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The latest news from Business Insider

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    license plates

    • Kansas has issued a recall on over 700 license plates that spell out a racial slur.
    • The license plates said "JAP," which is offensive to Japanese Americans.
    • The plates with the lettering are not vanity plates.

    Kansas has issued a recall on over 700 license plates that spell out a racial slur. The license plates said "JAP," a term offensive to Japanese Americans that dates back to World War II.

    As the Pacific Citizen first reported, pictures of the license plates first circulated last year. Keith Kawamoto, who lives in Culver City, California, spotted a car with the Kansas plate. Kawamoto, 70, was shocked. Eventually, he sent letters about what he saw to  Kansas officials, including Gov. Jeff Colyer.

    "I let them know it is considered a very derogatory racial slur and I don’t think it should be allowed anywhere," he told NBC News.

    A representative for the Kansas Department of Revenue told INSIDER that there are currently 731 active registrations containing the phrase. The plates are not vanity plates, though. They are government-issued license plates with randomly configured letters.

    Kawamoto wasn't the only one upset to see the phrase in use.

    Barbara Johnson, a 67-year-old Kansas resident, said that when she read about Kawamoto's experience in the Pacific Citizen she was reminded of her childhood during World War II.

    "It was not a good time to be Japanese because of Pearl Harbor and World War II," she said. "I recall vividly as a child being called 'Jap' — and how it made me feel so small and hurt by being called that."

    Read more: 75 years later, Japanese Americans recall pain of internment camps

    Johnson told NBC News that she thought the license plates could have been issued accidentally, because people "just don’t know what it means anymore because it was World War II, a couple of generations ago."

    Rachel Whitten, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Revenue, told INSIDER that the issue came to the board's attention this fall. That's when they decided to recall the license plates. At this time, Whitten said she couldn't say how many recalled license plates had been returned. 

    Those who own vehicles with license plates that contain the slur were sent a letter Tuesday notifying them of the recall, per NBC News. They were asked to return the plate within 30 days. All vehicles owners will be issued a replacement at no cost. According to the outlet plates not returned in that period will be replaced during an annual review.

    "We do take these types of complaints very seriously," Whitten said. "We appreciate that it was brought to our attention."

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How entire buildings are lifted and moved to new locations

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

    American Express centurion lounge Exterior Entry, hong kong

    • One of the best perks that comes with the Platinum Card® from American Express is that you can access a ton of airport lounges.
    • The best are AmEx's own Centurion Lounges, currently located at nine major airports — and opening at three more next year.
    • Plans to open a fourth new lounge next year — at Charlotte Douglas International Airport — have leaked online.

    American Express plans to open a sprawling new Centurion Lounge in Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to a City of Charlotte meeting agenda that was posted online.

    One of the best perks that comes with the Platinum Card from American Express is extensive access to airport lounges throughout the world.

    There are more than 1,200 lounges throughout AmEx's Global Lounge Collection, including several different categories.

    However, the best by far are AmEx's own Centurion Lounges, which are available in major airports across the US and Hong Kong.

    AmEx currently operates eight Centurion Lounge locations in the US — and one in Hong Kong.

    The Charlotte lounge represents the latest step in an aggressive push by AmEx to expand its network of airport lounges and the list of Platinum Card benefits.

    Charlotte would host the fourth new lounge announced this year for a 2019 opening — following New York-JFK, Denver International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport. In addition, the Dallas-Fort Worth location reopened following a renovation and expansion project.

    AmEx tends to open the lounges in airports that serve as hubs for major airlines or, in the case of airports like New York-Laguardia and Las Vegas' McCarren International Airport, airports that see high numbers of passengers or business travelers. Charlotte, which serves as the second largest hub for American Airlines — behind Dallas-Fort Worth — is no exception. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, American Airlines moved nearly 25,000,000 passengers through Charlotte Douglas International Airport in the 12-month period ending in August.

    In an e-mailed statement provided to Business Insider, AmEx stopped just short of officially announcing the new location:

    We are always looking at opportunities to bring our premium Centurion Lounges to more airports across the globe and are working closely with the Charlotte Douglas International Airport as this location is certainly of interest for both us and our card members. We hope to have plans to announce soon.

    Access to the Centurion Lounge is complimentary for AmEx Platinum and Centurion Card members with up to two guests. Card members can purchase access for additional guests.

    In addition to Centurion Lounges, Platinum cardholders can access Delta Air Lines-operated Sky Clubs whenever flying with Delta, more than 1,200 independent lounges through the Priority Pass Lounge Network, and 11 "International American Express Lounges" at airports in cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Sydney, and, most recently announced, Melbourne.

    Click here to learn more about the AmEx Platinum Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: I got more than $2,000 worth of value from the American Express Platinum credit card in my first year — despite its $550 annual fee

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    An honest review of Conor McGregor's whiskey, Proper 12

    • Conor McGregor has launched a new whiskey called Proper No. Twelve.
    • The UFC fighter has not fought in the Octagon for almost two years, but during that time he worked on his personal brand — and that includes moving into the alcohol industry.
    • We were sent a bottle of McGregor's new whiskey to try.
    • To say it did not go down well is putting it kindly. Most Business Insider journalists hated it.

    If there's one thing journalists like, it's free booze.

    So when a bottle of Conor McGregor's new whiskey, Proper No. Twelve, was sent to Business Insider's London bureau, it made its way through each desk quicker than currency and cigarettes get passed around prison blocks.

    But any excitement that we could drink on the clock faded when we realised one not-so-sobering thing: This was not good whiskey.

    "It smelled like ethanol and tasted only marginally better," our fintech guru Oscar Williams-Grut said. "A small initial sip was deceptively OK, but subsequent snifters were like vanilla flavouring trying to cover up rubbing alcohol."

    This is an assessment as short and as savage as the left hook McGregor famously used to knock José Aldo out cold at UFC 194 in December 2015.

    But the finance desk did not hold back, the brutes. Markets expert Will Martin followed up with this: "It tasted like bad whiskey watered down with cheap vanilla extract."

    He added, "I am happy to be quoted on that."

    Conor McGregor

    McGregor used the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery in Ireland and worked with David Elder, a master distiller formerly of Guinness, to create a "unique" spirit "from the waters of Saint Columb's Rill that flow through the alkaline-saturating limestone and basalt on their way to sphagnum peat lands." This helps it acquire "the flavour that has been prized for centuries."

    At least, that's what the company says.

    Almost 100 blends were developed before the final blend became Proper No. Twelve, a triple-distilled whiskey described as a "properly balanced blend of the finest golden grain and single malt" aged in oak barrels. A bottle costs $29.99.

    But none of this washed with Business Insider.

