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Rent the Runway just got an infusion of cash from Alibaba founder Jack Ma — see inside the office of the startup that is revolutionizing fashion


Jennifer Hyman, CEO of Rent The Runway

  • Rent the Runway, a fashion company that allows customers to rent and return designer clothing, recently received a $20 million investment from Blue Pool Capital, an investment firm created by Alibaba founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai.
  • Rent the Runway is reported to be valued now at around $800 million. 
  • Last year, Rent the Runway renovated its New York City headquarters, and Business Insider got a look inside.

Rent the Runway
has been working to democratize fashion since 2009. The startup allows customers to rent articles of clothing from more than 450 designers, with tiered monthly subscription services and items that start at $30 for a four-day rental. 

Last week, it was reported that Jack Ma and Joe Tsai of Alibaba invested $20 million in Rent the Runway through their asset management firm, Blue Pool Capital. With that investment the company is now reportedly valued at a little less $800 million. 

Late last year, Rent the Runway celebrated its eighth anniversary with the opening of a freshly renovated Manhattan headquarters.

The nearly 40,000-square-foot space, which was designed by Hyphen, is adorned in pink wallpaper, and its perks include a meditation room, photo studio, and fitting room for employees to change into their own rentals.

"Even though we're 1,200 people it still feels like it did in the early days when we first founded the company," co-founder and CEO Jenn Hyman told Business Insider.

She added: "That entrepreneurial spirit, the warmth, the friendships, are all there. We wanted the office to reflect that energetic entrepreneurial spirit."

Ahead, get a look around the office and Hyman's favorite spaces.

SEE ALSO: Go inside the gorgeous New York apartment where everything is for sale

The offices house around 250 employees, though Rent the Runway employs about 1,200 people in total, including in their stores and warehouses.

In the front lobby are two large closets that have rotating wardrobes hanging inside them. "These closets are in the shape of our logo," Hyman said. "We continuously rotate to feature things that are new. New brands, new arrivals — they're continuously changing to evidence this statement: 'I have everything to wear.'"

On the left wall is what Hyman calls her favorite thing in the office: photos of customers, employees both past and present, and other female entrepreneurs that have used Rent the Runway's services.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Elon Musk on who has inspired him: 'Kanye West, obviously'


elon musk kanye west

  • Elon Musk said he's "obviously" inspired by rapper Kanye West in an interview at South by Southwest on Sunday.
  • The tech entrepreneur previously wrote a blurb for West's inclusion in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list in 2015. 

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk cited rapper Kanye West as one of his inspirations in a Q&A at South by Southwest on Sunday.

During the interview, Musk was asked, "Everyone in this room is inspired by you, who are you inspired by?"

"Well, Kanye West, obviously," Musk quickly replied, to a smattering of laughter from the crowd. 

Musk also cited Hollywood icon Fred Astaire as an inspiration, saying, "You should see my dance moves."

While Musk's mention of West was played for laughs at the festival, the Tesla CEO has had a history of praising West's career.

In 2015, Musk wrote the following laudatory blurb for West's inclusion in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list:

"Kanye West would be the first person to tell you he belongs on this list. The dude doesn’t believe in false modesty, and he shouldn’t. Kanye’s belief in himself and his incredible tenacity—he performed his first single with his jaw wired shut—got him to where he is today. And he fought for his place in the cultural pantheon with a purpose. In his debut album, over a decade ago, Kanye issued what amounted to a social critique and a call to arms (with a beat): 'We rappers is role models: we rap, we don’t think.' But Kanye does think. Constantly. About everything. And he wants everybody else to do the same: to engage, question, push boundaries. Now that he’s a pop-culture juggernaut, he has the platform to achieve just that. He’s not afraid of being judged or ridiculed in the process. Kanye’s been playing the long game all along, and we’re only just beginning to see why."

Watch a clip from Musk's SXSW interview below:

SEE ALSO: A marketing agency has built a business by putting together brands and musicians for projects like custom vinyl and concerts — and it's hosting over 100 bands at SXSW

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: You can connect all 9 Best Picture Oscar nominees with actors they have in common — here's how

Meghan Markle just proved her dominance over Kate Middleton — and it could be worth up to $1.4 billion to the British economy


meghan markle kate middleton

  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are to be married in May.
  • Their wedding is expected to give an estimated $1.4 billion boost to the British economy.
  • Kate Middleton's fashion-icon status contributed an estimated $205 million to the economy in 2015.

We're a few short months away from the May 19 wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, and the "Meghan Effect" is already in full force.

Like Kate Middleton before her, Markle's entrée into the royal family is expected to bring a huge boost to the British economy, this time to the tune of $1.4 billion (£1 billion).

That's according to a new estimation by Brand Finance, which calculated the expected profits from a surge in tourism, travel, restaurants, hotels, parties and celebrations, and the sales of T-shirts, hats, banners, and other commemorative merchandise related to the royal wedding.

Brand Finance previously estimated in January that Markle's impact on the British economy would be worth about $677 million (£500 million), as reported by Forbes, but "excitement in the last couple of months" has increased doubled the value, said Richard Haigh, managing director Brand Finance.

Around the time of the last royal wedding, in 2011, the phenomenon was deemed the "Duchess Effect" or the "Kate Effect": Anything worn by Middleton, and now her children, flies off the shelves. Middleton effectively became a trendsetter overnight.

But the royal reverberations continue far beyond the months surrounding the nuptials.

In 2015, the Kate Effect brought more than $205 million (£152 million) to the British economy, while the "Charlotte Effect" and the "George Effect" translated to over $239 million (£177 million) combined, Brand Finance estimates.

kate and meghan 1

But Markle, a fixture on red carpets in the US and recently described as "a singular mover of product" by The New York Times, could have even wider influence and fiscal effect than her future sister-in-law.

The 36-year-old actress led a surprisingly relatable life— which included sharing photos of her friends and family, clothes, and travels on her now deleted Instagram and blog — before recently rocketing to global fame. And Markle's American citizenship, along with the few years she spent living in Canada while shooting television drama "Suits," could expand her global fan base. Her style is also decidedly trendier and less traditional than Middleton's.

After Markle and Prince Harry's engagement was announced, the couple posed for photos at Kensington Palace in London. She wore a coat by the Canadian fashion brand Line, a brand beloved by Canadians, but fairly obscure outside the country. Soon after the brand was identified, its site slowed or crashed for many visitors.

All things considered, 2018 is set to be a banner year for the British royal family as they're expected to drum up more than $3.8 billion (£2.8 billion) for the country's economy, according to Brand Finance.

SEE ALSO: Meghan Markle had a surprisingly relatable life before becoming the world's most famous royal to-be — see her former house, car, and wardrobe

DON'T MISS: Working for Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace may sound like a dream to some, but the pay is less than you think

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An Indian man nailed it when Kate Middleton and Prince William asked about how to help the world's poorest children

Inside London's wizarding bar where you mix your own cocktails in a cauldron and pour beers using a magic wand

  • We went to London's wizarding bar The Cauldron.
  • Guests dress up in robes and are given a cauldron to mix their own drinks. 
  • Cocktails at The Cauldron are called potions.
  • It opened as pop-up and has plans to become a permanent bar.
  • The experience costs £29.99 and includes three drinks.


