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15 things I wish I knew before becoming a dad

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father baby

When it comes to children, the only certain things about them is that they’ll cry, they’ll poop and repeat.

Handling that is the easy part. Everything else is a minefield waiting to be stepped on. 

It doesn’t matter how many books you read, videos you watch, classes you take or parents you talk to, raising your own child and the affects it will have on you will only become known once you’re in the trenches.

While it may sometimes sound like war, having a kid is truly incredible. There are a few things, however, I wish I knew before my son arrived. 

SEE ALSO: 10 hard truths no one tells you about buying a house

SEE ALSO: 9 things I wish I knew before I got married

You're on your own

The baby’s born. Family comes to visit you at the hospital, friends send you text messages and your social media blows up with good wishes from the kid you sat next to in third grade. Then after 48 hours, at which point your insurance company strong-arms the hospital to discharge you, you're figuring out how to install a car seat.

No matter how many books you read, other babies you hold, or advice you half-listen to from your in-laws, when you have your first child, it's the first time you're a parent and you're going to have to figure everything our for yourself. 

We wanted to breast feed, but my wife couldn’t. Our son wasn’t eating. We didn’t wait for the first-week checkup. We were at the pediatrician’s office on day 3 to find out what kind of bombshell news we were going to be hit with. It’s scary. You and your partner need to hang on tight like Thelma & Louise because if you’re not in this together, you will drive each other off a cliff.



They really, really, really like sleeping in your bed

Me, my wife and my newborn son all lived in the same bedroom for the first year of his life.  It wasn't always ideal, but it was easy to roll over and pick him up from his crib and bring him into our bed. He'd call for us, and we'd go get him. 

Eventually when he was in a toddler bed, he could simply get out of bed on his own and climb into ours, parting my wife and I like the Red Sea, sometimes not even feeling he was in between us. Well, I would, because he’d kick mercilessly, which may explain my lower back issues and my affinity for sleeping on couches.



It's incredibly hard to break habits

Once you start letting your child do something it becomes a pattern. Some people may object to welcoming their child into their bed, for example, like we did. Sure, doing so sometimes put a damper on personal time with my wife, but all my son ever wanted when climbing into bed with us was to snuggle and feel comfortable. 

Sharing our bed with my son really allowed my wife and I to build our relationship with him, but to this day he still likes to fall asleep in our bed every night before I pick him up and transfer him to his own bedroom. Although it's not necessarily a bad habit, my wife and I are looking forward to upgrading to a king sized mattress. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Spanx founder Sara Blakely learned an important lesson about failure from her dad — now she's passing it on to her 4 kids

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Sara Blakely family

  • Spanx founder Sara Blakely is one of the richest self-made women in the world.
  • Blakely said her father encouraged her to always share her failures along with her accomplishments.
  • Blakely told Business Insider that she's passing the lesson onto her four kids: "One of the parenting things I think is so important is not praising the child, but praising the effort."

From a young age, Spanx founder Sara Blakely was encouraged to take risks.

In a Business Insider video, Blakely said her dad used to invite her and her brother to share their failures at the dinner table. Instead of being disappointed or upset, he would celebrate their efforts.

"What it did was reframe my definition of failure," Blakely said of the tradition. "Failure for me became not trying, versus the outcome."

Eventually, Blakely began to find value in her shortcomings.

"My dad would encourage me any time something didn't go the way I expected it to, or maybe I got embarrassed by a situation, to write down where the hidden gifts were and what I got out of it," she said. "I started realizing that in everything there was some amazing nugget that I wouldn't have wanted to pass up."

While Blakely thinks "so many people don't take risks for fear of failure," she isn't one of them. Despite having next to no knowledge about fashion design, retail, or business, she believed in the idea for her now-ubiquitous shape-wear company wholeheartedly. She spent two years — and $5,000 of her own money — diligently patenting the idea, finding a hosiery manufacturer, prototyping the product, and successfully pitching it to Neiman Marcus, all while working a full-time job.

Business Insider caught up with Blakely at Cosmopolitan and SoFi's Fun Fearless Money event and asked if she's continued her dad's dinner-table tradition with her four kids.

"I'm already having that conversation with my 7-year-old. I talk to him all about, 'What have you tried to fail at this week?'," Blakely said.

Though she said it's still a hard concept for him to grasp, she makes a point to celebrate his efforts, whether it be on the soccer field or at school.

"One of the parenting things I think is so important is not praising the child, but praising the effort," Blakely said. "And if he does things he's not good at, I talk to him about what he gets out of it."

SEE ALSO: A counterintuitive change to your daily schedule can make you feel happier and less busy

DON'T MISS: This CEO turned down her dream job to build an email newsletter into a business with $28 million, 25 million fans, and a clothing line at Target

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Sara Blakely went from door-to-door saleswoman to billionaire philanthropist

Meet Stephen Miller, the 32-year-old White House adviser who convinced Trump to start separating migrant children from their parents at the border

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Stephen Miller

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has been identified as the driving force behind the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that separates immigrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border.

At 32 years old, he has been a rising star on the far right for years, often making headlines because of his polarizing demeanor and statements long before The New York Times reported June 16 that he was the origin of the controversial policy.

Miller's stature in Washington, DC, politics has grown as he emerged as a key player in talks to end the government shutdown in January, effectively serving as Trump's surrogate for crafting the White House position on immigration policy.

One of the few remaining staffers from Trump's 2016 campaign, Miller also writes the president's biggest speeches, including Trump's first State of the Union address.

His hard-line positions and knack for policy have made him a force to be reckoned with. But before Miller became a major figure in the Trump administration, he was an outspoken, conservative activist in high school and college who worked on congressional campaigns.

Here's how Miller became Trump's right-hand policy man:

SEE ALSO: Stephen Miller had to be escorted off CNN's set after his interview with Jake Tapper went off the rails

DON'T MISS: A far-right darling in the White House was the one who convinced Trump the US should separate parents from their children at the border

Stephen Miller was born in Santa Monica, California, on August 23, 1985, to a Jewish family whose ancestors fled persecution in what is now Belarus. His family was liberal-leaning, but Miller says he became a stalwart conservative at an early age.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter



In 2002, at age 16, Miller wrote in a letter to the editor that "Osama Bin Laden would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School" because of the student body's anti-war attitude after 9/11. Soon enough, Miller began appearing on conservative talk radio in the Los Angeles area.

