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After millions of Facebook accounts were hacked, here's how to secure your social media accounts and operating systems (FB)


YubiKey Neo

  • Although two-factor authentication likely wouldn't have stopped your data from being stolen in the Facebook hack, the event is a reminder that your passwords can be easily accessible. 
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a more secure method of logging in to accounts, email, and operating systems. It often comes in the form of a text message with a code, but it's even safer to use a physical security key that you plug into your computer. 
  • Companies like Yubico make relatively inexpensive security keys that can prevent your accounts from being accessed by bad actors. 

The recent Facebook hack in which the private information of millions of users was stolen is an unfortunate reminder that our passwords aren't always as safe as we think they are.

This is where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in. While 2FA likely wouldn't have stopped your data from being stolen from Facebook, it can prevent unwanted people from logging into your accounts, even if they have your password. 

You're probably familiar with 2FA in the form of a text message – like when you log in to an account from a new browser or computer, and you're prompted to enter a code that's sent to you via text message. While this method is definitely more secure than simply using a password, it's not the most secure method of 2FA — especially if someone has access to your phone. 

If you really want to protect yourself, you need to do what's called "physical" two-factor authentication.

Using a physical security key is one of the safest ways to protect your accounts — and it's not that expensive or complicated. Instead of typing in a passcode from a text message for 2FA, a physical security key needs to be plugged into your device when prompted, which allows you to log in. One of the more well-known security key companies, Yubico, sells security keys for as cheap as $20. You can purchase security keys for both computers and mobile phones, meaning your accounts are safe no matter where you generally access them. 

Here's how a 2FA security key works, and which services support them: 

Setting up a security key is pretty simple, and only takes a few minutes. For the purposes of this article, a Yubico Yubikey will be the point of reference. 

You don't have to do anything to the actual key to set it up — just take it out of the packaging and it's ready to go. Next, you'll need to choose a service to secure with your key. Social media and email services tend to support physical two-factor authentication, and so do operating systems like Mac OS and Windows. You can also use a security key with password managers that keep track of and fill out your passwords for you. 

Here's a list of some services that support physical two-factor authentication, from Yubico:

The above links provide instructions detailing how to set up a security key with each service. For Yubico's full list of websites and services that support physical 2FA, click here.

Once your key is set up, using it is pretty simple. It's important to keep your key with you, such as on a keychain, so you're always able to log in (although if you don't have your key handy, you can also enable additional log-in methods). 

When you attempt to log in to your account, the website or service will prompt ask for your security key. All you need to do is plug it in to the device, usually via USB port. On a Yubikey, you'll need to press a small button on the key once it's plugged in.

If you're using a smartphone, you tap the key on the device instead of plugging it in, and the phone authenticates you through a wireless NFC signal. 

After that, you're logged in and good to go. The process hardly takes longer than typing your password — but it's much more secure. 

SEE ALSO: Hackers stole millions of Facebook users' highly sensitive data — and the FBI has asked it not to say who might be behind it

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Ford's sales in China collapsed 43% in September amid Trump's trade war and an economic slowdown (F)


Ford china sinkhole

  • Ford sales in China tanked 43% in September year-over-year.
  • The drop is attributed to a confluence of factors, from Ford's makeover of the company to the Chinese economic slowdown.
  • The growing trade war between the US and China also most likely played a role.
  • Ford has been dealing with a series of maladies from President Donald Trump's various tariffs.

Ford's sales in China nosedived in September as a slew of factors, including President Donald Trump's trade war and a slowdown in the Chinese economy, slammed the company.

According to data released by the company Friday, overall sales in China fell 43% in September compared with the same month last year and were down 30% through the first nine months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.

Sales for each of the company's Chinese partnerships fell for the month:

  • Changan Ford Automobile sales were down 55% in September compared with 2017.
  • Jiangling Motors Corporation sales declined 15%.
  • Imported Ford sales fell 16% for the month and were down 15% year-to-date.
  • The only Ford brand to see positive sales growth was Lincoln, with a 1% gain for September and a 4% gain year-to-date.

The numbers, while more extreme, lined up with the general collapse in Chinese auto sales during the month. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, sales in the country tumbled 11.6% year-over-year in September, the largest drop in seven years.

There are numerous explanations for the collapse in sales for Ford and the Chinese auto market in general:

Add up all of those elements, and you end up with the sales disaster.

The collapse in Chinese sales isn't the only trade-related problem for Ford. CEO Jim Hackett revealed that Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum coming into the US would cost the company $1 billion in 2018 and 2019.

The company also decided not to import a new SUV from China to the US, citing the trade war as the reason for the decision.

The trade war is exacerbating longstanding issues at the automaker, which is already carrying out a global restructuring. As part of the changeover, the company announced Monday that it would lay off a significant number of workers.

SEE ALSO: Here's exactly how Trump's trade war with China could affect you

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Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke raised more money than any Senate candidate ever this quarter, but may still lose against Ted Cruz


Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks at a campaign rally in Austin, Texas.

  • Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the Texas Democrat challenging Sen. Ted Cruz, raised more money in the third quarter of this year than any Senate candidate ever has. 
  • Drawing $38.1 million from over 800,000 donors, O'Rourke raised more than three times what Cruz did, despite the incumbent's lead in the polls.
  • But many warn that even staggering sums of campaign cash might not be enough to turn a deeply red state blue in the 2018 midterms. 

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the Texas Democrat challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, raised more money in the third quarter of this year than any Senate candidate ever has, his campaign announced Friday. 

Drawing $38.1 million from over 800,000 donors, O'Rourke raised more than three times what Cruz did, despite the incumbent's lead in the polls. But Cruz's $12 million in donations this past quarter is still a sizable haul for a Senate race.

While O'Rourke has outraised Cruz all year, his latest numbers shocked politicos and Democratic operatives. Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, noted that the candidate raised $3 million more in the last three months than her organization budgeted for the entire 2018 election cycle. 

"And we more than doubled our budget from the 2016 cycle for 2018," she tweeted.

Others pointed out that O'Rourke's haul topped the $23.5 million that then-Sen. Barack Obama raised in the quarter leading up to the 2008 Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries — and it also exceeded the amount former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush raised for his entire 2016 presidential bid

Some Democrats argue that while O'Rourke has run a more promising campaign than any Democrat has in the red state in decades, his campaign donations would be better used elsewhere. Still others pointed out that money, even vast sums, does not necessarily translate to wins — a prime example being Democrat Jon Ossoff's failed 2017 special election bid for a Georgia House seat, which was the most expensive House race ever. 

"Imagine what that $38 million could do in races where Dems aren't going to lose by 8 points," tweeted former Democratic staffer Caitlin Legacki, referring to recent polls that show Cruz leading by anywhere between five and nine points.  

Unlike Cruz, O'Rourke has banned donations from corporate political action committees, making the size of his campaign war chest that much more impressive.

