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7 ways life is harder for millennials than it was for their parents


boss mentor employee computer working manager

  • Millennials are the generation born between 1981 and 1996.
  • In some ways, their life is harder than it was for their parents at the same age.
  • Many millennials are struggling financially and emotionally. Even online dating isn't as easy as it might seem.

Everyone likes to think that their life is hard, that their problems are bigger and less solvable than anyone else's.

But for millennials — the generation born between 1981 and 1996 — that might in fact be true. Many of these 20- and 30-somethings are struggling financially, emotionally, and even in the love department, in ways that their forebears weren't.

Below, we've listed some of the most significant ways in which life is harder for millennials than it was for their parents.

SEE ALSO: 11 things millennials do completely differently from their parents

Millennials are less financially stable than previous generations

Business Insider's Linette Lopez reported on some disappointing data from the Washington, DC-based think tank Young Invincibles.

Among white Americans ages 25 to 34, median income decreased 21% between 1989 and 2013 — though it increased among Latinos, who started at a disadvantage.

What's more, as Steven Rattner described in a 2015 New York Times op-ed, millennials also have a lower net worth ($10,400 in 2013) than Gen X had ($18,200 in 1995). 

Perhaps the most startling finding comes from a 2017 paper by social scientists at Harvard, Stanford, and University of California, Berkeley: Economic mobility has decreased significantly since the 1940s.

Specifically, about 90% of Americans born in the 1940s outearned their parents by the time they hit 30. That figure drops to 50% among Americans born in the 1980s. The authors attribute the change largely to growing income inequality.

Millennials are saddled with student debt — but a college education is more necessary than ever

Rattner also points out that "college is becoming less affordable even as it has become increasingly necessary." (According to the Young Invincibles data, even college grads with debt earn more than people without a degree.)

Between 1993 and 2015, average tuition increased 234% — when the inflation rate was just 63%. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 46% of grads left college with debt in 1995, compared to 71% in 2015.

That makes it harder for millennials to hit those traditional "adult" milestones, like having kids or buying a house.

Millennial men are more likely to live at home with their parents than previous generations

Pew Research Center data reveals that, among men ages 18 to 34, living at home with parents has been the most common living arrangement since 2009. (Women in this age group are more likely to be living with a spouse or a romantic partner than they are to be living with their parents.)

The main culprit seems to be unemployment. Pew reports that research suggests employed young men are less likely to live at home than unemployed young men, and employment among young men has decreased significantly in the last few decades.

Living at home isn't a bad thing per se, but it can make it harder for millennials to feel independent.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How to get ripped like Alicia Vikander did to play Lara Croft in 'Tomb Raider' — which she put on 12 pounds of muscle for


tomb raider 2 Warner Bros

With "Tomb Raider" opening in theaters on Friday, Warner Bros. is rebooting the famed video game character that Angelina Jolie first brought to the screen in the early 2000s. 

This time the studio is stepping back to present the origin story of Lara Croft, a young woman from a privileged family trying to figure out what to do with her life and eventually finding her calling as a thrill-seeking archaeologist.

Oscar winner Alicia Vikander takes on the role and, like Jolie, didn't go cheap on the physical preparation. 

The 5' 5", 117-pound actress began working out with celebrity trainer Magnus Lygdback three months before shooting began and added 12 pounds of muscle to sustain the action-packed shoot (Lara Croft goes through a lot in this movie).

We dove into Lygdback's Instagram and found a series of "Tomb Raider" training videos he posted. 

Here are some of the workouts he put Vikander through to get her ripped for the role: 

SEE ALSO: The unique reason the director of box-office hit "Jumanji" says he doesn't want to direct a "Star Wars" movie

Back workouts

Standing Row - 20 reps / 4 sets

Kettlebell Swings - 20 reps / 4 sets

Straight Arm Lifts - 20 reps / 4 sets

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Goblet Squats - 20 reps / 4 sets

Lunges - 20 reps / 4 sets

Skate Jumps - 20 reps / 4 sets

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Magnus’ No-Name Ab exercise (Push-up position, rotate out and kick, raise arm) - 1 minute

Windshield Wiper - 30 seconds to 1 minute

Switch Blade - 30 seconds to 1 minute

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See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A science-backed 21-day program to be happier, healthier, and more successful


girl buying lunch coffee looking at camera happy

So you want to be happier, healthier, and more successful?

You don't necessarily need to resolve to change your life at the New Year — you can do it any time. But faced with unlimited advice and little time to spare, it's hard to know where to start.

The following 21-day self-improvement program is designed for busy people. It features a few habits that will make a big difference if you can get started with them, along with a bunch of tasks that most of us have probably been putting off for too long.

You can start on any Monday and should complete the actions on their specified day when possible. We recommend embarking on this challenge with at least one other person, so you'll have more fun and keep each other in check. 

The following slides go through the days and the science behind them in detail.

This is an updated version of a post. Drake Baer contributed to a previous version.

SEE ALSO: How playing video games affects your body and brain

MONDAY, DAY 1: Floss your teeth. Do it every day for the rest of your life.

Believe it or not, as many as 60% of Americans don't floss every day. Yet this core dental hygiene technique will clean your teeth and gums of plaque, protecting your teeth as you age and saving you on dental bills. Some studies have even found that flossing is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.

If you are one of the people who don't floss, make today the day you start doing it consistently.

How can you get in the habit?

Stanford psychologist B.J. Fogg is one of the foremost researchers on habit formation. The takeaway from all his work: Floss one tooth.

If you're trying to form a habit, it can be helpful to start as small as possible, with a minimum viable habit. The point, Fogg emphasizes, is to insert the structure of the activity in your day, rather than doing it perfectly every time. This way of thinking works for all habits, and it works for flossing, too — though if you floss the whole mouth, you'll be doing even better.


TUESDAY, DAY 2: Break a sweat. Do it every day for the rest of your life.

Exercise is the closest thing we have to a miracle drug. It can improve heart health, memory, sleep, and sexual performance — among other things.

Even just a little bit of exercise has huge benefits. Research shows that running just five to 10 minutes a day can add years to your life, and if you establish that habit now, you can build on it.

A seven-minute workout using interval training could make a huge difference, too, and longer workouts are obviously great as well.

The key is finding a workout you can stick to. But there's no shame in starting small.

WEDNESDAY, DAY 3: Write in a journal. Do it every day for the rest of this program.

Psychologists have been studying "expressive writing," or journaling about difficult moments in your life, for a few decades. They've found that a few minutes journaling improves everything from your mood to immune system to sporting performance. Psychology researchers have repeatedly found that keeping a "gratitude journal" can improve well-being.

It works for work, too: A Harvard Business School study found that people who wrote about their jobs improved their performance by 23%.

"When people have the opportunity to reflect, they experience a boost in self-efficacy," said HBS professor Francesca Gino. "They feel more confident that they can achieve things. As a result, they put more effort into what they're doing and what they learn."

So as a part of this life-improvement adventure, try reflecting on your day. You can also take the opportunity to look at the tasks that lie ahead and start making plans for the ones that require preparation.

If you find journaling to be useful, keep it up.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We flew Virgin America one final time before it goes away forever — here's what it was like (ALK)


richard branson virgin america

  • Virgin America has been one of the best airlines in the US since its launch in 2007.
  • In 2016, Alaska Airlines acquired Virgin America for $2.6 billion.
  • Virgin America will merge into Alaska Airlines in April.
  • Business Insider took a roundtrip flight between Newark Liberty International and San Francisco to experience Virgin America one final time.

