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US stocks trade lower ahead of Fed speech following tepid labor-market data

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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is due to speak on Thursday.

US stocks edged lower on Thursday as investors grappled with a spike in interest rates and continued weakness in the high-growth technology sector.

Jobless claims rose to 745,000 for the week that ended on Saturday, a slight increase from the prior week's revised total of 736,000. The reading barely beat economic forecasts of 750,000 claims.

Investors are likely to look for any clues about how the Federal Reserve is thinking about the recent rise in interest rates when Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at The Wall Street Journal's Jobs Summit on Thursday afternoon.

Here's where US indexes stood after the 10:14 a.m. ET open on Thursday:

The billionaire investor Ron Baron told CNBC on Thursday that despite his long-term bullishness on Tesla, he had sold about 25% of his clients' stake in the electric-vehicle manufacturer after its position became too concentrated.

The weakness in technology stocks hasn't stopped Cathie Wood's Ark Invest from buying the dip in high-flying stocks. Ark's daily trading disclosures indicated that the firm bought millions of shares of Palantir on Wednesday amid the decline.

Going public in the US via a special-purpose acquisition company has reportedly caught the interest of Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce giant owned by Walmart.

Gabe Plotkin's Melvin Capital, which was at the center of the GameStop short-squeeze earlier this year, recouped some of its losses and gained 22% in February.

Oil prices were higher. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 1.68%, to $62.30 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, rose by 1.79%, to $65.23 per barrel.

Gold fell 0.23%, to $1,712 per ounce.

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13 reasons why an Amazon Prime membership is worth the $119 annual fee


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amazon prime $119
We think Amazon Prime is worth the money. Keep reading to find out why.

Asking the question "How much would you pay for Amazon Prime?" is kind of like asking how much would you pay to keep using Google. It's so fundamentally entrenched in our daily lives (more than 100 million people have access to Amazon Prime benefits in the US alone) that it has reached a ubiquitous status.  We are used to near-instant gratification, and, for many of us, it's hard to put a price on that convenience.

But that price did, unfortunately, rise in 2018. Amazon Prime memberships went up from $99 to $119 - an increase of 20%.

If you pay month to month, an Amazon Prime membership is $12.99 per month, and a Prime Student membership is $6.49 per month. For EBT and Medicaid holders, additional discounts bring the cost down to $5.99 per month. Overall, paying month to month for the average user will cost you about $37 more than the annual option over a year. 

Is Amazon Prime worth it at $119?

In short, yes. JPMorgan has estimated that your Amazon Prime membership is actually worth $785 annually.

For the $119 annual fee, Prime members get a ton of benefits (which definitely range in usefulness). Among them are free two-day shipping, free same-day shipping, and free two-hour delivery on eligible items (of which there are many), exclusive rewards and discounts, access to Prime Video, Prime Music, online photo storage, music and books, and over 20 other perks.

As a Prime member, you also get access to Prime Day discounts on everything from new TVs to Instant Pots to Amazon Echo devices. For those not familiar, Prime Day is Amazon's sitewide savings event exclusively for Prime members. Last year, it lasted for a whole 48 hours. 

Granted, you may not use every feature included in your annual membership, but the convenience alone is worth the cost.

If you're a student and/or have access to a university email, you can save 50% on the yearly fee with Prime Student. You can also share your Amazon Prime and most benefits with family members via Amazon Household, making your dollar stretch even further. Even if none of that applies to you, it's still generally a great investment. 

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Ultimately, most of us will pay a bit more for the perks we've come to rely upon without much grumbling. But, if you want a breakdown of the ways you're saving and potentially reassess the cost, check out our breakdown below. If you're unsure and haven't made the leap yet, check out a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime before deciding it's worth committing to. 

Here's a breakdown of why Amazon Prime is still a great value, even at $119 per year:

Shipping costs
free shipping

The annual price of $119 includes free two-day shipping on over 100 million items and free one-day shipping on more than 10 million items with no minimum purchase. Without Prime, you'll get free regular shipping if your order is over $25, but no two-day or one-day perk.

Two-day shipping (give or take a couple of bucks) typically costs about $10. If, as a Prime member, you place 11 orders of under $25 over the course of a year on Amazon (say, you need paper towels but not much else), the membership pays for itself. 

And while expedited shipping is an abnormal cost for most of us, it's a pricey one. However, Prime's free same-day shipping on over a million items in 8,000 cities when you spend over $35 can save you money, time, and convenience. 

On average, Amazon Prime members spend $1,400 US dollars on the platform every year. Non-Prime users spend a little less than half that ($600), but they may be picking up the tab elsewhere, like in the cost of gas to shop in-store, the higher price of items from big-box retailers, and shipping from other stores. 

Video streaming services
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One of the suspected reasons for the increase in annual fee last year was due to the amount of money Amazon planned to pour into its digital content, which is one of the best perks of the Prime membership. It's currently on pace to spend $7 billion on video and music content in 2019.

Prime Video lets you stream from a large library of movies and TV shows for free, including Amazon Originals content, and rent the latest releases for low prices. Prime members can also subscribe to over 100 channels (and only pay for the channels they want, which is great for saving money without losing convenience), including HBO, Showtime, and CBS All Access

Plus, it's probably only going to get better as streaming competition intensifies.

Unlimited photo storage and sharing, as well as 5 GB for videos and files
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Amazon Photos lets you save and share unlimited full-resolution photos across desktop, mobile, and tablet, as well as share unlimited photo storage with up to five people. If you're paying a few bucks every month to increase your iCloud storage just to make room for the photos on your phone, you can cut out that cost and use your membership to a fuller extent.

You'll also get five GB for videos and files. And Prime Photos comes pre-installed on Amazon devices, so you can also view your photos from your Fire TV and Echo Show. 

Sharing Prime benefits across an entire household at no additional cost
amazon household

If you're using it as a family, Amazon Household is one of the easiest ways to see the return on your Prime membership investment. Two adults and up to four teens and four child profiles may link in a 'Household,' allowing everyone in the family to enjoy Prime benefits (free shipping, Prime Video, Prime Photos and share content like ebooks, audiobooks, games, and apps) without paying extra. This alone makes Prime a good deal if you or your family members use any of the features even sparingly. 

Another benefit of linking accounts is that adults can approve orders before they're placed (for teens) and set parental controls on digital content (for kids). 

Prime exclusive rewards and discounts, like Prime Day deals, Lightning Deals, and a rewards credit card that gives you 5% cash back
amazon prime day

Your Prime membership also makes you eligible for lots of exclusive deals, which are the metaphorical cherry on top of the rest mentioned.

The most impactful is access to Prime Day deals, but you also get exclusive access to the following:

Early access to Lightning DealsPrime members get an extra 30 minutes to shop lightning deals (which typically last only for a few hours) before they're officially open. Just look for the "Prime Early Access" label as you shop the page. 

Discounts or rewards for choosing no-rush shipping at checkout: If you can wait a few extra days for your order to arrive, you can either earn rewards on future purchases or receive discounts immediately. Rewards are automatically added to your account once your free No-Rush order ships and they are automatically applied to qualifying orders as well. 

A rewards credit card with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees: Get 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. You can redeem your points on Amazon as well as for cash back, gift cards, and travel.

Added discounts and exclusive options in Prime Pantry: You can do a free 30-day trial, but Prime members can tack on $4.99 per month for access to thousands of household essentials, many of which are not available elsewhere on Amazon. Pantry-exclusive coupons save you even more money on these items. Find a review here.

The option to try clothes on at home before actually buying them

Prime Wardrobe lets you try on and purchase new styles at home. Choose three or more items across their many lines and try them on at home before deciding what to keep and pay for. You have seven days to choose, and you can just check out online once you've decided. From there, return your unwanted items for free using the resealable box and prepaid shipping label. 

If you don't frequently shop online this might not save you much money through your membership. But if you've ever gotten burned by a short return window and a busy schedule, the try-before-you-buy is a great feature to save money in the long term. 

Access to books, magazines, and comics
prime reading

Prime members get access to Prime Reading which means they can choose up to 10 titles at a time from more than 1,000 options as a perk of membership, and Amazon First Reads gives you access to one free Kindle book every month. 

And if you have kids and find yourself spending a lot on kids' books, movies, TV shows, or educational apps and games put-together, Prime members can pay $2.99 per month for a single child or $6.99 for a family of four kids for FreeTime Unlimited, which gives members unlimited access to thousands of options. Start a trial here before committing

Parents can set controls like time limits and content filters, and personalize the experiences of each child profile. It's available on Fire Tablets (books, videos, apps), Echo (audio), Kindle eReaders (books), and Android phones and tablets (books, videos). 

Free Prime Music streaming and discounted Amazon Music Unlimited
prime music

Prime Music is a benefit of your Prime Membership that features a growing selection of 2 million songs which you can listen to ad-free and on-demand. If you want to expand your options, Amazon Music Unlimited ($7.99 per month) has a larger library of tens of millions of songs and lets you download them for offline listening on any device. Depending on your own preference, Amazon Music Unlimited might be a better deal than popular choices like Spotify Premium ($9.99 per month). You can find a trial here to determine which one is better ultimately for you.

Save 50% on Prime with access to a university.edu email or as a qualifying customer with an EBT or Medicaid card

If you have access to a .edu email and haven't yet become a member with it, you can get a six-month trial of Prime Student at no-cost and then pay 50% less than other Prime users ($6.49 per month) after the trial ends for four years or until your indicated graduation date — whichever comes first.

Prime is also discounted ($5.99 per month) for qualifying customers with an EBT or Medicaid card

Free standard shipping and returns on Shopbop, East Dane, and Woot!
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Your shipping benefits are key, and they extend beyond Amazon.com. You can get free two-day shipping by signing into your Amazon account while shopping at Shopbop, East Dane, and the flash deals at Woot! as well.

Exclusive discounts on unlocked phones
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If you want an unlocked phone (and the greater freedom afforded by not being tied to one phone carrier), Amazon reserves low prices for LG, Moto, and Nokia phones for Prime members. 

Twitch Prime live video streaming and viewing
Twitch TV Amazon Prime Benefits

Twitch is primarily used to watch video gameplay. Prime members get free two-hour delivery, a free Twitch channel subscription (starting at $4.99 per month otherwise), pre-order price guarantee, a Prime-exclusive chat badge, and release date delivery. 

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Perhaps the biggest (and most valued) thing you will save with Prime is time. With free two-hour delivery on household items with Prime Now, free same-day shipping on over a million items, and consistent two-day shipping on everything else, you'll save time commuting, browsing, price-matching, and waiting in lines. 

And if you find yourself waiting in lines for new video game releases, you'll save even more with free release-date delivery on new video games, books, music, and movies if you can wait until 7 p.m. day-of for delivery.

In select cities, you can even enable Amazon Key in-home delivery, so you don't even need to be home to bring your packages indoors. It's a secure in-home delivery on millions of eligible items. It's possible with the Amazon Key Home Kit ($219.99), which can also be used normally to schedule home access for guests, friends, and family. Eligible shoppers can also get packages delivered to their garage or car when it's parked at a publicly accessible area.

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Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks will accept dogecoin for tickets and merchandise

Mark Cuban

In another sign that dogecoin may be moving beyong its roots as a meme token, the Dallas Mavericks are set to begin accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for tickets and merchandise.

Owner Mark Cuban told DealBook Monday that he and his basketball team decided on this, "because we can!" The billionaire entrepreneur added: "Sometimes in business, you have to do things that are fun." 

This isn't the first time the team is accepting cryptocurrency as payment. In May 2019, the team began accepting bitcoin "to offer the Dallas Mavs' global fans a seamless experience to purchase merchandise." Like bitcoin, dogecoin transactions will be done through BitPay, a cryptocurrency payment processor.

The legendary investor and Shark Tank host has taken an interest in dogecoin, often making his sentiments public through Twitter. Most recently, he tweeted about buying dogecoin to teach his son about investing.

Dogecoin, featuring a Shiba Inu as its mascot, was created as a joke in 2013, but has since entered the spotlight thanks in large part to the attention given by major players such as Elon Musk and Snoop Dog, among other celebrities. Musk in February sent the price of the cryptocurrency soaring 25% with just a one-word tweet.

Dogecoin also got a boost on Monday when bitcoin ATM company CoinFlip tweeted that fans of dogecoin can now buy the cryptocurrency with cash at any of its 1,800 locations nationwide.

Despite the cryptocurrency's volatility, dogecoin has had a steady climb in the recent months. It is up 825.24% year-to-date. The valuation briefly hovered around a market valuation of $10 billion, making it more valuable than a number of well-known companies.

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Deliveroo, the Amazon-backed food delivery service, has picked London as the venue for its blockbuster IPO

Deliveroo rider
Deliveroo was founded in 2013.

Deliveroo, the online food-delivery company backed by Amazon, confirmed plans to list in London for a float that sources anticipate could value the firm above $13.6 billion (£10 billion) 

The news comes a day after the government-backed Lord Hill review recommended significant changes to London's listing rules to help the city remain more competitive after Brexit, and attract more high-profile tech floats.

As it stands, companies looking to list on the more prestigious "premium" segment of the London Stock Exchange cannot go public with a dual-class share structure.

This kind of structure gives founders more voting rights and greater control after the company goes public, and is used by US-listed firms such as Facebook. Founder-CEOs say it allows them to take a longer view of strategy and retain more control of their businesses when making crucial decisions.

The Lord Hill review recommends changing the rules to enable this dual-class structure in this particular segment of the London Stock Exchange. For now, Deliveroo is eyeing a listing on the LSE's "standard" segment, which is less prestigious but does allow the dual-class share structure, doubtless banking on a formal change in the rules.

The expected overhaul has not yet been officially confirmed, however, and will need to be approved by the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority

Deliveroo was founded in 2013 by Will Shu, a former banking analyst, who hated the lack of options available when he had to eat at his desk.  Amazon backed the firm in 2019, and a subsequent round in 2020 valued the firm at $7 billion.

Shu said in a statement on Thursday: "Deliveroo was born in London. This is where I founded the company and delivered our first order. London is a great place to live, work, do business and eat. That's why I'm so proud and excited about a potential listing here."

The CEO's decision underlines the company's role in supporting its 47,000 employees based in the UK. When the pandemic hit in March, Deliveroo warned that the company might subside, as restaurants were forced to shut down. This led to more than 350 workers losing their jobs

When lockdowns encouraged consumers to navigate towards food delivery apps, however, Deliveroo experienced significant growth in which it says it became "operationally profitable" in 2020. 

Not everyone welcomes the pending influx of highly valued tech firms onto the public market, however. Professor John Colley, Associate Dean of Warwick Business School and an expert on tech firm IPOs, said: "This valuation of Deliveroo seems excessive for a business which is still many years from profit, especially given that some hold significant doubt whether the home takeaway delivery model can become profitable outside of London."

He added: "Indeed, the sole basis for this valuation appears to be the immense amounts of cash looking for growth technology stocks. Bear in mind the recent Supreme Court finding that Uber drivers are 'workers' and have certain rights such as paid holidays and pensions. This finding may well apply to takeaway home delivery too, driving up their costs."

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The best deals and sales happening on Amazon right now⁠⁠ - save on Levi's masks, Echo Show 5, and iPad Air


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Amazon Best Deals and Sales 2x1

Amazon's dynamic pricing strategy can make shopping tricky for the average consumer, but if you know where to look⁠ - and when to act fast⁠ - Prime members can save a ton of money.

We've gathered all the best discounts currently available on the retail giant. Below you'll find one-day sales via Amazon's Gold Box promotion, exclusive coupon codes, and, of course, dynamically-priced goods ranging from tech, fashion, gaming, and home goods.

Due to the unpredictable nature of online shopping, prices may change without warning.

For more ways to save, check out the best mattress sales, the best furniture discounts at Wayfair, and the best sales on household appliances.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Best deals on Amazon brand products

Amazon Fire Stick streaming device setup
Fire TV Stick Lite (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Show 5 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best Amazon tech deals 

iPad Air (4th Gen., 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)USB C Charger (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Fenix 6S (medium, Preferred: Amazon)700 Headphones (medium, Preferred: Amazon)CF390 Series 27-inch Curved Desktop Monitor (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Compact 10000mAh Power Bank with 18W PD (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Qi Wireless Charger and UV Sanitizer (medium, Preferred: Amazon)55-inch CX 4K Smart OLED TV (medium, Preferred: Amazon)2020 iPad Pro 12.9-inch, 256GB (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best Amazon home and kitchen deals

eufy boostiq 11s slim robot vacuum lifestyle
Star Wars Duo, 6-quart, Darth Vader (medium, Preferred: Amazon)S6 Pure Robot Vacuum and Mop (medium, Preferred: Amazon)BoostIQ RoboVac 11S (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best Amazon lifestyle deals 

Luna 2 (small, Preferred: Amazon)Bandana Print Reversible Face Mask 3-Pack (medium, Preferred: Amazon)QP220/80 OneBlade Replacement Blades (2-count) (small, Preferred: Amazon)Humidifier (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best Amazon gaming and entertainment deals

Ring Fit Adventure
Naga Pro Gaming Mouse (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Switch Pro Controller (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Wire Hider Cord Cover Raceway Kit (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MX Master 2S (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Product Card
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The 5 best bath towels we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
  • The best towel should absorb water quickly, feel pleasant, and hold up after frequent washes. 
  • The plush, 800-GSM Kassatex Atelier Bath Towel dries slowly, but it's very absorbent and soft. 
  • We also tested 12 towels of various textures and weights to find the best one for your preferences.

It's something you use every day and probably don't think twice about: your bath towel. But dry off with a thin and scratchy towel, and you'll definitely notice. When shopping for a new towel, always keep comfort and durability in mind. 

"A towel is a deeply personal decision," said Emily Forrest, the director of communications and resident towel expert at wedding registry site Zola. "The main factors to consider are size, material or type of cotton (Egyptian, Pima, and Supima cotton are all very fluffy), and also GSM [a measurement of the towel's weight], which will define how luxurious and also durable the towel is. Price and color are of course other factors to consider." 

For more on different materials and towel terms - including a deeper explanation of GSM - check out our FAQ slide

Since not everyone wants a heavy, plush towel, our final selection represents a variety of textures, weights, and budgets. To test the best towels, we evaluated the durability, feel, and absorption of each of the 12 contenders in this guide. Read more about our methodology here

Here are the best bath towels in 2021

The best towel overall
best bath towel 2021 Kassatex towels

Kassatex's Atelier Towels are the most dense and absorbent of all the towels we tried. They remain soft after several washes, and the hanging loops are a thoughtful touch. 

Pros: Soft, heavyweight, absorbent, durable, has a hanging loop, monogramming is available

Cons: Dries slowly, limited color selection 

This thick towel made me look forward to getting out of a long, hot shower, and that's not an easy feat. It's heavy and absorbent, with an 800 GSM (a measurement of a towel's weight), and takes a while to dry (about four to six hours in my experience) but it's all worth it if you want to wrap yourself in the equivalent of a comforting hug. 

Made from combed cotton, which is cotton that goes through an additional process that combs out shorter fibers and impurities, the towel feels soft and sumptuous. While other towels I tested tended to get rougher after multiple washes, the Kassatex towel remained as soft as it was at first use. Even though it wasn't as plush as a close contender from Frontgate, I loved Kassatex's towel the most because of its long-term softness potential. 

It has an attractive dobby border — the decorative weave above the edge of the towel — that's not too big or small. If you don't like to hang your towels on a bar, you have options: each towel has a sturdy sewn-in hanging loop. 

I tested the towel in the color Chalk, which was a little lighter in person than the photo on the brand's website indicated, so if you're choosing a specific shade to go with your bathroom style, keep this discrepancy in mind. The good news is that Kassatex offers 60-day free returns on non-monogrammed towels.

The best quick-dry towel
best bath towel 2021 lightweight Pottery Barn towel

The Hydrocotton Organic Bath Towel from Pottery Barn has a soft, extra fluffy, and substantial feel and it dries surprisingly quickly despite its weight. 

Pros: Fluffy, made from organic cotton, dries quickly, comes in many colors, monogramming is available

Cons: Loose threads may emerge after multiple washes 

I usually associate quick-drying towels with thin or textured construction, but this towel from Pottery Barn proves you can enjoy a fluffy, moderately thick feel without compromising drying ability. The towel is not so heavy and plush as the Kassatex, but it has enough weight to convince you it won't fall apart after a few uses. 

It retains its softness after multiple washes because it's made from 100% Turkish, GOTS-certified cotton and with untwisted yarns. Forrest said, "To make a towel, the yarns are twisted together, and the more the yarn is twisted the harder and less absorbent the towel becomes. But, if the towel is constructed with very little twist or with no twist, the outcome is a fluffier towel that will dry more efficiently because there is simply space between the yarn so each strand can dry."

That being said, I did notice a few loose threads emerge after I took it out of the dryer. We'll continue to do more washing and drying tests and monitor whether more threads come out. 

On average, the towel took between 3 and 3.5 hours to air dry. Our picks for best waffle towel and best Turkish towel below actually dried faster. However, we're designating the Pottery Barn our best quick-dry pick because it also has the traditionally soft and fluffy cotton terry feel that most people are looking for. Based on our testing, the towel was the most well-rounded quick-drying towel. 