"The people of Texas in all 254 counties are proving that when we reject PACs and come together not as Republicans or Democrats but as Texans and Americans, there's no stopping us," the El Paso Democrat said in a statement. "This is a historic campaign of people: all people, all the time, everywhere, every single day — that's how we're going to win this election and do something incredible for Texas and our country at this critical moment."

The last Senate candidates to come anywhere close to O'Rourke's fundraising numbers were former Rep. Rick Lazio, a New York Republican who raised $22 million in single quarter in his 2000 Senate race against Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who raised $12.1 million in a quarter in 2012.

But even if O'Rourke loses, the seemingly unprecedented enthusiasm behind his bid makes it unlikely that Texas — or the country — has seen the last of him. 

"If this Senate race doesn't work out, there's one in #2020 that might be of interest...," tweeted NPR politics editor Domenico Montenaro. 

SEE ALSO: Here are the country's most and least popular senators

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NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

'I'm going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes': Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate appears to threaten his opponent in Facebook video rant


Scott Wagner

  • Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate in the Pennsylvania governor's race, told his Democratic opponent, Tom Wolf, he would "stomp all over" his face "with golf spikes."
  • Wagner made that remark in a video posted on Wagner's Facebook page on Friday. He accused Wolf of being behind a website and series of billboards accusing Wagner's trash-hauling company of "strong-arming" customers.
  • An advocacy group unrelated to Wolf's campaign paid for the billboards. The video was later removed.
  • A representative for Wagner's campaign told PennLive.com that the golf spikes comment, which sparked confusion and dismay on social media, was "not meant to be taken literally." 

Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate in the Pennsylvania governor's race, told his Democratic opponent, Tom Wolf, he would "stomp all over" his face "with golf spikes."

Wagner made that remark in a video posted on Wagner's Facebook page on Friday. He accused Wolf of being behind a website and series of billboards accusing Wagner's trash-hauling company of "strong-arming" customers.

In the video, Wagner accused Wolf of being behind a series of billboards posted around the state reading "Scott Wagner's Penn Waste sued 6,979 Pennsylvanians. Find out why," encouraging them to visit PennWasteAlert.com for more information. 

An advocacy group unrelated to Wolf's campaign paid for the billboards. The video showing Wagner's threat was later made unavailable on Facebook.

A representative for Wagner's campaign told PennLive.com that the golf spikes comment, which sparked confusion and dismay on social media, was "a metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign, and "not meant to be taken literally." 

The website accuses Wagner and his company, trash hauling firm Penn Waste, of conducting anti-competitive business practices by bullying government officials for contracts, violating state environmental regulations, and suing customers over late and unpaid bills, with a lawsuit against the company alleging Penn Waste dispatched sheriffs to people's houses and mistakenly sued people for nonpayment when they had never used Penn Waste's services. 

In the video, Wagner did not directly deny PA Spotlight's allegations. He defended his practice of suing nonpaying customers, touted his record of creating jobs in Pennsylvania, and attacked Wolf's intelligence. 

"You don't know the difference between revenue and bottom line," he said, addressing Gov. Wolf, who formerly served as a business executive and as Pennsylvania's secretary of revenue. 

"Scott Wagner's latest rant shows he is unhinged and unfit for office," Wolf's campaign said in a statement addressing the video.

"Threats of violence have no place in society, especially from someone running for public office," his spokesperson said, sarcastically wondering if Wagner was "channeling John Wayne, Clint Eastwood or Rambo in his latest unhinged rant."

Wolf is favored to win reelection to the governor's office and is leading Wagner in the polls by 16 points, according to RealClearPolitics.

Join the conversation about this story »

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Hackers stole millions of Facebook users’ personal data — here’s why you should be worried (FB)


facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Some 30 million Facebook users were victims of the hacking attack it revealed recently.
  • That attack exposed the personal information of many users, including their names, phone numbers, birth dates, and more.
  • That kind of information could be used for identity theft and to compromise users' financial and other accounts, security and privacy experts say.
  • The exposure of that data can also pose particular and obvious dangers to people who are trying to keep a low profile, such as victims of domestic violence.

If you're one of the victims of the recently revealed hack of Facebook, you should be extra careful on the internet — and extra watchful of your other online and offline accounts.

The data hackers gleaned from the social network could be used for identity theft, and to access accounts ranging from those at banks and other financial institutions to online stores. It also could be used in so-called spear phishing attacks, in which hackers use the information they know about particular users to send them personalized messages that convince them to leak their passwords or other critical data.

"Given the scale of this — which was really surprising — and how much information was scraped … people can be legitimately concerned," said Justin Brookman, director of privacy and technology policy at Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports.

Some 30 million accounts were compromised in the attack, which Facebook first announced two weeks ago. The hackers were able to gain access to names and phones numbers of nearly all of those users as well as personal details such as birth dates, relationship status, gender, and education and work histories for 14 million of them.

The exposure of those kinds of personal details can be particularly dangerous to people who are trying keep a low profile, such as those who have been the victims of domestic abuse or protestors worried about reprisals from their governments. It can also create problems for people who were trying to keep certain parts of their lives private from the wider world, such as their sexual orientation or their religious affiliations.

The data from Facebook could be used to access bank accounts

But it can be risky to everyday users as well. That's because in the hands of malicious actors, this data can be used to hijack accounts on other services besides Facebook.

The password reset feature on many sites asks users to answer certain security questions. Those questions often ask for just the kind of personal details that were revealed in the Facebook hack, Brookman said.

But it's not just online accounts that are at risk. Information such as names and birth dates can also be used to gain access to banking accounts or medical records over the phone, said John Simpson, director of privacy and technology at Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group. That kind of information "can be tremendously empowering" to hackers, he said.

"They can take that information and definitely parlay it into information that can scam the individual," he said. "Potentially, there's some real damage that can be done to people."

Even the leak of just a phone number can pose a risk. To protect their accounts on various websites, many users have been turning on two-factor authentication, a security technique that often requires users when logging into their accounts to enter a special code in addition to their passwords. Many sites send that code via the SMS text messaging system to users' cell phones.

Security researchers have known for years, though, that the SMS system is vulnerable to hacking attacks. By knowing a user's phone number, a malicious actor could potentially intercept the two-factor authentication code and use it to gain control of the user's account.

It could also be used in targeted email attacks

Another potential danger comes from spear-phishing attacks. Typically in such an attack, a hacker sends an email that induces a user to click on a link to a spoofed site and enter their login information. The malicious actor usually uses what they know about the target — their friends, their family, their life experiences — to convince them that the email is legitimate.

Even seemingly innocuous information about a person can be used in such attacks. The more data a hacker has about someone, the more believable they can make the email lure. One set of data that was exposed in the Facebook hack was the locations where users had checked in using Facebook's app.

A hacker might be able to take that information and purport to be a representative of a target's credit card company, potentially even saying that the company had noticed their card being used on the date and place of the check in, said Michelle Richardson, director of the privacy and data project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, an advocacy group.