    "I've drank a lot of bad whiskeys in my day — this was one of them," said Alex Lockie, our news editor and military blogging maestro.

    Video producer Leon Siciliano said: "I don't really like any whiskey, and McGregor's safely fits into that."

    Conor McGregor

    But what happens if you dilute the bad whiskey taste with your favourite mixer?

    "Admittedly, I'm not much of a whiskey drinker, but I struggled to get through my glass," said Harry Kersh, Business Insider's resident food taster. "I've had smoother whiskeys in the past, so I wouldn't recommend anybody drink this neat, but it would probably be fine with a mixer."

    One colleague, who should probably remain anonymous, said it got him a bit "f---ed up"— but he did not stop at one drink.

    I also did not stop at one. In the interest of a thorough review, I tried it neat (not again), with ginger beer (decent, but more for the fiery soda snap of the ginger beer than anything else), and with Irn-Bru (don't ask me why).

    One thing I noticed was that it made my lips go a bit numb, and I felt as if I could probably take a good punch or a kick. So I decided it would be for the best if I went home.

    The branding is just as disappointing

    Proper No Twelve Bottle Shot

    Yes, the quality of the whiskey may be poor, but the thing I was most disappointed with was the branding.

    This is Conor McGregor, a former two-weight champion in UFC and Cage Warriors.

    This is a guy who earns a living by taking his foot and using it as a weapon to kick people in the chin. Repeatedly. Until they've fallen to the canvas in a heap.

    This is a guy who has an image of a crown-wearing gorilla eating a heart tattooed across what is probably 80% of his chest.

    And this is a guy who once wore a custom suit that had the words "F--- you" as pinstripes.

    Surely this was a chance to have some out-there branding distinctive from everything else in the supermarket — which is perhaps what sets the Sailor Jerry style out from a lot of the $30 rum pack — but McGregor and Proper No. Twelve failed to take advantage of that.

    The green bottle and boring label are certainly not memorable. And neither are the contents.

    SEE ALSO: Conor McGregor's company, McGregor Sports and Entertainment Ltd., posts losses in excess of $400,000

    DON'T MISS: Conor McGregor slugged whiskey, mocked his opponent’s accent, and accused him of disrespecting Vladimir Putin during a wild UFC 229 press conference

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight

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    Rasmus Ristolainen Buffalo Sabres

    • After slogging to a league-worst 25-45-12 record last year, the Buffalo Sabres have taken the NHL by storm to start this season.
    • After a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night, the Sabres pulled ahead with the best record in the NHL and tied a franchise record by winning 10 straight games.
    • Buffalo defender Rasmus Ristolainen set the pace for the evening by going between-the-legs to embarrass San Jose's Brent Burns.
    • He followed up the goal with a creative celebration that had fans debating whether it was the best or worst of the season.

    The Buffalo Sabres are no longer the joke of the NHL.

    With a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night, the Sabres capped a 10-game winning streak to tie a franchise record previously set in January 1984 and October 2006. They also lead the NHL with a 17-6-2 record and have taken everyone by surprise with their recent success.

    Perhaps even more enthralling than Buffalo's rapid rise to the top is the flair with which its top players are doing so. Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner currently sits in a three-way tie to lead the league with 19 goals on the season, 18 of which he has scored in Buffalo's last 18 games.

    Skinner scored the game-winner with 1:41 left in overtime Tuesday night, but it was the Sabres' Rasmus Ristolainen who stole the show with a Sports Center top-10 finish.

    Nearly 15 minutes into the second period, teammate Tage Thompson connected with the Finnish defender across the ice on the left wing. Ristolainen maneuvered the puck between his legs and blew past Sharks defender Brent Burns en route to the first goal of the game and his third of the season.

    The goal landed at No. 1 on Sports Center's Top-10 plays of the day, but it was Ristolainen's stick celebration that got fans buzzing on social media.

    Despite his silly celebration, Ristolainen got serious for a moment during his postgame comments. The NHL dedicated the night to fighting cancer and raising awareness, so the crafty defender dedicated his goal to his late grandfather who passed away last year.


    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight

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    donald trump

    • President Trump mistakenly thought his top military officer makes $5 million per year, according to the Washington Post.
    • The newspaper reported that the president was surprised to find out the general makes less than $200,000 in base salary.
    • Trump is more familiar with a corporate model for compensation, in which CEOs typically make over 300 times the salary of their average employee when all compensation is factored in.
    • All military personnel receive the same pay raise regardless of rank.  

    According to a report by The Washington Post, the commander in chief was way off when he thought his top military officer made millions.

    The Post marked it as an example of how out-of-touch the president is with federal spending and the military that when prompted by his chief of staff, who is a retired general, the president guessed that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford earns $5 million.

    Trump was surprised, sources told the Post, to find that Dunford's base salary is less than $200,000.

    That may be because Trump is more familiar with a corporate model for compensation, which notoriously overpays chief executives via high salaries, lucrative bonuses and stock options. CEOs also typically receive pay raises at a much higher percentage than their employees; a study from the Economic Policy Institute showed that in 2017, the average CEO salary increased by nearly 18% while employee pay increased by as little as 0.3%.

    Read more:A new study found CEOs at America's biggest companies raked in $19 million on average last year, while workers' pay barely budged

    Military pay, by comparison, is strictly regulated. Salaries are limited by US Code and overseen by the same entity that manages all government compensation. 

    In terms of base pay, military personnel are compensated based on rank and time in service. Typically, troops advance to the next bracket when promoted, and every two years of additional experience, though there are some exceptions. 

    An E-5, for example, who has six years of experience receives just over $2,850 per month in base pay, according to 2017 pay tables. Her battalion commander, an O-5 with 15 years of service, made nearly three times that amount. These figures do not include the housing allowance, which takes into account the price of housing in the area and whether the person has children.

    Pay raises are also regulated. Regardless of rank, base pay is increased by the same percentage, calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and finalized by the president. So, when the E-5 saw her monthly salary increase by 2.6% at the start of the 2019 fiscal year, her battalion commander's pay increased by the same 2.6%.    

    Gen. Dunford made roughly five-and-a-half times the E-5's salary last year — a striking comparison to the average CEO, who made 312 times her employees' salaries. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What serving in the military taught beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina

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    dog sleeping in bed with owner sleeping dog

    • A new survey conducted out of Canisius College discovered that adult women sleep better with a dog in their bed.
    • After gathering data on 962 women's sleep habits, researches found a link between better quality of sleep in women when they shared a bed with a dog as opposed to a human or cat.
    • Women who sleep with cats experience the same disruption as they do from a human while sleeping.
    • Dogs also encourage healthier sleep schedules in humans.

