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Families of the victims in the duck boat disaster file $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against owners of the tourist attraction

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Ride the ducks

  • The owners and operators of the tourist duck boat that capsized in Missouri earlier this month have been sued by the estates of two of the nine members of a family who died in the incident.
  • The lawsuit filed on Sunday asks for $100 million in damages on behalf the estates of Ervin Coleman, 76, and Maxwell Ly, 2.
  • Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing are named in the lawsuit.

The owners and operators of a tourist boat that sank earlier this month in Missouri, killing 17 people, put profits over people's safety when they decided to put the Ride the Ducks boat on a lake despite design problems and warnings of severe weather, a lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit filed Sunday in US District Court in Kansas City seeks $100 million in damages on behalf of two of nine members of an Indiana family who died when the tourist boat sank July 19 at Table Rock Lake near Branson. Others killed were from Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri.

"This tragedy was the predictable and predicted result of decades of unacceptable, greed-driven, and willful ignorance of safety by the Duck Boat industry in the face of specific and repeated warnings that their Duck Boats are death traps for passengers and pose grave danger to the public on water and on land," the lawsuit alleges.

Ripley Entertainment Inc., Ride the Ducks International, Ride the Ducks of Branson, the Herschend Family Entertainment Corp., and Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing are named in the lawsuit, which was filed by a team led by a Philadelphia-based legal firm that has litigated previous lawsuits involving duck boats.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estates of Ervin Coleman, 76, and Maxwell Ly, 2. Maxwell was identified by authorities as Maxwell Coleman after the boat sank.

Court documents accuse Ripley Entertainment and the other defendants of negligence, product liability, outrageous conduct, wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

Prosecuting lawyer Robert J. Mongeluzzi said at a news conference on Monday that the lawsuit will "search for answers and justice for the victims" in the duck boat capsize.

"The quest for justice includes doing everything within our power to ban duck boats once and for all,” he said. “As we have done in other duck boat wrongful death cases, we will demonstrate at trial why duck boats are death traps and why they should once and for all be banned from operating on water and on land."

Ripley Entertainment is accused of wrongful death and emotional  distress

A Ripley spokeswoman said in a statement Monday that the company remains "deeply saddened" by the accident and supportive of the affected families.

She said the company would not comment further because a National Transportation Safety Board is still underway and no conclusions have been reached.

The lawsuit says the boat operators violated the company's own policies by putting the boat into the water despite the weather warnings.

It also says the captain violated protocol by not telling passengers to put on life jackets when the water got rough and instead lowering plastic side curtains, "thus further entrapping passengers in the soon-to-sink vessel."

The lawsuit cites an August 2017 report from private inspector Steve Paul, who looked at two dozen of the duck boats.

The report warned Ripley Entertainment that the vessels' engines — and pumps that remove water from their hulls — were susceptible to failing in bad weather.

Lawsuit claims boats were not upgraded

duck boat capsize disaster

It also accuses the defendants of ignoring warnings the NTSB issued in 2000 that the vehicles, which are designed to operate on land and water, should be upgraded to ensure the boats remain upright and floating in bad weather.

The 2000 recommendation from the NTSB was issued after a duck boat sank May 1, 1999, in Arkansas, killing 13 people.

When Robert McDowell, then-president of Ride the Ducks Branson, responded that upgrades would require significant costs, NTSB Chairman Jim Hall said the recommendations were made because the agency believed "immediate action was necessary to avoid additional loss of life." The lawsuit says the defendants ignored the warnings.

It also alleges McDowell designed and developed the stretch duck boats, including the Stretch Duck O7 that sank, despite having no engineering training.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area including Table Rock Lake about 30 minutes before the boat went onto the lake with 31 people on board.

Severe weather played a part in capsize

The NTSB said Friday that a preliminary review of video and audio recordings from the boat showed that the lake changed from calm to dangerous in a matter of minutes. The agency emphasized it had not drawn any conclusions on what caused the boat to sink.

The captain, who operated the boat on the water, survived and has acknowledged he was aware of the weather warnings before the trip, according to the NTSB. Another crew member who operated the boat on land was among those who died.

Duck boats were originally designed for the military, specifically to transport troops and supplies in World War II. They were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

The attorney for the Coleman family, Mongeluzzi, said that his clients "strongly urged us to do everything possible to ban the duck boats so no other family has to endure the unimaginable tragedy and grief that has devastated them," PR News Wire reported.

Attorney Andrew R. Duffy, SMBB legal team member argued at the press conference that defendants "absolutely knew for decades that fatal design flaws, particularly the continuous, rigid canopy and inadequate bilge pumps, in the World War II-era boats made them more susceptible to sinking and that they were unfit for use even on a clear, calm day.

"Despite their knowledge, Ride the Ducks violated its own safety protocols by failing to even issue life jackets to passengers as the storm approached."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: North Korean defector: Kim Jong Un 'is a terrorist'

How to apologize if you accidentally said something at work that's racist, sexist, or offensive

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Man confused shocked questioning

  • What is a microaggression? It's an unconscious expression of racism or sexism.
  • It's important to know how to apologize if you've made a microaggressive comment in the workplace.
  • The most important thing to know when saying sorry: Apologize for your actions being offensive, not for the other person feeling offended.

 

You might not know what a microaggression is, but you've probably heard at least one before.

Microaggressions are unconscious expressions of racism or sexism. They come out in seemingly innocuous comments or actions by people who might be well-intentioned. 

Think of asking a person of color where they're really from, or the"universal phenomenon" of men interrupting women.

Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about race, ethnicity, gender, weight, religion, and many other characteristics, according to the University of California, San Francisco. So while you might believe yourself to be totally rid of problematic opinions, there might come a time where you accidentally say a microaggression.

Here's how to apologize for saying an offensive comment in the workplace.

SEE ALSO: 9 things people think are fine to say at work — but are actually racist, sexist, or offensive

Say sorry as soon as possible

As soon as you recognize that whatever came out of your mouth was problematic, apologize right away, said University of California, Hastings College of the Law distinguished professor Joan Williams.

Williams advised saying the following: "Wow, I just heard what I said. I apologize."



Don't say "Sorry I offended you"

"I'm sorry that I offended you, but that wasn't my intent."

"Sorry, it was just a joke!"

Queens College associate professor David Rivera, a co-author on an upcoming book called “Microaggression Theory: Influence and Implications”, told Business Insider that he hears too often of these sort of half-apologies.

Apologizing for offending someone is an attempt to validate your own comment by implying that the other person just reacted poorly, Rivera told Business Insider. 

It's also a way to brush off any allegations that you did something wrong.



Instead, recognize the implicit bias in your remark

"The apology should be earnest and include an awareness that you engaged in microaggressive behavior," Rivera told Business Insider.

So, if you realize you made a blunder by complimenting a non-white coworker who was born in America on their English skills, you can try: "I'm sorry for what I just said. That was totally out of line, and based off the false impression that you were not born in America. My apologies again."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The life and career rise of Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, one of the youngest billionaires in the world (SNAP)

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Evan Spiegel

Life is good for Evan Spiegel.

In 2017, he was given a $800 million bonus for taking his company, Snap Inc., public at a $33 billion valuation.

Snap's shares have since taken quite the hit, but Spiegel's net worth is still around $2.7 billion, making the 28-year-old one of the youngest billionaires in the world. Spiegel also took home the title of highest-paid CEO in the world in 2017. 

Things seem good at home, too: Spiegel is married to model and entrepreneur Miranda Kerr, and the couple welcomed their first child — a baby boy named Hart — earlier this year. 

