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A quarter of millennials are looking to date someone significantly older than them


couple laughing date

  • Many millennials are looking for someone significantly older on dating sites, according to Badoo.
  • Over a quarter of 18 to 24 year olds said they would date someone over the age of 35.
  • There are several speculative explanations for this.
  • Ultimately it all comes down to personal choice, and that's made easier by the variety of dating apps at your disposal.

Everyone's heard the rule that you can only date someone younger than you if they are "half your age plus seven."

If the results of a recent survey are anything to go by, this rule has been well and truly thrown in the garbage.

According to research from the world's largest dating app Badoo, many millennials are trying to find a partner who is significantly older than them.

A sample of 10,500 people on the Badoo database revealed that 26% of 18-24 year olds would date someone over the age of 35. Nearly a third of women have dated someone 10 years older, and 9% of men would date someone 20 years older than them.

Abbie Moujaes, Badoo's in-house dating expert, told Business Insider that millennials may be more accepting of age gap relationships because there are so many famous couples following the trend. For example, Emmanuel Macron (40) and his wife Brigitte Macron (65), and George Clooney (56) and Amal Clooney (40).

"Millennials are looking to date someone who is older; as with age comes maturity and also the connotation of having your life together," Moujaes said. "Dating someone older can be seen as a fast-track route into leading a stable life, which for a lot of millennials is enticing."

In other words, while millennials are facing the prospect of a life of never owning their own homes and earning less money than the previous generation, they may be turning to older partners because they're more likely to be in a better financial place.

Scientific theories might offer some explanation

There is little scientific evidence that women who go for older men have broken attachment styles — known colloquially as "daddy issues." (Just in case that's what you were thinking.) For example, one study from 2016, published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, found that women in couples with small and large age gaps were similar in both attachment style and relationship satisfaction.

Another speculative theory is that millennials and older generations simply have more in common than they used to. Thanks to on-demand TV and pretty much anything being available on the internet, younger generations have been able to grow up with the same television shows, films, and music older people did. Millennials were arguably the first generation to be able to do this significantly, and choose older partners as a direct result of it.

Having children is also a factor. In 2011, The Center for Work-Life Policy published a study that showed 43% of women and 32% of men in generation X, the generation before millennials, were putting children on hold, or deciding not to have them. Millennials are also trending towards having fewer children, with birth rates dropping around 15% between 2007 and 2012.

So perhaps millennial women who aren't keen on having children early, or ever, prefer to date older men who might be more on the same page rather than younger men who might rush them into starting a family.

Ultimately, the survey does suggest many millennials are looking for a relationship with older people, and the reasons for that are completely speculative. Some people might just like the idea of dating someone with more experience — and dating sites are a really easy way to make that happen.

SEE ALSO: 7 awkward questions you should ask on a first date — and 3 you really shouldn't

Join the conversation about this story »

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MoviePass returns to its one-movie-a-day plan after capping new subscribers at 4 movies a month (HMNY)


moviepass business insider

  • MoviePass announced on Wednesday that it's going back to its $9.95 monthly plan.
  • Since April, new subscribers had to pay for a $29.95 three-month plan that allowed four movies per month and a free trial to iHeartRadio's All-Access streaming package.

MoviePass announced via Twitter on Wednesday that it is reinstating its popular $9.95 one-movie-per-day monthly plan.

The app discontinued the plan in April and reports surfaced last week while MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe was taking meeting with exhibitors at CinemaCon, the industry's annual conference in Las Vegas, that the $9.95 would not come back. But it looks like there has been a change of heart. 

“We never planned to abandon the flagship product that everybody loves,” Lowe told Variety. “Any time we’ve done a promotional package, we’ve taken the monthly plan off our site.”

Since mid-April, new MoviePass subscribers had only been able to pay $29.95 for a three-month promotional plan that allowed four movies a month, as well as a free trial of iHeartRadio's All-Access streaming package.

But there is one new tweak to the service that isn't changing: Subscribers are not allowed to do repeat viewings of the same movie with the app.

With the summer movie season upon us, it's a smart move by MoviePass, as it won't have to pay full admission price for repeat showings of hits like "Avengers: Infinity War" and upcoming titles "Deadpool 2" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." 

However, some MoviePass holders have found a workaround — use the app to get a ticket to a different movie and then go to the movie you really want to see. 

It seems MoviePass doesn't just have to worry about how to keep itself afloat, but also prevent people from taking advantage of the service. 

More on MoviePass:

SEE ALSO: The 100 best movies on Hulu right now

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos reveals what it's like to build an empire and become the richest man in the world — and why he's willing to spend $1 billion a year to fund the most important mission of his life

A photographer spent 25 years documenting rich people — meet some of her most memorable subjects


160 l Cult of Celebrity

  • Rich people and wealth inequality are major themes in photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield's work.
  • Last year she released the book "Generation Wealth" that pulls together the past 25 years of her work, and includes interviews and insights from both herself and her subjects.
  • In April, Greenfield debuted her documentary film by the same name at Sundance Film Festival, with a wider release planned for July 2018.  


Award-winning documentary photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield has been photographing and interviewing rich people since the early 1990s. After attending college at Harvard, Greenfield returned to her home in Los Angeles and began documenting youth culture.

At that time, she didn't realize that she was photographing the beginning of "a period of rampant materialism and wealth obsession," as economist and sociologist Juliet Schor writes in the introduction of "Generation Wealth," Greenfield's book that was released last year with Phaidon. Her subjects back then included a 12-year-old Kim Kardashian and other teens in Bel-Air, Los Angeles.  

Since then, Greenfield's work has expanded internationally, examining mega-mansions, extravagant bottle service at nightclubs, a 24-karat solid gold toilet, America's obsession with plastic surgery, and much more.

"What I learned from many of [my subjects] is that chasing wealth is unending and ultimately unsatisfying. As the former Wall Street trader Sam Polk recognizes, it's an addiction like any other, and the more you have, the more you want and the more you think you need," wrote Greenfield in the introduction of her book.

This April, Greenfield debuted the documentary film "Generation Wealth" which brings her work in the book onto the big screen with in-depth interviews with many of her subjects, and examines wealth inequality. The film debuted at Sundance Film Festival, and is being released more broadly in select theaters this July. 

Ahead, a look inside the book "Generation Wealth" with captions written by Greenfield, as well as more information about the upcoming documentary.

SEE ALSO: This $59 million penthouse in New York City's priciest zip code has a living room the size of a museum and perfect views of the Empire State Building and One World Trade

"Limo Bob, 49, the self-proclaimed 'Limo King,' wears thirty-three pounds of gold and a full-length fur coat given to him by Mike Tyson. His fleet of limousines, including a 100-foot-long Cadillac, are outfitted with crystal chandeliers, jacuzzis, and stripper poles."

Source: Generation Wealth

"Xue Qiwen, 43, in her Shanghai apartment, decorated with furniture from her favorite brand, Versace, 2005. In 1994 Xue started a company that sells industrial cable and has since run four more. She is a member of three golf clubs, each costing approximately $100,000 to join."

