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A journey along the entire 1,933-mile US-Mexico border shows the monumental task of securing it

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border wall map full border

From western California to eastern Texas, across four US states and 24 counties, the 1,933-mile US-Mexico border criss-crosses arid desert, rugged mountains, and winding rivers.

For 654 of those miles, fencing separates the two countries from each other.

The 7.3 million people who live in the border counties on each side of the line have watched for years as security grew tighter and illegal crossings tapered off.

In just the last 12 years, the US government built the barriers, deployed troops, and started using advanced surveillance technology — all in an effort to tame and control some of the wildest and remotest land in the United States.

Today, making good on campaign promises to "build that wall," President Donald Trump and his administration has cracked down even further, pushing for more fencing, a border wall, and thousands of National Guard troops stationed along the boundary line.

It's worth taking a look at the complexity of the borderlands to understand the daunting task of securing them.

From the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east, here's what the entire US-Mexico border looks like:

SEE ALSO: Tactical units spent weeks trying to breach and climb Trump's border wall prototypes — and they're nearly impossible to scale

DON'T MISS: The Trump administration just released new photos of 'the president's border wall' — and it looks more like a fence

California has stood more defiantly than any other state against Trump's immigration agenda and his long-promised wall. Yet the Golden State's southern boundary is one of the most thoroughly fortified along the entire US-Mexico border.

Skip ahead to Arizona »

Skip ahead to New Mexico »

Skip ahead to west Texas »

Skip ahead to east Texas »

Source: Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and OpenStreetMap contributors



Roughly 105 miles of the 140-mile border California shares with Mexico are walled off by pedestrian fencing or vehicle barriers, beginning on the west coast with a tall, metal fence that juts into the Pacific Ocean.

Source: GAO analysis of Customs and Border Protection data



Though some Trump critics have seized upon his recent attempt to deploy the National Guard in California, the San Diego coastline already hosts around 55 guardsman who assist in "counterdrug missions" and conduct surveillance support.

Source: USA Today



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Meghan Markle will get a fancy new title when she marries Prince Harry — but it's so weird that she'll never use it

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meghan markle wedding dress 3

  • The Royal Wedding will grant Meghan Markle a host of titles — including "Princess Henry of Wales."
  • She can be called that because she takes the official first name of her husband — and Harry's real name is Henry.
  • However, recent royal bridges have ignored the title, and recent tradition dictates that the odd-sounding style will never be used.
  • Princess Michael of Kent, who married in 1978, is the only living royal to be known by her husband's name.


When Meghan Markle ties the knot with Prince Harry on May 19, she will officially become part of the royal family. That brings with it a new career, instant celebrity, a colourful cast of relatives — and several royal titles.

It is highly likely that Markle will become a duchess, like Kate Middleton did. But there's another title she will gain from the marriage that she will almost certainly never use for anything.

In keeping with royal tradition, after she marries Markle can technically be called Princess Henry of Wales.

She gets that title from the days when royal spouses took their husband's name (Prince Harry's name is not actually Harry, but Henry).

However, the realities of modern life mean that nobody will call her Princess Henry, mainly because it sounds really weird.

William Kate Louis Lindo Wing royal baby

The clunky name emphasises the fact that Markle won't be a princess in her own right, but through marriage. Women who are royal by blood, like Princess Charlotte or Princess Eugenie, get to use their own name.

The same rule means that Kate Middleton can also be called Princess William of Wales. But in reality she is never called that, even in official royal documents, which usually call her the Duchess of Cambridge.

Only one royal still sticks to this convention: Princess Michael of Kent. The 73-year-old took the name when she married Prince Michael back in 1978, when it wasn't so strange.

Prince Michael of Kent Princess Michael of Kent

The present Duchess of Gloucester also used to be known as Princess Richard, after her husband Prince Richard, but dropped the title when Richard inherited the dukedom from his father.

The situation has become so odd that Princess Michael's website includes a "frequently asked questions" section explaining why she seems to have a man's name.

So, although this convention is perfectly correct — and indeed the only way Markle will be able to refer to herself as a princess — it is extremely unlikely to make a comeback.

READ MORE: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, Kate, and 11 other royals all live in the same palace — here's a breakdown of their lavish quarters

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Ian Bremmer: Why the American dream doesn't exist anymore

The 15 best US states for working moms

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United States US family America baby mom

  • This Mother's Day, learn more about which states in the US are the best about supporting working moms.
  • Vermont topped WalletHub's 2018 rankings of the best states for working moms.
  • The rankings weighed factors like the gender wage gap and childcare costs.


Mother's Day is here, which means that people across the US will be taking some time to celebrate their moms.

Personal finance site WalletHub decided to get in on the act by crunching the numbers to determine which states provide the best environments for working mothers.

Working moms must juggle the responsibilities of both motherhood and the professional world. It's certainly no easy feat, but policies and work norms in some states make it a bit easier.

To find the best states for moms who work outside the home, WalletHub assigned each US state and Washington DC a score based on numerous factors, including women's median annual salary adjusted for the cost of living, daycare quality, the gender pay gap, childcare costs adjusted for the median women's salary, and the female unemployment rate. The rankings also assigned each state a parental leave policy score, based on this 2016 study from the National Partnership for Women and Families.

To read more about the study's methodology, check out the full report here.

Here are the top 15 states for working mothers:

SEE ALSO: The 15 best US states for working mothers

15. Indiana has a high number of nationally accredited childcare centers

Median women's salary (adjusted for the cost of living): $40,070

Childcare costs (adjusted for the median women's salary): 17.37%

Average length of a woman's work week: 35.5 hours

Parental leave ranking: 34

Indiana has the second highest share of nationally accredited childcare centers out of all 50 states and Washington DC.



14. Wisconsin has strong schools

Median women's salary (adjusted for the cost of living): $39,838

Childcare costs (adjusted for the median women's salary): 23.67%

Average length of a woman's work week: 35.3 hours

Parental leave ranking: 16

Wisconsin's high quality day cares and schools launch the Badger State to the 14th spot on the list.



