carlson stunned the media world when she filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes in 2016.

In her lawsuit, Carlson said Ailes repeatedly sexually harassed her, and that she was fired from her job of 11 years for turning down his sexual advances.

The lawsuit ultimately led to Ailes' resignation from the network, which he had run since its founding in 1996, and Carlson settled the suit for a reported $20 million in 2016.

But Carlson did not walk away from the accusation unscathed.

At Fortune's Most Powerful Women (MPW) Summit in October, the TV journalist said she faced concentrated backlash on social media when she came forward, and many people close to her distanced themselves. "You find out who your friends are in a big way," she said. "It can be a very alone experience."

Carlson also said that, for many people who confront sexual harassment head-on, the fallout can often be steep:

"First of all, if you do come forward, you'll be labeled a 'troublemaker' or a 'bitch.' More importantly, you won't be believed. And, some people have even suggested that you do it for money or fame."

Carlson said it takes courage to put your career on the line and report sexual harassment in the workplace.

"When you know that that's the culture that we still live in ... it's the most important decision of your life to dig deep for that courage, to know that you might torpedo everything that you've worked so hard for," she said.

It's unsurprising, then, that 73% of the women who said they had been sexually harassed at work also said that they never reported it. Of the men that said they were sexually harassed at work, 81% said they never reported it.

Bill O'Reilly

Sexual harassment can happen anywhere, anytime, and be perpetrated by anyone

Certain factors may make organizations or institutions more susceptible to instances of sexual harassment.

A 2015 report from researchers at Kent State University and the University of Texas at Tyler found that the "prevalence of male norms in the male-dominated environment may result in a more hostile workplace for women who are perceived by men as violators of the gender norms."

But as Adam Bear and Joshua Knobe wrote in The New York Times, when normally inappropriate or unacceptable actions continue unabated, people tend to adapt their mindset, and sexual harassment becomes normalized and seen as less worthy of outrage.

This could happen literally anywhere — and in many places, it seems that it already has.

When asked to rate their employers' efforts against sexual harassment, 42% of the people MSN polled overall said their employers have done enough, while 26% said they haven't.

But when you ask women, who are disproportionately more likely to experience sexual harassment at work, the number of people satisfied with their employers' approach to sexual harassment at work drops to 36%, while 33% of women say their employers haven't done enough.

What's more, with 31% of the American workforce reporting they've been sexually harassed at work, if you work at a company with at least three people, odds are either you or one of your coworkers has been sexually harassed at work.

While this means you may not be affected directly, you are undoubtedly affected indirectly by the financial and emotional damage sexual harassment's causes.

According to Working Woman Magazine, a typical Fortune 500 corporation blighted by sexual harassment incidents can expect to lose $14.02 million adjusted for inflation annually from absenteeism, lower productivity, increased health-care costs, poor morale, and employee turnover.

And it cannot be good for any employer's bottom line when sexual harassment settlements and legal fees themselves cost the company tens of millions of dollars.

In fact, thanks to the growing number of allegations, Business Insider's Lauren Lyons Cole reports that some companies are purchasing employee practices liability insurance to protect against the financial risk of sexual harassment.

These policies have become a multi-billion dollar industry, with companies collectively paying over $2 billion in EPLI premiums last year.

"Claims are so common now that it's more or less part of the cost of doing business," New Jersey employment lawyer Stephanie Gironda told Business Insider.

SEE ALSO: Only 3 of the 50 most-loved CEOs in America are women — and the reason why transcends the corner office

DON'T MISS: A Facebook exec says the best way to remove bias against mothers is to force men to take equal parental leave

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Rich millennials are shunning the golf communities of their parents for these elite new neighborhoods


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Farm life has taken roots in cities and suburbs across America.

A new type of neighborhood known as an "agrihood" — short for agricultural neighborhood — marries idyllic settings in nature with resort amenities. Loosely defined by the Urban Land Institute as master-planned housing communities with working farms as their focus, many agrihoods offer ample green space, barns, outdoor kitchens, and farm-to-table restaurants.

Millennials, who tend to value experiences over material things, are now shunning the tony golf communities of their parents in favor of agrihoods. These communities are designed to appeal to young families who want to eat healthy, spend time outdoors, and be part of a community.

Here are seven agrihoods across the US where people are flocking.

SEE ALSO: A developer is building a stunning coastal enclave for rich tech elites who are shunning golf communities

Rancho Mission Viejo, a development company based in Southern California, trademarked the term "agrihood" in 2014. Its first two villages — Sendero and Esencia — use a focus on sustainable living to draw young families, as well as active retirees, to Orange County.

Location:  San Juan Capistrano, California

Rolling citrus groves and miles of protected creeks create an idyllic backdrop for Southern California's largest agrihood. All residents have access to communal farms with orchards and workshop space, raised planters, in-ground crops, fruit trees, and community events.

Rancho Mission Viejo is expected to build up to 14,000 homes (of which about half will be reserved for people age 55-plus) as well as a "glamping" campsite, over the next 20 years.

Time seems to move more slowly at Serenbe, a community on the edge of Atlanta. It sits on preserved forests and meadows with miles of nature trails that connect the homes.

Location:  Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia

Local food, fresh air, and a focus on wellbeing create a new standard for community living at Serenbe. Blueberry bushes line the sidewalks, and residents can pick fresh produce from a 25-acre organic farm. The development also hosts concerts, artist lectures, and outdoor dinners.

Serenbe is one of the larger agrihoods on this list, with at least 400 residents.

There's no place like Homestead. The 10,000-acre nature preserve includes both a golf community and the Village at Warm Springs Farm, an agrihood built around a farm.

Location: Warm Springs, Virginia

Nestled at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains, the Village at Warm Springs Farm is a new addition to the existing golf and tennis club on the preserve. Pasture-raised cows and sheep graze outside the front doors of its 35 "rustically charming" cottages and dairy center.

No ordinary dairy center, the Village boasts resort amenities including a fitness center, whirlpool, sauna, game room, pool, and a farm-to-table gourmet eatery called the Milk House Market.

Developers broke ground on the Village at Warm Springs Farm last spring.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We tried Amazon's new feature that lets you virtually try out furniture before you buy it — and we saw how it could change how you shop online


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  • Amazon recently added an augmented reality feature to its iOS app.
  • The feature allows users to see digital renderings of some items through their phone screens.
  • While the app had a few flaws, the execution was impressive. It was easy to understand how this technology might play a significant role in online retail one day.


Consumers are shopping online now, and that's a problem for retailers that sell furniture and other home decor.

While they can use showrooms to give some customers a sense of what a new couch or rug will look like in their home, they don't have the same advantage with those who shop online. The solution? Augmented reality, which allows consumers to overlay digital renderings of items onto their homes through their phone screens.

IKEA, Target, and Lowe's have all debuted AR shopping technology in recent years, but Amazon recently joined the fray by adding a feature to its iOS app that allows users to sample a limited selection of products, most of which are home furnishings or electronics. The feature works on the iPhone 6S and later models, and the phone must have iOS 11 installed.

We tried the feature and, while the technology still has a few kinks to work out, it's easy to see how augmented reality could continue to drive consumers away from brick-and-mortar stores.

Here's how it works.

SEE ALSO: How augmented reality is changing the way we work

Amazon's app doesn't highlight the feature on the home screen.

But it's easy to access by tapping the camera icon.

The product selection is limited thus far, but most of the options are furniture, home decor, or electronics.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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