Source: Generation Wealth

"Christina, 21, a Walmart pharmacy technician, en route to her wedding in Cinderella’s glass coach, drawn by six miniature white ponies and with bewigged coachman, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida."

Source: Generation Wealth

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We drove popular minivans from Toyota and Honda to see which we liked better — and the winner was clear


Honda Odyssey

  • The Honda Odyssey is the superior minivan.
  • But in fairness, the Toyota Sienna is an aging design due for an update.
  • For many consumers, the choice between these minivans is the only one they'll make — the Chrysler Pacifica isn't in the picture.

It's one of the longest-running competitions in the automotive world. Not Ferrari versus Lamborghini or Ford versus Chevy.

Nope: It's the Honda Odyssey minivan versus its Japanese counterpart, the Toyota Sienna.

For the record, both vehicles, popular with Americans, are made in the USA.

We've reviewed both minivans, and we put them up against the other family hauler in the market, the superb Chrysler Pacifica, the only minivan in the US market that's available as a hybrid.

Now we're going to stand back and watch as the Odyssey and the Sienna duke it out.

SEE ALSO: FOLLOW US on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

Let's start with the Sienna and a caveat: This 2017 model is the third generation, which has been around since 2010. It's looking aged next to the Odyssey.

DESIGN: No one will call the Sienna exciting. It's a somewhat shapely rectangle with sliding door, a sloping front, and four wheels at the corners.

It is, in the final analysis, a visually bland machine that doesn't try to hide its mission in life: to haul people and stuff.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

24 life skills every functioning adult should master before turning 30


young professional millennial

  • Life skills aren't as obvious as they may seem.
  • To clarify things, we put together a list of some important competencies to have under your belt by the time you turn 30.
  • Those include public speaking, giving a good handshake, and cooking basic meals.

There's no handbook for adult life.

Somehow you're just supposed to know that you should have more money coming in than going out and you shouldn't wear a fuzzy orange sweater to a job interview.

We've put together our own handbook of sorts for anyone transitioning from their 20s to their 30s, which lists many of the skills you'll need to survive as an adult in the modern world.

It's based on the Quora thread, "What are some of the most useful skills to know?" as well as scientific research and expert opinion.

We can't promise we've outlined every skill, but if you've mastered these, you're off to a good start:

SEE ALSO: 10 life skills every young professional should have

1. Accepting feedback gracefully

"For most of us it is hard to hear how we made a mistake or could have done something better," writes Quora user Pedram Keyani. "An amazing skill (which you can learn through practice) is to set aside your emotional response in the moment and focus on the information presented to you. Some of it will be valid and some of it invalid but let your brain decide that, not your ego."

Depending on what kind of feedback you're receiving, there are different strategies for responding with a cool head. For example, if your boss points out what she thinks is an error and you're not sure she's correct, you can say, "I hadn’t thought of that, and I’m going to look into it right away."


2. Apologizing sincerely

To err is human — but to craft a believable apology isn't a universal skill.

The apology "needs to be sincere, not qualified, not quantified, and also needs [to] outline how X will not happen again," Keyani says.

According to one CEO, there's a six-step strategy for successfully saying you're sorry:

1. Act quickly.

2. Apologize in person. 

3. Explain what happened

4. Show how you are going to avoid the problem in the future. 

5. Apologize.

6. Make restitution.

Keyani gives an example of what you might say if you were tardy for an appointment:

"I'm sorry I was late for the meeting. It must have been frustrating because you spent a lot of time preparing and got up early. I did a poor job accounting for traffic and didn't give myself enough buffer. That is my bad and I'm going to give myself an extra 10 minutes instead of five moving forward."

3. Managing your time wisely

There will probably never be a time in your life when you aren't juggling multiple personal and professional priorities. Time-management skills are a must, unless you want to feel constantly frazzled.

Perhaps the most important time-management lesson is that you should stick with one task at a time. Research suggests that multitasking is generally counterproductive, because the brain expends energy as it readjusts its focus from one activity to another.

You'd be wise, too, to limit the hours you spend working. Decades ago, Henry Ford discovered that productivity started to decline after employees logged more than 40 hours per week. Other research suggests that, after three weeks, 60-hour workweeks become less productive.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Trump and Kanye West have something in common that sets them apart from most other highly successful people


Donald Trump Kanye West

  • Donald Trump and Kanye West's budding internet bromance has inspired controversy and speculation.
  • The two share one major trait in regards to their daily habits.
  • Both the president and the rapper reportedly don't read many books.

Donald Trump and Kanye West have embarked on a Twitter bromance for the ages.

The rap artist took to social media to declare his love for Trump, adding that they both have "dragon energy" — referring to what Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz described as a "metaphor often used in Taoist magic." Trump returned the favor by thanking West for "performing a great service to the black community."

West's embrace of the president and conservative commentator Candace Owens has sparked controversy amongst the rapper's fans. He also shocked fans by showing up at TMZLive with Owens and saying, "When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and it's all of y'all ... It's like we're mentally in prison."

But Trump and West don't just have "dragon energy" and a penchant for controversial statements in common. They also share a striking similarity when it comes to the world of literature. They both reportedly don't really prioritize reading books.

That sets the president and the rapper apart from many successful bibliophiles, from Oprah to Bill Gates.

Back in 2016, Megyn Kelly pressed the then-presidential candidate to name his favorite book besides the Bible or his own ghost-written, best-selling work, "The Art of the Deal." He picked "All Quiet on the Western Front," and has called the 1929 novel "one of the greatest books of all time."

However, when asked to name the last book he read, Trump went on to say, "I read passages, I read areas, chapters, I don't have the time," according to the New Republic. On the campaign trail, he made it clear that he had no time for studying previous presidents, telling the Washington Post, "I'm always busy doing a lot. Now I'm more busy, I guess, than ever before."

Trump's lack of interest in reading has led The Atlantic to label him as "the president who doesn't read."

"He didn't process information in any conventional sense," Michael Wolff wrote of the president in "Fire and Fury." "He didn't read. He didn't really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi­literate."

The president has, however, tweeted out numerous book endorsements. He also reportedly watches a lot of TV — somewhere between four and eight hours a day.

And, while Yeezy may be the co-author of "Thank You and You're Welcome," he previously said that he typically stays away from books — especially those of the fictional variety. In fact, he said he found novels "self-absorbed" as a rule.

"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed," he told Reuters in 2009. "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life."

Nonetheless, West is reportedly working on a philosophy book, the Washington Post reported.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump doesn't read books — Here are other successful people who don't read very much

DON'T MISS: Kanye West is facing backlash for saying 400 years of slavery 'sounds like a choice'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 'To discuss multicultural issues' — Kanye explains why he met with Trump

The 25 best restaurants in the world, according to millionaire private jet owners


5. Osteria Francescana

Wealth often comes along with pretty expensive taste — especially when it comes to food and drink.