13. California has one of the lowest gender pay gaps

Median women's salary (adjusted for the cost of living): $30,020

Childcare costs (adjusted for the median women's salary): 20.46%

Average length of a woman's work week: 35.5 hours

Parental leave ranking: 1

California has one of the lowest gender pay gaps on the list. The Golden State also has the best parental leave policy in the country, according to WalletHub.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I tried a science-backed eating plan tied to a better memory and longer life — and never felt like I was 'dieting'

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erin brodwin eating avocado

  • I tried the Mediterranean Diet, a healthy whole foods meal plan based around vegetables, fish, healthy fats like those from olive oil and avocados.
  • The plan has been linked with benefits that range from a reduced risk of disease to a healthier mind.
  • I learned a lot while trying the regimen, and I'd like to stick with it for a long time.


You could say I've been around the diet block. I've been vegan, restricted my eating to an 8-hour window as part of an intermittent fast, and given ketogenic and vegetarian meal plans a spin — all in an attempt to give myself more energy, feel healthier, and power through the various activities I enjoy, like yoga, hiking, and rock climbing. The one regimen I've never tried, however, is the one I write about the most: the Mediterranean Diet.

The plan's cornerstones are vegetables, fish, olive oil, beans, nuts, and whole grains; items like processed foods, red meat, poultry, and dairy get slashed.

With studies suggesting that people who eat this way have a reduced risk of diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, it's no surprise that dietitians and clinicians say the approach is a great way to fuel the body.

Leafy greens provide key vitamins and minerals that are needed for healthy skin, hair, and nails; whole grains support good digestion; fish and nuts provide protein to maintain muscle and keep energy levels steady.

The Mediterranean Diet is also rich in several ingredients that may be critical to a healthy mind.

Two types of healthy fat — monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids — are staples of the plan, as well as several antioxidants found in berries and dark chocolate. Previous studies have found a link between both of these ingredients and a reduced risk of dementia as well as higher cognitive performance. Research has also suggested that two other Mediterranean ingredients — leafy greens and berries — could help protect against a phenomenon called neurodegeneration which often characterizes diseases including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Still, as I'm a sample size of just one person rather than the hundreds or thousands typically required for scientific research, it's worth taking my findings with a grain of salt. That said, I learned a ton on the plan. Here's a glimpse.

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

When I started the Mediterranean diet, I assumed it wouldn't involve that many dramatic changes to my existing habits. I love crunchy veggies like broccoli and put avocados on basically anything I can. But I also eat a lot of quick, ready-made items full of ingredients shunned on the Mediterranean plan, like white rice.

One of my favorite go-to meals at the end of a busy day is Trader Joe's frozen Chicken Tikka Masala dinners. With a big helping of white rice and chicken as the main ingredients, however, it's not very Mediterranean-friendly.



So I hit the grocery store for some basics. The supermarket near me didn't have much of what I wanted at low prices, so I ended up at Trader Joe's for most of it. I bought olive oil, frozen and fresh fruits and veggies (depending on what was on sale), several kinds of frozen fish (half the price of fresh), canned chickpeas, lemons, Greek yogurt, whole grain bread, brown rice, and roasted nuts.



What I love about the Mediterranean diet is that it includes many full-fat, delicious items that former diet fads have shunned, like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fatty kinds of fish like salmon. You can eat eggs in moderation on the plan too.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I asked a top relationship psychologist for his 3 best pieces of advice about marriage

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marriage expert eli finkel

  • Marriage can be hard for any couple, even if it starts out smoothly.
  • Psychologist Eli Finkel says there are three main strategies to improve a rocky relationship: working on it as much as possible, using "love hacks," and asking less of the marriage.
  • Your choice of which strategy to use depends on how much time and energy you have to devote to the relationship at the moment.
  • This post is part of Relationships 101, a series which aims to help us all be happier and healthier in love — and to stop fighting over who should take out the trash.


When I interviewed relationship expert Eli Finkel about his new book "The All-or-Nothing Marriage" last year, I was one month away from being a bridesmaid in two of my best friends' weddings, and two months away from getting married myself.

That is to say: Every question I asked Finkel that day in September stemmed partly from a desire to sate our readers' curiosity, but — let's be real — mostly from a desire to sate my own curiosity about what life would really be like after I said, "I do."

Finkel, who is a psychologist at Northwestern University and a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, didn't exactly leave me hopeful that my friends and I would all live happily ever after. But he did leave me with some practical tips for making marriage easier when it inevitably gets tear-your-hair-out hard.

During those times, Finkel said, couples can use one of three strategies to strengthen their relationship:

1. Work on the marriage as much as possible

This first option, Finkel said, is for couples who "really want this highly intensive sort of marriage, this extraordinary sort of marriage that is available today." The kind of marriage in which your partner fulfills the role of soul mate, passionate lover, best friend, and so on.

That means you and your partner have to spend a lot of time together, working through whatever issues you have, and pay a lot of attention to the relationship as it evolves. If you choose this option, making the marriage as strong as it can be is a top priority in your life.

2. Use 'love hacks'

"Love hacks" are pretty much what they sound like. It's Finkel's term for "quick and dirty" strategies to make your marriage just a little bit happier. Best of all, you don't need your partner's help to use them.

This is a good option for people who are consumed with something else in their lives besides the marriage: a baby, a medical emergency, a crisis at work.

One example of a love hack is simply re-interpreting your partner's annoying behaviors. For example, when they show up late to dinner, instead of assuming they're a jerk who doesn't care about the family, you assume instead that they hit traffic on the way home from work.

Another example is trying to see at a conflict between you and your partner from the perspective of a neutral third party who wants the best for both of you.

Finkel said of this option: "It won't take a terrible marriage and make it a spectacular marriage, but it will strengthen the marriage, especially during those periods where you don't really have the time or the resources to invest in the marriage completely."

3. Adjust your expectations

This is the option that Finkel "wishes people would consider more seriously": asking less of your marriage.

He said, "If you find yourself chronically disappointed in one element of your marriage, or in a subset of elements of your marriage, one of the really good ways of dealing with that is to think about: Is it really essential that I try to meet this need in particular through the marriage?"

In some cases, the answer might be a resounding "yes." In other cases, the answer might be "maybe," or "not really." Finkel gave two examples: You like to have philosophical debates and your partner doesn't. You like to play tennis and your partner doesn't. Can you find a friend or a coworker to meet these needs for you?

