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A contagious dog flu may be on the rise in the US


puppy sleeping

  • Several cases of dog flu have been reported across the United States.
  • Just like in humans, the virus presents with symptoms like sneezing and coughing.
  • Canine flu cannot spread to other animals or to people, but it is contagious between dogs. It most often spreads in areas where large numbers of dogs are kept together, like boarding facilities or kennels.
  • Some veterinarians recommend the vaccine; others encourage pet owners to simply watch for symptoms.

Just like their two-legged owners, dogs can come down with a serious case of the sniffles.

Several states including Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, Washington, and some parts of California are currently reporting a number of cases of canine influenza. 

Canine flu is highly contagious — infecting about 80% of all dogs who come into contact with it, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Fortunately, the virus is rarely deadly and cannot spread to people.

Stephanie Duarte, a registered veterinary technician at the East Bay Pet Clinic in Oakland, California, told Business Insider she recommends that dog owners watch for symptoms, especially if a dog is frequently in contact with other dogs. Just like in people, the most common symptoms of flu in pups include sneezing, nasal discharge, and frequent coughing. 

"If you see things like discharge or coughing and sneezing, it's best to keep your dog away from them," Duarte said.

How to help a sick pooch

If you suspect your dog may be sick, veterinarians say the best course of action is to give your pup lots of water and ensure they have time to rest. In severe cases, a vet may prescribe medications to reduce swelling linked with the virus.

There is a dog flu vaccine, but Duarte said she hasn't been suggesting it to clients since her clinic hasn't seen any cases yet.

"We don't generally do it because it's not as common in this area," she said.

Meanwhile, veterinarians in other parts of the Bay Area are recommending the vaccine.

“We used to think that we really didn’t have the flu here in California, but ... once it gets started it just spreads. About six days ago we started getting calls about dogs with the flu from kennels and boarding facilities; now many of them have shut down to limit the spread. In the meantime, we are vaccinating dogs as quickly as we can," Kyle Frandle, a veterinarian at the Los Gatos Dog & Cat Hospital in Silicon Valley, told the Mercury News.

puppy dog eyes

Where did dog flu come from?

There are two strains of canine flu — the most common, H3N2, has been circulating in the US for a couple of years. A rarer and more severe form of the virus, H3N8, was first observed among a group of racing greyhounds at a track in Florida in 2004.

The first recognized US outbreak of H3N2 dog flu occurred in Chicago in 2015 and spread to several other Midwestern states.

At least four cases of that strain in dogs have been confirmed via blood test over the last month in California alone, Shadi Ireifej, a veterinarian at United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital in Campbell, California, told SF Gate. Still, many pet owners opt out of the blood test due to cost, so the actual number of cases could be higher.

Outbreaks are generally more common in in situations where dogs are kept in close quarters, such as in shelters or boarding facilities, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

When to see the vet

Symptoms of canine flu can linger for a few days or last as long as a week. In some rare situations, the virus can be fatal, but this usually only occurs in severe cases or as a result of another infection that develops.

If you suspect your dog might have a severe case, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine advises calling your pet's veterinarian before taking them in for treatment.

Keep in mind that if your dog is sick, he or she could still be contagious after the symptoms disappear. If your pooch gets the flu, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests staying away from other pups for at least three weeks.

SEE ALSO: I tested my dog's DNA and learned she's not even close to the breed I thought

Join the conversation about this story »

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Only 17 US cities are left in the running for Amazon's HQ2 — here are the ones in most dire need of Amazon's 50,000 jobs


Jeff Bezos Amazon

  • Amazon is expanding from Seattle and has narrowed the list of places it is considering for its second headquarters to 20 places.
  • Amazon's HQ2 is likely to have a great economic impact on the chosen city, potentially lowering unemployment and increasing average wages.
  • Business Insider compiled economic data for the 17 American cities on the Amazon HQ2 shortlist.


Amazon revealed the 20 locations on the shortlist for the tech giant's second headquarters — known as HQ2 — on Thursday.

The first headquarters has served as a huge driver of Seattle's economic growth since it set up shop there, and it's likely that the city chosen for Amazon HQ2 will face the same fate.

Of the 20 locations still under consideration, 17 are American cities. One non-American city — Toronto, Canada — remains in the running. Two other areas — Montgomery County, Maryland and Northern Virginia — are broad areas instead of cities. Both of those locations are within proximity of Washington, DC, which is also a finalist.

The winning city is promised a $5 billion investment and as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs for well-educated employees.

With a massive number of jobs to fill, selecting a city with high unemployment and underemployment rates may indicate that workers will be willing and able to work at HQ2.

We took a look at key economic indicators for the 17 American cities on the HQ2 shortlist, including unemployment and underemployment rates, median salary, percentage of college-educated adults, and recent GDP growth.

Unemployment data is as of November 2017 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which measures the percentage of people in the workforce within a metropolitan area without a job. WalletHub provided the data on underemployment rates and median annual income. The percentage of college educated people in each city is from the 2010 Census. And the Bureau of Economic Analysis measured each city's GDP growth for 2016.

To see how much each of the 17 US cities could benefit from 50,000 new jobs, we ordered them from lowest to highest unemployment rate.

SEE ALSO: Before and after photos show how Amazon has completely transformed Seattle in a decade

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Nashville, Tennessee

Unemployment rate: 2.6%

Underemployment rate: 1.8%

Median salary: $52,242

College educated: 29.7%

GDP growth: 3.4%

Austin, Texas

Unemployment rate: 2.7%

Underemployment rate: 3.4%

Median salary: $63,019

College educated: 39.4%

GDP growth: 4.9%

Denver, Colorado

Unemployment rate: 2.8%

Underemployment rate: 8.5%

Median salary: $50,958

College educated: 38.2%

GDP growth: 2.4%

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This apparel startup fixed the worst part of shopping for clothes in stores — and it could defy retail's curse


reformation clothing store 2928

Reformation, the "coolgirl's" clothing company with stores in New York and Los Angeles, is expanding into brick-and-mortar at a time when retail brands are closing stores across America.

And the startup is crushing it. Reformation closed out 2017 with an estimated revenue just over $100 million — a fraction of what legacy brand J.Crew pulls in a year, but a feat for a lesser-known upstart. It also raised $25 million in a Series B funding round led by Stripes Group, and grew an A-list cult following that includes Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and model Karlie Kloss.