In order to determine where the high net worth individuals of the world like to dine, private jet lifestyle publication Elite Traveler surveyed its database of readers— all of whom are owners or users of private jets — on their favourite fine dining destinations across all seven continents.

As of last year, the magazine's readers had a median household income of $2.28 (£1.76) million and net worth of $41 (£32) million— so it's safe to say most of them are millionaires.

6,000 readers voted in order to produce the magazine's seventh annual list of the Top 100 Restaurants in the World.

Scroll down to see the top 25, ranked in ascending order.

SEE ALSO: This 26-year-old quit her law degree to start a luxury concierge club for bloggers and students — and now has 500 members paying up to £400 a month

25. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan.

24. Le Calandre, Padua, Italy.

23. Jean-Georges, New York, USA.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How a hairdresser became a multi-millionaire by turning an idea rejected on 'Dragons' Den' into a cult product used by Emma Watson and Victoria Beckham


Tangle Teezer CEO Shaun Pulfrey

  • Tangle Teezer CEO Shaun Pulfrey became a hairdresser at the age of 16.
  • He developed a unique technique for detangling hair and came up with a product to replicate it.
  • He pitched the Tangle Teezer on BBC TV show "Dragons' Den" in 2002, but it was rejected. 
  • Now, Pulfrey is a multi-millionaire, with Tangle Teezer's revenue hitting £24 million ($17.7 million) last year.
  • The Tangle Teezer has become a cult product endorsed by the likes of Victoria Beckham and Emma Watson.

Shaun Pulfrey became a hairdresser at 16. In 2002, he had a genius product idea rejected on the UK's equivalent of "Shark Tank."

Now, he's the CEO of a company which turned over £24 million ($17.7 million) last year — and the product that made him successful can be found in the handbags of celebrities all over the world.

Born in Grimsby, England, the 57-year-old told Business Insider that after entering the world of hairdressing, he trained in Manchester for two years before deciding to move to London to further his career.

He started working for Vidal Sassoon as a colour technician and educator, which allowed him to travel and work in the company's salons in America, mainly Boston, LA, and San Francisco.

Along the way, he developed a unique way of detangling hair by using tools in an unconventional way. He would alternatively tap the hair with a brush and comb, which he said would loosen the tangles.

"After five years of doing it, the technique was very successful," he said.

He added that there wasn't anything on the market that could detangle hair in the same way — so he spent six months researching what needed to be done to make a product. He eventually came up with the Tangle Teezer, which he says replicates his technique.

The idea is that the teeth flex as they’re drawn through the hair, then return to their original position. This means they don’t lock into tangles, but flex over without any pulling or tugging. Working with a company called Data Plastics, Pulfrey brought the product to market.

Create your own marble effect Compact Styler hairbrush exclusively on TangleTeezer.com

A post shared by Tangle Teezer (@tangleteezer) on Apr 13, 2018 at 8:46am PDT on

The first sample was "far better than I expected," he said.

He continued to work as a hair technician four days a week, then dedicated the rest of his time to Tangle Teezer. "I self-financed it, and paid it off using my salary by not having and holiday and going without," he said.

Rejected by "Dragons' Den"

After three years in development, Pulfrey quit working as a hairdresser in August 2007.

"My business plan was to take it to a trade show in London in October, so I quit work and spent three months full time on Tangle Teezer," he said.

In the meantime, he said a friend in the entertainment business convinced him to audition for "Dragons' Den," the BBC's equivalent of "Shark Tank" — so he took his shot.

"I was there with my doll hair and my Tangle Teezer," he said. "I offered a 15% stake for £80,000."

He said that he knew before going on the show that even if the dragons didn't think the product would be successful, viewers could have a different opinion.

"Because my product is visual, it didn't concern me too much," he said.

"The reason I didn't put a handle on it was the customer [would think] it's an all-around brush," he said, adding that he also wanted it to have a "definitive shape so you couldn't mix it up with anything else."

However, he felt "from the very first response none of them got it."

The Dragons rejected his offer — but he said he never felt let down. In fact, he said that his Dragons' Den appearance "turned out to be a TV commercial for us globally."

He had a website live for the product at the time, and said it quickly received 1,200 orders — then crashed.

"The show was very instrumental in showcasing the product," he said, adding that a lot of mums picked up on it. "The Dragons showcased it, and mums broke it."

Pink The Original

From Victoria Beckham to Chewbacca

While he knew tangles were a big issue for professional hairdressers, Pulfrey said he hadn't realised how much they were a problem for everyday people.

"I didn't know how many women weren't able to brush their daughter or son's hair," he said. "People were looking consciously for a solution."

It was also, clearly, a problem among celebrities. The company started sending samples to celebrity hairdressers, who spread the gossip when they travel, according to Pulfrey.

"I thought, 'I wonder how long it will take for them to pop up in people’s handbags?' And it took about four years from the first moment of launching."

The Beckhams were among the first people to support the Tangle Teezer.

Pulfrey said that Victoria Beckham has mentioned she's always got one in her bag, while Salma Hayek, and Emma Watson are also reported to be fans.

"It works when you have so many celebrities popping up and saying they use it," he said. "It was even used in 'Star Wars' movie — they used it on Chewbacca."

It's all about the tool

Pulfrey said there are many myths surrounding hair care, such as the idea that you should brush your hair 100 times before bed or never brush it when it's wet.

"We've still got a long way to go on educating women who are brushing their hair," he said.

He added that within the industry, "magic words" surrounding the tools themselves are starting to come forward — such as blowdryers that claim to give your hair shine.

If @guidopalau loves a Tangle Teezer detangling hairbrush, you know it's going to be amazing! #VBSS18 #NYFW #HairByGuido

A post shared by Tangle Teezer (@tangleteezer) on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:18am PDT on

With Tangle Teezer, he stressed that it's as simple as knowing how to use the tool.

"It's like a toothbrush and toothpaste, or makeup, and makeup brush," he said. "The tool is going to do 80% of the work for you — that's why you'll be able to achieve the results you've never been able to achieve before."

A £24 million year business 

While it was The Original Tangle Teezer that became a success, the company followed it up with a number of other products, all aimed at helping customers either detangle, blow dry, or style.

Going out tonight? Pop by our shop in @boxpark & try our Blow-Styling Tools for a fabulous blow-dry! #Boxpark

A post shared by Tangle Teezer (@tangleteezer) on Jan 19, 2018 at 4:37am PST on

Now selling in 75 countries, Tangle Teezer turned over £24 million last year — and Pulfrey says he's aiming for an 8-12% increase in 2018.

His own net worth has also skyrocketed. In 2014 it was reported to be £4.2 million, while more recent reports suggest the figure is now £12.4 million.

"If you look at it now, I'm the most successful person on ['Dragons' Den'] to date," Pulfrey said.  "Where it is now, I'm in a very happy place. It will go on to be the success that I want it to be."