In August 2007, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson launched the US wing of his aviation empire. With Virgin America, the charismatic billionaire wanted to bring the chic style and lighthearted fun of his brand to our nation's flying masses.

In the decade since its inception, Virgin America has become one of the best and most beloved airlines in North America. It took home the Travel & Leisure's award for best domestic airline 10 years in a row.

However, the airline's 10th anniversary passed last year without Sir Richard's traditional pomp and circumstance. That's because everyone knew that Virgin America would probably not be around long enough to celebrate its 11th birthday.

This isn't because VA was going bust. On the contrary, it is one of the most successful airline startups in recent history.

Instead, Virgin America had been acquired by Alaska Airlines in 2016 for $2.6 billion. Even though the airline's fans held out hope that it would be able to fly on using Virgin Group's branding, Alaska Airlines confirmed last October that two carriers would merge operations in April of this year.

In a statement to Business Insider, Alaska Airlines wrote:

"On April 25 we’ll integrate our passenger service systems, which means we will have one inventory of flights, one customer website (alaskaair.com), one mobile app, and only Alaska kiosks. Gates, ticketing, and check-in areas will all be Alaska-branded at the airport. It will take more time for us to update branding on the Airbus fleet, including the livery and the interiors, but in the meantime, we’ve started selling Virgin America’s Main Cabin Select seats as Premium Class for Airbus flights after April 24."

In fact, Virgin America's fleet of Airbus A320-family jets is already being repainted with Alaska Airlines livery.

So before Virgin America disappears into aviation history, we decided to take one final trip with the airline. Here's what we saw.

SEE ALSO: These are the 9 best airlines in America

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I arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport about an hour before my flight to San Francisco was set to depart. But with a powerful Nor'Easter storm bearing down on the Northeastern US, my flight was delayed.

Finally, it was time to board our Airbus A320.

Here's what it looks like during the day.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

18 high-paying jobs for people who hate math


man creative write draw math mathematician white board

• Hate math? Don't worry, you can still make bank.

• There are plenty of high-paying jobs you can pursue that don't require a head for numbers.

• Judges, acupuncturists, and elevator repairers are just a few occupations that the math-averse can take up.


Did you dread math class as a kid? If so, that feeling probably didn't go away, and you're likely not too keen on the idea of doing math as a career.

Luckily, there are plenty of high-paying jobs for those who can't stand the thought of crunching numbers and sifting through data all day.

We combed through the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), a US Department of Labor database that compiles detailed information on hundreds of occupations, to find positions with a median annual salary of over $70,000 that don't require heavy math skills.

O*NET ranks how important "using mathematics to solve problems" is in any job, assigning each a "math importance level" between 1 and 100. Math-centric positions, such as mathematicians and statisticians, rank between 90 and 100 on the spectrum, while jobs such as massage therapists and actors are under 10.

Here are the highest-paying positions with a math importance level of 31 or less.

SEE ALSO: 16 high-paying jobs for artistic people

Ship engineer

Median salary: $70,570

Math importance level: 28

These engineers supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines.

Technical directors/managers

Median salary: $70,950

Math importance level: 28

This job requires coordinating the activities of technical departments, such as taping, editing, engineering, and maintenance, for radio or television programs.

Stage, motion picture, television, and radio director

Median salary: $70,950

Math importance level: 28

Directors interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, television, or radio programs.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

What to do about a screaming child on board, according to flight attendants


baby crying airplane

  • Kids on airplanes has become a controversial topic of late.
  • With each new report surrounding a disruptive child on an airplane, the debate continues: How should airlines, parents, and flight attendants deal with the situation?
  • We asked some flight attendants to weigh in.


How airlines, parents, and crew handle disruptive kids is a mounting and divisive issue, Business Insider's transportation reporter Mark Matousek reports.

In February, a YouTube video of a toddler screaming, climbing on a chair, and running through the aisles during an eight-hour flight surfaced. Commenters' reactions were deeply split between criticism towards and sympathy for the child and his parents.

In March, a video shared on social media shows a man and his young daughter getting kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight after the child reportedly threw a tantrum during boarding. Southwest airlines said the family was placed on the next flight after "a conversation escalated onboard" between the crew and the passenger. Other passengers and some on social media have criticized the crew and Southwest for how they handled the incident.

As Matousek reports, the idea of airlines introducing "child-free zones" is gaining traction. More than half of the 4,000 travelers Airfarewatchdog surveyed in 2017 said families with children under 10 years old should be required to sit in a separate section of the plane.

Since playing the blame game rarely leads to real solutions, we asked flight attendants to weigh in on what they think airlines, parents, and flight attendants can do when kids are being disruptive. They had a few thoughts:

There isn't a whole lot the airline can do to stop the disruption

"Airlines can't handle disruptive children. Besides advising the parent that the kids need to talk quieter, sit down, or not kick the seat in front of them, there's really nothing we can do."

Flight attendants can sometimes compensate nearby passengers

"I'm not sure there's much that can be done with a fussy, over-tired toddler. I've seen it in action, and it's very difficult for everyone around. I give free drinks when I can, but not everyone drinks liquor."

"If a passenger is uncomfortable throughout their flight, they should definitely tell the flight attendants to see if they can be accommodated."

"Ask to change seats if there are any, use ear plugs, drink a lot of vodka. Crew can help to a certain extent."

Tell the airline

"If the flight is full and they can't change your seat, I would reach out to the airline and explain the situation to see if they will provide credit for their next flight."

Let the parents handle the situation

"Parents should always have entertainment and food for kids."

Parents should come prepared

"As an uncle who just traveled with his two-month-old nephew, the best strategy to flying with a baby is to get them fed and sleeping before the plane takes off and to make sure you have a pacifier to help pop their ears."

As should passengers

"Passengers should put on their earphones, listen to music, or watch a movie."

"This is why you should always bring earplugs and an eye mask! There's not a whole lot flight attendants can do besides politely tell the parent that their child needs to sit down or lower their voice. Parents have it hard flying with kids, especially on long flights."

Child-free zones probably won't work

"Whether you have a child-free zone on the aircraft or not, you're still in the same metal tube in the sky. There will never be an enclosed area due to security reasons."

And they may not be fair

"Parents shouldn't feel segregated for having children, and they're not the issue — the people who are bothered by the children tend to become more disruptive then the child."

Ultimately, everyone needs to be patient

"We all need to be patient with each other. Who can control a screaming child?"

"Babies cry — its a part of life. And sometimes there's nothing you can do about it. Give those mamas and papas a break."

SEE ALSO: A day in the life of a United Airlines flight attendant, who woke up before 3 a.m. and ran circles around me for 9 hours

DON'T MISS: Inside the intensive, two-month training all Delta flight attendants must attend that's harder to get into than Harvard

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Banning laptops from plane cabins could make flying more dangerous — here's why

Hospital rooms in 9 countries around the world reveal the global disparity in healthcare


berlin hospital

From the most high-tech infectious disease units in Berlin to ad-hoc vaccination clinics in rural Sierra Leone, there's a huge disparity in the quality of healthcare around the world.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 400 million people worldwide don't have access to basic medical services like immunization, prenatal care, and antibiotics. For those who do have access, healthcare can still be prohibitively expensive.

The WHO estimates that 6% of people in lower-income countries are pushed into extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.25 USD per day — by spending on healthcare-related costs.