Sources: The LookOutUnivision, Politico Magazine



A video emerged in 2017 of his giving a student-government campaign speech at Santa Monica High in which he argued that students shouldn't have to pick up their own trash because there are "plenty of janitors who are paid to do it" for them. The audience quickly booed him off the stage.

Sources: The Washington Post, Politico Magazine



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

9 scientific ways being a father affects your success

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Stephen Curry NBA Finals Riley Curry

  • Being an active father impacts your success in a number of important ways.
  • Fatherhood can factor into how much you earn, your health and eating habits, and your happiness, among other things.
  • Based on scientific research, we compiled 9 significant ways being a dad impacts success.

Fatherhood isn't a one-size-fits-all cap you simply slip on once you have a child.

Working dads wear many hats when they become a parent, and for each father, how and when you wear these hats differs.

Some fathers split the child-rearing responsibilities with their partner down the middle, while others focus more on breadwinning and others still become primary caregivers at home.

At the end of the day, active fatherhood will inevitably affect your success, though how is a slightly more complicated issue.

Hopefully, these studies will begin to unpack the question of how being a dad impacts your success a little and help us better understand the many factors at play:

SEE ALSO: The science behind why paid parental leave is good for everyone

DON'T MISS: Science says parents of successful kids have these 13 things in common

Being a dad could make you more hirable

A study out of Cornell found that, while employers tend to discriminate against mothers, fatherhood actually provides a boost in opinion from employers.

As part of the study, researchers sent employers fake, almost identical résumés with one major difference: some résumés indicated that the job applicant was part of a parent-teacher association.

Male job candidates whose résumés mentioned the parent-teacher association were called back more often than men whose résumés didn't, while women who alluded to parenthood in this way were half as likely to get called back than women who didn't.

The study participants also rated fathers as more desirable job candidates than mothers and non-fathers and deemed them more competent and committed than mothers or men without kids. At the same time, applicants who were fathers were allowed to be late to work significantly more times than mothers or non-fathers.



Having a child can help you earn more money if you're a father

"For most men the fact of fatherhood results in a wage bonus," research group Third Way's president Jonathan Cowan and resident scholar Dr. Elaine C. Kamarck write about "The Fatherhood Bonus and The Motherhood Penalty: Parenthood and the Gender Gap in Pay." 

In the academic paper, author Michelle J. Budig, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, writes that, "While the gender pay gap has been decreasing, the pay gap related to parenthood is increasing."

In her 15 years of research on the topic, Budig found that, on average, men earn 6% more when they have and live with a child, while women earn 4% less for every child they have.

This jives with the Cornell study finding that employers are willing to offer fathers the greatest salary compared to non-fathers, mothers, and non-mothers. 



Dads are no less productive than their childless counterparts

Contrary to the popular belief that parents, who often have more responsibilities than childless workers, are more likely to be distracted at work, research suggests that fathers are not significantly less productive than their childless counterparts. In fact, some fathers' productivity may benefit from parenthood.

After analyzing the amount of research published by more than 10,000 academic economists, researchers commissioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that, over the course of a 30-year career, fathers of at least two children are slightly more productive than fathers of one child and childless men. Fathers become 52% more productive after the birth of twins.

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

John Travolta's MoviePass-funded mob movie 'Gotti' got slaughtered by critics and has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

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john travolta gotti

  • John Travolta's new mob biopic, "Gotti," was slaughtered by critics ahead of its opening last weekend.
  • The film brought in only $1.67 million, 40% of which reportedly came from MoviePass, which acquired an equity stake in it earlier this year.
  • "Gotti" had a 0% "rotten" rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes as of Monday morning. 

John Travolta's new mob movie, "Gotti," premiered over the weekend to a poor box-office performance and universal critical panning, and MoviePass appears to be the only thing giving it a semblance of a pulse.

MoviePass invested in "Gotti" in April through its MoviePass Ventures subsidary, which the company created to take equity stakes in movies. MoviePass accounted for 40% of the film's $1.67 million opening weekend, or $668,000, Deadline reported.

"Gotti" is the second movie MoviePass has invested in through MoviePass Ventures. The first was the heist movie "American Animals," which debuted earlier this month in a limited opening to critical acclaim. "American Animals" stands at a US box office haul of $760,545, according to Box Office Mojo.

"'Gotti' is precisely the type of film we established MoviePass Ventures to support," MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said in a statement in April. "We are helping boost traffic to these theaters for people to see these great films."

"Gotti" undoubtedly suffered as it went into its opening weekend with a 0% "rotten" rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Many critics did not hold back in their reviews.

"I'd rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch 'Gotti' again," the New York Post critic Johnny Oleksinski wrote in his review.

"That the long-gestating crime drama 'Gotti' is a dismal mess comes as no surprise. What does shock is just how multifaceted a dismal mess it is," Glenn Kenny wrote for The New York Times.

Meanwhile, MoviePass hit 3 million subscribers last week, prompting Ted Farnsworth, the head of its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, to say MoviePass could break even at 5 million subscribers.

But it's unclear how MoviePass could accomplish that feat, given that it loses money on every additional subscriber, has been burning cash at a rate of over $20 million a month, and invests in movies that aren't exactly piling up money.

SEE ALSO: MoviePass has hit 3 million paid subscribers, but its growth has slowed

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How a $9 billion startup deceived Silicon Valley

32 of the most dangerous things science has strongly linked to cancer

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cancer immunotherapy treatment

Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in the US, second only to heart disease.

It fundamentally affects the way our cells grow and divide, changing them in perverse ways. All cancer is a result of damage or genetic mutations in our DNA. The nasty, debilitating class of diseases spreads through a body like an invading army, as toxic cells grow relentlessly into unruly tumors.

Some cases of cancer are out of our control, determined by genetic defects and predispositions passed down from one generation to the next, or spurred by genetic changes we undergo through our lifetime.

But we also know that breathing in certain substances, eating specific things, and even using some kinds of plastics ups the risk of developing some deadly cancers.

Here are some known carcinogens (cancer-causers), as well as a few more things scientists are zeroing in on as prime suspects.

SEE ALSO: A study of more than 100,000 people has found that one food group is closely linked with cancer

Sugar

Scientists now know that eating too much sweet stuff can not only lead to diabetes, but actively damage your cells and increase your risk of developing cancer.

But that's not all.

New research suggests that sugar may fuel tumor growth in the body — because cancer loves to use sugar as fuel.

"The hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth" Johan Thevelein, a Belgian molecular biologist, said in October after the release of his study.

Scientists say that the groundbreaking research gives us a better understanding of how sugar and cancer interact and that it could one day help create targeted diet strategies for patients.