It's about letting go a little bit, about investing in some relationships other than your marriage.

Here's Finkel again: "Find those places where the demands you're placing on the marriage are clearly exceeding the amount that the marriage can actually meet. Just take off some of the demands."

SEE ALSO: There's an easy way to strengthen a struggling marriage — and too many people ignore it

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 1,500 happily married people say the key to lasting relationships isn’t communication — it’s respect

Here's what it costs to open a Taco Bell restaurant (YUM)

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Taco Bell

  • The cost of opening a new Taco Bell restaurant is between $1.2 million and $2.6 million.
  • Taco Bell also charges a $45,000 franchise fee, an ongoing royalty fee equal to 5.5% of gross sales, and a marketing fee equal to 4.25% of gross sales. 

Opening a Taco Bell restaurant requires a lot of cash.

Startup costs, which include construction expenses and a $45,000 franchise fee, average between $1.2 million and $2.6 million for a new restaurant, according to the company's franchisee disclosure document.

The costs are slightly lower — between $175,000 and $1.4 million — for franchisees to acquire an existing Taco Bell restaurant.

Once the restaurant is up and running, the company charges an ongoing royalty fee equal to 5.5% of gross sales and a marketing fee equal to 4.25% of gross sales. 

If successful, the restaurant will bring in annual sales of at least $1.5 million, which is what the average Taco Bell restaurant generated last year, according to QSR magazine.

Taco Bell's franchisee startup costs are similar to those of McDonald's, which requires an initial investment of between $1 million and $2.2 million.

Subway, by comparison, is far less expensive, costing between $105,800 and $393,600, according to the company.

But the average Subway restaurant generates only $422,000 in sales per year.

SEE ALSO: Chain restaurants are now required to post calorie counts — and these meals are the biggest offenders

Join the conversation about this story »

25 beautiful and intimate award-winning photos show the reality behind weddings around the world

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IWPOTY_2017_Single Capture_James Frost_GB_Web

Whether you're already married, planning a wedding, or have simply attended too many to count, you'll know that a wedding day comes with a mix of emotions, from stress to sadness to utter joy.

Weddings also differ depending on where in the world they're taking place.

In order to "promote and celebrate the art of wedding photography from around the globe," the International Wedding Photographer of the Year (IWP) Awards have released their list of the best wedding photos from 2017.

Professional wedding photographers from around the world entered their best snaps from real weddings days into one of 9 categories — Single Capture, From Above, Black & White, Epic Location, Solo Portrait, Dance Floor, Bridal Party, Album, and Couple Portrait.

Each image was scored by six judges. The scores were then averaged out to determine winners and runners-up within each category, as well as The International Wedding Photographer of the Year — who received $3,000 and a range of camera equipment — and Runner Up.

Scroll down to see a selection of the 26 most beautiful and intimate award-winning photos which show the reality behind weddings around the world.

SEE ALSO: 21 beautifully intimate, award-winning photos from weddings around the world

Grand Prize Winner & Category Winner, Solo Portrait: Erica Mann captured a bride with a double rainbow after a storm along the banks of Cougar Creek in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.



Runner Up & Category Winner, Single Capture: Photographer Paul Woo said he was 'secretly bawling behind the camera' as the son of the bride expressed his emotion seeing his mother come down the aisle.



Category Winner, Black & White: The bittersweet father-daughter dance was captured perfectly in this shot by Bruno Sauma at a wedding in Massachusetts, USA.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Employees from Costco, Walmart, and Target share their worst horror stories — and they'll make you rethink how you act when you shop

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McDonald's employee

  • WalmartTarget, and Costco employees— as well as workers at all retail stores — sometimes come up against pretty difficult customers.
  • Business Insider spoke with a number of retail workers about some memorable and negative experiences they've had on the job.
  • Their stories just go to show that it's always a good idea to be courteous while shopping.


Walmart, Target, and Costco employees have seen some pretty gnarly things on the job. Many retail workers, in fact, can probably think up at least one or two less-than-positive incidents they've experienced while working a shift.

Oftentimes, customers are at the center of these troubling situations. A study from the University of British Columbia found that we tend to treat retail workers worse when we're hunting for bargains.

Business Insider has heard from a number of current and former retail employees who had stories to share about particularly gross, bewildering, or nightmarish scenarios that unfolded during their shifts.

The employees we corresponded with have experience working at Walmart, Target, Costco, McDonald's, Macy's, Home Depot, and other retailers. Their stories just go to show that it's always a good idea to be nice, even if you're not having the greatest shopping experience.

Here's what retail employees had to say about the horror stories they've experienced on the job:

SEE ALSO: Costco employees share 21 things they'd love to tell shoppers but can't

DON'T MISS: Costco employees share the 20 things they wish shoppers would stop doing

SEE ALSO: Target employees share the most ridiculous returns they've seen customers make

A luggage store employee was cursed at over a suspicious return

"It never ceases to amaze me that the stupidest people I've encountered are the ones with university educations," a former retail employee from Ontario told Business Insider. "And the smartest ones have at least five years of retail under their belts."

One day, while working at a small luggage store, a customer came in to return a bag.

"Like any place nowadays, there is a form to fill out, and the purchase must be returned to the credit card used," the former employee said. "Store policy."

The shopper, however, gave the employee a phone number instead of a credit card number. She said the card was at home with her husband.

"I informed the woman that we cannot do a return onto a credit card over the phone, we need the card there to swipe through the machine," the former employee said. " She proceeded to call me a stupid b****."



An A&P employee witnessed a woman getting thrown out of the grocery store

A former employee of A&P, a now-defunct chain of grocery stores, described watching a parent leaving her two children in line at the register for an extended period of time. The cashier ultimately had to skip over her purchases and ring up the people in line behind her.

"She returned and not only demanded to be served immediately — despite the fact that this would mean voiding a large transaction — but also began loudly chastising her kids for not keeping their place in line."

The situation escalated to the point where the store manager intervened and told the woman to leave and not come back, according to the former employee.