To get a better picture of how Evan Spiegel got to where he is, we've pulled the highlights from profiles by LA Weekly, Forbes, Business Insider, court documents, and more.

Here's how Spiegel got his start and became one of the youngest billionaires in the world. 

Alex Heath contributed to an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: The life and career rise of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest person in modern history

Spiegel grew up in the Pacific Palisades, a ritzy Los Angeles enclave just east of Malibu. He is the older son of two Ivy League-educated lawyers. His parents divorced when he was in high school.



When Spiegel turned 16 and got his driver's license, he was given a Cadillac Escalade, which he parked in the gated Southern California Edison parking lot next to his school. Spiegel's father represented Edison during the energy crisis.

Source: LA Weekly



Spiegel spent his early years at an ultra-exclusive school called Crossroads in Santa Monica, which costs tens of thousands per academic year. Other notable alumni include Tinder cofounder Sean Rad, Kate Hudson, Jonah Hill, Jack Black, and Gwyneth Paltrow.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The CEO of Turo rents out his 5 cars, including the trifecta of Teslas, to strangers — here's why he thinks nearly everyone will be doing it in 10 years

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tesla turo ceo andre haddad 2x1 duo

  • Turo is a car-rental service most easily described as "Airbnb for cars."
  • Its CEO, Andre Haddad, lists five of his vehicles, including the "trifecta of Teslas," on the Turo app. He's earned $11,000 renting them out so far in 2018.
  • Haddad said he believes shared vehicles are the future of driving, because people will want to make their self-driving cars go to work for them.

 

Over the last Fourth of July weekend, Andre Haddad handed over the keys to his cars to seven strangers. While he barbecued with family at home, his Audi R8 and three Teslas carried guests where they needed to go. By Sunday night, they were back in his driveway.

Haddad rents out the vehicles on Turo, a person-to-person car-sharing service most easily described as "Airbnb for cars," where Haddad has been CEO since 2011.

"I'm a car enthusiast. I have the trifecta of Teslas," Haddad told Business Insider.

And he puts those cars to work. So far in 2018, Haddad said he's earned a little over $11,000 renting five luxury vehicles on Turo. He's on track to beat his 2017 earnings.

Turo is changing the economics of owning a car in pricey cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. Car owners list their vehicles on the platform and lease them by the day for a fee. According to Turo, the average host makes $625 a month on Turo, more than enough to cover the national average monthly car payment on a new vehicle.

Haddad, who was a veteran executive at eBay before joining Turo as CEO, believes that someday about half of the cars on the road will be shared vehicles. He said drivers will use services like Turo — or its competitors Getaround, Zipcar, and traditional can-rental companies — to get from point A to B because of the cost and environmental savings.

"The norm, I think, is going to be shared vehicles, not fully owned vehicles," Haddad said. "That's exciting for us, and it's exciting for people who have for a long time expected that the vehicle will cost them money and depreciate. Now it can pay for itself."

Tesla Model 3

According to Haddad, the rise of autonomous vehicles will be the catalyst for this change. The person who leases their self-driving car on Turo will be able to monitor their car's location through GPS and lock and unlock it remotely via the Turo app.

"In that scenario, it will be amazing to own an autonomous vehicle, because it can go work for the owner while they're asleep," Haddad said.

He added: "Obviously, we're not there yet. It's a bit 'science-fiction-ey.' But I can see a path to getting us there ... over a long-term horizon, ten years from now or so."

Turo is having its best year on the books, with seven million people signed up on Turo and two million users joining in 2018 alone. Usage is also rising. So far this year, there have been 4.9 million days booked across the quarter-million vehicles on the service.

Business Insider spoke to several Turo "power hosts" who said renting their cars to strangers on Turo completely covers the cost of car ownership. One user even bought a Tesla Model 3 after seeing how much money she could make leasing her old Toyota Corolla. Both cars pay for themselves through her earnings on Turo, this host said.

"It's like having a free car in the city," another host said.

SEE ALSO: People in San Francisco are leasing their Teslas and supercars to strangers in order to afford owning a car in one of the most expensive cities in America

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An electric car from a startup company could outperform the Tesla Roadster

I visited the treehouses that Microsoft built for its employees to meet, work, and soak in the sun — take a look inside (MSFT)

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Microsoft treehouses

While Amazon and Apple are making much noise about their new headquarters, Microsoft is quietly revamping its Redmond headquarters to support its growth. 

Speaking of growth, I got to tour the treehouses that Microsoft opened for its employees last year, where they can meet, chat, or just generally catch some rays. They're located right near the buildings where top Microsoft execs like CEO Satya Nadella have their offices, but any employee can use them. 

They're WiFi equipped, with power outlets everywhere. And they're a very neat little employee perk.

Take a look.

If you don't know the treehouses are there, you might never notice them. This is the view when you leave one of the nearby office buildings.



But climb the wooden ramps...



...and you'll find the first of Microsoft's three semi-hidden treehouses.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Barack Obama and Joe Biden reunite for lunch at a DC bakery that supports military veterans

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obama biden

  • Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden had lunch at Dog Tag Bakery in Washington, DC, on Monday.
  • They were spotted greeting fans and posing for photos as they walked out of the restaurant.

The Barack Obama and Joe Biden bromance is still alive and well.

The former president and vice president were spotted having lunch together at a Washington, DC, bakery on Monday afternoon.

The pair ate at Dog Tag Bakery in Georgetown, where they greeted fans and posed for selfies.

For their meal, Obama and Biden reportedly each asked for ham sandwiches as dozens of people watched them order at the counter. Obama also ordered a fennel salad.

Dog Tag Bakery is owned and operated by a nonprofit called Dog Tag Inc, which supports veterans, military spouses, and caregivers.

The bakery tweeted out a photo of Obama and Biden thanking them for supporting their cause.

"Thank you @BarackObama and @JoeBiden for supporting our mission of empowering veterans with service-connected disabilities, military spouses, and military caregivers!" the bakery said.

As the pair left the restaurant, a crowd outside gave Obama and Biden a large round of applause before the former president was seen climbing into a large black SUV.

Obama and Biden have previously spoken about their warm friendship with each other that started on the presidential campaign trail.

In his farewell address at the end of his presidency, Obama said having Biden as his vice president was the best decision he ever made.

Obama's outing with Biden comes just days after he was seen at a Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert in Washington, DC, dancing with his wife, Michelle.

The pair have long been fans of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. While the former first lady previously attended shows as part of the On The Run II tour in Landover, Maryland, and Paris, this was Obama's first time.

Biden, meanwhile, said in a speech in Colombia earlier this month he would decide by January if he would run for president in 2020, according to USA Today.

SEE ALSO: 5 legendary political bromances that shaped US history

DON'T MISS: Barack and Michelle Obama were dancing and living their best lives at a Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: North Korean defector: Kim Jong Un 'is a terrorist'

MoviePass' owner closed below $1 less than a week after it did a 1-for-250 reverse stock split to avoid being kicked off the Nasdaq (HMNY)

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MoviePass card

  • MoviePass' owner, Helios and Matheson Analytics, closed below $1 on Monday, less than a week after the company underwent a reverse stock split to boost its share price.
  • The stock has plummeted from $14 on Wednesday, trading as low as $0.77 on Monday, days after MoviePass experienced a service outage and HMNY borrowed $5 million in cash to turn the app back on.
  • Shares of HMNY have to close at $1 or above for 10 straight trading days for the stock to no longer be at risk of being delisted in mid-December.
  • HMNY closed at $0.80 on Monday, putting it at risk of delisting. 