"These guys are really crafty," she said.

Because users often reuse passwords on multiple sites, they may find lots of their most sensitive and valuable accounts at risk if they fall victim to such a scam.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself

You can find out whether you were affected by the Facebook attack by logging into your account and going to a security page the company has set up. If you were affected, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself, security and privacy experts say:

  • Put a freeze on your credit report with the major credit reporting agencies, such as Equifax. That will prevent criminals from using the information they gleaned about your from creating new financial accounts in your name. Thanks to a new law, credit freezes are now available for free.
  • Keep a close eye on your financial statements to look out for mystery charges.
  • Make sure you aren't using the same password in multiple places, and create new, unique ones if you are. A password manager such as LastPass can make it easier to create and keep track of your login information for different sites.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication whenever you can, but especially on your most sensitive or valuable accounts. Even those such systems can be vulnerable to hacking attacks, they're still more secure than passwords alone.

Regardless of whether your account was affected, you might also want to consider deleting or deactivating your Facebook account, especially if you don't use it often. If you plan to keep your account, you should also think about limiting what you share on it.

"People share stuff on their Facebook profiles they wouldn't want shared with rest of world," said Brookman. He continued: "There's historical data that's out there about you that could potentially be leveraged against you or used to hack your account or compromise your friends'."

Now read:

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s stock dropped by $120 billion this week, but critics are dead wrong for calling it ‘doomed’

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Melania Trump responds to Donald Trump's fiery tweets in revealing interview


Screen Shot 2018 10 12 at 8.16.55 PM

  • First Lady Melania Trump says she does not always see eye-to-eye with her husband, President Donald Trump, regarding his inflammatory tweets and verbal attacks he routinely launches at people the president perceives as his political opponents.
  • She commented on that during an ABC News interview that aired Friday night.
  • Mrs. Trump is spearheading an anti-bullying campaign called "Be Best." She acknowledged that her husband's verbal broadsides contradict the principles of her anti-bullying initiative.
  • She says the president did not try to stop her from launching her campaign.

First Lady Melania Trump says she does not always see eye-to-eye with her husband, President Donald Trump, regarding his inflammatory posts on Twitter.

"I don't agree always what he posts, but his action is his action," Trump said during an interview with ABC News. "And I tell him that."

Trump, who is spearheading her "Be Best" initiative to "take responsibility and help our children manage the many issues they are facing today," acknowledged that her husband's rhetoric on Twitter vastly differs from her campaign's theme.

"And I know I will be hit with criticism talking about cyber bullying," Melania said. "But it will not stop me to do what is right."

The president has published a tweet nearly every day after taking office. Frequently, those message are meant to disparage political opponents, which sometimes include derisive nicknames.

Despite the stark contrast between the president's Twitter habits and Melania's anti-bullying initiative, she claimed that he did not try to stop her from launching her campaign.

"He didn't say not to do it, he's very tough on Twitter," Melania said. "But he understands that I want to help next generation and the children."

For her "Be Best" initiative, Melania partnered with the US Agency for International Development and made a solo trip to hospitals in Ghana, elementary schools in Malawi, and an elephant orphanage in Kenya.

"BE BEST will champion the many successful well-being programs that provide children with the tools and skills required for emotional, social, and physical health," a campaign statement said on its website.

"The campaign will also promote established organizations, programs, and people who are helping children overcome some of the issues they face growing up in the modern world."

SEE ALSO: Melania Trump says the message on her controversial 'I really don't care. Do U?' jacket was meant for 'the left-wing media who are criticizing me'

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15 common misconceptions and surprising realities about dementia and Alzheimer's disease


sad old person

There are about 50 million people in the world living with dementia. It's the umbrella term given to the symptoms caused by various diseases — most commonly Alzheimer's. This is expected to go up to 152 million in 2050, according to Alzheimer's Research UK.

Despite the massive impact dementia has on the economy and people's livelihoods, there are still many misconceptions around it. There are also some facts that still surprise people. 

We spoke to Alzheimer's Research UK to find out what people normally get wrong, and what they often don't know, about dementia. 

SEE ALSO: People can seem more racist as they get older, but it's not simply a case of 'being from a different time'

READ MORE: Herpes may play a role in developing Alzheimer's, a new study suggests — reigniting a controversial theory about what causes the disease

1. Alzheimer's disease and dementia are not the same thing

Dementia is a term used for symptoms like confusion, memory loss, mood changes, and personality changes. There are a whole range of conditions that can cause dementia, not just Alzheimer's. The most common are Alzheimer's Disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia and Frontotemporal dementia.

"Sometimes people will say to me, oh well she has Alzheimer's disease, but she doesn't have dementia... But really, if you have Alzheimer's disease and you're showing symptoms, then you have dementia," said Laura Phipps, the head of communications and engagement at Alzheimer's Research UK. "Dementia is just a word for the symptoms."

2. People react differently to the words

Although dementia and Alzheimer's are often confused, people tend to have different reactions to hearing each word.

"When you ask them to think about Alzheimer's disease, they will put that in with other physical health conditions, like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes," Phipps said. "And when you ask them to think about dementia, they don't know what to do with it, and they tend to put it in with things like age and mental health."

So even though dementia is caused by illnesses like Alzheimer's, the word itself is conflated with being more of a mental disorder, than something caused by a physical disease.

3. Dementia isn't an inevitable part of getting older

A common misconception is that you get a bit forgetful as you get older, so dementia falls into that as an inevitability that just happens to most people.

"They'll say, 'oh yeah my grandma had dementia but she was very old,' so it's almost followed by an excuse that it was OK because they were old," Phipps said. "And so I think that drives this kind of view in society that the diseases that cause dementia are not that important because there's not much you can do about them."

But this isn't true. Dementia is caused by diseases. People understand cancer is a disease, that you shouldn't have it and it's unfair, Phipps said, but that's not yet universally accepted by people when it comes to dementia.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Infidelity dating site Ashley Madison still gets thousands of new users every day — here's why


ashley madison

  • Ashley Madison operates in 50 different countries, in 17 different languages.
  • Ruben Buell, the company's director and CTO, said cheating isn't something that happens once in a blue moon.
  • Even after the data breach in 2015, people keep coming back to the site.
  • It's a better way to have an affair, said Buell, because you're guaranteed discretion.
  • "It's just human nature," he said.

If you sign up to Ashley Madison, you don't have to think about what you're doing as cheating, but "outsourcing your sex life."

"In 2018 we expect our life partners are going to be everything to us — they've got to be my best friend, they've got to be sexually compatible, they have to be great at coparenting," Ruben Buell, Ashley Madison's president and chief technology officer, told Business Insider.

"We have to have the same vision of finances, we have to have the same hobbies, the same interests... There's so much pressure on that one relationship, everything has to be right.