    Plenty of people love to cuddle up with their pets at night, especially during the cold winter months. But could your furry friend actually serve as a better sleeping partner than your significant other? According to the results of a survey published in the Anthrozoös journal, women may have a better night's sleep when they have a dog in their bed instead of another person.

    The study, which was conducted by researchers at Canisius College, surveyed 962 adult women in the United States. The results suggest that having a dog in your bed instead of a person or cat can lead to a better night's sleep.

    Generally, the results concluded that a woman's sleep was less disturbed if she slept with her dog in her bed rather than if she slept with a human partner beside her.

    woman reading on bed with a dog

    Additionally, the results showed that when a woman slept with a dog in her bed she felt stronger feelings of comfort and security. According to the study, dog owners were also found to wake up earlier than those who owned cats or neither animal.

    "Dog ownership and its associated responsibilities may cause individuals to adhere to a stricter routine," the researches told the New York Post. "Keeping to a consistent sleep schedule may be beneficial to dog owners."

    Cats were found to disrupt one's sleep schedule as much as other humans

    cat sleep bed

    And as for women who slept in the same bed as their cats, their feline friends were found to be just as disruptive to their quality of sleep as another human would be. Generally, sharing a bed with their cats gave owners weaker feelings of comfort and security at bedtime. The researchers also noted that the way you perceive your pet could make a difference in whether or not you feel more comfortable when sharing a bed with them. 

    All in all, further research would be needed to create a stronger link between who you share your bed with and how it impacts your sleep. 

    For more stories, head to INSIDER's homepage.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 4 lottery winners who lost it all

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    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hearing Congress Senate

    • Facebook emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show executives discussing charging and cutting deals with companies to allow them access to Facebook user data.
    • The emails offer insight into Facebook's efforts to monetize its vast trove of user data, highlighting how Facebook executives talked about pushing advertisers to spend more in return for access to user information.
    • Facebook, in response to the report, said it has "never sold anyone's data."
    • The emails are one part of a cache of Facebook documents from an ongoing lawsuit against Facebook in California.

    Facebook discussed charging and cutting deals with companies for access to the data of its two billion users, according to internal emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    The emails, secured from a cache of Facebook documents that form part of a lawsuit against the company in California, reportedly reveal Facebook executives talking about pushing advertisers to spend more in return for profile information on Facebook users.

    One unnamed Facebook employee suggested shutting down data access "in one-go to all apps that don’t spend… at least $250k a year to maintain access to the data," according to the report. The Journal did not review the full content of the email, however.

    In another email exchange, Facebook insiders reportedly talked about settling a trademark issue with Match Group's dating app Tinder in exchange for continued access to Facebook data. The matter was later resolved, but not through a data deal, the two firms told the Journal.

    The emails, dated between 2012 and 2014, offer a window into Facebook's activities after its IPO in 2012, when it was grappling with ways of wringing value out of its treasure trove of personal data. Facebook has always insisted that it does not sell user information.

    "To be clear, Facebook has never sold anyone's data," Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook's director of developer platforms and programs, said in a statement.

    The emails reviewed by the Journal are contained in documents seized by British Parliament last week. They form part of a lawsuit brought by Six4Three against Facebook for killing its app, Pikinis, when the social network restricted app developers' access to user data in 2015.

    Read more: Potentially explosive Facebook documents will be published by a fake news committee 'within the next week'

    The documents are under the seal of a California court order, but the UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee plans to publish a redacted version of the papers next week, believing them to be in the public interest.

    Led by lawmaker Damian Collins, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee cast light on the documents' contents during a hearing on Tuesday. This included details on Facebook allegedly pushing advertisers to spend more in return for access to Facebook data.


    During the hearing — which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declined to testify at despite repeated requests from government officials — British MP Clive Efford asked Facebook policy chief Richard Allan whether apps were given a favorable white-listing agreement in exchange for being able "to buy large quantities of mobile advertising through Facebook." Allan denied this and discredited the court documents, saying they were obtained by a "hostile litigant."

    In a statement sent to Business Insider, Facebook's Papamiltiadis said:

    "As we've said many times, the documents Six4Three gathered for this baseless case are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context. Evidence has been sealed by a California court so we are not able to disprove every false accusation.

    "That said, we stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers. Any short-term extensions granted during this platform transition were to prevent the changes from breaking user experience.

    "To be clear, Facebook has never sold anyone's data. Our APIs have always been free of charge and we have never required developers to pay for using them, either directly or by buying advertising."

    SEE ALSO: The most explosive moments from Facebook's hearing, where furious lawmakers tore into 'frat-boy billionaire' Mark Zuckerberg

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why autocorrect makes so many mistakes, according to the former Apple engineer who helped create it

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    Michael Cohen

    • Michael Cohen reportedly reached a new plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday.
    • It could involve his giving dozens of hours of testimony.
    • He is also expected to plead guilty to lying to Congress.
    • This could severely damage President Donald Trump.

    Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, has reached a new plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, ABC News reported on Thursday.

    Cohen is appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday, where he pleaded guilty to giving false statements to Congress in a closed-door testimony last year regarding his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign, The Associated Press reported.  

    He reportedly admitted to making false statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. 

    Read more: Trump falsely accuses Mueller of coercing people to 'flip and lie' and suggests he may pardon Manafort

    Cohen is also expected to give dozens of hours of testimony that could implicate Trump. 

    The news comes as Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election appeared ready to issue new indictments soon.

    Back in August, Cohen implicated Trump in campaign finance violations in relation to payments made to women with whom the president allegedly had extramarital affairs. 

    Read more: Robert Mueller's Russia probe looks like it's speeding up, and could lead to big indictments soon

    Trump has raged over the Mueller investigation in recent days, particularly after the special counsel accused the president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort of violating his plea deal by lying to the FBI and the special counsel's office. 

    The president often refers to the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt," and did so again in a tweet on Thursday morning. Trump, without evidence, claimed the Mueller probe is "illegal" and compared it to Joseph McCarthy's infamous campaign to out communists in the US in the mid-20th century. 

    SEE ALSO: Investigators are probing a letter that claims George Papadopoulos said he was pursuing a lucrative Russian business deal for himself and Trump after the election

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Megyn Kelly in 2017: 'I regret a lot' of the controversial stuff I've said on live television

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    fast food burger

    • Ordering a customized burger can earn you a fresher burger.
    • Bring your own condiments for a quick burger upgrade.
    • Think creatively — sides and apps can make great fast-food burger toppings.

    Fast-food burgers can be a bit, well, blah. Whether you're loyal to a favorite chain or only pass through the drive-through on rare road trips, there's no reason you can't upgrade the standard off-the-menu fast food burger to be chef-worthy. And you don't even need to know how to cook to make that lackluster burger so much tastier.

