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11 key findings from one of the most comprehensive reports ever on the health effects of vaping


marijuana vaporizer vaping vape

  • Millions of Americans vape, but little is known about the comprehensive health effects of e-cigarettes.
  • The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine aimed to address that dearth of knowledge with a new report on e-cigs.
  • In line with the Academies' previous approach to other drugs, the report pools its findings into categories based on how much evidence there is to draw a conclusion.
  • Two key findings from the report suggest that while vaping may help adults quit smoking conventional cigarettes, the practice may also encourage young people to start.

It's been almost a decade since the first vape pen hit store shelves. The whiteboard marker-sized devices, which vaporized liquid nicotine rather than burning tobacco and creating tar, were designed as a healthier alternative to cancer-causing conventional cigarettes.

Since then, thousands of models of vape pens have been made available, but a question among public health researchers continued to linger: Do these devices help smokers quit or glorify a potentially unhealthy habit?

The answer, according to a large new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is a little bit of both.

While vaping may help adults quit conventional cigarettes, the practice may also encourage young people to start, the authors of the report found. Still, although vaping comes with health risks, it is likely to be far less harmful overall than smoking conventional cigarettes.

”E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful,” David Eaton, the chair of the committee that wrote the report and the dean and vice provost of the Graduate School of the University of Washington, Seattle, said in a statement.

Eaton said that in certain circumstances — such as when teens use them and become addicted to nicotine — e-cigarettes' "adverse effects clearly warrant concern." But in other cases — like when adults turn to e-cigs to quit smoking — "they offer an opportunity to reduce smoking-related illness.”

Martin Borne, co-founder of electronic cigarette retailer

For his report, Eaton and his team reviewed roughly 5,000 studies and narrowed down their analysis to include findings from more than 800 papers. In line with the Academies' previous approach to other drugs, the new report pools its findings on e-cigarettes into categories based on how much evidence there is to draw a conclusion.

When there is only limited evidence that there's a relationship between two things, such as vaping and cancer, the researchers use the phrase "limited evidence." The same logic applies when there is conclusive evidence for such a relationship.

Here are some of their key findings:

  • Young people who vape are at a higher risk for ever using a conventional cigarette than young people who don't — substantial evidence.
  • Exposure to nicotine from vaping is highly variable and depends on the device and the e-liquid — conclusive evidence. That said, the report also notes that experienced users can and do use e-cigs in a way that allows them to get a comparable amount of nicotine from the devices as they would from a regular cigarette.
  • Except for nicotine, exposure to potentially toxic substances from e-cigs is significantly lower compared with conventional cigarettes — substantial evidence.
  • While there is substantial evidence that vaping results in symptoms of dependence, there is moderate evidence that the risk and severity is lower for e-cigs than for regular cigarettes. Again, this appears to depend on factors like the type of device and the e-liquid used.
  • Swapping e-cigarettes for conventional cigarettes reduces users’ exposure to many of the toxins and cancer-causing agents in regular cigarettes — conclusive evidence. There is also substantial evidence that completely switching to e-cigs from conventional cigarettes reduces short-term negative health outcomes in organs like the lungs and heart.
  • Studies in animals — but not yet in humans — suggest that long-term vaping could increase the risk of cancer— limited evidence.
  • While there is moderate evidence that teens who use e-cigarettes may see increased coughing wheezing, and worsened asthma symptoms, there is no available evidence on whether or not e-cigs cause respiratory disease.
  • There is no available evidence whether or not vaping affects pregnancy or fetal development.
  • Although there is conclusive evidence that e-cig use increases airborne concentrations of key pollutants and nicotine in indoor environments, second-hand exposure to nicotine and pollutants is lower from e-cigs than from regular cigarettes.
  • E-cigarettes can explode and cause serious injury — conclusive evidence.
  • Exposing oneself to e-liquids, either from drinking or touching them, can cause seizures, brain injury, and vomiting — conclusive evidence.

Despite these conclusions, the big question of whether e-cigarettes have an overall positive or negative impact on public health remains unanswered.

"Given their relatively recent introduction, there has been little time for a scientific body of evidence to develop on the health effects of e-cigarettes," the authors write in their report. In other words, only time will tell.

SEE ALSO: This may be the first substantial evidence that e-cigs could help people quit smoking

DON'T MISS: Researchers analyzed more than a dozen studies on how marijuana affects your heart — here's what they found

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20-somethings are using a new barometer to see if their relationship is serious: asking for a last name


couple on a date in a cafe

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that asking for your date's last name is becoming taboo — only permissible when the relationship is getting serious.
  • More people are meeting through online dating services, many of which only require a username or a first name.
  • If you know your date's last name, you can look them up on Google and on social media, which may led to unwelcome discoveries.

I once met a guy named Steve at a Jewish holiday dinner.

At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers. I felt weird about asking for his last name, so I entered him simply as "Steve Shabbat."

On a date a few weeks later, I went to show him something on my phone and a text message from him was still on the screen. "Steve Shabbat?" he asked. I laughed nervously. I still didn't know his last name.

It's been a few years since I've left the dating scene, but apparently, not much has changed in the surname domain. Nicole Hong at The Wall Street Journal reports that modern daters are reluctant to ask for last names until the relationship has gotten more serious.

That's largely because more people are meeting online, where often you can get by with simply a username or your first name, depending on the dating service. One woman quoted in the article had been dating a man she met on Tinder for three months before he asked for her last name.

Some people may want to avoid finding unsettling information about their date online

People who spoke to The Journal explained the rationale behind not asking for a last name. Once you've got someone's last name, it can be hard to resist the impulse to find more information about them online.

"The less I know, the better," one comedian told The Journal, noting that if he saw a woman liked "bands that suck" on Facebook, he might break it off.

Nicole Ellison, a University of Michigan professor who has studied online dating, told The Journal that learning someone's last name is like opening a Pandora's box of potentially unsavory information. "You can go to their social media sites, Google the person, look up criminal histories," she said.

In 2014, Maureen O'Connor at The Cut called not Googling your date "the new abstinence," noting that people seem to be divided on whether sleuthing helps or hinders the relationship potential.

Over on Reddit, people shared their thoughts on how and when to ask for a date's last name. One Redditor said they sneak a peek at the person's credit or debit card. Another uses one of two tricks: "ask to see the picture on their ID and steal a glance at their last name" or play the "whose last name is more hard to pronounce game."