While not all developed countries provide healthcare as a birthright for all citizens, some countries, through a mix of private and public hospitals, offer much more effective care than others.

The US has some of the most highly-trained medical staff in the world, but healthcare can be prohibitively expensive for much of the population. 

Countries like Thailand and Malaysia, on the other hand, attract medical tourists from around the world who may pay less for elective procedures than they would in their home country, in hospitals that offer luxurious accommodations with expert doctors and nurses.

Check out what hospital rooms look like in countries around the world.

SEE ALSO: 32 crazy photos of micro-apartments from around the world

In Sierra Leone, many hospitals are underfunded and ill-equipped to handle large crises like the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

The country needed outside volunteers to help tackle the epidemic, and provide more training to local doctors and nurses.

In Haiti, the story's similar. Underfunded hospitals are forced to care for huge populations of people — especially after natural disasters like hurricanes.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There's now scientific evidence to suggest there are real health benefits to fasting — and they're not just related to weight loss


spinach sprouts avocado woman eating healthy salad

  • Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity.
  • Researchers conducted a study that examined the impact of the 5:2 on the body's ability to  metabolise fat compared to a daily calorie restriction diet. 
  • Those on the 5:2 cleared fat more efficiently and saw a reduction in systolic blood pressure.
  • However, the study was small, and further investigation is needed.

Intermittent fasting was one of the most talked about diet trends in 2017 — and now new research from the University of Surrey suggests that following such a diet could have real health benefits.

In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers assigned 27 overweight participants to either the 5:2 diet or a daily calorie restriction diet, and told to them to lose 5% of their weight.

The study aimed to look at the impact of the 5:2 on the body's ability to metabolise fat and glucose following a meal and compared it to the effects of weight loss achieved by a daily calorie restriction diet.

The participants on the 5:2 followed the regime of eating normally for five days and restricting their calories to 600 calories on their two so-called "fasting days."

Meanwhile those on the daily diet were required to eat 600 calories less each day than their estimated requirements for weight maintenance — women ate approximately 1,400 calories and men ate approximately 1,900 calories per day.

The results

It's important to note the study was relatively small, and that 20% of each participant group dropped out because they either "could not tolerate the diet or were unable to attain their 5% weight loss target."

However, of the participants who did complete the experiment, those on the 5:2 reached their goal of 5% weight loss in 59 days compared to those on the daily calorie restriction diet who achieved it in 73 days.

The researchers found that those on the 5:2 cleared the fat (triglyceride) from the blood after meals quicker than those on the daily calorie restriction diets. 

They found no differences in the handling of glucose, but said they were "surprised to find variations between the diets in c-peptide (a marker of insulin secretion from the pancreas) following the meal, the significance of which will need further investigation."

The researchers also found that systolic blood pressure (the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats) was reduced by 9% in those following the 5:2 diet, compared to a 2% increase among those on the daily diet.

"A reduction in systolic blood pressure reduces pressure on arteries, potentially lessening incidences of heart attacks and strokes," the University said.

Dr Rona Antoni, a research fellow in nutritional metabolism at the University of Surrey, said: "As seen in this study, some of our participants struggled to tolerate the 5:2 diet, which suggests that this approach is not suited to everybody; ultimately the key to dieting success is finding an approach you can sustain long term.

"But for those who do well and are able stick to the 5:2 diet, it could potentially have a beneficial impact on some important risk markers for cardiovascular disease, in some cases more so than daily dieting. However, we need further studies to confirm our findings, to understand the underlying mechanisms and to improve the tolerability of the 5:2 diet."

SEE ALSO: Intermittent fasting was one of the biggest diet trends of 2017 — here's what you should know if you're planning to try it in the New Year

Join the conversation about this story »

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There's no solid evidence that people get addicted to social media — and using it could actually be beneficial


surprised phone texting

  • Frequent social media use and screen time have been portrayed as universally bad for our health.
  • However, a lot of research on this phenomenon has been characterized by poorly done studies and bad science.
  • The vast majority of evidence suggests that our smartphones are not uniformly harmful, and in some cases, they may be a force for good.
  • This is an installment of Business Insider's "Your Brain on Apps" series that investigates how addictive apps can influence behavior.

True story: I once walked headfirst into a pole on my way home from work.

I can't blame the darkness (the sun had only just begun to set), and I can't blame my vision (I'd recently gotten new glasses). But I can blame my iPhone, whose vibration had lured me into staring at its crisp bright screen. The text I was responding to was not worth the heart-shaped bruise that I shamefully covered in makeup the next day.

Until my ridiculous injury, I had laughed at stories about the dangers of "walking while texting." I'd eye-rolled at reports of painful "iPhone neck" from leaning over tiny screens. And I'd never taken the idea of social media addiction seriously.

But that evening, I started to wonder if maybe our generation was screwed— and maybe our smartphones were to blame.

So I did some digging: I pored over scientific studies and talked to researchers who specialize in psychology, sociology, addiction, and statistics. A few experts were emphatic that social media addiction is real and should be added to the DSM IV, long considered the diagnostic bible for psychologists. Others hedged their bets and said more studies were needed.

But the conclusion I gathered was the opposite of what I've been hearing in the news. Social media and smartphones are not ruining our brains, nor will either become the downfall of a generation.

The vast majority of the large and well-designed statistical studies on smartphones and the brain actually suggest these technologies are having little to no effect on our health and well-being. And in some cases, the availability of social media and phones may be a power for good.

'The lowest quality of evidence you could give that people wouldn't laugh you out of the room'

texting working lateMost of the headlines about social media — the ones that warn us about smartphones destroying a generation, ruining our posture and mood, and eroding our brains— are simply "a projection of our own fears," Andrew Przybylski, a senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, told Business Insider.

That's because most existing studies on social media's effects suffer from the same problems that have plagued the social science field for decades.

For one thing, many of the studies are too small to carry a lot of statistical power, Przybylski said. Researchers also often go into a study with an agenda or hypothesis that they hope their study will support.

Take, for example, the claim that because teen depression and iPhone ownership have been rising at the same time, they must be connected. This is a classic example of correlation, not causation: our phones are not necessarily to blame for cases of depression.

Przybylski has attempted to replicate some of the studies that suggested there's a strong tie between social media use and depression. When he used larger sets of people in a more well-controlled environment, he failed to find the same results. Instead, he's found either no link or a very, very small one.

"People are making expansive claims about the link between well-being and tech use, but if this was displayed on a Venn diagram, the circles would overlap one quarter of one percent," Przybylski said. "It is literally the lowest quality of evidence that you could give that people wouldn't laugh you out of the room."

Last year, Przybylski co-authored a study published in the journal Psychological Science in which he examined the effect of screen-time on a sample of more than 120,000 British adolescents. The researchers asked teens how much time they spent streaming, gaming, and using their smartphones and computers. After running the data through a series of statistical analyses, it became clear to Przybylski that screen-time isn't harmful for the vast majority of teens. In fact, it's sometimes helpful — especially when teens are using it for two to four hours per day.

"Overall, the evidence indicated that moderate use of digital technology is not intrinsically harmful and may be advantageous in a connected world," Przybylski wrote in the paper.

Even when it came to those positive results, however, Przybylski said the significance of the effects they observed was tiny.

"If you're a parent and you have limited resources, the question becomes: which hill are you going to die on? Where do you want to put your limited resources? Do you want to put it into making sure your kid has breakfast or gets a full night's sleep? Because for those activities the effects are three times larger than they would be for screen-time," Przybylski said.