    We asked chefs for their best (and easiest) tips to upgrade fast-food burgers with minimal effort (and expense) — this is still fast food, after all.

    Don't order directly off the menu.

    "At most fast-food restaurants ... you can guarantee a fresh burger [rather than a pre-made burger] if you order it with any modifications, be it no pickles, no onions, no salt, or even well-done," said chef Lucas Sin of Junzi Kitchen.

    "To avoid cross-contamination, modified burgers are even cooked on a separate griddle." Talk about VIP burger service.

    BYO condiments.

    Chef Sin says he and other chefs have the habit of bringing their own sauces for fast-food burgers, but you don't need anything fancy to take the standard fast-food burger up a notch. "Most condiments you find in your fridge, when mixed into a bit of mayonnaise and vinegar make great dipping sauces: wasabi, curry paste, barbecue, tahini, or what not," Sin said.

    Avocado it.

    Chef Leah Morrow, executive pastry chef at the Brooklyn Bread Lab suggests adding avocado to any fast-food burger to amp it up. No avo on the menu? Bring your own. A ripe avocado is easy to slice open and spread with plastic utensils.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan

    • Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said on Thursday he was "completely blindsided" when the drug company was thrown into the political spotlight.
    • Novartis came under scrutiny in May after it was revealed that it had signed a $1.2 million yearlong contract with Cohen's consulting firm in February 2017.
    • Speaking at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York, Narasimhan said that he wasn't "mentally prepared" for the blowback after only three months on the job. 

    In May, Novartis made national headlines, but not because of anything related to the drugs the pharma giant produces.

    Instead, it was revealed that Novartis was among the companies listed in paying Essential Consulting, a firm linked to Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer. 

    Novartis said at the time that it had signed a yearlong, $1.2 million contract, but after one meeting with Cohen,  decided not to engage further.

    Narasimhan said at the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Thursday that he was "completely blindsided" by news of the contract. 

    Novartis changed CEOs in February, with Narasimhan replacing former CEO Joe Jimenez. Narasimhan was only three months into the job when the company was thrown into the political spotlight. 

    "I was not mentally prepared," he said, adding that he got a call from his mom during the time of the incident asking if he'd seen CNN. 

    Read more: A new Senate report says that Novartis had more contact with Michael Cohen than it let on

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A sleep expert explains what happens to your body and brain if you don't get enough sleep

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    Geoff Chick hurricane home

    • Florida architect Geoff Chick has built numerous hurricane-resistant homes in the Gulf of Mexico, which was recently ravaged by the Category 4 Hurricane Michael.  
    • Though the safest homes are often brand-new, Chick said there are a few ways to protect an existing structure from flooding and heavy winds. 
    • A home's safety during a hurricane ultimately depends on whether its owners can afford expansive features like steel shutters or impact-rated garage doors. 

    Many Americans dream of a life on the coast, with the sun grazing their rooftops and waves lapping at the shore below. Not everyone considers the risk of purchasing a coastal property, which could easily be destroyed in the event of a hurricane. 

    When Hurricane Michael touched down in Mexico Beach, Florida, in mid-October, only one oceanfront home was left fully intact: a two-story structure known as Sand Palace that had been built a year prior. The remaining homes were either wiped out or stripped down to their shoddy foundations. 

    Much of this damage could have been prevented if the homes had adhered to Florida's updated building codes, which require safe construction elements like buttressed roofs and shatterproof windows. But the fact that these codes were implemented in 2007 left older homes powerless in the face of the storm.  

    To find out what property owners can do to prepare for a future hurricane, we spoke with Geoff Chick, an architect building hurricane-resistant homes in the Gulf of Mexico, an area recently ravaged by the Category 4 Hurricane Michael.

    Building for a hurricane 

    To protect themselves from damage, homeowners have one of two options: build a new structure or retrofit an old one. The price of both undertakings has left many low-income residents vulnerable to disaster.

    The architect behind Sand Palace, Charles Gaskin, told The New York Times that hurricane-resistant features tend to double the cost of construction per square foot. 

    Read more: Floating homes that can withstand Category 4 hurricanes will soon become a reality

    "I don’t think it's feasible for everybody in the country to design their houses to be hurricane-proof," said Chick. "There are so many people who don't have the financial resources."

    For Chick, building a hurricane-resistant property comes down to a handful of foundational features. Still, he said, there are a few accessories that can protect an older home from damage. Here's his recommended list. 

    Hurricane shutters

    Hurricane shutters help protect windows from debris that have been stirred up by strong winds.

    The consequence of a broken window can be grave: In the event of a storm, it causes air pressure to rise and the house to blow apart from the inside.

    For those worried about the labor or cost, there's good news: Some insurance companies in states like Maryland, Florida, Louisiana, and Rhode Island offer discounted rates for homeowners with hurricane shutters. 

    While more expensive homes have shutters made of metal or polycarbonate plastic, lower-income properties often resort to plywood. 

    Geoff Chick hurricane home

    Impact windows 

    Impact windows are perhaps the most important feature for homes located near the coast, but not directly along the water, said Chick. Instead of being exposed to storm surge, these homes are vulnerable to a hurricane's heavy winds.

    Fifteen years ago, Chick said, impact windows weren't required by the building code in Florida. It wasn't until an onslaught of storms — including Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina — that insurance companies began to push for stricter regulations to protect themselves from loss.

    Now it's common for new homes in the Gulf to be made of laminated glass with a sheet of Kevlar inside. According to Chick, these windows are designed to withstand the impact of a 2x4 stud heading toward them at 150 miles per hour.

    But this protection comes at a price. Chick said that impact windows are often double the cost of a normal window package: around $40,000 compared to the standard $18,000.

    Concrete pilings

    One of the most basic elements of hurricane-proofing is to build a home on concrete pilings, which elevate it above the storm surge. The pilings also help support the structure and keep it from collapsing amid heavy winds.

    "Over the years, we've had houses that have survived storms because they were on pilings," said Chick. "When the houses on either side of them collapsed into the Gulf, ours were still there."

    Geoff Chick hurricane home

    Hurricane straps

    Hurricane straps — pieces of the galvanized steel that secure the walls of a home to its rafters — can be installed during a retrofit, but it's an expensive and invasive process. Adding straps after a home has already been built requires cutting back the sheetrock and exposing the beams. 

    Chick said it's far easier to install the straps during new construction, before the sheetrock has been laid down. But there's still the cost of labor to consider.

    In either case, hurricane straps help make sure that the roof doesn't fly off during a storm. 

    Impact-rated garage doors

    "A lot of the houses [during Hurricane Michael] had their entire roof system pulled off and blown down the street, and the point of failure was actually the garage door," said Chick. 