MoviePass' parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, closed below $1 on Monday, less than a week after the company underwent a reverse stock split in an attempt to stay listed on the Nasdaq.

HMNY was trading as low as $0.77 Monday before closing at $0.80 — a sharp drop from its $14 share price on Wednesday after performing a 1-for-250 reverse stock split on Tuesday.

The stock's plummet comes as MoviePass faces dire prospects in its attempts to be financially sustainable.

The subscription service had an outage on Thursday after the company ran out of cash. Its service came back on Friday after HMNY borrowed $5 million in cash, which it disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Many MoviePass users said over the weekend that they were having issues with checking in on the app and purchasing tickets on their card. Several also complained that the company was charging "surge prices" for films that had been out for weeks or were not showing at peak times.

Shares of HMNY would have to close at $1 or above for 10 straight trading days for the stock to no longer be at risk of being delisted from the Nasdaq, according to the exchange. It must also have a market cap of $50 million. (Its estimated market cap was about $1.35 million on Monday, according to Yahoo Finance.)

Since it closed at $0.80 on Monday, less than a week after its reverse stock split, HMNY is at risk of getting kicked off the exchange starting December 18.

SEE ALSO: The strange story of how MoviePass' owner was created by an Indian company accused of massive fraud

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why the World Cup soccer ball looks so different

MoviePass CEO announces in all-hands meeting that tickets to big upcoming movies will not be available on the app

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the meg movie

  • In an all-hands meeting on Monday, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe announced that the upcoming big releases "Christopher Robin" and "The Meg" would not be available to subscribers, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider.
  • The implication was that the practice of not offering tickets to major releases would continue for the foreseeable future. 

MoviePass subscribers were frustrated to find over the weekend that they couldn't order tickets through the app for the weekend's biggest release, "Mission: Impossible — Fallout," and it looks as if going forward they will continue to be shut out of major titles.

A source familiar with the matter told Business Insider that during an all-hands meeting on Monday, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said the app would not make "Christopher Robin" and "The Meg" — the two major releases hitting theaters in the next two weeks — available to its subscribers, and he implied that the practice of not offering tickets to major movies would continue for the foreseeable future.

The company has fallen on incredibly hard times as it tries to find a financially feasible business model.

Last week, MoviePass' parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, did a reverse stock split that boosted shares to about $14 on Wednesday from $0.09 on Tuesday. The service temporarily shut down on Thursday night because it ran out of money, and HMNY said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday that it had to borrow $5 million in cash to get it back online. Its stock closed at $2 on Friday.

Things didn't get any better going into the weekend as complaints on social media were rampant. "Mission: Impossible — Fallout" was blocked for subscribers, and the app had more technical issues again on Sunday.

Lowe's announcement at the all-hands meeting came on the heels of an open letter on Friday in which he said, "As we continue to evolve the service, certain movies may not always be available in every theater on our platform."

When reached for comment for this article, a MoviePass representative referred Business Insider to the CEO's statement in the Friday letter.

Because MoviePass has to pay the full ticket price for all the movies its subscribers go see, eliminating major releases going forward means the cash-strapped company would pay millions less. (As of mid-July, MoviePass paid more than 1.15 million tickets for just "Avengers: Infinity War.")

HMNY's stock closed below $1 on Monday.

SEE ALSO: The strange story of how MoviePass' owner was created by an Indian company accused of massive fraud

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why the World Cup soccer ball looks so different

The man who blew open the Watergate scandal is writing a book that promises a 'front row seat' to Trump's White House

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Bob Woodward

  • Bob Woodward, the reporter who uncovered the Watergate scandal, is working on a book about President Donald Trump's White House.
  • His previous reporting led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, and he has written probing books about the Obama and Bush presidencies.
  • His new book promises to bring readers "face to face with Trump."
  • Woodward has reportedly obtained a series of memos, documents, and notes, including some that are handwritten by Trump, and has conducted hundreds of hours of interviews.
  • The book will outline "in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House" according to a release obtained by the Washington Post.

The Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who blew open the Watergate scandal and wrote probing looks into the Obama and Bush administrations is writing a book that promises to give readers a "front row seat" to President Donald Trump's White House.

Bob Woodward's work with Carl Bernstein for the Washington Post forced Nixon to resign as US president in 1974. Their work uncovered the Nixon administration's attempts to bug and steal documents from the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

Now, Woodward's new book promises to bring readers "face to face with Trump." Publisher Simon & Schuster says it will publish "Fear: Trump in the White House" on September 11.

The book will be the 19th written by the 75-year-old journalist. It promises to reveal "in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies," according to the release.

The book will come out just two weeks before the midterm elections, which will be a vital test for Trump.

Sources told CNN that the book is based on hundreds of hours of taped interviews with first-hand sources and will examine Trump's relationship and actions on topics, including the Russia investigation and the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A source told the outlet that Woodward has obtained a series of memos, documents, and notes, including some that are handwritten by Trump.

The book's cover features a striking photo of Trump looking stern, colored red and with the words "Fear" in large, white letters.

Woodward, who remains a journalist at the Post, has been vocal about the role of reporters in the current political climate. In a preview video for his investigative journalism masterclass released last year, he told journalists: "This is a time we're being tested. Let's not be chickenshit about this. ... This is the final exam for democracy."

While Trump was not interviewed as part of this book, Woodward interviewed him in 2016 for the Post. In it, Trump revealed what he believed the nature of power to be: "Real power is, I don't even want to use the word: 'Fear.'"

This quote gave Woodward the inspiration for his book title, a source told CNN.

Bernstein has also generated his own headlines by covering the Trump administration. His name was one of three bylines on a CNN piece that said Trump, according to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, knew about the 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Russians and Trump associates, including his son, Donald Trump Jr.

Trump has not taken well in the past to books that investigate his presidency. He attacked author Michael Wolff on Twitter after the publication of Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury," which promised an inside look into the campaign and White House.

"Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book," Trump tweeted.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: North Korean defector: Kim Jong Un 'is a terrorist'

I tried the two Chinese bike-sharing giants trying to take over the world, and it was immediately obvious why they can't seem to crack the US

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china bike graveyard

  • One of the hottest sectors of Chinese tech is "dockless-bike sharing." The two primary companies, Mobike and Ofo, have expanded aggressively in recent years across the world.
  • Both companies have faced unforeseen challenges upon trying to enter the US market.
  • While in China, I got a chance to use Mobike and Ofo extensively and it became apparent to me why the companies are having such trouble.
  • Both companies rely on dense urban areas and heavy ridership to stay profitable, their bikes are uncomfortable to ride for anything more than a 5-10 minute ride making them unsuitable for more spread-out US cities, and Americans are much less likely to tolerate having bicycles resting on sidewalks and alleyways, which is necessary to make the service convenient.

Over the last years, one of the hottest sectors of Chinese tech has been "dockless-bike sharing" startups. Billed as a kind of Uber-for-bikes, the companies allow users to rent GPS-enabled bikes with their smartphones for a few cents per ride, and then park them wherever when they are done.

A fierce bicycle-sharing war has ensued over the years. The streets of Chinese streets are littered with the bicycles of other startups trying to cash in. In total, Time reports that there are around 60 companies putting between 16-18 million bicycles on Chinese streets.

The top two companies, Mobike and Ofo, handled more than 50 million rides per day in 2017, according to the New York Times

Entrenched in a fierce tech war, Mobike and Ofo began expanding globally last year to bring bike-sharing to the rest of the world and escape China's crowded bicycle-sharing market. 