Seeing problems everywhere

walking and textingMany parents fear that using social media is universally bad for teens. They get distracted by text messages during class; they miss out on family time because they're texting at the dinner table; they scroll through Instagram instead of going to sleep.

Once you see a few examples of phone-obsessed behavior — a whole family staring silently at their phones while eating a restaurant, say — you tend to notice it more wherever you go.

This may be partially a result of the phenomenon known as confirmation bias. Essentially, you see one event that supports an idea you already have, then because you are hyper-aware of these types of activities, you find more examples that appear to confirm that idea.

It's a bit like when you begin shopping for a certain kind of car — a Honda Civic, let's say — then suddenly notice that everyone appears to be driving a Honda Civic. In reality, that model hasn't gotten more popular overnight; you're simply primed to notice them.

"A lot of the research is bound up in these problems," Przybylski said. "Our concerns or panic about a new thing" — in this case, social media — "guide how we do the research and interpret the results."

Distorted, negative viewpoints have likely influenced the research on a host of new inventions and activities throughout history.

Unfortunately, paying attention exclusively to social harms makes us blind to the ways a new technology may be help us. In the case of social media, such biases can take attention away from other more serious problems.

"It's important to think about all the things we're not talking about here. We don't talk about things like privacy, advertisements, who owns your data, and all this stuff that's actually important. So actually it serves the interest of larger companies to be debating things like screen time and usage. When you bring it all together you have a big dog and pony show," Przybylski said.

When social media may help, not harm

teensCandice L. Odgers, a professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California Irvine, specializes in studying new technologies and adolescent development. She told Business Insider that social media may be having some positive effects on teens and young adults, but many people are not paying attention to that research.

"The digital world hasn't created a new species of children. Many of the things that attract them to things about social media are the same things that attract them to other activities," Odgers said. "There are a lot of good things that are happening with social media use today and there's been a really negative narrative about it."

A large review of 36 studies published in the journal Adolescent Research Review concluded that instead of feeling hampered by their screens, teens are chiefly using digital communication to deepen and strengthen existing in-person relationships. The authors concluded that young adults find it easier to display affection, share intimacy, and even organize events and meet-ups online.

Similarly, the authors of a 2017 review of literature on social media and screen time published by UNICEF concluded that "digital technology seems to be beneficial for children's social relationships" and that most young people are using it to "enhance their existing relationships and stay in touch with friends."

Kids who struggle to make friends in person may even use digital tools to "compensate for this and build positive relationships," they said. A small 2018 study of British teens in foster care supports that idea — it suggested that social media helped young people maintain healthy relationships with their birth parents, make new friends, and ease the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Other research, including a small 2017 study of Instagram users aged 18-55, suggests that teens also turn to platforms like Instagram as a means of exploring the world and dreaming up potential adventures — a category of people the researchers classified as "feature lovers."

"Feature lovers want to see something that's exotic or unique; they're looking at Instagram and they're thinking, 'take me to China or Alaska or some place I can't afford to go,'" T.J. Thomson, the lead author of the study, told Business Insider.

You're probably not 'addicted' to Facebook or Instagram

Girl iPhone XThe researchers behind these studies emphasized that social media and smartphones are not so much an "addiction" as a novel, attention-grabbing platform for enhancing existing activities and relationships.

In other words, social media has similar impacts on the brain as lots of other types of activity — too much or too little can be linked with negative impacts, while moderate use can have positive results.

"Claims that the brain might be hijacked or re-wired by digital technology are not supported by neuroscience evidence and should be treated with skepticism," the authors of the UNICEF review wrote.

Addiction is a complicated but serious problem that neuroscientists have yet to fully understand. It typically stems from a cache of interconnected factors that include our environment and our genes. As a result, classifying our nearly-universal reliance on digital tools as an "addiction" simply isn't fair to the people whose lives have been torn apart by things like alcoholism or drug use.

A chief characterizing factor of addictive behavior is that use of a given substance interferes with daily activity so much that people can't function normally. Studies suggest that social media, by contrast, is often used to enhance existing relationships, and does not decrease real-world interactions or cause uniform harm.

Research does indicate, however, that people who may already be predisposed to depression and anxiety could suffer more as a result of using these types of "compare-and-despair" platforms.

A series of studies published this month in the journal Information, Communication, and Society found that while people's Facebook use had no impact on their social interactions later that day, scrolling through the platform did appear to be linked with lower feelings of well-being if the person had been alone earlier in the day.

”People who use social media alone likely aren't getting their face-to-face social needs met,” Michael Kearney, a co-author of the study, said in a statement. "So if they’re not having their social needs met in their life outside of social media, it makes sense that looking at social media might make them feel even lonelier."

There are plenty of simple, healthy ways to address these risks without resorting to harsh measures like breaking up with your smartphone. I, for one, no longer text when I walk.

It's a small change, but my forehead is grateful.

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

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The 10 biggest blockbuster movies of all time, and how much they raked in


star wars

While blockbusters like "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Avatar" have set box-office records in the past decade, they're still no match for the hit films of previous decades when you adjust for inflation.

For this list, we looked at domestic box-office grosses adjusted for inflation to see what old movies would have made in today's dollars, as calculated by Box Office Mojo. That means there's no "Avatar" on this list.

In recent years, foreign markets have become a more prominent factor in the box-office success of a film, so the list of highest-grossing worldwide films does include newer movies like "Avatar" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

The original 1977 "Star Wars" comes in high on this list, and you might be surprised by some of the other titles.

Paul Schrodt contributed to a previous version of this post.

SEE ALSO: How new 'Star Wars' star Adam Driver went from a former Marine to the Hollywood A-list

10. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937)

Adjusted gross: $1,000,620,000

Unadjusted gross: $184,925,486

9. "The Exorcist" (1973)

Adjusted gross: $1,015,300,400

Unadjusted gross: $232,906,145

8. "Doctor Zhivago" (1965)

Adjusted gross: $1,139,563,500

Unadjusted gross: $111,721,910

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Airline pilot explains 21 code words passengers don't understand


emirates cabin

  • Patrick Smith is an author, aviation blogger, and commercial airline pilot.
  • He compiled a list of commonly misunderstood airline terms for his site, AskThePilot.

For most of us, flying is still an inherently mysterious activity.

To shed some light on the world of commercial air travel, Business Insider turned to Patrick Smith for some answers. Smith is not only an author and aviation blogger but also a long-time commercial airline pilot flying Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 jets.

Smith, who wrote "Cockpit Confidential," compiled a glossary of commonly misunderstood airline jargon on his website, AskThePilot.

According to Smith, some of the terms are highly technological while others are quite humorous and even a bit absurd. Here's a selection of entries:

SEE ALSO: We flew Virgin America one final time before it goes away forever — here's what it was like

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"Doors to arrival and crosscheck."

Used in a sample sentence: "Flight attendants, doors to arrival and crosscheck."

Definition: The announcement, usually made by the lead flight attendant as the plane is approaching the gate, is to verify that the emergency escape slides attached to each door have been disarmed — otherwise the slide will deploy automatically as soon as the door is opened.


Used in a sample sentence: "Flight attendants, doors to arrival, crosscheck, and all-call."

Definition: According to Smith, "all-call" is usually part of the door arming/disarming procedure. "This is a request that each flight attendant report via intercom from his or her station — a sort of flight-attendant conference call," he wrote.

"Holding pattern."