    Just like a broken window, a broken garage door can allow wind to enter and put pressure on the roof. By shuttering a garage or installing an impact-rated garage door, residents can save their home from damage.

    Chick said some of his previous projects have had impact-related garage doors that cost around $10,000. Shutters are a much cheaper option, but offer less protection. 

    The price of safety  

    Whether they're retrofitting an old home or building a new one, coastal homeowners pay a hefty premium for safety. 

    "There are a tremendous amount of hoops that you have to jump through when you build a Gulf-front house," said Chick. 

    In the wake of Hurricane Michael, he said, newer multi-million-dollar structures in Panama City remained undamaged, while the older homes were cleared out. 

    "There were neighborhoods where everything was completely destroyed, and the brand-new office buildings didn't have a scratch on them," he said. 

    As the region attempts to rebuild, these expensive properties are likely to multiply.

    "People with the means to build a nice house are doing what it takes to protect themselves and their assets," Chick said.

    "You can be sure that everything that goes back in Mexico Beach is going to be built to the same level of construction as that one house that survived."

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    Abercrombie & Fitch surged more than 25% early Thursday after reporting strong third-quarter results. 

    The teen retailer earned an adjusted $0.33 a share on revenue on revenue of $861.2 million, easily beating the $0.21 and $853 million that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. Same-store sales jumped 3% versus a year ago, outpacing the 1.7% gain that Wall Street was looking for. Abercrombie said that both its flagship business and its Hollister brand had solid quarters.

    "We are pleased with our third quarter performance, our fifth consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales, with growth across both of our brands," CEO Fran Horowitz said in the earnings release.

    "Our strong U.S omnichannel business, and 16% global digital sales growth, confirm that our playbooks are working."

    Looking ahead, Abercrombie maintained its fiscal year 2018 same-store sales forecast of between 2% and 4%, and said that it expects to close 40 stores by year-end — down from its previous estimate of up to 60. 

    Abercrombie was down 3.28% this year through Wednesday, trading at $17.12 a share. 

    Abercrombie & Fitch



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    Venom Sony

    • China is expected to surpass the US as the world's largest theatrical market by 2022, according to a new report by Ampere Analysis.
    • Theatrical revenue in China is expected to reach nearly $12 billion.
    • China has been building cinemas at an unprecedented rate over the last decade.
    • International box office is more important than ever in Hollywood, and movies like "Venom" and "The Meg" have appealed to Chinese audiences this year.


    The US is on track for a record year at the box office, but China isn't far behind.

    A new report from Ampere Analysis released Wednesday predicted that China will surpass the US as the world's biggest theatrical market by 2022, with estimated theatrical revenue of $11.8 billion. 

    According to the report, China has been building cinemas at an unprecedented growth rate of 35% every year since 2009, when the country entered the top 10 markets by revenue. At the time, there were just 4,723 cinemas in China, but by the end of last year, that number grew by over ten times to 50,916.

    READ MORE: 'Venom' just passed 'Wonder Woman' at the box office — and there's a particular reason it's continued to dominate

    "China became the largest market for cinema ticket sales back in 2015, but until now, the US’s pole position in the global top 10 for revenue has been unassailable," said analyst Richard Cooper. "To put this forecast for Chinese cinema revenue growth into context, the scale of the US’s dominance is as dramatic as some of the blockbuster movies: the market currently accounts for six to eight times more revenue than its closest rival Japan (excluding China), and by 2022 theatrical revenues from the US will match those of the countries ranked 3-10 combined."


    Ampere attributed the 2015 boost to movies like "The Mermaid," which grossed $500 million and is the fourth-highest-grossing film in China of all time. The top three movies were all released in the following years, so revenue hasn't slowed down, and shows no signs of doing so, according to Ampere.

    Ampere expects the number of tickets sold to be 505 million in China and 306 million in the US by the end of this year.

    "The gap can only expand as more cinemas are built to meet the demands of China’s 1.4bn people (more than four times the population of the US)," the report said.

    It added, "The disparity in ticket prices means the US currently outperforms China in box office revenue."

    According to Ampere, US ticket prices averaged $10.11 in 2018, and are expected to increase to $12.21 by 2013. Meanwhile, ticket prices in China decreased to $5.11 in 2018, and are expected to rise to $5.31 by 2023.

    Over the next five years, theater admission in the US is expected to dip, while admission in China will significantly increase, as shown in the chart below.


    Movies have found new life and continued success in China

    Hollywood has figured out that international box office, particularly China, is more important than ever in recent years. Long-running franchises like "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Transformers: Age of Extinction"have only lasted because of worldwide appeal.

    This year's giant shark movie, "The Meg," which stars Chinese actress Bingbing Li, grossed over $153 million in China, which propelled its total worldwide box office to $527 million. The movie was coproduced by a Chinese company, its cast included Asian actors and, according to Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock, Chinese audiences love monster movies.

    "Monster movies are bonafide box office gold in China," he told Business Insider earlier this month.

    "Rampage," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, bombed in the US, but made $156 million in China. It's a monster movie, but Johnson is also one of the few actors who can reel in audiences across the world. Business Insider reported in April that Johnson went on a promotional tour in Shanghai for the movie, where a press conference was live-streamed through multiple partners across China.

    Another Johnson-led movie, "Skyscraper," was also regarded as a flop in the US this year. But its Hong Kong setting and Johnson's international appeal helped the movie rebound in China, where it grossed nearly $100 million of its $304 million worldwide total.

    Then there's "Venom," which broke the October box-office opening record and has grossed an impressive $211 million in the US. But it has made $241 million in China, which has helped it surpass the box office of other popular superhero films like "Wonder Woman" and launched its worldwide total to $823 million.

    With so many Hollywood movies adding to China's growing theatrical revenue, it's no surprise that the country is expected to dethrone the US in such a short time.

    Read more of Business Insider's coverage of Chinese box office:

    SEE ALSO: The new 'Robin Hood' movie is officially the biggest box-office bomb of the year

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    cruise ship passenger

    • Cruise lines make significant efforts to keep their passengers happy (sometimes at the expense of their employees), but when a passenger is injured, the cruise line's attitude can change.
    • If, as a passenger, you slip and fall or are assaulted, the cruise line is no longer your friend, Michael Winkleman, a maritime lawyer for Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, told Business Insider.
    • "Anytime anything bad happens, the cruise lines go into adversarial mode," he said. "All they're looking to do is protect themselves. They're not really concerned about protecting you or helping you."

    Cruise lines make significant efforts to keep their passengers happy (sometimes at the expense of their employees), but when a passenger is injured, the cruise line's attitude can change, according to a lawyer who represents cruise-line passengers and employees.