SEE ALSO: How 2 Goldman Sachs investment bankers quit their jobs and raised £5 million to cook meals for dogs — including the pets of celebrities

Join the conversation about this story »

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Inside the boho-style Bahamas wedding of Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik and DJ Ruckus, complete with a private jet arrival, 2 custom gowns, and 'truckloads of tequila'


shanina shaik dj ruckus

Gregory Andrews, aka "DJ Ruckus," just married Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik in a weekend-long Bohemian-style private ceremony on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. 

Luckily for us, Shaik shared the details of her special day with Brides.com.

The wedding was attended by friends and family, with plenty of celebs involved — including supermodels, music producers, and DJs. Guests were treated to fresh seafood, jerk chicken, conch fritters, and a bourbon-flavoured tiered wedding cake, washed down with Mumm champagne, rum cocktails, and "truckloads of Don Julio tequila."

Scroll down for a sneak peek inside the dreamy beachfront wedding. 

Gregory Andrews, aka 'DJ Ruckus,' and Australian Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik married in a Bohemian-style private ceremony on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas at the weekend.

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Source: Brides 

The couple, who met at Coachella and have been engaged for three years, arrived on the island by private jet, of course.

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Source: Instagram

It all began on Friday evening, when the guests joined the couple for a rehearsal dinner at an idyllic beachfront terrace. It had long white tables decorated with vibrant pink and orange flowers, wicker place mats, and bamboo chairs.

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Source: Brides 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Many millennials are itching to become homeowners — here are the 17 best cities to put down roots


pittsburgh pennsylvania

  • More than 80% of millennials say buying a home is a priority for them.
  • Homeownership is more attainable in some cities than others, especially if you're a first-time buyer.
  • Texas is home to six of the top-20 best cities to buy your first home, while Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, took the No. 1 spot.


Home prices are up and supply is down across the US, but buying a house isn't as tough as it may seem. You just have to know where to look.

More than 80% of millennials say becoming a homeowner is a priority for them, according to NerdWallet's latest homebuyer report. Many are considering it "the next step in my life" and plan to buy within the next five years.

Affordable real estate is hard to come by in America's coastal cities. Migrating to the Midwest or the South is a smart bet if you're looking to put down roots at an affordable cost.

That's evidenced by SmartAsset's annual list of the best places for first-time homebuyers. SmartAsset gathered housing data for 64 metros (the US cities with a population over 300,000) related to securing a loan, the value of the average home, stability of the housing market, and affordability.

Each city was ranked in seven categories, and then given an average score. We narrowed down the list to feature the cities with a total score of 55 or higher, out of a possible 100. 

Below, check out the top 17 best places for first-time homebuyers.

SEE ALSO: Forget San Francisco and New York: These are the 19 best places to live where the typical home costs less than $260,000 and monthly rent is under $1,000

DON'T MISS: Millennials love this new housing community in a forgotten stretch of California thanks to its ultrafast internet and dirt-cheap home prices

17. Raleigh, North Carolina

Loan funding rate: 76%

Value per square foot: $128.67

Median listing price: $347,248

16. Corpus Christi, Texas

Loan funding rate: 67%

Value per square foot: $90.33

Median listing price: $209,900

15. Denver, Colorado

Loan funding rate: 76%

Value per square foot: $322.33

Median listing price: $485,000

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The unlikely story of how Kim Kardashian and Jared Kushner are teaming up to free a 62-year-old grandmother from prison


Alice Johnson wide

  • Kim Kardashian West pressed Jared Kushner last week to ask President Donald Trump to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, sources familiar with the conversation told Business Insider.
  • Johnson, a 62-year-old grandmother, is serving a life sentence without parole for nonviolent drug offenses. Kardashian took an interest in her case late last year.
  • Johnson told Business Insider that she is aware the Trump administration is involved in her case.
  • She said she has been "walking around in a daze" in recent days, hopeful that Trump will make an announcement soon.

Last week, Kim Kardashian West spoke by phone with President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and made an unusual request: help free a 62-year-old grandmother from prison.

Kardashian pressed Kushner to bring the issue directly to Trump, two sources with direct knowledge of the call told Business Insider. Their hope is that Trump will grant clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, possibly in the form of a sentence commutation.

Mic and TMZ reported this week that Kardashian and Kushner had been working together on Johnson's case.

Johnson is serving a life sentence without parole for first-time, nonviolent drug offenses she committed in the early 1990s. Her case has received nationwide media attention for years, but captured the sympathy of Kardashian in October 2017.

Johnson spoke exclusively with Business Insider and said she has been informed by her attorneys that the Trump administration is weighing her case. She added that she has been "walking around in a daze" in recent days, and is "very optimistic" she will be granted clemency.

"I don't even know myself what emotions I will really feel when this happens," Johnson said in an email sent from the Aliceville correctional facility in Alabama. "My faith in God is still very strong. I have already experienced the miraculous when Kim Kardashian West saw my story and came to my rescue by hiring attorneys to help me gain my freedom."

She said she and her family have already endured the devastation of being denied clemency by former President Barack Obama three times in a years-long cycle of raised hopes followed by crushing blows.

"My family has been broken beyond what anyone can imagine," Johnson said. "A commutation would mean wholeness for me and my family again."

For years, Johnson believed Obama was her last hope of leaving prison alive. Now, she's hoping Trump will do what Obama wouldn't.

'Kim has been my war angel'

Kim Kardashian

Johnson said it took a miracle for her case to grab the attention of the Trump administration — and that miracle came in the shape of Kardashian.

"She has embraced my cause and taken to heart my plight," Johnson said. "Kim has been my war angel, and I'll never forget what she is doing for me."

Though Johnson never seemed to spark enough interest from the Obama administration, she has long been featured in media stories about overzealous drug sentencing. In the waning days of Obama's signature clemency initiative, a parade of legal experts, lawmakers, prison staff, and criminal-justice reform advocates flaunted Johnson as the perfect candidate for clemency.

She has been touted not only as an extreme example of the type of harsh, mandatory-minimum sentencing that erupted in the 1980s and 90s, but the embodiment of a reformed and repentant prisoner with the skills and support to live a productive life.

"We often say that people were given clemency, but the truth is that they earned it. And that's very much true of Alice," Mark Osler, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas who has closely followed Johnson's case, told Business Insider. "She obviously saw herself as a work in progress while she was in prison, and sought to be a positive influence on other people, which is the most we can hope for for anyone in or out of prison."

Johnson is an ordained minister, a playwright, a mentor, counselor, tutor, and companion for suicidal inmates, and didn't commit a single disciplinary infraction during two decades in prison, according to 2016 letters from staff at the Aliceville correctional facility in Alabama, who have supported her clemency bid.

"She's just one of those people that there's something remarkable about her. It's unforgettable," said Amy Povah, who has worked on Johnson's case since 2014 for Clemency for All Nonviolent Drug Offenders (CAN-DO), a nonprofit that advocates for clemency and assists prisoners with their petitions. "She's like this ray of sunshine."