Founded in 2009, Reformation was born with a rebellious spirit and a lofty ambition: to make edgy, sexy, and feminine apparel using sustainable methods and materials, while saving retail from its doom. The startup uses tech to make shopping in stores more like shopping online.

Its crowning achievement is the fitting room. Typically, mall shoppers grab the items they like in the sizes they need and retreat to the back of the store. At Reformation, there's only one of each item on display. Shoppers add an item to their fitting room by requesting it on a monitor or asking an employee to scan the barcode. The clothes await them in a "magic" wardrobe.

The fitting rooms are outfitted with phone chargers, speakers, and buttons that let shoppers change the lighting to a more flattering color temperature. 

Reformation has eight stores across New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Dallas, and is eyeing an expansion to Chicago and Washington, DC. Yael Aflalo, CEO of Reformation, confirmed to Business Insider that the company is also working on a plus-sized clothing line.

According to Aflalo, the company is only getting started. "Our goal is to bring sustainable fashion to everyone, and every year we work toward that goal," Aflalo said.

Here's what it's like to shop at Reformation.

SEE ALSO: A preppy apparel startup is defying J. Crew's curse and dominating the millennial market

I'm a mall shopper. I like to try things on. Still, I didn't know what to expect from Reformation. "You just have to go to a store," founder Yael Aflalo told me.

The San Francisco store was brightly lit and spacious, with a dozen clothing racks lined up.

Along the walls, touchscreen displays flashed cheeky copy. "I like to be touched," they said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Obamas celebrated Michelle's birthday at a trendy restaurant that the average American can't even go to yet — here's what it's like


rake's progress

  • The Obamas celebrated Michelle's birthday at A Rake's Progress, a trendy restaurant in Washington, DC.
  • A Rake's Progress isn't even open to the public yet — but it's one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year.
  • Here's what we know about the buzzy restaurant so far.

Being the former president of the United States has some culinary perks.

Barack and Michelle Obama celebrated the former first lady's birthday at At Rake's Progress on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported. The restaurant, from the James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde, is in the Line Hotel — and isn't even open to the public yet.

A few people, however, have managed to visit before its opening on January 29. A Rake's Progress started offering previews in December.

Here's everything we know about A Rake's Progress before its official opening date.

SEE ALSO: Paula Deen is attempting a comeback with a new cooking show — here are the scandalous moments that ruined her career

A Rake's Progress has been a long time coming.

In 2016, news broke that Gjerde would open A Rake's Progress, A Rake's Bar, and The Cup We All Race 4 — all in the coming Line hotel in Washington, DC.

Gjerde was already a Baltimore culinary legend known for his obsession with locally sourced food.

Source: Eater

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The first app to get approved as birth-control is under fire after dozens of women got pregnant — but the founder isn't surprised


Natural Cycles founders Dr Elina Berglund and Dr Raoul Schewitzl

  • Birth control app Natural Cycles is under fire in Sweden after 37 women reported getting pregnant while using the app as contraception.
  • Södersjukhuset hospital in Stockholm reported the cases to the national medical device regulator, who has begun an investigation.
  • The app uses an algorithm to tell women when they have the highest and lowest chances of getting pregnant, but ultimately, it relies on men and women changing their behavior.

The birth-control app Natural Cycles has come under fire in Sweden after 37 women reported getting pregnant while using it.

The app, designed by physicist couple Elina Berglund and Raoul Scherwitzl, was the world's first to get approval in Europe as a contraceptive. It takes into account many factors involved in fertility, including woman's temperature, the regularity of her periods, and sperm survival, then suggests which days to have or refrain from sex to avoid pregnancy.

"We give red and green days and clear recommendations on which days to abstain and which days we consider the risk of pregnancy to be negligible," Natural Cycles co-founder Scherwitzl told Business Insider.

brooke lark 194254

The app was initially portrayed by multiple news outlets — including Business Insider — as "as effective as the pill using only math," but the problem is that it relies on couples to change their behavior and abstain from sex or use protection when the app says to do so.

A spokesperson for the Sweden's Medical Products Agency told Business Insider's Shona Ghosh that they've launched an investigation into the complaints.

Scherwitzl told Business Insider that the reports coming out of Sweden don't surprise him, however, because the app is not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.

"Just like with the pill you have scenarios where women take the pill everyday" and it's as reliable as possible and "scenarios where they don't take it every day" and the reliability decreases, said Scherwitzl.

That said, the app is not a pill and contains no medication. It only helps to prevent pregnancy so long as the people who are using it behave in the way it prescribes. That means avoiding sex or using protection on specific days every month, taking temperature measurements every day, and being able to accurately track the regularity of your periods.

These requirements put Natural Cycles in a larger category of birth control known as fertility awareness— otherwise known as using a calendar.

Still, if it is used properly, the app may be more effective than the pill, one clinical study published by the company's founders suggests. For that study, published in the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, researchers looked at more than 4,000 women between the ages of 18 and 45.

For every 100 women who used the app in a "typical" way each year (meaning certain common slip-ups were accounted for), seven of them got pregnant.

That's a smaller number than the "typical use" scenario for the pill, which leads to about nine out of 100 women getting pregnant each year. It's also lower than traditional fertility-based awareness methods like the calendar method, which have an average fail rate of 24%, according to the CDC.

But that's still more pregnancies than would be seen when using injectable birth control or an IUD. The typical use fail rate for an IUD is 0.2-0.8%, or less than one out of 100 women getting pregnant each year.

The same study came to another surprising conclusion, however: more than half of the women who got pregnant while using the app had unprotected sex with men on the days when the app advised against it.

"While smartphone apps may provide encouragement, they can't stop [men and women] from wanting to have sex altogether," Susan Walker, a professor of sexual health at Anglia Ruskin University, wrote in an article for The Conversation.

That's just one of a handful of factors that can get in the way of the app working correctly, including having multiple sex partners or a partner who is not equally committed to birth control.

So if you're planning on using the app — or one of the dozens like it that have not been approved as medical devices — experts say you should have a predictable sex schedule, regular periods, the willingness to check your temperature every day, and the time and ability to abstain from sexual activity on certain consecutive days every month. If you can do that, the app could work for you.

"In the end, what we want to do is add a new method of contraception that women can choose from without side effects," Scherwitzl said. "I think there are many women who this will be great for."

SEE ALSO: There's even more evidence that one type of exercise is the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have

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The incredible career of Jeff Bezos' wife MacKenzie, an acclaimed writer who quit her job to support her husband and is now half of the richest couple in the world


Amazon Jeff Bezos wife MacKenzie Bezos

• MacKenzie Bezos, the wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is an award-winning novelist.