Processed foods

Any food that comes in a crinkly plastic wrapper, is industrially sealed, and is designed to last for months without spoiling may be a quick on-the-go fix for a hunger pang, but it's also most likely increasing your risk of cancer.

Scientists in France recently zeroed in on a link between people who eat more processed foods and those who develop cancer.

They're not sure yet whether the problem is the shelf-stabilizing ingredients, the plastic packaging, or some combination of the two. And because their study was correlative, it's possible there's some other hidden factor at work.



Smoking

Though the tobacco industry tried to cover this one up, we've known for years that tobacco smoke has at least 70 cancer-causing chemicals inside.

And it's not just smokers who are affected — people who inhale secondhand smoke can develop deadly forms of cancer too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: "Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%."

People who chew their tobacco are at increased risk too.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

11 potentially cancer-causing things you might use every day

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grilling grill

Cancer-linked substances are everywhere.

Sometimes it can feel downright unavoidable: Californians now have to read cancer warnings as they sip their morning coffees, and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer keeps a running tally of things that definitely cause cancer, seem to cause cancer, and might cause cancer. 

All cancer is a result of damage or genetic mutations in our DNA. It fundamentally affects the way cells grow and divide, changing them in perverse ways. Those toxic, rapidly multiplying cells then grow into unruly tumors, and can spread far and wide through the body. 

Some cases of cancer are out of our control, determined by genetic defects and predispositions passed down from one generation to the next, or spurred by genetic changes we undergo through our lifetime. 

Products like cigarettes are clear cancer-causers, while other consumables like grilled meats may up your chances of getting cancer by just a tiny fraction. Coffee has recently been vilified in California because it contains a cancer-causing chemical called acrylamide, but a growing body of research suggests that a daily dose of brew may do your body more good than harm.  

The truth is, just about every compound out there could possibly, maybe, one day contribute to cancer. Still, there are some products that scientists are starting to sense we should monitor more closely.

Here's what we know.

SEE ALSO: A study of more than 100,000 people has found that one food group is closely linked with cancer

Birth control

Going on birth control is a mixed bag when it comes to cancer.

While it may increase a woman's risk for developing breast and cervical cancers, studies suggest it might also lower the chances of developing endometrial, ovarian, or colorectal cancers.



Sugar

Scientists now know that eating too much sweet stuff can not only lead to diabetes, it can also actively damage your cells and up your odds of developing cancer.

But that's not all.

New research suggests that sugar may fuel tumor growth in the body, because cancer loves to use sugar as fuel. 

"The hyperactive sugar consumption of cancerous cells leads to a vicious cycle of continued stimulation of cancer development and growth" Belgian molecular biologist Johan Thevelein said when his latest study was released in 2017. Scientists say the groundbreaking research gives us a better understanding of how sugar and cancer interact, and could one day help create targeted diet strategies for patients.

 



Some plastics

Plastics can be dangerous, especially when they leach chemicals out through scratches or cracks in a container. 

BPA is a synthetic estrogen that's been used in many plastics and resins since the 1960s. And it's a known endocrine disruptor, which means it messes with the natural balance of hormones in our bodies. BPA resins can be used inside products like metal food cans as sealants, while polycarbonate BPA plastics can include water bottles and food storage containers. BPA even shows up on the shiny side of receipt paper, to stabilize the ink.

While many plastic manufacturers have started labeling their products as "BPA-free," there's still a lot of the breast and prostate cancer-causing stuff around.

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Trump goes on raging tweetstorm as outrage over family-separation border policy reaches a fever pitch

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  • President Donald Trump was vocal on Twitter on Monday morning amid a rising outcry from both sides of the aisle over his administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.
  • Trump has repeatedly tried to blame Democrats for his administration's policy of separating families found to have illegally crossed the border.

President Donald Trump was vocal on Twitter on Monday morning amid a rising outcry from both sides of the aisle over his administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Trump has repeatedly tried to blame Democrats for his administration's policy of separating families found to have illegally crossed the border.

US immigration law does not require children to be split up from their parents at the border, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy in May as a deterrence measure, saying, "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border."

Almost 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border over six weeks under the policy, according to government data obtained by the Associated Press.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Trump saw the policy as leverage to help him achieve other goals regarding immigration policy, including tighter security and his promised border wall.

On Monday, Trump began commenting with a repeated call for Democrats to support new immigration legislation.

He then called out Germany, which relaxed its immigration policy amid the recent refugee crisis, falsely saying crime in Germany was "way up."

Trump went on to cite the violence some immigrants are fleeing as a reason to tighten the US's borders. Beyond the children separated from their parents at the border under Trump's policy, about 230,000 minors have come to the US unaccompanied since 2014, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

In 2017, most of these unaccompanied children were ages 15 to 18, and 94% were referred to the refugee-resettlement office after fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, a violent streak Trump seemed to suggest was a reason any immigrants from the southern border could be a threat.

Finally, Trump summed up his call for legislative action:

Trump also commented on the policy in front of a White House press gaggle last week, calling for immigration measures he'd been advocating since his 2016 campaign.

"I hate to see separation of parents and children," Trump said. "The Democrats can come to us as they actually are in all fairness, we are talking to them, and they can change the whole border security. We need a wall. We need border security. We've got to get rid of 'catch and release.'"

'Trump could stop this policy with a phone call'

laura bushThe policy has drawn ire from both sides of the aisle, dominating the conversation on lawmakers' on-air appearances over the weekend. Several Democratic lawmakers visited a New Jersey detention center in honor of Father's Day to protest the policy separating children from their parents and meeting with fathers whose children were separated from them after crossing the border.

Other Trump officials have lamented the policy. The White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday that "nobody likes" the policy but that rather than end it, Trump "is ready to get meaningful immigration reform across the board."

The former first lady Laura Bush condemned the policy Sunday in a rare op-ed article.

"I live in a border state," Bush wrote. "I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart."

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called on Trump last week to use his executive authority to end the policy, underlining that no legislative action was needed.

"President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call," Graham said Friday on CNN. "I'll go tell him. If you don't like families' being separated, you can tell DHS: 'Stop doing it.'"

SEE ALSO: Photos show Border Patrol's largest processing facility, a former warehouse where families are separated and hundreds of migrant children are kept in cages

DON'T MISS: Trump keeps falsely blaming Democrats for his administration's family separation policy — here's what's really going on

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why the North Korea summit mattered even if it was 'mostly a photo op'

12 fan-favorite shows Netflix has revived or rebooted, ranked from worst to best

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arrested development

Netflix has been doing nostalgia better than just about anyone in recent years.