Povah herself received a commutation from former President Bill Clinton in 2000, and upon learning of Johnson's case, immediately placed her at the top of the foundation's list of 25 women who most deserve clemency.

"She has expressed incredible remorse — that this was the worst thing she ever did. And we shouldn't be defined by the worst decision that we made," Povah said. "She has 21 years of evidence that she deserves a second chance and she deserves mercy. Enough is enough."

How a viral video put Johnson in position to be free

Donald Trump Kanye WestJohnson's case finally started gaining momentum last October, when her story went viral.

A video published by Mic featured an interview with Johnson herself via a Skype video call — a rare privilege not often granted to federal prisoners.

Unlike with previous media coverage, this time more than 7 million people viewed Johnson's story on Facebook and Twitter. And that's when it caught Kardashian's eye.

"This is so unfair…" Kardashian tweeted after she saw the four-minute video. Weeks later, she retained Shawn Holley, a criminal defense and celebrity lawyer, to work on Johnson's case and that of another woman currently serving a life sentence, Cyntoia Brown.

But it wasn't until last Wednesday that Kardashian achieved major momentum on Johnson's case. When her husband, Kanye West, reemerged on Twitter and sparked a massive uproar, it did more than just enrage some fans and delight conservatives — it grabbed the attention of Trump himself.

"You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him," West tweeted. Trump later replied, "Thank you Kanye, very cool!"

Though it's unclear what role West's resurfacing had in Johnson's case, the controversy may have presented Kardashian with the opportune moment to push it.

Johnson's supporters, including Povah and Osler, have also speculated that her case may have personally appealed to Kushner, who has advocated both within the White House and in public for criminal justice reforms despite the tough-on-crime, lock-'em-up rhetoric from much of the Trump administration.

Kushner even published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last week, urging Congress to make it easier for released inmates to integrate back into society.

"President Trump promised to fight for the forgotten men and women of this country — and that includes those in prison," he wrote.

'I had to pick myself back up'

Johnson's life began to unravel around 1990.

Within the span of just a few years, Johnson faced not only a gambling addiction and the loss of her job while she struggled to raise five children — she also endured a divorce, a bankruptcy, a home foreclosure, and the death of her youngest son in a motorcycle accident. 

She turned to a drug-dealing and money-laundering operation. It was the worst decision she ever made, she said.

Johnson said her role in the conspiracy was as a telephone mule. She passed along messages by phone as an intermediary so that the people who were selling and distributing the cocaine weren't contacting one another directly. She said she never personally touched or sold the drugs.

When authorities dismantled the operation and brought drug conspiracy charges against its participants, prosecutors labeled Johnson one of the conspiracy's leaders, even though Johnson viewed herself as a relatively low-ranking member of the scheme.

"Conspiracy meant that I became responsible for the acts of everyone involved in my case and paid the lion's share of the debt to society … a life sentence," she said. In retrospect, Johnson says she is deeply sorry for the crimes she committed. But she believes her sentence was also fundamentally unjust.

The next blow came in late 2016, two weeks before Obama was set to leave office. Johnson had been certain that Obama's 2014 Clemency Initiative — which prioritized people convicted of nonviolent offenses who demonstrated exemplary conduct in prison — would see her as the perfect candidate for a commutation.

But she was denied clemency on January 6, 2016, and never told why. According to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, presidents rarely explain their denials, and documents related to presidential decision-making are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Several former Obama administration officials who led the clemency program, including former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, former White House Counsel Neil Eggleston, and former Pardon Attorney Robert Zauzmer, did not respond to Business Insider's queries on why Johnson was denied.

"It's hard to find closure for the death of a dream when you don't have answers for the cause of death," Johnson said. "I did grieve, but knew that giving up was not an option, so I had to pick myself back up and get back in the ring and fight for my life."

SEE ALSO: Trump's pardon of Scooter Libby sends a 'troubling signal' to the Mueller investigation

DON'T MISS: Trump grants clemency to an Iowa meatpacking exec convicted in a fraud case

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NOW WATCH: Here's why the death penalty and longer prison sentences don't really deter crime

$9 billion startup Stripe is fighting back against the San Francisco housing crisis with a $1 million donation and a political stand


Patrick collison, john collison, stripe, sv100 2015

  • $9 billion payments company Stripe has made a $1 million donation to California YIMBY, a pro-housing development advocacy group. 
  • Stripe says it's because it's fed up with the San Francisco housing crisis, in which the city is becoming extremely unaffordable for all but the most wealthy. 
  • Now, Stripe is actively pushing for housing policy reform.

Stripe, the $9 billion payments startup, is fed up with the housing crisis in its hometown of San Francisco.

So the company is putting its money where its mouth is, as Stripe announces on Thursday a $1 million one-time donation to California YIMBY: A local political advocacy group that's pushing to overturn decades of policy and bring high-density housing to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Stripe is taking a slightly different tack here than many of its peers in the tech industry. While companies like Cisco have tackled the housing crisis by working with local nonprofits and other organizations, Stripe's donation to a pro-housing advocacy group indicates that it's willing to take a stronger political stance on the housing crisis. 

“The dearth of available and affordable housing is a significant barrier to the Bay Area's economic progress,” said Stripe CEO Patrick Collison in a press release. “We’re making this contribution to California YIMBY because we think broad policy change will make the most meaningful, widespread, and long-term difference in the state’s housing crisis, by allowing developers to build more housing — specifically lower-cost, higher-density housing.”

Indeed, YIMBY stands for "Yes In My Backyard" — a pro-development rallying cry, and a rebuke to what critics have long seen as a "not in my backyard," or NIMBY, attitude taken by many city officials and its more powerful residents. However, some San Francisco civic leaders regard California YIMBY as naive, or as advocates for unchecked gentrification

Stripe's move comes as the San Francisco Bay Area housing crisis only intensifies. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, if you want a median-priced home in San Francisco, you need to make at least $173,783 a year.

That's unattainable for many, and it's led to extraordinary circumstances as living in the city becomes increasingly unaffordable. Some San Francisco city teachers, for example, are opting to live in shared dorms; many more people are simply opting to leave.

As of the end of 2017, Stripe employed about 1,000 people, most of whom are based in San Francisco. Stripe cofounders Patrick Collison and his brother John — the CEO and president of Stripe, respectively — moved to California in 2010 to grow the company. 

In the press release, Patrick Collison says that donating to increase housing development in the Bay Area is in tune both with Stripe's mission, which is to help people start internet businesses, as well as his own story as an immigrant.

“Closer to home, we want California to remain a land of opportunity: a place where hardworking people of all backgrounds can come to pursue new jobs, start new businesses, and create better lives for their families.”

SEE ALSO: Cisco commits to shelling out $50 million to help fix Silicon Valley's homelessness crisis

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NOW WATCH: This cop played hopscotch with a homeless girl after getting called to investigate a suspicious vehicle

The top 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes, ranked from worst to best


avengers infinity war 1

WARNING: This post contains major spoilers for "Avengers: Infinity War." Please read at your own risk.