• She's had literary ambitions since she was six years old.

• Bezos is now the author of two novels, "The Testing of Luther Albright" and "Traps."

When Jeff Bezos told his wife MacKenzie about his idea for a new company, she was immediately on board.

Bezos traveled with her husband to Seattle, where she worked for the fledgling Amazon as an accountant.

The move was a bit of a departure for the Princeton grad, who had long dreamed of becoming a writer. But she was eager to support her husband.

"To me, watching your spouse, somebody that you love, have an adventure — what is better than that?" MacKenzie said during an interview with CBS.

Since the early days of Amazon, Bezos has gone on to pursue her literary dreams, publishing two novels, "The Testing of Luther Albright" in 2005 and "Traps" in 2013.

Here's a look at the career of award-winning novelist MacKenzie Bezos:

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

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MacKenzie grew up in San Francisco. She told Vogue she was a shy child who would often stay in her bedroom writing "elaborate stories."

Source: Vogue

She authored her first book — "The Book Worm" — at the age of six. The handwritten, 142-page novel was later lost in a flood, according to her Amazon author bio.

Source: Amazon

After high school, MacKenzie attended Hotchkiss, then transferred to Princeton in order to study fiction with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.

Source: Vogue

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There are 6 surprising things everyone always gets wrong about American millionaires


wealthy millionaires smiling cruise

The habits and tastes of millionaires are fascinating to those of us with less-than-seven figure bank accounts.

According to a report on American millionaires by Wealth Engine, about 7% of the US adult population has a net worth greater than $1 million.

Below, we've highlighted some interesting facts about rich Americans that may surprise you, from the type of car they drive to their political affiliations.

SEE ALSO: According to one estimate, wealthy couples in NYC need $190 million to keep their heads above water

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They're not all filthy rich. In fact, 95% have a net worth between $1 million and $5 million.

More rich Americans identify as Democrat (58%) than Republican (38%).

They don't only drive luxury cars. Ford is the second most popular car brand behind Mercedes and ahead of BMW.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There are 3 distinct types of narcissists — here's how to spot them


two eye

  • Narcissistic personality disorder is one diagnosis, but there are three distinct types of narcissists.
  • People with the disorder are categorized based on how they act and treat others.
  • Some experts say that identifying a person's type of narcissism can make relationships with them possible, but others say it's best to stay well clear.

To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, someone needs to express five of nine specific traits. People with the disorder are often characterized as having a lack of empathy, a grandiose view of themselves, and a need for admiration.

Though many follow similar patterns, such as love bombing their partners, gaslighting people, and discarding those they no longer have a use for, they can also behave very differently.

Many psychiatrists and therapists separate narcissists into three categories based on their actions: exhibitionist, closet, and toxic.

According to Elinor Greenberg, a therapist who wrote the book "Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety," a person's form of narcissism can depend on their upbringing.

Exhibitionist narcissists represent the stereotype

For example, exhibitionist — or grandiose — narcissists have the "look at me" mindset children often have.

Children generally can't conceive of their parents' problems, "so they don't have empathy that way," Greenberg said. "If you go through the stage with sufficient attention, then you grow out of it and get satisfied, and it's over."

But some people, she said, grow up in homes where children are encouraged to be narcissistic — for example, they may be told their family name makes them special and that they deserve success because it's "in your blood."

The exhibitionist is the stereotypical idea of a narcissist, said Shannon Thomas, a licensed clinical social worker who wrote "Healing from Hidden Abuse."

"They think they're amazing — they think themselves to be smarter, better-looking, more powerful than other people, and they pretty much believe it," she told Business Insider. "Even with their friends and peers, they believe themselves to be one step up."

Exhibitionist narcissists don't tend to be insecure, Thomas said. When they aren't bragging about themselves, they're putting down everyone else. They are often carelessly rude and cruel about people and tend to ignore or not even notice how others react to it.

Closet narcissists have different personas

Some people with narcissistic personality disorder may have grown up with another narcissist in the family competing with or discouraging them, Greenberg said, and they may give approval only when they are worshipped.

Closet — or covert — narcissists want to be special but are conflicted about it. Like exhibitionists, closet narcissists also feel incredibly entitled, but they are also much more insecure.

"A closet narcissist doesn't say, 'I am special,'" Greenberg said. "They point to something else — a person, a religion, a book, a dress designer — and they are special, so they feel special by association."

She added: "When someone feels special because they have a designer thing on and other people can tell, that's special by association. For closet narcissists, they usually have self-doubt, and they are looking for the person they can idealize."

They also tend to behave in a much more passive-aggressive way. For instance, they are likely to set their romantic partners up for frustration all the time. They may say they will do something but not do it, then get a kick out of other people's reactions.

"They do what they want to do when they want to do it," Thomas said. "And then they make themselves look like the victim."

Constantly saying one thing and doing another can make people close to a closet narcissist feel gaslighted, where they start to question reality and feel as if they're going crazy. The closet narcissist may start blaming their partner for things they didn't do, but the partner can end up believing it because their sense of the world has become so warped.

Whereas exhibitionist narcissists' behavior is fairly consistent, closet narcissists have different personas. They tend to act differently in certain situations — they may be charismatic and kind in public but abusive and cruel when they are with just their partner, who may feel even more confused.

Toxic narcissists crave chaos and destruction

Toxic — or malignant — narcissists take it a step further. Not only do they want the attention, but they also want everyone else to feel inferior. They tend to be sadistic and enjoy hurting other people, thriving on their fear.

"The toxic narcissist is like the evil queen in 'Snow White,'" Greenberg said. "When the mirror says Snow White is prettier than her, she decides to kill Snow White and keep her heart in a box."

Toxic narcissists find it entertaining to set people up and watch them fall, something Thomas calls an extra layer of sadistic behavior.

"It's bordering on that antisocial personality disorder coming out of narcissistic personality," she said. "Folks who are perfectly fine destroying careers of other people, basically fine with just imploding people emotionally, physically, and spiritually."

There tends to be a lot of chaos around a toxic narcissist, Thomas said, because they enjoy it and thrive on feeling that they have created havoc for someone else.

"Harmony is not their goal," she said. "We're worn out by it, but they actually gain energy through it. That's why we see them spinning different issues and different dramas with people. They always say, 'I hate drama,' but they're in the center of it every time."