The best waffle towel
best bath towel 2021 Onsen waffle towel

The Onsen Bath Towel is a lightweight and resilient waffle-weave option that absorbs water well but doesn't drag or hang heavy like other waffle towels. 

Pros: Light, dries quickly, comfortable texture, durable

Cons: Thinner and less soft than traditional towels

Fluffy, thick terry towels can sometimes feel stifling, especially if your body temperature naturally runs hot or you live in a warm climate. Onsen's bath towel is a great alternative because it's thin, light, and quick-drying, but still highly absorbent and comfortable. 

It's made from 100% Supima cotton, which is a fiber that's strong yet soft. Adding to the towel's durability is a relaxed waffle weave construction that seems to stretch and adapt to however you handle the towel. Though I could see the thin, individual fibers, I was impressed with how the towel never came out of the wash with frayed or loose threads. It also never snagged on my jewelry, which was a joyous revelation since I keep my earrings and nose ring on in the shower and they can catch even on terry towels. Meanwhile, the bonded 2-inch edges provide structure to the flexible fabric.

Though it has the measurements of an average-sized bath towel, it dries quickly and takes up much less space, making it a good travel towel. And unlike other waffle weave products we've tried, the Onsen towel doesn't shrink in the wash. 

The lattice texture can take some getting used to, but overall the material feels pleasant and springy. The towel also absorbed water off of my skin without clinging to it, a combination that's especially welcome in humid weather. 

The best towel on a budget
best bath towel 2021 budget JCPenney towel

The JCPenney Home Bath Towel is light and thin (but not too thin), and it's much softer than typical towels in this price range.

Pros: Soft, mid-weight, absorbent, frequently on sale 

Cons: Traps lint, may not hold up long term

I didn't have high expectations for an $8 towel (and it's usually even cheaper due to frequent sales) — I thought it'd be rough, threadbare, and mildew-prone. Instead, I found this popular towel from JCPenney was soft, comfortable, durable, and quick-drying. It's a good middle-of-the-spectrum option for thickness and absorption, and it won't cling to wet skin. It dries quickly, within a couple of hours.

The towel has a textured pattern, which helps make it feel more substantial. However, little specks of dust or lint get stuck easily in the nooks and crannies, and since my towel sample was a dark gray color, these random bits and pieces were noticeable. You may have to pat down your towel periodically. 

The long-term durability may be questionable; after the first wash, there were already a few loose threads, especially around the edges. Although the next few washes didn't result in more loose threads, I don't see the towel being one you hold on to for years and years. 

However, as a towel for frequent hosts, or those on a budget, this one is still your best bet thanks to its softness and absorbency. It's also Made in Green by Oeko Tex-certified, so it's been tested for harmful chemical substances and was created using sustainable processes, with responsible working conditions. 

The best Turkish towel
best bath towel 2021 Coyuchi turkish hammam towel

The Coyuchi Mediterranean Organic Towel is a lightweight, tightly woven towel made from organic Turkish cotton that not only looks great but also ticks all the boxes for comfort, absorption, and thoughtful production standards. 

Pros: Lightweight, absorbent, durable, stylish, sustainably made, doubles as beach towel

Cons: Thin, fringed edges can tangle or unravel 

Turkish (also known as Hammam or Fouta) towels are characterized by their traditional flat weave and knotted fringes. Coyuchi's Mediterranean towel is a thoughtful and beautiful interpretation, made from Turkish-grown and woven organic cotton and available in five coastal-inspired colors. Its fringes are soft, thick, and hand-knotted. 

While thin, the towel is tightly woven and sturdy. It's not soft or fluffy like a cotton terry towel, which means it can also double as an effective beach towel, since sand slides right off the woven surface.

Turkish towels aren't for everyone, but they dry quickly and are very lightweight and packable, making them ideal for vacations. I brought along this towel on many recent road trips, and it barely took up any space. 

The main con I discovered is that the fringed edges, though eye-catching, can get tangled in the wash or unravel. Compared to other towels, this one may require a little more maintenance to keep its decorative appearance. It also seems to bleach more easily than the other towels I tested; if I could go back, I'd probably choose the white color to hide any potential bleach stains. 

Coyuchi only uses GOTS-certified organic cotton, which certifies that every part of the supply chain is free of toxic chemicals and meets social standards for worker conditions. It also takes back products to be mended, cleaned, and resold, in order to reduce textile waste. Thanks to practices like this, the towel is sold at a premium price, but you'll know exactly what your money is going towards.  

What else we tested
what else we tested best bath towel 2021 riley brooklinen
Brooklinen's Ultralight Towel (left) and Riley's Spa Bath Towel (right)

What else we recommend and why 

Boll & Branch Plush Bath Towel: This towel has all the certifications that matter: Fair Trade, GOTS, and Oeko-Tex. It's on the more dense side at 700 GSM and comes in nine versatile, earthy colors. We also liked that it was quite fluffy for its weight. The only potential problem you may run into is loose threads after multiple washes and uses. 

Brooklinen Ultralight Bath Towel: These super light 320-GSM towels only come in a set of two and are made from 100% Turkish cotton. Consistent with our experience with Brooklinen's sheets, these towels delivered strong performance for great value. Unlike other thin and light towels, these are strong, durable, and very soft — a nice change from the usual scratchy, threadbare towels you'll encounter at the same GSM. 

Riley Spa Bath TowelThis 700-GSM towel is made with combed, long-staple cotton and has a hanging loop for convenient drying and storage. It can also be personalized for an extra $10. It's heavy, thick, and durable; however, it's pricier and less dense than the Kassatex, our top pick. 

Frontgate Resort Cotton Bath Towel: This towel is soft, thick, and plush, with a luxurious and almost spongy feel. It's absorbent and doesn't cling to the skin, and there are a ton of colors to choose from. After a few washes, it started to feel less fluffy, although it was still comfortable. The dobby border may be too big for some people's tastes. 

Sand Cloud Towel: I've used this durable Turkish-style towel for a couple of years now, and I love its versatility as a regular bath towel or beach towel. Its price and GSM are pretty close to Coyuchi's, it comes in various sizes, and it has a social initiative too, with 10% of profits going towards marine conservation efforts. Ultimately, Coyuchi's towel and fringed edges felt a bit more substantial, though.  

What we don't recommend and why 

Weezie Piped Edge Bath Towel: Weezie's towel is soft and fluffy, but it's expensive for what you get. However, it's a nice option for gifts or special occasions because Weezie offers a large variety of custom embroidery styles. 

Wamsutta Micro Cotton Bath Towel: Though the price and large color selection are tempting, these towels weren't that soft or comfortable. However, they are absorbent. 

testing Methodology best Bath Towels 2021

Here's how we tested the towels over a period of three months. Knowing that this is a fairly short amount of time, we'll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.

  1. Washed each towel three times and evaluated it for shrinkage, fraying, color loss, and roughness. 
  2. Dried my entire body after a shower. 
  3. Used each towel to wring out water from my wet hair (I have thick, medium-coarse hair).
  4. Timed how long each towel took to dry completely when hung normally on a towel bar. 
  5. Noted softness, fluffiness, thickness, and how the towel clung to or wicked water off damp skin. 
What we're testing next
what we're testing next best bath towel 2021 target

Room Essentials Everyday Bath TowelFor just $4, you can pick up this soft, mid-weight towel from Target. It's 100% cotton terry, with a woven trim and eight color options. 

Salt Quick Dry Bath TowelThis towel is a contender for either best budget or best quick-drying towel. It has zero-twist loops and looks to be highly absorbent. A potential concern that some reviewers point out is that it produces a lot of dryer lint. 


Towels FAQs
best bath Towels FAQs

What is GSM? 

GSM stands for grams per square meter and is a measure of towel density. The higher the GSM, the heavier and more absorbent the towel is, and the longer it will take to dry. "Typically, the higher the GSM (900 is considered very high), the more luxe and plush the towel. A lower GSM (300 would be pretty low) indicates a lighter weight and more quick-drying towel," said Emily Forrest, an expert on towels at the wedding registry site Zola. "A safe bet is a towel with a GSM that is between 400-600 for a towel that's not on either end of the sumptuous to thin spectrum."

Why do my towels smell? 

If a wet towel is left bunched up in the hamper or on the ground, mildew starts to grow, and no one likes a germy, musty-smelling towel. To avoid mildew, hang your towel right after use so it has the space and time to dry completely. If it still smells, wash it in a hot cycle with a cup of white vinegar, and then run it in a second wash cycle with half a cup of baking soda. Dry it in a machine or hang it up to line-dry. 

Why do my towels stain or become discolored? 

There are a couple of possible culprits for stains and discoloration:

  • Skincare products that contain benzoyl peroxide. People who regularly use benzoyl peroxide products may want to consider sticking to white or light-colored towels.
  • Using fabric softener or bleach in the washing machine. Even if you don't actively add bleach, leftover bleach in the dispenser can sometimes leak into the current load, so check that your dispenser is working properly. 

Bath sheets vs. bath towels 

The towels we test and review here are bath towels and typically measure around 28 to 31-inches wide and 54 to 58-inches long. Bath towels are designed to drape around your shoulders or wrap around your body comfortably, but if you find you want even more coverage, you'll want the much larger bath sheet. Bath sheets typically measure around 35 to 40-inches wide and 68 to 72-inches long. Keep in mind that the increase in size also means bath sheets are more expensive and take longer to dry than bath towels. 


Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. Short-staple cotton, on the other hand, has fiber ends that stick out and cause the towel to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant.

Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It's often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling, and look specifically for "long-staple cotton." 

Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.

Turkish cotton: Extra long-staple cotton that is grown in Turkey, usually in the Aegean region.

Combed cotton: Cotton that has been combed through to remove impurities and shorter fibers. The fibers left over are the longest, resulting in an ultra-soft yarn once woven. 

Ringspun cotton: While regular cotton fibers are twisted together into yarn and then woven, ringspun cotton is continuously twisted and thinned to make a smoother yarn. 

Zero twist cotton: Cotton made with yarns that are not twisted together and are instead held by a wrapping thread, which lets them be woven without breaking. The thread is removed after weaving and the final cotton is softer than twisted cotton. 

Microfiber: A thin, synthetic fiber usually made from polyester. It's gentle and highly absorbent. 

Dobby border: The decorative weave near the edge of a towel. 

Towel safety and standards

You may notice that some of our best picks have an Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it's not the only certification out there, it's widely used and known in the textile industry. Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification, used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing. 

Taking care of your towels

Wash your towels before you use them for the first time. Manufacturers often add finishes or softeners to the towel and this buildup can make the towel less effective and absorbent. 

"Go easy on the detergent," Forrest said. "Because too much can lead to residue buildup, which diminishes the fluff factor." 

Wash your towels frequently. "Think about when you dry yourself off with your towel — you are collecting oils and skin, and so you want to wash your towels every few uses. [That's also] why it's important to have a stocked linen closet," Forrest said.

Check out our other bathroom accessory guides
best shower liner 2021
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Jeep may nix the Cherokee name from its SUVs, parent CEO says

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L_3
Jeep introduced the Cherokee all the way back in 1975.
  • Jeep's parent company may drop the Cherokee name from its SUVs, The Wall Street Journal reports.  
  • The leader of the Cherokee Nation spoke out against Jeep's use of the name in February. 
  • Jeep has sold SUVs under Cherokee badging for more than 40 years. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The long-running Jeep Cherokee SUV may need to find a new name. 

Following criticism from the Cherokee Nation's leader, the top boss at Jeep's newly formed parent company, Stellantis, said the automaker is mulling the idea of dropping the Native American tribe's name from its vehicles. 

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told The Wall Street Journal that the company is in talks about the name with the Cherokee Nation. He indicated Stellantis is open to rebranding its SUVs. 

"We are ready to go to any point, up to the point where we decide with the appropriate people and with no intermediaries," Tavares told the outlet. "At this stage, I don't know if there is a real problem. But if there is one, well, of course, we will solve it."

Last month, Chief Principal of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin Jr. spoke out against Jeep's use of the tribe's name, as first reported by Car and Driver. Jeep has sold the Cherokee compact SUV in various forms since the mid-1970s, and it introduced the larger Grand Cherokee in 1992. 

"Our names were carefully selected by our ancestors before written history. This has been our proud name for a long time, I don't see a way to compromise on the subject of a corporation marketing on the Cherokee name," Hoskin previously told Insider. 

Jeep, for its part, says the name is meant to "honor and celebrate Native American people," a spokesperson told Insider. 

A spokesperson for Cherokee Nation did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

The news comes at a time when many corporations are reevaluating their use of native names and imagery. In July, the Washington Redskins decided to rebrand following years of backlash against their offensive team name. And in May, Land O'Lakes butter removed a depiction of a Native American woman from its packaging that was long criticized as a racist stereotype. 

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Chipotle executive compensation will be based on meeting diversity and environmental targets

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Chipotle Mexican Grill is seen at the Chipotle Next Kitchen in Manhattan, New York, U.S., June 28, 2018.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
The logo of Chipotle Mexican Grill is seen at the Chipotle Next Kitchen in Manhattan
  • Chipotle will compensate executives based on achieving diversity and environmental goals.
  • The company plans to increase local produce to 37 million pounds by the end of 2021.
  • Chipotle said it will promote more women and people of color to roles above restaurant-level.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Chipotle Mexican Grill will now compensate its executive officers based on achieving the company's diversity and environmental goals.

The chain restaurant said in an emailed statement to Insider that 10% of its executives' annual incentives will be based on meeting those targets. One of those goals is to increase local produce to 37 million pounds by the end of 2021 as Chipotle focuses on more farmer initiatives. Last year, the company sourced 31 million pounds of local produce.  

Chipotle also said that it will publish its carbon footprint by the end of this year instead of 2025. 

As part of meeting diversity goals, the restaurant chain said that it will promote more women and people of color to roles that are above the restaurant-level.

More chain restaurants and companies are setting wider diversity and inclusion goals to increase the number of women, workers of color, and underrepresented groups nationwide across its workforce. 

Last month, McDonald's said it will also link its executive compensation to the company's diversification goals as it vowed to publicly reveal the demographic data of its workers for the first time, Reuters reported. 

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski could lose 15% of his around $2.25 million annual bonus if he fails to hit diversity targets, according to Reuters. 

Starbucks will also track its annual inclusion and diversity goals as it plans to achieve BIPOC representation of at least 30% of its corporate roles and at least 40% of all retail and manufacturing roles by 2025.

In January, Apple said that its executives' 2021 bonuses will be based on meeting similar goals that will be measured by an "environmental, social, and governance modifier" that can affect up to 10% of payment. Verizon adopted this incentive program earlier on in 2014 when it began including specific details about linking compensation to diversity goals.

Last year, some companies such as Darden Restaurants and Wynn Resorts protected their executives' compensation during the pandemic by rewriting bonus plans and changing performance targets, according to Semler Brossy Consulting Group's investigation of 29 large US firms, reported by the Financial Times.

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What's really going on inside an insect-munching Venus flytrap

  • Venus flytraps mostly catch spiders, ants, and other critters that can't fly.
  • The trap is made of modified leaves containing three trigger hairs and when the hairs are brushed, it sends off an electrical signal. 
  • That signal sets off a countdown. If the prey escapes in under 30 seconds, nothing else happens. But if it brushes against another hair, the trap slams shut and the Venus flytrap will begin to digest the insect.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: When it comes to deadly predators, plants generally don't come to mind. After all, they're typically at the bottom of the food chain. But the Carolinas are home to one vicious vegetable: The Venus flytrap. 

Using its famous trap, it can catch prey faster than you can blink. But what happens next...inside a Venus flytrap? 

Funny thing about Venus flytraps: They don't usually trap flies. In fact, winged insects only make up 5% of their diet. 

Sorenson: We really ought to be calling it the Carolina spider trap. Because it's only found in a little piece of the Carolinas, and it mostly eats spiders and ants.

Narrator: But regardless of the species, that bug is going to have a bad day. It all starts when the victim wanders into the trap, possibly lured by the bright-red hue or fragrant scent. Or maybe they're just unlucky. 

Sorenson: We think the spiders mostly just blunder.

Narrator: That trap itself looks like an open mouth. It's made of two pads attached to a hinge. 

Sorenson: On each one of those pads there are usually three little trigger hairs in a triangle. And those trigger hairs are very, very sensitive to being disturbed.

Narrator: The first time the spider knocks into a hair, it sets off an electrical signal, sort of like the electrical currents in your brain. That signal starts the countdown. 

If the bug escapes within  20 to 30 seconds, nothing else happens. That way, the plant doesn't waste energy. But if the bug brushes against another hair... SNAP! In just 100 milliseconds - about four times faster than you can blink - the trap slams shut. 

Sorenson: The trap rapidly goes from convex to concave on each side, and the long little spikes on the rims of the pads interlock to form kind of a cage.

Narrator: Now, the spider isn't happy with this turn of events. So, it tries to escape, which is exactly what the plant wants.

The more the spider struggles, the more it knocks into the trigger hairs, the tighter the trap closes. And after an hour or two, the trap locks completely. Cells on the edges of the pads secrete moisture, which glues the edges together to form an airtight seal. Suddenly, that trap isn't a mouth anymore. 

It's a stomach. Digestive juices flood into the closed compartment, dissolving the spider's soft organs. And the trap's lining sucks up that nutrient-rich slushy.  

After about a week, all that's left is an empty husk - the spider's exoskeleton. Next, the trap opens and the husk tumbles out. The trap's now ready for its next meal. 

But bugs aren't the only food the trap captures. Just like leaves on other plants, the trap's surface contains a green pigment that lets it convert the sun's energy to sugar through a process called photosynthesis. So then, why bother with the bugs?

Well, Venus flytraps live in acidic, waterlogged soil that doesn't have many nutrients. So instead of slurping up nitrogen and phosphorus through its roots, it needs to borrow some from the bugs. That explains why it shares its home with other hungry carnivorous plants like pitcher plants and sundews. 

Which means one thing: North Carolina is not a fun place to be a bug. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in September 2019. 

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Cathie Wood's Ark ETFs added over 2.6 million shares of Palantir on Wednesday amid falling share prices

Cathie Wood
Cathie Wood is the CEO and chief investment officer of ARK Invest, which runs three of the highest-returning stock ETFs of the last three years.
  • Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF added 2.6 million shares of Palantir on Wednesday.
  • At Wednesday's closing price the shares were worth over $62.7 million.
  • The move continues a trend of buying the dip in big tech names for ETFs run by the famed fund manager.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW) picked up a combined 2,658,800 shares of Palantir on Wednesday amid falling share prices.

At Wednesday's closing price of $23.59, the shares were worth roughly $62.7 million.

The move made Palantir the 37th largest holding of the ARK Innovation ETF and the 20th largest holding of the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF.

Palantir's stock has slumped in recent week, after a lockup expiration and a surprise quarterly loss led to considerable insider profit taking at the big data firm. Share prices have fallen over 26% in the past month and a recent tech stock pullback hasn't helped.

The Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 ETF, which tracks tech names in the Nasdaq, has fallen nearly 10% since the beginning of February. Much of the move down was caused by a bond sell-off that rocked markets last week, something Cathie Wood said she was "very comfortable" with given her funds' long-term bias.

Wood has been using the recent tech rout to 'buy the dip' in many of her favorite names. The fund manager known as 'money tree' doubled down on her Tesla bet (1) (2) amid falling share prices at the EV maker, and now she's taking another bite at Palantir.

Wood's big Palantir buy follows a trend for the ARK Innovation ETF and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF which acquired a combined 6.8 million shares of Palantir in February.

Despite Palantir's recent slide, a number of analysts still believe in the company's prospects. Goldman Sachs analysts last month upgraded Palantir to a buy and placed a $34 price target on the firm after earnings.

Analysts, led by Christopher D. Merwin, CFA, argued Palantir now has a clear path to "sustainable growth" as the company continues to win contracts for their Foundry, Gotham, and Apollo software.

Palantir traded up 4.03% as of 11:27 a.m. ET on Thursday.

PLTR chart 4
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Italy has blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for Australia as the EU fails to secure supplies

  • The EU has blocked a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines bound for Australia.
  • Officials confirmed to Insider that Italy decided to block the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines made in the country.
  • Rome used EU powers introduced last month to limit the export of vaccines amid supply concerns.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Italy has blocked a shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which was bound for Australia, in the first use of emergency powers the EU introduced last month to limit the export of vaccines amid concerns about their supply.

European officials confirmed to Insider that Italy last week decided to block the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines made in the country in a bid to shore up the EU's own supplies of the vaccine.

Most European member states have struggled to launch effective vaccination campaigns and have fallen well behind the UK and the US in terms of vaccination rates.

Rome used powers introduced under the European Commission's newly introduced vaccine exports authorization mechanism.

Mario Draghi, Italy's new prime minister, has taken a tough line on Italy's vaccination efforts, asking fellow EU leaders last month why the bloc was not imposing stricter measures on vaccine exports, the Financial Times reported.

The European Commission introduced the controversial vaccine export mechanism last month amid a row with AstraZeneca and the UK government over vaccine supply shortages.