Still, some people try to be straightforward about it. One Redditor wrote: "I just ask and usually on the second date if its still going well after a couple of hours. It's a good pause in conversation question, and let's the guy know I'm into him if I am willing to also give up that info!"

Read the full Wall Street Journal article »

SEE ALSO: The exec who oversees Match, OKCupid, and Plenty of Fish says online dating hasn't solved the hardest part of finding love

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The 3 mistakes people make when buying, ordering, and drinking whisky — and what to do instead


Johnnie Walker Black Label

  • Business Insider spoke to drinks giant Diageo's in-house Whisky Master.
  • Ewan Gunn told use where so many whisky drinkers go wrong.
  • They focus too much on age over flavour — and abide by outdated "rules" too closely.

Whether it's what brand to order, or simply the difference between whisky and whiskey, there's a lot of knowledge that goes with properly enjoying a glass of scotch, bourbon, or rye.

In honour of Burns Night, which takes place on Wednesday January 25 to commemorate the death of Scottish poet Robert Burns with lots of haggis and whisky, Business Insider spoke to Ewan Gunn, Global Brand Ambassador and Whisky Master for the global drinks giant Diageo, which produces mass brands like Johnnie Walker, and several others which he mentioned.

We asked Gunn — who has 19 years' experience in the industry — what mistakes people are making when they drink whisky, and how to fix them.

Buy based on flavour, not age

"When people buy a whisky, you do sometimes come across an obsession with age, when really, in my opinion, you should be buying based on the flavour," Gunn said.

"People have this perception older is always better, which is not always the case," he added. "We have some amazing whiskys focused on flavours and styles."

"You buy a Scotch whisky to drink it, not to look at the label," he said.

Ignore the "rules" you think you know

"People often have these rules they think they must follow when appreciating a scotch," Gunn said.

"'You should never add water, never drink it with ice, never add a mixer, you have to be older to enjoy it, it’s a man’s drink' — they're all nonsense.

"I would certainly not worry about all of these rules. The people who make it make it for you to enjoy, and they're not precious about how you enjoy it."

He said that even going back centuries people were drinking whisky in cocktails, combining it with herbs and spices.

"You're seeing scotch featuring more and more on cocktail menus," he added.

He said his favourite way to start a weekend is with Johnnie Walker and ginger ale. "It's a lovely drink, it's easy to make, and it tastes magnificent."

Don't just drink it after dinner — pair it with food

"When it comes to the holidays, people enjoy eating lots of rich and flavoursome foods, and a lot of people are increasingly enjoying Scotch whisky paired with foods," Gunn said.

He added that, while there's a preconceived idea that whisky only works with heavy food, there's actually a range of dishes you can pair it with.

"Talisker with oysters is incredible, and Lagavulin paired with blue cheese," he said. He added that Haig Club and crème brûlée is another recommended pairing.

1092623_Clubman and Cola pour_original

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This is the difference between scotch, bourbon, and rye


whiskey tasting glasses

  • The difference between scotch, bourbon, and rye is down to where the whisky — or whiskey — is made.
  • The "mash bill" — list of ingredients — also plays a part.

There's a lot to know when it comes to drinking whisky — particularly if you're taking part in Burns Night, which takes place on Wednesday January 25 to commemorate the death of Scottish poet Robert Burns with lots of haggis and booze.

Whether it's deciding whether or not to have ice, what brand to buy, or simply knowing the difference between whisky and whiskey, there's a lot behind enjoying a glass of scotch, bourbon, or rye.

Business Insider spoke to Ewan Gunn, whisky master for the global drinks giant Diageo, which produces mass-market brands like Johnnie Walker and Haig Club.

We asked Gunn — who has 19 years' experience in the industry — to answer a simple question about a complicated nectar: What's the difference between scotch, bourbon, and rye?

Scotch by name, Scottish by nature

"Scotch whisky can only be made in Scotland," Gunn said. "You cannot make it anywhere else in the world."

He added: "One of the most beautiful things about scotch is it is tightly regulated and the most trusted. [There are] rules governing how you can and cannot make and sell scotch whisky — they're really rigorous.

Another whiskey expert, Tommy Tardie, owner and operator of Fine & Rare and The Flatiron Room, who spoke to Business Insider in January, added that it's no different to Champagne.

"If you're a Cognac, you have to be made in the Cognac region. If you're a Champagne, you have to be made in the Champagne region. It's no different for scotch," he said.

Ewan Gunn

Bourbon in the USA

Bourbon and rye, meanwhile, are native American spirits.

Aside from the point of origin, what differentiates variants of whiskey — or whisky — is the "mash bill," or list of ingredients used to make it, according to Tardie.

"To be a bourbon, in America you have to be using 51% or more corn, [and] the rest of the mash bill is traditionally rye and malted barley," he said.

"To be a rye whiskey, you have to use 51% or more rye, and then the rest is usually corn and malted barley. In addition, both have to be aged in brand new American oak barrels."

While there's no set time period they have to spend in the barrel, to "call yourself a straight whiskey, you have to be aged a minimum of two years," Tardie said.

If it still seems confusing, Tardie said you should think of whiskey as a category, or "big umbrella," and underneath this umbrella, stands all of its variants. "In other words, all bourbon is whiskey but not all whiskey is bourbon," he said.

talisker_sour_10 YEARS_RT

While they all have their own unique properties, Gunn believes that "no other spirit or whiskey offers the same range [as scotch.]"

Diageo alone has 28 single-malt scotch whisky distilleries, and there are over 100 within the industry, according to Gunn.

Single-malt scotch whisky is made at a single distillery, exclusively from malted barley, and must be aged for at least three years in oak casks. Some American single-malt whiskeys are produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.

"We make scotch whiskies that are light, delicate, and sweet to robust, powerful, smokey, and intense," he said. "No other whiskey really offers that diversity scotch whisky can offer."

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Relationship experts say these are the 8 red flags to look out for when you start dating someone — and some are surprisingly common



Any new relationship is full of challenges. You're getting to know someone, and there's no telling when something might happen to burst the bubble of your new romance.

In general, it's fun learning all there is to know about someone who used to be a stranger. But sometimes, there will be signs that you shouldn't take things further.

Everyone has their own quirks and opinions, and someone who's a bit different isn't a reason to run for the hills. But it's a major red flag if you find yourself compromising on yourself or feeling uncomfortable.

Business Insider asked eight relationship experts, many who specialise in helping people who have been in abusive relationships, about what they think are the major red flags.