"And sometimes, the vast majority of it is right, but maybe there's something that's not."

This is one of the reasons Ashley Madison currently sees 20,000 new sign ups a day, and over 40,000 affairs happen on the site every day.

Even after the data leak back in 2015, people came back to Ashley Madison. Buell said the company had to focus on the security and privacy in the whole company after what happened, and now it realises how important it is to keep user information as secure as possible.

"It's the upmost importance to us, and I think the firm has done a really great job and really brought itself back to life," he said. "And I think the users see that."

cheating couple

Why they keep coming back

People don't generally cheat because they want to leave their relationship, he claimed, but to outsource their sex life.

Research from sociologist Alicia Walker last year found that women in particular "cheat to stay."

"They very much presented this scenario that their marriages are either completely sexless, or orgasmless — at least for the women themselves," she told Business Insider at the time. "They very much convey that: if I don't do something to address this, I'm going to end up leaving. I'm going to end up breaking up my family, breaking my children's hearts, breaking my husband's heart, and I just don't need that."

A fling isn't worth tearing a family apart, Buell said, so if cheating is going to happen it may as well be in a way that causes the least obvious harm.

He said Ashley Madison's main competitor isn't another website, it's the workplace. But instead of hooking up with a colleague, or meeting someone in a bar, he said Ashley Madison offers discretion.

It also means you're going to meet someone on the same page as you, and in a way, things are more honest from the get go.

"The community at Ashley Madison is a very open minded community, it's also one where you have less risk," Buell said. "It's actually contrary to what you think, because a lot of relationships at Ashley Madison start from a very honest place. So you have two people who really aren't trying to hide anything."

When dating traditionally, you can go out with someone four or five times before you start to show them your true self. But on Ashley Madison, Buell said, the flaws are all visible right off the bat.

"If a person is going to have an affair you should probably have a better type of affair," he said. And plenty of people are looking for something that Ashley Madison can offer, as "it's just human nature."

"We don't operate in 50 different countries and 17 different languages because it's a small thing that happens once in a blue moon," he said.

"I think at some point we learn that life isn't exactly the fairy tale we were told when we were little boys and girls. Life is real. Our average users are in their 30s in their 40s, they've lived life, and they've realised sometimes they've got to do something for themselves."

SEE ALSO: A woman who cheats on her husband using Ashley Madison's services told us why she does it

UP NEXT: How to deal with making and breaking a workplace affair, according to Ashley Madison's resident sex therapist

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Raising kids doesn't come with a handbook — here are 30 mistakes every parent makes



  • Parenting doesn't come with a universal guidebook, and there are many ways to approach different aspects of parenting.
  • Parents aren't perfect, and there may be times when you wish you had done something different.
  • But you're not alone — here are 30 parenting mistakes every mom and dad makes.


Whether it's caused by lack of sleep, harried schedules, multitasking, stress, or inherent human fallibility, parents make mistakes. We also get it right sometimes, too (despite what our kids may think).

For every cringe-worthy slip-up a parent makes, the rest of us have likely done the same thing a dozen times.

Though we all have our faults, kids are kids are resilient and forgiving. They can tell that you're trying your best even as you spill a pot full of pasta, forget their backpacks for the second time in three days, or call them by the dog's name.

Here are 30 parenting mistakes pretty much anyone with kids has made.

SEE ALSO: 8 things my parents let me do that I would never let my kids do

1. We let our kids fall

No loving person ever wants to injure a child, but kids get hurt by accident all the time.

In some cases, this may come in the form of a caregiver accidentally dropping a child, but the fall could also be a result of a child toppling out of a high chair or off a changing table.

A recent study released by Pediatrics estimated that as many as 66,000 kids under three in the US alone sustained injuries from furniture or other kids’ products per year.

2. We overschedule kids' lives

According to another study published in Pediatrics, kids have less free time than in previous generations. Parents are loading up their children's schedules with sports, music, dance, tutoring, and so on.

Less free time can deprive children of the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional benefits play can provide, according to the research.

3. We give too much choice

Kids need to develop a sense of independence, and parents can encourage that by giving them the chance to make their own decisions. But a young child's choices should be limited to a small selection of options.

Think: "Would you like a plum or a pear?" and not "What fruit do you want?" Or "Would you like the red striped shirt or the blue dinosaur shirt?" not "What do you want to wear?"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Forget Airbnb: The wealthy are spending months at a time in luxury extended-stay hotels that can cost upwards of $4,000 per month


ROOST Apartment Hotel

  • More and more people are staying in luxury extended-stay hotels for months at a time, choosing the convenience and amenities over apartments and Airbnbs.
  • At Roost Apartment Hotels in Philadelphia, suites come with full kitchens, 4K Apple TVs, Chemex coffee makers, and 100-year-old rugs.
  • A stay in a one-bedroom ranges from $225 to $295 per night but can be as low as $175 a night for a monthly stay.


Living in a hotel is an extravagant and unattainable concept for many.

But for wealthy families and individuals who want the comfort and coziness of an Airbnb but would rather avoid the unpredictability and what can be a hassle of a check-in process, an increasingly popular option is to stay in a luxury extended-stay hotel. 

Roost Apartment Hotels in Philadelphia offer luxurious, home-like apartments that can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis. They're often in central urban areas and offer much more personality than traditional corporate extended stay hotel rooms, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

"You feel you are in an apartment that could be your home,David Grasso, who founded Roost with Randall Cook, told Forbes. "We designed these apartments to create a sense of comfort, a sense of place, a sense of enlightenment."

luxury extended stay hotels roost

The suites come with full kitchens with cookware and utensilsBosch washer and dryers, 100-year-old Turkmen rugs, 4K Apple TVs, and Chemex coffee makers. Some offer common lounge areas, fitness centers, conference rooms, and valets.  Guests also have access to a concierge, weekly housekeeping, free bike shares, free high-end coffee beans, dog walking, and the option to arrange for a personal trainer.

A booking search for a 30-day stay from Nov. 30 to Dec. 30, 2018 at Roost's Midtown location revealed rates starting at $140 per night for a studio suite, or $4,200 total. Rates went all the way up to $270 per night, or $12,300 for the month, for the Presidential two-bedroom apartment suite.

While that may be pricier than a typical apartment, some guests find extended-stay hotels to be a bargain, according to the Wall Street Journal. After all, there is no putting down a deposit, no buying furniture, and no worrying about paying internet and utility bills. You also don't need to give 30, 60, or 90 days notice when moving out, as most apartments require.

"I didn't have to return a cable box or cancel the electric," finance executive Robert Wolfangel, who spent more than a year staying with his family at Roost for about $5,250 a month, told the Journal. "It was painless."

roost apartment hotel

Staying in these upscale extended-stay hotels seems to be a rising trend. The number of extended-stay hotel rooms is up to more than 456,000, Jan Freitag, senior vice president at STR, a data provider to the hotel industry, told the Journal. That's a nearly 34% jump from just five years ago.