As the company has leaned into making its own shows, a significant piece of its strategy has been reviving fan favorite series like "Full House," "Arrested Development," and "Gilmore Girls." 

In its latest revival, Netflix released the fifth (and second Netflix-original) season of "Arrested Development" last month.

Given Netflix's love of data, a commitment to nostalgia makes sense.

If you can see that people are continuously binge-watching "Gilmore Girls," why not make a new season of it? You already know there's an audience for it. (That seems to have translated into viewership, at least for the first seasons of the "Gilmore Girls" and "Full House" revivals).

But are these revivals any good?

To try and answer that question, we turned to reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and looked at what the critics had to say. Here's a list of shows Netflix has brought back from the dead, ranked from worst to best in critical reception, along with a short description. We excluded children's shows, and we split the two versions of "Wet Hot American Summer" for clarity.

Nathan McAlone contributed to an earlier version of this post.

SEE ALSO: All 65 of Netflix's notable original shows, ranked from worst to best

12. "Fuller House" — 33%

Critic rating: 33%

Audience rating: 73%

Previous network: ABC

Netflix description: "The Tanner family's adventures continue as DJ Tanner-Fuller shares a home with her sister Stephanie and friend Kimmy who help raise her three boys."



11. "The Killing" (Season 4) — 47%

Critic rating:47%

Audience rating: 80%

Previous network: AMC

Netflix description: "Seattle homicide detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder are deeply affected by the murders they investigate in this dark, acclaimed crime series."



10. "Arrested Development" (Seasons 4 and 5) — 71%

Critic rating:75%

Audience rating average: 89%

Previous network: Fox

Netflix description: "It's the Emmy-winning story of a wealthy family that lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

5 innovative health treatments you can get in the UK, from cryotherapy to professional cuddling

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  • Business Insider has tried out a range of interesting and peculiar health treatments all around the UK.
  • We've experienced everything from chiropractic therapy to being professionally cuddled. 
  • Below are some of our favourite which you can try out for yourselves. 

 

The UK offers a variety of health treatments, some that are relaxing and satisfying and others that are abstract and interesting. Here are our favourite health treatments we've tried all over the UK. 

Chiropractic therapy at London Bridge Chiropractic: This treatment release built up pressure within joints by applying pressure to the affected areas, this is what causes the satisfying 'clicking' sounds. It helps those with joint and posture problems. 

Earwax removal at Clear Ear Clinic in Oxford: This treatment uses a small tool that uses microsuction that gently sucks up wax within one's ears. The procedure reduces the risk of infections within the ear due to wax build up. 

Chryotherapy at 111 Cryo in London: Participants for this treatment step into a cryo chamber that is -90c for 3 minutes. The low temperature is meant to aid recovery from muscle and joint pain, and it is a popular method of recovery used by athletes worldwide. 

Professional cuddling by Cuddlist in London: Did you know you could be professionally cuddled? Professional cuddlist hug participants to help relax them and relieve stress. Sessions can last anywhere from 1-6 hours long. 

IV therapy at REVIV in London: This rehydration treatment is meant to help those suffering from hangovers to recover faster by delivering fluids directly into the recipient's veins. 

Produced by David Ibekwe.  

Join the conversation about this story »

'Superfly' director on how making music videos for Drake and Rihanna taught him how to thrive in the Hollywood studio system

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Director X Paras Griffin Getty final

  • The director of "Superfly," Director X, is best known for his landmark music videos for artists like Drake ("Hotline Bling") and Rihanna ("Work").
  • But he's now taking the skills he learned making music videos and commercials to build a career in Hollywood.
  • He compares working for Madison Avenue or Hollywood to being a chef or mercenary who has been hired to follow through on an order.


Director X can easily recall the biggest cinematic moment of his youth.

“‘Empire Strikes Back’ is the movie that I remember affecting me immediately,” X, whose real name is Julien Christian Lutz, told Business Insider over the phone. “The Legos I used I was trying to recreate the spaceships from the movie. That’s the standout.”

Born and raised near Toronto, Director X said he was always a visual person. Around the time he was being amazed by the “Star Wars” saga, he was also running around with his friends in the neighborhood shooting little movies with a video camera. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was drawing in a notepad with dreams of one day getting into the comic-book business.

It’s that thirst for the visual arts that led him to cement himself as the premiere hip-hop music video director working today.

Hotline Bling Cash MoneyIf you’re not familiar with his name you most certainly have seen his work: “Hotline Bling” (Drake), “Work” (Rihanna), “Excuse Me Miss” (Jay-Z), “Hot in Herre” (“Nelly”) aren’t just standouts because of the artists behind the music, but the look of the videos. They are crafted by X with polished production design and his trademark opening and closing of the videos with the horizontal or vertical frames of the shot, expanding to reveal the shot and closing in until the screen goes black.

Now X is getting his chance at a studio movie, as he’s director of the reboot of the Blaxploitation classic, “Superfly” (in theaters).

The plot points are similar to the original movie (1972 “Super Fly”) — a cocaine dealer named Priest (played by Ron O’Neal in the original movie and Trevor Jackson in the reboot) is out for one last major score — but the new version tweaked it to give it more of a 2018 feel. Instead of being set in New York City, it’s in Atlanta (the generous tax credit for shooting movies in the state of Georgia may have also motivated this change), and instead of the cops providing Priest with the massive amounts of cocaine to sell, like in the original, a Mexican cartel is the distributor.

These changes and the injection of hip-hop in the movie (the soundtrack was produced by artist Future) make it an experience at the multiplex that is extremely entertaining.

As X put it, “If you don’t know the song the cop is singing when he pulls Freddy over, you shouldn’t be seeing the film.” He was referring to when one of the members of Priest’s crew is pulled over and, while the police search his car, the officer sings Chamillionaire’s anthem, “Ridin’.” 

Superfly Sony final

But even with the movie’s playfulness, X sprinkles in moments of seriousness. One gang leader dies at the end of a car chase by crashing into a Confederate statue, which is a nod to the string of monuments celebrating Confederate figures being torn down last summer around the country. And at the end of the movie, Priest has a fight with a cop, pummeling him with his martial-arts moves. It’s a moment that isn’t just borrowed from the original movie, but a recognition of Black Lives Matter.

“No one is under the illusion that what’s been happening lately is a new occurrence,” X said of police violence. “The original ‘Superfly’ was a moment of revenge, even if it’s a fantasy, you got to feel it. So this movie I feel is the same way. It’s a fun ride but really it’s the moment of fantasy to see somebody get their f---ing deserved a-- whipping.”