A former Victoria's Secret manager had to reject a shopper's ancient return

A former Victoria's Secret manager told Business Insider about a time when a shopper came in to return a bra.

At the time, the former manager said that any Victoria's Secret bra could be returned, as long as the item wasn't excessively worn or defective.

"This customer comes in with a bra in a grocery bag and turns it out on the counter, saying that she wanted to return it," the former manager told Business Insider. "The bra was totally worn. It used to be red and now looked gray. Plus, it had deodorant stains all over it."

The customer explained that the bra was her mother's. The former manager asked the shopper to provide a receipt.

"She looked at me like I was crazy and said she didn’t have her receipt because it had been years since she bought the bra," the former manager said. "I explained to her that we did not even carry that style any more and that I could not take it back."

The customer proceeded to snatch back the bra and storm out of the store.

"I had to run to the bathroom and scrub my hands with hot, soapy water after touching that nasty bra," the ex-manager said.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Inside the multi-million-dollar condos of San Francisco's newly-opened $850 million residential tower

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san francisco housing market 181 fremont36

The newest member of San Francisco's iconic skyline is officially open for use.

The new tower opened on Thursday and is notable because it houses one commercial tenant, Facebook, and 55 multi-million-dollar residences. This includes a five-bedroom $42 million penthouse. And despite the steep price tag, these condos are expected to sell fast. The first slew of residents will be moving in within a matter of weeks. 

Construction on the mixed-use tower at 181 Fremont began in 2013. It can be spotted in the skyline by its striking spire and encasement of beams criss crossing along the exterior, designed to act as shock absorbers in the event of an earthquake.

The developers and designers behind the high rise set out to make the establishment the embodiment of state-of-the-art luxury living and world-class engineering. 

Business Insider toured two of its model residences designed by renowned designers Orlando Diaz-Azcuy and Charles de Lisle and the Sky Lounge exclusive to residents, as well as captured the panoramic views of the sprawling city of San Francisco afforded to the building's occupants. Take a look at what it's like inside.

Say hello to the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi River.



Those zig-zagged beams you see comprise an aluminum exoskeleton that serves as the building's foundation, acting as giant shock absorbers essentially, improving its survival odds in the case of an earthquake. The elevators are actually designed as an emergency evacuation route.

“We joke that if there is a seismic event, people would run into the building," said Matt Dietsch, senior director of developments at The Mark Company, which provided sales and marketing services for the establishment.



The tower stands adjacent to the infamously sinking Millennium Tower and catty corner from the Salesforce Tower. The power trio looms over passerby on the sidewalks below.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Infinity War' wins the weekend box office for a 3rd consecutive weekend — and it's now the 2nd-fastest to half a billion domestically (DIS)

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Infinity War Disney final

  • "Avengers: Infinity War" wins the box office for a third straight weekend.
  • The movie is the second fastest ever to cross the half-billion mark at the domestic box office.

Disney/Marvel Studios' plan to bump up the release of "Avengers: Infinity War" (or was it Robert Downey Jr.'s idea?) a weekend earlier than originally planned has worked out perfectly.

The movie was always destined to make an incredibly large amount of money its opening weekend, but instead of one weekend between the latest Marvel hit and its biggest competition, Fox's "Deadpool 2," "Infinity War" had two weekends to shine. And that has led to a multi-record-breaking box office performance.

After becoming the quickest movie ever to $1 billion worldwide last weekend and having the second-largest second weekend ever in US theaters, "Infinity War" won this weekend's box office for a third-straight weekend and has crossed the half-billion figure domestically.

The movie took in an estimated $61.8 million, according to Exhibitor Relations, which puts its domestic total at $547 million ($1.06 billion worldwide). That makes it the second-fastest title ever to cross the $500 million mark domestically. It hit the milestone five days later than the fastest title ever to the figure, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

"Infinity War" basically sucked the life out of the other big release of the weekend, New Line/Warner Bros.'s "Life of the Party." The latest Melissa McCarthy comedy came in second place but only took in $18.5 million.

It was the first time a release directed by her husband, Ben Falcone ("Tammy," "The Boss"), didn't open over $20 million. It also didn't help that the movie only had a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

But in a respectable third place was Universal's "Breaking In." The thriller starring Gabrielle Union was only made for around $6 million, but it took in $16.5 million.

Now, "Infinity War" will have to make way. The box office will get into the full summer movie season swing when "Deadpool 2" opens next weekend to kick off a constant string of big releases. The movie's early industry projections have it opening around $150 million.

SEE ALSO: Why Disney rarely pays movie stars huge salaries

DON'T MISS: 19 details you may have missed in 'Avengers: Infinity War'

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

Pets are like children to many Americans — here's how much pet owners spend on average each month

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dog

  • Pet owners spend an average of $126.19 every month on their furry friends, according to a recent survey.
  • Dogs are more costly than cats, but canines are not the most expensive pets. 
  • Fish are the cheapest pets; fish owners spend $62.53 a month on their aquatic friends.

Pets are often part of the family, and animal lovers certainly have to pay to take care of them.

Americans spend an average of $126.19 every month on their pets, according to a recent survey of over 1,000 pet owners. That's a lot of dog bones and kitty litter. 

But the cost of pet ownership varies depending on the type of animal you have. The American Veterinary Medical Association found that 36.5% of US households own dogs and 30.4% have cats. Dog owners also spend more money than cats, who are apparently low maintenance. 

See how much it costs to take care of a pet every month, ranked from least to most expensive.

SEE ALSO: The 19 best things we've ever bought our pets

DON'T MISS: Here's Jeff Bezos taking a robot dog for a walk

Fish: $62.53 per month



Rabbits: $65 per month



Mice or rats: $80 per month



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I went to a 'sugar baby summit' and learned 'sugar daddies' give tuition, gifts, investments, or cash — but they say it's about much more than the money

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Couple Silhouette

  • SeekingArrangement, an online dating service for sugar babies and daddies, hosted a conference in New York City.
  • One of the panels focused on money in sugar dating.
  • According to the panelists, sugar dating isn't just about money — it's about developing a relationship and respecting each other's feelings. In fact, it's generally considered a faux pas to ask for money right off the bat.
  • This can be confusing, given that "arrangements" are supposed to have clearer expectations than conventional relationships.