By mid-2018, Mobike has expanded to 15 countries and 200 cities while Ofo has expanded to 20 countries and 250 cities. Their markets span the United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, and, of course, the United States.

The expansion to the US has been fraught with problems. As of March, Mobike had launched in only 5 US cities. Meanwhile, Ofo had launched in 30 markets. But last week, both Mobike and Ofo announced that they would pull out of Washington D.C. and Ofo announced that it would shut most US operations so it could "prioritize growth in viable markets."

On a recent trip to China this past spring, I got a chance to use Mobike and Ofo extensively. It became apparent to me why bike-sharing, at least as it exists in China, won't work in the US.

Here's what it's like to ride Mobike and Ofo:

SEE ALSO: I rode superfast bullet trains in China, Japan, Korea, and Russia, and one is better than the rest

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Mobike and Ofo handle more than 50 million rides per day in China. You can find their bikes lined up just about anywhere in a major Chinese city. This accessibility is the core sell-point for the bikes. Rather than walk the half-mile from the metro station to the office, just bike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



It works incredibly well in China, where metros are convenient, but are generally not extensive enough to reach all parts of a city. In my six weeks in China, I found that I was constantly getting off the metro in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, or elsewhere to find that I was about a 15-minute walk from my destination. Perfect for a Mobike or an Ofo.



But that kind of accessibility and convenience requires two things: a huge fleet of bikes and a huge workforce to spread the bikes to the most needed areas. It works in China because there is a large, cheap labor force and an absolutely massive urban population that likes riding bikes. China has 100 cities with a population over 1 million and is expected to have 221 cities of that size by 2025. The US currently has 10.

Source: WEForum



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

8 excellent movies not on Netflix that you can rent for under $3

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frozen

If you're like us, it can be frustrating when the movie you want to see isn't available on Netflix or another streaming service you subscribe to.

Then you have to wade into the world of rentals and decide whether it's worth the extra money to watch.

Many of us just default to whatever our go-to rental service is, be it iTunes or Amazon or something else.

But there can actually be some variation in the price of rentals.

One service in particular you might not know about is FandangoNOW, the streaming service from movie ticketing site Fandango, which owns Rotten Tomatoes. The company has begun a monthly highlight of titles in its library that only cost $2.99 to rent ($2.49 if you don't care to watch it in HD) and are rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

The site passed its August list to Business Insider early.

Here are 8 titles that we think are worth your time, including greats like "Frozen" and "The Hunger Games," that are cheaper on FandangoNOW than on iTunes or Amazon.    

SEE ALSO: All the TV shows that have been canceled recently

“Avatar” (2009)

If you are really starving for those countless "Avatar" sequels, bide your time by going back and watching James Cameron's original.



“Bridesmaids” (2011)

This comedy from Paul Feig never gets old. The whole cast is incredible, but it's Melissa McCarthy who is the standout and really makes the movie into an instant classic.



“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)

Here we learn what has happened to Cap's best friend Bucky Barnes, which is just one of the many things Steve Rogers has to wrap his head around as he tries to cope with living in the future.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

On August 1, we'll have consumed more resources than the Earth can regenerate in a year — here's how you can reduce your ecological footprint

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Earth Overshoot Day

 

  • Earth Overshoot Day is the day each year when humans have consumed a year’s worth of the planet’s natural resources. In 2018, it falls on August 1.
  • The Country Overshoot Day for the US is much earlier: March 15, 2018. If everyone lived like US residents, we would need five earths to meet our annual consumption.
  • Want to reduce your ecological footprint? Changing the way you get around and the food you eat can have the biggest impact.

 

The Global Footprint Network, an international nonprofit, takes a number of factors into consideration when it calculates Earth Overshoot Day, including the earth’s capacity to sequester carbon and how much food and other natural resources can grow in one year.

Earth Overshoot Day is like a report card. Are we using our natural resources wisely and sustainably? At the moment, not so much. In 2018, it would take 1.7 earths to replenish the natural resources we will collectively use up as a planet. Unfortunately, we only have one.

By August 1, 2018, we will have consumed a whole year’s worth of the planet’s bounty. Starting August 2, we begin to drain the earth’s savings account. We can only deplete our natural resources for so long before the reserves are gone.

Earth Overshoot Day

United States Overshoot Day

If you live in the United States, you may consume more than your share of natural resources. According to 2017 Global Footprint Network data reported by the World Wildlife Fund, the US is a close second to Australia in being a resource hog.

The WWF report shows that it would take five planet earths to support humanity for a year if everyone lived the way Americans do. Country Overshoot Day for the US came less than a quarter of the way through the year — on March 15, in 2018.

Earth Overshoot Day

Reversing the trend

Earth Overshoot Day has come earlier and earlier over time, as the global population grows and we consume more resources. In 1970, humans didn’t use up more resources than the earth could renew until late December. By 1997, the overshoot date had moved back to late September.

The good news is that the date has not moved much since 2011, despite population growth. This is an encouraging sign that we can reverse the trend. The experts at Earth Overshoot Day have lots of ideas how you can make a difference.

earth overshoot day

4 things you can do to #MoveTheDate

What change can you make to reduce your ecological footprint? Take the quiz to find out your footprint, then take some steps to make it smaller.

1. Take the carbon out of your commute

More than a quarter of US greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, according to the EPA. If you live close to work or work from home, that’s a fantastic way to reduce your ecological footprint.

But even if you have to go into work every day, you can green your commute. For a zero-carbon commute, switch from four wheels to two and go by bike. If pedaling is not your thing, try a train, a bus, or carpooling with coworkers. If you drive with even one other person, you’re both cutting your commuting carbon emissions in half.

2. Strive for zero waste

One of the ways we put stress on the Earth and its resources is the amount of stuff we buy and then waste. You can take out the trash, but ultimately, it’s never really gone. Can you be more like Tippi Thole, who reduced the weekly trash she and her son generated to almost nothing? If you’re up for a challenge, try for Zero Waste.

3. Eat less meat and more veggies

A significant amount of our ecological footprint comes from the food we eat. Livestock-related activity uses more global land surface than anything else, and accounts for 14.5% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by humans, according to the UN.

If you are serious about treading lightly on the earth but aren’t able to give up driving, moving to a more plant-based diet is a great step. You don’t have to be all or nothing; start with Meatless Monday and find more yummy vegetarian recipes here.

4. Tread lightly when you travel

You might commute every day by bicycle and eat only fresh veggies from your garden, but a few long plane trips a year can really add to your ecological footprint. To reduce the damage, choose a more fuel-efficient airline when you book a flight.

Then follow the Global Footprint Network’s tips to have an eco-conscious vacation once you arrive, including not renting a car and eating foods that are local to your destination.

SEE ALSO: Earth Overshoot Day 2018 is August 1

Join the conversation about this story »

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Stephen Colbert discusses the sexual-misconduct allegations against his boss, CBS CEO Les Moonves

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colbert moonves

  • Stephen Colbert discussed the allegations of sexual misconduct against Les Moonves, the CEO and chairman of CBS, in his monologue on Monday.
  • Six women accused Moonves, Colbert's boss, of sexual misconduct in a New Yorker report published Friday.
  • The "Late Show" host did a comic spit-take upon learning that Ronan Farrow, who previously wrote a bombshell report on allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, also wrote the Moonves report.
  • "That's not good," Colbert said. "Ronan isn't exactly known for his puff pieces about glamping."