European officials appeared to suspect that the British-headquartered drugs firm may have been diverting some of its EU-made vaccine supplies to the UK, which it said would have represented a breach of contract.

Under the scheme, member states to block the export of domestically made vaccines that are bound for other counties.

The Commission had the right to veto Italy's decision if it disagreed with it but declined to, EU officials confirmed to Insider. The Financial Times reported that Italy notified Brussels of its decision last week.

The move risks significantly increasing already fraught global tensions around coronavirus vaccine supplies.

The International Chamber of Commerce last month warned that the EU's introduction of vaccine export controls could have "devastating implications" on the global supply of vaccines in a letter seen by Business Insider.

They said that any move to limit vaccine exports from the EU risked retaliatory measures from countries that could damage global vaccination efforts.

"As you will be aware, vaccine supply chains are inherently global in nature - indeed, some inputs required for approved COVID-19 vaccinations can only be sourced in a handful of countries," wrote John Denton, Secretary General of the ICC, in a letter to the Commission.

"In this context, our immediate fear is that the proposed EU export controls risk triggering retaliatory actions by third countries that could very rapidly erode essential supply chains.

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Tesla's valuation will hit $1 trillion in 2021 as demand soars in China, Wedbush says

FILE PHOTO: Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its factory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its factory in Shanghai
  • Tesla will be a $1 trillion company by the end of 2021, says Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. 
  • In a Thursday note the analyst said "eye popping demand" in China will drive Tesla's market cap higher. 
  • If Tesla's valuation hits $1 trillion, it would be the fifth-most-valuable US company based on current levels. 
  • Watch Tesla trade live here.

Tesla's market capitalization will soar to $1 trillion in 2021 as demand in China could grow to "eye popping" levels within the next two years, according to Wedbush's Dan Ives.

In a Thursday note the senior tech analyst highlighted that China is the "linchpin of growth" for the EV market and Tesla's flagship Giga 3 factory gives the electric-vehicle maker a "major competitive advantage" against other names.

"If China stays on its current path for Tesla, Musk & Co. could hit one million delivery units globally by 2022. This speaks to our thesis that Tesla will hit a trillion dollar market cap in 2021 despite this risk-off moment for EV stocks with the bears coming back to life after a long hibernation in their caves over the past year," Ives said. 

If Tesla's valuation hits $1 trillion, it would be the fifth-most-valuable US company based on current levels. 

After an incredible 740% gain in 2020, Tesla's stock price has lost 10% in 2021 and now sits at its lowest point in over two months. Recent complaints from Chinese government officials concerning battery fires, unexpected acceleration, and software update failures, have likely weighed on Tesla shares, as well as chip shortages across the auto supply chain.

Ives said the chip supply chain should be "normalized" in March, and the recent sell-off presents a "massive buying opportunity," as the world heads into the "golden age of EVs."

"While the stocks and the EV space is clearly going through a digestion period, we view this as a short-term pullback in a multi-year upward rally," said the analyst. 

Ives has a "neutral" rating for Tesla's stocks and a 2021 year-end price target of $950. The analyst has previously stated that the EV maker could deliver one million units by 2022 driven by demand from China. 

Shares of Tesla were trading at $653 a share as of 11:00 a.m ET Thursday. 

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Check to see if your BMI is in the 'obese' range, because you may be able to get an early COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus vaccine canada
A nurse is inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in Toronto, Canada, December 14, 2020.
  • Having obesity makes you eligible for an early COVID-19 vaccine in several states.
  • Evidence shows it can be a major risk for more severe viral infection and complications.
  • But weight stigma can sometimes make it difficult for people with obesity to access care. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As the US continues efforts to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, people with underlying health conditions are being moved to the front of the queue. 

In 15 states, obesity is currently one of those qualifying conditions. 

That's because having a body mass index (BMI) above 30, the cut-off line for obesity, is considered to be a risk factor for severe coronavirus complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Unlike other chronic conditions such as diabetes or cancer, obesity comes with a social stigma which can prompt poorer care, even from healthcare providers, according to Dr. W. Scott Butsch, director of obesity medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. The stigma can also cause people to delay medical treatment. 

In some cases, people with obesity might not even realize they can get an early vaccine. They may be aware their weight is a health risk, but don't know their exact BMI. 

"Many people come into my clinic and are surprised when we discuss the number," Butsch said. 

While BMI is an imperfect measure of health, over 40% of US adults have obesity. That's an estimated 78 million people, so it's worth checking your BMI to see if you qualify. 

How to know if your BMI grants you access to a vaccine

Your BMI is determined by body weight relative to height, and you can calculate it on the CDC website (or if you like math, take your weight in pounds, divide by your height in inches twice, and multiply that total by 703). 

A number between 25 and 29.9 is considered to be overweight, 30 and above is considered having obesity, and 40+ is categorized as having severe obesity. 

Obesity is a qualifying condition for vaccine eligibility in Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. 

You're eligible if you have severe obesity in Montana and Missouri.

People with obesity in addition to another underlying condition, like diabetes, qualify in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Other states may include obesity as a qualifying condition as vaccine rollouts continue. Availability is regularly changing state by state, and even county by county, so check your local guidelines. 

Obesity is a known risk factor for COVID-19 complications

Obesity is linked to more severe COVID-19 cases, as well as a higher risk of complications.  

A recent report from the World Obesity Federation found that 88% of coronavirus deaths have occurred in countries where a majority of the population has overweight or obesity. Countries with lower levels of obesity also had fewer COVID-19 deaths. While higher weight isn't directly implicated in those deaths, these data support prior links between obesity and the risk of severe COVID-19 infection. 

In April, researchers found that obesity was the most significant chronic risk factor for hospitalization among coronavirus patients. Evidence has also found that when a a person has obesity and COVID-19 simultaneously, a higher BMI means they're more likely to die from complications of the virus. 

Obesity is also more common among Black and Hispanic Americans, which data show tend to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19

With all the research suggesting people with obesity are high-risk, Butsch said it's surprising that more states aren't making it a priority for early vaccine access. 

"With the call to follow the science, I'm very curious if there's a small amount of hypocrisy when we don't follow the evidence in prioritizing people who have obesity in distributing the vaccine,"  he said. 

BMI is an imperfect measure of health

You might have a high BMI and be perfectly healthy. You may not even appear to have obesity.

"On an individual level, BMI may not be a perfect indicator of someone's health risk. It's one of several measurements that we have to assess health risks," Butsch said. 

That's because BMI doesn't take body composition into account.

Someone with a high amount of muscle mass could weigh enough to be categorized as having overweight or obesity even if they're metabolically healthy. The same is true for people who are especially tall. 

BMI also doesn't account for where people carry their weight. Not all body fat is created equal; research suggests that belly fat or visceral fat (around the organs) is linked to more health risks compared to fat around the hips and thighs, for example. 

Since BMI was first created in the 19th century and was based on what was typical for white Europeans at that time, it may not be accurate for assessing the health of different demographics, including people of different races. 

If you're high-risk, it's worth checking if you can get vaccinated now

Weight stigma may discourage people who could benefit from the vaccine from getting one. Butsch said people with obesity have likely encountered bias and judgement from medical providers, and feel frustrated with the healthcare system as a result. 

Fears about weight and body image might also prevent people from keeping tabs on their weight, particularly if it's recently changed, so they might not even know if they could access the vaccine. 

That's all the more reason to check on your BMI, and sign up for a vaccine if you're in the high-risk category.

"Many individuals who have obesity know that they're at increased risk and are much more likely to want to get the vaccine," Butsch said. "A lot of individuals are so concerned that they can't wait to get a vaccine."

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Okta drops after company gives weak guidance and announces $6.5 billion Auth0 acquisition

Okta Auth0 deal
Okta cofounders Frederic Kerrest and CEO Todd McKinnon (top L to R) on a video call signing the agreement to acquire Auth0 for $6.5 billion with its cofounders CEO Eugenio Pace and Matias Woloski (bottom L to R)
  • Okta fell by nearly 10% Thursday as the ID-authentication software company's outlook missed Wall Street's view. 
  • The company expects a first-quarter adjusted loss of $0.20 to $0.21 a share compared with the consensus of a loss of $0.07. 
  • Okta plans to buy rival Auth0 in a transaction valued at $6.5 billion. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Okta shares dropped nearly 10% Thursday following a quarterly outlook that missed Wall Street's estimate while the identity-authentication software maker said it plans to buy rival Auth0 in a $6.5 billion stock deal.

The company late Wednesday projected a first-quarter adjusted loss of $0.20 to $0.21 per share, which was wider than the consensus estimate of a per-share loss of $0.07. It also expects year-over-year growth in total revenue to $237 million to $239 million compared with Wall Street's view of $237 million.

Shares of Okta lost as much as 9.6% when it hit an intraday low of $218. The stock later pared the decline to 4.5%. Over the past 12 months, the shares have advanced about 79%.

The company's projection came within its fourth-quarter financial report and alongside a separate announcement about planning to buy Auth0. Okta said its guidance does not include any potential impact from the proposed Auth0 deal.

Okta said the pending deal will stoke growth in the $55 billion identity market. Auth0 will run as an independent business unit inside of Okta and both of its platforms will be supported and integrated over time.

The transaction "will accelerate our innovation, opening up new ways for our customers to leverage identity to meet their business needs," said Todd McKinnon, Okta's CEO and co-founder, in the statement.

For the fourth quarter, the company posted adjusted earnings of $0.06 a share, swinging from a loss of $0.01 a year ago. Revenue of $234.7 million increased from $167.3 million in the same period a year ago.

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Bitcoin will eventually be a global currency - and a $1 million price target within the next 10 years is 'very reasonable,' Kraken CEO says

GettyImages 1231424737

Bitcoin will eventually be the world's currency, because "you have to think it's going to infinity," Jesse Powell, the CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

He said that national currencies were "already showing extreme signs of weakness" and that people would soon start measuring the price of things in bitcoin.

"The true believers will tell you it's going all the way to the moon, to Mars, and eventually it'll be the world's currency," Powell said.

Kraken, based in San Francisco, is in talks to raise new funding that would double its valuation to over $10 billion, Bloomberg reported in late February.

The price of bitcoin fell on Thursday by 0.4%, to $50,175, but is up 70% year-to-date. The price slipped earlier this week after Gary Gensler, the nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, said at his confirmation hearing that making sure crypto markets are free of fraud and manipulation was a challenge. Gensler has been viewed as an advocate for cryptocurrencies, given his previous work and teachings on the subject at MIT.

"In the near term, people see it surpassing gold as a store of value, so I think $1 million as a price target within the next 10 years is very reasonable," Powell said of bitcoin.

Bitcoin believers expect it to replace fiat money, and the market capitalization of all national currencies combined could make up its worth, Powell said.

Read more: UBS: Buy these 14 back-to-normal stocks now before a 'sharp acceleration' in consumer spending in Q2 as vaccinations pick up

Read the original article on Business Insider

How much YouTube pays influencers for 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top creators

Natalie Barbu
YouTube star Natalie Barbu.
  • YouTube's Partner Program allows influencers to earn money off their channels by placing ads within videos. 
  • Google places these ads and pays a creator based on factors like a video's watch time, length, and viewer demographic.
  • Here's how much YouTube pays creators for a single video with 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top influencers.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.

This is the latest installment of Business Insider's YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.

How much money YouTube pays creators for a single video depends on a number of factors, but the number of views it gets is a big one.

Creators with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours are eligible to have their videos monetized with ads by joining YouTube's Partner Program. These ads are filtered by Google, and how much money a creator earns depends on the video's watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics - among other factors.

Some top creators have ad-placement strategies to maximize their earnings.

For instance, Andrei Jikh, a personal-finance influencer, told Insider that he earns more money by including midroll ads, which can run in videos lasting over 8 minutes. They can be skippable or non skippable, and creators can place them manually or have them automatically placed by YouTube.

There are also things creators can avoid to try and boost earnings.

Some videos that contain swearing or copyrighted music are flagged by YouTube and demonetized, earning hardly any money for the creator (or none at all). One of YouTube's biggest stars, David Dobrik, said in an interview that he earned about $2,000 a month from YouTube directly, despite his weekly videos gaining an average 10 million views. He earns most of his money through brand sponsorships instead, like his partnership with SeatGeek.

Here's how much money YouTube paid creators for a video with 100,000, 1 million, and 150 million views, according to top YouTube creators.

This article has been updated to reflect new YouTuber earnings. 

100,000 views - between $500 to $2,500 (5 creators)
Natalie Barbu
Natalie Barbu.

How much money a single YouTube video with 100,000 views makes from Google-placed ads depends on the content of the video and the audience who watches. But even some YouTube stars don't realize this.

Natalie Barbu started her YouTube channel while she was in high school about eight years ago.

She'd post videos about fashion and beauty as an after-school hobby, long before she knew she could be earning any money from the platform, she told Insider

Now she runs a channel with 292,000 subscribers and posts weekly videos about her day-to-day life experiences.

Barbu has more than 20 videos with over 100,000 views uploaded to her YouTube channel. On average, her videos earn between $200 and $500, she told Insider in February 2020. 

YouTube pays Barbu through direct deposit once a month. After she receives the money, she will save a portion for taxes and she has a separate bank account where she keeps her tax money.

We spoke to five YouTube creators — Natalie Barbu (lifestyle), Marko Zlatic (personal finance), Ruby Asabor (business), Erica Boucher (business), and Roberto Blake (tech) — who broke down what they generally earn from a video with around 100,000 views. 

When Asabor was first starting out, she thought everyone made the same rate.

But then she found out she was making more money from YouTube than a friend of hers who had more subscribers. Asabor realized that her finance- and business-related videos, which target an older audience, were more favorable to Google's advertisers. These advertisers pay more than others because there are fewer videos on YouTube that attract their target audience.

Read the full post: 

How much money a YouTube video with 100,000 views makes, according to 5 creators

1 million views - between $3,400 and $40,000 (6 creators)
Jade Darmawangsa
Jade Darmawangsa.

A video with 1 million YouTube views doesn't always make the same amount of money and can vary considerably depending on the creator.

Insider spoke with six YouTube influencers with very different channels — SemideCoco, Jade Darmawangsa, Marina Mogilko, Kevin David, Austen Alexander, and Shelby Church — on how much they earned from videos with over 1 million views (and below 1.5 million views).

These creators all said that enabling every ad option, which includes banner, preroll, and midroll ads, had helped with their earnings. 

Read the full post: 

How much money a YouTube video with 1 million views makes, according to 6 creators

150 million views - $97,000 (Paul Kousky)
Paul Kousky
Paul Kousky.

Paul Kousky films videos about Nerf guns for YouTube and has 14 million subscribers. 

He told Insider that he earns a majority of his revenue through ads on his YouTube channel, PDK Films.

Kousky's highest-earning video is one he posted in February 2018 titled "Nerf War: Tank Battle," which went viral worldwide six months later, he said. 

By the time the video had hit 150 million views (it continues to rack up views), he earned $97,000 in AdSense revenue, according to screenshots of his creator dashboard viewed by Insider in December 2019. 

When Kousky first uploaded the video, he said it had about 50% US viewers, which is his target demographic. After it went viral, the US audience dropped and was about 5% as of December.

On average, the view duration for this video was around four to five minutes. That put the video at about a 45% average watch time, which is considered high for YouTube. This is an important metric because a high view duration lets YouTube's automated algorithm know that a video is performing well, and that can help a video get picked up and recommended to viewers.

Read the full post here:

How much money a YouTube video with 150 million views makes, according to a top creator

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden supports making a temporary $3,000 payment to parents in stimulus bill permanent going forward

President Joe Biden.
  • Biden supports making a temporary boost to a tax credit for parents permanent, a Democratic aide says.
  • The stimulus legislation would provide up to $3,600 per child to households for one year.
  • Senate Democrats are making clear they want to make this permanent, and give families the option of monthly checks.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

President Joe Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday that he supports making the temporary beefed-up child tax credit that forms part of his stimulus plan permanent going forward, a Democratic aide briefed on the call told Insider.

The president delivered public remarks to House Democrats as part of a virtual caucus event and during a private portion of the event, he told Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington that he supports legislation to keep the expanded $3,000-per-child tax credit.

The aide spoke on condition on anonymity to share details of a private call. The Washington Post first reported the development. 

It's the first time Biden indicated he would back keeping the expanded child tax credit. It's only a one-year measure in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package recently passed by the House. The Senate is expected to start debate on the bill sometime Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday the president was open to the idea.

"The president is interested in exploring options for making the child tax credit permanent as part of the 'Build Back Better' agenda," Psaki said. "He's been heartened to see bipartisan support for ideas like this, including from Republicans like Sen. Romney."

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah rolled out a child benefit plan in early February that would also provide monthly checks to parents.

The relief legislation would dramatically revamp the child tax credit, a major Democratic priority. The emergency provision would provide $3,600 to parents with children ages 5 and under, and distribute $3,000 to those with kids between 6 and 17 years old.

Singles earning $75,000 and under would get a full check, along with couples making up to $150,000. Similar to stimulus checks, the payments start diminishing above those income thresholds.

Households could opt for recurring checks from the federal government instead of an annual lump sum at tax time. The House bill authorized "periodic" payments for the measure to clear procedural hurdles in the Senate.

Researchers at Columbia University project that the measure could cut the child poverty rate in half and lift millions of Black and Latino children out of poverty. That has provided a boost to Democrats pressing to make it a permanent part of the nation's social safety net.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, chair of the Senate Banking Committee, said on a press call Wednesday he was confident that every Democratic senator would back the push. "I can't imagine any Democratic senator wants to see the child poverty rate double in this country," he said.

The Democratic effort will likely spark debate on how to finance a new federal program later this year, and may trigger significant Republican opposition. The one-year expansion is estimated to cost more than $100 billion for one year, per the Joint Committee on Taxation, or above $1 trillion over a decade if it's permanent.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, assailed it as "an administrative nightmare" in a recent interview with Insider.

It has "nothing to do with the pandemic and it is something that's almost mechanically impossible to carry out because they want to send checks out," Grassley said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tech stocks' market leadership may be over and investors aren't 'bullish enough about the reopening', says Fundstrat's Tom Lee

Tom Lee
Thomas Lee Managing Director and Head of Research at Fundstrat
  • Fundstrat's Tom Lee says tech stock's market leadership is fading as energy, financials, and cyclicals takeover.
  • The Head of Research at Fundstrat argued investors aren't "bullish enough about the reopening."
  • Lee sees the reopening of the US economy post-pandemic as akin to a "post-war reconstruction period with government stimulus."
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Tech stocks' market leadership may be fading and investors aren't "bullish enough about the reopening," according to Fundstrat's Tom Lee.

Lee made an appearance on CNBC's "Fast Money" on Wednesday. In the interview, he said he sees tech stocks' market leadership fading as the post-pandemic reopening gets underway.

"I think tech's leadership, which was so astounding for the past decade, I think we're seeing a new leadership emerge," Lee said.

The managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors argued energy, financials, and cyclicals are leading the way now. And according to Lee, that means "a vigorous economic recovery is underway."

Lee argued that the leadership of cyclicals will hurt tech and growth focused stocks going forward as well.

"These cyclicals could turn into growth stocks which means traditional growth stocks aren't as shiny and interesting," he said.

Lee also expects a faster reopening than other observers, arguing "people aren't bullish enough about the reopening," although he noted that "nobody can say COVID has been vanquished."

Lee said although his reopening bullishness might be looked at as a "contrarian view" he sees the current era as a type of "post-war reconstruction period with government stimulus."

He added that is "extremely boomy for real investment spending which is the biggest multiplier to GDP."

Lee isn't alone in the crowded reopening trade, but his somewhat bearish view on tech stocks is a shift from the norm. Lee has been a fan of tech stocks, and in particular Big Tech, for some time.

The head of research at Fundstrat even called big tech companies "unkillable businesses" in an interview in June of last year. For now though, Lee recommends avoiding the names.

His view isn't shared by all, though. 

Analyst Dan Ives from Wedbush Securities said in a note to clients on Wednesday that he believes "tech stocks have another 25%+ upward move in the cards over the coming year led by FAANG, cloud, and cybersecurity names despite this risk-off moment on the Street."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Some Cuomo staffers are 'waking up to the fact that we were in a cult' amid sexual-harassment scandal, according to a new report

andrew cuomo staff derosa
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York.
  • As scandals engulf Andrew Cuomo, more former staffers are opening up about his management style.
  • "We're all kind of waking up to the fact that we were in a cult," one told Gothamist/WNYC.
  • They described Cuomo's penchant for micromanagement and peculiar tastes as dominating the workplace.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Long the subject of hush-hush anecdotes and off-the-record tales, details of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's management style are emerging as scandals rock his administration.

"We're all kind of waking up to the fact that we were in a cult," a former staffer told Gothamist/WNYC in a report published Thursday.

Another described Cuomo as "a micromanager to the 100th degree," adding, "One of the worst I've ever seen."

In the past few weeks, three women have recounted instances of the governor making inquiries about their sex lives and, in two cases, kissing or attempting to kiss them. (Cuomo has denied that he did.) More accounts have since emerged of Cuomo's intense workplace atmosphere.