Relationships with narcissists can be risky

People with narcissistic personality disorder lack object constancy, meaning that, for example, when they are angry with a partner, they can't see that in the context of the relationship and tend to display only hatred or a desire to hurt the partner.

This can make relationships with narcissists — whether romantic, familial, or professional — very draining.

Greenberg says it may be possible to maintain a relationship with a narcissist if you identify their type and how they function. Many relationship experts, however, say it's best to stay away altogether.

In the long run, it's your decision, but it's worth reading beforehand about what you may be getting yourself into.

SEE ALSO: The opposite of a narcissist is called an 'empath'— here are the signs you could be one

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A photographer who has visited 91 countries with only hand luggage reveals the 8 things that make it possible


woman with suitcase

  • Travelling hand-luggage-only saves time at the airport and money when booking.
  • A travel photographer who has visited 91 countries with just a carry-on says there are 8 things that make it possible.
  • Her tips include packing lightweight items of clothing that you can layer — and bringing snacks.

Travelling hand-luggage-only is simply a superior way to travel.

You don't have to worry about checking in hours before your flight, or hanging around when you land for the luggage carousel to spurt out your bags — and it usually saves you a little bit of money, too.

Photographer Jill Paider has become somewhat of an expert on travelling with nothing but a cabin bag. Among the 102 countries she's visited, Paider took nothing but hand luggage to 91 of them.

She knows so much about packing the perfect carry-on that's she's written a whole book about it.

Paider spoke to the Evening Standard and revealed how she makes it possible to travel so light, so often.

Here are her 8 tips for making the most of your carry-on's capacity:

  1. Wear your thickest layers on the journey.
  2. Bring a maximum of two pairs of shoes — both of which should be comfortable for prolonged periods.
  3. Focus on stylish outerwear and more simple underlayers.
  4. Invest in a travel-size beauty regimen.
  5. Launder your clothes at the hotel so you can re-wear them.
  6. Layer lightweight clothes for added warmth when needed.
  7. Give preference to low-density, light clothes that won't wrinkle.
  8. Don't forget your creature comforts (music, teas, chocolates, snacks, etc.)

Clothing wise, Paider said that "Everything must be washable, wrinkle-free and ideally something that can be worn in more than one way.

"I also find it helpful to focus on items that can be layered, so that I can change up my look easily," she added.

And as far as the age-old question of whether to fold or roll your clothes?

"Definitely roll," Paider said. "Choosing low density, low-weight items that won't wrinkle is also key, particularly if your carry-on is quite full."

SEE ALSO: The most punctual airline in the world is one you’ve probably never heard of

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A Norwegian plane flew from New York to London in 5 hours 13 minutes — the fastest subsonic commercial transatlantic flight ever


Norwegian record breaking aircraft

  • Norwegian just broke a record for fastest subsonic commercial transatlantic flight.
  • Its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flew from New York JFK to London Gatwick in 5 hours 13 minutes.
  • The record came one day after another pilot completed the same flight in 5 hours 20 minutes.

Norwegian — the low-cost airline that has made headlines for launching the world's longest low-cost flight— is making headlines again.

A Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner departing from New York JFK reached London Gatwick in 5 hours 13 minutes on Monday — the fastest subsonic transatlantic flight recorded on a commercial aircraft. It beat the previous record of 5 hours 16 minutes.

There were 284 passengers on board, who, after leaving New York at 11.44 a.m. ET, were probably pretty happy to arrive in London at 9.57 p.m. GMT — 53 minutes ahead of schedule. Strong tailwinds over the Atlantic Ocean pushed the aircraft to a top speed of 776 mph during the flight.

Though impressive, the flight time was nowhere near rivaling transatlantic crossings made by Concorde when the supersonic aircraft was in service. The fastest Concorde flight from New York to London happened on February 7, 1996, when it crossed the pond in just shy of 2 hours 53 minutes, according to British Airways.

The Norwegian captain, Harold van Dam (pictured below), said: "We were actually in the air for just over five hours and if it had not been for forecasted turbulence at lower altitude, we could have flown even faster."

Harold van Dam

He added: "The 787 Dreamliner is a pleasure to fly and it’s a great feeling to know that we have set a new record in this aircraft."

The airline uses that same aircraft on its two daily flights between London and New York. The day before, Gatwick-based captain Pascal Niewold recorded his fastest-ever transatlantic flight: New York to London in 5 hours 20 minutes.

Niewold said: "The passengers and crew were very pleasantly surprised that we were already landing in London. It was a very smooth flight with almost no turbulence and as a result of the jet stream we arrived 25 minutes early."


SEE ALSO: Norwegian has launched the world's longest low-cost flight — and it'll get you to Singapore for less than £150

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The Pope married two flight attendants in an impromptu midair wedding


pope on plane  crop

  • Pope Francis married two flight attendants on a papal flight from Santiago to Iquique, Chile on January 18.
  • Carlo Ciuffardi Elorriga and Paula Podest Ruiz had a civil marriage already.
  • But they missed the religious service because of an earthquake in 2010.
  • A video of the shell-shocked and excited couple emerged of them telling journalists how the story unfolded.

Pope Francis married two airline employees in an impromptu midair wedding during a flight from Santiago to Iquique, Chile.

Carlo Ciuffardi Elorriga and Paula Podest Ruiz, who work for the airline Latam, were doing a shift as cabin crew when the unplanned ceremony took place.

It began when Francis found out that they had been married in a civil ceremony in 2010, but could not go through with their religious ceremony because a 2010 earthquake had damaged the site of their planned ceremony in Santiago.

In a video Elorriga and Ruiz pose for photos, and the surprised groom begins to excitedly tell journalists the story of how it happened.

flight attendant

"The pope married us, the pope married us," he said. "He took my hands and said if you want to marry I can marry you."

"We told him that we are husband and wife. That we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing. All of a sudden he asked us if we were married by the church too.

"We couldn't get married by the church because the day we were supposed to get married (in the religious ceremony) it was the earthquake of 2010. It was a Saturday."

"He liked us and he asked do you want me to marry you?"

Don Ignacio Cueto, chairman of Latam airlines, stood in as the couple's witness.

happy couple

"We had a short and small ceremony," Elorriga told journalists with his wife Ruiz by his side. "He took our hands and he asked if there was love in our marriage and if we want to keep on being together all lifelong. I am getting emotional as I say it. It is not easy. We said yes."