Definition: "A racetrack-shaped course flown during weather or traffic delays," Smith wrote. "Published holding patterns are depicted on aeronautical charts, but one can be improvised almost anywhere."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Mark Zuckerberg's net worth just plunged by $5 billion, but he and his college-sweetheart wife are still worth billions — see their houses, cars, and travels


Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

  • Mark Zuckerberg has a net worth just shy of $70 billion, making him the sixth-richest person in the world.
  • Zuckerberg drives a cheap car and wears basic clothes, but appears to splurge on real estate.
  • Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are generous philanthropists, investing billions in childhood education and medical research.


Mark Zuckerberg, the 33-year-old founder and CEO of Facebook, has a net worth just shy of $70 billion, according to Forbes.

His fortune is down about $5 billion after news broke over the weekend that Cambridge Analytica, a controversial political research company with links to Donald Trump, had accessed 50 million Facebook user profiles illegitimately, reported Business Insider's Shona Ghosh.

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform but is under huge political pressure to explain how it can stop third parties from abusing its massive data trove, Ghosh wrote. Facebook's stock fell nearly 7% on Monday morning, affecting the nearly 400 million Facebook shares Zuckerberg holds, according to MONEY.

Now Zuckerberg is the sixth-richest person in the world, but it seems he doesn't have a taste for opulence, especially when it comes to cars, clothes, and travel.

As a member of the Giving Pledge and cofounder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which he started with his wife and college sweetheart, Priscilla Chan, the Harvard dropout has dedicated much of his fortune to charitable causes.

Keep reading to find out exactly how Zuckerberg and Chan spend their billions.

SEE ALSO: A day in the life of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who works up to 60 hours a week and has a squad of 12 employees to help him with social media

DON'T MISS: Meet the 9 richest people in America, who have a combined fortune of $567 billion

In May 2012, eight years after its founding, Facebook debuted on the New York Stock Exchange. At the time, it was the biggest technology IPO in history.

Each year since the IPO, Zuckerberg has added an average of $9 billion to his net worth.

Source: Fortune

Despite his status as one of the richest tech moguls, the Harvard dropout leads a low-key lifestyle with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their two young daughters.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We visited a Claire's store the day the teen retailer filed for bankruptcy — and it was like stepping back in time



  • Claire's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.
  • The teen retailer is closing 92 stores across the US and Puerto Rico.
  • We visited one of Claire's New York City stores on the day it announced it had filed for bankruptcy to see what it's like to shop there right now.

Claire's, the teen jewelry and accessories retailer known for its iconic ear-piercing service, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. The company has been crippled with $2 billion of debt and agreed to a restructuring plan to reduce its debt by $1.9 billion. 

In the bankruptcy filing, Claire's announced it would be closing 92 stores across the US in March and April. 

Claire's has been hit hard by declining traffic to malls since most of its 7,500 stores are located in shopping malls. The majority of its store closings will impact mall-based stores. 

"A Claire's store is located in approximately 99% of major shopping malls throughout the United States," Claire's said in a bankruptcy filing, citing data showing that traffic to malls had declined 8% over the last year. 

"This decline may be attributable to several factors, including competition from big-box retailers, large tenant closures (leaving malls without an 'anchor' tenant to drive foot traffic), and the increased popularity of online shopping," the company said.

Claire's did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 

We visited one of its stores to find out exactly what it's like to shop there now:

SEE ALSO: Claire's is reportedly planning to file for bankruptcy as dying American malls claim another victim

The store that we visited was located on Broadway in New York, between the busy shopping areas of Herald Square and Times Square. While this particular store is not plagued by the problems that come with being in a mall, this area is somewhat of a no-man's land for shopping.

This store is not one of the 92 slated to close. When we arrived, there was even a sign that said, "We're hiring."

We could not find any job postings for this location online.

The company has not yet released its fourth-quarter earnings or confirmed whether it closed stores in 2017. In 2016, it closed 166 stores.

Claire's is perhaps best known for its ear-piercing service, which is one of the biggest things that attracts customers to its stores. As soon as we walked into the store, an eager shop assistant asked if we were here to have our ears pierced.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Claire's is closing 92 stores as it files for bankruptcy — see if yours is on the list



Claire's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday and announced it would be closing 92 stores in March and April. 

Claire's is a teen jewelry and accessories retailer that's perhaps best known for its ear-piercing service.

In 2016, Claire's closed 166 stores. The company has been hit hard by declining traffic to malls, where the majority of its stores are located. 

"This decline may be attributable to several factors, including competition from big box retailers, large tenant closures (leaving malls without an 'anchor' tenant to drive foot traffic), and the increased popularity of online shopping," the company said in a bankruptcy filing.

Here's the full list of closings:

  • 210 East 86th St. Suite # 210A, New York, NY
  • 8651 John J Kingman Bldg 2321, Fort Belvoir, VA 
  • 9220 Marne Rd Fort Benning, GA
  • Bayshore Town Center 5727 N Centerpark Way Suite # N-116, Glendale, WI
  • Beaver Valley Mall 570 Beaver Valley Mall Suite # 265, Monaca, PA
  • Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas 32100 Las Vegas Blvd Space 323, Suite # 323, Primm, NV
  • Provo Town Centre 1200 Provo Town Center Suite # 2096, Provo, UT
  • Swansea Mall 262 Swansea Mall Drive SP#A137, Suite # 1021, Swansea, MA
  • Greendale Mall 7 Neponset Street, Suite # S210A, Worcester, MA
  • Sunrise - Citrus Heights 6007 Sunrise Mall, Suite # C2/C3, Citrus Heights, CA
  • Silver City Galleria 2 Galleria Mall Drive Suite # A114, Taunton, MA
  • Plaza Cayey ST RD PR#1, KM55.2 BO, Suite # 4, Montellano Cayey, Puerto Rico
  • Plaza Isabela 3535 Ave Militar Suite # 405, Suite # D102B, Isabela, Puerto Rico
  • Destin Commons 4265 Legendary Dr SPC J106, Suite # J-106, Destin, FL
  • Platte River Mall 1100 South Dewey Space 60, Suite # 60.01, North Platte, NE
  • Central Mall - Ft. Smith 5111 Roger Ave #159, Suite # 191, Ft Smith, AR
  • Mall of Monroe 2121 N. Monroe St., Unit 265, Suite # 265, Monroe, MI
  • Triangle Town Center 5959 Triangle Town Blvd Suite # 2050, Raleigh, NC
  • Gran Plaza Outlets 888 West Second St SPC I-210, Suite # I-210, Calexico, CA
  • Harrisburg Mall 3601 Paxton St SPC #RE1, Suite # RE1, Harrisburg, PA
  • Collin Creek 811 N. Central Expsy. SP. 2065, Suite # 2065, Plano, TX
  • Logan Valley Mall 5580 Goods Lane Suite 1063, Suite # 628, Altoona, PA 1
  • Mckinley Mall 3701 McKinley Parkway, Suite # 220, Blasdell, NY
  • Merced Mall 750 Merced Mall #10, Suite # 750, Merced, CA
  • Mall Of America 247 East Broadway Suite # E-247 Bloomington, MN
  • Upper Valley Mall 1475 Upper Valley Pike, Rm 834, Suite # 834A, Springfield, OH
  • Northfield Square 1600 State Route 50, Room 114, Suite # 114, Bourbonnais, IL 6
  • The Hanover Mall 1775 Washington St Suite 227, Suite # S123, Hanover, MA
  • River Ridge Mall 3405 Candlers Mt Rd Suite # A25, Lynchburg, VA
  • Rotterdam Square Mall 93 W. Campbell Road SPC G-112, Suite # G112, Schenectady NY
  • The Outlets at the Border 4459 Camino De La Plaza 450, Suite # 456, San Diego CA
  • 133 S. State Street Suite # 133 Chicago, IL
  • Susquehanna Valley Mall 1 Susquehanna Valley Mall Suite # H6, Selingsgrove, PA
  • Northgate – Cincinnati 9715 Colerain Ave A-1A, Suite# 120 Cincinnati, OH
  • 8420 Factory Shops Blvd, Suite # 420 Jeffersonville, OH
  • 5 North State Street, Suite# 3, Chicago, IL
  • The Marketplace 471 Miracle Mile Drive, Suite # B17, Rochester, NY
  • The Esplanade 1401 W. Esplanade, SP.# 711, Suite # 711, Kenner, LA
  • Voorhees Town Center 1450 Voorhees Town Center, Suite# 1450, Voorhees, NJ 
  • Tanger O.C. West Branch 2990 Cook Road Suite #127B, Suite# 127B, West Branch, MI
  • Yorktown Center 203 Yorktown Rd SPC 217, Suite# 217, Lombard, IL
  • Zona Rosa 7268 NW 86TH Place SPC#174, Suite# H-174, Kansas City, MO
  • Auburn Mall 385 Southbridge St. Suite# N460, Auburn, MA
  • Burlington Mall 75 Middlesex Turnpike, Suite # 2039A, Burlington, MA
  • Haywood Mall 700 Haywood Rd, Suite # 1035, Greenville, SC
  • Calhoun Premium Outlets 455 Belwood Road, Suite # B048, Calhoun, GA
  • Philadelphia Premium Outlets 18 Light Cap Road SPC #1063, Suite # 1063, Pottstown, PA
  • Town Center at Cobb 400 Ernest Barrett Pkwy, Suite# D04A Kennesaw, GA
  • Colorado Mills 14500 W. Colfax, Suite # 489, Lakewood, CO
  • Phipps Plaza 3500 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite # 2017C Atlanta, GA
  • Crystal Mall 850 Hartford Turnpike Suite # P209 Waterford, CT
  • Crystal Mall 50 Hartford Turnpike, Suite # H-121, Waterford, CT
  • 690 West Dekalb Pike #2075, Suite # 115 King Of Prussia, PA
  • Livingston Mall 112 Eisenhower Parkway Spc1014, Suite# 1014, Livingston, NJ
  • Ingram Park Mall 6301 NW Loop 410 Suite # S07 San Antonio, TX
  • Montgomery Mall 144 Montgomery Mall, Suite # 1050, North Wales, PA
  • Northshore Mall 210 Andover Street, Suite # W101, Peabody, MA
  • The Mall at Rockingham Park 99 Rockingham Park Blvd, Suite # E155, Salem, NH
  • White Oaks Mall 2501 W. Wabash Ave. Suite # F-01 Springfield, IL
  • Mall of Georgia 3333 Buford Drive Suite # 2063 Buford, GA
  • Cape Cod Mall 793 Iyannough Road, Suite # E124, Hyannis, MA
  • Emerald Square Mall 999 S Washington St Suite # E351, North Attleboro, MA
  • Great Mall – Bay Area 114 Great Mall Drive, Suite # 114, Milpitas, CA
  • The Mall of New Hampshire 1500 South Willow St Suite# N125, Manchester, NH
  • Newport Centre 30 Mall Dr W Suite# B43C Jersey City, NJ
  • Northgate Shopping Center 401 N.E. Northgate Way Suite # 738A, Seattle, WA
  • Opry Mills 433 Opry Mills Dr. SPC 115, Suite # 115, Nashville, TN
  • Penn Square Mall 1901 NW Expressway Suite # 2008, Suite # 115, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Pheasant Lane Mall 310 Daniel Webster Highway, Suite # W235 Nashua, NH
  • Johnson Creek Outlet Center 595 West Linmar Lane Ste B110, Suite # B60, Johnson Creek, WI
  • St. Louis Premium Outlets 18511 Outlet Blvd SPC 841, Suite # 841, Chesterfield, MO
  • Lee Premium Outlets 290 Premium Outlets Blvd, Suite # F290, Lee, MA
  • The Shops at Riverside 390 Hackensack Ave, Suite # 245A, Hackensack, NJ
  • Rockaway Townsquare 301 Mount Hope Ave Suite # 2073 Rockaway, NJ
  • Menlo Park Mall 55 Parsonage Rd Suite # 1540C Edison, NJ
  • Broadway Square Mall 4601 S Broadway SPC # D-06C, Suite# D06C, Tyler, TX
  • Cielo Vista Mall 8401 Gateway Blvd West SP#J-01, Suite # J01, El Paso, TX
  • La Plaza Mall 2200 South 10th Street, Suite # Q-16A, McAllen, TX
  • Ocean County Mall 1201 Hooper Ave, Suite # 1020 Toms River, NJ
  • Cordova Mall 5100 N. 9th Ave, Suite# B205, Pensacola, FL
  • Pier Park 205 Bluefish Drive SPC # 110, Suite # F110, Panama City, FL
  • The Empire Mall 4001 West 41st, Suite # 0018A, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Southdale Center 36 Southdale Center Suite# 2750B, Edina, MN
  • Southridge – Greendale 5300 S 76th ST Suite # 1250, Greendale, WI
  • Independence Center 18813 E 39th Street Suite # D05A, Independence, MO
  • Stone Ridge Shopping Center 1466 Stoneridge Mall Rd, Suite # G124 Pleasanton, CA
  • Tacoma Mall 4502 S Steele St, Suite # 440A, Tacoma, WA
  • South Shore Plaza 250 Granite Street, Suite # 2062A, Braintree, MA
  • The Mall at Tuttle Crossing 5043 Tuttle Crossing Blvd, Suite# 293A, Dublin, OH
  • West Town Mall 7600 Kingston Pike Suite # 1530 Knoxville, TN
  • Woodfield Mall 5 Woodfield Mall SPC D204, Suite # G309, Schaumburg, IL
  • Woodland Hills – Tulsa 7021 S Memorial Drive SPC 282, Suite # 242, Tulsa, OK

SEE ALSO: Claire's blames its bankruptcy on dying shopping malls

DON'T MISS: We visited a Claire's store the day the teen retailer filed for bankruptcy — and it was like stepping back in time

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The rise and fall of Hooters Air — the airline that lost the 'breastaurant' $40 million

Here’s the personality test Cambridge Analytica had Facebook users take


christopher wylie cambridge analytica

  • Reports published this weekend from The New York Times and The Observer revealed that personality-profiling company Cambridge Analytica harvested data from millions of users and potentially used it in the most recent US presidential election.
  • The personality test that the company used gives users a score called their "OCEAN" score, referring to how it calculates their performance on a measure of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
  • The test is available for free online at the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Center and forms the basis of many existing psychological studies on happiness and longevity.

A personality-profiling company called Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data from millions of users and may have used that data to sway voters during the 2016 US presidential election, according to reports published this weekend from The New York Times and The Observer.

The company, which received $15 million from wealthy Republican donor Robert Mercer and was once run by Steve Bannon, was tasked by Bannon with identifying the personalities of US voters and potentially influencing how they behaved.

At the core of Cambridge Analytica's work is a simple personality test designed by Cambridge scientists that is available for free online and forms the basis of many existing psychological studies on happiness and longevity.