Wizarding bar The Cauldron is a fantasy book lover's dream.

Guests dress up in robes and are given a cauldron to mix their own drinks. They even get a magic wand to get beer from their "tree of life."

Cocktails (called "potions") are made using traditional ingredients like elderflower and lavender, but also unusual ones like dry ice, or a secret Indonesian flower.

"The potions behave in different ways according to what you put in them and how you make them," The Cauldron manager David Duckworth told Business Insider. "It basically stems from molecular mixology."

The Cauldron also grows its own herbs and plants including basil, thyme, mandrake, and monkey jars.

Guests can purchase a wand to take home for £20.

The Cauldron opened as pop-up after a successful Kickstarter campaign and has plans to become a permanent bar.

"I’m a huge science and fantasy fiction geek. I was studying programming and design and I wanted to make what I was reading about in fantasy books real," The Cauldron CEO Matthew Cortland told Business Insider.

The experience costs £29.99 and includes three drinks.

Produced and filmed by Claudia Romeo

SEE ALSO: We went to London's first Prosecco-only bar where they serve over 20 types from 5 Italian vineyards

Join the conversation about this story »

Bojangles' could be careening towards disaster after an aggressive expansion push — and a trip to the chain reveals why (BOJA)


Bojangles 10

  • North Carolina-based chicken chain Bojangles' is having growing pains after a recent expansion push. 
  • The company recently reported negative sales growth, and its CEO stepped down for personal reasons. 
  • We visited the chicken chain, and we think the road to recovery is possible — but it'll take some work. 

Regional cult-favorite Bojangles' plans to expand across America are apparently hitting some bumps along the way. 

Last week, after a lackluster fourth-quarter earnings report, the company's stock went on a wild roller coaster ride, plummeting before rallying to its highest price this year. The chain's system-wide sales were down from the previous quarter, and year-over-year sales decreased more than 2%, according to QSR Magazine. 

Plus, in a seemingly unrelated move, the company's CEO, Clifton Rutledge, stepped down for personal reasons on March 5. 

While Bojangles' has some plans for a turnaround — including strategic closings, a new loyalty and payment app, lower prices, and plans to continue remodeling stores in a more modern format — when we visited the chain during a trip to Virginia last year, we found that the chain had a long road ahead of it. 

Bojangles' has been making a major expansion push since its 2015 IPO. As a North Carolinian, Business Insider's Kate Taylor swore she had eaten higher-quality Bojangles' in the past. Perhaps Bojangles' expansion is actually the root of its problems — not the potential sales boost that the chain had hoped for.

It may enjoy fanatical devotion in its home base of North Carolina, but for the chain to make it outside of the Carolinas, some changes need to happen. Here's how our taste test in Charlottesville, Virginia, went: 

SEE ALSO: We tried biscuit breakfast sandwiches from major fast-food chains — and the winner is shockingly clear

ALSO READ: Wendy's is slamming McDonald's as a new weapon emerges in the fast-food wars — and it's clear whose burger is better

Bojangles' beige buttress beckoned from the highway in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The taupe continued inside. The interior had a clean and sterile — yet vaguely homey — vibe, like an old-school New England Wendy's.

The ordering system sets Bojangles' apart from others: The cashier calls orders over a PA system to the kitchen, which springs into action.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The best ways to lose weight and keep it off, according to science


woman hiking outside strong

  • Sustained weight loss can be a struggle, but there are practical tips that can help.
  • Successful strategies include cutting back on foods and drinks that have been strongly tied to weight gain and increasing your intake of more nutrient-dense foods.
  • Other approaches focus on ways you can set yourself up for long-term healthy eating in subtle, gradual steps.

In a country that eats dessert for breakfast, sustained weight loss can feel like an uphill battle.

Aside from avoiding obvious minefields like stacks of syrup-drenched pancakes and huge muffins, there are several practical guidelines to follow if you're looking to slim down. These tips can be helpful whether you're struggling to lose weight or simply aiming to reboot your eating plan with some healthier basics.

Still, if you're aiming to make big changes to your diet and to your health, it's always helpful to get help from a trained medical professional like a physician, registered dietitian, or family doctor. They'll be able to go over any questions you have about the suggestions you find here.

SEE ALSO: Weight Watchers' new program has 200 'zero-points' foods you can eat as much as you want — including eggs

DON'T MISS: What your daily routine should look like, according to science

Start eating more vegetables — especially greens.

Author Michael Pollan may have condensed all the best nutrition wisdom into one line when he wrote: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

Dozens of scientific studies have tied diets high in vegetablesespecially greens— to better health outcomes, including weight loss and a decreased risk of a handful of chronic diseases. Veggies like watercress, spinach, chives, and collard greens all rank highly on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's list of "powerhouse foods," so find a few you like, and start adding them to your plate.

But don't worry: Most of the research does not suggest a need to slash meat, dairy, or fish from your diet. In fact, the best results typically appear to come from diets that combine high amounts of vegetables with healthy sources of protein, which can include seafood, eggs, and meat. Eating plans like these include the popular Mediterranean diet and MIND diet.

Replace soda or sweet tea with sugar-free drinks.

Sweetened beverages like soda and juice can make up a surprising portion of the calories you consume each day, yet they don't fill you up the same way solid food does.

As part of an eight-year study that included nearly 50,000 women, Harvard researchers tracked what happened when people either slashed their intake of sweetened drinks or started consuming more of them. Not surprisingly, the participants who raised their sugary-drink intake gained weight and increased their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In fact, the more people's sweet-drink intake increased, the more weight they gained and the more their disease risk went up.

Those who curbed their intake did not see those negative results.

So the next time you're looking for something other than water to drink, try seltzer or unsweetened tea. Even diet soda is probably a better choice. Every time you pick one of these over a sweetened beverage, you'll also be cutting anywhere from 150 to 400 calories.

Swap the white bread and rice in your meals for whole grains.

One of the least healthy components of most American diets appears to be refined carbohydrates, a category that includes white bread and white rice. Refined carbs can also be found in lots of other processed foods — they appear on nutrition labels as "refined flour" or just "flour."

A 2012 study published in the journal Food and Nutrition Research found strong links between diets high in refined carbohydrates and weight gain. One reason for this may be that refined grains are processed quickly and turned into sugar in the body.

Whole grains, on the other hand, get digested slowly and fill you up for hours. The key difference is that whole grains still have their nutritious, fiber-rich outer shells, such as the germ and bran. Those parts get stripped off of refined carbs in a factory before you eat them.

Roxanne B. Sukol, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Enterprise, said people should think of refined carbohydrates simply as "stripped carbs" and avoid them whenever possible.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

People are obsessed with buying cars through Costco instead of on their own at a dealership — here's the verdict (COST)



  • The Costco Auto Program allows Costco members to buy discounted cars through participating dealerships.
  • The program makes a lot of the hardest parts of buying a car — like research and negotiation — easier.
  • But it also limits the customer's choices in some areas.

Shopping for a car can be overwhelming.

If you know you're looking for, say, an SUV, you have to determine the brand, the model, and the model year you'd like, as well as the dealership you want to use, whether you'd like to buy new or used, and whether you want to buy or lease.

Where do you start your research? Which sources can you trust? What's a reasonable price for a given model?