Here's what they said:

SEE ALSO: Empaths and narcissists make a 'toxic' partnership — here's why they're attracted to each other

1. You justify their bad behaviour.

"If you find yourself justifying away what he does or says, even though these feel wrong in your gut, then that's a surefire red flag.

"The mind is the most skilled Photoshopper — it can rationalise anything and paint any picture of anyone, depending on our initial perspective. There is a psychological phenomenon known as the 'confirmation bias,' where we are inclined to discard all evidence that does not align with our views and only keep those that do. And with a potentially toxic person, they have worked to create a false positive impression to worm their way into your heart.

"So even if they do something bad or say something that's off, you may think, 'He's only this way because he went through X.' This is when ticking boxes of 'Is he rude to the waiter?' 'Is he nice to his family members?' doesn't work. He could be all that — the sleekest toxic people are.

"But underlying it, if he says things like, 'So they'll treat us better the next time,' or he has a mean mouth towards some people, and if you find yourself justifying his transactional mindset or meanness, then it's time to pause and step back. Our brains work overtime to convince us of someone who's not good for us, even when our guts know it."

Perpetua Neo, a psychologist and expert in toxic relationships who created the Detox Your Heart program

2. They don't talk through issues.

"I'd say the one major red flag in a person's behavior that may indicate that the relationship won't work is the unwillingness to talk through issues, big or small. All couples have disagreements. That's perfectly normal and healthy. But, it's how you handle those disagreements that can really make or break things. Does your partner walk away? Shut down? Place all the blame on you? Throw a tantrum? These are all red flags. In a good relationship, a couple can, and will, talk through issues, listening to the other person's point of view and expressing his or her own. No one needs to win or lose. It's about expressing how something makes you feel and being heard. Communication is key."

— Erika Ettin, dating coach and founder of dating site "A Little Nudge"

3. They're constantly testing your boundaries.

"Run from anyone who attempts to cross a boundary that you have set. Examples: you have said you do not want to go further sexually and they insist, you say you are not available on Sunday but they push you to see them, you are not ready to have them meet your family members or friends but they push you, they push you to date exclusively before you are ready, they want to move in or get married or set up a bank account before you want, they try to change the way you wear your hair or your clothes or anything else about you that feels like 'you' and it makes you uncomfortable."

Lisa Fontes, psychologist and author of "Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Rap mogul Russel Simmons accused of rape in a $5 million lawsuit


russell simmons

  • Rap mogul Russell Simmons is facing a civil lawsuit for allegedly raping filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik in August 2016.
  • Jarosik, who is seeking $5 million in damages, is the sixth woman to accuse Simmons of sexual assault or misconduct.
  • Simmons has denied all allegations. 


A woman accused rap mogul Russell Simmons of rape in a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday, according to NBC News.

In the suit filed in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, documentary filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik alleges that Simmons sexually assaulted her in August 2016 when she met Simmons at his home to discuss a film he had agreed to finance.

Jarosik, who is seeking $5 million in damages, said in the suit that Simmons allegedly got aggressive after she refused to have sex with him. She said he pushed her onto his bed, causing her to hit her head. She claims Simmons then "pounced on her while she was still in shock and fear, and proceeded to rape her."

Jarosik is now the sixth woman to accuse Simmons, the cofounder of Def Jam Recordings, of sexual assault or misconduct.

Simmons stepped down from his companies in November after allegations of sexual assault from the screenwriter Jenny Lumet and model Keri Claussen Khalighi. In December, three other women accused Simmons of rape in a New York Times story.

Simmons has denied all allegations and told NBC in a statement on Wednesday that he looks forward to the court case "to make use of fair processes that ensure that justice will be done and that the full truth will be known."

Jarosik's attorney, Perry C. Wander, said in a statement to Billboard that the case against Simmons is emblematic of a systemic problem in the music industry:

"It's time that the hip hop industry face the music and recognize that the deep rooted history of misogyny and discrimination against women in the music industry has to come to an end. #TimesUp. It's not enough to apologize and step away from your business, convert a yoga studio to a nonprofit and still draw a salary and be worth $500 million and do nothing but apologize. As James Franco said, 'if I need to make restitution I’ll do that. Mr. Simmons practices meditation, yoga and is a long time vegan practicing non violence against animals. So basically he treats animals better than women. The hypocrisy has to stop now."

SEE ALSO: Russell Simmons has stepped down from his companies and been dropped by HBO after a new sexual assault allegation

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Inside America's most iconic farmer's market where you can get freshly caught salmon, magic supplies, and coffee from the first Starbucks


PikePlaceMarket Seattle 3

Seattle’s Pike Place Market may not be the oldest farmer's market in America, but it is often rated as the best.

First opened in 1907, Pike Place sits on the Puget Sound waterfront, in the heart of downtown Seattle.

Home to hundreds of vendors hawking fish, produce, meat, specialty goods, jewelry, and even art, the market is still a place where small businesses thrive.

We took a day trip over Christmas to see Pike Place in full swing. Even amongst the bustling crowds, there isn’t a better place to spend a day eating and shopping.

SEE ALSO: Amazon announced the 20 finalists for HQ2 — but one walk through Seattle made me very uneasy for whatever city wins

Pike Place Market is the longest, continuously operating farmer's market in the United States.

First And Pike News is a famous newsstand at the market's primary entrance. The feeling of an old world market starts here, with racks of international newspapers and obscure magazines unavailable elsewhere. It's been locally owned for its entire existence.

Pike Place Nuts features freshly roasted nuts with odd, delicious flavors like banana walnuts and caramel cashews. It's the kind of oddly specific thing you can only find at Pike Place.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A Stanford researcher is pioneering a dramatic shift in how we treat depression — and you can try her new app right now


alone underwater lonely

  • Woebot is a free therapy chatbot that launched as a stand-alone iOS app on Thursday.
  • Alison Darcy, a clinical psychologist at Stanford University, created it.
  • Woebot uses one of the best-researched approaches to treating depression, cognitive-behavioral therapy, to deliver scripted responses to users.
  • It's part of a growing trend of incorporating smartphone apps into therapy.

The message I couldn't ignore appeared around 6 p.m. I was on the bus. Instinctively, I cupped a hand around my phone and stole a furtive glance at the newest blue bubble on the screen.

"Hey Erin, you ready to check in?" someone — or something — asked.

The message was from Woebot, an artificially intelligent chatbot designed to help people cope with feelings of depression and anxiety that launched as a stand-alone iOS app on Thursday. It was my latest jaunt into the new and mostly uncharted territory of digital mental-health care.