For X, the release of “Superfly” is a landmark moment in his career, as he ascends to a new level in filmmaking.

But he’s seen firsthand that it all can change drastically. One of his biggest mentors is legendary music video director Hype Williams. Like X today, he was behind the most ambitious videos by the biggest artists in the late 1990s (The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” TLC’s “No Scrubs”) and early 2000s (Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’,” Kanye West’s “Stronger”).

At one point, it was Williams (along with fellow music video director Alan Ferguson) who gave X the pep talk he needed to stay in the business after a rough day of shooting on his first music video, in which he said “he got walked on” by everyone on the set.

“Hype’s main thing was that voice that you hear that you suck is the enemy and you can’t listen to it,” X recalled. “It was the inspiration that I needed to keep on going.”

Belly Artisan EntertainmentA few years after that incident, Williams made the movie “Belly,” which X was a visual consultant on. Starring Nas and DMX, its highly stylized story of the drug game became a cult classic and a beloved work for many in the hip-hop community. But Williams has never since gotten another feature film made. X absorbed what Williams went through. He also built an understanding of how to work collaboratively with corporate executives over the years through countless music videos and commercial shoots, and seems destined to handle working for Hollywood better than Williams has.

Comparing himself in some moments to a chef and in others to a mercenary, either way X is making the point that he sees his job as completing a project using the blueprint formed already — whether by a marketing executive, screenwriter, or producer.

“Joel Silver has been trying to make ‘Superfly’ for 20 years, so who the f--- am I to take it out of his hands and act like it’s mine,” X said. “Studio pictures definitely have a lot of things flying around and the idea that the director is the one sole creative decision-making source is not real. It took me a long time to get that balance versus my vision.”

X pointed out that a sequence at the end of “Superfly,” where a flashback scene is used to drive home the connection Priest has with his mentor Scatter (Michael Kenneth Williams), exists because of note from the studio. Going forward, X sees his experience on Madison Avenue benefitting him greatly in Hollywood.

Going back to that chef analogy —

“This is the job, you are getting hired to prepare a meal, in a sense,” he said. “As a director you are in the kitchen cooking it up and if they ask for a steak you better bring them a steak. I approached ‘Superfly’ to fulfill the order that had been made.”

SEE ALSO: Ray Liotta on working with Jennifer Lopez, why he's been in only on Scorsese movie, and not believing the Woody Allen sexual-misconduct allegations

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Trump pitched peace to Kim Jong Un with this Hollywood-style video starring Kim as the leading man

Garmin just unveiled a new series of $700 smartwatches for serious athletes — here's what they can do (GRMN)

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Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

Garmin's line of high-end smartwatches just got a major upgrade.

On Monday, Garmin unveiled its series of Fenix 5 Plus smartwatches. The three watches — the Fenix 5S Plus, the Fenix 5 Plus, and the Fenix 5X Plus — are upgrades to Garmin's Fenix 5 line, which it launched last year. 

The new watches start at $700 and have new features like on-watch music storage, advanced GPS mapping, and contactless payments. 

Garmin also added a pulse oximeter to the Fenix 5X Plus, which means the watch can track your blood oxygen levels while you're working out in high altitudes. 

Here's everything you need to know about Garmin's new Fenix 5 Plus smartwatches. 

SEE ALSO: Everything I loved and hated about using HTC's new $800 flagship smartphone, the U12+

Here's Garmin's Fenix 5 Plus series: the Fenix 5S Plus, the Fenix 5X Plus, and the Fenix 5 Plus.

While each Fenix 5 Plus watch has unique features, there are a few standard features for all three watches:

  • The watches have built-in topographical maps, and a routing feature to help find popular trails that other Garmin users have tried
  • The watches have satellite reception, which helps track you in environments like canyons or places with heavy tree cover
  • Garmin offers advanced fitness tracking on all three watches. You're able to track your exercise history and find out if you're over-training or need to make adjustments to your form
  • All three watches have a heart-rate tracker
  • You'll be able to store up to 500 songs on your watch so you can leave your phone at home while exercising
  • The watches will also have Garmin Pay, Gamin's version of contactless payments
  • You'll be able to get calls, texts, and email notifications on all three watches.


The Fenix 5S Plus, with a 42 mm case, is the smallest of the three watches.

The watch is made for smaller wrists, but Garmin says the display is now 20% larger than the previous version, the Fenix 5S.



The Fenix 5S Plus comes in silver, black, and rose gold.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

It would be incredibly difficult for California to split into three states. If it did, here's how it would work

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latino protesters trump los angeles california

  • A proposal to split California into three states — Northern California, California, and Southern California — has qualified to appear on the ballot in November's general election.
  • The Cal 3 ballot measure received more than 400,000 valid signatures, thanks to financial backing from Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper.
  • It's still unclear if cutting up California into three states is legal and if Cal 3 could muster enough support from California voters and US Congress.
  • We spoke with some experts about how Cal 3 could work.

 

This November, Californians will head to the polls to vote on a peculiar ballot measure that asks, "Hey, how do you feel about splitting into three states?"

This is really happening.

A proposal to divide California into three states— Northern California, California, and Southern California — qualified last week to appear on the ballot in November's general election. It received over 458,000 valid signatures, more than the number required by state law to get on the ballot, thanks to an ambitious campaign called Cal 3 and financial backing from Silicon Valley tycoon Tim Draper, an early investor in Tesla and Skype.

If a majority of California voters who cast ballots agree to divvy up the state into three, the plan would then go onto the US Congress for approval.

There's bad news for anyone in support of this initiative: Even if the measure gathers enough support at the polls, it would still be incredibly difficult for California to pull off.

All states have a special process for amending their state constitution. In some states, two houses of congress need to approve a ballot measure before residents get a chance to weigh in at the polls. California is an oddball. The state's initiative process lets a vote by the people pass a measure into law, without the blessing of the state legislatures.

The ballot measure put forth by Draper, a well-known tech investor, establishes new boundaries for three new states within the existing California and provides the "legislative consent" of the people of California. With a few choice words, the initiative argues that it doesn't need state congressional approval before moving onto US Congress.

But there's a catch. The California Constitution says through the initiative you can change the constitution only so much. A small change to part of a constitution is called an amendment, while a holistic and fundamental change to a constitution is considered a revision. State law requires more than a vote by the people to enact a revision.