    If, as a passenger, you slip and fall or are assaulted, the cruise line is no longer your friend, Michael Winkleman, a maritime lawyer for Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, told Business Insider.

    "Anytime anything bad happens, the cruise lines go into adversarial mode," he said. "All they're looking to do is protect themselves. They're not really concerned about protecting you or helping you."

    The Cruise Lines International Association did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

    Read more: Working on a cruise ship can be brutal — but 2 lawyers who rep cruise-line workers explain why even terrible cruise-ship jobs can be attractive

    When a passenger is injured, one of the ship's security officers will take a statement from the passenger using questions that could help the cruise line defend itself in court, Winkleman said. The officer may, for example, ask what the passenger could have done to avoid the incident that led to the injury. But shortly after being injured, a person is not in the right state of mind to defend his or her interests when being questioned, Winkleman said.

    If a passenger sues a cruise line, the cruise line will ensure that case is tried in a federal court, which will require a higher standard of evidence and often have a stricter judge than a state court, Winkleman said.

    "The deck is certainly stacked against the average person who gets hurt when you're going up against a cruise line," he said.

    Have you worked on a cruise ship? Do you have a story to share? Email this reporter at

    SEE ALSO: A lawyer who reps cruise-ship workers reveals the most shocking thing he's heard about their job

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Pizza Hut Pizza Menu Around The World Dubai (1 of 25)

    • Pizza Hut is struggling to keep its No. 1 market share in the $38 billion US pizza market, as Domino's and Papa John's continue to expand.
    • For people who grew up on Pizza Hut, its restaurants today are a pale imitation of the brand’s 1980s and 1990s heyday, when the restaurants were a buzzing place to sit down and have a meal.
    • But the US only accounts for half of Pizza Hut’s business. When traveling, I have found that international Pizza Huts retain the upscale sit-down feel of classic Pizza Huts. 
    • I tried a number of dishes at a Pizza Hut restaurant in Dubai and found the food to be tastier and fresher than its American counterpart.

    For those that grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, Pizza Hut was an experience.

    I have many fond memories of that red-roofed Church of ‘Za — its translucent red cups, the hanging stained glass lamps, the seemingly infinite salad bar, the joy of the midday pizza buffet, and the smell of a sizzling pizza in a pan. 

    Not these days. It’s no secret that the brand has seen better days.

    Over the last two decades, Pizza Hut’s share of the fast food pizza market has dwindled from 25% in 1995 to around 14%, as Domino’s and Papa John’s continue to grow. Many industry analysts suspect that, by the end of the year, Domino’s will have overtaken Pizza Hut as the top pizza brand in the US.

    Read more:I've been traveling the world for 6 months and I use the same trick in any city I visit to make sure I find amazing food

    As Pizza Hut has tried to grow sales, it has turned increasingly to its competitors’ strategies of relying on low-margin, high-volume delivery and takeout locations. In the US, there are only a handful of the beloved red-roofed sit-down restaurants left. 

    But the US only accounts for half of Pizza Hut’s revenue, with the rest coming from its more than 9,000 locations across the world. Pizza Hut and its parent company, Yum! Brands, have expanded aggressively across the world, often being the first American brands to touch down in far-flung places. Yum Brand’s KFC was the first American brand in China, with Pizza Hut close behind. In 2009, Pizza Hut was the first international fast-food restaurant to open in Nepal.

    As I’ve traveled around the world,  I’ve noticed — whether I’m in China, Japan, or the Middle East — that the Pizza Hut of Old still lives. In many of the 100 countries that Pizza Hut has locations, it still operates as an upscale sit-down restaurant.

    On a recent trip to the Dubai Mall, I spotted a sit-down Pizza Hut that had a fresh, new look. I decided to give it a try to see what it was like.

    SEE ALSO: KFC is by far the most popular fast food chain in China and it's nothing like the US brand — here's what it's like

    SEE ALSO: Every amazing, strange, and delicious food I tried during an epic 6-week trip to China

    Despite its recent troubles, Pizza Hut is still one of the biggest fast-food brands in the world. With 16,796 locations around the world, Pizza Hut is the world’s sixth biggest fast food company.

    While exploring the Dubai Mall in the United Arab Emirates, I decided to stop in on the Pizza Hut location there.

    Read more:Dubai has a $20 billion megacomplex with the world's 2nd-largest mall, the world's tallest building, an aquarium, and 1,200 stores. I can't imagine why any tourist would want to visit.

    The Dubai Mall location doesn’t look exactly like Pizza Hut I grew up on, but more like what might have happened in the brand kept improving its sit-down restaurants rather than trying to beat Domino’s at the delivery game.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    American Flag USA US

    The US is a huge, diverse country, and the characteristics of the states that make it up vary widely.

    We used 38 demographic, social, and economic indicators that cover several aspects of American life, mostly from the US Census Bureau's recently released 2017 American Community Survey estimates.

    We looked at how far away each state was from the average of each of those metrics among the states and Washington, DC. Adding those distances together, we found an overall "averageness" score for each state and DC.

    Read more:See our method and detailed sources for this ranking

    Here's all 50 states and DC, ranked from least to most average, along with some of the metrics for which they were outliers or average.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much the typical millennial, Gen X, and baby-boomer worker earns in every US state

    51. Washington, DC

    What's average: The 90.2% of residents of DC with at least a high school diploma was very close to the average share among the states and DC of 89.5%.

    What's not average: The nation's capital is demographically and economically very different from the rest of the country, largely because it's a city with no suburban or rural areas. For example, DC's median age of 34.0 years is much lower than the average of 38.4 years, and its median household income of $82,372 was the highest in the country.

    50. Hawaii

    What's average: About 92.1% of households in Hawaii have access to at least one car, right in line with the average rate of 92.2% among the states and DC.

    What's not average: Hawaii's median home value of $617,400 was the highest in the country, and, perhaps not surprisingly, the 9.3% of Hawaii residents who self-identified as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander was by far the largest share among the states and DC.

    49. California

    What's average: California's poverty rate of 13.3% was just above the average rate of 13.1% among the 50 states and DC.

    What's not average: California's median gross monthly apartment rent of $1,447 was the third-highest in the country. Only 83.3% of California residents had at least a high school diploma, the lowest rate among the states and DC.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Steve Cohen

    • Senior hedge fund managers are taking home smaller paychecks in 2018.
    • Median compensation - including base and bonus - for senior analysts is expected to decline by 12%, while median pay for portfolio managers is projected to fall 15%.
    • Market volatility, particularly in October, hurt hedge funds this year.

    This year was a brutal one for hedge funds— and it's hitting portfolio managers' bonuses as a result. 