Alison Darcy, the clinical psychologist at Stanford University who created Woebot, based the tool on a type of treatment called cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, a heavily researched clinical approach to depression that encourages people to examine how they react to challenging situations.

Woebot isn't a replacement for an in-person therapist, Darcy says, nor will it help you find one. Instead, the tool is part of a widening array of approaches to mental health. But it's fundamentally different from any other form of therapy.

"The Woebot experience doesn't map onto what we know to be a human-to-computer relationship, and it doesn't map onto what we know to be a human-to-human relationship either," Darcy told Business Insider. "It seems to be something in the middle."

The uniqueness of Woebot could prove to be its biggest strength — or cause its downfall. But as roughly one in five Americans struggle with mental illness or psychiatric disease, experts agree it's time for something new.

An app that tells you when you're being too hard on yourself

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it can kill. But scientists know surprisingly little about it, and treatments haven't changed much in more than six decades.

Dr. Ali Darcy Headshot 2

We do know that talking about it, especially with a licensed therapist or a psychologist, seems to help. But therapy is often expensive, inconvenient, or hard to approach. Of the roughly 20% of Americans who have a mental illness, close to two-thirds are estimated to have gone at least a year without treatment.

"We have this idea that if you're suffering you need to talk to someone, and many of us insist on that," Darcy said. "But insisting that that's the only way actually alienates a lot of people for whom that's not possible."

Unlike traditional therapy, Woebot can be accessed anywhere, anytime— provided the user has a smartphone. And it's free.

Once you log in with your first name, you're set up. Woebot — a cute, animated robot — then asks you questions about yourself, such as how you're feeling or what your energy is like at that moment.

The artificial intelligence behind the app is programmed to provide scripted responses to users based on the principles of CBT.

At times, chatting with Woebot can feel like a conversation. But most of the time, it feels like a fun game where each interaction provides a small kernel of wisdom.

Over the week I used the app, Woebot's responses grew a bit predictable, but I still enjoyed using it. I could see why the app would be helpful for many people who have anxiety or depression — especially those new to therapy.

Woebot's lessons make sense over text

Several psychologists not involved with Woebot told Business Insider that CBT lends itself to a chatbot setting.

A recent review of studies, published in the journal World Psychiatry, that compared people who received the treatment online with those who received it in person found that the two settings were equally effective.

One reason for this, Darcy says, is that CBT focuses on the present as opposed to the past. Instead of talking to Woebot about your relationship with a parent, you might chat about a recent conflict at work or an argument with a friend.

"A premise of CBT is it's not the things that happen to us — it's how we react to them," Darcy said.

Woebot uses that methodology to identify when someone is engaging in "negative self-talk," which could involve feelings of guilt, shame, or low self-esteem. These types of thoughts stem from a distorted approach to events and relationships, Darcy said.

If a friend forgot about your birthday, you might write a message to Woebot saying "No one ever remembers me" or "I don't have any real friends." Woebot would probably tell you that you're engaging in a type of negative self-talk called all-or-nothing thinking, which is a distortion of reality. You do have friends, and people do remember you — one of them simply forgot your birthday.

"CBT skills are skills everyone can use," Nancy Liu, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, told Business Insider.

'The data blew us away'

Before launching Woebot, Darcy and her team tested an early version of the tool on 70 college students who had reported symptoms of depression.

The results of that study, published in April in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Mental Health, were promising. The students were split into two groups — one was assigned to chat with Woebot over two weeks, while the other was directed to read an e-book about depression.

Unlike the students in the e-book group, those using Woebot said they saw a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms. They also reported chatting with it almost daily, even though they weren't required to spend a certain amount of time with it.

"The data blew us away," Darcy told Business Insider in October, after Woebot launched exclusively on Facebook Messenger over the summer. "We were like, this is it."

But Darcy is quick to point out that Woebot is not meant to replace traditional therapy.

"What we haven't done a good job of in [therapy] is give people an array of options — what about the people who aren't ready to talk to another person?" Darcy said. "This is part of the idea of meeting people where they're at."

Digital therapy is booming

woman texting on couch

Realistically, meeting people where they are today means meeting them on their phones.

"The nice thing about something like Woebot is it's there on your phone while you're out there living your life," Liu said.

Consistent access is one of the biggest advantages of the tool. It can be easily reached 24/7 with the tap of an icon, unlike a therapist on a 9-5 schedule.

I once chatted with Woebot late at night was when I was feeling panicky — a time when I wouldn't have dared call or text my regular therapist for fear of bothering her. In that moment, when random worried thoughts were playing a mean game of tag in my mind, Woebot provided a bit of perspective and space.

The program is not the only one of its kind. Other Silicon Valley-style approaches to addressing depression include apps that replace the traditional psychiatry office with texting, as well as chatrooms where you can discuss your problems anonymously and services that enable employers to give staff members access to therapists and counselors online.

One such digital mental-healthcare service, X2AI, is powered by artificial intelligence and available around the clock, similar to Woebot. But instead of providing scripted responses, X2AI's tool, named Tess, acts as a sort of liaison between therapists and patients.

"Normally, a therapist will see five patients per day and spend the rest of their time on administrative work," Michiel Rauws, the cofounder and CEO of X2AI, told Business Insider. "What we allow them to do is look after 50 patients per day, because while they're chatting with their patients, Tess is chatting with their other patients."

If a person tends to have panic attacks on Sunday nights, Tess might reach out proactively via text to see how they're doing, then report the outcome to the person's therapist, Rauws said.

Like Woebot, the service isn't meant to replace traditional therapy, but to supplement it. The way Darcy sees it, the more new tools like this there are, the better.

Uncharted waters

It's not yet clear whether Woebot will make any noticeable, long-term difference in users' mental health.

In academia, researchers study potential ways to help people with mental illness for years before offering a safe and tested treatment. Silicon Valley tends to get the technology to a large group of people quickly, then see whether it helped.

"There's a real divide between the very in-depth analyses of academia, where it's very slow and it's hard to figure out how to scale up, versus the startup world — where a lot of these ventures are being produced — which is rapid iteration, and that's their business model," Matthew Hirschtritt, a resident psychiatrist at the University of California at San Francisco, told Business Insider.

"That makes a lot of sense: putting it out and seeing if it works, and if it doesn't, try something new," he said. "But it's hard to fit that alongside the academic setting, where you do these rigorous analyses on small groups and then slowly get larger."

But the untested nature of mental-health apps is not the only risk users face.

'We wanted to be completely anonymous'

As the landscape of digital therapy grows, users may be increasingly concerned about privacy.