The couple said that they met at work years ago, when Ruiz was his boss.

"I am still his boss," she said.

The smiling, shell-shocked couple then kissed for the cameras.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed that the pope had married the couple in a religious ceremony.

"Something totally extraordinary happened today which was that the hostesses and the stewards going to get their photos taken and one said 'we are a couple, we met on a plane eight years ago.'

"That's all they said, and I said, oh that's interesting. And as they walked back said that the Pope married them in a religious ceremony.

He added that it was something that has "never happened on a papal plane before."

"They were super happy. The first time the Pope heard about it was this morning too, it's not like it was part of the plan."

And they’ve even got a hand-written official document to prove it.

SEE ALSO: A flight attendant says 'nobody cares' if you actually turn off your phone on a plane — and reveals the disgusting reason you should never drink coffee in the air

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London lit up by Lumiere festival — over 50 glowing installations take over the city

  • London has just opened a new light-themed art festival.
  • It's called Lumiere London.
  • Entry is completely free. 
  • It takes place from the 18th to the 21st of January.


London's dark winter nights will shine a little brighter starting Thursday (January 18), as a nighttime art exhibition featuring a range of publicly displayed works that use light as a medium gets underway.

Lumiere London features over 50 works by British and overseas artists, located in public spaces, buildings and on the streets. The artists who have created works include Tracey Emin, Alaa Minawi, Julian Opie and Miguel Chevalier.

The works themselves comprise range of installations, including a giant desk lamp in King's Cross, a triangular tunnel of light on the South Bank and one of London's iconic telephone boxes turned into an illuminated fish tank in Seven Dials.

Lumiere London runs Jan. 18-21, and is free to view.

Produced by Jasper Pickering

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The $9 billion reason you should never show up to work sick


2018 flu season sick work illness

The flu is widespread in 49 US states right now, Business Insider's Hilary Brueck reports, and CDC officials say the 2018 flu season "is proving particularly difficult."

The CDC reports that across the country, hospitals are seeing roughly twice the typical baseline of patients with flu-like symptoms, Brueck reports. And the 2017 flu shot isn't working very well against one of the most common strains of the virus.

What's more, global outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. estimates that the flu could cost employers more than $9.4 billion in lost productivity.

To calculate this cost, Challenger factored in the number of illnesses for adults during the previous flu season, the current employment to population ratio of 60.1%, and the average hourly wage, allowing for four sick days for each employee to recover from the flu. 

So what can you do to help stop the spread of flu?

Don't go to work when you're sick. In fact, the CDC recommends that if you have flu symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Flu symptoms typically include (but you may not have all of them) fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

Stay home and recover. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. The only exceptions are to get medical care or other necessities.

If you haven't gotten sick yet, get vaccinated anyway. According to the CDC, antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses. So even though the 2017 flu shot isn't working very well against what is most commonly going around right now, it can still provide some protection against the flu.

Spreading the flu to your coworkers comes at a high cost for businesses, so it's also up to employers to discourage people from coming into work sick.

More than a quarter of American workers admit to having gone to work while sick, and employees are incentivized to tough it out for a number of reasons, including fear of penalization, an overwhelming workload, lost wages, or fear of losing their job.

According to one CDC study, workers miss out on about $6.2 billion a year in wages thanks to lost productivity from illness. 

Offering paid sick leave (and being clear about how people can use it) is one key way to help mitigate these fears.

A recent study out of Florida Atlantic University found that, unsurprisingly, US workers without paid sick leave are more likely than those with paid sick leave to keep going to work when they're ill.

Those who get paid for sick days are more likely to "self-quarantine when necessary, without the worries of losing their job or income, while also not spreading illness to others," said lead study author LeaAnne DeRigne.

SEE ALSO: This year's deadly flu season is reaching its peak — here's how to tell if you're contagious

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Sleeping in at the weekend might actually be good for you, according to a new study


sleep commute

  • Many of us don't get enough sleep during the week, and then try to make up for it at the weekend with a lie-in.
  • Sleep scientists generally don't advise people do this, as sleep is "not like the bank."
  • However, a new study has shown that making up for lost sleep at the weekend might not be such a bad idea if you really need it.

It's no secret that unpleasant things happen when we don't get enough sleep. On the surface it can make us more irritable, but it can also have long term affects like an increased risk of dementia.

Unfortunately, many of us don't get the sleep we need due to work, social commitments, or behaviours like binge-watching our favourite shows. This means a lot of us are guilty of the weekend lie-in.

Previous research has revealed how trying to play catch-up with our sleep is a pretty bad idea. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker put it this way:

"Sleep is not like the bank. You can't accumulate a debt and pay it off at a later point in time. If I were to deprive you of sleep an entire night, and then in a subsequent night give you all the sleep you want, you never get back all that you've lost. You will sleep longer, but you will never achieve that full eight-hour repayment. The brain has no capacity to get back that lost sleep."

The odd lie-in might be okay

However, new research contradicts this belief of many sleep scientists, and has shown you might be able to make up for lousy sleep with the odd lie-in. The study from Stockholm University, published in the journal Sleep, looked at the sleeping habits and overall health of 43,000 people.

The results showed that people who slept less than five hours a night, or more than 8 hours a night, had much higher rates of mortality than those who slept more. Overall, it was the average amount of sleep somebody got that seemed to make a difference.

Torbjörn Åkerstedt, a biological psychology professor at the Center for Stress Research at Stockholm University, and lead author of the study, said this seems to show that if you suffer from bad sleep over the week, and make up for it at the weekend, you might be doing your body a favour.

"It seems like you actually can compensate by catching up on sleep during weekends," Åkerstedt said. "This is in effect an argument for lazing around all weekend. There probably is an upper limit, but it's anyway better to increase [sleep hours] on the weekend rather than not doing it at all."

One reason we feel groggy and tired during the week is that we are out of sync with our circadian rhythms, otherwise known as the body clock. If we are on a regular schedule, our hormones make us tired when it's time to go to bed, and wake us up again in the morning.

Work schedules can lead to 'social jetlag'

"The body clock thrives off routine — the more regular you are, the better it is really," Elise Facer-Childs, a doctoral researcher specialising in sleep at the University of Birmingham, told Business Insider when she was interviewed about partners having different body clocks.

She explained something called "social jetlag," which is the misalignment between social and biological time, and how we keep chopping and changing out schedules depending on what day it is.