Cuomo's relationship with the state Legislature has also soured, with several Democratic lawmakers telling Insider they're open to impeaching him if he won't resign.

Speaking anonymously to protect against retribution from the governor and his allies in New York politics, former employees described to Gothamist/WNYC the governor's peculiar tastes and propensity to erupt over seemingly minor flubs.

"One staffer described an incident in Buffalo in 2017, where an aide briefly left his side, and Cuomo walked out onto the stage before being formally introduced by the loudspeaker. Embarrassed, he'd retreated back into the wings, ripping into the young staffer," WNYC's Gwynne Hogan wrote. "Cuomo fired the man on the spot, another staffer described, though his bosses kept him on without the governor's knowledge."

Cuomo was said to demand that the temperature at his indoor events be between 67 and 71 degrees, with aides sometimes scrambling for an air-conditioning unit at the last minute, the report said. At speaking events, a pair of fans can often be spotted behind him.

How staffers dressed when the governor was in the building - either the Capitol in Albany or Cuomo's New York City field office - was of the utmost importance, the aides said: For women, high heels, and for men, spotless dress shoes.

"I knew by looking cute, and not being obstinate or opinionated, and doing what I was told and looking polished," a former staffer said, adding, "That is the only way I would survive there."

Another former aide said that they were abruptly flown back from a vacation so they could finish a task for the governor, adding that a "go bag" was just as much of a necessity as a BlackBerry was in the Cuomo administration.

Working in such an intense environment took a toll, one former aide told Gothamist/WNYC.

The aide said that after another woman in Cuomo's office told her that the governor "likes blondes," the woman added, "You gotta wear heels when he's in Albany sweetie, that's the rule."

"I hate the fact that I viewed it as a professional, personal failure that I couldn't survive because of how f---ed up and mean and nasty everyone was," the aide recalled. "Power was the number one goal. It wasn't really about making things right or making things better for New Yorkers."

A spokesman for Cuomo, Rich Azzopardi, pushed back on the reporting, including a detail that women in the New York City office were described as "mean girls," calling it a "sexist and offensive" characterization.

"Yes, they have seen him get impatient with partisan politics and disingenuous attacks," Azzopardi told Gothamist/WNYC. "We have a top-tier team and the Governor is direct with people if their work is subpar because the people of New York deserve nothing short of excellence from us."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Social media posts and online ads claiming to sell COVID-19 vaccines are lying. Here's how to protect yourself from getting scammed.

vaccine vials
Vials of undiluted Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to administer to staff and residents at a senior living community in Falls Church, Virginia, on December 30, 2020.
  • Fraudulent vaccines and other coronavirus treatments have cropped up worldwide since the start of the pandemic.
  • On Wednesday, a shipment of fake vaccines was intercepted in South Africa.
  • The FDA has issued guidance to consumers to protect themselves from COVID-19-related scams.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Fake coronavirus vaccines have cropped up around the world, from a major ring in China to a 55-year-old man in the Pacific Northwest. The FDA has issued warnings about false coronavirus tests and counterfeit vaccines as people globally scramble to get their shots. 

Here's what you need to know to protect yourself, and a rundown of some of the major vaccine scams.

Beware of any online ads or social media posts selling vaccines - they're scams

Interpol warned that there are not any approved vaccines for sale on the internet after it recently learned of a scam in which at least 2,400 fake vaccine doses were shipped from China to South Africa by a smuggling ring, TIME reported Wednesday.

In January, the U.S. Justice Department issued a warrant for and arrested Johnny Stine, a 55-year-old Washington man purporting to be a biotech executive who sold fake vaccines for prices ranging from $400 to $1,000 and administered shots of an unknown substance. An undercover agent solicited a vaccination from Stine, providing proof of the fraudulent operation. The Justice Department press release stated that at least one of the people Stine purported to vaccinate was hospitalized with coronavirus after their injection. 

And in China, a scammer known as Kong sold vaccines that contained saline solution or mineral water. He and his operation created nearly 60,000 fraudulent doses, according to reporting from the BBC.

Social media provides a fertile ground for medical scams in general. ABC News reported that YouTube took down a video which stated that the pandemic was effectively over. And USA Today also reported that Facebook groups circulating false information about vaccines, including that the coronavirus shot causes infertility, have hundreds of thousands of members.

The FDA issued a warning urging people to "beware of fraudulent coronavirus tests, vaccines and treatments." Part of its monitoring of false coronavirus information involves flagging retailers who are selling misleading treatments for the virus. The agency posted pictures on Flickr of essential oils, teas, and other misleading products.

The FDA urges consumers to be cautious of buying treatments for coronavirus online, and warns that products not evaluated by the agency can be suspicious. 

"If it seems too good to be true," the agency warns consumers, "it probably is."

The FTC also urged people not to post photos of their vaccine cards on social media, saying that the private information makes users more vulnerable to hackers. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Audi poaches sales chief at Škoda: Stefan N. Quary moves from volume to premium brand in May for a top job

  • After working with Škoda electric vehicles such as the Citigo-e iV and Enyaq iV, Quary, a committed e-mobilist, will soon be working with Audi's Q4 e-tron & Co.
  • The manager's dense network of contacts in the aftermarket and service sectors should help with the e-offensive that Audi boss Markus Duesmann is planning.
  • Quary will also be responsible for German product marketing as part of Audi's team headed by Hildegard Wortmann, the Audi board member responsible for sales - a task that will rapidly grow in importance by 2030.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

VW's premium brand Audi has a top personnel deal coming up in early May: Stefan Nikolaus Quary will move to Ingolstadt as Head of Sales Germany. Business Insider learned this from circles within the Wolfsburg-based VW Group. Since October 2015 and until the end of April, Quary has been in the service of Škoda Auto Deutschland in Weiterstadt, Hesse. In the nine-member management team of the national subsidiary, Quary is in charge of sales.

With Quary, Audi is bringing on board a manager who has been closely networked in the trade for years and is familiar with electromobility. From 2012 to 2015, as Chairman of the Board of Management, he had put many sales and service partners of the Braunschweig-based vehicle group Dürkop Automobile on course for expansion. At Škoda Auto Deutschland, Quary's responsibilities include the market launch of the all-electric Enyaq iV SUV. The electric vehicle, which is technically related to the ID.4 of the core VW Passenger Cars brand, is intended to make a significant contribution to achieving the EU fleet targets at VW's Czech volume brand Škoda.

Audi is planning a broad-based e-car offensive. In a recent interview with Business Insider, brand boss Markus Duesmann emphasized: "You can see that we are serious: about the Audi e-tron, the e-tron Sportback, the e-tron GT, or the Q4 e-tron," said the executive poached from BMW. "And we also have other product milestones ahead of us that will bring battery-electric driving to the mainstream. Really cool cars these are going to be. And we are very, very serious about it."

Quary will also reportedly be responsible for product marketing at VW's upscale Audi label, in addition to selling new cars in the key German market. In the team of Audi's sales and marketing director Hildegard Wortmann, pioneering work is likely to await Quary. With regard to the target number of pure electric vehicles with the four rings in the logo for the year 2030, Audi boss Duesmann said in an interview with Business Insider: "At the moment, we are assuming that there will definitely be 50 to 60 percent in Europe. Of course, no one knows exactly at the moment. It depends on individual customer decisions and local legislation. With 50 to 60 percent, and this is important, we can fulfill the Green Deal. Our product program definitely provides for that."

Equally, in any case, Quary can confidently represent the interests of Audi's home market when coordinating with non-German-speaking Audi national companies, even on the trickiest details. On the career network "LinkedIn," his profile reads: "Fluent in English. Business Insider has sent identical inquiries about Quary to Škoda and Audi; if the companies comment, we will forward the statements.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Big boom, bigger upheaval - that's why the Betterplace donation platform is now looking for million-donor backers itself

  • betterplace.org is the largest German platform for collecting donations. Now Betterplace itself is seeking millions in funding
  • In the pandemic year of 2020, the donations processed through Betterplace increased by 82 percent.
  • Betterplace needs to invest in the platform at the same time. The donation market is in the midst of change. Donors are becoming more demanding, and competition is increasing.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

The donation platform betterplace.org stands for a success story of digitalization in Germany. Now, however, Betterplace itself has to hustle to keep up with the rapid changes.

Almost 130 million euros in donations have been collected through Betterplace so far. But now Betterplace itself needs millions for investment.

"We are looking for a support round in the low single-digit millions," says betterplace.org CEO Björn Lampe in an interview with Business Insider.

Betterplace first made online fundraising in Germany hopeful and then big. The nonprofit company is number one in the digital donation market. But this market is in the midst of a whirlwind of major changes - and so is Betterplace.

Several forces are changing fundraising: donors' growing demands for simplicity, security, transparency, and control. There's the rapid transformation of digital payments, all money flows, and financial services. And there's the Corona pandemic, which is accelerating upheaval - and at the same time creating a donation boom.

Corona is causing a boom in fundraising through Betterplace

There's a groundswell of solidarity in the pandemic. Betterplace felt this twice last year. More than 11,000 projects were submitted to the platform. That was 47 percent more than in the previous year. And the donation volume for all projects on Betterplace even grew by 82 percent to 35 million euros.

Betterplace has to cope with the strong growth but also outgrow itself. At the same time. So Betterplace has to invest. To do so, the donation platform is now looking for donors itself.

"We need a new round of financing, although we prefer to talk about a round of supporters," says Lampe. Betterplace prefers individual large donors, whether private individuals or institutions. Yet it would stand to reason that the pioneer of crowdfunding would turn to the crowd itself. But Lampe rules out crowdfunding - let alone via his own platform. "We don't want to compete with the organizations and NGOs on our platform."

Betterplace is a good 13 years old. It was founded by enthusiasts who were convinced that it was possible to get more people to donate and to open up access to donations for more groups. Make the world a better place.

"When we started, there was a lot of attention, but at first there were few donations and few campaigns," Lampe recalls. That has changed. In May 2020, Betterplace was proud to report that it had brokered a total of more than 100 million euros in donations. After the record year of 2020, that figure has now risen to almost 130 million.

Much has changed since the start, including Betterplace itself, which is part of the nonprofit corporation gut.org . The latter tries to support organizations in fundraising and digitization. An important part of gut.org is the betterplace academy, which provides training and consulting for nonprofit organizations. Because, as Lampe puts it, "The third sector is still lagging far behind in digitization."

Corona forces many fundraisers into overdue digitization

If you want to understand why that is, you should look at donors in Germany. "Half of all donations come from people older than 60," Lampe tells us. "This is another reason why many organizations tend to target their communications at older donors. On channels where younger people are, many organizations are not represented at all."

The pressure has been growing for a long time. Corona has ramped it up. "Traditional fundraising channels have broken away," Lampe says, citing street collections or events as examples. For the first time, many organizations have been forced to do better online. "It's not even an exaggeration to talk about forced digitization."

Betterplace is also feeling the pressure.

"Betterplace can cover the current state of requirements well," says Lampe. "But we also want and need to take the next step, and for that we need money for investments."

So far, Betterplace has been financed by a mixture of fees, services, voluntary contributions and donations. The 2.5 percent that remains with Betterplace from each donation only covers the costs of the payment providers. Betterplace covers its own costs primarily through consulting and services for companies that want to handle their social responsibility through Betterplace - as well as from donations.

That was enough for many small steps over the years. But now it needs a big leap.

The goal, after all, is unchanged: Betterplace wants to help more people donate and that more organizations, groups or even individuals get access to donors for their projects. New target groups are important for Lampe. "We want to reach more people who have not donated before."

The data situation on the donation market is manageable. In February, the German Donation Council had published figures from a survey for 2020. According to this, private donations have increased by around five percent to 5.4 billion euros.

However, truly reliable figures are only available from the evaluation of income tax returns after a delay of several years and with gaps. Studies do show a high willingness to donate. But Lampe still sees more of a stagnation overall.

More donations from fewer donors

There are two opposing developments behind this. On the one hand, there are more large donations from individual wealthy people. Also, "the proportion of companies that donate is rising. On the other hand, however, "the proportion of people who donate is falling. Even among younger people.

These new, younger donors also have new needs: "The focus will continue to be on the fact that money can be donated easily and securely via Betterplace, and that it reliably reaches the initiators. In addition, however, it is becoming more and more important to be able to prove how exactly a donation has an effect.

The problem, he says, is not just reaching younger people on their platforms and through their channels: "For nonprofit organizations, too, the requirements for user-friendliness and transparency are growing. E-commerce groups like Amazon or Lieferando are setting the benchmarks here, too." Above all, transparency and communication about the use and impact of the money after a donation are becoming increasingly important: "Transparency means not only proving that a donation arrives, but also that and how it has an impact."

Betterplace also wants to develop in this direction: "We want to offer comprehensible reporting. Donations are always about trust. We can also prove this via the community or institutions. Seals can also play a role in this."

One thing is important to Lampe: If the generation of 18 to 30-year-olds donates less money, this does not mean that they are not committed. On the contrary. There is a high level of volunteerism in Germany - even among younger people. Behind many of the campaigns for which donations are solicited on Betterplace is the commitment of many young people.

Many rules for donations are no longer up to date

Betterplace also has to make greater efforts to reach its target groups because the competition is growing - for example, from FinTech companies. Large platforms such as Revolut would themselves make offers such as rounding up payment amounts to an organization chosen by the customer.

Can the state also help through smarter regulation? Lampe has ideas. "It would be good to harmonize the deductibility of donations and the issuing of donation receipts in the EU." New rules for cross-border donations are important, he said. "People travel more, work abroad, have more international contacts. Regulation should also follow this reality of life."

Other ideas, he said, include a purely digital handling of donation receipts, which are still sent as hard copies by mail. Lampe also calls for the rapid introduction of the planned non-profit register for more transparency.

Read the original article on Business Insider

'We don't want to be excluded': Polish hoteliers demonstrate in front of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister

  • Warmińsko-Mazurskie Province has been under the strictest epidemic restrictions in the country since Saturday, February 27.
  • Closed are, among others, hotels, which the Polish government "opened" two weeks earlier.
  • Entrepreneurs from Warmia and Mazury came to Warsaw to express their disapproval of the government's actions. Business Insider Polska accompanied them during the protest.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

"If nothing changes in March, layoffs will be necessary," warn representatives of the hotel industry from Warmia and Mazury, who came to Warsaw to demonstrate their opposition to restrictions on their ability to operate. They called the decision to close the entire province "absurd and unjust."

Since Saturday, February 27, the Warmian-Masurian voivodeship, as the only one in the country, has been under lockdown. Cinemas, swimming pools, and hotels are closed. The drama of the entrepreneurs is exacerbated by the fact that the closure took place practically overnight and only two weeks after opening. Hoteliers want to work normally and be able to earn money. During the protest in front of the Prime Minister's Office building, they pointed out that there are very different regions in the province in terms of the number of infections.

We want to work

"The situation is dire. The reopening and then closing of each hotel is a huge cost that we have to bear. We have a huge amount of food to distribute. Families don't know what to prepare for either. We want to bring attention to what is happening. We don't want to be excluded. Our county is in the middle of nowhere. It is ridiculous that we are compared with large centers," says Karolina, owner of a hotel in the Mazury region, who along with other hoteliers from Warmia and Mazury came to protest in front of the Prime Minister's Office.

The demonstration was organized under the slogan "We want to work, not protest". The group of protesters was not very large. It consisted of a dozen or so people. After the press conference, which was attended also by MPs from the Confederation, the protesters were written down by the police.

Aleksandra Nowak, director of Folwark Łękuk, said in an interview with Business Insider Polska that the entrepreneurs came to appeal for help.

"We do not want to drift alone. We want to be noticed because our region is a place with the lowest population density and the highest level of unemployment. Many people work in tourism. Our hotel is a year-round facility that supports about 30 employees. So far we have done everything we can. While we have been opened and closed many times, the ladies in the kitchen have even painted the rooms. This is not a protest at all. We came to say that we just want to work. Under the imposed sanitary regime. There were only two cases of the disease in the neighboring Olecko district. We ask for justice and help. We will adapt to any restrictions," she argued.

Confederation at the protest

One of the leaders of the Confederation, MP Krzysztof Bosak, pointed out that what entrepreneurs need most of all is the repeal of regulations that limit the freedom of doing business.

"We are against closing selected industries and depriving people of the right to work and earn their living. In the gastronomy industry, people stock up for a few days ahead. In my opinion, it is irrational to assume that entrepreneurs are sleeping on reserves of money. Today I read a statistic that one in five businesses is expected to go out of business. This does not surprise me. Takeovers of hotels by foreign companies have already begun. I don't understand why Mateusz Morawiecki's government chose these industries. Anyone who wants to take care of their health can sit at home. Someone who wants to take such a risk is simply responsible for his actions. Hotels are unofficially operating anyway because we have a lot of investments all over the country where people have to spend the night off-site. They have to settle in cash and we create in this way, as during the occupation, the second circulation of money. This is all due to the government's irrational policy," he said in an interview with Business Insider Polska.

Information two days before the weekend

Barbara, one of the participants of the picket, pointed out that the entrepreneurs do not want to fight with anyone, and they came only peacefully.

"We want to show that Warmia and Mazury is not as dangerous as it is presented. Our hotel works in the highest regime. Every door handle is disinfected, we ozonize the rooms. We follow the highest guidelines. We were surprised by the situation when two days before the weekend someone closes us. We want the zones to come back again. Some districts are under lockdown even though there is a very low level of disease in them," she said.

"Absurdity and injustice"

Krzysztof Przyłucki, the owner of Folwark Łękuk added that what is happening is "absurd and unfair".

"With today's restrictions, there are as many people in our hotel as in Warsaw in one bus. We have foggers, air purifiers, masks, we disinfect everything every two hours. There's no point in closing us down. It's 140 kilometers from us to Olsztyn. In our Gizycko district, the level of the disease is lower than the average in the country," he said.

Mr. Aleksander, as he admitted, came to Warsaw for his two daughters, who work in the hotel industry. He stressed that both of them live tourism, and another lockdown is a real tragedy for his family and neighbors. In his opinion, the government's decision to close hotels in Warmia and Mazury province is a mistake.

"We do not want to be on anyone's pot. We want to work. All hoteliers care about healthcare measures. There was no case of anyone complaining that he got infected in our hotel. If such a state of affairs is to continue, we ask for support. If this situation continues, it will be the end for us. For many months the hotel owners have been keeping their employees. If nothing changes in March, it will be necessary to make redundancies,"he openly admitted.

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Will a new dating app win the hearts of the young? It goes one step further than Tinder

  • Currently, the most popular dating app is Tinder.
  • However, Snack founder Kimberly Kaplan believes that the market leader can be dethroned by betting on video.
  • Snack has solutions inspired by TikTok and Instagram, among others.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

The dating apps of 2020 were a savior for many during the pandemic when it became necessary to limit outings, parties, and other face-to-face interactions. And while it seemed that this market was firmly bet on by a few players, a new app has just emerged that is poised to conquer the market, especially among younger audiences.

Currently, the most popular dating app is Tinder, with more than 50 million users worldwide, while Bumble, Match.com, and Plenty of Fish, among others, are trying to chase it. Basically, all of these platforms rely on profiles made up of photos and user descriptions. Tinder has added to this a trivially simple mechanism of swiping right and left to determine if we like someone, and then connecting people who like each other - they can message each other.

Snack, a new player in the dating app market. It uses ideas known from TikTok and Instagram

Snack, founded by Kimberly Kaplan, wants to stir up the dating app market. The company describes its project as "TikTok meets dating." As Tech Crunch describes, Kaplan, who was a manager at the aforementioned Plenty of Fish, noticed an interesting behavior in dating apps - many people, especially young people, were "pairing up" on Tinder or Bumble, but would immediately move on with the conversation to Snapchat or Instagram, where they could view each other's stories and have casual conversations, rather than using the chat built into the dating app.

That's why Snack is a video-centric dating app - users have to record a short video in the app and upload it to their profile. In turn, other users can browse through subsequent videos in an Instagram-like feed, instead of - as in Tinder - swiping left or right to see the next profile. Users can like a given video, and if two people like each other's videos, a message exchange appears for them.

See also: How did Tinder become popular? Here are the tricks that the app developers have gone for

Thus, Snack combines several trends that people know and like in other social media - Instagram-like feed and short videos, like from Snapchat or TikTok. The company, by the way, is expected to introduce TikTok-like video editing capabilities. Currently, the application is only available on iOS (Apple), but an Android version is on its way.

Although the app is still in the early stages of development and doesn't have geographic filters, for example, it raised $3.5 million in its latest funding round, with funds from Kindred Ventures and Coelius Capital leading the way.

Kaplan's plan for monetizing the app is similar to other dating platforms - paid premium profiles and possibly ads. As Kaplan tells Tech Crunch, Snack's biggest challenge is competing with the big players with capital. But the entrepreneur is confident that someone will eventually come along and take Tinder's place as a market leader - and that it will be a video-focused app.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mox CEO highlights their good expectations for 2021 and assures that their specific solutions allow them to be 'the first 360° logistics operator in the market'


This is an automated machine translation of an article published by Business Insider in a different language. Machine translations can generate errors or inaccuracies; we will continue the work to improve these translations. You can find the original version here.