When Woebot launched on Facebook Messenger in June, it garnered several thousand users from around the world. But many reported to the company that they weren't comfortable sharing intimate data over Facebook's platform, which has faced privacy issues before.

So Woebot has moved away from Facebook and launched as a stand-alone app that only requires a first name to sign up; Darcy described the app as anonymous.

Giving feedback on the app is also anonymous, she said — even over email, as email addresses aren't linked to user profiles. Users can also ask Woebot to delete their account history, wiping all conversations.


"From our company perspective, we have very little data on anybody," Darcy said. "We sort of cut ourselves off from that. Even when people email us, we're like, 'We don't know who you are!' That was a really clear decision from the outset. We wanted to be completely anonymous."

But in the world of mental health, total anonymity can be a double-edged sword.

In the fall of 2016, a therapist who had been employed by Talkspace, an app that connects people to licensed therapists over text message, accused the company of endangering public safety by keeping the contact information of a potentially dangerous patient anonymous.

Talkspace subsequently rewrote its confidentiality policy to say that if a therapist believes a patient is a danger to themselves or others, they should ask the patient for their contact information.

If a Woebot user's words indicate they may have suicidal or potentially harmful thoughts, the app will flag it and go into what Darcy calls crisis mode.

In that case, Woebot will respond with a message explaining what triggered crisis mode and why the situation is beyond the scope of what the app is equipped to handle, Darcy said. Then Woebot will send a list of resources, like emergency phone numbers and a link to Tec-Tec, one of the only apps that have been found to help reduce suicidal thinking and self-harm.

That approach to emergencies is fairly standard for emerging mental-health apps, but it's much less comprehensive than treatment with an in-person therapist. If a patient threatens violence against themselves or others, a provider is legally obligated to break confidentiality and intervene, which can involve reporting them to the authorities or, in extreme cases, institutionalizing them.

"With situations like child abuse, you can't just say, 'Here, call this line,'" Liu said. "In a clinical setting, that would be unacceptable."

Because Woebot is not a replacement for traditional therapy, it will inevitably fall short for many people. But the app is also likely to help some others — probably tech-savvy people who are new to therapy, or those in remote areas with no access to traditional therapy, or those who are already in therapy but need some additional help.

"If anything, it could be preventive for some people," Liu said. "I don't see any overt negative effects of someone exploring and learning more."

SEE ALSO: There's new evidence that a 'party drug' could be a rapid-fire treatment for depression

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NOW WATCH: A psychiatrist reveals a practical definition of happiness

Google Photos tried to fix this ski photo — but it didn't go to plan

  • Google Photos occasionally uses AI to suggest edited photos to users on the platform.
  • On this occasion, though, Google messed up in spectacular and hilarious fashion.

Google Photos usually gets it pretty much right.

The photo-sharing service uses AI to suggest users edited or enhanced versions of photos they've uploaded. You might get a stylised filter, you might get an animation or you may get a panorama.

A panorama is what Alex Harker received when Google decided to weld three of his ski holiday photos into one wide image — capturing the stunning mountain scenery in full.

There was one small irregularity in Google's panorama, though. If you look carefully between the trees, you'll see that Alex's friend's upper torso has been magnified to gigantic proportions.

Posting the photos on Reddit, Alex (writing as MalletsDarker) said: "I literally took like 3 pictures, one with them in, and two without them. And for some bizarre reason Google Assistant offered me a really strange panorama of the 3 photos spliced together."

One other Reddit user commented: "Wow, other than accidentally putting the giant head in the photo, that panorama stitching is amazing. I could not tell at all it was a stitched panorama. Usually there's dead giveaways because you can see vertical lines in the sky where it was stitched."

The photo-editing fail now has almost 200,000 upvotes on the r/funny subreddit. Although Google has done an incredibly seamless job blending Alex's friend into his surroundings, it's probably unlikely this one will make the photo album.

SEE ALSO: The 23 worst celebrity Photoshop fails

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 science-backed ways for a happier and healthier 2018 — this is what you do the very first week

5 reasons 'Wonder Woman' was one of the most important films of 2017, and deserved a best picture Oscar nomination



wonder woman 2017

  • A lot of people predicted that "Wonder Woman" would get an Oscar nomination for best picture, but it didn't.
  • Its impact on the industry and culture made it deserving of a nomination, and it was robbed.  
  • Even though "Wonder Woman" is a summer action and superhero movie, it was a huge cultural moment in a year that was empowering for women in many ways.


The most iconic best picture winners define their year, and their generation. And so do their fellow nominees.  "Wonder Woman" defined 2017 in a lot of ways, and absolutely deserved to make the list of nominees, but it was robbed. 

2017's "Moonlight," which beat the predicted winner "La La Land," marked the start of a big change in the industry. The film, which follows a gay black man from an impoverished neighborhood in Miami through multiple stages of his life, represented the kind of diverse storytelling that underrepresented storytellers had been fighting to get made. 

The film, like "Wonder Woman," proved that these stories can work for everyone, and be universally loved. 

Even without "Wonder Woman" in the line-up for best picture at the 2018 Oscars, the nominees, like gay coming-of-age story "Call Me by Your Name," prove a wave of change in cinematic storytelling has come. "Get Out," written and directed by Jordan Peele (who is now the fifth black man to be nominated in the directing category) is a horror satire about racism among white liberal elites. The female written, directed, and led "Lady Bird" focuses on a complicated relationship between a mother and daughter. Like "Wonder Woman," it has romance, but the film and its characters don't revolve around it. 

Even so, "Wonder Woman" deserves to be among them, because it's also had a significant impact on Hollywood. 

Here's why "Wonder Woman" deserved to be in the running for best picture at the 2018 Oscars:

SEE ALSO: Here are the 17 biggest Oscar snubs of 2018

It empowered women and encouraged women in Hollywood to speak out.

2017 started with the historic Women's March. And in 2017's last few months, notorious film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, from both behind and in front of the camera. "Wonder Woman" producer Brett Ratner was also accused of sexual harassment, and won't be involved in further films in the franchise. The reports of this behavior from powerful men across multiple industries inspired the #MeToo movement that is occupying awards season. 

"Wonder Woman" itself didn't spark the current cultural moment, but it did instigate an industry-wide conversation about women in film that’s been brewing for decades, thanks to vocal director Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot. Around the film's release, Jessica Chastain called the portrayal and representation of women in films "quite disturbing," at the Cannes film festival. "Wonder Woman," conversely, was praised for its empowering, woman-led representation of a female superhero.