    With hedge funds suffering from poor performance in 2018, investment managers are likely to to take home smaller paychecks, according to a new report.

    "Hedge funds had a bad year," said Adam Zoia, chief executive officer at compensation advisory firm CompIQ, which published the data. "Of course, the year is not over, but so far, it's not good." 

    Median compensation - including base and bonus - for senior analysts is expected to decline by as much as 12%, to $572,000 in 2018. For portfolio managers, it is likely to fall to $967,370, down 15% year-over-year, the report said.

    Junior investment professionals and back office employees will be shielded from the volatility, Zoia said. The report predicts a 1% decrease in median pay for junior analysts.

    See also: Hedge funds have plunged into a 'vicious downward cycle' with the most popular stocks, and it's a sign the meltdown is just getting started

    The hedge fund industry has historically been known for its eye-popping salaries, with managers such as Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio and Appaloosa Management's David Tepper among the world's wealthiest

    But recently the industry has come under pressure from its own investors — called limited partners — for its high fees and subpar returns. 

    As of November 1, hedge funds across all strategies posted an annual return of -0.8%, according to CompIQ. That compares to a return of 11.4% in 2017, which was the highest level in four years. 

    The month of October, in particular, was the worst month for hedge funds since May 2010.  The group lost almost 3%, according to Hedge Fund Research

    As a result of market turmoil smaller hedge funds might slash jobs by year-end, Zoia predicted. 

    See also:

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    trump obama

    • President Donald Trump mocked former President Barack Obama as being weak on Russia and standing by while Moscow illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
    • But Russia effectively locked Ukraine out of the Sea of Azov last weekend, and despite Ukraine's calls for NATO help, Trump has appeared to do nothing.
    • Trump said Russia took Crimea from Ukraine because it didn't respect Obama, but despite Trump claiming a friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Putin has done much the same to him.

    President Donald Trump mocked former President Barack Obama as being weak on Russia and standing by while Moscow illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

    But Russia's navy recently locked Ukraine out of the Sea of Azov, which Kiev relies on to feed its valuable port cities in the country's east.

    Trump's response so far looks every bit as weak.

    Russian President Vladimir "Putin didn't respect President Obama,"Trump said in June. "President Obama lost Crimea because President Putin didn't respect President Obama, didn't respect our country, and didn't respect Ukraine."

    In 2014, Russian troops without official uniforms stormed into Crimea and eastern Ukraine, cut power, interfered with electronics and communications, spread fake news, and eventually established control of the strategic peninsula.

    The US, under Obama, responded with sanctions, condemnation, and attempts to usher in diplomacy.

    But none of that worked. Ukraine, which has dreamed of joining the West as a functioning democracy and even a prospective member of NATO, remains at war to this day with Russian soldiers whose existence Putin still denies.

    Ukraine has now been at war for four years against the Russian separatist movement, which has cost it 10,000 civilian lives and left 1.6 million people in the country displaced.

    Obama refused to provide lethal aide to Ukraine, a decision that Trump reversed and often touts as a demonstration of his harder line against Russia.

    But on Sunday, Russia escalated the war by using its own, marked navy ships to fire on Ukraine's navy and shut down the entire Sea of Azov to any ship bound for, or coming from, Ukraine.

    In doing this, Russia disregarded a 2003 bilateral treaty giving Ukraine and Russia exclusive rights to sail their ships in and out at will.

    The fighting also saw six Ukrainian soldiers wounded, and some detained and made to give bizarre-looking confessions to Russian television.

    Russia Azov Black Sea Crimea Navy Day missiles

    Read more:Russia is moving advanced missiles into Crimea as Ukraine warns it's under threat of a 'full-scale war'

    John Herbst, a former US ambassador to Ukraine, said that Russia sought to take control of the Sea of Azov to choke and destabilize Ukraine's east on a call with reporters organized by the Atlantic Council.

    Ukraine's president has since called for NATO warships to enter the Sea of Azov. He's said that Putin intends to take over all of Ukraine as a colony.

    Now Ukraine fears a full-scale war and invasion from Russia.

    Here's Trump during his presidential campaign in July 2016:

    "[If I become president, Putin is] not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down and you can put it down, you can take it anywhere you want."

    How Trump's handling the Azov crisis

    Essentially, Moscow used a military escalation to steal another chunk of Ukraine's sovereignty, building on their past annexation of Crimea, as they now control both sides of the pivotal Kerch Strait.

    sea of azov

    In response, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, vocally condemned the move and called for action.

    But no real action has come forth yet.

    NATO hasn't responded to Ukraine's calls to send ships. Meanwhile, Russia has blocked Ukraine's two most important ports on the Azov.

    As the Azov is an inland sea, not international waters, and requires both Russian and Ukrainian approval for foreign vessels to legally enter, NATO doesn't have a straightforward case for entering the sea.

    A slew of treaties also keep the US from flooding Ukraine with weapons to fight back against Russia, but Russia has shown little regard for its own treaties in making the land and sea grabs.

    Indeed the US and NATO would be in a better place to respond to the Sea of Azov crisis if they had met Russia's 2014 Crimea annexation with more resolve, but that still doesn't bode well for Trump's hypothesis that Putin respects him and not Obama.

    "Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?"Trump tweeted in February 2017.

    But despite the respect and friendship Trump claims to have with Putin, Russia has effectively taken the Sea of Azov from Kiev's hands, and Trump looks nowhere close to action.

    Trump is expected to meet with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Delta Airbus A350 900 MSN115 take off 005

    • A Delta Air Lines passenger said his pilot sent him a message on dating app Grindr while the flight was still in mid-air. 
    • JP Thorn only got the message when he landed, but saw it was sent 30 minutes before the 90-minute flight landed in Chicago in August.
    • He told the New York Post that when he got the message on the tarmac, "I knew I needed to get off this plane as fast as I can."
    • Thorn briefly met the pilot after the flight, and said he was a "nice guy."

    A passenger who took a Delta Air Lines flight earlier this year said the pilot operating his flight sent him a Grindr message while they were "30,000 feet in the air."

    The passenger, JP Thorn, told the New York Post the pilot texted him on the dating app during the 90-minute flight from Saint Paul, Minnesota in August.

    Thorn said he only saw the message after landing, but saw that it was sent 30 minutes before the plane's landing — meaning the pilot was flying and texting at the same time.

    Thorn, 27, tweeted a screenshot of the message from the pilot on Sunday. It said: "I see you're on my flight. Enjoy the ride to Chicago."

    Thorn told the Post: "I messaged him back and he told me that he was one of the pilots. My reaction was I knew I needed to get off this plane as fast as I can."

    "I’ve had some weird experiences with proximity stuff on Grindr," he added.