The Andalusian logistics startup Mox is giving a lot to talk about in recent months, both for the expansion of its business model beyond the last mile segment, in which it began operating in 2016 and to which it has been adding new segments, and for the multiple recognitions it has recently received.

In mid-January, Mox was recognized as Best Logistics Startup of 2020 at the XXX edition of the Spanish Logistics Center (CEL) Awards, which highlighted "its technology and solutions for the last mile that enhance the relationship with the delivery person through technological developments, reducing turnover and increasing loyalty, as well as improving the retail-restaurant relationship through in-app advertising, boosting engagement and order recurrence."

29 startups in which Martin Varsavsky, founder of Jazztel, has his money invested right now: from Ample to Verse

In addition, coinciding with this award, the startup has begun to develop its activity within the Lanzadera accelerator, promoted by the founder of Mercadona, Juan Roig. Gregorio López, CEO and founder of Mox, assures Business Insider España that his company is "the only startup in the Scale Up phase" within the accelerator. "We are very proud that an institution like this, and with what it represents, bets on us".

Regarding the CEL award, López emphasizes that this recognition "is a source of pride because it is an assessment of a lot of work for more than 5 years by the whole team that has made it possible for Mox to be what it is today" and affirms that 2021 "has started off on a very good foot and we have a very good forecast for the short and medium-term".

Mox, from logistics startup to tech startup

Specifically, the Mox CEO points out that this year they are focused on "working their tech" thanks to the recent purchase of Supertech, a technology company specializing in the digitization of retailers whose acquisition closed last December. "This has allowed us to launch Supermox and, in turn, we are focused on our new logistics warehouses and on growing hand in hand with e-commerce giants to do the last mile for them," he says.

The development of Supermox, focused on technology for e-commerce with clients such as Sánchez Romero supermarkets or Estrella Galicia, is in addition to other business segments of the Mox Group, such as Logistic Mile, dedicated to parcel and courier services, or DriverJobs! "These solutions make us the first 360° logistics operator in the market," says Lopez.

In his opinion, "the lack of tech, qualified personnel or logistics solutions are shortcomings that we find in the day-to-day work of our customers and that are a real headache for them". For this reason, he believes that his customers particularly appreciate the fact that he solves this problem: "For them, it is a relief and, for us, a new business opportunity".

In fact, in recent months, Mox is facing broadening its horizons, as Gregorio López highlights. "For us, this 2020 and 2021 are representing a radical change because we are moving from being a logistics startup to a startup . tech". This change has an impact on the investment round in which they are immersed and he considers that "at the investment level it is something transcendental because we have a powerful tool that allows us to modulate adaptable logistics solutions".

In addition, the CEO of Mox points out that, among his objectives for this round "is always to improve our technology and our capillarity in the national territory", which are 2 of the values that he considers that the startup brings as a point of attraction for its customers, among which are included logistics companies such as Seur, Correos Express, GLS or Paack and companies from other sectors such as JustEat or the Dia Group.

Capillarity, experience, and an ethical contracting model

Therefore, López points out that the differential value provided by Mox "is a mix", within which he highlights firstly the capillarity, he emphasizes that they are "the last mile logistics operator with the largest presence nationwide and this gives a lot of confidence to customers because they know that in a matter of hours we can start offering them service in new cities".

Secondly, Gregorio López points out that their "ethical contracting model is an important point", assuring that it is an important key for their customers since he believes that "brands are increasingly taking these aspects into account when working with partners and, among our top objectives, the welfare and good conditions of our staff are always among them".

Finally, the CEO of Mox alludes to the experience that the startup has accumulated after 5 years of activity. "We have hundreds of thousands of orders delivered and we are perfect connoisseurs of the market and we advise our customers on the solutions they need", says Gregorio López, highlighting that 2020 and 2021 have brought them "many challenges, all exciting, and everything is being made possible thanks to the great team that makes up the Mox Group family".

This experience includes coping with the impact of the coronavirus, which López acknowledges "has meant a lot of work for us in all aspects, from adapting our day-to-day operations to the health and hygiene measures and the various local, regional and national restrictions, to the exponential increase in service requests from our customers who saw their logistics needs increase, as well as the new customers who urgently demanded our services".

However, Gregorio López assures that the experience during the hardest months of the pandemic shows that "the logistics sector has been able to be up to the task and that society internalizes and assimilates the important role we play".

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What Elon Musk's 42,000 Starlink satellites could do for - and to - planet Earth

  • Over the next few decades, Elon Musk is hoping to send 42,000 satellites to space.
  • He is hoping those satellites bring high-speed internet to every corner of the world— from the rainforest to Antarctica.
  • But experts worry that the number of satellites could have a major impact on our planet.
  • Their bright reflections are already blocking the views of astronomers looking for deadly asteroids. If enough of them become disabled, which is already happening, they could also block off space travel for decades.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

You're looking at 60 satellites hurtling into the sky. And over the next few decades, Elon Musk is hoping to send 42,000 of these satellites to space, 15 times the number of operational satellites in orbit today. It's part of Starlink, the expansive constellation from Musk and SpaceX that hopes to bring the world low-latency high-speed internet, promising no more buffering and nearly instantaneous internet in every corner of the world. But experts worry it may come at a hefty cost for space exploration.

Nearly half of the world's population does not have access to the internet, because most internet options require an extensive track of costly underground cables, leaving many rural locations offline. And while satellite internet can reach those areas...

Dave Mosher: Traditional satellite internet is provided by a bus-sized spacecraft that is launched 22,236 miles into space in orbit around Earth.

Narrator: That distance means the satellite can reach places that cables can't. But since that one satellite is meant to service a lot of people, its data capability is limited, which then limits connection speeds. And that signal has to travel a long way, creating a lot of lag. This is where Elon Musk and SpaceX come in.

Mosher: Starlink is a globe-encircling network of internet-beaming satellites that is trying to get you online no matter where you are in the world.

Narrator: And there's a rather persuading element for SpaceX as well.

Mosher: Elon Musk has said he's just trying to grab a small percentage of a trillion-dollar-a-year telecommunications industry around the world. If SpaceX can pull this off, the company could net about $30 to $50 billion a year.

Narrator: Musk and SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell say that much money could single-handedly fund the development of Starlink, Starship, and SpaceX's Mars-launch infrastructure. As of early October, SpaceX has launched more than 700 satellites into orbit, with a plan to release a total of 12,000 over the next five years, half of them by the end of 2024. And Musk wants to add another 30,000 to that, coming to a total of 42,000 satellites circling Earth. All of these satellites will also be much closer, anywhere from 200 to 400 miles above the planet in low-Earth orbit.

Mosher: This reduces the connection delay that is found with traditional internet satellite.

Narrator: Once in orbit, these Starlink satellites will be constantly on the move, which is why so many are necessary.

Mosher: The problem is you have to have many satellites orbiting to make up for the fact that you can't stay in one spot above the Earth. Because you need several satellites overhead at any one time to cover many users.

Narrator: Every satellite will connect with several others via laser beams, creating something like the network's backbone. And to actually bring this internet into your home, you'll need to get a pizza-sized antenna. This phased-array antenna can aim its beam at whatever satellite is overhead, which will maintain an internet signal in your home. But this scheme isn't without problems. Starlink satellites are bright. They reflect the sunlight and shine it back towards Earth, so they end up looking like bright moving stars. As cool as it may look, that comes with problems.

Mosher: Starlink satellites are most visible in the night sky right before dawn and right after dusk, which is the exact time that astronomers are hunting for near-Earth objects or asteroids, objects that could hit Earth and possibly harm us.

Narrator: And as more satellites go up, so does the likelihood that they'll interfere with astronomers' views. Mosher: If Starlink continues to be a problem for these type of sky surveys, we may not have as much notice as we want to detect a near-Earth object and thwart it and prevent it from hitting Earth.

Narrator: Beyond detecting deadly asteroids, the wall of satellites could also obstruct the search for new planets or even black holes.

Mosher: SpaceX realized it had to do something, and it did. It created what's called a DarkSat, which is a satellite that has all of its shiny parts coated in a very black, dark material.

Narrator: It also tried adding visors to shield those shiny parts from the ground. But unless the satellites are cloaked like a spaceship in "Star Trek," technology that does not exist, none of this will fully solve the problem. And even if it did, there is a much bigger issue at hand.

Mosher: There's a concern about space debris, because when you have so many satellites in the closest, tightest, densest orbits around Earth, there's a higher chance that those satellites could collide with each other or with other satellites.

Narrator: Those crashes would create clouds of debris that can orbit the Earth for years, decades, or even centuries.

Mosher: And that debris can then disable or cause other satellites to crash into each other, creating even more debris, and this problem spirals out of control in an effect called the Kessler syndrome. And if we reach that, then essentially space is too unsafe to access.

Narrator: To be clear, the risk of a runaway Kessler syndrome is very low.

Mosher: But the potential impacts of that are so high that scientists are working very hard to control such an event from ever happening.

Narrator: SpaceX has said its satellites can automatically move out of the way to avoid collisions. But dozens of SpaceX satellites are already disabled and can't move at all, posing a potential threat. And those concerned with SpaceX's plans are lobbying the FCC to rein in the company and more strictly regulate low-Earth orbit. And that could make it more expensive and harder to deploy the planned 42,000 satellites. But it doesn't stop at Starlink.

Amazon's Kuiper project, OneWeb, China's Hongyan, and other projects are looking to challenge SpaceX by launching their own global networks of hundreds or thousands of satellites. If they all got their way with little to no regulation, we could end up with 100,000 satellites encasing our planet within the next 10 years, dramatically increasing the risk of blocking off space for everyone.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in October 2020. 

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Trader Joe's rehired the employee who was fired after asking for increased COVID-19 protections

Trader Joe's.
Trader Joe's.
  • Trader Joe's rehired an employee who said he was fired after asking for more COVID-19 protections.
  • Bonnema's letter to the CEO was shared widely on Twitter and inspired a boycott.
  • Retail workers tasked with enforcing mask rules have risked dangerous confrontations in the last year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Trader Joe's on Wednesday rehired an employee who said he was fired in February after requesting increased COVID-19 safety protections in a letter to the company's CEO, The Daily Beast first reported.

Ben Bonnema's account of his firing from a New York City Trader Joe's store led to calls for a boycott of the grocer's more than 500 US locations. Scientists cited in Bonnema's letter also came to his defense as news of his firing made waves online. 

"It's been a stressful week since then, but it makes sense that they offered to reinstate because it was a completely unlawful termination," Bonnema told The Daily Beast Thursday following his reinstatement.

Trader Joe's did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In his letter to CEO Dan Bane, Bonnema outlined several changes he wanted the store to enact to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect workers, including increased ventilation and limited store capacity based on air quality. At the time, Trader Joe's told Insider Bonnema's account of his firing was "misinformation."

"Store leadership terminated this Crew Member's employment because of the disrespect he showed toward our customers," Trader Joe's said.

Bonnema shared his letter on Twitter in February, and it quickly went viral.

 "We put our lives on the line every day by showing up to work," Bonnema wrote. "Please, show up for us by adopting these policies." He said he was fired for the letter, and shared his termination letter on Twitter. The letter he posted said he did not share the grocery chain's core values.

"While we are pleased that Mr. Bonnema has been rightfully reinstated, we will continue to take all necessary legal action to repair his reputation that has been disparaged by the company through false accusations that my client engaged in misconduct," Bonnema's lawyer Ben Dictor told The Daily Beast. "We are also committed to ensuring that no essential workers of Trader Joe's face any further retaliation for raising concerns about their working conditions."

Now, Bonnema says that he is waiting to hear from OSHA about his concerns, and plans to be back at work on Monday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, US retail workers have been tasked with the job of enforcing piecemeal mask policies. Employees were left in the difficult position of not having official mask policies, or not being allowed to ask customers to mask up.

Some customers have refused to wear masks for political reasons, and some encounters have turned violent, with workers shot or assaulted for asking customers to wear masks. Of stores that did not let employees enforce mask rules, spokespeople cited concerns for employee safety. Despite being hailed as heroes, protections for retail employees remain weak in the US, and activists are urging governments and companies to do more.

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Capitol Police ask National Guard to stay at the Capitol for 2 more months

national guard US Capitol
Members of the National Guard outside the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 2021, in Washington, DC.
  • The Capitol Police asked the National Guard to stay at the Capitol for two more months.
  • The AP reported that the Pentagon is reviewing the proposal.
  • The Capitol complex is on high alert Thursday due to potential violence.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Capitol Police asked the National Guard to prolong its stay at the Capitol for two more months, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.

National Guard members have been deployed to the Capitol complex for additional security purposes since the deadly insurrection on January 6. About 25,000 members were stationed in the nation's capital for President Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. And around 5,000 members remain at the Capitol.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin previously said the troops are expected to leave the Capitol on March 12. 

The Pentagon is reviewing the proposal from the Capitol Police, AP reported. The Capitol Police press office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The request for extended security came as the Capitol complex was on high alert Thursday because of threats of violence in the city.

The Capitol Police said on Wednesday that it "obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday."

"We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers," the Capitol Police said.

Authorities have been informed that some followers of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory believe that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated as president on Thursday, March 4 - the original date that presidents were sworn into office. The 20th Amendment, adopted in 1933, shortened the "lame duck" period between the outgoing president and incoming one to January 20. 

The conspiracy theory is rooted in the false belief that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Federal and state election officials have all determined that no widespread voter fraud occurred in the 2020 race.

Believers in the QAnon conspiracy were among the Trump supporters who had stormed the Capitol on January 6. The violence left five people, including a Capitol Police officer, dead.

The House wrapped up its business earlier than expected this week due to the possible violence on Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that security decisions are not up to her, but that the troops should stay at the Capitol "as long as they are needed."

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Cathie Wood's flagship ETF has tumbled 25% in just 3 weeks amid a sharp tech sell-off

trader nyse worried chart
  • A correction in technology stocks has taken its toll on the performance of Cathie Wood's flagship fund.
  • The ARK Disruptive Innovation ETF has tumbled 25% in just three weeks as a spike in interest rates helped spark a rotation out of high-growth sectors like tech and into cyclical stocks.
  • The ETF continued its decline on Thursday, falling as much as 6% as top holdings Tesla and Square sold off.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Investors in Cathie Wood's Ark Invest ETFs have had a rough few weeks as a broad sell-off in technology stocks took a toll on performance.

Wood's flagship fund, the ARK Disruptive Innovation ETF, has fallen 25% since its record close on February 12, based on Thursday's low of $118. A bulk of the decline has been sparked by a rapid rise in interest rates and the subsequent rotation out of high-growth tech stocks and into more cyclical stocks in the energy and financials sector. 

The ARK ETF has no exposure to the energy sector, and just 4% exposure in the financials sector as of December 31.

The volatility in ARK has led to back-to-back record swings in both fund outflows and inflows.

The decline in the Ark's flagship ETF continued on Thursday, falling as much as 6% as its top holdings Tesla and Square saw declines that outpaced the broader market. Combined, the two holdings make up 16% of the fund, according to data from Bloomberg. 

Tesla fell as much as 5% after billionaire investor Ron Baron told CNBC that he sold nearly 2 million shares for clients as the position became too concentrated in his mutual funds. Meanwhile, Square dropped as much as 6% after the company said it acquired music-streaming service Tidal for nearly $300 million. 

But Wood is not concerned about the recent decline in her portfolio, evidenced by both the recent trading activity of the firm and recent comments she made about the market volatility.

Amid the tech decline, Ark has been selling more stable mega-cap tech names like Apple, Amazon and Alphabet, and has been using the proceeds to buy more shares in less profitable and more volatile stocks like Tesla and Palantir.

In a video posted to Ark's YouTube channel last week, Wood said she views the recent rotation out of technology stocks and into cyclical stocks as a broadening of the bull market, which is bullish for the long-term. If the market rally were to continue to be solely driven by a narrow rise in technology stocks, similar to what happened during the dot-com bubble, Wood would be more worried.

Whether investors will be able to hold on to Ark's ETFs amid the heightened volatility is the ultimate question, and fund flow data will provide the answer. Ark Invest has seen its assets under management balloon to more than $60 billion as of mid-February.

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Is it safe to stay in a hotel right now? An infectious disease doctor, a cleaning expert, and hotel reps all share what you should know before you check-in.


If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Travel Generic Graphics Hotel Key 4x3

  • Though vaccine rollouts have started, travelers continue to prioritize safety amidst the pandemic.
  • The risk for hotels depends on myriad factors, but experts and the CDC say private home rentals are safer.
  • Experts and an infectious disease doctor gave us guidance and tips for mitigating risks during hotel stays.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

For some travelers, there's nothing more desirable than the hotel experience, awash in luxury and service. But amidst the continuing pandemic, many are wondering how much risk they'd face if they booked a stay. Many hotel selling points, such as round-the-clock staff, are now potential liabilities.

By definition, hotels are gathering spaces, often crowded with both staff and other guests. They are places where many objects - from remote controls to furnishings - are shared and reused by visitor after visitor, sometimes with mere hours in between. If these facts never raised red flags for travelers in the past, they certainly do now at a time when social distancing and sanitizing are top of mind. 

To help break down whether hotels are safe to stay in right now, we reached out to several experts - including an infectious disease doctor, a cleaning company owner with a new coronavirus division, and representatives for the Four Seasons and Marriott Bonvoy hotel brands.

Here's what they said about how to know whether the property's common spaces and rooms are clean and safe, how to take extra precautions when you get there, under what conditions you could risk exposure if you do choose to book, and if they themselves would take on the risk. 

Additionally, if you are making upcoming plans, it's wise to also read up on the safety of flying, renting a car, and taking the train

And, if a hotel stay isn't quite right for you just yet, consider booking a vacation rental where you won't have to worry about interacting with other guests or staff.

Finally, it's important to remember that this is an evolving situation. As vaccines ramp up, it's crucial to continue to follow guidelines and advice set forth by organizations such as the CDC and WHO, and practice safety measures no matter where you go, including wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining social distancing.

Is it safe to stay in a hotel right now? What are the risks?

The novel coronavirus is known to spread primarily from direct contact with people. That makes hotels potentially suspect by their nature as places where people gather. These people are typically unknown to each other and from unknown backgrounds.

"The first thing that potentially opens up risk is running into other people that you have no idea what their infectious status is. We know now that there's a lot of people who get the coronavirus who have no symptoms at all, who could potentially transmit it," explains Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo, referring to the virus' now well-known ability to spread among asymptomatic people.

He adds, "And we also know that people could potentially transmit the virus perhaps as many as six days prior to developing symptoms. So just because people are feeling well and circulating in society doesn't mean that they couldn't potentially be infectious. Therefore you have to assume that anyone you encounter that you don't know could be potentially infectious."

GettyImages 1147337575

He points to potential problem areas such as hotel check-in desks, where people might gather. "When you are waiting in a line to check-in, you might interact with people taking your bags. I would wear a mask because during the check-in process, going in the elevator up to your room, or even the stairwell, it's possible that you might run into someone. The mask would afford a layer of protection."

In general, Dr. Russo recommends masks in addition to social distancing in environments such as hotels. "I'm a big fan of mask use because this magical six-foot zone is based on probability. The closer you are to someone, and the longer you're close to someone that's infectious, the more likely you are to get infected. But just because you may be seven or eight feet away doesn't mean you're absolutely risk-free. It just means the risk decreases."

The most recent health guidelines also suggest double masking for added protection now, so you may want to consider layering up. 

And if you imagine that you are sparing yourself risk exposure by traveling to a remote or rural hotel rather than a big city one, make sure to do your homework to confirm your suspicion, which may, or may not, be accurate. What really matters is "what the prevalence of infection is at that venue at that time. If you're in a small town with a bunch of meatpackers who are all infected - not so good."

What precautions should I take in hotels?

Dr. Russo explains that the virus is known to settle out of the air quickly, about one to three hours under experimental conditions, and perhaps much less in real-world scenarios. That means air quality is not likely to be a concern in a hotel if no other people are present in an environment, such as your room upon check-in.

That said, take note of areas of potential concern and do a disinfecting pass. These high-touch areas might include phones, TV remotes, door handles, bathroom faucets, toilet handles, and flat surfaces. "The flat bedside tables," Dr. Russo points out, "If someone was sick in the room and coughing, [those are among] flat surfaces it could settle onto."

John Marroni, owner and president of National Restoration, a disaster recovery company with a new dedicated coronavirus arm suggests seeking signs that your hotel's cleaning standards are up to par. "We work with a lot of hotels, and they should each have some kind of certificate that indicates the place has been disinfected, which is what we make sure to provide after we service them," he says.

He adds, "You can always tell if a hotel has been properly cleaned and disinfected by checking the bathrooms and seeing if the room is free of dust. You can also check the heating vents to make sure they are clean and free of dust and dirt. Those are the key areas to check first, which will be a major indicator of whether the hotel is clean and safe."

Marroni also suggests scanning for clues in the form of sanitizer dispensers. "Typically, with the modern cleaning policies now being put into place, the first thing you should see is a hand sanitizer dispenser right at the entrance to the building. That's what the CDC is on the verge of mandating with all the reopening policies the states will be issuing."