The test gives users a score called their "OCEAN" score, referring to how it calculates performance on a measure of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

Want to skip to the test? Here's the link.

Ocean scores have been used in a wide swath of social science research, including many of the long-term studies that look at people who've lived into their 90s or 100s and assess the kinds of personality traits they have in common. The traits the test looks at are sometimes referred to collectively as "The Big Five" factors, and were initially identified in the 1960s by social science researchers who frequently heard study participants use them to describe either themselves or others.

Roughly three decades later, University of Hawaii psychologist John M. Digman presented an overall look at the traits in what he called a "five-factor model" of personality.

Today, researchers use assessments of the Big Five to gauge the personalities of participants in a variety of long-term studies on subjects that range from overall well-being to happiness and longevity. While these studies typically employ longer, more exhaustive versions of the test, there's a shorter one that you can take online in just a few minutes.

The questions on one of the tests, available online at the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Center, ask people to say how accurately statements like "I don't talk a lot" describe them. Someone taking a test might see the screenshot below, for example, and select one of the available options, from "Very Inaccurate" to "Very Accurate."

personality test ocean big five

Other statements on the quiz include assertions like "I seldom feel blue," and "I am the life of the party," as well as proclamations such as "I get upset easily" and "I feel others' emotions."

Your answer to each statement is then used to calculate a score on each of your Ocean or Big Five traits.

People who score highly on extroversion tend to agree strongly with statements designed to assess how talkative, energetic, and assertive they are; those who score highly on agreeableness tend to agree strongly with statements designed to assess how sympathetic, kind, and affectionate they are.

People who score strongly as conscientious, meanwhile, tend to agree strongly with assertions like "I'm always highly organized and thorough," and those who score highly on neuroticism typically agree with statements like "I'm frequently anxious or tense." The last measure, openness or openness to experience, includes traits like a powerful imagination or a high degree of insightfulness.

SEE ALSO: There's no solid evidence that people get addicted to social media — and using it could actually be beneficial

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why we knock on wood, and the truth about 7 other common superstitions

A Trump-affiliated data company stole 50 million Facebook profiles — here's how to protect your account (FB)


Mark Zuckerberg

Lots of software developers and apps may have access to your Facebook data that you don't remember granting.

If you're worried about your digital privacy, now is a good time to check up on your "Facebook Platform" settings, which is the tool that Trump-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica used to illicitly obtain personal, private data from 50 million Facebook users.

They got this data from Facebook itself. The Guardian reported that the data was collected through an app called "thisisyourdigitallife," built by a Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge academic. 

Facebook says that everyone whose data are in the Cambridge Analytica set "knowingly provided their information." 

"Aleksandr Kogan requested and gained access to information from users who chose to sign up to his app, and everyone involved gave their consent," Facebook's Paul Grewal, a deputy general counsel, wrote. "People knowingly provided their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked."

It turns out that before 2014, Facebook used to let app developers obtain data from users and their connections when they used Facebook to log into an app. 

This is exceedingly common — I checked my own Facebook account and realized that I had given over 200 apps access to my personal data.

Here's how to do your own checkup. 

SEE ALSO: The CEO of Cambridge Analytica was secretly filmed offering to entrap politicians with bribes and sex workers

I had allowed way more apps to access my Facebook data than I initially expected — 231 apps in total.

This link will take you directly to your installed applications. 

Even worse, I was letting apps my Facebook friends installed take some of my Facebook data, too, including my current city, and my likes.

While some of the apps I connected to Facebook were legitimate services, like Spotify or Airbnb, a lot of them were dumb one-off quizzes I took years ago. For example, this quiz about a 2009 Miley Cyrus hit.

This app could access my friends list, my status updates, my birthday, photos, and lots of other personal data. Luckily there was a button at the bottom to revoke access. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See inside the Vatican — home to the world's most powerful religious leader, where 9 miles of museums house some of the most stunning works of art


pope francis

Five years ago this month, Pope Francis became the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church and the leader of its 1.29 billion adherents.

He's been celebrating the occasion by reminiscing about his various — and at times controversial— accomplishments since his papal election in March 2013.

The pope has lived these past five years within the walls of Vatican City, the seat of the worldwide Catholic administration, the Holy See, which is nestled on the the west bank of the Tiber River in Rome, Italy.

It is a place that evokes reverence, spiritual power, and a history that spans thousands of years.

Here's a look inside the walls of the beautiful microstate that the world's most powerful religious leader calls home:

SEE ALSO: Here are the hilariously awkward photos from Trump's visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican

DON'T MISS: 12 photos of Pope Francis that prove that he's just a regular guy

Surrounded entirely by the city of Rome, Vatican City is the smallest state in the world, comprising only about 100 acres.

Sources: CNN

But within its walls sit some of the most famous religious and cultural sites in the world.

Sources: CNN

Encircling the tiny enclave almost entirely are the imposing Vatican Walls, which were completed in 852 AD.

Source: History Channel

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The amazing ways intermittent fasting affects your body and brain


fitness workout high intensity training exercise

It's odd to think that depriving yourself of a necessity for life might be one of the most powerful ways to transform your health.

Yet there's more and more evidence for the idea that fasting could have powerful health benefits for both the body and brain.

There are many different forms of fasting, however, ranging from going extended periods of time without food to consistently eating less (perhaps cutting caloric intake by 20%) to intermittent or periodic fasting.

But of all these different kinds of fasting, intermittent fasting is very likely the most popular and certainly the trendiest one. Celebrity adherents include Hugh Jackman, Tim Ferriss, and Beyonce. In Silicon Valley, whole groups of self-optimization obsessed biohackers meet to collectively break their fast once a week, and executives at companies like Facebook say that fasting has helped them lose weight and have more energy.

The hard part about classifying "intermittent fasting" is that there are a number of different forms of this kind of fast. Intermittent fasting regimens range from only allowing yourself to consume calories within a certain span of the day, likely between six and 12 hours; to eating normally five days a week and dramatically cutting calories on two fasting days; to taking a 36-hour break from food every week.

The different forms these fasts can take mean that much of the research showing benefits might be true for one of these fasts but not necessarily others. But there is good research on several of these fasts indicating that the benefits of intermittent fasting go beyond weight loss. There may be real long-term disease-fighting health improvements.

Here's what we know so far.

SEE ALSO: Fasting could prevent aging and transform your body, but it goes against everything we think of as healthy

A recent study suggests that intermittent fasting can do more than help people lose weight — it also may improve blood pressure and help the body process fat.

For this small study, researchers had overweight participants either cut calories every day or eat normally five days a week and only consume 600 calories on their two fasting days.

Both groups were able to lose weight successfully, though those on what's known as the 5:2 diet did so slightly faster (though it's not clear the diet would always help people lose weight faster).

More significantly, those from the intermittent fasting group cleared fat from their system more quickly after a meal and experienced a 9% drop in systolic blood pressure (the "regular diet" group had a slight increase in blood pressure).

This was a small study and researchers say participants had a hard time following the diet, but these are promising results.

Other studies indicate intermittent fasting could reduce risk for forms of cancer, but more research is needed.

Other small studies on a similar 5:2 diet and on other intermittent fasting diets have shown that this form of intermittent fasting is associated with physical changes that could lead to reduced cancer risk, particularly for breast cancer.

Much more research on this area is needed, but these are promising results, Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, previously told Business Insider.

There may be evolutionary reasons why depriving ourselves of food for some time makes us feel energetic and focused.