At this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a lot of characters. Some, like Thanos, might even say too many.

A lot of its heroes are pretty similar: men who are full of themselves, get superpowers (or great technology), become heroes, and go through a lot of personal growth (or not).

In honor of "Avengers: Infinity War," we ranked all the superheroes who have been main characters in their own movies, and significant side characters who have fought with the Avengers. 

In February, we ranked the MCU villains, and since they were all bad, the ranking wasn't as fraught. But this one was a little more tricky because the majority of the MCU heroes are compelling characters with many layers to unpack, who leave a lot to look forward to in every scene. But that doesn't mean that all of these MCU heroes are great. Some, like Hawkeye and Black Widow, are forgettable despite appearing in several films over nearly a decade. 

Here's our ranking of the MCU heroes, from worst to best (updated for "Infinity War"):

SEE ALSO: The top 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe villains, ranked from worst to best

20. Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff — played by Aaron Taylor Johnson

Who? Quicksilver was Scarlet Witch's annoying brother, who Ultron killed during the Battle of Sokovia. He didn't even last an entire movie, and that's a good thing. He wasn't a fully fleshed-out character, and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (2014) used this character in a much more clever way the same year. 

19. Hawkeye/Clint Barton — played by Jeremy Renner

The only thing that makes Hawkeye any different from arrow-slinging heroes like Legolas or Katniss Everdeen is that he has a secret family, which is not even a secret anymore because he introduced them to the Avengers in “Age of Ultron.” The most personality we’ve seen from Hawkeye was in “Captain America: Civil War” when he shows up out of retirement to help fight on team Cap. Why? We don’t know and probably never will.

18. War Machine/Colonel Rhodes

War Machine, played by Don Cheadle, doesn't have much going on besides being Tony Stark's best friend. Rhodes, often called Rhodey, tries to keep Tony in check, but isn't very good at it. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Taking a 20-minute afternoon 'coffee nap' could be better than just drinking coffee, according to science


coffee nap

  • Our body goes into a naturally drowsy slump every day, usually around 2 or 3 p.m.
  • One way to stay alert during this slump is to take a 10 to 20 minute nap.
  • Some studies suggest sipping a coffee beforehand can make your afternoon nap even better.
  • It typically takes around 25 minutes for the effects of a coffee to completely kick in, so you'll wake up alert, chipper and ready to focus.

Something pretty crazy happens in your body at about 2 or 3 p.m. every day. Around this time, most people start to get a little more drowsy. If you can't focus as well as you did a few hours earlier, you're not alone.

This temporary sleepiness isn't just a post-lunch "food coma." It's a natural phenomenon of the human body clock, one of two daily slumps that are built into our circadian rhythm. (You may not have even noticed the other energy and body temperature slump, because it happens around 3 a.m., when most of us are still sleeping.)

It's a performance-sucking problem. Recently, researchers from Harvard Medical School estimated that workplace sleepiness and drowsy employees cost the average-sized Fortune 500 company around $80 million a year. Scientific studies suggest that some of our neural pathways slow down at this time, which means it's tougher to evaluate problems and make good decisions.

A proven way to counteract this tired time is to lean into your sleepiness with a quick nap. It's an idea that researchers from Japan to the United Kingdom have endorsed in the past, suggesting that pairing a short nap with a jolt of afternoon coffee can be a recipe for staying alert and accident-free through the day.

The effects of a good, quick nap go beyond the immediate benefits. Scientists have observed how daily naps can reduce blood pressure, improve immunity, and even lower your chances of dying from heart disease. Harvard sleep researcher Robert Stickgold says naps can even make people better problem solvers. His research has shown that naps help people pick out important information from all the noise. 

Longtime nap-skeptic and author Daniel Pink says this kind of coffee nap, or nappuccino, as he dubbed it, recently changed his life for the better. 

daniel pink when

In his 2018 productivity-hacking book, "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing," Pink says "after a few months of experimenting with twenty-minute afternoon naps, I've converted." 

Napping is not for everyone, though. The Mayo Clinic suggests that if you have trouble getting to sleep at night or suffer from insomnia, then napping may not be the best post-lunch solution for you.

But if you're ready to give the science-backed art of true power napping a try, here's how it's done:

  1. Keep your naps between 10 and 20 minutes long. After 20 minutes of snoozing, people wake up groggy and take some time to recover to a truly alert state. If you keep your nap to under 20 minutes, you'll wake up refreshed and ready to think. 
  2. Before you nap, drink a cup of coffee. "The caffeine won't fully engage in your bloodstream for about 25 minutes, so drink up right before you lie down," Pink wrote in the book. Plus, there's new evidence the benefits of sipping a pre-nap coffee go beyond simply keeping you alert when you get up. Research published in the journal Scientific Reports in February suggests that drinking coffee can actually improve your brain's ability to process more complex information. 
  3. Time your nap around 2 or 3 p.m. If that doesn't feel like your groggiest afternoon moment, Pink suggested another way to calculate your slump is roughly seven hours from when you wake up in the morning.
  4. Finally, don't feel guilty about your mid-day snooze session. As Harvard Medical School points out, "The well-timed nap can make you more productive at work and at home." So go ahead and enjoy your shut-eye. Just make sure you don't oversleep the 25-minute window and wake up groggy and decaffeinated. 

SEE ALSO: 9 science-backed ways to lose weight without going on a diet

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A sleep doctor reveals the keys to a perfect nap

Here's how wedding dresses have changed over 200 years — and why


meghan markle

A wedding dress is one of the most memorable garments a woman will ever wear. Above the invitations, the flowers, the cake, the gown stands out as a symbol of the bride's personality.

American actress Meghan Markle, who's engaged to Prince Harry, is rumored to have not one but two custom wedding dresses for her May 19 nuptials. The duchess-to-be is expected to wear something traditional for the wedding and a more glamorous number for the evening reception.

Over the years, American brides have worn every shape, fit, and color gown. These stunning vintage photos show how the Western wedding dress has evolved over the last 200 years.

SEE ALSO: 31 beautiful photos of traditional wedding dresses from around the world

American brides didn't always wear white. Through the 19th century, white cloth was impossible to clean by hand. Only the wealthy could afford such a high-maintenance garment.

Source: BBC

Instead, women wore what they considered their best dress.

Source: BBC

Red was a popular choice, as the color signifies luck, sexuality, and happiness. In some Asian countries, many brides continue to wear the color red on their wedding day.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

If you loved 'Karate Kid' you need to watch 'Cobra Kai' on YouTube Red


cobra kai youtube

  • The classic 1980s movie, "The Karate Kid," gets a reboot with the original cast members in the YouTube Red series, "Cobra Kai."
  • If you were a fan of the movie you really need to see this.

YouTube Red has been trying to get into the original content space with something that would grab a big audience, and may have finally got it with "Cobra Kai."

The 10-episode series dusts off the classic 1984 movie, "The Karate Kid," and brings it to the present day by looking at where the characters ended up after the movie.