Stephen Colbert addressed the recent allegations of sexual misconduct against his boss, Les Moonves, the CEO and chairman of CBS, in his "Late Show" monologue on Monday.

Six women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct in a New Yorker report by Ronan Farrow published Friday.

Colbert opened his monologue by joking that he had been in South Carolina without internet ("They don't have it there yet," he said) when he "heard that there was an article about CBS Chairman — and man I hope isn't watching tonight's monologue — Les Moonves."

The "Late Show" host then did a spit-take upon learning that Farrow, who previously wrote a bombshell New Yorker report on allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, also wrote the Moonves report.

"That's not good," Colbert said. "Ronan isn't exactly known for his puff pieces about glamping."

Colbert threw to a news clip detailing the allegations against Moonves. The New Yorker reported that four women described "a practiced routine" of forcible kissing and touching.

"Well, you know the old saying: 'How do you get in a Ronan Farrow article? Practice, practice, practice,'" Colbert said.

The host then addressed CBS's announcement on Monday that the company would not suspend Moonves amid an outside investigation into the allegations against him.

"I don't know why they're outsourcing this," Colbert said of the investigation. "They could just use the cast of the new CBS procedural 'CSI: CEO.'"

Watch the clip below:

SEE ALSO: The CBS board won't suspend CEO Les Moonves during the investigation into sexual misconduct claims made against him by 6 women

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Paul Manafort's high-stakes trial starts today. Here's what you need to know about the prosecution's roadmap and Manafort's risky gamble

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paul manfort courtroom sketches trial

  • Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign, is going on trial in the first court case to come out of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
  • Jury selection begins Tuesday, then the trial is expected to last weeks after that.
  • Here's what you need to know about what to expect, the prosecution's roadmap, the defense's rebuttal, and Manafort's high stakes gamble.

Sign up for the latest Russia investigation updates here »


The former chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign will be the first to face trial Tuesday as part of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Paul Manafort stands charged with 18 counts related to tax fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent, and obstruction of justice.

The indictment, brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Eastern District of Virginia, says Manafort committed many of those crimes while working as an unregistered lobbyist in the US for the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia interests beginning in 2006.

Rick Gates, Manafort's longtime business partner and the former deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, was initially named as a co-defendant with Manafort, but he struck a plea deal with prosecutors in February.

Gates pleaded guilty to two counts related to conspiracy and lying to the FBI. He will testify on behalf of the prosecution in the Manafort trial.

fast facts on paul manafort trial

What to expect

Jury selection begins on Tuesday.

The process kicked off last month when prosecutors submitted a lengthy questionnaire to screen potential jurors for any biases.

Prosecutors say they expect to be finished presenting their case to the jury in eight to 10 days.

The trial is expected to last a total of three to four weeks, which experts say is fairly typical for a fraud case like Manafort's.

US District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who is overseeing the trial, has repeatedly instructed the parties to leave politics out of it. He reminded potential jurors to do the same last week.

Alex Whiting, a former federal prosecutor in Boston and Washington, DC, said there are two things at play that protect a jury from being tainted by bias, political or otherwise.

The first is the screening process, known as voir dire.

The second thing, he said, is that there is a "culture and atmosphere created in the trial process and in the courtroom" that reminds jurors of the "importance of a fair trial, the stakes, and the consequences for a defendant if they don't put aside their biases."

Ellis indicated as much to the potential jury pool last week. He reminded them that their work was a critical facet of the US legal system, and that they had to judge Manafort solely based on the evidence presented at his trial.

"Nothing you do as an American citizen is more important," Ellis said. "Together with voting, it is one of the two cardinal duties of being an American citizen."

The prosecution's roadmap: Rely on the facts and outline Manafort's extravagant spending

Rick Gates Paul Manafort

On Friday, prosecutors released a list of potential witnesses they may call on to testify during the trial.

The list, which included Gates, has 35 names, many of whom are Manafort's former business associates.

The list also included purveyors of luxury goods, like a high-end men’s clothing dealer, a Mercedes Benz salesman, and a ticket vendor for the New York Yankees.

Their inclusion indicates that prosecutors will spend at least some time highlighting Manafort’s extravagant spending over the last decade.

"Prosecutors love to throw in all the over-the-top spending fraudsters usually go for, and Manafort is no exception," said Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ. "First of all, it's relevant because you're following the money. Second, it has a lot of jury appeal."

Whiting said that based on the indictment against Manafort, the government appears to have a strong case.

The document is a "speaking indictment," a term lawyers use to describe a charging document that is lengthy, detailed, and includes more information than is required by law.

Whiting said that while the case will include a little political context based on the nature of the charges, for the most part, it's a run-of-the-mill fraud case.

Cramer agreed.

"There's nothing special about Paul Manafort, other than that he was in close proximity to the president of the United States," he said. "The facts of this case have nothing to do with politics or Russian collusion or Trump. It's just a guy who was acting as a lobbyist when he shouldn't have been, collecting money for those efforts, and trying to hide that money away. That's what prosecutors will focus on."

The defense faces an 'uphill battle' unless they use politics to their advantage

Robert Mueller

The defense, meanwhile, "has an uphill battle" based on the indictment and other court filings the prosecution has made, Whiting said.

Joshua Dressler, a law professor at Ohio State University, told Reuters that although the evidence against Manafort seems strong, he lucked out by drawing a favorable judge like Ellis.

A Reagan appointee, Ellis is known to be tough on prosecutors, and he demonstrated as much during several pre-trial hearings in the Manafort case this year.

Dressler added that as much as the judge may try to keep bias out of the trial, the political climate surrounding the case increases the chances of a hung jury that can't reach a verdict.

Cramer echoed that point and said it was exactly why it would benefit Manafort for his legal team to weave more political subtext into the proceedings.

"If they fight this battle on just the facts, it's a tough case," he said. "If you're a defense lawyer, you want to talk about anything other than the facts here. So if you can taint the investigation as political in nature or a witch hunt, especially now, your hope is that it'll resonate with at least one juror and get your client off the hook."

Manafort's defense until now rested largely on two pillars: arguing that the case should be tossed out because the crimes he was charged with are irrelevant since they have nothing to do with Russian collusion, and arguing that the scope of Mueller's mandate was too broad.

Ellis rejected a motion last month from Manafort's lawyers to dismiss the Virginia case on both of those grounds.

Manafort's gamble: Could Trump pardon him?

Donald Trump, Trump

That said, the biggest question for legal experts isn't the dynamic of the case, but why Manafort chose to go to trial in the first place.

The answer to why Manafort hasn't flipped, they say, can likely be boiled down to one thing: a presidential pardon.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lead defense lawyer, said the president is not currently considering pardons for anyone caught in Mueller's crosshairs.

Giuliani said Trump wants to wait until the Russia investigation is over, at which point he may grant pardons to those he believes have been treated unfairly.

"Manafort maximizes his chances of getting a pardon by going to trial," Whiting said. "In his situation, given the facts of his case, the rational thing to do is plead guilty without cooperating and get the benefit of a guilty plea, or plead guilty and cooperate and get a bigger benefit. The only way it makes sense for him to go to trial is if he thinks he's going to get a pardon."

The New York Times reported in March that John Dowd, Trump's former lead defense attorney, floated the possibility of pardons to both Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn last year, as the Russia probe was closing in on both men.

Whiting said that if such an offer was made — which Dowd denied — it could explain Manafort's willingness to face trial.

He added that this outcome is also the most beneficial to the president.