"Hungry," from an evolutionary perspective, isn't lifeless or drained. It's when our bodies and brains need to function at maximum capacity.

"It makes sense that the brain needs to be functioning very well when an individual is in a fasted state because it's in that state that they have to figure out how to find food," Mattson previously told Business Insider. "They also have to be able to expend a lot of energy. Individuals whose brains were not functioning well while fasting would not be able to compete and thrive."


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 24-year-old billionaire heiress to the Dell fortune explains why Silicon Valley is over


alexa dell 2

  • Alexa Dell, the daughter of tech billionaire Michael Dell, is following in her father's footsteps working as a business consultant to tech startups.
  • Born in Austin, Texas, Dell set out for Los Angeles instead of Silicon Valley to launch her career in tech.
  • The tech elite are moving out of the San Francisco Bay Area in droves because of groupthink and out-of-control housing prices.


When Alexa Dell, the 24-year-old daughter of computer magnate Michael Dell, set out to launch her career in the tech industry, she had eyes for only one global innovation hub.

It wasn't San Francisco.

Dell grew up in Austin, Texas, where her father created Dell Computer Corporation while a student at University of Texas at Austin. The family lived in a sprawling estate called "The Castle."

In 2013, Alexa Dell dropped out of college to pursue a career in tech and settled in Los Angeles.

The former Columbia University student started working at a dating app company that she declines to name. Dell took her learnings from the gig and created a tech consulting firm.

Dell also works as a branding consultant for dating app Bumble. Since joining the company as an adviser in 2016, Dell has helped Bumble launch several physical spaces called Hives, where app users attend activities and panel discussions. Dell describes the spaces as "Bumble IRL."

Though the company has headquarters in Austin, Dell works remotely from her home office in Los Angeles and Bumble hubs in cities including New York, London, and Paris.

"What I love about LA is there's a bit of everything. We have all kinds of industries," Dell said, adding: "I can have friends from finance, from film, from art, from tech. ... It's really great to kind of listen in on all kinds of conversations and be inspired by what everyone is doing."

The tech scene in Los Angeles is far less homogeneous than its counterpart in San Francisco, where Dell said, "you can't even step into a restaurant without hearing tech buzzwords."

We’re in bizz-ness! Incredible night celebrating the launch of @bumblebizz with such inspiring women 💖 #bumblebizz

A post shared by Alexa Dell (@alexakdell) on Nov 15, 2017 at 8:59pm PST on


Los Angeles' tech scene has been courting the tech elite for decades. In recent years, Peter Thiel, Tim Ferriss, and Elon Musk left San Francisco and the peninsula to the south — long seen as the epicenter of tech — to escape the self-described groupthink and arrogance of Silicon Valley. Thiel and Musk moved to Los Angeles, while Ferriss, the author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," decamped for Austin's tech scene.

Life in Silicon Beach, the Westside region of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, comes with perks. The area has a booming tech sector, proximity to San Francisco (a 75-minute flight away), and a diversity of interests among residents, though Los Angeles has its own lack of affordable housing.

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley is on the brink of an exodus.

San Francisco lost more residents than any other US city in the last quarter of 2017, according to a report from real-estate site Redfin. Data suggests the migration is far from over. Public-relations firm Edelman surveyed 500 Bay Area residents earlier this year and found 49% of respondents said they would consider leaving California because of the high cost of living.

alexa dell 1

Thiel, one of Silicon Valley's biggest success stories, announced he's leaving the Bay Area for Los Angeles earlier this year. His political views have made him a social outcast in tech, especially after the libertarian billionaire-investor supported President Donald Trumps' 2016 campaign.

Ferriss, who considers himself "very socially liberal," recently told Business Insider that Silicon Valley's tech scene can be punishing for people who don't subscribe to the same set of beliefs.

The author and podcaster was drawn to Austin because of its culture of diversity.

"In Austin I found a ... very young community and a medley of feature film, music — certainly tech if I need to scratch that itch — but there were more perspectives that I could borrow from and learn from than I found readily available in my circles in Silicon Valley," Ferriss said.

Dell said she thinks innovation can happen anywhere.

"To me, the idea that progress can only be made in one specific location geographically is complete nonsense. I think that successful companies will naturally thrive in cultures that best suit them and in spaces that, truthfully, are most convenient for them," Dell said.

She said that Bumble planted roots in Austin because it had a need for office space and because the founders appreciated the tech scene and "forward-thinking" culture in the Texas capital.

Dell said she plans to remain a visitor, rather than a resident, of the Bay Area.

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Feeling intense shame can turn some people into narcissists — here's how


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  • Intense feelings of shame can affect people's personalities.
  • Sometimes, if someone feels a lot of shame about their early life, it can turn them into a narcissist.
  • This is because it's easier to have a grandiose, arrogant mask than to face what's gong on inside.
  • By looking down on others, narcissists don't have to imagine there is anything wrong with themselves.

When was the last time you felt shame? Maybe you were embarrassed in front of your colleagues, or you felt guilty because you let someone down. Whatever it was, you'll remember it wasn't a nice feeling.

Many of us can eventually shake off the discomfort and get on with our lives. But others find it incredibly difficult, and it affects how they turn out as people.

Joseph Burgo, psychotherapist and author of "Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem," which will be released in November, told Business Insider that intense shame in early life can be the reason some people become narcissists.

"To me, narcissism is the flip side of shame," he said. "When things go wrong, like if your childhood varies dramatically from what we all expect a childhood to be like, it leaves you with this feeling of core shame. As you get older, it can become so unbearably painful that you feel driven to construct this false personality to cover it over."

There are three distinct types of narcissists, but generally they share similar traits, such as an outwardly grandiose personality, contempt for others, and selfishness. Many psychologists believe that narcissism is often a cover for low self-esteem, and according to Burgo, a mask which is the exact opposite of the real self the narcissist is ashamed of.

"Someone who becomes a narcissist decides 'I'm not going to be this shame ridden damaged person, I'm going to be this winner,'" he said. "These defences take hold, and the more shame they feel, the more they defend against it, and it's like a shell walling the person off from that central feeling of defect or damage."

The narcissist doesn't necessarily consciously know they are dealing with shame, as they are so defiantly defending against it. Also, a narcissist doesn't often realise there is anything wrong with them, so they place blame elsewhere, and only seeking psychological help if their lives start falling apart.

"They will battle to the death to defend that sense of self whenever it's challenged," Burgo said. "If they feel attacked, if they feel there's any threat to their self-esteem, they'll do everything they can to annihilate the source of the threat and defend their self image."

Essentially, this could explain why narcissistic rage is so fierce. Any question over their character or actions is seen as a direct attack. This could be because their narcissistic armour is all that's standing between them and facing up to their shame.

"It's almost reptilian in a way," Burgo said. "It's just so killer reflexive, it's like: 'If you challenge my sense of self, I'm going to strike out and hit you.' It happens as such an instantaneous reflex. It's certainly not consciously thought out or planned."

By unloading their shame onto others, with accusations and insults, narcissists can re-route their shame. They project their pain onto other people, and make them feel bad about themselves, so they can feel slightly better.

"They really perceive that they are right, and you are wrong, and they are superior and you're an idiot — and that's just the way it is," Burgo said.

"Narcissists view the world in terms of two packs, there's winners and there's losers, and that's all there is. Their aim in life is to constantly build up this sense of themselves as a winner, which usually means making you feel like a comparative loser, so they can triumph over you."

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