If you've never seen "The Karate Kid" — first, how dare you, go watch it right now on Hulu or iTunes — the movie is the definition of a kid overcoming the bully. Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moves out to Los Angeles from Newark and has a tough time fitting in at his new high school. And things get really bad when he falls for Ali, who happens to be the ex-girlfriend of the top student at the Cobra Kai dojo, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). This leads to Lawrence and his friends constantly kicking the crap of and tormenting LaRusso. LaRusso befriends the maintenance man in his building, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), who teaches him karate. This leads to LaRusso and Lawrence facing off in a karate tournament at the end of the movie. Of course, LaRusso defeats the odds to beat the big bully Lawrence.

"Cobra Kai" takes place in the present day. The tournament looks to have shattered Lawrence's life as he lives a sloppy existence trying to get by doing maintenance work (which he soon gets fired from doing). LaRusso, on the other hand, owns a car dealership that is thriving with multiple locations. This is a fact Lawrence can never escape because he constantly sees LaRusso commercials and billboards.

karate kid columbia picturesThe pilot episode focuses on Lawrence's down-and-out life. But it's also filled with tons of "Karate Kid" references, including many clips from the movie and 1980s needle drops. There's even a "Rocky IV"-like montage where Lawrence drives his broken-down Firebird while clips from Lawrence in "Karate Kid" flash on screen.

One of the best moments of the first episode is when Lawrence has to show off his long-ignored karate skills.

When a kid from his building is bullied by a group of kids, Lawrence steps in (well, when the kid is thrown into his precious Firebird). The group of kids then tries to take on Lawrence and he shows no mercy, even letting out the familiar high-pitched grunts that anyone who loved "The Karate Kid" will remember him doing in the movie.

By the end of the episode, the seeds are planted for a potentially great season. Lawrence and LaRusso meet after Lawrence's Firebird is crashed into and gets hauled to LaRusso's dealership. They kind of act cordial to one another, but you can tell they generally don't care for each other. But the encounter gives Lawrence a light-bulb moment: He's going to relaunch the Cobra Kai dojo. 

"Cobra Kai" is extremely entertaining, but even more so if you loved "The Karate Kid" (and its sequels) growing up. Zabka and Macchio are all in with the reprisal of their iconic roles and that's really the hook. Some of the stuff will certainly go over your head if you weren't into the movie, but YouTube is hoping that the popularity of the movie over decades has enough passionate fans to launch this series (and YouTube) into the streaming zeitgeist.


SEE ALSO: The sad ending of "infinity War" has inspired a hilarious meme

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NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos reveals what it's like to build an empire and become the richest man in the world — and why he's willing to spend $1 billion a year to fund the most important mission of his life

17 common products that cost way more than they should



Consumers often pay much more for products than what it costs to make them.

The reasons for steep mark-up prices depend on the product. It could be that the item is in high demand, is difficult to make, or holds a great amount of symbolic value.

Here are 17 popular products with incredibly high mark-up prices.

Note: For this story, we looked at various popular US brands, but price mark-ups are often similar for competing brands.

SEE ALSO: The 6 best items on Chipotle's secret menu

Popcorn at movie theaters

Wholesale price for a small popcorn:About $0.35

Price you pay at Regal Cinemas and AMC Theaters:$6.50

Movie theater chains, like AMC and Regal, charge a lot for popcorn (and other snacks), but according to a 2009 Stanford study, the mark-ups allow them to sell movie tickets at a much lower price.


Cost to make an iPhone X: $370.25

Price you pay: $999

As CNBC notesthe decreasing cost of many iPhone components and smartphone market dominance helps Apple's profitability from iPhones.

Text messages

Cost for most phone carriers to send one text: Three-tenths of a cent

Price you pay per text via Verizon and AT&T: $0.20 on average (without an unlimited plan)

By making pay-as-you-go plans expensive, carriers like Verizon and AT&T can herd customers into longterm, multi-year plans, according to The Chicago Tribune.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

10 reasons it's difficult to spot narcissists and psychopaths — and how they use them to hide in plain sight


man with mask

Dark triad personalities — narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy — rely on manipulating other people as their source of power. They thrive off creating chaos for everyone around them, under the illusion of being a caring partner or friend.

Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths are so good at hiding in plain sight, you'll have a hard time identifying them unless you know the signs.

There's also a problem with what we expect these people to be.

When you mention psychopaths, many people will imagine a murderer, rapist, or Hannibal Lecter type. The reality is a lot less dramatic. Someone doesn't have to have committed a violent crime to be diagnosed as a psychopath, and taking a lot of selfies doesn't make someone a narcissist.

They still cause harm to others, but it's more likely to be the emotional and psychological harm that doesn't leave physical scars. That's why they can hop from partner to partner without leaving much of a trace of their destruction.

Doctor of psychology and therapist Perpetua Neo spoke with Business Insider about how dark triad people slip through the cracks, and how our misconceptions can help them manipulate others.

Here are 10 reasons dark triad people are so difficult to spot:

SEE ALSO: The way a narcissist's brain works can help unravel whether they mean to hurt their partners or not

1. They are not all Jack the Ripper

Relatively few psychopaths have a taste for blood. Neo said we tend to believe most psychopaths are in prison, because they are cold-blooded murderers, rapists, or paedophiles, but this simply isn't true for most of them.

She said we tend to ask ourselves if someone is a full-blown psychopath, such as Jack the Ripper, which means we ignore the other signs that they are probably on the spectrum.

"It's just a way we use to justify it to ourselves that there is a good person inside this person, or maybe I'm just bringing the bad side out of this person," she said. "I think the question should be 'are they good to you and are they good for you?'

"Do you really need a person to be Jack the Ripper before you decide to disengage from them?"

2. Their job proves nothing

If someone is respected in the community, it is harder to assume their intentions aren't good. But sometimes, dark triad people will go into professions that will mask their true intentions. Neo said this always makes her think of the Catholic church, and when they tried to cover up the abuse of young children.

"Because somebody is in a position in a community, we think they're a good person," she said. "Just like if someone's a psychologist or therapist, we think they're a good person. But having gifts doesn't make you a good person. We just conflate all these ideas in our head. Which means for instance, a psychopath may choose to work in a charity, in the third sector, so they can look like they're very giving people. That's how they worm their way in."

3. They can actually show empathy

Dark triad people are more or less devoid of empathy. But Neo said there are two types of empathy — cognitive and affective. Affective empathy is when you truly feel something for someone else, whereas cognitive empathy is the ability to recognise the feelings in others.

Narcissists and psychopaths often watch a lot of TV and films, so they are able to develop cognitive empathy and mimic the behaviours that are appropriate in those situations. For example, they may know to give you a hug, but there is no feeling behind it — they're just copying what they've learned.