"If Trump pardons Manafort now, then Manafort can be subpoenaed to testify," he said. "And of course, if Manafort pleaded guilty, he may choose to cooperate. The pardon dangle encourages Manafort to hang tough, not cooperate, and reap the benefit later, maybe in a year or two."

But Cramer said there's an important caveat in Manafort's case.

"He's banking entirely on the whim of the president," he said. "So it's a high stakes game of poker that Manafort's playing here."

One intriguing possibility that hasn't been explored as much is whether Manafort could flip after being convicted.

If he chooses that route, the former Trump campaign chairman wouldn't benefit as much as he would have if he had agreed to cooperate before going to trial.

"Unlike other defendants — and this is where politics come into it — Manafort is uniquely positioned to know things about other facets of the Mueller probe that have to do with the Trump campaign, and that's why he's valuable," Cramer said. "Would he talk about things other than what he's convicted for, about the president or anything else he knows?"

SEE ALSO: A federal judge who Trump praised denied Paul Manafort's motion to dismiss Mueller's charges against him

DON'T MISS: Read the indictment of Paul Manafort

Join the conversation about this story »

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MoviePass will raise its monthly price to $14.95 and limit users' ability to see big movies

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MoviePass card

  • MoviePass on Tuesday said it would raise its monthly subscription price to $14.95 within 30 days.
  • The service will also begin to limit users' ability to see movies released on more than 1,000 screens.
  • The changes are intended to cut the company's monthly burn rate by 60%, according to a press release.

In a press release sent Tuesday, MoviePass announced that the subscription price for the movie-ticketing service would rise to $14.95 a month within 30 days.

The company also announced that movies released on more than 1,000 screens would be "limited in their availability during the first two weeks, unless made available on a promotional basis."

These steps have been taken in the hope of cutting the company's monthly cash burn by 60%, according to the release.

On Monday, Business Insider reported that MoviePass had held an all-hands meeting in which CEO Mitch Lowe announced the app would no longer make available major Hollywood releases like this weekend's new release, Disney's "Christopher Robin," and the following week's shark thriller, "The Meg."

"While no one likes change, these are essential steps to continue providing the most attractive subscription service in the industry," Lowe said in Tuesday's release. "Our community has shown an immense amount of enthusiasm over the past year, and we trust that they will continue to share our vision to reinvigorate the movie industry."

The news comes close to the first anniversary of MoviePass' drastically changing its business model by offering the service for just $9.95 a month (for one movie a day in theaters). The low price point made the service a hot-button topic in the movie industry, with AMC Theatres, the largest movie-theater chain in the world, vocally expressing a lack of confidence in MoviePass' business model; it has since started its own monthly subscription service.

Helios and Matheson Analytics, MoviePass' parent company, had an average monthly cash deficit of $23 million in the first quarter of 2018, which rose to $40 million in May and an estimated $45 million for both June and July. In the past few weeks, Helios and Matheson has struggled to keep its stock above $1 and suffered multiple service interruptions.

"Over the past year, we challenged an entrenched industry while maintaining the financially transparent records of a publicly traded company," Helios and Matheson Analytics' CEO, Ted Farnsworth, said in the release. "We believe that the measures we began rolling out last week will immediately reduce cash burn by 60% and will continue to generate lower funding needs in the future."

SEE ALSO: MoviePass CEO announces in all-hands meeting that tickets to big upcoming movies will not be available on the app

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Meet T.S. Ellis, the judge presiding over Paul Manafort's trial, who has challenged Mueller's intentions and earned Trump's praise

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FILE PHOTO: Paul Manafort, former campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a bond hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

  • President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial begins Tuesday into charges that include tax fraud, conspiracy, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
  • Federal judge Thomas Selby Ellis III is presiding over the high-profile trial.
  • Ellis has challenged special counsel Robert Mueller's intentions before, earning the praise of President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial begins today for more than 20 charges in the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, including tax and bank fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and failure to register as a foreign agent.

Presiding over the case is a senior judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Thomas Selby Ellis III, a.k.a. T.S. Ellis III. And he's already made headlines in the Russia investigation.

In May, Ellis challenged the scope of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, expressing concerns about the team's charges against Manafort that could be part of a larger plan to bring down Trump.

"We don't want anyone in this country with unfettered power," Ellis said in court to federal investigators in May. "It's unlikely you're going to persuade me the special prosecutor has power to do anything he or she wants. The American people feel pretty strongly that no one has unfettered power."

A federal judge later allowed the case to go forward.

Trump praised Ellis during a rally speech railing against the Russia investigation in May.

"Judge T.S. Ellis, who is really something very special, I hear, from many standpoints," Trump said. "He is a respected person."

Ellis previously ruled Manafort must be held in solitary confinement while awaiting trial and granted immunity to five witnesses.

His role in the Russia investigation is just the latest event in a long career of high-profile cases.

Ellis' past and other controversial cases he presided over

paul manafort trial judge ts ellis iii courtroom virginia

Ellis was born in 1940 in Bogota, Colombia, and immigrated to the US.

After a five-year stint in the US Navy, he completed degrees at Princeton University and Harvard Law. He also got a Diploma in Law from the University of Oxford in 1970, then joined a private practice in Richmond, Virginia. Ellis also briefly taught law at the College of William and Mary in the 1980s.

Former President Ronald Reagan nominated Ellis to the bench on July 1, 1987, and the Senate confirmed him on August 5, 1987.

The Washington Post wrote of Ellis in May that he "is known for his sense of humor, his long digressions and his demanding and somewhat confrontational attitude toward the lawyers who appear before him."

Ellis' background as an immigrant shaped his special interest in regularly presiding over several years of naturalization ceremonies and was the first to hold such a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 2008.

According to an account from the Washington Post, Ellis teared up as he personally greeted each participant at the emotional outdoor ceremony, telling an Iraqi immigrant he was "honored that you chose to be an American."

Through his long career, Ellis has presided over controversial cases, and has often favored US institutions in questions over violent tangles abroad.

In 2009, Ellis dismissed a lawsuit against the Blackwater security firm that accused them of allowing the killings of more than 20 Iraqi civilians. In 2006, he dismissed a case from a German citizen who said the CIA kidnapped and beat him. Ellis was also the sentencing judge in the case of American Taliban member John Walker Lindh.

"In times of war, our country, chiefly through the executive branch, must often take exceptional steps to thwart the enemy," Ellis wrote in his 2006 decision.

SEE ALSO: Paul Manafort's high-stakes trial starts today. Here's what you need to know about the prosecution's roadmap and Manafort's risky gamble

DON'T MISS: Read the indictment of Paul Manafort

Join the conversation about this story »

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We visited beloved American fast-food icon Sonic for the first time. Here's the verdict. (SONC)

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Sonic

  • Sonic is an American fast-food institution.
  • While the Oklahoma City-based chain has millions of loyal customers, neither of us had ever visited the drive-in chain before. 
  • We visited Sonic for the first time while in its home state, and we saw firsthand why fans love the chain. 

Pretty much everyone has heard or seen a Sonic commercial

And with more than 3,500 Sonic locations in 45 states, the majority of Americans have likely eaten at one as well. However, despite our vast experience and best intentions, Sonic has remained a gaping hole in our fast-food repertoire. 

Never had the neon-blue waves of the famous Ocean Water slush lapped our lips, nor had we dined on the intimidating Footlong Chili Cheese Coney hot dog.

So on a recent road trip to the chain's base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, we decided to end our ignorance once and for all. Here's what we discovered on our lofty culinary quest:

SEE ALSO: We visited the test kitchen where Sonic develops bizarre creations like pickle slushes. Here's what it's like.