The Costco Auto Program attempts to eliminate some of that uncertainty.

In the past five years, over 1 million Costco members have purchased a vehicle through the program, which allows members to research and compare vehicles, calculate monthly payments, and get a discount at participating dealerships through the program's website or call center.

While the size of the discount varies based on the vehicle's class, brand, and model, a Costco Auto Program representative told Business Insider that the average was over $1,000 off a vehicle's average transaction price.

And since the program is available only to its members, Costco has plenty of reasons to vet dealers and salespeople so their customers don't end up feeling tricked — and blaming Costco.

"We're not just providing leads to dealers — we're creating a referral," Rick Borg, a Costco Auto Program senior executive, told Business Insider.

Here's how using the Costco Auto Program is different from the average car shopping process.

SEE ALSO: People are obsessed with booking their vacations through Costco — and now there are even more benefits

1. You have to be a Costco member to use the auto program.

This may sound obvious, but while nonmembers can use some of the program's research tools, only Costco members are eligible to get the discounted price.

2. Multiple strands of research are condensed into one place.

One of the most difficult parts of shopping for a car is figuring out where to start and end your research, especially if you don't read auto news and reviews for fun.

The Costco Auto Program brings reviews, safety ratings, a financial calculator, and a vehicle-comparison tool under one roof.

While it never hurts to compare research from multiple sources, the program's website provides a good place to start.

3. Your choice of dealerships and salespeople is limited.

Borg says Costco works with one dealership per brand in a defined geographic area around a Costco warehouse — and at each participating dealership, only a handful of salespeople are authorized to work with customers shopping through the program.

He says Costco picks dealerships based on prices, customer satisfaction index scores, and reputations on social media. Authorized salespeople are also evaluated based on their CSI scores and must work at their dealership for at least six months before they are eligible to work with the program.

But the limited number of dealerships and salespeople makes things a little more difficult for customers who don't end up satisfied with the first dealership Costco recommends. While Borg says Costco can point customers to other participating dealerships, they may not be geographically convenient.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Steven Spielberg says his new sci-fi film 'Ready Player One' was 'the greatest anxiety attack I've ever had'


spielberg ready player one

  • Steven Spielberg described the production of his new sci-fi film, "Ready Player One," as "perhaps the greatest anxiety attack I ever had," while introducing the movie at South by Southwest on Sunday.
  • The Oscar-winning director also called himself a "gamer," and explained how he wants the virtual-reality-based film to appeal to both video game enthusiasts and everyday audiences.
  • "I've been a gamer ever since 1974, when I played the first Pong Game on Martha’s Vineyard while filming 'Jaws,'" Spielberg said.

Steven Spielberg gave a surprise introduction to the South by Southwest premiere of his new sci-fi film, "Ready Player One," on Sunday, during which he described the film's production as "perhaps the greatest anxiety attack I ever had," IndieWire reports.

Adapted from a best-selling 2011 novel of the same name, "Ready Player One" is set in a dystopian Earth in the year 2044, where the population lives primarily in a virtual-reality world called the OASIS. 

Spielberg told the SXSW audience that he wanted to make a movie that would appeal to both video game enthusiasts and everyday audiences, and he described himself as a "gamer."

"I've been a gamer ever since 1974, when I played the first Pong Game on Martha’s Vineyard while filming 'Jaws,'" he said.

The Oscar-winning director not only described the production of "Ready Player One" as anxiety-inducing, but also expressed anxiety for viewing the film with the South by Southwest audience.

"When I make a movie that I direct behind the camera ... I am pretty much in control," he said. "But when I decided to make a movie sitting in the audience with you, and I direct a film in the seat right next to you, that means I’m making the picture for you. And your reaction is everything."

Read IndieWire's report of the event here.

SEE ALSO: The 50 best animated movies of all time, according to critics

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why 555 is always used for phone numbers on TV and in movies

Inside the marriage of Bill and Melinda Gates, who met at work, live in a $124 million home, and will leave their children only a small fraction of their fortune


Bill and Melinda Gates

  • Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, married Melinda French in 1994.
  • They met at Microsoft when Melinda was brought on a product manager — she initially turned down Bill's request for a date at a company picnic.
  • Today, they run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of $40.3 billion.


Melinda French was less than impressed when her boss asked her out on a date.

It was 1987, and the recent Duke graduate had just joined Microsoft as a product manager. CEO Bill Gates approached her at a company picnic and asked if she'd be interested in grabbing dinner in two weeks. She responded, "That's not spontaneous enough for me," Fortune reported in 2015.

Fast-forward three decades, and Bill and Melinda Gates are married with three kids, worth $92.2 billion, and run a namesake philanthropic enterprise boasting a $40.3 billion endowment.

Here's a look at their marriage.

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

DON'T MISS: Inside the daily routine of billionaire Bill Gates, who loves cheeseburgers, tours missile silos, and washes the dishes every night

At the picnic, Melinda gave Bill her number and told him to call her closer to the day he had in mind.

Source: Business Insider

Instead, he called her up later that night with a wry question: "Is this spontaneous enough for you?" Turns out, it was.

Source: Business Insider

Melinda and Bill dated for seven years before they wed. Melinda told Fortune her mom didn't think that seeing the CEO was a good idea in the beginning.

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The best places to live in Los Angeles right now


Downtown LA California

  • Los Angeles is the US's second-largest city, and its sprawling neighborhoods have something for everyone.
  • These are the best neighborhoods to live in in LA, according to someone who lived there for 12 years.
  • Manhattan Beach, Glendale, Downtown LA, Silver Lake, and Monrovia top the list for different reasons.

Two things are always certain when it comes to living in Los Angeles, California: the cost of living is exceptionally high and if you wait long enough, you can always count on a neighborhood to spike in popularity. 

A dozen years back, Santa Monica was the toast of the town, with families and singletons alike flocking to the storied seaside city. Not long before that, West Hollywood was the freshest spot in the county. Back in the middle of the 20th Century, Hollywood was the place to be.

When I moved into Glendale back in 2005, it was like pulling teeth to get friends to come visit. Now it's one of the best destinations in Southern CA for dining and shopping and is the third most populous city in LA County, according to recent census estimates.

Sure, things might change in the next few years (in fact, they will), but these are five of the best neighborhood in Los Angeles right now, according to someone who lived there for 12 years: 

SEE ALSO: The 50 best places to live in America

Glendale is the best neighborhood in LA for raising a family

Yes, I'm a bit biased here. I lived in Glendale for 12 years and loved every day of it, especially those days on which friends who lived in Santa Monica or WeHo or Downtown also admitted it's a pretty cool neighborhood. 

Even better, Glendale is not only one of the safest areas of LA, but has been recognized by the FBI as one of the 10 safest cities in America. That might not make it cool, but if you're looking for a place where you know you can raise the kids without worry, safety is more important than anything else. And speaking of the kids, within a few miles of downtown Glendale you'll find the LA Zoo, the Norton Simon Museum, Travel Town, hiking trails in the San Gabriel Mountains, and plenty more opportunities for recreation.

The only real drawback to Glendale? It ain't cheap, not anymore. The current median home price is $809,000, and Zillow rates the Glendale housing market as "Very Hot." Median apartment rental rates are at $2,750. At least the recent construction of hundreds of apartment units means housing is available. 