In April, I went to a Sugar Baby Summit. This event, for the uninitiated, is a daylong series of panels in New York City, where seasoned sugar babies and daddies share nuggets of wisdom and answer attendees' burning questions.

"Sugar baby" and "sugar daddy" are terms used to refer to two people — usually a heterosexual younger woman and an older man, although anyone can take either role — who enter into a relationship in which it's expected the sugar daddy will compensate the sugar baby for their time with money or gifts. Many people in these relationships embrace the terms, hence the summit's name.

The summit was organized by SeekingArrangement, an online dating service for those specifically seeking sugar babies or daddies. Scores of women who'd already taken a swim in the "sugar bowl," as it's called, or who were considering testing out the waters, showed up.

I was there to learn more about a topic that's fascinated Business Insider's readers since Tanza Loudenback published a story on the growing number of students turning to sugar daddies to help cover their college costs late last year. Since then, Business Insider had heard from a number of sugar babies and daddies wanting to talk about their experiences and tell people about their community.

And while I'd arrived with some ideas about what an "arrangement" was, it turned out those ideas would be quickly addressed and debunked by the panelists at the summit.

Specifically, I'd assumed that sugar dating meant a woman agreed to spend time with a man — either sexually or otherwise — in exchange for money. Sugar babies and daddies say that, in real life, an arrangement is hardly so simple.

Sugar babies and daddies say sugar dating is about developing a relationship and respecting each other's feelings — not just about money

Sugar dating, I learned during a panel called "Money Talks," is about developing a relationship. Yes, sugar babies typically receive money from their sugar daddies, but that's not the defining characteristic of the partnership, at least according to those in the sugar bowl.

Christina Friscia, who owns a digital marketing and branding agency, and was formerly a sugar baby, put it bluntly: "These guys are here to help you because you're providing them with emotional support," she told the current and aspiring sugar babies seated before her. "It's not a paycheck. You don't … just sit there and look pretty."

Friscia went on: "There's so many more levels than just the money aspect."

couple dining silhouette

It wasn't the first time Friscia would mention sugar daddies' feelings. Later in the panel, she said that sugar daddies want to feel appreciated, instead of feeling like an ATM.

That's why all three panelists and the panel moderator agreed that asking for money upfront is a big no-no.

As Friscia put it, "If you've taken the time to build up [a relationship] with that person, they will respect you that much more." In fact, she added, "they will be way more willing to give before you even ask because they anticipate your need."

That is to say, sugar babies are supposed to establish themselves as someone worthy of their sugar daddy's funds and imply that they're in need of money — e.g. "I'm looking for a job" or "I'm in school right now" — until the daddies are ready to share some of those funds with them.

SeekingArrangement says sugar dating is a 'lifestyle choice' — not a job

If that sounds like it could be confusing, it is — if it weren't, there presumably wouldn't be an entire panel devoted to the topic.

In fact, the SeekingArrangement website appears to suggest that "arrangements" are liberating specifically because you don't have to dance around important issues (like money), as you might in a more conventional relationship.

From the website: "Forget reading in between the lines, our members know what they want," and "Things would be much easier if goals and starting points were already set forth before entering said relationship."

Alexis Germany, public relations manager at SeekingArrangement, reconciled the two viewpoints in an email to Business Insider this way: "The financial aspect of the relationship is something that can be brought up once a level of trust has been built. Anyone asking for money upfront is treating the situation as a job, and Sugar dating is not a job, it's a lifestyle choice." 

On an episode of the podcast "Let's Talk Sugar," which Germany cohosts, she told listeners that one, subtle way to prompt a gift or some financial help from your sugar daddy is to show him your budget and ask for advice on saving money. Inevitably, the sugar daddy will offer to cover, say, your phone bill or your tuition expenses.

Meanwhile, in a blog post on Let'sTalkSugar.com, JadeSeashell writes that money is just one benefit of sugar dating. Sugar babies often receive "long-term benefits," including mentorship and investments in their businesses.

So how do sugar daddies decide whether a sugar baby is worth their time and money?

Sugar daddies say they like to be appreciated for playing the role of the 'provider'

Brandon Wade, the founder of SeekingArrangement who spoke on the panel, said he tries to "drill down to the purpose." As in: Do you want a new laptop because it makes you feel better? Or, do you "want to accomplish some goal?" When the sugar baby has a clear goal — maybe they're paying for college, or maybe they're looking to start a business — he's more likely to help.

It's "the white knight syndrome," Wade admitted, meaning he relishes the idea of swooping in and saving a woman in some kind of distress.

Wade recalled a relationship he'd had with a sugar baby who ultimately was interested exclusively in his money but pretended she wasn't. They were friends for six months before they started dating, he said: "Once she won my heart, the wallet sprung open."

Carl Foster, a speaker and radio and television host as well as a former sugar daddy who led the panel, mentioned an off-putting experience he'd had with a sugar baby who seemed especially demanding. As soon as they met, she tried to settle on a rate with him, based on a previous relationship she'd had with a sugar daddy. Foster remembers saying, "What is this, a business negotiation here? There are rates and fees?"

couple from behind on beachFriscia suggested that holding off on asking for money is partly a way to avoid repelling your sugar daddy and partly a way to preserve your own dignity.

"It's not an exchange of power," she said. "You've got to maintain your integrity." Just as important, she said: Sugar daddies "can smell desperation on your breath," so a sugar baby should "be a lady about it."

Friscia repeatedly referenced gender roles. "Men want to feel like they're helping a girl out and they're taking care of them," she said. "That's just in male DNA. Men are providers and women are receivers. That's the dynamic from the beginning of time."

Foster said, "To me, every woman is priceless. There shouldn't be a value put on anybody." (The audience let out a collective "aw.")

Jim Demetrios, an author, trader, and fitness adviser, who married and subsequently divorced a sugar baby, put it somewhat differently. He explained that if you're the kind of sugar baby who wants to state your financial needs and get them fulfilled right away, you'll have to find a sugar daddy who wants to work the same way. In that sense, sugar dating seems most similar to a conventional relationship.