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As far as hotel common areas are concerned, Dr. Russo again underscores the highest risk is directly between people.

So in a hotel pool for instance, "other bodies is the main concern," Dr. Russo says. "If there are other people around, that's going to increase your risk. And when we swim, sometimes we aspirate a little water so we're going to cough. [The bigger concern is] the people and proximity in that scenario than [being] worried about the water getting contaminated, because it is a respiratory virus more than a fecal-oral virus in terms of spread."

Beyond that, he says, "Remember pools, theoretically, are chlorinated, and this is a wimpy virus. So that should be able to deactivate the virus."

When it comes to dining in a hotel, your best bet at this time is going to be room service, or ordering some kind of delivery from an outside establishment. "Once you get into the restaurant situation, then your risk is going to increase," Dr. Russo says. "I'm not really worried about menus or tablecloths. Those can be laundered and disinfected. But when the food shows up, you're going to have to take your mask off."

What are hotels doing to mitigate risk?

As you would expect, most major hotel chains have announced wide-reaching new cleaning policies made in combination with health experts. In addition to cleanliness, these policies focus on social-distancing opportunities and contact-free transactions.

For instance, Marriott Bonvoy hotels rolled out the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council in April 2020. Among its areas of focus are those high-touch surface areas, which now must be treated with hospital-grade disinfectants with greater frequency. Marriott is also offering disinfecting wipes in each room for guests' use. 

Marriott aims to reduce person-to-person contact in various ways such as using signage in lobbies to remind guests of social distancing protocols, and removing or re-arranging furniture to allow more space to do so. The company has installed hand-sanitizing stations throughout properties, and now, in more than 3,200 of Marriott's hotels, guests can opt to use their phones to check-in, access their rooms, make requests, and order room service to be delivered without contact.

"We want our guests to understand what we are doing today and planning for in the near future in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene, and social distancing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our hotels, they know our commitment to their health and safety is our priority," Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson said in a statement.

For its part, Four Seasons has worked with experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine International on its new Lead With Care program for cleanliness and safety. Included in the program is the promise that restaurants and bars may operate with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.

"In this environment, the notion of care has a whole new dimension, and travel must be grounded in trust. This enhanced health and safety program builds upon our already stringent procedures, equipping hotel teams with access to leading international specialists and real-time COVID-19 information," explained Christian Clerc, president of global operations. "By collaborating with Johns Hopkins, our employees and guests can trust that we are going above and beyond, making informed, expert-guided decisions when it comes to the implementation of health and safety measures at our properties around the world."

Like Marriott, Four Seasons also leverages technology for safety, by way of its Four Seasons app, "a powerful, intuitive platform that helps limit face-to-face interaction, but that does not lose Four Seasons signature service experience," says Clerc.

What should I ask the hotel about the cleaning history of my room?

While gloves are the subject of much discussion, Dr. Russo says that he would not necessarily need to know that the housekeeping team wore them to clean the room, only that they'd disinfected their hands.

"I think a better question might be, 'Does housekeeping routinely disinfect hands before they make the beds?' Hand disinfection is probably better than gloves because once the gloves become contaminated, it's hard to clean them until you get rid of them, unless you keep using glove after glove. Hands are disinfected more readily. I prefer the concept of doing more hand disinfection, but [asking your hotel] some kind of question along those lines would be a good one."

hotel cleaning

Marroni also suggests asking your hotel what cleaning products they are using. They should be using an approved EPA-registered disinfectant in their rooms and should be able to tell you that," he says. "Ask the front desk for their cleaning protocol. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at risk by staying there."

Let's consider the worst-case scenario, in which an infected person stayed in your room before you arrive, but the housekeeping crew did indeed clean and sanitize everything according to guidelines. If you enter the room within three hours of that guest's departure, would you escape risk?

"The answer is probably yes," Dr. Russo says. But, "that's not an ideal scenario." You'd be better off specifically requesting a room no one has stayed in for a day or two.

Would an infectious disease doctor stay in a hotel?

Dr. Russo estimates that staying in a private Airbnb is a safer option than booking a hotel room, given the likelihood of less direct person-to-person contact. And he weighed in on the risks of staying in them too, here. It's also worth noting that the CDC agrees with our experts and has put private home rentals in a lower risk category than hotel stays.

When asked whether or not he'd be willing to stay in a hotel himself during the pandemic, Dr. Russo opened up a broader question of risk tolerance and its potential for reward.

"The answer is, I think so," he said, answering the question as to whether or not he'd stay in a hotel. "And I think that my equalizer is a mask." 

But the conditions would have to reasonably merit a decision associated with accepting some risk. 

"If you don't interact with anyone, you're not going to get infected. But we can't carry on with life [in quarantine] forever, right?" he says. "If you're going to put yourself in situations where you're going to increase your risk, you should choose wisely. What are those activities that are most necessary and most important to you?"

When it comes to travel and hotel stays, these decisions will be highly individual, he says. "If it's a trip that is important and necessary, I feel relatively safe using the proper protective measures like wearing a mask, distancing, disinfecting, and hand hygiene."

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California, Hawaii, and Nevada saw the largest jumps in unemployment last year, government data shows

FILE PHOTO: An employee routinely sanitizes server trays at a reopened restaurant after restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are eased in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, U.S., June 8, 2020.  REUTERS/Emily Elconin/File Photo
Restaurants are reopening in Michigan.
  • Nevada, California, and Hawaii had the largest unemployment spikes in 2020, new BLS data shows.
  • Nebraska, Utah, and South Dakota saw their unemployment rates rise the least.
  • Employment-population ratios sank to all-time lows in 15 states including Illinois and Virginia.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The coronavirus sparked the worst unemployment crisis in nearly a century, but the damage differs significantly state by state, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The nationwide unemployment rate averaged 8.1% throughout 2020 as the pandemic fueled a massive leap in unemployment before giving way to a now-meandering recovery. Yet that overall figure fails to capture massive disparities at the state level.

For one, four states saw average annual unemployment rate above 10% last year. Nevada faced the bleakest downturn, with unemployment averaging 12.8% in 2020. Hawaii and California followed with averages of 11.6% and 10.1%, respectively.

New York - the epicenter of the nation's first COVID-19 outbreak - saw unemployment average 10% in 2020, according to the Wednesday report.

Conversely, some states' labor markets saw negligible upticks in unemployment. Nebraska fared the best, with its own rate of 4.2% nearly halving the nationwide figure. Close behind were South Dakota and Utah with average rates of 4.6% and 4.7%, respectively.

Gaps also emerged in states' employment-population ratios. The metric is a popular alternative measure of unemployment since it counts Americans who dropped out of the labor force.

The ratios fell to record-lows in 15 states, supporting fears that the economic fallout is among the worst ever seen in the US. Nevada, Hawaii, and Rhode Island suffered the biggest declines of the group. The national ratio fell to 56.8% from 60.8% last year.

Mississippi and West Virginia posted the lowest ratios of 50.6% and 50.3%, respectively. To be sure, the readings weren't the lowest in history for either state. Nebraska ended the year with the highest employment-population ratio of 66.7%.

Overall, 23 states boasted ratios higher than the national figure. Yet all 50 states and the District of Columbia saw their employment-population ratios decline from levels seen in 2019.

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How a top-secret Navy mission to find missing submarines stumbled upon the wreckage of the Titanic

The Titanic
The Titanic.
  • In 1982, the Navy sent oceanographic researcher and Navy Cmdr. Robert Ballard to find two submarines that sunk in the 1960s.
  • To hide Ballard's real purpose, it was billed as another search for Titanic, which Ballard long dreamt of finding.
  • After accomplishing the Navy's mission, Ballard used his time left at sea to locate the lost ocean liner.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The RMS Titanic was billed as "unsinkable." Many conflicting reasons have been proposed as to why but, nonetheless, they were proven wrong. When the RMS Titanic sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean, she took with her over 1,500 of her 2,224 estimated passengers and crew.

Countless expeditions were sent to go salvage the wreckage, but it wasn't until 1985 when it was "suddenly" located. For many years, there was a shroud of mystery surrounding exactly how it was found.

The truth was later declassified by the Department of the Navy. As it turns out, finding the Titanic was a complete accident on the part of US Navy Cmdr. Robert Ballard, who was searching for the wreckage of two Navy nuclear submarines.

Ballard had served as an intelligence officer in the Army Reserves before commissioning into the active duty Navy two years later. While there, he served as a liaison between the Office of Naval Research and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

He spent many years of his life dedicated to the field of oceanography. Even before enlisting, he had been working on his own submersible, called Alvin, with the Woods Hole Institute. He'd continue designing submersibles and technologies until he finished his famous craft, the Argo. The Argo was equipped with high-tech sonar and cameras and had a detachable robot called Jason.

The Titanic.

It was then that the US Navy secretly got in touch with Ballard about finding the USS Thresher and the USS Scorpion in 1982. Both nuclear submarines had mysteriously sank at some point in the 1960s, but the US government was never clear on what exactly happened.

The approximate locations of the submarines were known, but exactly how well the nuclear reactors were holding up after 20 years on the ocean's floor was a mystery. They sent Ballard and his team to go find out. To cover their tracks, they said they were embarking on a regular expedition to search for the lost Titanic (which, despite the outcome, wasn't the objective at the time).

The mission was to take four one-month-long expeditions - two months per lost submarine. Ballard asked if he'd ever get the chance to look for the Titanic while he was out there, a chance to fulfill his childhood dream. The Navy struck a bargain. They said that he could look for the sunken behemoth after he found the two subs, if time and funding permitted.

He received his funding and set off with the French research ship Le Suroit. Ballard kept most of the crew in the dark, opting instead to stick with his cover story of searching for the Titanic. He'd personally go down in a submersible and check on the status of each nuclear reactor and their warheads. He had a rough idea where to look, but he followed debris trails on the relatively smooth ocean floor to get to each destination.

The Titanic in Cobh Harbor, Ireland, April 11, 1912

Once he finished checking on the USS Scorpion and USS Thresher, he had 12 days remaining. Between the two wrecks was a large debris field that littered the ocean floor. This was far from where many experts claimed the Titanic would be.

Just like the two submarines, Ballard believed that the Titanic imploded, leaving behind a massive trail of debris as it drifted to its final resting place. He used what he learned from the submarines and applied the same theory to the Titanic.

First he found the ship's boiler, and then, eventually, the entirety of the hull.

He knew that his remaining time was short and a storm was quickly approaching, so he marked his exact location on the map and returned to the wreckage the following year. For a year, he didn't tell a soul, for fear of others showing up and trying to remove artifacts from the ship. He eventually returned on July 12, 1986, and made the first detailed study of the wreckage.

Ballard would later investigate the wreckages of the Bismarck, the RMS Lusitania, the USS Yorktown, John F. Kennedy's PT-109, and many more.

The story of the Titanic, of course, would later be turned into a film that won 11 Academy Awards - which conveniently left out the fact that the ship's wreckage was actually discovered due to a top-secret government operation.

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WATCH: How small businesses can master their taxes in 2021


Filing taxes might be a bit different for small business owners this year. Many were greatly impacted by months of mandatory closures, lost essential revenue, civil unrest, government loans and grants, and layoffs. 

To find out what all these things mean for your taxes, small business reporter Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins talked with tax expert panelists. They covered how the pandemic, PPP loans, and revenue losses could impact your filings. 

Meet our panelists: 

Robbin Caruso is a partner in the tax department and the co-leader of the National Tax Controversy group of Prager Metis.

Nicole Davis is the founder and principal of Butler-Davis, a tax and accounting firm located outside of Atlanta, GA. 

Rick Lazio is the senior vice president of alliantgroup and a former US representative.

Topics covered: 

At 1:57 we go over basics like who is considered a small business and what the tax filing deadlines are depending on your business license. 

At 14:16 panelists explain what business owners should know about PPP loans and other types of federal aid and how those can affect your taxes. 

At 23:09 we cover how government-mandated closures affect business taxes,  what to do if your business deferred payroll taxes in 2020, and what pandemic-related expenses businesses can claim. 

At 33:00 panelists explain new, existing, and updated tax credits and incentives, including the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and Research and Development (R&D) credits. 

And at 46:33 we go into a Q&A to respond to viewers' questions as well as hear a few more tips from our panelists. 

Watch the full webinar above. For more information on filing your taxes as a small business, check out additional coverage below. 

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SpongeBob SquarePants is back in a brand-new movie - here's how to watch the animated adventure on Paramount Plus


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spongebob movie sponge on the run
"The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run"
  • "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run" is now available on Paramount Plus.
  • The movie follows SpongeBob and the crew as they attempt to save Gary the Snail.
  • Paramount Plus costs $6 a month for the limited-commercial plan, or $10 a month for the ad-free plan. 
Plus Monthly Subscription (small)

More than two years after its originally scheduled premiere date, "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run" is now available to stream on Paramount Plus.

The film is an entirely 3D-animated adventure featuring your favorites from Bikini Bottom. It follows SpongeBob as he's set on a path to recover his lost pet Gary the Snail. After Gary goes missing in Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob - along with his starfish friend Patrick - discover that Gary is in the clutches of King Poseidon at the Lost City of Atlantic City.

Voice actors from the "SpongeBob" cartoon, like Tom Kenny, return to voice their iconic characters, while new stars, like actress and comedian Awkwafina, also join the cast.

The film was originally set to debut in theaters in February 2019, but the movie's US premiere was delayed several times due to the pandemic. The movie did end up playing in Canadian theaters in August 2020 and internationally through Netflix in November 2020.

The March 4 streaming premiere marks the first time "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run" is available in the US. Here's how you can watch it now on Paramount Plus.

How to watch 'The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run'

"The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run" is now available on Paramount Plus. To watch the film, you'll need a Paramount Plus limited-commercial or commercial-free plan.

The Paramount Plus limited-commercial plan currently costs $6 a month or $60 a year. The commercial-free plan is $10 a month or $100 per year. 

Starting in June, Paramount Plus will replace the current limited-commercial option with a cheaper plan for $5 a month. Unlike current options, however, the updated plan will not include live CBS streaming. 

The new "SpongeBob" movie premiered on Paramount Plus alongside a new "SpongeBob" prequel series, "Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years." The show follows a young SpongeBob and other Bikini Bottom favorites as they live life at a summer camp.

Outside of "SpongeBob," Paramount Plus boasts a catalog of over 2,500 movies and 30,000 TV episodes. New original shows are in the works, including a "Halo" series and an "iCarly" reboot. There's also live sports you can watch, including soccer and NFL games. 

Check out our full roundup of Paramount Plus original shows and movies here. You can learn more about Paramount Plus pricing and features in our Paramount Plus guide

Plus Monthly Subscription (small)
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Private jet firm Vista Global continues its rapid US growth with a new deal to acquire Apollo Jets

VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500
A VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500.
  • Vista Global is planning to acquire Apollo Jets in a deal announced Thursday. 
  • The acquisition will give Vista Global's XO access to Apollo Jet's roster of 4,000 clients.
  • Vista will also offer aircraft management services through air carrier Talon Air. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Vista Global on Thursday announced a deal to acquire private aviation firm Apollo Jets in the latest bid to grow its US market share.

The acquisition will give Vista around 4,000 Apollo Jets clients and a fleet of aircraft currently operated by Talon Air, an Apollo Jets company. Vista sees the opportunity to convert Apollo's customers into XO members and subscribers, paying extra for better rates and perks like complimentary aircraft upgrades. 

"The Apollo acquisition reinforces Vista Global's unrivaled commitment to providing every business aviation client with the best value flying solutions around the world," Thomas Flohr, Vista Global's founder and chairman, said in a statement. 

Growth by acquisition has been Dubai-based Vista Global's primary means of expansion in the US, starting with the purchase of XOJET in 2018 and continuing with JetSmarter in 2019. The two companies were merged under the Vista umbrella to create XO, solidifying Vista Global as one of the largest private aviation firms in the country.

In October, Vista also acquired Wisconsin-based Red Wing Aviation and its fleet of Cessna aircraft. The 15 light jets were incorporated into the XO fleet to provide customers with a more cost-effective option compared to the firm's larger Cessna Citation X and Bombardier Challenger super-midsize aircraft

XO offers five types of membership that range from no charge to $1,000 per month. A free membership still allows customers to book on-demand private charters but charges a $395 per flight booking service while a paid membership waives that fee and includes dynamic pricing. 

Apollo Jets, alternatively, does not operate on a membership-based model and the firm's charter brokers often receive a commission on the flight they book for customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw new travel trends better suited to larger operators like XO. Current Apollo clients will benefit, for example, from XO's fleet of "floating" aircraft, or planes that have no fixed base and can perform one-way flights for a fraction of the cost that traditional operators can offer. 

First-time flyers are also entering the industry at a record pace and premium operators like XO are positioning themselves to attract as many new clients as possible. Dynamic pricing and technologically-savvy operations were identified by industry experts interviewed by Insider as two key factors to excel in the new era. 

Seat-sharing flights are also offered by XO where flyers only pay for their seat instead of the entire aircraft to help bring costs down, as Insider found during a tour of a 16-seat Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft used for flights between White Plains, New York and Miami

Vista will now be able to offer aircraft management services through Talon Air. The Farmingdale, New York-based Part 135 carrier boasts heavy jets like the Gulfstream G550 and Challenger 604, as well as the largest fleet of super-midsize Beechcraft Hawker 4000 aircraft in the US, that XO clients will be able to book.

Talon Air's current aircraft owners and clients are confidential but the firm's roster boasts the likes of Lebron James and Martha Stewart

Vista expects the acquisition to be completed in the first quarter of 2021 and projects flight activity will grow by 20% following the deal. The completed deal will continue Vista's track record of at least one acquisition per year since 2018, which shows no signs of slowing. 

"I believe this is just the beginning of consolidation in our industry and Vista Global is leading this market transformation," Flohr said.

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Oil surges 5% following reports OPEC+ will extend production cuts through April

oil texas
Workers extract oil from wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas.
  • Oil prices surged by more than 5% after OPEC and its allies reportedly agreed to keep output levels steady. 
  • Saudi Arabia committed to sticking with a voluntary oil supply cut of 1 million barrels per day.
  • The supply decision by OPEC+ is "incredibly bullish" for the oil market, says one analyst.  
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Oil prices soared Thursday in the wake of reports that major oil producers have agreed to keep their supply cuts intact through next month.

OPEC and its allies had been discussing whether or not to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels a day of oil production. The group ultimately decided that it will leave output at current levels, according to a Bloomberg report

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, committed to extend its voluntary cut of 1 million barrels of oil per day. The oil market officials meet via video-conference. The discussion took place at a time when recovery in the oil market is still taking hold after a plunge in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prices for Brent crude, the international benchmark, jumped as much as 5.3% to an intraday high of $67.47, with the gain later trimmed to 4.7%.

The decision by OPEC+ was "incredibly bullish," and Saudi Arabia's decision "was shocking as it leaves them vulnerable to losing market share next month when the oil market is in deficit by a couple million barrels," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.

West Texas Intermediate oil futures also popped up as much as 5.3% to an intraday high of $64.51. The continuous contract was later up by 4.6%.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund climbed 3.8% and the United States Oil Fund, a popular oil ETF, moved up 6%.

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GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn says being called a 'Neanderthal' is actually a good thing after Biden criticized states for lifting mask mandates

Marsha Blackburn
Sen. Marsha Blackburn.
  • GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn defended Neanderthals after Biden called some states' decisions to lift mask mandates "Neanderthal thinking."
  • "Neanderthals are hunter-gatherers, they're protectors of their family, they are resilient, they're resourceful, they tend to their own," Blackburn said.
  • Lawmakers and members of the public mocked Blackburn by pointing out that Neanderthals are extinct.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee defended Neanderthals after President Joe Biden criticized Texas and Mississippi for lifting their mask mandates and called the decision "Neanderthal thinking."

"I hope everyone's realized by now these masks make a difference," Biden told reporters Wednesday. "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters."

In a Fox Business interview Thursday morning, Blackburn suggested it was actually a good thing to be called a Neanderthal.

"Neanderthals are hunter-gatherers, they're protectors of their family, they are resilient, they're resourceful, they tend to their own," the GOP senator said. "So, I think Joe Biden needs to rethink what he is saying."

Shortly after she made the comment, fellow lawmakers and members of the public mocked Blackburn and pointed out that her use of the present tense was incorrect given that Neanderthals are extinct.

The president on Wednesday emphasized that it was "critical" for officials to "follow the science."

"Wash your hands - hot water, do it frequently - wear a mask, and stay socially distanced," he told reporters. "I know you all know that. I wish to heck some of our elected officials knew it."

States across the country have begun easing their COVID-19 restrictions as the country continues to see a drop in new cases and hospitalizations. Biden also announced earlier this week that Johnson & Johnson is collaborating with rival pharmaceutical giant Merck to expand the production of J&J's vaccine.

As a result of the partnership, Biden said, the US is on track to have enough vaccine doses for every American adult by the end of May.

Biden added that he hoped the country would be back to normal "by this time next year." But he stressed that Americans need to "continue to be smart" about following COVID-19 guidelines.