And according to Freitag, these rooms are occupied 77% of the time, which is higher than the average US hotel occupancy rate of 70.2%. 

SEE ALSO: Disappointing photos show what 9 top luxury destinations look like in real life

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I visited a micro-hotel in NYC, where a one-night stay costs more than $300, rooms are half the size of the average hotel, and you have to walk through the bathroom to get to the bed — and it felt way more spacious than I ever expected


arlo soho 1205

  • In New York City, a boutique micro-hotel offers 150-square-foot guest rooms — some with bunk beds — and a "bodega" in lieu of room service.
  • Arlo Hotels operates two boutique hotels in Manhattan: one in SoHo and one in NoMad, with another set to open near Hudson Yards in the next year or two. 
  • We visited the SoHo location, where average rates range from $335 to $535 a night.
  • The rooms were definitely small, but for someone who doesn't plan to spend much time in their hotel room and isn't traveling with multiple large pieces of luggage, I think it would be a fun and memorable place to stay. 


Measuring just 150 square feet, the guest rooms at Arlo Hotels aren't meant for people who plan on spending most of their time holed up in their rooms.

At Arlo's boutique micro-hotels in New York City, the rooms are less than half the size of an average hotel room, there's a 24-hour "bodega" in lieu of room service, and you can sleep in bunk beds. What the individual guest rooms lack in size, they make up for in creative, space-saving design, according to managing director Javier Egipciaco.

The average size of a hotel room in the US was about 330 square feet in 2015, CNBC reported, and the average rate for a hotel room in Manhattan is about $216 per night in 2018, according to The Real Deal. 

On Yelp, a couple of people compared Arlo to a hostel, with one calling it "overpriced fancy hostel" that lacks storage and space to work.

But Arlo's philosophy is to offer an abundance of welcoming common space and activities to offset the smaller rooms. 

"The micro-room concept was one that we came to market with in the beginning, but then we realized pretty quickly that Arlo was a lifestyle and not necessarily a micro-concept lifestyle," Egipciaco told Business Insider.

Inclusivity is a large part of their brand, he said, which is why the common areas are all open to the public without requiring anyone to buy anything. The hotel includes expansive, open shared space that comprises a lobby bar, an airy lounge area, a courtyard, a rooftop bar, and a restaurant that serves healthy, seasonal fare and is run by chef Harold Moore.

We took a tour of Arlo's SoHo location to see just how small the rooms actually are and met the managing director to hear what Arlo Hotel is all about.

Here's what it was like.

SEE ALSO: I stayed at Robert De Niro's ridiculously swanky new hotel in Ibiza — and it makes you feel like a celebrity, if you can afford it

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We got to Arlo's SoHo location at 9 a.m. to meet with the hotel's managing director, Javier Egipciaco.

Source: Arlo Hotels

The hotel is in the trendy SoHo neighborhood, near the Holland Tunnel.

Source: Arlo Hotels

I immediately noticed the chic Arlo-branded bikes outside the entrance of the hotel, which Egipciaco later told us were available for guests to borrow free of charge.

Source: Arlo Hotels

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Why we are bad at dealing with change — and 5 ways you can improve


woman thinking notebook

  • Change affects every aspect of our lives.
  • But many of us probably aren't as well equipped to deal with changes as we think.
  • Even positive changes can stimulate our stress response.
  • So you may be subconsciously stressing even if you feel relatively ok.
  • Here are 5 tips for helping you through the changes in your life.

Whatever happens in your life, you can be sure of this: things are going to change.

As life goes on, you are faced with almost infinite changes. Some of them are small, such as a trying a new shampoo, and some are large, like getting a new job or moving house. Some changes are pleasant, but some are painful, like breaking up with a partner, or losing a relative.

Christopher Harvey, senior manager of change methodology within global projects & change at PwC and founder of the professional coaching service Harvey Sinclair, told Business Insider people are pretty badly equipped to deal with change.

"We all know change happens so often now, and frequently, but we don't differentiate it from anything else that happens in our lives," he said. "So on the whole it becomes like diluting something that tastes bad with a load of water so it doesn't taste bad anymore."

Essentially, humans suck at dealing with change, he said. Even if the change seems like a positive one, your reaction subconsciously plays on your mind.

"Things like when you get a promotion, or someone wins the lottery, we think that's the best thing that could happen to you ever, right?" Harvey said.

"Instantly you feel elated and positive, but... Your spectrum of your thought process has now been stretched beyond your experience previously — and therefore you're more volatile, and more likely to experience massive mood swings."

People don't tend to think about the impacts of change, because they think they're better at dealing with it than they actually are, Harvey said. And they're also not held to account over it.

"This generation, whatever you want to call us, we accept that being a bit depressed is normal," he said. "It's just how it is, that we are all a bit sad, a bit unhappy and dissatisfied... We've lost sight of that benchmark of what being optimal actually looks like. And a lot of people do just settle in general."


If we accept big changes without really dealing with them, things can fall apart. This goes for relationships, careers, and anything else, Harvey said, but "by the point you realise 'oh God I'm actually really bad at dealing with change,' you've probably failed so badly it's a lot harder to recover from."

Change elicits an ingrained stress response from us. It's not something you can fight, but it is something you can work with. Harvey laid out 5 steps to help you through the changes in your life.

1. Identify what you can and cannot control

Change happens on both the micro and the macro scale. Some things you're just not going to be able to control, like, for example, an economic crash.

"You'll actually feel better just knowing whether it is something you can control or not because you've actually consciously thought about it," said Harvey. "Think 'what can I actually take responsibility for and do something about?' And then maybe you can do something about it."

2. Make time to take care of yourself

"Acknowledge that a lot of change is going to have a negative impact, so consciously make time for — I'd call it self love," said Harvey. "Take time to actually appreciate your self."

If you've relocated to a new country or town, you might find you have periods where you feel down. But instead of burying it and pushing it down, spend time doing things you enjoy.

"Think to yourself 'right, I know this is going to be an upsetting thing that's going to hit me in a couple of days, but I'm going to make sure I arrange to go see a movie tomorrow night and I'm going to go to this event to meet some new people,'" Harvey said. That way, you're not dwelling on the bad feelings, but you're giving yourself time to adjust by doing positive things.

3. Work out your thought pattern

Harvey said it's helpful to write down your thought pattern from start to finish, starting from when the change happened, and finishing with the end result and how it made you feel.

"There's always one part of that pattern that's not right," he said. "It's either because you're catastrophising or there's an assumption somewhere in there... Make sure every time that thought comes into your head, remind yourself of the one bit that was broken in the chain, and replace it with a positive version of that thought."

So if you're catastrophising, and thinking you're going to get sacked because you're late for work, replace it with "it's not my fault." 

"Over time, it just becomes embedded in your way of thinking," said Harvey. "Actually think why you're reacting the way you are to change, and how 9 times out of 10 the reaction probably isn't a rational one."