California split map (3)

The proposal to slice and dice California into three states bills itself as an amendment. Shaun Bowler, a political science professor at UC Riverside who's studied California's initiative process, says that's wishful thinking.

An amendment supposes, "it's just a minor change, it's just cosmetic," Bowler told Business Insider. He's incredulous that Cal 3 fits that definition: "Really? It doesn't seem plausible to me. If you're amending it out of existence that seems pretty fundamental to me."

Draper, who's tried twice before to break up his home state, has given $1.2 million to Citizens for Cal 3, the campaign supporting his quest. And the process of gathering signatures could easily have cost Draper an additional $1 million, according to experts on California's initiative process that Business Insider spoke to.

Cal 3 racked up nearly half a million signatures in California cities from San Francisco to Fresno to Yuba, with a majority of signees in Los Angeles. Still, the numbers don't look good for Draper. An early poll from Survey USA found 17% of California voters would vote to divide, but the survey only sampled about 900 people.

If California decides to split up, here's how it would work

Let's suppose that in an unexpected twist, a majority of California's 39 million residents decide to break up the most populous US state and the world's fifth largest economy (bigger than the UK).

Opponents might challenge the measure as unconstitutional, on the grounds that it counts as a constitutional revision and not an amendment. The debate eventually moves onto the California Supreme Court, and the measure could die there.

Now imagine that Cal 3 makes its way to Washington, in spite of all obstacles.

Article IV, Section 3 of the US Constitution says that no new state can be formed out of existing states without the consent of the other states. It means that the US House and US Senate both need to sign off on California splintering into three states.

This is where it gets really interesting.

California split infographic (2)

Under the proposal, each state would have two US senators and a number of congressional representatives based roughly on its population.

As a result, the people of today's California would gain several more voices in the Electoral College, who cast votes for the election of the president and vice president.

Vikram Amar, a professor and dean of the College of Law at the University of Illinois, says the question of whether or not to partition California gets political here.

"California can be relied upon to deliver all 55 electoral votes to the Democratic Party. It's a very solid, predictable blue state," Amar told Business Insider.

But the potential state of Southern California, which contains much of the urban sprawl and desert communities of the Inland Empire, could be considered a swing state, according to Amar. Had it been its own state during the 2012 presidential election, Southern California would have gone for Mitt Romney. Five out of 12 counties voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election (not a commanding lead).

Politicians may think twice about carving up a state that has long voted Democrat.

"The Dems are never going to risk that," Amar said.

On the flipside, the Republican Party may also be wary of three Californias. The proposal would give the people of California six US senators instead of two.

Bottom line: 3 Californias is highly unlikely

Amar, who's followed Draper's efforts to cut up California since 2014, doesn't like to conjecture about the likelihood of the tech investor's proposal coming to pass.

Still, he doesn't give Cal 3 great odds.

"I would say it doesn't seem like it has the backing it would need from a wide array of political forces, but it does have the backing of some wealthy individuals, like Mr. Draper," Amar said.

"Strange things happen. No one would have predicted that Donald Trump would win Michigan and Wisconsin," he added. "I think we've all learned that you don't get too smug about conventional polling."

SEE ALSO: A legendary Silicon Valley investor wants to split California into 3 states, and his proposal just qualified for the November ballot

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: People in California are microdosing on LSD — and they say it's making them more productive

These bleak photos shows what happens to swimming pools after they've been abandoned for years

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abandoned pool

 

  • Swimming pools get abandoned because of natural disasters, poor management, and other reasons.
  • Years later, images of the pools are often bleak and eerie.


We usually think of swimming pools as places for fun, relaxation, and exercise.

But what happens when those pools are abandoned and left to nature?

A number of factors can lead to a pool's abandonment, from mismanagement to natural disasters to political unrest. But no matter the cause, the resulting images are often eerie and bleak.

Here are 10 photos that show what swimming pools look like once they're abandoned for good.

SEE ALSO: Inside the eerily quiet streets of Kazakhstan's 20-year-old capital city, where futuristic skyscrapers tower over the grasslands of a former prison camp

DON'T MISS: North Dakota's oil boomtowns are facing an uncertain future — here's what it's like to live there

This used to be a gleaming upscale resort on the Adriatic island of Krk, Croatia. But today it sits abandoned because of ownership and management issues.

Source: Associated Press



Hosts of the Olympic Games are notorious for abandoning their venues after the festivities have ended. Here's what the Olympic swimming pool in Athens — hosts of the 2004 Olympics — looks like today.

Source: Getty



Nearby, the outdoor pool in the Olympic Village isn't doing much better. Hosting the Games cost Athens an estimated 9 billion euros.

Source: Getty



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Border agents telling migrant parents they're taking their kids to get baths illustrates how Trump's 'zero tolerance' policy is being carried out on the ground

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migrant child

  • Agents at the US-Mexico border have reportedly separated children from their parents by telling them they must be bathed, only for them to never be reunited.
  • A Houston nonprofit director told Texas Monthly that threats and lies are among the variety of tactics agents are using to enforce President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy that separates families at the border.
  • After families are separated, she said, parents aren't given any information as to where their children are being held, and in some cases are deported without them.

One of the tactics agents at the US-Mexico border reportedly use to separate children from their parents is to tell them they're taking the kids to get a bath. But then they keep them detained away from their families.

In an interview with Texas Monthly, Houston-based executive director of an immigration nonprofit Anne Chandler said border agents use a variety of tactics to separate parents from their children, including demands, threats, and lies.

"The officers say, 'I'm going to take your child to get bathed' — that's one we see again and again," Chandler said. After the parent asks about their child, agents have said "This is a long bath", or "you won't be seeing your child again", she added.

Chandler runs the Tahirih Justice Center's Houston office, which specializes in cases of immigrant women and girls. She said they have helped hundreds of children navigate the legal process after the Office of Refugee Resettlement releases them from custody.

Almost 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border over six weeks under the "zero tolerance" policy, according to government data obtained by the Associated Press.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy in May as a deterrence measure, saying at the time, "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border."

Chandler said "there is no one process" to carry out the policy, leaving agents to coerce migrant parents by whatever means possible to take their children away.

border patrol agents us mexico border ice

She said agents either ignored or denied one mother's request for more time to say goodbye to her child, even after the child started vomiting and crying hysterically. She said agents have also threatened parents with additional charges if they did not let their child go.

Chandler said her office was working with nine parents who had been given no information as to where there child was after they were taken in May.

"None of them had direct information from immigration on where their child was located," she said. "The one number they were given by some government official from the Department of Homeland Security was a 1-800 number. But from the phones inside the detention center, they can't make those calls."