"They can seem empathetic even if they lack empathy," Neo said. "But it's their everyday behaviour, what kind of contempt leaks out, that matters. If they seem empathetic towards a person, then the next thing you hear might be a strange remark, or a weird sick joke, then you know this person doesn't really have empathy."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

PF Chang's opened in China as a 'sexy and cool' American bistro — and the CEO says the chain can be bigger there than in America


PF Chang's Shanghai

  • PF Chang's opened its first "American bistro" in China in April.
  • The "sexy and cool" restaurant is being advertised as an "American bistro," despite the menu's similarities to US locations that were previously called "China bistros." 
  • "I sincerely think we can be bigger in China than we are in the US," CEO Michael Osanloo told Business Insider. 


PF Chang's has opened its first "American bistro" in China. 

The iconic Asian-American chain opened its first location in Shanghai in late April. CEO Michael Osanloo already has high hopes for the future of the chain in China, where it is being advertised as an "American bistro." 

"I sincerely think we can be bigger in China than we are in the US," Osanloo told Business Insider. 

PF Chang's currently has more than 300 locations around the world, and it is gearing up for more international expansion. The chain plans to open 12 to 14 new locations internationally in 2018, in countries including China, Bolivia, and Pakistan.

In tests, PF Chang's found that the American bistro concept resonated best with Chinese customers. While the restaurant design and menu format have been tweaked somewhat, many factors remain the same in the Shanghai location, despite the American branding. 

pf changs

"Our top three dishes right now are three of our top four dishes in the US: Chang's chicken, lettuce wraps, and dynamite shrimp," Osanloo said. 

The Shanghai location additionally has some menu items that are specific to the restaurant, such as duck spring rolls and tea cakes. Osanloo believes the chain's American nature has the chance to pay off big for PF Chang's. 

"You go to the fanciest Chinese restaurants — it's closer to our food," he said. "So, I think our food in China is where Chinese cuisine is going."

Down the line, the Shanghai American bistro may ultimately end up influencing PF Chang's locations in the US. The chain's trendier design and photo-heavy menu are already proving to be advantages for the location, according to Osanloo. 

"It's elegant, it's sort of sexy and cool," Osanloo said. "It's where hip, cool people want to go." 

SEE ALSO: Iconic Asian restaurant chain P.F. Chang's is opening its first location in China as an 'American bistro'

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The story behind Warren Buffett's million dollar charity lunches at Smith & Wollensky

Many Disney employees say they bring their own lunch to work — but there are 7 park treats they just can't resist


Disney World Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich

  • Walt Disney World dining can be pretty costly.
  • That's what a number of former Walt Disney World cast members told Business Insider, when asked what their favorite park food was.
  • Meals purchased in the Orlando theme park were more of an occasional treat for cast members, rather than a daily ritual.
  • Still, a number of cast members who previously worked through the Disney College Program, had fond memories of their favorite park order, from frozen treats to French cuisine.

Walt Disney World's dining options don't have a reputation for being cheap.

John Quagliano, a former cast member who worked in the Magic Kingdom, told Business Insider that he steered clear of eating in the park for this reason.

A former participant in the Disney College Program, he began working at the park as a recent college grad who was considering graduate school. Splurging on food wasn't an option for him. He added that park guests should follow his example if they want to "save a crap ton of money."

"You can bring in your own food and snacks," Quagliano told Business Insider. "Most people don't realize that and, of course, the company doesn't advertise it. But you can physically bring in an entire cooler full of snacks, water, whatever you want, and not only can you bring it into the park, you can ask the company to store it for you. They'll take it, tag it, and store it in the back."

Quagliano has seen this firsthand. He worked on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom near a storage area where cast members would store guests' items.

"We'd be like, 'You know, we'll do you a favor. We'll put it in the back and store it,'" Quagliano said. "They'd seem to think we were doing them some big favor. In reality, we're just doing what the company lets us do."

Business Insider asked a number of cast members who previously participated in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World to share their favorite park foods with us. A number of their responses reflected Quagliano's comments on the cost of food. But they still had fond memories of certain park treats and meals.

Here's a look at their favorite treats:

SEE ALSO: 15 insider facts about working at Walt Disney World only cast members know

DON'T MISS: Disneyland is home to a squad of feral cats who have free rein in the park — and you can adopt one if you work there

SEE ALSO: 11 Costco food court menu items employees swear by

Mickey pretzels

"I always loved the Mickey pretzels," Devin Melendy, a former cast member who wrote "Devin Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Member Diary," told Business Insider. "I love hot pretzels, and the Mickey ones were always huge!"

Mickey pretzels are sold all around the parks, at stops like Anaheim Produce in Hollywood Studios, Liberty Square Market in Magic Kingdom, BoardWalk Joe's Marvelous Margaritas in Epcot, and Harambe Fruit Market in Animal Kingdom.

A Mickey pretzel with cheese goes for $5.69 at the park.

Melendy said that for the most part, she didn't eat in the parks. She noted that some local restaurants around Walt Disney World gave cast member ID card-carrying patrons a discount on meals.

The Citrus Swirl

Quagliano said he only bought food in Walt Disney World twice.

"I really didn't eat out a lot," he said. "I made my own food because it's way less expensive."

In his experience, most of his friends in the program did the same.

"You know, a hot dog's 10 bucks," he said. At Casey's Corner in the Magic Kingdom, hot dog prices range from $8.49 for a "corn dog nuggets meal" to the $12.49 "foot long all-beef Cuban hot diggity dog."

But Quagliano said he was impressed with "The Citrus Swirl" ice cream — which has since been replaced by "The Orange Swirl," a frozen order with slightly different ingredients.

"It was good," Quagliano said. "But it was five bucks so, yeah, that was a one-time deal."

According to the Disney Food Blog, the Orange Swirl's pre-tax price is $4.29.

Anything from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café

Jake Kleckner, a former Disney World cast member who worked in Frontierland, told Business Insider that most cast members' lunch breaks weren't long enough to allow frequent trips to park restaurants.

"We don't really have enough time to get out of our costume, run up into the park, get something to eat, and eat it," he told Business Insider. Those tasks would take an hour, he estimated. "We only have a half hour," he said.

Still, he said that "experiencing new restaurants" and "new food" at Disney was one of his favorite activities.

"A lot of my financial irresponsibility was due to me wanting to eat all the different food at Disney," he said. "I was always the one being like, 'Hey guys, let's make a reservation for this restaurant at this time.' And people would be like 'Why?' And I'd be like, 'Because I want to go. Let's just go eat something cool.'"

"I would also be the first one to get in line at Casey's for a foot long hot dog. Those are the ones that are so expensive," Kleckner said.

When it comes to his absolute favorite park chow, Kleckner called himself a "big softie" for choosing a Frontierland staple: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café.

Entrees at the Old West-style saloon range from a veggie rice bowl for $9.99 to a fajita platter for $14.99.

"If someone told me, 'You can only eat at one restaurant at Disney for the rest of forever,' I would say, 'Okay. Pecos Bill it is, I guess,'" Kleckner said. "I love being in there, eating the Tex-Mex food, and being in Frontierland. I am such a nerd for Frontierland now."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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