4. Be in the moment

You can't control what happened in the past, and most of the time you don't have control of what will happen in the future. But what you can control is how you feel right now, Harvey said, and how you react.

"You've got to consider how your actions today will have an impact on how you feel in the future," he said. "Be in the present, but also focus on long term happiness over short term indulgence, because otherwise you will be unhappy in the future when you realise you have to do things you've been putting off."

5. Identify what's important to you

Finally, you should identify what means the most to you. People don't spend long enough getting to know themselves and what's important to them, Harvey said, and you'll do better at dealing with change if you work it out.

"If you know that being in an environment with a lot of new people is hard for you, there are ways of addressing that," he said. "Normally, there is a component of change that is upsetting to you. And once you identify that, and break down the changes, I think then you'll be in a much better situation."

SEE ALSO: Wellbeing coaching is as good for a business as it is for employees' health — here's why

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13 places to visit in December for every type of traveler


13 places travel december

  • To find the best places to visit in December 2018, Business Insider looked at climate data, cultural calendars, and peak travel times.
  • December offers all kinds of travel experiences, from unforgettable Christmas and New Year's celebrations to relaxing getaways on tropical islands.
  • The best places to visit in December include the "Hamptons of South America," a European capital filled to the brim with Christmas markets, and the rugged wilderness of Australia's southernmost state.

As December nears and the year draws to close, travelers are looking for the site of their last big vacation.

Thanks to the popularity of Christmas and New Year's Eve vacations, December is often one of the most expensive months of the year to travel to the world's tourism hotspots. 

Whether you want to indulge in the holiday festivities or escape to a sunny island paradise, there are endless options for travelers in December. 

We looked at airfare trends, climate data, and worldwide cultural calendars to select 13 vacation spots that should be on your radar for a December vacation. They include a glitzy resort town in Uruguay that's called the "Hamptons of South America," an icy European wonderland filled with Christmas markets and holiday cheer, and the rugged wilderness of Australia's southernmost state.

Take a look at the places we recommend for a December trip, and plan away.

SEE ALSO: 13 places to visit in November for every type of traveler

DON'T MISS: The 13 best places to visit in October for every type of traveler

Miami, Florida

No city knows how to party quite like Miami, and on New Year's Eve, the city takes it to another level. You'll have your pick of parties, from sparkling rooftop soirees to thumping ragers on South Beach.

There are plenty of other non-party activities to keep you busy, too. It's always beach weather in Miami, with December highs typically reaching the mid-70s Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, tourist favorites like the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Zoo Miami host special holiday-themed events in December. 

Note that December is a huge month for traveling in Miami, so book airfare and hotels early for the best rates.

Atlanta, Georgia

Another Southeastern city that should be on your radar for December is Atlanta, Georgia.

Only Chicago and New York City see more visitors than Atlanta each year, and for good reason. Must-sees for first-time visitors include the World of Coca-Cola and a studio tour at the CNN Center— both companies are headquartered there — the Georgia Aquarium, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, which includes the civil rights leader's childhood home and church.

If you can tolerate temperatures in the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit, Piedmont Park and Centennial Olympic Park are always good for a daytime stroll, and nearby Stone Mountain offers an epic lights-filled Christmas celebration each night. 

San Antonio, Texas

The end of the year is the perfect time to visit San Antonio, as hotel rates plummet but the temperature stays mostly warm.

The Alamo is San Antonio's biggest claim to fame, and there are plenty of other activities that make the city worth an extended stay. Locals love the quickly growing Pearl District for its eclectic mix of food, shopping, and art, as well as the 15-mile River Walk and its unique canals, pathways, and architecture. First-time visitors should hop on a cruise for a guided tour.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Jared Kushner reportedly dodged paying income taxes for years



  • Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, paid little to no federal income taxes from 2009 to 2016, according to a report from The New York Times.
  • Filings by the Kushner Companies reviewed by The Times show massive losses listed as depreciation, a real estate tax law allowance that allows for a deduction to reduce taxes. 
  • The report comes just over a week after another extensive Times investigation that found the president employed "dubious tax schemes" in the 1990s to bolster his gains from the family inheritance.

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, paid little to no federal income taxes from 2009 to 2016, according to a new report from The New York Times.

After Times reporters reviewed more than 40 pages of documents that detailed Kushner's family real estate empire's business earnings, expenses and losses over 7 years with assistance from 13 tax accountants and lawyers, they concluded the Kushner Companies' filings repeatedly listed massive losses, a common "tax-minimizing maneuver."

Real estate tax law allows for an asset's gradual decline in value, a perk known as depreciation that poses generous benefits for investors in the form of a deduction of eligible income that decreases the amount of taxes paid on a given asset.

In one example in 2015, Kushner made $1.7 million in salary and investments from his famiy's firm, but listed $8.3 million lost to "significant depreciation" to the company's real estate that would have sharply decreased the taxes owed.

The Kushner family business has drawn sharp scrutiny amid accusations that it allegedly inflated rent, falsified documents, and mismanaged construction at a number of its New York properties. Kushner was a chief executive at the company and still remains an owner despite his senior role in the Trump administration. 

Citing research firm Real Capital Analytics, the Times reported the Kushners’ property sales from 2009-2016 totaled about $2.3 billion but generated little or no taxable income for Jared.

Representatives from the White House and Kushner Companies did not respond to the Times' requests for comment.

Saturday's report comes just over a week after the Times reported in a separate extensive investigation that the president employed "dubious tax schemes" in the 1990s, including "instances of outright fraud," to bolster his gains from the family inheritance.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said after the report that it would open an investigation into Trump's family's wealth, as well as allegations of shady business practices.  However, despite some possible legal recourse, experts said it's unlikely that any investigation would yield significant consequences in the decades-old allegations. 

Read the full report here»

SEE ALSO: How Jared Kushner rocketed to the top of American politics by his mid-30s — and found himself in more hot water than ever

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This company is selling individually carved 'luxury' ice cubes made of purified water — and charging $325 for 50 cubes


Luxury Ice

  • A California company sells "luxury" ice cubes for $325 for 50 ice cubes.
  • According to Glace Luxury Ice, their product is superior to regular ice because it's "purified of minerals, additives and other pollutants."
  • Glace Ice claims that the design of their cubes — which come in cube or sphere shapes — provide minimum dilution, maximum cooling, and should be enjoyed with "premium spirits."


If you're drinking top-shelf liquor, you'd better be enjoying it with top-shelf ice.

That's the idea behind a California company that sells "luxury" ice cubes for $325 per order of 50 ice cubes. That's $6.50 per ice cube.

Glace Luxury Ice says that its ice is of higher quality than regular ice, which is made with local tap water and may contain impurities and carcinogens, resulting in poor tasting and potentially unhealthy ice, according to the company's website.