Silver Lake is the place to be if you like having stuff to do

If your idea of a good time involves lots of coffee, cocktails, and one-off dining locations and doesn't involve quiet, restful nights at home, then Silver Lake is for you. 

It doesn't get much more East Side than Silver Lake, arguably the hippest of the hipster spots anywhere in Greater LA right now. The place is packed with great bars, hot restaurants, wine shops, an art gallery or three, and it's teeming with young people, both professionals and artsy-types alike.

A jog or stroll around the actual Silver Lake reservoir itself is always nice, and the region is home to many quaint and classic little homes, but really you move to Silver Lake because you want lots of stuff to do a short walk away. Parking can be tough, but everything is right down the block anyway, so don't sweat it. Do, perhaps, sweat the current median home sale price of $1,144,000 and the apartment rates often north of $3,000 per month.

The best place to buy some property is Monrovia

Home prices in Monrovia, CA are still within the spectrum of reason. Right now, the median listing price in Los Angeles is near $750,000. But the median price of single-family homes for sale in Monrovia is currently closer to $650,000.

So if you like the idea of spending a year or two less of your income on a home, Monrovia is a good place to buy. For now. 

In 2016, the LA MTA (now better known just as Metro) opened up a station connecting Monrovia to the rest of Los Angeles via the Gold Line. The new ease of access is surely going to drive home prices higher, especially as before the rail line opened, access to the city essentially required use of the often-standstill 210 and 605 freeways.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We drove a $50,000 Ford Mustang GT and an $86,000 Chevy Corvette GS to see which we liked better — here's the verdict (F, GM)


2018 Ford Mustang GT

  • The Corvette and the Ford Mustang don't make for a pure head-to-head matchup, but they do have similar V8 engine specs.
  • The Corvette is the more aggressive-looking of the pair — and it costs more.
  • In the end, though, the Mustang GT is hard to argue with.

Comparing the Corvette and Ford Mustang isn't exactly fair. 

The Mustang GT should go up against the Chevy Camaro SS. But the only Camaro we've tested came with without the Super Sportiness — there was a perfectly fine turbocharged four-banger under the hood.

So I decided to make this more of an engine-on-engine contest, which led me from the 460-horsepower 5.0-liter Mustang V8 to the 460-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 under the hood of the redoubtable Corvette Grand Sport.

From this pugnacious premise, I figured I could explore which of my two most favorite American sports cars offered the best experience, taking into account that my 'Stang came with a six-speed manual while the GS had an eight-speed automatic and also that the Mustang was a hardtop while the Vette was a convertible. No matter, really, as I've driven automatic 'Stangs with droptops and sampled the available seven-speed stick in hardtop Vette.

Weather was quite similar: late autumn in Los Angeles for the Mustang, summer in New Jersey for the Vette. I didn't have to worry about cold ties or slick roads.

Read on to discover the victor in this battle of classic American sports-car nameplates.

SEE ALSO: We drove a $63,000 Ford Raptor and a $58,000 Chevy Silverado Z71 to see which pickup truck we liked better — here's the verdict

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First up, the spectacular new Mustang GT. The Mustang has been in the Ford lineup since 1965 and is in its sixth generation.

I have traditionally been deeply impressed with 'Stangs. The updated 2018, in fastback 5.0 trim, was no exception,

"Obviously, this is a Mustang, so it can haul in a straight line," I wrote in my original review last year.

"Onramp runs and passing on the freeway are tons of fun. When the back end hunkers down and the tires grab, the joy is palpable. Yeah, let's face it, I loved the car. The gas bill might take some getting used to, but the 2018 Mustang GT is an excellent plaything. You'd want to drive it every single weekend. And then you might even want to spend the money and drive it every day."


The Mustang looked good in the Southern California sun.

As the Mustang ages, Ford has internationalized it. (The car is very popular overseas.) The overall effect is to continue presenting the Stang, after over five decades, as a sports car with global appeal, versus a stonking old American muscle car.

The color was "Triple Yellow," and yes, it was very, very yellow indeed.  Optioned out the wazoo it came in at about $50,000 (although our tester wasn't officially stickered).

Let's get to the good part: that magnificent, naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8.

At 460 horsepower, the power is a bump on the 2017 car, thanks to re-engineered fuel-injection technology. And how's this for Blue Oval cool? The engine is nicknamed "Coyote" and produces 420-pound-feet of torque.

"The real trick with the V8-motored Stangs these days is to deliver German-sports-car-level performance without grinding the backwoods American edge off," I wrote.

"This is harder than it sounds. But Ford has done it, and even sneakily altered the Stang's looks by streamlining the exterior. But that engine continues to rock 'n' roll."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'It feels like we're in jail': Japan spent $12 billion on seawalls after the devastating 2011 tsunami — and now locals are feeling like prisoners


A man looks through a window of a seawall at a port in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, March 4, 2018.

  • Japan's Fukushima disaster — a devastating string of events that included a tsunami with 42-foot high waves — left 18,000 dead in 2011.
  • In response, many towns along Japan's coast have since built massive seawalls to help protect against future tsunamis.
  • Many locals aren't happy with the walls, saying they feel like they're "in jail."


This month marks the seven-year anniversary of Japan's Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. 

The catastrophic Fukushima disaster included a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, a resulting tsunami, and a power-plant accident, which left close to 18,000 people dead in total.

The tsunami also took 5 million tons of debris with it. While 70% of the debris sank, 1.5 million tons of it was left floating in the Pacific Ocean. 

Since the devastation, some towns have prohibited building in flatter areas near the coast, while others have raised their land before building new structures.

Others are building seawalls. About 245 miles of seawall structure has been built along the coast to protect from future tsunamis. It has cost Japan about $12 billion to build these 41-foot concrete seawalls, according to Reuters, which block the view of the beaches and sea from residents — and some people aren't happy with it.

"It feels like we're in jail, even though we haven't done anything bad," an oyster fisherman, Atsushi Fujita, told Reuters. Others are worried about the walls discouraging tourism.

Ahead, a look at the resulting seawalls along Japan's coast.

SEE ALSO: Once a bustling tourist attraction, the Dead Sea is rapidly disappearing — and its beaches are almost unrecognizable

DON'T MISS: 15 stunning, award-winning travel photos that will give you serious wanderlust

The new seawalls are 41 feet high and made of concrete.

These newer walls replaced the old 13-foot breakwaters, which were destroyed during the Fukushima disaster on March 11, 2011.

"It feels like we're in jail, even though we haven't done anything bad," Atsushi Fujita, a 52-year-old oyster fisherman, told Reuters.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Ford just rolled out a special Mustang based on a classic version of the muscle car (F)


Ford Mustang GT California Special

  • Ford has revived the California Special version of the Mustang GT.
  • The nameplate dates the late 1960s.
  • The new 'Stang will add rev-matching to the GT's six-speed manual transmission and keep the 5.0-liter V8 engine.

One of the stars of the recent Detroit auto show was Ford's limited-run Bullitt Mustang— an homage to Steve McQueen's famous 'Stang from the 1968 film.

Ford Mustang GT California Special

As it turns out, 1968 was a special year for another Mustang, known as the California Special.

Now Ford's has revived that moniker for the 2019 model year and applied it to the V8-powered Mustang GT.