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Blueland is a household cleaning startup that helps you reduce single-use plastic consumption - here's how the products perform


If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

blueland cleaning review 6

Clean Essentials Kit (small)Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

It's becoming easier to eliminate single-use plastic. When you go grocery shopping, use a nylon tote bag. Instead of buying plastic water bottles, use water filters at home and carry a reusable water bottle when you go out. To wash your hair and brush your teeth, use shampoo bars and mouthwash tablets

If you look hard enough, there are now ways to "de-plasticize" nearly every aspect of your life, including the laborious, expensive, and wasteful chore of cleaning your home. 

New startup Blueland is giving you both a cleaner home and a cleaner planet through a clever and cost-efficient system that involves dissolvable cleaning tablets, reusable bottles, and your own sink.

Durng an appearance on "Shark Tank," it successfully convinced investors how and why its non-toxic cleaning tablets and sustainable packaging would change the way people clean - and after trying it ourselves, we're converts, too. 

blueland cleaning review 4
Blueland's The Clean Essentials kit costs $39 and comes with three bottles, a soap dispenser, and cleansing tablets.

How Blueland works

Blueland's starter kit is called The Clean Essentials and costs $39. Blueland provides three sturdy bottles made from acrylic and all labeled for different uses: multi-surface, glass and mirror, and bathroom. It also includes a soap dispenser constructed with the same acrylic material. 

Then you have three cleaning tablets, one for each purpose we mentioned before. The tablets make 20 ounces of solution each while the soap tablet makes 9 ounces of solution. 

To make the cleaning solution, you fill the bottle up to the designated line with warm water, then drop the corresponding tablet in the bottle. Within seconds, it's ready to use, no shaking or stirring necessary. 

blueland cleaning review
The cleaning tablets are free of traditional disinfecting ingredients such as chlorine bleach, and come in packages that are compostable and biodegradable.

Review of Blueland

You can visit The Clean Essentials product page for a detailed ingredient list for each cleaner. The key highlights are that all the products are free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful to pregnant or nursing women and children, and anything on the Environmental Working Group's restricted list.

They're also free from traditional disinfecting ingredients such as chlorine bleach. All the ingredients are natural or naturally derived, so the cleaners are hypoallergenic, and they're pet-safe and cruelty-free. 

Such stringent requirements are a product partly of the times, as more shoppers demand natural alternatives to most things in life, and partly of cofounder Sarah Paiji Yoo's personal stake in the game. As a new mother, she became hyper-aware of all the products that came in contact with her baby, from microplastics contaminating water supplies to chemical-laden air pollutants like VOCs. Blueland is the carefully formulated result of such concerns. 

blueland cleaning review 3
To clean an area of your home, drop one of the tablets in a bottle with water, and just spray.

I tested the cleaners in my own home and found them to be effective and easy to use. Each one except for the glass and mirror cleaner is scented, but with none of the overpowering or harsh scents I've come to expect from household cleaners. 

My bathroom, in particular, is prone to dust and grime buildup, but the Blueland Bathroom Cleaner ($16) quickly and effectively removed stubborn (or what I thought were stubborn) stains in my tub and sink. Meanwhile, the Hand Soap ($16) foamed up well and made my hands feel soft with each wash. The Glass and Mirror Cleaner ($16) is probably the weakest product of the four products in the set - it left my mirror slightly streaky. 

Bathroom Starter Set (small)Hand Soap Starter Set (small)Glass + Mirror Starter Set (small)

If you prefer to try a single product first before committing to the whole set, you can get a Starter Set, which contains one tablet and one bottle for your chosen cleaner (bathroom, soap, and glass and mirror). 

The most obvious way Blueland is more environmentally friendly is the design of its cleaning products. Instead of throwing out a plastic bottle every time you're done with the cleaner, you can use your Blueland bottles over and over again. This system also takes advantage of the water you're already using in your home. In addition, every part of its packaging is recyclable, and the tablet wrappers are compostable and biodegradable. 

Ultimately, cleaning with Blueland saves more than the planet, making it a superior product all around. The tablet refills take up a fraction of the space in your cabinets of traditional cleaning products, and they're more affordable. Each refill costs only $2, while traditional competitors cost $3 to $5 for the same amount of cleaner. 

The bottom line

Blueland's cleaning products are innovative, sustainable, effective, and affordable. All these benefits make us question why all household cleaners - and many other types of consumer products - aren't made this way. You have little to sacrifice by trying Blueland, but much to gain. 

Clean Essentials Kit (small)
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Fed's Powell expects being 'patient' on signs of inflation increase

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks to reporters after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates in an emergency move designed to shield the world's largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus, during a news conference in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
  • The Fed expects it will "be patient" with policy as it waits for inflation to trend higher, Chair Powell said.
  • Treasury yields soared last week as investors bet on the Fed to tighten monetary policy sooner than expected.
  • Reopening stands to lift inflation, but Powell said the effect will likely be transitory.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday he expects the central bank will "be patient" in waiting for inflation to steadily trend above 2%.

Treasury yields ripped higher last week as investors viewed new stimulus and continued vaccination as opening the door for stronger price growth and, in turn, an earlier tightening of monetary conditions. The price action projected the Fed could lift interest rates as early as the second quarter of 2022, well before previous expectations for a rate hike coming after 2023.

The Fed chief's comments are the first to reaffirm that, despite the Treasury market's shift, the central bank is steadfast in maintaining its ultra-easy monetary policy. Economic reopening will likely lift prices, but only for a short while, Powell said.

"It is more likely that what happens in the next year or so is going to amount to prices moving up, but not staying up. And certainly not staying up to the point where they would move inflation expectations above 2%," Powell said in a videoconference hosted by The Wall Street Journal.

The Fed chief took a somewhat soft approach toward addressing the recent Treasury-market volatility. The sell-off was "notable," but yields are part of a "broad range of financial conditions" the Fed monitors, he said.

"I would be concerned by disorderly conditions in markets or persistent tightening that threatens the achievement of our goals," Powell added, stopping short of deeming the sell-off concerning.

The comments did little to ease the Treasury market. Yields rose soon after Powell's speech to one-week highs, taking steam out of the stock market's rebound.

'A lot of ground to cover'

The Fed has indicated it won't retract its policy stance until it makes "substantial further progress" toward above-2% inflation and maximum employment.

There's "good reason" to assume the economy will soon make headway on the two goals, Powell said. But it will still take "some time" to see movement that warrants a policy adjustment, he added.

There remains "a lot of ground to cover" for the Fed's employment target, specifically, Powell said. The unemployment rate is just one of several metrics tracked by the central bank, and Powell indicated that improved wage growth and labor-force participation are necessary for the Fed to pull back.

"Yes, 4% would be a nice unemployment rate, but it would take more than that to get to maximum employment," he said.

Data released this week suggests the labor market's recovery hasn't yet picked up after slowing through the winter. Weekly jobless claims rose slightly last week and hover at the same levels seen since the fall.

ADP's monthly employment report also disappointed. Private-payroll gains totaled 117,000 in February, according to the firm. That's well below the 200,000 payrolls expected by economists.


Read the original article on Business Insider

Unemployment benefits will expire in 10 days if Congress doesn't pass a stimulus bill. Here's what else could expire this month.

McConnell and Schumer collage 2
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
  • Unemployment benefits will expire on March 14 if Congress doesn't pass the stimulus bill before then.
  • Democrats are working quickly to pass it, but Republicans — saying they're worried about its size —want to slow it down.
  • Unemployment benefits, paid sick and family leave, small business aid, and rental aid are set to expire.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The clock is ticking for Congress to get the American Rescue Plan on President Joe Biden's desk by March 14 - the day Americans are set to lose their unemployment benefits. And now that the bill sits in the Senate, many Americans can't afford to see federal aid run out.

The $900 billion relief package Congress passed in December included $300 weekly unemployment benefits to be allocated to Americans through March 13, and Democrats are now calling for that benefit to be continued - as well as boosted to $400 per week - through the end of August.

On February 27, the House passed Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan and sent it to the Senate, where it now faces a vote-a-rama in which members of the Senate will vote on provisions within the plan. A $15 minimum wage increase - which progressives strongly supported - has already been cut from the bill, but Democrats are still pushing to get the plan passed as quickly as possible.

"Senate Democrats are working to quickly pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver urgent, bold COVID relief to Americans across the country," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Twitter on Wednesday. 

However, Republicans in the Senate who oppose the size of the president's stimulus plan have attempted to slow the process down. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin plans to have clerks read the 600-page bill aloud and said on Twitter on Wednesday that "it could take 10 hours but the American people deserve to know what's in it."

Here are the main issues up for debate this month:

In the stimulus bill

Unemployment benefits

Congress has 10 days to get the stimulus plan passed before unemployment benefits expire on March 14.

The bill the House sent to the Senate included an extension of $400 weekly benefits through the end of August. Although that would cut benefits off a month earlier than Biden had requested, without any form of extension, 11.4 million Americans are at risk of losing needed aid. 

According to a report from The Century Foundation, without a benefits extension 4 million people in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will see their benefits expire in mid-March, and another 7.3 million people will experience a lapse in benefits in the following month.

The Foundation also reported on February 2 that a delay in extending unemployment aid in December cost unemployed Americans $17 billion in January, stressing the need for a prompt extension this time around. 

Paid sick and family leave

A tax incentive for employers to offer paid sick and family leave will expire on March 31, and Biden's plan calls for emergency paid leave measures to be extended through the end of September with a maximum paid leave benefit of $1,400 per week.

"We need to make sure that workers who have Covid-19 symptoms are quarantined and those who need to take care of their family members with Covid-19 symptoms should be able to stay home from work and still get paid," Biden said at a news conference on January 14. "This will reduce the spread of the virus and make sure workers get the support they need to maintain their families." 

Not in the stimulus bill

Paycheck Protection Program

Although not included in Biden's stimulus bill, small business pandemic aid is also set to expire this month.

On February 22, the president amended the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure equitable access to relief, including the opening of a two-week period where the smallest businesses can apply for the program, along with eliminating certain restrictions that prevented businesses from receiving aid. 

However, funds distributed through the PPP are set to expire on March 31, so small businesses have less than a month before they will no longer be able to receive aid through it.

Despite the PPP's expiration, Biden's stimulus bill includes $50 billion in small business aid, including the addition of $7.25 billion to the PPP which could be used before the end of the month, along with $25 billion for restaurants. 

Federal moratorium on evictions

On his first day in office, Biden extended the federal moratorium on evictions through March 31. However, a further extension is not included in the stimulus bill, and a Housing and Urban Development administration official said on a February 25 press call that another extension is still under consideration and would be driven by public health considerations. 

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, one in five renters is behind on rent. Biden's plan does include $20 billion in emergency rental assistance to aid struggling renters. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

New Starz subscribers can stream shows like 'American Gods' and 'The White Princess' for only $5 a month


If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

the white princess on starz
"The White Princess" is a historical drama starring Jodie Comer, and a Starz exclusive.

  • First-time Starz subscribers can get six months for only $5 a month. 
  • The on-demand streaming service typically costs $9 a month, so the promotion saves new customers a total of $24 over the six-month period. 
Product Card (medium)

Want to start watching "American Gods?" There's never been a better time to start your Starz subscription. Right now, new subscribers can get their first six months for only $5 a month - saving you $4 each month. The deal, which will save you $24 during the span of the offer, has no specified end date. 

The subscription comes with unlimited HD streaming and offline downloads, plus families can watch on up to four screens at once with a single account. The streaming service is full of exclusive content, like the Sony films "Spider-Man" and "Jumanji: the Next Level," along with its own original series like "Outlander," "The White Princess," and "American Gods."

The offer is good for all viewers of movies and TV, no matter what platform you view on. You can stream Starz on any device with the app, making any smartphone, Roku, or Xbox into your new cable box. TV subscribers can also add Starz as an additional channel for the same price per month. You can check if your provider is Starz-compatible here

How to get the six-month Starz offer

  1. Go to this page and provide an email address to create your account.
  2. Enter your payment information.
  3. Choose a password to finish creating your account.

You can cancel anytime during the six months, and after the initial six-month period, Starz will cost $9 per month.

You can also sign up for the service and claim the promotion from a handful of platforms including the Apple App Store, Amazon Appstore, Amazon Channels, and Google Play Store; but the easiest way to get this deal is by signing up with a web browser

How to get a free Starz trial

If you don't want to spend anything, there are avenues to give Starz a try for free. 

Roku owners can sign up for a free 30-day trial when registering a new Roku device. Amazon Prime users can also get a seven-day trial free with their membership - but you won't be eligible for the $5 per month deal after redeeming either of these freebies.

If you're a Hulu subscriber, you can get a free seven-day trial by signing up here. This option automatically rolls over into the $5 per month rate for 6 months.

Read the original article on Business Insider

104 online courses you can take for free on Coursera, from resume writing to how to be happier


If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Coursera New Logo E Learning  4x3
  • Coursera has thousands of free online courses, many of them taught by Ivy League schools or companies like Google and IBM.
  • Learners can access course materials and forums, and there's a small fee for graded homework and certificates of completion. 
  • The courses span a range of topics, from public health to resume writing.

Whether you're interested in coding or being happier in your daily life, you can probably learn it online - and often, completely for free.

In an effort to democratize education, e-learning platforms like Coursera have thousands of courses that require $0 to access. Students can audit a course for free, which means they can access all the lectures, readings, and discussion forums in a Coursera course. If they want, they can opt to pay a fee (from $49 to a few hundred dollars, depending on the course) for features like graded homework or a certificate of completion. 

Taking free online courses can be a great option for those looking for an affordable alternative to traditional school, and can help learners developing new skills for a career switch or personal improvement. Many of Coursera's offerings are in partnership with top universities like Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, and the University of Michigan, as well as companies like Google and Amazon. They also cater to a range of demographics, from high schoolers and college students to adults. 

So if you're interested in taking an online course for free, there are tons of options through Coursera across categories like personal development, public health, computer science, arts and humanities, and more.

104 free Coursera courses:

Personal Development
Classes if you're stuck in your career 4x3
medical tools doctor hospital nurse injury aids STD doctor's office tylenol blood bandaid syringe, advil


Arts and Humanities
Online drawing classes 4x3
Computer Science
Computer Science Generic 4x3
Korean Language Learning IPhone 4x3
Physical Science, Astronomy, and Engineering
finance money bank banking banking credit score investment payment cash
Cloud and Tech
Math, Logic, and Data Science
12 free or cheap online courses to learn SQL 4x3
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Porsche launched a pair of $10,000 electric bikes to match its $91,000 Taycan Cross Turismo EV - see both

Porsche eBike SPORT_CROSS_Taycan Cross Turismo_rear carrier_on the road
Porsche eBikes.

Alongside Thursday's Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo EV launch, Porsche gave us two other electrified offerings: a pair of e-bikes that complement the car.

The first is the Porsche eBike Sport that's intended for the road. A Shimano EP8 motor propels you up to speeds of about 16 mph. The second is the Porsche eBike Cross, meant for rougher terrain. It also uses a Shimano motor and has big, heat-resistant brake discs and ergonomically designed handlebars.

The bikes will go on sale this spring. The eBike Sport will cost $10,700 and the eBike Cross will cost $8,549.

Keep reading to see more.

Porsche launched a pair of e-bikes - the Porsche eBike Sport and Porsche eBike Cross - alongside the new Taycan Cross Turismo EV.
Porsche eBike SPORT_Taycan Cross Turismo_rear carrier
Porsche eBikes.
It developed a special carrier for the car that has a payload of 110 pounds.
Porsche eBike SPORT_CROSS_Taycan Cross Turismo_rear carrier_on the road
Porsche eBikes.
The carrier fits two e-bikes and you can still open the trunk with it installed.
Porsche eBike SPORT_CROSS_mood urban
Porsche eBikes.
The first is the eBike Cross.
Porsche eBike CROSS_angle view front
Porsche eBike Cross.
It's the one meant for the countryside and rougher terrain.
Porsche eBike CROSS_angle view rear
Porsche eBike Cross.
It uses a motor from Shimano.
Porsche eBike CROSS_Shimano integrated battery
Porsche eBike Cross.
There's a Fox rear suspension system.
Porsche eBike CROSS_Fox rear suspension
Porsche eBike Cross.
The eBike Cross has a full-suspension carbon frame.
Porsche eBike CROSS_side view left
Porsche eBike Cross.
The handlebars were ergonomically designed.
Porsche eBike CROSS_cockpit
Porsche eBike Cross.
The Magura brakes have big, heat-resistant brake discs.
Porsche eBike CROSS_Magura brake
Porsche eBike Cross.
The Crankbrothers Highline seat is hydraulically adjustable.
Porsche eBike CROSS_top
Porsche eBike Cross.
The e-bike can also apparently change gear quickly thanks to its Shimano XT 12-fold mechanical shifting system.
Porsche eBike CROSS_rear derailleur
Porsche eBike Cross.
This is the power button.
Porsche eBike CROSS_power switch
Porsche eBike Cross.
The second bike is the Porsche eBike Sport.
Porsche eBike SPORT_angle view front
Porsche eBike Sport.
This is the one for roads.
Porsche eBike SPORT_side view left
Porsche eBike Sport.
It, too, has Fox rear suspension.
Porsche eBike SPORT_Fox rear suspension
Porsche eBike Sport.
The front light is an M99 LED from Supernova, a lighting company.
Porsche eBike SPORT_front view_front light
Porsche eBike Sport.
There's an integrated rear light, too.
Porsche eBike SPORT_integrated rear light_Super Nova
Porsche eBike Sport.
The Shimano EP8 motor can propel you up to speeds of about 16 mph.
Porsche eBike SPORT_Shimano EP8
Porsche eBike Sport.
The eBike Sport also uses Magura brakes.
Porsche eBike SPORT_Magura disc brake (2)
Porsche eBike Sport.
Both bikes were the result of a collaboration with Rotwild, an e-bike company. They are built in Germany.
Porsche eBike SPORT_side view right
Porsche eBike Sport.
The bikes have a weight capacity of 264 pounds for passenger and baggage combined.
Porsche eBike SPORT_Super Nova_front light
Porsche eBike Sport.
The carbon wheels were inspired by the Taycan's roofline.
Porsche eBike SPORT_mood urban
Porsche eBikes.
The bikes come in sizes Small, Medium, and Large.
Porsche eBike SPORT_CROSS_mood outdoor
Porsche eBikes.
In Medium, the eBike Sport weighs 47 pounds and the eBike Cross weighs 48 pounds.
Porsche eBike SPORT_top_cockpit_power switch
Porsche eBike Sport.
Available this spring, the Medium-sized eBike Sport will cost $10,700 and the Medium-sized eBike Cross will cost $8,549.
Porsche eBike CROSS_mood outdoor
Porsche eBikes.
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Here's the list of retailers, grocers, and factories maintaining mask rules while states loosen COVID-19 restrictions

grocery store facemask
A woman wearing a mask moves her shopping cart December 3, 2020 in a Trader Joe's supermarket in New York City. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

States have begun loosening COVID-19 restrictions, but several retailers, carmakers, and grocery stores have said they're sticking with their mask rules, for now. 

On March 3, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that would end the state's mask mandate on March 10. Other states, like Mississippi, Iowa, North Dakota, and Montana, have already lifted their mask requirements, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against loosening restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Several big box companies, including Target and Macy's, said they would still require masks in states where face coverings are no longer required.

Insider put together the list of companies that have made statements so far:

Know of a company not on this list that's still requiring masks? Email Natasha, the reporter of this piece, at ndailey@insider.com.


Kroger logo is seen at one of their stores in Athens, Ohio. Stephen Zenner/SOPA

A company spokesperson said the grocer will require customers and employees to wear masks masks until all its frontline workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine.


Target. Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress via Getty Images

Target told Insider it will still require all customers and employees to wear masks in all US stores. Even workers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine have to wear masks and social distance. The store said it will provide staff with reusable and disposable masks. 


REUTERS/Mike Segar

Like Target, Macy's said it isn't changing its rules requiring customers and employees to wear masks, the department store told Reuters.



Lidl said in a Tweet workers and customers over the age of 2 are still required to wear masks, "without exception." The store said it must "maintain vigilance against new variants" of the COVID-19 virus. 


2020 Toyota 86 Hakone Edition
The 2020 Toyota 86 Hakone Edition. Alanis King

Toyota told Insider it intends to maintain its COVID-19 protocols, including the use of face masks, even after the new Texas order. The Japanese carmaker, which has its US headquarters in Plano and a factory in San Antonio, employs 7,000 people in the state. 

General Motors

General Motors headquarters Detroit
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

General Motors, which has about 13,500 workers in Texas, said to protect employees, it will continue its workplace safety protocols, including mask wearing

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to join a Zoom meeting with an invite link or Meeting ID on any device

smartphone video call conference call
There's a number of different ways to join a Zoom call, on a number of different devices.
  • It's easy to join a Zoom meeting by clicking an invitation link or entering your Meeting ID.  
  • You can join a Zoom meeting in both ways from the website, mobile app, or desktop app.
  • If you don't have an invite link or a Meeting ID, but you're attending a recurring meeting, you can also join from your recent meeting history.
  • This story is a part of Insider's Guide to Zoom.