Sonic's iconic drive-up layout is a common sight in the Midwest and South — but this was a first for us. However, it's pretty straightforward: drive up to the individual ordering kiosk, choose what you want, and voilà, your order is brought to your car by a smiling carhop.



There's also some seating available for those who want to enjoy their food "en plein air," but in-car eating seems to be the preferred choice. Plus, the food is engineered to be convenient and handheld for on-the-go ease.



Sonic has a pretty extensive menu, so it's hard to get a concise crosscut of the chain's most popular items. On our original trip to Sonic, we followed the recommendations of our editor, a native Oklahoman.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A £5 million company with a female CEO hosts underground, masked sex parties in cities around the world — and it just raised nearly £600,000 to launch an app

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Killing Kittens

  • Emma Sayle is the CEO and founder of Killing Kittens, a "female empowerment brand" valued at £5 million which hosts high-end sex parties for its members around the world.
  • The concept? To provide a safe space for women to explore their sexuality.
  • The parties have anywhere between 60 and 200 guests and are held in apartments, mansions, or country homes in the likes of London, New York, Paris, Venice, and Sydney.
  • She told Business Insider what goes on behind the scenes — and what people get wrong about it.
  • The company recently crowdfunded nearly £600,000 to take the brand digital with a new platform and app.
  • Sayle also just launched SafeDate, an app which encourages users to check in before a date, and have a notification sent to someone they trust if they don't check back in by an agreed upon time.


In capital cities around the world, luxurious sex parties are being held in mansions and clubs right under our noses — but they're nothing like you'd expect.

40-year-old Emma Sayle founded "female empowerment brand" Killing Kittens in 2005 after she realised there was nowhere for women to explore their sexuality in a safe environment without being judged.

Previously working in financial PR, the CEO told Business Insider: "It was all about the time that 'Sex and the City' was out, and there was all of this talk about the female sexual revolution, and women being able to talk about their sex lives."

However, she added that while it was being written and talked about, it wasn't happening in society.

"Women were still being judged for one night stands, but when men had a one night stand they were a legend," she said. "There was a real imbalance, and I wanted to do something about it."

Building the 'KK Army'

Emma Sayle HR - Killing Kittens

The name of the company, known to its members simply as "KK," has an interesting back story.

It comes from the expression: "Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten," according to Sayle, who said she heard the phrase while partying in Ibiza.

"I liked the name, I liked the two K's. In my 'I haven't slept for three days' state, I said 'That's what I'm calling it.'"

The events started on a small scale — about 30 to 50 people once per month — but they started to grow organically and through word of mouth.

"It became a sort of movement," she said, adding that she now calls members the "KK Army."

"We have events all over the world now, and the digital world has exploded as well."

Becoming a Kitten

008.KK - Killing Kittens

Along with the parties, Killing Kittens is an online community featuring chatrooms and a blog.

"It doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can communicate and chat to other people and not be judged," Sayle said.

To become a member, you must register on the site and go through the vetting process, which involves submitting photos, "verifying you're a real person," and explaining why you're on the site and what you're looking for, according to Sayle. It also involves a one-off £20 fee.

"Our members want [someone] of a certain age, or more girls, or girls only," she said.

While you can be a free member and just pay for the event tickets, should you be accepted, you can also opt to pay £10 a month to use the digital platform, where there's a blog and chat rooms where you can arrange meet-ups.

However, the brand is best known for its Killing Kittens parties, which Sayle calls "more full on masked parties in mansions, private houses, and clubs [where] if you wander into certain areas you will see people shagging."

'What goes on in there stays in there'

012.KK Killing Kittens

The locations range from penthouse apartments filled with 60 people to mansions and country houses with 150-200 guests, according to Sayle.

"We've been in New York, in Dublin, in a castle in Scotland, in villas in Sydney, in Venice, in Paris," Sayle said, adding that the parties all have a similar format.

"They're all masked, cocktail dress, with a Champagne/cocktail oyster reception."

There are also DJs and burlesque dancers with the bigger venues.

She described the demographic as "AB," adding that the company doesn't like single men coming on their own.

"It keeps the testosterone factor down," she said. "We have groups of girls come and dance around in their underwear and don't do anything else, because they know they're not going to get hit on, so they can just relax."

At each party, there are "playooms" and candlelit bedrooms with music.

"If you want to get naked, you go there," she said. "What goes on in there stays in there."

And there are a few other strict rules, like the fact that all members must wear masks — but the main one is that men can't approach women.

003.KK - Killing Kittens

There are also "Kurious" events, which Sayle launched three years ago, where you can explore the KK world without being a member or being vetted — you can simply buy a ticket.

"A big part wasn't just coming to events and getting naked, [but] finding out about yourself and your sexuality," she said. The Kurious events involve talks, workshops, and weekend retreats that aim to inspire confidence.

'I watched Batman carry a guy wrapped up in a sheet'

Ultimately, we were most interested in the sex parties, though — and Sayle says the company has organised the "occasional fantasy experience" even outside of these, "with everyone's permission" of course.

In one, "we'd kidnap the partner and they'd follow clues and have to rescue the girl who they'd find tied up in some hotel," she said. 

"One guy wanted to be kidnapped in Kensington Gardens by Batman and rescued by Supergirl, who had been tied up in a hotel.

"I watched Batman carry a guy wrapped up in a sheet."

She added that police often turn up at the events, even though they're not doing anything illegal.

"Every event there's something funny that happens," she laughed — and she describes in her book "Behind the Mask," which she wrote in 2012.

Crowdfunding to go digital

Of the more than 100,000 members worldwide, more than 70% are in the UK, with the rest are across the US, Australia, and Europe, according to Sayle, who added the membership is also an even 50/50 male/female split.

Killing Kittens

And recently, they had the chance to become investors in the business.

The company started a Seedrs crowdfunding campaign to raise £500,000 for digital expansion earlier this month — and it surpassed its target before the end of July, reaching £598,100.

"To go into the tech world and digital world, we need to go big or go home," Sayle said.

"We need a site and an app to go with it, and that's not cheap.

"Getting individuals to put large amounts in didn't feel comfortable — it's always been about the community."

While the crowdfunding platform started out private for members only, it was opened up to the public earlier in July.

The company was already valued at £5 million pre-funding, and plans to use the funds to introduce a new digital platform including a Killing Kittens app (to be released in December), as well as to promote Sayle's other new app, SafeDate, which was released earlier this month.

Funding a 'safety app'

safedate tech

The idea for the app came about from a Killing Kittens chat room, where monitors — or "Community Kittens" — could see girls telling others in the group where and when they were going for a hookup, since they didn't want to tell their real friends, but wanted to make sure someone know their whereabouts.

"They liked the anonymous side of it," Sayle said.

With SafeDate, which is free to download and use, you can check in when you go on a date with information on where you're going, and select the person or people who will receive a message if you don't check back onto the platform when you say you will.

And it's not just for dating.

"I have friends who have teenage daughters, [and] it's something good for a parent to know their daugher has it on their phone," she said. "If they're on a cinema date, they can put in a time they have to check back in, and if they don't, their "safe people" will get a message with the details of where they've been."

She added it can also be great for people working in bars to let someone know once they leave work that they've checked in at home safely.

This isn't the first time Sayle has pushed for female empowerment outside of the sex space.