In a statement, Ford called the car a "visual standout, featuring a trademark fading stripe that traces from the 5.0 side badge to the rear fender scoop."

Ford Mustang GT California Special

Additional visual cues connect the Cali Special GT with the 1968 'Stang and with previous versions of the vehicle from 2007 and 2011. The inside also gets an upgrade on the regular GT, with suede-trimmed seats and dedicated "GT-California Special" insignia.

"Few things are more satisfying than dropping the top on a California Special and taking a drive down the majestic Pacific Coast Highway," designer Mark Conforzi said in a statement.

"This signature design takes its cues from the original California Special, while enhancing the personality of today’s Mustang."

Ford Mustang GT California Special

The California Special carries over the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter, 460-horsepower V8 engine, making 420 pound-feet of torque, but adds rev matching to the six-speed manual for smoother downshifts.

New is a B&O Play audio system, sporting a 1,000-watt 10-channel amplifier, with 12 speakers.

Ford didn't announce pricing for the GT California Special, but like the Bullitt 'Stang, expect it to rise somewhat above the roughly $45,000 you'd shell out for a GT.


SEE ALSO: We drove a $50,000 Ford Mustang GT and an $86,000 Chevy Corvette GS to see which we liked better — here's the verdict

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Mark Hamill says one of his best 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' moments was inspired by Barack Obama


mark hamill sxsw 2018

  • "Star Wars" actor Mark Hamill revealed the story behind Luke Skywalker brushing off his shoulder in the iconic moment from "The Last Jedi."
  • Speaking during a panel at SXSW, Hamill said he found inspiration for the "dirt off your shoulder" gesture in former US President Barack Obama.&
  • Ultimately, director Rian Johnson toned down Hamill's performance.

There's an instantly iconic moment in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" when Luke Skywalker endures a barrage of blaster fire from the First Order and emerges from the dust unharmed.

Luke brushes off his shoulder like it's no big deal.

Here's the moment in GIF form:

During a panel discussion with "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson at the SXSW film festival on Monday, Hamill revealed the story behind the famous "dirt off your shoulder" moment.

After Luke's run-in with the First Order on the red salt planet, Hamill said he told Johnson that Luke should brush off his shoulder twice like a former US president has been known to do.

Barack Obama famously made the gesture in a stump speech on the 2008 campaign trail.

"When I did the brush off, I did it brush-brush — sort of a mimicking of Barack Obama," Hamill said. But Johnson told him to do one brush "because two would be overkill."

"And again, [Johnson] was right. I had lots of horrible ideas," Hamill said.

The moment made for an incredible GIF that both Hamill and Johnson have tweeted since the movie's release. It's become "Star Wars" fans' preferred way to shove off haters.

SEE ALSO: There's a new 'Star Wars' live-action TV show coming to Disney's Netflix competitor — and it will be written by the director of 'Iron Man'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 2 millennials watched the original ‘Star Wars’ for the first time

This Stanford grad went from living in motels to working in VC — here's his unusual path and how he wants to help others like him


Frederik Groce, associate at Storm Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

  • As an African-American, Frederik Groce, an associate at Silicon Valley's Storm Ventures, is a rarity in the venture capital world, where only 3% of all employees are black.
  • In addition to being an atypical VC, Groce had an unusual journey into the industry. He grew up poor, planned on being a lawyer, and didn't really have a firm grasp on what venture capitalists do until he interviewed for a position at Storm.
  • But his experience running a multimillion dollar business organization at Stanford impressed Storm Ventures.
  • Hoping to help other blacks who are either in the venture industry or hoping to break into it, Groce's helped form a networking group in Silicon Valley and plans to eventually expand it to Los Angeles and New York.

Fredrik Groce isn't your typical venture capitalist.

He's 26. He's never run a startup and didn't come from the worlds of consulting or finance. He grew up living in motels.

Oh, and he's black — something that's exceedingly rare in the venture industry.

As even Groce acknowledges, "I'm a fluke."

But now that he's a working VC, the associate at Silicon Valley's Storm Ventures is determined to help other African-Americans, maybe even some with similarly unusual backgrounds, make it into the industry or get their businesses funded by it.

"I feel like it's my responsibility to help more people get into venture or navigate venture," Groce said.

He's already helped organize a series of meet-ups for black venture capitalists. And he's working to turn the effort into a formal organization — tentatively dubbed BLCKVC — with branches in New York and Los Angeles as well as in the Bay Area.

"We're creating a space for black venture," he said.

His childhood homes were motels, and he moved frequently

Not only is Groce an unusual venture capitalist, he took an atypical path to the industry. Indeed, as a kid, he probably had about as much chance of becoming a venture capitalist as landing on the moon.

Groce grew up poor and itinerant. His father was a car salesman who moved the family around every year or two, looking for better opportunities. The family bounced from the Bay Area to the Pacific Northwest to Ohio. Groce's life was so much in flux that he went to three high schools in four years, two in Ohio and one in Portland, Oregon.

Except for a two-year period when Groce was in high school, his family lived in motels throughout his childhood, because they didn't have enough saved to put down a deposit on an apartment, much less a down payment on a house.

"There wasn't much that kept us in any one place," he said. "If we saw an opportunity, we'd leave."

Among Groce's relatives, his family's experience wasn't exceptional. Of his dad's 12 siblings, just one had some semblance of financial success, becoming a doctor. Some of the other siblings ended up in prison.

Getting out of his situation meant going into medicine or the law

His parents' financial hardships and all that moving around influenced Groce's world view — and made him determined to not fall into the same trap. Groce was a good student and was preparing to go to college. But if you asked him what he wanted to do after, it was to be a lawyer. Because where he came from, it was a career in the law or medicine that helped people like him open the door to better financial situations.

"Become a lawyer or a doctor, and you're set" was the thinking, he said. "The people who made it out went through those pathways."

After a somewhat haphazard process of applying to colleges — Groce divided potential schools into various categories and applied to only one of the top 10 ranked in each, a process that makes him "cringe" now when he thinks about it — he decided to go to Stanford.

Although he got into all the colleges he applied to and going to Stanford meant moving far away from his parents, who were in Ohio, he didn't struggle with the decision. Stanford offered him more financial aid than he needed. He had older siblings who lived in the East Bay. And he'd have a place to live for four years — longer than he'd ever stayed in one place in his life.

"It was an easy decision to be made," he said.

Going to Stanford was 'transformational'

The choice ended up being a "transformational" one for Groce, one that opened doors for him that he couldn't have imagined growing up. But as he entered Stanford, he initially saw the school as a stepping stone to going into law.

Cyclists traverse the main quad on Stanford University's campus in Stanford, California, U.S. on May 9, 2014. To match Special Report COLLEGE-CHARITY/   REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach/File PhotoKnowing that a lot of his peers were also law-school bound, Groce figured he needed to set himself apart. One way to do that was to work on his business skills. Stanford doesn't have an undergraduate business school, so he couldn't formally study business there. But it does have an organization called Stanford Student Enterprises, which oversees the student store, sells advertising in campus publications, and handles the finances of the campus student organization.

Groce got involved in SSE as a freshman, selling advertising that ran in the campus guidebook and alongside the campus map. During his tenure at Stanford, he grew more and more involved with the organization — and more and more successful.