Once you receive a Zoom invite, it's easy to join a meeting by clicking the invitation link or entering the Meeting ID - both of which you can do on the Zoom website, desktop app, or mobile app. 


While you'll need an account to set up and schedule a Zoom meeting, you don't need one to join a meeting. All you have to do is click your invite link or enter the Meeting ID. 

Here's how to do it on any device. 

How to join a Zoom meeting on the desktop app

If you have the Zoom desktop app, you can join a meeting by simply clicking the invitation link, which will automatically open the Zoom app. Or, you can manually open the desktop app, click "Join," and type in the Meeting ID, if you have it.

Here are step-by-step instructions for both ways. 

How to join a Zoom meeting on the website

If you don't have the Zoom desktop app, you can join a meeting by clicking the invitation link and, on the webpage that automatically opens, selecting "Join from Your Browser." Or, you can manually go to the Zoom website, select "Join a Meeting," and enter the Meeting ID.

Here are step-by-step instructions for both ways. 

How to join a Zoom meeting on the mobile app 

If you have the Zoom mobile app, you can join a meeting simply by clicking the invitation link, which should automatically open the meeting in the app. Or, you can manually open the Zoom app, tap "Join," and enter the Meeting ID.

Here are step-by-step instructions for both ways. 

How to use the 'raise hand' feature in Zoom to notify the meeting host that you'd like to speakHow to add Zoom to your Google Calendar by installing an add-on'What is a Zoom Room?': Zoom's virtual meeting room service, explained'Where does Zoom save recordings?': How to find your Zoom meeting recordings in 2 ways
Read the original article on Business Insider

Jay-Z is joining mobile payment giant Square after it acquires Tidal for $300 million - here's what the superstar musician will do in his new leadership role

jay z billionaire
Shawn Carter, also known as Jay Z.
  • Jay Z's music streaming company Tidal is being acquired by payment company Square for $300 million.
  • As part of the deal, Jay Z will, "now help lead our entire company," Square CEO Jack Dorsey said. 
  • Rather than taking on an executive role, Jay Z is joining Square's board of directors.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In a surprise announcement on Thursday morning, Jack Dorsey's Square revealed that it's buying Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter's Tidal for just shy of $300 million.

The two companies will come together to create more economic opportunities for musicians, Square said in a press release.

As part of the terms of the acquisition, Jay-Z is taking on a leadership role at Square.

"I'm grateful for Jay's vision, wisdom, and leadership," Dorsey said on Thursday morning. "I knew Tidal was something special as soon as I experienced it, and I'm inspired to work with him. He'll now help lead our entire company, including Seller and the Cash App, as soon as the deal closes."

But what leadership role will Jay-Z take at Square? He's expected to become a member of Square's board of directors, according to a Square representative, "subject to the closing of the transaction."

Despite Dorsey's phrasing, it doesn't sound like Jay-Z will be taking on an executive role at Square. 

Jay Z purchased Tidal in 2015 for $56 million, and the company prides itself on being the only streaming music service that's partially owned by musicians. Even after Square acquires a majority stake of Tidal, the rest of the company's shares will continue to be owned by musicians, Square said.

"Jack is one of the greatest minds of our times, and our many discussions about Tidal's endless possibilities have made me even more inspired about its future," Jay Z said on Thursday. "This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board."

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best rechargeable battery chargers in 2021

  • The best rechargeable battery chargers are simple to use and don't overcharge your batteries, preserving their lifespan.
  • The Nitecore D4 Charger is our top pick because it doesn't overcharge, has a large display, and can auto-detect a wide array of batteries.
  • Also check out our guide to the best rechargeable batteries you can buy.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

It's estimated that Americans dispose of 3 billion batteries every year, according to battery recycling firm Battery Solutions. But rechargeable batteries can be reused 1,000 times or more, which is better for the environment and your wallet in the long run.

However, rechargeable batteries can become damaged over time with the wrong kind of charger. For example, don't pick a charger based on charging speed alone. High-speed charging can severely shorten the lifespan of your batteries. Instead, look for a charger that offers "gentle" or "slow" charging.

If you are concerned about having to wait for the charging to complete before using your device again, consider buying a couple of sets of batteries for the device. Some chargers also have a "conditioning" function. This cycles your batteries through discharging and recharging in order to help them reach their full capacity and lengthen their life.

"Smart chargers" can also stop charging your batteries once they are full as opposed to less effective "dumb chargers," which tend to charge for a certain amount of time. 

While researching the best rechargeable battery chargers, we examined thousands of expert and buyer reviews and ratings of several models. Our guide features chargers with a track record of versatility, durability, and performance.

Here are the best rechargeable battery chargers:

The best overall
NiteCore battery charger

The Nitecore D4 Charger can charge an array of battery types, while displaying the charge progress on an easy-to-read LCD panel.

Pros: Large display, charges a broad range of battery types, automatic battery detection

Cons: Only displays the progress of one battery at a time, charge time increases when charging four batteries

The Nitecore D4 Charger is great because it can automatically detect and charge Li-ion, LiFePO4, Ni-MH, and Ni-Cd (AA, AAA, AAAA, and C) batteries. This device can charge up to four batteries at a time, and the large LCD screen displays the progress of the charge for each of the batteries using a five-bar indicator.

For specific batteries, you can press the Mode button on the side to get more detailed charging progress and parameter information, such as charging time, current, and voltage.

When the charge is complete, the "Chg. Finish" indicator comes on and the D4 automatically stops charging, an important safety feature. The bundle comes with the charger, a wall plug, and four EdisonBright AA NiMH rechargeable batteries.

The most common complaint is that recharging slows when there are four batteries charging.

The best 8-cell battery charger
Powerex battery charger

If you frequently use AAs and AAAs in your electronics, the Powerex MH-C800S 8-Cell Smart Charger will keep your batteries juiced and extend their life.

Pros: 8 charging slots, features conditioning cycle

Cons: Expensive, only charges AA and AAA batteries

The Powerex MH-C800S 8-Cell Smart Charger is manufactured by Maha Energy, an organization that focuses solely on charging and battery technology for both consumer and industrial sectors.

The MH-C800S can charge between one and eight NiMH or NiCd AA or AAA batteries. The LCD screen uses three bars to show the charging status of each battery. There are three charge modes: rapid charge (one to two hours), soft charge (three to four hours), and conditioning, which can take a full day.

Wirecutter previously recommended the Powerex charger for people who need eight charging slots on one outlet. The reviewer appreciated the accurate charging, that you can monitor the progress, and it's easy to use. However, he didn't like that the default mode is the faster 1-A charging, which isn't as conducive to extending your battery's lifespan as the Soft charge.

The best battery charger for vaping
XTAR rechargeable battery charger

At a relatively low price point, the XTAR VC4 Charger is able to charge a wide range of battery sizes and types.

Pros: Charges several different battery types, cost-effective, USB power input

Cons: Doesn't come with a USB wall adapter, it takes some work to fit AAA batteries in

There are a couple of features that set the XTAR VC4 Charger apart from other devices in our guide. First, it doesn't plug directly into the wall. The charger features a USB charge cable, which you can plug into just about anything with a USB port. I use a multiple-port USB wall adapter. Another unique feature is that the slots are large enough to fit D-cell batteries. It's fairly rare to find a unit that can handle NiMH cells ranging from AAA to D.

XTAR sent me the VC4 for free to test out, and for the most part my family has been happy with it. I use it for charging NiMH batteries for a variety of devices, including my sons' toys, and my wife uses it for her vaporizer's 18650s.

I've found that it's a real pain trying to get the AAA batteries in there just right to get them to charge. Other sizes seem to work fine, though. The display is easy to read and gives helpful information that even a layperson can understand, but it can be finicky when you first insert the batteries.

The best for AA and AAA batteries
Panasonic rechargeable battery charger

If you are mainly in need of a good charger for AA and AAA batteries and don't need a fast charge, consider the affordable Panasonic Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger Pack.

Pros: Uses slow charge to extend battery life, simple to use, inexpensive, comes with batteries

Cons: Only charges AA and AAA batteries

The Panasonic K-KJ17MCA4BA Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger Pack is unique in its simplicity. You just pop in one to four AA or AAA batteries (any combination will work) and wait for the charging light to turn off. The batteries charge at a slower 300 mA speed, which is great for extending their lifespan. And, when charging is complete, it automatically shuts off.

There are four different packs that vary based on what batteries come with it. There are the packages that come with four AA or four AAA batteries. The Power Pack comes with 8 AA, 2 AAA, and 2 C-size and D-size spacers. You simply put an AA battery in the spacer when you want to power devices that require C or D cells. The Super Power Pack is essentially the same as the Power Pack, only it has 12 AA and 4 AAA batteries along with the spacers. The charger is the same for all four packages.

The Panasonic Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger was previously the top pick on Wirecutter. The reviewer liked how simple it is to use and that you can charge just one battery, rather than having an even number in the slots. For the typical NiMH AA battery, he found it took about seven hours to reach a full charge.

Check out our other related buying guides
rechargeable batteries

The best rechargeable batteries

The best rechargeable batteries are high-quality, ready to use out of the package, hold a charge after months in storage, and are economical in the long-term for powering various devices. These are our top picks.

The best charging cables

A great charging cable ensures that your device is always charged up and ready for the day — without breaking. These are our top picks for the best charging cables.

The best smart outlets

Smart outlets are about convenience and safety: They let you remotely power-down devices unintentionally left plugged-in, and automatically switch on lamps, radios, air conditioners, and more. These are the best smart outlets.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A raunchy new menswear ad has people speculating about the future of post-pandemic advertising

Suit Supply's new ad.
  • Menswear brand Suit Supply's new ad is going viral on Twitter.
  • "The new normal is coming" is a far cry from typical COVID ads.
  • Ads quickly became cliche over the past year with messages of "we're all in this together."
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A new ad from menswear brand Suit Supply is making waves online for depicting nearly naked models making out in one look at a post-pandemic world.

The spots title, "The new normal is coming," it seems to signal an entrance into a post-pandemic, post-vaccine world of advertising.

"Post-pandemic life is on the horizon," Fokke de Jong, Suit Supply's founder and CEO, told Insider. "Social distancing for extraordinarily long periods of time has conditioned us to fear proximity of others and that is perfectly justified. The campaign is simply a positive outlook on our future where people can get back to gathering and getting close" 

Of course, people on Twitter had plenty of predictions and opinions.


Some found the ad off-putting while we're still in the thick of serious outbreaks around the US.

Advertisements have been criticized and laughed at since COVID-19 first hit the US. Some critics noticed that seemingly every ad during the pandemic follows the same beats. Phrases including "times like these," "we've always been there for you," and "we'll get through this together" show up so much that they almost immediately became cliches. Fast Company noticed the trend too, and categorized ads into similar categories. Microsoft Sam made a YouTube compilation showing these tropes back in April.

"People are looking to get out and about again. Parallels to the Roaring 20's are being drawn on a regular basis. Naturally brands will connect with this sentiment. At the beginning of the pandemic, Suitsupply was among the first to implement safe shopping experiences, that's what people needed, and we met that moment. I believe people want to connect to something more positive now" de Jong said.

Suit Supply's leading example of the new class of ads post-pandemic fits into the current meme of "me and my friends after the vaccine," when people share silly or affectionate images that show how desperately they want to be vaccinated and connect with others again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 ways leaders can promote innovation among team members, according to Clorox's chief people officer

MSFT Teams Leaders by Day banner
Kirsten Marriner
Kirsten Marriner.
  • Kirsten Marriner is the executive VP and chief people and corporate affairs officer at Clorox.
  • Her career experience has taught her how to push a team toward innovation while offering support.
  • She suggested finding ways to work smarter and encouraging diversity, debate, and vulnerability.
  • This article is part of a series called "Leaders by Day," which takes a look at how prominent business leaders are tackling various challenges in today's economy. 

Kirsten Marriner is the executive vice president and chief people and corporate affairs officer at The Clorox Company. The HR professional got her start in financial services right out of college, and she joined Clorox in 2016 after serving in leadership positions at Deloitte, Key Bank, Fifth Third Bank, and Omnicare.

"It was a great company when I joined, and then things have intensified even more over the last several months," Marriner told Insider. "This enormous responsibility that we have been given is that we've got what people need, and we take it so seriously."

To meet high demands for their sanitation products to help fight the pandemic, Clorox has had to ensure the health and safety of its workforce while innovating simultaneously. 

"How we take care of our people has been critical to their ability to be productive and to stay healthy and to respond to the crisis," Marriner said.

From her time in banking during the 2008 financial crisis, Marriner has some experience in encouraging innovation while managing a major climate shift. Here are her tips for taking care of your employees while also pushing them forward. 

Find simple ways to cut down the work required 

In October 2019, Clorox announced it was employing the "IGNITE strategy" to drive growth and create value for both shareholders and society. One of the key elements of this strategy is striving to be simpler, faster, and bolder in ways of working.

Marriner shared an example of an employee who, when asked to start a new project, pointed out that previous work had been done that accomplished the same goal. 

"It's about freeing people up to find simpler ways and to cut out work that is not value-added or not as value-added as other work that we can do with that same resource," she said. "So that same time is again a huge enabler of our entire strategy, but also an enabler of innovation."

Invite diverse voices to the table and set hierarchy aside

Another pillar of the IGNITE strategy that's foundational to innovation is inclusion. 

"If you have a diverse organization - and diverse in every sense of the word - and then you have an inclusive culture where those people feel like they have every opportunity to bring forward their ideas and their perspectives and to have healthy discussions, then that is a contributor toward innovation of every type, whether it's big guy or a little guy," Marriner said.

In the example mentioned above, the employee was several levels below Marriner in the company hierarchy, yet he still didn't hesitate to voice what he thought about the work he was assigned to do. 

"That was wonderful initiative that he took to take us off a course that would have created new work on something else, but actually to leverage work that had already been done and met the needs that we were trying to achieve," Marriner said. 

This type of initiative is more encouraged when company hierarchy is not seen as a dividing line. The most effective communication, when coworkers can connect in "very human ways," she said, happens when the distance between executive team members and all other employees is shrunk. 

"It's about creating the culture and the environment and making it more than okay" to voice your opinions, she added. "It's expected for people to engage in that way. And that's where we get to our best outcomes." 

Encourage constructive debate and seek that quality out in new hires

Communication needs to be encouraged, but so does constructive debate. Marriner said she was asked in her interview for her first Clorox role if she would be willing to push back on Benno Dorer, the CEO of Clorox, who was interviewing her. She answered yes, and he hired her. 

"One thing that I would say has been consistent at Clorox, and then I would also say has been consistent in terms of how I have approached my role is, you must have open dialogue and healthy debates," Marriner said. 

Once she started interviewing people to bring on at Clorox herself, she asked a similar question, but encouraged candidates to share stories of examples of times where they weren't afraid to push back on something they disagreed with. Those who answer this question well are the most attractive candidates to her. 

Be authentic and vulnerable 

Finally, if employees are encouraged to voice their opinions, leaders should also show the same vulnerability.

"One of the very positive effects of what we've gone through over the last several months has been that the veneer [on executives] has been wiped away," she said. "And so you're seeing leaders who are showing up with this authenticity and humanity that is different in a very positive way."

When executives avoid intimidation, it reminds the whole team that they're just like everyone else and they too have shared experiences and challenges.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jack Dorsey's Square is now a majority owner in Tidal, the music streaming service owned by Jay-Z. Here's where their friendship started and everything that's happened since.

Jay-Z Jack Dorsey
Jay-Z, left, and Jack Dorsey.
  • Jack Dorsey's Square has taken a majority stake in Tidal, the streaming platform owned by Jay-Z.
  • The two moguls have met multiple times in the last year, including in Hawaii and the Hamptons.
  • Following the announcement of the deal, they praised each other on Twitter as visionary leaders. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z are officially in business together, cementing a relationship that seems to have formed on the beaches of Hawaii and off the coast of the Hamptons.

Square and Tidal announced on Thursday that the fintech company would take a majority stake in the music-streaming platform. The widely anticipated deal was first reported last December after several photos surfaced of the two moguls vacationing together. 

According to The New York Times' Katherine Rosman, the duo started hashing out the deal beginning "a few months ago." 

Jesse Dorogusker, an executive at Square who will lead Tidal in the interim, told The Times that the deal "started as a conversation between the two of them" and that "they found that sense of common purpose."

Though it's unclear when the two moguls met, Dorsey has admired Jay-Z's business acumen since at least 2015, and in the wake of the deal, the two men have publicly praised each other as visionary leaders.

Here's where their friendship began and everything that's happened since. 

Jay-Z is a rapper and business tycoon worth $1 billion.
Jay-Z inside the stadium before Super Bowl LIV.

The 51-year-old mogul grew up in the Marcy housing project in Brooklyn, New York, and launched his rap career as a teenager. He founded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995 after he was unable to find a major label that would sign him. 

His rap career has since netted him 22 Grammys and millions in earnings, but he has also launched multiple other business ventures: the clothing company Rocawear, which he sold for $204 million in 2007; a stake in D'Ussé, a cognac made by Bacardi; and Tidal, the music streaming service he bought for $56 million in 2015. 

He recently sold half of Armand de Brignac, a champagne company he purchased in 2014, to LVMH, the French luxury house that also owns Dom Pérignon. 

In addition, he founded entertainment company Roc Nation in 2008 which is home to artists like Rihanna and Alicia Keys and has a major deal with the NFL. 

He became the first billionaire in hip-hop in 2019. 

Jack Dorsey is the billionaire CEO of both Twitter and Square.
Jack Dorsey Twitter Square

The 44-year-old dual CEO cofounded Twitter in 2006 and was booted from the chief executive role two years later. He stayed on as chairman of the board and returned to the helm of the social networking firm in 2015 — in the intervening years, Twitter went public, making Dorsey a billionaire.

In 2009, he founded Square, which let business owners more easily accept credit card payments. The fintech firm went public in 2015 and is now where the majority of Dorsey's wealth derives from. In April 2020, Dorsey announced that he would put $1 billion of his Square equity into a fund that supports coronavirus relief and other aid efforts. 

Dorsey was nearly ousted from the CEO role at Twitter once again in early 2020 by hedge fund Elliott Management, which argued that Dorsey wasn't focused enough on the company due to his other job at Square. But he hung onto his title and remains at the helm of Twitter.

Dorsey is currently worth an estimated $12.5 billion

Dorsey appears to have admired Jay-Z since at least 2015, when he tweeted at the rapper about how much he was enjoying Tidal.


Dorsey has gotten involved with Jay-Z's philanthropic endeavors. In April, he teamed up with Jay-Z and Rihanna to create $6.3 million in grants to support coronavirus relief efforts.
Rihanna and Jay-Z
Jay-Z and Rihanna in 2008.

Source: Clara Lionel Foundation

In May, Dorsey donated $10 million to Reform Alliance, a nonprofit focused on prison reform. The organization was founded by Jay-Z, rapper Meek Mill, and billionaire Michael Rubin.
Jay-Z and Meek Mill pictured in 2019.
Jay-Z and Meek Mill in 2019.

Source: Rolling Stone

Beginning in August, Jay-Z and Dorsey were spotted out in public together multiple times - first, on a walk in the Hamptons.


That same month, Dorsey joined Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and their kids aboard a yacht. Dorsey and Jay-Z were photographed sipping rosé as the boat cruised around the waterways of the Hamptons.
Jay-Z Beyonce
Jay-Z and Beyoncé in 2019.

Source: Page Six

Jay-Z name-checked Dorsey in a feature on the song "Entrepreneur" by Pharrell Williams: "Black Twitter, what's that? When Jack gets paid, do you? / For every one Gucci, support two FUBUs."

Source: Genius

The two moguls were then photographed on a beach in Hawaii last November, joined by actor Sean Penn.
Jack Dorsey

Source: Daily Mail

In February, Dorsey and Jay-Z announced they were teaming up on a bitcoin endowment called "₿trust," which is focused on developing the cryptocurrency in India and Africa. The endowment is being funded by with an initial investment of 500 bitcoin.
twitter jack dorsey
Dorsey in 2017.

Source: Business Insider

Rumors began swirling in December that Jay-Z and Dorsey were working on a deal when Bloomberg reported that Square was in talks to buy Tidal as part of an ongoing strategy to shore up standalone services in its portfolio. For its part, Tidal has secured exclusive releases from major artists including Rihanna and Beyoncé, but hasn't overtaken rivals like Spotify or Apple Music.
rihanna tidal

Source: Business Insider

Then, in March, Square announced that it would take a majority stake in Tidal for $297 million through a mix of cash and stock. Dorsey said Square will start integrating its services into artists' merchandise sales, new listening experiences and collaboration tools, and "complementary revenue streams."
Jack Dorsey

Source: Business Insider

Dorsey wrote on Twitter that he's inspired to work with Jay-Z and is "grateful for Jay's vision, wisdom, and leadership." He posted a photo of them appearing to hash out the deal over a bottle of wine.


As part of the deal, Jay-Z will join the board of Square. He tweeted that he and Dorsey have a "shared vision" and that "Jack is one of the greatest minds of our times."

Source: @sc/Twitter

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