Actress and producer Elizabeth Banks even cited the film as an example to show children, especially boys, how women should and can be represented.




For the first time, a major Hollywood movie provided a female perspective, rather than a male gaze.

"Wonder Woman" marked a turning point in the way superhero films are shot.

A female director made all the difference. Just watch the scenes with Wonder Woman/Diana Prince from "Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Justice League." In the Zack Snyder films, everything lingers on Gal Gadot — from camera placement (usually low and behind her, to get her butt), to long close-ups of her face.

The way women are shot in "Justice League," which came out months after "Wonder Woman," feels especially gratuitous after seeing them shot so well. In "Wonder Woman," the Amazons' armor covers the torso, appearing reasonable for fighting in battle. In "Justice League," the Amazons wear pieces of fabric that don't cover more than they have to for the film to keep a PG-13 rating. 

The same is not true for the men in the Snyder films. Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller are all attractive men with ripped bodies. But besides tight suits, there is no lingering, and no butt shots.

Gal Gadot is breathtaking. It's ok to say that, and it's also acceptable to emphasize a woman's beauty (or anyone's). But Jenkins, unlike Snyder and so many men who've directed women, doesn't use it as a tool, and doesn't use it to sell the story. The character is already great, and the story is already compelling enough. 

Instead, Jenkins showcases Diana's strength, optimism, and fearlessness to prove she is beautiful.

It broke records for female directors, who need to be taken more seriously than they have been in the history of filmmaking.

Director Patty Jenkins broke records with "Wonder Woman." Not only was she the first woman to direct such a large-scale superhero film — which, after so many years is a pretty sad statistic — but the movie became the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman, surpassing 2013's "Frozen," which was co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck. "Wonder Woman" is also the highest-grossing superhero origin movie of all time. 

If Hollywood continues to give women and minorities opportunities to direct, the stories will naturally get better, because unique perspectives spur more interesting stories.  


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

26 Easter eggs hidden within your Google search bar


Google Search

Google has come a long, long way since its startup days, but it hasn't forgotten how to have fun. 

The search giant loves to hide fun tricks, or "Easter eggs," into its services. From Google Hangouts to Google Maps, there are neat games or features hidden inside nearly every product and service Google makes (even its spreadsheets).

But its Google's search engine that holds most of these jokes, games, and nifty features. There are almost too many to count, so we’ve rounded up a handful of our favorites from over the years.

Here are 26 Easter eggs hidden inside Google Search:

Jeff Dunn contributed to an earlier version of this story. 

SEE ALSO: Here are all the new Animojis coming to your iPhone X

1. If you search for “solitaire,” you can play a round of the classic card game.

2. Searching “tic tac toe” will let you start up that game. You can set it to play against a friend or Google itself. For a real challenge, set the difficulty to “Impossible,” and try to get anything done at work.

3. If you're in the holiday spirit, you can play a digital game of dreidel by searching "spin (or play) dreidel."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 luxuries you can probably afford — even if it feels like you can't


woman sunglasses looking out sun relaxing

Luxury doesn't have to come with sticker shock. 

In fact, between experiences and physical products, you can probably afford more luxuries than you realize.

Here are seven things (plus one bonus item) to start with:

SEE ALSO: Here are the ages you financially peak at everything throughout life — from salary to net worth

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1. Good sheets

High-quality bedding doesn't have to break the bank, and it may last longer than less-expensive options. Brooklinen's Luxe Collection is one of the best affordable, luxury sheet sets on the market. A queen set costs $150, but will give you years of "soft-as-the-clouds" comfort.

Source: Business Insider

2. A virtual assistant

2018 is the year of the smart-home device. Buy one of the two best options on the market, Amazon Echo ($100) or Google Home ($130), and play music, get directions, order an Uber, check your bank account balance, and get answers to your most pressing questions. The smaller versions of both devices are just $50 — a small price to pay to never feel helpless in your own home again.

Source: Business Insider (1, 2)

3. A monthly pedicure

The average cost of a basic salon pedicure in the US is just $33. Having your feet scrubbed clean and nails polished while you relax in a massage chair will leave you feeling pampered and looking put together.

Source: Statista

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 21 music artists with the most Grammy awards of all time


Jay Z

Over the 60 years of its existence, the Grammy Awards have heaped golden gramophone statues on some of the most influential musicians in history.

Prominent artists like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Stevie Wonder rank among the top Grammy winners, and they are joined by a number of notable composers and producers.

But Jay-Z — who is up for a field-leading eight nominations at the 60th Grammy Awards on Sunday — has the potential to significantly shake up the list that follows.  

Here are the 21 artists with the most Grammy awards of all time:

SEE ALSO: The 50 best-selling albums of all time

Paul McCartney — 18 wins

McCartney won his first Grammy award in 1965 for best new artist with The Beatles. He has received 78 nominations. 

Yo-Yo Ma — 18 wins

The renowned cellist won his first Grammy in 1984 for a Bach recording. He has received 27 nominations.  

Aretha Franklin — 18 wins

The soul legend won her first Grammys in 1967 for best R&B recording and solo vocal performance for her hit single "Respect." She has received 44 nominations.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Lexus' stunning new SUV concept is the future of luxury crossovers — here's a look at its best features



  • Lexus premiered its new luxury concept car, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless, earlier this month at the Detroit auto show. 
  • The car was designed by CALTY Design Research in California, with innovation and luxury in mind.
  • With features like hands-free driving and a concierge-like navigation system, the LF-1 Limitless pushes the boundaries of what's possible in a crossover vehicle. 

As its name suggests, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless has endless possibilities. 

The concept car could be powered by gas, hybrid, or full-electric, with Lexus setting its sights on its entire collection being all-electric or electric-optional by 2025.

Designed at CALTY Design Research in California, the LF-1 Limitless does away with analog knobs and distracting features,  controlled entirely by haptic technology and motion sensors. With individual control consoles and concierge assistance within reach of the driver and all passengers, the LF-1 Limitless is designed with a luxurious yet practical ride in mind.

“The LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for the driver and passengers,” said CALTY Design Research President Kevin Hunter in a statement. Boasting innovative self-driving technology and concierge assistance, here's a closer look at the future of luxury crossovers. 

SEE ALSO: The 7 most extravagant car interiors in the world

The concept LF-1 Limitless was designed to show off unrestricted, luxurious innovation.

With an exaggerated dash-to-axle ratio, it looks and feels more like a luxury sports car than a crossover.