By the time he was a junior, he was making more money through SSE than his parents had ever made in a year. As a senior, he became the organization's chief operating officer and was working there about 30 hours a week. He made enough money working for SSE that he was able to pay cash for a house for his parents in Ohio. The move was almost as much for his peace of mind as for his parents.

He was thinking, "OK, my parents will never be homeless."

Working for a law firm changed his career path

But if he loved business, Groce came to realize he wanted no part of being a lawyer. During the summer after his junior year, he got an internship at DLA Piper, a law firm with offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The internship gave him a chance to see what it was like to work in the law — and it was nothing like he expected.

"I absolutely hated it. I was bored by everything there," he said. "It was earth shattering to me."

So when it came time to graduate in 2014, he was somewhat at a loss about what to do next. He no longer wanted to go to law school. His experience at SSE had been great and made him interested in business, but he wasn't sure what direction he wanted to go in. So when the CEO position at SSE opened up — a two-year post that's reserved for recent Stanford graduates — he jumped at the opportunity, figuring he loved the organization and could use the time there to figure out his next career step.

After being hired as CEO, Groce had a fairly unique opportunity for someone who had just graduated from college. He was overseeing an operation with dozens of employees, a multimillion dollar budget, and a half dozen business units.

"There's a business side, an entrepreneurial side," he said. "You're the financial manager of all the student government and student groups at Stanford."

It also gave him an opportunity to meet with people in the business community. And that led directly to his entry into venture capital.

A chance meeting led to a new career

Ryan Floyd wasn't necessarily looking to hire someone from an underrepresented minority group when he reached out to Groce in late 2015. One of the founders and managing directors at Storm Ventures, a relatively small firm, Floyd was mainly looking for someone young and talented to add to the team.

"There were a lot of things we'd like to be doing here that we just didn't have the horsepower to do," he said.

But diversity is valued at Storm. One of Floyd's partners is Indian. Another is Korean. Another is half Cherokee. One of his founding partners was born in Argentina. So Floyd also wasn't looking for the typical Stanford student, either.

"I didn't want hire someone that had exactly my background," he said. "The makeup of entrepreneurship is wide and vast, and we need to reflect that at Storm if we want to see the best opportunities."

I didn't want hire someone that had exactly my background. The makeup of entrepreneurship is wide and vast, and we need to reflect that.

Stanford hosts events that showcase student entrepreneurs and startups. Floyd had been to some of those events and had found out that SSE funded many of the programs. He figured he ought to meet the person who ran SSE, thinking that person could help connect him with students who might make good candidates to join Storm.

Floyd met with Groce informally, just to get to know him. But he walked away from the meeting so impressed that he didn't take his hiring search much farther.

Groce admittedly didn't know much about the venture capital business, even then. SSE oversees Cardinal Ventures, a startup accelerator that invests in student-run businesses, so as he moved up in the management of the organization, he learned about the industry. But before he met Floyd, he didn't really know any VCs and didn't have a firm grasp on what they did until he was going through the interview process.

But that didn't matter much to Floyd. The experience Groce had gained from SSE in managing people, budgeting, dealing with campus politics really made him stand out, Floyd said.

"I think of myself when I was his age, my ability to articulate my interests, what was interesting about a business, what drives people," Floyd said. "He was much better than me. Much, much better than me."

A small firm offers lots of experience

Floyd and Storm initially decided to hire Groce part-time, while he was still working for SSE. He then resigned early from his CEO position and joined Storm full time as an analyst, studying potential deals. After two years, Storm, which focuses on enterprise startups, promoted him to being an associate — its only one — where he helps make the case for potential investments.

"Because we're so small, there's not a deal Storm has done that I haven't touched in some way," Groce said.

Storm Ventures' founding partners. From left, Alex Mendez, Tae Hea Nahm, Sanjay Subhedar, and Ryan Floyd.One area he's focused on for the firm is on startups that specialize in serving the technology needs of governments. That's an area that Storm had previously ignored. But the firm has now backed two startups in that business, based in part on the investment thesis Groce put together.

"It's been an impressive progression for him," said Floyd. "He has a tremendous amount of maturity for his level of experience."

To be sure, Groce is still early in his career. It's not clear if or when he'll become a partner at Storm or any other firm. Ultimately, that will depends on his ability to develop deals and generate returns, Floyd said.

But Storm's invested in Groce and open to that possibility.

"I'd love nothing more than to have Frederik as my partner at some point in the future," Floyd said.

Silicon Valley has a diversity problem, thanks partly to pattern matching

Still, Groce's experience is exceedingly unusual.

Silicon Valley has long had a diversity problem. For literally decades, blacks, Latinos, and women have been underrepresented in the industry.

In recent years, partly due to pressure from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, some of the biggest tech companies, including Intel, Apple, and Google have pledged to diversify their ranks and have made halting steps in that direction. But the venture capital wing of the industry has largely evaded that pressure and scrutiny — and done little to diversify.

A lot of VCs just have the wrong mindset. They need to drop the stereotypes of what a founder looks like and be more intellectually curious.

If you look at everyone working in the venture capital industry, from administrative assistants to managing partners, just 3% are African-American and only 4% are Latino, according to a 2016 survey by Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association. Among so-called investment partners — a grab-bag title intended to cover the people that make investment decisions that includes managing partners, founding partners, general partners, and managing directors — none are black, just 2% are Latino, and only 11% are women.

Critics inside and outside the industry blame the lack of diversity in part on pattern matching. Venture capitalists think they know what a successful startup entrepreneur looks like — all-too-frequently someone who is white who graduated from Stanford or an Ivy League school. Consciously or not, they typically invest in startups founded by people like that.

And when looking to hire new partners, they frequently draw from the ranks of successful startup founders — which just so happen to be the same pool of white Stanford and Ivy League grads, because they're the ones who got funding.

"A lot of VCs just have the wrong mindset," said Mitch Kapor, a partner at Kapor Capital and a longtime champion of diversity in tech. "They need to drop the stereotypes of what a founder looks like and be more intellectually curious."

Hoping to forge a new path for others like him

The lack of African-Americans in the venture industry makes it difficult for blacks aspiring to join the venture business or to found startups. The few blacks in the venture industry rarely make partner. And when they leave to form their own firms, they've had trouble raising funds, Groce said he's found in talking with them. As a result, many end up leaving the industry — and, as a result, blacks who join it have few mentors.

"When you get into venture, you better be ready to be only black person there and all that entails," Groce said.

That's why Groce has started reaching out to other African-Americans in the industry. He's trying to build a network of black VCs who can share their experiences, lend each other support, and help guide the next generation who enter the business.

The hope is that while his path to the industry has been unique, he won't be the last one to follow something like it.

"We're creating a space for black venture," he said.

SEE ALSO: This year could see a bull market for tech IPOs — but don't expect to see a lot of big names go public

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NOW WATCH: What it's actually like to hear voices in your head

This relatively unknown town in Florida has become a horse 'Disneyland' for the richest of the rich — including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs' offspring



  • Wellington, Florida, is a small town that has become the horse capital of America. 
  • Olympians and children of billionaires — including daughters of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates— show up every winter to compete for millions of dollars in prize money. 
  • With Hermès fly bonnets, luxury stables, and diamond necklaces in the shape of horseshoes, Wellington is a fantasy land for the horse-obsessed. 