"A lot of our society suffers from social jetlag because we follow a certain schedule during the week for work, and then we follow a different schedule at the weekend because we're either having a lie in or going out for social activities," she said.

"If you get up at 6 o'clock for work during the week, and then at the weekend you sleep in until 10, that's a four-hour time difference. So for your body, it is like every Friday you jump on a plane and you fly to Dubai, which is a four-hour time zone change, and every Sunday you fly back. That's the sort of social jetlag that's happening to your body, but people just don't see it like that."

Our bodies like routine

It is very easy to stay up too late, or snooze our alarms. Even the slightest adjustment can make us fall out of whack, like when the clocks change in spring and autumn. Making up for lost sleep at the weekends is probably better than doing nothing at all, but the best thing is to keep to a schedule whenever you can.

"There does have to be a balance, because we do get up early during the week, and then that causes an accumulation of sleep debt, so were not sleeping enough during the week," Facer-Childs said. "So it's difficult to get the balance between keeping a regular schedule and catching up on some much needed sleep.

"I'd say the best thing to do is to try and keep a regular schedule, but that means getting up early during the week but not going to bed late."

The new study doesn't recommend always lying in at the weekend, as results also suggested too much sleep can increase the risk of death too. But if you've had a long week, and you really feel like your body could do with the extra rest, don't feel too guilty about it.

SEE ALSO: You might be better at sports at certain times of day thanks to your biological clock

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Here's what happens if the government shuts down tonight


government shutdown lincoln memorial

  • Congress has until the end of Friday to pass a bill to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government, and a bill's passage does not look promising.
  • In the event of a shutdown, essential services would remain functional while nonessential services like National Parks would close.
  • Employees for non-essential services would be out on furlough, meaning they are locked out of work and receive no pay.

When the clock strikes midnight and January 19 turns into January 20, the federal government will officially run out of funding appropriations and enter a partial government shutdown.

While Congress has just under two days to avoid this fate, the negotiations over a funding bill are not looking too good.

So what exactly does that mean? Here's a rundown of all the biggest changes if the federal government shuts down.

What it means for federal programs

When the government enters a shutdown, it is technically only a partial shutdown as all essential government services remain open.

This means services like Social Security checks still go out and public safety operations continue.

Other federal programs and branches do close during a shutdown. For instance, all national parks are closed and Medicare cannot accept new applicants.

These closures have serious consequences. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFRB), during the 2013 shutdown the parks lost out on an estimated $500 million in revenue. During the 1996 shutdown, as many as 10,000 possible Medicare recipients were turned away every day.

Other programs that are affected, according to the CFRB, are:

  • Site inspections by the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration. These inspections are done for "sites that included hazardous waste, drinking water, and chemical facilities."
  •  The Internal Revenue Service can't do Social Security number or income verifications, possible delaying things like loan applications. Additionally, any tax refunds outstanding would be delayed. Given the IRS's scramble to manage the new GOP tax law, a shutdown would be especially damaging.
  • The National Institute of Health would stop funding grants for research and the Department of Health and Human Services would stop sending welfare assistance to states.

What it means for federal employees

In many branches of government, most employees will still show up since they work for essential services.

For instance, in their 2015 shutdown preparation plan, the Department of Homeland Security said that 42,593 of the Coast Guard's 49,304 on-board employees would remain on the job. For the Secret Service, 5,785 of the agency's 6,507 employees were exempt from the shutdown that year.

Those employees who are affected are sent on what is called furlough — essentially a temporary lock-out from their jobs. During that time, employees do not receive paychecks and are not allowed to do any work. According to the CFRB, during the 2013 shutdown, around 850,000 of the 2.1 million federal employees that are not postal workers were placed on furlough.

Additionally, these employees are not technically entitled to back pay to make up for the work they are forced to miss. Typically, though, Congress passes legislation to fund back pay.

Historical precedent

If no deal is reached by Friday, it wouldn't be the first time the government entered a shutdown — but it would have some unique characteristics.

Since the budget process was overhauled in 1974, there have been 18 government shutdowns. Most of these shutdowns were short-lived. Of the eight shutdowns during Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s, none lasted more than three days.

The longest shutdowns were the past two — a 21-day shutdown from December 1995 to January 1996 and an 18-day shutdown from September to October 2013.

Employees being placed on furlough is also a less-common occurrence, with only seven of the 18 shutdowns resulting in furlough. This was a more common practice in recent times, with all four shutdowns since 1990 resulting in furlough.

One thing that is unique to this shutdown fight, however, is the party control of Congress and the White House. Republicans hold both chambers of the legislative branch as well as the presidency, which typically helps the government avoid a shutdown.

This would be the first time that the government shut down under one-party control since the aforementioned 1979 shutdown under former President Jimmy Carter.

What's different this time around is that the government shutdown would include the employee furlough and disrupt many more operations than the funding lapses in the 1970s. In fact, it would be the first shutdown under single-party control to have employees threatened with furlough.

While this makes the shutdown politically ugly for the GOP, and in turn less likely, there's a first time for everything.

SEE ALSO: The Republican plan to avoid a government shutdown is on the verge of failure

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Terry Crews explains how going public with his allegation of sexual assault changed him as a businessman


Terry Crews Kevin WInter Getty final

  • Terry Crews said it's a "good thing" he went public with his allegation that he was groped by a Hollywood executive because it showed him who his real friends were in Hollywood.
  • The actor said if he had stayed quiet, "I would have gone for years thinking these people had my back."

Since the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein broke in October, many others have spoken out in Hollywood about being sexually harassed or assaulted, sparking the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.

And though many of those who have spoken out are women, men have as well. The first prominent man in Hollywood to come forward was unexpected: Terry Crews.

"I found out who my friends really were through this thing," Crews told Business Insider in a recent interview while reflecting on his experience.

The 6'3", 245-pound former NFL player, who gained stardom for his memorable comedic work in movies like "White Chicks," "Idiocracy," and on Fox's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," said in a series of tweets last year that a Hollywood executive groped him at a party in 2016.

In subsequent interviews, Crews revealed that the exec was Adam Venit, head of the motion picture department at the talent agency William Morris Endeavor, the same agency that represented Crews (the actor has since left WME). Crews also filed a report with the LAPD, alleging Venit sexually assaulted him. 

Adam VenitAfter a one-month suspension, Venit returned to WME and was demoted.

By coming forward, Crews showed the world that issues of Hollywood sexual misconduct could affect men as well, and when Time magazine revealed its Person of the Year issue would be the "Silence Breakers," Crews was one of the people highlighted.