Glace Ice, on the other hand, is purified and protected in a resealable package, which ensures its purity, according to the company.

"Our elegant design provides minimum dilution and maximum cooling, greatly enhancing enjoyment at the point of consumption," the website reads. "Glace Luxury Ice provides consumers with a top-shelf choice for ice that matches their premium spirit selection."

SEE ALSO: This is how different types of alcohol alter your mood, according to science

Glace Luxury Ice sells two different types of ice cubes: G-Cubed, which is cube-shaped, with each piece individually carved ...

Source: Glace Luxury Ice

... and the Mariko Sphere. The sphere is "the most efficient shape in nature" and "the most mathematically efficient way to cool your drink," according to the company's website.

Source: Glace Luxury Ice

The ice cubes are sold in orders of 50 ice cubes that come in 10 pouches of five cubes each. The cubes are shipped priority over-night and already frozen packaged in dry-ice, a representative for the company told Business Insider.

Source: Glace Luxury Ice

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We drove an $81,000 Porsche Macan GTS to see if it's a sports car in an SUV body — here's the verdict


Porsche Macan GTS

  • The Porsche Macan GTS is one of the six versions of the Macan compact SUVs available in the US.
  • The GTS sits in the middle of the Macan line up. It slots in above the Macan, Macan S, and Macan Sport Edition but below the Macan Turbo and Turbo with Performance Package models.
  • The base 2018 Porsche Macan starts at $47,800 while the top-spec Macan Turbo with Performance Package starts at $87,700. 
  • The Macan GTS starts at $68,900. With options and fees, the as-tested price came to $81,310.
  • The Macan GTS impressed with us with its traditional Porsche sporty demeanor and solid feature content.

The Porsche Macan is one of the great automotive success stories in recent memory. The Macan is Porsche's best selling model and accounted for 39% of the German brand's US sales last year. In fact, the only thing keeping the Macan's sales growth in check is the pace at which Porsche can churn the SUVs out at its factory in Leipzig, Germany.

At the 2018 Paris Motor Show, Porsche launched an updated version of its hot-selling SUV. However, that car won't appear in US showrooms until the middle of next year. In addition, the only variant of the "new" Macan we've seen is the base model with a turbocharged inline four-cylinder.

As a result, higher performance versions of the current Macan will remain on sale even after the new Macan debuts.

This brings us to the Macan GTS. It sits in the middle of the Macan line up in terms of price and performance. 

The Porsche Macan can be had in six different flavors. They range from the relatively tame four-cylinder base Macan to the top of the line Macan Turbo with Performance Package, which boasts a stout 440 horsepower.

In between, there's the Macan S, Macan Sport Edition, Macan GTS, and Macan Turbo.

Recently, Business Insider had the chance to experience the 2018 Macan GTS first-hand road trip from Jacksonville, Florida to Savannah, Georgia. 

The base Porsche Macan starts at $47,800 while the Macan Turbo with Performance Package starts at $87,700. Our Carrera White Metallic 2018 Porsche Macan GTS starts at $68,900. With options and fees, the as-tested price came to $81,310. 

Here's a closer look: 

SEE ALSO: We drove a $152,000 Porsche 911 GT3 to see if it's still the greatest sports car of all time — here's the verdict

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The Macan is one of the most successful compact luxury crossovers on the market. Since its debut for the 2015 model year, the Macan has become Porsche's most popular model.

Recently we took a 2018 Porsche Macan GTS on a road trip from Jacksonville, Florida to Savannah, Georgia.

The road from Jacksonville to Savannah consisted mostly of highway driving. Although there were a few winding country roads to keep things interesting.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

SENATE BATTLEGROUND MAP: The race for control of the Senate is as tight as it can be

  • The 2018 US Senate elections are full of tight races, polling shows.
  • Entering the midterms, Republicans hold a 51-to-49 seat majority in the upper chamber of Congress.
  • A few seats changing hands could flip the body to Democratic control.
  • But Democrats are faced with a challenging map.

The battle for control of the Senate is as tight as can be, RealClearPolitics polling averages show. 

This week, Republicans continued to build separation from a Democratic incumbent in North Dakota while Democrats built on what was a shrinking lead in New Jersey.

As of Tuesday, candidates are separated by 3 points or less in six races.

  • Polling shows Republican candidate, Rep. Kevin Cramer building his lead over a Democratic incumbent, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, in North Dakota. In Missouri, Republican Josh Hawley holds a slim lead over another Democratic incumbent, Sen. Claire McCaskill.
  • Meanwhile, Democratic candidates Kyrsten Sinema and Jacky Rosen hold slim leads for seats currently under GOP control in Arizona and Nevada.
  • In five states won by President Donald Trump in 2016, Democratic incumbents hold substantial leads over their opponents: Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Entering the midterms, Republicans hold a 51-to-49 seat majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Election Day is November 6. We'll continue to update this map in the weeks leading up to it.

SEE ALSO: Insiders are buzzing that northern Virginia could soon be awarded Amazon's HQ2 as Jeff Bezos makes a high-profile visit to Washington, DC

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The 10 best airlines to fly in North America (AAL, DAL, LUV, JBLU, ALK)


Air Canada Boeing 787 9 Coastline

  • Consumer aviation website Skytrax recently released their ranking of the best airlines in the world.
  • Asian and European airlines dominate the top of the rankings.
  • Airlines for North America once again struggled in the Skytrax rankings.
  • No airline from North America cracked the top 25 while no US airline managed to crack the top 35.
  • For the second year in a row, Air Canada was named the best airline in North America by Skytrax. 
  • Delta finished as the highest ranked US airline.

Consumer aviation website Skytrax has released updated rankings of the best airlines in the world. For 2018, airlines from Asia and Europe such as Singapore, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa once again dominate the upper echelons of the list.

Airlines from those two continents have taken the top spot every year since 2001.

Unfortunately, North American airlines once against struggled to keep up with the pack. In fact, no airline from the US, Canada, and Mexico managed to crack the top 25. 

The highest ranked North American airline doesn't appear on the list until Air Canada in 30th place. 

"We are very pleased that Air Canada has again been recognized as the Best Airline in North America by the highly respected Skytrax World Airline Awards," Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said in a statement. "This is the seventh time in nine years Air Canada has been honored with this award, demonstrating our successful transformation into a leading global carrier."

No US airline cracked the top 35. Delta got the closest with a 37th place finish.

In fact, major players like United Airlines and Aeromexico both missed out on a top 10 finish in the Skytrax rankings for the best airlines in North America. 

The Skytrax rankings are based on the impressions of 20.36 million travelers from more than 100 different countries. The unpaid survey, which covered more than 335 airlines, measured 49 parameters ranging from boarding procedures to seat comfort to the quality of service.