To most of the country, the name "Wellington, Florida," doesn't mean anything. 

However, to a certain elite group that ranges from Olympians to the children of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Bruce Springsteen, the small town has become a magnet that draws thousands of people every winter. 

The Wellington attraction is simple: It's the horse capital of the United States.

Every winter, the town hosts the Winter Equestrian Festival, which takes place from January to April. Over the course of almost four months, the best horseback riders in the country compete for more than $6 million in prize money. 

However, horses' domination of Wellington continues outside of the show ring. From "horse crossing" signs to $8,000 Hermès saddles, horses reign supreme in the small town. 

While I personally know very little about horses, I have visited Wellington in the past with a friend who competes at the WEF. This year, while visiting what one rider called "Disneyland for horse lovers," I decided to document the over-the-top experience. 

SEE ALSO: A look at the life of Steve Jobs' youngest daughter Eve, an accomplished equestrian and Stanford student who trains on a $15 million ranch

Wellington is located in southern Florida, roughly half an hour's drive away from West Palm Beach.

While some equestrians have houses or apartments in the neighboring towns, Wellington is a village of its own. In fact, you could easily live a life of luxury without leaving the 100-acre equestrian show complex.

Thousands of people flock to Wellington every winter for the Winter Equestrian Festival, or WEF. According to organizers, more than 3,000 horses compete every year, with the equines' combined net worth adding up to more than $500 million.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 7 biggest questions we had after watching Marvel's 'Black Panther,' and hope are answered in the sequel


Black Panther

Marvel Studios is always planning ahead, so it's no surprise that after the massive success of "Black Panther," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says there will "absolutely" be a sequel.

Marvel has release dates reserved for yet unannounced projects through 2022, and we can only assume that a "Black Panther" sequel will fill one of those slots.

Whenever "Black Panther 2" may come to theaters, we have plenty of questions in the meantime, and things we want addressed. "Black Panther" is only the beginning of the world of Wakanda, and we want more.

(WARNING: big spoilers for "Black Panther" lie ahead)

By the end of the film, T'Challa/Black Panther decides to bring Wakanda out of isolation and share the nation's resources with the rest of the world, including opening outreach centers in Oakland. As misguided as Killmonger's execution was, he's such a compelling villain that his ultimate goal sticks with T'Challa. This raises important questions for the sequel, as the world has its eyes on Wakanda.

Black Panther will appear next in "Avengers: Infinity War" next month and we can assume the fourth "Avengers" movie next year. But Black Panther is one of over 20 main characters in these movies, so we doubt the questions we have will be fully addressed.

Below are 7 questions we hope are answered in a "Black Panther" sequel:

SEE ALSO: The 50 best superhero movies of all time, ranked

What's up with the other Wakandan spies, known as War Dogs?

Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger is one of the most compelling villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or any superhero film for that matter, because of the political and cultural questions he raises. The central conflict in "Black Panther" comes down to whether the fictional African nation of Wakanda, which Black Panther a.k.a. T'Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) is king of, should share its resources and scientific knowledge with the rest of the world. Killmonger raises the stakes even more by wanting to use the nation's resources to liberate those persecuted across the world, but with violence rather than peace. 

A central part of his plan comes down to whether Wakanda's spies, known War Dogs, which they have in countries throughout the world, are willing to cooperate. The War Dogs are responsible for spying on other nations and reporting back to Wakanda. In the film, Killmonger plans to begin his conquest in the places where War Dogs are on board with his plans. Killmonger's own father, played by Sterling K. Brown, was a War Dog and was killed by T'Challa's father (and his uncle) for betraying Wakanda.

These War Dogs seem pretty important, so where do their loyalties lie?

Some of these War Dogs were obviously all for Killmonger's plans, which raises the question of whether they could mean trouble for Wakanda in the future now that Killmonger is dead. Will that play a role in the sequel's conflict?

Wakanda is no longer in isolation. What impact will that have on it?

By the end of "Black Panther," T'Challa has changed his tune about the direction of Wakanda. Killmonger's methods may have been extreme, but his overall goal — to expand Wakanda's resources to help those in need — leaves an impression on T'Challa. Wakanda has always been isolated from the rest of the world, but he decides to expand their knowledge and share their secrets by the film's end. 

How will that impact the country and its people? We don't really have an idea of how Wakanda's people feel about T'Challa's decision. Were they fine with being isolated, and if so, will they voice their concerns in the sequel? Will it cause a bigger conflict than the one we saw in "Black Panther?" Now that the world knows about Wakanda and its wealth of technology, it could put the country in danger. 

From what we know of "Avengers: Infinity War," a portion of the film takes place in Wakanda against the villain Thanos' army. These questions may be raised then, but with the central conflict being between the Avengers and Thanos, they probably won't be fully answered.

How will vibranium change the rest of the world?

Not only are we curious about how the rest of the world will change Wakanda, but how will Wakanda change the world? Vibranium is a metal that essentially powers every aspect of Wakanda, from its transportation to its weapons — it's why Wakanda has such advanced tech.

With Wakanda out of isolation, the world will most likely know about vibranium's existence, outside of just Captain America's shield. If T'Challa wants to spread Wakanda's knowledge, that must mean that other nations will benefit from the metal. How will that impact the world?

By the end of "Black Panther," T'Challa has promised to build outreach and science centers in Oakland, but that is only the beginning. Will we see other countries use vibranium in similar ways as Wakanda, or will its power corrupt? Will Wakanda be responsible for implementing advanced travel or weaponry for other countries? We don't know the extent of T'Challa's plans, and perhaps that will cause major conflicts with other nations.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Bitcoin boosters partied hard at SXSW as the currency sinks — here's what it was like


sxsw bitcoin crypto party 2018 2

  • Cryptocurrency enthusiasts threw a party at SXSW.
  • The bar accepted bitcoin and other coins as payment for bottle service.
  • The mood was merry despite recent plunges in the price of bitcoin.


When groups of cryptocurrency enthusiasts raised shot glasses at a nightclub in Austin, Texas, late Tuesday night, the price of bitcoin was hovering around $9,000.

House music played as guests danced and mingled. Barely-dressed bartenders poured shots. For one night only, Austin's Rio club accepted cryptocurrency as payment for bottle service.

No one can seem to agree if or when the bitcoin bubble will burst, but for the currency's biggest boosters, it doesn't matter. They're holding their cryptocurrency rather than selling it.

BYOBitcoin, a startup based in Austin that builds and maintains facilities for bitcoin mining, threw the first-ever "Just Hodl It" party at the SXSW film festival and tech conference on Tuesday. (Hodl is a a slang term in bitcoin that means to stay invested in cryptocurrency and resist the urge to sell when the price slides.)

The idea was to bring together cryptocurrency enthusiasts at the festival to share in their passion, and ultimately, console one another on the recent plunge in bitcoin's price.

sxsw bitcoin crypto party 2018 4

Fears of a global crackdown on cryptocurrencies led to a violent sell-off at the start of 2018. The price of bitcoin fell to $5,947 in February, or about 225% below its record high in December.

The currency is now trading over $9,000 per coin, and it remains extremely volatile.