Looking back now on what he went through, Crews said it was "a good thing" because it revealed who was really in his corner.

"There were a lot of people that I thought were behind me and weren't," Crews told Business Insider. "I didn't cry in my bed, 'Oh, I've been betrayed,' as a businessman the difficult times revealed who was there for me and who wasn't."

Crews didn't just leave the agency he thought for years had his back (he's now with UTA), the actor also had to question those in the industry he looked up to.

Entrepreneur/producer Russell Simmons contacted Crews asking that he give Venit a pass. Crews posted a screenshot of the email on Twitter and told Simmons (who has since been fighting numerous sexual misconduct allegations of his own) in the tweet, "No one gets a pass."

"I'm thankful," Crews continued, "because I would have gone for years thinking these people had my back. I would have just kept going. Sometimes you don't see until something weird happens, and it doesn't get weirder than what happened to me."

SEE ALSO: How Terry Crews went from sweeping floors after quitting the NFL to becoming a transcendent pitchman and huge TV star

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Delta is cracking down on people who use fake emotional-support animals to let their pets fly for free (DAL)



  • Delta Air Lines is adopting stricter regulations for people who travel with service animals or emotional-support animals.
  • The airline says the new rules are in response to a rise in safety incidents involving untrained or improperly trained animals.
  • The stricter standards are designed to prevent people from using the airline's allowance of emotional-support animals to let their pets fly for free.

Delta Air Lines is adopting tighter regulations for passengers who travel with service animals or emotional-support animals.

Delta says the move is in response to an 84% increase since 2016 in incidents involving untrained or poorly trained animals, including incidents of animals urinating, defecating, or biting passengers or crew members — and one in which a passenger was mauled by an emotional-support dog.

"The rise in serious incidents involving animals in flight leads us to believe that the lack of regulation in both health and training screening for these animals is creating unsafe conditions across US air travel," John Laughter, Delta's senior vice president for corporate safety, security, and compliance, said in a statement.

Beginning March 1, Delta will require all customers traveling with service animals to show proof of health or vaccinations for the animal 48 hours before flying.

Passengers traveling with emotional- or psychological-support animals must adhere to even stricter standards: In addition to health or vaccination records, Delta will require a signed letter from a doctor or mental health professional and a signed document confirming an animal can behave during a flight.

Delta says this is to prevent untrained animals from becoming a danger to passengers, crew members, and properly trained service animals in the cabin.

Service animals, which are trained to perform specific tasks to help people with disabilities, and emotional-support animals, which are companions that a professional has determined benefits a person with a disability, fly for free.

But because there are virtually no federal regulations governing emotional-support animals on commercial flights, people could, in theory, get their pets to fly free of charge by claiming they're emotional-support animals.

Delta's stricter guidelines are designed to help close that loophole and allow the airline to concentrate on customers with a legitimate need for these animals.

Delta says passengers have attempted to claim turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, and even spiders as comfort animals.

The airline says it will not allow hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, gliding possums, reptiles, amphibians, goats, non-household fowl (farm poultry, game birds, birds of prey, waterfowls), animals with horns, tusks, or hooves, and animals that are improperly cleaned or emit an odor.

SEE ALSO: Delta's CEO says the nastiest rivalry in the airline industry is more complex than people think

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I'm from the Boston area — here's why I think it's the last place Amazon should build HQ2


boston amazon hq2 bid 1

  • Amazon is considering Boston as a home for its second headquarters, HQ2.
  • Boston may seem like a great choice, with its highly educated labor pool, nearby universities,d irect access to public transit, and vibrant urban center.
  • But HQ2 could exacerbate a serious housing shortage in Boston, making the benefits of hosting Amazon not worth the cost to its residents.


Boston was just named a finalist for Amazon's much-desired second headquarters.

As a native of the Greater Boston area, I think it's a terrible idea.

A shortlist of the 20 cities that Amazon is considering for HQ2 was released on Thursday, and among the contenders were cities big and small: New York, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and Austin. Boston was the only New England city to make the cut, though not for a shortage of bids.

The future HQ2 will bring a $5 billion investment and 50,000 high-paying jobs to the winning city. But if Amazon decides to build in Boston, it would be a missed opportunity to shape a different city and region. Boston already has a booming tech industry, one of the lowest rates of unemployment on Amazon's shortlist, and a housing shortage that would only be exacerbated by an influx of new people.

In other words, Boston is fine without Amazon's HQ2.

Boston is an obvious pick

boston amazon hq2 bid 2

News outlets and analysts have long predicted that Boston will be a top contender in Amazon's competition. Business Insider looked at seven rankings and produced a new ranking based on how many times each city appeared on these lists. Boston was named the second best pick for HQ2, after Atlanta.

The widespread confidence in Boston is for one key reason: talent.

"The metro division is one of only a few places nationally with a talent pool deep enough to provide tens of thousands of highly skilled workers sought by Amazon," Moody's Analytics wrote. Amazon has said it's seeking a highly educated labor pool and nearby universities.

Boston and its neighboring city, Cambridge, are home to one of the world's largest biotechnology industries and a world-class system of higher education, anchored by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The metro area boasts over 1,000 biotech companies (from big pharma to small startups), academic centers, and life science groups.

For Amazon, other important factors include direct access to public transit, a nearby international airport, and a vibrant urban center. Boston ticks off all the right boxes.

There's nowhere to build

Over one to two decades of development, HQ2 will cover up to 100 acres — an area twice as big as Boston Common. It's hard to imagine where Boston will find the room.

The city pitched several locations in its bid, and it's unclear from the Amazon announcement which it's considering. Boston is pushing the Suffolks Down site, a former racetrack that straddles the border of East Boston and the city of Revere. The 161-acre site offers "a blank canvas for the HQ2 development," according to the city's proposal. But critics have noted that the area sits in a flood plain and has access to fewer lines of public transit than sites downtown.

And the rent, as they say, is too damn high

Boston is the fifth most expensive city in the US, and that doesn't bode well for Amazon, which has said that quality of life (and how much it costs workers) will be a "critical decision driver."

The city's population is growing, pushing up rents and the cost of homes. A 2017 report from the mayor's office revealed that "the median household income in Boston is the same as the nation, but homes are two-and-a-half times as expensive." Wealthy professionals are displacing many low- and middle-income residents, and incidents of mass eviction continue to rise.