Here are the 10 best airlines in North America, according to the results of the Skytrax survey:

SEE ALSO: 10 airports in America that passengers love flying into the most

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10. Hawaiian Airlines

Overall rank: 77

Why it's awesome: Hawaiian Airlines is a bit of a niche player as far as its position in the market goes. Even though it's among the most prominent airline brands in the US, it's dedicated to connecting the Hawaiian islands with the rest of the world. 

Hawaiian Airlines currently operates a fleet of new Airbus A321neo and Airbus A330 airliners. It's also phasing out its fleet of Boeing 767 airlines with new 787 Dreamliners on the way. 

See additional airline information at Skytrax.

9. American Airlines

Overall rank: 71

Why it's awesome: American Airlines is the world's largest airline. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier was formed following the 2015 merger of US Airways and American Airlines. 

American Airlines operates a fleet of around 950 mainline jets. 

See additional airline information at Skytrax.

8. Air Transat

Overall rank: 68

Why it's awesome:  Air Transat is a Montreal-based leisure airline. Founded in 1987, Air Transat's business is built around package vacation deals to 60 destinations across, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. 

For 2018, Air Transat was named World's Best Leisure Airline. 

See additional airline information at Skytrax.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

20 things we could do right now to prevent the wave of natural disasters, poverty, and pollution to come


A woman wades through a submerged street at the UNESCO heritage ancient town of Hoi An after typhoon Damrey hits Vietnam November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kham

  • An initiative called Project Drawdown is bringing researchers together to figure out the best ways to cool down the planet and prevent more damaging floods, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and starvation.
  • Chad Frischmann, vice president of the project, spoke about the group's plan at TED's New York offices.
  • The solutions he proposed all exist already, and many have to do with better management of our food systems — wasting less and reducing spoilage.

There's a lot of fear and uncertainty going around about the future of our planet.

Sea levels are rising, we could soon face a "Hothouse Earth" scenario, and severe flooding from torrential rains is expected to get worse. If the atmosphere keeps heating up, some towns could even be threatened by wayward icebergs.

But Chad Frischmann doesn't think things are so bleak.

He's vice president of an initiative called Project Drawdown: a group of scientists, researchers, and writers who've calculated how to cool the planet over the next 30 years by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The two-pronged plan is designed to both cut planet-warming emissions from fossil fuels and also suck more carbon dioxide into the ground, largely via photosynthesis. 

"Drawdown is a new way of thinking about and acting on global warming," Frischmann told an audience gathered at TED's New York conference stage last week. As he spoke, world leaders were gathered on the other side of Manhattan at the United Nations, debating the best ways to solve extreme poverty, disease, and malnutrition.

Frischmann said that solving those issues and tackling climate change are part of the same puzzle. He's convinced his drawdown plan can improve lives around world by feeding the hungry and educating young minds, all while reducing the Earth's temperature a bit for future generations.

He listed the top 20 ways that everyone — consumers, policy makers, food growers, and energy providers — could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Some of the solutions he proposed are already in use; these include universal education, family planning, sustainable refrigerants, better farming methods, and more wind power. 

"We have real, workable technology and practices that can achieve drawdown," Frischmann said. The problem is that the necessary changes to the ways we put food on the table and generate energy aren't happening fast enough.

"What we need is to accelerate the implementation," he said. 

A wish list for the planet

Chad Frischmann drawdown climate change

Below is Frischmann's ranking of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on how many gigatons (billions of tons) of carbon dioxide emissions each approach could be expected to cut over a 30-year period. 

The solutions are grouped into a few key topic areas, like energy sources, food, and education of women and girls.

For example, according to Project Drawdown's calculations, by adopting a more plant-rich diet and eating less beef, we could cut more than 66 gigatons (that's billions of tons) of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 30 years. Other solutions include changing the way we cool our offices and homes, using less fertilizer on crops, improving soil health, regrowing forests, and restoring carbon-sucking peat bogs.

The cost of implementing all the solutions in Project Drawdown is estimated to be $1 trillion a year over the next 30 years, according to Frischmann.

"I know that sounds like a lot," he said, but he reminded the crowd that global GDP is now above $80 trillion a year, so it would cost less than 1.25% of our annual purse to enact these potentially planet-saving strategies.

Here are the top 20 things on the Project Drawdown list:

top 20 things we can do to cool down planet chart

The number one way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to the list, is to change the way we keep food and buildings cool.

Currently, air conditioners and refrigerators run on hydrflurocarbons, also known as HFCs, which heat up the planet. HFCs will start being phased out in high-income countries in 2019 as part of the Kigali accord, but they'll still be used in other corners of the globe, where incomes are rising and more people are buying fridges and A/C units. Plus, we'll still have to make sure to properly dispose of all HFC-powered fridges and air conditioners; otherwise the refrigerant left inside could become a huge source of emissions.

[Read moreThe one thing a renowned climate scientist does to reduce her own impact on the environment]

But the number one solution to global warming may have nothing to do with energy

Eight of the other 20 items on the list have to do with the way our food system is set up, from how we till and fertilize land to what we consume. That 's something anyone can take action on right now, Frischmann said. 

"The decisions we make every day about the food we produce, purchase, and consume are perhaps the most important contributions every individual can make to reversing global warming," he said, adding, "we don't need to cut down forests for food production. The solutions to reversing global warming are the same solutions to food insecurity." 

But beyond food and farming, there's another powerful weapon that the Project Drawdown list doesn't fully highlight.

"Taken together, educating girls and family planning is the number one solution to reversing global warming," Frischmann said. 

Letting more girls continue their education, receive wanted contraception, and space out their youngsters as they’d like could cut around 120 billion tons of greenhouse gases that we'd otherwise emit over the next 30 years, according to Project Drawdown's calculations.

That's because better control of the population size would reduce demand for energy, food, travel, buildings, and all other resources on the planet.

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Kate Middleton is a whiskey fan and Cleopatra used to bathe in wine — here are the surprising favorite drinks of 10 popular royals


Prince William and Kate Middleton whiskey

Some of history's most powerful kings, queens, and members of royal families have been known for their unique drinking habits. 

While some, like Princess Diana, only sipped on Peach Bellinis from time to time, others, like Catherine II (later known to the world as Catherine the Great), became renowned for their surprising drinking abilities. 

Below, see the favorite drinks of 10 popular royals, from Kate Middleton to Cleopatra. 

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Kate Middleton: Jack Daniels

One of Kate's favorite drinks to sip is reportedly Jack Daniels, although it's a close call between the "Crack Baby," a mix of passion-fruit juice, vodka, and champagne that the couple was said to regularly drink at the nightclub Boujis.

Source: Telegraph

Princess Diana of Wales: Peach Bellini

Princess Diana was said to have been partial to a peach Bellini, enjoying them the night she famously snuck out while dressed as a man with Freddie Mercury.

Source: Daily Mail

Prince Charles: Laphroaig malt

The prince loves Laphroaig malt and even has a special Highgrove edition of the whiskey from Islay that he sells in his Gloucestershire estate shop.

Source: The Daily Meal

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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