Middleton & Sayle Row

She started The Sisterhood, an organisation which empowers girls and women to believe in themselves and "have each others' backs," 12 years ago — and even got some attention from a then-single Kate Middleton.

"It came from a drunk bet with some guys about racing eachother across the English Channel in dragon boats and grew from there," she said. "It became a big community. It's got sport at its core and crazy challenges."

Members have rafted down the Amazon, climbed Kilimanjario, and they paricipate in a big charity ball every year. Next April, they'll be competing in a relay race from LA to Vegas.

Sayle said Middleton, a "lovely human being" who she has "lots of mutual friends" with, came to The Sisterhood right at its start to do the Channel crossing. "It was when she'd split with William, then she got back together with him and pulled out and the rest is in the history books," she said. 

She added that now, at the helm of Killing Kittens, she and Middleton are in "very different worlds."

Proving people wrong

There are certainly a lot of people who doubt her — and a number of misconceptions about what goes on within her company.

For starters, she said there's a perception that you have to get naked and have sex to come along to a Killing Kittens party.

"There is sex that happens at some of the events, but it's not the reason why people go," she said. "It's a by-product of being there."

She added that a lot of people also assume it's a big swingers party.

"It's not at all," she said, adding that only 19% of members are couples. "The rest are singles, and the couples don't consider themselves swingers.

"The perception is that it's some big seedy shagging setup, without getting the whole female side of it."

However, the numbers are starting to speak for themselves, and Sayle said friends are "starting to get" the business side of things.

According to Sayle, Killing Kittens' turnover has increased by 30-50% every year for the last five years, and last year turned over £1 million.

She told Business Insider she has also had interest from dating apps who want to build the SafeDate tech into their platforms.

"Friends spent a decade asking when I'd get a proper job, now I say: 'Now do you get it?'

"The list of people I've proved wrong gets longer and longer."

SEE ALSO: This 26-year-old left his job at PwC because he wanted to change work culture — now he runs a company getting bankers into meditation

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If you're angry at work, you shouldn't pretend everything is okay — do these 6 simple things instead

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man woman annoyed coworker working

  • Anger management is an important tool to have — especially when dealing with frustrating work situations.
  • To figure out how to deal with anger at work, start by taking yourself out of the situation and cooling off.
  • Then, approach the person about the situation without blaming them.

 

When it comes to negative emotions like sadness, anxiety, or anger, one common course of action is to try ignoring them. 

But Deanna Geddes, a professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, recommends the opposite.

"Anger is a healthy emotion," Geddes, who has extensively researched the role of anger in the workplace, told Business Insider.

"It signals that something is upsetting us," Geddes said. "When we feel anger, it's helpful to stop and think about what's really making us angry."

Anger forces action, Geddes said. It can help you change a situation for the better — but there's a right and a wrong way to deal with being ticked off. 

Here are six steps to processing your anger and changing a work situation that's infuriating you. 

SEE ALSO: 31 unprofessional habits that make everyone at work hate you

1. Remove yourself from the situation

If you feel yourself starting to get heated, Geddes advises removing yourself from the situation to calm down. 

To exit gracefully, Geddes recommended saying the following:

"I'm feeling some anger about (insert situation here). Give me a few minutes to cool down a bit, but then let's talk about this because it's important to resolve."

It might seem awkward, but it's better than adding more fuel to the fire and pushing you to explode. 



2. Take your mind off it for a little while

The problem with anger is that it fires up the emotion centers of the brain, making it challenging to be logical, wrote Emma Seppälä, the science director of Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

So, while it's okay to be angry, you'll need to calm down a little bit before you can address the situation that's frustrating you. Otherwise, you could say something that's emotionally-charged and potentially insulting. 

"Cool your flames and you'll see more clearly and communicate far more effectively," Seppälä wrote. "Breathe, take a walk, distract yourself with a funny movie, meditate, exercise, pray — anything to help you regain your composure but also some perspective."

If you don't have time for any of that, try this breathing exercise

Then, revisit the situation when you're more calm.



3. De-escalate your thinking by avoiding words like "never" or "always"

Reframing your thoughts is an important way to get to a logical conclusion. Angry thoughts can often be "very exaggerated and overly dramatic," according to the American Psychological Association.

For instance, angry thoughts often capitalize on something "never working" or "always going wrong," wrote the APA. That's almost definitely untrue — few people are consistently awful, and few things are always awry. 

Instead of thinking "My whole life is ruined and this entire situation is horrible," the APA recommended thinking along the lines of:

"This is frustrating, and I understand why I'm upset. But it's not the end of the world and I can't fix this by getting angry."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I'm from Ohio — here are 6 things all Midwesterners know to be true

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Midwest

  • The Midwest has a rep for friendly people, cheap land, and a stress-free lifestyle that differs dramatically from other US regions.
  • Many people are flocking to the Midwest because of its affordable cost of living, open spaces, and relaxed pace of life.
  • Here are 6 ways the Midwest is different than the rest of the country.

 

There's only one place in the US where traffic jams are often caused by tractors on the road and weekends consist of floating down rivers and modeling clothes through the aisles of Walmart.

Middle America has long been classified as a "flyover country," comprised of more corn fields than major metropolises and mom-and-pop shops than Fortune 500 companies, but the 12 states that constitute the Midwest have a richer culture than many people give it credit for — take it from me, a native of small-town Ohio myself.

In my hometown, "porch sitting" is a perfectly sound and popular pastime, the parking lot of our only supermarket is a common meeting place, and Friday nights out usually include a high school football game.

About 21% of the nation's population call this region — North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio — home, according to the 2017 US Census, and that number is growing. The Daily Beast reported that lately, Millennials are kissing big city dreams goodbye to seek lower housing costs in cities like Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Indianapolis instead.

But while this influx of 20- and 30-somethings is proof that America's "breadbasket" is undergoing significant change, some Midwest traditions are simply ingrained. Here are six ways the Midwest differs from the rest of the country.

SEE ALSO: 8 things 'coasties' get wrong about the Midwest, according to people who live there

1. The people are genuinely nice

It's true: some stereotypes are built on bold-faced lies. The archetype of Midwesterners being — sometimes alarmingly — nice, however, is rooted in truth. The University of Cambridge released a 2013 study assessing the personality traits of more than 1.5 million people and found that personalities of the Midwest had "moderately high levels of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness."

Inhabitants of the so-called heartland smile and wave at every person they come by, friends and strangers alike, on sidewalks and in supermarket aisles. I speak from experience when I say they'll even show up on your doorstep with a home-cooked casserole if they see a wrecked car in the driveway or have gotten wind of the death in the family.



2. The weather is unpredictable and extreme

In Los Angeles, one could wear a summer dress nearly every day and rarely ever have to pack an umbrella at the last minute. Midwesterners, on the other hand, never know whether to don a parka, a crop-top, or a poncho.

The climate can change by the day, or by the hour, for that matter. According to a 2016 study by Save On Energy, the top 10 US cities with the most unpredictable weather — including Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, and St. Paul at the top — are all located in the Midwest.

Whatever the weather, it's almost always extreme. Without oceans to regulate temperature, USA Today reported, the summers tend to be sweltering and the winters outrageously cold.



3. Midwesterners are always finding new ways to have fun

Even though the University of Cambridge study ranked the East and West Coasts higher on the creative spectrum, anyone who grew up in the Midwest would probably agree that living in the region does require creativity when it comes to finding fun.

Nights out often entail bonfire parties, Euchre (a card game) competitions, and late-night trips to Walmart, according to Good Housekeeping, and on Sunday afternoons during summer, cornhole is king.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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