    But Thorn chatted with the pilot while he waited for his connecting flight and said it turned out the pilot was a "nice guy" and he "totally would have met him for coffee."

    That being said, Thorn hasn't spoken to the pilot since, he told the Post.

    He said: "I got a lot of people saying I should've met up with pilots because they make a lot of money."

    He added that the experience hasn't affected his decision to fly with Delta, and that he would do so again.

    INSIDER has contacted Delta for comment.

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    google apple microsoft classroom 4x3

    • Google has taken over technology in the classroom from education stalwarts Microsoft and Apple.
    • That's a valuable market to dominate. Ed tech is expected to hit $43 billion in value by 2019, just under half of which is based in K-12.
    • Chromebooks are cheaper than hardware from Microsoft and Apple, and Google's classroom management software is a teacher favorite because of how easy it is to use.
    • Here's what the two plan to do to take back some market share from Google. 

    Google has steadily taken over the ed-tech market with its super-cheap Chromebooks and user-friendly education management software. 

    In 2017, Chromebooks and other Google devices made up 58% of all devices purchased for US classrooms, according to Futuresource data. That figure was a mere 5% in 2012. 

    Apple and Microsoft's presence in the classroom, meanwhile, has tumbled. Apple's market share in mobile devices for education sank by 33 percentage points from 2012 to 2017, while Microsoft's decreased by 21 percentage points, according to Futuresource.

    market share

    But, even though teachers and administrators adore Google products, analysts told Business Insider that Apple and Microsoft are making serious strides to catch up. 

    "The fortunes of companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are probably going to hinge in part to meet that demand for specialized, customized, personalized instruction — who can deliver that in K-12 systems and who can make it as effortless as possible for teachers,"Sean Cavanagh, senior editor of EdWeek Market Brief, told Business Insider.

    Here's how they plan to win back some market share in ed tech — which is expected to hit $43 billion in value by 2019.

    Apple is emphasizing its lower-cost iPads and unique capabilities

    Decades ago, Apple set the trend for technology in education, rather than following it. As Business Insider's Troy Wolverton reported, Steve Jobs "pioneered the market for selling computers to schools." Apple dominated computer labs in the 1980s by providing free or discounted software and devices to educators. 

    student 2006 apple computer

    Apple produced more than half of all education devices in the US in 2012, according to Futuresource. Just five years later, that market share has dropped to 19%.

    Now, the company is making their education devices cheaper and emphasizing the advantage that iPads have over Chromebooks. 

    In March, Apple introduced a $299 iPad marketed for education use; it's available for $329 for regular customers. The low-cost iPad, which replaced the $399 entry-level iPad, was seen as a response to Chromebooks for education. Chromebooks, manufactured by brands like Lenovo, Acer, and HP, cost as low as $149.

    And the company's touting the idea that pricier Apple products allow for powerful tools like augmented reality or creative work — like photo, sound, and video editing.  

    "Apple has been involved in education since their inception pretty much," Cavanagh. "The argument they've always made in K-12 is that they have, through Macs and iPads, the more creative applications that allow students to get a more enriched experience in the classroom."

    Ben Davis, a senior market analyst at Futuresource, said those capabilities should position Apple well as the ed-tech market evolves. Until recently, school districts were mainly worried about getting devices to students so they could complete state-mandated online assessments, use textbooks, and other basics. 

    Read more:Teachers love Google's education products but are suspicious. Why is a megacorporation giving them a perfect tool for free?

    However, when it comes to education software, which teachers and students use to manage assignments, deadlines, and documents, Apple is lacking — particularly compared to the super-popular and easy-to-use Google Classroom. That might cancel out its other strengths, said Avi Greengart, the research director for consumer devices at GlobalData.

    "Where I'm watching very closely is to see if Apple can catch up on software management suite," Greengart told Business Insider. "There are holes relative to Google's offerings."

    However, Greengart added, "The hardware is certainly there."

    Microsoft is (mostly) sticking to software, and lowering hardware price points 

    On the hardware side, there aren't a ton of Microsoft-manufactured products in classrooms. That might make folks think that the company is losing out in the education sphere. 

    That's not totally true. 

    "Windows and Office are still the dominant PC platform overall, and that impacts education as well," Greengart said. "For schools that are distributing lots and lots of hardware, they do often use Windows, but they haven't used Microsoft's hardware."

    computer lab

    Greengart said it's not likely Microsoft will push its own hardware into elementary or middle schools. The price point for the Surface remains too high for large-scale implementation in classrooms, but laptops with the Windows operating system start at $189 for classrooms. 

    On the software side, Microsoft has bought and integrated education apps like Flipgrid, a discussion platform powered by 90-second videos, and collaboration tool Chalkup. Microsoft Teams, its version of Slack, rolled out its education platform in 2017 — and it looks like a competitor to Google Classrooms. 

    "Microsoft is coming out with some innovative, cool stuff," Danny Wagner, editor of ed-tech reviews at Common Sense Media, told Business Insider. "They're really courting third-party apps (and) trying to make their products friendly through Microsoft."

    Google isn't likely to lose much market share in the coming years, but they might not always be the top choice for educators

    While Microsoft and Apple are trying to mimic Google, Google is mimicking its two competitors. 

    Google Classroom got wildly popular because it was so easy to use, and Chromebooks became a top-seller because it was so cheap. Surprisingly, though, Google is now adding more capabilities to Chrome OS and pushing up the price point of some Chromebooks.

    The pricier Chromebooks are positioned for teacher use. "I'm not expecting to see huge volumes of that," Davis said.

    price comparison 

    Google added Android app capability to Chrome OS, which powers Chromebooks. That's expected to make the device more appealing for a non-education market (a sector that isn't so gaga for Chromebooks), but it challenges what makes Chromebooks so appealing for large-scale implementation in education.

    As Greengart explained, Chromebooks are popular in part because any person can use any computer with a log-in. All of your information is stored on the cloud rather than the device itself. Android apps, however, are stored locally. 

    "What that means if you give out Chromebooks to 32 students, there are 32 Android apps that store data locally," Greengart said. "Now, Chromebook 1 has to go to Jill, Chromebook 2 has to go to Jane. And one of the key reasons you picked up Chrome OS in the first place now has a management challenge."


    There's also a growing awareness about data privacy when it comes to Google, which has come under scrutiny for collecting data from its student users.

    "At the same time, we haven't seen that concern show up in our surveys when people are asked about what their favorite provider is," Cavanagh said. "Google is still top despite those concerns."

    Still, Davis said Google is "far away and ahead" when it comes to education software. And their hardware remains the cheapest — a massive boost for cash-strapped school districts.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how technology is shaping the future of education

    Join the conversation about this story »

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