In some cases, Chandler said, parents have even been deported back to their home countries without their children.

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, legal director of the immigrant advocacy program at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia, said that practice will cause even more problems.

"Look six months out from now," he said in an interview with the AP over the weekend. "Are these moms going to stay in Guatemala? Hell no, they're going to come back looking for their kids."

Chandler said the hard-line policy completely disregards the spectrum of migrant statuses that are established by law.

"The idea of zero tolerance under the stated policy is that we don't care why you're afraid," Chandler said. "[The policy is saying] we don’t care if it's religion, political, gangs, anything. For all asylum seekers, you are going to be put in jail, in a detention center, and you're going to have your children taken away from you. That's the policy."

Read her full interview with Texas Monthly here »

SEE ALSO: Trump goes on raging tweetstorm as outrage over family-separation border policy reaches a fever pitch

SEE ALSO: Photos show Border Patrol's largest processing facility, a former warehouse where families are separated and hundreds of migrant children are kept in cages

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why the North Korea summit mattered even if it was 'mostly a photo op'

A Getty photographer tells the story behind a heartbreaking photo he took of a migrant girl sobbing while agents questioned her mom at the border

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A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 in McAllen, Texas.

  • Getty photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner John Moore shared what it's like to take pictures of detained immigrant families at the border.
  • He has covered the US-Mexico border for a decade, and taken many iconic photos of the scene there over the years.
  • "As a father myself, it was very difficult for me to see these families detained, knowing that they would soon be split up," Moore said.

Getty photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner John Moore has taken some of the most iconic photos to emerge from the US-Mexico border, including one of an asylum-seeking young girl crying at a detention center as Border Patrol agents questioned her mother before separating them.

Moore shared what it's like taking pictures of detained immigrant families at the border, many of whom are now being separated as part of President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

"As a father myself, it was very difficult for me to see these families detained, knowing that they would soon be split up," he told Getty's blog Foto. "I could see on their faces that they had no idea what was about to happen."

Moore said he doubted many of the families coming to the border knew about the Trump administration's new immigration policy to separate families that cross the border.

"Most of these families were scared, to various degrees," Moore told Foto. "I doubt any of them had ever done anything like this before — flee their home countries with their children, traveling thousands of miles through dangerous conditions to seek political asylum in the United States, many arriving in the dead of night."

Border agents appear to have a feeling of "resignation" about implementing and enforcing the new immigration policy, according to Moore.

"Generally speaking, agents find the bureaucracy of processing so many asylum seekers tedious," Moore said. "Once families cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas, they seek out Border Patrol agents and then turn themselves in. I'd say that many agents do have some compassion for them, but they don't think that the US should be responsible for accepting them."

In the instance of the young girl crying as her mother was questioned by border patrol agents, Moore said that she is two years old and from Honduras. The mother told him they had been traveling for a month to get to the US border and apply for asylum.

When the mother set her daughter down so that she could be searched and the young girl began to cry, Moore admitted that he "was almost overcome with emotion myself."

Read the full story from Foto »

SEE ALSO: Conclusive proof that it is Trump's policy to separate children from their families at the border

DON'T MISS: One horrifying tactic of border agents telling migrant parents they're taking their kids to get baths illustrates how Trump's 'zero tolerance' policy is being carried out

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why the North Korea summit mattered even if it was 'mostly a photo op'

14 vegetables that are actually fruits

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vegetable market

Think you can tell a fruit from a vegetable?

Think again.

In the world of food, there are many plants most people consider vegetables that are actually fruits, botanically speaking.

The most famous example is probably the tomato. Its status as a fruit or a vegetable was so contentious that in 1893 the Supreme Court had to weigh in and settle the issue once and for all.

What it comes down to isn't sweetness, but seeds. "Any thing that grows on a plant and is the means by which that plant gets its seeds out into the world is a fruit," Merriam-Webster dictionary wrote.

So fruit isn't part of the plant itself, but a reproductive part growing from the plant. "The thing a tomato plant produces isn't a part of the plant itself, any more than the egg a chicken lays is part of the chicken," the dictionary said. When we eat vegetables, on the other hand, we're eating the plant itself or some of its parts, like roots, stems, or leaves.

Tomatoes are far from the only example of common vegetables that are actually fruits. Read on to see 14 foods you've been misunderstanding this whole time.

SEE ALSO: A tomato is actually a fruit — but it's a vegetable at the same time

DON'T MISS: 7 things the average American has accomplished by age 35

Tomatoes

Even though tomatoes are technically a fruit, it doesn't stop people from treating it and most of the other foods on this list as a vegetable.

It's that logic that prompted the Supreme Court to declare in 1893 that tomatoes should be taxed like other vegetables.

Here's how Justice Horace Gray summed up the argument:

"Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas," Gray wrote in the court's opinion.

"But in the common language of the people … all these are vegetables which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert."



Peppers

Every kind of pepper, from the bell pepper to the jalapeño, fits the bill as a fruit and not a vegetable.



Pumpkins

Anyone who's carved a jack-o-lantern for Halloween knows that pumpkins are full of seeds. Pumpkins and all other gourds are technically fruits, not vegetables.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The cofounder of Coffee Meets Bagel says there's a big difference between how men and women date online

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smartphone

  • Dating apps can reveal meaningful differences in the way men and women date.
  • According to data from dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, men prefer to see lots of potential matches, while women prefer to see a limited number. This applies to straight and gay users.
  • In 2016, Coffee Meets Bagel introduced "#LadiesChoice," offering straight men and women different experiences.


In 2016, dating app Coffee Meets Bagel introduced "#LadiesChoice," a new format that offered men and women distinct user experiences.

Men would receive up to 21 "bagels," or matches, every day at noon, and the app would then present women with a curated selection of the men who had liked them. Users who identify as LGBT would receive up to six matches a day.

According to Dawoon Kang, a Coffee Meets Bagel cofounder and the company's COO and head of marketing, the company made this change because they'd seen stark differences in the way men and women — both gay and straight — date online.

As Kang wrote in a blog post when #LadiesChoice debuted, "men like selection." Coffee Meets Bagel asked men and women how many potential matches they'd like to see every day: Men preferred an average of 17 while women wanted an average of four.

"But they [women] wanted to make sure they were high quality Bagels who were serious about taking the next step," Kang wrote.

When I spoke with Kang over the phone in June, she told me: "The more bagels we give to men, the more engaged they are. They like it. They actually like going through profiles and checking out different women."