With 22-inch wheels, a low roofline, and elevated ride height, the crossover is designed to combine performance and practicality.

The grille features a three dimensional design with colors developed in-house by CALTY.

The grille uses LED lighting instead of chrome, taking the classic Lexus spindle grille to the next level.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A regular person tracked their OKCupid and Tinder messages and found some surprising patterns


surprised phone texting

  • A Redditor posted a graph of their experiences on OKCupid and Tinder.
  • The analysis found GIFs were more likely to receive a response than texts on Tinder.
  • Only nine of the 59 total threads analyzed ended in a date.

Online dating can be weird, and confusing, and frustrating — but if you're even a little bit of a data nerd, it's also a gold mine.

In January, Redditor chaios24 submitted a popular post to the subreddit r/dataisbeautiful titled "My 180 Days of Lesbian Online Dating." chaios24 shows the success rates of sending a message versus a GIF and of initiating a conversation versus responding to someone else.

The most intriguing finding: Sending a GIF was slightly more likely to result in a date than sending a message. (Tinder allows users to send GIFs; OkCupid doesn't.)

chaios24 sent 15 GIFs on Tinder; three received no response, nine prompted a conversation that eventually petered out, and three ended in a date. By contrast, of the 16 messages chaios24 sent (on OKCupid and Tinder), two received no response, 12 petered out, and two ended in a date.

chaios24's observations are supported by broader findings from Tinder. BuzzFeed reported that sending a GIF on Tinder instead of text or an emoji means you're 30% more likely to receive a response from your match. And conversations that include GIFs on Tinder last twice as long as conversations without GIFs.

When BuzzFeed published the findings, in March 2016, the GIF that had received the highest response rate on Tinder was Jimmy Fallon's "Haaaaaay."

chaios24 also broke down the numbers for messages received. Of the 28 messages someone else sent, chaios24 didn't respond to seven, 17 petered out, and four led to a date.

To sum up, only nine of the 59 total threads that chaios24 analyzed ended in a date. chaios24 also created a graph that shows the success rates of messaging on OKCupid versus Tinder.

chaios24, a late-20-something in a large East Coast city in the US, wrote that their profile "stated that I wasn't l looking for anything serious." As of January 9, the person was no longer single.

To be sure, this is just one person's experience, meaning it's hard to draw conclusions about online dating in general. Perhaps the greatest takeaway here is that if you approach life as an experiment — as this Redditor seems to have done — the inevitable frustrations that come with being a single person looking for a date may become more tolerable.

SEE ALSO: A psychologist says apps like Tinder and Bumble have become the only dating services worth your time

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: TINDER COFOUNDER: The biggest mistakes people make with their photos

The 15 Oscar best-picture winners that made the most money at the US box office


forrest gump

As the 2018 Academy Awards draw closer, it's time to dive into the numbers and check out which of the best-picture winners are the biggest moneymakers of all time at the box office.

There are some obvious ones here, but thanks to inflation, there are a few titles that may surprise you.

Here are the top 15.

Note: All box-office figures are domestic grosses only and include any earnings from rereleases. All figures are from Box Office Mojo.

SEE ALSO: 5 reasons "Wonder Woman" was one of the most important films of 2017, and deserved a best picture Oscar nomination

15. "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) — $504.9 million

Unadjusted: $24 million

14. “Rocky” (1976) — $505 million

Unadjusted: $117 million

13. “Lawrence of Arabia (1962) — $508 million

Unadjusted: $45 million

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The top 10 most polarizing brands in the US all have to do with Trump — here they are


Trump CNN

Politics is increasingly playing a greater role in our daily lives. From the NFL to retail stores like Walmart and Macy's, brand names and companies once deemed neutral are now part of contentious national conversations.

On Thursday, the market research company Morning Consult unveiled its inaugural "Most Polarizing Brands in America" rankings, based on more than 300,000 surveys of US adults, to determine which brands divide Republicans and Democrats the most.

The split among respondents was 32% Democrat, 34% Republican, and 34% independent.

Morning Consult found that the top 10 most polarizing brands have one thing in common: President Donald Trump either loves or reviles them.

Here are the top 10 most polarizing:

SEE ALSO: There is no winning for marketers in the age of Trump, a divided America and the constant social media outrage loop

DON'T MISS: The world's fastest growing brands by value

10: The Washington Post

9: CBS News

8: ABC News

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

100 under-the-radar beaches everyone should visit in their lifetime


pink sand beach Komodo, Indonesia

Whether you've only spent a handful of days on the sand in your life or you're a full-blown sunseeker, there are plenty of breathtaking beaches on this planet waiting to be discovered.

And, whether you look for a spot with an element of adventure, peace and quiet, or you simply don't like your towel to be too close to a stranger, many of them fly under-the-radar to tourists despite their spectacular beauty.

Business Insider asked some of the most influential travel bloggers and experts, from the likes of Lonely Planet, Secret Escapes, KAYAK, British AirwaysAirbnb, lastminute.com, and HolidayPirates for the most incredible under-the-radar beaches they've ever visited. Jet-setters in our own office also contributed. Together, their choices don't disappoint.

From a red sand beach in Maui to a sandy spot in Thailand inhabited entirely by monkeys, scroll down for a list of 100 under-the-radar beaches everyone should visit in their lifetime.

SEE ALSO: 100 trips everyone should take in their lifetime, according to the world's top travel experts

Furore, Italy.

"This little hidden beach is off the beaten path, but expect many locals to be frolicking in the waters around the Amalfi Coast," said James Asquith, the youngest person to travel to every country.

"The tiny strip of sand is wedged between a gigantic Fjord and you can get a fantastic view down from the nearby coastal road bridge. Don’t expect beach shacks or cafes but prepare yourself for a quintessential Italian summer experience."

Red Sand Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA.

"Continuing with the colour theme and unique views, welcome to Red Sand Beach in Maui," Asquith said. "Caused by lava flows this time, instead of the dark volcanic rock in the neighbouring Big Island, this beach not only attracts some great wildlife but also is self-contained by rustic-looking rocks and vegetation."

Punalu'u Beach, The Big Island, Hawaii, USA.

This is "not your regular beach," according to Asquith. "This secluded stretch of sand is completely black," he said. "Caused by crushed volcanic rock particles and ash over millions of years, at first you may think the black sand looks ugly compared to traditional beaches, you will soon come to see the true and unique beauty of this beach, along with some pretty cool pictures for Instagram too!"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Fitness influencers, trainers, and models show us what's inside their fridges — and reveal why you should avoid 'fat-free' foods and 'cheat days'


George fridge

January is nearly over, and many of us will have at least attempted to start 2018 with a healthy new lifestyle.