HQ2 will bring an influx of tech workers from across the country — though Amazon will also recruit from the region's labor pool — which could further strain the housing market.

Students lay out in their bathing suits on the Quad, on the campus of Harvard University on January 27, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boston, and much of the Northeast, is being hit with heavy snow from Winter Storm Juno.

There are both tremendous benefits and costs to having Amazon set up camp in your city.

"Bringing in up to 50,000 jobs into a city is pretty much an event you can't duplicate any other way. ... It's akin to winning the lottery," Steve Glickman, cofounder and executive director of the Economic Innovation Group, told CNN.

But a job stimulus of that scale would have a greater effect on a city with a weaker economy. A majority of the cities that Amazon is considering have higher rates of unemployment (by a slim margin) than Boston. Plus, an influx of workers would cause housing costs to climb, traffic to worsen, and public transit use to swell. Boston is already strained in those regards.

We can see what "Amazonia" has done to Seattle, where Amazon first settled. Seattle's median home price hit $730,000 in mid-2017, about double the price seen five years ago.

My advice to Boston? Tell Amazon to keep looking.

SEE ALSO: These are all of the cities Amazon could choose for its $5 billion headquarters, ranked by the experts

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The surprisingly frugal habits of 9 billionaires


Jeff Bezos Amazon

  • Some of the world's richest people are famously frugal.
  • Warren Buffett lives in a modest home he bought in 1958 and eats McDonald's for breakfast every morning.
  • Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, drove a Honda Accord until 2013. 


Frugality is a subjective term. To the average Joe it could mean eating meals at home or scouring the internet for cheap flights.

But to a billionaire it means showing up to work in a T-shirt and jeans, driving a Toyota or Volkswagen, and, in some instances, foregoing the purchase of a private jet or lavish vacation home.

Surprisingly, some of the richest people on earth are incredibly frugal, each one with their own penny-pinching habits.

From eating lunch in the office cafeteria with their employees to residing in homes worth a fraction of what they could afford, these nine self-made billionaires — many of whom are also generous philanthropists— know the secret to keeping their net worth high.

SEE ALSO: 7 mind-blowing facts about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' $105 billion fortune

DON'T MISS: 24 mind-blowing facts about Warren Buffett and his $87 billion fortune

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, was still driving a Honda Accord as a billionaire.

Net worth: $109 billion

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos may be the richest person on earth, but as of 2013, he was still driving a Honda Accord, according to Brad Stone's book "The Everything Store." 

From the driver's seat of his Accord, Bezos told Bob Simon during a 1999 "60 Minutes" interview that "this is a perfectly good car."

Before that, Bezos was driving a 1987 Chevy Blazer, which he used to deliver packages to the post office in the early days of Amazon.


Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, still lives in the same home he bought for $31,500 in 1958.

Net worth:$91.7 billion

The "Oracle of Omaha" is one of the wisest and most frugal billionaires around. Despite his status as one of the richest people on earth, he still lives in the same modest home he bought for $31,500 in 1958, doesn't carry a cellphone or have a computer at his desk, and once had a vanity license plate that read "THRIFTY," according to his 2009 biography. And when his friend of 25 years Bill Gates visits Omaha, Buffett picks Gates up from the airport himself.

Buffett also has a decidedly low-brow palate, known not just for investing in junk-food purveyors like Burger King, Dairy Queen, and Coca-Cola, but also for filling up on them as well. The Buffett diet includes five Cokes a day, as well as Cheetos and potato chips.

At his annual shareholder's meeting in 2014, Buffett explained that his quality of life isn't affected by the amount of money he has:

"My life couldn't be happier. In fact, it'd be worse if I had six or eight houses. So, I have everything I need to have, and I don't need any more because it doesn't make a difference after a point."

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, drives a manual-transmission Volkswagen hatchback.

Net worth:$74.2 billion

Despite his status as one of the richest tech moguls on earth, Mark Zuckerberg leads a low-key lifestyle with his wife Priscilla Chan and their young daughter. The founder of Facebook has been unabashed about his simple T-shirt, hoodie, and jeans uniform.

"I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community," Zuckerberg said.

The trappings of wealth have never impressed the 33-year-old, who in December 2015 announced he would donate 99% of his Facebook shares during his lifetime.

Zuckerberg chowed down on McDonald's shortly after marrying Chan in 2012 in the backyard of their $7 million Palo Alto home — a modest sum for such an expensive housing market and pocket change for a man worth more than $70 billion. In 2014, he traded in his $30,000 Acura for a manual-transmission Volkswagen hatchback.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon has a 'budget-friendly' Prime option for low-income customers — but it's actually a trap (AMZN)


amazon prime

  • Amazon is raising Prime membership fees for people who pay monthly.
  • The increase will be from $10.99 to $12.99 per month.
  • This is likely to impact its low-income shoppers who can't afford the one-time annual membership fee. 

Amazon Prime just got more expensive for some of its members. 

Today, the online store announced it would be increasing monthly Prime membership rates from $10.99 to $12.99, which comes to around $156 a year. 

Amazon Prime is a subscription service that offers its paying members services such as free two-day shipping on certain purchases and unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video. 

These changes are likely to impact its lower-income shoppers who can't afford to pay the one-off price of $99 for a year-long membership. 

Moody’s Lead Retail Analyst Charlie O’Shea said in a statement that Amazon's monthly deal "still affords members a more budget-friendly option, with the ability to ‘flex’ the membership as they see fit.”

But he also noted that the new increase means that monthly subscription members will be paying a 57% premium over yearly members – at nearly $60 extra a year.

Low-income shoppers are often stung with higher prices by not paying one-off fees. The same is true in discount stores, where those that can afford to buy in bulk are offered bigger discounts. A research paper done by two Michigan University professors in 2016 showed that low-income shoppers can end up paying about 6% more per sheet of toilet paper if they don't buy in bulk, The Atlantic reported

Amazon does not disclose how many of its members pay on a monthly basis versus yearly, but this price increase could encourage customers to switch and pay the one-off annual fee. However, this isn't an option if you don't have the disposable income to cover it.  

A survey of 7,000 people across America done by GoBankingRates in 2016 showed that as many as 34% of people have no savings, 69% has less than $1,000.

Amazon's price increases seem to be going against the grain of its initiative last year to offer a cheaper membership to shoppers on government assistance. Customers with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card can now qualify for a reduced $5.99 monthly membership. These rates have not been changed.

SEE ALSO: Monthly Amazon Prime memberships just got more expensive

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