Still, the mood was merry at Rio. Guests started pouring into the club after 9 p.m. and received plastic coins at the door that entitled them to free drinks at the bar.

A bartender told me that customers could buy bottles with bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, but that she didn't know how to do it and would have to hail a manager if I wanted to try doing so. 

sxsw bitcoin crypto party 2018 1

The event kicked off with a panel of entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency space, speaking about the state of bitcoin in 2018. Some of their companies had also sponsored the party.

One panelists encouraged solidarity as "we all sort of survive this crypto winter."

Randall Crowder, whose LinkedIn account describes him as chief operations officer and "chief crypto zealot" at software maker Phunware, Inc., searched for the silver lining in the situation.

Cryptocurrencies have created "one of the largest transfers of wealth going on in the history of the world," Crowder said during the panel. He added, "It's just getting started."

When Crowder told the packed room at Rio, "It's 1994 all over again, and you have an opportunity to make a sh--load of money," the crowd (mostly men) erupted in cheers.

Kim Parnell, a cryptocurrency entrepreneur from Toronto attending the conference, said she had spent the previous two days attending cryptocurrency-focused panels and meetup events.

She told Business Insider that because of "huge run we had last year," cryptocurrencies like bitcoin attracted tons of new buyers in 2017. The cryptocurrency community has become so broad, she said, it can be defined as two groups: the longtime believers and novice investors.

People who boarded the bitcoin bandwagon before 2017 are less worried about the volatility, Parnell said. She said she focuses more on "exciting new projects" instead of bitcoin's price.

SEE ALSO: Homeowners across America are trying to sell their million-dollar homes for bitcoin — and it could be a disastrous idea

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: NFL superstar Richard Sherman is all-in on cryptocurrencies, but doesn’t think his grandmother should invest

A personal trainer says there are 3 secrets to the perfect push-up — and using your knees will never get you there


Max Lowery   Tom Joy [ ML1488 ]

  • Personal trainer Max Lowery says push-ups should be the foundation of any bodyweight training programme.
  • He says the secret to a proper press-up is practicing 'negatives,' eccentric contractions that build muscle faster.
  • He shared his three-step plan to the perfect press-up with Business Insider.

I've been going to a bodyweight strength training class every (OK, most) weeks for several months now, yet I still can't do a single decent press-up.

Despite ramping up my exercise from nothing to at least frequent HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions, I don't appear to be improving my technique — at all.

So I enlisted the help of 28-year-old Max Lowery, a personal trainer who believes a press-up should be the foundation of any bodyweight strength programme.

He shared his three-step plan — and a new video tutorial — on nailing the perfect press-up with Business Insider, and if you're anything like me, you've been doing it all wrong.

Bur first, why are press-ups so challenging?

"People find push-ups difficult because they use many different muscle groups and involve moving your bodyweight in a controlled way," Lowery said.

"They can often be indicative of an individual’s athletic foundation — if someone can’t hold his or her body tightly in a straight line from ankle to shoulder and perform a push-up with full range of motion, it means there will be many weaknesses that translate into other exercises and sports."

Contrary to what many newbie gym-goers, and in particular women, have been told, Lowery advises that you avoid practicing a press-up on your knees at all costs. This, he says, will never translate into doing a full press-up.

He said the secret to being able to perform a proper press-up is focusing on "negatives," where you practice a downwards-only motion, often as slowly as possible.

"Negatives use eccentric contractions, which build muscle faster than their concentric, or positive, counterparts," he said.

"They also teach the nervous system to stimulate muscle fibres more effectively."

Avoid a sagging back

Just like with the plank, Lowery says it's a popular exercise he sees frequently done wrong by people at the gym. "By guys in particular, you'll see it being done like this with your back sagged."


This, he said, decreases the range of motion, which makes it easier and means there's no core strengthening benefits of the movement.

Three steps to perfection

Lowery has devised a three-step plan to the perfect push-up, which he called his "progression list," and naturally, it includes some negatives. He says with practice, it will get you performing push-ups to be proud of.

1. Incline press-ups

You'll need something raised for this, like a box, to rest your hands on.

First, assume this position:


With your core engaged, you want to move your chest onto the box, he explained. "Having the raised surface makes it easier, so it's therefore really important to get that full range of motion," he said.

Screen Shot 2018 03 12 at 16.55.07

"In time with the reps, inhale as you go down, and exhale up. You're training the nervous system to recruit those muscle fibres in that position."

He added: "It's important to fully extend your arms back up on each movement because that way you're training your elbow socket and joint."

2. 'Negatives'

Next up, it was practicing some "negatives" (or eccentrics), which he deems the secret to a true press-up.

It basically involves lowering yourself as slowly as possible, and then getting back up any way you can.

In order to do this, according to Lowery you need to "get back into your press up position, squeeze your glutes, and engage your core..."

press up 2

"...Then as slowly as possible lower yourself – taking about 10 seconds — to the ground."


When you get to the floor, drop your knees, lift yourself up, and repeat. Lowery recommends aiming to do this five times for between three to five sets.

"Above all make sure your chest is going down first," he added — in other words, don't lead with your pelvis.

3. Hollow plank

The final step is to practice your hollow plank — which he likes to do in a very particular way— that activates your muscle set better.

hollow plank

"Contract your abs as hard as you can. By that I mean tense as if someone's going to punch you in the stomach," Lowery said. "Then drive your abs down, push your elbows back, tilt your hips, squeeze your glutes, and push yourself away from the ground."

He advises people wanting to perfect their press-up to incorporate these three exercise movements into your strength training programme, one during each of your three weekly workouts. 

"As long as you're consistent, I promise you will end up getting that full press-up and it will look so impressive."

But he added that performing them here and there in the odd HIIT class isn’t going to cut it. You need to be practicing them two to three times per week, gradually increasing intensity – reps, sets, time etc.

I'd better get back to class.

Here's the YouTube tutorial in full:

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

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'Game of Thrones' actors cried over all the deaths when they first read a script for the final season


game of thrones

  • At a table read for one of the final episodes of "Game of Thrones," everyone was crying, and it ended with 15 minutes of applause.
  • Francesca Orsi, the senior VP of drama at HBO, also said, "one by one, they started falling to their deaths."

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. And in season eight, it sounds like there will not be many winners.

Tons of people on "Game of Thrones" have died already, and everyone knows a lot of beloved characters who've somehow made it to season eight will die in the final episodes, which will come out sometime in 2019.

At the INTV conference in Jerusalem, Francesca Orsi, the senior VP of drama at HBO, implied that everyone is going to die "one by one."

The Hollywood Reporter said that Orsi described a very emotional and "powerful" setting at a table read for one of the final episodes. At table reads, the cast sits at a table and reads the episode's script out loud. 

“None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started to fall down to their deaths," Orsi said. "By the end, the last few words on the final script, the tears just started falling down. Then there was applause that lasted 15 minutes.”

It's interesting to note that the cast members went into the table read blind, but it's definitely a move to keep what happens in the final episodes secret.

Now the question isn't whether lots of our favorites will die, but rather who, when, and how. With a spooky ice dragon leading an army of the dead to Westeros, we have a lot of characters to worry about. And then there's Cersei Lannister, who's lost her best ally (Jaime), but still has the Iron Throne.

But we'll have to wait at least another year to find out.

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

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