"It's not necessarily a hustle," Demetrios said. "It's that's what they feel that they need and that's what you don't want. So obviously, you're incompatible. So it's not going to work out."

If you are a sugar daddy or sugar baby and would like to share your story, please email yourmoney@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Millions of college students are so terrified of loans they're turning to 'sugar daddies' for help paying for school

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Why Disney rarely pays movie stars huge salaries

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  • Disney has been the most profitable movie studio in Hollywood for several years — and remarkably, it hasn't had to pay hefty sums to its actors.
  • The studio has proved that today's moviegoer is more interested in the characters in the movies than the actors playing them.
  • But Ben Fritz, the author of "The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies," explains that actors in a successful Disney movie can still make serious bank — they just might have to wait a few movies. 

On Tuesday, Variety listed the salaries of the biggest movie stars working today.

Daniel Craig led the pack with a $25 million payday for the next "James Bond" movie, followed by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's $22 million for the upcoming "Red Notice," and then Vin Diesel's $20 million for last year's "The Fate of the Furious."

Of the projects listed for the 20 actors on the Variety list, not one was made by the most profitable movie studio in Hollywood: Disney.

And there's a reason for that.

In the past decade, as Disney has led the charge in superhero franchises — like the Marvel Cinematic Universe from its Marvel Studios arm — and given the "Star Wars" saga a rebirth after buying Lucasfilm, it has shown that its intellectual property is king, not the actors. And because of that, the studio realizes the actors don't have to be paid a huge amount of money.

It's a big shift in how Hollywood has worked for decades.

The 1990s were the high-water mark for the movie star. The biggest actors on the planet — Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, and Tom Cruise — were earning $20 million just to show up on set, then getting hefty back-end deals that would give them a taste of the box office earned by their projects, sometimes even before the studio.

But for the most part, in today's industry, it's more about Batman being on the screen and less about who's behind the mask.

Disney has used that for years to rake in billions while not giving a major slice to the stars on the movie posters. That's not to say Disney doesn't open the vault for some actors — they just have to work a little harder now.

The $2.5 million man

Take, for example, the actor responsible for launching the MCU: Robert Downey Jr., who was cast as Iron Man.

When Marvel Studios was getting into the movie business, it was a company known more for being bankrupt than for making hits. "Iron Man" was made for $140 million, and Marvel was not going to let any star walk away rich if it was a hit.

According to the book "The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies," by the Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Fritz, Downey agreed to a $2.5 million salary, an incredibly small figure for an Oscar-nominated actor cast as the lead of a studio movie. (Paramount released "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2.") In fact, the biggest paycheck went to Terrence Howard as Rhodey, aka War Machine, who made $3.5 million thanks to his recent Oscar nomination for "Hustle & Flow" — though all the actors received bonuses when "Iron Man" hit box-office milestones.

But once "Iron Man" became a hit and the MCU gained traction, Downey got a bigger cut. From 2013 to 2015, Downey topped Forbes' list of the highest-paid actors of the year. By 2015, he earned $80 million thanks in part to his starring role in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Sony paid him $10 million for being in a handful of scenes in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" last year, according to Variety.)

thorBut Downey is the exception.

From Emma Watson being paid $3 million up front for the live-action version of "Beauty and the Beast" — though she had a clause that she would earn $15 million if it was successful at the box office — to Chris Evans getting $1 million for "Captain America: The First Avenger" and Chris Hemsworth earning just $150,000 for 2011's "Thor" (the latter two reported in Fritz's book), Disney has made clear that its characters are the stars.

"I think many stars and their agents are realistic and know that the days of getting paid $10 million or $20 million for whatever movie they want to do are largely gone," Fritz told Business Insider. "If they want to remain relevant for global audiences, it's very helpful to be attached to these franchises. Plus, it raises their profile and helps them to get paid more for other movies, including possible sequels and spin-offs to that franchise down the road."

Getting involved in a Disney project can catapult an actor to bigger paydays elsewhere — look at Johnson after starring in Disney's "Moana," or Chris Pratt, who was in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and is now earning $10 million for "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," according to Variety.

Along with being the box-office champ, Disney is the envy of Hollywood for another reason: Its intellectual property is so bulletproof that once stars find success starring in its films, if they can't get more out of the house Mickey Mouse built, they'll find a big check somewhere else.

SEE ALSO: Daniel Craig is getting paid $25 million for his next "Bond"movie, after once saying he's rather slit his writst than return

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I rode China's superfast bullet train that could go from New York to Chicago in 4.5 hours — and it shows how far behind the US really is

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  • China has the largest high-speed railway in the world, with 15,500 miles of track and most major cities covered by the network.
  • I recently took China's fastest "G" train from Beijing to the northwestern city of Xi'an, which cuts an 11-hour journey — roughly the distance between New York and Chicago — to 4.5 hours.
  • I found the experience delightful, with relatively cheap tickets, painless security, comfortable seats, air-conditioned cabins, and plenty of legroom.
  • It left me thinking about how far behind US infrastructure has become, when most comparable journeys still require expensive and tiring air travel.

Traveling to China can often feel like visiting the future. The cities stretch out for what seems like forever, while new skyscrapers, bridges, and futuristically designed landmarks spring up every year.

Nowhere is this feeling more apparent than when you encounter China's high-speed railway network. At 15,500 miles, the country's "bullet train" is the world's largest.

And it's getting larger.

The China Railway Corp., the country's government-owned train operator, is getting close to finishing the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, a high-speed rail line spanning more than 80 miles. And the country's plan is to create an extended network that covers 24,000 miles and connects all cities with a population greater than 500,000.

Currently, there are over 100 cities in China with a population greater than 1 million, a figure projected to grow to 221 cities by 2025.

The practical result of this is that you can pretty much travel in anywhere in China via high-speed rail. It's usually comparable in speed to air travel (once you factor in security lines and check-in) and far more convenient, as I found on a recent trip to China.

I had made plans to travel from Beijing to Xi'an, the capital of northwestern Shaanxi province and the imperial capital of China for centuries.

The distance between the two cities is around 746 miles, making it slightly more than two hours by plane, 11 hours by car, and anywhere between 11.5 hours and 17.5 hours on a regular train.