On the other hand, Kang said, "When we gave more bagels to women, the attention that they give drops significantly. They stop responding. They stop checking."

Coffee Meets Bagel's findings jibe with other research on the way men and women use Tinder differently.

In 2016, scientists at Queen Mary University of London, Sapienza University of Rome, and Royal Ottawa Health Care Group found that women on Tinder generally swipe right only for men they're seriously interested in, while men are less picky.

But when it comes to sending that first message, the researchers found that just 7% of male matches sent a message, compared to 21% of women.

Kang said that ultimately, Coffee Meets Bagel wants to give users different experiences based on their past behavior. She acknowledged that there are some people who don't act like typical members of their gender while dating online.

"But in the absence of us being able to do that right now," she said, "we have to generalize."

SEE ALSO: When the founders of dating app Coffee Meets Bagel turned down Mark Cuban's $30 million offer on 'Shark Tank' 3 years ago, they got dozens of emails calling them 'crazy,' 'greedy,' and 'stupid' — but they still aren't sorry

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 8 definitive rules for texting someone you want to date

An eccentric tech investor has spent over $1 million to get Californians to weigh in on splitting the state into 3

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tim draper vc california three states 3

  • Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper is known for having crazy ideas — and for funding them.
  • Now, Draper wants to split California into three separate states.
  • The tech billionaire has spent at least $1.2 million to get Cal 3, an initiative that aims to split California into three states, on the ballot in November's general election. A petition received more than 400,000 valid signatures.
  • Here's how Draper made Cal 3 happen.

 

Perhaps what's most interesting about a recent proposal to split California into three states is that the first page of the document is on Tim Draper's stationery.

The legendary Silicon Valley investor has bankrolled an effort to get Cal 3 — an initiative that aims to divide California into Northern California, California (new), and Southern California — to appear on the ballot in November's general election.

If a majority of California voters who cast ballots agree to divvy up the state into three, the plan would then go onto the US Congress for approval.

This is the third time that Draper, an early investor in Tesla, Skype, and Hotmail, has tried to slice and dice his home state. He's given $1.2 million to Citizens for Cal 3, the campaign supporting his quest. And the process of gathering signatures could have easily cost Draper an additional $1 million, according to experts on California's initiative process who spoke with Business Insider.

How Draper made it this far isn't all that dramatic. All a person needs to do in California to qualify a measure for the ballot is collect a certain number of signatures.

Shaun Bowler, a political science professor at UC Riverside who's studied California's initiative process, says even the number of signatures required (about 365,000) doesn't matter so much, because people "just hire signature-gatherers." Campaigns pay petition management firms to deploy people outside public spaces like farmers markets and grocery stores and collect signatures from registered voters.

"There's a whole industry of people who will stand outside Target — we get them at our campus — and they'll have a folding chair and one of those picnic tables. They'll have petitions for 4, 5, 7, 8 of these proposals. For each signature they get on each petition, they get a couple of bucks," Bowler told Business Insider.

"There's a consequence of that, because we have a lot of rich people in this state, we got a lot of people go, 'Hey, I've got $1 million burning a hole in my pocket. You know what I think should happen with the state? I think we should make Klingon the state language,'" Bowler said.

He added: "You can put anything on the ballot you want to put on it. You can outlaw veganism. Rich people have got money, and they can side-step any part of the process and speak to voters this way."

California split map (3)

Experts who spoke with Business Insider told us that if — in an unexpected twist — a majority of California's 38 million residents decide to break up the most populous US state, the measure is unlikely to make its way to Washington for congressional approval.

Cal 3 uses a legal loophole to let a vote by the people pass a measure into law, without the consent of the state legislatures. Experts, including Bowler, said if it passes opponents might challenge the measure as unconstitutional, on the grounds that it writes the state constitution out of existence. The debate would then move onto the California Supreme Court.

Steven Maviglio, a political consultant who worked on a past campaign opposing the state's breakup, said his new effort to defeat Cal 3 has received several calls already from wealthy people who want to fork over the money to challenge the measure's legality.

Maviglio said he gives Cal 3 a "zero" percent chance of happening.

He added: "I'm being generous."

SEE ALSO: It would be incredibly difficult for California to split into three states. If it did, here's how it would work

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: In 50 years we'll have 'robot angels' and will be able to merge our brains with AI, according to technology experts

I paid no attention to the news for a week, and it didn't reduce my stress as much as I'd hoped

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News

  • I'm a news junkie who decided to pay no attention to current events for a week.
  • The logistics of unplugging from the news cycle are more complex than you might think.
  • I thought it would feel like a vacation, but it turned out to be much more difficult to complete my assignment than I anticipated.
  • In the short-term, this experiment may prove useful in reducing stress. But long-term, it can be dangerous to remain ignorant to what’s going on in the world.

 

As a journalist, I’m a bit of a news junkie. While I don’t cover news on a daily basis, I’ve always prided myself on keeping myself informed, and I’ve thought of my obsession as a healthy, responsible habit.

But after the 2016 presidential election, it started to feel like more of a chore to keep up with everything that was going on in the world. The news cycle began to weigh heavier on my mind, and that feeling only compounded over time.

So I decided to give myself a temporary break from the news to see how it would affect me. It seemed like a simple task, but to accomplish this, I almost had to unplug from the internet completely. Here’s how I avoided the news:

  • I stopped logging into my Feedly account, which I use to keep up with about 40 different sources of news. During this time, it racked up thousands of articles.
  • I disabled all push notifications on my phone to avoid accidental exposure.
  • Many of my non-urgent emails, like newsletters and Google alerts, went unread.
  • I still used social media, but only as much as was necessary to do my job and share my work.

The results of this experiment were mixed, but mostly negative:

SEE ALSO: 4 reasons I gave up Facebook — and why I'm not going back

1. When I took the news out of my digital diet, what I was left with seemed hollow: retail, guilty pleasures, and entertainment

None of those are bad in themselves — they’re just not something I deem as important as staying informed on current events.



2. When you operate outside of the news cycle, you can get a clearer picture of everything else that’s going on — if you seek it out

I finally had time to read up on the work that organizations like the Marshall Project and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are doing. This was, by far, the best side-effect of going news-free for a week.



3. I experienced significantly lower stress levels from day to day

The weight of the news cycle disappeared on day one, and I was determined to enjoy that throughout my week.

Even so, I wouldn’t consider that to be worth the cost of being uninformed in the long run — especially in a time when it seems so important to be knowledgeable about what’s going on the world.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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