However, if you've found yourself lacking in inspiration or have fallen off the wagon, help is at hand.

Wren Kitchens teamed up with a group of seven fitness influencers — including a Barry's Bootcamp trainer, a dancer, and a model — to find out how they're staying fit and healthy in 2018 — and they shared a peek inside their fridges.

While they each have their own take on healthy living, be it following a strict eating regime or avoiding a restrictive diet altogether, most agree that you should factor in at least one or two plant-based days per week.

From saying no to "cheat days" to avoiding "fat-free" foods, here's what some of the most influential people in the world of fitness — ranked in descending order by number of Instagram followers — are doing to stay healthy this year, along with a look at the foods that are powering them through.

SEE ALSO: The plank is the one exercise most commonly done wrong, according to a personal trainer — but this subtle change could make it twice as effective in half the time

Chessie King, fitness trainer and presenter — @chessiekingg, 300K followers.

What's in her fridge

While King doesn't label herself a veggie or vegan, she doesn't eat meat. "I pack my fridge with goodness," she said. "[P]lenty of fish, tofu, chickpeas, and veggies. I just eat mindfully and make sure my fish is well-sourced.

"My favourite, easy-to-make healthy breakfast is avocado with smoked salmon in a gluten-free multi-seed pita. If I’m in a rush, I love a shake, with a banana, oat milk, peanut butter, oats, cacao powder, protein powder, and ice.

"I always have kale in my fridge to make kale crisps. I drizzle them in olive oil and salt before crisping them up in the Aga," she said.

"Instead of coffee, I have pre-workout matcha, which I whizz up with oat milk and ice in the blender. I love oat milk and brown rice milk, so always stock my fridge up with these.

"Up until three years ago, I used to think the egg white was the healthiest part and wasted the yolk. But the yolk contains all the goodness and vitamin D. I love scrambling egg and tofu together with brown rice and broccoli, then adding a little honey, tamari, sesame oil, and mixing it all together to make a healthy teriyaki dish."

King added that she doesn’t believe in low fat, high protein, or low-carb meals, nor juice diets or skinny teas.

Her one piece of advice for 2018

Walk everywhere. "Go for walks on lunch breaks and weekends – even start walking to work, if you can."

Steph Elswood, health blogger and dancer — @healthychefsteph, 167K followers.

What's in her fridge

"I eat mostly vegan, which means I consume no meat, eggs, milk, or cheese," said Elswood. "As a result, my fridge is always packed with colourful fruits and veggies." These include courgettes, ginger, avocados, cucumber, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, strawberries, and blueberries.

"I make curries and stews a lot – they’re warming, delicious, and save me from this cold weather. I have dates that keep for longer than most fruit, and buy beetroot in a vacuum pack in case I ever fancy it.

"To mix things up, I find other vegetables that I don’t use as frequently. For this week, I have chosen a butternut squash, which I plan to make into a pie."

Elswood added that she combines plant-based items to create a "complete protein" source that has an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids.

"Examples of this are pita and hummus, peanut butter on wholegrain toast, or rice and black beans. I also use coconut or almond milk for coffee, cereal, and smoothies."

Her one piece of advice for 2018

Avoid being intimidated by the gym by having a plan. "There are so many newbies kickstarting their exercise journey. Pre-plan your workouts and walk in with confidence. No one will question you — they’re all too busy concentrating on themselves."

Matt Law, model — @mattclaw, 99K followers.

What's in his fridge

"Typically, I eat oily fish, such as salmon, once a week, and lean meats or white fish on the other days," Law said. "I try to have at least one plant-based day a week, replacing animal protein with plant based high-protein substitutes such as black beans or lentils."

He said that instead of buying in bulk, he'll buy just enough for a few days, which presumably avoids wastage. "I travel a lot, so this suits my schedule, and the added benefit is the food I’m eating is fresh," he said. "Seasonal vegetables are a good option, too. They tend to be cheaper and you can sometimes pick up boxes of mixed seasonal vegetables."

His one piece of advice for 2018

He advises people to schedule a workout on a Saturday or Sunday. "Having a couple of rest days in the week is a better idea than leaving it for the weekend," he said.

And he doesn't advocate "cheat days." "All you’re doing by having a day off from your regular diet is reminding your taste buds of all the bad foods they’ve missed," he said. "Wait until you’ve reached your goal, then slowly introduce the odd treat."

He added that it takes about 21 days of healthy eating to overcome your junk food habits.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The restaurant in Venice that charged 4 tourists €1,100 for a steak dinner has been fined €14,000


venice unsplash federico beccari

  • A restaurant in Venice charged four tourists €1,100 ($1,350/£970) for four steaks, fried fish, and water.
  • The news garnered some bad publicity for Venice.
  • Osteria da Luca has since received visits from the police and health and building inspectors, who fined it €14,000.
  • The Venetian Hoteliers Association also offered the tourists a free two-night stay at one of the city's hotels.

A restaurant in Venice that massively overcharged some tourists for a steak dinner has been fined €14,000 ($17,500/£12,300) by authorities in the city.

Osteria da Luca garnered some bad press earlier this week after reports emerged of its charging four Japanese tourists €1,100 ($1,350/£970) for four steaks, fried fish, and mineral water.

The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, pledged to intervene in the "shameful episode."

After the news broke, Osteria da Luca received visits from the police, health officers, building inspectors, and the national financial crime police, who slapped the restaurant with fines totalling €14,000 ($17,500/£12,300), regional newspaper Il Gazzetino reported.

Health and building inspectors discovered structural irregularities in the restaurant's kitchen and serving area, and local police found administrative inconsistencies, Il Gazzetino said.

The Venetian Hoteliers Association on Wednesday also offered the four wronged tourists a free two-night stay at a four- or five-star hotel in an attempt to revive the lagoon city's reputation. It is not clear, however, if they received any money back after being overcharged.

Vittorio Bonacini, the association's president, told The Telegraph: "The association has taken note of the fact that the episode did grave harm to the image of the city.

"After a high-level discussion, we’ve decided to offer the four tourists who had such an unfortunate experience a stay of two nights in a four or five-star hotel."

SEE ALSO: Tourists in Venice were charged more than £450 for a lunch they claim they didn't order — and this is a more common scam than you'd expect

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A $445 billion fund manager explains what everyone gets wrong about the economy

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