On China's top-of-the-line "bullet train," the journey takes 4.5 hours.

If I wanted to travel a comparable distance in the US by train — at 712 miles, New York to Chicago is the closest — it would take 22 hours, with a transfer in Washington, DC. And that's with traveling on Amtrak's Acela Express, currently the fastest train in the US with a speed up to 214 km/h (150 mph).

Traveling on one of China's fastest bullet trains is an entirely different experience:

SEE ALSO: China's 'bullet train' network is the largest in the world — and it's about to get even bigger

I arrived at Beijing West Railway station a little over an hour before my train at 2:00 p.m. Built in 1996 and expanded in 2000, the railway station is the second largest in Asia, serving up to 400,000 people a day. It was very busy when I arrived.



China's railway network served nearly 3 billion passenger rides in 2016, a figure that has increased by about 10% each year. It's little surprise. The nationwide system covers 15,500 miles, a figure made more impressive when you consider the first line was built in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics.

China's first high-speed rail line was a single 70-mile demonstration line built specifically for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The country has set aside $550 billion in its current five-year plan (2016-2020) for expanding China's railway system, with an emphasis on high-speed rail.

The massive development plan hasn't all gone smoothly. The country's top economic planning agency found that many cities and provinces were building far too expensive and ostentatious train stations far from city centers in an effort to get in on the development extravaganza, Beijing-based media company Caixin reported earlier this month.

One railway expert told Caixin that local governments have been developing the stations far from city centers in the hopes that the facilities, which they want to link with the high-speed rail, can boost development and real-estate prices.



I had bought my rail ticket on CTrip, China's top e-travel agency. But for some reason, you still have to pick up your ticket in person, which requires navigating to the ticket lines and finding the one counter designated for English speakers. If there's one aspect of the high-speed rail system that could be improved, it's ditching hard tickets for e-tickets. But, knowing China's obsessive adoption of mobile phones and QR codes, I'm sure it won't be long.

Tip: Instead of using CTrip's website, book your rail ticket on the company's mobile Trip app. In November last year, CTrip acquired US online travel agency Trip.com and rebranded Trip as their global brand app.

It's far more user-friendly than the CTrip website (Chinese tech still has a lot to learn about UX).



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Incredible facts about Melania Trump that show she's completely unlike any other first lady

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First lady Melania Trump stepped into the limelight this week to debut her anti-cyberbullying initiative, "Be Best."

Her campaign has been puzzling to some, given her husband's affinity for insulting his opponents on Twitter, and others ridiculed her for releasing an educational booklet that was virtually identical to one the Obama administration published.

But despite the criticism, the first lady is generally well-liked among the public and is far more popular than her husband, polls have found.

Though Trump is much more private than her predecessors, spending much of her time away from the spotlight, 57% of Americans say they have a favorable impression of her, according to a CNN poll released this week.

Here are incredible facts about Trump that set her apart from other first ladies.

SEE ALSO: White House slams 'opposition media' for pointing out that Melania Trump's anti-cyberbullying booklet is a recycled Obama FTC pamphlet

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She is only the second first lady in American history born outside of the United States, in Slovenia. The only other foreign-born first lady was Louisa Catherine Johnson, the wife of John Quincy Adams; she was born in England.

Source: Business Insider



Trump is also the only FLOTUS who grew up in a Communist country, back when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia. Though money was tight for many people in the small town of Sevnica, people who knew Melanija Knavs back then say she was "always very fancy" and "never wore anything from the store."

Source: GQ



Trump is the only first lady to be her husband's third spouse. Donald Trump was previously married to Marla Maples until 1999, and, before that, Ivana Trump until 1992.

Source: Business Insider



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There's now scientific evidence to suggest that lifting weights can help relieve symptoms of depression

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  • New research suggests resistance training could benefit your mind, as well as your physical health.
  • Researchers at the University of Limerick, Ireland conducted a major study into the effects of resistance exercise training (RET) on the symptoms of depression.
  • They concluded it can "significantly reduce symptoms among adults," but said it's not a cure and further research is needed.


The physical benefits of resistance training, such as burning fat and building lean muscle, are widely recognised — and now new research suggests that it could also support a healthy mind.

In a paper published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Limerick, Ireland, conducted a meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials involving 1,877 participants into the effects of resistance exercise (RET) training on the symptoms of depression, such as feelings of worthlessness, a loss of interest in activities, and low mood.

The authors of the study concluded that "resistance exercise training significantly reduced depressive symptoms among adults." This was regardless of how much training they did, if they gained strength from it, or the participants' overall health status.

Lead author of the paper Brett Gordon told TIME that this doesn't mean it's a cure for depression, but said that the evidence is compelling.

He is quoted as saying: "Interestingly, larger improvements were found among adults with depressive symptoms indicative of mild-to-moderate depression compared to adults without such scores, suggesting RET may be particularly effective for those with greater depressive symptoms."

Although the paper didn't go into detail about what RET does for the brain, past studies have shown that exercise can promote increased blood flow to the organ, and release mood-enhancing chemicals like endorphins.

Gordon went on to tell TIME that resistance training shows signs of working just as well as other depression treatments, such as antidepressants and behavioural therapies.

He advised following the American College of Sports Medicine's guidelines on resistance training, which involves training at least twice per week doing eight to 12 reps of eight to 10 different strength-based exercises each time.

In their conclusion, the authors of the University of Limerick study added that further research is needed into the field.

SEE ALSO: The best time of day to work out might be later than you think, according to a physiologist

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Here are the most popular baby names in the US

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  • Every year around Mother's Day, the Social Security Administration reveals the most popular baby names in the US from the previous year.
  • The most popular name for baby boys in 2017 was Liam, and for baby girls was Emma.

Trends in baby names come and go, and this year is no different.

Every year, around Mother's Day, the Social Security Administration releases data about the most common names given to babies in the US in the previous year.

In 2017, the most popular name for baby boys was Liam, overtaking second-place Noah, which held the crown between 2013 and 2016. Meanwhile, Emma continued its four-year streak as the most common name for baby girls.

Here are the ten most popular names for boys from 2017, along with how common those names have been in the last ten years. Jacob, now in tenth place, was the most popular name for baby boys between 1999 and 2012. Meanwhile, Liam has steadily grown in popularity over time:

most popular baby names boys 2017

Here are the top ten names for girls. Fourth-place Isabella was the most popular name for girls in 2009 and 2010, right around the peak popularity of the "Twilight" saga and its protagonist Isabella Swan. While the top two names Emma and Olivia have been steadily popular over the last decade, several names in the lower half of the top ten like Charlotte, Amelia, and Evelyn have been increasingly common:

most popular baby names girls 2017

SEE ALSO: The 10 most popular American baby names for every decade in the past 100 years

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All the TV shows that have been canceled in 2018

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As the year flies by, the list of canceled TV shows is piles up.

Networks are starting to make announcements in May, including Fox which canceled comedies "The Mick," "Brooklyn Nine Nine," and "The Last Man on Earth."

Amazon kicked off the year with a slew of cancellations, announcing the end of three quirky comedies, including the Golden Globe nominee "I Love Dick" and the comedian Tig Notaro's semi-autobiographical show, "One Mississippi." It canceled Golden Globe nominee "Mozart in the Jungle" in April, after four seasons, and recently canceled "Transparent," which will end after the upcoming fifth season.

Also in April, Netflix canceled the 90s coming-of-age comedy, "Everything Sucks," which came to the streaming service in February. 

There are many more cancellations to come, especially since networks haven't announced the fate of all their fall shows.

We'll update this list as more are announced.

Here are all the shows that have been canceled this year, including those from networks and Netflix:

SEE ALSO: The worst TV show of every year since 2000, according to critics

"The Mayor" — ABC, one season



"Chance" — Hulu, two seasons



"Lady Dynamite" — Netflix, two seasons



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Tips for meeting new people — even if you're an introvert

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Making new friends can be a challenge, especially for introverts. Susan Cain, co-founder of Quiet Revolution, advises those looking to create new relationships to shift their mindset. Once you take the pressure off of the situation, you'll be able to connect with like-minded individuals. Following is a transcript of the video.

Susan Cain: When you do find yourself in a full on networking event. You know, say it's a cocktail party or a happy hour. One of the most effective tips you can use is just to shift your mindset. So instead of the mindset of thinking what am I gonna say to these people? Instead go in there and think how can I make the people around me comfortable?

I think the biggest misconception about introverts is that they're antisocial. They're not antisocial, they're not misanthropic. They're differently social. Introverts in general prefer to invest their energies into a few close friendships. Sometimes people ask me, well if you're an introvert how do you go about making new friends? And I think the answer really is more or less the same as it would be for an extrovert which is we tend to make friends most easily with people who we feel some kind of connection with. You know people who feel like a kindred spirit whether just in terms of what their world view is or in terms of shared interests and shared passion. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to do the ones that you don't like and instead actively seek out the ones you do.

If you think that you're too introverted and that's holding you back you'll be so much more powerful once you really come to terms with who you are. I see this again and again. There's a kind of paradox that the more people have with themselves the more powerful they are in externally oriented roles like a job interview or negotiation or something like that. And if you need to get a sense of that peace one way to do it is to look for role models of people who you think have a personality style similar to yours and who are doing the kinds of things that you want to do in the world.

I've gone through a real evolution when it comes to public speaking because I used to be terrified of public speaking and I saw it as a terror so profound that there was no way to overcome it, but here's the thing, for those of you who feel this way whether it's about public speaking or any other kind of fear the way to conquer it is you have to expose yourself to thing that you fear in very small manageable bite sized steps. So you don't begin by giving a Ted Talk. You have to start really slowly so you might instead like sign up for Toastmasters. You know, sign up for your local chapter where you're gonna be in a setting of supportive people and it's safe and it doesn't matter how much you screw up. And little by little by little the horror will start to recede and you'll be able to bring your personality into the room with you.

Imagine that you're the host and imagine you go up to somebody. It is your job to make them feel good and that's gonna change completely your demeanor and your body language. And then if you couple that also with the idea of every single person has at least one, usually many more fascinating things about them and my job is to tap into my natural curiosity and figure out what that fascinating thing is. That also is going to serve you really well. It can be very helpful to prepare a couple of topics that you might want to talk about or questions to ask, but really at the end of the day it's about a shift in mindset.

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John Oliver mocks AT&T for paying Michael Cohen to 'understand' Trump's thinking

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  • John Oliver on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight" mocked AT&T for paying Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, for "insights into understanding" Trump's thinking. 
  • "They put their trust in a political novice who turned out to be a total moron and was actually just bilking them for personal gain," Oliver said of AT&T and the several companies that admitted to paying Cohen.
  • "You want to know how the Trump administration works? Congratulations, you just got a f---ing master class," he continued. 

John Oliver turned his attention, on the latest episode of "Last Week Tonight," to the series of controversies surrounding President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. 

"Donald Trump's personal lawyer and a lawyer so sh---y, he made Trump say, 'I need someone good — get me Rudy Giuliani on the phone,'" Oliver joked. 

In January, a Wall Street Journal report revealed that Cohen had facilitated a $130,000 hush payment to the porn actress Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 election campaign to prevent her from coming forward about an alleged affair with Trump.  

Last week, Cohen drew further scrutiny after a report from Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, alleged that Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, accepted payments from corporations that included AT&T, Novartis, and Korea Aerospace Industries. 

Oliver proceeded to mock AT&T, which is currently in a legal battle with the Justice Department over its proposed merger with HBO's parent company, Time Warner, for the company's statement addressing the controversy, saying that they paid Cohen to "provide insights into understanding the new administration."

"If you want to understand this president’s thinking," Oliver said, "simply have a donkey kick you in the head five times and then watch Fox News for 72 hours straight. That would give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on his mind."

"These companies got exactly what they paid for, because they wanted to understand how the Trump administration worked, and think about it: They put their trust in a political novice who turned out to be a total moron and was actually just bilking them for personal gain," Oliver said of Cohen.

"So, you want to know how the Trump administration works? Congratulations, you just got a f---ing master class."

Watch a clip from the episode below: 

SEE ALSO: The best TV show of 2018 on each network so far — from FX to Netflix to HBO

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